We had spent months discussing the tour, the itinerary, and what Kate would wear. There were so many fantastic possibilities for Her Royal Highness in terms of New Zealand and Australian designers and I must admit, I along with fellow Kate bloggers and fashion writers, were somewhat surprised when Kate did not select a piece from a brand based in New Zealand, although we did see Kate in an Emilia Wickstead dress and her blue tweed Rebecca Taylor suit; both ladies are originally from New Zealand. Instead, Kate incorporated sartorial nods to the countries in other ways.
The Duchess worked with one of her go-to designers, Jenny Packham, to create a bespoke black dress with an embroidered fern. Symbolism is very important and the thought that went into the dress will have meant quite a lot to their hosts.
In Australia, Kate chose a white eyelet dress by influential Aussie label Zimmermann (for those interested in the piece it will be stocked at ShopBop, Anthropologie and Direct around mid-June in white and black). The Duchess also carried a clutch by Australian brand Oroton and wore a hat by Jonathan Howard for Anzac Day events.
There were familiar designers in there too, most notably three winning Alexander McQueen ensembles.
Casual looks including nautical stripes, a navy blazer, a GAP gingham shirt, skinny jeans and those (not so popular) Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges made several appearances during the tour - very much a signature look for Her Royal Highness.
There were royal repeats; one of the aspects of Kate's style people enjoy most is her ability to rewear items and change them up. For engagements in Christchurch Kate wore the striking red Luisa Spagnoli suit we first saw back in 2011 when the couple visited St. Andrews before the royal wedding and to sign the condolence book for victims of the Christchurch earthquake. It was a lovely touch to wear it again and it looked magnificent and very fresh without the turtleneck, black tights and boots.
The Duchess opted for vibrant colours and chose a striking green twice, first by Erdem and then by Catherine Walker.
For me, the most notable and memorable sartorial aspect has been the inclusion of American designers. Kate wore Tory Burch, DVF, Lela Rose and Michael Kors, all labels that are "very Kate", but nobody expected to see Kate in a Michael Kors coatdress for Anzac Day events. We all know how much preparation and thought goes into Kate's choices and this was not merely by chance. Not at all.
Kate is clearly expanding her list of go-to designers and honouring American designers. In terms of planning, it's more than just a case of Kate happening to like a garment, there's a lot of other factors to experience and it's great to see her representing a wider variety of brands. I think she felt very comfortable in these pieces and perhaps did not find many pieces she loved from New Zealand and Australian designers; in fact, we know she requested several pieces, but then sent them back.
The Mail Online reports Natasha Archer, a royal PA, helped Kate put her wardrobe together:
'Natasha - or Tash as she is fondly known within the royal circle - has been helping Kate remodel her style. Natasha's main role is a PA, but over the last few months she has assisted Kate as a style adviser. The source added that Natasha orders lots of clothes - particularly from Asos and Topshop - online for Kate.'
Kate beside Natasha at a rugby match during the tour.
As with many Daily Mail stories, one does have to take them lightly. Remember, reports Kate wouldn't be bringing her L.K. Bennett sledges, "Lots of Tiaras", pieces from the Royal Collection, and endless other so-called tour exclusives proved inaccurate. Also, Kate's style has not been remodelled. Aside from the inclusion of new U.S. designers and longer hemlines at some events it is very much the same. I imagine Natasha may well be helping Kate by sourcing or ordering pieces for her, but certainly Kate doesn't have a stylist, as far as we know.
With 30 outfits it seems sensible she would have someone assist. I think Kate may have also used Pippa as a sounding board for a couple of her looks; some Pippa favourites including Tory Burch and Susannah were in there. The Duchess does a great job choosing what works for herself, so much so that she was voted Britain's Most Stylish Woman in a poll revealed yesterday, beating the likes of Kate Moss and Emma Watson to claim the top spot.
Amanda Cook Tucker did a stellar job with Kate's hair throughout the tour.
But this tour was about so much more than what Kate wore. We saw a family enjoying time together and it was our first opportunity to really see Prince George in a relaxed, informal manner. And my what a wonderful tot he is. At each event he was a part of he absolutely stole the show.
