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Kate Reveals Bespoke Lace Temperley for Portrait Gala

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It has been three years since Kate attended the National Portrait Gallery's third annual Portrait Gala. She doesn't attend these big ticket events for every charity every year, so when it was announced she'd be back at the Portrait Gala in 2017, excitement was high. A lot of people were having flashbacks to Kate's mega-watt jewelry on the last occasion and hoping for a similar showing. 

The Duchess arrived to the usual flash of cameras, and tonight, the robust shouts of "Bellissima!" It is an accolade we will be taking up in chorus together at the end of this post...I hope. I'm going to take a head count, so shout it loud when the time comes.

Rebecca Deacon's Wedding + Kate Shopping Anita Dongre

Monday, March 27, 2017

Yesterday, Rebecca Deacon and Adam Priestley tied the knot as it was rumored they would, at the Chapel Royal. Not many pictures have surfaced, but a few have been shared on social media. Kate's right-hand girl looked absolutely radiant seated in a vintage car after the ceremony in this snap shared by @Trabbitsgal on Instagram:

Rebecca Deacon Priestley via @Trabbitsgal

We talked about whether or not William and Kate would attend. I really thought they would, and they might have, but we haven't gotten any pictures that include the royal couple. Although guests may have been asked to stay discreet, my general rule is that if they were at the party, that would come out sooner rather than later. It has only been 24 hours or so, but since I haven't heard a whisper of their presence, I think it is reasonable to conclude they likely were not there. Here is a shot of the back of Rebecca's dress. For a moment I thought the little blond boy on the left side of the frame might be George, and then I decided he looks a little too small to be George.

Kate's Mother's Day Speech

Sunday, March 26, 2017

On Thursday, Kate gave a speech to promote mental health awareness for mothers and introduce the Out of the Blue film series of the same theme. Many have hailed it as her "meatiest" presentation yet, particularly applauding Kate's admission that she has found motherhood daunting at times. I was very moved by the mothers who commented on this blog attesting to how meaningful and supportive Kate's comments were to you. Those are the best accolades Kate's speech could get--feedback from real parents who felt uplifted and affirmed by her words.

On a secondary level, however, I was struck by a growing assertiveness from the duchess in this speech. Kate has been a predominantly silent figure in the decade she has spent in the spotlight. In the entire time she dated William, we only heard her voice once, and that was by chance. Kate has been something of an enigma, and inevitably we have all have projected a variety of assumptions and personal preferences onto her smiling image. Her early speeches and interviews have been scripted and sweet, further entrenching her cotton-candy image. But, as Kate speaks more, a window begins to crack open into her actual personality. Who she is and what she really thinks.

Kate Recycles Eponine For Out of the Blue Screening

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge arrived this morning at the Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians looking radiant in a recycle. Today was an event that could be broadly characterized under Heads Together, the umbrella organization created by William, Harry, and Kate to promote discussions about mental health, but more particularly, Kate was appearing for partner charity Best Beginnings. 

In what will be a bitter-sweet point for long-time Kate followers, Kate was accompanied by Sophie Agnew rather than Rebecca Deacon. You can see her above exiting the car, and here below standing in the background.  No word has been given about Rebecca's successor, but this might be a hint of announcements to come.

Au Revoir, Paris! Kate Wears Carolina for Rugby & Farewell

Saturday, March 18, 2017

At the conclusion of their event at the Trocadéro, William and Kate were driven back to the Ambassador's residence where they changed and made their farewells. The couple were headed to their final event of the visit, the Wales v. France rugby game at the Stade de France, but they would leave directly from the game to the airport. 

