Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Kate Loves: Birthdays

To mark Kate's 32nd birthday tomorrow, I thought it an appropriate time to look back at how the Duchess has celebrated childhood birthdays, her 21st, and of course her reported plans for this year.

Birthdays at the Middleton home were always marked with a keen sense of occasion. Long before the family business Party Pieces - a party supplies and themes online business - was born, Carole Middleton convinced her friend George Brown of the importance of children's birthdays - even if the child was only one year old.

Mum of three Mrs Brown had decided she wasn't going to mark her youngest, Nicola's birthday. Upon hearing this, a surprised Carole insisted they celebrate and brought Kate (who was just a baby at the time) over with cake and hats, and a splendid day was had by all.

© George Brown

Each and every childhood birthday would have been a day of fun, games and enjoyment at the Middleton family home. In fact, birthdays were such a special time, when the family moved to Jordan in 1984, Kate learned to sing Happy Birthday in Arabic before English, much to the amusement of others around her.

The Middleton Family Flickr

Over the years, details from childhood birthday parties have surfaced, including Kate's interview for the Party Pieces website back in 2010, in which she reveals her favourite childhood party memory was the "amazing white rabbit marshmallow cake that Mummy made me for when I was seven" and her love for dancing. The future Duchess also revealed she thinks a camping party is the ideal party theme for boys, no doubt a possibility for little George as he gets older.

Party Pieces

Party Pieces: What was your best party memory?

Catherine Middleton: The amazing white rabbit marshmallow cake that Mummy made for me when I was seven.

PP: And your worst party memory?

CM: I remember being very upset that the pink fluffy shoes I won in pass the parcel didn’t fit so I had to give them to my little sister — not a great party memory!

PP: Did you have a favorite party game?

CM: Musical statues — I have always been a keen dancer!

PP: What makes a good party bag?

CM: Anything that Mummy would normally never allow me to have. They were always such a treat.

PP: What was your best dressing up outfit?

CM: By far the best dressing up outfit I ever had was a wonderful pair of clown dungarees, which my Granny made. They were white with big red spots and she used a small hula hoop for the waistband — genius!

PP: Have you had any cake disasters?

CM: I tried making my brother’s cake one year but I forgot to add the self-raising flour. Obviously the cake never rose so I used the flat sponge and turned it into a trifle cake! We still managed to use candles and it’s a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t like cake. Not sure my brother agreed at the time!

PP: What was your favorite party food?

CM: Definitely jelly. Every time I have it now it reminds me of my childhood.

PP: What party foods would be in your shopping basket?

CM: Grapes, carrot sticks, fruit juice boxes, popcorn, mini cupcakes, home made sandwiches — with crusts off!

PP: What is the best party theme for boys?

CM: A camping party. A great way to get daddies involved and it can all take place outside. Ask your guests to bring a sleeping bag and warm clothes. Spend the day camp building and have a small fire with marshmallows and warm soup. Be prepared for a move inside when it comes to bedtime!

PP: What is the best party theme for girls?

CM: A cooking party. Although they can be messy they are great fun and there are some fantastic little kits around to help with these sorts of parties. Keep numbers relatively small so that everyone can be involved at the same time. Bake little cupcakes, cookies or even mini pizzas which can then be taken home as going home gifts.

PP: What are the coolest party accessories?

CM: Music - it’s a great ice breaker for any party and gets everyone in the mood. Create your own play list before the party so you don’t have to worry about it on the day.


I dare say, many of our readers with small children might be interested in baking that White Rabbit Marshmallow Cake, if so there's some fabulous recipes and variations at The Cupcake Blog.

The Cupcake Blog

Pippa Middleton's book Celebrate offers further insight:

'Some of my fondest childhood memories are of birthday parties at home or at friends' houses playing all our favourite games, enjoying party treats and, of course, judging the greatness of the event by the size of the birthday cake and the contents of the party bags.
 I used to love to help Mum prepare for my birthdays at home: writing the invitations, helping fill the party bags the day before and blowing up balloons to decorate the house. Choosing a favourite dress to wear and being involved in the decisions and preparations was all part of the excitement.'

