Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Year in Review 2016: Part 1 - The Year in the UK!

Hello and Happy New Year to you all! It's time for our annual Year in Review post. It's always most enjoyable to look back on the events, engagements, fashion and personal highlights of the Duchess. 2016 offered a mixture of engagements at home and abroad, the Heads Together initiative was launched, celebrations happened for the Queen's 90th,  Kate debuted an array of new designers, and we saw several very special moments with George and Charlotte.

I like to take as detailed a look back as possible. From Tim O Donovan's year end figures for the Royal family, it's particularly notable that almost half of Kate's 2016 engagements took place overseas and with that in mind I thought it a good idea to divide the post into two parts. Today we're taking a look at Kate's engagements and other items of interest that occurred in the UK.


2016 began with a very special milestone for Prince George. The two-year-old completed his first day of nursery at Westacre Montessori School, a twenty-minute drive from Anmer Hall. To mark the occasion photos taken by the Duchess were released and I think we all loved them. George's low-key first day was in stark contrast to Prince William's first day at nursery, when journalists and reporters were invited to capture the moment and even invited inside the classroom to film. The relaxed photos offered a lovely glimpse into a momentous day for the future king. Kensington Palace told reporters "it all went well", but were reluctant to say if there were any tears.

On the 9th, Kate celebrated her 34th birthday with family and friends at Anmer Hall. The following day the Cambridges and the Middletons joined the Queen and Prince Philip at St Mary Magdalene Church for a service marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli campaign.


Kate carried out her first engagement of 2016 on 7 February marking the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets with a service at St Clement Danes Church in London. The event marked Kate's first engagement as Honorary Air Commandant of the organisation. In December 2015, the Duke of Edinburgh passed his patronage of the RAF Air Cadets to Kate, after 63 years serving as Air Commodore-in-Chief.

In support of Children's Mental Health Week and in her role as patron of Place2Be, Kate recorded a video message encouraging all children to get the support they need during difficult times to help them overcome challenges. The Duchess noted the need for schools to prioritize the mental wellbeing of their students in addition to academic success to allow every child to have a "firm foundation, for the happy, healthy future they deserve. While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them tools to cope and thrive". You can view the video here.

For me, one of the most memorable engagements of the year was seeing Kate guest-edit The Huffington Post to bear a spotlight on children's mental health issues, bringing together leading professionals from her patronages and other organisations to share their knowledge. It's always interesting to see the royals taking a fresh approach to engagements and this one very much fell into that category. In the age of social media, collaborating with an online news outlet offered an excellent platform to get the message out there. Contributors included none other than First Lady Michelle Obama who penned an article titled "Let's Change the Conversation on Mental Health".  Kate looked effortlessly chic in the Reiss Vinnie Blouse and a Dolce & Gabbana Skirt.

William and Kate's first joint engagement of the year saw the couple return to their former home of Anglesey for the RAF Disbandment Parade. The visit held additional personal significance for William, who served as Flight Lieutenant Wales in the role of operational search and rescue pilot flying the Sea King helicopter. During that time, William undertook a total of 156 search and rescue operations, resulting in 149 people being rescued. The service is now privatised and operated by civilian company Bristow Helicopters after it was awarded the contract by the Department of Transport in 2013. At the time, Prince William objected to the privatisation of the service and it was thought to have influenced his decision to leave the RAF.

The Countess of Strathearn visited Edinburgh for a varied day of engagements, visiting three school-based charity projects in the area. For Kate's first solo trip to Scotland, she began with a visit to St Catherine's Primary School to see some of her patronage Place2Be's work in Scotland to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, parents, families and school staff. From there she travelled to the Art Room's first studio in Scotland at Wester Hailes Education Centre - representing a new phase in the charity's growth. Kate opted for stylish separates including her green SportsMax coat, teamed with a black turtleneck and a Houndstooth Wool Kilt by Scottish brand Le Kilt.

For the final engagement of the day, Kate changed outfit for a 'Tennis on the Road' workshop hosted by Judy Murray, mother to tennis stars Andy and Jamie. Kate was in her element participating in exercises and a spot of tennis. Judy Murray said Kate told her she loves tennis because it's one of two sports she can beat William at. A coach from the event said the Duchess was "very competitive". I quite liked Kate's sporty attire consisting of a white Nike top, Monreal London Side Panel Track Pants and Asics Trainers.


Continuing with a focus on mental health, William and Kate met the inspiring Jonny Benjamin, who was saved by a stranger in 2008 as he contemplated taking his own life. In 2014, following a period of hospitalisation, where Jonny received the help he needed, he launched a social media campaign titled #FindMike with the help of charity Rethink Mental Illness to find the man who saved him. During the meeting, William said: "Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves. I was just blown away by the statistics." Sitting on a sofa with Kate, Benjamin and Mike Laybourn, he added: "For both of us, the mental health piece has got lots of aspects. It's such a big issue that we need to do something about it. We feel it's been raised higher up the ladder. It's suddenly bubbling just under the surface. Now we need to get up to the next level, to the surface." Kate continued: "We see through the work that we do with addiction, homelessness and knife crime that a lot of it stems back to childhood."

For a visit to the mentoring programme of the XLP (eXcel Project) at London Wall the Duchess debuted a new label - Kensington-based bespoke firm Eponine London. The red and white skirt-suit was a stunning choice, featuring a boat neck and an A-line skirt. The look was praised as fresh, stylish and reminiscent of Jackie O.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and the Duke of York joined the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to celebrate Commonwealth Day by attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. Another popular look for the Duchess who donned a bespoke grey Erdem coat and a wide-brimmed John Boyd hat.

The Duchess opened a new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk on 18 March. Located just forty minutes from the Cambridges' country home, Anmer Hall, market town Holt has been a favoured shopping haunt for Kate over the last couple of years, with several outings to the nearby Mew Antique Emporium and local grocers. Inside, Kate tried on a few things with a hat catching her eye. Kate bought a book, Fireman Sam’s Favourite Tales, as a present for Prince George and a Beatrix Potter Tom Kitten figurine for Princess Charlotte. Kate paid £10 in cash for the items and revealed, "Fireman Sam is George's favourite" and he had asked her to look for a helicopter :)

March came to a close with one of my royal highlights of the year, Our Queen at 90. The ITV documentary offered fascinating insights into Her Majesty's life including Kate's first interview as a member of the Royal family. Kate discussed motherhood and praised the Queen's sense of duty and commitment. "Being a mother and new in my job as well, I have no idea how the Queen has managed to do it with four children as well of her own. To manage all those elements of your life, from the family as well as to the work, to the national importance of her role, I think it's extraordinary and also for so long as well. All the time William and I are so struck by the Queen's sense of duty and commitment and I think to do that by yourself would be a very lonely place to be, but I think to have the support of your husband there by your side on those occasions, and behind closed doors as well, I think is very special." Kate continued: "William and I have got quite a long way to go but it really is fantastic and to see and experience as much as they have together. It's very special."


Before departing for their tour of India and Bhutan, William and Kate hosted a pre-tour reception for young people from both countries at Kensington Palace. The Duchess opted for the Mary Flocked Chiffon Gown by Indian designer Saloni for the evening.

Following a hugely successful tour, the Cambridges returned to the UK where Her Majesty's birthday celebrations were beginning to take shape. A a new photo of Her Majesty the Queen with her three heirs, Prince Charles, Prince William, and the ever-adorable Prince George was released. The image was the basis for a set of stamps by the Royal Mail to mark the monarch's 90th. The foursome were impeccably matched in shades of blue for the image taken in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.

The much hoped-for 90th birthday portraits of the Queen, shot by Annie Leibovitz, were released to mark the milestone. Taken on Easter Monday at Windsor Castle, the photos are a fantastic way to celebrate the day. In the first photo, HM is pictured with her two youngest grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. This is such a memorable and historic photo. We see the Queen as her official self carrying out copious numbers of duties, entertaining heads of state and so much more on a constant basis, but for this photo, we simply see her as a grandmother and great-grandmother holding Princess Charlotte on her lap with the adorable Mia Tindall holding her handbag. It was a very relaxed day with Kate and other parents taking their own snaps from the sitting. Also marking the celebrations, the Cambridges joined other royals for a private family dinner at Windsor Castle.

April was the month that kept on giving, wouldn't you agree? When we heard the Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry were to host the Obamas at Kensington Palace I think we all felt this was going to be a special event. It was a significant night for the young royals - marking the first time they have hosted a head of state without other senior royals present. This type of role will form an important part of their duties in the years ahead. It was also the first official function held at William and Kate's recently renovated Apartment 1A.

What we were not expecting was a little prince to steal the show :)

I simply adore this photo of Prince George shaking hands with President Obama in his pyjamas. Mr Obama is the first of many presidents George will meet and host in his lifetime. The entire evening was perfectly planned with thought and consideration given to every detail. George thanked the Obamas for the rocking horse given to him when he was born. The Cambridges also set out a toy dog the couple sent when Charlotte was born. The young royals have enjoyed an incredibly warm relationship with the Obamas over the years and the evening was the perfect way to reflect on that before the President Obama leaves office.

In late April, it was announced our favourite royal trio would spearhead a new campaign 'Heads Together' to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. Chosen as the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity the campaign brought together a host of mental health charities. You can watch the introductory video here.

April also brought news that has been described as one of the best kept secrets of the year. In a huge suprise, the Duchess of Cambridge agreed to grace the cover of British Vogue's centenary issue. Kate's patronage the National Portrait Gallery collaborated with British Vogue on a series of portraits of the Duchess, shot by photographer Josh Olins on the Sandringham estate in the Norfolk countryside in January, and styled by Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers. The Duchess used professional make-up artist Sally Branka, who persuaded her to forego her usual black eyeliner in favour of a fresher look.

With the connection to the National Portrait Gallery and the significance of the centenary celebrations it was the perfect time for Kate to grace the cover of the iconic magazine. In subsequent interviews with editor Alexandra Shulman it has been revealed it was deeply important to Kate that she was portrayed as her natural self enjoying the outdoors at Sandringham in largely casually attire, rather than gowns and tiaras at Kensington Palace. From a Burberry Trench to a Petit Bateau signature striped tee, we saw a very casual and relaxed Kate at her most comfortable in Norfolk.

Vogue wrote: "It was very clear from the outset these pictures were to be of the woman herself rather than of a figurehead, and they would be as informal as possible." Kate instantly loved the idea of being photographed in the countryside and wanted the photos to "reflect an element of her private existence".

The Duke and Duchess celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on 29 April! How time flies...


May began with a gorgeous selection of photographs released to mark Princess Charlotte's first birthday. Taken by Kate at Anmer Hall, the photos offered a glimpse into Charlotte's playful personality. This one of Charlotte looking at mum is very special indeed!

My favourite photo from the set is the one below showing a smiling Charlotte pushing her walker across the lawn. It's a delightful 'family album' photo and she looks simply adorable with a pink bow in her hair.

Kate's opening of the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace turned out to be a delightful engagement. Kate revealed news of a new member of the Cambridge family...a hamster named Marvin. A little girl asked Kate: "Are you a princess?" To which she replied with a laugh: "Just call me Kate."

From there, Kate undertook her first engagement as Patron of the Anna Freud Centre by attending a lunch reception supporting the development of a new centre of excellence for children's mental health.

That evening, Kate was pretty in pink McQueen for the 'Vogue 100: A Century of Style' exhibition. The exhibition showcased the range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916. With over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive and international collections being shown together at the National Portrait Gallery for the first time, the exhibition tells the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world. Kate saw two of her own Vogue portraits for the first time with aides describing the experience as "surreal".

The Royal family gathered for a birthday party fit for the Queen on the final night of the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor. Looking back, the combination of the red Zara jacket with the white lace Dolce & Gabbana dress was a rare miss for Kate. The two pieces somehow worked against each other sartorially speaking. With the dress, updo and the Queen's earrings, a nice shawl would have beautifully completed the look.

The following day Kate was stylish in a GOAT blouse and Banana Republic skirt for the Heads Together launch. On the day, the Palace noted "the ambitious campaign is the biggest project they have undertaken together to date, and will see them working in partnership with inspiring charities to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing". During a joint speech Kate said: "Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health.  This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help everyone feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family."

Kate brought back a favourite McQueen ensemble for a visit to Portsmouth to see how the 1851 Trust is using sailing and the marine industry to inspire young people.

Sir Ben Ainslie took Kate for a spot of sailing. The Duchess took the wheel for half an hour, steering the 45ft catamaran at speeds of up to 40mph. Ben said Kate is "certainly keen" to get George and Charlotte sailing in the future. Describing Kate as a natural sailor he continued: "We were all really impressed, she's clearly done a fair amount of sailing before. She supports the team heavily and is very involved with what we do. We'd love to get her racing with us as well if we can, we'll see." For the World Series the team is allowed to take a guest.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their long-awaited debut at the Chelsea Flower Show on 23 May. The show is very much considered Britain's undisputed horticultural event and known globally for its spectacular floral displays. It is also considered a staple on the royal calendar thanks to Her Majesty's patronage of the Royal Horticultural Society, and the show has been attended by countless royals over the years. Since the Queen's ascension to the throne in 1952, she has only missed it five times. The day produced an abundance of gorgeous shots including this...

The Duchess brought back her cream McQueen from George's christening for the Queen's last garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace.

We saw Kate in Alberta Ferretti for a new official portrait taken in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

A busy May concluded with a family outing at the Houghton Hall horse trials, located around the corner from the Cambridges' country home Anmer Hall in Norfolk. It was very much a family affair as Kate took the children, accompanied by Nanny Maria Teresa and friends James and Laura Meade, along to cheer on competitors. Below we see Kate holding George's hand and Laura Meade pushing the pram.


One of Kate's fashion "Wow" moments of the year came when HRH hosted SportsAid's 40th Anniversary Gala dinner at Kensington Palace in the stunning 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. The cut-out shoulders give the graceful style a modern edge. Teamed with a pair of Cartier hoop earrings and Gianvito Rossi sandals, it was one of the most memorable looks of the year.

The Duchess was regal in Catherine Walker for the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral. Another wonderful look and perfect for the occasion. Below, we see Kate curtsying to the Queen.

It was another glorious display of pomp, pageantry and tradition for Trooping the Colour in London. The Cambridge family appeared on the balcony together for the first time - something we expect to be an annual tradition.

William, Kate and Harry joined in to celebrate the Patron's Lunch. Months in the planning, the Mall in St James's Park was transformed for its largest ever street party to celebrate the Queen's patronage of more than 600 charities and organisations. The lunch for 10,000 guests is the first of its kind to be held in the Mall. Unfortunately classic "British summertime" weather intervened with quite a bit of rain on the day. Even Prince George said to Kate as she left: "It's not very nice out today, Mummy". Thankfully conditions cleared and it was a lovely event in celebration of HM.

