Monday, 20 November 2017

The Duchess in the Queen's Pearl Choker for Her Majesty and Prince Philip's 70th Anniversary Dinner!

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh marked their landmark 70th wedding anniversary surrounded by family and friends at a special dinner held in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle this evening. It's a wonderful opportunity for the Royal family to gather and mark the momentous occasion with Her Majesty and Philip's dearest friends.

We hadn't anticipated arrival photos, so a special word of thanks to the indefatigable James Whatling.

William, Kate and Harry were also snapped a little earlier leaving KP. As you can see the Duchess was wearing a black jacket.

William, Kate and Harry were all smiles as they arrived.

Embed from Getty Images

Unlike previous milestone anniversaries, the couple elected to celebrate this one privately, however, four wonderful new portraits were taken.

Photographed at the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, Her Majesty wore a cream dress by Angela Kelly, which she also wore at the Diamond Wedding Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving. She accessorised with a special piece - the yellow gold ruby and diamond scarab brooch - which was a personal gift from Prince Philip to the Queen in 1966. The images were taken by renowned photographer Matt Holyoak. He said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to have been asked to contribute to this very special occasion. My vision for the image was to capture an intimate and natural portrait of the Queen and Duke to celebrate their landmark anniversary. The Queen and the Duke were very happy and relaxed which made it a pleasure. I feel the images showcase their strength and unity."

The couple posed against a platinum-textured backdrop, in recognition of the special milestone. The image below is my favourite of the four; it captures a very sweet moment and a very loving expression from Philip.

Her Majesty had a rather special gift in mind for her husband to mark the milestone. She appointed the Duke of Edinburgh to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). Awards in the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by the Queen for services to the Sovereign. The gesture has been seen as formal recognition of his decades of support, both in public and private. The Telegraph revealed: "The appointment makes him the first UK  citizen awarded four order of chivalry breast stars since Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the Duke's uncle and mentor who was instrumental in encouraging the early courtship of the young Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It is thought that the Duke is now the only living person to have the four: GCVO,  Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG), a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)."

Seventy years ago today the couple said 'I do' at Westminster Abbey.

This photograph, taken from above, shows Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey with her father King George VI, on her wedding day. Her bridesmaids lean in to adjust her veil.

Princess Elizabeth and Philip were photographed at Buckingham Palace following their marriage in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. Norman Hartnell designed the wedding dress, which was decorated with 10,000 pearls sent from America. The tiara was ‘something borrowed’ from the Princess’ mother, Queen Elizabeth, and the pearl necklaces were a wedding present from her parents.

A selection of special moments they have shared together over the decades.

A number of excellent articles have been written including a piece by Allison Pearson for the Telegraph: "He was her one act of rebellion, she his one act of conformity."

'Three score years and ten is our lease on this Earth, according to the Bible. What does it mean to be married for that long, to spend a whole lifetime together? In the shag’n’go era of Love Island and Tinder, a dating app that “facilitates communication between mutually interested users” (be still my beating heart!) the 70th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip feels like a magnificent achievement, almost defiant in its patient and tender longevity. 
Some things never change. The official portrait to mark the most successful marriage in Royal history shows ninety-one-year-old Elizabeth smiling warmly at the camera, as she always does. Her husband, still ramrod straight at 96, gives that unmistakable flinty-eyed Philip look which hisses, “Get on with it, man!”

From the Express a list of seventy facts and stories: The Queen and Prince Philip wedding anniversary: 70 years of love and laughter:

A deep love for each other and a shared sense of humour have sustained the pair, now aged 91 and 96, through good times and bad. Phil Dampier discovers 70 touching and amusing stories about the most famous couple in the world.
1 Elizabeth and Philip, both greatgreat-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and therefore cousins, first met in 1934 at a family wedding when she was eight.
2 Philip captured her heart in 1939 when he was asked to look after Elizabeth and sister Margaret on a visit by their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
3 Handsome blond-haired Philip, then 18, sealed their friendship over ginger biscuits and lemonade and impressed the 13-year-old princess by vaulting over a tennis net. 

If you would like to send good wishes to the couple on this special day, click here to leave an online message. A selection will be chosen and shown to the Queen and Prince Philip.

Royal Family

The Duchess chose her DVF Zarita gown for the family affair. Kate first wore it for the Royal Variety Performance in 2014 when she was expecting Charlotte, and sported it again for a friend's wedding weeks later. The gown made a stylish return for the Anna Freud Gala dinner earlier this month. It's a classic piece and appears to be a very comfortable choice for Kate at this stage in her pregnancy.

