Friday, 27 February 2015

Kate's March Calendar Filling Up, Prince William in Japan & More

Good evening, dear readers! We have a varied selection of updates tonight.

It's shaping up to be a busier than anticipated March for the Duchess of Cambridge, with three engagements announced already. On Monday, 9 March William and Kate will join Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for Commonwealth Observance in Westminster Abbey.

Wikipedia

More from the official press release:

'Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Observance is the biggest multi-faith celebration in the United Kingdom and takes the form of an hour-long service in Westminster Abbey. Featuring a mixture of testimonies, readings, hymns and musical performances, it is attended by politicians, high commissioners, Commonwealth dignitaries and also by over 1,000 schoolchildren, with 2,000 people present in total.'

On departure from the observance, Her Majesty, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge will be presented with posies of flowers before members of the Royal family walk by the Commonwealth flags held by invited children. The event would be an excellent opportunity for Kate to wear the bespoke pale-pink Jenny Packham coat and dress she wore to The Queen's Coronation Service during her first pregnancy.


On Wednesday, 11 March, Kate will spend the day in Margate.

The Duchess, as patron of the National Portrait Gallery, will visit the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery to view the 'Self: Image and Identity' exhibit which includes a self-portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck. Her Royal Highness will tour the gallery, meet artists and see how Turner Contemporary engages with the local community. Kate will then meet a group of school children involved in art project before attending a reception.

Turner Contemporary

Kate's second engagement in Margate is a visit to Resort Studios - a vibrant organisation which offers a high-quality programme of events and workshops alongside art studios and exhibition space. The Duchess will view an exhibition featuring photo-montages of local personalities.

Resort Studios

We know Kate has a keen interest in art and will no doubt have a fascinating time.

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We're hearing more and more in recent months about private events attended by the royals. Earlier this week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended the Chairman's Dinner for their Royal Foundation at the Kensington Palace State Apartments.

Court Circular

We mentioned the National Portrait Gallery earlier in our post. Yesterday, Kate received the gallery's retiring director Mr Sandy Nairne. It was an opportunity for the Duchess to congratulate him on his enormous contribution to the gallery over the years. Below we see Kate with Mr Nairne at the NPG in February 2014. Interestingly, they are viewing the van Dyck self-portrait she will have the opportunity to see again in Margate next month.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

I feel Kate has significantly stepped up her efforts in terms of royal appearances both public and private this year. It's a telling sign of increasing comfort in her role and a wish to expand it in areas of particular interest such as supporting young people and the arts. It's so important for members of the Royal family to forge a role in areas they want to make a difference in and I predict over the next couple of years we'll see her doing just that.

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Meanwhile, Prince William today began his visit to Japan, arriving at Tokyo's Haneda International Airport to a warm welcome. The visit has been described as "key preparation" for his future as King.



The Prince was in high spirits as he was greeted by officials. Before departing for Japan, it was announced William had passed all 14 exams and qualified as an air ambulance pilot. He is expected to begin his new job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance this summer.


The official website reports:

'The Duke, who is making his first trip to Japan, was served tea by a grand master who has performed the ritual for his parents The Prince and Princess of Wales, and his grandmother The Queen.
 His Royal Highness was taken to a centuries-old Tokyo teahouse and seated at a small table where he received the green tea, said to have life-prolonging properties.
The ceremony was performed in private with The Duke joined by a few dignitaries including the Governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masnzoe. The teahouse was built more than 350 years ago in Japan's Edo period and is a traditional single-storey wooden building of white paper walls and mat flooring which was restored in 1978.'

Prince William enjoyed a stroll in the beautiful Hama Rikyu Gardens.


William followed in his mother's footsteps as he paid his respects at the Yokohama war cemetery outside Tokyo. The late Princess Diana laid a wreath in the same spot twenty years ago.

BBC Peter Hunt Twitter Feed

William looks at the photo of his mother.

Sky Rhiannon

The message on Prince William's wreath.

BBC Peter Hunt Twitter Feed

There's an interesting itinerary lined up for the next few days. We do hope to hear some quotes on Prince George too :)

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In our last post we look at the Autumn/Winter 2015 Collections from several of Kate's go-to designers. Whilst browsing through other designers I was really very impressed by Lela Rose's offering. It's a collection where a number of pieces could be taken from the runway and worn, with a host of designs ideal for Kate.

Lela Rose
The Duchess chose the US-based designer for a government reception in Canberra last year - wearing the brand's Circle Lace Trim Dress.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The designer dedicated her Fall Collection to a beloved vacation spot: Wyoming.

