Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kate Carries out First Engagement of 2014 in Jenny Packham & The Queen's Diamonds!

The Duchess of Cambridge attended The Portrait Gala 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery in London tonight.


A large crowd gathered to catch a glimpse of the Duchess arriving.


The black-tie event marked Kate's first official appearance of 2014. We last saw the Duchess carry out an engagement on 11 December - two months ago - when she joined Prince William for the première of David Attenborough's Alive 3D at the Natural History Museum.


Since then, Her Royal Highness has been taking care of Prince George whilst William undertakes a ten-week bespoke course in agricultural management at Cambridge University. Kate and George also joined the Middleton family for a week-long holiday in Mustique, which was no doubt responsible for Kate's tanned glow tonight.


Royal reporter Victoria Murphy shared a photo of the glittering gold staircase ahead of Kate's arrival.

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

Kate, who obtained a history of art degree at St. Andrews University, chose the National Portrait Gallery as one of her first patronages in January 2012 following several private visits beforehand. Since then she has supported the N.P.G. through a series of engagements, and of course to view her first official portrait by Paul Emsley which she described as "amazing".


Before the gala dinner, the Duchess attended a reception where she met a selection of guests including photographer David Bailey, artist Jonathan Yeo, actor Alan Rickman, Elizabeth Hurley, Bryan Adams and Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger. Actress Jane Asher and her cartoonist husband Gerald Sarfe were also there.


The guest who garnered the most media attention (aside from Kate) was Grayson Perry, a cross-dressing artist who wore a dress and feather brimmed hat to Buckingham Palace last month to receive his C.B.E. from Prince Charles. There was intense interest in Mr. Perry's sartorial choices for the engagement.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website

Kate chatting with the Gallery's Director Sandy Nairne.

National Portrait Gallery Facebook Page

During the evening guests viewed pen portraits and mystery portrait postcards created by a selection of well-known public figures including Esther Freud, Hilary Mantel, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Richard E. Smith and Gok Wan. The pen portraits were offered for £500 whilst postcards were priced at £250. They were sold on a first-come, first-served basis and will remain at the gallery for the next two days for visitors to buy.

National Portrait Gallery

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 proceeds will go towards the Gallery's Portrait Fund, which enables the acquisition of portraits of outstanding national importance for the collection.


For those of you within close proximity of London or those planning to visit the city, we would strongly suggest a visit to the gallery. It is a magnificent place steeped in history with an outstanding collection of portraits; there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Wikipedia

If you cannot visit and wish to support the gallery, a browse through the Online Shop would no doubt prove enjoyable for royal fans. From a £6 mini print of Kate's portrait to a £3.50 Diana, Princess of Wales fridge magnet. Other items include Royal Postcard Sets and Monarchy Card Games.

National Portrait Gallery Online Shop

Rebecca English offered a glance at delicious desserts on display for guests.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Kate made a short speech at the gallery:

'I just wanted to say how delighted I am to be here this evening to celebrate the fantastic work of The National Portrait Gallery. The Gallery's achievements are exceptional. They hold the most extensive collection of portraits in the world and their unique and brilliant exhibitions never fail to inspire us all.
 But, it is more than simply a world renowned visitor's attraction - the Gallery's outreach and research programmes makes it one of the leading centres for the important study of Portraiture. I simply could not be more proud to be its Patron. Thank you for being here tonight and showing your support. I hope that you all have a wonderful evening.'

According to The Mirror, Kate "endearingly stumbled at the end and put her hand on her chest".

National Portrait Gallery Facebook Page

The dress code for the night dictated "black tie with a touch of sparkle" and the Duchess certainly didn't disappoint in her ink-blue Jenny Packham gown. Of course, we are all familiar with the off-the-shoulder frock which Kate first wore for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala at Kensington Palace last October.


The silk tulle gown is from the designer's Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 collection and features a deep v neck and black velvet belt. It originally retailed for €4,200 ( $5,700) and appears to be sold out at present.

Jenny Packham

It is a beautiful garment and Her Royal Highness looked effortlessly glamorous tonight.


There was a notable change to the look tonight (one many felt it lacked on its first outing) and that was the addition of a fabulous necklace. Tonight, the Queen loaned Kate a dazzling priceless necklace given to her Majesty as a wedding gift in 1947 from the Nizam of Hyderabad then King of a state in India. The Nizam was the owner of one of the most celebrated and largest private jewellery collections in the world.

Artemisia's Royal Jewels


'The necklace was purchased from Cartier. Actually, in a way it was acquired by Elizabeth herself; the Nizam wasn't in London at the time and left Cartier instructions that the Princess would personally choose her present. It consists of a long chain of 38 diamonds with a diamond-encrusted strap. The centre of the necklace is pave-set with detachable double-drop pendant 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop.'

Below we see The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) wearing it for a portrait by Dorothy Wilding in 1952.

NPG

A closer look at the necklace on Kate.


Below we see it in a different light.

National Portrait Gallery Facebook Page

Kate wore her art deco earrings - reportedly a wedding gift from Prince Charles.


Many also noted Kate was wearing a new white gold band, thought to be an eternity ring.

Kate completed the look with her trusty black suede Jimmy Choo Cosmic Pumps. They're available in black and nude for €539 at Nordstrom.


The Duchess wore her hair down in loose curls. I think an updo would have really made the look and allowed the fantastic jewels to be truly shown off. What do you think?


It certainly is excellent to see Kate conducting engagements again, isn't it? 


Do take a look at this excellent video from the event including footage from inside the reception and Kate's speech.


We'll see you on Friday (Valentine's Day) when the Duchess will officially open the ICAP Art Room at Northolt High School in London.

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Finally, we congratulate the winner of the Séraphine Claret Dress giveaway - Debby Portillo - who commented: "I love the royal blue color. I'm 7 months along, and this would be perfect for my baby shower!" Congratulations, Debby, we hope you enjoy your dress and a huge thank you to Séraphine!

277 comments:

  1. I really wish she had worn that black alexander mcqueen velvet dress..that wouldve been so nice!

    I love the dress but we just saw her wear it the same way in October. I love the add of the necklace but she shouldve done something different with her hair....those curls werent well done...but KATE IF YOU CAN HEAR ME ITS OK TO WEAR YOUR HAIR UP

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  2. I think she looks stunning. I wonder how is she doing that during regular day, she looks as average woman, but during events as this one, she looks beautiful.

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  3. Charlotte, what a beautiful post. The duchess is gorgeous. I love her gown and the Queen's necklace is really beautiful.
    Does it still rain in London? Kate's hair seems wet. She is really a lovely young woman and tonight she looks every inch regal.
    Thank you so much for making my evening!
    Keep warm,

    Monica, France

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  4. Love the dress and the look...but the first photographs on your blog are not that flattering to the Duchess. She looks robotic and manic (please don't take this the wrong way). I love your blog but the first pics on this entry really do a disservice to HRH.

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    1. I do agree, Kate does not look like her real self (as long as I can assume knowing her from pictures only!) on some pics. She does not sparkle as usual. I 'm wondering why her hair is flatter than usually. Likely her blow dry did not go well? Was she cold in this beautiful dress?

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  5. Love the dress and the beautiful necklace! Not a fan of the hairstyle in the slightest-looks like she attempted a beachy-undone wavy look, and it is out of character with the elegance of the dress and necklace.

    Brooke from SC

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  6. WOW. JUST WOW.

    perfect. i loved the dress the first time and didnt even agree at the time with those who went crazy that she wasnt wearing more bling, but now i see what was missing the first time.

    I also love her hair! perfect for the occasion! Im not a huge fan of her updos (im one of the few who love and prefer her hair down) but the curls add that extra touch for a formal event.

    im so so envious of her figure!

    I think this look may be one of my favorites!

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    1. I'm not wild about Kate in full updos because her hair is so heavy. However, I do love her in half-up/half-down, which would have looked elegant tonight, I think--and would have really shown off that KILLER NECKLACE! God, it's gorgeous--and gorgeous on Kate!

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  7. M, the Netherlands11 February 2014 at 20:43

    Necklace: YES YES YES. Dress: Although I like the dress, I would have liked it if she wore a new one, especially since this is her first engagement in a long time. Her hair is a no to me. Too curly in a way, bit too messy. Still hoping for a fabulous updo one day!

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  8. Yes she looks luvly but.... I was slightly disappointed to see this dress so soon after it's debut in October. Ann London.

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  9. One thing i wanted to point out- Kate skipped the diamond bracelet which is very much her style- not to have too much going on. The necklace was definately more than enough!

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    1. I am certain the Queen would have had a diamond bracelet plus the earrings plus the necklace and quite likely some sparkle somewhere else. When you have such a fantastic jewle vault from which to choose, why stop at enough? -lol

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    2. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:44

      The necklace is part of a set. I went to look at Artemesia's site after Charlotte linked it.

      I love your comment about why stopping at "enough", Anonymous! I couldn't agree more. If enough is good, then more must be better!

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  10. Shantel (@FashionandFaith)11 February 2014 at 20:44

    Charlotte!
    I have been sitting in my office eagerly waiting for this post, and you did not disappoint!
    I love this dress on Kate and THAT NECKLACE! Wow--absolutely stunning.
    Congrats to Debby for winning the dress AND on her baby!! :-)
    Well, back to work I go!
    Shantel
    Minnesota, USA

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  11. Kate's hair looks a bit of a mess, particularly the shortish piece hanging down on the right side of her face. I wasn't that keen on the dress on its first outing; I think the problem is that it's designed to be a strapless dress (seen from your photos of the garment), but Kate has it with the pieces of fabric on her shoulders which doesn't look quite right. I suppose the dress looks a bit better this time with the addition of the necklace. I don't mean to sound unkind, but Kate has looked a bit less 'polished' since the birth of George, I suppose she has other priorities now. Consider: the unvarnished toe-nails at the Tusk ball, the grey roots showing at the Poppy Day outing etc. Interesting to note.

