Thursday, 30 June 2016

"We Lost the Flower of a Generation": The Royals Mark Battle of the Somme in France

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry arrived in France today to attend events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.


The royals received a historical briefing on the battlefields of the Somme at Thiepval Memorial.


The trio looked across no mans land in Northern France.

The view from the top of the monument.


William, Kate and Harry viewed the battlefield site and heard a description of the events that took place there during the First World War.


Royal reporter Emily Andrews was on the ground with the royals and shared photos from the small town of Albert which had been gearing up for commemorative events throughout the day.


Rehearsals and preparations at Thipeval have been underway throughout recent days.


William, Kate and Harry attended a vigil at Thiepval Memorial. The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French battle memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive, and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at its foot.


The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.


In the words of Sebastian Faulks, Prince William said:

'We lost the flower of a generation; and in the years to come it sometimes seemed that with them a sense of vital optimism had disappeared forever from British life.'

Prince Harry read W N Hodgson's Before Action, written just days before he died on 1 July 1916. "Tonight we think of them as they nerved themselves for what lay ahead."


James Grantham, of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, is leading the all-night vigil at the Thiepval Memorial in France tonight, marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. According to the Minsitry of Defence: "He will be standing just feet away from the engraved name of his great uncle, Private George Henry Grantham, who died on the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916. RSM Grantham said the vigil will be an emotional opportunity for him to pay his respects to a relative who made the ultimate sacrifice."


The sun setting on Thiepval as British Armed Forces prepare to stand vigil overnight.


The Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest encounter in the history of the British Army. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the most brutal battles in human history. Shockingly, the infamous first day of the offensive saw British forces suffer 60,000 casualties of whom 20,000 died. It was the largest loss of life on a single day in British military history. Some 60 per cent of all British officers involved on the first day were killed, as Allied troops advanced slowly across no man's land through a hail of machine gun fire.


More from the Telegraph:

'The battle was planned to end months of deadlock on the Western Front, break through Germany lines and also relieve pressure on the French forces at Verdun - a nearby town that had been under siege.
Laden with heavy kit, the British infantry began their laborious advance at 7:30am on July 1 following a week of intense artillery bombardment of German positions from the village of Serre to Maricourt which had intended to annihilate enemy forces.There was a belief that following this bombardment, troops would take a safe stroll across no-man's land to trenches the Allies thought would be empty, but German defences were far better than they had anticipated.
German troops had hidden safely in deep dugouts during shelling the previous week and emerged quickly, catching the Allies by surprise and shooting them down in vast numbers. In the first 24 hours, there were 57,470 casualties (including 19,240 men killed) – just under half the total engaged. Most men were killed in the first few minutes.'

Commemorations were held far and wide to mark the anniversary. At Westminster Abbey Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh led the nation's remembrance. The Queen laid a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Warrior. Her Majesty's grandfather King George V placed a wreath of roses and bay leaves on the coffin of the warrior 86 years ago. This evening, the wreath was also made of roses and bay leaves.


The Duchess wore the Missoni Long Snake Stitch Coat tonight (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style and Poppy G). Made in Italy, the coat features front button closure and patch pockets. It is described: "Silver metallic threads shimmer within the monochromatic hues defining a textured A-line coat that's visually shaped with an angled zigzag pattern." The £2,900 piece appears to be sold out for some time, but can be viewed at Nordstrom.

Nordstrom

Kate wore a black dress underneath.


Readers will recognise Kate's large pearl earrings as the pair she wore for Trooping the Colour.


Kate wore a black pillbox hat - a style very reminiscent of Jackie O. and completed the look with her black Gianvito Rossi heels and black Mulberry clutch.



We leave you with this video, the Battle of the Somme: 100 Years On.


Tomorrow, William, Kate and Harry will open the new Thiepval Memorial to the Missing Visitors Centre. Afterwards, they will join other royals to attend the National Commemorative Event to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial.

137 comments:

  1. Rebecca - Sweden30 June 2016 at 22:00

    What a moving and educating program it was to watch! Really puts things into perspective. I really "enjoyed" watching it (enjoy is not the right word but you get what I mean). I am thankful that following the royals can teach me so much more that I was expecting it would! Very, very poignant! And I have to say, Williams opening was very well done. He has really gained the poise and presence of a future king! But the most poignant, all those voices by the men that fought. Really hits deep.

    And after watching this, commenting on the looks feels silly. But we need the lighthearted stuff! So here it goes: I got extremely excited to see this hat. I ADORE pillboxes worn in this classic way, and with the updo she looks spot on! I adore adore adore it! So beautiful and very very elegant! And that bow! So classic and so perfect! And the hair, the bun. She has really gotten the elegant low bun down to a tee (T? Tea?) by now. Perfect!

    The whole look is very suitable and appropriate. Pretty but not attention grabbing. Very classic and elegant in general, and very fitting for the occation. Probably a coat that will get alot of use in the future, since this kind of "commemorative but not mourning"-event is a big part of their role.

    And I have to say again! LOVE THE HAT! More pillboxes to the people!!!

    Also, couldn't help but notice the contrast between the last post and this one. Their "job" is really one of great contrasts. It hit me the hardest in Australia when they were visiting a hospice on the verge of tears and an hour later suppossed to look happy running around on a beach. Must be very emotionally draining at times!

