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[Updated] Princess Kate in Barbour at Robin Hood Primary School

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Kate made a visit to Robin Hood Primary School today to see the fruits of the students' participation in the Royal Horticultural Society's Campaign for School Gardening in London. It called for a casual and ensemble and Kate put together some absolute favorites for a really winning ensemble.

The Duchess is wearing a Barbour jacket and her Temperley London Honeycomb sweater. She has this sweater in cream and black, and it is one of her classics, and my favorites. This black one paired with soft, black skinnies and her Penelope Chilvers boots is the perfect classic casual Kate. The princess really loves those Lauren Leaf earrings from Kiki McDonough, and she is wearing them here today.

This video by Rebecca English is from the back where the press must have been standing, but you can hear Kate's remarks quite clearly, as she tells students her fond memories gardening and the skills she is trying to pass on to George and Charlotte. We did hear a few years ago that Kate grew potatoes and other vegetables at Anmer Hall, and it is fun to imagine them all in such a normal and down-to-earth (literally) environment. 

A birthday celebration, which this was, of sorts, demands cake. I am just going to admit that I follow a million different cake decorators and wedding planners because I love cake decorating. I never do it myself, but I dream about it. Someday... Based upon my extensive "knowledge" of the industry, this shabby chic cake is super en vogue. :)  I love the flowers all over it. It looks so good, too.

Kate cut the cake, and I hope she had a bit, too.

Kate also got her hands dirty, today, as she spent time gardening with the kids. Her natural dialogue with them is different from her official presentations, and I imagine very much the way she talks seriously to little Charlotte and George.

In this photo you can see Catherine Quinn in the background. Kate also appears to have put on leather  gloves...

This is a huge win for me. Not only did we get some old school Kate Middleton style, but I love when she reflects on the various projects and activities she does with her children, particularly something like gardening. I have lots of memories of watching my dad plant his tomatoes and sometimes getting my hands muddy, too, under his direction, or watching the beans slowly grow on the trellis by the back door until it was time to pick and eat them. Those are really happy memories and it's great to see Kate is working with the RHS to promote outdoor activities for youngsters in her London community, and that she is creating these experiences with her own kids.

William gave a statement about Harry & Meghan's engagement. I really like William. I think he is a great royal. He balances the job really well. He is personable and natural and comes up with clever comments that don't sound like a cliche. I also think sometimes he is too uptight about the press, but that's for another day. No one is perfect. Enjoy his cute comment:

Meghan and Harry to Wed at Windsor

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It was a busy day for royal watchers as Kate the Great made a stop at the Foundling Museum, and the Palace released a bunch of data on the upcoming royal wedding! 

Here are the highlights:

  • The couple will wed in May of 2018 (this suggests that Kate is probably due in early April).
  • The wedding will take place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. You will recall that Prince Charles had his marriage blessed at St. George's Chapel after he married Camilla in a civil ceremony, and Autumn and Peter Phillips married at St. George's Chapel. That was a wedding Kate attended, and the occasion she first met the Queen! 
  • Harry and Meghan are keen to involve the public, and I am hearing the wedding will be televised. I don't know that that has been confirmed yet.
  • Official engagement photos have not been taken.  
  • Meghan and Harry will undertake their first official engagement together on Friday in Nottingham. 
  • Meghan will break ties with all current charities and join Harry, William, and Kate at their Royal Foundation. (Smart move, even if disappointing to her current charities)
  • Meghan will become a British citizen.
  • She will be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England before her marriage. 
  • The dog she had to leave in America will not be joining her in the UK.
  • Harry and Meghan were spotted arriving at Buckingham Palace today. The couple waved enthusiastically to the crowds as they were chauffeured in. I suspect this was tea with the Queen to chat about wedding plans. 
  • Harry was spotted later in the day at the gym. :) 
  • Meghan will also be traveling for a few months to spend time with friends before her wedding. 
Royal reporter Emily Andrews shared the actual press statement she got from Harry's office at KP, and you can read it below for yourself. Big thanks for that, Emily! [the above bullets were sourced throughout the day from Emily Andrews, Rebecca English, Richard Palmer, and Niraj Tanna]

N.B. I am running on a truncated schedule here, because Harry and Meghan's very happy news coincides with a few weeks of very important deadlines on my end. But, I will keep you up to speed, even if I am a little less wordy than usual, and we will be back to regular programming in a jiffy. Following all this engagement news is making me nostalgic for William and Kate's engagement. I think everyone knows that I follow Kate for more than just the fashion, and I know the hubbub of this new engagement has stirred up our quiet little corner of royal watching. A little stirring can be a good thing, and I am excited to share more of my thoughts about Meghan and Kate over the holiday season. I do want to clarify, though. I will cover Harry and Meghan's engagement and wedding, because I am following every detail and excited for it all, and I know the overwhelming majority of you are following it, and it is a huge part of Kate's focus these days, too. But, this will not be a joint blog moving forward. More on that later. But, I hope we all enjoy this season of excitement together in a spirit of goodwill. 

