Saturday, 18 May 2019

Kate Gets into the Swing of It at RHS Chelsea Ahead of Garden Unveiling

Ahead of the unveiling of Kate's RHS 'Back To Nature' garden at the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday, Kensington Palace has offered a sneak peek at the completed project along with several new images of the Duchess. Kate visited privately on Wednesday and Friday, and spent over twenty hours digging, planting and overseeing the finishing touches. The image below shows Kate road-testing the swing. It's been a real treat to have a behind-the-scenes look into the endeavour, which looks fantastic.


In January, it was announced the Duchess had spent several months co-creating the RHS 'Back to Nature' garden. Inspired by childhood memories of the natural world and moments that will be created by families in the future. The vision for the garden was to recapture for adults "the sense of wonder and magic" they enjoyed outdoors as children. It is understood the Cambridges' Norfolk bolthole Anmer Hall served as inspiration and the final result will include features from their own garden. 'Back To Nature' is packed with elements evoking childhood, including a treehouse, waterfall and stream, rustic den, campfire and stepping stones. Indeed, it's been reported Kate will take George, Charlotte and Louis to see the garden in the coming days. Whether that will be Monday's preview day or a private family visit is not known yet.


“I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults.” - The Duchess of Cambridge.


The Palace revealed the garden is "filled with incredible edibles, plants for craft activities, forest scents and a diverse range of plants, shrubs and trees of different heights and textures". The garden includes forget-me-nots, a favourite of Princess Diana.



'The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of the “overriding and debilitating” sense of isolation too many parents still experience in their children’s early years, as she shares her hopes of overcoming a “fear of judgment” to allow them to ask for help.
On Monday, The Duchess unveils her children’s garden at the annual Chelsea Flower Show, said she found it “heart-breaking” to know that “there is a long way to go” to ensure all children grow up happy, healthy and ready to fulfil their potential.
In a letter to experts, she spelled out her ambition that their work would help to “bring about the transformation that will make positive change for generations to come”, breaking a cycle of disadvantage and trauma they had seen all too often in Britain.
In creating the “Back to Nature” garden at RHS Chelsea, the Duchess is understood to have wanted to emphasise the importance of outdoor play on early years development. “In recent years I have focussed much of my work on the early years, and how instrumental they are for outcomes later in life,” she said. I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults.”

More from Harper's Bazaar:

“What happens in our early years is vital to our being able to engage positively in school, and in work and society, and ultimately, to how we bring up our own children,” the duchess says of the scientific research presented to her by the group. “The first few years of life, from conception to five, are pivotal for our future health, happiness, and ability to cope with adversity—and probably more so than at any other point of our lifetime. Understanding that our brain develops to 90 percent of its adult size within these first five years helps crystalize how our experiences in these earliest years are so impactful, and influences who we become as individuals.”
Over the course of this year and beyond, the Duchess will continue to focus on this area of work through engagement with academics, policy makers and organizations. Her goal is to support the efforts of as many people working across the early years as possible, including researchers, practitioners, and charities.
“There are undoubtedly challenges in trying to bring about the transformation that will make positive change for generations to come, and help break the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage and trauma, yet I am inspired every day by the people I meet and am committed to supporting this endeavor,” Kate writes. “I hope my long-term commitment to working in the early years will help make a difference over a generational timescale.”

The Duchess graces the covers of tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.


Over the past number of months, Kate has worked with architects Davies White and together, they visited nurseries, suppliers and craftspeople who have been building elements of the garden.


The Evening Standard reports 'the Kate Effect' has seen sales of tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show surge:

'Kensington Palace revealed in January that the Duchess of Cambridge would help design a garden for the annual celebration of horticulture alongside landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White and the Royal Horticultural Society.
The announcement led to an overnight doubling of ticket sales and all 168,000 are expected to have been snapped up by today or tomorrow. That puts the “sold out” date almost a fortnight ahead of 2018, when tickets were still available on the opening day.
“When the duchess’s involvement was announced, visits to the RHS Chelsea web pages increased by 100 per cent and there was a huge surge of people wanting tickets.”

The Royal Horticultural Society announced 'Back to Nature' will be relocated to a NHS trust after the show - with the chosen trust announced over the coming week.


