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Day 4 of Royal Visit Pakistan: Lahore

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Cambridges flew to Lahore today for a series of engagements. After their airport arrival, the two started their day at the SoS Children's Village where they visited and played with the kids and where Kate gave a speech.

I have seen some comments remaking this is her first overseas speech, and it is definitely not. The Duchess has been speaking for years, and gave her first overseas speech way back in Malaysia in 2012. 

The couple also visited the National Cricket Academy, where Kate swapped her heels for trainers to take to the turf.

This first ensemble is by Gul Ahmed with a scarf by Maheen Khan. You can see it is embroidered with jasmine, which is the national flower of Pakistan. Kate wore her Asprey oak leaf earrings and carried one of her favorite Mulberry handbags in nude. Her heels are new from J.Crew. When she changed for cricket I thought she would choose her Supergas, but it looks like she has instead opted for the adult version of Princess Charlotte's Hampton Canvas Plum Shoes. I thought this was a gorgeous ensemble. The all-cream was striking on her, and I really like this style--it is a lot like the blue ensemble she wore the first day (which I loved--post on that later). I also am so pleased that Kate is debuting a series of local ensembles. I have heard from a number of Pakistanis who have remarked on how this has really warmed their hearts to see, and I think it is part of what makes royal tours so special. Kate is in lock-step with the example Diana set. 

I will update this post later in the day with ensemble 2 (below) and possibly a third!

Royal Visit Pakistan: Day 3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On Day 3 (Oct. 16) the Cambridges took helicopters north to the Chitral airport in the Hindu Kush mountains.  The mountain range stretches across the north of Pakistan, dipping down into Afghanistan in the west and stretching all the way to the borderlands of China in the east. It is stunning country, and the royals reporters shared lots of breathtaking shots as they swept over the mountain peaks.

On their arrival, both William and Kate were given Chitral scout caps, and William was gifted a coat and Kate an embroidered shawl. From that airport, the two took a second helicopter ride even further north to see the Chiatibo glacier.

The couple visited a Kalash village, which provided the most colorful pictures of the day. Emily Andrews had marvelous coverage of the royals mingling with their hosts:

Kate turned to Really Wild Clothing today, wearing their vest (which we've seen before) and their boots. She was sporting earrings from Missoma London and wearing an unidentified (to my knowledge) skirt and blouse. The shawl she was wearing was given to her by locals, and again, great reporting from Emily Andrews who informed us: "[t]he scarf Kate is wearing here was given to her in Chitral by the Scout leader of the local area-echoing Kate’s association with the Scouts in the UK."

On some level, I don't know that I was looking at Kate's ensemble from a fashion perspective today, but I was scratching my head a little when I saw this. With brutal honesty, I am just going to say she was in peak Afghan warlord mode.  I think it was the vest (which I might hate generally, but certainly with this outfit--true confessions) and that dreadful brown blouse, and the long skirt paired with clunky boots... Ooof. This is like what you'd get if Osama Bin Ladan got lost on a Star Wars set or something... Nope. Hard pass from me.  Otherwise a great day! :) 

Twitter has changed the way its embedding works, so I am not sure why it is hearing multiple tweets when I just wanted to share a video, but the good news is more content from Emily is always a good thing. 

The Cambridges Kick off Royal Visit Pakistan

Monday, October 14, 2019

Ever with their focus on their little ones, the Cambridges spent the weekend at home and did the school run themselves this morning before boarding their jet to head to Pakistan. Royal reporters confirmed with the Palace that the couple's flight schedule was coordinated specifically so they could take George and Charlotte to Thomas's Battersea before departing on tour. Obviously due to school schedules and the security issues with this particular destination, this was not a tour that the kids were going to come on. I suspect Mike and Carole are spending the week at KP! The royal flight landed in Islamabad just before 9:30pm local time where a formal welcome awaited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

Kate opened this tour with an ensemble by Catherine Walker. Locals have described this as a modern twist on a traditional salwar kameez, and it is just the type of ensemble I have been hoping Kate would wear. Diana and Camilla have both embraced local styles on tour, and although Kate certainly chose "inspired" ensembles in India, this is the most explicitly local ensemble she has worn, and I am delighted. I think for Pakistanis (from what I am hearing), they see even more--from the draping to the buttons to the fabric, that are features of their traditional dress and they are loving this tribute. Kate paired her Catherine Walker ensemble with earrings and a clutch from local label ZEEN and wore her Rupert Sanderson Malory pumps.  This very bright turquoise with the ombre caught me a little off guard. It was not what I was expecting at all, but it quickly grew on me, and I thought the whole ensemble looked bright and airy, but also sophisticated. 

