Let's begin with hats. Nowadays women don't wear hats often enough, as there simply are not enough occasions on the social calender which call for a fabulous fascinator or an eye-catching hat, yet there has never been such talent in the British millinery industry. The Duchess showcases some of the UK's finest offerings at royal events and weddings.
We first saw Kate wearing a hat in 2013 at a Swiss wedding in March - the £245 'Betty Boop' style by Lock & Co Hatters.
|Splash News/Lock & Co Hatters|
We saw the Duchess in her 'Fairy Tale' hat by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co in the same month at the Aldershot Parade. The hat originally retailed for £245 and was available in eight different colours.
Also in March, Kate joined The Queen and Prince Philip for an engagement and looked very elegant in the jaunty black hat by Whiteley.
Next, we have a rather informal piece to look at. When the Duchess volunteered with the scouts in the snow, it was all about practicality and keeping warm. Kate chose a moss speck tweed cap from Really Wild Clothing for the engagement.
For The Queen's Scouts Parade, Kate teamed her mint Mulberry coat with her Whiteley Cappuccino Hat.
The Duchess wore a smart new fascinator by Vivian Sherriff for the Oxfordshire wedding of William van Cutsem and Rosie Ruck Keene.
Kate looked very summery at The Queen's Garden Party last year, electing to wear a white Jane Corbett hat.
It was Jane Taylor for the Coronation Service, this time a nude-based hat with silk tulle and organza discs. It is one of the more expensive hats in the collection retailing for $1,300.
Kate wore a black fascinator by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co when she christened Royal Princess.
And her pretty pink Jane Corbett hat for Trooping the Colour.
For Prince George's Christening, proud mother Kate wore the appropriately named Georgie Hat by Jane Taylor Millinery. The sophisticated sinamay beret features delicate ivory silk/organza rose and classic veiling trim. It remains available for £755.
Finally, Kate chose a gorgeous green hat by Gina Foster on Christmas Day. It looked excellent with her Alexander McQueen tartan coat and was an appropriately festive choice!
For me, it has to be the Jane Taylor 'Georgie' hat Kate wore to George's Christening. It worked so beautifully with the ensemble.
Moving onto our second poll of the day: Kate's Jewellery in 2013! Let's begin with the simple but timeless Kiki McDonough 'Grace' earrings. The £695 earrings feature a round white topaz gemstone surrounded by small diamonds set in 18ct gold.
One of Kate's most glamorous pair are the 18ct gold and diamond green amethyst earrings William reportedly gave her as a gift for Christmas in 2011. They are believed to be a customised version of a citrine pair which retailed for £1900.
The Kiki 'Citrine Drops'.
Next, another pair by Kiki McDonough; the 'Eternal Citrine Cushion and Diamond Earrings'.
A classic pair of pearl earrings are an essential in any woman's jewellery collection. The Duchess favours the £1,090 Pearl Drops by Annoushka.
The Duchess also wears Annoushka pearls with Kiki McDonough hoops.
For Her Majesty's Pre-Christmas lunch, Kate wore her Catherine Zoraida Double Leaf Earrings.
Kate's diamond earrings, reportedly a wedding gift from Prince Charles.
Kate's pretty emerald earrings.
And the equally beautiful sapphire and diamond earrings.
Her Royal Highness wore a pair of dazzling drop earrings to The Art Room reception; it has been suggested they were loaned to her by The Queen.
For the Annual Diplomatic Reception, Kate teamed the Papyrus tiara with a pair of diamond chandelier earrings loaned to her by Her Majesty. Kate previously wore them at a BAFTA reception in Los Angeles in 2011.
In our next poll, we look at Kate's necklaces. Those of you who regularly follow her style will know she favours minimalist jewellery and rarely wears statement necklaces for royal engagements, however, there have been a couple of new additions to her collection and a return of favoured items such as the Asprey 167 Button Pendant.
Kate debuted a new pendant during a visit to Shooting Star Hospice from the Mappin & Webb Fortune Collection in white gold and diamonds. The £3,950 piece is described as a "contemporary classic, mid-length necklace set in three 18 carat white gold infinity loops; a celebration of luck and good fortune".
|Mappin and Webb|
Kate was photographed shopping at Zara wearing a new pendant, which is thought to have been a gift to mark the birth of Prince George. If we look closely we can see a little boy figurine and gold discs.