Ok kids. Onward! 

 P.S. Best photo of the day. I just love this Princess. 

Duchess of Cambridge in Kate Spade at Foundling Museum

Yesterday's engagement announcement was certainly exciting, but it is good to get back to the Duchess of Cambridge! Kate is visiting the Foundling Museum in London today, and HRH arrived wearing a dress by Kate Spade. She is carrying her Bayswater clutch in burgundy and wearing Gianvito Rossi heels in a matching hue. 

Of course, every royal is being asked thoughts on Harry's happy news. Kate was ready with a warm and friendly answer, one of the rare times she has spoken directly to the press. 
“William and I are absolutely thrilled. “It’s such exciting news. “It’s a really happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment.”
In that department, we should hear this afternoon more details about the wedding including month and venue, perhaps, and maybe even the actual date!  

This dress is certainly a win for me. I love the burgundy and pinks, which work so well on Kate, and I love that she is wearing a dress with a bit of an Empire waist-line. Also, anyone notice the buttons are little pearls? So pretty, and so Kate. Most of all, I am happy to see Kate today.

Harry & Meghan's Full Engagement Interview

Monday, November 27, 2017

I am pretty sure that BBC aired an edited version of this interview. Here is the full twenty minutes. I have thoughts, but I need to reclaim some of my day here, so that post will have to wait for another time.

I am intersted to hear what you all think. The photo-call in Kensington Palace's Sunken Garden is here, and the first post of the day, with the press releases form KP for William and Kate, and the primary announcement from Clarence House, is here

Meghan Markle Displays Ring Designed by Prince Harry

At 2pm GMT, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met with the press in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace for their engagement photo call! The choice of location was appropriate as Meghan displayed a sparkling ring designed by Prince Harry that features two stones from Diana's personal collection, and one stone from Botswana, according to royal reporter Emily Andrews.

The couple walked together to the garden and circled the reflecting pool before taking their position. If you missed the live-stream, this is a clip Emily Andrews shared of our first glimpse of Harry and Meghan!

This year, the Sunken Garden was transformed by white blooms to honor Princess Diana. Just three months ago, the Sunken Garden was the scene of Kate's last appearance before she announced her third pregnancy, so it has now been the stage of joy both for Prince William and now Prince Harry. 

Kate's blue Issa dress became an instantly iconic ensemble when she wore it to her own engagement photo call in November of 2010. Seven years later, Meghan must have felt the pressure to pick the right dress! Given the chilly London weather today, though, Meghan wrapped up in a soft white coat from The Line, with a green dress peeking out underneath that is reportedly from P.A.R.O.S.H. If she wears the same dress for the interview, we will get a good look tonight! 

The couple kept it quite short. Harry is very personable with the public, but he is a little dodgy with the press. Hopefully Meghan, who is very relaxed, can help him warm up a bit.

Emily Andrews shared this snap shortly before the couple made their appearance:

And this is the view that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had (with more press by the time they made their entrance!) standing in their final position. 

Tonight at 6pm GMT, all networks will air Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement interview.

Official: Prince Harry is Engaged to Meghan Markle!

[New post featuring the Sunken Garden photo call and the ring is live here] Prince Harry seems to have found his happily ever after, after all. Clarence House announced this morning that he is engaged to Meghan Markle and the couple will wed in the Spring of 2018!

Kensington Palace released a statement on behalf of Meghan Markle's parents in which they expressed their happiness.

William and Kate put out a brief remark via Kensington Palace, too, saying:
We are very excited for Harry and Meghan. It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.
Rumors hit fever pitch over the weekend, with fans and the media alike expecting an announcement and day. Now, camera crews are quickly setting up at Kensington Palace and we will have engagement pictures this afternoon, as well as an interview airing this evening. 

via Victoria Murphy
When William and Kate got engaged, the first thing they did was film the tv interview, which aired later in the day, then they made their way to St. James's Palace for the photo call with the press. I suspect that Harry and Meghan will follow the same schedule, so they are interviewing now, and we will get a late afternoon press meet. Sounds like they are doing it in the opposite order. Early press call (2pm local time) and then the interview, which will air tonight at 6pm London time. What do you think Meghan will wear to the photo call?

