Monday, 22 April 2019

His Royal Cuteness: Prince Louis' First Birthday Photos!

William and Kate's baby is one! To mark the first birthday of Prince Louis tomorrow, Kensington Palace released three photos taken by the Duchess earlier this month. My goodness, he has changed so much since we last saw a photo of him for the Cambridge Christmas card. He's a gorgeous little boy, and very much like his siblings, has such an expressive face. I've noted several times I think he favours his mum, the likeness in these photographs is really quite striking.

Kate chose the garden of their leafy country home, Anmer Hall, as the backdrop for Louis' birthday photos. Louis is dressed in a red jumper and a similar blue one featuring a puppy on the front. Those Cambridge cheeks :)

The Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share three new photographs of Prince Louis ahead of his first birthday tomorrow."

More from The Telegraph's senior picture editor, Lee Martin.

'The Duchess of Cambridge’s photographs of Prince Louis, like other birthday pictures of her children, are a loving and personal moment captured on camera for the family album and the history books. You can employ a number of styles to portraiture and the Duchess has chosen the simple method of using natural light and a shallow depth of field. She has used both perfectly.
Placing Louis in a shaded area so that he is illuminated by diffused light avoids any harsh shadows across his face, while at the same time producing a bright colourful background. Because she has used a wide aperture, she has softened the background to a gentle blur, helping to isolate the subject and avoid distractions. She also avoids placing Louis directly in the centre of the landscape image, which is a definite plus in my book.'

Rebecca English notes Louis wore the £35 Trotters Little Puppy Jumper. It's described as: "Our bestselling Puppy Jumper for baby boys now comes in a smart denim blue colour and features our sweet puppy intarsia design on the front. Made in a soft, warm cashmere mix it's a must have for layering this spring."

Prince George's first birthday portraits were taken at the Natural History Museum by John Stillwell and Princess Charlotte's in Norfolk by Kate.

On a sunny St George's Day morning, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child on 23 April 2018. It all began shortly after 8 am when Kensington Palace confirmed the Duchess had been admitted to the Lindo Wing at 6 am in "the early stages of labour". Kate travelled from the Palace by car with William. At 1.05 pm, the Palace confirmed the Duchess had been safely delivered of a son weighing 8 lbs 7 oz at 11.01 am.

A few short hours later, Kate was ready to depart for home. As with George and Charlotte, they posed on the steps of the Lindo Wing to introduce their son to the world. Kate was undoubtedly feeling a mixture of emotions from sheer joy to exhaustion as she held her baby in her arms. She chose a bespoke Jenny Packham red dress with a white lace peter pan collar.

The newborn, fifth-in-line to the throne, was the first in history not to overtake a female sibling in the line of succession. The Telegraph noted: "Under the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act, the male-preference primogeniture was replaced with absolute primogeniture. The act meant any royal born after 28 October 2011 would precede his or her siblings, regardless of sex. It means Princess Charlotte remains fourth in line to the throne with the new (male) baby at fifth in line."

Our first proper look at the prince came on 5 May when the Palace shared two photos to provide a glimpse at Louis and to celebrate Charlotte's birthday. This image of big sister Lottie kissing her brother is darling.

And this one :)

Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge was baptised at The Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, on 9 July.

The occasion marked the first time the Cambridges had been publicly seen together as a family of five.

The intimate christening was attended by the Charles, Camilla, the Sussexes, Middletons and godparents. The couple chose Kate's cousin Lucy Middleton and close friends Nicholas van Cutsem, Guy Pelly, Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, Laura Meade and Hannah Gillingham. Kate couldn't take her eyes off Baby Louis at the christening and was photographed gazing lovingly at him in several of the images.

The portraits were taken at Clarence House's Morning Room following the christening at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, by renowned photographer Matt Holyoak. The photographer said "I was truly honoured at being asked to take the official photographs at the christening of Prince Louis, and to witness at first hand such a happy event. Everyone was so relaxed and in such good spirits, it was an absolute pleasure. I only hope I have captured some of that joy in my photographs."

The Palace released an additional photograph of Kate and Louis with the message "Their Royal Highnesses hope that everyone enjoys this lovely photograph of Prince Louis as much as they do." The photo was taken by Matt Porteous, the photographer took George's third birthday portraits.

There was a very special treat in store among Prince Charles' 70th birthday portraits; a fabulous photo of the Prince of Wales with Kate and Louis. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Duchess of Cornwall revealed: 'We had a picture the other day with Louis pulling on his hair, and he’s not one of those people who says ‘take your hand away’. He loves it. He’s exceptionally good with very small children and babies."

Louis had changed so much since his christening. Those expressions :)

There was a festive royal surprise from Kensington Palace in December with the release of a new family photograph of the Cambridges for their Christmas card. The image was taken last autumn at Anmer Hall and offered our last look at a smiling Louis.

His Royal Cuteness on the front pages.

Happy Birthday little prince!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Cambridges Join The Queen For Easter Service

It's been a glorious Easter weekend, the sun is shining, spring flowers are in full bloom and in keeping with tradition, the Queen and a large gathering of family members attended church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. As hoped for, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the monarch this morning.

It marks the third consecutive year the couple have attended the Windsor service.

