We're back with some very welcome news that is sure to please Kate fans. A new engagement has been added to the Her Royal Highnesses diary for February 11, her first official appearance of the year. In her role as patron of the National Portrait Gallery, the Duchess will attend The Portrait Gala 2014 black tie dinner (I believe we can expect to see HRH in an elegant gown).
More from Majesty Magazine:
'During the event, guests will have the opportunity to view hand-written Pen Portraits and Mystery Portrait Postcards created by a selection of leading artists, authors, previous sitters and well-known individuals who have been inspired by portraits in the gallery's collection.
Funds raised by the gala will support the gallery's daily work of delivering inspirational exhibitions and displays, offering unique learning opportunities and undertaking world class research. Some of the proceeds will go towards the Gallery's Portrait Fund, which allows the gallery to acquire portraits of outstanding national importance for the collection.
Double Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel is among those contributing pen portraits to the gallery. Inspired by the portrait after Hans Holbein of Henry VIII's wily adviser Thomas Cromwell that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, the author described her portrait as "In a black legend he is a greedy thug, a spymaster, a thug". Of course, many of you will recall Ms. Mantel made the headlines when she described Kate as a "plastic princess" during a speech last year, although she later insisted her comments were taken out of context. The pen portraits will be sold for £500 each.
|Hans Holbein Cromwell/National Portrait Gallery|
Richard Palmer notes for once the media will be more interested in another guest's sartorial choices. Although I am inclined to disagree :)
|Richard Palmer Twitter Feed|
Before the gala dinner, Kate will attend a reception where she will meet a selection of guests including photographer David Bailey and Olympic Gold medallist Katherine Grainger.
Hello! Magazine reports the Duchess of Cambridge will also undertake a solo engagement on Valentine's Day. More from this week's issue, which as you can see is vague about details due to security reasons.
'Though she's still officially on maternity leave, Kate has agreed to attend an event on 14 February, in which she's bound to capture hearts. Kate will be solo during the visit - details of which Hello! has been asked not to reveal for security reasons - as The Duke of Cambridge continues his agricultural studies in Cambridge.
It is believed Kate's job will take place during the day so she can spend the evening with Prince William who is commuting to Cambridge from London.'
We will update the post when more details are released to the press concerning the nature of the engagement. I imagine we'll see Kate carry out at least several engagements before the tour in April, during which time we'll see the couple attending a number of events most days and, of course, we can expect to see Prince George at some point, too.
Many will remember Kate also had an engagement on Valentine's Day 2012 in Liverpool, whilst William was deployed to the Falklands. The Duchess told well-wishers the Prince had sent her a card and flowers. No doubt they will mark it together, most likely at Kensington Palace this year.
We've received many comments emails and messages via social media enquiring about the lack of engagements since William and Kate viewed Alive 3D at the Natural History Museum on December 12. January tends to be a quiet month for the royals across the board with very few appearances in general even from the most senior royals. February will certainly prove to be a more eventful month.
|Paul Harrison Twitter Feed|
Richard Palmer offers another perspective:
|Richard Palmer Twitter Feed|
I don't know about you, but here at 'Duchess Kate Blog' we're all very much looking forward to seeing the Duchess out and about again :)
During the quieter spells, older stories tend to re-emerge with additional details. Over the weekend a new video clip from a production of My Fair Lady emerged, in which 11-year-old Kate showcased her acting talents as the endearing Eliza Doolittle. Vanity Fair notes, "even while playing an imposter Duchess, Kate exhibits a regal, downright noble presence onstage," and I very much agree with that sentiment. You really must watch the video below to hear Kate's cockney accent; the 'Rain in Spain' section is particularly good!
Downton Abbey fans will recognise Kate's co-star as Andrew Alexander, who played party-loving aristocrat Sir John Bullock in the most recent series. The media claim young Kate had a crush on Mr. Alexander. Whether that's true or merely embellishment to the story we cannot know for sure.
What did you think of Kate's performance? A number of tweeters noted the white and black coat dress she wore is incredibly similar to her signature style now.
Next up, a story which we meant to touch on last week but got distracted with our poll results. Prince Charles is to take a significant step towards becoming King this month when a key part of his household merges with Buckingham Palace. The Prince's communication team, which is responsible, for his public image will move from Clarence House to the Palace where one of Charles's courtiers will take charge of publicity for all members of the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry's media team will continue to be headed by Ed Perkins, whilst some junior staff will remain at Kensington Palace and Clarence House, the younger royals communications team will also be consolidates. More from The Telegraph article:
'It is hoped the merger will also prevent members of the Royal Family competing with each other for coverage in the media when they carry out high-profile engagements on the same day, as often happens now. "We will have a lot more joined-up planning in the future and will be able to make the best use of resources across the whole of the family."'
News of the consolidation has led to plenty of speculation regarding Prince Charles and his purported feelings of William and Kate's popularity. It has also been suggested he wishes to scale down the monarchy ensuring the focus is kept on key members (senior royals) and the media glare is firmly focused on serious matters rather than more light-hearted topics, such as Kate's clothing. If there is any truth to these rumours, and again we can merely speculate, then I feel it is a fruitless endeavour. The press and public are fascinated with the younger royals, where they go, what they wear etc. and that interest translates into publicity, donations and support for charities they champion. In the same breath, Charles is intelligent and has been around long enough to know exactly how it works and the fact that the focus on the young royals will remain firmly as it is, and most importantly it's very much positive for the monarchy moving forward.
In today's fashion corner, we look at Jenny Packham's Spring/Summer 2014 Bridal Collection. We know the Duchess favours the designer's bridal wear and the gorgeous teal gown she wore to an Olympic Gala in 2012 was modelled after the silk chiffon 'Aspen' gown.
We also see the Ink-Blue Packham gown Kate wore last year in a bridal style.
Glancing through the collection, there are endless possibilities for Kate. If you can envisage any of these gowns in jewel tones, neutral shades or classic black they would work incredibly well for the Duchess.
We've come to expect so much from Ms. Packham's collections; romantic elegance, soft layers, delicate embellishment, feminine silhouettes - all of which this collection exudes in abundance.
The collection, titled 'Belle Époque', takes its inspiration from an era of French history crossing the 19th and 20th centuries encapsulating "the spirit of Edwardian style and the Art Nouveau movement which defined it". Several of these pieces are made for Kate, and I do hope we see one or two during that tour we've been
obsessing over very much looking forward to.
Next up, a designer we wish Kate would wear. We look at several looks from Elie Saab's Spring 2014 Couture Collection. Mr. Saab is favoured by European royals and celebrities alike and in a pared down version of one of his gowns, the Duchess would look splendid.
Finally, Hello! also reports Kate has been devoting her time to caring for George and making their Kensington Palace home more child friendly, including a request that a pond be covered so a toddling George doesn't fall in. Staff at the Palace have described the Cambridges as "incredibly doting parents".