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    1. Sarah Maryland USA1 July 2016 at 00:23

      I have learned so much about british history because of the royals! Especially reading royal biographies! Not to sound cocky or anything but among my fellow prospective history teachers here I think I know the most facts about World History because my fascination of the royals. However, ironically, I need to sharp up on my American history haha

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    2. Courtney from NC1 July 2016 at 01:11

      Spot on. Everything you said. Love the pillbox. All three looked appropriate for the event.

      I am always struck by the trade off that becomes more obvious when we see events like this. They are afforded many great privileges and perks with their positions but they also attend many events that deal with serious topics and events. Beyond that many patronages deal with very serious things. The public expects them to be on point for every single engagement. Like you stated sometimes they go from serious to light things where the attitudes and expressions expected are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. I think Kate does a great job doing this and has gotten better as she has grown in confidence that being herself is okay and showing her genuine emotions and personality is also okay.

      I love that Charlotte does such an amazing job with laying out the historical information and context for every single engagement that has history.

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    3. Charlotte, thank you for including the video. As Rebecca stated, it does put things into perspective. And I think William, Kate and Harry did an excellent job of representing the Queen.

      On a lighter note, I thought Kate's outfit was very appropriate for the occasion and, like Rebecca, I will never tire of seeing pillbox hats!! Very elegant and classic.

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    4. I have to chime in here as well. She looks lovely. So elegant, very appropriate and at such a heartfelt event steeped in history. It's these types of events that must turn the royals into who they really are within.

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    5. Agree! This horrible, senseless war. Kate was appropriately subdued for this poignant moment. Tears for the fallen.

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    6. Sarah Maryland: Any royal biographies that are your favorites? Would love to read one but there are so many, I am wary of choosing. Would love your recommendations!

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    7. You should read the authorized biography of the Queen Mother, whose life spanned the twentieth century. During WWI she was a teenager helping to nurse wounded soldiers at her family's castle in Scotland. She often wrote letters for them to their families. Ever after, she would recognize those soldiers among the crowds when she visited Commonwealth countries. The experience formed a lot of her character. And her favorite older brother was killed in the war.

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  2. what a fast post, like always Charlotte! My eyes tired up reading about all of the deaths, so tragic. Hopefully, we don't have another war like this any time soon!

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  3. Thank you for this post, Charlotte! When the Duchess has a new engagement, the first thing I think about is looking for Kate's fashion choices. Today, this thing was the last one I was thinking about. So many young lives were lost during just one battle. This is so sad and makes me think about how brutal the humanity can be.

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  4. Sarah Maryland USA30 June 2016 at 22:24

    I like the outfit. Very appropriate for this occasion. I wouldn't have been happy if she showed up in some bold bright color for an event like this.However, I don't like coats like this because the material looks so stiff. As someone who is studying to be a history teacher I have been looking up a lot of information on the Somme. I do wonder, is this considered the deadliest day in the history of the military of the world? I just can't imagine 20,000 deaths being topped at anytime.
    One day I would like to visit the battlefields of France. I once read that people are still coming across unexploded shells from World War I which is amazing and really tells you the extinct of the battle.

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    1. Today was the deadliest day in British Army history, I believe. 20,000 were killed on this day alone. 1 million casualties total on both sides for the entire 5 month battle. Unbelievable.

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    2. I don't know what or who started WWI. I will definitely research that. And, also, I don't even know the right words to say at the moment regarding such a huge loss of human lives.

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    3. Sarah Maryland USA1 July 2016 at 00:18

      Hey anon. basically World War I was started in large part because of the naploeanic and paranoid complex of Wilhem II. I think it could have been avoided if there were modern communications like today as well. Plus combined with a huge surge of nationalism and the constant battling between Great Britain and Germany to build the biggest Navy. I def. don't think it helped that King George V and the kaiser hated each other

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    4. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the catalyst, but as with almost everything things are never so simple.

      Three of my grandfather's brothers died in WWI. My mother has uncles who died also, I think, but I'm not as sure on her side of the family.

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    5. My great grandfather was gassed during WWI. He suffered lung damage the rest of his life. He was in France after this.

      For those brushing up on your history, I have found it easy to connect an English King/Queen with historical events and the American President at the time? The movie Albert and Victoria ties them to the American Civil War. King George III was the king during the American War of Independence. Picking a few to get started, then adding in as we learn more! HTH! DWLee333

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    6. Sadly it was called "The Cousins War" & it Truly Was! Many Historians feel that if Edward Vll had still been alive that His Nephew (Kaiser Will) as well as His Nephew The Tsar & His Grand Neice The Tsarina would have been influenced by His Wisdom! (Along with His other Nephews & Neices married into The Many Royal or Noble Families & Countries of The Continent!) After Their Grandmother Queen Victoria, The Royal Grandkids Respected Uncle Bertie aka "Edward Vll" The Most! We'll Never Know?

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    7. Sarah - sadly in the history of the world, many battles produced a greater loss of life. You can Google greatest loss of life in battle and see just how many. I would post some of them but definition plays a big part - battle, siege, civil war, ancient vs modern times. It's all so sad that it comes down to armed conflict and loss of life.

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    8. I live not far from a place called Towton in North Yorkshire. A battle there during the Wars of the Roses is known as the bloodiest battle fought on English soil. One estimate is that 28,000 men died. It gives me pause for thought everytime I drive past the field.

