Friday, 14 February 2014

Updated: Kate Marks Valentine's Day at Northolt High School with Art Room Opening

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Northolt High School in Ealing, London this morning to officially open The ICAP Art Room.


The Duchess has been Royal Patron of The Art Room since 2012, reflecting her interest in the arts and particularly her interest in using the creativity of art to enrich the lives of children and young adults. As a history of art graduate the organisation was one of Kate's first choices when the time came for her to select patronages. Over the past couple of years Her Royal Highness has supported The Art Room through a number of high-profile engagements and behind-the-scenes visits.


The Duchess chatted with staff upon arrival.


Kate greeted pupils before experiencing a short Art Room session and learning more about how the school and charity work together.

Gordon Rayner Twitter Feed

Northolt High is home to the charity's seventh Art Room and will welcome up to 60 children from the school and wider borough.

Clarence House Twitter Feed

The ICAP Art Room at Northolt High School was made possible thanks to a donation from funds raised on ICAP Charity Day in December 2012, where proceeds from the day's broking and company revenues are donated to nominated charities. ICAP staff also volunteered their time to help refurbish the room to become the bright new studio. Members of the Royal Family have recently participated in the annual charity day including Prince William and the Prince of Wales. The Duchess was scheduled to partake in 2012 but had to cancel due to suffering Hyperemesis gravidarum during her pregnancy.


The Art Room is a national charity which offers art therapy to children and young people aged 5-16, who are facing personal and emotional challenges in their lives. The organisation's practitioners support students enabling them to grow their self-esteem, self-confidence and engagement with education through art. It offers a form of escapism and a new means of self-expression for children who may otherwise find it difficult to open up.

The Art Room

It goes without saying, The Art Room students are an incredibly talented bunch. Whenever Kate has an engagement with the charity, it is such a treat to look through their work whilst researching the post. I particularly enjoyed seeing this group incorporating teamwork to complete an artistic project.

The Art Room

For those interested in finding out more and/or supporting the charity the website is here. Additionally one can browse through the Online Shop.

The Art Room

Today marked Kate's second Valentine's Day engagement. Many will recall the Duchess visited Liverpool in 2012 whilst Prince William was deployed in the Falklands. This year, the royal couple will spend the evening together. Perhaps a romantic meal at Kensington Palace?


Speaking of Kate's other half. William and Harry were randomly spotted visiting flood victims in Datchet, Berkshire (near the Middleton family home) this morning. Areas in the U.K. have been dreadfully affected by flooding and it's refreshing to see members of the Royal Family helping out under the radar and offering support. An enthusiastic Prince William told a reporter to "put down his lens and help with sand bags". There's a very interesting video available to view here.

John Dickens 87 Twitter Feed

Next, let's take a look at what Kate wore today.


The Duchess chose a stylish blue sheath dress by L.K. Bennett for today's event. The Detroit Notch Collar Fitted Dress retails for £225 and comes in UK sizes 6-18. The striking colour, described as "snorkel blue", worked very well for Kate and very much reminded me of her signature style during the Canada tour 2011. We thought it a splendid choice for Her Royal Highness.

L.K. Bennett

More from the product description:

'For instant poise and confidence, slip into Detroit. This chic sheath dress is crafted from elegant crepe and hugs the figure just so, helped greatly by its exactly placed panels and cinched waist. While it flatters curves, Detroit provides stylish coverage with mid-length sleeves and a clavicle-skimming neckline.'

A closer look at the fabric.

L.K. Bennett

The Detroit dress is also available in Cream and Purple. The dress is also available at Zalando with free delivery and in blue at Next.

L.K. Bennett

Kate wore her trusty Episode 'Angel' black suede pumps.


The Duchess chose a selection of eye-catching accessories today including her Mappin and Webb pendant. It is from the jeweller's Fortune Collection in white gold and diamonds. The £3,950 piece is described as a "contemporary classic, mid-length necklace set in three 18 carat white gold infinity loops; a celebration of luck and good fortune".

Mappin and Webb

Kate wore her £1,200 Kiki McDonough green amethyst and diamond cushion drop earrings.


 The Duchess wore an eternity ring. It looks like a classic diamond band.

Splash News

Kate completed the look with her suede clutch and a new watch.


Anna from My Small Obsessions quickly identified the watch as the Ballon Bleu De Cartier Stainless Steel Watch. The €4,656 piece is described as: "This fresh timepiece from a legendary maker is a beautiful blend of classical shapes and futuristic details". It is currently available at Saks Fifth Avenue.


I thought the entire look was a perfect choice for the occasion and Kate looked understated and effortlessly elegant. Her hair looked fantastic and despite the blustery conditions remained in place. What do you think? 


There's a brief video from the event at YouTube.



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The Duchess was also photographed walking Prince George in Kensington Gardens and picking up after Lupo yesterday. See the photos at PopSugar. Kate was dressed down in a baseball cap, yoga pants, a knitted short-sleeved shirt, a white scarf and sneakers.

Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine's Day! We'll see the Duchess on Monday when she joins The Queen to host a Dramatic Arts Reception at Buckingham Palace. The event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. GMT.

158 comments:

  1. It would have been nice to see her wear the dress in white or purple. Blue is all she ever wears and I'm sick of her obsession with 3/4 sleeves.

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    1. Forgot to mention, I thought it was a repeat because it looks almost exactly like the Stella McCartney dress she wore to the National Portrait Gallery in 2012.

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    2. AnotherBoleynGirl14 February 2014 at 13:11

      I thought so too! Certainly not my favourite colour, I would have preferred it in a teal or dark purple. Fits her like a glove, though, of course.

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    3. Those aren't 3/4 sleeves - they're elbow-length. 3/4 comes midway between wrist and elbow. Part of her obsession, in my opinion, is that the high street offers little else!

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    4. I love the colour.

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    5. Elbows are never a beauty spot, even for a model. I'm so happy to see a lower hemline, higher neckline, and a brand that touts its "stylish coverage". But the hair has got to have an intervention..

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    6. So cruel. What do you want from this woman.