Lady in red Kate wowed for the annual Order of the Garter ceremonies at Windsor Castle in a Catherine Walker ensemble first worn in Canada in 2011, and teamed with her red McQueen clutch, red suede Gianvito Rossi Pumps, a chic updo and Lock & Co. hat. The ensemble was completed by Kate's Robinson Pelham wedding earrings. The look is a stellar example of the power of accessorising to truly elevate an outfit.

The Duke and Duchess visited the American Embassy in central London to sign a book of condolences for the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre. A source told the Mail Online: "The Queen immediately issued a statement on Sunday and spoke to the president to offer the nation’s condolences. But with such a disproportionate number of young people affected by the worst mass shooting in US history the Duke and Duchess were very keen to be able to offer the condolences of their own generation too. Prince Harry was unable to join them but he has been speaking at length to people out in Orlando privately because he spent a significant amount of time out there recently for the Invictus Games. All of them have been affected deeply by the stories they have read and heard." Prince William wrote: "With our deepest condolences and with our thoughts and prayers to all those affected." It's devastating to think of the number of terror attacks since the signing of the book of condolences in June.

That afternoon, Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus (as William and Kate are styled in Northern Ireland), attended the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle. Notably, it marked the couple's first visit to Northern Ireland since their engagement. Kate brought back a Day Birger et Mikkelsen coat she's had for over a decade (wouldn't you love to know how she stores her clothes).

William and Kate also made their Ascot debut in June. The Cambridges reportedly decided to attend the event in honour of Her Majesty's 90th birthday. Knowing how much the Queen loves Ascot, it seemed the perfect time to enjoy an afternoon at the racecourse, located just six miles from Windsor Castle. Kate's Dolce & Gabbana dress (first worn to the Windsor Horse Show) had a chance to shine on its second outing; the look had a My Fair Lady feel to it. Seeing the royals at Ascot is such a tradition, I'm hoping we see the Cambridges attend again soon...

June came to a close with the eagerly anticipated, glittering gala 'A Taste of Norfolk' in support of EACH. The event was hosted by William and Kate's neighbours the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley at Houghton Hall, with all guests invited as a special thank you for supporting the charity's fundraising efforts in the Nook appeal. Below, the Duchess and the Marchioness.

Royals fans were delighted to see the return of the rose Sequin and Embellished Jenny Packham Gown Kate wore for her first engagement following the royal wedding. I felt at the time Kate chose to wore it again almost exactly five years later because she's been on quite a journey from 2011 to 2016 - becoming a member of the Royal family and now a mother of two (Our Kate Loves post Five Royal Years in Gowns takes a closer look at that journey).


Barbara Casasola was a Brazilian designer I was entirely unaware of until Kate wore her chic off-the-shoulder dress to the Art Fund awards in July. The $2,210 midi dress is cut from figure-sculpting stretch-jersey and panelled with sheer mesh inserts for a sporty feel. Made in Italy, it is designed to create a flattering, feminine silhouette. A beautiful choice for the night! Kate paired the dress with a pair of Dollie sandals by another Brazilian brand Schutz. At the time, it was thought to be a sartorial nod to the Olympic games in Rio.

Kate was summery in her colour-block Roksanda dress for the women's semi-finals at Wimbledon. There was a decidedly official air for Kate's visit compared to previous years. Before matches began, HRH met tournament officials, service personnel, ball boys and girls. Of course, we now know, it was already in the planning Kate would become patron.

There was a royal surprise in store when William and Kate took Prince George to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Airford. A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: "The Air Tatoo is a fantastic family-orientated event and the Duke and Duchess know that George will enjoy seeing the aircraft up close."

Despite the media presence and noise George appeared to have a wonderful time - eager to see as much as he could. More from People: "'They wanted to put him on the Duke's lap [at the controls], but he was having none of it. The Duchess suggested shutting the door to try to persuade him. But he was happy sitting with his mum.' Hobkirk says of the young family. 'They seemed very relaxed. The Duke said he misses flying and he wishes he could fly more and said he was envious of me.'" 

Next, Kate was back in the royal box, with her Prince, to cheer on Andy Murray as he claimed his second Wimbledon men's title. The Duchess was in McQueen's print of the year 'Obsession' with a jewelled neckline and butterflies, skulls and lipstick.

Also in July, Kate, William and George surprised guests at the Special Air Service camp at Credenhill for the regiment's 75th anniversary. As it was a private event, no photos were shared. The Middleton family were thrilled with the news Pippa had become engaged to her boyfriend James Matthews. It was a huge story over the summer, and I'm sure talk of wedding plans with her sister has featured quite a bit for Kate since.

To mark Prince George's 3rd birthday, a selection of  lovely photographs were released for the special occasion.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "The Duke and Duchess hope that people will enjoy seeing these new photographs. They would like to thank everyone for all the lovely messages they have received as Prince George celebrates his third birthday." The photos were taken by photographer Matt Porteuous at their home in Norfolk earlier this month. Mr Porteous said: "I really enjoyed the opportunity to take these photographs of Prince George. It was a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. I'm honoured that they have decided to share these images with the public to mark his third birthday."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Portsmouth to see the second America's Cup World Series. The couple joined thousands of spectators to cheer on the teams.


August was a quiet month with the Cambridge family enjoying a holiday in France. On the 24th William and Kate carried out a day of engagements in Luton, Bedfordshire combining their interests in young people, hospice care and mental health. The Duchess sampled brownies that had been homemade for her and William. Kate talked to the teenagers who made the brownies: "So what are you making, this smells seriously good. What are you putting in? Is this just chocolate? Golden syrup? Good." She added: "When I try to do this with George at home, chocolate and the golden syrup goes everywhere. He makes so much mess. It's chaos." Kate described the brownies as "delicious".

Kate brought back her much loved poppy print L.K. Bennett Lasa dress for the day.

William and Kate also visited the YoungMinds helpline service. The engagement was embargoed, most likely due to the sensitive nature of the work carried out at the helpline, however, upon their arrival, word quickly spread the couple were in the area. Rebecca English was told William and Kate were keen "to see what actually happens when people seek support".


September began with a two day mini-tour of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The highly-anticipated trip was William and Kate's first official visit to the scenic part of South West England since their wedding. Speaking about the purpose of the visit, a spokesman for Kensington Palace said "they will learn more about the industries that operate in the isles, particularly the tourism industry and the Scilly flower trade, and hear from local people about their life and culture". Kate selected a blush Lela Rose dress.

During a visit to Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm Kate pulled a pint of cider and handed it to William, who said: "I'll fall over if I drink that."

On day two, the couple visited the Isles of Scilly where poor weather conditions caused a change of plan to their schedule. With short notice, Kensington Palace swiftly arranged an additional engagement in Cornwall for William and Kate - a visit to the Eden Project. The Eden Project is not only a popular eco tourist attraction in Cornwall but an enterprise and a charity. Inside the two biomes are plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments. The complex is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species, and each enclosure emulates a natural biome. It was a change of pace in the fashion department for Kate who teamed her much loved Smythe blazer with a white off-the-shoulder top and printed trousers from GAP.

Who could forget Kate's face when she met one of the baby dinosaurs from the 'Dinosaur Uprising' programme? It had to be the most fun engagement of the year for me as I promptly received comments and messages asking: "Is it a real dinosaur?" They really do look convincing, don't they? :)

At St Martin's community centre, William was delighted to be presented with a picture from local children. I think this one officially wins 'Favourite Photo of Will 2016' :)

The Cambridges spent time in Balmoral with the Queen and Prince Philip at their Scottish retreat. They were photographed at Crathie Kirk for the church service. The photo that received the most attention was one of  the Queen driving Carole Middleton. The fact Mike and Carole Middleton were invited shows the closeness between the two families, and isn't it just smashing to see HM behind the wheel at 90?

Emily Andrews Twitter/Rebecca English Twitter

As part of the Heads Together initiative William and Kate went back to school at Steward Academy in Harlow, Essex. The Duke and Duchess participated in a 'big change' session run by a small number of students involved with the school’s mentor scheme in which older students support new ones in their first year of school.

Kate wore the Altuzarra 'Aimee' dress - another brand debut. The stretch-woven dress featured a V neckline, half sleeves, light ruching at front and inner arms, a slit, a slim silhouette and straight hem.


Following the Cambridges' tour of Canada, we next saw the couple on 10 October for a special Heads Together event marking World Mental Health Day. The Duchess wore Kate Spade's Encore Rose Chiffon Dress in 'plum dawn' for the engagement. 

The Duke and Duchess travelled to Manchester for an 'away day' of engagements. At the Football Museum, they received a Manchester City football for George, a mini kit four Charlotte, cuddly mascots and two life-sized replica 1966 World Cup footballs, which were next to a photo of William kicking a ball when he was a child which made Kate smile.

Meeting families at Francis House, a hospice which cares for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions. The hospice was opened in 1991 by the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a reception hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip for Team GB and Paralympics GB medallists from the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games at Buckingham Palace. Kate wore a bespoke poppy print McQueen for the evening.

Before the reception, William and Kate met with inspirational young people at Kensington Palace ahead of BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards.


Kate was the leading lady at the premiere of A Street Cat Named Bob in a Self-Portrait Gown on 3 November. Based on the international best-selling book, it tells the true feel-good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. The tale of the unlikely friendship between James and Bob has been described as "incredibly moving".

The next day Kate carried out unannounced engagements beginning with a private visit to a prison in Gloucestershire to learn more about what support is available to women prisoners and their families who live with complex social issues. Kensington Palace reported: "The Duchess met with staff from Eastwood Park who explained the complex and often diverse needs of the women they work with including mental health concerns, family breakdowns, and treatment for addiction. Her Royal Highness also met with a small number of women prisoners to hear their personal stories."

Afterwards, the Duchess travelled to the to the Nelson's Trust Women's Centre, an organisation which provides support to vulnerable women and which works closely with Eastwood Park to provide ongoing support to women and their families after leaving prison. During the meeting, Kate was taken with a four-month-old boy called Gabriel, who was with his mother, Hlengiwe Sithole.

Kate wore the black Temperley London Callas coat for the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

And the Duchess was sombre in a repeated DVF coat for Remembrance Sunday.

Kate spent an afternoon at her patronage, the Natural History Museum, attending a tea party to bid farewell to one of the museum's oldest residents, Dippy the Diplodocus, as he prepares to go on tour. Kate appeared to have a lovely time with the children, and wore the L.K. Bennett Cersei dress.

For her second engagement of the day, the Duchess of Cambridge attended the Place2Be Awards at Mansion House, official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. During a speech Kate praised the work of Place2Be: "Tonight, we are celebrating the truly remarkable work taking place across Place2Be schools in support of children’s mental health. Without many of the inspiring people gathered here, countless children would not receive such transformational support in their schools." Kate was elegant in her black Preen Finella Dress teamed with the Queen's earrings - a winning look overall.

Finally in November, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined several members of the Royal family to pay tribute to the sixth Duke of Westminster at a memorial service.


The white-tie Diplomatic Reception is arguable the most glittering event on the royal calendar. It's always a treat to see Kate arriving in her tiara and gown - this year, in a break with tradition Buckingham Palace released a photo from inside the reception with the six senior royals. It's a lovely opportunity to see the monarch, two heirs and their spouses together at such a formal event - the present and future of the Royal family. Reporters described the decision to release the photo as "remarkable". It's a historic photo and very nice to see Kate's Jenny Packham gown and the dazzling Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara in a full-length photo.

Kate attended a special Cub Scout Pack meeting with Cubs from the King's Lynn district to celebrate 100 years of the Cubs. The event saw a host of activities and games on the agenda themed around looking after yourself and others physically and emotionally. Kate helped cubs with first aid and other exercises on what was a very fun evening.

William, Kate and Harry carried out a very appropriately festive engagement on the 19th - joining youth helpline the Mix for a volunteer Christmas party in support of their mental health campaign, Heads Together. They met with staff and volunteers before participating in crafts, making christmas decorations.

A very festive-looking Duchess selected the Cai Floral-Print Jacquard Dress by Vanessa Seward for the engagement. During the party, Their Royal Highnesses kicked off the Mix Annual Awards by presenting the Volunteer of the Year Award to George Yeorghaki. It's been a special year for the Mix and the other organisations involved in the Heads Together initiative; to mark this, volunteers from all the charity partners were invited. As Heads Together was the focal point of engagements at home in 2016 it seemed a very fitting way to end engagements for 2016!

The Cambridges and Prince Harry arriving for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace.

The Cambridges spent Christmas with the Middletons at their Bucklebury home this year. When the family arrived at St Mark's for the Christmas morning service it was an unexpected surprise to see George and Charlotte joining their parents. It is not known for certain where the Cambridges rang in 2017, but due to their absence from the New Year's Day service at Sandringham I suspect they may have stayed in Bucklebury for the celebrations.

I have very much enjoyed looking back through Kate's 2016 in the UK with you. There's been many memorable engagements. What were your highlights of the year? The Telegraph has described 2016 as "the year the Duchess of Cambridge embraced fashion". I would certainly agree her style has changed and evolved. I'm personally pleased to see her experimenting with new designers - we saw quite a few in 2016. From a balcony appearance at Trooping the Colour to Christmas in Bucklebury there were plenty of family moments. In fact, Kate's photos of Princess Charlotte have earned her a lifetime honorary membership of the Royal Photographic Society. No doubt keen photographer Kate will be delighted with the honour. 

In Part 2, we have quite a bit of globetrotting to do as we revisit India, Bhutan and Canada, Kate's first overseas solo trip and the Cambridges' family holidays. We'll also be looking ahead and discussing what we can expect on the royal front in 2017!


  1. Sarah from Calif.3 January 2017 at 06:13

    Wow! It has been a busy year.

  2. Hi, Charlotte! Happy New Year. Just wondering if there is any particular reason you posted late this year? Hope you weren't down with anything nasty over the holiday?

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your comment. A heavy cold is doing the rounds unfortunately. I was in two minds as how to best present it this year as having the entire year would have been one massive post. So, I think the two parts work well this year :)

      2017 is getting off to a good start with two engagements announced for 11 January.

    2. It is off to a great start I think. A new patronage announced for William, Kate in the RPS, 2 engagements for 11 Jan, plus new patronages from the Queen (hope a few more to be announced).

      I think 2 posts is just right since it was such a packed year.

    3. The heavy cold is afflicting North America as well as Britain. My immediate family suffered through it in November. My extended family got it after Christmas. If the Queen has the same virus, she may need to take her time about recovery. It starts with fever and constant sneezing and progresses to a lot of nasal congestion and coughing. It took me almost a month to recover.

      If you have had this cold, Charlotte, I commiserate and hope you are feeling better. Thanks for all the work you did for this remarkable post. I think it cannot help reassuring those who are concerned about Kate's workload!

