Wednesday, 27 August 2014

UPDATED: Upcoming Engagement Announced, Make Up Shopping at Harvey Nichols, Simponized Kate & How Well Do You Know Kate's Style?

Hello-Hello, we hope you're all having a splendid week!

We're very pleased to be back with news of an upcoming engagement for the Cambridges. On Monday, 8 September the Duke and Duchess will formally open the Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre building at St Hugh's College.

St. Hugh's

More from the official press release:

'Their Royal Highnesses will meet members of St Hugh's College staff, students and friends of the centre before being shown the China Centre building. At the new China Centre, the Duke and Duchess will meet designers and building contractors who worked on the project, donors and academics.
 In the courtyard, the royal party will join others for a traditional Chinese ribbon cutting ceremony.'

The centre is a dedicated building for the study of China. In fact, the University of Oxford is Europe's leading centre for the study of China with nearly fifty permanent academics working on the politics, economics, history, literature and society of the country.

St. Hugh's

The new centre contains a dedicated library and reading room, which will provide a permanent home for books from the Bodleian Libraries' China Collection, as well as 63 student bedrooms and a range of conference and seminar facilities. The centre is named after Mr Dickson Poon, a Hong Kong philanthropist who donated £10 million towards the cost of the building. His companies own well-known brands including Harvey Nichols and S.T. Dupont.

St. Hugh's

We expect to hear more engagement announcements for September. Following such a dry spell there's usually a busier month or two afterwards.


Speaking of Harvey Nichols, Kate was spotted shopping for make up there by a couple of excited tweeters.

Ety Makeup Twitter Feed

The English luxury department store stocks Kate's favourite Bobbi Brown range as well an extensive selection of other beauty ranges. Aside from beauty, their womenswear collection boasts labels favoured by the Duchess including M Missoni, Amanda Wakeley and Max Mara. The Duchess has been spotted browsing there several times before.

Visit London
According to another fellow shopper the Duchess purchased mascara and the Clarins Restorative Total Eye Conentrate which is described as a "restorative eye care treatment that targets all signs of ageing. It retails for $83 with Free Shipping at Sephora.


More from Charly Jones:

Charly Jones

It's an interesting sighting, as it means the Cambridges are not in Balmoral yet. It had been reported they planned to spend much of August there, but it would seem unlikely given sightings of William and Kate in Berkshire and the Duchess' Bicester shopping trip earlier this month.


Many of you were kind enough to get in touch and comment to share a wonderful story about 'Simpsonized Kate'.

aleXsandro Palombo

The Duchess is lauded as a major style icon all over the world and Italian artist aleXsandro Palombo celebrated it in an entirely unique and delightful way - Kate as a Simpsons character. We just love this here at Duchess Kate Blog. I can vivdly recall watching The Simpsons after school many evenings as a child. I don't think there are many households where someone doesn't enjoy viewing the antics of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.

aleXsandro Palombo

In several of the photos Kate is depicted alongside the Queen.

aleXsandro Palombo

Welcome to Buckingham Palace :)

Kate in L.K. Bennett for her visit to Leicester with HM.

aleXsandro Palombo

Mr. Palombo did a stellar job emulating some of Kate's most classic looks including the Alexander McQueen military-inspired look the Duchess most recently wore to Bletchley Park.

aleXsandro Palombo

Kate's Emilia Wickstead coatdresses.

aleXsandro Palombo

Evening gowns including Kate's strapless velvet and lilac McQueen are featured.

aleXsandro Palombo

How well do you know Kate's style? Can you identify all of the pieces worn on 'Simpsonized Kate'. Test yourself with five looks we've selected randomly (Answers at the bottom of the post).

1. Let's start with an easy one. This military-inspired coatdress made it's debut for the Cambridges' arrival in New Zealand in April. Which designer made this memorable piece?

aleXsandro Palombo

2. Kate wore this during her pregnancy. The pretty peach coat and custom-made dress are by two separate designers.

aleXsandro Palombo

3.  Kate stole the show in this beautiful silver, one-shoulder gown, but who designed it?

aleXsandro Palombo

4. Kate wore this when she made her first speech at East Anglia's Children's Hospices. A major clue: it's a piece she shares with her mother Carole or vice versa.

aleXsandro Palombo

5. Pre-engagement gown worn to a Starlight Children Foundation event in 2009.

AleXsandro Palombo

To view all of Mr. Palombo's 52 illustrations his blog is here.