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    8. First of all, how come during winter she wears dress and no coat. I bet she was freazing.
      Love the dress, but I think that better choice would be purple one , then it would not remind us Stella McCartney's dress.

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    9. @Anonymous 00:04
      You know I've always thought it odd that she wears dresses without coats too. I guess it just depends on the weather, although I'm not sure if it was cold in London. But she does wear coats. Sometimes she probably wants to show off the dress without covering it up with a coat. A lot of other celebrities wear clothes in cold weather without covering up, it's the chic thing to do.

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    10. The temperatures this year have been much higher than usual---hence the severe storms.
      Her car would be warm and the school too, so she solves the problem of what to do with a coat when she is inside She wasn't warmly dressed in the park either.

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    11. The duchess is stunning as always. She is a human being, and it's plain to see she does her very best on every occasion.

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  2. Wonderful reporting!

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  3. Jules from Germany14 February 2014 at 11:59

    Quick post, as usual. Thank you, Charlotte!

    I was happy when I heard she is LK Bennett again. If I remember correctly she hasn't worn the brand for a few months yet. But what exactly is the wheather like in GB at the moment? One would think spring has already started. I was freeeezing just by looking at the pictures! During my occasional visits to GB I have always noted that British women don't mind the cold wheather as much as others. They sometimes even don't wear tights...
    And she still wears her third ring. Doesn't seem to be one she only wants to wear on special occasions like glittering galas... Nice thought it might have been a present from William. I have never seen women wearing a third ring over their wedding and engagement ring. Have you? I wonder if that is a common thing to do.
    Even though I was among those who thought Catherine should go back on her Royal duties soon I must admit that the two months break makes her looking much more ... well, I would say recovered. It is not the tan only but I noticed that the wrinkles on her front have been much more visible in the past months and the rest she had, might have been something she really needed, out of whatever reasons. I followed the interesting discussion about that in the last post. Please keep in on! =)

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    1. A third ring, worn above the engagement and wedding rings is usually an eternity ring, but I am not sure whether I can see one on her hand.

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    2. I wonder if it's a push present from William. Push presents are very popular in the US, I know many friends who received eternity bands once they had a baby.

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    3. I agree, I see a double going into one band and a wedding band, no third ring here.

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    4. Jules,
      my thoughts exactly, about the weather/clothes in the UK. :) I'm always surprised with british women, I wish I was like them, but I'm in southern Europe, and I'm always freezing until June :)
      It seems summer has already arrived for the Duchess.
      Z. from Portugal

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    5. Pauline Oak Hills14 February 2014 at 16:08

      I noticed the ring again today. I hope it was a gift from William. Also the watch and earrings. Maybe one was a gift for Valentines Day and Christmas gifts.

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  4. Gorgeous! She looks radiant! Thanks for posting pictures so quickly.

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  5. Thanks for the quick post as always Charlotte! It looks like Kate has a new eternity ring perhaps?

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  6. Thank you as always for the post! I absolutely love her dress and absolutely love the color too!! I do not see the ring that you are talking about.
    Jen from USA

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    1. If you look very closely in the close up photo of her clutch and watch you can see she's wearing 3 rings. Her gold wedding ring first, then her white gold engagement ring and then a very slim 3rd band on top of it, it looks to be white gold/silver in colour.

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  7. so beautiful look, beautiful dress, very chic 3/4 sleeves, nice hair nice smiling. Kate is back!

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  8. Think Catherine looks beautiful--blue suits her so well.
    I am growing cross-eyed trying to see if their really is a third ring on that finger.
    Certainly she appears to have new earrings and a new watch--wonder if one of them was a Valentine present.
    Appears that William and Harry were in Datchett by 6am--perhaps George is the early alarm clock!

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  9. I loved waking up to a new post! It reminds me of a time before Georgie. Kate looks great, she always the most relaxed at her charties for kids.
    I love her dress! To me the hem does seem longer than normal. And I love her watch gorgous jewerly. but I do wonder if there is any truth to the articule about longer hems and more bling.
    happy Valentines day Everyone!!

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    1. Another thing I noticed w Kate, if she evers has an "off" day, she always outdues herself for her next event.

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  10. I don't see the third ring either, but I have friends who have received a band of gemstones or diamonds to represent their children or an anniversary.

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  11. My favorite look in the last several appearances!

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  12. Just ordered the dress in pink- love it! She's Back with a vengeance! - Vermont follower

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  13. Loved Kate's look in this engagement!!She looks so happy and relaxed. Happy Valentine's Day all!!xoxo

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  14. She looks simply gorgeous! The pictures of her laughing and windswept are captivating -- a real Valentine's Day treat. The dress is such a brilliant choice, so chic and she looks so well with a hemline just above the knee. Extraordinary to be wearing a £200 dress with some £10K of jewellery, but her choices of bling are very discreet!

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  15. That third ring is definitely there. I thought I spotted one in the pictures from the other night, but there was never a good picture of her hand and I passed it off as possibly being a reflection of the band of her engagement ring. Today we can see it...of course not well enough to know exactly what it looks like. Makes sense to me though. I actually like the feel of my own, much smaller, engagement ring on my finger with a band on both sides. We know from paparazzi shots (the ones from the plane to Mustique most recently) that she often doesn't wear the sapphire ring when going about daily life. An eternity band might be nice to go with her wedding band.

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  16. I absolutely love the dress, the colour looks great on her.. I adore the design, is classic but with some stylish elements.. I'm from Italy, today is sunny but quite cold.. I couldn't go out with just a 3/4 sleeves dress.. how can she do that?? Isn't she cold???

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  17. WOW! Kate is so pretty in blue! The cornflower blue blossom girl. A stunning, radiant and beaming duchess of Cambridge. Happy Valentines day Kate and William!
    Happy Valentines day everyone!
    Monica, France

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  18. O yes, I can see the third ring. On the last photo, just above her engagement ring. It's a white-gold band ring I think. So it's called an eternity ring. Thank you Jean from Lancs!

    Monica, France

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  19. In the small picture which focuses on her purse, a third ring is distinctly shown. I wear my eternity band stacked with my wedding and engagement rings.

