Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Duchess Kate Returns To Bletchley Park For Special D-Day Exhibition

The Duchess of Cambridge returned to Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes today, to view a special D-Day exhibition in the newly restored Teleprinter Building, marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.


Kate first visited Bletchley Park in 2014 to explore a family connection; her paternal grandmother Valerie Glassborow worked as a "Duty Officer" at Bletchley with her twin sister Mary during the war. As with so many people who worked in British Signals Intelligence, very little is known about their work. Valerie's records were among many destroyed after the war.


Valerie married RAF pilot Peter Middleton in 1946 in Leeds and they had four children including Kate's father Michael Middleton. Valerie died aged 82 in 2006 and her husband Peter died on 2 November, 2010 aged 90. William and Kate's engagement announcement was delayed because of his death. Kate was very close to both of them.


During the 2014 visit Kate remarked: "It's so moving for me, and to be here as well. I was aware of it when I was a young girl and I often asked granny about it but she was very quiet and never said anything."


For a 2016 puzzle book produced by GCHQ, the UK’s Signals Intelligence and Cyber Security agency, the Duchess wrote: "I have always been immensely proud of my grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. They hardly ever talked about their wartime service, but we now know just how important the men and women of Bletchley Park were, as they tackled some of the hardest problems facing the country".


Today, Kate was delighted to learn the names of her grandmother and great-aunt are the latest additions to Bletchley's Codebreakers' wall.


More from the Mail Online:

'The Duchess of Cambridge spoke of how her code-breaker grandmother felt unable to tell her about the vital work she did at Bletchley Park before she died, as she told other veterans: ‘You were so very important.’ 
Kate, 37, who was shown a new memorial of bricks containing the name of her grandmother and great-aunt when she visited the legendary Second World War headquarters today, said her said her granny - like so many others - had been ‘so sworn to secrecy that she never felt able to tell us’ about what she did.'

In August 1938, the arrival of 'Captain Ridley's Shooting Party' at Mansion House in the Buckinghamshire countryside was to set the scene of one of the most remarkable stories from World War II. They appeared to be a group of friends enjoying the end of summer, even bringing a chef from the Savoy Hotel with them. But appearances were deceptive, the small group comprised of members of MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School turned codebreakers. Their job - to see whether Bletchley Park would work as a wartime location.


More from Bletchley: "The mission was to crack Nazi codes and ciphers. The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma. There were also a large number of lower-level German systems to break as well as those of Hitler's allies."


In early 1939 the codebreakers returned to Bletchley Park to begin their war-winning work.


The Mansion today.


The focus of today's visit was very much on the fascinating D-Day exhibition.


It includes an immersive film, based on newly declassified material, which shows how the intelligence effort coordinated at Bletchley Park helped specifically in the success of the D-Day landings at Normandy. Using sophisticated codebreaking techniques, workers at Bletchley Park fed crucial information to Allied forces in the critical months, weeks and days leading up to D-Day on 6th June 1944.


Kate viewed the interactive exhibition and met those involved in the restoration of the building.


The Duchess then joined a group of schoolchildren involved in a workshop based on the new exhibition, which allows pupils to take on the role of codebreakers, intercepting and deciphering German communications in order to understand their order of battle and decide whether the Operation Fortitude deception plans have been successful.


Kate and the students used a real Enigma machine.


The pre-show display.


A trailer from the exhibition.


The Duchess chatting with Elizabeth Diacon, who served at Bletchley from 1944 to May 1945 as a WAAF shift supervisor, and Georgia Rose, who served from 1943 to 1945 as a teleprinter operator and Morse slip reader.


Coincidentally, I enjoyed listening to Jonathan Freedland's broadcast from Bletchley for Radio 4's The Long View. The episode titled 'Women in intelligence and cybersecurity' compares efforts to recruit more women into intelligence and cybersecurity today to the recruitment of women at Bletchley Park during the War. It was fascinating to hear about the recruitment process; for example bilingual candidates or those with musical qualifications were highly sought after. By the end of the war, 75% of the codebreaking workforce were female - not just a groundbreaking statistic then, but by today's standards. Freedland speaks to Charlotte Webb, who worked at Bletchley. For those interested in learning more, Webb wrote an incredibly insightful book, Secret Postings: Bletchley Park to the Pentagon. To listen to the broadcast please click here (apologies if it is not available in your region).


The Duchess received a gorgeous posy from a very excited boy named Lawson before leaving.


Rebecca English reports Kate shared a little update on Louis:

'Mrs Rose offered her ‘congratulations on your beautiful family’, to which Kate revealed that little Louis, one, was already running amok. ‘Thank you so much. Louis is keeping us on our toes,’ she said. ‘I turned around the other day and he was at the top of the slide - I had no idea!’
Given four cuddly toys by the primary school codebreakers: a squirrel, fox, owl and rabbit for George, Charlotte, Louis and baby Archie, she said: ‘They love wild animals. They will look after these.’ 

A video from the visit.


Kate wore her Alessandra Rich Pleated polka-dot silk crepe de chine midi dress for the engagement.


The £1,225 piece is described: "Alessandra Rich was inspired by Alfred Eisenstaedt's 1945 photograph of a sailor kissing a stranger in Times Square for her Spring '18 collection. Capturing the essence of that iconic moment, this vintage-inspired dress is cut from polka-dot silk crepe de chine that falls to a pleated midi skirt."


Readers will recall, Kate wore the dress for Prince Charles' 70th birthday portraits.


Kate carried her Smythson Panama purse.


The Duchess wore her Emmy London Rebecca pumps in 'Riviera'.