As we get older, we tend to mark only milestone birthdays with the same sense of anticipation and excitement as we did as children. Not many birthdays are quite as special as one's 21st, entering adulthood and a decade that should be among the most fun in your life: your twenties. Kate's 21st birthday coincided with her return to St. Andrews University in Scotland, and because she very much wanted to celebrate with her family in Bucklebury, she decided to hold off until the following June.

Opting for a fancy dress party, Kate chose the elegant and dramatic flair of the 1920s and wore a beautiful flapper dress for the champagne reception at her parent's home. Prince William quietly arrived after the other guests. I imagine the Middleton family album is full of dozens of memorable photos of that special night. Indeed, it was the last birthday Kate marked before the world found out about her relationship with Prince William.

It was very much a different scene for Kate on her 25th birthday.


As Kate prepared to leave her London home to make her way to Jigsaw - where she worked as an accessories buyer - almost fifty newspaper photographers and paparazzi swarmed outside. Although Kate smiled and dealt with the situation well, it was clear from her demeanour that it was a daunting experience, as it would be for anyone. The scenes prompted Prince William to express his concern at the "ongoing harassment" of his girlfriend, saying he wanted "more than anything" for her to be left alone.


It was a family affair for Kate's 26th birthday as she enjoyed dinner with the Middletons at Tom Aikens restaurant in London's Chelsea area. The popular eatery first opened its doors in 2003 to critical acclaim owing to Tom's innovative style and creative interpretation of modern cuisine.

Tom Aikens Facebook Page

Following the meal, Kate and Pippa enjoyed drinks at Kitts Club. Kate looked tanned and stylish in her much loved Reiss 'Olivia' coat.


Prince William whisked his girlfriend off to a remote log cabin on the Balmoral estate in Scotland for her 27th birthday. William prepared a romantic candle-lit supper and arranged for them to dine at the isolated lodge on the banks of the River Dee. The hideaway was once favoured by The Queen Mother. Below we look at a different cottage which sits close by.

Choose A Cottage

For Kate's 28th birthday, it was widely reported Prince William gifted his girlfriend with cultured pearl earrings. Naturally she was delighted, although it was short lived. The Telegraph reported:

'Days later, the antique earrings were eaten by her pet dog. The cocker spaniel had chewed the jewellery so much that they were unwearable. A friend said: "Kate flew into a panic. She noticed that a couple of things on her bedside table had been moved around and a tube of hand cream had tooth marks on it.
 Kate was really upset and embarrassed. But when she told William he burst out laughing and said he would buy her another pair.'

As for the validity of this story, of course, we can never be sure. The original article named the dog in question as 'Otto' but it was later revealed the Middletons' cocker spaniel was actually named 'Ella' - Lupo's mother. Whether it's true or not (and quite possibly it is not), I always thought it a funny story, having been in a very similar situation myself :)

Kate spent her last birthday weekend before becoming a member of the Royal Family at the wedding of the couple's friends Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Louise Stourton. The bride-to-be looked very elegant in the Libelula Dulwich coat and with wedding plans at the forefront of her mind, I imagine birthday celebrations were not top of the list.


Kate turned 30 in 2012 and opted for a low-key evening. A Palace aide said, "The Duchess had a quiet gathering with family and friends on Monday evening. The dinner was held within private quarters at one of the properties situated by their home at Kensington Palace". The night before the Duchess braved the red carpet for the première of War Horse.


Last year, Kate was recovering from a severe bout of morning sickness but ventured out to mark her 31st birthday with the Middletons and friends at Cirque du Soleil's new show Kooza. They watched the spectacle from the Royal Box at the Royal Albert Hall.

SCREENSHOT TODAY

It is being reported the Duchess is planning a quiet dinner with William, George and the Middletons tomorrow night. William is currently commuting to Cambridge University by rail, although there is no doubt the Prince has a special gift chosen for his wife, and I expect more details as to how Kate marked the event will emerge in coming days. I'm sure I speak for you all in sending HRH the happiest of birthday wishes!

