Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge in Blue Elie Saab For Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot kicked off in style today with a host of royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge present.

The Duke and Duchess travelled in the second carriage with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Her Majesty was in the first carriage with Prince Andrew, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima (who sported one of her signature hats).

A terrific video of the procession. Princess Anne, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and Princess Alexandra were also there.

The quintessential racing extravaganza is an annual highlight on the royal calendar.

Her Majesty simply adores Ascot and looks forward to the week throughout the year. It is said she loves to see as many members of the family in attendance as possible.

People reports:

'In her welcoming remarks to racegoers in this year’s Royal Ascot program, the Queen calls the event "one of the sporting events that I have been fortunate to enjoy throughout my life." Signing it “Elizabeth R,” she adds that even though racing has been taking place there for more than 300 years, and “much has changed, the horses remain the stars, thrilling us with their beauty, brilliance and courage. The quality and the depth of competition at the Royal Meeting has also continued to prosper.”

The Cambridges made their debut at the event in 2016, in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday. They joined the monarch again in 2017.

The Duke and Duchess catching up with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima following their appearance at Garter Day yesterday.

Charles, Camilla and William mingle with guests.

Photos of Kate and Zara Tindall are always a treat during Ascot..

I've said before, Mike and Zara always come across as such an incredibly warm and fun couple to spend time with. We've seen wonderful interaction between Kate and Zara over the years at polo matches, family events and earlier this year during a family day out in Norfolk.

We saw an assortment of blue shades and floral prints from the royal ladies today. Kate and Her Majesty were very well coordinated.

The Duchess appeared to very much enjoy chatting with guests.

Day One of Royal Ascot is widely acknowledged to be among the best racing days anywhere in the world with three Group One races and Ascot’s premier two-year-old race, the Group Two Coventry Stakes.

Over 300,000 people make the annual visit to Berkshire during Royal Ascot week, making this Europe’s best-attended race meeting. It is a major event in the British social calendar.

The Queen watches on as her horse Choirboy wins the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot, 17th June 1953.

There are three enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week. The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious of the three, with visits by the Queen and Royal family members.

Access to the Royal Enclosure is restricted, with high security on the day. First-time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure Office and gain membership from someone who has attended the enclosure for at least four years.

Guests can enjoy afternoon tea or avail of a fine dining experience by Michelin-Starred chefs such as Raymond Blanc OBE.

This year's classic race card design.

Not only is Royal Ascot a highlight on the racing calendar, it's also synonymous with sartorial elegance. Royal Ascot notes: "Our dress code is traditional, woven into the very fabric of our history. It was Beau Brummell, perhaps Britain’s first fashion icon, who at the turn of the 19th century dictated the dress for men in the Royal Enclosure. His sense of style is still reflected in Royal Ascot fashions today. In 2017, Royal Ascot successfully welcomed the jumpsuit as an acceptable item of clothing for the Royal Enclosure. Ascot continues to recognise key trends in the ever-evolving world of fashion."

For her first Ascot appearance in 2016, the Duchess donned a white lace Dolce & Gabbana dress.

In 2017, the Duchess selected a white lace Alexander McQueen dress.

Over the years, we've often discussed at length, potential designers we would love to see Kate wear. Elie Saab has been at the very top of that list for many of us; it was quite the sartorial surprise to see Kate in one of his creations today. The Lebanese fashion designer took the fashion world by storm with his showstopping, romantic, whimsical collections. From bridal to evening wear to feminine daywear pieces, his outstanding designs have been worn by royalty all over the world.

Kate's Closet notes Kate wore separates by the designer. The Macramé Pussy Bow Top features a relaxed fit, short sleeves and macramé trim.

The matching skirt has a very 'princessy' feel to it and produces an almost sparkly effect in images. The look is from the Resort 2019 Collection.

The Duchess wore a custom version of Philip Treacy's Molded Slice Hat with rosettes from the Spring/Summer 2016 Collection.

Kate chose the hat in pink for Trooping The Colour 2016.

Kate's new metallic pumps are the Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps (with thanks to For The Royals) They are described as: "Gianvito Rossi's silver pumps demonstrate that jewelry isn't the only thing that can add a little shine to your outfit. Made in Italy from supple leather, this pair has sharp pointed toes and thin stiletto heels." They are available in a number of sizes at Net-A-Porter.

Accessories included Kate's Kiki McDonough Blue Topaz and Diamond earrings.

And a new metallic clutch by Elie Saab.

A closer look at Kate's side bun.

What do you think of Kate's Ascot look this year?

Monday, 17 June 2019

A Very Regal Gathering For Garter Day!

It was a decidedly regal day at Windsor for this year's Order of the Garter ceremonies.

The Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex gathered in the Galilee Porch to watch their husbands participate in the procession. The trio were delighted to be joined by not one but two Queen's today. It was quite the royal reunion as Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Queen Letizia of Spain attended to support their husbands.

The Duchess arrived with Queen Maxima.

The video below has outstanding footage of guests arriving and the royal ladies enjoying each other's company.

Kate chatting with Letizia. Chris Ship reports the Cambridges will undertake a tour towards the end of the year; today Rebecca English suggested Spain might be on the cards.