And accessorised with her Annoushka pearls.


Very fittingly, Kate wore her grandmother Valerie's brooch.


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In other news, William and Kate are travelling to Windsor later today to meet Baby Archie. I expect they'll take George, Charlotte and Louis when they return home from their engagements. 


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With just one week to go until the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower show officially opens to the public, Kensington Palace released three new image of the Duchess making preparations for her 'Back to Nature' garden.


Kate joined landscape architects Davies White and together, they visited nurseries, suppliers and craftspeople who have been building elements of the garden. The garden will highlight the importance of embracing nature for physical and mental health.


We'll almost certainly see the Duchess, and other members of the royal family accompany the Queen, on Monday 20 May, for the preview day. I'm very excited to see Kate's completed garden. Several elements of the garden mirror aspects of the outdoors, which the Cambridge children love. Wouldn't it be fun if George, Charlotte and Louis joined their parents? 


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And to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Prince William joined Stephen Fry, Katy Perry, Alesha Dixon and Jameela Jamil to record a special one minute message encouraging listeners to take a minute, and really listen. The message was broadcast across 300 radio stations. Mental Health Minute comes days after the launch of Shout, a new 24/7 text messaging line for people in crisis. To find out more please click here.


Finally, it's officially Garden Party season! This year's Buckingham Palace parties take place tomorrow, the 21st and 29th. We can expect to see the Cambridges at one of them. A couple of readers have commented about the possibility of the young royals attending Lady Gabriella Windsor's wedding on Saturday. Simon Perry reports there will be a strong turnout from the family, but "William, Kate, Harry and Meghan won't be there".

129 comments:

  1. Jean from Lancs14 May 2019 at 14:56

    Was getting quite worried about her . some sites were reporting her imminent arrival a couple hours ago--then nothing more.
    Like the dress.

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  2. Rebecca - Sweden14 May 2019 at 15:00

    How nice to see Kate involved with Bletchey again. So great to take advantage of the family connection. It's always easier (and in my mind, way more interesting) to watch and learn about history from the point of view of the people rather the "birds eye view" that the schoolbooks often take. I hope (and think) Kates connection to this place will continue throughout her "royal career".

    Nice to see this dress again! It's very stylized but I have a soft spot for retro silouettes and I have more polka dot pieces in my wardrobe than anything else. So it's right up my alley and I love how it connects to the war era and the former housewives who worked there!

    I've also not had time recently to comment on the last post. (I'm packing for a move!) I find the Shout initiative brilliant and think it can have tangiable impact on the welfare of many people. I know from personal experience that makeing calls can be one of the more anxiety triggering activities and the ability to text instead can have actual real life impact in peoples lives! So I'm excited that they're involved in bringing that service to the UK.

    Looking forward to seeing more pictures and getting more info from today!

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    1. It's good to hear from you, Rebecca. I always appreciate your take on things. Also, I absolutely love this dress - it's so Kate.

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    2. Classic and elegant, her comfort zone and lovely to see.

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    3. Hope all goes well with your move, Rebecca. It can be one of life's major stressors, so take it easy.

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    4. I agree the Dress is Kate’s style and see looks great in it and I 💙 this dress too. I would have like her to wear a white leather pump and clutch that she does not have. The medium blue suede pumps by Emmy London style Rebecca Riviera look miss placed, but the navy cutch is fine if she wore the matching pumps.

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    5. Zora from Prague14 May 2019 at 17:35

      Good luck with your move, Rebecca! :)
      And you 're right - Kate's dress is probably a reminiscence of the war era. I hadn't thought of that but now I believe it's one of those "Kate things".

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  3. I love the pattern and silhouette of this dress, but agree with Ivy that the low waist isn't flattering. I think it would have been perfect without any waist at all, almost like a long shirt dress with a slightly flared skirt. Lastly, is it trendy to match outfits and shoes suddenly? I'm not a fan of these shoes with this dress at all.

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    1. I am not sure matching color and/or material of shoes, accessories and clothing is suddenly "in," but I think it has long been regarded a way to keep an outfit consistent.

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    2. It certainly aids in streamlining one's silhouette because matching usually means colors do not look jarring together.

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  4. I love polka dots dresses! It is a classic. Great jewels! PERFECTION! XOXOXOX

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  5. I personally am not a fan of this dress. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it either. However, this epitomizes Duchess Catherine’s style that I have grown to love. It exudes elegance and grace; I think she looks so happy.

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  6. Beautiful as always! I'm wondering if this dress is another 'Kate thing' with the polka dots related to the involvement of Bletchley Park with code breaking? Or maybe she just likes it... Either way great engagement and personal association!

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  7. I love the general vibe of this dress, but Kate needs a higher waistline. She’s a beautiful woman with a long torsos, and this waistline isn’t the most flattering. It’s a shame, because I think it could be stunning with a small tweak—just look at the family photo, where Louis is disguising the waistline!
    Glad to see Kate back at Bletchley!

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  8. Does anyone know the significance of the golden brooch she’s wearing? I can’t get a good enough look at it to work it out

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  9. Bletchley Park is an amazing place with a history of which Britain and all World War Two allies can be proud. Kate with her family connection no doubt is so.
    She looks great. Think she has figure flaws? By whose perfect standard? Any such standard is always changing and indeed is variable across the world. I don't think body shaming is ever attractive.

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  10. I love everything about the dress. Duchess Catherine looks amazing. As someone who had two relatives die in WWII I admire and appreciate the focus of this outing.