Hello! Magazine

We'll be continuing with our polls next; if you haven't voted for Kate's best dress and coat of 2013, you can do so by visiting our Polls Page :)

66 comments:

  1. In the picture from the war horse premiere, Kate looks like she is missing a bottom tooth. So strange!

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    1. Americanfan Florida USA8 January 2014 at 23:22

      looks to me like that bottom tooth is there, just not perfectly straight- many of us have one or two that do that. I doubt very highly that HRH would even consider leaving the Palace with a tooth missing- just an opinion!

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    2. Didn't Kate get a lot of expensive dental work done before the wedding? Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Kate got porcelain veneers' before getting married. So its probably just the strange angle of the picture. If you go back and look at the pictures if her pre wedding and after she had her teeth fixed.

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  2. Hello Charlotte,
    I have been very busy and haven't had time to comment on your wonderful blog until now. Still love the posts.
    Those pics are such a blast from the past. Kate looked happy and beautiful in them. She definitely took a few more style risks pre marriage.
    I hope she has a wonderful birthday.

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  3. Robin Indiana USA
    Lovely post Charlotte it was fun looking back at Kate's birthday memories. I want to wish the Duchess a very Happy 32nd Birthday!! This would of been my Mom's 75th Birthday also but she is celebrating it in Heaven this year! I also hoped you had a wonderful Birthday yourself Charlotte may your wishes come true!!!<3

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    1. Robin, my mom turned 75 last year and she is still with us thankfully. One of the reasons I read this blog is due to some of the heartfelt stories I get to hear from other commenters. Thank you for sharing. I truly believe your mom will be celebrating her 75th in heaven with you in mind. God bless

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  4. Charlotte, this is once again such an incredible post! I don´t know how you do it, that´s for sure.. :-))))) Great pieces of information, like this interview I read about a lot, but never actually had the chance to read it myself - great! All the other little details - I really enjoyed it so much....
    I have seen quite a few pictures of Kate´s 25th birthday, with all the paparazzis, even a video, but your picture "from behind" so to speak, meaning to actually have a look on the scene as it presented itself - that truly scared ME, sitting in front of the computer and just looking at the picture. How truly AWFUL it must have been for her at the time!! I´m a very experienced driver myself, but I really don´t know whether I would have been able to safely get out of that parking space with my car under such extreme circumstances! I think I would have just turned on my heels and got back in my flat and told my employer that, sorry, my home is under siege which makes it impossible to turn up for work unless they send me a police squadron! I thought it to be quite a "creepy" feeling to have a protection officer following you all the time like a shadow - pictures like this surely make you appreciate it!
    Thank you once again, lots of love, Eve from Germany

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    1. I agree with you, Eve. I always admired the way Kate handled the photographers, especially when she had to get in the car and drive. I'd be too afraid of hitting someone....no matter how tempting! : )

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    2. It was also why Kate left Jigsaw. It was proving impossible for her to live/work in that environment now the press knew her. Her work colleagues must've bullied her too. The Queen also told the couple to date first, for at least 5 yrs, Her family were a great support to her about this time. She went to work bsck in the family business. She's a trained photographer and website designer. Building and working in ur own/family business is much harder than working for large company. U do the work of 2 people and longer hours. Luckily our Kate is organised and well educated kind of modern. princess. She's a great girl with a decent supporting family.

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    3. bluhare in Washington State10 January 2014 at 01:16

      Sam, London where did you read her work colleagues bullied her? That statement flies in the face of everything I've read which says she left of her own accord because she wanted more time with William. I wouldn't be surprised if her co workers resented the time off she got, but I have never read she was bullied by them.

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  5. Just read, it´s your birthday today, dear Charlotte!! Happy Birthday to you and all the very, very best wishes!! Have a wonderful time today and hopefully lots of lovely birthday presents!
    Lots of love, Eve from Germany

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  6. Super post Charlotte. I love the photo of Kate when she was a little girl in the stripey jumper, she looks so cute!