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    1. I agree with you, the dress is far better looking with shoulders down and hair up - or a demi chignon as well. To me , it's since the beginning of 2012 that the duchess has lost part of her glamour and now looks for sure far less polished

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    2. I don't agree -the designer pics of the dress appear to show it both ways. And her hair is like it always -a mess. She desperately needs to have a re-styling to accomodate her different life.

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    3. I thought the same thing about that seemingly random piece of hair on the right! It makes the texture of the style look uneven. A half-up do like the one she wore at her wedding would have been more polished. But I do like the dress, and it's fabulous to see her wearing some royal jewels.

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  12. I agree that having her hair up would have been a better choice and would better highlight the jewelry. The messy curls look out of place. Of course the dress is fantastic. Thanks for the great website!

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  13. O by the way, congratulations to Debbie for winning the royal blue dress. She must be wild with joy!

    Monica, France

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  14. Long time reader here. I think she looks stunning and I love the added pizazz this gorgeous necklace gives to the overall look. The only thing I wish, is shed spice up her hair and do an updo once in a while again.

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  15. Marci from Salt Lake11 February 2014 at 20:48

    Hi Charlotte--this is a fun post, with dazzle and sparkle galore! I loved this dress so much the first time we saw it that I'm very pleased to see it again, and especially with that glorious necklace. I agree with you, an updo would have been my preference for her hair, but still, she looked very beautiful and the slightly tighter curls would help keep the hair more controlled (indoors, out of the wind) and allow the jewels to be seen. What shoes is she wearing? I'm not good at recognizing brands by sight. I'm so glad she chose this patronage. When my husband and son and I were in London in the summer of 2012, we had only a day in the city at that time and the National Portrait Gallery is where we spent most of it.

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  16. Great Fast Post!! I love the necklass, but sadly thats all I can say that I love. There looks to be something off about her, maybe the rumors of drama within the Family are true.
    I cant wait for her Valentines outing, and her date w the Queen.

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    1. carrie from the rockies11 February 2014 at 21:20

      What's the drama going on. I haven't heard anything about it.

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    2. It has to be hard to borrow Granny's jewels, deal with the baby, and then look effortless with William away. Or perhaps this was referring to having to lower her hemlines so there aren't any more "granny pants or thongs" headline on their next tour.

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    3. William going hunting in Spain and his ex girlfriend was part of group. I dont care how secure how W&K are, but doesn't that seem weird?

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    4. Are you sure Kate was not there as well?

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    5. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 01:18

      Kate wasn't there. PopSugar has photos of William, Harry and friends at an aiport and Jecca is one of them.

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    6. Portia from Chicago12 February 2014 at 02:56

      Emily, I don't think that there is necessarily anything weird about it. They have always claimed to be platonic friends. They may view each other as close friends, almost siblings. That being said, I do think that it is slightly odd that they would take separate holidays so early on. I find it odd because my hubby and I have never done this.. I simply could not do it with or without kids. But maybe W&K spend tons of time joined at the hip and this keeps their relationship fresh. Each couple has their own way !

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    7. Pauline Oak Hills12 February 2014 at 05:31

      I too find this srrange. Why would William allow himself to be put in this place it there is not feeling still for Jecca. Call anything you want but I for one would not likemu husband going hunting with an ex girlfried/friend. It has been said true or not that William had very strong feelings for Jecca and could still carry a torch for her. But we will never know what went on between these two. I just hope he does not turn into his father. "IF" it is true that Jecca was Williams first true love just like Camilla was Charles we could have another relationship like Charles & Dianas, a third person in Will & Kates marriage.
      That being said I do not think Kate will sit by and let William make a fool out of her. She is alot stronger then Diana was.

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    8. I have wondered if William and Kate aren't going through a "military marriage" crisis, very common, when one of the couple has left the military and is suddenly home all the time. Add a baby in the mix, new houses, however nice, and new responsibilities and expectations and it can put a couple under temporary pressure. Mostly, it sorts out in time. Kate and William always have fun off time on their tours, so Australia should help.

      I think both William and and Kate are trying to adjust to their royal roles. William is trying to balance what he loves to do (flying, African conservation) with what he must do as a future king. And I think some of the excitment of being a princess may have worn off for Kate and she has realised this is work. She never had a desk job or any experience like that to give her sense of comparison of what life is really like.

      I'm sure it will sort itself out in time, and hopefully with a new hairdresser. While I don't think highly of Charles normally, I do wonder if he is scheduling joint engagements with William and pushing conservation to try to help William through this period of adjustment. Likewise, that may be why the queen is stepping in with Kate from loaning jewels to joint engagements. No one wants another royal marriage to flounder from lack of support.

      The public, struggling through flood soaked hard times, are impatient to see William and Kate get on with it and rightly so. But that doesn't lessen the pressure. And Jecca should not be on holidays with William in Kate's absence, even if - as I suspect - it is completely innocent. It doesn't look right and being royal is about things looking right..

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    9. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:47

      Pauline, you need to sit down before I continue.

      I agree with you. Not on everything you wrote, but most of it. And I'm so excited, I'm just going to leave it at that!

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    10. The young people seem to have true platonic friends of the opposite sex, and to relate in all sorts of ways that older people might find "weird" or not what they and a spouse would do. I have noticed that first time fathers can go a little off the rails in the first year, feel they are not the main focus anymore - and of course, for a new mother, it's all about the baby. But William reportedly loves Kate's family and had had many years to decide she is The One. I do not think he is remotely like his father in that respect and I do not hear alarm bells for the Cambridge marriage as we could clearly hear for Charles and Diana after only a few years. I think Kate will fight for what is hers and keep her husband in love with her.

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    11. Pauline Oak Hills12 February 2014 at 20:10

      @bluhare Wow I almost fell down...lol Thanks for agreeing with me. I juat think William was not thin king of Kate or the back lash he was going to get. And I blame Ms. Craig also. What the hell was she thinking going hunting with nothing but a bunch of married men except Harry. And one of them her old flame who was supposely so in love with her. Now I am not saying William did anything but it just look's strang to me.

      @Greybird K Yes the younger people do things that people my age do not beleive in. But the royal men have a history of taking mistresses and not thinking anything wrong with it. NOw William & Kate havenot even been married 3 yrs yet. This was a very bad move on William's & Jecca part. Now let's just hope William does not become like his father becasue Kate nor the Middleton will put up wiht it. And maybe the Queen either. William need's to think qbout his wifes feeling and just his own. Just a MAD MOVE ON BOTH OF THEM.

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    12. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 20:57

      You're welcome, Pauline. I agree that appearances count for a lot. After all the royal family lives by them.

      After royalfan about broke her bum falling off her chair when I agreed with her, my jaw hitting the floor when she agreed with me, I thought I'd be kind and warn you. ;)

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    13. Anonymous 11:06, you may be onto something regarding the Queen and Charles stepping up to support Kate and William. I'd much rather believe that scenario than my own initial theory. Time will tell.

      I also agree that William should not be on a holiday with Jecca. I do not believe he is cheating on Kate, but since he was linked with Jecca in the past, why feed the rumor mill at your wife's expense? It just falls under the category of totally unnecessary.

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    14. I think she has had a bit of a desk job with her parents and I don't think she's a stranger to hard work. What I think is that it must be a right head trip to know you are the focus of the world and hearing the shutter click of the pap cameras constantly, and them calling out her name where ever she goes ("Kate! OVER HERE! Come here!"). When you have a spare moment to think, how do you reconcile that kind of attention with a sense of humility? I think she does it very well.
      Kate Watcher in California

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  17. The dress and necklace are beautiful but such a shame about the hair!!! Why oh why won't she wear it up more!

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  18. Lovely!

    Mel(Ontario)

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  19. Gorgeous necklace

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  20. Portia from Chicago11 February 2014 at 20:58

    1. I think that she wore this dress to make a statement that she is not willing to be a part of our princess fantasy - she wears what she wants and when she wants and will not encourage the world's focus on her clothes. Not that there is anything else to focus on right now.. but whatever.

    2. The hair is a disaster. An unmitigated disaster. Almost makes her look androgynous in some photos. With that necklace - there are just no words. If this is what she is going to do with these jewels then she might not as well wear any !

    3. Don't crucify me for saying this but I suspect that her heart is not into these engagements. For whatever reason she just does not want to be doing this. She wants to be far far away from these madding crowds and the flashbulbs. The hair with that necklace. My goodness. There is just no other explanation.

    4. I think that this proves that there was some truth to the dailymail article - that we will see her in more jewels and less high street. Just wait and watch the hemlines.

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    1. Could not agree more on the necklace aspect of your comment. This dress is very nice, as are the shoes, but oh my goodness, the necklace is breathtaking. It's just spectacular. That is why it's such a mystery why she would chose to wear her hair in such lack lustre waves covering it up. It is a magnificent piece, on loan from the queen, and deserves to be shown off. Why wear it at all if not?!

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    2. Well written.

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    3. Very interesting comments, Portia. I think there is a Palace 'mole' who leaked something about the Queen's jewels and Kate to the press, or to Katie Nicoll! Portia: you have written that you suspect that Kate's heart is not in the engagements. Do you think there has been a change in her attitude? And if so, what is the reason behind it? I had to smile when I read your description of Kate's hair as an 'unmitigated disaster'!

