Our first topic on the agenda is one I've received a number of queries about: which garden party will the Duchess of Cambridge attend this year? I asked the always informative Gert's Royals about possible dates and she kindly informed me there are two parties at Buckingham Palace over the next week. One on Thursday 19th and the other on Tuesday 24th. I very much expect we will see Kate present at one of these, but as to which it will be, that's something of a toss up. The Cambridges had engagements in London this week and are attending the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday, so both are on the cards, as they will likely be staying at Kensington Palace on both days.
One always knows the summer is beginning when the garden parties come round, and it's always interesting to see the royals in attendance, the guests, and of course the fashion. Kate last attended a garden party in 2014 when she opted to wear her beautiful lace sheath dress by McQueen with a Jane Corbett hat to match.
In 2012 and 2013, Kate selected designs by Emilia Wickstead.
I must admit, Ms Wickstead has never been one of my favourite 'Kate designers'; the structuring and tailoring of the designs, and use of heavy fabrics don't appeal to me, thoughts which has been reflected by many readers. Interestingly whilst we're on the topic of garden parties, Ms Wickstead has launched a capsule collection with Matches Fashion which are just ideal for such a function. Below, the Olive Hydrangea Print Dress, the very pretty Carrie Floral Print Dress, and the June Floral Cut-Out dress (a possibility if modified without cut-out detail). The designer's collection has built on the SS16 1950s theme.
What would you like to see Kate wear for the garden party?
Prince William visited the Royal Marsden hospital this morning to officially open the Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research. William heard about advance research to combine hormone and drug treatments to shrink tumours, and was told it is reassuring for patients to know that research happens two floors from where they are being treated. The Prince said: "Seeing the courage and spirit of patients I met today it is hard not to feel positive about the work being done here."
The Royal Marsden holds a special significance for William. The late Princess Diana was president from 1989 until her death; Prince William took on the role in 2007. A portrait of Diana takes pride of place at the hospital.
Whilst chatting with patients, talk quickly turned to George and Charlotte. Kathryn England, a patient at the hospital, revealed: "He said his household is very noisy at the moment. He said he was looking at schools, I suppose for George he would be." George, who turns 3 on 22 July will begin school in September 2017 shortly after he turns 4. More from Richard Palmer:
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The choice of schools for George and Charlotte has been a much discussed subject of royal commentators. It has been widely thought Prince George will follow in his fathers footsteps and attend the pre-prep school Wetherby, located half a mile from Kensington Palace. Earlier this year the Mail Online reported George's name had been put down. With William suggesting he may not renew his contract with EAAA next spring, Wetherby seems a strong contender. It also raises the question, could a move to London be on the cards?
The other possibility in contention is a local school in Norfolk close to the family's country home, Anmer Hall. George has been attending nursery at the nearby Westactre Montessori, and it has been suggested William and Kate could favour a school in the area. A friend told me there has been word locally of George attending Gresham's in Holt, or Beeston Hall in Cromer.
At the moment, one imagines William and Kate are weighing up options as their decision will not only determine where George goes to school but where the family will be based for the next several years. I think it very much depends on what Prince William's plans are if he does indeed leave the EAAA next year. Is a larger royal role in the planning for the Cambridges? I can't see William leaving the air ambulance so soon if that is not the case. Alternatively, choosing a Norfolk school would see them continue to spend much of their time at Anmer, and perhaps staggering royal engagements and trips to London. It will be very interesting to see the Cambridges' final choice.
Kate's much-loved Great Plains 'Cezanne' Dress has been re-released in a striking new print. The Duchess first wore the dress in 'winter pink' in 2013 and was last seen wearing it in 'pine needle' over Christmas. Now, the brand has released the dress in an Ebony/Navy combo. The £75 dress is described: "Precision pleating features from the waist to the hemline of our best-selling Cezanne Pleated Dress for a feminine style that is as alluring in design as it is in print. Cinch in the waistband a little further when transitioning this chic dress into the evening." It's a very versatile and wearable piece - a great wardrobe staple.
Now, time for an exciting mid-week activity I think you'll enjoy! We've had several fun giveaways this year, but I think this one is going to be especially exciting. Australia-based custom fine jewellery company StyleRocks are offering one lucky reader $500 AUD to spend as they wish on their beautiful pieces.
StyleRocks was founded in 2011 by the enormously talented Pascale Helyar-Moray, who was eight months pregnant when her husband offered to buy her a present to celebrate their twins' arrival. Following an online search, Pascale found herself frustrated at the lack of customisable options available. So, after the twins were born she decided it was time to harness her passion for jewellery, and thus StyleRocks was born.
It's been an incredible five years for the brand which has gained a global customer base and recognition from publications such as Vogue: "Prepare for your jewellery collection to suddenly expand." The brand has won a series of prestigious awards, such as a Microsoft BizSpark Plus Scholarship, and was selected among a handful of startups for the DEMO Asia 2012 event. Below we see actress Cate Blanchett with Pascale wearing the Russian Rings 'Charlotte' necklace.