    4. Tammy from California4 January 2017 at 19:10

      My entire family got this same cold! We all had the stomach flu over Thanksgiving and then got this cold the next week I must mention every student in my class also had this cold, as did most of the kids in my school!). I never take 3 weeks to recover from sickness and I was DOWN for 3 weeks. When I heard the Queen had a bad enough cold to keep her from going to Sandringham on time and away from church service, I knew she must have the same thing we did. It's a real drag down thing! I hope everyone feels better and stays healthy XOXO

    5. The Queen has not been seen for a month-nearly two weeks before the heavy cold was announced.

    6. Many thanks for the kind wishes. It's a very persistent cold. Hope anyone feeling poorly is resting and taking good care of themselves.

  3. Julia from Leominster3 January 2017 at 08:08

    You've put together a lovely royal write-up as usual, Charlotte, thank you.

  4. Happy New Year Charlotte & to everyone on the blog! Excellent post, as always - a great start to 2017! May I say that I'm grateful that you split the post into two - there's a lot to take in :-P
    There were many beautiful family moments from 2016, I especially enjoyed the portraits that included the Queen paying tribute to her 90th year, I hope she is recovering well. Little Mia and Charlotte stole the show for me last year...I think they may have inherited HM's spiritedness!
    I look forward to seeing William, Harry and Kate continue with their causes this year and to further push the Heads Together initiative. I would also like to see Kate take more of the spotlight and do a few more speeches regarding her patronages, as I see her advancing in her role as a senior royal.
    Can't wait for what 2017 will bring and for part two of your wrap-up of 2016!

  5. Rebecca - Sweden3 January 2017 at 09:59

    Wow, what a massive post. Thank you so much for all your work Charlotte. It has been a great year, royalty wise, made even better by your great reporting!

    It's very nice to see them upping their numbers. Especially William has impressed me this year. He has really upped his engagements, done 9 investitures, really getting some traction with United for Wildlife etc. All while still working for the Air Ambulance! I cannot wait to see what this year brings!

    1. I don't believe any of William's animal conservation work is counted as it is primarily outside the UK, as are Harry's wounded warrior and African interests. Surely somewhere there is a breakdown of what events were counted and excluded for this list. It was an interesting way to start off the post.

    2. Rebecca - Sweden3 January 2017 at 20:40

      Most of Williams work has counted. As has Harrys invictus meetings this year after he became a royal patron and not actually involved in the planning. Most of Williams work with this has been actual royal work while Harry does some of his stuff on his own time. So Harry going for a month to move elephants is private buissness and on the same level as Williams air amulance work. Makes them a good guy but doesn't count in the numbers. Harry going to invictus games or meetings before becoming a patron was personal time. Again, great stuff, great guy, but not in the CC because it was not royal buissness. But now that he's a patron of it, it's royal buissness, hence those meetings get counted.

      The Queen has the last say on what counts and doesn't in the CC. The CC is where all events (plus birthdays etc) are listed. There is no official number count of these events, but alot of people use Tim Donovan (I think his name is) numbers as the go to since he's been doing it for decades. But all numbers are unofficial, and vary. Does a plane landing that is written in the CC count? Tim and others I've seen count says only if it has an official welcome. If a line says "Visit to x and reception at y", is that one or two engagements? So, there is alot of wiggleroom on the numbers. So they are basically outlines and rough estimates. Add to that, were they at the event 30 minutes or 4 hours etc. So there is not official breakdown of it, since it's way too subjective and flexible to be able to measure. But there are some rought numbers (that some people make too big a deal out of) :)

    3. Massive is the right word, Rebecca! Thank you Charlotte for this looong and great post. Have a very happy new year, you and all your readers.

  6. The Queen is absolutely amazing and she doesn't get half the praise she deserves. Hopefully the younger Royals will step it up over the next couple of years and increase their engagements, especially in the UK where they absolutely must remain relevant.

  7. Thank you Charlotte, for this fabulous post! A highlight for me was PG meeting POTUS in his pajamas. The photos and reactions to them really made my day ;)
    Looking forward to Part 2!

    1. A significant, historic meeting for a future king.

    2. I think that was my favorite too. Along with the photograph with The Queen.

    3. Charlotte on the Queen's lap was like mini.me. But, oh my goodness! MIA! She will give them all a run for their money.

  8. From the previous post, I would like to say how much I agree with Julia and Bluhare on 2 things.
    First, as I have learnt the word from Bluhare, these last tours were full of fluff. Remember?:-)
    Maybe tours are meant to be nothing else but sightseeing. But I remember the first Canadian tour, which was not about wine tasting and half a day of private time. The best when the whole journo crew climbed the mountain in Nepal I think and they wanted private time there too. LOL

    It would be better to count days rather than events, Kate is usually there an hour or less. But who would really care if you saw them doing them willingly.
    I agree with also they should spend more time out and about at home. Same for the children who are photographed more out of the UK.

    And while her numbers are better than last year, but an engagement per week or so, I think is totally disappointing.

    From the fashion side: I didn’t like her wardrobe that much last year. Too many doily, girlie, tablecloth, or very expensive badly tailored bespoke pieces. But this is up to everybody’s personal taste. The thing that I liked overall is that she started buying other types of shoes, instead of the nude and black and those horrible wedges.

    1. The "fluff," as you call it was suggested by representative of the host government and tourism departments.

    2. Julia from Leominster3 January 2017 at 19:33

      To me all royal activities are about balance - work at home balanced against tours and light engagement (always enjoyable) balanced against more serious and sometimes to those not involved, duller ones. The same goes with tours.

      All countries visited by royals are going to wish to show off their nation by sight-seeing type engagements - it is very natural. But tours are planned with input from both the country in question and the royals visiting and achieving a balance is an art. The tour of India, I thought quite well balanced.

      A nice start to the New Year with two serious engagements.

    3. Yes, I know, they are just bystanders. Nothing to say or decide on that matter.

    4. The fluff is in regard to the lack of more serious engagements. Apparently they did short days in Canada because of the children, even when there was more than one engagement. They pitched a fit about someone posting their children were at a petting zoo even though the children were long gone (and one would think the BC Tourism board would appreciate plugs to local attractions), and William apparently doesn't read all of his briefings prior to his visits. Not what I would call a serious tour. Ergo, fluff.

      Most of that is not fact (other than William not reading his briefings). It is my interpretation of their tour which -- other than royal blogs and the Daily Mail -- did not get much coverage. Reporters were talking about that at the time, along with lack of access to events. That is also a fact.

    5. I'm fairly certain the Cambridges were under strict advisement to Not "say or decide" given the tricky political situation in some of the areas visited.

    6. 19:05, whoa, I agree, also then

      the Queen and Phillip have put in miles and miles and miles and miles of "fluff". I truly doubt that either of them would call tours "fluff" even compared to anything else on their schedules.

    7. Sorry Bluhare, I must disagree and defend the Cambridges over the petting zoo incident. I live in Victoria's backyard and it was widely reported here that it was BC Tourism that "pitched a fit" about the report of the children at the zoo and not the Cambridges. Let's try not to blame them when they are not to blame.

    8. 0152, you are correct. It was BC Tourism that requested that tweet be taken down. However, one must wonder why. If the stated reason for the tour was tourism (as well as other reasons) and they took their children, one must wonder why the BC Tourism board requested a tweet be removed -- a tweet that promoted a tourist attraction. I think WK's office requested it; it doesn't make sense otherwise. William and Kate have said that they don't want people making money off their children, and I totally understand and even agree. They aren't commodities to be marketed. However, they did take them along, and they did visit that zoo. It wasn't a public engagement to be sure, but those places are marketed to parents with small children and the Cambridge family was there to promote tourism in part, and they weren't paying for the trip. So they can't really argue, in my opinion, when the entire trip was funded by others UNLESS they had an agreement that anything the children did would not be publicised.

    9. BC Tourism pitched a fit because they got an earful from KP, since "handling" of the children was one of the strict guidelines given before the tour. So tourism just passed the anger on. KP picks up the phone at the most minor things, most well placed sources say because William demands it. Only when it suits him of course.
      This comes straight from editors and reporters who've been on the receiving end of it, when one published a pic of Kate at Waitrose a right royal telling off was had.
      Contrast that to the pics of Kate and George at Government House. KP was warned not to make a fuss by BP and No 10 since they were so pleased by the success of the tour and didn't want to cast a pall over it.

    10. Amen and Amen, 01:52. That's what we have been requesting all along.

    11. I'd encourage everyone to read *actual* physical newspapers, since many things don't make it online. From the Times, to the Telegraph, to the Express, even Sebastian Shakespeare in the Mail, there are many very good, long time, impeccably sourced reporters and columnists who've been writing about all these topics for many years. There are many tidbits you pick up over the years, particularly in the Sunday columns. KP may be tight as a drum as far as leaks, but once others are involved, be it BP, 10 Downing or Whitehall, there are too many good reporters with good sources for information not to leak. And tales of the KP communications office abound. If you're a royal fan I'd encourage you to regularly read the better royal correspondents, after all it is history in the making!

    12. Anon 1:52 - I think it would be a stretch to think that BC tourism would be so invested in their privacy that they would pitch a fit AFTER the fact, when all the tweet did was publicize tourism with no cost to the children whatsoever. This has William and Kate's fingerprints all over it, come on. This is how they operate. Anyway, it doesn't matter. We all know how they are about privacy and while many of us sympathize largely, I think that some of us also recognize when they take the privacy issue too far.

    13. "pitched a fit", lol, 01:52,

      I haven't heard that expression in awhile. Thanks for the local reporting, and clarity 01:52.


    14. Fluff- I seem to remember Charles in a headress. Elizabeth riding an elephant. Royals have done some pretty silly, ridiculous activities in the past in the guise of appearing accessible
      and in-touch with the common people. I don't recall a single silly, ridiculous W&C activity on the Canada tour.
      There really ought to be a coffee table book...Rollicking Royals.

    15. There is desire for keeping private moments private and then there are security concerns. If this action had been allowed to stand, it would have encouraged a deluge of private photos of the children with a nightmare security scenario. It would have soon progressed to real-time images if gone unhindered.

    16. Tours are fluffy for everyone, unless it's a state visit. The difference, as I said before, is the numbers. WK bump up theirs with two one-week tours, and not a lot in between. Fluff.

      1949, I don't see how a tweet tweeted after they had left poses any kind of security risk. Those two children each have their own RPO's you know.

    17. Please read my comment. I explained exactly how such behavior being allowed could set a precedent. ("progressed to real-time images.")
      If George and Charlotte each had their own RPOs, added to TRH RPOs, that would mean four surrounding them at all times. The Queen is the only royal that rates that coverage-and then some.

    18. 19:41, NOT "fluff", DIPLOMACY. Huge difference.

    19. I second that Bluhare.

      Can you imagine their numbers without the tours? I wonder how their lovely supporting fan would explain that too. Although some are very creative.

    20. MOST women want and respect a man with "a set".

      William HAS this quality but, only in his case, could this be perceived as yet another negative.

    21. "THAT" is only problematic to some. To others it is in keeping with where they should be now. And tours DO count. They didn't evaporate.

      "a lovely supporting fan", lol

    22. The children have their own RPO's especially if they are out without their parents. Otherwise they'd have been out with Maria with no security at all. You don't see real time images of Kate and William unless they approve. You certainly would not see real time images of the children. Their RPO's would stop it. The fact that you don't see them in photos does not mean they aren't there.

      As far as numbers, I think Kate went to a relative's wedding in London a few years ago with 9. Certainly more than one or two.

  9. SO many lovely outfits! For some reason, the Eponine is grabbing my attention. I think Kate wore many dresses that were more stunning than the Eponine, and yet something about that dress set appeals to me. The hat she wore at Trooping the Colour is far and away my favorite accessory - LOVE the flower under the brim! I also very much like the Aimee dress - a bit of a different style for Kate. Perhaps that explains why I like the Eponine too, it's simply a bit different for her.

    Nice wrap up. Thank you, Charlotte! Happy New Year!

  10. Thanks for the great post! I love the year end reviews, itso a nice stroll down memory lane :)

    I hope everyone has a great new year! I know I will since I had my baby boy Finley Theodore on the 29th

    1. Congratulations!

    2. Oh Emily, I'm delighted for you. Congratulations :)

    3. What a lovely name for a little boy, congratulations Emily!

    4. Julia from Leominster3 January 2017 at 19:29

      Congratulations, Emily, how splendid and such a handsome name. The perfect Christmas gift, n'est-ce pas!

    5. Courtney from NC3 January 2017 at 20:26


    6. Thanks Ladies! Boys names are so hard. I loved the name Charles Bennet for so long, but he didn't look like a Charles.

    7. All the best to you and your family Emily. What a wonderful way to end the year.

    8. Happy New Year. All the best to you and your family. :)

    9. Congratulations. Enjoy your bundle of joy.

    10. Emily, Thank you for letting us know. So sweet. Praying good health and happiness to you, Finley Theodore, and the rest of your family. Are either of his names family names?

    11. Rebecca - Sweden4 January 2017 at 10:07

      Congratulations Emily :D

    12. And you are posting here already?? Finley must be a good baby!

    13. Thanks again ladiespecially! Finley is a very sweet baby. He doesnt have family name, I just mixed and matched the names I liked after he was born and he looked most like a Finley Theodore.

    14. Thanks again ladies! He is a sweet boy. I just mixed and matched the names we liked after we had him.

    15. Congrats from me as well! Enjoy him. He'll be twelve going on thirty in no time.

  11. I just love your posts. I've been an avid follower of your posts since you created this blog, and I have loved every post you've written. It's the first place I go when I want to see what the Duchess of Cambridge has been up to or just want to revist some of her fashions. Keep up the good work in the new year!

    1. I greatly appreciate it, thank you Cassie :)

  12. I must be missing something because membership to the Royal Photographic Society is achieved by paying 2800 GBP. It is not "earned". The honorary membership that Kate has been given is the society bestowing the waiver and making her a member. Personally I feel it is a PR move on their part - it has earned them headlines. Anyone can become a member of this society as long as they are willing to part with 2800 GBP.
    Kate's photographs have been widely recognized to be quite normal, the kind any mother can take when they have a good lens and an SLR camera.
    I love this blog, but I do wish it was better researched.

    1. Think you are missing something 15.45 and to criticize Charlotte for her research is beyond credulous. Kate's honorary membership is to highlight the society and not necessarily for her photography. Although her pictures of the children as youngsters will be recorded in history books. Royals are very often given honorary memberships of educational institutions and other organizations. It is good public relations for them as are royal patronages.

    2. Rebecca - Sweden3 January 2017 at 18:20

      Ofc it is a PR move. William is a honorary barrister or something of the sort. Alot of celebrities and royals are honorary alumni from universities etc. Patron/President/Honorary member etc are all common ways royals are connected to organixations.

    3. Hello,

      Thank you for your comment. I do take research very seriously and always try to consult as many sources as time permits. In this instance, here's a segment from the Telegraph article I read:

      "Her photographs are among the most widely published in the world, despite the fact that taking pictures is no more than a hobby. Now the Duchess of Cambridge has been given the ultimate recognition of her skills, with a lifetime honorary membership of the Royal Photographic Society. The Society said it regarded the Duchess as a 'role model' for other amateur photographers, praising her 'talent and enthusiasm' behind the lens."

