Thursday, 15 November 2018

The Cambridges Make Surprise BBC Visit as William Delivers Powerful Cyberbullying Speech

To mark Anti-Bullying Week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise visit to the BBC to view the work the broadcaster is doing as a key member of the Duke's Task Force on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.


The couple joined a host of family and friends last night for Prince Charles' 70th birthday bash at Buckingham Palace and didn't leave until well after 1 am. They both look very fresh upon arrival today considering the late night.


The visit was embargoed, meaning news wasn't released in advance to the public. Often times with the royal visits the location or charity they are visiting will essentially shut up shop during the royal visit or close off a section of the building. Given the visit was to the BBC, such measures wouldn't be possible during a Thursday afternoon, hence the reason for keeping it under wraps. It's always great to see an unannounced engagement and November is shaping up to be both very busy and interesting for the Cambridges.


A great shot of Kate arriving.


William and Kate met young people who wrote and performed in a new campaign video for 'Stop, Speak, Support', which is a youth-led code of conduct to provide guidance on what to do when they witness bullying online. The campaign was started by the young persons' panel on the task force and is now being run by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which is rolling out materials to thousands of schools across the country.


The Duke and Duchess also met parents and children who have helped guide the latest tech developments from the BBC to help young people online, and joined BBC Director General Lord Hall as he announced the broadcaster's latest initiative.


In the fight against online bullying there was encouraging news from the BBC today. Children getting their first smartphone will be able to receive help staying safe online with a new ‘Own It’ app to be launched by the BBC. The wellbeing app is part of the BBC’s commitment to supporting young people in today’s changing media environment. It will provide a helping hand to youngsters taking their first steps online and on social media, to ensure they have a healthy experience in the digital world. Below, the Duchess tries the app.


Available in early 2019, the app, which was announced today, will combine state of the art machine-learning technology with kids self-reporting their own online activity and moods. In response, the app will provide nudges, a helping hand and advice when their behaviour strays outside the norm. Youngsters can access the app when they’re looking for help but it will always be on-hand to give them instant, on-screen advice and support the moment they need it.


In response to the news William said:

“I want to thank the BBC for their amazing work so far in developing the Own It app. They are creating a practical, powerful tool to help children use their smartphones and social media with confidence and safety. I am so proud that this has sprung out of the Cyberbullying Task Force work. I’d also like to thank all of our partners on the task force - the tech companies, the ISPs, the charities, and the academic experts. The expanded Stop, Speak, Support campaign which is now rolling out to schools across the country is just one of the things that we should be celebrating. I believe our attempt to work collaboratively has been instructive for the rest of the world.”

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, added:

“Ensuring children have a happy and healthy relationship with the internet is an increasingly important issue of our time. The internet is a powerful force for good - but the truth is it wasn’t set up for children. Everyone understands the problem. It’s now time to act on a solution. The time for debate is over - we must act for the wellbeing of children - to reduce cyberbullying that can destroy lives - to give children the skills to thrive safely in the online world.”

William and Kate posed for a photo with a group of youngsters they met and their parents.


The theme for this year's Anti-Bullying Week is to choose respect over bullying. Following a consultation with over 800 children, teachers and members of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, it emerged that a top priority was showing that bullying is a behaviour choice, and that children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online. The aims of this week are to support schools and other settings to help children and young people, school staff, parents and other professionals who work with children to understand the definition of respect, that bullying is a behaviour choice. That we can respectfully disagree with one another, that we don’t have to be best friends, but we do have to respect one another, and that we all need to choose to respect one another both face to face and online.


In 2016, Prince William and the Royal Foundation convened a task force to support young people and their families affected by cyberbullying, with a focus on 11 to 16-year-olds. William brought together some of the world's most recognisable names in media and tech, as well as children's charities and parents, to work alongside a panel of young people to try find a way forward. Together they set themselves the task of creating a safer and more supportive life online. Chaired by tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman CBE, Taskforce members include, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Apple, BT, the Diana Award, EE, Facebook, Google, Internet Matters, Music.ly, NSPCC, O2, Sky, Snapchat, Supercell, TalkTalk, Three, Twitter, Vodafone and Virgin.


I recall discussing the task force on the blog when it was launched and thinking it a hugely encouraging sign tech giants had agreed to become involved in the dialogue about the increasing epidemic of cyberbullying that has plagued the internet. William seemed highly encouraged at the time too. In one of his most powerful speeches to date, the Prince spoke candidly about engaging with social media companies and revealed their unwillingness to own the problem. "What I found very quickly though was that the sector did not want to own this issue. I heard doubts being cast about the scale of the problem. I was told that companies were already doing plenty and just needed more credit for it. I saw denials about the age of young children on some of our most popular platforms. I am worried though that our technology companies still have a great deal to learn about the responsibilities that come with their significant power. I say this not in anger. Again, I believe that our tech leaders are people of integrity who are bringing many benefits to our lives and societies."


