Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Royal Week in Balmoral, William and Kate's Landlady speaks, Orla Kiely, Max Mara, Matthew Williamson + More

Good evening Duchess Kate readers,

We have a mixed selection of updates to share tonight. William, Kate and George are reportedly still in Balmoral; the trio arrived by helicopter last Sunday and have been enjoying a relaxing break on the Scottish estate with senior royals. Yesterday, a couple of photos of William emerged showing the Prince driving a 4x4, accompanied by close friend Thomas van Straubenzee. Many will recall Prince William attended Mr. van Straubenzee and Lady Melissa Percy's wedding in June. The pair are very close friends.

Meanwhile, there hasn't been a sighting of Kate and George since they arrived in Scotland. It's quite cold at the moment (winter is very much beginning, we know this not only because of the cooler climate but Christmas stock is arriving in stores already).

Donald Stewart Photo Twitter Feed

British Royals noted New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key is currently visiting Balmoral.

British Royals Twitter Feed

There is a possibility William and Kate will join the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for Sunday service at nearby church Crathie Kirk this morning. It will depend on whether or not the couple are in fact still there and, of course, on little George.


An interview with William and Kate's former landlady from their time at St. Andrews has surfaced offering some interesting insight into their time as students at St. Andrews University. Charlotte Smith spoke to iVillage about letting the Georgian style flat to Prince William, Kate and their friends Olivia Bleasdale and Fergus Boyd. Below we share a segment of the interview.


Tell us about the flat

It’s a Victorian terrace built in the Georgian style so it's four storeys high. We had the top two storeys which consisted of a very large sitting and dining room. We had one big twin bedroom, two single bedrooms and two double bedrooms. I think we must have bought it in 1993. Our daughter was up at St Andrew’s so we bought it as a buy-to-let for her and her friends.

And how did Prince William and Kate Middleton come to choose your flat to live in?

Traditionally we only accepted female 4th years, and we’d always done the letting of the flat by word of mouth. We’d asked the tenants who were leaving whether they’d heard of any responsible students who would like to take it. As it happened, one of the girls said that they had got some responsible people but the thing was that two of them were young men. We’d had an unfortunate experience with some boys in the flat once before and we were determined not to have young men there again. So I’d said no, not really, we don’t want to do that.

When did you meet Prince William and Kate Middleton for the first time?

We arranged to meet Kate Middleton, Fergus and Olivia before they moved in but we thought we’d better not ask to see Prince William because we thought his credit rating must be quite good. But he insisted on meeting us. We happened to be up there doing a flat check and there he was suddenly, just out of the blue!

And was he friendly?

Very friendly, very charming, he came across as a thoroughly nice man.

And Kate?

She was very friendly. She had her younger brother there at the time, I think just visiting, and she was very caring, making sure that he knew what was going on. They came across as a very nice group of people.

Were they good tenants? Did they ever break anything?

"No, nothing at all. They were ideal. We tried to treat them like normal tenants and I think the town itself accepted Prince William as he was - he would walk into the shop, ride his bike.
The press got all sorts of weird ideas about where he was living and the sort of security he was supposed to have - we read one report where he was supposed to have steel walls which we know for a fact wasn’t the case! He really had a very normal student life up there."

The full interview can be read here!


Next, we take a look at Kate's 'go to' designers' offerings at Fashion Week. In our last post we looked at Temperley, Erdem and Jennny Packham; tonight we begin with Orla Kiely.


More from WWD:
'Inspired by generations of intrepid British travellers to Africa and India, and by the Girl Guides - Orla Kiely sent out a collection of sweet silhouettes with a military twist. There were cropped, dusty rose jackets with patch pockets and epaulets; navy blue coats with shiny gold buttons; and stiff raffa skirts with embroidered pockets.
Prints took their cue from the African savannah: Zebras, giraffes, rhinos and lions herded onto T-shirts, knits and flocked silk organza dresses with full skirts.'

Looking through the collection, one might find it difficult to imagine the Duchess in a number of the designs. Orla Kiely is renowned for her use of prints and incorporating them into her collections, not only clothing but her accessories range too. The styling is very youthful with models gracing the runway in berets and knee high socks; hemlines appear quite short too.