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  11. The combo of the long wasted torso and exceptionally long skirt is less then appealing for me. I believe taking about 12 inches off the hem would have made the dress very appealing as navy and white is such a clean refreshing combination not to mention the fun of the dots! I am taking bets that we will see this dress in the future with a shorter hem line.

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    1. Anglophile in Ohio15 May 2019 at 02:21

      I disagree. Shortening this dress by a foot would ruin its proportions.

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  12. Renée from Berlin14 May 2019 at 16:57

    I like the polka dot print very much. The broad and closed collar and the very long skirt are regal but make the dress oldfashioned. The pumps are very elegant. It seems they are the Emmy style Rebecca Riviera.

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  13. Caroline in Montana14 May 2019 at 17:02

    I was hoping to see this dress again. I really like it. I like the collar in particular. I did notice how long the waist was, but really that is how she is shaped this is not news, why not wear what you like and are comfortable in. no need to pick on something she can not control. why try to hide it? really liking those shoes, are they new, I don't recall seeing them? cant wait to see more photos. Thanks Charlotte!!

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    1. I'm with you Caroline, I really like the dress too. It's definitely a modern twist on a classic style and the tailoring on the dress is well done. Honestly, I don't think the dress looks any different on the model than on Kate, the length of the dress balances out the elongated waist of the dress IMO. I also like the shoes and thought they were new too. It's appropriate and gives a respectful nod to the engagement, which BTW is very interesting and look forward to viewing the video later. Kate is beautiful as always and enjoy that this event has such personal significance to her. cc

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  14. I think the Duchess looks elegant and very summery in this lovely floaty dress.
    Maybe a tad long. Also any idea if the broach/pin shes wearing has any significance

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  15. What a proud and interesting connection for Kate to have. Her family has certainly served Britain well. I enjoyed the TV series about Bletchley very much. Kate looks lovely, and I think the dress has a retro look that works with the purpose of the visit. I think the style is very Kate. It looks lovely in motion, and that very high slit gives it a very stylish vibe. When Kate is standing still, the dress looks like it is an odd length to me, although the length balances out the skirt. I think I'd like to see a different shoe-perhaps something with a forties look.

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    1. I think a high-heeled Mary Jane in red would have been a great look.

      Hope in USA

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  16. Thanks for the preview, Charlotte! I didn't know Kate had an engagement. Shes such a joy-spreader! She genuinely seems to enjoy meeting people.

    Oh, I like the length of this dress SOOOOO much better than the frumpy "midi" length! This maxi length is so young, cute & stylish. That midi length is so old lady-looking. Glad she looks her age. I dont know how anyone could critique her figure. She looks great, as always.

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  17. Wow so chic and elegant Another fabulous outfit from Kate Love how naturally effortless she is and never puts a foot wrong Great to see raising the profile of our history and what they achieved

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  18. Rita in Florida14 May 2019 at 17:27

    Well Kate is a gorgeous woman with an enviable figure so she can wear about anything. That said, I didn't like this dress when I saw it the first time. The only thing I like about this dress is the length. With the long strip of white buttons it's like a polka dot explosion. The style is matronly, the drop waist odd, the sleeves appear restrictive, maybe the collar cut long to try to match the waist.

    For me she has few flops, I guess when they happen they really stand out. Gorgeous day there!!

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  19. I love the fabric of the dress and definitely appreciate the design. It does emphasize Kate's slimness, unfortunately. However, I enjoy these war-related events, a lot especially given the fact that Kate's relatives were decoders. I find that fascinating.

    There were persistent rumors that K&W would visit Archie today, so I wonder if that was a second cute reason to wear the dress?

    Looking forward to the details of the visit; thanks!

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  20. I don't normally comment a lot of the Duchess's fashion choices but this time I cannot help myself. From the waist up Kate looks lovely. However, from the waist things are not good. This dress would be great without the drop waist and knee length or slightly longer ... but not this long. The shoes are just wrong. Too formal for the dress. If she wanted a retro feel she could have tried a Mary Jane type shoe with a heel. Might be time for another stylist or to hire one if she doesn't have one.

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    1. Oh, a Mary Jane shoe would have been great! It would definitely have added to the retro vibe of the dress, and would have been a great fit for the location! She may have worried about that being too costumey, but I think it would have added some panache. I like the dress over all and think she looked lovely in it—I just wish she had added another button or two to keep it from billowing out quite so much.

      What a wonderful engagement, though! I find the work at Bletchley Park fascinating, and I would have loved the activities the kids got to work on! So great to see she was able to visit with some women who actually served during the war—service takes many forms, and while the battles fought are vital and our soldiers should be honored for their sacrifice, the work that went on behind the lines was vital as well. So good to see that aspect honored and celebrated as well.

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    2. Hello TeaKay,

      I agree that the Bletchley Park engagement was wonderful and it appears that this will be a regular visit by the Duchess. Maybe it is the family connection. I hope to be able to visit some day myself.

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  21. Kate looks gorgeous as always. The dress is beautiful on her and a perfect choice for the occasion!! Cheers to her lovely grandmother and aunt for their contributions during a terrible time in the world. WWII.

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  22. I love that she is showing leg

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  23. Looks like a great exhibition.Kate looked lovely. I like the dress but not the oversize collar Love the purse and the color of the shoes.

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  24. Thank you for this newsy report, Charlotte!

