Monday, 6 November 2017

The Cambridges Spotted at Chester Railway Station!

Candid photos of the Cambridges are something of a rarity these days, and unless an onlooker manages to pull out their phone quite quickly to snap the royals it has become far less usual to see the couple "off duty". On Sunday afternoon, this is exactly what happened when solicitor Stephen Foote was walking to his car and spotted William, Kate, George, Charlotte and Maria Teresa at Chester Railway Station.

More from The Chester Chornicle:

'The family were seen next to Range Rovers in the Carriage Shed, alongside the station about 2.30pm yesterday (November 5), where it is possible to gain direct access to the platforms without going through the main entrance. The Chronicle understands the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by royal protection officers, missed their original train at 2.33pm so had to get on an ‘empty’ train to Crewe about 10 minutes later.
Stephen Foote, a solicitor with Allington Hughes Law, stumbled across the royal party at the railway station by chance. He thought they were about to get into the nearby Range Rovers but it now appears they had just alighted before catching their train home. He said: “There was one plain clothes officer who asked me to walk a different route to get to my car parked in City Place . No outriders. Looked like two Range Rovers. Think the children were with them. William looked very ordinarily dressed with a green sweater and Nike trainers.”

The front of Chester Railway Station.


It isn't known where the family were, but it has been suggested they may have spent the weekend at Eaton Hall where the Grosvenors held their annual bonfire and fireworks display on Saturday evening. The event would have been delightful for George and Charlotte, and Eaton Hall the ideal place for a relaxing weekend.


You'll recall last November, William and Kate joined several members of the Royal family to pay tribute to the 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, at Chester Cathedral. His wife Natalia is Prince William's godmother and the late Duke had served as something of a mentor to the future king. At just 25, his son Hugh has now become the 7th Duke of Westminster. The Cambridges used the Duke's jet several times, most recently for their summer holiday with George and Charlotte in France.


When it came to choosing Prince George's godparents, William and Kate chose his son Hugh Grosvenor. Both families are obviously very close. You can see him at the christening standing behind James Middleton.


Eaton Hall is set within a large estate 1 mile (2 km) south of the village of Eccleston, in Cheshire, England. The house is surrounded by formal gardens, parkland, farmland and woodland. The estate covers an area of about ten thousand acres. It has a long and interesting history. The first substantial house was built in the 17th century. In the early 19th century it was replaced by a much larger house designed by William Porden. This in turn was replaced by an even larger house, with outbuildings and a chapel, designed by Alfred Waterhouse. Building started in 1870 and concluded about 12 years later. By 1960, the fabric of the house had deteriorated and, like many other mansions during this period, it was demolished, although the chapel and many of the outbuildings were retained. A new house was built but its design was not considered to be sympathetic to the local landscape, and in the late 1980s it was re-cased and given the appearance of a French château. Below, the Eaton Chapel from the South.


The house has been surrounded by formal gardens since the 17th century, the design of which has changed over the centuries in accordance with current ideas and fashions, as has the surrounding parkland. A variety of buildings are included in the estate, some decorative, others built for the business of the estate; many of these are listed buildings. The house and estate are not normally open to the public, but the gardens are open on three days a year to raise money for charity, and some of the estate's buildings can be hired for charitable purposes.


If this is where the Cambridges visited, I'm sure they had a wonderful time. The Duchess looked casual in a quilted jacket (possibly Barbour) jeans and brown ankle boots with her hair worn up. There's an additional image of Maria Teresa carrying Charlotte available at The Chester Chronicle here and The Mirror here.

The Mirror

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Also tonight, several of you have kindly messaged me about a story in the Mail regarding William and Kate receiving the Tuvalu Order of Merit:

'The Duchess received her gong from the island nation of Tuvalu last week for raising awareness of climate change and to mark a joyous visit she and Prince William made to the isolated South Pacific atoll in 2012. But as she is expecting her third child, the Duchess did not travel the 10,000 miles to be made a Member of the Tuvalu Order of Merit in person. Instead, she was given the medal by Tuvalu’s honorary consul in Britain, Sir Iftikhar Ayaz, during a private ceremony at Kensington Palace. The Duke of Cambridge also received the Polynesian nation’s highest order alongside his wife. William and Kate visited Tuvalu – the world’s fourth-smallest country – in 2012 during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty is head of state there.'

Whilst the investiture took place last week (oddly the Court Circular only notes William's attendance in contrary to the story above) they were actually given the Order in March. We chatted about it in March when a friend kindly sent me information. It was created in 2016 and awarded to the royal couple following their 2012 visit.