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    4. Portia, I agree with all of your comments and find the one about her heart not being in her duties especially spot on, however much bashing we might take.
      I thought that when she appeared in the sparkly Jenny Packham at the Tusk Trust awards with William. It was like she threw on whatever and dashed out the door. She looked like she couldn't have cared less about the event or the cause. I would say she looks slightly more engaged tonight but still, overall, uninterested or not as interested as she has been at similar engagements.
      While I can sympathize that she has a child at home, she also understood - and had a LONG time to decide - that this was going to be part of her life, along with producing an heir(s). She certainly understood that royal duties would, at some point and likely as she had children, be a major part of her life as Prince William's wife. So I guess I really don't understand this ennui now.
      Kate and William have been given more than a little freedom and time and latitude to start their married life and their lives as parents relatively free from a busy round of royal engagements. And Kate seems to now, in a way she really wasn't before and not even during her pregnancy, be bored with it all or uninterested. That's absolutely an insult to these groups and organizations who are so grateful for the royal attention and patronage.
      This is what she signed on for and she knew it well in advance. It is the reason or one of the reasons that Chelsy Davy, who I firmly believe to be the love of Prince Harry's life, bowed out, she didn't want the pressure of a royal life. Kate has indicated she did want it and does want it, enough to stick around through a seven-year engagement.
      I also agree that there is some truth to the ongoing talk about Angela Kelly and the queen lending their advice and guidance on style. I'd expect we'll see less 20-something dressing and more senior working royal, 30something-appropriate ensembles going forward. But I would HOPE that someone has the guts to stand up and tell her how ridiculous that hair is starting to look. It's becoming almost a parody.

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    5. Perhaps she doesn't want to wear the jewels as they are not really HER style and this is a passive-aggressive way of hiding them. They are definitely underwhelming with all of that hair to look at.

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    6. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 02:47

      Interesting thought, Ramblingirl. However, Kate's a princess now and wearing huge bling is part of the package, no? I mean who else do we "SQUEEE!!!" all over at the thought of a tiara sighting?

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    7. Portia from Chicago12 February 2014 at 02:50

      Gina, I think that it is probably some apathy stemming from being a new mother. I remember the first year of motherhood for me, and looking back I am sure that I gave off the same vibe. Friends of mine certainly did. When my best friend (first in our circle to have a kid) hung out with me after having her kid I remember thinking that she would rather be anywhere but there. Babies have that effect on you. Newborns can be tough to read and handle and if Kate does the majority of the childcare she is probably overwhelmed, even if she does not do cooking or cleaning like the rest of the world. For one, she strikes me as one who has had it easy all her life - living with her parents and working for them, then as a couple in Wales. I believe that she is not used to taking charge and executing things autonomously. I suspect that she has been used to following set rules/path - first her mom, then Willliam. Motherhood requires you to take charge , and be a leader in some ways. And for someone with a sheltered upbringing it can take them quite by surprise.

      I also suspect that she is quite stressed. Could be something to do with the child, or could be independent of the baby .. perhaps the move to London, the pressures of having to step up duties.. or other things. But I suspect that Kate is not the happy soul she used to be. She does not emanate the happiness, ease and confidence of other royal women. There is still an awkwardness, a lack of confidence and I think that there may also be some loneliness there.. perhaps she does not speak of it or even realize it. But I am sure that she is isolated in many ways. How can that not take a toll on a person.

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    8. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:50

      I've been looking at photos since you said that, Portia, and I think you might be onto something. Maybe it's having a baby at home and not being as excited about going out? I don't know, but I agree that she seems more subdued than she used to be.

      Or, the novelty of doing these engagements has worn off and they're all old hat now? I don't know, but I hope it's not unhappiness at home.

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    9. Portia, I was going to say that motherhood has her looking tired and distracted, but I think you really nailed it.

      bluhare, I don't believe the novelty has worn off. I think she takes her role seriously (and no, I am not implying that she has had a packed schedule). She loves William and wants to support him and the Queen.

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  21. YAY! I wasn't a fan of the dress the first time around- but I think the necklace makes the world of difference (perhaps the photos from the first appearance didn't do justice to the blue/teal/indigo color of the dress and made it look a bit darker) Whatever it was, she really sparkled tonight! Great return to engagements:) Thanks for the great post!

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  22. Theresa from Austin, Texas USA11 February 2014 at 21:00

    The Duchess looks stunning. That necklace is gorgeous!! And, these pictures really show how beautiful that gown is. I'm hoping to get to London in June and the NPG is definitely on my list of places to visit!

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  23. Slightly 'off-topic', but was that Emma Probert (bodyguard who was in the front seat of Kate's 'bridal' car) photographed next to Kate in Mustique? Is she back to 'guarding' Kate: I remember reading some time ago that she was expecting a baby, before Kate was expecting, in fact.

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    1. Pauline Oak Hills12 February 2014 at 05:35

      Mo it sure looked like her.

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  24. Lovely! The dress was my favourite when she wore it before, though most of us thought it needed some jewellery and this piece suits the neckline so well.
    I personally prefer her hair down, but I know there will be the usual complaints about an "up do"
    Pity that the tiara which came with this necklace was broken up and turned into the ruby one.
    Obviously there was some truth in the "Daily Mail" article about HM lending jewellery.
    This necklace is a major piece and she wore it well.
    Great start to the year and cheering after all the desperately sad flooding news.

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  25. Pauline Oak Hills11 February 2014 at 21:04

    Wow the Duchess looked just stunning tonight. Is this a repeat of this dress? I know she will get alot of comments on her hair but I like it down with the curls.

    Charlotte I almost made a comment regarding her engagement ring. At first when you look at her hands it look's like she is hinding her fingers and she is not wearing the ring but in other photos you can see she has it on. Was thinking of our conversation this morning...lol

    Thank you for being so quick in getting us fans these beautiful photos of Kate. I wonder if
    William is on daddy duty tonight.

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  26. Ana B. from Brazil11 February 2014 at 21:04

    Hello!!
    I was counting down the days for this engagement!
    Stunning jewellery! That necklace is beyond beautiful! She never wears jewels like this and this fact made me rethink about the real truth behind that article published by the Daily Mail. What do you all think?
    I agree with you, Charlotte. If she had worn her hair up it would make the entire outfit even better. Usually, I love her hair down, but this time I don't like the waves. To be honest, I don't like her hair at all today. But it's ok. We all have our ups and downs, right?!
    Well, it's awesome to see her again!
    And congrats to the lady who won the dress! I'm sure you'll look gorgeous wearing it!
    Thanks, Charlotte!
    Hugs :)

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  27. Kate looks great, except for the hair in her face when she was walking in -- reminded me of a shaggy dog. Keep the hair out of your face sweeheart. You have a beautiful face and we want to see it!

    Once she got the hair out of her face, she looked fabulous -- the necklace steps her look up a notch. I'm hoping she will be wearing more jewels going forward (whether decreed by HM or not)!

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    1. Keeping her hair off her face isn't just to be prettier -it's courteous to all those who wait for hours to catch a glimpse of "their" princess, not just her hair.

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  28. carrie from the rockies11 February 2014 at 21:10

    I think is so important in our lives as it helps us not only express ourselves but also to help understand each other. Kate made an excellent choice in becoming patron to the gallery. I would have loved to see Will there to support his wife as well as the gallery. She looks refreshed from 2 months of chillin with PG. The necklace is spectacular. Thanks Charlotte!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carrie from the rockies11 February 2014 at 21:23

      *art is so important

      Delete
  29. For me, her hair ruins the entire look. I do like her dress and the fact that she boldly wore it again. What can I say about the necklace? It's a stunning addition! This may sound a little crazy, but I believe Kate hides behind her hair and wearing it "up" makes her feel more vulnerable and exposed. It's her security blanket.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes the hair is a bit odd. Bit flat to her head. Curls nice but style not quite in keeping with this formal dress. Sue boston

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow that necklace is stunning! That speaks volumes about Kate's position in the family that the Queen would lend her that piece. And I adore the dress. I much prefer the way she wears it slightly farther up on her shoulders than the model does. Having it completely off the shoulders would be inappropriate for this engagement, I think. Lovely, lovely gown.

    But the hair - oooo what a mess! It didn't look like she took care of it at all. It wasn't combed. It was windblown and ragged. She really needs an updo when she wears jewels of that magnitude. You couldn't even see them thru all that hair. Why doesn't someone help her with this??? The hair spoiled the whole look - it destroyed the elegance of the gown & jewels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has anyone else looked at the pictures when she got out of the car? Her hair was standing almost straight out in front of her, like a huge blower was behind her. A wind like that is bound to tear apart my hair or yours. Otherwise, I think that she looked stunning. I think that the Queen letting her use this special necklace HAS given her a huge push up the ladder. Who knows just what the Queen has in mind next. The Cambridge Lovers Knot? Back to the necklace, I wonder why the Queen has not worn it more often?

      Delete
    2. I'd be very surprised if the Queen lent her the Cambridge Lovers Knot (tiara or brooch). The Pattern i've noticed with the jewels she lends out is that they have been stored away unworn for some time. She never lends anything she, herself, wears regularly. She wears the Cambridge brooch often, and she wouldn't lend a tiara still strongly associated with Diana so soon. This necklace was last worn in the 60s, just as the various tiaras Kate has worn were last seen in the 70s.

      Delete
    3. Beatrix in New York12 February 2014 at 17:30

      I absolutely agree with your comment on the effect of her hair against the jewels. What a difference on the picture of the queen.

      I'm bummed.