AleXsandro Palombo

This set of illustrations is not the first time the talented artist has been inspired by Kate's style or The Simpsons. Last year he combined both to feature Marge Simpson as a model wearing some of the most iconic dresses of all time. This included Kate's ISSA engagement dress.


Mr Palombo said: 'I made a strict and careful selection of what, in my opinion, has really influenced the style of the last 100 years.' Other famous looks which made the cut included a Catherine Walker gown worn by Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's Givenchy dress, and the pink suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. You can view the full selection at Vogue.


 Now, time for those all important answers!

  • 1 -Catherine Walker.
  • 2 - Tara Jarmon Coat / Dress by Independent Designer.
  • 3 - Jenny Packham.
  • 4 - Reiss.
  • 5 - ISSA.

How did you score out of five? Let us know in the comments section! :)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Kate's Malta Tour: Two Days, Ten Engagements & All the Details

We're back again to share details of Kate's upcoming tour to Malta. In yesterday's post we noted how quiet things have been on the royal front (for those of you experiencing withdrawals, trust me when I say there is never too much of a gap without news or an appearance of some sort).

Kensington Palace released the full itinerary for Kate's first solo trip abroad without Prince William by her side. The two-day visit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the island's independence from the UK, will see the Duchess undertake ten engagements encompassing a wide variety of events including firsts for Her Royal Highness, such as meetings with the Prime Minister and President, usually a task William would have completed on previous tours. Let's take a look at the schedule along with the details revealed thus far.

Saturday, 20 September

Upon arrival the Duchess will call on the President of Malta, Maria Louise Coleiro Praca, at San Anton Palace where she will be staying during her visit. The beautiful Palace is located in Attard, it was constructed as a country villa by Knight Antoine de Paule, a French aristocrat, who named it Sainte Antoine after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua.

Kate is following in the Queen's footsteps; Her Majesty also stayed at the Palace during recent visits.

After a meeting with the President, Kate's next stop is the beautiful Auberge de Castille, where she will call on Prime Minister The Honourable Dr Joseph Muscat and his wife.


The Duchess will then view a re-enactment of an historical event - the inspection of the fort and garrison by Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John, before travelling to the National Library in Valletta where she will view historical documents, including letters from kings Henry VIII and George II, and the original citation awarding the George Cross to Malta.

National Library Facebook Page

The day concludes with a very special event which is considered the pinnacle of the visit; Independence Day celebrations at Upper Barrakka Gardens.


It promises to be a spectacular evening set against the backdrop of the Grand Harbour.

We expect Kate will pull out a show-stopper for this event. Be it cocktail or full-length this will most likely be the fashion highlight of the trip.

Sunday, 21 September

Day two is equally jam packed beginning with an Independence Day service at St John's Co-Cathedral. After the service she will view the two Caravaggios in the Cathedral Museum.


Art History graduate Kate will particularly enjoy seeing some of the works of Caravaggio - the artist Michaelangelo Merisi. Born in the town of Caravaggio, he was the first great representative of the Baroque movement. Indeed, he was the archetypal rebellious artist and led quite a turbulent life which matched the high drama of the chiaroscuro style that his paintings became famous for.


In 1606, while working in Rome, one of his many brawls resulted in Caravaggio killing a young man. With a price on his head he travelled to Naples where he would be outside the Roman jurisdiction and under the protection of the Colonna family. After one of many incidents and in an attempt to regain favour, he painted 'Salome with the head of John the Baptist' in which he depicted his own head on a platter and sent the work to Alof de Wignacourt - Grand Master of the Order of Malta and his patron - as a plea for forgiveness.


One of the paintings Kate will view: 'The Beheading of Saint John The Baptist'.