      And here's the full press release from the Royal Photographic Society:

      "Duchess of Cambridge Accepts Honorary Membership of The Royal Photographic Society
      HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted lifetime Honorary Membership to The Royal Photographic Society. A keen and skilled photographer who has taken official portraits of her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, The Duchess is the latest in a line of royals to become associated with The RPS, an educational charity dedicated to promoting photography and supporting photographers.
      A graduate in art history, The Duchess’s talent for photography was first put into practice while working for her parents’ company Party Pieces in 2008. She further exhibited her abilities while on official travels in Borneo with HRH The Duke of Cambridge in 2012, taking an impressive shot of a misty Mount Kinabalu. But it was her photographs of newly born Princess Charlotte in 2015 that captivated the public. Taken at their home in Anmer Hall in Norfolk, the pictures of The Princess captured her cradled in the arms of big brother Prince George. The four photographs of the siblings were a sensation around the world, and unprecedented in royal portraiture. Never-before had a member of the royal family authored the first official pictures of a new addition to the family.
      Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were early patrons of The Royal Photographic Society (RPS), and Queen Victoria granted the Society use of the title Royal in 1894. The Duchess joins other official royal photographers who are RPS members, including Josh Olins, Matt Porteous and Christopher Jackson.
      RPS Chief Executive Dr. Michael Pritchard FRPS says:
      “The Duchess of Cambridge has had a long-standing interest in photography and its history. She is latest in a long line of royal photographers and the Society is pleased to recognise her talent and enthusiasm through honorary membership. We look forward to a continuing relationship with her.”

      I'm aware one can buy membership but being given honorary membership is quite different. And we'll have to agree to disagree - I think her photos are really very good :)

    4. Glad to see your reply to this post. Of course you research everything, and I always feel your postings are very accurate. We appreciate your time and hard work, and hope to see less of negative posts regarding your posts. I always feel your captions are genuine and correct. Thanks again.

    5. THANK YOU CHARLOTTE! The orangutan, um=monkey one is my favorite. It is also possible that the selection committee has seen photos not yet published as well. Professional photographers can be a competitive lot. Some comments in the media could reflect this. I think it is a perfect fit, as is the Wimbledon patronage.

    6. I second that Charlotte. I have always found your posts to be informative and balanced. There are so many that think you do a tremendous job, I hope you feel the support.

    7. "We look forward to a continuing relationship with her." I think she may assume the patronage role from the Queen.

    8. Anon 15:45 shame on you for questioning Charlotte's research. She would not write something without researching it first and talking to others. You must be new to this great blog because you would know Charlotte researchs everything before she writes about it. And you must not know much about the royal family and the many honors they receive to be part of. Maybe you need to do your own research about the royals and everything they back.
      Sorry to sound nasty but you do not come on someone else's blog and talk trash about their listings and research

    9. A wonderful look back...thank you. :)

    10. I also think her photographs are excellent. Just think of all the opportunities she will have for unique photos throughout the years. My favorites though will no doubt be the ones she takes of her family.

    11. Charlotte,

      Thank for the additional articles on Kate's being honored by the Photographic Society. Very nice.

    12. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 05:05

      Charlotte, you always do excellent research.

      The Telegraph article is just a trifle ironic perhaps in its wording. As Rebecca points out, royals often are given honourary positions, degrees and memberships that they would not receive if they were ordinary citizens. Anne is chancellor of Edinburgh University even though she never was at university. Kate's photo of Charlotte is famous because of who Charlotte and Kate are, not because of her skills as a photographer, good though they may be.

    13. Julia, with all due respect,

      If the photos of her children hadn't been as good as they are, and they are good, then the Royal Photographic Society would most likely have just remained silent. I truly do not think they patronized her quality of work just because she and the children are famous.

    14. Anonymous - 15.45 You can buy membership of the RPS, the one quoted by the anonymous poster relates to Kate's age-group and is a lifetime membership. My husband is a member of the RPS and went through their extremely difficult accreditation scheme to gain his LRPS taking many hours over many months. He's now working towards his ARPS distinction - I expect it to take many more months and hours! Most people will have worked towards their accreditations to become members. I spoke to my husband about this and his thoughts are that Kate is being lined up to eventually become Patron when the Queen decides to drop out and this is the first step towards that.

    15. In their own words, they seem to be bestowing that honor on Kate, solely on the merit of her photos. Why would they lie?

    16. Read it again-the full, official statement, which Charlotte adm. so kindly provided.

  13. Wonderful summary of 2016. Can't wait to see what is in store for Kate in 2017. Hopefully many more engagements and a one or two aboard tours.

  14. Tammy from California3 January 2017 at 16:44

    For me, the highlight of the year was the portrait of "Gan-Gan" and her grandchildren. I enjoy photography and I loved every element of that picture, from the color of the Green Room as a background, Charlotte on "Gan-Gan"'s lap (they look so very much alike!), to little Mia holding the purse. I am not sure what part of that picture stole the show for me: perfection in every way! That picture followed by George's 3rd birthday pictures (I love that they include Lupo in so many pictures, we always have our dogs in the family picture-they ARE part of the family afterall!).
    Many special moments last year though, and it was hard to choose!

    As for outfits, my favorite is the Barbara Cassasola dress. Young, fresh and revealing without revealing too much.

    Favorite events are the focuses on mental health. I think it's an important cause and can help everyone, not just a few. I think drawing attention to that subject early on can intervene before a problem gets out of hand.
    2nd is the Land Rover sailing. I love seeing Mr. Ainsley ;) , the interaction between he and the Duchess, and it's just one of the lighter engagements.

    Favorite post this year (and Charlotte, I know you probably put so much more effort into the posts when they were international, so I am sorry!) was the Christmas post. All of you readers and your traditions along with Charlotte's postings on all of the Christmas happenings (down to the restaurants with twinkling lights) put me right in the thick of the spirit! Sometimes I wish it could be Christmas all year- but then I'd be sick of it.

    Very interesting to look at how many engagements each royal performed last year. It really put things into perspective when people argue over this subject.

    Charlotte, thank you for your hard work this last year and for this very extensive post ;) I know I am not alone when I comment that one can tell how much work goes into these posts and they are enjoyed so very much. Cheers to 2017!

    1. I love seeing their interactions too, hope to see more of Mr Ainsley this year!

    2. Loved your text, Tammy.

  15. Wow Charlotte, what an incredible post. Great recap of the UK visits and the "official score card" (I guess there really is one)! I found it very interesting that The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex are close in the number of engagements they each took on. The difference being in that while Kate is down 30 engagements from the Countess overall, she has a much higher number of overseas engagements vs. the Countess' higher number of type C visits. They are both about the same in types A and B. A review of these numbers tells me that 1) it is obvious that Prince Charles is stepping into his role as the future monarch (as he should be); 2) there is an overall strategy and plan from BP as to who takes on what types of engagements with established senior royals maintaining the majority; and 3) William and Kate are transitioning into their duties with an emphasis on overseas responsibilities. Without being an expert on the royals and their engagements and not being privy to the overall plan, my speculation is that the idea is to give Prince Charles the lions share of exposure both locally as well as overseas to make him more visual so the younger royals don't overshadow him (in so much as they always usually generate much more press). Being in the states, the press follows and posts much more of William, Kate and Harry on any of their engagements (local or overseas) vs. any of the other royals, at least where I live. I can probably appreciate that many think that the other royals do much more because the UK must have more exposure for all the royals engagements. Bottom line, is my translation of the numbers shows a bigger picture and not in a negative way for Kate and William. I think they are doing what they are expected and asked to do according to the plan, IMHO.

    Always good to see Kate's looks again (she is lovely) and this recap just drives home the importance of the work she is supporting. Only expect to see more from her in the future as she grows into her role as the royal she is showing herself to be. Happy New Year to all! cc

    1. Very insightful analysis. It does start to tell a bigger story and we should keep in mind throughout 2017.

    2. I agree cc.

      William and Kate are exactly where they should be at this point in time. I think Kate is blossoming into a beautiful royal lady. What a gem. William chose wisely. And William is a compassionate, dutiful, burgeoning future king. George and Charlotte seem to growing up so fast. Seems like just yesterday they were babies. Hope they can all enjoy Carole's birthday with her on Mustique.

  16. Thanks for the wonderful recap of Kate's year. I agree with you and the other professional and reliable sources that her style has been wonderful. Simple yet elegant, formal and informal, princess and mom. Like several articles stated," if it ain't broke don't fix it"! I hope she continues her same style along with her great smile and loving heart. Wishing all of you a blessed 2017.

  17. Thank you so very much for your very kind comments on the post!

  18. Charlotte, you have done a great job detailing out the year in review. I really enjoy these posts as it is really great to look back over the year as a whole and see all the activity that has gone on. Especially during this down time of Jan. Are you planning on doing some year end polls as well?

    I felt several times throughout 2016 that this was a transitional year for William/Kate/Harry and this really puts that into perspective for me. They number of engagements for all increased greatly from 2015 and the content/variety of the engagements seemed to be a grade up as well. This is very exciting I think for 2017 as those changes can only continue in that upward trajectory. Part 2 should be equally as informative on the look back over the overseas engagements.

    I agree with you that I hope more of these become permanent additions to the calendar, i.e flower show, Ascot, etc. What I also picked up on was the amount of enjoyment W/K have in pictures when together. You can tell they are still very much in love.

    I am wondering if they are waiting for the Queen to feel better before visiting her as if the cold is a serious as it seems to be, they may not want to expose Charlotte/George to it and may also not want to expose the Queen to other germs until she feels better.

    Happy New Year to all and welcome 2017. It promises to be an exciting year of Kate following and there is no place I would rather share it then on this blog!

    1. Hello Julie,

      Yes absolutely. We'll have our polls (unless something unannounced happens) after the second Year in Review post.

    2. Rebecca - Sweden3 January 2017 at 19:14

      They are reported to have visited her last week :)

    3. Wonderful, I always think they are so much fun, although I imagine they are a ton of work for you.

      Thanks for all you do Charlotte

  19. Julia from Leominster3 January 2017 at 19:00

    Scattered remarks:
    My two favourite "at home"days of engagements were Edinburgh and Manchester. In the former, Kate successfully combined two of her patronages (and a sports event.) A very good day. I loved the kilted skirt paired with the coat and her fresh, chic shorter hair. The East Park and Nelson Trust Women's Centre was another day of important engagements - I prefer a longer skirt but like the overall look with the blue coat. Glad to see her with the Scouts.

    Manchester again had the multiple engagements I love to see at home, a sports museum, yes but also the hospice Diana had opened and the memorial. I thought Kate's Erdam coat was perfect for the event. I loved the side ponytail even though it didn't hold all day - would love to see it tried again - and her hair looked pretty even when it came down. More days of engagements like this would make me very happy.
    I thought her ceremonial coats for Commonwealth Day and for the queen's birthday were lovely. I like to see Kate looking elegant, regal and groomed and these outfits were big successes for me. I also loved the Catherine Walker repeat for the Garter ceremony and her hat for the Trooping. Although a memorial is not a place where fashion is much considered, I thought Kate's look at the Westminster memorial impeccable.
    It was a pleasure to see William and Kate attend new-for-them traditional royal events: The Chelsea Flower Show and Ascot, although neither of Kate's outfits won me.

    Seeing the royal home was a special treat and Kate looked a lovely hostess in her blue dress. Photos of the children are always delightful - my favourite had to be the queen with her grandchildren. While that set of photos was controversial, personally, I loved them; the ease of mum and daughter - the Queen and Anne, and the queen with the corgis and dorgies too. Another special treat for me was the photo from the diplomatic reception. Always glad to see Lupo - my spaniels, snoring next to me, approve and are pressing me to find that dog ice cream people were talking about. Dream on, spaniels!
    I loved the Roland Mouret evening gown and the Casasola dress I thought one of Kate's best looks. Very dashing. I also liked the Preem but preferred the Canadian styling.

    My least favourite outfit was the red Zara jacket paired with the lace dress. It looked like Little Red Riding Hood to me, and while I normally love Kate's hair up, it didn't work here. My least favourite outfit for an occasion (not the same thing as above) was the coat worn for the Magic Garden visit. It's a fine coat, but a children's event to me called for something brighter and the whole look was very last minute thrown together.
    So more engagements like Manchester and Edinburgh, a bit less of sports and sailing, would be my 2017 wish. While I appreciate the importance of tours, especially to Commonwealth Nations, William and Kate are the youthful royal face, with Harry, of a nation with many and diverse issues. The mental health scheme (for youth) is important, causes such as saving elephants, are extremely worthy but not directly related to Britain. More involvement with people of all ages in their home nation is what I would wish for the coming year.

    1. How is mental health not directly related to Britain??

      The British Royals Message Board currently has a beautiful photo of Prince Phillip and the Queen at the top. Given what the Queen is wearing, it must be another of Annie Leibowitz's pictures, but I did not see it with the others. Stunning. I wonder who did the Queen's makeup, which is perfect for her lovely complexion.

    2. Thank you for a wonderful retrospective, Charlotte! As I went through it, I thought that as Kate ups her engagements, your year end work is increasing! I look forward to Part II.

      Kate's use of various designers and clothing companies is very interesting. Some outfits were much more successful than others. I was also happy to see her using beautiful clothes which she has had for awhile. Nothing succeeds like success!

    3. Julia from Leominster3 January 2017 at 21:05

      Apparently, I worded my sentence poorly Anon 19:55, mental health is of course an important issue everywhere, including Britain, but it is one issue amongst many. William and Kate have also limited it to the young (mental health issue amongst the elderly is a tragic and serious issue, linked with many other concerns such as care homes and separation of couples.) Of course, they should pursue this interest, but it shouldn't be their entire focus in the health field, and hopefully won't be.

      I was thinking of William's work with saving elephants and wildlife. It is an important and noble pursuit but it is not directly linked to the nation where he will one day be king. I would like to see within the country, what other issues concern him.

      Someone mentioned there had been recent scandals about fund-raising and the Prince's Trust, and that is sadly true, and a risk in all fund-raising, but the Prince's Trust and Charles' other causes, have a direct goal. The Royal Foundation of William, Kate and Harry, is simply an umbrella raising of funds for certain charities at this point - charities unknown to most of us, as nothing has been done by the royals to bring public attention to them. Look at the list and they all sound excellent but the majority have not had a single royal visit. This is why this foundation - with it's glossy but uninformative websites, remind me more of foundations of rich people who feel they need a charitable interest, than active working royals. No one could accuse Charles of being a mere figurehead to his pursuits. Hopefully, Head's Together will continue to involve William, Kate and Harry in a more active way.

    4. Courtney from NC3 January 2017 at 23:00

      Anon 19:55 - I took her sentence to mean that the mental health part is important but that the animal conversation part isn't directly related to Britain. I could be wrong but that is just how I took her meaning to be.