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  20. Thank you for the quick post! It looks like Kate is back to her old ways of being terribly thin - I suspect we will see much more of this during the tour in April. This makes me quite sad as she seemed to get healthy just before she became pregnant with George. I suppose not all good things can last forever. It is disappointing.

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  21. I agree with the previous commenter - it does seem that she's making an effort to wear more jewelry and dress slightly more regally. She looks wonderful and much more formal than we've seen over the past few months. Still, I love casual Kate as well and hope we still get to see some high street looks from time to time.

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  22. Helen from Wiltshire14 February 2014 at 14:17

    Oh Yes! What a glorious start to the year for Kate, with that amazing necklace the other night and now a stunning brightly coloured new dress today. This is Kate at her magical best and if Angela Kelly has had anything to do with a re-style, I, for one, would like to give her a big pat on the back. As a brunette, I think Kate looks so much better in brighter colours than those wishy-washy pastels she wore a lot last year and this is so much more cheerful than the drab 'school uniform' colours she usually wears in the winter. A definite leap forward I think - hooray!

    I also think that the shorter sleeves might have been deliberate, given that the Orla Kiely bird print dress got paint on the sleeves at an Art Room engagement a couple of years ago. Maybe Kate thought a 3/4 or short length would be less prone to dangling in the paint/glue or anything else that might be on the tables. Sensible, although it does make me shiver a bit as I sit here in my thick woolly jumper!

    Can't wait for Monday now - more jewels do you think?

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  23. Theresa, from Paris14 February 2014 at 14:19

    Perfect ! Perfect length in my opinion at last... Thank God she didn't wear a lighter fabric. The skirt would have been up to her neck in that wind :-)
    Love the jewellery : watch and all !

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  24. I also noticed a 3 band. It's TEENY TINY but it looks like a small band on either side of her engagement ring. Maybe a "family" band now that George is here? Those are apparently trendy now.

    I know we all hate talking about it but does the dress look a tad big on her?! She's is gorgeous as usually but I hope not dropping anymore weight. Hopefully she just bought it a touch to big.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing about the dress is looks it bit big on here. I don't think she bought it too big because Kate wears her clothes to fit her body, I believe she bought it in the smallest size possible and it was still too big. I hope she doesn't loose anymore weight either.

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  25. Kate is beautiful today! I wonder if she takes off her engagement ring while she is at home, and just wears the gold band and third ring. If she tries to go out incognito, the sapphire ring would be a dead giveaway to her identity.

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    1. We've seen her out shopping in paparazzi shots with just the wedding band. The engagement ring is quite large. I would think that it would get in the way, especially with baby George. I suspect she just wears the gold band and now the eternity band on a daily basis.

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  26. ooh, love the dress! pretty color, and i really like the style.

    and she's wearing earrings AND a necklace to a day event - she really is stepping up her appearance!

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  27. She's wearing three rings on her ring finger! On the foto with her clutch it is pretty good visable! Maybe a early valentines day gift.

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  28. She looks like the old Kate! Fresh and happy! Love the dress. She looks great. Love that she is wearing a bit longer hemline and carrying a clutch. Maybe she reads this blog and comments. Hair looked much better than the other night. She seema better at casual events than at black tie.

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  29. Good morning Charlotte!
    Well I think this really reminds me of Kate before she had George. The dress looks great on her and her hair isn't half bad. I think she looks good.

    Although I'm concerned, this may be just me but does anyone think Kate is looking a little to frail and thin these days?
    I'm also believing that story in the DM may have some kinda truth that to it. Kate's hemlines are lower than normal and not as wispy. Only time will tell though.

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    1. Portia from Chicago14 February 2014 at 22:07

      Oh yes. I don't like to gloat or crow (most of the time.. lol), but I believe that soon I will be typing "I told you so". Yes, as I declared a few posts ago, I believed the DM story, and I am standing by that. As you can see, the hemlines are longer, there is more jewelry and an overall attempt to appear more polished and regal.

      Let us wait and watch. But I am pretty sure that I will *not* be eating dirt on this one.

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    2. Portia is does look like you were right. I for one and excited to see how Kate will pull off the lower hemlines, if it's true. I actually like her with lower ones looks more elegant.
      If only she would cut a few inches of that hair. Come on Kate you're killing me!!!!

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  30. Wow, I didn't expect this splash of colour today! :) Well done, Catherine! The dress is simply wonderful (it is similar to the blue Stella McCartney dress she wore in the National Portrait Gallery in 2012, but I prefer this one). The design is striking. It would be a great choice to take it to the Australia/NZ tour, I want to see this dress again.
    Doesn't she look super-relaxed and happy? Looks great.
    Have a wonderful weekend, see you monday for the BP reception.
    Hugs,
    Z. from Portugal

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  31. Stephanie, Florida14 February 2014 at 15:11

    I swear, Kate must read your blog Charlotte! After the lack luster engagement at the NPG she seems to have taken some commenters advice and ditched the spaniel curls (hopefully for good). She looks engaged and happy to be there. The dress fits her beautifully but I agree with a previous commenter, I would like to see her in a color other than blue every once in a while. I feel like if we were to peek in her closet (how amazing would THAT be?) it would be rows and rows of blue. I love her look today and it's so nice to see her looking like she is actually happy to be taking on her royal duties. I was quiet worried that she was suffering from post pardem

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  32. Loved Kate's hair and dress today but the best part was her look of delight, which was captured on many of the photos. She is clearly energized and happy when she's with children. :o)

    It looks like she's wearing an eternity/anniversary ring above her engagement ring. The photo of her clutch is where it's captured most clearly...

    Thanks for the informative, fast post, Charlotte! Happy Valentine's Day!
    Julie

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  33. Loved the dress and thought it was appropriate and looked great on the Duchess.
    On the pic showing her rings... is she wearing three?

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  34. I love the dress this colour really fits her which one isnt? She looks stunning but I must say I have seen this style before. But lets cope with it, what I cannot cope with her fake tan or whatever she uses please stop I cant decide whose is worse Hers or Pippas. One gusty day also I do not get why she can do something about her hair, it is so unprofessional soorry to say. Blue 27

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    1. I don't think it is a fake tan she did just get back from the Carribean

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  35. The hemline does seem a few inches longer than what she has been wearing. It's a nice length on her I think.