The black dress is fitted through the bodice, waist and thigh, and the piece opens to a sweeping fluted hem. The delicate gown, crafted from sheer lace features a v-back and is fitted with a slim band around the waist that flatters the silhouette.

The shorter version remains on sale at Nordstrom Rack and Matches.

Nordstrom Rack

As previously noted, for those seeking a Repli-Kate for the party season, the Adrianna Pappell Scalloped Lace Gown remains available at Dillard's. It features the same scalloped v-back and floor sweeping hem as Kate's.


The eagle-eyed Kate J from What Kate Wore suggests Kate's coat is the Alexander McQueen Long Textured Coat. From what we can see, I believe this is correct. The $4,450 piece is described as "Crafted in Italy from a soft cashmere, wool and mohair blend, this long textured coat from Alexander McQueen features a wide lapel, a concealed front button placket, two front pockets, an exposed seam detail, long sleeves with turn up cuffs and a straight hem." It's available at FarFetch.


The talking point of Kate's look tonight was not her gown; the Duchess accessorised with a new elegant piece of jewellery on loan from the Queen (with thanks to the lovely Sara).

The Four Row Japanese Pearl Choker was commissioned by the Queen from a set of the "finest cultured pearls presented to her by the Japanese government". Her Majesty's Jewel Vault notes: "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. She made her first state visit to Japan in 1975; the choker was in use by at least 1982. The Garrard book posits that it was inspired by the Queen's new daughter-in-law at the time, and she did notably loan the piece to the new Princess of Wales during a state visit from the Netherlands in 1982. It is only occasionally used by the Queen, in whose collection it still remains."

Her Majesty's Jewel Vault

A video from the 1982 banquet (you'll also see the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara sparkling in all its glory).

Kate also wore Princess Diana's Collingwood Pearl earrings - they are fast becoming a staple in her jewellery collection. 

I do so enjoy seeing glimpses of Royal family celebrations and it was wonderful to see the arrival photo tonight. Perhaps, if we're lucky, an official photograph will be released. Seventy years of marriage is quite simply incredible and a love story spanning seven decades! Wishing them a very Happy Anniversary, I hope it is a splendid evening filled with enjoyment and laughter, they deserve it!


Before we leave you, we have news of a new engagement added to Kate's Calendar. On Wednesday, 29 November, the Duchess of Cambridge will visit Robin Hood Primary School to celebrate their work with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening. During the visit, the Duchess will get a briefing on the RHS nation-wide campaign and hear about the benefits of learning outside from Robin Hood Primary School. Her Royal Highness will then join children in activities in the outdoor learning area and sensory garden, and celebrate the 34,000 schools and groups now engaged in gardening through the campaign. Robin Hood Primary School has developed a whole-school, progressive outdoor learning curriculum with support from the RHS.

We'll see you on Wednesday when William and Kate visit Birmingham! :)

Friday, 17 November 2017

New Dates for Kate's November Calendar, a Visit from Tennis Royalty, William's Cyberbullying Taskforce & a Royal Family Celebration!

Happy Friday!

We're back with an assortment of updates from the past couple of days beginning with news of three additions to Kate's Calendar for November. Next Wednesday, 22 November, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will carry out a day of engagements in Birmingham. Richard Palmer reported last week we could see Kate undertaking several engagements outside of London in the coming weeks. If you're a longtime royal watcher, you'll likely remember William and Kate visited Birmingham just months after the royal wedding in 2011 to support riot-affected areas. Kate debuted her nautical McQueen ensemble that day, and it remains a popular choices in her wardrobe over six years later.

The couple will begin the day at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull Manufacturing Plant. William and Kate will then visit the Jaguar Land Rover Experience Centre, where they will meet mountain rescue volunteers participating in a vehicle familiarisation exercise. The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to drive a vehicle in the off-road driving area. Afterwards, they will meet local children and volunteers who support projects focusing on regeneration, education, young people, charity work and the environment.

Kensington Palace

From there, an engagement William will be particularly excited about as a Villa fan - a visit to Aston Villa Football Club to see the work of the Coach Core programme taking place in Birmingham. Finally, the Duke and Duchess will visit Acme Whistles, creators of the first police whistle and the original Acme Thunderer. During the visit, they will hear about the history of the company and see past and present products. They will enjoy a tour of the workshop seeing the production process, including the press work, plating, moulding, welding and polishing of the 115,000 whistles that are made and tested every week.

Aston Villa

On Friday, 24 November, the Cambridges will make their second appearance at the Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre in London. The Royal Variety Performance takes place every year, either in London or in a theatre around the United Kingdom. The event is in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, formally the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron. The glamorous evening promises a night of entertainment with performances by the Killers, Paloma Faith, Louis Tomlinson and the Script. William and Kate made their debut in 2014 when Kate first wore her DVF Zarita gown. Looking forward to seeing them attend again!

