Following a quiet Christmas with the Middletons, the Cambridges were first publicly seen sitting in the audience of Cirque Du Soleil, which they attended with the Middletons and friends for Kate's 31st birthday. The night offered an opportunity for Kate to not only celebrate her birthday, but to unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening with family and friends.
William and Kate's first engagement of the year was a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, where they viewed Kate's first official portrait, by artist Paul Emsley. The divisive portrait received very harsh criticism with many stating it made the Duchess look older and failed to capture her sparkle.
|Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website|
Kate wore the French Connection Katherine Plains Top for her portrait sittings and the very pretty Whistles 'Sofia' dress for the viewing. Almost a year on, has your opinion of the portrait changed? Has it grown on you?
|Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website|
Kate was first candidly spotted out and about in 2013 shopping and grabbing lunch in Pret A Manger in a Zara Checked Print Cape and her Really Wild Seville Boots.
In February, the Cambridges holidayed with the Middletons in Mustique before Kate returned to engagements later that month with a visit to Action on Addiction's Hope House. The Duchess looked tanned and rested in a grey Max Mara Studio wrap dress.
In March, William, Kate and Harry travelled to Switzerland for the wedding of Mark Tomlinson and Laura Bechtolsheimer. Kate looked great in her ever-popular unidentified cream coat and the royal trio were all smiles on the day. Before flying home, William and Harry enjoyed a spot of skiing, however, pregnant Kate refrained and took in a quiet walk instead.
Upon their return, Kate paid a solo visit to the seaside town of Grimsby where she revealed the baby was kicking. There were many memorable moments from the visit most notably when Kate made an unscheduled stop at St Andrew's Hospice where she met ten patients. One of the elderly patients said, "I'm waiting for you to be Queen." Kate laughed and said, "You might be waiting a long time!" Also on this visit, a local thought the Duchess had accidentally let slip she was expecting a girl. Of course, we now know with certainty the onlooker was mistaken :)
The townspeople of Grimsby were incredibly excited and Kate looked lovely in her Hobbs 'Celeste' coat and Great Plains 'Cezanne' Dress.
In March, William and Kate made an unexpected appearance at Cheltenham. It marked the couple's first appearance at the racing festival in five years. They arrived just in time to cheer on Mike Tindall's horse, Monbeg Dude, participating in the Gold Cup Steeple Chase.
At the St Patrick's Day Aldershot Parade Kate revealed "she'd like a boy" and William would like a girl (despite the outcome, I don't think doting dad William was one bit disappointed to discover his first born was a boy :)).
Kate had a slightly sticky situation when her heel caught in the grate (all of us ladies can attest to the perils of wearing heels) but her Prince came to the rescue!
On March 19, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the offices of Child Bereavement UK, at the charity's headquarters in The Clare Charity Centre in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire. During a walkabout the couple were given two teddy bears for Baby Cambridge. It was the first time I thought Kate was beginning to show and the Goat Redgrave Coat and Topshop Contrast Collar Dress were stellar choices for her.
Whilst William and Kate were talking with bereaved parents William said, "I feel like I should give you all a hug". Each of the mothers and fathers in the group then took it in turns to hug the couple. A very touching visit for the Duke and Duchess! There were some very cute photos shared via twitter from the event, such as this one of the Cambridges popping bubble wrap with a group of children.
The next day, Kate joined The Queen and Prince Philip at Baker Street station to mark 150 years of the London Underground. When Kate heard The Queen and Prince Philip had planned to undertake the engagement she asked if she could be part of the visit and Her Majesty formally invited her. A senior royal aide said, "she just fancied it, she asked if she could come along." It showed an interest on Kate's part, in learning more about her role by accompanying senior royals on engagements.
In late March, Kate volunteered with the scouts in the snow and appeared to have a wonderful time outdoor cooking and fire-lighting with the group despite the cold climate. The Duchess's support of the organisation saw a surge in the number of volunteers applying to join.
|Great Tower Activity Scout Centre|
William and Kate made a two-day trip to Scotland and began the visit with a tour of the Emirates Arena, one of the venues for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games (there's a very cute video of Kate talking to a baby from a walkabout afterwards). The couple also accompanied Prince Charles, known as The Duke of Rothsay in Scotland, in opening the new Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre at Dumfries House and toured BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines.
Kate enjoyed some retail therapy in Holt, Norfolk in April near the couple's reported new country home Anmer Hall. Renovations remain ongoing, however, it is envisaged it will be ready for the Cambridge family in 2014.
On April 19th, the Palace announced the Duchess had decided to lend her patronage to three new causes, The Natural History Museum, Place2Be and SportsAid. Three excellent choices combining Kate's love of working with children and sports.
Kate and Carole were photographed shopping for a Moses basket.
Kate chose a mint Mulberry coat for The Queen's Scouts Parade at Windsor.