However, there are a number of lovely dresses I could see Kate wearing and accessorising quite well. The animal prints could work very well for the Duchess; the light and floaty dresses for example, could be potential choices for a royal tour. Kate has a talent for wearing clothing which looks quite plain in photos but she always pulls it off with elegance. For a visit to an Oxford school last year, she wore the Orla Kiely Birdie dress, not necessarily the most striking piece in photos, but it looked fantastic on Kate.

All three Middleton women are fans of the label, and I expect we'll see Kate in more Orla Kiely in the future. Below we look at four more styles from the collection.


The Duchess has became quite the fan of Max Mara over the past year. We're gradually seeing her incorporate new labels into her wardrobe and I think the brand could become a firm favourite for Kate moving forward. I've always loved Max Mara coats, and each year they offer a selection of feminine, ladylike yet wearable outerwear garments. How did they fare with their spring collection? Take a look...

Max Mara

There were an abundance of neutral shades on display, off whites, pearl beige and pearl grey. The tailoring looks impeccable on a number of the garments, and it's a dressy collection with plenty of elements to like. Having said that, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the collection; perhaps more colour and variety would have made it more favourable. What do you think?


Finally, we look at four styles from Matthew Williamson's collection. Again, plenty of possibilities for the Cambridges reported tour of Australia next spring.

Matthew Williamson

Two of Kate's more popular coats are back in stock at the moment. With thanks to those of you who shared  information that Kate's M Missoni Lurex Trim Tweed Coat is available in limited sizes at Loehmann's. The coat is currently reduced from $835 to $399.


Kate's Temperley Odele Sheepskin Coat is also back in stock at the moment. The garment is feminine and sharp with a nipped in waist. Leather trim and gold metal hardware complete the look. Kate has worn the piece several times, whilst walking Lupo and for various shopping trips.

Sandra Stahel/What Kate Wore FB/ @Chayo_1985 Instagram

It's certainly an investment piece, retailing for a whopping €2,720.



A quick reminder for UK readers, Series 4 of Downton Abbey premières tonight at 9 pm on ITV. I'm ridiculously excited about the return of the show and seeing the direction it's going to take. One notable addition to the cast will be Lady Mary's son George. Actress Michelle Dockery jokingly addresses rumours the royal couple took inspiration from her on screen son's name:

'The day we saw the headlines with the name of the Prince was an amazing moment. I couldn't believe it at first, but the royal couple are fans of the show, so who knows...'

The show returns to the US in January.


Speaking of Prince George, William and Kate have applied for his baby passport. It is thought the proud parents plan to take him with them on a tour of Australia and New Zealand next year.

Until next time, have a great weekend :)


  1. Thank you Charlotte! I've been googling Kate all day trying to find some new news and tonight you provided me with the news :) I do hope that they go to church with the Queen tomorrow , Gerogie and all!

    1. It has been one very slow week for news. I'm hoping we hear an engagement announcement or two next week :)

    2. Maybe when they are announced, they will be coming back with a bang, a few weeks of engagement schdule! That will be nice!

  2. Hello Charlotte/'Duchess Kate' blog readers. I enjoyed reading the interview with William and Kate's former landlady; very interesting that she said that she wasn't too sure initially whether she wanted William and his male friend to live in her flat!
    Goodness, the sheepskin coat that you picture Kate wearing in the photos is expensive!
    Have just received the new 'Kate' biography by Katie Nicoll via the post, it contains all sorts of new bits of information/facts I've not read before. It includes comments from people who met and interacted with Kate before she knew William, for example. As someone wrote on an 'Amazon' review, it seems to be intended for the US market. However, it's curious that there's more detailed information in this predominantly US publication than most British books about Kate and William. Also, as people have mentioned before, publications outside the UK publish photos of Kate that are not available in books/magazines here, though we can see them online...and can view them through links on your blog, so I find it very useful! I wouldn't know of the existence of such photos otherwise. It IS interesting to see Kate in her 'off duty' wardrobe, though some could argue that it is intrusive..everyone wants a 'piece' of her, and I am guilty of that as well...Very sorry to hear in one of your previous messages that you are receiving unpleasant messages; this is completely unacceptable.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Maureen.

      The candid photo debate is a difficult one and it's constantly ongoing. It does seem unfair that the British press cannot publish the occasional candid when the US can, I guess it's a fine line and the press are so conscious of everything that happened with Diana.

    2. Maureen , only speaking for myself here. As much as I love the candid pictures of Kate, I am so thankful that there is a bar on photos in England. It would be fine with me if there was one in US too. I am one of those people who oh and ahh but I am absolutely for privacy.