Lela Rose

A parade of sheaths, fit-and-flares and A-line skirts graced the runway. It was very much in keeping with previous collections; Lela Rose knows her customer and unapologetically caters to effortless ladylike elegance.

Lela Rose

Evening gowns were sleek and effortlessly chic.

Lela Rose

Three more looks with beautiful splashes of colourful prints.

Lela Rose

The current collection encompasses many pieces one would describe as "very Kate". Beautiful prints and feminine florals are evident in an abundance of gorgeous designs. Below we look at the black and blue Fit and Flare Dress, the Floral Print Elbow Sleeve Sheath Dress, Rose-Print Spiral Dress and the Flared Shirt Dress.

Lela Rose


We hope you all have a fabulous weekend :)

Monday, 23 February 2015

News on Prince William, All About Mirabelle Jewellery & Fashion Week Favourites

We hope you all had a splendid weekend!

We're enjoying the Academy Awards red carpet with a glass of chardonnay, and as Fashion Week is underway, tonight's post will be very much focused on the event and a jeweller Kate's started to wear. Before we get to the glitz and gowns we'll do a quick wrap up of several news stories of interest.

The Mail on Sunday reports the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are searching for new domestic staff for their country home Anmer Hall following the departure of their housekeeper and gardener.


More from the article:

'It remains unclear why Amy Wood and her husband Colin handed in their notice after less than five months at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The couple started working for William and Kate last September when restoration work was being completed on the Georgian mansion.
 They had previously been trusted employees at Sandringham House two miles away, and it is thought that they will go back to work for the Queen there. William and pregnant Kate moved into the 18th century hall with their baby, George, in October after it was given to them by the Queen. Mrs Wood, 34, looked after the ten-bedroom house while her 37-year-old husband worked in the garden. He had been doing landscaping and planting work at the hall. '

Next, we have two updates regarding Prince William. As previously reported the Prince has been taking a number of exams in preparation for his new role with East Anglian Air Ambulance. The BBC reports:

'Royal sources have said the Duke of Cambridge will still be taking up his post in the spring as planned, but he will not be flying until the summer.
 He will be employed by Bond Air Services, which operates two helicopters on behalf of the charity based in Cambridge and Norwich, serving Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The prince has been taking a series of exams in preparation for his new role with the charity, where he is due to earn about £40,000 a year. He is due to donate his after-tax salary to charity.'

The Telegraph has an interesting article about William's upcoming historic trip to Japan and China.

'Indeed, in a reflection of the significant diplomatic role being assumed by the Duke, it is expected that he will meet Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier, and other senior Communist Party leaders during the three-day visit.
 Penny Junor, the royal biographer, said: “Not only is this a historic visit, but it is also an indication of how highly regarded William is by the Government and Foreign Office. After all, this is not going to be an easy trip. His father is a friend of Tibet’s Dalai Lama and there is the question of human rights.'

Details of the trip, which begins on Feb 26, can be found on the official website. It's been reported Kate will not have any engagements during this time, however, I think we'll see her once or twice before she takes maternity leave. The annual St Patrick's Day Parade at Aldershot is a likely one to finish up with.

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Next, we're taking a look at a new jewellery brand debuted by the Duchess last month - Mirabelle Jewellery. Below we see Kate wearing the brand's £30 Lolita earrings.

Mirabelle Jewellery

The small gold-plated earrings are a very pretty and affordable addition to any jewellery collection. They look considerably more expensive than they are and work for day or night wear. 

Mirabelle Jewellery

As we know, the 'Kate Effect' on fashion is quite something. Speaking to the The Inquisitr, Mirabelle Jewellery founder Veronique Henry spoke about the reaction and the story behind the hand-made Fair Trade earrings.

'Our website crashed, it went absolutely mad but I’m beside myself with happiness! She got them at the jewellery boutique ‘Felt’ in Chelsea. They are very popular earrings, but now even more so since she wore them. They are made in Indonesia by just one family. That’s the great thing about Kate wearing these — they are made in a little village by a lovely family. So now all the cousins, aunties, everyone in the family are rallying round to help out.'

Veronique called the family personally to let them know that their earrings were worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and they were "thrilled". It's one of those times where it's just lovely to hear the story behind the style and how Kate wearing a pair of earrings can have an effect on a family living so far away and enable them to grow their business.

More on the benefits of Fair Trade from the website.

