Monday, 2 October 2017

Kate Loves: The Duchess of Cambridge's London

Cast your minds back to 2007, when 25-year-old Kate Middleton was regularly photographed in London's trendiest hotspots. When William and Kate briefly separated that year, Kate hit the social scene in a series of slinky, short party dresses and stylish boots, making headlines and front pages throughout the following months. Nightclub Mahiki on Dover Street in Mayfair dubbed "the destination for the cocktail lover" was a firm favourite, along with Tom Aikens French Cuisine Restaurant and popular bar Mamilamji. A decade later, the Duchess of Cambridge's London is entirely different since she has married. In fact, she's only been spotted enjoying nights out in the city on a handful of occasions. Where does Kate like to go on a night out now? Where are her favourite haunts now?


Inspiration for this post came from the emergence of an unseen photo of the Duchess meeting cast and crew of the 2011 production of the Royal Ballet's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, it was staged with elaborate sets featuring a giant Cheshire Cat, a tap-dancing Mad Hatter, and starred the actor Simon Russell Beale in the fictional role of the Duchess. The Duchess has a particular interest in Carroll, and wrote her university dissertation on the subject of the author’s photography. The photo below was taken just a few months after the royal wedding. Kate wore her navy blue blazer and sheath dress for the evening.


Kate was accompanied by her father-in-law Prince Charles on the night. It was one of several visits to Covent Garden the pair made in 2011 to watch ballet and opera productions. Prince Charles, a lifelong fan of the opera was said to be encouraging the Duchess with a view to her supporting the Royal Opera House in an official capacity. At the time, the Telegraph reported: "The Duchess is keen to become a patron of the arts, and a move into the opera and ballet world would be welcomed within royal circles. The Queen is patron of the Royal Ballet, with Prince Charles acting as president, and Lady Sarah Chatto as vice president. The Prince is also patron of the Royal Opera."


A Royal Opera House source, said: "The Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales have made several private visits to the Royal Opera House together, before and since the royal wedding in April, to watch several opera and ballet productions. The Prince is a firm supporter of the Opera House and the Duchess also seems to hugely enjoy her visits to Covent Garden. Both have been very enthusiastic about the productions they have seen together."


There's a fascinating video on creating Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with interviews and rehearsal video.


Kate went on to become patron of the National Portrait Gallery, the Natural History Museum and the Art Room, but has never undertaken an official visit to the opera or ballet. It's quite surprising to think how Charles and Kate (at a time when media attention was at fever pitch) were able to enjoy the arts without as much as a phone picture making it onto social media.


Surrounded by family and friends, Kate celebrated her 31st birthday in January 2013 at Cirque de Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall.


The appearance came just over a month after Kate was released from King Edward VII hospital where she spent three nights in the private facility in London suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum. Kate left the hospital and said, "I'm feeling much better, thank you", but looked terribly pale and poorly. The birthday appearance provided an early indication Kate was feeling better.


The couple were joined by the Middleton family, cousins Adam and Lucy Middleton, and friends including Edward and Trini Foyle, and David and Emilia Jardine Paterson (Trini and Emilia are old friends of Kate from Marlborough College).

Video Screenshot from E! Video

Cirque Du Soleil's KOOZA tells the story of the Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world. KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque Du Soleil: it combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of performance and is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world of surprises, thrills and chills. E! reported: "The Royal party arrived to London's Royal Albert Hall at 7.15 p.m. last night, and headed straight into a private room (and bar) on the premises. At one point during the show, a clown onstage has his crown stolen, and pointed into the crowd, asking, 'Who has my crown?' Both Kate and Carole burst into laughter and cast glances at William."


William and Kate enjoyed a rare night out on the town as they spent the evening at Bunga Bunga in Battersea, to celebrate the birthday of Louise Aubrey-Fletcher the wife of one of William and Harry's oldest friends Harry Aubrey-Fletcher. The Mail reporter Kate spent much of the night chatting with close friend Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who is Prince George's godmother. The Duchess looked chic in her black Temperley London Odele coat and a short black printed dress.

Mail Online Facebook Page

The Bunga Bunga restaurant on the ground floor comprises a gondola bar and authentic Italian pizzeria. The venue has a pizzeria and a karaoke bar and is described as an "Englishman's Italian".


The first floor club features a Roman DJ booth, retro mirrored ceiling and iconic Italian stripe decor.


A lucky onlooker made the ultimate royal sighting in 2015 as she spotted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge entering their vehicle following a private dinner at Berry Bros. & Rudd. Kate looked elegant in the L.K. Bennett Madison Chiffon Print Dress.