The full text of William's hard-hitting speech:

'You are creating a practical, powerful tool to help children use their smartphones and social media with confidence and with safety. I am so proud that this has sprung out of the Cyberbullying Task Force work. So thank you, Alice, and the BBC for stepping up. It’s now important that our technology partners get right behind the app to make sure all children can benefit. We’re counting on all of you. 
I’d also like to thank all of our partners on the task force – the tech companies, the ISPs, the charities, and the academic experts. The expanded Stop, Speak, Support, campaign which is now rolling out to schools across the country is just one of the things that we should be celebrating. I am so grateful to you all for the time, expertise, and resources you have contributed. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe our attempt to work collaboratively has been instructive for the rest of the world.
Now, we launched our commitments one year ago. And when we did, I told the taskforce members that I would be honest in assessing what we achieved and what we did not. And that’s what I’m going to do today. To explain where I think we have got to, I want to begin by taking a step back to the early days of social media. Over a decade ago, when social media first became a standard part of daily life, there was so much justifiable reason for optimism.
Some of this was about personal excitement. That friend we lost touch with was suddenly back in our lives. The grandparent living far away was now able to keep up with the day-to-day life of the family they cared so much about. The fun we had at parties, the victories we celebrated on the football pitch, the cake we ate at our child’s birthday – all of it was captured, posted and shared with our friends, making us feel closer to each other even when we were apart. And some of it was about the very nature of our society and culture.
Our politics appeared more direct and more transparent. The physical distance between nations and people seemed less important. New ways to discover and discuss music, film, and books were appearing all the time.
The men and women who invented and developed social media platforms are justifiably proud of the difference they have made in the world. They have achieved extraordinary things and created connections across borders, generations, and cultural divides that were unimaginable at the turn of the century. 
I believe we are stronger when we are connected and more successful when we can understand each other’s experiences. We all have to acknowledge, though, that much of the early optimism and hope of social media is giving way to very real concern, and even fear about its impact on our lives. We have seen that the technology that can allow you to develop an online community around a shared hobby or interest can also be used to organise violence.
 The platform that can allow you to celebrate diversity can also be used to cocoon yourself in a cultural and political echo chamber. The new ways we have to access news from across the world are also allowing misinformation and conspiracy to pollute the public sphere. The tools that we use to congratulate each other on milestones and successes can also be used to normalise speech that is filled with bile and hate. The websites we use to stay connected can for some create profound feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. And the apps we use to make new friends, can also allow bullies to follow their targets even after they have left the classroom or the playing field.
It is this issue of cyberbullying that we have come here to discuss today. As we do, however, I believe it is crucial that we see the connections across all of these challenges. Over the last few years working with the Cyberbullying Task Force, it has become clear to me that the men and women who lead social media companies are motivated by the right things – the value of connection, friendship, family, and knowledge. But as this list of unintended consequences grows, a culture of defensiveness is undermining the sector’s relationship with the public. To explain what I mean, it’s important to share my experience. I convened the Cyberbullying Task Force not because I had any expertise in technology policy – I do not and I have never pretended to. 
I convened the task force because I was a new parent. And I saw that my friends and peers were seriously worried about the risks of the very powerful tools we were putting in our children’s hands. For too many families, phones and social media shattered the sanctity and protection of the home.
As we grappled with this we felt a distinct absence of guidance. Should we read our children’s messages Should we allow them to have phones and tablets in their rooms? Who do we report bullying to? We were making up the rules as we went along.
And when I worked as an Air Ambulance pilot or travelled around the country campaigning on mental health, I met families who had suffered the ultimate loss. For too many, social media and messaging was supercharging the age-old problem of bullying, leaving some children to take their own lives when they felt it was inescapable.
I felt that I might be able to make a difference on this issue. I did not have the answers, but I did have the ability to invite the brightest leaders and researchers in social media to sit around the table, to listen to parents and children, and see what we might do together to make the online world safer and happier for our young people.
What I found very quickly though was that the sector did not want to own this issue. I heard doubts being cast about the scale of the problem. I was told that companies were already doing plenty and just needed more credit for it. I saw denials about the age of young children on some of our most popular platforms. And crucially I heard over and over again that a collective approach – across the industry, with charity partners, ISPs, researchers, and parents – just wouldn’t work. The individual platforms were just too different and user expectations too complicated to try to come up with common tools that could be easily understood by children, parents and teachers.
So a year ago, when it came time to launch a series of commitments that the sector would make on this issue, I announced a plan of action that I freely admitted did not go as far as I hoped. Now it did include some very positive things – a joint awareness campaign, new guidelines for reporting bullying, and a pilot for a shared emotional support platform. A year on though, even those modest commitments have not been implemented with the enthusiasm I would have hoped for.
And while I am grateful that today we are announcing that the emotional support platform and the Stop, Speak, Support campaign will get fresh energy, I am disappointed that we are ending our task force collaboration without a real, collective sense of pride about what we have achieved.
Now I will admit I have learned plenty through this process about how I can best lead similar endeavours in the future. I underestimated the scale of the challenge that this process would represent. I may have been too ambitious and I may have needed to look again at who we brought to the table. I am worried though that our technology companies still have a great deal to learn about the responsibilities that come with their significant power. I say this not in anger. Again, I believe that our tech leaders are people of integrity who are bringing many benefits to our lives and societies. 
I am very concerned though that on every challenge they face – fake news, extremism, polarisation, hate speech, trolling, mental health, privacy, and bullying – our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot. Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems that they are creating.
The journey from inventors in the student dormitory to the leaders of some of the most valuable companies on earth has been so fast that they may struggle to understand that their incentives have changed. The noise of shareholders, bottom lines, and profits is distracting them from the values that made them so successful in the first place. They are so proud of what they have built that they cannot hear the growing concern from their users. And increasingly they seemed resigned to a posture with governments and regulators that will be defined by conflict and discord. It does not have to be this way. 
Social media companies have done more to connect the world than has ever been achieved in human history. Surely you can connect with each other about smart ways to deal with the unintended consequences of these connections. You have made so many of our institutions engage directly with the people they serve. Surely you can build a new relationship with your own users that is based on service, community, humility and transparency. You have powered amazing movements of social change. Surely together you can harness innovation to allow us to fight back against the intolerance and cruelty that has been brought to the surface by your platforms. 
And you have brought families together in ways that were previously unimaginable. Surely you can partner with parents to make the online world a safe place of discovery, friendship, and education for their children. You can reject the false choice of profits over values. You can choose to do good and be successful. You can work in the interest of the children and parents who use your products and still make your shareholders happy. We not only want you to succeed. We need you to. Thank you.'