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  7. Charlotte, thanks for a great post! My 3 year old granddaughter shares her birthday with the Duchess, and while she is only 3, she certainly thinks she's a princess, tiara and all!!!

    I really enjoy your Kate Loves posts. I just wish they were easier to find on the site. :(

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  8. Was her 25 birthday when they spilt up for a short time? Ann London

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    1. They broke up a couple of months later around April but back together by June.

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  9. Looking at the Hello cover, I noticed the similarity in design between the earrings, which Kate also wears with her diamond bracelet, and the diamond portion of the ruby necklace. Surely the necklace does not belong to the set Prince Charles is said to have given Kate when she married. I don't know whether there is a closeup of the necklace which would show whether the designs are the same. The source of the necklace is mysterious; maybe Kate will wear it again one evening and the design will be more clear.

    I also noticed the gap in her teeth, which is probably not from a missing tooth but from unevenness and the angle of the picture.

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    1. When the Duchess wore the necklace back in 2011, it was described by the Palace as a gift "from a friend". Had it belonged to the set Charles gave her, the spokesperson would have said so. I've had a suspicion for a while that it was a wedding gift from one of Charles's middle eastern friends.

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    2. Yes, Vittoria, I have also thought the necklace could be a middle eastern gift. Perhaps it was chosen to coordinate with the earrings and bracelet, especially if the giver was a friend of Prince Charles. Very interesting idea.

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  10. Charlotte, another wonderful post! It was so fun to travel down memory lane recounting Kate's past birthdays. It doesn't seem like that long ago that some of those happened, but also thinking how much has happened in Kate's life over the past few years. I have always loved her comments in the Party Pieces interview. :) It's so refreshing to me knowing what a happy, fun childhood she had and knowing that Prince George will have the same himself. Kate has handled herself with dignity and grace through good times and tough and as I have said before is an amazing ambassador for England. The Royal family truly gained a rare jewel in Kate. I hope she has an a amazing birthday celebration with her beautiful family and that her princes treat her like the queen she is! :-) Happy Birthday, Kate!!!

    To you sweet Charlotte, I hope you had a lovely birthday celebration yourself. You deserve the VERY best! May this year be full of God's sweet blessings! Happy, Happy Birthday! Enjoy!

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    1. Sarah from Calif.12 January 2014 at 01:20

      Kate from Texas, that was beautiful! And you are being the best mom through good times and tough. Handling things with dignity and grace.
      To our blogger friends keep Kate from Texas in your thoughts and prayers her children have had some rough medical problems lately.

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    2. Sending Kate and her family my best wishes and prayers x

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  11. Wonderful post as usual Charlotte! I do think its adorable she still calls her mother mummy and dad daddy. I do the same. The story about her dog eating her earrings was cute and even cuter that William did not get mad.i wish the Duchess a very happy birthday. I think it will be her most special yet as its her first one as a mother.

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  12. Absolutely wonderful reporting on the family love of birthday celebrations, thank you, Charlotte. Baby George will have years of happy memories. I hope we see that Hello cover photo look, featuring the fabulous necklace and beautiful black strapless gown worn again. It must be terribly hard to constantly be under the spotlight, no matter what the rewards and privileges of royal life.

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    1. Lynn Georgia USA9 January 2014 at 19:41

      Yes, yes, Greybird! Everyone on this blog knows how much I long to see her wear that black strapless gown again! It was amazing!

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  13. Apologies if a version of this comment posts twice, this computer seems not to care for cold weather.
    Thanks for another well researched interesting post about birthdays in the Middleton household. It seems such a happy place to have grown up. I think Baby George will have memories as nice as his mother's were. The Hello Magazine cover reminded me how much I hope to see that marvelous necklace and elegant black strapless gown worn again. As for Kate's more recent birthdays, I imagine all the privileges of royal life do not quite make up for the constant glare of publicity. It much be very difficult in the early days.

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  14. Thank you for an enjoyable look back!