Tomorrow evening kicks off the start of a busy week for Kate with a gala dinner at the Orangery for her patronage the Anna Freud Centre. See you then :)

38 comments:

  1. The first thing that came to my mind was...why do they travel by train? Maybe for George & Charlotte so they could enjoy a train ride? However, nice to see them enjoying family time at the weekend:)

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden7 November 2017 at 10:38

      Why not? You can move around instead of being cramped up in a car. I don't know where you're from (I've heard the US doesn't have great public transport) but from what I know alot of European countries have good train connections so it makes sense.

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    2. Julia from Leominster7 November 2017 at 17:47

      Although train travel is slower in the States, because of the distances in part, and also because in some areas, it doesn't seem well supported, it is the most marvellous opportunity to see the magnificent landscape of many regions - I would commend it.

      The royal flight helicopters are for use in engagements - train travel is the normal way for such a private visit. William and Kate have used the Westminster plane for private holidays in Scotland and France but with so many economic issues right now, for the nation - for the queen, and with the late Duke of Westminster's estate and trusts being discussed, as part of the question of taxes for the very rich - William and Kate and other royals need to be extremely circumspect.

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    3. Rebecca, I'm from Germany. I was surprised because if I was the future queen of GB I wouldn't travel by train ;-) it sounds so strange to me. Why didn't they get there with the cars? However, I'm glad they can enjoy normal things...especially G & C.

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    4. It seems like a security difficulty to travel by train.

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  2. Super excited for tomorrow’s pictures. We had lunch at the orangery this summer!

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    1. Andrea. I am assuming the food was good there, hopefully? (sometimes touristy places have food that isn't the tastiest). The Orangery is on my itinery so that would be nice to know. :)

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    2. Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing what Kate will be wearing tonight. We had tea at the Orangery and it was excellent. (Although next visit we'll do it at one of the hotels - just seems like the more traditional way).

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    3. I really enjoyed the food, but we did have our three young kids with us, so it wasn't really a relaxing experience. We had already spent two hours exploring the palace and seeing Princess Diana's dresses, and I think they were ready to just get outside and run. We went to the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground after lunch, which they loved. Enjoy your visit!

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    4. SG, aside from a very pleasant tea experience, the Orangery does have a bit of a surreal feeling to it given the location. You have to go! ☺

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    5. kudos to you, Andrea. :) And thanks so much.
      cute story.

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  3. In England the train network is comprehensive and the best way to travel long-ish routes. It's just more efficient.

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    1. I think you're correct, and I would bet that George and Charlotte thoroughly enjoyed their window seats. :-)

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    2. Zora from Prague7 November 2017 at 13:56

      Going by train is such fun for young children! Plus, it might be better for Kate - perhaps she gets car-sick from time to time when pregnant, who knows?
      I have a question - does anybody know if an "empty train" means the Cambridges were there alone or that there were seats available? I was just trying to imagine what a (nice) shock it would be for regular passengers to see the family getting on the train... 😀

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  4. Do we know that Maria Teresa was with them? I must have missed that. It could be assumed she was but I was hoping for a confirmation as I want her to still be in their employ. We haven't seen her for awhile.

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    1. Hello,

      Yes, there's a photo of her carrying Charlotte in The Chester Chronicle article.

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  5. yay. thanks for including the photo of Maria Teresa.

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  6. Charlotte, thanks for publishing the pictures! We haven't seen anything like this for a long time. I love it when photos pop up like this.

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  7. Why is the Order of Merit called a "gong"?

    Border Terrier Lover :-)

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  8. Hello! Charlotte, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (and I love it!) but I’ve never commented.

    I live in the US, on the East Coast, and I don’t know too too much about the royal family. I really had never thought twice about them until Kate and William got engaged and she was in the news and on the cover of magazines, etc.

    I think she is SO pretty and everything she wears always looks perfect—definitely a far cry from me and even more so now that I’m a mom!

    It’s precisely because I’m a new-ish mom that I wonder about her life in a different way now. Not only do I read this blog and think things like “How far in advance did she have to plan this outfit? How long did it take? How many fittings and do ppl just come to her house or does she go to them? And who takes care of her clothes once she’s done an event?” I’m also so curious about what her “real” life as a mom is like.

    I mean, she can’t really go take George or Charlotte to the local Gymboree or Toddler Time at the library. I meet so many parents that way who are at the same stage I’m in and it’s nice to have friends like that. And even if she DID go to things like that, she would NEVER be able to commiserate with the other mothers which is half the fun. Could you imagine what people would say if she was like “oh I’m so tired, working all the time, etc”? Or even better: “You think your child throws bad tantrums? George laid on the ground and screamed ‘No!’ a million times when the Obamas were here a couple years ago.” And then paparazzi would find which library she goes to, and Toddler Time would be ruined for everyone.