The Duchess sparkled at the Mandela première in the £20 Sparkly Bead Crystal Necklace by Zara.
A small but interesting selection and for me quite an easy choice. I loved the Zara necklace; it added a freshness to a dress we'd seen before and looked a million dollars on Kate. Many of us thought it was by Cartier upon first look.
Our last jewellery poll is a little different than previous ones as we only have one nominee. The Papyrus Tiara. I simply couldn't omit it as it was the defining piece of jewellery for Kate in 2013. This is an interesting opportunity to gauge what you all thought!
Time for our final poll, offering a look at Kate's clutches. I've always thought clutches are an interesting accessory for the royals and not solely from a sartorial perspective. Carrying a clutch gives one something to do with one's hands during engagements. We often see Kate holding her hands in front of her stomach for example.
Below we see Kate's black suede clutch.
Her brown suede Emmy 'Natasha' clutch.
The L.K. Bennett Avona Patent Leather Roll Clutch is a popular piece. The £195 taupe oval structured piece is described as 'chic, sleek and modern'.
Kate's Alexander McQueen clutch.
The Duchess carried a new clutch when she christened Royal Princess - the Alexander McQueen Wicca Mini Satchel.
Kate's Russell and Bromley navy suede 'Muse' clutch.
The red bow McQueen clutch.
I voted for the bow McQueen clutch; it's a very eye-catching accessory!
It's been another quiet week for the Cambridges. While William continues his bespoke course at Cambridge University, the Duchess is looking after Prince George. However, the Palace has said she will undertake a 'handful of engagements' before the tour in April. There has been a small number of interesting news stories we'd like to share.
Firstly, William, Kate and Harry have set up companies to protect their intellectual property rights. The move will allow them to protect their image rights and, if they wish, market products in their name (however, we won't see them endorsing tea towels, etc. any time soon). The Palace has described it as a 'precautionary move', and the companies are dormant. It is expected they will remain so for the time being.
Kate's company is called 'CE Strathearn' - Catherine Elizabeth Strathearn - after her Scottish title. William's company is 'APL Anglesey' - using his middle names Arthur, Philip and Louis, and of course Anglesey, the couple's former home in Wales. Harry's is named after an African antelope 'Tsessebe'. William and Kate's personal private secretaries Miguel Head and Rebecca Deacon are listed as company directors, as are solicitors and accountants.
The photographer who took William and Kate's official engagement photos, Mario Testino, has given an incredibly insightful interview (a real treat for royal fans) to the Telegraph in which he discusses his relationship with the royals. When he was asked to put on a show of Diana photographs he invited William and Harry:
'I approached them without knowing them, because I felt they had to give me their blessing for an enterprise like this. I myself am so close to my mum, I felt I couldn't do anything about their mother without their approval. They came to view the rooms with Kate Middleton and Chelsy Davy.'
Mr. Testino said Prince Harry was "so like Charles" while William was "more like his mother, there's a kindness and gentleness that instantly wins you over". Following that first meeting Mario felt William was "completely in love with Kate and I knew they would stay together".
|Mario Testino/Clarence House|
Of course they did, and in 2010 William and Kate turned to the photographer to take the official photographs:
'I waited a long time, an hour or two, to make that picture perfect. But I wasn't totally satisfied. Then, when I'd finished the shoot, they were about to leave and they suddenly hugged in front of a radiator. I took my camera and that was the picture that ran everywhere - it was spontaneous emotion... you could see they were completely in love.'
Mr. Testino revealed Kate does not remind him of Diana: "Kate, she is beautiful in a different way; she radiated happiness. She is comfortable in her love.' I thought it a superb interview and adored the little tidbits about the royals. You can read the piece in its entirety at The Telegraph.
My apologies, this one has turned into a very long post. Before we sign off for today, a quick reminder you can vote for any of our polls at the Polls Page for another couple of days. For those of you who enjoy following other British and European royals you may be interested to hear The Royal Digest is back; we hope to update it with news, history, fashion, tiaras and much more!
We'll be back with the 'Kate Fashion Awards' next :)