The key to StyleRocks' success has been allowing its customers to create their own bespoke items and thus express their individuality through their jewellery selections. Have you ever seen a stunning pair of earrings or a necklace and thought: "I would love that in another stone or metal." With StyleRocks you can design the piece exactly to your taste. Let's take a look at possible designs for the 'very Kate' Cushion Checkerboard Gemstone Stud Earrings. A look at the classic style in different stones.
The earrings come in a selection of different styles.
A look at the rainbow of available colours and options for custimisation.
The Cushion Checkerboard Studs with Pearl Drops offer a fresh and colourful twist on the classic.
The 'Just In' section of the website offers a modern twist on pearls, with pearl bangles and rings available in numerous options.
If you're a fan of a specific gemstone and wish to assemble a collection of pieces, it's very easy to do that with StyleRocks. Take pink amethyst for example; look at the Emerald Cut Sterling Silver Earrings, the Emerald Cut Cocktail Ring, the Cushion Diamond Halo Ring, and the 9ct Rose Gold Necklace.
The brand's best-selling Russian Rings Necklaces (as seen on Cate Blanchett earlier in the post) have proved enormously popular. The necklaces made of three intertwined rings are the Charlotte, Alexandra and Zara at 40mm, 30mm and 20mm respectively. The image below offers a good look at the sizes on offer.
The necklaces in rose gold, gold and silver.
The Diamond Russian Necklace - the Elizabeth in 9ct gold is a striking piece. The necklaces can be worn in several ways as seen below.
The necklaces very much remind me of Kate's Cartier 'Trinity' necklace. The Duchess last wore the $49,000 piece in New York in 2014.
Russian wedding rings are a classic symbol of love. As with all their pieces, the rings are customisable through choosing the metal, engraving and font. Below, we look at the Willow, featuring three gold bands and the Double Russian Wedding Ring Gemelle.
A look at several of StyleRocks' engagement rings. Each engagement ring is made bespoke to your specifications.
There are so many beautiful pieces... One collection which fans of the Duchess may particularly enjoy are the limited edition necklaces designed to commemorate the Royal Tour of India and Bhutan. The pieces were designed in collaboration with the lovely Susan from What Kate Wore.
We discussed flowers and symbolism before the tour. The Lotus Flower is India's national flower and has long been associated with beauty. Below, the Lotus Flower Necklace in Yellow Gold with Diamond and in White Gold with Sapphire.
The poppy is Bhutan's national flower and demonstrates delicacy through its simple petals. We see it in Yellow Gold with Amethyst and White Gold with Ruby.
Pascale shared this additional information on the brand:
- Paypal instalments - pay for your jewels, interest-free, for up to four months. Great for the more expensive purchases.
- Valuation certificate for any item valued at AUD500 or more. Not only is this for insurance purposes, it helps people understand that blue topaz is actually blue topaz, and so on. The certificates are provided by an independent valuer from the National Council of Approved Valuers.
- Free shipping using DHL Express (international orders) or Australia Post Platinum (local).
- An interesting titbit: with the decline of the Australian dollar against the US dollar, this has made our jewellery more affordable for the UK and US/Canadian customers. This goes some way to explaining why nearly 60% of our sales are for these destinations.
- 3D printed rings. Like the look of the ring online but not sure how it would look on your hand? Think you're a size 7 (or size M) but not absolutely sure? You can purchase a 3D ring for $29.95 and it arrives 12 business days later. Then when you come to purchase the 'real' (metal/gemstone) ring, that $29.95 is credited against your purchase.
A look at a 3D printed ring.
It has been enormous fun playing around on the website and looking at the different possibilities one can put together. Back to the giveaway, if you would like to win a $500 AUD gift certificate, there are two compulsory entry options:
1. Subscribe to the StyleRocks newsletter (towards the end of the homepage you will see an option to 'sign up to the newsletter' click it and in the box that asks 'I came across StyleRocks through', scroll down to the last option and select 'HRH Duchess Kate'. You will also receive $25 AUD credit towards your first purchase when you subscribe.
2. This one is fun! Leave a comment on the blog and let us know how you would spend the prize. Would you add a new piece to your collection? Perhaps buy a gift for a loved one?
Optional Additional Entries
- For an additional entry, Like StyleRocks on Facebook, and let us know you did so in your comment.
- For an additional entry, Follow StyleRocks on Twitter and let us know you did so in your comment.
- Share the giveaway on any social media channel, and let us know you did so in your comment.
Wishing you all the very best of luck and a huge thank you to Pascale for sponsoring the giveaway! I'm very excited to see your favourite pieces.
We'll see you on Friday for Kate's engagement with the 1851 Trust, if not sooner should she attend Thursday's garden party. :)