      Delete
  32. I wish she had worn her hair up, or at least half-up. Also, I feel like the ends weren't nicely curled.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I don't know if anyone has looked at the photos in The Mirror...or even the second photo posted on this website, and I may be in a minority when I say this, but she does not look comfortable with that thing around her neck. Yes it is a glorious piece, but definitely not Kate's style...well, at least not just yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Portia from Chicago11 February 2014 at 21:34

      I agree with you. I think that one of the Queen's associates perhaps Angela Kelly consulted Kate's associate, perhaps Rebecca, asked her what dress Kate was going to wear, picked out this necklace and gave it to Kate to wear. I think that is what happened and I suspect that this is what is going to happen henceforth. I don't think that Kate would have picked this out left to her own devices.

      Delete
    2. Interesting comment. I've always felt that honestly, her engagement ring really isn't her style, either, that left to her own devices she would have chosen something else.

      Delete
    3. I would think it takes a while for a person to get use to wearing a priceless diamond necklace around. You see people at the Oscars and they still freak out a bit and it is something they do a lot.

      Delete
    4. I agree that Kate was uncomfortable wearing the gorgeous necklace. And maybe that is why she wore her hair in the awful style that she did -- so she could hide behind it. And hide the necklace behind it. I hope she grows out of this phase soon.

      Delete
    5. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:52

      I would be happy to purchase a brown wig and sub for Kate on any engagement for which she thinks her jewellery is "too much". You all wouldn't know the difference (well, other than me demanding everyone kiss my hand, that is).

      Delete
  34. bluhare in Washington State11 February 2014 at 21:30

    I wonder if her hair is her security blanket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I truly believe it is. I feel like she grew it longer and has it in her face more now, surrounding her more now. Perhaps a subconscious remnant of her body not feeling like her body while she was pregnant?

      Delete
    2. Shantel (@FashionandFaith)12 February 2014 at 00:30

      I have been thinking the same thing....
      Shantel
      Minnesota, USA

      Delete
    3. Sarah from Calif.12 February 2014 at 00:47

      bluhare , I think it is more her personal preferance. I get the feeling she gets tired of all the fuss over outward things.

      Delete
    4. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:55

      Sarah, I don't think Kate gets tired of the fuss over outward things. If she did, she'd have hired people to do that stuff for her.

      She stumbled over her speech. It was a minute or so long. This engagement has been announced for at least a couple of weeks, so she had that long to practice and get familiar with it. This is the woman who performed (as the lead!) in school plays, yet she has trouble with a one minute speech. Why such fear of public speaking now?

      Delete
    5. Portia from Chicago12 February 2014 at 19:35

      bluhare - I totally had the same question ! This was a girl who by all accounts was an attention-stealer, sparkly, bubbling, happy.. the star of her school ! What happened to her that she shakes with fright at meeting strangers (nobody could have missed her shaking hands), and stumbles over ridiculously generic speeches. I feel that there is so much going on behind her smile and part of me feels a bit sad for her soul.

      Delete
    6. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 22:09

      Portia, rampant speculation to follow. I wonder if maybe there has been something said to her and she's terrified of getting things wrong now. Putting myself in her shoes, if I'd been called on the carpet over something, the first time I did it afterwards I'd be quaking in my boots.

      Delete
    7. Maybe the criticism and analysis of her every move is having an impact on her. It's possible...she wouldn't be human if it had zero impact.

      Delete
  35. Commenting for the first time here! :-) I couldn't disagree more about the many commenters' preference for an updo with this dress. I personally can't remember a time I've liked an updo on Kate (they either do not get done well or just do not suit her type of face), but also the slightly beachy informal look of her hair counterbalances nicely the formal-ness of her dress. Regarding a better visibility of the jewels with an updo: the necklace is there to complete her look, not vice versa, she's not a shop-window mannequin showcasing it. So for me it's 10 out of 10 on all fronts: the dress, the hair and the accessories! Katya from France

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you Kathya. I love Kate's long and curly hair. She looks radiant and much more at ease than she is with an updo. Just my opinion.
      Monia, France

      Delete
    2. I like your observation Katya. And I like the idea of wearing a dress that makes her look like a beautiful swan combined with glorious jewels and then breaking it with wild curls. This might not be the most regal of all looks but it's definitely stylish. The secret of style, so beautiful that makes you fall in love does often lie in a certain contrast of elements. The dress, shoes, accessories, her hairstyle, they don't excite me much on their own. The magic happens (or doesn't) when it's composed with wit and sophistication. Anna, NZ

      Delete
    3. Rose from Montreal, Canada12 February 2014 at 00:56

      I completely agree. I love her hair, dress and necklace. It has been such a long time since we saw her on an engagement it was wonderful to see her out and about, hair and all. Thanks Charlotte for this beautiful post.

      Delete
  36. Love, love, love the necklace!!! Holy Cow gorgeous! The dress is stunning, but I have to agree with everyone - an updo would have been much nicer. Remember the gold and cream dress in Malaysia? The hairstyle that she wore that night would have been much better! Thank you Charlotte for your wonderful posts as always!!! Can't wait to see what she takes along to Australia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for mentioning the Malaysia state dinner dress -THAT'S the look that for me has been a zillion out of ten, absolutely regal (okay, the neckline could have been a bit higher, but still a zillion out of ten)!

      Delete
  37. She needs to ditch the ringlets and the hairdresser and get back to Richard Ward pronto or at least someone that can actually blow dry her hair. She's beginning to look like a spaniel in need of clipping. One other thing though, her hair may be suffering the effects of pregnancy still but I think she needs to cut at least 5 inches off and I think it would do both her and her hair the world of good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen from Wiltshire12 February 2014 at 14:40

      I totally agree with you Lesley. I don't think Kate's hair has looked anything like as good as it used to since she moved away from Richard's salon - it always used to look so sleek and tidy. You might have a point about it suffering during the pregnancy, but if so, all the more reason to chop some off and experiment with something a bit shorter. Apart from anything else, she must be really uncomfortably hot and sticky with that long hair on hot overseas tours like the last one and the upcoming one to Aus.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps she is Pregnant again?

      Delete
    3. Perhaps the Duchess is with Child again?

      Delete
  38. This is her BEST post-pregnancy look yet. Absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully she continues this more glamorous look for the Aussie tour. Was DM right about her "makeover" ??
    The only thing that would have made this look better is if William was by her side.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Theresa, from Paris11 February 2014 at 21:55

    I absolutely agree with most comments so far : beautiful gown and spectacular necklace that goes well with the earrings... when we get to see them !
    The hair is a disaster. Just a disaster ! I also think she feels vulnerable when she puts it up, or half-up, but she should be getting used to all this now. Really, the "beach look" from Mustique with a necklace on loan from the Queen, at a black tie evening gala in London... It's just such a shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your beach look vs. black tie analysis. I must admit that I was disappointed, and surprised, that she would combine the two.

      Delete
  40. She looks beautiful, tanned and the diamonds are amazing but why is she hiding behind her hair? I so wish she would wear it up or back or something. Nevertheless she is beautiful and that smile! worth millions

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  41. The first time I saw this Packham dress, it instantly reminded me of a Sargent painting--quite fitting that she chose to wear it to the portrait gallery then. The necklace is beautiful! It mimics the lines in the bodice of the dress perfectly. An up do would have made this look stunning, to my taste. The hairstyle is so casual and beach-like, Mustique wishes? For me, reminiscent of University fashion show. But overall, a nice look. Thank you, Charlotte.

    ReplyDelete
  42. First, the gown then-Princess Elizabeth wore in 1952 is beautiful and reminds me of Diana's famous black velvet gown, I believe Kate once wore something similar and looked great. It's a Royal style. I really like the ink blue Packham so much better with that stunning necklace. Charlotte, so right about the hair, even her half-up/half-down look would be better. It does seem she likes to hide behind a wall of hair like an insecure teenager, and that's a shame.

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  43. While I love reading through all the opinions on Kate, I really don't understand the comments some of you are making about "drama" in the family or Kate looking like she doesn't want to be there. I'm not sure if you've been to events like this since it's very hard to see from the photos, but there are so many photographers, at night, in your face. People are screaming, you literally can't see anything in front of you except for the flash of cameras. The "look" on her face is nothing more than the look of someone blinded by a camera. In other news, :) I love the dress and those jewels. Oh my! While her hair has looked better, I still love it and much prefer it to an up-do. Thank you Charlotte for these incredibly informative and interesting posts. Can't wait to see the DoC on Friday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:56

      Kate's had photographers in her face since Day 1, so that's not a reason for me.

      Delete
  44. Catherine looks GORGEOUS!!! This dress needs a necklace and Her Majesty's diamonds are perfection on her! Wow I love her hair and this dress. She looks elegant. Thank you Charlotte.

    ReplyDelete
  45. She looks tired and bored considering she just came back from a vacation. I do like that she recycle I just wish she would leave bigger gaps between the times she wears the same outfits. She will be the future queen and needs to show more interest and be more polished.

    1.He hair was not done well.
    2.The style did not go with the dress or jewels.
    3.I wish she would carry a clutch. Her hand always looks awkward.

    Still love her just wish she seemed more excited.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am from America and still don't quite understand what the public
    wants from the Duchess. I personally think that she should be
    allowed to be herself and not conform to some imagined idea of
    what she should do or wear. Personally I didn't like the necklace
    on her. It was overwhelmng and looked like it belonged on my grandmother
    not a 32 year old woman.
    All of this fuss is enough to give her a nervous breakdown.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, but take another look at the picture of the Queen wearing the necklace she was 26 at the time and 21 when she chose it as her wedding gift and she looks fresh and pretty in it, certainly not grandmotherly. Wearing the jewels is part of the job.