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  25. I love Kate and I love this blog, but I don't understand the dowdy nature of many of her outfits...she's a young woman but these type of styles, where everything is completely covered up except for the tiniest bit of ankle, seems so very 100 years ago....I am not criticizing as much as I am seeking to be educated at this highly buttoned up style around the neck, wrists and ankles, and the overly-long dresses...yes, I understand it "goes with" the nature of this event and yes, I see the slit, but ignoring that for a moment, because she wears stuff like this often, I don't think it's flattering and seems very stiff - can someone give me a fashion education why this look is desirable to any woman in 2019? many sincere thanks, i seek to learn.

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    1. Maybe she just likes it? I don't find this dowdy at all. Everyone has a different definition of what that looks like. I think this look is very much in keeping with her style. I think we all want her to be this fashion maven and she is not. She likes what she likes and despite all the above comments, her tailoring and fit are always exceptional. She wears clothes very well.

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    2. Her style was intentionally vintage today. The dress was designed to look like it was from 1945 at the end of the war. The visit was about 1940s code breakers. I think it’s a great tie in without looking like a costume. Also if you saw that flash of her gorgeous legs I didn’t think it was dowdy. It seemed like a great choice for today! Very retro

      Allison P

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    3. PS- I think this is just Kate’s preference for her work “uniform” and she seems to prefer covering up for daytime events. She has shown more skin for evening events. Meghan is often showing her arms and shoulders. Diana wore a wide range. It’s just a personal choice. Maybe she feels that it makes her appear more formal/regal. I don’t think it’s a palace rule.

      Allison

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    4. I see what you are saying & wouldn't personally wear that neckline but I love the style. The dress is fitted so I think it's very flattering. I think maxi dresses are very flattering especially when fitted like this one. I know everyone likes different styles. I personally dont like the ever progression of showing more and more flesh as years progress. I am of the opinion that conservative dressing with figure flattering silhouettes are more attractive & classy. Too much flashing of the body communicates to me that one is seeking the focus & attention to be on ones body instead of ones character & work. For Kate, I think she is trying to set a good example to girls too. Not judging, just explaining my thoughts, as you asked:) For myself, I also have the perspective that I dont want to show the world too much of my body because then there wouldn't be much left that is saved solely for my husband. Good question though. I think Kate is also mindful that she is dressing for an international audience so plays it safe.

      I think she looks adorable today. I love the comment from the designer of how this dress was inspired:

      described: "Alessandra Rich was inspired by Alfred Eisenstaedt's 1945 photograph of a sailor kissing a stranger in Times Square

      Kate usually tries to tie her clothes to the event so seems right in line with her pattern.

      😊

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    5. Caroline in Montana14 May 2019 at 19:50

      i saw way more than just the tiniest flash of ankle, we must be looking at different photos! and this style of dress is called modest, some of us still practice it. no need to bare it all just to be trendy, women can feel good about themselves and still be clothed in whatever makes them comfortable.

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    6. Rita in Florida14 May 2019 at 20:30

      Tina in U.S., I am with you.

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    7. Maxi dresses are very fashionable right now, I see them everywhere. I am getting so used to longer hemlines that I now feel very short dresses are old-fashioned.

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    8. Sometimes when I don’t quite understand the style choice, I go to the designers web page. Usually I see many more similar styles, expensive to be sure-things no one I know wears. I look around and see other people do wear the clothes, some celebrities and members of certain demographic groups choose them and most of the designers are doing well. It expands my idea of what even young beautiful people will wear and what is in fact “in style”.
      Secondly, when young I was very tall and slender. I always chose high necklines, loved unique collars and even preferred evening wear with sleeves. I was more comfortable, especially dancing with shorter men, bending down to speak to seated people, and spent less on special undergarments. I really loved the look even though I wore mini skirts, slit skirts, and tiny shorts. I am sure much of this is simply her personal taste and what helps her feel comfortable on the job.

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    9. By the way,Catherine is 37 and a not so young woman now. For someone of this age with her present and future role I think her styling to be appropriate. -- Nora

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  26. Great engagement with a nice personal connection for Kate. Can we talk about how well dressed the young boy who presented her flowers is? And his big smile is so sweet. Love Kate's dress, I think she looks great in it. My only quibble is I don't think the lighter blue shoes go with it, one of her navy pumps or a white pair would've looked a little better.

    I'm excited for the Cambridges to meet baby Archie today and to see Kate's completed garden at the Flower Show soon!

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    1. The young boy with the suspenders is so handsome and charming. His smile could light up a room.

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    2. I agree Laura! He seemed so happy to be there and to give Kate the flowers, and he looked very sharp, too! Just precious.

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  27. Such a classic look. Very reminiscent of WWII. If intentional, nice homage. I like it!

    Diana wore a very similar dress in 1985. I prefer the dropped collar line of Diana's to Catherine's. Maybe add a photo of Diana to this post?

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  28. Rebecca - Sweden14 May 2019 at 18:28

    Omg! I've been digging around with others for info on here brooch and we were speculating it being a gear from an enigma machine etc. And turns out one of our guesses were right. The brooch was Valeries!! This makes me so happy! Such a wonderful gesture. Imagine telling Valerie back then that her jewels would become "royal jewels" in the future! I love this!!

    https://twitter.com/courtjeweller/status/1128349834400927744

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    1. Thank you for sharing the link Rebecca! Great close up of the brooch and what a wonderful way for Kate to honor her grandmother. cc

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  29. Why was my comment deleted?

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    1. I think it was accidental, Ivy, in removing my response to your comment. My comment is missing, too.

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    2. Ivy Lin - I deleted the comment because there was a conversation developing with some very unkind responses about Kate's shape, figure, weight etc and I thought it best to close the thread before it escalated.