I will say I didn't expect Kate to start the tour on this foot, but now that she has, I am even more certain we are in for a spectacular tour. The couple's itinerary has not been released, but the Cambridges are planning to see as much and meet as many Pakistanis as they can. Should be a great tour to follow!

Kate In Autumnal Hues for Natural History Museum Visit

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

If you remember my comments on Kate's ensemble for her visit to Evelina, you know that I don't love the type of cropped trousers loosely termed "culottes" these days. This morning when I peeked at the early videos of Kate arriving at the Natural History Museum, I wasn't thrilled to spy what appeared to be another pair of culottes, but once I saw more pictures and videos, I actually ended loving this ensemble.

So what's different? A few things. These trousers are so "wide-legged" they almost look like a skirt, and as a result they have a beautiful motion that the Zara trousers didn't. More importantly, they are just long enough to be truly cropped pants, rather than culottes. My primary complaint with the culotte style is the where the trousers end. If you look like a sailor in the Royal Navy circa 1840, I am not thrilled. Although it is very slight, today's Jigsaw trousers have just a little more length than the Zara's from Evelina. They look like genuine cropped trousers, even when she is in motion, and that has made all the difference for me. 

I also loved how Kate has color-coordinated the Warehouse scalloped sweater-top with her Chanel purse and everyone's favorite Tod's heels, and paired them with the olive color of the trousers. The gold of the Asprey Oak leaf earrings, matched the gold of the Chanel handle, and even the buckles of her shoes. This ensemble just looks very fresh and thought through. The top is feminine and interesting, and the accessories are certainly some of her best. It seemed like a fashion-statement moment, and I really liked that. When your pieces coordinate this well and your ensemble looks like you put it together with purpose, it gives the entire ensemble a real pizazz. 

So, I loved it! It helped that she looks absolutely radiant. I want to know what her current routine is, because she was just glowing. That being said, I hope she doesn't make this look a new staple. I think it is nice for a change of pace, but it still is not my preferred look. I'd love to see her try full-length trousers--which would make her legs look model long--and, of course, more beautiful dresses. But, for today, it was a super win.

Kate Gives a Peek At Diplomatic Tour Dressing at the Aga Khan Centre

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Generally the royals announce their visits about a week out (sometimes further out for big events, but run-of-the-mill is about a week) or they show up entirely announced. So, I was surprised yesterday to see Kensington Palace tweet that William and Kate would visit the Aga Khan! I think that was less than 24 hours notice. [They announced this event Sept. 20 and I forgot....guys, I don't know what to tell you. I am just not what I used to be. ;)] In any event, it was a welcome distraction for fans after the Sussexes' bombshell close to their tour. More on that here if you missed the fun.

William and Kate are visiting Pakistan later this month, and if Kate has just given us a peek into what she intends to roll out during their trip, we are in for a treat. The princess debuted a new, silk-georgette dress from ARoss Girl x Soler in a deep aquamarine with a complementing green sash. The dress featured sheer blossom sleeves with little ties at the cuffs for an added feminine touch. This was a beautiful pre-tour dress to set the tone. I do think that a royal ladies' tour wardrobe should celebrate the host nation, so it should be festive and should stand out a little from her day-to-day wardrobe. I think it is great to lean into the local styles or artistically incorporate parts of the culture through color and texture. Diana was a genius in this department. This hat is still one of my favorites of hers:

Embed from Getty Images

This ensemble was also fabulous. A nod to her host country with a very themed outfit, but without crossing the line into weird.

Embed from Getty Images

Kate has already shown herself to be excellent in the diplomatic dressing department. Hopefully, we see more of this in just a few weeks. 

Today, Kate paired the dress with bright earrings from Pakistani label ZEEN, and we can expect Kate to choose more local jewelry later this month. She has used her accessories to pay tribute to her host country before, and we just saw Meghan feature a number of designers from Southern Africa with her jewelry choices, too. It is a great way to incorporate the host country and its community, even on a day when a royal lady is choosing to wear one of her own preferred labels.

Finally, Kate was wearing her Emmy London Rebecca pumps and carrying her Natasha clutch from the same label. I know these aren't faves with many of you, but she sure likes this contrasting duo. I thought this ensemble was a home-run and it has me really excited for the trip to Pakistan. 

