Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Vote for Kate's Best Tour Looks, Diana: Our Mother, Her Legacy & More

Once tours have concluded, it's always enjoyable to recap Kate's tour wardrobe and see which looks proved most successful and remain most memorable afterwards. It was a notable tour, different to any we've seen the Cambridges previously undertake - the use of royals as envoys deploying soft diplomacy amidst the harsh background noise surrounding Brexit offered an entirely different scenario to the goodwill Commonwealth tours the Duke and Duchess have carried out thus far. These demands extended to Kate's style on tour with clothing not only sending messages, be it the colour paying tribute to the host country or the designer Polish or German, but specific pieces had to carry Kate from a concentration camp and memorials to vibrant street parties and walkabouts meeting children. It was a challenge that was met with an uptick in bespoke pieces and largely, a reliance on tried and trusted designers. Tonight, in the first of our post-tour polls, we're asking you to choose your favourite Day and Evening look.

Best Day Look

The tour began in Warsaw with the Duchess arriving in a familiar silhouette by Alexander McQueen. The ivory wool and silk blend twill coat bore instantly noticeable similarities to previous styles worn by the Duchess (quite a few readers thought it a repeat). We all have specific styles which work best for us and we feel comfortable in and that was very much the case with this look for Kate. The impeccably tailored look was complemented with the addition of a distinctive belt. The Duchess styled the look with Gianvito Rossi praline pumps, her red Casa clutch and ruby and diamond jewellery.

For Day Two of the tour, the Duchess wore a bespoke top and midi skirt in 'Hurst Rose Print' by Erdem. The outfit proved by far the most divisive choice from the tour with incredibly heated opinion expressed. What I will say on the matter is: everything I remember about the visit to Stutthof has absolutely nothing to do with the clothes; it was the stand out engagement where such matters seemed almost too trivial to write about. I personally thought Kate looked appropriate, the itinerary of the day meant the Cambridges were taken straight from Stutthof to a street party, drink tasting and a theatre visit. Kate teamed the dress with her Stuart Weitzman Nearly Nude Sandals, Etui clutch and Milk Amber jewellery.

It was a cornflower blue Catherine Walker as the Cambridges arrived in Berlin for the second leg of the tour. Walker designs tend to offer a level of no frills classic sophistication and professionalism which is exactly what this look did. Kate wore the coat with a light blue dress with a scalloped hem (hopefully we'll see it in its entirety at a later date), Gianvito Rossi pumps, a Jimmy Choo clutch and Kiki topaz jewellery.

Does anyone design pretty dresses better than Jenny Packham? Kate paid tribute to the gold in the German flag in a bespoke Packham jacquard dress with a fit-and-flare silhouette, a set-in waistband and floral motif. The dress was styled with Monsoon Fleur Wedges, a McQueen clutch and new Oscar de la Renta earrings.

The rowing trip meant a quick change of clothes. Kate chose her go-to casual attire of a Breton top and jeans. The blue top is by German luxury brand Hugo Boss. Kate also wore her Superga Cotu trainers. Note: This look is clearly very different in terms of informality compared to the other options in this category, however, as it's the only "casual daywear" look worn, it merits inclusion in this particular poll.

Finally, the Duchess was colourful in a bespoke lavender Emilia Wickstead dress for the final day of the tour. The long sleeve dress has a fitted bodice and flared skirt. Kate teamed it with a distinctive red Anya Hindmarch clutch, Kiki McDonough Lavender Amethyst Pear and Oval Drop Earrings and Praline pumps.

Kate's Best Day Look
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Best Evening Look

Kate's edgiest choice of the tour came when the Cambridges attended a birthday party for the Queen in Warsaw. HRH chose a monochrome cocktail dress with architectural black detailing and a deep v neckline by one of Poland's best-known designers, Gosia Baczynska. The designer later told the Telegraph: "Until the last moment, I didn’t know which outfit the Duchess was going to wear. I had some expectation that she would wear it but I couldn’t be sure so was extremely happy and excited when I saw her in my dress. The most important thing for me is quality which means really good fabric and realisation," she says. "I would like women who wear my outfits to feel special and modern. Classy and a little bit rebellious." Kate styled the dress with black Gianvito Rossi D'orsay Pumps and statement pearls.

Lady in red Kate donned a flowing, off-the-shoulder McQueen maxi dress for the Queen's Birthday Party at the ambassador's residence in Berlin. The dress is from Alexander McQueen's Spring '17 collection which captures the beautiful landscapes and folkloric history of the Shetland Islands. The dress was worn with Prada sandals and statement earrings by Simone Rocha.

For a reception in the vintage mirrored hall of Clärchens Ballhaus, Kate selected a sparrow print dress by German designer Markus Lupfer. The teal jacquard dress is from the Pre Autumn/Winter 2017 Collection; it was quite an unusual choice for Kate and different to her usual style of 'cocktail' dress choices. The dress was teamed with a Jenny Packham belt, a clutch by Anne Grand-Clement, Prada sandals, Soru Pearl earrings and Diana's triple strand pearl bracelet.