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  15. Ana B. from Brazil8 January 2014 at 19:32

    Dear Charlotte, I'd like to wish you a very Happy Birthday!
    Thank you for this post, as always, it's a delightful reading!
    Hugs :)

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  16. Her look at the wedding on her 2011 birthday has always been one of my favorites. Something about it, the clothes, the hair, her radiance as a soon-to-be bride herself. Stunning!

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  17. Pauline Oak Hills8 January 2014 at 23:11

    Thank you for this great post. I love reading about her birthdays. Now that William is not in the RAF anymore then he can be with his beautiful wife on her birthday. I know he missed some but I think last year he was home. Anyway it is nice to remember back on th eold birthdays.

    And I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday. You are a very special person. Enjoy your day.

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  18. Thank you all very much for your comments and birthday wishes :)

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  19. Happy Birthday, Charlotte and Duchess Kate!

    Colorado Eve

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  20. Happy Birthday Charlotte!!!Hope it was a super special one!!Thank you for this birthday post, my favorite would be the one where William took her in the cottage for a private celebration. I hope we get an idea of what Kate does for her birthday and how it is celebrated, thanks chica!!!xoxo

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  21. Hi charlotte wishing you good health on your birthday im hoping you wonderful celebration you know how blessed you how does the duchess celebrate her birthday

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  22. Americanfan Florida USA9 January 2014 at 03:00

    Happy Birthday Charlotte- what a great read this has been. Happy Birthday to HRH also

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  23. Kuka..Santa Barbara, Californai USA.. Happy Birthday Charlotte, hope it was special as you are! Happy Birthday Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wishing you a memorable 32nd birthday with Prince William and your adorable Prince George. May you have a beautiful day with your loved ones!
    XOXO

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  24. Its my birthday today too. My husband gave me a London trip in march as a gift :-):-):-):-) very very happy i love London !!!! And its my first birthday as a new Mother too like kate :-D Julia from Germany

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    1. Happy birthday, Julia. OMG...I couldn't think of a better present! You are one lucky lady! :) Enjoy!!!!

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    2. Sarah from Calif.11 January 2014 at 01:18

      Oh Julia that is so exciting, wonderful and cool. Enjoy your trip!

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  25. Happy birthday to you dearest Charlotte and happy birthday to HRH the duchess of Cambridge!
    Thanks for the beautiful post.
    Monia, France

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  26. Great post, Charlotte! Full of details about Kate's life that I didn't know about. :) Such a delightful reading, since we're having a little Kate dry spell these past few weeks.
    I wish Kate all the best, may she be with the ones she love today.
    Hugs!
    Z. from Portugal

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  27. Marci from Salt Lake9 January 2014 at 16:15

    This is a lovely post, Charlotte. I enjoyed it very much.

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  28. Marion from Germany9 January 2014 at 16:50

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Charlotte, I hope you had a wonderful day and may you enjoy many more bright and happy days in the next ninety years or so! ;-)

    Thank you for this wonderful post. Everything that you write is brilliant, but I must say that the “Kate loves”-posts are my favourites as you include so much background information. What a precious gem your blog is, incredible!

    Love, Marion

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  29. Happy Birthday, Catherine! I wish you all the very best.

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  30. Happy Birthday to HRH from Switzerland XOXO

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  31. Bluhare,
    I just read your comment on the previous post about the death of your horse. My 35 year old horse died last September. We were together for 17 years. He was my best friend. I believe that when he died, he crossed over the rainbow bridge, and is with my other animals who have died. I believe that I will see him again after I die, which shouldn't be too long as I have cancer. Meanwhile, my brother cut off a piece of my horse's tail and had it made into a sterling silver bracelet with an engraving on it. So I feel that my horse is still close to me. I hope this helps you. Love never dies.
    Colorado Eve

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    1. Pauline Oak Hills10 January 2014 at 00:42

      @Colorado Eve So sorry to hear about your horse. My sister just lost her last one. They had him for 20 yrs.. It was hard on everyone. And my thoughts & prayers are with you as you fight that nasty cancer. God bless you.

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    2. Praying for you Colorado eve!!