It's always fun to see Kate's off-duty style. The Duchess was casual and chic in the Jaeger Blue Stripe Linen Roll Shirt (with thanks to Middleton Maven). The £99 piece is described as: "Lightweight in blue and white striped linen, this breezy shirt is styled with ¾ length sleeves, a polished collar and buttoned patch pocket." It's available at John Lewis and Jaeger. UPDATE: With thanks to HRH Kate, it seems Kate wore an older style of a very similar shirt by the brand.


Alexandra notes Kate's blue stripe t-shirt appears to be the same piece Pippa wore during the photoshoot for her book Celebrate.


It appears Kate wore her Berghaus Supalite II boots.


It looks like Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren leaf earrings.



Looking forward to seeing 'Back To Nature' in its entirety on Monday.

53 comments:

  1. A wonderful idea!! I'd love to see it! Fantastic idea to remind us adults how much fun playing outdoors used to be.

    And, Charlotte, let me know where I can get a set of toned legs like Catherine please.... ;)

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  2. our genaration today smarthphone laptop and forget to play outdoor the duchess remind us to get dirty a d play outdoor

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    1. So well said! Really looking forward to the reveal of her garden.

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  3. Tammy from California18 May 2019 at 23:49

    IIIIIIIIIII L O V E this! And I mean, I REALLY, REALLY LOVE IT! Outdoors is my "thang" and seeing my favorite girl out there encouraging it is another "thang". Great, great, great!

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    1. Tammy, you are too cute for words!! lol :) xxxxxxx

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    2. I am right thee with you Tammy, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!!! I love her initiative, her commitment, her involvement, her smiling encouraging self!! This is a personal mark of hers and one that she actually lives. Can't wait to see more!! cc

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  4. So I have to admit, I am going through some really hard times at the moment and today I spent it outside and honestly, the Duchess is utterly correct on this thought process of hers. It really does work and goes along with not only children but also adults. She is on to something here!! I I wish this garden nothing but success and a great turn out to come. ❤️

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    1. Pam from Boston19 May 2019 at 01:24

      Hope things will be looking up for you soon, Florida Girl.

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    2. Rhonda - Wisconsin19 May 2019 at 02:48

      Florida Girl - I’m sorry you are going they some tough times right now. One day at a time, breathe and be positive. This too shall pass and you will be stronger for it. Consider yourself {{{hugged}}}.

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    3. FG: I hope you have all the help and support you need to weather this hard time you're having. Hang in there. I agree, being in nature is certainly a restorative. Hope you can get out often.

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    4. I'm sorry you are going through some rough things. :( Sending you love and light. ❤

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    5. Florida Girl, I am so sorry to hear this is a difficult period of time for you. You sound emotionally intelligent, listening to your body and emotions and what is helping you through this trying episode. Keep giving yourself what you need and I hope tomorrow, next week or very soon things will be better. G.A.

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    6. Wow thank you Ladies for the support!!! ❤️❤️πŸ₯°

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  5. Love! Love! Love! I had actually considered extending my stay in the UK, in order to be able to attend The Chelsea Flower Show!! However, I would have missed some important Family events back here in the U.S...... but, it was extremely tempting!! :) Oh & I forgot to mention that I made it to Windsor, for the first time, the day after Archie was born & I Found "Terry"!!! My London friends thought I was nuts that I was such a Fan of this Super Fan!!! But I found him & have pics of him being interviewed by several TV stations & then we chatted & my friend (who lives in Ascot) took my photo with him! He was Absolutely Delightful!!! I told him All About The DKB & MAM Blogs & how I've watched him being featured during all of Kate's births & now with this birth!! He was so surprised & delighted! Then we had a rather sneaky chat, he was telling me all sorts of stories of the experiences he's had with the Royals (as they have known of him for many years, going back to the birth of Charles!!) He was so cute & Exactly as you would think he would be!! It was Such A Highlight & Delight & A Definite Item On My Bucket List that I Never Dreamed of Completing!! lol :) A memory I will Never Forget!! Also, it was Sunny & we were able to walk everywhere & had a relaxing time closing out our visit in St. George's Chapel! Absolute Magic!! xx

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    1. So delighted, Becca, to hear about your wonderful and unique experiences at Windsor. Thank you for sharing! It sounds like pure magic to this DKB fan!

