Monday, 22 May 2017

The Duchess Joins the Queen at Chelsea Flower Show & Kate Supports Children's Hospice Week!

Fresh from a weekend of celebrations for Pippa's wedding in Bucklebury, the Duchess of Cambridge returned to duties today, joining the Queen and other members of the royal family for the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show.

The Duchess arriving.

Established in 1913, on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has become one of the world’s greatest showcases for horticultural excellence, attracting visitors and exhibitors from across the globe.

Since its beginning, the show has gone from strength to strength. It has grown from 244 exhibitors in 1913 to over 500 today, including gardens, nurseries, floristry, educational displays and trade stands. Today the show attracts 165,000 visitors.

The Chelsea Flower Show is a staple on the royal calendar thanks to Her Majesty's patronage of the Royal Horticultural Society, and the show has been attended by countless royals over the years. Since the Queen's ascension to the throne in 1952, she has only missed it five times. Below, a smashing photo of the smiling Queen.

Other members of the royal family in attendance included the Duke of Edinburgh, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra. 

The Cambridges made their debut at the event last year, I think it likely it will become a semi-regular fixture on their schedules. 

Kate talking to an exhibitor.

Kate was accompanied by Rebecca Deacon.

The Queen viewed many of the stands and gardens which make up this year's show.

Her Majesty met staff and organisers.

The royals toured the beautiful display of gardens.

Kate visited The David Austen Rose exhibit where she saw the 'William and Catherine Rose' named in 2012 for The Royal Wedding.

A closer look at the rose.

It is always a complete joy to see the magnificent gardens at Chelsea. This year, another selection of horticultural delights have been brought to life.

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017 by Professor Nigel Dunnett – set within an urban landscape, the garden features a tower block and street art for the first time at Chelsea. Packed with 'take home' ideas the garden is a living encyclopedia of solutions to bring horticulture to any urban environment. A combined private and communal space it blends ornamental horticulture with edible planting in an inspiring setting.

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden, inspired by 500 years of Covent Garden and its famous flower market.

The CWGC Centenary Garden is a reflective garden commemorating 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission designed on a circular theme and featuring a convex mirror and soft, flower-filled planting. More from the RHS "In 2017 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) celebrates 100 years since its foundation by Royal Charter. It continues to care for 1.7 million war dead in more than 150 countries. The CWGC Centenary Garden is designed to honour the fallen, and to celebrate the CWGC’s century of gardening excellence and the artisan skills still employed by its staff around the world."

The Duchess enjoyed a tour of the CWGC Centenary Garden.

Princess Alexandra also visited the garden. I think you'll agree she's an impeccably elegant lady.

The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden is described as a "luscious patchwork of colour and texture dedicated to cut-and-come-again plants, this garden overflows with the joy of summer".

The Poetry Lovers Garden by Fiona Cadwallader is one of my favourites this year. "Rooftop-pruned lime trees reference the garden’s inspiration – Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s romantic poem This Lime Tree Bower My Prison. The garden alludes to a world beyond while creating a meditative space in which nature, the poem and the imagination come together. References found in the poem include ivy-clad dry-stone walls, a waterfall in the form of a stainless-steel water feature, and beanflowers, while polished concrete represents ease, modernity and reflection. Gates offer a hint of escape into a less-secluded world and the pleasures of human contact. All these elements conjure the uplifting spirituality of the dramatic conclusion of the poem, leaving the viewer afloat on the power of the imagination."

The Silk Road Garden, Chengdu, China is a garden of contrasts, with colourful sloping beds of rhodoendrons and peonies on one side and foliage, shrubs and grasses on the other intersected by a spine of red blades representing the mountainous landscape of the Sichuan Province.

The Duchess meets Mary Berry and Chris Evans at The Chris Evans Taste Garden.

The Mail reports "Presenter Chris Evans offered Kate a cherry tomato from his Radio Two 'taste garden' at Chelsea Flower Show. Despite dropping it on the decking, the royal was happy to pop it in her mouth and munch away. After the snack, she told the Radio 2 DJ: 'It's delicious and sweet.' And on the show itself, she added: 'I loved it. I'm just getting into gardening with the children. Describing her own growing efforts, she said: 'It makes such a difference when you take it from the ground."

The Earl and Countess of Wessex meeting Mary Berry. Sophie wore a pink bell sleeve Valentino dress.