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  36. Portia from Chicago14 February 2014 at 16:12

    I love everything about Kate's outfit today. Everything. This is how she should dress on each occasion. It is perfect. I don't like the hair - it looks ridiculous to me, but that is probably just me. I also think that she has become too thin again and of course she has embraced the tanner again, in full form. I wish she would lay off the tan and the sun, go back to the weight she was 4 months ago, cut her hair a good 5 inches, and she would look divine. Wishful thinking.

    The sandbag effort by William and Harry is a good damage control measure. Whoever suggested it - Charles' press office did the right thing. I think it is presumptuous and offensive of William to suggest to a reporter to put the camera down. He is doing his job and William should do his, especially when he shows up pretty infrequently to do it. I don't know - I just like William less and less as times goes on.

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    1. I disagree. I think in that situation it's best if we stop reporting for a moment and help. More hands in deck to get the task done.

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    2. William was only joking. Now what about Harry's retort to reporters:

      'When Prince Harry, who is still a serving officer with the Household Cavalry, was asked by reporters if he was enjoying helping out, he replied: "Not really, with you guys around."

      Here is the BBC link:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-26194503



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    3. Yes, I agree. William comes off like an ingratious, pompous toff too often.

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    4. With remarks like that from the princes they don't deserve any good press. It's just bad manners. Ann london

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    5. Melanie from California15 February 2014 at 17:13

      I studied photography in college, and one of the dangers of the profession is getting so caught up in recording an event, you yourself forget to actually experience it, and in this case, help others. It is more important to fill sandbags and get all hands on deck during a disaster than it is to capture another photograph of the prince, when 50 shots were probably taken already. (What more did the journalist need?! Here's William arriving. Here he is picking up a sandbag. Here he his talking.---Put down the camera and help save farmland and homes!)

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    6. It's the photographers job. And william wants them plenty when it suits ie conservation.

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    7. William and Harry are coming across, more and more, as whiny, pompous, spoiled brats and VERY far apart from their mother's legacy and her hopes for them.
      The photographers were there to document the event AND the princes helping out. If they'd wanted to go incognito, I'm sure there are PLENTY of opportunities, with different areas being inundated, to go help out without the cameras following.
      The photographers are carrying thousand-dollar cameras and equipment. The very thing you fear when toting that around is rain and moisture. It can destroy delicate equipment in seconds.
      Someone mentioned that William and Harry don't seem to mind the cameras around when it's for one of their pet projects. William's comment seems to come across more as posturing than anything else.
      I would expect that part of his childish attitude comes from the press attention to his Spanish hunting trip with friends, including former girlfriend Jecca Craig, when A) he allegedly couldn't spare time from his agriculture "course" to go be with Kate and his son on Mustique but he DID take the time to go hunting and B) he went game hunting days before he gave a speech about wildlife conservation in Africa.

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    8. Portia from Chicago16 February 2014 at 22:33

      Regina, well said. He and Harry both were reacting to the recent negative press. That is all it was. He finally shows up after *weeks* of flooding to help, his office invites photographers to document the event so that it can be flashed in the next days' newspapers and move the discussion away from the hunting trip, and then he has the nerve to be snarky to the press. Absolutely obnoxious behavior. Odious.

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  37. carrie from the rockies14 February 2014 at 16:17

    This is my absolute favorite post u have ever made Charlotte! ! You went into such depth of this charity. You mentioned what the duchess did while she was there and all the work leading up to the opening of the studio. It just gave me a real look into why the duchess chose this patronage. And then u went into minimal info on how she looked. Absolutely loved how this post was written.

    On to my opinion, I took art history in high school so I'm very keen on art as well. I love how the art room is spreading.

    The duchess looked radiant today with her dress and hair and everything. The photos show that she was really into being there.

    I'm happy to hear William went to support the flood victims. Many of us were wondering why they hadn't done so yet so its great to see him out there. I hope they have a wonderful valentines night tonight.

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    1. Melanie from California15 February 2014 at 17:08

      Hi, Carrie,
      I echo your thoughts and sentiments as well. Very eloquently written.
      Yes. Thank you, Charlotte, for an excellent post!
      (This is what I admire so much about Kate--the work she does. The fashions she wears are fun to see, but I appreciate the emphasis placed on the event. She conveys to the rest of us the importance of her work; I am constantly amazed by the goodness of her heart and the spotlight she shines on other people working for and helping others).

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    2. Very well said, carrie from the rockies and Melanie from California!

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  38. Kate looks wonderful in that outfit. At her best, with a dress of this excellent length and a proper fit, she can make a reasonably priced frock look like a designer one. The dress is very close in style and colour to the Stella McCartney (I actually like this better.) It would have been lovely to see it in purple but Kate loves blue and looks fantastic in it.

    Her hair still needs some help but it s a blustery day and we can't expect a complete change in two days. It looks much better natural like this without those Tatiana Santo Domingo wannabe boho curls. Those soft curls Kate used to feature are so missed

    So many occasions that handsome watch could be a gift for, Christmas, her birthday or perhaps she got it when she awoke today! I don't see any new ring though.

    Lovely to see Kate back at work with such a good cause and to see William and Harry working behind the scenes, very much their way while Charles paid an offcial visit. Days like today really show the royal family at their finest in a most meaningful fashion.

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  39. rose from Brooklyn14 February 2014 at 16:38

    She looks gorgeous! ! The vacation was good for her. I happen to
    Loove this color dress on her. Blue suits her well!!! I can't c a third ring either. Her hair is amazing in first picture. Thanx for post!!

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  40. Lovely. Thank you for sharing this with us. That is a great color on her, and she always looks like she is having fun and so engaged when she is visiting with her various charities. Loved seeing William and Harry, too. I hope that Harry finds someone whom he can love as much as his mother and who will love him as much as Princess Diana loved him, too. If that's Cressida, great!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    xo

    Sheila

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  41. Love the look today! The clothing, hair, and makeup all remind me of her styling she had when she first got married. I know she likes to try new things like everyone, but I love when she just looks like classic Kate :)

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  42. She looks radiant today. I think this was a great choice for a school. The length looks great on her. Who cares what color it is!