Tom13637 Instagram

The coupled thanked their hosts in the courtyard and Kate was given a little parting posy. I love the staff with the cameras in the background. No Carson around to frown. :)

Duchess Kate's Morning in Paris's 7th and 16th

The second day of William and Kate visit to Paris kicked off this morning with a number of stops at some of Paris's most popular and iconic destinations. For those who were concerned yesterday, Kate arrived at Les Invalides, their first stop this morning, wearing a Chanel suit, bag, and belt. France was very adequately represented. :)

Hôtel des Invalides 

Les Invalides is in the 7th and sits close to the Seine just south of Pont Alexandre III. Its golden dome is very photogenic when the sun is shining, but even on an overcast day like this morning, the building is an impressive and even imposing structure. 

Built in the 17th century by Louis XIV to care for veterans, it now also houses a number of museums, including Musée de l'Armée documenting some France's military artifacts, as well as the tomb of Napoleon, among other things.

William's Fair Lady at the "Embassy Ball"

Friday, March 17, 2017

Some twenty odd years ago, young Kate Middleton played Eliza Doolittle in a school play. The video of her dressed as a working girl and singing about her dreams of a better life has charmed fans around the world. Tonight, life imitated art, as little Kate Middleton now "is a princess" and descended the stairs at the British Embassy in Paris dazzling like the transformed Eliza on the steps at the Embassy Ball

Of course, Kate, unlike Eliza, really is a princess, not just presumed to be one by Zoltan Karpathy. Which is why tonight, as she and William prepared for dinner, the royal standard fluttered in the breeze over the Hôtel de Charost alerting passing Parisians of the special guests:

In the courtyard below, a stream of celebrity guests made their arrivals, including Jena Reno and Kristin Scott-Thomas.  Kristin Scott Thomas rather embodies the theme of the night. She is British, (born in Cornwall) but she traveled to Paris at 19 to be an au pair and "never came back."

Sporty Kate Wears Bespoke McQueen to Les Voisins Reception

After their welcome at the Élysée Palace, the Cambridges made their way just a short distance down the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to Hôtel de Charost, the Residence of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, where they were billed to attend a reception celebrating the launch of Les Voisins (the neighbors), a year celebrating the links between Britain and France. 

The reception brought together "young entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, musicians and other selected guests" to support the continued ties between Britain and France.

Cambridges Welcomed at Élysée Palace

Bonjour tout le monde! The Duke and Duchess and of Cambridge went straight from their lunch at the Irish Guards to the airport, where they boarded a chartered plane and flew to Paris! According to Rebecca English, Amanda Tucker restyled Kate's hair in her signature waves before the couple deplaned. The royals were chauffeured from the airport to the Élysée Palace; the schedule was tight and Kate remained in her bespoke Catherine Walker from this morning. 

The Élysée Palace is, as you know, the official home of the French President, and has been since 1873. It is located in the 8th along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Kate doubtless enjoyed her drive to the Palace, because the street is lined with some of the most expensive designer boutiques, some of which she wears, as well as beautiful hotels and the diplomatic buildings of some of France's closest allies, including the residences of the ambassadors of the United Kingdom and the United States and the Canadian embassy. It is a very beautiful road and frankly more fun to walk than the nearby Champs-Élysées. This is the Palace from air; it is an impressive compound in the heart of Paris. The big courtyard is particularly convenient for welcoming foreign dignitaries and heads of state in real style. 

A bevy of the French president's staff gathered to watch as the royal convoy of Range Rovers rolled from the narrow street into the gracious and wide private courtyard of the Élysée Palace. President Hollande greeted the two on the steps and they posed for the official photos:

Hollande showed the couple around the Palace, including the lovely terrace where the trio stood and chatted briefly in the late afternoon sunshine:

I am so happy that although Rebecca is leaving relatively soon, after her many years working for the BRF, she was still on the job for this first trip to Paris. She looked lovely today in the courtyard wearing a navy ensemble and carrying an Anya Hindmarch clutch:

Because Kate just showed up in her third ensemble of the day, I have to speed this post up, so you are spared a lecture on the interior décor, but suffice it to say, it's all I can look at in this picture...even with Kate in the frame.

via Rebecca English Twitter (re_dailymail)

This is the best part of the post, so if you were skimming, slow down. Kate, William, and Hollande were sitting together chit-chatting in their sumptuous neoclassical works of art. First they were speaking in French, (interestingly, there is much debate about how much French exactly the couple speak) and it seems that Hollande decided to change the pace, which he did, not just by switching to English, but by saying to William, "So you were in Verbier this Sunday?" I kid you not. To which William responded, "Yessss." This is one of the reasons I like William. He had the grace to smile and laugh. He nodded and said yes, and then he waggled his eyebrows at Hollande as if to say, "and look how that turned out." 