What is Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a tool for reducing poverty in developing nations. It's a form of Trade that builds equitable and long-term partnerships between producers in developing regions of the world and consumers in the north.
 Fair Trade Guarantees many things including the following: Producers receive a minimum set price for their goods, financial and technical support, healthy and safe working conditions, economic development of their communities, and educational opportunities for their children. Consumers receive excellent products plus the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are actively addressing poverty, preserving the environment, and promoting an end to child labour.
 The Planet receives a chance at health and healing since Fair Trade actively promotes sustainable farming techniques, biodiversity, and bird and animal preservation.

Other items in the 'Lolita' range include a £90 Gold Plated Necklace and a £60 Gold Plated Bracelet.

Mirabelle Jewellery

There's several great collections available on the website. The Vintage British Collection has some fabulous little gems with unusual details. Below we take a look at the Ballerina Pendant with Pearl (the ballerina has articulated legs), the Cladagh Gold Plated Pendant and the Scotty Dog Pendant with Semi Precious Stone.

Mirabelle Jewellery

Pieces from The Natural Pearls Collection.

Mirabelle Jewellery

There's a good sale underway with some great statement pieces on offer. The Mini Key and Coin Pendant is reduced from  £45 to £24, the Gold Plated Earrings with Seagreen Glass are reduced from £60 to £24 and the Ovala Necklace with ruby is discounted from £75 to £48.

Mieabelle Jewellery

I've always been a supporter of Fair Trade products and it's great to see such a business which actively supports and incorporates it doing so well. Hoping to see Kate in more Mirabelle pieces!

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Moving on to Fashion Week! Many of Kate's go-to designers have been showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2015 Collections. We saw British designer Jenny Packham channel Marilyn Monroe for her spring offering. This time round, there's a much cooler vibe. The designer was inspired by a trip to the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Jenny Packham

Reviews of the collection focused on textures, and use of lace and velvet. The signature Packham embellishments is as evident as ever but are somewhat softer with Art Deco motifs used heavily.

Jenny Packham
Three beautiful gowns.

Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham's star is on the rise with her clientèle ranging from the Duchess of Cambridge to Charlize Theron and Taylor Swift. There's plenty to like and many choices for Kate. I have no doubt we'll see one of these designs, or at least a bespoke version on Kate this year.

Jenny Packham

Ms. Packham with the models backstage.

Jenny Packham Facebook

Three gowns from Jenny Packham's current collection which would look amazing on Kate: the Embellished Tulle Gown, the mint-green Silk Georgette Gown and the Wrap Effect Tulle Dress with gorgeous silver sequins and beads.

Jenny Packham

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Emilia Wickstead turned to director Wes Anderson for inspiration although she first called him 'Wes Gordon'. "I'm pregnant by the way. That's my excuse," she said after correcting herself.

Emilia Wickstead

It's very much what we expected to see from the designer, apart from the inclusion of a couple of rich gowns. I know like myself, many readers don't always love the designs on Kate. They look great on the runway but often times the structure of the garment doesn't quite work. Again, there's plenty of possibilities for Kate. What do you think?

Emilia Wickstead

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I particularly look forward to seeing the Temperley London shows. This one was quite different to its predecessors and offered very little I could envisage the Duchess wearing, though there are some great white shirts, coats and dresses which could be altered for Kate. 


Four classic Temperley looks from the current collection: the Silk-Satin Jacquard Coat, the Coco Lace Dress, the Novah quilted satin and crepe coat, and the Francine Gown.

Temperley London

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We leave you with four looks from Mulberry's Fall 2015 Collection. The navy skirt suit on the left would look incredible on Kate.

Mulberry

Who were your favourites from fashion week? Did you spot any Kate designers at the Oscars? :)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Kate Moved to Tears as She Meets Young Families

The Duchess of Cambridge carried out two engagements in Stoke-on-Trent and Smethwick today.


In her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, the Duchess began the day with a visit to the Emma Bridgewater factory to learn more about a special pottery project which will help to raise vital funds and awareness for the EACH Nook appeal.


Due to the high demands of the charity's specialist services in Norfolk, the team has outgrown their current hospice in Quidenham, a very old two-storey building. Accessibility and flexibility within the building is restricted and there isn't scope to expand. EACH has obtained planning permission for a new hospice - the Nook - but needs to raise £10 million to make this dream a reality.


Raising a sum of £10 million is no mean feat, and since the launch over ten weeks ago they  have raised over £500,000. It is hoped with increased awareness, the help of their royal patron, and collaborative projects with businesses such as Emma Bridgewater it can be achieved. If you wish to donate to the appeal please click here.