    3. I'm sorry it's not that I want to see such photos but as a British taxpayer funding the royals it does seen unfair our press can't publish them yet they can b viewed abroad. Our press don't have freedom. Annie. Yorkshire.

  3. Couple of royal occasions that William and Kate missed while at Balmoral. Thw wedding of Alexander Fellows, a Spencer first cousin (his bride Alexandra looked particularly beautiful) and the Boodles boxing ball where William and Kate were twice photographed before their marriage. Prince Harry was present at both. Zara and Beatrice also attended the ball as did Isabella Branson and her husband.

    No doubt some will say that William and Kate's absence was due to his sometimes tense relationship with the Spencers for the former, and the presence of Isabella at the latter, but more likely the couple considered important to spend time with the queen and duke at Balmoral. Hopefully, the Cambridges will attend the Braemar games some year - always a great royal occasion in Scotland.

  4. You are up late/up early, Charlotte, if you are in the UK, now! Thanks for your comments. By the way, picking up on remarks I think that you made in a previous 'comments' section, I believe you suggested that you & some others feel that Kate's hair does not look quite as professional now as it looked when it was cared for by Richard Ward and his team. Do you think it likely that Amanda Cook-Tucker (I think her name is) is also colouring Kate's hair? Being a bit daft, I presumed that Kate was still having it coloured by his team in the salon, but I suppose, on reflection, it's not very likely..I did wonder if Richard Ward & Co, 'fell from royal grace' (!) as he spoke about attending to Kate on her wedding day, but perhaps 'royal permission' was granted to enable him to do this, or a 'blind eye' approach was employed. Fiona Cairns spoke a little about working with Kate to produce the wedding cake, and Sarah Burton also made a few comments about working with Kate in designing the wedding dress. It's interesting that Kate has turned to a hairdresser who has been cutting William's & Harry's hair for years (or so I read, I believe). Kate doubtless feels that she can be trusted as regards privacy. Was surprised that Amanda recently spoke to Katie Nicoll and stated that Kate was very uneasy at facing the cameras after Prince George's birth. (I would have expected her to be completely confidential) Perhaps, though, the Royals are happy that information about them leaks out in this way, it makes them seem more human.

  5. wonderful post dear Charlotte. I love reading this interview and all your info as usual. kudos to you dear.

  6. Thanks for the nice post, Charlotte!

    Hoping for some photos and more Duchess news soon.

    I've got to say: I'm very envious of all the viewers in GB that got to see Downton Abbey tonight! :o)

  7. Charlotte I love your posts so much! Even though I am an avid Kate-follower and follow many of the Kate pages regularly, you always manage to add something new that I hadn't read yet. Always well-written and always great photos. I just get so happy every time a new post from you pops up! :)

    1. That is very kind of you, thank you so much!

  8. Funny Charlotte I was just going to ask you about William ,Kate and George and then poof , a new post.

    Very curious about who got those pictures of the Queen , Prince Philip and William? Hmmm how were they able to do that?
    I know this is odd but I feel somewhat relieved for them that there are no new pictures. Sure I want to see George like everyone else but , I can wait.

    Alas I will have to wait again for the new Downton Abbey Series. Looking forward to that.

    Hope all is well with you Charlotte and I hope your studies are going well. Have a lovely Sunday!

    1. I am surprised photos have emerged and I'm also glad they've been able to enjoy a private break away. Scotland is a beautiful place :)

  9. I would love to see Scotland too , I'm thinking I'll stick to seeing it in the Spring or Summer. Being from Central Calif. I'm kind of a whimp when it comes to cold weather. :)

  10. Sorry, I would never buy such expensive clothes.

  11. OMG please don't give AAAANNYYY downton spoilers for the peasants who have to wait until January!

    Thx a million!

    ps great post by the way, love the runway analysis!!!

  12. Do you suppose that Will, Kate and George are staying at his cottage on the estate? The pictures taken of it in summer looks like the landscape is very green and restful. The overhanging roof and porch could be cozy places to relax and read, or view the flora and fauna.

  13. Penny, 13 yrs, USA22 September 2013 at 19:48

    Ha! Wish Downton Abbey was starting for us poor people in the U.S. :( I just might have to read the spoilers... ;)

  14. The landlady's interview reads like an advertisement for her property but more importantly, it's a pity that she felt the need to mention security (no steel walls). TMI.


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