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    2. So happy for you, Becca. Isn't Windsor lovely? Thanks for the great report.

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    3. Becca, I am so fascinated by your connecting with Terry! In addition to being such a full circle connection for you, I bet he was really thrilled to know that "we" love him! I am starting to feel like I know Windsor from all my viewing of events, and I bet it was just the best experience walking around there on a beautiful day!!!

      Today sounds like a good day for Royal watching, too. There's a great photo of the Queen in raspberry pink smiling up at the new dad, who seems to always have a smile these days!

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    4. I am so happy for you, Becca, USA!! It sounds like you hit the jackpot being in Windsor near Archie's birth. What an unforgettable memory!

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    5. Your adventure meeting Terry sounds absolutely wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

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    6. It's such a thrill to share that day with you all & (I think you'll get this in a way my friends didn't) I really felt like you all were there with me!! :) xx Through Charlotte & her blogs, we've traveled all these many years together. So many conversations & things we've been through together & chats we've had, that we could only have here, (as many of our families think we're nuts lol:) have made for such a special bond!! The whole experience was so surreal! It was like a mash up of putting into context aspects of H&M's Wedding & then being there for the buzz after Archie's birth... the in-between day... between the birth to the photo op! As I said... pure magic! :) xx Oh, & I also walked the exact path they walk on Garter Day & I had my photo taken Exactly where Kate stood this Easter when she bowed to The Queen... I did all these crazy nutty things, that meant so much to me!! My friends were absolutely wonderful & got a kick out of me enjoying all these things they take for granted, living right in the area!! As I said... Magical Day! :) xx

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    7. Zora from Prague19 May 2019 at 19:40

      Becca, that is super-fantastic!!! I'm happy you did "all those crazy nutty things"πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒ, I would do them too!!!
      Thank you so much for telling us about it, it feels like being there with you! Meeting Terry must have been beyond reality, thanks for telling him all about the blogs! (What kind of accent did he speak?) And you're right - some things can only be understood by fellow royal fans!!πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

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    8. Becca, you are a walking advertisement for the Windsor Tourist Board. Thrilled your trip to Windsor was so fruitful.

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    9. Oh USA Granny, you just gave me the biggest chuckle & Zora, he had the most delightful aged, raspy quiet voice... so one had to get close, as if he was going to share a secret. It was....... oh I can't even find the words... I will just never forget it!! It was like meeting an old friend!! :) xx

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    10. Oh Zora, I forgot to answer your question.... (as an American I can never correctly describe the local or regional aspect of a dialect... though I'm learning more about them, with each UK Film I do...) but I'd say he has a nice proper medium English accent.... well he sounds just like he does on TV. Oh & another delightful time I had, was walking & chatting all during the day with one of our child actors (who just wrapped filming for the new 4 Weddings... & he's working hard on his American Accent, we chat all the time & I've become great friends with his Mum & she was the one who arranged the day... but he's 9yrs & we had such great fun having him practice his words & phrases as we walked & over lunch etc. He has all these quiet proper dialect coaches etc., but it was such fun to teach him to say "Hot Dog" properly & other Baseball phrases & such that he'd never learn from a British "American Accent" Dialect Coach!!! lol :) xx

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    11. Zora from Prague22 May 2019 at 07:03

      Becca, thanks so much for the description! :) As an English teacher, I love learning and teaching about accents and dialects as they are truly fascinating (in any language, in fact!) The boy learning the "proper" accent must have been great. Once I had such fun comparing 2 person's "very" British and "very" American (Texan) accents when saying "two thousand dollars" - I bet you can imagine! πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒ Thanks again!!!

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  6. I love the picture of Kate on the swing! She looks casual, relaxed, and happy.
    Can someone clear up something for me? I don't understand how a garden can be relocated. I thought these were miniature gardens designed to show what people can do in their own gardens. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Abby, apparently, quite a bit of it will be dug up and replanted on land belonging to an NHS at an NHS Mental Health Trust, “where it is hoped patients will enjoy the benefits of the trees..” At https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7045107/Queen-swingers-Playful-Kate-poses-nature-garden.html there is quite a bit of info on how beneficial spending time in this kind of setting can be. Ohmygosh, I feel like such a SLOTH, what with Kate looking so fit and beautiful and Meghan with her yoga and also looking beautiful after Archie’s birth! Chair yoga is being offered in our little Nova Scotia village and I think I had better partake so I can get into shape for walking in the woods! I used to go to a special place in the woods behind our house to study, and more than once fell asleep!