We see members of the Royal family involved in a great number of task forces and campaigns. When William decided he wanted to tackle cyberbullying I imagine he knew it was an incredibly vast issue which would require an unprecedented level of support from the tech giants involved. I expect he was incredibly disappointed to find the insurmountable challenge met with a lack of ownership from social media companies. William said: "I am disappointed that we are ending our task force collaboration without a real, collective sense of pride about what we have achieved."


As terrific as social media can be, negativity so often outweighs positivity. The endless sea of abuse, insults and cyberbullying is nothing short of outrageous and unacceptable. Running two blogs with social media accounts, I have been left shocked to the core by the bile I see day in, day out. Indeed, the Kensington Palace Instagram account is so direly overrun with abusive comments directed at both duchesses, if I were the Palace, I would disable comments with immediate effect. And the biggest issue of all is children entering the sphere. Their first Facebook account may be intended to be a way to interact with school friends; a Twitter account may be to follow people of interest; they may use Instagram accounts to share photos. All of these can quickly turn into a space filled with rampant attacks. I can only imagine how worrying it is for parents. These companies are making billions at the very least, and it's time to invest in tools to combat these issues and in the process protect young, vulnerable people. I was very pleased to hear William's words; it's not easy to acknowledge the lack of tangible commitment, ownership and progress from those involved in the task force. I hope he persists with the issue. It will not be solved overnight or even in a decade, but it's something we will all need to come together on if there's any hope of prevailing.


The Duchess wore her teal wool crepe Emilia Wickstead 'Alice' coat-dress for the visit.


Kate debuted the piece in 2014 for a day of engagements during the Australia/New Zealand tour.


The dress made it's second appearance in 2015 for a visit to Action on Addiction.


Kate accessorised with her Asprey Oak Leaf earrings. The £5,000 pair are described as "intertwined oak leaves in 18K gold and pave diamond".


A closer look at the earrings on Kate today.


Kate wore her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.


And completed the look with her black suede Gianvito Rossi pumps.


According to several reports online, the annual Royal Foundation dinner is tonight (thanks Pepp). We don't usually see photos from the event, but if anything emerges I'll let you know.

97 comments:

  1. Oh yay! Surprise engagement! And such a wonderful cause as well!! And yet another great repeat!

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  2. A very nice engagement even if I'm not the greatest supporter of the BBC. Kate looks lovely in her repeat. Her hair looks great too - and since I'm famous for my quibbles on both royal ladies - I will express my happiness that she seems to be touching her hair less than she used to. The couple seem very happy and engaged.

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  3. Quick question, if it's a surprise visit then how did the public and royal press pack know to be there?

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    1. It is technically an embargoed visit. So the press pack knew about it, but they were not allowed to mention it beforehand. This normally happen when there is some security concerns or they want to avoid the disruption caused by people turning up to see the royals.

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    2. Embargoed visits are usually not previously published or advertised. The press is given a minimal amount of lead time for coverage. The general public joins in once they see the press gather. Part of the reason why these are so special because of the surprise.

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    3. They are announced much later and not on the printed schedule. There are various reasons from security to attempts to limit disruptions in certain locations-regarding traffic, impact on communities near places visited, road construction, etc.

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  4. I always enjoy these surprise visits and repeats from waaaay in the back of her closet 😉

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  5. I don’t think we have ever seen as many repeats on Kate as we have seen since she returned from maternity leave. I haven’t counted them but my gut tells me the repeats outnumber the new outfits.
    I wonder if this is part of being a “full time royal”. Doing more engagements without spending more on clothes.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for repeats. Beautiful outfits should be worn and not discarded after one outing.

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    1. Is it possible it is a wish to remind folks that she fits into her pre-maternity clothes? (Consciously or Unconsciously)

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    2. I have the same feeling. It can only be good. Her spendings were heavily (and not totally unjustified) criticised. I guess Meghan will experience the same.
      Kate has many of gorgeous clothes that I would love to see again and again.
      But those earring can stay in the drawer. I really despise this type of earring. They don’t suit anyone. Her repeats also made me realise how much more I like her darker hair colour. The lighter colour ages her and clashes with her skin tone in my opinion.
      C.

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  6. Always nice to see a surprise engagement. This particular style Wickstead isn’t really to my taste, but I like the teal better than the pink version.

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  7. She looks wonderful. So happy to see her in some wonderful repeats.

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  8. I'm absolutely loving Kate's new focus on re-wearing her clothes lately. I know she's occasionally re-worn outfits before, but not to the extent we've seen since she came back from her maternity leave with Prince Louis. I think it's fantastic to see all of these pieces again and sets a great example regarding the environmental impact of buying more and more 'stuff'. There was a programme on TV in the UK a few weeks ago on the environmental impact of the fashion industry (it was a terrifying watch!). I wonder if Kate saw it and has made a conscious decision to act. I really hope she carries on with this going forward.