And on Tuesday, 28 November, the Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Foundling Museum. Kate will learn more about the museum's history and the way it continues to focus on its founding principles to use art and creativity as a means to support and engage children and vulnerable families. The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. Kate will meet families and children who have benefited from the museum's education and outreach programmes, including preschool children from a local nursery who regularly visit the museum and young care leavers who are being trained to run their own creative workshops.


Last night, William, Kate and Harry attended the annual 'Autumn Dinner' for the Royal Foundation at Sunbeam Studios in London.

The stunning venue is an enormously popular wedding and events venue. With its unique blend of Edwardian elegance and modern aesthetic, it's not difficult to see why.

More on the venue:

'The venue is made up of three large halls and two meeting rooms along with extensive gardens. Talbot Hall, Main Hall, Rootes Hall and the Shrewsbury Room all connect via the mezzanine level, with grand staircases descending in to Main and Rootes Halls, both of which open on to our beautiful private gardens. The Board Room is available on its own or in combination with the other spaces adding more versatility.'

Whilst a photographer was on hand for the evening, it's highly unlikely we'll see any photos. No doubt a fabulous evening was had by all!


I want to briefly switch gears to discuss important work William has been doing. Yesterday, he attended a meeting of the Royal Foundation's Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying at Google's headquarters and unveiled the Taskforce's action plan. Convened in May 2016, William brought together the UK's leading tech and media companies for the first time, as well as children's charities, parents, and a panel of young people. He believes that the largest social media, tech, gaming and media companies have a positive opportunity to create the solution to support children online, and to help children feel empowered to question online behaviour, speak out and support their friends. Organisations including Google, Apple, EE and Twitter have all been involved.

Shortly after George was born, William heard the tragic story of a young boy "who had killed himself following a vicious campaign of online bullying", a Kensington Palace statement said. "As he looked into the issue further it was soon clear there were many similar stories from the UK and around the world." Last year, Lucy Alexander started her own campaign to raise awareness of the issue after her son Felix took his own life. After hearing her story, William asked to participate in the taskforce to help others gain an understanding of the impact of cyberbullying. In the moving video below, William talks with Lucy and Chloe Hine, a young girl who contemplated suicide because of the bullying she endured online from her peers.

In his speech, William said:

