Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Kate Loves: Five Royal Years in Gowns

Kate's appearance at last week's gala 'A Taste of Norfolk' at Houghton Hall saw Her Royal Highness bring back a much-loved Jenny Packham gown. Indeed, the shimmering rose sequin gown has long been a fan favourite with many hoping it would have another outing before being retired. The reaction led me to ponder why this particular look resonated so much (apart from the glaringly obvious fact it's a beautiful garment). I concluded it's particularly special for several reasons. It's the dress she wore for her first official event as the Duchess of Cambridge, the Ark Gala in 2011, offering out first look at the style she would adopt as a member of the Royal family. It was also William and Kate's first red carpet appearance following the wedding and the beginning of a lifetime of joint engagements.


In many ways the gowns Kate has worn over the last five years tell the story of her transition from Kate Middleton to future queen - and tonight we're taking a look back through them.


The Duchess debuted her first regal gown in London, the second would be unveiled in Los Angeles. Following a hugely successful tour of Canada, which saw the newlyweds undertake a flurry of engagements during their first joint tour, it was time for a brief stop in LA. The Cambridges were the toast of tinseltown as they mingled with Hollywood's elite. Kate was drop dead gorgeous in a lavender grecian style gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. It was an incredible evening; I'm sure Kate, still very much a new royal, was nervous. I recall reading an article in which a guest observed how stars such as Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Barbara Streisand were 'starstruck' by the royal couple.

For the 100 Women in Hedge Funds dinner at St James's Palace in October 2011, Kate selected the red 'Sarai' dress by Beulah London, marking the beginning of a fashion relationship that continues today. At this point, Kate had decided to forego wearing what had been her signature label for years - ISSA, however, this dress very much had the same feminine, whimsical feel of the brand and was reminiscent of several of her pre-engagement looks.


Kate carried out her first solo engagement in late October 2011, on behalf of her father-in-law Prince Charles, who was in Saudi Arabia following the death of the Crown Prince. A Palace aide said the Duchess "was delighted to step in". One imagines her first solo engagement had to be a daunting and intimidating one. As a stand-in, Kate could avoid a lot of media glare and last minute nerves as it all occurred at very short notice. The Duchess wore a very pretty aqua Amanda Wakeley gown with grecian lines and criss-cross straps. From the 2006-2007 collection, it's likely a piece she had in her wardrobe years prior.


The Duchess was elegant in a bespoke, one-shoulder satin chiffon gown by Jenny Packham for a reception at St James's Palace in support of the National Aboretum Appeal.


Kate was simply stunning at The Sun Military Awards in December 2011 in a sumptuous black velvet Alexander McQueen gown. With its sweetheart neckline and figure-hugging silhouette, I think it was one of those times when Kate looked incredibly comfortable in what she was wearing and oozed confidence and ease. The look was completed with dazzling Mouawad jewels. It remains my favourite gown to this day! HRH looked every inch the duchess that evening, and six months on from her first royal appearance, was settling into royal life with aplomb.


2012 began with unquestionably one of Kate's favourite gowns - the Temperley London 'Amoret' - at the London premiere of War Horse. The black lace dress was trimmed with scalloped eyelash edges, and featured a curved seam and removable crepe belt. It was the perfect choice for Kate's first premiere.


William and Kate were back on the red carpet four months later for an exclusive dinner at Claridge's. The Duchess wore the lovely Roland Mouret 'Ella' gown. The creamy gown with long sleeves, structured shoulders and a split was something of a collaboration between Kate and Mr Mouret. The designer later said: "I think it was quite fantastic there was a split up the front. It was not too much I think I did quite well." The Cambridges had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and Kate was very much in her element with a slew of impressive sartorial choices.


In their roles as London 2012 ambassadors, the Duke and Duchess attended the 'Our Greatest Team Rises' event. Kate wore a bespoke teal Jenny Packham gown, based on a style from the designer's bridal collection. The gown combined an emerald lace bodice embellished with Swarovski crystals and a pleated skirt and ribbon waist with a crystal and flower embellishment. The back of the dress is the highlight of the gown and to show it off Kate wore her hair up - the first time she had done so with a gown since the wedding.


In September the Cambridges undertook a tour of Southeast Asia. The aim of the much anticipated tour was to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee tour. The tour demonstrated Her Royal Highness's growing confidence with a speech at Hospis Malaysia. The itinerary's glittering event was an official dinner given by His Majesty the Agong at his official residence, the Istana Negara, in Kuala Lumpur. Kate dazzled in a long, cream gown with embroidered gold hibiscuses (the national flower of Malaysia) by Alexander McQueen. It was one of the early occasions where HRH proved she was more than adept at sartorial diplomacy.


Kate's Amoret gown had its second appearance of the year as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a black-tie fundraiser in Middle Temple Hall, London in support of St Andrews University's 600th Anniversary Campaign. During a speech William thanked St Andrews for "the woman he loves".


2012 was a big year, and the defining moment came with the announcement the Duchess was expecting her first child. The nation and fans worldwide joined in congratulating the couple on the joyous news. Unfortunately, the announcement came sooner than they would have liked because Kate was hospitalised with Hyperemesis gravidarum. Following a period of rest, a fragile-looking Kate made a surprise appearance at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The Duchess wore an emerald green, bell-sleeve Alexander McQueen gown.


With the arrival of Prince George, we didn't see Kate at a red carpet event again until September 2013 when she joined William for the inaugural Tusk Trust Awards, seven weeks after George's birth. The Duchess wore a glittering Jenny Packham gown embroidered with shiny sequins and featuring a high round neck and drop waist.