There is already a report that the wedding might in March, which is earlier than I would have expected, but I do think that now these two have announced, they'd like to be married as soon as possible. There has been a suggestion that the couple could marry in Los Angeles, Meghan's hometown. I don't know what to think about that. My sense is Meghan will be excited for a British royal wedding, but you never know! Wherever they marry, it will be a media bonanza. 

The second whisper is that Meghan will receive and accept an invitation to Christmas at Sandringham this year. I keep hearing that "Kate wasn't permitted to spend Christmas at Sandringham the year she got engaged," but that is a little misleading. William worked that Christmas. It was his last as a single man, so he took the holiday shift so that daddies could be home with their kids. I do't know if Meghan will attend Sandringham Christmas, but just like it was clear these two would get engaged quickly, where William and Kate went very slowly, it is clear that Meghan and Harry are keen to start their lives together. Again, the difference in age (at this stage in their relationship) between William and Kate and Harry and Meghan cannot be under emphasized. 

I will update the blog later today when we get pictures from the photo call! 

Kate in Glittering Blue Gown for Royal Variety Performance

Friday, November 24, 2017

Kate has turned to her Queen of the Night this evening to make her second appearance at the Royal Variety Performance. The Duchess is wearing a bespoke Jenny Packham gown in a shimmering light blue with an embellished tulle overlay. 

It has been an exhausting day of royal watching! The Twittersphere and social media in general has been in a frenzy of expectation waiting for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to decide the time is ripe to announce their engagement. In the meantime, we were also waiting with bated breath for the Duke and Duchess to attend the Royal Variety Performance this evening at the Palladium. As you may know, just an hour or so before the Duke and Duchess were scheduled to arrive at the event, shots were reported near Oxford Circus underground, and according to royal photographers who had already gathered at the venue, Oxford Street erupted into madness as people stampeded to escape what they believed to be an attack.  

Police rushed to secure the area and determine if there was indeed a terrorist attack underway, while frightened shoppers sheltered in shops until the all clear was given. The show was, of course, delayed as organizer tried to decide if it would be canceled or not. After thoroughly sweeping the area, authorities gave the all clear, and slowly opened the various roadways and the tube station to permit access to the area around the Palladium. 

Happily, it was not a terrorist attack, but the police were unable to determine the source of the sounds of gunfire. The Royal Variety Performance said the show would go on, and everything proceeded, just on a delayed schedule. Unfortunately, though, a scare like this, so close to the arrival of a celebrity couple, is bound to rattle security. When Kate and William finally pulled up in their convey of Range Rovers, they didn't have a drawn out welcome on the sidewalk, but proceeded directly inside.
As a result, we didn't get the array of glamorous photos we enjoyed on the couple's first appearance at the Royal Variety. The two were welcomed inside the building, to our disappointment, but doubtless to the relief of Mr. Security et al.

The couple enjoyed the star-studded performance and William even got a chance to interact a little with the host, which happened last time the Cambridges attended, as well.  Kate and William reportedly had a ball with the entire program and took to the stage afterward to thank the host and performers:
Kate carried her Jenny Packham Casa clutch:

And wore her Oscar de la Renta Cabrina scalloped pumps.

Frankly, Kate really brought all the bling needed by wearing one of the busiest and most embellished dresses she has ever debuted, which is saying something... But, she did add her Chandelier Diamond Earrings that are on loan from the Queen to add some royal oomph.

I am going to try to ease into this by starting with the hair. I join those who are frustrated with Kate's shorter length. Although it was cute at the Wimbledon, the short and curly style hasn't been playing well for me, and I think Kate is still young enough that she should return to her longer locks. Tonight called either for the polished and bouncy waves of yore, or a sophisticated up-do. Instead we got the average curls that often end looking a little messy from most angles. Fine, I guess, for the average daytime engagement, but not a big win at a glamorous evening such as the annual Royal Variety Performance.

Ok kids, we are about to cross into choppier waters. I know most of you love this dress. It received a fast and enthusiastic response on Twitter and Instagram, but unhappily, I am not among the fans. At the risk of being the most unpopular person at the party, I will proceed. As has been noted, this is a lot like Kate's Jenny Packham from the reception in Paris, a veritable maternity version, if you ask me.