      2050 - No, I didn't delete Ivy's because I was attempting to remove your comment. By removing the original comment, all replies in the thread are automatically deleted.

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    3. thank you Charlotte for stopping negativity in it's tracks

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    4. Maggie - Minneapolis14 May 2019 at 22:01

      Charlotte, not to bug you but also curious about why mine got deleted?

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    5. Hello Maggie,

      I have no doubt there's a good debate to be had on the topic, I just don't think this is the place for it. The early replies to your comment suggest it would have taken a very divisive and argumentative turn, and as the topic isn't related to Kate or the engagement itself, I decided against it.

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  30. Courtney Providence Village14 May 2019 at 18:48

    I love the top of the dress...the photo where she’s sitting at the table, she looks incredible! Very regal! Then there’s the bottom...ugh not a fan... :( reminds me of a moomoo lol ;)

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  31. They got to do a deciding exercise with a real Enigma machine. I am so jealous.

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  32. I'm so glad Kate wore this dress again. I really like the colors and length of it, and it is different from most she wears. She looks so happy and healthy as well.

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  33. I think from some angles it looks really good, but I’m not a fan of drop waists on any figure, not my favorite. While I like the shoes contrasting a bit, I think if she had a bigger pop of color, that would have been such a good look!
    Overall not my fave look. But I’m so interested in where she was! I love history and for her to have a family connection must be so special for her.

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  34. Not crazy about this dress...but I do like it for this engagement. It’s very retro and fits in well with the venue. I like the way she has the buttons undone at the bottom, freshens it up in my opinion. She looks gorgeous l.

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  35. William has a previously -scheduled event with the FA, of which he is President, during that time frame. That is why he and Catherine will likely not be able to attend the wedding.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden14 May 2019 at 21:34

      Honestly I don't think they would be likely to go either way.

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  36. Fabulous silhouette - love the understated, retro-chic lines of this dress, which is so en vogue in Europe right now. I want this dress but perhaps beyond my budget ...:-(

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  37. What a neat engagement! So interesting to hear about Kate's family involvement. Not my favorite look on her but it's good she sticks to what she loves. You can't please everyone!

    Yasmine

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  38. The dress could use one more button.

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    1. Deanne from Canada15 May 2019 at 03:51

      Same. Or 2. I wish I could wax poetic about this look on her but I can’t. The entire ensemble reminds me of a retro school teacher. I feel that it ages her and a simple blouse/skirt combo would have done the trick.

      The many buttons are her trademark. It’s her. It’s her comfort zone. It reminds me of her 2011-2012 GoTo looks.

      I also notice how this dress accentuates her long torso. So I see how the skirt length balances her out.

      If I had my style say, I’d like to see her in more contemporary coordinates where she can mix & match fabrics and designers. ie: leather skirt & fitted blouse. Or a fitted skirt and a light looser sweater. It would herald in a more modern style overall. Maybe I’m simply partial to the ensembles of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

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    2. Agree completely. I had the same thought. It would look better and make it easier for her to walk without showing too much leg.

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  39. I'm curious why the brick says Mary Glassborow with Middleton in parentheses if she was Valerie's (Kate's grandmother, who became a Middleton) sister. Presumably she was never a Middleton? I don't know why that jumped out at me, but if anyone knows the answer I'd love to hear it!

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    1. It seems Glassborow was her maiden and her married name Middleton. Rw

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    2. I am wondering the same thing.

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    3. I am about to give up trying to post comments on this site, but to answer your question, Mary Glassborow married Anthony Middleton, Peter's brother.

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    4. I wonder the same thing!

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    5. Anglophile in Ohio.15 May 2019 at 03:31

      Valerie’s sister Mary married Peter’s older brother Anthony John Middleton in 1947.

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    6. Could it be because she was Glassborrow while working there? That is all that would make sense to me.

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    7. Anglophile in Ohio15 May 2019 at 09:11

      Mary married Peter’s older brother Anthony in 1947.

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    8. I wondered that too. Unless I've got the family links wrong, Mary wasn't a Middleton at all.

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    9. Thank you, I didn't know the twin sisters married two brothers. Fun little fact. I love Valerie's picture, she has lovely kind face.

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    10. Rebecca - Sweden15 May 2019 at 14:49

      The twins married Middleton brothers!

      https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Glassborow-1

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    11. You find the most interesting information Rebecca! cc

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    12. That makes their children double cousins.

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  40. I really like the dress but I don’t like the shoes and clutch combination with that dress... she may have tried white/nude pumps with another matching clutch. Btw Kate looks always beautiful!

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    1. Caroline in Montana14 May 2019 at 21:58

      I do like the blue shoes, but I think you are right - I would love to see this dress with white shoes and a white clutch, and even go a stretch further and add a big white sun hat!!

      Delete
  41. Love seeing this dress on Kate. It's a really popular dress given Abigail Spencer wore it to Meghan's wedding and Kelly Ripa has worn it a few times on Live with Kelly and Ryan. What's interesting is both of those women are not nearly as tall as Kate. Finally I can see the lines of this dress. The seaming is beautiful. I love how it's cut - but then again, I had a similar dress (different print) back in the late '80s.

    I think it's a great dress dress to have in your closet. Perhaps Kate will wear it to someone's wedding down the road. She could go with a different shoe - I like the idea of a white Mary Jane or an ankle strap shoe.

    Hope that Meghan will do some sort of post on Instagram with the cousins and Archie. Little Louie is already running and climbing! Probably trying to keep up with his big brother and sister. How cute.