For the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala at Kensington Palace, another favoured gown was debuted. Described as: 'Simply stunning in ink-tinged silk, this floor-grazing gown from Jenny Packham is the ultimate in evening elegance. It features a wrapped front, V-neckline, gathered short sleeves, black velvet sash, hidden back zip, tailored bodice and full skirt.' Taking place shortly after Prince George's christening, talk on the night was very much focused on the recent event, with Kate telling guests: "He was such a good boy actually, he's not always like that, but the people there, lots going on, it's slightly distracting." The Duchess revealed the three-month-old was "fast asleep" when she left.


That December, the Duke and Duchess attended their first Diplomatic Reception. The white-tie event saw Kate don a lilac McQueen and marked her first tiara appearance since the royal wedding. We would have to wait a while to see the gown in its entirety...


It was time to hit the red carpet for the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom on 5 December. Sadly, the event turned out to be a sombre one as Nelson Mandela passed away during the screening. The movie's star Idris Elba later spoke about hearing the sad news: "The Duchess, Kate sort of turned to me and looked at me as she had her phone and I wondered what was wrong with her because she looked quite emotional. And my girlfriend looked at me and handed the phone and I looked down and there it was, Mandela had passed. I looked back at Prince William and Kate and they were just in tears with me." Kate chose her Roland Mouret 'Ella' gown, this time freshening up the look with a ponytail and a ZARA necklace.


It was a third outing for the Temperley London 'Amoret' gown for an advance screening of David Attenborough's Alive 3D at the Natural History Museum. Electing to wear two repeats in quick succession was likely down to having a young baby at home (as you may recall William and Kate have often said George was a poor sleeper) and I expect with other priorities dominating it was most convenient to choose gowns already in her closet.


The Duchess carried out her first engagement of 2014 in style for the Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery. The dress code for the night dictated "black tie with a touch of sparkle" and the Duchess certainly didn't disappoint in her ink-blue Jenny Packham gown. The look was certainly given sparkle as the Queen loaned Kate the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace (I don't know about you, but the image below always reminds me of a poster for a movie or a painting).


It was a Ms Packham design for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards in 2014. Again, it had been another momentous year following a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince George. The month before the awards it had been announced the Cambridges were expecting their second child. With so much speculation as to whether Baby Cambridge would be a boy or a girl, it was fun to see Kate having fun with fashion, teaming the powder blue wrap gown with her pink L.K. Bennett Agata Sandals. The colour combination worked beautifully and the ensemble was completed by Monica Vinader jewels.


For the Royal Variety Performance, Kate dazzled in an elegant black DVF 'Zarita' gown. The entire look was perfect for the event and the Duchess was in her element.


The final month of 2014 will be remembered for William and Kate's trip to New York. Enormous excitement surrounded the brief visit, which saw the couple meet a host of well-known figures including Hillary Clinton and Beyoncé.  The trip concluded on a fitting note - with the glamorous St Andrews' 600th Anniversary dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kate's ink-blue Packham gown received its third public wear - this time with an updo and beautiful emerald jewels. My favourite photo of the trip is the one below of William and Kate holding hands as they left the event.


With the arrival of Princess Charlotte, 2015 was relatively quiet. In October, Kate debuted her first gown of the year with a sartorial bang for the Cambridges first state banquet. The Duchess turned to her go-to 'evening wear' designer Jenny Packham to create the cap sleeve, sweeping red gown. The Papyrus tiara and bracelets loaned by the Queen completed the sparkling look. The white-tie event marked a royal milestone for William and Kate, and the Duchess was given pride of place beside the Chinese president.


Kate had a date with 007 for the premiere of Spectre. Once again it was a Packham creation - this time a bespoke duck egg gown with sheer sleeves, sheer overlay and a glittering belt. Kate teamed the gown with the Robinson Pelham earrings her mother Carole Middleton wore for the royal wedding reception.


One might say Kate's most talked about and divisive gown selection came when she chose the Erdem 'Alouette' for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala. The floral-print piece had quite a bit going on with a voluminous peplum skirt, fitted bodice and very busy print. At the time, as a mother of two in her early thirties, Kate was experimenting a little with fashion and with her hair. Whilst it wasn't a 'fashion win' or an iconic look for her, it was interesting to see her having fun with fashion and trying something entirely out of her comfort zone.


'If it's not broke why fix it' was Kate's motto for the 2015 Diplomatic Reception as she chose the same McQueen dress she wore for the same event two years previously. Thanks to a documentary on Her Majesty's 90th, we finally got to see the very princessy gown in all its glory, and of course, Kate wearing the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara.


And that brings us to 2016 which has brought us a flurry of gowns thanks to the glittering Royal Tour of India and Bhutan. For the pre-tour reception at Kensington Palace, HRH fittingly wore the Mary Illusion Dot Dress by Indian designer Saloni.


For the first evening of the royal tour Kate was Queen of the Night in a dazzling sapphire-blue Jenny Packham gown for a glamorous Bollywood gala. The beading on the gown was actually done in India, and the silhouette and design of the garment was clearly inspired by the host country. An outstanding look.


We really saw Kate embrace colours and prints across her style choices for the tour. One of the most colourful was the Tory Burch gown she wore for a private dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan. The colourful gown is intricately embroidered with retro-inspired floral shades of sky-blue, orange, green and brown. The neckline is adorned with red-bead embellishments. Meeting with other royals, heads of state and dignitaries is an important aspect of Kate's royal role, and will be an increasing one as her role grows.


On the couple's final night in Bhutan, they attended a reception for British nationals in the country along with Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK. Kate was elegant in the vibrant red poppy-print Beulah London 'Juliet' dress. The Himalayan blue poppy is the national flower of Bhutan, and it was a nice touch to see the flower incorporated.