Royal warrant holders Berry Bros. & Rudd are one of Britain's oldest wine merchants, established in the 17th century. Their flagship store has been located at No. 3 St James's Street, London since 1698 when it was founded by the Widow Bourne. A supplier to the Royal family since the reign of King George III. Historic customers have included Lord Byron, William Pitt the Younger and the Aga Khan.


It wasn't the Cambridges' first time to dine there. Two months earlier, they joined members of the Royal family, including the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Harry, Princess Anne and her family, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice at the exclusive wine bar and dining club to mark the monarch's 89th birthday. At the time, the Mirror reported: "The lavish dinner was held in the private Townhouse dining room, which seats 14. A minimum spend of £2,500 applies with set four-course menus costing up to £295 a head and wine at up to £7,000 a bottle. Dishes on offer include veal sweetbread, beef cheek, tandoori monkfish and oysters with chorizo jam."


In 1998, two years before the start of a new century, Berry Bros. & Rudd celebrated 300 years in business. The run-up to the 300th anniversary celebrations was marked in 1997 with the award of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s second Royal Warrant by Prince Charles.


In December 2015, it was a festive Middleton girls night out as Kate, Carole and Pippa were spotted having dinner at the romantic Clos Maggiore restaurant in Covent Garden. The restaurant is a very popular venue for pre and post show dinners, and it's thought the trio took in a show after their meal. Rod Stewart also dined there the same night.


The eatery - known as the world's most romantic restaurant - offers French cuisine and is influenced by the country inns of Provence and Tuscany. Chef Marcellin Marc’s love of Provençal cuisine is recreated with individual style and flair. Marcellin is committed to sourcing local and seasonal products throughout the year to create perfectly balanced menus which have consistently been recognised and awarded with AA-rosette awards.


A look at the apple blossom-adorned conservancy.


The pre and post theatre dinner menu includes pan-roasted Cornish pollock, oven-roasted, corn-fed, lemon and thyme chicken breast, honey glazed breast of Goosnargh duck and crispy duck leg pastilla, English raspberries and citrus tart, and European artisan cheeses.


The restaurant's wine cellar boasts over 2,500 selections from 18 different countries and vintages spanning four centuries. The cocktail menu is impressive too. How does the Clos Maggiore spritz made with St Germain elderflower liqueur, Becherovka bitters and strawberry purée and prosecco sound?


I've very much enjoyed looking through some of Kate's favourite places in London. Perhaps we'll see William and Kate enjoying a date night at one of them when she's feeling better!

59 comments:

  1. Love this, Charlotte! :) I love Cirque Du Soleil productions, too...such a sweet moment when the clown was looking for his crown & Kate & Carole burst out laughing & looked at William :) Clos Maggiore sounds delicious & looks amazing! If I'm ever I'm in London (which will hopefully be next year), I will make the effort to try some of these places...although, Berry Bros. & Rudd sounds a bit out of my price range & very posh!

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  2. Thank you, Charlotte, for this lovely journey back in time and, as always, the fascinating extra information and the beautiful pictures. Happy memories, indeed ~

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  3. It's interesting how little pics seem to exist of Kate outside of official engagements. I wonder if Kate and William (or Kate with her friends/family) end up "going out" more than we think - maybe not to a nightclub but just out for dinner or whatnot -- and are just good at not getting caught by the paparazzi (good for them)! Even if Kate is a little bit more of a homebody (not judging, I like staying in too!), I can't imagine never going outside your home for a fun evening with friends and family ONCE in a while! Or maybe it's a courtesy thing by the press or other diners, to not take pics? Who knows...

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    1. I'm guessing they spend a lot of social time at people's houses/hosting parties instead of going out. It ensures privacy, and they and their friends have great digs!

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    2. historically, that is the way it has been done. :)

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    3. I personally think they actually go out, and likely go away, much more than we know. I think they've developed a very good secret system to avoid press, and therefore reports on work v leisure time.

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    4. I assume that also Claudia. But I bet not a huge amount, the desire to go out decreases when one "has to" attend so many functions and dinners/lunches out, along with having young children:) A low key night at home with friends or at their homes becomes very appealing.

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    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcch9Pcct0M
      This blog reminds me of Kate in school play, “take me to London…Ha!”

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  4. Enjoyed it. Thanks, Charlotte.

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  5. Anglophile in America2 October 2017 at 02:53

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Charlotte, let me first say how lovely your blog is. It's my favorite virtual place to go for a bit of cheer. I work very long hours, and I always get a lift from seeing a new post. :) Speaking of, I would love it if someday you would write a post about your writing process. As a writer myself, I'm so curious about the genre of blog writing. What is your research process? How do you decide the structure of each post? How do you know when and how to give credit to other writers? (There seems to be a whole set of fashion blogging rules and conventions.) What's your favorite part? It's such a fascinating kind of writing you do!