It's been a quiet month for the Cambridges, who have been enjoying George and Charlotte's Easter break at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. They were spotted at the nearby Burnham Horse Trials with the Tindalls. Mike and Zara were also in attendance today. The family will return to Kensington Palace after the weekend ahead of term commencing at Thomas's Battersea on Wednesday, and Charlotte's nursery Willcocks. Before that, Louis will celebrate his first birthday on Tuesday. The Duchess will resume duties on Thursday, with an appearance at the ANZAC Day service at Westminster Abbey.

On Easter Sunday last year, Kate told a group of little girls George and Charlotte had a ball at an Easter egg hunt that morning; I'm sure the Cambridge children did the same today.

Today has additional significance for the Royal family, as it's Her Majesty's 93rd birthday.

A curtsy from the Duchess.

Just days away from welcoming Baby Sussex, Prince Harry was in fine form chatting to Zara and Autumn Phillips.

An arrival video of the royal party. Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and the Wessexes and Princess Anne's family were also present.

St George's Chapel is a 14th century building located in the lower ward of the castle.

The chapel has been the site of many royal weddings, including the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank last year. The chapel is also home to the annual Order of the Garter ceremony held in June. Within the Chapel are the tombs of ten monarchs, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I.

More on the history of the chapel:

'In 1348, King Edward III founded two new religious colleges: St Stephen's at Westminster and St George's at Windsor. The new college at Windsor was attached to the Chapel of St Edward the Confessor which had been constructed by Henry III in the early thirteenth century. The chapel was then rededicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Edward the Confessor and St George the Martyr. Edward III also built the Aerary Porch in 1353–1354. It was used as the entrance to the new college.
The Quire of St George's Chapel, by Charles Wild, from W.H. Pyne's Royal Residences, 1818. St George's Chapel became the Mother Church of the Order of the Garter, and a special service is still held in the chapel every June and is attended by the members of the order. Their heraldic banners hang above the upper stalls of the choir where they have a seat for life.'

The Evening Standard reports:

'In his sermon, the Dean did not mention the royal birthday but discussed the Easter message of love and the terrible fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris last week. He also read from Easter poetry by the Christian socialist Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies, whose birth 200 years ago will be celebrated in June.
After the service, the Queen and her family went for drinks in the Deanery before leaving from separate exits. As the monarch returned to her car at the Galilee Porch, the crowd -members of the public let in to watch and some of the congregation - sang Happy Birthday, as she was given flowers by two boys, Rufus Travers-Brown and Edward Bland, the sons of lay clerks (adult choristers) at the chapel.'

The Duke and Duchess departing.

In his Easter message this year, Prince Charles called for an end to the "pervasive horror" of knife crime. More from the Telegraph:

'Writing of Easter as a celebration of the triumph of lightness over dark, Prince Charles has now called for those who commit “brutal deeds” to be brought to their senses through justice and the “extraordinary power” and gift of forgiveness.
Saying “there are times when it can feel as if the light has gone out of the world and darkness reigns, the Prince, who will one day be head of the Church of England, says: “Easter gives us hope. Throughout my own life, it has been a humbling experience to meet and to listen to people who have suffered the most terrible personal tragedies,” he writes.
“The way they have grieved and turned their grief into action to help others in the most extraordinary way is an example of the light overcoming the darkness. Recently, Prince Harry and I brought together some of those who have been affected by knife crime to see what more could be done to tackle this pervasive horror. Listening to those who have suffered from such attacks filled us both with immense sadness.
“But their remarkable determination to move forward and address the causes of such crime and to find solutions was, for me, yet another example of the light shining in the darkness.” He adds: “Of course, those who commit such brutal deeds need to face up to their crimes through being brought to justice.
“However, very often it is not the punishment that brings them to their senses and changes them, but rather the extraordinary power of the forgiveness from those they have hurt.”

In 2017 and 2018, the Duchess repeated classic Catherine Walker coats for Easter Sunday.

Today, Kate brought back her very popular dove grey Alexander McQueen coat, first worn for Easter Sunday service at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, in 2014. Several of you mentioned you would love to see the elegant piece again. It's a great choice for the occasion.

Kate repeated the matching grey Jane Taylor hat.

Kate accessorised with her gorgeous Robinson Pelham wedding earrings. Michael and Carole Middleton had the earrings commissioned as a gift in 2011. Their design is derived from the acorn and oak leaves which form part of the Middleton family coat of arms, and they perfectly complement the 'Halo' tiara, echoing the scroll elements in the design. The £15K earrings are made of 18 karat white gold and diamonds in the form of a curled diamond set oak leaf top and a pear-shaped diamond set drop with a central articulated pave set diamond acorn.

And her Acorn brooch. Kate's worn the piece on a number of occasions since 2012. I expect it's also a Robinson Pelham piece.

A closer look at the brooch from Christmas Day 2015.

Kate teamed the look with the soft grey Emmy London Rebecca Cinder Pointed Court shoes and matching clutch.

Below, a wooden egg with a portrait of HM given to the monarch by the Ambassador of Ukraine, Volodymyr Khandogiy. It's one of a number of ornate eggs she's been given over the years. Wishing the Queen the happiest of birthdays! I'm sure it will be a splendid day surrounded by loved ones.

We'll see you tomorrow or Tuesday for Prince Louis' first birthday photos. Wishing you all a very Happy Easter :)

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