      Julia - I, too, thought the Casasola dress was Kate's best look of the year. It was smashing and youthful.

    5. I understood what you meant Julia :) and agree that though William's causes are very worthy, I wish he showed the same passion for some that affect people at home every day. Not to mention, it's always a tough sell, being a hunter and a conservationist. I know of no one since Theodore Roosevelt who's been able to achieve that balance. Trying to do both will increasingly haunt and undermine William's efforts.
      Yes there has been a bit of recent controversy around the Prince's Trust, but it is one of the finest foundations around, bar none. If anyone doubts this, please take the time to read from any one of the thousands of people who have had their lives saved or turned around because of it. It's truly remarkable. As far as I'm concerned it will always be Charles' crowning achievement, it is that good.

    6. I thought the blue Roland Mouret was the best. She looked like a goddess that day. The Casasola IMO is a gorgeous dress but would have been much better suited for someone with curves. It swamped Kate's petite figure.
      From what I have seen Kate looks ethereal in jewel tones with body hugging silhouettes, at least I think so. White or large dresses dont play to her strengths.
      Her coloring is just so unique I don't know why she doesn't play to that. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world and just having the right stylist would sweep people off their feet.

    7. Oh don't get me started on that 19:59.

      Kate needs a new stylist. Actually... Kate needs a real stylist. Some of her outfits were good. She tried different looks, yes. But it was hodgepodge and often missed the mark. Variety and consistent success can be attained with a real stylist. Not that Kate would have to look like Vogue, but just beautifully put together, accessoried, and event and weather appropriate consistently. I see the great potential and it is not being met, in my opinion. She is an exceptionally beautiful person (inside and out) and she deserves to look like Kate, not some mannequin someone is playing dolls with. I personally think that she would love to be into fashion more but I think William may try to subdue that somewhat, directly or indirectly, because he may not want her to become what he perceived as a clotheshorse like his mum. Sad, because I loved Diana's fashion vim and vigor and it is, because of the position she held, preserved in the pages of history for posterity to enjoy. Kate can have fun again with fashion soon I hope. She always looks pretty. She could wear a paper bag and be cute, but Kate looking like Kate, fully like Kate would be stunning. We have seen glimpses of that and it was amazing.

    8. 16:56,

      "She is one of the most beautiful women in the world and just having the RIGHT stylist would sweep people off their feet", voila'. Music to my ears 16:56.

      And if you don't think looks/style are important, look how many women (and handsome men) have had profound effect and influence on the world just by virtue of their looks. Couple that with Royal status, a sweet disposition and a Royal platform and desire for humanitarianism and you have an optimal opportunity to effect change.

    9. Well said surfer girl. People may not like it, but it is reality. Good looks get attention. It's human nature.

    10. Sarah Maryland USA4 January 2017 at 23:37

      I agree with everyone on the stylist comments! Kate did a lot better fashion wise in my eye before she had Prince George. Then it started going downhill for me
      No more extra ruffle at the bottom of dresses like the one at ascot and that floral gown she wore
      No more 3/4 length dresses because they just make her happier a lot shorter than she is
      2012 was her best year fashion wise in my opinion
      She needs a new hair stylist as well. Even when she does wear 2012 items it doesn't nearly have the same effect for me because her hair isn't on point like it used to be

  20. Thank you for the wonderful annual review which I look forward to every year. I'm looking forward to following the duchess with you in the new year!

  21. I love Kate's photos of her children! So glad she was specifically honored for those. My favorites are Charlotte climbing into the chair and George pointing in front of the mural as he started school.

    Is the gentleman with Kate in the third picture Sophie's father?

  22. Great post, Charlotte! I love end-of-year recaps. On the fashion front, I think this was a hit and miss year. My favorites were the blue Roland Mouret dress with the cut out shoulders, the cream Casasola dress, the blue Packham dress from the arrival in Canada, and the red Preen cocktail dress. I thought her overall looks for Trooping of the Color and Remembrance Sunday were outstanding. Kate looked beautiful and timeless. I hope Kate's 2017 resolutions include not cutting fringe into her hair, wearing more necklaces and up-dos (which look so elegant on her), and buying some kicky shoes.

    The tally of engagements is eye-opening. I know this is an unpopular sentiment here, but when the 72 yr. old Duke of Gloucester's engagements far outnumber those of William, Catherine, and Harry, a reassessment is in order. To maintain the relevancy and strength of the monarchy (which will take a hit when the beloved Queen passes), their responsibilities to the "Firm" and the Kingdom must take priority. Most importantly, the public must feel they do so purposefully and with genuine enthusiasm and dedication. Members of the royal family should ask themselves "What Would the Queen Do?" as guidance and model themselves after Aunt Anne, who manages a heavy schedule with minimal fuss.

    1. Kim I think that if the Queen is not happy with the amount of engagements William & Kate do then she would tell them to carry a bigger load. It has been known that the Queen and Charles both support the Cambridge's doing what they do so they can be a family and raise their two children at the moment. Remember William is second in line not first. They will up their work load when the Queen feels it is necessary band that could be coming soon. But things will change again if Kate gets pregnant in 2017.
      So I don't think we should be too hard on them. We do not know why goes on behind closed doors. We also have to remember they fo have to answer to the queen b

    2. Kim, I completely agree with you about the monarchy taking a hit when the "beloved Queen passes", her absence at Christmas was a great indication of that. As I posted above, I feel that there is a bigger picture and a grand plan in place that we are not privy to. Like many corporation Boards, there are staggered terms of their directors, if you will. This is done with a purpose which is to allow the senior members, whose history and experience are invaluable, to remain in place while the junior/newer Board members learn the "ropes". I have to believe that the BP is a firm that works in much the same manner. I also strongly believe that just because someone is "older" doesn't mean that their value to the team has been outlived or passe. On the contrary, I think in order for any organization to be relevant and seamless in their transfer of power/responsibilities, there needs to be a fine balance with older, experienced members and the younger/newer junior members.

      I have worked with a Board of Directors for over 20 years now and it's the same premise. I have seen President's and Director's come and go and it is the same story. The newer/younger members always come in with grandiose ideas about why they want to change things up and are opposed to old ways and decisions, only to come to the conclusion in their third year of serving that there is actually historical perspective to the decisions that were made and why things were done in a certain manner. While they each bring their own style and perspective to the Board (which is a good thing), they always (and I mean always) end up retaining and supporting the timeheld traditions or decisions made by the senior members previously....they learned by serving. Never once have we asked a member to leave because of age...in fact one President who had health problems was asked to stay on as ex-officio because of his commitment to his responsibility and his willingness to continue to serve. For that reason, if I were the Duke of Gloucester, I wouldn't want to be replaced by a younger royal just because of age; if I was able and willing I would want to continue to serve and would hope that the value of my service would be recognized. I would prefer to lead by example. In this manner, I feel that the older royals are allowed to retain their responsibilities, relinquishing to the younger royals when the time is right, while allowing the younger royals to step in and step up their engagements as necessary. I think it is the best of both worlds and probably sooner than later there will be a shift of larger responsibilities to the younger royals. I do not think the younger royals are shirking responsibilities but rather are being groomed for the commitment and purpose their position requires. In essence, the Queen is CEO of the royal firm and I honestly believe that there is a plan in place, that she is completely in support of, and that does not involve just pushing the senior royals aside for the younger to just step in....they all have value, each in their own way. You are very right about their responsibilities when the time comes is that it must take priority, I just think we disagree about when that time is, now or later. Everything must be earned and learned. cc

    3. Sarah Maryland USA3 January 2017 at 22:51

      Amen. I 100 percent agree with you

    4. Thank you for your thoughtful replies. I agree that William and Kate must answer to the Queen, but they have a duty to the people, as well. I didn't intend to suggest that the older royals relinquish any of their duties, unless by choice (#teamseniorcitizen!). However, I'm sure there are plenty of other charities and organizations who are deserving of royal patronages.

      I read with interest about your experience with a Board of Directors, 21:52. I hope the transition will be orderly, but I don't think the reign of Charles and Camilla is going to be well received. It will be interesting to watch the dynamics within the royal family, and between the royals and the British people during this time. In my opinion, if William and Kate are dedicated to the monarchy and show enthusiasm for their future roles and King and Queen, then the people will grit it out during Charles' reign. However, if the public does not get this sense, then I think the monarchy is in trouble. If I'm throwing an occasional side-eye at William and Kate, it's only because I'm concerned they don't want to be King and Queen as much as I want them to be King and Queen. ;)

    5. Interesting conversation. I know that it's easy to have great ideas until you actually have to implement them, and get people to go along with them. I also know it's much easier to learn the ropes by actually doing rather than watching others or taking instruction. Yes, you sink a time or two, but I've always done my best learning by the mistakes I've made.

    6. I don't think any monarch really wants to be the monarch. The queen did not want the job, but duty forced the issue and she has done the job.

    7. Spot on Kim, I always enjoy your comments and discussion!
      I was discussing with friends and family recently, given the Queen's health, that no one fully understands what a shock to the national system her death will. One excellent article on "The Bridge" from the last year predicted it will be "the most disruptive event in British history since the abdication".

      So you are absolutely right, it is beyond critical that a strong monarchy is waiting in the wings, if people want it to continue. The public will be looking for it. There can be no whiff of "reluctant royals" and that doesn't happen by chance, it has to be worked on every day.

    8. Thanks Kim for your response, it gave more insight into your concern for the monarchy's future. I have been following the comments on the last post and the idea that the monarch is in trouble is disturbing and I have wanted to understand it. I am with you as I very much want William and Kate to be King and Queen! But, I don't think that Kate and William are as reluctant monarchs as "somebody" wants us to believe. I think they appear to be dedicated and have served as requested/required, as well as enthusiastic and delightful at engagements. Who knows maybe they want to do more and would be willing to do so if they were allowed IDK? I think you are probably right about the reign of Charles and Camilla not being well received (for many reasons). That is probably why it appears to me that there is a push to put Charles out in the public eye more with his increased engagements. Lots of other things suggest it, ie. the picture of Charles and the Queen being released, the appearance of that same picture on the table next to the Queen during her speech, just to name a few. It is Charles time, not Williams. That is why I think there is a plan and a concerted effort that there not be as many engagements for the popular young couple. The disconnect I have is the opinion that because William and Kate aren't always as visible or engaged as Charles is the idea that they are disinterested royals.

      The transition to a new reign is going to be pivotal for sure and the points you make with regard to the dynamics of everybody will be interesting to see unfold. It always is when there is a "change of guard". Now I better understand what you mean by "throwing an occasional side-eye at William and Kate", every so often we all need to be held to account. Makes sense and thanks for the perspective! :) cc

    9. I think they will most definitely be prepared. They have seen the Queen getting older. They know what is required. I don't perceive any "reluctance" and haven't for years now. They have outgrown that. They, most likely want the Monarchy to continue even more than the Monarchist here do. It is their heritage. I believe they take duty and responsibility very seriously. I think the Queen has perfect peace of mind about it.

    10. Anon 18:13, I thought about your comment that it's Charles time, and that's possibly a reason to not engage William and Kate more in royal duties. My take is that Charles will come to the throne as the least popular monarch in 200+ years. He was not terribly liked before marrying Diana, but that fiasco permanently damaged him. He is sandwiched between the much-loved Queen and the promise of a glittering reign under the Cambridges. The sad truth for Charles is that he's a placeholder. If I was a trusted advisor, I would counsel him to put aside his ego, encourage William, Kate, and Harry to become more involved in royal duties, keep the family cohesive and all dissension private, continue his charitable works, and stay out of politics. What are the chances he'll do this? Probably zero. Charles has waited a long time to become King, and he's determined to leave his mark.

    11. Anon 14:34, I think Charles and Camilla really, really want to be the Monarchs. Very badly.

    12. Elizabeth's father reportedly said when asked how he felt about having just become King, "It isn't all that great a job, there's really no room for advancement."

      Of course there is, depending on what one hopes to accomplish during their reign.

    13. Kim 2:10, I think your advice to Charles is very wise and he would be better served to follow it! But I agree, the odds that he won't are probably zero and that is a sad truth. Another sad truth, I fear is that what is generally perceived as reluctance by William is probably more like not wanting to compete with his father and keep the peace. I liked your comment about the "much-loved Queen and the promise of a glittering reign under the Cambridges." I think the young couple show much promise and with their genuine kind heartedness coupled with the years of experience they will have gained can only help to make that promise a reality. That's why I wish the couple could be cut a little slack sometimes. They will make missteps and mistakes on the way, but they will also learn from that and come out better at the end. I think that William and Kate have a lot in common with the Queen and Prince Philip. While the Queen was faced with responsibility early and stepped up to it in a fine fashion, I feel that she is willing to allow William and Kate to be a young couple in love before they have to step head on into their destiny.

      As for Charles, I don't know. Even with putting him into the forefront you still can't make him more charismatic. And whether or not Camilla wants to be a Queen or a consort is a sticking point. She would be well advised to not take the title of Queen, which I think will show her true colors if she does. Charles would be wise to follow your sage advice! cc

    14. It's not a matter of reluctance on W&K's part. Charles does not want to be eclipsed by their star power given the task before him: having Camilla crowned and accepted as the next queen. Making her his wife was only half the battle. While the Queen is alive, the allegiance and respect is given to her. When she passes, will C&C inherit this? I doubt it. So yes, W&K are a threat and anyone who dismisses this is ignoring the elephant in the room.

    15. cc, great points.

      William not wanting to compete with his father is a component not mentioned before perhaps. It is a very valid point, in my opinion.

      I agree also that Camilla should play it safe, even though for Alice Keppler's sake she may feel like righting some perceived Royal wrongs and want to rule to roost more.

    16. Zora from Prague5 January 2017 at 21:32

      Thank you for this discussion. It is very interesting and insightful. Being a stranger, neither from the UK nor the US or a Commonwealth country, I find some connections less obvious and some opinions difficult to understand, or rather a lot of things simply don't come to my mind. Reading your comments, though, I feel I begin to grasp the complexity of things a little more. As someone noted, very few people have lived with a monarch other than the Queen. To me, she is a symbol of Britain and of all good things that GB has brought to the world's history. I can't imagine what it will be like without her and I hope her impact will stay with her family for a long time, even if shifts and changes will be inevitable. I think Charles' position is in some - just some - ways similar to that of "Bertie" (later king Edward VII.) whose mother was Queen Victoria. A lot of people had predicted his reign would be a total disaster. Let's see what the future brings for Charles... and what his input will be. I just hope this is not the near future.

  23. What an extensive and well researched post Charlotte. It was lovely to revisit last years events, and I noted that they really increased their workload.
    I loved the Roland Mouret gown, and Kate looked spectacular in it. The Casasola was another favorite.
    I enjoyed the pictures of President Obama's visit, and of course the Queen with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
    Looking forward to more events this year. Thank you Charlotte for all your hard work.