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  43. In the last picture, it seems that she is wearing a third ring on top of her engagement ring. I have never noticed it before!

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  44. I think this may be my favorite "work" dress that Kate has ever worn. She looks radiant.

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  45. She looks lovely but I thought she was wearing the same dress again as its so similar to the blue one she wore in 2012.
    I love her smile and outfit.

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  46. Terrific look, age and occasion appropriate dress. Great mane, as usual. The whole ensemble is very "Repli–Katable."

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  47. Kate's eye makeup looks particularly heavy today. I think she has used a lighter touch recently, but today she returned to a strong black line under her lower lashes.

    I think there is a gap or glint of metal/light between her wedding band and engagement ring that might appear like another ring, but I don't believe she is wearing a third ring.

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    1. Pauline Oak Hills14 February 2014 at 20:41

      Charlotte posted a photo showing the diamond eternity ring. There are other photos on the internet showinfg the ring also.

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  48. A great look today.
    Lower hemlines and a more adult and polished look for Kate and, as some said, very reminiscent of the great looks she wore during the Canada/US tour. Very appropriate. Love the color and style of this dress and definitely love the hemline! Hopefully we've seen the last of the thigh-high, teenybopper skirts!
    I'd guess that the watches are a nod to a more adult, polished, professional image of Kate that the Palace is putting forth.
    The "third ring" could be a ring guard for the engagement ring.
    I've read that the ring was actually too big at the engagement announcement since there wasn't time to have it resized. I've also noticed that the engagement ring appears to slide a lot on her finger, the actual stone is usually on the side instead of the front of her finger. So the third ring could be some sort of band or guard to hold it in place and to prevent it from sliding forward.
    Also with this ensemble, we see a look that gives solid credence to the story about longer hemlines/more jewelry.
    I'd expect the Cartier watch was a gift from William, maybe a Valentine's Day present?
    Nice to see William and Harry finally getting involved with an of-the-moment cause that is impacting a large number of Britons, that of the catastrophic flooding that has destroyed farms, homes and businesses.

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    1. Pauline Oak Hills14 February 2014 at 20:39

      There are several photos showing the diamond eterntihy band shw is wearing in front of her engagement ring. It is not a ring guard. If you look at one of the photos Charlotte has posted you will see the ring alot better.

      Delete
    2. Love the look, love the hair-

      Delete
    3. Just happened to remember that the Queen will touch her watch to tell her aides she wants to go, without offending anyone around her by actually looking at it. Maybe DofC has picked up on that?

      Delete
  49. Loved the look. With the bad weather that Britain has been experiencing lately, it must be hard to look good, between the wind and the rain. Kate's hair is better; her skirt is a perfect length for her; the blue is a very flattering color; all in all, she looks great. Good for William and Harry that they were out helping with the flooding, which is getting worse and worse. I've been following it in the news, and it is truly catastrophic.

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  50. She looks fantastic! I have never posted before but I have to say she nailed it on this daytime engagement. The hem is appropriate, the dress is professional looking yet the color keeps it youthful. I often find her daywear to be too "girly" or somehow less than professional looking, after all she is "working" at these things. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

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  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. The third ring shows up in the second picture where she is holding the flowers. For those in the younger crowd, back in the early 1990's (if my memory is correct) women often wore full circle diamond eternity rings along with their engagement and wedding bands. The look of stacked rings were quite the trend for a while and seemed to change when women started to use the eternity bands for their wedding band.
    I was curious if anyone has ever noticed, H.R.H. The Dutchess of Cambridge, without her engagement ring? I remember The Princess of Wales sometimes went without it and simply wore her wedding band. Actually, I think it is extremely sweet of Catherine to wear the precious ring so often, perhaps as a feeling of strong sentiment about the engagement or a desire to keep the sentimental ring safely with her and as a rememberance of The Princes mother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are shots - all of them paparazzi as far as I can recall - of the Duchess with just the wedding band out shopping. Seemed like she was just wearing the band (or 2?) during the recent flight to Mustique. I suspect that she goes without the engagement ring at home, especially with baby George. She stopped wearing nail polish since she gave birth, likely because of the chemicals around the baby and I think the engagement ring would get in the way of a hands-on mother as well.

      Delete
    2. Anon 19:37
      Kate does wear her engagement ring more often than Diana did, and I agree with your theory behind it.

      Delete
    3. Beatrix in New York15 February 2014 at 20:34

      I must simply be too American. Everyone I know uses their engagement + wedding ring at all times.

      Is it common in Britain not too? Or just royalty?

      Delete
    4. I do remember reading at the time that Princess Diana's blue sapphire ring was called a cocktail ring more than a regular engagement ring. Even on Diana's hand, the ring was huge. I would expect both Kate and Diana put the ring aside in casual settings to keep it from injuring anyone and to prevent damage to the ring itself.
      None of the other married royal ladies are shown without their engagement and wedding rings - but their engagement rings are considerably smaller.

      Delete
    5. bluhare in Washington State16 February 2014 at 21:08

      Beatrix, I think it might be British. My mum never wore her engagement ring unless she was going out either.

      I don't either, but mine is also a sapphire (albeit much smaller and a different setting), and they're not as hardy as diamonds, so I'm careful with it now. This is after I scratched another sapphire I have.

      Delete
  53. Here come in the end the Kate I love, classy and chic

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  54. exquisitive work from Kate! )

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  55. So the weahter has been that warm already? We are still having snows and wearing heavy puffers here in US...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bluhare in Washington State14 February 2014 at 20:46

      We're almost 60 degrees in the Pacific NW. We've had none of the nasty weather the rest of the country has had.

      Delete
    2. Pauline Oak Hills15 February 2014 at 00:52

      OMG we are in the 80's in Orange County Caliornia. I missed our winter...lol

      Delete
  56. There is a close up photo of the new diamond eternity ring on Susan's What Kate Wore website.