Harry's Statement on the Sussexes Lawsuit Against the Daily Mail

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

One of Frank Sinatra’s most iconic songs is “My Way"—the passionate and rousing pledge of a man determined to live life on his own terms… I wonder if Harry was listening to this song as he wrote his statement. 

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

This is going to get very interesting. In a statement on a new website launched today (separate from the British Royal Family's website, that is) Harry has announced that the Sussexes are suing the Daily Mail for publishing a letter that Meghan wrote to her father. You probably remember when that circulated. I have been expecting Meghan and Harry to ultimately take legal action against the negative press they have been getting, but frankly didn't expect it quite yet, and didn't think this would be the target of the suit. This is going to be very interesting from a legal perspective, and I look forward to following the case. 

For the moment, though, I will just note a few things about the press release. Harry talks about the press’s double-standard in giving positive coverage to Meghan during the tour, in light of the negative press she has been getting over the past year.

Harry might have a point if he recognizes that part of the source of Meghan's struggle for popularity has been her perceived mission to challenge the traditions and customs of the Royal Family. Because, if he recognizes that, then some of the press headlines I have seen that fete Meghan for "shaking up the Palace" would, indeed, feel quite hypocritical. But, Harry's point seems more general. Worded as it is, it seems he is saying that just because Meghan wasn't visible—out and active—over the past few months, papers made up ugly headlines about her, and now she is out and about they are producing positive content. I don't think that is the right cause and effect progression. 

The Sussexes have labored under bad press for a while now. Speculation and confirmation about a royal rift and the subsequent split of the Royal Foundation are not media fabrications. The split happened, and Palace leakers have shared a lot of dirty laundry from inside the Palace gates. Then, Harry and Meghan made the decision, which I still believe showed poor judgment, to cut the press out of Archie's birth, after voluntarily committing to tell the press when Meghan went into labor. Some people would characterize that as double-crossing the press, and it wasn't well received by the public. The secrecy around Archie's birth, their decision not to share more than a few pictures from the christening, all, rightly or wrongly, has rubbed the public the wrong way. Meghan's use of Instagram, the exclusives pictures shared only on their page, and the desire to build their own brand there, could be seen as self-commoditizing. Finally, Meghan's big return with her Vogue feature was a hit in some quarters, but certainly a strike for others, and there was almost uniform condemnation of the couple's multiple trips in private jets at the same time that the two were telling everyone else to do their part for the climate, no matter how small. 

We could break down each of these stories and argue about the details, but the idea that the negative press has been wholly without foundation and the press is just swinging back and forth because Meghan hasn't been visible is...silly. I honestly wonder if Harry truly believes that none of the decisions he has made and the actions he has taken have anything to do with the bad press. That would be extraordinary, but perhaps that is the case. I cannot imagine that the Queen, Charles, and William are not counseling him otherwise. 

In short, Harry and Meghan have suffered a lot of bad press. Some of it might be unfair, but it is very clear that they have provided the fodder for a lot of it. It is not unfounded. Harry needs to remember the final line of Sinatra's My Way, "the record shows I took the blows."

Finally, Harry should have the good grace to realize that tours are festive and fun events (at least traditionally, they are) and that the monarchy would indeed be at a crisis point if the press, whatever its dispute with the royals, didn't call a truce long enough to give polite and even positive coverage to a royal tour—which is, after all, supposed to be a trip featuring royals out representing the monarch. 

I just was telling a reporter this morning that I don't think that this tour has smoothed away Meghan's troubles, but that at least it has given her some respite from bad press. The two of them could have built on that respite. But, Harry just blew it up. 

I don't know if he will win in court, but he isn't going to win in the bigger PR conflict. This was an emotional outburst, and while some people are guided purely by feelings, most people think. Which means, this isn't going to win Harry friends. It will strike the average, sensible person as—at best—an illogical free association. Harry, suing over one thing he has a legal foundation to complain about, and trying to attach all his angry feelings about the press to that single suit. His passion for his wife is admirable, his claim that Meghan is getting the Diana treatment is questionable at best. The Sussexes have a PR problem and it is primarily of their own making. Harry said in his statement that "[t]hough this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one." That has been his modus operandi for a while, see above. Against better judgment, he does what feels right to him, and damn the outcome. He needs to learn that a consequence of stepping out and following your own judgment is living with the results. Thoughtful people review their actions and consequences with some healthy self-reflection and change course if they want to alter outcomes. The suit I cannot speak to, yet; but this statement was yet another PR blunder.