I found my way to liking Kate's Paris dress, but I just don't like this. I think my two primary objections are to the hemline and to the sleeves, which aren't flattering Kate at this stage in her pregnancy. To the first, I wouldn't have loved the dress just stopping above her shoes, but the netting extending beyond the underlay was jarring. The tulle overlay wasn't finished and it clashed with the lace hem. I can see why Kate might have been attracted to this design. It's unusual and highlights the beautiful hem, but it just didn't work for me.

I've talked a lot about how I think Kate adheres to her style preferences while pregnant and is reluctant to accommodate change. To me, tonight is a casualty of her loyalty to her baseline style. She should be bolder about "embracing the change," and dressing her evolving figure to its best advantage. Now is not the time for the busy crystals and embellishments, nor for the fitted column dresses. I'd love to see more streamlined pieces, à la Issa and Kate's 2011-2012 preferences. To be more precise, I'd love to see the maternity version of the Sarai Beulah London. A v-neck would be very flattering at this stage, and the filmy bell sleeves would be better than the busy and tight sleeves she showcased this evening. Finally, a more flowing or a-line skirt would show off her petite bump and balance her figure. 

This is a miss. The Royal Variety Performance benefits Royal Variety of which the Queen is patron. Historically, it a royal staple dating back to the reign of George V and Queen Mary. It was a big deal when William and Kate were deputized to represent the Queen in 2014, and Kate hit a home run that time in the DVF Zarita and an elegant chignon, completed by show-stopping Kiki McDonough sparklers. This is an event that demands royal sophistication.  Tonights' dress simply didn't measure up. From head to hem, I felt the Royal Variety Performance warranted a better showing. Kate is so stunning when she is pregnant, and I wish she'd play to her bets advantage. She almost always identifies the landmark events and nails them, but this was far from her best. 

Full Post: Kate Recycles Another Goat Coat in Birmingham

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kate seems to have decided this is the Year of the Goat! The Duchess of Cambridge (along with her duke) traveled to Birmingham today for an Away Day that marks their second trip to the city. The duo began at the Jaguar Land Rover plant, and as the Duchess stepped out of her own Range Rover, we saw she was giving her second GOAT London coat a rewear!

The Cambridges toured the plant, which employs over 10,000 and met with workers, including those hired via a program that helps ex-military personnel join the workforce. 

The royals, of course, drive Range Rovers quite a bit, and the company creates various specialized cars for the BRF's public duties, as well. KP shared this snap of the two enjoying a look back at the modified Range Rovers that were used for the Patron's Lunch.


The highlight of the visit saw Kate get behind the wheel of a Range Rover to tackle a bit of off-roading. The Princess had some trouble getting up this very uneven terrain, although let's be honest, I bet she has navigated some bumpy roads at Balmoral. Without the cameras on her, she is doubtless willing to hit the engine a little more aggressively.

Next on the royals' agenda was a stop at the AVFC Foundation to visit with a Coach Core group. We knew when Kate arrived at the start of the day wearing black skinnies that she'd likely shed the coat at some point. Away Days often require ensemble modifications, and sure enough she took her more formal coat off and put on the red duvet ski jacket from Perfect Moment, which she wore for the Heads Together training before the London Marathon.

Gary Laybourne

Kate, ever the eternal optimist, seemed as if she thought she could zip this coat up, but, no. Baby Cambridge #3 is already asserting herself/himself and would have none of it.

The couple finished their day at the ACME Whistles factory, a family business that produces whistles for sporting events and the Metropolitan police, as well as whistles for dogs. Some of the whistles sound at certain levels that only dogs can hear, and Kate pointed out that different dogs hear at different levels. William and Kate said they had one for Lupo, and William was able to give the exact number of the whistle!
Ok, let's talk fashion here. Kate wore the Washington coat, her Lauren leaf earrings from Kiki, and these new Hi Ride boots from Russell & Bromley. She carried her Bayswater clutch which generally appears to be a very flat envelope clutch, but Kate had it full to bursting today and it exhibited a more rounded shape [see opening picture], which was interesting.

I don't think I win brownie points with GOAT London by reminding you all that I haven't loved Kate's Goat Coats to date. I liked her recent recycle of the Redgrave even less than its debut, but today the Duchess took what was an "ok look" in New York to a real stand-out here in Birmingham.

The turtleneck peeking out added a little extra oomph to the ensemble. It made the trim of the coat stand out more and underscored the 60s vibe. So that was really cute. However, the new boots took this ensemble triumphantly into the end zone.

A couple of years ago, Kate wandered away from her trusty Aquatalias and she has, very frankly, been wandering in a bit of a boot wasteland ever since. As I mentioned in the post on the Redgrave recycle, she has been wearing boots with very square and heavy heels, and I just haven't found them flattering.