I am surprised that Hollande would bring it up. He must have been briefed about the headlines. I don't know if he was trying to smooth it over--if you can talk about your weekend in Verbier while sitting in the gilt drawing room of the Élysée Palace surrounded by reporters, it can't have been that bad--or perhaps it was some naughty French humor popping up. Hollande himself is no stranger to the tabloids, and his scandals landed him international covers when he was photographed sitting on a scooter being chauffeured to his mistress's flat. The mistress of his mistress, but I digress. It was complicated, but let's just say you'd rather be William with an embarrassing dance video circling the web than Hollande with his scooter headlines. The exchange in many ways turned out rather sweetly, because Kate got this smile on her face when William answered, "yesss" and then he turned to her, bright as a cherry, and they exchange a fleeting look in the language that is unique to every couple, as she moved the conversation along for him. Still with that lovely smile.


As the Cambridges left they both had that smile that says, "OH MY GOSH I can barely hold in my comments until I get in the car!!!!!" I had a good laugh, so maybe Hollande wasn't so naive in bringing it up after all. :) From a PR perspective, this is gold.

Several have mentioned in the comments on the post from this morning's St. Patrick's Day that the velvet trim is deep green not black. I agree after zooming in on this morning's pictures, but perhaps more importantly, this afternoon's shot seem to clearly be deep green. Perhaps even better than black!

Finally, there were some initial comments that Kate should have changed for her arrival in France, and at first I agreed, but after looking through more photos and considering the fact she had two more outfit changes this evening, I think sticking with this bespoke piece was the right move. First of all, it is gorgeous; it is a great coat dress to travel; and it fit really well, to my mind, in the scenery of the Élysée Palace. The military style, the velvet trim--I thought it really blended with French aesthetic. Best of all, we had instant gratification for a recycle with a new hairstyle. For myself, I did prefer this with the hair up, but I enjoyed seeing it both ways.

Ok, kids. One down. Two down, two to go. See next for a recap of Kate's cocktail ensemble. 

Kate Returns for St. Patrick's Day 2017

This is an unusual year, because St. Patrick's Day has collided with the Cambridges' first official visit to Paris, and the excitement for that trip comes as close as imaginable to stealing the 17th's show. Nevertheless, today is one of the most anticipated royal events of the year, and Kate didn't let Paris entirely steal the thunder by arriving this morning at Cavalry Barracks wearing one of her most striking St. Patrick's Day ensembles yet!

Via @BritishArmy
Prince William has been Colonel of the Irish Guards since his appointment in 2011, shortly before his marriage. According to the Telegraph at the time, he is the first royal colonel, although Her Majesty the Queen is, of course, the Colonel-in-Chief. William had a number of uniforms he could have chosen from for his wedding, and he picked the red Irish Guards. A good choice to complement Kate's white dress that happy morning, and it gives the Irish Guards an extra boost of royal connection.

via Kensington Palace

To catch you up on the Irish Guards controversy, (because you need more drama this week, right?) the Duchess debuted at the Irish Guards in 2012. A royal for less than a year, she flew solo on that morning because Prince William was serving in the Falklands. When I wonder what gives St. Patrick's Day its special excitement for royal watchers, I am torn between the worldwide enthusiasm for St. Patrick's Day in general and the fact that on her first engagement with the Irish Guards, Kate was so picture perfect and darlingly flirtatious. Maybe both! It is still one of my favorite events:

Whatever makes it such a popular event, Kate has accompanied William every year of her marriage, except for last year. The princess didn't appear last St. Patrick's Day, and it caused a real stir among fans and royal watchers. When the couple announced they would spend the 17th and 18th in Paris this year, I was disappointed with the conflict to St. Patrick's Day, but delighted when it emerged they wouldn't attend before flying to Paris!