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  5. All three looked lovely and appropriate. I like when they attend these types of functions, because I also learn something about the events they are commemorating. I'm consistently surprised at how wintery Kate's wardrobe has looked recently. I understand wanting to wear a darker color today, but this just looks so heavy. Many have said she likely has a tendency to be cold, based on some of the choices she has made in terms of outdoor events. Nevertheless, this isn't my favorite coat but fashion isn't the #1 priority today.

    Thanks for the speedy post, Charlotte!

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  6. Kate looks absolutely PERFECT!!!!! There is something different about her lately. She seems even more poised and more confident. I absolutely love her outfit and that hat is to die for! She is going to make a fabulous queen one day.

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    1. I think that in having her children, Kate has thought more about the day to day realities, not only for she and William, but with the children and also their future. It can cause one to grow up more really fast, particularly in her position. I think that she may realize more now, knowing the Queen's age and Charle's also that she could be Queen sooner than she thought and then it would really be just William, she and Harry. A lot different than it is now. Not to speak anything bad over the Queen or Charles.

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    2. I was going to say the same thing! She is so regal at the moment. Something about the clothes, jewels, hair, poise.. She is just so polished!

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  7. Love this coat and the entire look - very glad to see her hair up for an outdoor event where it's probably windy.

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  8. Nicole from France30 June 2016 at 22:29

    Charlotte, you work so quickly ! all those news already ! I really LOVE Kate's look to day, especially the little black hat, reminiscent of Jacky Kennedy, yes, so elegant, not hiding her face .... and the coat is quite unusual but just enough for a mourning clothe but not too much ..... she does look very tired, or she is too thin and it shows on her face .... 2 or 3 more kg would not do her bad !

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    1. I thought she looked very tired as well. Perfectly dressed and loved her hat but the first thing I thought was the kids kept her up late last night.

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    2. Or perhaps the television has been on early and late at her home, as in so many others during the past few days. She and William must be deeply concerned about the future of the UK, and of course they cannot voice their worry in public. How ironic that their assignment this week was to visit Europe in commemoration of the war that was supposed to end age old rivalries and bring peace. Instead it was a bloody harbinger of a violent century. The peace that was finally achieved is real but so often threatened by the outbreak of tensions. Kate and William are walking into what may be a time of turbulence.

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    3. Jean from Lancs1 July 2016 at 08:19

      I thought she looked serious and sad, as anyone who has stood on the Somme battlefields would do, or indeed any of the battlefields of Northern France from WW1 or WW2.

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  9. Long may this terrible loss of life be remembered and respected. I always think of those who lost their lives but also those who came home and had to live with the unimaginable horror of their experience for the rest of their lives without any of the counselling or support that is available today. Good to see the younger royals marking this important anniversary' "Lest we forget ......" indeed.

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  10. I thought she looked very stylish and elegant and appropriate for the occasion. I love her hair pulled back for these official occasions lately. Well done, all three; William, Catherine and Harry.

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  11. Very interesting, Charlotte and so quick in getting this posted. Thank you for keeping the focus on this most solemn event, as is entirely appropriate. I always appreciate your sense, given this IS a style blog, of what is appropriate and when, given the different events.
    WWI and particularly the Battle of the Somme was such a turning point for England in so many ways - the old aristocracy and class system was essentially demolished as the sons and heirs of the landed gentry died by the thousands in the officer corps and as the ranks of the servant class were similarly devastated in the enlisted class. The battlefields of WWI equalized the master and servant classes in a way that no other event had done before this.
    Very sad and fascinating period in history for England.
    As far as Kate's outfit goes, like the coat (don't love) but I WISH she'd stop buttoning these coats right up under her chin! Even with the gravity of this event, it still would be appropriate and a million percent less dowdy and more stylish to unbutton that top button and allow a bit of the black dress to show. And it's around mid-60 degrees in Thiepval so it's not freezing.
    Maybe it's just me but it seems like Kate is falling into a style rut with all of these coats. It's the only thing she wears anymore. And yes, the queen and the other royal ladies wear them but it would be nice to see Kate break out of this dull, dowdy rut she seems to have gotten mired into.
    The late Queen Mother's brother (and the current queen's uncle), Fergus Bowes-Lyon, was killed at the Battle of Loos, Sept. 25-Oct. 8, 1915.

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    1. Sometimes a coat is intended to be buttoned (sort of like a Victorian style blouse). With or without a scarf, IMO, it would look sloppy to have one or two buttons undone.

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    2. I like her Coats! I feel She looks Very Regal, Sophisticated & Royal in them:)

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    3. She may be in a rut and a dowdy rut also, not saying she is, but she is doing a job, not being a fashion showcase, so if I was in her position I would be doing just what she is fashion wise:):) Any fun stuff I have in mind would be behind closed doors:):)

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    4. Catherine's style is elegant and restrained and very much appropriate for her position. I agree with royalfan in that the coats would not look right if they were unbuttoned (for the styles that button to the neck).

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  12. Thank you, Charlotte, for such a quick, thoughtful, and thorough post! I love Kate's hat, and I like the cut of her coat, but I'm not a fan of the pattern. All three looked very nice and appropriate, though.

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  13. I think the Duchess did an amazing job dressing for this event. The grey and black colors fit the somber tone of the day. I really hope to see Kate embrace more Missoni in the future.

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  14. Am I correct in thinking it was Edward VIII who was the Prince of Wales in 1932? "The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932."