These Hi Ride boots have two important features. First, they don't hug her legs completely, but hold their structure and give her legs wiggle room, so they are very slimming. Second, although they feature trendy block heels, those heels are tapered, which creates a more graceful and feminine silhouette. They are a throwback to circa 2011-2012, and even before--Kate has been a boot princess for years. Boots can be heavy and are not foolproof fashion accessories. Kate's struggle to find great boots over the fast few years has been (secretly) one of my greatest fashion disappointments, and I am ecstatic over today's boots. Huge home run!

So, to leave no ambiguity, I thought this was a great styling. The skinnies/jeggings are the right way to do black! Unlike her jeans at the start of her pregnancy, these couldn't be darker and as a result, they look polished and put together. Actually, they look like the J.Crew twill jeggings she wore in New York, and I wonder if these are J.Crew as well. Whatever they are, they are black jeans done right. A great day in Birmingham!

Range Rover

Meghan Markle Musing: Meghan has been spotted in London shopping and generally having a holiday time of it. There was a story that she would be heading back to LA for Thanksgiving with her mom, but does anyone else think she'll bring her mom to London and cook Harry his first American Thanksgiving? Maybe even have William, Kate, and kids over? Just asking... That's what this American would do!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American compatriots. I am thankful for a lot of things, among them all of you who faithfully read the blog, even when it's late! For the royal correspondents on the ground who gather such fun quotes, share minute-to-minute videos of engagements, and dig up information, or call and wrangle Palace staffers, for the news we like to chit chat about. And of course, for the photographers who provide the beautiful images we all enjoy!

Sneak Peek: Kate & William Start Their Day in Birmingham

I am doing a Sneak Peek today with a post to come later. William and Kate are in Birmingham and the Duchess has recycled her "Washington" coat from GOAT London!  GOAT London is having a really great month. :) 

You will remember this coat from Kate's quick trip to New York in December of 2014, when she wore it without the turtleneck she used today.

Today, Kate is accessorizing with her Lauren earrings from Kiki McDonough, new suede boots, and what appear to be jeans or trousers, rather than stockings. She is carrying the same Bayswater clutch she did in New York, but today it has quite a bit more in it, which has changed its shape. 

A reader at Kate Middleton Style suggests Kate's boots are the Hi Ride from Russell & Bromley. You know how pleased these are making me feel... 

The couple have started their day at the Land Rover factory, and have a busy schedule on this Away Day. 


Just a few fun videos before I go. Here the Cambridges are meeting plant workers:

And here Kate is behind the wheel of Range Rover about to do an off-road challenge. I hope someone asks her if she already has experience with this thanks to holidays at Balmoral or around Sandringham. :)

Full post to come later. Have a great morning! 

Kate Wears the Zarita to Philip & Elizabeth's Dinner Party

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two posts in one day! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were pictured arriving at the Queen and Philip's dinner party tonight celebrating the royal couple's 70th wedding anniversary. [They have been pictured leaving with Harry, and Kate is bundled in a fuzzy coat]

Kate is dressed to the nines in her DVF Zarita, which we just saw on the 7th at the Anna Freud Centre's gala dinner.

By very lucky happenstance, Kate tossed her head at the right moment for James Whatling to catch a picture that included her earrings. She is wearing the Collingwood pearl earrings. I am not an expert on the BRF family jewelry, but a quick Google search pulled up Kate's necklace. It is indeed on loan from the Queen, who has worn it on a number of occasions and loaned it to Diana, too. More from the blog Her Majesty's Jewelry Vault:
The necklace includes four rows of pearls with a central diamond clasp in a curved shape, each side including three rows of diamonds that join at the top and bottom with marquise diamonds. According to Garrard: The Crown Jewellers for 150 Years, the Queen commissioned this from a set of the "finest cultured pearls presented to her by the Japanese government." She made her first state visit to Japan in 1975; the choker was in use by at least 1982.
This is the latest foray into more pearl jewelry for Kate, and I am loving the trend. Here is the Queen wearing the choker on November 16, 1983 in Bangladesh: 

What about Meghan Markle? According to Niraj Tanna, a royal paparazzo who has been scooping royal exclusives for years, says she was not there. I am very surprised, and I think this suggests that Harry and Meghan are not secretly engaged, although I do think they will be publicly engaged sooner rather than later. But, I am still surprised. Meghan has met the Queen, but this underscores (I suppose) how strongly HM sticks to protocol, and I cannot blame her for that.