EACH

The Duchess toured the factory and saw how the traditional earthenware products are made and decorated by using traditional techniques.


Kate decorated a mug.


Emma and her husband Matthew used to live in Norfolk and were delighted to team up with the charity to design mugs titled the 'Insects and Flowers', 'Ladybirds' and 'Ladybirds Baby Mug'. The partnership was encouraged by the Duchess of Cambridge and for those eager to purchase one, they will be available for pre-order from today with £5 from each sale going directly to EACH.

Emma Bridgewater

Kate was first shown the pottery by Emma in November when she attended the launch of the Nook appeal.


Emma Bridgewater began in 1985, after Emma tried and failed to find a birthday present for her mum. "I was looking for a really special cup and saucer, but everything was either too formal or too clunky. That was my eureka moment. I realised there was a gap in the market for pottery that was beautiful and practical – pottery for a relaxed, colourful, mismatched life." For pottery lovers, the website is something of a treasure trove. Stockists include John Lewis and Selfridges. Below we see the pink vase collection.

Emma Bridgewater

Her Royal Highness then joined families from the Donna Louise Children's Hospice in a ceramic painting workshop.


Before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit.


The plaque unveiled by the Duchess (perhaps the nicest one I've seen).

David Wilkinson CNN

Next, the Duchess visited Action for Children's Cape Hill Children's Centre.


Kate received an introduction to the charity and its work in providing early support for vulnerable families across the UK from staff and volunteers.


The Duchess of Cambridge  then attended a private roundtable discussion with families who have accessed Action for Children services including the organisation's Sandwell Family Partners programme, which is based at the centre.

Action for Children Twitter Feed

It was an emotional visit for Kate. More from the Express:

'Michelle Griffiths, 33, from Smethwick, told Kate how she has "died"  six times and then been brought back from the dead after suffering heart attacks.  Her daughter, Chloe, 13, is her main carer and her son, Alfie, 4, has had to be taught to call 999 if she suffers a heart attack.
 "I was telling her that sometimes I feel like I have stolen my daughter's childhood but she doesn¹t see it like that," Michelle said.
It was all too much for the 33-year-old Duchess, who has become an ardent advocate of early intervention to help children suffering with emotional difficulties because of challenging family circumstances. 
 "You've brought a tear to my eye," said Kate.
"She got choked up and I had to give her a tissue," said Michelle, who in February last year underwent open heart surgery to fit a defibrillator that shocks her back to life after she suffers an attack known as a fatal arrhythmia.'

A youngster made a pink beaded bracelet for the Duchess.


Her Royal Highness also watched a play session and meet the children and parents who use Cape Hill Children’s Centre. She said "I should have brought George. He would have loved this".


High five!


Founded in 1869 by Methodist minister, Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (the charity recently celebrated their 145th birthday), Action for Children is a national charity that supports and speaks out for the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people. It works with more than 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year at 650 services based in the heart of communities across the UK.

Action for Children

The organisation would make a great future patronage for Kate and would be very much in keeping with her desire to work with young people.


The Palace confirmed Kate's blue coat is by Max Mara.


Following much searching, the wonderful ladies at Kate Middleton Style discovered the garment is from the 2014 SportMax Collection. The style name is Gerbera; and while it's not identical, it's the closest piece to Kate's. Ashley Marie called the brand and discovered the piece originally retailed for $2,490 and came with a belt.

MaxMara

Underneath, Kate wore her Seraphine 'Florrie' Floral Printed Dress. The £99 dress comes in "stunning marine ocean shades" and is made in soft woven fabric. Both the coat and dress are part of the brand's Spring/Summer 2015 Collection. Readers will remember Kate debuted the dress for a day of engagements in Kensington last month.

Seraphine

The Duchess wore her navy suede Jimmy Choo 'Georgia' pumps.

Jimmy Choo

It appears Kate carried her matching navy suede L.K. Bennett Frome clutch.

L.K. Bennett

Kate accessorised with her sapphire and diamond earrings.


A look at Kate's hair today. It was worn partially up and as you can see from the shot below it's looking particularly long at the moment. 


You can watch videos from the day at ITN Source and the Kensington Palace Twitter Feed.

Action for Children

At present, there are no engagements scheduled for Kate, however I wouldn't rule out seeing her carry out one or two more before she takes maternity leave. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the events and Kate's look today :)