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    2. Abby, There is a very good video showcasing several of the designs on their website. It will give you a good idea the scope of the flower show. It's amazing to see. I'd love to attend some year. https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

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    3. Thank you leahmaria and Helena. One of the many things I love about this blog- besides Charlotte's terrific reporting- is that I feel like we're friends who can ask questions without being made to feel foolish or ignorant. I've only been to London once, and that was over 30 years ago! I truly loved it and hope to visit again.

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  7. Great Post. I always love a surprise and unexpected post like these. Over the last few years, I have loved gardening. I love when my kids step help with my back yard projects. There is something rewarding when what you plant you can see grow and bloom, eat and enjoy. Recently I made a new flower stepping stone path, and I love it and my kids have helped along the way and its almost time to plant my veggie garden.

    I am really hoping that George and Charlotte are at a public event to see their moms garden, or at least they show pictures of them at the garden.

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  8. What a wonderful project! I am so excited to see this project when it is fully revealed. A wonderful endeavor for Catherine to have undertaken. Time outside is so healing in so many ways, and this garden seems like a real labor of love and artistry.

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  9. This is a great shot of Kate and I love it! A little different, and it's wonderful to see her allowing us to see her so happy and relaxed. Also great to promote the show!

    I didn't realize that she had actually spent so much time on the garden, and I'm glad it's really "hers." I wonder if she has already incorporated some of the elements at her home.

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  10. Really makes me want to visit! I have to share that being able to have more playtime and outdoor time is a big reason I homeschool my kids. We can get schoolwork done in half the time that kids in school do then have the rest of the day to play outdoors & go on field trips. There's a huge misconception that homeschhol kids need to socialize but the reality is that they have WAY more time to socialize. I love this outdoor idea of Kate's. And it is especially good for kids who have to be inside a school building most of their day to be able to go play there. Can't wait to see it in full Monday!

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  11. Susan In Florida19 May 2019 at 04:54

    She looks happy and she’s right. Put down the media and go outside. I’m very impressed with her commitment to helping families with small children.

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  12. What an absolutely fun picture, Kate on the rope swing. Can't wait to see the full garden. I spent just a few minutes outside today pulling weeds and yes, it feels good!

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  13. Beautiful pictures. I wonder though, will the garden actually be used by children or is it just temporary and for display for the flower show?

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  14. Not only do I love the garden, but I love the photos it has brought us. I don’t think we have ever seen so many behind the scenes photos of Kate. And you can just see she is absolutely in her element.
    And while is is of course a good PR move (as can be seen with the surge in ticket sales) I also believe she is having so much fun doing this that she just want to share it.

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  15. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher19 May 2019 at 08:46

    Kate is a wonderful role model for today's generation of parents. My kids grew up doing a lot of outdoor play. Even now when they are older and all their education is online, throw in social media, phones and laptops for just about everything, they still love their time in the outdoors. They both surprised me when they wanted a holiday visiting Iceland with ice caves, northern lights and hot springs and nature pony rides and walks rather than a high tech city somewhere, something I thought was quite fun. Striking it right when children are very young is important I think. Then they can find a balance later on. I cannot wait to hear more about Kate's Garden!!!

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  16. Rebecca - Sweden19 May 2019 at 10:23

    Ok, but isn't that swing picture the most adorable thing you ever did see? Love it!!

    I'm looking forward to us getting a better look at the garden. I think this has been such a fun project for Kate!

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    1. Zora from Prague19 May 2019 at 20:28

      It's great, I agree! πŸ˜€Can't wait for tomorrow!