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  57. I will join the "Amen" chorus to praise this dress and HRH's visit to this charity. What a great professional look for her, and the color is fresh and flattering. I've been thinking she looks quite thin again and a stern reminder from a dermatologist that tanning now means wrinkles later would not go amiss, in my view. Her skin already shows sun damage on the chest and arms. I recall reading that tiny beads were put inside her engagement ring to size it down, or was that the wedding band? Anyway, perhaps the rings have gotten too large again and it's a guard band you eagle-eyed readers spotted. Or maybe a more recent gift from William. Kate looks happy and relaxed on this engagement, she must be enjoying a return to working life.

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  58. She looks wonderful! Sheath dresses have always been a great choice for her - they show off her slim figure to great effect without being at all racy. And the pop of color on a February day was inspired.
    The total look was elegant, yet relaxed. Bravo, Kate!

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  59. Does this dress not remind you of the Stella McCartney dress she wore for two other occasions in the past? I have come to a conclusion that BLUE is the Duchess' favorite color.

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  60. Thanks Charlotte for the amazing post (as usual). Kate looked radiant today!

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  61. Hello everyone!

    I just added close ups of Kate's eternity ring and info and a photo of her latest walk with George :)

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  62. Hi, Charlotte,

    Thank you for this interesting post.

    This is a beautiful look on Kate. The colour is great.

    Her appearance today makes me very excited about the Australian tour for all the new outfits we'll see!

    I like the longer length of skirt so much better on Kate.

    She has some lovely new jewellery, including the "eternity" ring. I'd like to know more about the stones in her new earrings as I love the overall style of them.

    IMO, there's still something wrong with her hair. I wish she would try wearing it in a chic pony tail like she did at the Mandela film gala. It looked lovely and would introduce some daytime variety to her hairstyles. The partially pulled back style she had when she wore the MaxMara/Orla Kiely navy ensemble was pretty too.

    All this is said with the greatest respect to HRH. I wouldn't last one day under the level of scrutiny she lives with constantly.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you, Charlotte, and to all your readers! Think kindly about all the "loves" in your lives-not just sweethearts but family, kids, friends, countries, careers, interests and many, many others. How lucky we all are!

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  63. This is the engagement and patronage of the Duchess's that's closest to my heart. I wish we'd seen her making art with the kids. I love those pictures. How funny and telling that in the video she said she always ends up making something weird.

    I thought she looked great today, if not a little thin as others have noted. But then, I tend to do the same without trying when I have a big event coming up where I know I'll be scrutinized. People need to get over the tan bit. If she starts looking as dark as Pippa maybe we can start complaining, but she looks sun-kissed right now and I think it suits her. Since her dress was so appropriate, no one has much to complain about but the color...and even then they don't complain that it's bad, it's just that we've seen it before. Sigh.

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  64. That dress is perfection - Kate should have it made in every color - just divine! What a wonderful charity.

    I am curious about that eternity band... I thought I saw that at the last night event too. Could this be a Christmas gift from William? Or a gift given because of baby George? Personally I don't like mixing yellow and white gold - so I think it goes better with her engagement ring than the yellow gold one.

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  65. Perfection! I've not been thrilled with her most recent fashion/hair choices but this one was a 11/10 for me! Beautiful!

    -Brooke from South Carolina

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  66. Grace from Yorkshire14 February 2014 at 23:34

    Kate is looking lovely here and although I think her hair is looking better than the last engagement I still think it's not as lovely as it used to be. Her hair in the photo of her from Valentine's Day 2012 is just gorgeous and really suited her, in my humble opinion, and I wish she would go back to that . I love the whole look, I think Kate is looking so chic and polished. Hope everyone had a lovely day.

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  67. Kate needs a makeup artist to tell her how to fill in the waterline under her eyes apart from that she looks fantastic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No - that's not safe for her (or your) eyes. You should stop doing it.

      Delete
    2. I dont understand waterline. and why is it bad?

      Delete
    3. @ Anon it is safe as long as you sharpen your eyeliner before application which prevent bacterial infection.

      @ Emily J the waterline is the part of your lower lid that sits between lashes and the eye itself.

      Delete
  68. HRH looked amazing today, the color of her dress really suits her- and I really like her hair this way-without the curls. She did lower the hemline-that makes her look 'classic' IMO- Thank you Charlotte for keep us up to date. You do an amazing job.

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  69. I think she looked terrific today. The style and color of the dress looked perfect on her. And it's nice to see William and Harry supporting the flood victims.

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  70. Hurrah, this dress is lovely; gorgeous colour, well tailored, great fit, perfect length. I think it would be very hard to find fault with this ensemble, as far as I'm concerned it nails the 'royal at work' look.

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  71. oh i love the update charlotte love seeing the princes william and harry helping nation i love them because their are in higher position they choose to help ordinary people just like us and lots respect on them they prove they are not leaders or the future blood line of royals in other note royals are making their names in diffrent forms of the society btw love the duchess wearing blue and love she stroll with prince george

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  72. Kate looked fantastic! I thought her hair looked lovely! And the dress was just the right length. Thanks for the details about the eternity ring. So romantic of William.

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  73. She looks perfect. The dress reminds in style, colour and bijou of Stella Mccartney, wore before opening olimpic games in 2012. The hair - without curls - natural nad healthy, first time adorable for me.

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  74. Why her arrangements are one by one and then a long break?
    Does she want to deal with her duties at once and then have a break ?

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  75. The style of the blue dress is very beautiful, and William also wore blue that day, out in the muddy floods. They both looked so nice. Question: Is red not the color of Valentine's Day in Britain? Most people wear red on February 14 in the United States.

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  76. Beatrix in New York15 February 2014 at 20:27

    Something I just read about Kate:
    ................................................
    Yet, like other royal watchers, Lui believes Kate won’t break her loose hair habit: It’s a security blanket she uses to get through the stress of public events. “There are times when it’s everywhere, and you want to brush it out of her face,” says CNN’s Arbiter. “You’d think it was driving her mad, yet she loves it.”
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/02/15/kate-middleton-exposed/
    ...............................................................................

    There is also a quote from the WHAT KATE WORE BLOGGER.