Kate chose the Erdem Sophia dress for her first public visit to patronage Place2Be where she launched a counselling programme and took part in a tree planting ceremony.
|Place2Be Facebook Page|
Next we look at Kate's best maternity look, in my opinion - a beautiful bespoke Emilia Wickstead creation for an Art Room reception at the National Portrait Gallery. We had been hoping to see the Duchess in a custom-made piece and the empire line garment accommodated her bump perfectly. The sleeveless garment featured a round neckline in front and the pale blue colour was very pretty on Kate.
William, Kate and Harry had a magical time at the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden where they indulged their love of Harry Potter :)
To mark Children's Hospice Week, Kate recorded her first video message speaking about the "inspirational" work carried out by hospices. She also paid a visit to hospice Naomi House where she spent time with staff and patients.
The Duchess brought back her Topshop Florence Maternity Style for the wedding of close friends William van Cutsem and Rosie Ruck Keene in Ewelme, South Oxfordshire.
|Tily Pudwell Twitter Feed/Topshop|
And brightened up The Queen's Garden Party in Emilia Wickstead.
A radiant Kate joined the rest of the Royal Family for The Queen's Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey in a bespoke Jenny Packham outfit. The Duchess was very much blooming at the service and enjoyed talking with the younger royals outside afterwards.
In her final solo engagement before taking maternity leave, godmother Kate christened Royal Princess in Southampton wearing a Dalmation Print Coat by Hobbs. The print was an unexpected choice, but it's always interesting for anyone to change things up and she looked radiant.
Kate was pretty in pink McQueen for this year's Trooping The Colour.
I will never forget July 2013, and neither will the world's media who waited day in, day out at the Lindo Wing throughout the 'Great Kate Wait'. Naturally, the Palace never revealed Kate's due date and royal fans all over the world waited on tenterhooks for the big news. The atmosphere was palpable and people all over the world awaited the joyous news that William and Kate's first baby, the heir to the throne, had been born.
It was bright and early on July 22 when news broke Kate had been admitted to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London in the early stages of labour (to relive the day check out our Live Blog chronicling the day Kate went into labour).
|Clarence House Twitter Feed|
Excitement was at fever pitch.
|David Wilkinson CNN Twitter Feed|
At 8.30 p.m, we heard the joyous news that The Duchess of Cambridge had safely delivered a healthy baby boy weighting 8 lb 6 oz. Prince William released a brief statement which summed up the feelings of any new parent beautifully: "We couldn't be happier."
The announcement was placed on the easel at Buckingham Palace by The Queen's press secretary Alisa Anderson.
On July 23, proud parents William and Kate introduced their son to the world.
A thrilled William and Kate walked over to the press pen and spoke about their son:
'The Duchess said: "It's been very emotional. It's very special. Any parent will know what this feeling is like." While Prince William revealed: "He's a big boy, quite heavy. We're still working on a name. He has a pair of lungs on him that's for sure."
Confirming the Prince was overdue the new father said: "I will remind him of his tardiness when he's older." And with a broad smile William added, "He's got her looks thankfully" to which the Duchess replied, "No, no, no, I'm not sure about that." The Prince also jokingly said, "He has more hair than me."
His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
|Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website|
The family returned to Kensington Palace for the night. Her Majesty and Prince Harry met little George the following morning before the Cambridges travelled to the Middleton family home in Bucklebury where they remained for weeks. It offered new parents William and Kate a chance to spend those first precious weeks with their son away from the media glare.
|Mc Fadden/Mail Online|
On August 20, the Palace released official photos of William, Kate, George and Lupo. The candid images were taken by Kate's father, Michael Middleton, at the family home in Bucklebury and offered an informal look at the Cambridge family. From a technical perspective they were far from perfect but in many ways that's what I loved about them. They were the type of photos one would see in any family album. William and Kate hoped to achieve a "natural look" and it is very much evident in the pictures.
|Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website|
Kate and George joined William in Anglesey in late August where the family spent their final weeks on the Island before departing. Kate was photographed grocery shopping at her local Waitrose in a Ralph Lauren top, Paige Denim 'Skyline' Skinny Jeans and Sebago 'Bala' Boat Shoes.
At the end of August, Kate returned to public engagements to bid farewell to Anglesey with William at the Ring O' Fire Marathon. It was a poignant day for the couple who loved their time on the Island, where they enjoyed privacy and normality. It was undoubtedly a difficult decision for Prince William to leave his role as a search and rescue pilot with the RAF to take on a greater royal role.
September brought a full-time move to the Cambridges' Kensington Palace home, Apartment 1A and an appearance at the Tusk Trust Awards.
|The Times Twitter Feed|
William and Kate brought Prince George to Balmoral, Scotland in late September to enjoy a family break in the Scottish highlands. It provided an opportunity for Prince Philip to meet his great-grandson. Prince William took part in a shoot with close friend Thomas van Straubenzee while Kate enjoyed down time with Thomas's wife Melissa and little George.
The Cambridges also attended a Sunday service with The Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall whilst there.