  24. Has anyone heard Anne or the Duke of Gloucester say they Want to give up their activities?

    1. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 01:26

      I'm sure Anne doesn't; she just took on more. The poor Gloucesters - first, it's Princess Michael suggesting they should give up their home to Harry, (and they have a host of grandchildren so may like staying in a large flat they've had for years) and now people are talking about whether they should give up their patronages (there's also Princess Alexandra, just turned eighty - and looking fabulous, younger than Camilla, a decade her junior - who has some major patronages such as Guide Dogs for the Blind.) I don't feel we have to go there - the queen and Philip have enough patronages to keep the hardest working young royals busy and clearly they are starting to cut back and are going to need to cut more. Charles already has a massive amount of patronages and is going to have to take on more of the queen's work soon regardless and cut back on active involvements. William and Kate could take on a dozen more each without upsetting anyone's prerogative but Kate didn't even attend the recent EACH gala.
      What I see and what worries me is that charities are increasingly turning away from royals for the faces of their charities. Celebrities are taking over many of what used to be a royal family member's role. Such as happened with EACH. Each time this happens (no pun) the purpose of the royal family becomes more oblique. Yes, it still looks nice on a letterhead to have a royal patron but if they start to be seen as otherwise expendable, the monarchy is not going to continue to have long-term relevance.
      What I keep hoping to see is a more youthful face of the future of the monarchy, out there becoming deeply involved with their country. More royal visits like Manchester, Luton, and Cornwall this year. It doesn't have to involve more patronages. Just the three younger royals getting out there. I doubt the queen is telling her family what to do or not do - the idea she might order family members to do more doesn't fit what we know of her - if she had been more assertive, the disasters of the nineties might have been less severe - instead she stayed out of it until it really was a disaster.
      royalfan has argued this is an effort of Charles to put himself and Camilla forward. I'm not sure if I agree or not - he can't have liked playing second fiddle to the Bucklebury Christmas procession but maybe there is something to it. But no institution who let's personal egos take the place of sound judgement prospers. Camilla just did three big engagements. I wonder how many people on this blog, without doing homework can name them? I would halve that number if you took the general public, quarter it or less if you took people under thirty. (Two of these engagements did make it to the Telegraph, the third I had to go to a royal blog to find photos of. I no longer subscribe to the Times so can't speak to them.)
      I believe there is still a general assumption at least some members of the monarchy is working. It does run in the background for many but it's worth remembering in the past, minor royal visits were noted. I remember there were routinely photos in Vogue of royals attending events. No more.
      Personally, I don't think the time to start this is a start of a new reign whenever that may be - hopefully, still some time in the future. The time to start building is now. A coronation will give a short-term boost - although it is going to raise all sorts of questions from religious ones to whether Camilla is going to be crowned. (It's surprising how many people feel she won't be - wish I could agree.) After that...who knows but there is possibly to be a republican push. But if the monarchy goes into this period in a strong position this is much less likely.
      Is there a long-term plan? For events, certainly, we know that. For deeper planning, I frankly doubt it. That has never been a strength of this monarchy and it is very decentralised. But I hope someone out there is giving these issues some honest thought.

    2. Julia, it makes no sense to me that there ISN'T a playbook being utilized - for better or worse. Exactly who decides when and where the Cambridges will visit those towns for those day trips? It would have to be coordinated with all other royal calendars and knowing who is patron of what. I doubt William and Kate are randomly picking their own town/itineraries every year.

      I do question the notion that more visibility equals better. There's plenty of research to suggest that overexposure can do harm for reputations. Do we really need more playdates for Kate? (Having tea and cake and playing with children) Or sporting events? She isn't exactly qualified to do anything - and their fundraising power is limited because Charles and his generation have all the philanthropic channels tapped into.

      It's always an interesting debate -- is the work the royals do to maintain their status quo? (like a politician?) or is it really having a positive impact on the country/community?

    3. Courtney from NC4 January 2017 at 06:16

      Julia - I am not sure if I am thinking of the same events you are because I don't particularly follow Camilla but I know she took over for the Queen at the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst because I read two articles about it but that was several weeks ago. As well as the Christmas party at Clarence House. Hmmm. Remembering another in the last month or so is hard for me. Not going to lie. I give up. Lol. I am not even sure if the two I recall were even the ones you were speaking of but those are the only two things I remember seeing.

    4. Interesting question, Moxie. I think they do it to maintain their status quo. And because they are publicly funded they must be seen to help the hand that feeds them. I don't think for one second that the royal family is chock full of truly altruistic individuals. That being said, I think several have done real good with their platforms. It's William who really needs to step up in my opinion. His younger brother is outdoing him publicly by a long shot.

    5. Moxie, I agree with you that visited areas are not random, but come from higher orders. Sophie Wessex once said that the Queen knows exactly when and where everyone is at. Also agree on overexposure. Especially given the level of interest in W/K. I also understand the reluctance on taking on more patronages at this time. We have already seen the passing down of patronages and this will continue not only from the Queen and Duke but there are other elderly royals with many patronages. Even if the York girls become full on royals, there is still too much to take on. So either the youngsters hold back on patronages at this time and take on the ones of their predecessors or they build a large portfolio of their own and those older ones fall by the wayside. Either way some organizations probably will land up without a royal patron.

    6. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 16:41

      Brilliant, Courtney, I believe I owe you chocolate for getting two out of three. Remembering Sandhurst is truly well-done because there were articles ahead but very few photos of the actual event. I had to go looking. The Christmas party was the second. The Royal Variety Performance was the third I was thinking of with Camilla in that blazing red dress. It got quite horrid reviews (the show, not the dress, although it wasn't well-received by all either.)

      I don't think over-exposure for William and Kate is possible. And I don't think telling people that they need to be looking to Charles and Camilla is going to have any effect except to make young people especially, but also people of the Diana era like me who aren't keen on Charles and especially Camilla, ignore the monarchy. (Please don't pay attention to Taylor Swift, dear people, you should be listening to Vera Lynn.)

    7. Yeah I would tend to agree with Moxie that it is about maintaining the status quo. As Julia points out celebrities are now doing for free what royals are paid millions to do. As I said a few posts ago, from what I hear from friends in England, people are a lot more cynical about royals than they were 20 years ago, so it seems that people are recognizing the fact. Unless one of the younger royals is willing to do what Diana did - really take an issue like HIV and transform it, break down barriers.. I think that people will continue to question their value. Small issues here and there, opening ceremonies, "bringing awareness" - these are things that are all small fry and my prediction is that among the newer generations, these things will have far less relevance. To really impress people that royals are NEEDED, royals will have to do things that other celebrities cannot do .. like Diana did. Just jacking up "number of engagements" each year is not going to cut it. I mean what exactly is an "engagement" ? Something all of us do as a byproduct of having to build careers .. we don't get paid for this stuff. And each engagement lasts between 20-45 minutes. Mind you. So Charles' strategy of appearing to be "hardworking" .. whatever that means, is not going to work. The gig is already up. People know what a hardworking royal means.

      That being said, there is some symbolic value to having a royal figurehead. The pomp, tradition, the beauty, the aura - people just love fairy tales and having royals keeps the fairy tale going. The picture of the royal family walking to church each year, the continuity of it - being able to see William/Harry from when they were 7 till today.. of this has the effect of cementing national sentiment. The value of that should not be underestimated. Perhaps in another 30 years this will be the only reason people will want the monarchy to continue. For this reason I question William's judgement and his desire to "transform" the monarchy. Transformation to what exactly ? If you remove the aura, the pomp, the aura of being "divinely chosen" then what are you left with ? Why should people want you ? Why you and not me ? Why should you have access to 1000 carats in diamonds and tiaras and round the clock security and amazing works of art in your living room and not me ..? This is how people will think.

    8. Moxie I believe the goal *should* be having a positive impact on the country and every community. And I believe for the most part it is. The royals are the chief face of "Brand Britain", they must be promoters, cheerleaders, consolers when necessary. I personally believe that secondary to that is maintaining the status quo, because if you're not out and about what's the point to having you?

      Since it's already been brought up the Prince's Trust is an excellent example of how a royal can use their position and influence to improve daily life for Britons.

      Supporting and promoting other national charities to encourage private participation and support is critical. Bringing attention to small British businesses by visiting their factories, showcasing their products is always important.

      Like anything, once you identify and establish the goal or purpose, it's easy to follow a route to achieve it. You just need willing workers ;) And to trot out the old cliche - does anyone hear it?

      You must, must, must have a good and productive working relationship with the press, which is still the way to communicate with the majority of the British public. Again, about 66 million people in the UK, less than a million follow KP on Twitter, less than 3 million the official BP account, and I'd assume half of them are Americans! Press relations operate on a basic "you scratch mine, I'll scratch yours" - smart people can use it quite effectively.

    9. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 17:21

      Moxie, I doubt if the word "playbook" is known in the royal vocabulary. All royals have private secretaries and staff of course, and receive invitations and make decisions based on that, but from what I've heard communication between the various households is not good and competition is considerable. Most engagements royals do at home are by their own choice, not what some other branch has coordinated and suggested they do.
      That's why when the queen fell ill for important engagements in the past, it has often been the case no other royal stepped in to fill her place. In the corporate world of course (hopefully) someone would jump in but without a lot of advance planning, that doesn't often happen in the royal world unless the event is critical. Why didn't Kate step in? Why didn't Charles step in? Their diaries were free, we hear, but it doesn't work that way.

      Worth remembering too that still many courtiers are ex-forces not from the business world. Until very recently (and possibly still lingering amongst the older courtiers - in fact, I know it is) the business world was seen as not quite nice.

      Foreign tours normally involve the foreign office of course, and the queen may ask various family members to do certain things but mostly it is said to be a very decentralised operation.
      There is a lot of ambiguity about the future. Charles is said to want a smaller monarchy with just his immediate family. But when the queen handed over recent patronages just a few weeks ago, she handed them over to the very family members it was thought Charles meant to side-line such as Andrew and Edward. How does that fit in the playbook? Does this mean we're wrong about Charles? Probably not - his feelings have been expressed in semi-official biographies. It just mean the queen is still in charge and is doing things her way, not based on long-term planning. And whilst we've heard a lot about Charles' plans, we've never seen how they're actually going to work since it would leave a great deal of work on a few. My guess is no one as yet quite knows and it will be sorted once he's king.
      I admire the royal family as an institution but I would never think of it as a paradigm for business-management. And we're dealing with people who, however friendly they may seem, are used to having things done their way and to receiving deference. There have been some communications from William and most recently Harry that shouldn't have been worded as they were - but I doubt any press or private secretary would dare say so. And we get charming figures like Charles former valet who has been discredited again and again and was supposedly gone, until he recently appeared behind those monetary demands for the Prince's Trust.

    10. Bluhare,

      I do believe that many members of the Royal family are chock full of altruistic intentions. Many comments from the Queen, Harry, Sophie, Anne, Phillip, William and Kate's wedding statement bear this out. They are not just in it for the money. You can, year after year, see the compassion in their movements and in their eyes around the hurting. And that compassion grows year by year.
      I don't, for one second, believe that they are not chocked full of altruism, true compassion. How could anyone be around hurting people and not be.

    11. Yet, Julia, that isn't how monarchies work. It isn't by popular vote/opinion - it's by birth. You get what you get. It may be one of the downside of Elizabeth reigning so long - No one under the age of 65 (really 70 for purposes of memory) has experienced another monarch. If you think we've reached the age of choosing the Monarch like Pop Idol (or American Idol) then why must it be one of the Windsors?

      I also think it may be simplistic to only factor in what can be viewed through the lens of the press. From what I understand, there is still a class system in the UK and the power structure protects itself - through business connections and government seats and aristocratic culture - none of that we are privy to.

      In my opinion, where you might have use for a monarch and family is in the foreign relations sector - which Charlotte hasn't covered yet. With Brexit happening - you do need high profile ambassadors connecting with foreign countries for trade purposes.

      Perhaps we need a lesson on how a Monarch can be dismissed in the UK? Can the majority vote them out? It is my understanding that upon the death of the Queen, Charles automatically becomes King. And to remove Charles you'd have to do what?

    12. Activities across royals are not coordinated. Each royal has their own office or staff to decide which events to attend. How many events they will attend each year is similarly left to their own discretion.
      There are many documentaries (Charles and Diana on youtube comes to mind) which shows the entire process. Charles and Diana initially used to coordinate some of their activities - they have a little clippet showing how it all went down with the two of them and the secretaries and how they decided which ones to attend jointly or individually. But there was no further coordination whatsoever with the Queen or Andrew or anybody else.
      And as Julia stated above, this does sometimes lead to missed events. For example, the funeral or birthday or some such important event among one of the European royals a couple of years ago. The BRF was the only royal family absent due to no coordination between offices.

    13. I don't know what their calculus is on all that but they definitely need a playbook. Some nice software designed to keep track of tangible benefits obtained by their involvement. It would be good all the way around.

    14. A monarch can be dismissed by war, insurrection, abdication and/or an Act of Parliament. I think. The days of kings actually ruling the country are over, but I suspect an Act of Parliament could be put up if the person in question refused to abdicate voluntarily. I am almost positive there has been a forced abdication in the past by parliamentary action.

    15. I agree Moxie, the Monarchy is entrenched, deeply entrenched over hundreds of years by sustained "business connections, government seats and aristocratic culture".

      The Monarchy lived through the mental health problems of King George, also the King that they re-throned at the people's request after the Cromwell years. Granted, given the Queen's enduring service and the admiration of the world, she will be a tough act to follow. And I, for one, am not looking forward to the transition of the Crown, especially with Charles in the wing. I very much appreciate the Monarchy and want it to continue and hopefully Charles will do okay. The Queen's imprint will be there, so that will help. Comparatively, I have far fewer doubts about William's ability to be a good monarch, especially with Kate by his side and Harry on his team. He has had more of an opportunity to live outside of the Royal bubble and doesn't seem to have the eccentricities that Charles has. The Queen's imprint is with William also. Thank heaven.

    16. Courtney from NC5 January 2017 at 02:47

      Julia - I am actually surprised that I was correct on either. I avidly read many publications, digital and print, and love another blog where the sartorial choices of various royals are discussed. I have learned a lot from there as well. I think there are two reasons Sandurst stuck in my mind and one is I remember the story of the Queen and Kate there when William had his turn and military stories have a special place in my heart. I always look forward to pictures of the annual Clarence House Christmas decorating party so that is probably the only reason I knew that.

      I feel quite silly for not remembering the Royal Variety Performance. Sigh. Knowing I got two out of three, though, is more rewarding than chocolate. As well as less fattening.

    17. bluehare,

      I think the 1936 abdication in UK had an indirect reason too.

      (These days there are two versions of a bluehare /the "Jean Austin"? and the one with a hyper link / LOL / well, a bit confused here. Any way one of you said in the previous post, " I would have been saluting to a Hitler" had the abdication not happened. That abdication might have had some government backing for a reason on top of the W. Simpson obvious one.