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    Replies
    1. When I first saw the length of the dress on the willowy Kate, I thought it must positively drag on the ground when worn by a woman of a more typical height! If petite Kelly Ripa has the same dress, she must have had a foot chopped off the bottom! LOL.

      Such an interesting event and thanks for identifying the brooch, Charlotte. It was the second thing I noticed about the outfit.

      Delete
  42. Zora from Prague14 May 2019 at 20:37

    Wonderful, wonderful engagement! So interesting and Kate so captivated and talking to the kids, making everyone feel at ease! The video is just great! The personal connection makes it even more special. Kate must be so proud of her grandma. Many thanks for the link to the program about women in intelligence! I'm going to listen to it soon.
    Great to know they were visiting H+M+A! Looking forward to the Chelsea flower show, as well as to all other engagements May and June have in store for us!
    Thank you so much, Charlotte!!!

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  43. Thank you Charlotte for the as always very interesting post. So much information and like the links especially to the book. Always looking for a recomendation for books that are a wee bit different. So important to highlight the war works and to remember women in the workforce during the last war is what drove wholesale acceptance of women working after marriage. For me the standout photograph today is the fourth one which really encapsulates the face of modern Britain. I like the fashion, elegant and modern twist on retro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True.In addition, I think the war was the event that catapulted women into the workforce in general. They also they needed women to work in factories and to help with the sick and injured not to mentioned to work in covert operations. RW.

      Delete
    2. I think this is actually a bit of a misconception. European women worked at all times and only very few families could afford to not have them working. On farms there never was no question- everyone had to help in the house and on the field. And when people started to move into cities and factories were built they also employed women and children. This only changed after WWI and even then most families couldn’t afford to have the women just being housewives.
      C.

      Delete
  44. Really enjoyed the history lesson. Thanks, Charlotte. The Duchess looks lovely.

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  45. I really like the styling of the dress with the yellow shoes and long earrings.

    And this is a question not specifically directed at Kate or Meghan, but why must long hair always be pulled to the front now? Can't it be worn down the back?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Ok well since my previous comment got deleted I'll just say that I don't think this kind of low waistline flatters any woman, long torso or short torso. If you have a long torso it makes your torso look longer. If you have a short torso this waistline will sit in an awkward spot between your waist and hips. I do like her shoes and the polka dots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like this waistline either, I look awful in it, and agree it doesn't flatter anybody. But I appreciate the fact that Kate is able to pull it off and look stunning!

      Delete
  47. Why hasn't Kate learned how to accessorize and or style things like this better by now? I understand maybe she wanted something retro, but one can do retro without looking dated. This dress needed something to elevate it from 80's bad fashion.

    Wearing her Grandmother's brooch though is a lovely gesture!

    And thank you to this blog for always putting so much information & care into all the posts. I've been reading this blog since Kate got engaged or thereabouts, and you've always done a splendid job! Kudos!

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  48. what a fun engagement hmm its nice too see that the duchess ha a family involvement on these she looks regal and sophicated in that look

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  49. Rachel South Africa15 May 2019 at 06:44

    Kate looks lovely in this dress and it was an interesting and meaningful engagement for her. But she really needed a navy shoe. This lighter shoe does nothing for the look. A navy shoe would have been smarter and would have kept the look classic and timeless.

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  50. Kate looks gorgeous and I like the youthful slit up her dress.

    Thanks so much for your hard work Charlotte.

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  51. I really like that Kate still supports Bletchly Park. But the outfit is (sadly again) a huge miss in my books. The length is strange and the blue accessories are too much. Black, brown, nude or beige shoes and clutch would have been nicer.
    Looking at the family picture- even Camilla looks more fashionable (and still highly elegant) than her. I don't get why she as turned to this frumpy style. Vintage/retro doesn't have to be frumpy. Dressing as a Duchess and future Queen doesn't have to be frumpy.
    I feel she is more at ease though. In the past (between the birth of George and the pregancy with Louis) her interactions did sometimes come across as forced but this has changed a lot.
    Looking forward to the Chelsea flower show and Ascot. Wonder if she is going to wear white again and making it a tradition.
    C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't call this dress frumpy. It fits perfectly, nothing pulls or creases, it is a nice, light material. It is elegant and well cut.

      Delete
    2. @Anonymous 13:50
      Frumpy doesn’t mean ill fitting or from a bad material. In my opinion she does not look elegant at all. As so often the perception of an outfit depends on the individual. Kate had many times where she has truly blown me away with her fashion choices but lately I find myself left with feeling a big ‚mehhh‘ most of the time.
      C.

      Delete
    3. @C.True, perception depends on the individual. There was a comment, I can't find it again, suggesting a perfect outfit for Kate, a leather skirt. I very much dislike leather skirts or trousers, now that would be frumpy or inelegant IMO. Whereas a flowing, well cut dress...
      I agree it doesn't blow me away but she looks elegant IMO.
      13:50

      Delete
  52. It seems that K&W visited Archie yesterday, so perhaps Kate also wore this dress because she wore it for the family photo. In addition to being retro and appropriate for the day's event and no doubt because she likes it. It looks like a dress that would feel really great to wear.

    Don't know why she doesn't add an extra button because it's fine to wear unless you have photographers stationed around hoping to get a revealing shot. But then everyone has legs and hers are very attractive but not a surprise, and she's showing less than one would see in a bathing suit.

    I loved the photos, Charlotte. This is such an interesting event, especially with her close family connection.

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  53. Please, where is the BAFTA awards coverages? Kate looked beautiful I think!

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  54. Personally, I find the look a tad frumpy. The pretty pumps, the pretty pearls - just too ... buttoned-up. 3 out of 4 elderly ladies are dressed in trousers. I find this up-lifting: they're moving with the times.