      Delete
    2. I think you're correct that it wasn't an ideal choice for KATE. She likes simple, understated pieces (to the point of her jewelry not being visible in some photos). My preference would have been the Queen's "King Khalid" diamond necklace. It's not a shy piece, but perhaps not as "heavy" looking.

      http://queensjewelvault.blogspot.com/p/necklaces.html

      Delete
  47. oh. my. god! that necklace! the nizam of hyderabad necklace! gorgeous.

    i love the dress, and esp love it with the necklace. the wide neckline looks made for a statement piece, and the nizam of hyderbad necklace certainly fits the bill!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I agree. The hair was a mess. She appears to have a preference to wear it down. I wish she would trim a few inchess off it and take a cue from Mary of Denmark. You can have some length but keep it polished. We all like what we like even a Princess. I will say this to the naysayers on the "comfort" front. She may not yet be comfortable with the entrance (even the most confident woman would take a few years to adjust) but from all accounts she is engaging and charasmatic during receptions, meet and greets etc. It is not fair to claim her heart isn't in it.

    ReplyDelete
  49. As some other reader commented in a previous note, I was so looking forward to seeing Katherine this evening! Thank you so much Charlotte, for the great post and all the information.
    I cannot but agree with the general opinion: Katherine is always beautiful, but an undo would have been made her look perfect. I think that a bracelet (the one we have seen her wear in other occasions) would have looked just fine, and not too much.
    And I also noticed that she did not accessorise with a clutch. It could have been great too!
    Thank you for the always fantastic blog, and greetings to everyone from Madrid, Spain!
    Marina

    ReplyDelete
  50. I agree about your comment on Kate's hair. An updo would have made it easier to see that fabulous necklace. At the very least, maybe she might have pulled just have back (like she did at her wedding). Oh well, it's a minor complaint. I'm just so happy to see some jewels! It's been a very jewel-less few months for us royal-watchers!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Great to see Kate on the job. I loved the separate parts of tonight's look, the parts as a whole were underwhelming. First of all - she really, really, really needs to do something with her hair. I love long hair and am trying to grow mine out. I love Kate's hair. But I WISH she had a stylist with the cojones to tell her that an updo, even a demi-chignon or a half-updo, is the way to go with formal events AND with off-the-shoulder gowns worn with statement jewels. That strand of hair hanging alongside her face is just distracting.
    I LOVE the Nizam piece and it looks stunning in the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II - and the strapless gown she's wearing is eerily similar to the black strapless gown Diana wore for her first official formal engagement as Charles's fiancee, don't you think so? I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't the same dress!!
    Anyway, the necklace is beautiful but not quite shown off to its best advantage in this dress. The black velvet strapless gown Kate wore to the military awards banquet a couple of years ago would have really shown it off.
    I've never been a fan of this particular gown. It seems, to me at least, like it flattens Kate and widens her in a way that is not especially flattering. It might be the way the top is cut or the high-waisted fit of the gown but it's just not one of my favorites but kudos to Kate for recycling a very expensive piece.
    I'd say the "tanned glow" is approx 60 percent Mustique sun and 40 percent spray tan but she looks tanned, rested and ready to get back to work. Hopefully with her hair up.
    Also, I'd have to think that Angela Kelly, the queen's dresser, is, indeed, lending some help and advice to Kate as far as the queen's jewelry is concerned. Keep in mind Kelly has decades of experience knowing what pieces are in the queen's private collection and what is appropriate for what occasions and with what colors, styles, etc.
    Not a bad look for Kate tonight but not as good as it could have been. But it is good to see her finally making appearances again and getting back to her royal duties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:57

      The Queen's strapless gown also reminded me of the black velvet gown Kate wore with the ruby necklace.

      Delete
  52. It's a wonderful dress and perfect for Kate. I liked it unadorned but it sets off a necklace beautifully as well. Since Kate has not been working, I think it was more tactful not to flash out with something new but do hope she doesn't save new gowns for the tour, as she has done in the past. The changes in climate do require new things but it feels like England for Kate is often "Second Time Rose."

    Do agree with Daisy that Kate hides behind her hair. (Much like the famed pianist Martha Argarich.) I do like Kate's hair long and have not always liked her updos but this looks really messy falling in her face and sloppily curled. She needs to fire this hairdresser.

    I'd like to see her get her old one back -come back, all is forgiven - because he had a magic touch and her hair almost always looked flawless, especially with those demi-chignons. Suppose that isn't possible. But at best she needs someone new to make her look more groomed.

    At this point agree she doesn't look completely comfortable in her borrowed jewels but that will come in time. Diana was the same when she first borrowed necklaces but soon built her own look. The necklace does lend a strange credence to the once implausable sounding Daily Mail story. Angela Kelly seems like a lady who likes to take charge and she's very (perhaps too much) trusted by the queen, so maybe she has a role here. Still suspect we won't be seeing a lot of tiaras, if any, in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Bring back James Pryce as her hairdresser. He used to do big bouncy lovely curls. Her current hairdresser is not as good. Compare the canada tour to South East Asia tour -her hair was way better in the former!

    ReplyDelete
  54. She looks beautiful and I love that she is wearing the Queen's jewelry. An updo would have been perfect, but hair can change after having a baby and she could have a lot of fly hairs. That's not so fancy haha. I really love the full length pictures of the gown. While I wish she would have worn a new dress, this dress deserved another look at!

    ReplyDelete
  55. That necklace is what the dress was missing before! Absolutely smashing! The hair is a bit Jennifer Aniston, which might have worked with the dress sans necklace, but not with full on bling. I would have loved an updo, but I actually think she could have pulled off the look with her hair down and looking more like it did in the black velvet strapless dress at the Millies. I guess that was more the "Classic Kate" hair. If she's going to leave it down, I do wish she'd cut a few inches off. There is a length where her hair looks proportional to her face and body without detracting. That's all...a few inches. Please, Kate?!

    How timeless does HM look in that portrait? We could see that look - the hair, the necklace, the dress - on the red carpet today and it would still look fabulous! I wish Kate would think like that. I feel like she did previously. Older pictures of her looking completely polished in evening gowns are the kinds of looks that a stylist would dig out years from now and emulate. I'm not sure we can say the same recently.

    Whatever she's wearing, I still love the Duchess and I love your blog, Charlotte!

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  56. I agree, Kate looks beautiful as always (and that dress is one of my favorites), but long, loose hair looks too casual for the occasion. Though if I had such lovely, glossy hair I'd probably want to show it off all the time, too!

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  57. I love the dress and the necklace but her hair needs a new stylist. Is she doing her own hair these days?

    ReplyDelete
  58. On the second photo from the top she has a certain resemblance with Tatiana Santo Domingo
    : ) ..... must be the combination of flashbulbs and long curls.
    Anna, NZ

    ReplyDelete
  59. Sarah from Calif.12 February 2014 at 00:02

    Oh lovely lovely Kate ! The crowning glory is who she is. Can't wait to read all of this but, in a hurry now.
    Oh Hi Charlotte and all Duchess Kate fans:)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Oh Charlotte! What wonderful posts you've made this year, especially giving us tidbits and history lessons while engagements are at a minimum. Thank you so much for all your hard work!

    I think the Duchess looked stunning tonight. The dress and statement necklace were perfect! I would've appreciated seeing her hair in her famous demi-chignon, but know that she makes choices with which she's comfortable.

    I take anything written in the Daily Mail with a B I G grain of salt (more like a cup!). Their journalistic integrity is usually lacking.

    Thanks again for the post - a stellar job, as usual. :o)
    Julie

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    Replies
    1. Helen from Wiltshire12 February 2014 at 14:54

      I agree Julie. I thought that dress was quite plain the first time she wore it, but the necklace made such a huge difference - I thought she looked amazing!

      I, too, take the Daily Mail with a cup or two of salt on the vast majority of occasions, but if there turns out to be a grain of truth in this particular article and it means we get more WOW! moments from Kate, I'll be really happy! I think Kate has been lacking a bit of something in her wardrobe and I'm hoping that this might be a bit of a turning point. Really looking forward to the Aus tour now if this is anything to go by!

      Delete
  61. I bet Kate reads this blog. She knew we loved this dress and again it didn't disappoint. Just beautiful especially with the diamonds. A lovely gesture on the Queens part to lend out such a large piece to Kate.

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  62. Fascinating debate about her hair and the necklace. I think she wore her hair down so as to retain her 'identity' and not be 'overpowered' by the necklace, as others have suggested. I also think that she likes the natural look. I was surprised to see her wearing this highly ornate and large piece, would not have thought it would have been something that she would have worn. (I am thinking of the very discreet tiara she wore on her wedding day) But, there was a big space to fill 'on her front' (to put it bluntly) as the gown was reasonably low. It might just have been the most appropriate piece that could be found regarding size, colour, length and so on. The gown has a fabulous skirt, makes Kate look like a nymph. The juxtaposition of long, ringletted hair of different lengths and the very formal necklace is interesting.

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  63. The dress and necklace were fabulous. The hair would've looked better half-up and then curled like it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I wish she would not her hair as a security blanket.

      Delete
  64. So excited to see her Packham dress again, it's truly one of my favorites! I'm glad that these photos show off the pretty blue color better than those from the first time she wore it.

    I too would have liked to see her hair up or half-up, if only so that we could see that stunning necklace better!

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  65. A beautiful, modern look for Duchess Kate--love what the inky blue dress does for her eyes! A bonus is the view of the royal couple's new Bentley "Flying Spur."