      What is interesting about British Monarchy is that it is restrained from imposing absolute power. Constitutional Monarchy with some balance, history and a 90 years old Queen is interesting.

  25. Courtney from NC3 January 2017 at 21:34

    I would also like to add my praise and appreciation for Charlotte's hard work this year. I always find her posts very well thought out, researched and put together. They are also very informative and consistently provide the most comprehensive information of any Kate blog around.

    As for the yearly review, I love that it has been split up. Another thing that strikes me about the recap is the sheer variety of looks Kate showed us this year. I did not love all of the looks by any means. I just love that there were so many different looks.

    Things I didn't love: her look at the RAF disbandment in Anglesey. The red Zara coat and white lace D&G from the Queen's birthday celebrations because they just didn't work together. I also didn't love the Ascot rewear of the D&G dress. I love her hair and the hat but the dress was almost juvenile. I liked it more originally but every time I see it I like it less. Lastly, I didn't love the red floral Vanessa Seward she wore around Christmas time.

    Things I just liked: the Erdem from the Commonwealth Service was just okay for me. It felt a bit heavy with the fabric. I did like the hat and grey shoes very much. I did like the Saloni illusion gown she wore before the India tour but would have liked it more with an updo. The rewear of the McQueen she wore for George's christening was another look I liked a lot. Again she looked completely lovely and very appropriate. The Catherine Walker she wore for the National Thanksgiving Service for the Queen was also very lovely and appropriate. The only reason I didn't love it was because it is just very much a typical look. Trooping the Colour was a a fab look as well, minus the earrings. I just don't love them.

    Things I loved: I absolutely loved the redux of the Michael Kors she wore for the anniversary of Gallipoli. I know many didn't love it but I think it was perfect for the occasion and for the location. Love it with the hair up! I also loved the Eponine outfit she wore to the mentoring program. Classic yet younger than many of Kate's looks. I would love to see it again with an updo of some sort, as well as other pieces by Eponine. I loved th

    Things I really, really loved: The Nanson gown by Roland Mouret looked fabulous on Kate. I cannot wait until we see it again, hopefully, with an updo and some serious bling. The red Catherine Walker from Order of the Garter was pure princess perfection in my opinion. Love the shoes, the hair, the earrings. Of course I loved the reappearance of the blush sequin Jenny Packham at the "Taste of Norfolk". She gave us everything we asked for after the first time she wore it: updo, earrings, confidence.

    I now realize how many things I could keep talking about. I won't bore anyone with all the rest. I will just hit the rest of the highlights for me.

    1.) The Queen with the children and with Charles, William and George were both amazing pictures. Add the picture at the Diplomatic Reception with Charles & Camilla and William & Catherine, not forgetting the DoE and it was a great year in pictures for the Queen.

    2.) Any of the pictures of the children but I especially love George with Lupo and the balcony appearance.

    3.) The reemergence of Kate's casual clothing game. After the many appearances of the Breton top and skinnys I love that she tried out different casual looks this year. The look from the Houghton Hall horse trials was lovely from what I can see.

    4.) Her improved shoe game!

    And lastly my favorite look from all year....

    I am so in love with the Barbara Casasola dress that Kate wore. It was young. fun, flirty and sensual without being over the top or inappropriate for her position. It gave her curves her usual choices may not accentuate. I even love the shoes and her hair looked amazing. I so long to see it with an updo and some statement earrings. The look blew me away because it was so different for Kate and so on point. It was a glimmer of the looks she wore during their first year of marriage.

    1. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 01:38

      A lovely, write-up Courtney, and I agree on your favourite. Loved the new shoes too.
      Some of my least favourites seemed to come from the current seventies revival that has hit some other royals as well. That style can't pass to quickly for me - and those looks won't age well

      If I had a 2017 fashion wish for Kate it would be more use of accessories and perhaps some regional jewellery. Some of her outfits didn't seem that well put together and could have used a belt or a necklace. And although many disagree, I think fewer big curls and more emphasis on using styles that keep her hair off her face - but not that girlish straight pull-back, would be great.

      But for the most part, I agree with your assessment. Writing this on the back of a sleeping spaniel so rather precarious.

      Again Charlotte a masterful job.

    2. Sorry if this is a duplicate but I hope the same thing for 2017, that Kate works on her accessories more.
      The Mail had a piece on Kate v Meghan that got a little too Mail-ish but made a good point on how Kate styles her outfits. They showed Meghan in similar pieces but with more striking jewellery, trendier shoes etc. I'm not condoning it on the whole, but it was a visual interpretation of many comments here. If some of Kate's outfits were styled a little better they'd be smash hits every time and I think everyone would agree on them too!

    3. Courtney from NC4 January 2017 at 06:07

      Julia - As we share a favorite look it is fitting that we want to see so many of the same things for Kate in 2017. I do agree that many of her outfits could do with a little more "finishing" or touches to pull the look together and make it cohesive. I would also love to see her take a page from Queen Letizia from Spain as far as earrings go. She has some really cute earrings that make her looks go from good to great. I think that Kate looks so much more youthful right after she gets a haircut. I would love to see a should length, or little longer, style with actual layers. Heck I would love to see something edgy but that won't happen. Her hair often seems heavy. It looks good but it could look better.

      I also dislike the current seventies feel to fashion. Many of the fashions then were garish or unflattering so I shudder when I see some of the new looks that are on trend right now.

    4. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 16:31

      I agree Courtney. There are so many wonderful local craftsmen and women out there who do fantastic earrings and little necklaces. Not expensive things - just something that would add a spark to some of those dresses that seem picked out from Net-a-Porter and put on without much thought. Before her marriage, Kate was brilliant at putting together outfits -clever little coats with dresses, even though her clothes were less expensive, they looked dashing.

      I wish Kate would put someone on discovering some unique things like Letizia's earrings. Little touches like that can add a lot. She has occasionally done that on tours and people loved it.

      To me Kate's hair looks terribly heavy too and often wind-hit. It seems something of a shield for her like the pianist Martha Argerich seems to use her hair as a shield when she plays. (she's so brilliant, I tolerated it but it drove Leo wild.) Kate does seem so much younger to me when it's cut and more professional too.

      I don't know if you were around in the seventies but I certainly was and can't believe some of the truly ghastly trends from that era that are back now. (Thank goodness, Kate has avoided the worst of them!) All those awful colour combinations and strangely cut skirts and trousers. Surely, there are better periods to look to.

    5. Courtney from NC5 January 2017 at 02:53

      Seeing as Kate sometimes purchases jewelry during tours to wear at the last minute I wouldn't think it would be a stretch to do it at home. There are some really cute earrings made by small design firms, in all price ranges, that would be amazing on her. I am an earring person though. She is slowly evolving, I think, so hopefully that becomes part of her style evolution.

  26. Courtney from NC3 January 2017 at 21:35

    I forgot to add that I am can't wait to see Will & Kate on the 11th!

  27. Zora from Prague3 January 2017 at 21:35

    Thank you for the wonderful post, Charlotte - the year's perspective is priceless! My favourite photos: 1. the Queen with her grandchildren + great-grandchildren, 2. the Cambridge family on the balcony of BP, 3. Kate in the long blue Roland Mouret Nansen gown, with the young people. And I noticed especially 2 things: how much little Charlotte looks like the Queen (even my husband and my youngest son noticed!), and how W&K care for each other. It's so good to see their mutual affection!
    Can't wait for Part 2.
    Thank you so much for your work, your time and energy put into this blog!

    1. Everything you just said, Zora. Ditto. :)

  28. Thank you for such a fantastic recap! It's so fun to look back on all the events of this year.

    One thing that crossed my mind lately is I cannot believe how many journalists STILL refer to HRH as "Kate Middleton". She's had her title now for nearly 6 years! While I understand "The Duchess of Cambridge" can feel a bit impersonal and clunky to us Americans, I find it incredibly rude how many news sources still use her maiden name.

    I don't know how much my personal tactics help on the grand scheme of things, but I do my best to never click on an article with "Kate Middleton" in the title so I'm not contributing traffic to these sites.

    I didn't know if this bothers any other readers of the blog! Thanks again for the incredible post and all your hard work year after year.

    1. Yes, Anon 23:06,it REALLY bothers me. You don't see journalists doing the same for other royal houses of Europe who have numerous members who married into royalty from non-aristocratic families. And if writing correctly is too onerous for the journalists who refuse to use her title, I'd like to suggest that they do something easier. Quit and save us from bombardment with such sloppiness.

    2. It is disrespectful but seems to comfort those who still can't accept she got her man and that she is truly royal.She persevered through ridicule and name-calling and has apparently become a beloved wife and loving mother, while remaining a faithful daughter and sister. She is well-respected as a person with those who know her and is growing more beautiful inside and out.

    3. Julia from Leominster4 January 2017 at 16:17

      I believe it comes from several reasons:
      1. The Middletons have remained very prominent - other royal ladies' families much less so.
      2. Middleton is easy to spell. Other ladies's surnames less so. The one other whose name is easy for the press to grab is Donaldson and I have seen Mary's surname thrown out more than Letizia's or Maxima's. Imagine the DM spelling Zorreguieta Cerruti.

      3. Kate was Kate Middleton for a long time before she was Duchess of Cambridge and so a lot of Internet information ended up under that name.
      4. Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Cornwall are easy to muddle.

      5. There are fewer Camillas, Max's and Letizia's out there than Kate's so using Kate's first name without a surname can lead to confusion. A few times I put just "Kate" in a search and got Kate Winslet.
      6. The press can't just call her Princess Kate as yet, unlike Princess Mary, say because the British don't normally use that title for in-laws. When she gets to be Princess of Wales, she'll probably become Princess Kate, like we call her Duchess Kate, neither correct.

      Some malicious plot? Honestly, I don't think so. For years, foreign papers and magazines (there was no Internet then) called Diana "Lady Di" rather than the Princess of Wales and I don't think anyone was accepting she "got" Charles. (Poor thing that she did.)
      Looking even at favourable blogs, very few royals are called by their proper titles - Charles is Charles or POW. All the Swedish in-laws are Dukes and a Duchess but that's not we Google them - indeed except for Rebecca, I doubt if most of us could name their titles without checking.
      It's very true you do get more under Kate Middleton - I just found that out looking for a photo (post-marriage.) Sooner or later as her title changes, that may change but it is worth remembering that, as her title does, there will be even more confusion, another reason why the press may not be jumping to embrace it.

      As for Catherine versus Kate William finished that when he first called her Kate in that interview. She will always be Kate - I think of those lines from Taming of the Shrew (They call me Catherine who speak of me) every time that comes up. As someone who gets called by her "work" nick-name quite often even though my family never used it, she has my sympathy but I take in good spirit and suspect Kate does too.

      There are worse nicknames Randy Andy now Airmiles Andy and others I won't repeat here so Kate Middleton isn't really so bad.

    4. Amen, 06:02. She is continuing to flourish and that is a good thing.
      A testimony to a loving heart and inner fortitude. The proof is in the pudding and it has been evident to the world since 2004.

    5. Internet access does not excuse supposedly respected writers using her maiden name in the body of a news story about her. Use in tag-lines is questionable,
      but explainable.
      It is never Camilla Parker-Bowles, nor Sophie Rhys-Jones. Why Kate Middleton? Actually, Sophie and Kate's maiden names have the same number of letters-so not really easier to write.
      Camilla and Sophie dated their future husbands at least as long as Kate was
      known as Kate Middleton.
      The excuse of being used to doing something, therefore it is acceptable opens
      Pandora's Box-all sorts if deeds were the custom in various times and places.

    6. Rebecca - Sweden4 January 2017 at 19:57

      Amen Julia. And the biggest of all I think is, Kate Middleton get hits, people know who it is, so it makes money. As crass as it sounds, if sites don't get clicks, they don't get money.

    7. I read an article about it and I think Julia has hit most points that I have seen on the title of Kate/DoC Kate, Catherine, etc.

      1. Confusion over her many titles. Her title also changes in England vs. Scotland vs. Northern Ireland
      2. It's easier to relate to informal Kate for most people vs. more formal Catherine. Kate can be the girl on the street, next door, your best friend. Catherine as it relates to her seems a lot more formal even if this is what her family calls her
      3. Relax in protocol over all in society
      4. Middleton last name also plays upon the fact that she was neither royal nor aristocratic at the time of marriage. She came from the middle class (although a very small wealthy part of the middle class) and Middleton pretty much sums this up as a reminder of the fairy tale part of their romance
      5. It's easy to remember, everyone immediately recognizes it, and she was known for some time as her maiden name publicly and old habits die hard
      6. She has herself in several engagements with children said 'Just call me Kate.' Which makes it seem as if she doesn't mind either.
      7. George and Charlotte birth certificates list her occupation as Princess of the UK further complicating matters and what to call her or which title to use.

      One of the articles also mentioned that the majority of the traffic is being driven from the US where it is much less informal, titles don't mean much, etc. etc. I don't know if that is necessarily true or not but could also be a contributor to the continued use of Kate or Kate Middleton. People refers to her as Princess Kate which is also not correct, others still use Kate Middleton, UK media I think tends to use Duchess Kate or some sort of variation more than when outside the US, but you don't ever see her full title in use anywhere.

      Below is a link to one of the articles and you can find more. I tried to highlight the bullets that were consistent across all articles that talk about this.


    8. I totally agree with all the points made here. (I'm anon 23:06). There are many reasons that it is understandable why she is still largely known as Kate Middleton, and not all of them are intended to be disrespectful. Like how we think of it as a personal way of referring to her like a friend, and that we got to know her publicly for so many years before marriage. It's certainly an interesting discussion. I had just been thinking how she's been a royal for over 5 years and has given birth to two royal babies, and I thought calling her her maiden name would have faded more by now from the press.

      Personally I like calling her Princess Kate. Yes, I know it's not correct, but I feel like it respects her royalty and everyone knows who you're talking about!


    9. So- we are all agreed. Vanity Fair is a reliable source for quotes and information?

  29. I simply love this family. Thanks for the beautiful recp and post! xo HAPPY NEW YEAR!! XO

  30. Thank you for a lovely and extensive recap.
    George in his robe was the highlight of my royal year!

  31. Thanks for a great post! I am sure it was a lot to pull together but then when you think of all the work you do on each individual post, it's crazy! I am glad to see Kate getting more involved and stepping out in her role more. I think as the kids grow, we will see more. Plus, I am assuming that Kate is doing some sort of 'Queen' training. I would imagine that would take up some time. Not a ton, but maybe a few hours a week. But maybe I am being idealistic. Time will tell!

    1. Good point, Katie. Catherine's (consort) training is something not mentioned much here. But there are all he commonwealth countries/histories to know, probably languages to practice, all sorts of protocols to learn, and people (diplomats, heads of state, their wives) to learn and remember as well. I think that's why she looked somewhat serious at the State dinner for China. She was probably terrified of putting a foot wrong her first time on a world stage in this way.