A real fan favorite today is the Irish Wolfhound and Irish Guards mascot, Domhnall. Kate always pins a little sprig on Domhnall who is generally impeccably behaved. According to People, Domhnall's prep for the morning began with "three (boneless) chicken thighs for breakfast and a five mile walk." No wonder he is well behaved, that would leave me looking just like this, too:

via Kensington Palace

The morning always concludes with a toast in the officers' mess and lunch. In year's past, Kate has been pictured sipping on creme sherry, but today the beverage of choice looks to be Guiness or some similarly dark beer. It is a rare sighting of the Duchess of Cambridge indulging in a pint:

Don't forget the snap with the soldiers, with the Cambridges posing circa 1818. I jest, there is only so much you can do with a formal shot like this, but today when I looked at everyone lined up I could suddenly see it in sepia in a history book.

via Kensington Palace

Let's talk fashion.  Kate chose to go bespoke, which is always exciting and almost invariable, as it should, produces a really stunning ensemble. This coat is by Catherine Walker and looks like it is partially patterned after one of Kate's most successful coats to-date, the red military Catherine Walker she wore to deplane in Wellington, New Zealand.

Perths Fashion has also tracked down a product photo of another Catherine Walker jacket which features a similarly double-breasted closure and the sumptuous velvet trim on the collar, cuffs, and pockets that I love so much. 

via Perth Fashion

Overall, this coat draws on chief elements that made (for me) her velvet McQueen such a big success. The coat is very snugly fitted in the bodice and then it gracefully flares in an a-line silhouette. Kate has a really beautiful figure, but some of her coats, even the ones I love, can obscure it a little. These lighter "coat-dresses" really do her full justice.

Kate recycled her hat from Christmas 2015, which I call the Green Poinsettia Hat. I thought at first this was new, because all of my pictures today are taken from Kate's right side, but when she wore this at Sandringham in 2015 almost all my photos are from her left side.  

The different perspective really makes a difference! I thought this was a cute topper when she first wore it, and it is another success today. The Duchess is wearing her Monica Vinader Siren earrings and  sporting her signature chignon, which appears to be secured by one of Kate's subtle and discreet hair nets. 

via Kensington Palace

Kate is also carrying a new clutch. It appears she has broken from her usual suede clutches and chosen a glossy fold-over in a crocodile print:

The verdict is a grand slam. I love the forest green contrasted with the black velvet detailing. As mentioned, these impeccably tailored coat-dresses are so elegant and polished. Kate looked very regal and statuesque standing at attention next to William. This event has nothing to do with the Paris trip, but it does get me very excited for whatever Kate has neatly packed in her trunks for the next two days. 

According to Rebecca English, Sky correspondent Rhiannon Mills asked a Palace spokesman if there was a comment on William's time in Verbier, and was "genially" told that William is looking forward to visiting Paris.  No matter where you fell on the opinion scale regarding Verbier, I think we can all agree that William would have preferred his enthusiastic club dancing to stay private, so today had to be a little awkward. Providentially for the Paris trip, I think this morning cleared the air. It was impossible that there not be a small element of embarrassment this morning, but now William has his first public appearance post-Verbier out of the way, Paris won't have to absorb that impact. A better time for everyone!

via KP

Rebecca English reported that William and Kate are flying to Paris by private plane. The couple's first stop is the Élysée Place to meet with François Hollande and then a black-tie (I think black-tie) reception and dinner at the British Embassy. I stayed up way too late last night reading through your fantastic responses to the survey, and will continue today. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in! See you this afternoon!