    ReplyDelete
  66. No no no no no!!! The hair! It's just a disaster! I don't understand Kate and her hair anymore. It looks so unkempt. Why does she keep using it as a security blanket? Kate is a beautiful mature woman who has the hairstyle of a teenager. She needs to pull it back off her face, pin it up into a regal up do! It seems like after Kate had George she lost a little bit of her sparkle and is trying to get it back. I never liked the dress the first time she wore it and I unfortunately don't like it this time. The necklace was gorgeous but just looked awkward on Kate. She should have carried a clutch because she kept making those awkward hand placements. As for the people who say that Kate isn't used to all the cameras and people in her face, I greatly disagree. William and Kate dated for 10 years. Within that time Kate was endlessly followed by the paparazzi. So she's used to it. Dare I even say, before she was married she embellished the attention she got. If you go and look at the videos and pictures of her she's smiling, laughing and playing up to the cameras. Now it seems like she's totally flipped it and is shy, hiding her face behind her hair. In some sort of Diana way. It makes no sense now that all of a sudden Kate doesn't want the attention. She seems almost cold to the cameras now compared to how she used to be. It comes to the point when people have to stop making excuses for someone. Regardless of age, being a mother, married to the future heir to the throne or not.

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    Replies
    1. I thought she looked lovely but I agree with you her hair would have looked nicer with the hair up and would really have shown off the Queen's necklace more.

      Delete
  67. Not my fav dress but I know I am in the Minority there and this is a good color for this time of year in London. But as has been harped on - 'the hair - the hair - the hair!!!! Gads NO and NO and NO - it looks really messy and not in a beachy wave look good way it's just plain messy and needed a full up do or a half up half down - I am really hoping she gets a new hair look soon! She can do long if she wants - just look to some icons who do it right and have done it right in the past decades - even all the way back to a Farrah Fawcett look (only not quite so 'winged as Farrah wore her's of course) -- or a Jane Fonda hair from the late 70s through the mid 90s would be great - she needs some highlights, some feathers and stop trying to let whoever does those ringlets do them because they don't come out like a beach wave on her for some reason.

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    Replies
    1. Great description of the hairstyle. It's not my favorite gown on her but I like the dress and love the color. Looking at the video of her arrival, Kate is very bony across the back, appears to have dropped weight again. Half a stone more would not do her any harm. But the big must is to find a good evening hairstyle, a demi chignon or similar.

      Delete
  68. I have been thinking about Kate's hair never being "up" fr formal occasions. I personally think it would have made this appearance a 10 if it had been up. That necklace deserves an updo! It seems like every informal picture we see of her shopping, going on a walk etc she has her hair in a pony tail. I have a feeling she wears it in a pony tail everyday if her "normal", non-public life just because it's easier. I think she wears her hair down when she is st engagements because to her that is dresses and different to her. It just happens to be that we only see her in her "not-normal" public life.

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    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:59

      I agree. I think this might have been my favorite had Kate put her hair up. It's a gorgeous dress with a spectacular necklace.

      Delete
  69. I now think that she DOES NEED to accept FREEBIES so we can see her in different gowns for different events. If designers want to send her stuff then why not? I know she would not want to spend LOTS of money on gowns however, the duchess needs to realize that she will be doing a good thing by supporting the designers (of her country most of the time) she likes thus helping the economy. Hence bottom line, she MUST accept freebies especially when it comes to expensive gowns. :)

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more !

      Delete
  70. Don't you guys think that the dress is wearing her and not the other way around?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 16:59

      The dress, no. The hair, yes.

      Delete
    2. Yep. She never looks comfortable in those expensive gowns.

      Delete
    3. bluhare, I agree with you on both.

      Delete
  71. definitely love the gown she wore in the past October she looks stunning she rocks the night

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  72. I got so excited when I read the reference to "Queen's Diamonds" in the headline of this post, but when I saw the first photo I sighed. The long hair is so wrong for the formality of the necklace and gown. And a clutch would have been a nice touch to complete the look .

    The long hair worked in her 20's, but she should find a more sophisticated and age appropriate style at this point. Someone else made a reference to Princess Mary's hair and I couldn't agree more.

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    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 17:00

      We agree again! I think this is three times in a row now.

      Delete
    2. I know! Who da thunk it? :)

      Delete
  73. Wow, that last photo is stunning. A different kind of photo compared to the full light we usually see on her. The necklace is excellent!

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  74. So many different opinions. Many of them so absolute polar opposite. But all of them are based on personal point of view and individual taste and preferences. I hope that Kate will hire a really good stylist who understands and embraces her personal style (no reason to copy CP Mary or any other Royal) and works with her to carve out a style she is truly content with. It's well possible she had a stylist during her first year as HRH. Her style was so much more refined back then. It was the time when the style icon foundation was created. Now she seems a bit jumpy and undecided. Maybe she wants to do it all on her own. She still looks beautiful, how could she not. Just somewhat .... random.
    Anna, NZ

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    1. Anja from Germany12 February 2014 at 12:14

      I think you are right. I am the first to volunteer as her stylist (because I am a professional one). I have so many ideas for her to complete a really personal style. Sigh! ;)

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    2. Well said. I hope Kate follows your advice.

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    3. Go Anja! ; )

      Anna, NZ

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  75. I really wish she would have chosen an updo for that necklace! Her hair looks to casual for that dress and jewelry. She still looks gorgeous, but the hair just makes everything look off...

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  76. Surely Kate reads this blog and knows how many people thought the blue gown should have a necklace! I have always thought her hair if well done is enough ornament with this dress. The gown, while long and formal and graceful, is somehow casual as well, and I am astonished to see the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace with it. The Queen has always worn this necklace in such a formal way. It is nice to see beautiful royal jewels loaned to Kate, however. The palmetto tiara and this necklace are traditional and formal pieces with solid royal provenance. Wearing a necklace the Queen still wears must be a real mark of honor and trust.

    This is the second time Kate has hidden an astonishing necklace among a lot of curls. The first time it was the ruby and diamond necklace that apparently belongs to her. I wonder whether she feels slightly embarrassed by such ornate jewels and therefore doesn't let them really shine. The tiara was different; she wore her hair in such a way that it dominated her look, even though a full updo would have been more in keeping with the occasion and the tiara.

    Kate is an initiate where major royal jewels are concerned. It will take time for her to feel comfortable wearing them, and time to get the accompanying style just right.

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  77. Great work, Charlotte!!! But - oh, DO I WISH, Kate would just once GO FOR IT!! What do I mean by that? Well, just stop recycling all the time. Just stop wearing "full gear" as far as the jewellery is concerned and then match it with a hairstyle that´s nice in itself but just not "right" for the jewellery. She is the Duchess of Cambridge and every now and then on a glamorous event, she could just do it: choose a lovely gown (that Jenny Packham dress IS really nice, but because she has so little glamorous engagements and she´s recycling like all the time, I get the impression, she only wore it yesterday), wear these gorgeous diamonds and then show them off by wearing her hair up - and then SHINE. Because she can do it! She´s a gorgeous woman, she´s a credit to the monarchy, why not use it? Why not just dazzle and take our breath away? Why pretend "Oh I´m just a normal woman" when you´re not?
    She could wear new gowns and sell the "old ones" every now and then on an auction for charity - it would make MILLIONS. Recycling is nice, but even I wouldn´t dare to wear a gown that every one has seen on me the last time only 6 months later - no way. Maybe one year later, and only if I was quite sure not many people were there who saw me wearing it before. Don´t get me wrong, but I just think it´s too much recycling and trying to go "low-key". Wearing those diamonds IS NOT low-key so either you go for low-key (no Queen´s diamonds) or you go for "glamour" - and for me this means new dress and matching hair-do. So, yes, this time, I´m disappointed. The whole thing is half-hearted and it´s not working for me... Such a shame, really.

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    1. I agree, but I also believe that if she had worn her hair up and added a clutch to the look, we'd be too busy gasping to care that she wore this gown not too long ago. :)

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  78. She needs to be coached on giving speeches. Such a short speech full of standard empty phrases and she still has to read it off her notes and then seems unfamiliar with the text and stumbles. It would make her much more professional if she improved her skills in that realm.

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  79. Hi! I absolutely love the gown and the necklace, and I don't mind that she repeated the frock at such a short distance in time. It is so beautiful and classy! But I think the hair was terrible and ruined the look. Also, I am not a fan of the black shoes with the blue gown...
    Charlotte from Italy

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  80. I love her curls. She looks so beautiful at this Event, so fresh, so youthful. When she wore the gown in october, I didn't like it so much, I missed a Highlight at this outfit. And now there is a Highlight: this very nice necklace. It lets the gown shine a bit more and it makes the duchess so beautiful. And I think, that she stumbled at the end of her speech makes her so much more naturally and it was heartfully to see. And I must say, I love her hair at this evening. Beautiful.

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  81. "I am still very much Kate": I think this is a very revealing sentence that the Duchess said about herself. She is afraid to change or she doen't want to change/to be changed and this is evident e.g. looking at her hairstyle, still so Kate and not very appropriate for a Duchess.

    Concerning her makeup, she should lighten it because she is a wonderful women and wonderful women don't need heavy makeup but just something light that enhances their features. I rememebr when she was in her mid-twenties and she was dating Prince William: her makeup was lighter and she used a green eye pencil (more luminous) instead of the black one. She looked really stunning.

    She should take style lessons from the Danish Princesses Mary and Marie about how to wear stunning jewels with evening gowns and also how to wear a tiara with a suitable and classy hairstyle. Before I was thinking it was easy to wear important jewels, but instead it requires some serious effort behind. Princesses Mary and Marie of Denmark, as well as the Swedish Princesses Victoria and Madeleine, make us believe that it is easy and effortless, but instead it is not.