    PS If you're reading Your Royal Highness, may I put in some cheeky requests for the Barbara Casasola cocktail dress, the Gucci with the red and navy ribbon trim, the red Armani suit with the sunray pleats, the cobalt blue Jenny Packham evening gown from India and the white and gold McQueen evening gown from Malaysia (especially with a tiara at the diplomatic reception)? :)

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    1. Helen H , I hope either Kate or her staff that handles outfits reads your request, because I know the outfits your request for her to wear again are exceptional. I am so happy to see the teal Emilia Wickstead dress being wore again and was just a few days hoping to see it again, Perfect!

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    2. Quite frankly, I find it rather "weird" that they wouldn't wear the same clothes more than once. I don't know anyone that wears something one time and then discards it, especially when its an expensive piece. So maybe that's where Kate is coming from.

      Of course, I wouldn't hurl insults if someone doesn't recycle as much. Sometimes our bodies change and new clothes are a necessity.

      -AZ

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    3. I like your requests!

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    4. 😂
      Imagine Kate sitting on the couch reading this to William.

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    5. Helen,, your choices are excellent. I seem to recall that not a lot of fuss was made over the white and gold evening gown, but I thought it was magnificent…ditto for the cobalt blue one…although it did get plenty of attention.

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    6. @Susanne, imagine William saying something like "Oh yes darling I loved that Armani suit too! But nah, not the Malaysia gown please". Lol. I love these little fantasies about their life.

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    7. Hi Susanne, we can but dream eh? But if she turns up in any of these in the near future I will always wonder!

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  9. What a nice surprise and even nicer to see William and Kate so involved and visible this week. Wonderful cause to support, bullying has become something of an epidemic lately, and not just in school! Very smart of Kate to be recycling her work wardrobe, and she looks great!! cc

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  10. A lovely surprise indeed and I am loving all of the repeats this season! Keep em' coming girl! :)

    Love Avee in SA

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  11. William's speech is very bold and direct. Well done, indeed.

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    1. I agree. I'm really impressed! I'm glad they're using thier global influence, even though it's challenging.

      Charlotte, I really appreciate you not only covering fashion, but the substance of their work.

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  12. Wow, another engagement and the day after the big party too. I wondered why Kate is going with William more often, is it that Louis can be left for longer periods or that they feel they need to appear together. We'll never know. Kate hadn't attended the Tusk Dinner for a few years, the McLaren visit was easily one that William could have gone solo to and cyberbullying is William's project although it does relate to Kate's concern about children too. I am not complaining of course, it is always wonderful to see them together, it just piqued my curiousity that the "together" visits have suddenly ramped up.

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    1. It could be a number of things:
      1) The move to London makes it easier to Kate to pop up for engagements
      2) With three kids under 5 maybe Kate has accepted more outside help and therefore has more time for these engagements
      3) It's obvious Philip is not well and the Queen in 92 and Charles just turned 70. There might have been a directive that W&K have to step into a more public role.

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    2. They have always done the majority of their visits together. Away days like yesterday especially. I think their double act is very strong and they both seem more comfortable if the other is there. It is really over the past year that we got used to seeing William alone.
      They probably decided to both go today because William had a strong message and it is likely to get more media traction if Kate is there as well.

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    3. I think they are "catching up" on joint events for 2018. Usually joint engagements are scattered throughout the year but because Kate was on maternity leave William was solo on engagements for nearly seven months and before her maternity leave they only had a couple of joint events together besides the Scandinavian tour. They are the future King and Queen so it is important optics for them to be seen out and about working together.

      And from a slightly more cynical viewpoint: engagements tend to get more attention if Catherine is there too.

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    4. I believe they are preparing for becoming Prince and Princess of Wales in the very near future.

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    5. Queen of the Sun, I agree about her coming to an important speech such as this because she garners a lot more media attention than him - just look at allll the blogs dedicated to her and the few to him. Here we are, thanks to Charlotte, paying attention to that wonderful speech on an incredibly important topic because of who? Him? Nooooo, HER! lol.

      I hope Harry and William call their wives "the big guns" sometimes jokingly because if you want your cause to get attention- bring along those two beauties!! :)

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    6. Three children under 6 ;)

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    7. I think William needs the publicity that Kate brings with her to engagement. He is using the interest in her to bring attention to his causes. Now that both succeeded in protecting her from being Diana 2 and that she is more confident they will have a work similar to charles

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    8. Is Prince Philip not well, or simply 97? He looked good at both weddings, and has been out carriage driving. As for the Queen, her mother lived almost a decade past her current age, in good health and mental acuity. Prince Charles has said that his wish is to finish his work as Prince of Wales. He does not sound as though he expects to inherit the throne right away, although his role is moving in that direction, of course. Everyone realizes that William will, in all likelihood, be king much longer than Charles. His role, too, is moving toward his future as Prince of Wales. I think everyone should relax a bit; the Queen is beautiful and apparently quite healthy, and will be around for some more years.