    In regards to yesterday's appearance; I love that blue, the watch is also gorgeous and while I am not crazy about her hair down, it did look great yesterday. I totally agree with the quote above. Even the pulling it back drives me crazy, but I understand she still feels insecure and that probably helps her :)
    so, lovely outfit!

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  77. I'm giving Kate "five stars" on her dress. It's figure-flattering (shows how thin she really is), it's age appropriate and the perfect length. Two small criticisms... (1) She is much too thin. She's back to her pre-wedding weight (2) The extra long hair is not doing her any favors. Kate seems a bit obsessed with her weight and her hair. She will never be able to please everyone and I hope she doesn't read comments on the internet. I think she is such an asset to the royal family and a breath of fresh air!

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  78. I thought Kate's dress was lovely a perfect length and the jewellery she wore was in keeping I am beginning to think that there is some truth in the DM article as in the past she has rarely worn any jewellery apart from earings. However although her hair was better she really needs to have it cut there is a long article in the Daily Mail and not complimentary over her hair suggesting a number of different styles it is now a source of constant criticism detracting from all the complimentary things that are said about her.
    I can't help feeling that the PR stunt that Prince William and Harry arranged filling sandbags could in part have been planned to undermine Kate's appearance at her charity it certainly overshadowed the coverage she received in today's papers which was a shame for the very worthwhile charity she was
    supporting.
    I thought it was interesting that Kate appeared to be unconcerned with the Paparazzi photographs of her walking with George and her dog in Kensington gardens previously when she spotted a photographer she was not happy but this time she appeared unconcerned. I do however feel that it is rather sad that she is always on her own. When she was pregnant she was quite often photographed walking in the gardens with Lupo and a friend, now she is always on her own or with her mother when shopping and on her own with George it must be a terribly lonely existence especially as it would seem that she is getting no support or company from William who seems to be anywhere other than at home with his wife and son. He has not supported her on any of her engagements and has elected to do all his engagements without her support even those that in the past she has always been with him. Although people assume that they spent Valentines evening together no one really knows and I must admit I have my doubts.
    I feel very sorry for Kate but my opinion of William is anything but favourable.
    I shall look forward to seeing what she wears on Monday evening I hope we see plenty of photographs of the event though once again William will not be in support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leave it out. !!! What do u expect William to do. ? He's busy doing other things Uni, the wildlife conservation thing, he]s also travelled a bit. The baby is fine and so is kate. No need to try and split them up with gossipy talk..??? There spreading their engagements out. U know it's a method of working. The 'art room foundation' doesn't need them both to turn up at the same time does it.? And I've never seen royal men, taking their newborn baby for a stroll in the local park, buggy and little dog running along..... Blimey that would be too chavvy, Lol. What next William doing the washing up doing the laundry..??.

      Delete
    2. bluhare in Washington State16 February 2014 at 06:11

      Yes, nothing says "chav" like a father bonding with his child.

      Delete
    3. It appears that Kate times the walks to coincide with George's naps so it's probably easier to just go on a solo walk rather than coordinating one with a friend. And personally, I don't see anything neglectful about William not walking with her; we have no clue how active he is behind the scenes so I can't judge him by not accompanying Kate on a few walks in the park. Or maybe Kate just wants to walk alone; people do have different personalities and needs.

      Delete
    4. I can't but say the Harry Potter word: "Riddiculous"!

      Do you think that flood was planned in order to allow William to go and undermine Kate's appearance? Oh, somebody opened the taps, somebody of William's staff of course…
      Yes, and what a subtle maneuver, to go early in the morning, without a word to anybody, very astute…William the Fox, maybe? :D

      Delete
    5. Paola... "opened the taps" indeed. :)

      Delete
  79. Very interesting perspective. I can't even imagine William intentionally doing anything to undermine Kate's public appearance. I guess I'm so used to "royals" going solo at various events, ribbon cuttings, unveiling plaques, etc. We have no way of knowing if William is a "hands on" father or not in their private time together. They will have lots of time together when they visit Australia this spring, and we'll have family group photos coming out the kazoo!

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    Replies
    1. Ditto. I very much doubt that William would try to undermine Kate's appearance. I just don't see the two of them competing in that department.

      Delete
  80. @ Anonymous 15 February 2014 22:05

    Ditto your remarks re William, although I generally like her hair worn long, and particularly liked it at this event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to cut hair. Takes much longer to grow it.

      The Duchess's hair is fine..... How many times do u see a member of the royal have long hair.??? It's her personal trade mark. U can do so many things with long hair, Don't have to cut it.

      Delete
    2. but the problem is she doesn't do anything with her hair. its always the same...

      Delete
  81. Love the photos of her out and about and being casual. AND her hair looks so great up in a ponytail!
    Can I toss this out for the group to chew on - I've read a couple of reports about the infamous hunting trip William took that happened to include Jecca Craig. It's raising eyebrows due to the whole deal over his conservation speech BUT also, because the reason given by the Palace for why he didn't go to Mustique with Kate and George was because he couldn't take time away from his agriculture "studies."
    More and more people are starting to mention that it seems like Kate and William are leading very separate lives - she with George at Kensington Palace in London and William in Cambridge. If that's true, she's being very skillful in going for those walks with George, almost certainly to be photographed. If anyone recalls the photo of Princess Diana sitting by herself in front of the Taj Mahal and how she set that photo opp up, that's what I'm talking about.
    I think Kate is being

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect last week was a mid-term break at Cambridge--so that William could have a short weekend break with his brother, Catherine had been back from Mustique over a week then and they have both had solo engagements this week.
      Most of the husbands and wives in the Royal Family do mainly solo events.
      When it was announced that William was to undertake this 10 weeks of study, it was also stated that Catherine would be focussing on their son.
      Many couples with a young baby arrange their working life like this.. She took the baby and the dog for a walk and you have them in the divorce court.

      Delete
    2. First of all your comment is not finished............I do not know why.
      I would not worry much about them. You can read it in their eyes that they are enormously in love. Their gestures, the way they look at each other, everything says thay are in love. I would not speculate here anything ..............

      Delete
    3. How boring all those hints about William. He is not like his father and Kate is not Diana. And we will soon see them together. Poor Kate! Strange that people want to her to be as unhappy as her late mother-in-law. They have now found a new scapegoat in the person of William just because he was seen hunting with an ex-girl friend. And so what? She is also Kate's friend and I am sure William told his wife before going hunting.