The Duke of Edinburgh was in great spirits as always.

The Great Pavilion is a kaleidoscope of colour.

A gorgeous selection of daffodils.

And a nod to the royal visit :)

The beautiful bouquets created for the royals.

A variety of well known faces attended the press day from Mary Berry (pictured earlier in the day before she changed and greeted Kate) in the aptly named Liberty Wrap Dress in Cerise Garden by one of Kate's favourite brands Really Wild, to model Kelly Brook in the white lace For Love & Lemons Rosalita Dress and the fabulous Dame Judi Dench.

The Duchess was aptly attired for the flower show in a new floral dress by French brand Rochas (with thanks to Japanese Ginger). The Floral Printed Silk Crepe de Chine Dress features a fitted waist, flared skirt and silk lining. Made in Italy, the piece is "Rochas emerald and off-white". As of writing, the dress is available in very limited sizes (reduced by up to 60%) at The Outnet. It originally retailed for $2633.

The Outnet

The dress is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2016 Collection.

The Outnet

Rochas is a fashion, beauty, and perfume house founded in 1925 by French designer Marcel Rochas the first designer of 2/3-length coats and skirts with pockets. It is currently owned by the multinational Inter Parfums. Rochas' clients include Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Lopez, Rachel Weisz, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

For those searching for 'Repli-Kates', Kate's Closet and Royal RepliKate posted the $23 Olrain Vintage Floral Tea Dress at Amazon, the $56 Eva Mendes Collection Grazia Dress and the £435 Vivetta Midi Floral Tea Dress.

Kate wore her favourite L.K. Bennett Fern pumps.

L.K. Bennett

Kate accessorised with her £125 Monica Vinader Siren Wire Earrings. They are described as "These simple, sophisticated earrings are great for everyday wear. The organic, irregular shaped multi-faceted Green Onyx gemstone is encased in 18ct Gold Plated Vermeil on Sterling Silver."

Monica Vinader

Kate wore her hair in a ponytail which perfectly showcased the dress and earrings.


To celebrate Children's Hospice Week, the Duchess has released a video message praising the extraordinary "dedication" and "inspirational" staff and volunteers. In the message, the Duchess highlights the fact there are more than 49,000 children and young people across the U.K. with life-limiting conditions. As patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Kate noted the "incredible difference" it makes to families. "They deliver first-class care in a safe environment that feels as close to home as possible, full of colour, warmth, love and support". The video features the track Lego House by EACH ambassador Ed Sheeran

The Duchess added:

"Today as we mark the beginning of Children's Hospice Week - I hope you will join me in shining a light on the dedicated and inspirational staff and volunteers, and the lifeline services they provide for children and their families. The work they do is extraordinary, and it really does make a world of difference."

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of Together For Short Lives, said the organisation is thrilled to have Kate's support "The Duchess's words, and her amazing support for Children's Hospice Week since 2013, have been transformational, helping to raise awareness of the needs of seriously ill children and families and to show that help is at hand. Families coming to terms with the heart-breaking news that their child will die young often say that it is the most isolating time and they simply don't know where to turn for help. That's why the Duchess's words are so poignant - it's a clear message that help is available from the remarkable children's hospice and palliative care services right across the UK. This support can make a world of difference for families."

The video was filmed during Kate's visit to EACH in Quidenham in January. The Duchess wore a rich green Hobbs London skirt suit, the Gerard Darel Josephine Blouse, black suede Gianvito Rossi pumps and Kiki McDonough Morganite earrings.

During the visit Kate met Isabella Benton.

In an interview with The Mirror, Isabella's family discuss the progress she has made thanks to EACH:

"Little Isabella, from Dereham in Norfolk, has up to three tonic-clonic seizures – a type of generalised seizure that affects the entire brain – and takes four anti-convulsant medicines twice a day. She had the seizures mostly in her sleep, so Michala and dad Roger have a camera in her bedroom to keep check. Although the seizures have reduced in frequency over the last few years, they appear to have become more violent. After undergoing unsuccessful surgery in 2015, the family hit an all-time low and 42-year-old Michala was diagnosed with depression.
But Isabella has since made progress, with new medication giving her more freedom and more mobility than ever before. However, she still needs constant supervision. Support from East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH) has also helped her to learn and develop life and social skills, through creative activities such as painting.
Michala says: “I can’t imagine what life would be like without the care and support from EACH. It gives us the time to do things with our other girls - simple things like going to the park, baking cakes, going for a picnic or to the seaside - things which are a challenge for all of us to do with Isabella."