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    9. In my opinion, there might be few other possible reasons
      1) They just want to have some time together, they are busy with kids and William with work and this is a nice time for them to be together. They might not have enough time for e.g. doing sports together or having romantic dinners, so they want to work together more.
      2) Kate is just after her maternity leave and is probably working mostly on her new, big project - which means she is less likely to devote time to other causes than the big project - so she does engagements with William to stay "publicly involved" while working behind the scenes.
      3) After maternity leave with kids being her main focus, Kate possibly does engagements that are closest to her heart which I think are those with William. They seem to be a great support for each other.
      Ella from Europe

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    10. I find these comments so thought provoking in a humorous way. Kate has returned from maternity leave and she is back to work as a full time working royal. Nothing more, nothing less. In my mind she is no different except for the clothing allowance, drivers and household help (LOL) then the majority of women who read this great blog. The majority have I am assuming children in various numbers, husbands/partners or perhaps single Moms. They all work very hard, raise children and spend time with family and fiends. Miraculously, they do it all without all the bells and whistles afforded to Kate. Kate has finally returned to work which does not include 40 hrs a week. I love following her but do not find her reason for appearing along side William to be monumental in thought. I say praise and congratulations to every working mom reading and writing this blog. Jobs well done!!!!

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    11. Those average Mums also do it all without (literally) the world watching every effort and noting and expounding on every mis-step-both real and imagined. Every facet of her life is out there and available for critique from her own attire to her child's attire. Post birth weight, gray hair, lactation habits, and underwear included.
      Most of us are only judged and criticized as parents by those who have known us and sometimes loved us for years. Both our successes and mistakes are seen in light of our private hopes, dreams, and intentions.

      I would not trade this for all the bells and whistles in the world.

      PS She likely appeared alongside William as his wife and the Mother of his children.
      I don't know what non-monumental reason for appearing at William's side is referred to but I do know neither Cambridge stated one. That judgment is based on conjecture. And I think that illustrates my point.

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    12. My comment reflected in my opinion the strange need to second guess why Kate was with William. I only wished to convey that she is simply working much the same as most women around the world in very high profile corporate possessions who are judged on appearance, jobs well done as well as decisions that can at times not flow. Oh! Grey hair creeping in without time to attend to personal needs is also noted. Many are scrutinized from head to toe in board rooms as well as in print. Kate does not stand alone, she stands aside many.

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  13. Well done, William! Great speech. As a parent of two teenagers and an elevrn year old I heartily agree with much he said. It definitely is time these tech companies take even just an iota of responsibility or initiative for cyber bullying. With great power comes great responsibility no matter the original intent of the platform you created.

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  14. What a great 'surprise' engagement! William is clearly very passionate about this issue and I don't blame his as a parent. The pressures and material young people have access to thanks to social media are actually terrifying and it's a whole new aspect to worry about that was not present when I was at school just a few years ago. It is scary out there! I feel like if I have kids I would just want to keep them off the internet altogether but that's not feasible either.

    I have never been keen on this dress and would be happy not to see again. I dislike the odd visible stitch detail on the left hand side and the material. I'm not the biggest fan of Emilia Wickstead so I'm glad she isn't a huge staple of Kate's wardrobe like Sophie Wessex. I do like the colour! One of the lovely things about Kate's return is all the interesting and vibrant colours she favours.

    I am very happy to see her black Jimmy Choos again and the continued absence of the "praline" pumps. The Asprey hoops are lovely and I love that she still wears little reminders of her maternal family crest.

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    1. I think we're outnumbered, Sunny, re this dress, but it is one of my least favourite dresses as well. It never looks like it really fits her. But great event, great speech, great earrings!

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    2. @ Anonymous: Glad to find someone in my corner too! Yes, the fit always looks off on this dress because of the weird closure detail on the side. I totally agree with your last sentence: everything else was great!

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  15. I really enjoyed William’s speech and it is something we should all be concerned about. I remember that first era of excitement about social media - reconnecting with old friends and the ease of sharing things with friends and family, like pictures, that was unheard of before. And then, the gradual shift where social media became a thing to be dreaded. It’s so full of hate now, and I agree, disabling comments on the KP pages would be prudent. People are so comfortable now saying hateful things hiding behind a keyboard that they would have never dreamt about saying before, and now that hate is bleeding over into society.
    We’ve lost the art of debate and of constructive criticism. If you disagree now, the “opposition” tries to paint you in the worst possible light. “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us and we hate you.” That’s the attitude of the “fans” or “stans” of the two duchesses. I like both Kate and Meghan, but if you say the smallest thing that is against either one of them, you get attacked. It’s like people have lost their minds. I know this isn’t how the regular folks are, and I agree that hate has no place on social media. Just looking at the mess my own country is in (the US) I know social media has played a part in the polarizing hate we have. We can’t work together anymore. It makes me miss the pre-social media age.

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    1. Let me just clarify, I am not condoning the hate hurled at either of the women. In case that wasn’t clear.

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    2. I agree with all you have said, Anon 23. In addition, I am concerned about my grandchildren, who must be strong and confident in order to enter the cyber world. Their parents are all extremely vigilant. But the playground bullies of my youth have given way to a much more ferocious brand, who can torture their victims constantly and at will. And as you say, society at large is being tainted by the poison.

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    3. I agree with your last paragraph. Nowhere is it more obvious than the last elections in the US. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you fall on, or whether you're more a centrist, the divisiveness is sickening. People attacking others simply for thinking differently. In a country that was founded by dissenters our differences should be discussed, investigated and explained but never villified or ridiculed. Getting on social media during the election cycle was sickening to me.

      My husband and I are more focused than ever on trying to promote kindness to others, especially those different from us to our children. We are also pretty strict on social media accounts and access because of how uncontrolled and unregulated it is. There are no safe spaces for kids to learn and explore and more importantly to learn how social media can be done right.

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    4. I feel the same way, Anon23.