When the couple brought Prince George to a playdate with families from Plunket New Zealand - George's first official engagement - little did photographer Simon Woolf know he would take Kate's favourite photo of the royal tour.
|Governor-General of New Zealand|
More from People's story:
'Woolf was the official New Zealand government photographer allowed at every event that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended during their nine-day tour of the country. And it was his picture of little George cuddling into his mum's shoulder that has been reproduced so many times. Woolf was told that Kate called this her favourite photo of the tour and gave her a black and white copy.'
The future King, who has been dubbed the republican slayer, stole hearts whilst he was introduced to a bilby at Taronga Zoo. The visit provided the best photos of the tour depicting a very happy family.
William and Kate really had fun during the tour.
Who could forget this?
They exchanged playful moments.
And romantic ones, too.
Traditions, such as the 'hongi' maori welcome were embraced.
Memorable photos included the couple posing at Uluru, just as William's parents had done three decades earlier during their tour in 1983.
However, this was much more than a spur of the moment photocall. The Telegraph shared a great article revealing Behind The Scenes of the Tour information:
'The planning for that photograph began last year, when Australia's Cabinet Office, responsible for VIP visits, decided to include the country's most famous natural landmark on the couple's itinerary. Having agreed on a date for the visit, civil servants checked the time for the sunset on that day (6.25 p.m.) and organised a programme that would build to the couple's arrival.
The British media alone amounted to 60 reporters, photographers and TV crews. Making sure they all had somewhere to stay meant booking two hotels near Uluru months ahead of time.
Then there was the question of what the Duchess would wear. Clearly a brown or terracotta outfit would make her disappear against the red Sandstone of Uluru, so she chose a favourite white patterned dress from Hobbs. She did not however, choose it when she got up that morning - she and her aides went over every engagement of the tour programme - weeks before leaving London to consider every eventuality. '
Posing outside Sydney Opera House; a photo which will be reproduced again and again.
Reporters on the trip described it as the tour where Kate really came into her own and exhibited a new found confidence.
From Richard Palmer's article: Kate The Great: The royal tour where the Duchess of Cambridge really came into her own:
'Motherhood and three years inside the Royal Family appear to have given her the strength and confidence to reveal just a little bit more of the real person behind the studied smile and dispel the idea she is some kind of Stepford Wife Duchess. The Kate who beat her husband sailing in Auckland and wagged her finger at him playing cricket in Christchurch was anything but that.
The real revelation, though, came on Good Friday when she and William went to the Royal Easter Sunday Show. A member of the couple's entourage noticed something different. "I noticed that she suddenly seemed to have gained a new confidence when she got out of the car," the aide said. "She just puffed out her chest and seemed to say, right let's do this."'
Kate gave a speech at Bear Cottage Hospice, in which she said "to be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with found and happy memories". Palliative care - a cause very close to her heart and one we can expect to see her champion further in the future. She spent time with families and both she and William felt very emotional, on the verge of tears, upon meeting a dying baby around George's age.
|Bear Cottage Facebook Page|
William, too, showed a more serious side in terms of his royal role with eloquent speeches and military engagements.
It was an incredible tour. I don't about you, but I only wish it had been longer.
What's next for the royal couple? Can we expect to see more of them in the coming months? The answer is yes absolutely. More from the Daily Express story:
'After a break to recharge their batteries, they will begin a much busier than usual programme of events over June, July and August, a senior royal aide said yesterday. What happens after that will depend on what William decides to do from September at the end of what Kensington Palace has called a "transitional year".
An aide said, "We have got a really busy programme for both of them and Prince Harry. There will be a significant upsurge in engagements."'
There's rumours of a visit to Scotland towards the end of May. French news outlets are reporting William and Kate will join Her Majesty The Queen to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France on 6th of June, and speculation they may travel to Belgium in August to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, not to mention there will be a variety of engagements in England. In fact, William's already got an engagement scheduled for 12th of May, so I doubt it will be very long before one is announced for Kate.
For those asking about Guy Pelly's wedding in Memphis on 3rd of May, the press are reporting only William and Harry will travel while Kate and George plan to stay in Bucklebury with the Middletons. We won't know for sure until the day itself though. The Duke and Duchess celebrate their third anniversary today, and we wish them a very happy and private celebration!
|The British Monarchy Flickr|
We'll be back with our end of tour fashion polls next; have you already chosen your favourites? :)