    I wanted to follow up on SPH's comment about the scarcity of images of Kate outside of royal engagements. I do find myself wondering to what extent she goes out and about. There must, as SPH suggests, be some kind of tacit agreement among locals/the press?

    In any case, thanks again, Charlotte, for creating this haven. :)

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    1. Kate does seem to be an extreme homebody. I would guess that she occasionally goes out with her family (Pippa et al.) but if so, it seems to be extremely low-profile and perhaps it only extends to having dinner at each others' homes.

      A couple comments I have from the earlier pictures:
      1) she looks great with curves! It's hard to remember that she was not always this thin and willowy. Personally I think her obsession in looking entirely waistless and curveless isn't the most attractive look.

      2) I wish both W&K would find an appreciation for performing arts. Royal life can be so regimented that I really think a passion for musical theater or classical music or any kind of performing arts can nourish the soul. Oddly, BOTH Charles and Diana even though they were incompatible in so many ways both enjoyed performing arts. Charles loves opera and Diana loved pop singers like Elton John. And with much talk about Kate not really doing the intensive kind of charity work of a "full time royal" I think her advocating for performing arts would be something less intrusive to her daily life and more manageable for her if she doesn't want to constantly do visible charity work.

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    2. Welcome to the comment section, Anglophile in America! :)

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    3. Yes. from one Anglophile to another, welcome. :)

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    4. Thank you for visitng Anglophile, a post about blogging could be great fun. Thank you for the great idea :)

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    5. Anglophile I love that idea! And think it would make a great post, I would find it very interesting myself. I so admire the work, research and planning that go into excellent writing. So Charlotte add me to the YES column on that idea :)

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    6. Eve from Germany5 October 2017 at 16:28

      A great idea, Anglophile! I´m sure that post would be an incredibly interesting read.... So, Charlotte, count me in on the "YES" column as well!! :-)))

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    7. Zora from Prague5 October 2017 at 20:10

      +1, Claudia and Eve!

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  6. Cold Maggiore seems to be one of those "looks better than it is" restaurants. You have to book weeks ahead and even then you aren't guaranteed to be in the beautiful conservatory room. You get an email a few days before your reservation warning you that you aren't in there and confirming whether you still want to come. Reviews online for service and food are pretty mediocre though everyone who does get into the conservatory seems to agree its gorgeous. When you're a Duchess you probably get whichever table you'd like! I stumbled by Bunga Bunga while my husband I were in London for work so we stopped for a drink. Was surprised at how informal and quite normal it seemed.

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  7. We had dinner at Clos Maggiore when we visited London in February..at Kate's "recommendation" and it was fabulous. We did their post theatre seating (after Kinky Boots at the Adelphi just up the road) and were able to dine in the Conservatory...it was incredible. Highly recommend.

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  8. Thanks for this interesting post Charlotte - I remember some of these early stories about her spending time at the Opera and Ballet with Charles back around the wedding and wondered whatever became of their outings? It was almost like he was trying to bond with her and take her under his wing.

    I think she's only been to the Theatre a few times since besides the ones mentioned above (42nd Street fund raiser and the Royal Variety) that we are aware of... presumably as SPH commented there maybe more times she goes to the Ballet, Theatre and Opera when she's around London. The move back to Anglesey/Norfolk had probably put that on hold and then they started building the Family.
    With the inevitable move to London I guess this would have allowed her time to enjoy London again - maybe even with Charles again? that would have been lovely to see.
    I suppose we will have to wait now to see how baby No3 impacts on life in the next few years!

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    1. I agree with that Mr. D and funny I thought of it myself earlier today, as Charles was speaking at the Our Ocean conference in Malta. Given Kate's recent comments expressing interest in marine conservation, I thought that might be a cause she could take on alongside the Prince of Wales.

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    2. I also agree with you, Claudia. I was impressed with Charles highlighting the environmental impact that plastic (& chemicals etc.) are having on our oceans. It would be great if he could work with Kate on marine conservation, I think they'd make a good team.

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  9. Zora from Prague2 October 2017 at 21:26

    What a lovely surprise to find this interesting post. Thank you, Charlotte! So many interesting places, I wish I could go to London and explore... at least from the outside! :) I would also like to know which operas and ballets Kate had seen.

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  10. Clos Maggiore would be at the top of MY list. I love it.