      There are many details and decisions to consider such as which art works to hang (or remove) from the rooms used when heads of state are hosted. I believe that for President Sarkozy Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo was taken down. Nice. Other cultural artifacts are curated and displayed.

      Heavens! You'd need a university credit course (Brenda's Rocks 101?) in the royal jewels alone. I would think such training would be weekly and demanding. I know she got help when she was dating William in order to present more regally in public situations where she might be photographed.

      I've never believed that she is swanning about on long country walks and idling away the time playing with the children in the nursery day after day when she isn't making a public appearance.
      I believe that she and William do as much behind the scenes for their patronages as they can manage as it doesn't create such chaos or need as much micro-managing.

      I also believe that William and Catherine are doing what is expected of them by the more senior royals. The focus needs to be on that generation at this time. If W&C did more royal duties right now, they'd risk of criticism for overshadowing Charles and Camilla. (There already was some of that in the remarks about how W&C spent Christmas.)

      I also don't understand the idea that their recent BC/Canada tour was "fluffy" compared to the first Canadian tour. For the first tour we had a very stiff and starched Prime Minister. He's been called a man with Lego hair! In contrast, we now have a young and engaging Prime Minister who has a different style. Maybe that has something to do with the optics.

      But saying that events like wine-tasting are somehow fluffy when it draws global attention to a huge industry in the province (as was also done in Australia) is a little off the mark. Ask any wine writer. Wine tasting is work. Hard work. And the yo-yo tour over vast geography,in a short period of time was full on, exhausting work. And you certainly don't get to relax with the wine!

      Sorry. I got going and rambled on!

    2. Wine tasting can be thirsty work! :-P But in all seriousness, I agree that W&K make tours look easy when there must be a lot of planning & things to consider behind the scenes. I remember when poor Kate almost took a tumble at the vineyard in those sky-high wedges at said wine tasting! Bet she regetted her choice of footwear that day, but the amount of publicity she generated for the Queenstown region here in NZ is priceless. That is their job - to promote the Commonwealth & highlight tourism & other industries - which they do a great job of at that.

    3. I enjoy and respect your focused, rational, well-organised ramblings, Philly.I also mostly agree with you, so that helps. Ha!
      "Yo-yo tour,"indeed. And not exactly a relaxing glass of wine with scores of
      on-lookers and photographers recording your every move.

      I also envy you your new home environment. Gorgeous scenery!

    4. According to William she likes adult colouring books so there's that... and apparently she started painting the summer Charlotte was born. I think there's a lot of easy living frankly.

    5. Philly,

      I also thoroughly enjoyed your "ramble" and very much agree regarding William and Kate.

    6. Philly,

      You deftly put touring in it's proper perspective and honorability where it belongs. yay

      Kate, no doubt, is learning the ropes of her Royal life and future responsibilities. The Queen is probably overseeing that and contributing personally as much as she can. Quite a lot probably.

      I still see David Manning with both she and William at engagements. Jamie Pinkerton was like Kate's shadow in the first year or two of her Royal life. These men were assigned to instruct and guide them.

      What with the castles, palaces, and grounds, the antiques, paintings, personnel, protocols, china, crystal, sterling, and royal history, parenting, her marriage, and current engagements, she probably never has an idle moment. And we haven't even gotten to the bling yet, lol.

      I would love to know how many millions that interest in Kate has generated over the years. The display of her wedding gown alone raised over 11 to 18 million dollars just for that. That is just one of many examples. Whatever she wears can sell out in minutes, etc.

  32. President Obama, at his final press dinner, in Joking said that since he is on his way out nobody shows him any respect anymore. He said for example Prince George shows up to meet me at dinner in his bath robe, what a slap in the face that was". The crowd roared.

    1. The way he presented it doesn't translate as funny as on video. His press dinner speech was very funny and it is on You Tube, btw. He "dropped the mic".

  33. Thank you Charlotte. Great coverage for a great year for a great couple. Lovely.

    I love the blue Roland Mouret. It is my favorite gown on Kate. I like the beaded Jenny Packham also. I also loved the grey Erden coat and John Boyd hat she wore for the Commonwealth service.

    Loved the photo of George with the President. How could any photo be any cuter? And the photo of Charlotte in the chair. I loved the photo of Kate beside George while he was on the rocking horse, Charlotte on the Queen's lap, and William and Kate laughing at the Royal garden show, and talking in the photo at Cornwall.

    It has been a obviously busy year for them and we have only seen part one. William and Kate just keep getting better and better. Diana would be so happy.

  34. What a lovely review!
    Her public appearances in the UK break out to:
    10 days as a member of the royal family
    10 days with her patronages
    25 days visiting places as a royal guest
    45 days total in the UK.

    Of those 45 days, she was with William 32 days. Thus, she contributed 13 solo days to the royal family numbers. At this stage in her public royal life, she is functioning primarily as a consort.

    She spent 17% of her year in public appearances (63 days total)
    She spent 12% of her year in public in the UK (45 days total)
    She spent 4% of her year in public solo (14 days total - 13 domestic plus 1 foreign)

    The way Mr. O Donovan presents his numbers can be misleading. For example, Kate is credited with 61 events overseas and William with 71. What he fails to point out is that they were at the same 60 events. So together, William and Kate contributed 72 events to the royal family numbers. (She went solo to Netherlands) This is true for UK ceremonies. That entire list gets individual credit for the same event - like Trooping the Color or Diplomatic Reception.

    This is probably a good time to mention, that in my view, William is 3rd in line to the throne and as such, it is really the Monarch, with the support of the Prince of Wales, who should be foremost among the people - as they are the ones with the power and resources to affect change.

    1. Interesting analysis Moxie, thank you!

      Many people commented this year that so many of their engagements were joint appearances, I think it's likely deliberate. It's been said Kate wants to emulate DofE, so maybe she sees herself as being the one who should "tag along" on William's engagements?

      I would prefer them *both* to be out and about more, together and individually, they have so much potential, but I wouldn't be surprised if the joint theme continues, I think it's what William wants (and Charles too) Diana on her own proved to be more starpower than the royals could handle :)

    2. Great information Moxie. I don't always agree with your comments but this is very interesting to look at in this way.

      I also agree with you that she is functioning in the role as a consort which is what she is to William. His support in his royal role. To me this is the more traditional role of a consort that has worked very well for Phillip and will work well for Kate too. I do think she has the potential to really shine on her own but that may not be what is needed at this time.

  35. Happily, I agree with your third paragraph Moxie. Who'd have thunk. lol

    1. speaking to Moxie, btw


  36. Charlotte, what a wonderful retrospective! I don't know how you were able to choose from the hundreds of photos you must have collected over the past year, but for me, they were spot-on! Thank you to both you and your husband - you for creating and maintaining this lovely blog, and your husband for the graphics work he supplies for the special banners, as well as the support he must give you that enables you give us this year-long gift. I wish you the happiest of New Years from the east coast of Canada!

  37. Hmm what a year past now we begin 2017 for a new things. Anyways happy new year 2017 Hmm. There no place a rather be in terms of the duchess Congratulation To Emily. J im delighed to hear the news And starting the 2017 with the new.enagement

  38. Alejandra Ramirez4 January 2017 at 04:23

    What a mega amazing excellent post Charlotte!
    Super congratulations!
    When I saw Part 1 I was wowed and happy! So many things happened in 2016

    Let´s see what happens in 2017!
    Cannot wait to see Part II, I bet is going to be super colorful
    Great walk for memory lane! :D

    Excellent job all year long!
    Hope you feel better!

  39. SARAH, again, days versus number of events. Would you really want to work three events and have it counted as one? That's not how events are counted for HM and HRH. She can literally stand in one place, never stepping foot out of her palace, present five awards and have five events counted. This was true when she was younger as well.Fair is fair and royal work, if it is measurable or comparable at all- considering differences in prep, emotional involvement, physical demands, and impact-should be at least counted in days or activity, not switching around in order to make someone appear busier or less busy.

    1. 05:44, so very. very true, what is fair for her Majesty and Phillip

      is fair for William and Kate, much to the chagrin of some. William and Kate do the same things the Queen and Phillip do, INCLUDING tours. Yet people have tried continually to denigrate, discount, minimize and often ignore what William and Kate do.
      Even though concern for the monarchy is often stated by many as the reason for those critiques, given the similarities of what The Queen, Phillip, William, and Kate do, the arguments don't make sense at all and never have, in my opinion. Some arguments stated can be found, almost word for word on many pages of this blog. Why the almost exact continued repetition I don't know, lol. With all do respect, we "got it" the first twenty times, no offense. We understand those positions, although disagree with them.
      And to call tours "fluff" is insulting first of all and perhaps not historically researched enough. The Queen and Phillip did not do them for a lark. And, other Ambassadors would hardly call their own work "fluff". Tours are not without varied risks, diplomatically and physically. Sadly, two Ambassadors have recently been assassinated. Not speaking anything bad over the Queen, Phillip, William, Kate or anyone else.

    2. I actually think days worked may be a good way to start recording the family's contributions. After all, most people spent 8-9 hours a day on the job, and do multiple things during that one day. Each task doesn't count as a different job, it's all part of the one job. Sometimes it goes into the evening, when you're expected to join a work event.

      So this was a new way of recording I saw this year and might be a smart way to do it in my opinion. And for the record, the monarch works almost every single day since first thing the boxes are delivered. Like the President, even on days off you're still President, there's no real time off from the top job.

    3. The same arguments the fans make can be found, almost word for word on many pages of this blog. Why the almost exact continued repetition, I don't know, lol. With all do (sic) respect we "got it" the first twenty times, no offense.

      The big difference between HM and WK besides position? Numbers.

    4. She's Queen. He's third in succession. His numbers continue to increase appropriately in due course.

    5. Yes, but as William and Kate's accomplishments increase, the amount of worry remains the same.

    6. bluhare I do find the numbers interesting. Mr. O Donovan reports 432 for Charles domestically and 144 for Camilla. Even though I know she does some events solo - its interesting to see that 2/3rds of the time, she is not with him as he goes about his official business.

      And if you look at Phillip and Anne, they are no fools... they lead the way when it comes to attending events with food! LOL Section B - Receptions, Lunches, Dinners, and Banquets.

    7. I hope they get better food than I've got at banquets!

  40. Particularly excellent post, Charlotte! Thank you!

  41. Thank you for the informative, well laid out, post Charlotte! Here's to a New Year where everyone is safe, happy and loved--and contributing positively to this burdened world. I see W & K have an event on January 11th. One of the tough ones--Child Bereavement. Bless them for attending.

  42. Charlotte I hope you're feeling better and I'm so impressed at the high standard you still meet even when under the weather!

    I think it was genius to separate the year the way you did, for me I think it's always important to study their contribution at home, since that's where their primary duty lies.

    I look back and still see a bit of a prickly year to be honest :) But I'm willing to go along with the thought that maybe this is truly and finally a transition year for them, and there are always growing pains in that regard.

    The Guardian did a very interesting and frankly, flattering piece on Charles just before Christmas, and how he's working to keep the monarchy not just afloat, but relevant. This line was particularly good and worth noting: "No institution survives – and certainly not, like the monarchy, for more than 300 years – without developing a nimble approach to compromise and concession." They noted that Charles seems to have learned that. I would add Harry seems to have finally embraced that. Now, who's left? ;)

    They also mentioned that Charles (and Camilla) have regained their "lustre" - but in typical Guardian fashion, said nonetheless, the monarchy must always be kept under constant review! Quite a good piece overall.

    1. Thank you very much! It would have been a mammoth post otherwise. The second part is finished and will be published shortly :)

    2. Get some rest, Charlotte. You've earned it. It's the middle of the night there.
      Unlike the Queen's absence, your being incommunicado for a month would likely
      leave a great hole in a lot of lives.
      Take care of yourself!

  43. There is such a sweet article in The Guardian by Jonathan Jones recently about the quality of Kate's photography. It is a good read.

  44. Thanks for all your work throughout the year and this is indeed a great post!

  45. Dear HRH Blog,
    this is my first time ever commenting on your post. Although i´m watching it since the very beginnings I´m still notnsubscibed, butI will be today ;0).
    I thin this post about all the highlights in 2016 is absolutely marvelous. Although i must say I´very sad to see how much the pictures were Photoshopped. HRH Kate´s beauty is so natural that I´sure she must hate these ridiculous "improvements" of her pics. Please, if you have any chance to do so, don´tnfollow the trend to photoshop everything and loose the natural beauty of a 30 something. Kate is absolutely stunning and there´s no need to make perfect things better. ;0))) So keep on doing such great work!
    Greetings fro one of your oldest "fans"

  46. Thanks for the great summary of Kates year, as well as the beautiful array of photos! I love this blog and check it every day, even if it's just to see what new comments have posted. Kates fashions are fascinating to follow. She has a unique style, which is growing on me more and more, , and every so often she "kicks it up a notch" and shows us something with a WOW factor, such as the blue Roland Mouret and the Barbara Casasola.

  47. Regarding days worked approach-of course that would be the kindest for the Queen-she's got those red boxes she sits in her palace and deals with daily- I guess she still does that.

    Using the comparison of royal duties to a day at the office (or home work) might work if a few parameters were followed. My day may vastly differ from that of a co-worker. One does different levels of activity during the day. For example, in the home or most any area of work there are different aspects of work.
    PHYSICAL-cleaning the hamster cage versus unloading a 50 pound sack of pet food;
    SOCIAL-settling a sandbox tiff versus entertaining the boss and ten other guests at a formal dinner;
    EMOTIONAL-seeing one's spouse off on a long business trip versus caring for a dying parent.

    Applying this to royal duties:
    PHYSICAL-walking around a garden show versus a three hour trek up a mountain;
    SOCIAL-attending a luncheon for Girl Guide leaders versus meeting with the President of China (which requires enduring a grueling plane trip) and discussing banning an ages-old
    EMOTIONAL-making a tour of a flood-struck neighborhood versus meeting and conversing with young adults who relate the realities of their apalling living conditions and circumstances.
    If one royal's day is to be compared to another's at all, I respectfully submit these
    parameters for use in evaluating a royal's day.
    Perhaps a scale of 0-10 could be constructed for measuring the significance of each royal activity. Anonymous questionnaires could be completed by those upon whom an activity was focused.
    Meanwhile, with anyone with a possible agenda freely distributing strictly numbers counts
    with no standardisation amongst polls-it is a useless excercise,useful mostly for selling
    papers or getting clicks. They further serve to divide a country that is facing a momentous loss of a beloved leader. (hopefully not soon)

  48. Royal fan,

    As much as I think he adores his boys and loves Kate and his grandchildren, I don't think he wants to be overshadowed by their popularity. How can he actually avoid that though? By limiting their number of engagements?
    It would be wise of him, in my opinion, to be photographed with William, Kate, the children and Harry frequently, with Camilla often by his side.


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