St John's Co-Cathedral

Next, the Duchess will visit Agenzija Zghazgh (Agency for Youth), a government agency which runs a number of initiatives supporting young people. Her Royal Highness will hear about the work of the organisation from young people who avail of the centre and support workers. Working with young people is one of the three main goals of William, Kate and Harry's Royal Foundation and it's nice to see that incorporated in an overseas visit.

Kate will take a short walkabout through Vittoriosa Square before being taken to the Church of St Lawrence to view Maltese art. Again we're seeing art included in the visit, and obviously this itinerary was planned with Kate's interest in the subject in mind.


Kate will then enjoy a boat tour across the Grand Harbour where she will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights and iconic views between Vittoriosa and Valletta. This promises to be a memorable one for the Duchess.

Voyages to Antiqity

To take a peek at what Kate will see, you can view webcams of the harbour at the Visit Malta website.


The visit comes to a close with a garden party at High Commissioner Rob Luke's residence marking Independence Day.

It is an important milestone for Kate as a royal. More from People's story:

'This a seminal moment for her, when she will be showing herself to be a stateswoman in her own right,' a palace source tells people. Kate is also giving a speech, which insiders say she is "nervous about".'

As you can see, much thought and consideration has gone into planning this trip. In fact, it is believed Kate discussed it at length with Her Majesty - and will no doubt be asked to report back upon return. Malta holds a very special place in the Queen's heart, and she spent some of the happiest months of her life there as a newly-wed when Prince Philip was stationed there as a serving Royal Navy officer. The royal couple stayed at a villa rented by Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten.

Royal commentators have described it as a sign of self-confidence in her grandson's wife that the monarch has asked Kate to travel to Malta. William and Kate's roles as members of the Royal Family will change dramatically in years to come (I was chatting to a seasoned royalist the other day who noted it is not beyond the realms of possibility they will be king and queen in fifteen years) and I do believe gradually easing into these duties and responsibilities can only prove a positive for the Cambridges and the monarchy.

Kate's wardrobe for the visit will also have required quite a bit of planning. The Duchess will more than likely want to give a nod to her host country through her selections whilst remaining mindful of being appropriately dressed for the nature of each event. Bespoke pieces may have already been created by her favourite brands Alexander McQueen and Alice Temperley. We're going to see hats and possibly Kate's favoured coatdresses, with evening attire for receptions on both nights. While we won't see a tiara, the occasion will call for a nice piece of jewellery or two. Keep an eye out for red or white pieces!

While Kate's away, William be on parenting duties and like the rest of the world, will see his wife's solo visit covered on the television and in the media (when little George isn't keeping him occupied).

We're very excited about this tour, and feel certain Kate will do a terrific job. What do you think of the itinerary? What events are you most looking forward to?

Friday, 22 August 2014

William and Kate Enjoy Pub Supper with the Middletons, Hobbs' Autumn/Winter Styles & A Royal Rewind!

Hello-Hello dear readers,

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been keeping an incredibly low profile this month. It is believed they have been spending much of their time overseeing the finishing touches to their Georgian country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk, before Prince William begins training for his new role as an air ambulance pilot in the autumn.

It has been widely reported they plan to take Prince George to Balmoral where they will have the opportunity to spend time with the Royal Family and enjoy the Scottish countryside. However, it does appear they've spent at least the earlier part of this month in Berkshire with the Middletons. There were a couple of sightings of Kate in various shops in Berkshire and earlier this month the Cambridges and the Middletons enjoyed a family meal at their local pub, The Pot Kiln, located just three miles from the Middletons' manor in Bucklebury.

The Pot Kiln

An onlooker was surprised to see William and Kate arrive at the pub accompanied by Mike, Carole, Pippa and her boyfriend Nico Jackson. The group looked casual and relaxed in shirts and jeans as they enjoyed an evening without interruption. Kate and Pippa tucked into Scotch eggs; the traditional snack consists of hard-boiled egg wrapped in a thick layer of sausage meat with a breadcrumb crust.