For SportsAid's 40th anniversary gala, Kate stunned in the beautiful off-the-shoulder Roland Mouret 'Nansen' gown. From the French designer's Resort 2016 Collection, the gown features the label's signature darts and panels, providing a flattering silhouette with a nipped waistline and svelte contours. It was a treat to see the Duchess choosing another piece by the talented designer.


And Kate's most recent appearance brings us back to where we started: with her shimmering rose Jenny Packham gown, this time for a gala in support of her patronage East Anglia's Children's Hospices.


The significance of reaching five years as a member of the Royal family will not have been lost on Kate and I'm sure played a part in her selecting to wear the gown again. When Kate first wore it, she was a 29-year-old newlywed finding her bearings as the eyes of the world looked on. Now, at 34, she's a mother of two and is very much growing into her role as a future queen. Long gone is the initial nervousness and uncertainty, replaced by a quiet confidence and assuredness. From solo engagements, to overseas tours and dining with world leaders, the sophisticated Duchess has no doubt learned an enormous amount to prepare her as her role grows - and it's fascinating to see how those years have progressed through the gowns she has worn.


What will the next five years bring? I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing! :)

113 comments:

  1. love this post!! my favorite is also STILL the black velvet Alexander McQueen. i hope she recycles it soon! she looked amazing. dramatic, sexy, AND classy at the same time. we need more of that. it's so great for younger girls (and grown women, frankly) to see how to put a look like that together. I also really love the amoret gown, for much the same reason. feminine. sexy. classy. wonderful.
    she does a wonderful job choosing gowns. for daywear, sometimes i fthink "its appropriate. fine. yes. what's next." but never for a gown. gorgeous every time. amazing every time. i never really get a case of jealousy because this lifestyle would NEVER suit me, but the gowns! every once in a while, it'd be nice to do it up right. i can't wait to see the next!

    Annie
    NY, USA

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  2. You are so right anon 6:42! It would be so fun to dress up, really dress up every once in a while in a fancy dancy gown and have a night on the town, but I would get tired of it if I had to do it all the time. I also agree with you that Kate does seem to put a lot of thought into her evening wear and do it up right. The only ones that are kinda meh to me are the red Beaulah London and the green Alexander McQueen. The rest have all been amazing. I loved the white and gold dress she wore in Malaysia and would love to see the powder blue wrap dress again. My current favorite is the blue Mouret gown she just wore. She looked incredibly good in that dress. It was a wowzer! Thanks for this post. I thought I would have to wait a few more days to hear more about Kate. With all the engagements lately I am getting spoiled.=)

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  3. It's strange that the Duchess opted for sandals in India, perhaps it was too hot outside and even a Duchess (Who seems to be not a fan of this kind of shoes) choose to wear them. It's interesting that she had to not wear anymore Issa since the new Owner/Ceo of the brand is someone who doesn't like the Royal Family (someone in the Family of Dodi if I'm not wrong). If could be interesting to see how the Duchess would have use Issa dresses during her " transition years".

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  4. I love the black velvet McQueen gown. So very elegant, and she looked gorgeous. All of Jenny Packham's creations are lovely, particularly the pink shimmering one she wore this past week. Kate was always beautiful, and now she has grown into a sophisticated, magnificent lady.
    Tedi in California

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    1. I agree with you Tedi, the black velvet is by far her most elegant look. She looks beautiful in all of her gowns and the Packhams are certainly front runners. Would love to see her wear all of them again, especially the blue wrap, very chic. Loving her poise, sophistication and confidence which grows more lovely every day.

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  5. Jean from Lancs28 June 2016 at 08:59

    What struck me last week was the difference in her poise.
    The first time she wore this gown, I watched her arrival and the reception on TV and noted how nervous she was and how nervous and concerned for her was William.
    The difference last week was so marked; she was confident and comfortable as the centre of attention. She also seems comfortable now wearing the royal jewels.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden28 June 2016 at 18:46

      It was very clear, yes! Such clear growth :)

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    2. Agree, Rebecca and Jean.

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    3. I noticed how lovely her posture was. It is evident if you view the pictures when she wasn't
      leaning forward to shake hands or greet someone- for example, as she walking from the car. One photo she was bent forward had her arm extended and her facial
      expression looked as though she was about to shake hands with someone. She was
      actually bent forward while walking and in conversation with Rose, but so was Rose.
      Of course, those who wish to find fault don't look for the whole picture.

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    4. Agree 23.32. One picture does not tell the whole story. One has only to look at the video from the event to see her confidence as she arrived and engaged with all present. The patron who organized this event mentioned how Kate took the time to speak to all who had contributed to the fundraiser. If she lacked confidence she would not work the room as she apparently did. Her confidence has without doubt grown and it is clearly apparant in her appearances.

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    5. Kate, Texas, USA29 June 2016 at 05:47

      Absolutely agree Jean! :)

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  6. What a fantastic post! Thank you! I really enjoyed the tour through the years und my favourite dress is the black velvet one, too.
    What i also thought when flipping through the pictures, was that her hair looked much better in the past and at the beginning of her royal life than now. Of course she is five years older now, but i think her hair style makes her looking even older.

    Nina
    Germany

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  7. Rebecca - Sweden28 June 2016 at 12:25

    What a great post!! I have nothing to say yet, just letting it sink in!!

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    1. This is very disappointing, Rebecca. Here I am back, and you've got nothing to say????





      PS Neither do I; that's why I'm picking on you. :P

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden29 June 2016 at 20:47

      Hahhaha, welcome back my dear!! :D Sorry to disappoint you :P Have commented on other "threads" now :)

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    3. yay, Bluhare. You are here again. :)

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    4. Hi bluhare! Nice to see you back.

