The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived back in London bright and early Sunday morning and travelled straight to Bucklebury to be reunited with George and Charlotte following their successful tour of India and Bhutan. Today we're hosting the first of our tour polls, but first we have some seriously interesting news. Earlier today, Kensington Palace promised "surprises were in store".
The first surprise revealed news the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will host President Obama and the First Lady for dinner at Kensington Palace on Friday night. "Their Royal Highnesses are very much looking forward to welcoming the President and the First Lady to the Palace." This is very unexpected indeed - and an important step towards the younger royals taking on duties involving heads of state.
More on President Obama's visit - recent news the first lady will join him and his plans to take tea with the Queen. More from the Telegraph:
'Until now, the US Embassy had indicated that President Barack Obama would be on his own for a private lunch with the Queen at Windsor Castle on April 22, the day after she turns 90. But Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Mr and Mrs Obama will make up a foursome for lunch with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
President Obama is expected to deliver a strong anti-Brexit message in a speech during his stay in the UK, and royal sources said there was no reason he could not discuss the European referendum with the Queen during their lunch. "The US President can raise whatever he wants to raise," said a source.'
It promises to be a memorable and glamorous night. Readers will recall William and Kate first met the President and First Lady at Buckingham Palace in 2011. Most recently, Michelle Obama contributed to The Hufington Post for Kate's edit focused on mental health. No doubt topics on the agenda will include Prince Harry's Invictus Games which are coming to Orlando, and perhaps the couple will meet George and Charlotte? :)
What else can we expect? In terms of surprises we may see official photos released shortly. Perhaps the rumoured photos of the Queen with her great-grandchildren? Prince Charles is reportedly hosting a dinner to mark HM's 90th, and we may see something from that if the family are all attending. Other possibilities include a photo to mark William and Kate's anniversary and, of course, Princess Charlotte's birthday takes place on 2 May. We should see something released to mark it. In the meantime, KP confirms there are a "couple of busy weeks" ahead, beginning with William and Harry's visit to the Star Wars set tomorrow.
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
Vote for Kate's Best Tour Evening Look
Also today, we're beginning our tour polls - asking you to vote for Kate's best 'Evening Look' throughout the tour. Although the tour has just ended, it was interesting to look back at Kate's sartorial choices and notice the variety of designers, colours and prints chosen. For the Cambridges first night of the tour - they attended a glittering Bollywood Gala at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The Duchess chose a sparkling sapphire-blue gown with matching cape by Jenny Packham. The beading of the gown was done in India - adding a nod to the host country. It was a splendid look for the Duchess.
For the second night of the tour, William and Kate attended a birthday party for the Queen at the residence of the British High Commissioner. The Duchess surprised us all - opting for the stunning Temperley London 'Delphia' Crop Top and Maxi Skirt. It was such a fantastic look and really wonderful to see Kate opting for a youthful yet elegant ensemble. Again, it had a connection to India: the Delphia pieces carry the season's theme of global curiosities with opulent embroidered motifs of Indian chintz and lattice.
We saw the Duchess whole-heartedly embrace prints and boho-chic in her tour wardrobe choices. For their arrival to Kaziranga National Park Kate selected the vibrant and colourful Printed Crinkled Silk-Chiffon Maxi Dress by American designer Anna Sui. Featuring floral and animal motifs, the blue and green style was a pretty choice for an evening of meeting locals and watching traditional performances. For dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan, the Duchess opted for another American designer - the immensely talented Tory Burch. The couple were photographed leaving the Taj Tashi hotel and once again Kate debuted a sartorial surprise. Looking at the product shots of the Floral Mesh Gown - an intricately embroidered garment with shades of orange, sky-blue, green and blue - I would never have imagined Kate wearing it. It's always nice to see her experimenting and what better time than a royal tour?
On the penultimate day of the tour, William and Kate attended a reception celebrating links between Britain and Bhutan. Opting for a crimson poppy print dress - the national flower of Bhutan - by one of her favoured British labels Beulah London - Kate looked effortlessly elegant in the 'Juliet' gown.
Glancing over the five looks a few thoughts strike me; they are incredibly different. From the choice of designer, to the colour, necklines, prints and embellishments, they are five very different evening looks. We all wanted to see Kate embrace colour during the tour and I think she did it with aplomb. My favourite takeaway from Kate's overall tour wardrobe? Seeing the 'Kate Middleton' pre-wedding style shining through. :)
We'll be looking at Kate's daywear dresses, casual looks, jewellery and shoes in our next polls. :)
Finally, Cara from Australia shared a fantastic album from the UK in India's Flickr Feed with over 900 photos from the tour. There's a fantastic selection, from previously unseen photos of receptions and the gala dinner, to behind-the-scenes shots.
I thought I'd share some of the snaps I haven't seen previously and ones which offer an additional insight into events during the tour.
A lovely shot of Rebecca Deacon, Kate's private secretary, during the Bollywood Gala.
Entertainment at the gala.
Below, the Cambridges meet British High Commission staff and their families.
The Duchess receives flowers from a very excited little girl.
Images of Her Majesty on display during the Queen's birthday party at the British High Commission.
Kate mingles with guests.
The Duke and Duchess at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
Meeting children from India's Childline.
An overview from William and Kate's visit to Kaziranga National Park.
You can view the album in its entirety here.
Are you looking forward to the Obama dinner? Any style predictions? We can expect to see Kate in a gown and sparkling jewels.