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    5. I'm Canadian and as a close neighbour to the USA, I have great sympathy on the way your country is now divided. We all want peace and harmony for our American friends. However, I don't think a blog about the
      Duchess of Cambridge is the right place to air views about the issues in the USA, whether or not they pertain to bullying via social media.





      ho

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    6. I took a rest from social media during the 2016 elections. I rarely use it now. (unless you count Kate blogs) I am sure the potential for mis-use has always been known. I don't know if anyone imagined to what extent. I think William is looking for a stop-gap to fill in until education and other programs can take hold-- geared to more parental and family and school involvement than direct appeal to children. I think he sees the damage and statistics and knows the problem is snow-balling. I doubt the App is meant as a cure-more a pressure dressing until the wound can be properly closed.

      Meanwhile, teach our kids to hit pause before send. Encourage face to face discussions. Read newspapers that don't depend on impulsive clicks for survival with reporters who are honored more for their thoroughness and accuracy than for eliciting emotional responses. If anyone has a small town newspaper left, support it. They are dying- at least in the USA. They used to be the sounding board and bulletin board for the community. I'm thinking of that Cary Grant/ Irene Dunne film--with the records and the cranky printing press. The Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck film--the power of the printed word.
      But--to be honest--speaking as an adult with a life-time of experience, I'd rather be ridiculed than marginalized or ignored.
      Ridicule can be answered. Being left out of a discussion or dismissed is taking my freedom of speech.

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    7. Absolutely agree, Anon23. It's a case of either you're with us, or get lost as in "I'm so glad that all the critics have taken our points, and have disappeared from this forum". It's sad, but probably difficult to change, though not impossible :-)

      Glad you brought it up.

      Heidi

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    8. Laura,
      Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment. I wasn’t trying to get political about the situation in my country. I was just trying to use that as an example of how social media and bullying have changed everything, and I feel like what is going on in the situation I referred to is bullying on a massive scale. Sorry to have offended you, but I felt it relevant to the topic.

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    9. Regarding 03:53..."Meet John Doe." The consensus is that this film is a Frank Capra "Everyman" story. Little guy versus big business, politics. To me, seen in light of social media and bullying today, it tells the story of a news reporter who made up a completely fictitious story about a man in order to save her job and expanded the details later to sell papers. The fake story was taken as real and snow-balled into a grass roots movement, which was soon usurped by a politician. Along the way, the newspaper was forced to produce a real human to represent the fake one. That man is then bullied by both the newspaper and the politician and finally shamed publicly to the point of contemplating suicide.

      If you have viewed this film in the past, try seeing it again with a post social media-bullying perspective. It may tell us that each generation has its means of making its fellow man miserable. It is not a new problem and stems from the basest of human instincts. I think this is the crux of the problem. This will never be a completely successful campaign unless we all become Mother Teresas and qualify for sainthood.

      What we can do is lessen the occurrence and impact of social media bullying in our own little corners. That we can do.

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  16. Kate first wore this dress in Dunedin, not Wellington :)

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  17. Williams speech is truly splendid. It's so real! He accknowledges things not going as planned, he takes a stance but is not controversial, toeing that line. It's a very well balanced speech and has more substance than what royal speeches sometimes have! If this is a direction William is going in I have great hopes for him in his role as Prince of Wales and King. He's become really good at actually takeing a stance in issues, realizing his role (limitations and perks) in bringing forward and together and he manages to do it while not being partisan. Impressed!

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    1. I completely agree Rebecca! He does an excellent job at speaking, but the message in this one is particularly meaningful. I would also agree that William seems to coming into his own since he has stepped into a senior role and I am impressed as well. I also love that while Kate didn't need to accompany him, she did, it speaks to a very united front! Bravo William! cc

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    2. William's speech *was* good. Agreed. And I like that they attended together; not only as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but at a Mother and Father.

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    3. I think that was the point, royalfan. As concerned parents.

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    4. Royalfan, that's a good point, and an important distinction! Maybe that's part of what makes this speech seem more powerful and relevant. cc

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    5. Ouch, Anon 09:30. Sounds like a little cyber bullying of Harry? He has spoken about his mental health issues, so now we could practice what William is preaching.

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    6. Thank you Anon 09:30 for the clarification. I know he is a senior royal but guess I didn't state very clearly what I meant to say. William seems to be growing in his role as a senior royal and it is impressive to see. I would completely agree with you that he has performed his duties beautifully. I am a huge fan of William and this engagement and his speech makes me even more of one. cc

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  18. Silvia from Tuscany15 November 2018 at 20:41

    As a mother of two teenager boys and a nine years old one I deeply undestand and share Prince William's worries about abuse of socials, so I appreciated his direct speech. As for Kate I love the clever way she repeats outfits, lovely and appropriate.

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  19. I love the color of this dress and really like those earrings!!! I saw the Queen was out today and looked very cheery, so perhaps the party was not too tiring.Was glad to see that PP could go to the birthday party, too. It seems like there is a lot of PR lately and that perhaps Prince Charles will be taking over soon. I think it would be lovely for the Queen to feel she can slow down a bit.