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden30 June 2016 at 23:47

      That is what my (very often faulty) brain-math deduced as well. Yet another layer of history...

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    2. Yep, You are Correct!:) After He Abdicated, there wasn't another "Prince of Wales" until Charles!

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    3. Thank you Rebecca-Sweden! Agreed...it is another layer of history.

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  15. Such an appropriate outfit for the day. I adore the pillbox hat but I'm not in love with the print of her coat. Thank you, Charlotte, for such a great post!

    By the way, for those who could be curious, Henry Alexander was born 6/19/16 and was 8lbs 1oz...he was also 12 days late! We are lucky he is healthy and are so in love with our little man!!

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2016 at 00:11

      Oh, congratulations! Guess he liked his commondations to well to want to leave! What great names as well!

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    2. So happy for you! Enjoy getting to know him. They grow so fast!

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    3. Best wishes to you and your family! Relish these times and take care of yourself.

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    4. Rachel,

      Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for bringing some light to a solemn memorial. Henry was born into freedom. Their efforts were not in vain.

      Enjoy your new little baby boy.

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    5. Oh Rachel, How Wonderful!:) Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy & God Bless little Henry Alexander!:) Joy coming your way from Chicago!:)
      Cheers!
      Becca USA:)

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    6. Eve from Germany1 July 2016 at 14:41

      Congratulations, Rachel!! This is wonderful news! All the best wishes for all of you from Germany!

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    7. Congratulations, Rachel!

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    8. Thank you, everyone!!! Your kind words are very appreciated. Charlotte, you not only have one of the best blogs but you have the sweetest readers around!

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  16. What a solemn occasion. Definitely cried while reading about the devastation. I never knew about that before.
    Thankful that the men are not forgotten.

    On a lighter note, I am with you Rebecca in that I love pillbox hats. I loved the hat, the updo, the earrings although I wish they were surround by small but sparkly diamonds. I like the silhouette and length of the coat. I very much do not like the snake, zig zag print. I don't like snake anything. I know the zig zag is
    common for the Missoni brand but I don't like the zig zag print nor am I a fan of Mizzoni. Her outfit was very pretty and appropriate except I didn't like the print of the coat. Most of all, I am glad they were there for the memorial services.


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    1. I like the coat, but also a fan of Missoni:) I really really like the coat in this setting, a lovely combination of dark and light. I really felt the three of them made a statement so one noticed, and clicked on social media while also quickly looking at what they were about....this is a fine art...Celebs have it down to click and see ME Me me and the Royals seem to be saying Click and see me, Others, OTHERS.

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  17. Wonderful, thoughtful coverage, Charlotte.

    Kate knocked it out of the park today! I love the hat, the coat, and the fact that she (unlike the model) isn't wearing a nude pump! I know black's not particularly exciting either, but it suited the occasion.

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  18. Rebecca Deacon looked rested, relaxed and very chic in her pretty hat. Some of her hats I don't particularly care for, but I think this one really looks nice on her.

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    1. I noticed RD's hat also. I have been looking at a very similar hat to buy!

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  19. I'm waiting to see more photos, but I like her hat a lot. It's cute and chic.

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  20. Great Post Charlotte! I'm quiet taking it all in....

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  21. It just breaks your heart looking at those brave faces, and all those souls lost in the horrors of war. Words are insignificant to describe the feelings of sadness.
    I am glad to see the Royal Family out there participating in this commemoration.
    On a lesser note of importance, I thought the trio represented the family very well. The Duchess looks appropriately dressed for the occasion, and very elegant. I really liked the pillbox hat, so reminiscent of Jacqueline Kennedy, when she was First Lady.
    As always, a glorious post Charlotte.

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  22. Thank you Charlotte for your most informative post. This is a very somber occasion and we should all take a moment and reflect on the many lives that were lost. All three of the royals have certainly stepped up to the task. Prince William and Prince Harry, having served in the military, are very representative and all three of them have the proper demeaner and respect for the occasion. The Duchess looks very stately and elegant and her style is very much remiscent of Jackie O. The hat, the coat, the dress, the earrings are perfect. She is very thoughtful of how she dresses and she looks lovely.

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    1. Despite all that W&H went thru growing up, They have turned out to be men of good character & values & seem to have vision & a good sense of self & helping others! Diana laid a strong foundation & it seems their Father & Grandparents are quite proud!:)

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    2. I agree Becca. They have turned out to be good men with values, vision and a sense of direction. They certainly do the Royal Family proud and are good role models for young men on how to take on and execute a commitment to serve. The combination of the Queen and Prince Phillip's strong relationship and sense of duty along with Diana's influence and loving hand definitely have provided them with a balance for their role in life and how to live it.

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  23. Brandy from North Carolina1 July 2016 at 00:35

    Kate looked so pretty today along with her handsome prince's. One thought though, I wonder when Harry gets married will Harry and his wife continue to do these type of engagements together with William and Kate? They make such a terrific trio, I just hope that whomever Harry marries will fit in well with the group.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2016 at 01:11

      Probably some events but probably not to this extent since it makes more sense to spread out. But if the wife fits in nicely I'm sure there will be joint engagements (and the foundation might even keep together). Or who knows, they might continue being a trio.

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    2. My guess if Harry marries there will be some foursome events but much more breaking into twos, couples or all female or all males. Princess Anne does so much but does Zara do much in terms of foundations etc? I wonder whom will pick up Annes charities.