Looking forward to seeing your choices :)

Kate's Best Evening Look
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Whilst we're recapping the tour, at the Queen's birthday party in Berlin, official photos of the Cambridges and the team who accompanied them were published on UK in Germany's Flickr feed (they were later removed). The images show William and Kate with their staff who played a vital role in ensuring the tour ran smoothly.

There are quite a few unfamiliar faces in the photo. The ones I do recognise include Senior Communications Officer Katrina McKeever, William and Kate's private secretaries Rebecca Priestley and Miguel Head. Their press secretary Jason Knauf, Nanny Maria Teresa, and longtime adviser David Manning. The man beside David Maninng has worked for the Cambridges for several years as an orderly, but I do not know his name. Kate's stylist/PA Natasha Archer and hair stylist Amanda Cook-Tucker are also pictured.


The long-awaited Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy documentary aired on ITV last night, and I suspect, like me, many of you were curled up on the sofa watching intently. Over the years since her passing so much has been written, from the factually correct to the insanely untrue. We've heard perspectives and opinions from countless people who knew her as a royal, a friend, a sister. Until last night we had never so openly heard from the people who knew and loved her most, her sons. It's a very emotional watch, as William and Harry lay bare their grief and share treasured memories of Diana whom they miss more than words can explain. They discussed the fun times, their last phone call with her and how they still feel her presence. The brief was to make a film that, in years to come, the princes' could show to their children, and one day, George, Charlotte (and any future siblings and cousins) will all sit down and get to know 'Granny Diana'. Ultimately, it's a true representation of who Diana was and still is to William and Harry, the woman they knew and how they remember their mother. I thought it a fantastic, moving piece of television and a fitting tribute to the People's Princess from her sons. I won't say too much more as I know many of you haven't seen it yet. Luckily, it's now available on YouTube, click here to view!

Finally, we have additional information to share on the programme for William and Kate's visit to Belgium on Sunday and Monday. More from the press release:

'On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales will attend commemorations marking the centenary of the first day of Passchendaele, the third Battle of Ypres. His Royal Highness will be accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. On Sunday 30th July, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the Last Post ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Two hundred descendants whose ancestors are named on the gate will attend alongside representatives from nations who fought on the Salient. The King and Queen of the Belgians will be present. Later that evening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Market Square in Ypres for an event that will tell the story of the four years of war on the Salient with performances and music set to a backdrop of light projections onto the historic Cloth Hall.
On Monday 31st July, the Prince of Wales will be accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for commemorations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Tyne Cot Cemetery to mark the centenary of the first day of Passchendaele, the third Battle of Ypres. The King and Queen of the Belgians will be present.'

Before then, we'll be back with our remaining tour polls.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Cambridges Conclude the Royal Tour in Hamburg & A New Photo of George!

The Cambridges spent the final day of their royal tour of Poland and Germany in Hamburg.

The Duke and Duchess travelled from Berlin to Hamburg via train this morning.

They were warmly welcomed at Dammtor Railway Station.

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city, and home to its largest harbour. It is known for its strong links to the UK, which go back to the Hanseatic League in the 13th century.

The first stop for the Duke and Duchess was the Maritime Museum on the bank of the river Elbe. The visit was planned to "celebrate" the joint UK-German year of science, which this year is focused on oceans.

The couple briefly met members of the crowd.

The museum houses a huge collection of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art, amounting to over 40,000 items and more than one million photographs.

It opened in a former warehouse in 2008. The private collection was started in 1934 by Peter Tamm - former chairman of the board of Axel Springer AG. Tamm said his interest was sparked when his mother presented him with his first model ship when he was six years old.

The building is the oldest preserved warehouse in Hamburg, built between 1878 and 1879 by the architects Bernhard Georg Jacob Hanssen and Wilhelm Emil Meerwein. It was built with a supporting structure of wood and steel columns, the outer walls of bricks also supporting the building. It was designed in neo-Gothic style.

More from the Museum's website:

'Three thousand years worth of maritime history are displayed on nine ‘decks’ with precious exhibits, model ships and paintings. There is an entire deck dedicated to marine research. 
At the beginning there was the ocean. Humans stood at the shore, ready to sail unto new horizons. From there the journey through three thousand years of seafaring history begins. Historical documents and sea charts reveal how the modern world-view has developed. Particularly valuable: a copy of the "Atlantis Majoris" from 1657, the first nautical atlas printed in the Netherlands.
Hand painted crown compasses and shining, golden sextants lead into an era in which a keen eye and steady hand were required to determine the course. A signal station with Teletype machinery and signal codes demonstrates how seafarers communicated up until the twentieth century. Selected models show various strands of development in shipping: from Phoenician galley and Roman trireme to Viking dragon boats, from cog ships of the Hanseatic period and the explorer’s caravels to the last of the windjammers.'

William and Kate viewed a model of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, the former royal yacht of the Queen, in service from 1954 until 1997.