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    3. bluhare in Washington State10 January 2014 at 01:24

      Eve, thank you so much for that. I had him cremated and I have his ashes (try explaining THAT to the UPS delivery man!!), along with his shoes, and I have some of his mane. I haven't even been able to open the mane envelope, but that's a lovely idea.

      Your horse was 35! WOW! I wish mine would have lived that long; he was only 26 when he died and in brilliant shape too. He'd just had a vet checkup the week before he died. The one good thing is it was fast -- he collapsed in his paddock and the vet couldn't do anything. The only thing that really upset me was I couldn't get out there in time to see him before he died. Man, I loved that horse. Still do, even though he's not here.

      I'm very sorry to hear bout your cancer, Eve. I hope you feel as well as possible for as long as possible. AND you now get bluhare's Free Pass To Say Anything You Want Without Me Saying Anything Back! Enjoy it . . . they're very rare. :)

      Seriously, blessings to you and I totally agree that love never dies.

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  32. Dear Charlotte,

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays... Thank you for all you do for the "community" you've created! Enjoy!

    Best wishes to HRH also!

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  33. Wait- our dear Charlotte has the same birthday as Kate??????

    How do people know this??

    If true it was meant to be and I would like to wish two amazing ladies happy birthday!!!!!!

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    1. Hello!

      It's the day before Kate's - quite a coincidence indeed! Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes. You are all just lovely!

      William took the train home from Cambridge today and no doubt had a lovely evening with Kate to celebrate her birthday :)

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  34. Charlotte - Happy Birthday. Thank you so much for all the wonderful hours of fun and escape you have given me. You have created a wonderful "world" for all of us to visit, share and participate in. Its really quite an accomplishment. I hope you do something great on your special day. Many thanks again. Follower in Vermont

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  35. Rose from Montreal, Canada9 January 2014 at 23:51

    Happy Birthday Charlotte. All the very best to you.

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  36. The Hello! cover photo of Kate in the black gown and that fabulous necklace is a perfect example of an occasion that calls (no...screams) for an up-do. :)

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    1. bluhare in Washington State10 January 2014 at 05:16

      I agree. Her hair hides that gorgeous necklace which, by the way, looks like it could be converted into a tiara.

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    2. Absolutely agree. I would have loved an up-do for her wedding too (to show-off the lace).

      Anyway...

      Happy belated birthday Charlotte!

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    3. It does look like it could be converted, bluhare. Imagine if it was diamonds and sapphires to match her engagement ring...??

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    4. I loved that black gown. Funny we've never seen it, or the necklace again. That would have been the perfect outfit to wear to the diplomat reception at the palace (With her hair up, of course!) She would have looked the picture of elegance and sophistication.

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    5. bluhare in washington State10 January 2014 at 23:43

      Hi Anonymous, I don't think the Queen likes black so she probably wouldn't be able to wear that to any official functions. It's too bad, because I think it's a great look too.

      And you know I would like it better with sapphires, royalfan!

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    6. Very true, bluhare. I recall the "controversy" when Diana wore a black dress to her first public engagement. She continued to wear black from time to time, but I don't think she did so when the Queen was present. I suspect Kate will follow Diana's lead.

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  37. Sarah from Calif.12 January 2014 at 01:24

    Hi Charlotte , just wanted to pop in to say hello! Hope your weekend is relaxing and you are well :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I hope you have a splendid weekend :)

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  38. Do you have any plans to write your Royal Digest again? I loved it and would love to read it again.

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    1. Hello!

      Thank you for your interest. I'm hoping too work on the Royal Digest this year in a more organised way (perhaps three scheduled posts per week) as my uni schedule is a little easier this semester.

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  39. This article made me chuckle. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Clarence House when the accountants confirmed the added benefits of William and Kate's popularity. I can almost see two biscuits dropping simultaneously and landing in the royal tea cups.

    "The Duchess of Cambridge increases profits for the Prince of Wales"

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/10564656/Kate-Middleton-increases-profits-for-Prince-Charles.html

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