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    3. They do make such a Great Trio! I too hope Harry finds a lovely woman (inside & out) who fits right in & what a Double Force for Good the Two Couples Would Make! :) Harry seems such a good soul! I believe He will choose well!:)

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  24. Charlotte, your post prompted me to look up information on the Battle of the Somme, and it reignited my interest because my husband’s grandfather fought in that war and apparently would never talk about it afterward. My grandmother`s brother was gassed and although he made it home, he was an invalid for the rest of his life, and died as a relatively young man. Such a horrendous loss of life, and the injuries, both physical and mental, were so dreadful.
    I felt that the Duchess looked appropriate and beautiful today. I felt very proud of all three young royals.

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    1. leahmaria, Thank you for Sharing & for The Story of Your Family's Efforts in The Great War. Sadly Everyone seemed to Truly Believe it was The Last War of Its Kind.... Not Imagining that Anything So Terrible Could Happen Again & in Some People's Same Lifetime! I've found it interesting reading books of History & Fiction written during the 1920s - 30s... Over here that time is divided between "The Roaring Twenties" & "The Great Depression"! However, if I'm reading works of British Writers, They seem to refer to the Time Between WWl & WWll... As "The Time Between The Wars"! It made me so aware of how much more Life & Culturally Changing those years were for The UK & Europe, than they were for The US for so many reasons.... It's an intriguing thing....

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    2. Sonja from Bavaria1 July 2016 at 06:05

      My great-great-grandfather lost a leg in France during WWI. I didn't get to meet him personally as he passed away before I was born, but I've heard my father and grandma tell stories about him. War is such a hortible thing. You are abdolutrly right and I can only echo you: Such a horrendous loss of life, and the injuries, both physical and mental, were so dreadful.

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  25. Is there a video of the speeches at the event? Or a written transcript? Thank you. The memorial and setting are breathtaking. The event just heartbreaking. I am a history minor and this event was only briefly discussed in my classes at University. I have appreciated the articles and videos and will continue reading about the lead up, the event and the aftermath of this battle. Tragic and I think very important to continue these types of commemorations as to help keep lessons hopefully learned alive for new generations. The three of them looked very appropriate and conducted themselves beautifully. I would have been weeping buckets by the end of the day. ali

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  26. Hi Charlotte,
    Such a solemn event and Kate got it perfectly right - I love how she wore a coat that wasn't all black - if you look at any of her Remembrance Day looks, she always brings some texture into it so it isn't too depressing. The hat was so elegant - if only it was 1950 again and we could all wear gorgeous hats all the time. Maybe I like this one because it's so similar but different to my favourite of the brown Lock & Co. Betty Boop.
    It was confusing looking at the photos - it looks like she is wearing her Stuart Weitzman Power pumps, and other the Gianvitto Rossi - maybe she changed them, the older/lower/more comfortable Weitzman for the walk around the monument and the newer/prettier for the service.
    I love checking in to see what Kate has been up to - and this look did not disappoint.
    Also, I have found the Queen at 90 Equestrian Extravaganza on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjf6kCdB52c if anyone is interested - it is worth a watch!
    Erin, NZ

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    1. The steps and walks were wet from rain, which might have occasioned the change of shoes, as well as the practical need you suggest.

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  27. Charlotte, I'm having trouble finding any video links that will play for me Accross the Pond:( I would love to hear The Speeches (esp William & Harry's), as well as any coverage of The Vigil! I have found several, but as I say, they won't play here esp those from BBC1. It's been such a Gift when you have posted videos & links that I thought I'd at least ask if any are available to you to share? Thank you for your consideration & your coverage! This Vigil & Time of Remembrance is So Important to All of Us Throughout The World To Remember...... Especially in light of So Many Global Events & Tragedies! As the saying goes..... "If We Fail To Learn From History... We Are Destined To Repeat It In Some Way"! :(

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  28. Sharon - Washington state1 July 2016 at 02:29

    Thanks for posting the photo of the sunset and the photo from the Imperial museum next to each other. They tell the story so well. As for the trivial - I thought all three of them looked very appropriate. The Duchess' coat, dress, hairdo and accessories were flawless.

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  29. William and Harry have on the same tie. Coincidence or some type of uniform???

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2016 at 14:05

      It's the regimental tie of the blues and royals.

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    2. Military ties, I think.

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    3. I would definitely be up for a blog about the uniforms of the royals and what everything means! Also, what is the process/research to prepare for such occasions? There is so much more behind the scenes than just the royals arriving and carrying out their functions. Just to think about all the pagentry and preparation it must be interesting and fascinating....at least to me. In a like manner, the geneaology of who is who in the royal family would be intribuging as well! Have always had a keen interest in English history and Charlotte you do a wonderful job of conveying the history of the events....maybe something for in between events? Not that you need something else to do...you just do it so well!

      Delete
  30. This is turning out to not be just a memorial in a foreign country. Read how many here on this blog lost family in that war so long ago. It is beyond sad.

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  31. One cannot be anything but somber in the face of such a remembrance as this for that terrible battle one hundred years ago.

    Thank you for this post, Charlotte.