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    5. Bluhare, what was your favorite gown? And what's your mother's favorite?

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    6. Hello everyone. Erika, I think Catherine's first gown pick was better than pretty much all of these.

      My favorite gown? It used to be that pink one she rewore last week, but I think I agree with another commenter that I liked it better the first time so it's lost some lustre. I think Kate is better with daytime clothes, personally, but I'll go with the ink blue Jenny Packham gown.

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    7. And your mom's favorite gown?

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  8. Thank you for a new list!! I loved the walk down memory lane with all the gorgeous dresses! I can't wait to see the teal Jenny packham again, that dress is gorgeous!
    I was thinking we would get a new Kate Loves soon, but I love looking at all her gowns!

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  9. 1.The turquoise gown of Jenny Packham from 2012 is my all time favourite, I hope to see it soon again! :)
    2.The pink, glittering Jenny Packham from 2011 and 2016.
    3.The red Jenny Packham gown from last year’s the state banquet

    Kadry

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  10. Thank you, Charlotte!

    What a wonderful post! I hope someone shows your retrospective to the Duchess. I have a feeling she would enjoy it as much as her fans :-)

    With so many beautiful gowns through the last five years, it's difficult to say which is my favorite. I especially like all the black dresses -- and love the way Kate wore the lavender gown in LA. She looked like Cinderella arriving at the ball in that dress!

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  11. Thank you for this wonderful post! A great start to my day, each and every one of these gowns is special in its own way, as well as the beautiful woman who wears them.

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  12. Alejandra Ramírez28 June 2016 at 15:31

    Love, love, looooooooove the post! Super mega excellent job!
    Love the trip down memory lane!
    It really shows her evolution towards becoming a more confident and beautiful royal!
    This also shows how many gala gowns she has wore and they aren't that much despite being 5 years into the Royal Family :D
    Thank you so much Charlotte for your amazing job! I'm thinking that next week we might see a new gown for the Museum Award
    We shall see :D

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  13. Nice post, Charlotte! My favorite is the Packham for the 007 premier. It's the whole look though - hair, earrings. The gown wouldn't be my favorite on it's own. My eyes meltwhen I see photos of her from that night. The movement of the skirt is wonderful and it's the perfect updo. Thanks again! :)

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    1. Also my fav of all time!

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    2. So agree! I know many didn't care for it, but the elegant draping and sheerness over the shoulders was so lovely!

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  14. What a fabulous retrospective! Thank you for a perfect start to my day in California.

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  15. Hi Charlotte great post I wonder if you might have forgetten the temperly London black and white floral dress in India?

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    1. Hello,

      Thank you for commenting! The Temperley look was a crop top and skirt - one of my favourites from the tour :)

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  16. What a wonderful post. Thank you Charlotte for bringing all of this together. I never tire of seeing these pictures.

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  17. What a lovely post to wake up to! I think the gown with the most `Wow!` factor and my favourite so far is the black velvet Alexander McQueen gown. I saw that I`m certainly not alone there! The word `stunning` seems overused these days, but I think in this case it was entirely appropriate. I`ve often wished she would wear this gown again.

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  18. Hey Charlotte!
    Wonderful post! I honestly think that you should be Kate's Royal Biographer. ;-) How does one get that job? You are so very fair in your comments and writings. I do believe Kate would enjoy having you in her life and on her side!

    It seems to me that Kate can never go wrong with a gown. She looks gorgeous in everything. Even the pieces that aren't my favorite (or are just meh), she still looks beautiful in. My least favorite is the Erdem'Arloutte" gown. It's pretty but just odd... I think most of you, readers understand my explanation. :-)
    Charlotte, do you know if Kate has a childhood-friend that she is still close too? Or a friend from... what do you call "highschool" in Britain? Is it college? I think, I've asked you this before ;-).... However I can't remember!
    Thank you for your post Charlotte! I sincerely wish you could do a post once a week. I love your writings!
    Have a wonderful day!

    Rachel Chavez, Bellingham,Washington USA

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  19. Beautiful gowns, and a great post! After the last post and seeing how the richness held her champagne and clutch in one hand, I stole that idea for an event last night where we were shaking lots of hands! Such a good idea to keep your right hand free and still have a drink, I felt quite sophisticated thanks to the duchess!

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    1. Oops duchess not richness! Lol!

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    2. same difference Katie, lol.

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    3. Richness yes,

      along with having one of the most public weddings so far in history, full of pageantry and pomp and circumstance Kate's wedding cake was no slouch.

      Just read an article on wedding cakes. Kate's wedding cake cost $80,000 according to that article. The cake was exquisite with all the intricate lacing technique and all the symbolic flowers, and the beautiful artistry of it all. It really was a portrait all unto itself. Perhaps that's why she had the cake place in the portrait hall. One for the history pages, so it was worth it.

      It was reported at the time, that had William been Prince of Wales or King at the time of his wedding there would have been even more pomp and circumstance, if you can imagine that.

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  20. What a fun post. Thanks Charlotte. The velvet black dress and the teal dress are still my favorites. Those are just knockouts.

    I disagree though, this post actually showed me more of how much Kate has lost confidence since her first year of marriage. She used to walk straight with her shoulders back looking relaxed and confident. Now, she is hunched over/pulled in, which was very evident in her last outing. I sadly don't think the nervousness and uncerntainity are long gone. They appear more prevalent than ever.

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    1. I agree. Her posture at Houghton Hall was terrible! A couple of the photos look like she's almost doubled over.
      William is taller, even when she's wearing heels, so I don't quite understand why her posture has gotten so bad.