Betty Crocker

Despite the royal guests, fellow diner Carole Scott was more taken by Pippa's boyfriend! :)

Carole Scott Twitter Feed

The Pot Kiln is the sort of rural pub William and Kate love. In fact, for Valentine's weekend 2010 they popped in for a bite to eat and had drinks. During their time in Anglesey too, they frequented local pubs, though in London they prefer to entertain at home rather than sampling Michelin-starred eateries.

Baeur Griffin

More from The Pot Kiln's website:

'The Pot Kiln has been regarded as one of Britain's best country pub restaurants since it was taken over by Mike and Katie Robinson in 2005. The pub is very much the real deal, being not only a haven for serious eaters, but also a watering hole for those who love the peace and tranquillity of a proper old English pub serving real ales.'

The view from the front door is beautiful.

The Pot Kiln

The bar food menu offers hearty classics including steak sandwiches, pies and Kate and Pippa's favourite scotch eggs.

The Pot Kiln

At present there haven't been any engagements announced for the Duchess. If nothing is announced next week, it would seem there wont be much in the way of appearances until Kate's solo trip to Malta on 20th September.


Moving on to all things fashion. It is also wonderful to hear quotes about the royals from those who know them. The Duchess of Cornwall's daughter Sara Parker Bowles, associate editor at Harper's Bazaar UK and senior editor at Town and Country UK gave an interview to The Telegraph, during which she spoke about Kate briefly:

'Of The Duchess of Cambridge she will only say: 'We've talked about designers we admire in the past and she's always very complimentary about what I wear, but clearly, she feels she's got more important things to think about - and that's what makes her so endearing.'

Our next topic involves the Autumn/Winter Collection from one of Kate's favourite high street retailers Hobbs. We've been increasingly impressed with their offerings of late; sophisticated, chic, classic pieces which work particularly well for professional and formal settings.


We know Kate loves blue and there are some gorgeous blue garments which would look perfect with a fitted blazer. What do you think of the romantic lace work on the Delphinium Dress, the Madeira Dress and the fit-and-flare Abigail Dress.


The ladylike Luisa and Anita dresses.


A smart skirt suit or a pretty dress with a matching jacket also makes a good style statement. The Duchess would look great in the Eaton Jacket and Dress. We also look at the collarless Martha Jacket with matching pencil skirt.


Red is a colour which works very well for Kate and it's a hue we'll be seeing plenty of for the coming season. Below we see the Etoile Dress, the Brunswick Dress and two rose printed frocks.


The £349 Hampton Coat is part of the brand's forthcoming collection with Historic Royal Palaces, a collection that's rich in opulent textures and winter hues. There's so much to like about this coat in the double-breasted military buttons, full-length drape and flared, feminine shape. It is very Kate.


Fans of Hobbs will be pleased to see similar pieces from the brand arriving in the coming weeks. With another winning collection we expect to see Kate wearing their pieces again this year.


Our other fashion update today concerns the Beulah London 'Eden' Scarf Kate wore at a rugby match during the royal tour in April. The cashmere blend scarf with fractured blossom print is reduced from £125 to £95 for the remainder of this week.


Finally today we have a new feature to share with you, which we hope you will enjoy. Many of you will be familiar with the popular 'Throwback Thursday' craze which has hit social media. Readers have suggested it as a possibility for this blog and I thought it fun to take a look back at old candids or events at the end of a news post such as this every week or two. 

For our first 'Royal Rewind' we thank Ashley for sharing this previously unseen candid of Kate arriving at the McQueen studios accompanied be her protection officer Emma Probert. Kate is casually dressed in a white top, oatmeal cardigan, jeans and carrying her Mulberry Polly Push Lock Bag.

Ashley Marie 

One imagines it may have been one of Kate's last meetings with Sarah Burton before the royal wedding; even the last fitting perhaps? It was such an exciting time, although April 2011 now seems like a very long time ago!


When the Cambridges visit Balmoral (if they are not already there) it is quite possible we'll see photos from a church service as we did last year.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We'll be back with another 'Kate Loves' post next :)