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  32. I agree that those earrings need some sparkle around them. Yes, I am thinking of similar earrings that Diana had that had the sparkle around them. At least Kate is trying a new style earring.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I sure wish we knew about the Medals that William & Harry are wearing. Interesting that William has 2, but Harry has 3. DWLee333

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2016 at 14:06

      They both have medals for being present at the queens golden and diamond jubilees. And Harry has one for serving in Afghanistan.

      Delete
    2. Harry was in the military longer (William was in college) and Harry was allowed to go to Afghanistan, William wasn't. By default, Harry should have more.

      Delete
    3. Harry's third is a combat medal. His other two, like Williams's, are from the Queen.

      Delete
    4. I'm Canadian, so I can't promise 100% accuracy, but from left to right (which is the order of precedence) it looks like Harry is wearing the Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. William looks to be wearing the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

      Delete
  34. Saw a picture of Kate from the back, and she was wearing a hairnet. Has she done that before? Am assuming its to keep her hair in place....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering about it too. Maybe it was expected to be windy.....Maybe the next is part of the hat....Maybe the hairnet is the new "it" fashion accessory.

      Delete
  35. Carole and Michael attended Wimbledon today.

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  36. So Charlotte, do you think that they will do something on November 18th for the end of the battle? Catherine looked absolutely beautiful today I love the coat it was different but it was appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I felt very proud of the three royals today also! So many emotions after reading this, hard to articulate. Proud of the words spoken by Harry and William, very well done indeed. The Duchess certainly knows how to dress for the occasion...very elegant and completely appropriate.

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  38. What I appreciate about this site is always a historical or contextual presentation of the significance of the event. This time the WWI information was effectively conveyed. Thank you.

    On to the DoC's outfit. I generally don't like Missoni's zig zags. But I did like today's. The grey/black combo was suitable to the occasion. What I really liked, more clearly seen in the model's photos, is the very interesting cut and seaming. Also, like many others, I loved the pill box hat. The discordant note is that I thought Catherine looked 15 years older. Not in her face, but the overall outfit in the totality is very mature. Carole Middleton could have worn it. So I pondered and I think it's the tight bun. Had she worn a half up do, it would have mitigated the mature aspect. One poster said that the bun was a wise choice because the battlefield is windy. I suppose so (sigh). But I would have preferred a do, something more along the lines of the red pill box hat worn on arrival in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And we know what the New Zealand wind did to that hair style as well as her skirts! I very much like the mature look, and Kate's serious face. She looks the way she should for the occasion.

      Delete
  39. A very somber occasion today. I've learned a lot about the battle to do through this post and the internet. Even the DM had a well written story on the battle and the days events.

    It seems so unimportant what people wore today. I'm glad the trio started the commemorations today. I liked how both Kate and HM complimented each others outfits.I liked Kates coat a lot and the hat. Is it the Betty Boop in black instead of brown?

    Looking forward to learning more tomorrow.

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  40. Your post brings tears to my eyes. I have an engagement ring that was given to my great great aunt just before her fellow went to the war. He was gassed in the trenches. He returned to Australia but was never the same and died shortly after. She never married. I visited this memorial a few years ago. I was so moved I didn't want to leave. I thought about how beautiful a setting it is for all those young people who gave themselves for the generations to come. It is such a calm and beautiful memorial, it felt like home for our Aussie boys - surrounded by wide open space. I don't think you could help but be moved here.
    Kate looks beautiful - somber (in a very fitting way) and respectful. Timeless almost. Very appropriate for the young boys and girls buried there for whom time stands still.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mary, Beautifully Said!

      Delete
  41. An uncle of mine also returned in bad health after being wounded during WWI, never fully recovered, and died a few years later. My father was devastated that his near sightedness kept him at home, but it gave him his later life. In the previous generation, eight men who should have been my father's uncles died in the American Civil War. The bloodiness of those wars that were fought entirely on the ground is breathtaking, and disease also killed many soldiers.

    The Queen's grey coat with grey and white hat, worn for the vigil at Westminster Abbey, was muted but not black. When I saw Kate's pictures at the Somme, I thought that they may have coordinated their outfits. They both looked so elegant in what once might have been considered semi mourning. I think the Queen's stylist Angela Kelly may still be influential when Kate needs to dress for a solemn occasion. For some events her coats look a bit plain, but this one is perfect, as is Kate's entire look. Her face is so interesting when, as rarely happens, an event does not involve constant smiles. I love her serious look. She was perfectly dressed and perfectly in tune with her surroundings today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon 4:25, I'm so sorry about your War Losses in Your Family History! I appreciated your insights about Kate & The Queen!

      Delete
  42. Totally agree with all the positive comments already made. Love the updo and hat, shoes, etc. Just wish the DoC could stand up straight with her shoulders back, not slouching forward so much. She can still clutch her bag in the front but then at least straighten up the upper back and neck.