    Hopefully, W&K do get to enjoy a quiet evening from time to time without the world finding out about it.

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  11. This is a lovely post. The last time I visited London, which was about 2 years ago, I sooo wanted to go the ballet but there was not enough time and I was there for work :( *sigh*

    This post just makes me want to visit again, not just for the ballet but also to see Kate at Trooping the Colour :) I remember saying to my mum that on my next trip to London, I have to see at least 1 member of the royal family and I think that Trooping the Colour will be perfect because I will get to see them all!

    Hmm I think I need to have a serious chat with my hubby when he gets home about our next visit to London ;)

    Love Avee in SA

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    1. I went to Trooping the Colour in 2015 - Kate's first appearance since Princess Charlotte's birth. Very exciting to see all of the entire family, and Prince George's first time on the balcony. Would definitely recommend trying to see it if you can.

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  12. Sonja from Bavaria3 October 2017 at 11:48

    If I ever visit London, I will have to eat at Clos Maggiore, it looks so promising! How are prices there?

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    1. you can google that. :) they have a website with menus etc.

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  13. Those apple blossoms look a bit like Pippa's reception decor. I had never seen anything like that prior to her wedding. Now I'm wondering how many other places and events have that look

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  14. Mary. That may have been where Pippa got the idea. :)

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  15. Catherine did not write a dissertation. This would mean she holds a Phd which she does not.

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    1. Actually, things are a bit different at St Andrews. Four-year programs result in honours degrees (the equivalent of a bachelor's in many other systems). The art history program requires a 12,000-word dissertation. You can see some of the course requirements here: https://tinyurl.com/y76k5vaw. This is the brief description of the dissertation:

      "The dissertation will be valued at 60 credits and completed over two semesters. It will be c. 12,000 words in length. Topics must be capable of being supervised by the School's established staff and each student will (a) be assigned a supervisor, who will be available to discuss issues related to the dissertation throughout both semesters, and (b) be required to attend one general lecture on research and at least one 50-minute supervisory meeting per semester."

      It's interesting to look at the overview of courses in the major, considering some of Kate's current responsibilities. The studies go well beyond European art, and include courses in both Islamic and Persian art.

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    2. The link Becky provided contains a link for students with instructions for binding final papers. Looking at that link it's interesting to see St. Andrews calls the final paper a "dissertation" at the undergraduate level and a "thesis" at the doctoral level. At most US schools it's the opposite. The credit system is obviously different too as a 60 credit dissertation would be unheard of here. At many US universities an undergrad degree consists of about 120 total credits...about 40-3 credit courses. If an honors thesis is done it typically carries 3 credits, maybe 6 credits if done over two semesters like Kate's.  

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  16. In the United States, what Catherine wrote would be called a thesis (for the equivalent of a Master's Degree), but the discrepancy is understandable as the terminology on either side of the pond can be different.

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  17. If Charlotte doesn't mind, I'd like to make some general suggestions about the comment section :)

    Being passionate about something is fantastic! But, for the sake of community and discussion, it's important to sometimes keep that passion in check. We need to take care in WHAT we say, but more importantly, HOW we say it. I am passionate about several matters, so am always striving to remember this myself!

    It also helps to remember that we're all just giving an opinion, our own opinion. No one knows what's going on behind the scenes or has a crystal ball to say definitively how it will play out. It might help to soften comments with "I think" or "In my opinion" so it doesn't seem that we're making blanket statements and shutting out anyone who may see it differently. You can disagree with someone without telling them they're flat out wrong or making a personal attack.
    Again, something I strive to remember myself. Like most of you, my opinions are based on my experiences as a royal watcher, but I could be off on all of it! Maybe William and Kate are actually on the right track and no long term harm will come of KP's communications missteps ;)

    Most of all, remember we're all human beings! The royals we're watching and the readers we're following along with. I'm sorry when there's been times I've forgotten these things, or have commented in haste or at a bad moment, because it leads to increasingly nasty back and forth, with our dear Charlotte stuck in the middle.

    And let's always think of Charlotte first and foremost. She puts this blog together with an incredible standard of excellence, and then takes time out of her life to keep stopping back to facilitate our conversations. She deserves more accolades than I could possibly give her. So remember when we're firing off comments, she has to wade through them first! It's worth remembering as we type, "do I really want Charlotte to deal with this? Or can I take a breath and let it go?"

    I truly enjoy royal chat and it can be such fun! I love Charlotte and her blogs and I hope we can all continue to visit and chat, and disagree without being disagreeable :)

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    1. What a masterly essay on netiquette, Claudia! I totally agree with you.