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  82. I actually want to make a comment about her speech. I noticed she lookes at the audience a lot more than before. Doaes anyone else think this is her best speech so far?
    I think she dealt with the small mistake in the end gracefully and actually turned it into that human, charming vulnerability someone was talking about recently (saying she doesn't have it and she's like a doll, while Diana was so human).

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  83. I just cannot understand this fixation with "up-dos"--maybe because in the dim and ancient past, when I was a schoolgirl, all our teachers(well those who were not nuns!0 had buns; chignons or French pleats.
    Had Catherine been at a white tie, State Occasion and wearing a tiara I might have agreed that her hair should at least be half up---but she wasn't: nor was she an actress at the Oscars, lent a piece by a jewellers and therefore having to show it off.
    She wore her magnificent necklace with aplomb, as a perfect complement to her gown---not as a badge of office screaming,"Look at me wearing HM's necklace".
    She doesn't need instructions from any other princess---she is herself and the wife of the second n line not the heir.

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  84. There's no way around it. The hair is terrible. Like she was rushed to get ready and did it herself. Not a smart move when you're in the linses of the wirld's press. Too bad. Necklace too much for me. I prefer her own necklace worn only once in public but if thf Aueen offers there's no choice.

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  85. Grace from Yorkshire12 February 2014 at 11:27

    I like this dress and I definitely think it looks better with the gorgeous necklace but I wish she'd left longer before wearing it again. Agree with others about the hair, completely detracts from the look as a whole with it down.

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  86. Kate´s hair looks great as does every single one of the pictures of her on this post.
    Hair up or down, nothing to complain.

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  87. I find tanning so unattractive.
    Compare this:
    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Kate+Middleton/Arrivals+Portrait+Gala+London+Part+2/VQiglvpB3hq
    to this:
    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Kate+Middleton/Royal+Family+Attends+Christmas+Day+Service/lqOy7o_RTMi

    No brainer!

    Also I get a weird feeling when I see her at these events. If it was you, wouldn't you feel ashamed to "grace people with your presence" ? She really has not accomplished anything to earn the respect of those around her. Reminds me of when I was younger and foolishly believed that if I smiled and looked pretty, people would be glad to have me around. I wonder what she has to talk about with these people at events. Maybe her "heart is not in it", as some have said, because she feels awkward, shy, tired. But then again, she signed up for all this, it must have appealed to her in some way.
    I find the royal family to be such an odd institution and cannot say I really understand what it is about in modern times.
    I have mixed feelings about Kate, but if you are a female I must say it is quite hard to not be fascinated with "Kate Middleton" as a cultural artifact.

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    1. Portia from Chicago12 February 2014 at 20:01

      A from Boston, gosh - you have hit the nail on the head, I believe ! What *does* she have to talk about with people? And you are right - that is the source of her apathy. She probably jumped into it thinking that she would have to show up and look good, but with time has realized that she needs to interact in a meaningful fashion. She has also probably gotten tired of being judged all the time relentlessly not just by the public, but her charities, her associates. The problem with being in her position is that she has no clue what people *really* think of her. Because no one (other than the DM comments section) will ever tell her candidly what they think of her abilities. So she probably just stands there feeling self-conscious and shy and awkward.

      I so agree with your sentiments about the institution of monarchy. And I echo your feelings about KM as an artifact. I have to say, that reading these comments and seeing people's reactions to her I am beginning to feel quite sad for her. There is a mixture of envy, cold inhumanity and contempt for her in the public's reactions. We turn her into an artifact, a doll.. we project our humanity onto her but she is not even a proper celebrity who has *earned* the right to speak - the right to stand up for herself. She must forever be a servant to the institution and therefore mask herself and her sentiments. She literally has *no* rights.. none whatsoever.

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  88. I've been waiting for this post! It didn't disappoint. I find the whole debate on the Duchess's hair and dress amusing. I'm happy to see she wore her lovely gown again and the necklace looks so pretty on her, I do agree however, that it would have been more of a put together look if she had worn her hair up. Perhaps, the Duchess believes wearing her down makes her feel comfortable in the face of all the attention and media?

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  89. I was not surprised that Kate recycled a dress for this occasion, Although it is only a few months since she wore it I am pleased to see more of the dress as on the first occasion one did not see very much of it however this time one saw what it really looked like. I think it is fabulous a lovely colour and quite regal. I know there are differing views I think it is largely a question of taste. With Kate wearing that fabulous necklace I think there may be some truth in the DM story that Angela Kelly is advising on jewellery. If I remember correctly the DM indicated that she was assisting in choice of jewellery not dresses as some seem to have assumed. I do feel, as many do, that Kate needs to get rid of her present hair stylist, since she took over, prior to the tour of Malaysia Kate's hair has not often looked as good as it regularly did when James Prior was her stylist. Recently the only time it has really looked great was after she spent several hours at a special stylist having it restyled and cut I think she needs to go there again. I hope she doesn't take her present one on the tour to Australia and New Zealand. Apart from her hair I thought Kate looked great and had put on a little weight.
    Changing the subject I thought that a sensible decision was made in allowing the photos of Kate & Prince George to be published in Hello. By doing this they were able to negotiate when they were shown which was after Kate & George had returned home thus avoiding any security issues or Long range photos on Mystique and also photos appearing in overseas publications at the wrong time. Taken as they were from a public space and Kate herself was in a public area, unlike the obtrusive photos taken in France and when playing tennis one Christmas in the garden of a villa they were staying in they had no good grounds for saying no. I somehow doubt whether the Palace will be quite so laid back over the photo of William away on that shooting weekend with his reported former girlfriend Jecca Craig that has appeared in today's papers my view it serves William right I am appalled that he should take the girl away for a weekend and I wonder whether Kate was aware that she was in the party or did it come to light due to the Paparazzi photograph she was the only girl with the group of men away as was thought for a lads shooting weekend. Why was she there? I would think Kate must be very upset by William's actions I know I would be if my husband had done that sort of thing I wouldn't imagine her parents will be overly amused either. It will be interesting to see if the Palace make any comment

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    1. Yes I was surprised with william and his friend jecca in the party. Very odd. I hope history isn't repeating itself. Bella wiltshire

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    2. Re: William and Jecca. I'd say it's more about terrible judgment than bad behavior.

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  90. Hallelujah!!! I am so happy to see Kate finally wearing some of the Queen's jewels. It is about time. She looks so glamorous.

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  91. I'd like to see a full length shot of Grayson Perry's dress, which looks striking, interesting, and quite pretty.

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  92. Her long hair would be lovely if she were not HRH. A breath of fresh air is nice but few women, let alone ones who become senior royalty, wear their hair in the same unchanged style from their early twenties into early thirties. She must uphold who she is and either put her hair in an elegant updo to compliment those priceless jewels, or cut the hair so it is not obscuring the view of her face. For the life if me I do not know why she does not have a dresser or advice of a stylist and why she does not carry a clutch bag to finish her outfit.

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  93. For sure she should have worn her hair up i a "formal undo" for a "formal event"!!! No brainer! Especially when wearing such a spectacular necklace. Her hair gets cought in it and she looks like she is half finished getting ready…. just her hair left to do! I love to see Kate dressed up but this one is a miss for me :(

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  94. Kate obviously loves her hair :) And so do we. But an updo (a demi-chignon) would have greatly improve the whole look. (I think she thinks she looks younger with her hair down.)

    The dress is so elegant, and the necklace is superb. Look how beautiful the Queen looks wearing it in the painting! She was a remarkable young woman.
    Hugs!
    Z. from Portugal

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  95. I agree with Portia from Chicago. Good insights.

    Jewelry is certainly a way to show rank, but Kate seems almost shy about it. Because the jewels are so ornate, a bracelet would have balanced the whole ensemble. I think that something must be going on with the Duchess...William should have been there, as that would have added to the regalness of her first occasion, of wearing such a statement piece publically, a royal nod, if you will. Ditto, with the hair...simply a crime to not have the necklace shown off, rather than covered with hair. Personally, I think that the Queen wore it best.

    A dress needs to be made to show off the jewels, In other words, you put on the necklace, and have a dress made for that necklace. Statement pieces are the focal point, rather than just an accessory.
    They are stunning, it is true, but not worn to her best advantage, in my opinion. They seem to almost overpower her with that dress. I would have chosen something beautifully bejeweled, but a bit smaller, with that dress.

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  96. I really like the dress, the colour and the the way it changes when she moves showing different shades.. I like the necklace as well, it gaves her the aspect of a princess..
    I agree with many of you, she should have put her hair up in an elegant chignon.. they are in contrast with the elegance of the outfit.. but I think she wants to look more natural.
    I was missing her, and I honestly hoped for a new gown...

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  97. Hi, Charlotte,

    Thank you for your post. You're always so quick while also being very interesting and thorough! I enjoy your site so much!

    I tried to comment yesterday but Google shut me down-not sure why...

    The Jenny P. dress is gorgeous. I'm so glad to have another look at it. I could tell the last venue where Kate wore it wasn't letting us see it properly (due to what appeared to be very bad lighting...). The fabrics are exquisite.

    The necklace is a fabulous treat for all of us. It looks really beautiful and complements the dress. The gown's neckline looked too bare at the Women in Hedge Funds appearance.

    But...Kate, please consider putting up your hair. Your hairstyle this evening wasn't appropriate to such a lovely duo of necklace and dress. Even a half up do would have made your hair less of a distraction, especially from the jewels.

    Still-Kate is a beautiful woman. She's just as lovely walking off the jet in Mustique in jeans, no makeup and carrying Gorgeous George as she is at a gala. I just want to be able to "see" her. It's her job after all.

    Hope all other readers are well! Congrats to the contest winner-hope you enjoy your prize in good health!