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden28 June 2016 at 22:43

      Maybe tiredness and bending over with the kids? :P

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    3. Completely disagree. Do not think they are more prevalent than before, quite the contrary there is growth in her confidence. However, think you are mistaking her posture habits for lack of confidence. First, she is tall, has a long torso and tends to have to bend a little down to other people's heights to speak, shake hands, etc. Second, she is small chested and small chested women tend to hunch (I know of what I speak!). If I were her friend I would advise her on two things. First, to focus on her posture. Always return to an erect height and practice holding her shoulders back. Second, I would have her invest in good foundation pieces. The second would help her on other occasions when it has been identified that she doesn't look good in certain dresses since she "lacks curves". Not because it would give her curves, but because she is thin with a long torso and wears a small size in clothing; the darts on dresses don't fall where they should and the same for the waist. If she had a good foundation piece, it would give a little lift and the darts would hit where they need to and give the appearance of fitting better. Especially with pret-a-porter clothing that she doesn't have altered significantly. She doesn't need any curves, she just needs a little lift (as do many of us after having chldren, even small chested women!), and it would help with her posture and holding her shoulders back. A long way to say I disagree and why, but IMHO the hunching and pulling in is not because of nervousness, it appears more of a habit of hers. I had a beautiful short aunt who told me to embrace my height and slenderness and her advice was to keep my shoulders back and always invest in a good bra, its definitely worth the money. With that being said, Kate looks beautiful in all her gowns and her slenderness is definitely an asset for her.

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    4. Enjoyed your comment. The other day I happened to see a photo of QE the Queen Mother on Twitter, and was amazed that even at her advanced age, she still carried herself with a lovely, erect posture. You're right about it not often being a byproduct of nervousness or lack of confidence; our posture declines as we age for a number of reasons (body type, genetics, and childbearing being just a few). Kate is a beautiful woman, and you can tell that she tries hard to look her best whenever she is representing the RF. That being said, in the past few years there's been a noticeable dive in the way her posture appears in photographs and video. IMHO she would benefit greatly from regular sessions with a well-qualified Pilates or yoga instructor to learn better body awareness, which will in turn help to improve her posture and make her appear even more beautiful!

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    5. Ruh roe, 23:10, lol

      you had better watch out or 02:38 from the previous post will be dogging your trail. We have recently had the company of some ardent and outspoken, uh, feminists here.

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    6. Anon 16:24
      Wow.
      Signed,Feminist (aka "ardent" and "outspoken.")
      Yeah.
      Wow. Just wow.

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    7. That is exactly what I said to your comments the other day, 16:24.

      Delete
    8. What I meant was. That is exactly what I said to your comments the other day, 04:36.

      Signed, 16:24, 19:00

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    9. Comparing 23:10's comments to the criticism of Kate's figure in the last post is like day and night. Polar opposites! The tone and intention here is similar to that of an older and wiser aunt with HELPFUL AND KIND intentions, unlike...

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    10. The conversations were about the garment, not Kate. Clearly.
      How anyone could have misconstrued that in any way is ridiculous.

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    11. Does a garment have "cleavage?" Hard to misconstrue that.

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  21. Charlotte,

    Another excellent post. I agree with Rachel, you would make an excellent Royal Biographer.

    The gown chronology was such a good idea.

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  22. My favourite ist he Jenny Packham gown, Catherine wore for the Olympia 2012 event. It looks so nice on her, her hair was very beautiful, the first time she wore her up with a gown. The colour looks great on her skin. I hope she will wear the gown again.

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  23. Great post, Charlotte! I loved it because we can see the evolution of her whole look!
    I really loved her hair when James Pryce at Richard Ward Salon was doing it. Even though there were times when it overwhelmed her, it was glossy and dark and healthy looking and the blowout was superb. Now, with Amanda Cook Tucker having apparently sole hair duty, it's just not as good looking or as professional looking as it was in the Pryce/Ward days.
    I know Pryce and Ward went off the reservation and stupidly capitalized on their famous customer but I wish she'd find someone with their kind of skill and knowledge to do her hair.
    And she just looks - not as good as she did in the first years of the marriage. More hunched over, more unsure - or at least, no more confident than she was five years ago.
    I'd argue that in those early days, she looked more confident, more healthy and happy and sure of herself than she does now. Her posture at the Houghton Hall gala was horrible, she almost looked doubled over in pain a couple times, like she had bad gas or something!!
    But it's hard to choose a favorite gown! I loved all the gowns including and through the Mouret "Ella" the first time (LOVED those red toes peeping out!) and then things just got kind of "blah" for me.

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    1. I agree her hair needs new care. Pryce did a great job but there are other great colorists stylists out there and in my opinion she is not using very good ones at the moment.:) Some of the updos look lovely and some of her "down styles" but in general her color, shine, cuts and styles are missing much of the time as opposed to with Pryce it was good most of the time. It is hard as you get older and start getting grey, and Kate has gone grey early and is struggling to find a length and style that suits her and all the different needs she has in her role as part of the Royal family. ali

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    2. I agree 100% with the hair. I prefer that darker richer shade and superior cuts she used to have. ACT doesn't/never has cut it IMH(and punning)O.

      As for increased hunching, I can't read that as a barometer of confidence. I think it may come from bending, carrying and embracing toddlers, even pushing strollers while walking.

      To offset curvature caused by one's activities, one has to be continuously mindful of rib-cage/breasts forward posture and perhaps doing yoga/core work to offset it. Because I spend too much time on a computer or tablet, I catch myself slouching all the time. I'd bet Catherine's simply unaware of it and certainly not consciously thinking of it. Probably has more pressing things on her mind--and yet, proper body alignment is fundamental to good health.