'For me, the issue of cyberbullying and its consequences are personal. My work as a HEMS pilot has exposed me to the tragedy of suicide and the despair felt by those who have been subjected to cruelty and abuse. Through my work on mental health, I have spent time getting to know parents and children for whom the impact of online bullying has been devastating.
And as a parent myself, I understand the sense of loss and anger of those particular families who have lost children after they were the targets of campaigns of harassment. I feel a responsibility to do what I can to help. I began work on the issue of cyberbullying a few years ago and as I explored it in more detail, I felt a growing sense of alarm. I came to realise what it meant for bullying – an age old problem – to be supercharged by the power of social media. New, exciting platforms that at their heart, want to help people make and maintain friendships, were allowing bullies to take their abuse beyond the traditional theatres of classrooms and playgrounds. They could now follow their targets home.
A new generation of young people – tech savvy, connected, and optimistic about the future – were encountering new social spaces without established standards of behaviour to guide them. And many parents and carers, who seek to make their homes a haven of safety, felt powerless to protect their children. And even worse, some had no idea about the suffering their children were experiencing from bullying that was coming through their phone or their laptop. My overall sense was that social media was in many ways an ungoverned space, where our children were fending for themselves.
But as I looked into this issue more, I also gained a sense of optimism. I saw the example of Lucy Alexander, who is with us today. Sadly Lucy lost her son Felix after he experienced terrible bullying online. In her grief she felt compelled to take action. She spoke out and challenged the technology sector to work together to help protect other children from experiencing what Felix had.
And I also realised that while we were encountering new forms of bullying, technology was also openly revealing behaviour that had often been hidden from view in the past. I came to believe that if the tech sector was willing to work together, their powerful tools could actually help children to put respect and support for each other at the heart of the way they interact with their peers.
My hope was that internet companies would see the potential to pool their knowledge and resources to create spaces online that were much safer for our children. So I established the Cyberbullying Taskforce – through The Royal Foundation – to seize the opportunity that collaboration could bring. The Taskforce has brought together social media platforms and internet service providers with those organisations and individuals who strive to protect and support children and young people.  And after a year and a half of hard work and frank discussions, we can today unveil a plan of action to protect children and encourage a new standard of behaviour online.
 There are four major planks to our plan.
First, the technology company members of the Taskforce have agreed to adopt new guidelines to improve the process for reporting bullying online, and to create clearer consequences for those who behave unacceptably. 
Second, the Taskforce is launching today a new, national campaign to educate children on how to behave with respect and kindness online. The campaign is being driven by the powerful reach of the industry members of the Taskforce.
Third, a new programme will be piloted through Facebook and Snapchat which will see the NSPCC providing emotional support to children in need, as a result of online bullying.
And finally, the companies and charities that have been part of the Taskforce, will continue to work together to provide consistent advice to parents and to continue to take feedback from children and young people as they develop their policies.
Through this process we have all been honest with each other. And of course I have been honest that I had hoped we might be able to go further. I hoped, for example, that the social media companies would agree to a form of standardisation around reporting and clear timelines for handling complaints. I also hoped that the tech companies might create a single, universal tool for children to report bullying when they see it or experience it regardless of which platform it happens on.
I am, however, encouraged that the BBC is looking at the potential for a tech solution along these lines and all I ask is that everyone keeps an open mind as the outcome of the BBC’s work, and other options, emerge in the coming months. There is a lot more that can be done. I am proud that the Taskforce has generated a plan of action with some practical, industry-driven initiatives and I hope all of you are too. It is a big, important step in the right direction. It is my view that if this plan is implemented, the U.K. can become a world leader on tackling cyberbullying. Nowhere else has the sector come together and voluntarily agreed to take collective responsibility for tackling an issue like this rather than just promoting your own individual initiatives.
And I am proud that listening to children and parents has been at the heart of our work. It has been their advice which has led us to this ambitious plan of action today. Now the onus is on the people in this room and the organisations you are a part of. We have been working together for many months, but today is only the beginning. In implementing these plans, you have a chance to show that something special has happened here in the U.K., that the rest of the world can learn from. You have a chance to show what I know you all believe – that technology companies are serious about their social responsibilities. You have a chance to win the trust of today's generation of parents, and to help them feel confident about the positive experience their children will have online. And, you have the opportunity to help children lead the way with respect and positivity to build the vibrant, exciting future that you all believe in. To the children and young people here today, I want you to know that it is this hope for a positive future that has motivated everything we have done. I am always amazed by the savviness and creativity of your generation. I am excited about the world you are going to create and then lead in decades to come. And I hope the action plan we are announcing today can help you, in at least a small way, to embrace technology with confidence and optimism.'

William also launched the first ever online code of conduct, 'Stop, Speak, Support', to empower all young people to take a stand against bullying. The website offers support, guidelines and advice on how to act when "banter turns bad". From telling an adult or clicking the report button, to contact information for Childline, it is the early stages of a resource aimed at young people.

I think it's very encouraging to see tech giants coming together to work on a solution for a problem that is well and truly out of control. Most of you who may be active on social media will have witnessed the atrocious, abusive conduct which is so commonplace there's almost a blasé attitude to it. For young people of school age in particular, cyberbullying means the bullies are not only in the schoolyard but come home with their victims to their living rooms and bedrooms. Growing up and the formative teenage years can be challenging enough without the very real concerns the online sphere present. There are obviously numerous advantages to accessing such technologies, yet I've often pondered if users should be of adult age before they have to navigate it. A core issue is the anonymity. Keyboard warriors type before they think, without thought or consequence, certainly without consideration for the person they are aiming their vitriol at. There is so much that needs to be done to stop tragedies like Felix's occurring. It's not going to be fixed with one campaign, or in a year, but this is a positive step. William's role and status meant he was in a unique position to gather tech giants and create a taskforce to enable cohesive developments. I'm very glad to see him using his role to tackle issues like this.


Also tonight, the Cambridges played host to the Prince of Tennis Roger Federer and his family on Wednesday night. The tennis star is in London for the ATP Finals and took the opportunity to drop in on the royals with his wife Mirka and their children. The couple have been friends of the Middletons for some time and recently attended Pippa's wedding. In an interview for a documentary on Wimbledon, Kate jokingly noted Roger is Carole's crush. Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on the wall for the playdate between George, Charlotte and the little Federers? :)


Finally, On Monday, 20 November an incredibly special milestone occurs. The Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary will be celebrated with a family dinner at the State Apartment at Windsor Castle, as reported by Majesty Magazine's Joe Little. The anniversary is being marked privately, although it is hoped a family photo, like this one released for the 60th wedding anniversary (with thanks to our very own Rebecca) will be released. A family photograph would certainly be a treat!

Embed from Getty Images

Wishing you all a great weekend! :)

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