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    2. Hear hear Claudia!!!

      Charlotte deserves all the praise in the world for sure!!😘🌼

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    3. Well said, Claudia. Thank you. ☺️

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    4. Thank you, Claudia. You have hit the nail on the head in reminding us of the ethics of discussion. It may be easy to snap at someone we cannot see, but we need to think before we write. And keep in mind that not everyone sees all the messages if some are deleted. That may make a thread less coherent. Charlotte is remarkably forgiving of our occasional blunders, keeps as much of a discussion as she reasonably can, and lets us have some strong back and forth. Obviously, there are limits. I appreciate your picture of Charlotte dealing with our idiosyncracies, and your advice about agreeableness. We can express our opinions kindly, and share our knowldge amiably. Thanks again, Claudia

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    5. Zora from Prague7 October 2017 at 13:40

      Couldn't agree more, Claudia.

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    6. Well said, Claudia. I'm still so saddened by the whole incident:( It was the perfect storm, it seems. Agree about Charlotte putting up with a lot to keep this comment section running too.

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    7. Claudia, So Incredibly Well Said & Such Valid Points & Suggestions. I will definitely try to preface my comments with such caveats! Well Done You! xo
      Hugs,
      BeccaUSA

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  18. Other than the NPG, I've not been to any of these places yet. Charlotte, have you?

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  19. Charlotte has closed the previous post but just wanted to say thanks to Miol Mor, Julia and Royalfan for the nice comments about our gown. I hope the lavender McQueen is pulled out of retirement sooner rather than later.

    I've had very little time to comment of late but so many gowns are so very beautiful. Gown after gown, each as breathtaking as the other in different ways. I could say very lovely things about all of them.

    Very briefly, the Marchesa choices are incredible with amazing attention to detail.

    Mandrew27 and royalfan, your gowns remind me of a sparkling starry night. Can you imagine the stars that would be cast off the gowns once all the flash go off?

    Laura Claire, Rebecca from across the pond and Mr. D, very elegant choices with a bit of originality to keep it interesting.

    Florida girl, a beautiful princess gown in everyway.

    Paola, the piece de resistance! A showstopper gown in a notice me red with equally unforgettable gems.

    Julia from Leo. You chose an exquisite gown and complemented it in a lovely way with the jewels, purse and shoes. I really love that purse!

    Bluhare, I liked the short dress/ glove concept. A very out of the box but workable idea.

    Molly Claire, you win these posts hands down for me. Your Ascot ensemble was perfection and the gown just an absolute win imo. Gorgeous color, gorgeous floral work. Slightly bohemian but entirely premiere worthy. Great choices!

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    1. You're quite welcome, Erika. And thank YOU for the kind words. :-)

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    2. Thank you Erika, also for the new words I learned, "the piece of resistance" wasn't in my personal vocabulary until now.

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    3. Paola, you have the same in Italian, don't you? Piece la resistenza? In English, we don't say "piece of resistance" though. Everyone just uses the French.

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    4. Erika we don't, we say "il pezzo forte" (the strong piece) in a general sense or, in a menu, "il piatto forte" (the strong dish). I didn't know the French locution.

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    5. Paola, The French is pièce de résistance and is used for both food and events. While Americans, at least, don't always include the accent marks, they usually pronounce it like the French.

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    6. Yes, sorry, I don't include accents anymore. Too lazy:) Plus, generally, I need to look up whether its aigu or grave these days, so it slows me down.

      Il pezzo forte! I'll have to find an occasion to use that phrase, Paola. So much for my literal translation. Ha! Languages....

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  20. Thank you Charlotte! lovely post as always.
    Mellie

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  21. lol. Now they are saying that Kate is going to have a girl because she's supposedly craving citrus. Things are slow on the Royal media frontier. :)

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  22. Eve from Germany8 October 2017 at 06:22

    Great news, as "HeadsTogether" is taking the next step many of us had wanted them to do for some time: not only start talking about mental health, but actually providing tools to find out more about the "how" and where to find help. I´m also glad they want to focus on the workplace....that´s probably the place where you would NEVER EVER want anyone to know you are struggling because you fear negative repercussions... on the other hand, you spend so much of your day with those people at your work place - so there´s a HUGE chance whatever problems you are struggling with will have an impact... it´s an incredible effort you have to make for them NOT to notice anything... energy you could use so well to get better...

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    1. Totally agree, Eve.

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  23. Miss seeing Kate :( Looking forward to World Mental Health Day to see the royal trio again! Great to hear that they've set up an investment fund to further their HT intiative...it will be interesting to see how they develop things in the coming months.

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