      Delete
    3. She leans forward to greet and shake hands with people. That is body language
      that represents a humility and literally an effort to extend herself and meet others half way. Some royals stand stiffly and expect others to make the effort
      to bridge space.
      I cannot find one photo among these when she was not in good posture while standing alone and not greeting.
      I can only assume there were so many positive, laudable actions that finding
      something to criticise became a challenge.

      Delete
    4. I agree, 16:17.

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    5. 16:17, E-X-A-C-T-L-Y! :)

      Delete
  24. Thanks for this super fun post, Charlotte! Excellent job as always.

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  25. A very nice look back... :)

    Two things stand out in my mind. First, the improvement in Kate's confidence is undeniable. And, second, updos and larger earrings are more gown-friendly. I hope the trend continues!

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  26. Charlotte thanks for all the work put into this post. Its perfect!
    I love almost all these gowns, but most of all would love to see the one shoulder Jenny Pakham again!! It fit her so perfectly, and there aren't many silver gowns out there that look so regal!

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  27. Wow, W&K must have gone one a lot of sunning holidays before they had the kids because Kate was regularly very tan pre-George!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She may have done tanning beds which were popular when she was young.

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    2. Personally I am pleased she isn't tanning as much. Not good for the skin - sun beds - and the long term effects of spray tans are yet to emerge.

      Delete
  28. Wonderful post. Thank you, Charlotte!

    I cannot find a picture of Kate that shows anything other than perfect posture. In one photo from Houghton Hall, she appears to be walking and leaning, and smiling, toward someone. One could not want her to be inflexibly erect at all times!

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  29. Loved this retrospective!! Also, did you guys get a glimpse at the Bhutan man's shoes? Holy Moly (next to HRH in the pic where she's wearing the red dress in Bhutan). Silvia

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  30. What a treat!! Thank you, Charlotte!!

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  31. I could not pick out one favorite. In looking at her last five years I found I actually really liked most of them.The ones that pop out the most are the Pink Packman, Teal Packman, Mcqueen Hibiscuss, Ink Blue V neck Velvet sash Packman, Mouret Nansen Gown, Duck Egg Packman. Told you can't narrow it down:):) ali

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  32. hi charlotte I love all the duchess gowns for these year love jenny packham very much

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  33. I like the Amanda Wakeley gown. I'd forgotten about it. I'd love a rewear, but Catherine's attire has become so staid and there's so much pressure to dress conservatively that I'm not hopeful. Her natural inclination is to wear tank tops, spaghetti straps, short hemlines, naturally curly hair. But somewhere along the line in the last 5 years she's gotten very covered up. Full length sleeves, longer skirts, and her hair in tight buns. Many commentaters say that there was a bright exuberance in the early years, she had a unique look that has now been tamped down. I hope that with all the chatter " she's confident" "she's grown into her role" etc.that her unique spirit is not lost.

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  34. Kate, Texas, USA29 June 2016 at 05:46

    WOW! I have been a reader from the early days and this is one of my favorite posts yet Charlotte! Thank you for ALL your hard work on this one!

    Kate is naturally beautiful and can wear just about anything, so all her gown selections have been stunning. It's hard to choose a favorite look, but I do love her hair in an elegant updo. She has definitely come into her own and has done a brilliant job over the past five years. It has been a wonderful five years for the Cambridges and especially Kate becoming a member of the RF, wife, and mother. As you said Charlotte, I'm sure we are all looking forward to the next five!

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    Replies
    1. Rebecca - Sweden29 June 2016 at 20:50

      These kind of well researched post is my favourite as well. The day to day engagement reporting is always great and timely and educational, but the Kate Loves posts etc get some more "heart" in them on top of being great reporting so these kind of posts are always very very appriciated from me :)

      Delete
  35. My favorite gown has to be her wedding dress, and even though it may not "technically" count in this category, she became the Duchess of Cambridge upon her marriage that day. The detail and elegance of her wedding gown is unmatched in my opinion. I remember admiring the gorgeous embroidery on the skirt of the gown and being in awe of how closely she helped design that dress. And, that she was able to keep it a complete secret from the world made it that much more special.

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  36. Julia from Leominster29 June 2016 at 12:23

    I don't have a favourite gown - I've loved almost all of them. The McQueen gowns may win for me by an edge. I thought the Malaysian gown particularly flattering - it gave Kate a cleavage (sorry those who don't like mentioning that) her hair looked lovely pulled back and she looked so pretty in the face too. That mauve gown wowed Hollywood with good reason - another favourite of mine, and I would love to see the black strapless gown with her hair up - how sophisticated would that be! The diplomatic reception gown is more conventional but so pretty and princess-like and Kate has a lovely waist.
    The Packham gowns are all winners for me - the pink Ark dress, the teal, the pale blue, the red Chinese banquet gown and the India royal blue all are so elegant and beautiful. I love the petrol gown too - it shows off her wonderful shoulders but I did not like the Nizam necklace with it - not just the fact her hair hid it and it was too short for her - but the simple lines of that dress just didn't suit that necklace - if she was to wear a necklace with it, it should be simpler or more contemporary. I liked the way she accented it with earrings in NYC.
    I like the Temperley black lace - think she wore it the third time due to Mandela's death - she needed a black gown - but it does show off posture issues more than some. I don't think confidence is the issue - height more likely. It is something I hope she becomes aware of and works on - I'm very tall and have the same problem - you aren't aware you're doing it until you see photos. It comes from leaning to talk to people and it can cause a lot of pain in your shoulders when you age - I know! Someone on OSS mentioned the Alexander Technique - I'm going to look into that.
    Kate does love those Issa type bold and simple gowns and for the most part, they suit her. I liked the green McQueen but the recent blue Mouret gown was the most striking.
    The gowns I like the least are the Saloni blue and the Burch gown in India but neither are really evening gowns in my eyes - both maxi dresses. They worked for the occasions but I didn't care much for them. Still Kate makes most things look good.
    A couple of places where there were problems were the glittering Packham gown after George was born for the Tusk event and that troublesome Erdam. The former should have dazzled but the bodice didn't fit Kate well. The Erdam would be a problem on anyone - the material was lovely and good for the occasion but the ruffle and elaborate bodice work wore Kate rather than the other way around. I wish she had chosen the simpler cocktail version - maybe having a custom version of that done long. I hope it Kate wears it again, she has it altered - maybe cut down. (Diana often did that - she re-wore gowns often but struck variations on them.) Even the model on Net a Porter, with flawless posture struggled to make it work.
    But just a couple of disappointments out of so many is excellent - the Wakely is another gown I thought very pretty on Kate - she suits those soft shades. Looking forward to what may come in the future and would love to see her try the Nizam again - necklace lengthened, hair up, and an elegant cream gown with a lot of diamante on it to accent the necklace. My dream!