The Duchess made a sporty return to solo engagements in October with a visit to a SportsAid athlete workshop at Olympic Park. Kate found out more about the charity during chats with athletes, attended a mock sports conference and displayed her fabulous post baby figure during a volleyball game.
The Christening of Prince George took place on October 23 at The Chapel Royal, St James's Palace. Archbishop Justin Welby baptised the future King by splashing his head three times with water from the River Jordan. William and Kate chose seven godparents for their son - Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Zara Tindall, Julia Samuel, Hugh Grosvenor, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, William van Cutsem and Oliver Baker.
Kate looked elegant in bespoke Alexander McQueen.
And little George was superbly well behaved :)
The following night Kate supported her patronage Action on Addiction at the 100 Women In Hedge Funds Gala at Kensington Palace. Kate spoke of little George's christening: "He was such a good boy actually, he's not always like that, but the people there, lots going on, it's slightly distracting." The Duchess looked beautiful in a Jenny Packham gown (yes, yes it needed a necklace to complete the look but it was a splendid choice).
In late October, Kate was photographed enjoying a spot of retail therapy at Zara Home.
William and Kate met London Poppy Day supporters as part of the annual Poppy Appeal on November 7. Following a reception at Kensington Palace, the Cambridges took the Routemaster bus to High Street Kensington station where they surprised commuters.
Kate brought back her Orla Kiely 'Birdie' dress for a visit to ex-offenders charity Only Connect with Prince William on November 19. It was an interesting choice for William and Kate; it is important to see them supporting a diverse range of organisations and raising awareness in different fields. According to the Palace, the couple wanted to learn more about the organisation and the people it benefits. Possible research for new patronages too, perhaps?
The Duchess attended a forum for her patronage Place2Be on November 20. In a short navy skirt, Kate narrowly avoided a 'Marilyn Moment' before she stepped inside. The real story of the day was the interest Kate showed in the charity. This is evidenced by members of the organisations and members of the media who were present, not to mention her decision to stay an hour later to listen to two sessions on addiction and self-harm. Comments from others present at the forum included, "She was so interested", "She's very bright" and "You can see this means something to her".
Kate chose an elegant Temperley London dress for the SportsBall, the annual gala dinner of her patronage SportsAid.
December 3 proved an interesting night for royal watchers. Not only did The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend their first white-tie event - the annual Diplomatic Reception, but it marked the first time Kate has worn a tiara since her wedding day. The Duchess looked regal in The Queen Mother's Papyrus tiara - a piece we are all hoping to see again very soon.
William and Kate graced the red carpet on December 5, for the UK première of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Nelson Mandela passed away during the screening of the movie, and as the Cambridges left the screening, William made a brief statement: "I just wanted to say it's incredibly sad and tragic news. We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. It's very sad." Both the Duke and Duchess looked visibly moved by the tragic news. You can watch a video of William's statement at ITV News.
The movie's star Idris Elba later spoke about hearing the sad news: "The Duchess, Kate sort of turned to me and looked at me as she had her phone and I wondered what was wrong with her because she looked quite emotional. And my girlfriend looked at me and handed the phone and I looked down and there it was, Mandela had passed. I looked back at Prince William and Kate and they were just in tears with me."
The next day offered one of my favourite engagements of the year: Kate's visit to Shooting Star Hospice. Her Royal Highness threw herself into the visit, playing with puppet frogs, singing well-known children's songs and hugging one very adorable little girl. Dressed in the Reiss 'Delaney' jacket and navy cords, Kate was comfortably dressed for an afternoon of fun!
|Shooting Star Hospice|
On December 11, the Cambridges began the day by signing the book of condolences for Nelson Mandela at South Africa House.
That evening, the couple carried out their final joint engagement for 2013. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended an advance screening of David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive 3D at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London. They both appeared to have had a wonderful time and I loved their accessories for the night - 3D glasses!
Christmas festivities began on December 18 with Her Majesty's pre-Christmas luncheon.
William and Kate spent Prince George's first Christmas at Sandringham with the Royal Family. They began the day with communion at St. Mary Magdalene's Church on the estate before making the annual walk to the 11 a.m. church service and meeting well-wishers. Kate revealed George opened his presents but was more interested in the wrapping paper!
William and Kate held hands as they made the church walk. They both looked very happy and content, no doubt looking forward to the coming year, too. I cannot think of a better photo to round up the post.
2013 was a fantastic royal year and 2014 looks to be another wonderful one. In the New Year, we will see the Duchess taking on more engagements; the Cambridges' Australia/New Zealand tour in April promises to be their best one yet and perhaps Prince George could get a little brother or sister, too? What are your highlights of the year? Which of Kate's looks are your favourite?
As for the blog, we have many exciting posts planned that we hope you'll enjoy, and we'll also be adding new features to the site to make it more user friendly and easy to navigate. We want to sincerely thank each and every one of you who took the time to visit the blog and comment in 2013 and hope you'll join us throughout 2014. Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!