Children's Hospice Week runs from today until 28 May. This year, the focus is on "turning up the volume" on children's palliative care to raise awareness about the number and needs of children with life-limiting conditions and to celebrate all the lifeline services that children and families rely on. The goal is to amplify families' voices and change people's perceptions about some of the myths surrounding children's palliative care. If you wish to find out more or donate please click here.


Finally, an update on the green Dolce & Gabbana dress Kate wore in Canada last September. 

Middleton Maven shared news it has been re-released in several colourways and prints. The Short-Sleeved Fluted-Hem Cady Dress works particularly well in powder blue with pink trim. It is described: "It's the powder-blue hue and calf-skimming length that makes Dolce & Gabbana's stretch-cady dress so perfect for summer parties. Pale-pink chiffon trims the short sleeves and fluted hem, while slender neckline ties and decorative cream buttons enhance the ladylike appeal. Contrast the powdery hue with gleaming gold sandals." We know the Duchess loves having her favourite pieces in multiple colours - I think this would be a fabulous addition and perfect for a summer engagement. It's available at Matches.

The dress is also available in the pastel hue Hydrangea Print and in 'Bread Print' taken from the designers' bold picture of Italian heritage for the SS17 Collection.

And that's a wrap for today. I expect we'll hear an engagement announcement for the Duchess shortly.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Radiant Bride Pippa Middleton Marries James Matthews Surrounded by Family and Friends

The big day has arrived! Following months of planning, excitement and anticipation what has become known as the society wedding of 2017 took place this morning as Pippa Middleton and James Matthews got married at St Mark's Church, Englefield.

A beaming Michael and Pippa arrived in an open-topped vintage Jaguar.

The Duchess arrived with the bridesmaids and pageboys ahead of Pippa. They included Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Countess Philippa Hoyos, Lily French, Avia Horner, Casimir Tatos, Edward Sebire and William Ward. They were in adorable ensembles commissioned from Pepa & Co.

Kate attempts to keep the children quiet.

I love this photo of Kate and the children watching Pippa's arrival :)

Kate and Charlotte enjoying a peek. :)

George and Charlotte with Nanny Maria Teresa wearing her Norland uniform.

Princess Charlotte takes a look around before resuming her bridesmaid duties.

Whilst the Duchess didn't have a 'formal role', she carried out the duties of a matron of honour escorting the children and adjusting Pippa's train.

Of course, the scene is very much reminiscent from the royal wedding in 2011. I'm sure Kate was delighted to return the favour and be there by her sister's side today.

William and Harry arrived at St Mark's together shortly before the ceremony began. Harry was not accompanied by his girlfriend Meghan Markle although it is expected she will join him at the reception.

A smiling Carole and James Middleton arriving. As she did for the royal wedding, Carole chose a pastel pink Catherine Walker coat-dress with a nipped waist and button down front. She teamed it with a wide-brim hat.

James Middleton's girlfriend Donna Air opted for a cream Emilia Wickstead design and a Jane Taylor hat.

Princess Eugenie in a navy open-shoulder Paule Ka dress.

William and Kate's close friends James and Laura Meade also attended. James Meade is a very close friend of Prince William and delivered the joint best man's speech with Thomas van Straubenzee at the royal wedding in 2011. The Old Etonians poked fun at the Prince during the speech saying "he tries to be a man of the people, but his student cupboards were jam-packed full of Duchy Originals". William attended his stag do last month, a surfing weekend in Devon, and Mr Meade is also very friendly with the Duchess, whom he escorted to the 2007 Badminton Horse Trials during William and Kate's brief separation. James was chosen as one of Princess Charlotte's godparents. The couple were joined by another of Charlotte's godparents - Kate's close friend Sophie Carter.

Gary Goldsmith and his daughter Tallulah.

King of tennis Roger Federer and his wife Mirka beamed as they walked to the church.

Parents of the groom David and Jane Matthews.

Claudia and Tom Bradby.

The happy couple. :)

Mr and Mrs Matthews looking very happy as they walked hand in hand!

A beautiful photo.