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    Replies
    1. Rebecca - Sweden29 June 2016 at 20:55

      How many great points you make. I think I can sign under on all of them!

      Delete
  37. I love these Kate Loves post. It made me realize how long it had been since we had the last one. I loved seeing the history of her gowns over the years. They are all really pretty and there are certainly stand outs. It was good to go back through the years.

    I think her best up do since the wedding was with the teal Jenny Packham. I have many favorites in the group so it's hard to pick a favorite but I have a top 2, the black velvet and the rose sequin she wore on the 22nd. The Juliet gown from Buhtan is in a class all it's own for me for obvious reasons. Then there's a second tier group, and maybe 1 or 2 below that.

    Definitely some I would love to see again and really hope that she does recycle some that have only had 1 outing to date.

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  38. Excellent, lovely and just great post! Loved to see all the gowns in time and phase perspective. Why not add a poll? The glittering Jenny from Ark gala / Houghton Hall is by far my favourite and the Jenny from New York / Hedge Fund dinner is second.

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  39. My favorites,

    1.) Black Velvet
    2.) Blue Roland Mouret
    3.) Pink Jenny Packham
    4.) White Roland Mouret
    5.) Silver Jenny Packham, glitter
    6.) Ink blue gown
    7.) White with gold overlay she wore in Malaysia.

    Don't like the others very much. Disliked almost everything she wore in India and Bhutan, especially the cape and skirt. That was her worst outfit ever, even more than the red and blue floral evening gown. I did like the mint green lace dress she wore in India if only it would have actually been the proper size. I think Natasha Archer was the stylist for India and Bhutan and for the other "unKate-like" choices she was wearing there for awhile. You dress a curvy blonde differently than a tall, slender brunette. I don't know that Natasha realized that.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca - Sweden29 June 2016 at 20:57

      I think India and bhutan clothing was rather "Kate like". I said it at the time, but the big earrings, flowy longer skirt silouettes etc are things she wore alot before marriage. Even recently when walking the kids in the park she wore a midi-skirt etc. I think it was more Kate and less Catherine than we are used to nowdays, but I still think it was very much in her wheelhouse.

      Delete
  40. I hope that Kate wears the white gown without the gold overlay. I hope she wears it with the perfect accessories, sexy updo and a Diana's tiara. And, a tan.

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  41. I think Jenny Packham used the same pattern for the gown Kate wore to BFTA in the U.S. and for the red gown she wore to the state dinner. I thought the BAFTA gown was a beautiful, beautiful color and very flowy, but I do not like the cap sleeve part of that, and I certainly did not like the cap sleeves on the red gown or the puckers or gathers on the neckline of the dress that she wore to the state dinner. I think the puckers showed a distinct lack of tailoring/design talent. I hope Jenny doesn't repeat that pattern. I would also like for Kate to wear her tiaras a little more forward on her head so it will look a little more regal and not be positioned like a beanie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 16:11, someone who sews, I agree. I think Jenny did use the same pattern, obviously. Convenient for Jenny and Kate, not truly optimally effective otherwise though. I don't like the cap sleeves on either of those dresses either and I don't like the "puckers" on the red dress. That was because that particular fabric gave them a few surprises within that pattern. Hopefully Jenny won't repeat that pattern again. We will certainly notice if she does.

      Delete
    2. That is a relay simple pattern.

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    3. I love that design, including the puckers and the cap sleeves. It is not so simple when gathered all over, as in the pale blue gown.

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    4. I learned to sew when I was in 7th grade. I agree with the comments made already that that is a very simple pattern, IMHO. The lavender gown, although it is gathered is very simple to do, no offense.

      Delete
  42. I think the Packham Aboretum Appeal gown is custom made to be worn with Diana's lovers knot tiara. Add the appropriate accessory bling and that would be an Iconic moment for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Her hair the first time she wore the Jenny Packham.......DREAMY!

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  44. Berlyann in AZ29 June 2016 at 19:47

    I've found that Kate is never truly a "miss" for me. Even if I don't LOVE the dress (i.e.: that awful Erdem Alouette 😣), her beauty still shines through making it a highlight of my day to read about. The Jenny Packham she just repeated is the dress that made me choose the designer for my own wedding gown. (I wore the "Astrid" for my wedding.) l've waited so long wondering why she hadn't chosen it for a repeat when it was so popular?! I can say that every single thing she has worn by JP is fabulous! My fave is this repeat of 2011, followed by the sequins Tusk Trust gown, the off-shoulder satin gown, the Bond premiere duck egg blue gown (I know - quite contentious, but I loved that she got modestly sexy!), the red Chinese state banquet gown, and finally, the powder blue wrap. The ink blue JP she wore 3 other times is possibly one of the most boring gowns she's worn and I'm shocked that it's what her "go to" was. I think Charlotte is correct in thinking her post-baby life had no room for fittings/shopping! I love that JP is so obviously her favorite designer for gala events and can't wait to see what comes next!