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  20. Charlotte,
    I want to personally thank you for not only the energy, effort, diligence, and hard work you give to both blogs and your readers, but also for the way you manage those who seek to bully or abuse in their comments. I know firsthand how very difficult that is, as someone who dealt with severely abusive feedback and comments on my former mental health blog. It is appalling to see what vitriol people are willing to say and write about someone else. This is among the reasons I have ceased using Facebook and Twitter. With free speech comes the responsibility to use it for good and not for ill. Bullying is most definitely a choice. Imagine how much better this world would be if all people chose respect, kindness, and compassion instead of bullying and abusive words and actions. As the world knows, we have a major crisis of bullying in the US, coming from the top down. It is tragic and appalling.
    I am very proud of William for giving that speech. He wants to be of help and make a difference in this area and his passion and concern are most evident. I too have been gravely disappointed and frustrated with many of the social media and tech companies. They do have a responsibility to help work on cyberbullying and it seems their financial bottom line and stakeholders are more important than helping to foster a culture of respect and compassion for one another. We seem to live in a culture where "nasty" sells more than goodness and that is something everyone needs to help turn around.
    Thank you again Charlotte for all that you do to prepare and manage both blogs. I had a terrible fall 12 days ago and fractured my left foot in 2 bones, and to read your posts this past week has been helpful in the midst of dealing with pain and severely limited mobility. I won't be able to put any weight on my left foot for 12 weeks and everything is very overwhelming right now. So, thank you for brightening up my days.
    With my gratitude,
    Sarah

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your recent troubles. I hope it gets better for you.

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    2. Shantel (@FashionandFaith)15 November 2018 at 23:00

      "With free speech comes the responsibility to use it for good and not for ill." This is so on point, Sarah. Your whole comment is, really. I'm sorry to read about the bullying that you endured; it is disgusting and unacceptable. I was raised to stand up and speak out when I see things like that and my heart hurts knowing that you dealt with that--and ON A MENTAL HEALTH BLOG to boot!
      Also sorry to hear about your fall. Sending healing vibes to you from Minnesota!
      Shantel
      Minnesota, USA

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    3. Sarah:I am so sorry to hear about your foot! I have broken toes, sprained and broken my right foot so many times in my life, I feel for you sister. I hope you are able to relax during this time of healing. I'm sending you tons of good healing vibes. Foot injuries just suck!

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    4. Dear Sarah,
      I am sure the pain is just horrible. I hope you feel better as soon as possible. We are thinking of you, and sending healing thoughts.
      Tedi ❤️

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    5. Sarah, I'm sorry to learn that your poor foot is so injured and hope you heal quickly. I'm more sorry that cyberbullying caused the demise of your excellent blog--I read every post and appreciated what you were trying to do. Hang in there. You have a lot of online supporters.

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    6. Thanks to those of you above for the supportive comments. I greatly appreciate them. Marci in Utah, I want to especially thank you for the comment you posted further down about all of us working to be more kind, understanding, and respectful. One additional concern that social media platforms have given license to is the flow of constant criticism by so many people. It has become far easier for us to criticize than to affirm one another and even constructive criticism has taken a darker and harsher turn. Words matter and how we write or say something can have positive or negative effects on another person. And on social media and internet platforms we never know who might be reading our words and how they could be interpreted or absorbed. It is important to always choose our words with care and take the time to do just that. This leads to more effective and positive communication that creates an atmosphere of respect, compassion, and understanding.

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  21. Absolutely stunning - regal & royal perfection!

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  22. Kate has an air of confidence without her hair draped over her shoulders. She looks great and always happy at all events.

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  23. I'm just back from a conference about social media problems among young people and I read prince William's wonderful and powerful speech and its very fitting and so very sad and true. Thank you William for your dedication, and thank you Catherine for your supportive presence. Wow.

    On a fashion note she is lovely as usual, love her earrings.

    Thank you Charlotte for your always great work.

    Silvia

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  24. Great repeat. She looks like a working royal. I agree with whoever said it’s weird to wear the outfits just once. LOVE the earrings - a nod to her family crest?

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  25. Shantel (@FashionandFaith)15 November 2018 at 23:10

    To take a line from my all-time favorite play (A Raisin in the Sun): William has come into his own. His speech was powerful and timely. While technology has made the world smaller, it has also separated us. People hide behind avatars and say things that they'd never say in person. Those who were bold enough to bully in person, are now emboldened to be even worse. The fabric of society needs to be repaired and our children have to be armed with the tools to survive in a healthy way. This app is a great first step--I hope that the tech companies really start to dig in and truly commit themselves to the work that it will take to remedy this issue. I am really proud of William's speech.
    As always, Kate looks beautiful. While the dress isn't my favorite she styles it well, that color looks great on her, and her fabulous smile serves as the perfect accessory.
    Thanks for the great write-up, Charlotte!
    Shantel
    Minnesota, USA

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    Replies
    1. So many parents look to businesses and apps, schools, and the government to parent their children; if parents only put their own phones down long enough to parent their own children society would not be having this problem.

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    2. 17.04, I AGREE 1000%.

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  26. I really like those earrings. I do not remember seeing them before but they are really unique and gorgeous.

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    1. She also wore them to the Wimbledon final this year.

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  27. I love the classic reapeat snd i love the duches hmm i think they are preparing for the new eoyal as prince And princess of wales i loce the speech and i love the pop up enagement. So. Ita good

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  28. What a powerful speech, and given with such conviction. William will make a difference and with Kate by his side, they will bring about change for the better.

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  29. I agree Royalfan @ 00:28. Prince William’s speech was very passionate and I, too, think a lot of that passion comes from his devotion as a father. Excellent hard hitting speech that’s very much needed. The Duchess of Cambridge looked lovely. Charlotte, thank you for the videos.