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  98. I love that dress and the necklace is phenomenal, but Kate's hair definitely leaves something to be desired. It looks scraggly like she's been through a rainstorm. I usually love her hair down no matter what she wears, but it looks too overworked and messy this time. But, I still have to say, she is always stunning and is so here too!

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  99. Beatrix in New York12 February 2014 at 17:27

    I was excited to see the duchess.... but...

    I didn't like her hairstyle. It reminded me of Beyonce's hair for the Grammy's. I hate that "out of the shower wavy look". Sorry. There was a funny mime to Beyonce's hair circulating online. It would sound harsh if I just share it with words here, so I will reserve that part (with the picture it is funny).

    I just thought: BORING

    I am all for "recycling" (yeah, I hate that word too :P ) but would love to see an added accessory or different styling of the hair to make it look like something different. I mean, seriously, if I buy X expensive dress for a wedding, I will use it again for another event but will make sure to not look the exact same. They have mentioned many times, Princess Mary of Denmark is great at this. If I were Kate, I would "take tips from her". She is gorgeous and always polished and appropriate. I love her looks/style.

    I used to have hair in my face and my mom would always yell at me for it. As I see some of Kate's pictures I just think, "wow mom, you were soo right. It is so annoying to see someone with hair in her face."

    I'm sure it's a defense mechanism, I feel Kate "hides" behind her hair. She is so pretty, she needs not to. She would also show her outfits more with more up-dos. We know she has lovely long hair, up-dos would not keep that from us, it would simply show-off the fact that she has gorgeous long hair that can be managed in styles that others with not so gorgeous long hair simply cannot.

    Anyway, the duchess is a lovely lady, but I wasn't impressed yesterday.
    - and for those that might remind me, I know she doesn't dress to impress me, yet I still have that opinion ;)

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  100. She should have worn her hair up.

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  101. Simply love the very last picture. It is stunning and dramatic. I love this dress and what a beautiful necklace. That is truly a "statement" necklace. Hair up would have been better, such as half up half down because sometimes it looks like she was caught in a rain shower. But beautiful look 😊


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  102. Hello everyone,

    I wanted to thank you all for your interesting, insightful and respectful comments. This discussion is a wonderful example of readers sharing different views in a calm and open environment, so my thanks to all of you!

    The general consensus seems to be the look was perfect aside from Kate's hair. I wonder if she had pushed one side of it behind her shoulder or a simple but elegant demi-chignon? It would have made a significant difference. I'm not sure Kate's new hairdresser is comparable to James Pryce. He took such excellent care of her hair.

    I added a video of the speech to the bottom of the post. At the end where Kate has a slight stumble her reaction is just darling. It's one of those moments where we get a glimpse of her personality away from protocol and formality.

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    1. Pauline Oak Hills12 February 2014 at 20:00

      Hello Ms. Charlotte. I know once I saw the photos of the Duchess there would be many negative comments regarding her hair. I think she wears it long becuase she likes it that way.But everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

      Do you have anymore info on the hunting trip with William & Jecca. I just think it was a very bad move on William's part and Jecca. Even though everyone is saying they are just"friends" It does not look good on William to be with his "supposely ex girlfriend". Not sure if they were. Now please I am not saying anything happened between those two but it just seems strange to me. So please people don't jump all over me for this comment.

      Also do you have any info on the new ring on Kate's ring finger. It looks like a band of diamonds.Maybe a new one from William????

      Thanks again for this great blog and all your hard work.

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    2. bluhare in Washington State12 February 2014 at 22:14

      We are a good group, aren't we?
      :)

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    3. Pauline Oak Hills12 February 2014 at 23:59

      Yes bluhare we are. What is your take and this William & Jecca hunting trip??

      Delete
  103. I have to admit I quite like Kate's hair down with this particular dress, I just wasn't keen on the beach waves. Asked my hubby out of interest and funnily enough he liked her hair, said it was natural looking. Love the video of the speech, she comes across as so lovely and sweet.

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    1. I have to say her hair outside in the first pictures we saw did look messy but this could b due to the bad weather the pics inside i thought her hair looked a lot better and romantic looking. Ann London

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    2. Yes I agree Ann, I think the wind messed her hair up in the first lot of photos taken of her arrival. Looking at the photos starting to be released from inside the event it looks lovely from the front.

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  104. What struck me about this post was the dress the Queen is wearing, it is almost exactly the dress Diana wore for her first black tie engagement with Charles, remember the evening Princess Grace was there? Apparently at the time Diana was driven to tears regarding negative comments regarding the dress how it wasn't suitable, the too low decolletage and black only being for mourning, and here we have Queen Elizabeth in exactly the same dress! I hope Kate is never bullied like Diana was

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  105. i think she's wearing a new diamond eternity band?

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  106. Something that I haven't seen considered regarding the Duchess' hair is that she is only 6 months postpartum. At this point any extra hair growth from her pregnancy is rapidly falling out, and the texture of her hair and the way she has styled it for years is likely having to change. That is what happened to me at least, I had to completely change how I cut and styled my hair after I had my son. I had a learning curve with it as well, I'm sure it's that much harder to figure out when you are under such public scrutiny.

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  107. THANKS FOR PICTURES

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  108. After looking at pics on other websites, I believe the rings are her wedding band and engagement ring only, no new adornment. And from somewhere, I remember people talking about their interaction with the Queen. To a wo/man, they said that the Queen asked them about something in their lives or experiences, and then listened. All the DoC needs to do is emulate that behaviour, tweaking it to make it her own.

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  109. I thought she looked marvelous; she always does. I also think it's great that she is wearing the Queen's jewelry. And I thought the necklace looked wonderful on the young Queen Elizabeth. But I did not think the necklace looked like Kate. It's too heavy for her look. Surely of all the amazing jewelry the Queen owns there must have been something that looked more like Kate. When she borrowed the tiaras, she chose pieces that were delicate and youthful. When she wears the Queen's diamond earrings, she chooses something also delicate and fresh. The necklace (on both the Queen and HRH) looks like it is a sign of royalty: it weighs the young queen down, transforming her from a young woman to a Queen. Does Kate really need to be transformed from a young woman (who wears her hair however she wants it) into a symbol of royalty That's what I felt when I saw it: it does not seem like something she would have chosen for herself.

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  110. Dresses, hair, diamonds aside, I do sympathize with how stressful it must be to attend an event where the majority of the VIPs you will be introduced to and conversing with are professionals in their field, which you have stepped into as a patron or "an honorary" in some way. Think of the tremendous pressure that is on her to be charming, witty, engaging in every interaction. Kate is an outstanding and intelligent woman, but I understand full well how one could feel "inadequate" in some way to step into a realm in which you do not have a tremendous amount of experience but you are elevated to a very high-level based on extraneous circumstances.

    A. from Boston: Yes, I absolutely agreed that the "fake tan" is unnecessary. Re: your other comments: I do understand where you're coming from, but maybe it's not "ashamed," but perhaps "humbled" from which her seemingly "awkward and shy" moments stem. Perhaps she is humbled by the work, dedication and passion exhibited by those who devote their careers to these institutions and I am sure there is a real sense that she wishes to do her best to benefit the institutions and there is a huge pressure in this. And yes, she did voluntarily sign onto this role, but please how can one really understand everything they take on? It's impossible. That's why there is faith and trust.

    Portia: I agree. I feel that the little speeches she gives are "masked" in real self and sentiment. Charlotte, is it the general consensus that she does write her own speeches?

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  111. Your posts are always the speediest (first up after an event) and I always thoroughly enjoy them. I too think it is time for a change with the hair. I appreciate that kate is deeply committed to her hair extensions, indeed they are her trademark, but they look terrible. They overwhelm her entire body not just her face and necklace. Time for them yo to go, no matter how much of a security blanket they are.

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  112. I frankly thought Kate should have changed hairdressers last autumn after the Remembrance ringlets but I hope she does now. It would be nice if she would overlook the past and get her old hairdresser back. He really did a fabulous job with her hair and gave it lift at the top. One of the things we're noticing here is how flat her hair looks. That's bad styling.

    The demi-chignon may be an old style but it was wonderful on Kate. Wearing hats and tiaras is a bit retro after all. Hollywood types with their bed hair would look quite wretched in those. Kate isn't a starlet, she's a princess. And the most beautiful Hollywood ladies, Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace and Sophia Loren never had messy hair.

    Updos are a bit of a problem on Kate, I think because of the shape of her face and the weight of her hair. I thought the severe updo she wore with the purple Issa in Canada was not a great look and the one she wore to the Irish guards looked on the verge of coming down. The best was the one with the teal gown which showed off the back of the gown so beautifully. This gown has a low back and would have benefitted from an updo but I wouldn't want to see this hairdresser attempt it.

    Even when there was no demi-chignon, Kate's old stylist got her curls right, not to heavy and no short strands to fall in her face, the worst part of yesterday's look. The pony tail last month had a similar problem.

    As for the necklace, it's lovely but it's not Kate. I imagine it was chosen because of the neckline of the dress and because it no longer suits the queen's necklines but it is too delicate and ornate for Kate's look. It seems like it was meant for a more petite woman, i.e. the queen.

    There was a really interesting comment from someone familar with jewellery over on WKW noting that gems have their own colour and don't always blend well with everyone's skin. The queen picked out this necklace herself and no doubt held it up to her neck. That doesn't make it right for Kate. I suspect that's why royal ladies in the past often had jewellery remade.

    I think Diana's sapphires or perhaps the queens or a simpler diamond necklace would have been perfect with that lovely gown and with a demi-chignon to show the necklace off, Kate would have been more than very pretty as she always is, she would have been truly dazzling.

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