King Felipe VI was appointed to the Order by Her Majesty during the State Visit in 2017 and King Willem-Alexander during the Dutch State Visit last year. They were installed in St. George’s Chapel as Supernumerary, or Stranger, Knights of the Garter today.

Supernumerary, or Stranger Knights, are overseas monarchs appointed to the Order, and are in addition to the twenty-four knights or ladies. Princess (formerly Queen) Beatrix of the Netherlands was made a member of the Order in 1989. The former King Juan Carlos of Spain was also given the Order in 1988.

The Duchess has previously met the Dutch and Spanish royals on several occasions.

Both couples' attended the Royal wedding in 2011. For Remembrance Sunday 2015, Maxima joined the Duchess and the Countess of Wessex on the balcony at Whitehall.  Kate visited King Willem-Alexander during her first solo visit overseas to the Netherlands in 2016. In 2017, William and Kate attended the Spanish State Banquet in honour of Felipe and Letizia.

It was a royal fashion extravaganza with the ladies attired in pastel shades and whites. Camilla wore a pale pink Anne Valentine coat and Philip Treacy hat. Sophie selected a Suzannah dress and Jane Taylor hat. It was a twill print Cherubina dress and hat for Letizia (with thanks to Queen Letizia Style) and a Claes Iversen creation for Queen Maxima.

Each June, the Knights of the Garter gather at Windsor Castle where new knights take the oath and are invested with the insignia. A lunch is given in the Waterloo Chamber, after which the Knights proceed to a service in St George's Chapel.

The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain, established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago. The Order includes The Queen, who is Sovereign of the Garter, several senior Members of the Royal Family, and twenty-four knights or ladies chosen in recognition of their work. Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.

Prince William was the 1000th Knight on the register when he joined the Order in 2008.

The Order's motto is 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' which translates to 'Shame on him who thinks evil of it'.

The patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England) and the spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The Order's members must wear vestments for ceremonial occasions. Members have worn the blue velvet robe since the 16th century. The heraldic shield of St George is sewn onto the left shoulder of the robe. The hat is a Tudor bonnet of black velvet with a plume of white ostrich and black heron feathers.

The insignia of a knight of the Order of the Garter.

An overview of the procession.

The royal ladies watch on.

King Felipe VI and King Willem-Alexander.

This year Lady Mary Peters and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury were installed into the Order.

More from Buckingham Palace:

'Lady Mary Peters, CH, DBE (born 6 July 1939) served as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast between 2009 and 2014. In the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich, Lady Mary won the Gold Medal in the pentathlon. In 1975, she established The Mary Peters Trust to support talented young sportsmen and women across Northern Ireland.
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, KCVO, PC, DL (born 30 September 1946) is a former Leader of the House of Lords. Lord Salisbury is a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, and was Chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, which organised the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in 2012. Lord Salisbury is also Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire.'

During a two-day visit to Northern Ireland in February, William and Kate met Mary Peters and during a speech William paid tribute to the sporting legend. "Mary Peters, is not only one of the United Kingdom's sporting legends, she's also inspired generation after generation to come together in times of trouble and work for the common good - a lesson I hope many of us can learn from. So it was fitting today that Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Mary to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter - one of the UK's highest honours."

The Queen leads the royal party.

A curtsy for the Queen.

A great shot of Kate with Willem-Alexander and Maxima.

The Cambridges travelled with King Felipe and Queen Letizia in the carriage procession.

The foursome chatting.

Her Majesty and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The scene at Windsor.

A roundup from the afternoon.

It's Kate's sixth appearance at the event. She memorably made her debut in 2008 (the year William was installed as a knight) wearing her black pin dot suit and a Philip Treacy hat. At the time, the appearance sent the engagement rumour mill into overdrive. 

Since the wedding, Kate attended in 2011 wearing Katherine Hooker. In 2012 she repeated a favourite McQueen coatdress and in 2014 it was Christopher Kane.

For Kate's last appearance in 2016, she chose her red Catherine Walker coatdress with her wedding earrings and a matching Lock & Co hat. This remains one of my all time favourite Kate looks. 

Kate was elegant in Catherine Walker's Liza coatdress today.

The piece is described as "A contemporary take on a ’50’s look, this coatdress in ivory wool crepe has copped jacket ‘panels’ edged in fine black lace." The garment has a peter pan collar and falls just below the knee.

The piece bears similarities to Kate's grey and black Catherine Walker coatdress.

The Duchess chose one of her favourite Lock & Co hats for the occasion. Kate debuted the piece for Trooping The Colour in 2011.

The Duchess accessorised with Princess Diana's Collingwood pearl earrings.

Katie notes it appears Kate carried her Stuart Weitzman Muse clutch in black.

And her black Prada cutout pumps.


In other news, today marks the beginning of Children's Hospice Week, a national campaign raising awareness for children's palliative care services. This year's theme is 'Moments That Matter'. The Duchess shared a letter of support in her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices. "It (Moments that Matter) aims to make the most of the very precious time that those using hospice services have. Throughout the week we will hear amazing stories from families facing the toughest of futures. I hope that they will inspire each and every one of us to similarly make the most of the time we have with our own families, by ensuring every moment matters and that we create memories that last forever."

Royal Ascot kicks off tomorrow. I expect we'll see William and Kate at some point during the week.

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