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  30. What an incredible speech by Prince William. I agree with you. I cringe and am heartbroken for these young royals at some comments I see about the 'Fab Four' or really about the Feb Two! And their children haven't even begun yet. I pray they have thick skins. Even though I live in the States, I am implementing Prince William's initiative and being vigilant for social media abuse with my granddaughter. Your country is BLESSED to have such high profile warriors fighting to make social media safer for your children.

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  31. What an incredibly powerful speech. These two are an amazing team. Prince William recognises his wife commands huge media attention and he is confident delivering speeches. My belief is Catherine wore a repeat not to distract from his speech which ultimately is the topic of conversation we should all be having. Thank you for posting Charlotte

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  32. I am REALLY glad William made this speech, because if you go to the Kensington Palace instagram you will see that whoever is running the account clearly cannot keep up with the volley of vitriolic comments. This isn't constructive criticism anymore -- the comments are sexually crude, racist, offensive, and flat-out vile. They are not simply directed at Meghan. There are awful comments about everyone. Comments are deleted and pop up again. It's a vicious cycle. And the pictures are carefully curated to be the least offensive possible. I truly don;t understand the anger and hate. Harry could make a speech like this but it'd seem like he was defending his wife. It's good that William as the more senior royal is taking a stand on this. I'd like to see Charles also talk about it as Camila is the target of some very vile comments too but it might be outside his comfort zone.

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    1. I don't think William is defending himself or Meghan from the commenters on KP Instagram. It is not a personal fight. What is happening to children children is truly awful and it cannot go on.

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    2. I do not follow that site on Instagram but if I was KP I would either discontinue the Insta account or see if you can set it up to not allow comments. Anyone who follows for enjoyment will not care about commenting and will be happy to just read and see.

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  33. Great engagement and powerful speech by William. I hope the task force can make an impact in stemming the out of control cyberbullying that is on the internet/social media. I loved Kate's presence supporting her husband and the fact she repeated another great outfit :)

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  34. What a great speech from William. We can each help the situation, I believe, by committing to post only with kindness behind every sentence, every phrase, every word choice. If we feel strongly that we must criticize negatively, we can work to make that comment fair, true, and essentially kind. We can each spread this type of attitude to the extent of our online reach, where we can hope it will influence others to behave likewise. Thus each sphere of kind interactions may create another sphere like it, and we may disarm at least some of the more inadvertent and unthinking bullies.
    Charlotte, my thanks to you for continuing to serve on the front lines of this battle against the forces of hate and vileness. Your blogs are the best.

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    1. I echo your thoughts Marci. A month ago several of my friends took a weeklong "fast" from social media and reported back that they discovered more time for reflection, more time for their "real" lives, a new engagement with their real lives. They came to a realization that so much of what was winding them up emotionally occurred on social media and when they stepped back and looked at it, had nothing to do with them at all. One mother reported that she had been getting so incensed about a person on social media she had never met, would never meet, while a member of her family had been needing her help and she hadn't noticed. Another noticed that when she spoke person-to-person, real time, she chose her words much more carefully, listened more deeply, responded more sensitively, than she ever did on social media. Most of my friends came back to social media agreeing that it had its place, an important place, for sharing good news, help with things like how to change air filters or information about a medical issue and fun news like what the Duchess of Cambridge wore or, today, information validating our own experiences with social media.
      Again, Marci, what you said is so important--whether online or real time, make all our speech fair, true and essentially kind. In fact that is written on the wall of one of our classrooms, attributed to Socrates--"Is it true; is it kind, or is it necessary?"

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    2. Thank you, Valerie. I heard about people doing that "fast" and the benefits. What an interesting idea.

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  35. Royal 👑 Watcher16 November 2018 at 11:21

    Great to see them so soon again. They both do look a little bit pale, and tired, but HAPPY, so that is all good! The party last night must have been amazing. It is lovely to see Kate wearing some of her beautiful dresses from "the past", and this one does not disappoint. Teal is a great colour on Kate and the shorter skirt is fun! This is one of the better Emilia Wickstead pieces I think. There was a gold coloured coat dress once, that just made me cringe. Lovely engagement today, well done to the Cambridges!

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  36. Royal 👑 Watcher16 November 2018 at 12:40

    I of course also wanted to give Prince William a round of applause for the brilliant speech that he delivered with poise, strength and yes, Marci I agree, kindness. Cyberbullying and even general rudeness and lack of support for our fellow human beings, is not OK.

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  37. I adore her "repeat" outfits. I am hoping she will wear the velvet coat (Libelula) again. One of my favorites. Parthenia

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  38. Not my favorite dress but perfect attire for a working day. I do like the length on her, especially considering the pleats. Pleats can really look dowdy if worn below the knee in my opinion. The earrings are lovely, but once again I am not a fan of diamonds of this magnatitude for day wear/business. It is good to see W&K out and about especially for a very important cause. It seems they are picking up their game prior to the Holiday Season.

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  39. I truly believe that websites and blogs shouldn't have comments sections unless they are meticulously monitored, as this one is. Charlotte, I can't imagine what a big job it is for you to have to review every single comment to ensure that nothing vile or terrible is posted. You already do so much just publishing both of your blogs.

    I

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  40. The woman gets more and more elegant the older she gets.

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  41. It appears that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a Royal Foundation dinner last night. Singer Tom Walker posted photos on his instagram. Kate wore her red Preen, from Canada, with her hair down and she looks smashing. Really loving her working her closet like this and that they are both so busy this month! cc

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BqP9--cA8DB/?utm_source=ig_embed

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