      What a fuss about all that! And now William would be jealous of Kate's popularity to the point of going out helping the people caught in the floods.

      The Sun and DM are rubbish and would do everything to destroy that nice pair. What is sad is that people blindly believe them.

      A happy life is a discreet one. JUST LET THEM BE THEMSELVES! Kate with her beautiful long hair and charming smile and William with his new duties as the second in line to the throne.

      Delete
    4. bluhare in Washington State16 February 2014 at 21:12

      One quibble anonymous. William's duties are not new.

      However, I will say that things certainly are being presented in a way to get us all thinking of Charles and Diana and, for the life of me, I've got no idea why.

      Delete
    5. Portia from Chicago16 February 2014 at 22:44

      Yes, I am also noticing this shift in the public discourse. It's disconcerting.
      Also - the DM article started the hemline article. Then it was picked up by the Mirror, Telegraph and then everyone else. Yesterday the What Kate Wore blogger was quoted on it in another less-than flattering article on Kate. Then Vogue.com ran with it as well, suggesting conservative lengths for her to wear. So the international press seems to have cemented the story. Which in itself is unusual because a year ago they could not stop singing her praises.

      Delete
    6. I didn't think the hunting trip was as long as the week in Mustique, so it does seem like a reasonable explanation.

      And I think too much is being read into Kate walking alone in the park. When did William ever accompany her *before* people ever thought to speculate about it? And couldn't it be as simple as William really not wanting to be photographed off-duty, and Kate being more accepting of it as a reality and choosing to do something she had the freedom to do before her marriage? Sorry, but I am not seeing visions of Taj Mahal.

      Delete
  82. I wonder whether it is William or the new PR office that is causing confusion of events. We don't know whether scheduling has been affected by the change. Still, since Kate had a planned separate engagement, perhaps it was convenient for William to go with Harry to help with the sandbags. William has not accompanied her to Art Room events in the past. Kate certainly looks as if she's thoroughly enjoying this one, without a care in the world.

    I was slightly concerned that she turned her back on George in his stroller in order to deal with Lupo's droppings, but of course a security person must have been watching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously - you were concerned that for probably 15 seconds she picked up dog poop and didn't have her eyes on her son? That is a bizarre comment. Parents these days have crazy expectations for themselves and each other and it doesn't help anyone.

      Delete
    2. Portia from Chicago16 February 2014 at 22:34

      I agree. What sort of world do you live in Anonymous that a mother cannot turn her back to her son's stroller for a few seconds? We would be demented loony toons if we were so demanding of each other and ourselves.

      Delete
    3. In the wider shots you can always see a PPO nearby.

      And while this may sound silly, good for her for picking up poop rather than having someone else do it. It doesn't get more real than that. Lol.

      Delete
  83. I like the dress I love the color I think that the dress is exactly what a middle age woman should be wearing. Wait what, Kate is only 33? Oops, my bad. People are talking about the hair I think that for this event the hair and the color of the dress made her look youthful as the dress as most of her dresses are a bit matronly. I have looked at the fashion of other princesses and Kate dresses twice her age or maybe is her make-up that is so harsh and therefore age her.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Hi everybody. I loved this look and I don't think she's too thin. She was really scary thin after the wedding, especially when she met the Obamas, not now! This said, I would really like to know what size she is. Do you have any idea? As for the non fashion related comments, we have no way to know how things are between her and her husband. Couples work in mysterious ways.
    Charlotte from Italy

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  85. A few great RepliKates at Banana Repubkic today that I wanted to share:

    For the Breton top http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=1&pid=932949012

    For the Nizam of Hyderabad jewels http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=9891&vid=1&pid=950944002

    For Pippa's Henri Lloyd jacket http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=87049&vid=1&pid=932563002

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  86. Oh, Kate looks beautiful! She definitely shines and her smile brightens the day! I LOVED the dress and LOVED the color! She looked so fresh and spring-like! I love Kate's hair and would give to have locks like hers, but I always wonder if she knows it will be windy why she doesn't wear it back. Just curious. I think the Art Room is a great investment of time, money, and energy. You can tell she's really in her element being with children and art. I know she made a difference in the children's lives she came in contact with today. Seem like a positive and great visit!

    Charlotte, thanks for your sweet comment from an earlier post. We are on the mend here and I am slowly getting things back to normal after all my kiddo's medical needs. I REALLY have missed my Duchess Kate community! Looking forward to getting back to my regular posting! Just a few hours until the arts reception at BP....YEA!!!

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  87. Kate from Texas. Good to have u back I've wondered where the familiar faces have been. Sorry to hear one of your children has been poorly. Hope all well now. Bella Wiltshire

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  88. I'm loving the dress, can't beat those simple clean cut lines! Hair looks the best I've seen it in a while! Spot on Kate! I might be going to a wedding towards the end of this year (maybe a Christmas one) so I'll be on the look out for a dress similar to this but maybe a long sleeved one..oohh the fun of picking a dress for my first ever wedding invite!

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  89. it seems that Kate has Alexander MacQueen red dress and her hair is down. She is driven to the palace.

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  90. For those that are curious to know more about the watch, here's the scoop on this watch from a local retailer I checked with. It IS a 36 mm Quartz with Sunburst dial. If you look close enough then you'll see the difference in the 36 mm and the smaller version which does not have the sunburst dial. Automatic movement has Automatic written on the dial. Also it's not Sapphire but a blue "synthetic spinel cabochon", the lady said. She is pretty sure it's 36 mm but will find out more from her buyer so I shall update you later.

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  91. Thank you for another wonderful post. I was having trouble getting updates from DK, but I've fixed that now and it's great to be back reading it! I love Kate's dress! Blue is my favorite color =) She looks quite vibrant today, the first picture is my favorite =)

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  92. Charlotte, thank you for included the 'updated' feature in the title :) I had suggested it a few months ago and it proves really helpful for us readers!

    Love this blog even more :)

    Ana (Portugal)

    ReplyDelete

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