    Looking forward to seeing her at Wimbledon, hopefully this weekend when they are back from France. Quite a few Brits in the main draw. I think Federer is playing against a Brit tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  43. charlotte I love the you post the video its was educated me I forget about these in school years ago its good thing that you charlotte really been refresher n history classes great job I love kate outfit its really fit to the occasion the pillbox hat too the duchess remains Jackie o love the royal trio working together these events are very solemn and sincere they are good represented of queen looking forward tommorrow

    ReplyDelete
  44. Alejandra Ramírez1 July 2016 at 05:29

    Thanks for the wonderful post and all the info on it!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Annette New Zealand1 July 2016 at 05:38

    My grandfather was the same - he would never talk about it. He went to Gallipoli first at 21 years of age and was wounded there. When he recovered he was sent to France and was very badly wounded in a bayonet charge on the Somme. He fell between the lines and his regiment pulled back into their trenches leaving him lying there as they thought he was dead. However two friends who had gone to school with him saw through their binoculars that he was still moving, so after night fell they crawled out and dragged him back into their trench. He was lucky to survive but was in hospital in UK for many months before returning to NZ. As well as terrible wounds he had shell shock and was hospitalised again after he got home. We have photographs of him before and after he returned and he looked about twenty years older in 1919. He died quite early also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eve from Germany1 July 2016 at 14:37

      Thank you so much, Annette, for sharing this story with us. I was moved to tears by it... How brave his friends were!

      Delete
    2. Wow thank you for sharing this story. This was a ghastly war and its effects haunting to hear let alone having to live it....cannot imagine. The valor and bravery shown is amazing. These commemorations are important.....we should never forget these brave souls. So very sorry about your grandfather.

      Delete
    3. Nicely said 15:58,

      Thank you all for sharing the stories of your lost and wounded loved ones. It is hard to learn about those things let alone live it as your loved did, as
      15:58 said. David Cameron, Camilla lost uncles brothers and cousins, also.

      Delete
    4. My uncle was in General Patton's Infantry that marched across Europe during WWII, fighting the whole way. He would never talk about it either.

      Delete
    5. Sonja from Bavaria2 July 2016 at 08:44

      My grandpa, who was 18 in 1939 when WWII started, also never talked about what happened until very late in his life. The freezing cold in Russia, having no food and having to eat snails, seeing young men (some were not even 18) come to the front and die a few days later because they did not get much training, hearing adult men cry for their mamas,the horrible shootings, bombs, diseases, walking home all the way from Russia on foot, being a prisoner of war, the small statue of Mary Mother of God with baby Jesus he carried with him for all those years during the war is still standing in our living room, he always believed that she saved his life.

      Anette, I agree about looking so much older than a young man. There are old black & white photos from before the war in which he looks like his age, 18, and from a few years later, in his uniform, like a man aged 30 even though in his early 20s.
      Someone already said that, but it is hard to find any family who didn't have a mber that fought in WWI and WWII, in Britain, in France, in Germany,...

      We can only pray that such a horrible tragedy never ever happens again!

      Delete
    6. Thank you Eve & Anon 17:32, for Sharing your Stories! It makes it That Much More Real! It struck me how Powerful & Relevant it was for Will, Kate & Harry To Be There! They Are Drawing Attention & Education To Their Generation, About The Importance & Relevance of This Battle & WWl. History Is Real & We Must Learn From It & Never Forget!

      Delete
  46. Very poignant and I'm so glad that at such an important & sobering event, the three royals shared it together. It's a heavy, sobering memorial, and especially important for the younger generation to understand, appreciate, and value. Such things not only give a historical perspective, but also a perspective on life now.

    Kate looked beautiful. I noticed her side part was further to the side. Loved the hate, the hair, and the outfit.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you so much for the nice post Charlotte. The Duchess looks stunnig in the outfit I love the look from head to toe love the beautiful jacket and hat. The only negative is she has much too much eyeliner on as usual

    ReplyDelete
  48. Kate, Texas, USA1 July 2016 at 05:50

    Charlotte, thank you for the thoughtful and informative post. Such an enormous loss of life is so awful and mind boggling. More than one million wounded or killed...wow. The video clip said the barrage was so huge it could be heard in London. So very tragic and horrible.

    I feel William, Kate, and Harry did a fine job representing HM and Britain today. I would hope the surviving relatives like RSM Grantham felt the same. Kate was definitely dressed appropriately for the occasion and I liked the new coat. The pillbox hat is so classic. Obviously how Kate dressed was not the importance of the day, but I feel she was thoughtful in her dress.

    Thinking of William and Harry tonight as tomorrow would be Princess Diana's 55th birthday. I'm sure there will be moments throughout their day they think of their mom and memories of her. I think she would be incredibly proud of the men they have become.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Once again Kate is wearing beautiful things but the coat is not tailored properly. Many readers commented that the material looked stiff. That's ok, but if the sleeves were shorter and the coat by an inch or two, and tailored to her figure, it would have been a winner.

    Surely she has access to the best in the business. If you do a retrospective back at her looks in fantastic pieces that your readers didn't like, 9 times out of 10, her look would have been killer if she had only had it fit to her figure.

    She gets better and better in choices and just needs a good tailor on occasions like this.

    I love that she is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the length of Kate's coat. It is perfect length to show legs at their best, and so appropriate to the occasion. You are probably right that the sleeves could be a little shorter. My pet peeve is the gapping at the waist of so many of her coats, especially McQueen's. This one has the same problem.