St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire, just six miles from the quaint village of Bucklebury where Kate, Pippa and James grew up, was a perfect choice for the ceremony. The Middletons reportedly attend the church regularly; they were joined by the Cambridges, Pippa and James Matthews for Christmas Day service in December. The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Nick Wynne-Jones. James and Pippa have been friends for over a decade, and briefly dated in 2012 before rekindling their romance in 2015. After less than a year as a couple James proposed with a three-carat Asscher-cut diamond from jeweller Robinson Pelham. Financier James is the chief executive of Mayfair-based Eden Rock Capital Management Group, which he co-founded in 2001.

The parish church, dedicated to St Mark, consists of a tower and a spire, nave, south aisle, chancel and north aisle (or Englefield Chapel). It was extensively restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1857. In 1868, the tower was added in thirteenth century style, surmounted by a stone broach spire. The earliest part of the church, the nave, dates from about the year 1190, when the Norman style was giving way to the Early English style of architecture. The arcade, between the nave and the south aisle, the eastern triple window of the south aisle, the several doorways and the older of the two fonts are good examples of this transitional period. It's a beautiful church and a lovely choice.

Kate and Pippa were all smiles as they left the church.

Kate and Charlotte.

The Duchess left with the children following the ceremony.

A wave from Prince George.

The Middletons and the Matthews leave.

Kate said she was a little anxious about today but by all accounts these two did splendidly! :)

Pippa was a radiant bride in a bespoke Giles Deacon creation - crafted to give the impression of being seamless. Giles said of the collaboration: "I was thrilled to work with Pippa on her wedding dress. The dress is constructed with a cap sleeve, high neckline and features a corseted bodice with draping to the front and a heart-shaped detail at the back. The bespoke silk cotton lace was hand appliquéd to create the illusion of the dress having 'no seams'. The lace bodice is embroidered with pearl detailing over an organza and tulle underskirt, which has layer upon layer to enable a floor-sweeping movement. It's a privilege to show the craftsmanship that my team produces in London and a real testament to Pippa's support of British fashion." 

It's a beautiful gown, the cut out detail on the back offers a romantic twist on an elegant design. The dress was perfect for Pippa!

The bride wore a veil by milliner Stephen Jones made from fine tulle with a dégradé of embroidered tulle. Pippa's 'Maidenhair Fern Tiara' with matching headpiece was hand made by Robinson Pelham. Pol Garcia did Pippa's hair for the day, both Pippa and Carole have been clients of his for some time.

Pippa's earrings are a familiar pair: the bride wore the Robinson Pelham diamond drop earrings which were originally commissioned for the royal wedding in 2011.

Robinson Pelham

The Telegraph reports: "The diamond earrings were part of a set of jewellery commissioned by the Middleton family for the royal wedding, from Chelsea-based jeweller Robinson Pelham. The Duchess's earrings featured an acorn and an oak leaf, both part of the Middleton family's coat of arms, while Pippa's pair had a more understated, classic pear-cut diamond drop hanging from a floral motif. It's these earrings that Pippa has chosen to recycle for her own big day, indicating their significance to the bride."

Another look at the tiara and earrings.

Pippa's ivory satin shoes are the Manolo Blahnik Seneca style. "Carefully constructed from lustrous oyster grey satin, these sought-after shoes can fit seamlessly into any formal occasion, from a wedding to a back tie ball. These Seneca Manolo Blahnik sandals feature a sleek pointed toe, a signature crystal embellished buckle and an ankle strap with side buckle fastening. They are available in limited sizes at FarFetch and Savannahs. With thanks to Middleton Maven!

The bridal bouquet by Lavender Green flowers was a collection of Peony, Sweet Pea, Astilba, Fressia, Waxflower, Green Bell and Alchemilla mollis.

A closer look at page boy George.

And two-year-old bridesmaid Princess Charlotte.

The bride and groom leave the church.

The Sunday Times reports Kate read a prayer during the service. More from the article:

'While Pippa looked resplendent in a Giles Deacon dress and the groom James Matthews looked like the cat who had got all the double cream, it was the gaggle of eight pageboys and bridesmaids — including Prince George and Princess Charlotte — who caught the eye. Not always for the most charming reasons: one pageboy appeared to flash a two-finger salute at photographers gathered for the big day, dubbed “the wedding of the rear”, and George was spotted in tears after being scolded by his mother.
The service included the hymns Tell Out My Soul, I Vow to Thee My Country and Be Thou My Vision. The Duchess of Cambridge read a prayer while the bride’s brother James Middleton and the best man Spencer Matthews gave readings.
A guest inside the church said: “It was an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere. The bride looked stunning and Michael [Middleton, the father of the bride] looked puffed with pride. Prince George was being very cheeky and playful, entertaining the bridesmaids, and he seemed to be hugely enjoying himself. “The flowers were like nothing I’ve ever seen, every inch of the church was decorated. The flowers alone must have cost tens of thousands of pounds.'