My soundtrack today. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Virtual Coffee Date with Jane

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Good evening all! I am so excited for tomorrow I am having trouble focusing on other stuff, like work, and so I wandered back to the blog to see what is up with the royal watching world as we get all primed for tomorrow. I have been thinking for a while that I should get to know my readers a little better, at least for those who care to share, and tonight I am presenting you with a little questionnaire that I hope many of you will fill out! As you will see, it contains a mix of questions, some obviously geared toward giving me insight to make the blog better, and some just random fun fact queries, like...what is your favorite book?

The questionnaire is anonymous. It doesn't require a sign in, so just like when I see the little towns checking in around the world I don't know who you are, I won't know who you are from this either, but it will give me a better idea of who I am talking to each time I sit in front of my keyboard and start tapping away. I hope you participate, and can't wait to see you tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day and PARIS!

Follow this link to the questionnaire. 

The Problem With William's Verbier Lunch

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What a day! To start with, I like William a lot. Anyone who has read this blog, even intermittently, knows that I am a big fan of his. And you all know that I firmly believe the Cambridges’ marriage is rock solid.  Nevertheless, that does not make this weekend ok. William has learned a hard lesson today, proving that no matter how savvy, every now and again we all take the occasional tumble and add a notch to the belt of life’s tough lessons that lead us toward that blessed goal of aged wisdom. :)

There were competing stories this afternoon surrounding the facts, with one source claiming that William and his friends lunched with two blondes and another claiming that they lunched with two blonds plus those girls’ boyfriends. I have communicated with royal reporter Emily Andrews, whose paper had a reporter in Verbier investigating, and she has confirmed that the boys were not at the lunch with the royals. The pictures seem to corroborate that. It was the royal party and these two jet-setting blondes.  The boyfriends, while in town, were not at lunch.

Video of Prince William Dancing in Swiss Ski Resort

Well it was a messy Monday for the royals' public relations department as news broke that Prince William spent the weekend in Verbier where he was photographed partying it up over lunch with a 24 year old who works in hospitality at one of the resorts.  This morning the headlines featured full sized photos of the young woman (Sophie Taylor, who modeled for Chadwick for a time and seems to have a penchant for topless shots) in various stages of undress juxtaposed against small insets of the royal party drinking and eating with her at a ski slope restaurant.  To be clear, the photos of Ms. Taylor were from her social media accounts and from previous vacations, not from this trip...obviously. Hopefully obviously.

Via Emily Andrews Twitter

Kate Recycles Kors for Afghanistan Memorial

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today, the royals gathered for a memorial at the Horse Guards to pay tribute to the service members and civilians who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts that have spanned more than twenty years.  Both members of the Royal Family and leaders of government were on hand for the solemn tribute that preceded the unveiling of a new memorial. 

As senior royals, William and Kate stood in the first row, separated from the Queen only by Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. (I am sure the PM and Secretary were surprised to discover they had married without realizing it...sorry. ;)) Here Kate beams as the Queen arrives and William completes a respectful bow to his grandmother. It is sweet to see the obvious affection between these three.

William and Kate's July Visit To Germany & Poland

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I know I have a lot of German and Polish readers, and we join you in your excitement over the recent news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake a trip to your two countries this summer! Kensington Palace announced the trip on Friday, stating simply the visit would take place in July. Royal reporters have confirmed that more details about the tour will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date. 

At the moment, we do not yet know if this will be a full length tour or a mini-tour. We are all familiar with full tours. The Cambridges' longest tour to date (hopefully never to be equalled ;)) was, of course, Australia and New Zealand in 2014:

Rebecca Deacon to Wed Adam Priestley!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Well, some very fun news from Kate's world tonight, and I am not referring to the July trip to Germany and Poland. Rebecca Deacon, Kate's longtime personal secretary, who many of us enjoy seeing in pictures during Kate's various engagements, is engaged to be married

Some of you likely followed the drama in Kate's household when Rebecca Deacon and Nick Loughran, (William and Kate's media advisor) split after a two year relationship. Much of that story was speculation, but at the least I think we can all agree...awkward. Happily,