      Delete
  50. Eve from Germany1 July 2016 at 08:01

    Loved her outfit very much. Very well chosen for this somber occasion.
    We are commemorating today one of the darkest periods in European history. WWI was caused by the VERY WRONG (as REALITY showed very quickly)assumption of nations and their leaders that one can do without the other and and that it is much better to look after national interests than the interest of all. Bismarck (chancellor of Germany back then until the German Emperor got rid of him for obvious reasons) was one of the very few who knew what disastrous consequences these assumptions would have. Unfortunately for him, the very idea of a "United Europe" guaranteeing peace and prosperity for all had not been found yet. Today, we all are seeing the first generation of Europeans growing old without ever seeing any combative actions in their life (at least not directly face-to-face). Just one generation before, this would have been utterly unthinkable.
    Yet, we have now to witness AGAIN how political leaders (or rather the "wanna-be" ones???) blindside people by pretending "we can do better without....". They lie and cheat and use (understandable) frustrations in order to achieve PERSONAL advantage (very much like, for example, the German Emperor back then). It is BEYOND ME how we all can let that happen AGAIN when events like today´s are STARING US IN THE FACE, reminding us of the disastrous consequences...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eve, Thank you So Very Much for Your Bravery in Speaking Up! Especially about This Extremely & Erielly Important Subject (Based on The Timing & it's Relevance to Current Events)! Especially, while looking back through the Lense of 100 years! I've been struggling to find the words to express what I Think & Feel about All of This. Thank You for Your Words! I couldn't have said it better! I Pray that The Current Generations Can & Will Be Open To Receiving Wisdom, from This Shared Tragic History & How No Nation Could Have Survived Alone! "No Man Is An Island"!

      Delete
    2. I wrote a similar comment on the next post in the discussion of why the USA was
      not represented, as far as I know, at the Somme commemoration. It has not yet appeared. I don't want to repeat, so I'll wait for it to appear.
      I will say, greed and power hunger are at the root of all wars and they hide
      behind many facades, including religion. The USA was controlled by isolationist
      factions during the early years of WW I. One of these factions was a group of
      manufacturers who were making huge profits selling war matériel and weren't too picky which side they sold their uniforms, boots, backpacks, granades, guns, and tanks to. Once the USA entered the war it would become treason to sell to the
      enemy.
      These same war opprtunists are still with us.
      To fight evil we must first be able to see it, when it is looking us right in the
      face, as Eve said so well.

      Delete
  51. All three looked lovely and appropriate to commemorate this battle. Kate was also very stylish but in a classy way.

    Charlotte, could it be possible that she changed her shoes between the historical briefing and attending the vigil? The shoes in the photos of the briefing look like her Stuart Weitzman pumps because of the height and the Gianvito Rossi pumps have a light heel "inside", the Stuart Weitzman pumps not. Just wondering...

    Looking forward to the opening of the new Thiepval Memorial and the National Commemorative Event today.

    ReplyDelete
  52. As always, thank you, it was a very moving piece.

    ReplyDelete
  53. hey Admin!
    Are Kate and William attending the match Belguim-Wales for EK tonigth in France?

    ReplyDelete

  54. All three looked lovely and appropriate to commemorate this battle. Kate was also very stylish but in a classy way.

    Charlotte, could it be possible that she changed her shoes between the historical briefing and attending the vigil? The shoes in the photos of the briefing look like her Stuart Weitzman pumps because of the height and the Gianvito Rossi pumps have a light heel "inside", the Stuart Weitzman pumps not. Just wondering...

    Looking forward to the opening of the new Thiepval Memorial and the National Commemorative Event today.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Did anyone else notice William and Harry are wearing matching suits, (although Harry's might be a bit lighter, possibly the lighting) right down to the striped ties?!😉

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thank you Charlotte for this post. We should never forget those made so many sacrifices for future generations. It is worth reading 'All quiet on the Western Front' for a soldier's perspective. We like so many other families lost men and they were so young.

    Catherine was appropriately dressed, elegant somber and understated.I agree with others that the colour choice echoed hope.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hey Charlotte!
    Are Kate and William attending the match Belguim-Wales for EK tonigth in France?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thank you for such an informative post. The historic photo of the soldier carrying his comrade is so moving, and truly brings home the horrors of war. I love Catherine's hat and her hair. The coat? No, but as usual she looks amazing no matter what she's wearing. I'm sure it was appropriate for the occasion.

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  59. That pillbox hat is pure perfection :)

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  60. Ten out of ten. Perfect outfit for such a sombre occasion.

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  61. Charlotte, the big pearl earings are late Princess Diana's!
    As always lovely to pop in here. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Thank you so much. I asked jewellery expert Anna (who has a great Facebook page called My Small Obsessions) and she did a few comparisons. While Diana had several similar pairs Kate's are different.

      Hopefully they will be identified :)

      Delete
    2. Yes, Charlotte. :) Diana did have many pearl earrings in various styles, but I'm not sure about Kate's being one of them.

      Hopefully, someone will post a pic if they are aware of something we are not.

      Delete
  62. About big pearl earings: I found out they were Di's via instagram @xuin10 there is a nice picture

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you post a link? :) Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Royalfan, went to the website and here is the link to the specific picture Anon 07:55 is referring to.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/BHWC8HKDqEf/?taken-by=xuin10

      In looking at them, they are different, but perhaps they were remade??? It's possible. If there is any link or coincidence to Diana's birthday then it is a moving remembrance.

      Delete
    3. 18:02, thank you so much for posting the link.

      They are mighty close but, to my eye, Kate's pearl appears larger, with a thinner border of stones surrounding it. The opposite scenario in Diana's case. Or am I going cross eyed? ;)

      Delete
    4. Diana had sooo many! :)

      http://www.dianasjewels.net/pearlearrings.htm

      Delete
  63. I really love this look. I don't care for these pearl earrings, prefer other pairs that she has, but love everything else about this look.

    ReplyDelete

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