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  55. I love the dress. It’s a lovely spring dress and was extremely suitable for the event. She looked happy, healthy and as usual smiling. I I love the way she greets people with confidence, grace and you can tell how interested she is when talking and listening to people. Congratulations Catherine you do a wonderful job. Charlotte you do an awesome 👏 job and Thankyou for stamping out the negative and nasty remarks. I recently had a heart transplant and I am so grateful to be alive. I just don’t understand why people have to be so negative and nasty. Why not be happy and positive it’s so much more rewarding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best wishes to you!

      Delete
    2. Sending good wishes your way for your post-op recovery. You are correct, people need to get their priorities straight and be kind to others.

      Delete
  56. Dear Anon 15:41, I'm so glad you are alive, too! I have erased the word "feud" from my brain! Things seem to be freer now that M&H moved, freer to let out some truths. Mike Tindall saying how Harry played with all the kids and remembering that he gave Louis the Pooh book erased thoughts of bad feelings. K&W visited Archie at a perfect time -- very soon but not so soon that Meghan didn't have time to adjust to Archie's schedule. All I see are happy smiling faces!! Obviously there are going to be a lot of work events by Kate and William and Harry and none of them are to outshine the other; rather, they are to support the Queen and their father. We just have to focus on what is actually occurring rather than on the myriad hateful comments -- there's no one who is liked by everyone.

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  57. I like the dress from the waist up but not a fan of the dress, way too long and the flowing detail at the bottom. Navy or white shoes would have possibly looked better, the 'Riviera' colour shoes I didn't like, but personal preference there. Loved the pearl earrings gorgeous, and loved the Panama purse.

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  58. Hello Charlotte! As always, sincere thanks for your work and commitment to civility and respectful dialogue! I really do appreciate your thoughtful management of your creation.

    Lately, I have had a bit of a fantasy ... I propose that there could be a competition, of sorts, within this community.

    Let us submit photos of ourselves. Perhaps an open competition amongst ourselves? Apply to be like the Duchess of Cambridge for a day, or week, or event?
    We openly offer approximately 10 to 20 submissions from this group for feedback on fashion, color choices, silhouettes (tight vs loose, long waist vs regular waist, slim vs loose, coats vs dresses ...) colors and fabrics, undergarments,shoes, boots and any and all footwear, handbags, jewelry, coats, dresses skirts as opposed to trousers .. PLUS, let us invite and welcome feedback on our size, figure, posture, height and weight, facial expressions body language, cosmetics, complexion, skin tone, hair health, style and color, cut and style, teeth, and appearance during and after pregnancy. Let's include child rearing and ability to speak well in public AND being a supportive partner to the future King. Fabulous sister-in-law and Aunt.
    Actually, Charlotte, you probably should not publish this, 😊, or maybe heavily edited. Thanks for all you do. Sorry for a bit of a rant. Honestly, can the DOC ever catch a break? Is it jealousy that fuels such nastiness? Let this comment go .. 😊😋. Well wishes to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1. Enough said :)

      Delete
    2. 03:43 - you do have a valid point. Nastiness is not a pretty thing.

      Of course, this is a style blog, so how interesting it would be without these comments are a whole different matter, particularly as Charlotte offers links to the clothes the DoC wears etc. As long as we are studying her image, we're bound to be dragged in.

      Then again, I didn't apply for the job, as did Kate. Nor am I heavily subsidized, as is Kate. She is a role model to many more than her children and friends and 50 colleagues. How she does her job is highly relevant - and as soon as some start commenting on that they are shamed and told to step away. So, what's left to talk about; how kind and nice she probably is?

      But I agree, decency comes first! Thanks for the reminder

      Delete
    3. Lol! You made me laugh, anonymous! So true!!!

      Delete
    4. Anon 3:43, Point well made. Maybe it would help us keep your point in mind, if Charlotte were to print your comment at the beginning of each comment section.

      Delete
    5. Ok I have to disagree here. I have a very different body shape than either Kate or Meghan. I am short (160 cm), with a shorter torso, short thighs, and very long calves. No bust, but more of a waist/hips. Reading these threads has actually been really helpful in helping me be more aware of what kind of clothes flatter the figure. I unlike Kate don't have a stylist, an unlimited fashion budget, and famous designers lining up to make bespoke items for me. But it is helpful to read these fashion blogs and just get some tips on looking your best no matter what the occasion.

      For instance, I used to be one of those people who thought pantyhose was pantyhose. Just throw a pair on and be done with it. Now I pick pairs that match my actual skin tone more carefully, and I'm also more careful about picking pairs that have a smoother look. Again, this is low-budget. But it has helped me. Just my two cents.

      Delete
    6. Ha! You're not kidding. I think it's the internet also wherr6prople think the anonymity gives license to say whatever they want no matter how inappropriate. Hopefully Kate doesn't read any online comments:)

      I initially thought you were serious and thought it was a good idea. I think there might be some people commenting who would actually like to get some critiques for improvements. Probably for another blog though. Funny idea though!

      Delete
    7. There are many other sites that offer fashion advice for specific body types. I agree with 03:43. And just because she "signed up" for this role or is wealthy is no excuse for people being unkind to her.