In 1997, the Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party refused to disclose its plans for the vessel. After Labour won the general election in May 1997, it announced the vessel was to be retired and no replacement would be built. The Queen wept openly at the moving decommissioning ceremony for Britannia.

The visit will have been of particular interest to the Duchess who revealed during a speech last week: "I have always been in awe of the sea." The Palace said Kate has a "particular interest in ocean ecology".

The couple listened to a presentation.

The museum houses a model of the Queen Mary II made entirely of lego.

William and Kate made their way through Hamburg’s dockside warehouse quarter to the Elbphilharmonie.

Opened in January 2017, the "Elphi" was built with the aim of creating a new city landmark. It is one of the biggest concert halls in the world and renowned for its advanced acoustics.

They joined the orchestra on stage, before listening to a special performance by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. The audience was filled with children from all corners of the city, with the aim of inspiring a new generation to develop a passion for music and perhaps play at the venue in years to come.

Kate conducted a few bars of Beethoven's 5th.

Simon Vigar reports:

Simon Vigar Twitter

On the Elphi with the Mayor.

The Duke and Duchess then departed by boat and travelled down the River Elbe to their final destination for this tour: Airbus.

The scene on the River Elbe.

The company’s base in Hamburg is home to production, maintenance and training facilities. The couple toured the complex and met apprentices, both German and English.

The Duke and Duchess visited the final assembly line of an A320 aircraft and viewed the cockpit of a near-complete plane.

One the final walkabout.

William put a big smile on this little boy's face :)

Then it was time for the Cambridges to head back to London.

Charlotte took a tumble after stomping her feet when Kate took some papers away from her...

....mom Kate quickly caught her.

William and Kate comforted her.

The two-year-old was a little upset but quickly recovered.

A handshake for the Princess.

A video from Sky:

George and Charlotte joined in to explore an EC145 helicopter - the same one William flies with the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

George very much enjoyed taking a look around!

I think someone might be following in his father's footsteps as a pilot in the future :)

It's wonderful to see George in his element. The birthday boy celebrates his fourth birthday tomorrow. No doubt he's returning to a special party and plenty of presents. 

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland! Goodbye Germany!

Kate opted for a vibrant pop of colour for the final day of the tour - wearing a lavender bespoke dress by Emilia Wickstead. The knee-length dress features long sleeves and a set-in waistband.

The lavender shade is a favourite of Wickstead, featuring prominently in the designer's Fall 2015 Collection. Below the similar Esther Wool-Crepe Midi Dress, and currently available in a similar colour, the Live Cloque Midi Dress.

Emilia Wickstead

The Duchess embraced the colour-block trend by teaming the dress with a red clutch.

Guilia identified it as the Anya Hindmarch Snakeskin Clutch with gold-tone hardware and tonal stitching throughout. Below, we see it in black.

Anya Hindmarch

Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lavender Amethyst Pear and Oval Drop Earrings.

Kate debuted the pair in Bhutan last year - they are stunning and work perfectly with the dress.

Kiki McDonough

Kate wore her Gianvito Rossi praline pumps again.


And that brings the tour to a close. I want to thank all of you who followed the tour on the blog with us; I am immensely thankful for all the kind and supportive comments you left. One of the most enjoyable aspects is hearing your thoughts. There was, as one expects with a tour, an influx of new posters (welcome!), and with that I would like to encourage everyone to continue posting using a moniker, as it adds greatly to the quality of conversation. And the most important rule for the comments section: please be respectful to each other. I enjoyed the tour and thought it encompassed some lovely moments. William and Kate meeting the public, including several readers, was a wonderful experience for them, a focus on history and the visit to Stutthof in particular was the stand out moment of the tour for me.

We saw the Duchess opting for a mix of favoured and new designers as she continues to achieve sartorial diplomacy. There's been an increase in bespoke pieces on tours in recent years and less high street choices. It was great seeing George and Charlotte too; it's always a treat to catch glimpses of them growing up and their personalities. We'll look at Kate's wardrobe in depth next week during our Post Tour Polls. Finally, a big thank you to photographers James Whatling, Andrew Parsons, Stephen Lock and all who worked on the Pool Rota throughout - it would be impossible to produce these posts without your photographs. What did you think of the tour? What were your highlights? You can view all the Royal Tour coverage here.

Earlier we mentioned Prince George celebrates his fourth birthday tomorrow. To mark the occasion Kensington Palace released a darling new photograph of the Prince, taken by Chris Jackson at KP last month. Chris is married to Kate's PA/Stylist Natasha Archer. The photographer wrote on Instagram "I'm thrilled and honoured that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to release this portrait I took to celebrate Prince George's 4th Birthday. He is such a happy little boy and certainly injects some fun into a photoshoot!" The photo was released with the message "TRH are very pleased to share this lovely picture, and would like to thank everyone for all of the kind messages they have received".

Kensington Palace

It's a terrific photo of George, sending the little Prince the happiest of birthday wishes!