    Most importantly, do you think when she gets home from galas, movie premieres, and being Fabulous and Charming she cannot wait to put on old sweatpants and a T-shirt and just watch tv with her hair in a messy bun? Or is she too Fabulous even for that?

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    1. Hello Natalie,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I think Kate's "off duty" style is quite different to her official fashion choices, which are planned out in advance. She's always favoured the combination of a simple warm jacket with jeans and boots. We know Kate and William love nothing more than a night in with a pizza and a boxset, so a messy bun and cosy clothes are a pretty good guess :)

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    2. I don't think there's ANYONE who is above looking forward to crawling into their pajamas or sweats and curling up in front of the TV after a long hard day working, traveling, taking care of toddlers, etc.!

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    3. Julia from Leominster7 November 2017 at 17:52

      I do think it would be lovely for kate to find a way for George to mingle with children of all classes, not just those he will meet at St Thomas who are mostly from well-off families. To be a successful king in our day especially, he is going to need to have a broad understanding of how people live. It would be good for Kate too - it was noted she mingled very little with the other forces wives when she was in Wales. It's good to step out of your comfort area.

      Welcome, Natalie!

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    4. Hi Natalie, I often ask myself what the cambridges every day life looks like. I think/imagine (obviously I will never know) that they are having quite a normal family life at home. Get up with the children at 6 am, having breakfast etc. Sure Kate gets up at night when Charlotte or the new baby wakes up in the middle of the night. Probably the nanny is there during the day to help etc but I'm sure Kate loves to do most of the things with her children by herself.

      Would be so great if the cambridges would let us have a sight into their daily life(with some beautiful photo shots) with an interview.

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  9. As a boot lover, I had to wonder what boots Kate is wearing. Although trying to identify them is quite difficult because of the blurriness of the photo, I found these that look like they could be a match: the Aquatalia Fabienne: http://www.aquatalia.com/fabienne/d/91483C12277?CategoryId=200&Page=6

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    1. Pam. Those boots did look nice with what she had on.

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    2. Pam from Boston, as a boot lover too, I love what Kate is wearing. She seems to have a natural casual way of dressing that just seems so easy. Since Kate favors Aquatalia as a brand, think you have really nailed it (what a great eye)!! Even if it isn't a match, that's a great ankle boot! I own two pair of Aquatalia boots, one being the Rumba and I LOVE the brand. They are well made, comfortable and they hold up very, very well.....a great wardrobe investment! cc

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    3. Good guess IMO. :-)

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  10. Charlotte,
    Your blog posts are always excellent. I love the information you provided about the place where W & K were spotted and I appreciate the time you take to provide this info. It is always great to see a candid appearance.

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  11. Zora from Prague7 November 2017 at 17:04

    I love both your comment, Natalie, and your answer, Charlotte!

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  12. Welcome Natalie. :) I also enjoyed your comment.

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  13. Glad to see the Cambridges relaxed and taking a train ride. Thanks again, Charlotte for keeping us informed.

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  14. Such an interesting post, Charlotte! Thank you for including the building information about Eaton Hall; I was very interested to learn how many times the main residence has been rebuilt. It's sort of sad that so much of the history has been lost through demolishing buildings. But it makes me also wonder what is behind the severe deterioration of buildings done in the later Victorian period--were they suddenly using very inferior materials that were supposedly progressive industrial age improvements over centuries-old materials and methods? In my own field (publishing) I know that industrial-age "improvements" in paper from about the 1840s onward resulted in high acid content that has led to severe deterioration of books that were mass produced from that period to the later 20th century. Is it the same with buildings?

    That's probably too far off the subject--sorry! But I do love the history lessons Charlotte gives us.

    Ok, on the subject of the Chester railway station, last time my family and I traveled in Britain, we opted not to rent a car at all and just rode trains and sometimes local coaches (buses). We went through Chester but didn't stop. I love those older railway stations, although the renovations to some of the London stations were very impressive (especially Paddington!). Fun to see the Cambridge family on an outing.

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  15. Marco. Glad you that you notice and think about the demolition of historical buildings too. I thought the same thing when they were talking about that in that article. Just like part of Meghan's recently reported heritage, Streatlam Castle being demolished, etc., etc. Now, thank heaven people are more caring of "heritage" buildings and sites.

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  16. Thank you all so much for the warm welcome! I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks about the gala tonight!

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