      Delete
    8. I can see your point Anon, but as somebody who grew up with no dress sense, and to be honest, a superiority complex because I don’t waste my time with frivolous things like fashion but a love for history, I stumbled on royal fashion blogs like this by accident. And I have learnt so much. I am very well aware that my regular everyday outfits will not pass muster, but I would like to think that these days my “Sunday best” or special occasion outfits will stand the scrutiny of this group. Everybody will not necessarily like what I wear, but I am now confident enough in my choices that it doesn’t matter.
      Take this Kate is wearing for example, I really don’t like it, but I have a feeling Kate loves it and she wouldn’t care at all whether anybody else like it or not.
      One thing I wish people would avoid though is extreme words like “hate”, “horrible” and “ugly”. There are very few outfits in the world that are truely horrible.

      Delete
    9. Ivy Lynn, I am like you, I have learned a lot here! I am also short, but have the same build as Kate, except my shoulders are narrower. I know now fit and flare dresses are very flattering on me!
      Because Kate is always well dressed and also because IMO she dresses to look pretty and not to make a fashion statement, I think all those conversations are inspiring.
      As long of course as it remains a nice artistic criticism, and doesn't become personal. One forgets sometimes that it isn't (only) the proportions of a work of art ( some of those outfits are truly that) we are disscussing but also the appearance of a real woman.

      Delete
    10. Caroline in Montana17 May 2019 at 15:44

      I agree with you anon. if there are folks that are purely here for fashion sense that's great, but then maybe they should not cut someone else down as they know how it feels. agree with RachelZA, words matter. one can not like the clothes with out putting the woman down, at least it seems possible to me.

      Delete
  59. I am currently reading Ben Elton’s novel Identity crisis. It is very interesting in its social context especially for its take on the manipulation of social media. It is an easy read and food for thought on the exponential rise of internet nastiness. I personally like to read the fashion comment and as people from all over the world comment find it very interesting as to how location and background can inform the comment.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Valerie in Arizona17 May 2019 at 08:59

    Actually I am in Southampton now, getting read to sail back to America after a long holiday. I was interested in the fashion comments as I just bought an Alice Temperley (sp?) dress in John Lewis here in Southampton. I am 67 years old, short, short legs, torso, a post-menopausal (read larger than ever before) bust. I never felt pretty growing up in the 1960s Twiggy/Jean Shrimpton years. Too short and, as one friend told me when I wore a yellow dress, a pear. When I wanted to be a willow, sigh.

    But when I tried on this dress I felt lovely and elegant. It comes down to my mid calf. It flutters when I walk. It is buttoned down the front with a loose top section and partly elasticized waist. When I put it on I suddenly felt—pretty. Now some stylist might tell me I shouldn’t wear something that long. Or that the color is wrong. I really don’t care. I feel pretty and my husband said I looked good in it.

    It is fine to comment about other people’s fashion sense if that is what you like to do. I personally don’t because at the back of my mind there is always that teenager that felt like never going out because she felt so inadequate no matter what she wore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Royal 👑 Watcher17 May 2019 at 14:11

      AAWWWW Valerie, much love to you. Your honesty brought tears to my eyes. I am sure that you are beautiful, and the fact that your husband told you so, is just lovely. I agree, some clothes just make you feel amazing. Good quality design, good fabric, well made... ahhhh!!! I must share something with you. Winter is coming to Australia, and I went to buy ski pants today. Hardly flattering. I am also post menopausal, forever going to the gym, Pilates, swim or yoga. Eating protein and walking the dogs. Lol Lol Lol. I'm not winning, but I am not loosing either. The bust is too big and I don't know what to do with it, but my friend told me my glutes look good. haha. So, back to the ski pants. Hardly flattering as I said. Big, bulky, ugly. Enter a French brand that just hugged me in all the right places. Haha. I look OK in them. Believe it or not. They were more expensive than the ones on sale, but I did not care. The fact that they did not cut in to the waist, sat nicely over the behind and had pockets in places that did not make me look wide meant everything to me. I get what you are saying. Go quality, ensure you feel beautiful or go home. Life is too short for clothes that make you want to stay home. Ha.

      Delete
    2. I hear you Valerie. Being short is a handicap all it's own. It's hard enough to find regular clothes that fit, but specialty clothing, like sportswear, is next to impossible. Even a nightgown or pajamas that really fit, is an amazing find! I don't have the too big bust problem--just the opposite. Which, when women's clothes are made to accommodate boobs, can be quite a problem. Darts when I don't need them, trying to fill out a bathing suit top, and buying a bra is a nightmare. The older I get, the worse it is. My problem now is that the bumps and bulges around my chest and under my arms, are bigger than my actual breasts. I need smaller cups for the boobs, but wider cups to catch the overflow and a wider band to cover the back flab. I can tell you that NO ONE makes a bra like that. I think I have tried them all. Having said all this, I was absolutely shocked last week, when I went to a major sporting goods store to look for hiking pants. It was a store I had never shopped at before, because the nearest one is quite a distance from home. Not only did they have several styles in Short length, but they carried smaller sizes, too! I wasn't expecting to find anything--I told my husband who went along, that it was probably a wasted trip. In the past I have only been able to find things like that online, but then you have the problem of not being able to try on, and having to pay for shipping both ways if things don't fit. So, from one old, shorty to another, I can't help but to dream what it would be like to look like a Duchess Kate. I guess the reason I thought she looked lovely in this dress, was that it made her look even more long, tall and willowy than usual. Like you, Valerie, I used to sit and look at the models in fashion magazines and think, "If only...".

      Delete
  61. No BAFTA post?🙁

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    Replies
    1. Hello,

      William and Kate attended the BAFTAs on Feb 10th. The post is here.

      http://hrhduchesskate.blogspot.com/2019/02/first-look-glamorous-kate-in-show.html

      Delete

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