The Sun reports Kate sketched a picture for the Order of Service

"Art-fan Kate created the piece which sister Pippa and groom James Matthews printed in the order of service for the big day. The piece was printed in the order of service and wowed guests at the wedding service in the church which dates back to the 12th century on Saturday. Reverend Nick Wynne-Jones, who led proceedings, said it was a “lovely piece”. And later groom James gushed over his new sister-in-law’s drawing during his speech to around 300 guests. Speaking late in the night at 11.30pm, he said: “And to Pippa’s sister Kate, such ability – a beautiful drawing of St Mark’s church in the order of service." Then, referring to Kate’s reading as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte as pageboy and pagegirl, he added: “A flawless reading and a kind loan of two adorable little ones.”

A glimpse of Kate's sketch.

Afterwards guests walked to Englefield House for a reception of champagne and canapés. It is understood speeches from Michael Middleton, James Matthew and his brother Spencer were made at the reception.

This evening, guests will gather inside the sparkling glass building erected on the grounds of the Middleton family home for a glittering Scottish-themed evening. The Mail reports: "The 300 guests at the wedding are set to enjoy a wealth of food sourced from the region around Glen Affric, including haggis canapés and lamb, all washed down with local whisky. The couple have even brought in a bagpiper."

The Duchess looked regal in a bespoke Alexander McQueen dress. More from Harper's Bazaar: "The Duchess of Cambridge wore Alexander McQueen to Pippa Middleton's wedding today, the same designer she wore to her own wedding in 2011. She chose a somewhat less dramatic look for her sister's nuptials - an understated pale pink, ankle-length dress, which she paired with a matching fascinator. The Duchess visited McQueen's HQ in recent weeks to meet with Sarah Burton to discuss the design. Presumably the Duchess didn't want to overshadow her sister on her big day, thus the pared-down, yet elegant look. The decision shows Kate's ongoing loyalty to the British brand, which she's worn on multiple occasions since the royal wedding."

The pale pink dress was an excellent choice for the day, encompassing a classic McQueen silhouette for an overall regal look without risk of overshadowing the bride. Kate's dress encompasses elements of the Ruched Wrap Long Dress and the past season Ivory Bell Sleeve Wool Crepe Dress (with thanks to MF Stylist Perth).


The Duchess wore a bespoke hat by milliner Jane Taylor.

The Duchess wore a striking morganite pair of earrings by Kiki McDonough. Rebecca English noted the special edition pair are worth £7,000.

Kiki McDonough

Kate completed the look with her Gianvito Rossi Praline Pumps.

My Theresa

You can view an arrival video here.

And a departure video here.

A nice wrap up video from The Telegraph.

The couple drove off in a classic car.

At the wedding reception, guests changed into glamorous evening looks before enjoying a delicious meal. The Sun reported "Music could be heard belting out from the glass marquee from a live band on Saturday evening, including jazz renditions of Call on Me by Eric Prydz and The White Stripes banger Seven Nation Army. Best man Spencer Matthews, the younger brother of groom James, could be heard earning rounds of applause speech which took place at the late hour of 11pm.". Prince Harry drove back to London to take his girlfriend Meghan Markle to the reception. Meghan reportedly wore a black gown and a white jacket.

Mail Online Twitter Feed

A video of the Spitfire flypast.

The bride and groom, William, Kate, Harry, Meghan and guests enjoyed a night of dancing until 4 a.m. The Mail reports "Hundreds of VIP guests watched as footage of Pippa Middleton and her new husband was beamed onto the back of her family's £6million Berkshire mansion in a dazzling display during the reception on Saturday night. The newlyweds' faces were projected onto the windows of Bucklebury Manor along with psychedelic lights and, at one point, what appeared to be the silhouette of a shapely dancing woman against a green background." It sounds like it was a fabulous night.

Daily Mail U.K. Twitter Feed

Congratulations James and Pippa! 

Wishing the couple a lifetime of happiness!