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  45. I think the photo of Kate in the blue Mouret should be done in oil on canvas and put in the National Portrait Gallery. I think she looks exquisitely beautiful in that stance, that dress, with the greenery all around. It captures the real Kate very nicely. What an amazing portrait that would make. One for posterity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be amazing to have that as a portrait.

      Delete
    2. It has everything to be an excellent portrait and she is interested in something in the photo and that type of "anticipation" is an added bonus for portraiture. Excellent choice for a portrait.

      Delete
  46. Nice job Charlotte! I hope you get as much pleasure out of a post like this as we - your readers - do!

    It is wonderful to see them all at one time. There is a wide variety of dresses and styles which is what I find most interesting. I wonder what new colors we'll see her in next and on what occasions down the road. Can't wait for more royal jewels as well and some Diana pieces.

    There are quite a few in gowns in pastel colors (pink, aqua, baby blue, lavender), some black, white, gray(silver) and then rich blues and reds. More jewel tones please - like rich purple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone said that Kate apparently socialized with every person who attended and contributed to the charity. If so, that was very thoughtful, a polished patron thing to do.

      Delete
  47. To my mind, Kate looks her very best in structured gowns, especially the splendid McQueens she wore in Los Angeles, London (Chinese banquet and diplomatic receptions) and India. The ink blue Packham and Wakerley Amoret are lovely on her. The bright blue Mouret also qualifies, but somehow, for me, the white one does not. I like the Amanda Wakeley worn at Clarence House, but I think it was too bare for the occasion, looking at the guests. The same is true of the McQueen worn in Malaysia. Normally I don't care for DVF, but the black lace maternity gown is lovely. My least favorites are the draped gowns that swallow Kate's lean figure. Interesting that Packham does those as well as the beautiful gowns I love, which include the one she wore in California and at Houghton Hall, and the Tusk Trust sequins. The gown I dislike most is the Packham pale blue with the weird underskirt or shorts. It looked nice with the slit closed but very strange with it open.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, 00:17. The Amanda Wakely was summery and the other guests were dressed for the season. It was in October. That's what had bothered me about that gown and that event but didn't know until now exactly what the problem was. The other gown that color also seemed summery for the event. I think the Amanda Wakely and the other gown require a tan to work best, also.

      Delete
    2. Rebecca - Sweden30 June 2016 at 18:56

      To be fair, it's a gown she pulled out of her closet (it's from the 2006 line or something like that) in short notice for the event, so I think it worked nicely enough :P

      Delete
  48. Correction: The beautiful blue ball gown worn in India was from Packham rather than McQueen.

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  49. Sharon - Washington state30 June 2016 at 00:21

    Such a fun post. My top three - in no particular order - would be the black velvet Alexander McQueen, the blue embroidered Jenny Packham in India and the blue Roland Mouret 'Nansen' gown. I really liked earrings, the black shoes and clutch she chose to wear with that dress. She looks sensational in blue and the accessories added a nice fresh punch to the look. (There's probably a better word than punch - but can't think of one and should probably get back to work:) Anyway, thanks for the post, it was fun.

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  50. Another great post! Thank you, Charlotte!

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  51. If Kate was just Kate and she was going to do a blog about Prince William's wife, I think Kate's blog would exactly like this.

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  52. I have heard that Queen Elizabeth II has never given an interview.

    Actually, she has, and a very nice interview. It is on you tube, "Queen Elizabeth II a rare exclusive Interview". It is very poignant and endearing. She shares things you would not ordinarily think about concerning her life and reign.

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    Replies
    1. 05:05, I had no idea it existed. Thank you for mentioning it!! :)

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    2. you are welcome, RF.

      Delete
  53. I like all of them. What is strange is as much as I wear a lot of black my self, could not stand any of her black gowns against all the colorful gowns. The glittering silver is my least favorite after the black gowns. The black velvet is the exception, and beautiful especially because she looks genuinely delighted/happy.

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  54. The black velvet gown has a life of its own and beauty. Other wise black is best for many other cuts and various fashion styles, and may be not for evening gowns except unless protocol or profession calls for it.

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  55. Great Post Charlotte. It's interesting to see this development over the last 5 years and that there have only been 24 gowns? Have to say most were all beautiful on her but my favourite was the JP Pink gown she's just re-worn and the black strapless McQueen.

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  56. So happy that Michael and Carole Middleton were together today at Wimbledon. I was concerned about them. They look healthy and happy together. Michael is always a little reserved but they seemed pleasantly attentive to one another. That is a marriage that I pray will go the distance. The spotlight can be difficult for most. They have weathered the storm of Instant fame nicely.

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  57. Great retrospective post, Charlotte. How she has blossomed! I love the black velvet with the just revisited Packham right behind. I still loathe the ill-fitting pale blue wrap gown. A dreadful look for her, I still think of it as Granny's bathrobe. See how much more vibrant she looks in the "controversial" Erdem just below. Charlotte , I know you were not a fan of the voluminous skirt but for me, it all works.

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  58. Hope to see Kate at Wimbledon. Would have been SO nice if William and Kate had attended Wimbledon together today. Having Pippa and James join them would have been even better. Kate is with the Royal family a lot now and that is great, very sweet. I think some Wimbledon time with her side of the family would have been something nice to enjoy for them and a nice statement of solidarity for the pages of history, not to mention a big boost for tennis and Wimbledon.

    Rebecca Deacon, did you get that?

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  59. Obviously, when there are no schedule conflicts. Easy if planned in advance.

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