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  17. I enjoyed these behind the scenes pictures of Kate. And, she is right about the benefits of being outdoors and in nature. I wish that my family could spend more time outside, but unfortunately we can only spend tiny intervals outdoors due to our very fair skin. I personally begin to suffer sunburn after only 5 minutes of being outdoors, and my children are the same way. Sunscreen is extremely critical, but it is also a massive nuisance because I have to reapply it every 15 minutes. My husband, children, and I have to dress in long pants (trousers) and long sleeves as an added layer of protection whenever we are outside year round. We are all red heads with the palest skin, so the sun is our greatest enemy outdoors. We can even get sunburned in the car. I have had to install special UV protective screens over the windows in the backseat of our family van, to protect the children. Whenever I drive, I have to make sure that I'm wearing long sleeves or my arms burn. Even cloudy days are dangerous, because UV rays are still very prevalent. Not everyone can enjoy the outdoors as much as they would like to, and it is important to remember that some people have physiological, medical, or biological reasons that prevent them from being able to be outdoors as much as others. I think this is one of the reasons that my children have been drawn to learning to play the piano. Playing a musical instrument is also beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing. I have played the piano since I was 3, and my interest in the instrument began because I couldn't play outside as much as my peers could. My oldest, who is 5 now, has had the same experience. While she is only beginning to learn the instrument, I can see how much joy it brings her and how much of an emotional outlet it has become for her. Sport/athletics and being outside is certainly wonderful for overall wellbeing, but there are many other hobbies, interests, and pursuits that are equally beneficial. For those who are not athletically-able or inclined, music, art, and drama can be wonderful alternatives. For those who cannot be outdoors very much, there are many other indoor pursuits that can be just as beneficial. As someone who is not athletically-able and does not like sports, I am an avid proponent of music and the arts, as well as reading and creative writing. We all have to find the healthy coping strategies that work for us. There is no one size fits all method for physical and mental wellness. What matters most is that our coping strategies are health-full and not harmful.

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    1. Sarah from NC how wonderful that you have found other ways to inspire and nurture your children. Music, the arts, reading, and writing are all other healthy outlets for a child's development. Way to go!! :)

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    2. Zora from Prague19 May 2019 at 19:56

      Sarah, I agree, there are many great hobbies and activities and one is not better and worse than the other. Your personal experience of difficulties preventing you and your kids from being outside more has reminded me of a beautiful fairy tale we have in our literature. It's about a Princess for whom sunrays are extremely harmful. To make sure she gets some fresh air and can enjoy nature at least a bit, her father the King obeys the advice of a wise old woman and takes her daughter out at dusk and during the night. While I know you can't very well take your young children out "at night", perhaps it would be possible to spend a little more time outside after the sunset? It may sound crazy and unrealistic at first but perhaps you would enjoy it. Watching fireflies is just as magical as watching various other creatures at daylight (perhaps even more 🌟)
      And as a musical person, you might enjoy listening to the "Little Night Music" with your kids afterwards! πŸŽΌπŸ™‚

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  18. I am really hoping that we would see the Cambridge children at Chelsea this year. Not only because it would make such adorable photos, but also with George turning 6 in the summer I think it might be time to slowly give them more exposure to royal life. Even if it is not with the full press pack but rather a private visit with one or two royal rota photographers. Prefect way to dip their toes into this kind of event.

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  19. Great pics Kate as always looks so natural and enjoying herself Great to see she is promoting outdoor play Looking forward to seeing more on the Chelsea Flower Show

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  20. What a brilliant idea this is ! As a child I was blessed to have lived in a remote part of North Wales. Every day we would be out playing, finding one adventure after another ! This brought back many happy memories!
    The idea that the garden will be shared at NHS hospitals,is lovely,and hopefully will bring much joy to the patients.

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  21. Jean from Lancs19 May 2019 at 19:10

    Just been watching the pre-view of the flower show on BBC1'
    They announced that they will interview the Duchess tomorrow There are several programmes tomorrow starting on BBC 1at 3:30 , but I think the interview is on the evening one at 8pm on BBC2

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  22. The garden is a fabulous idea. It is a unique opportunity to work with such well known designers as Kate is afforded because of her position. Not many, who have the same interest and hobby with green thumbs have the chance. I love seeing her in actual outdoor work clothing much the same as we all would wear when out pulling weeds etc. The earrings are beautiful but ones I would not choose for taking out the hose to give my yard a drink. Interesting that she raided her sisters closet to find a shirt or perhaps Pippa raided Kates.

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  23. I hope she repeats one of these outfits tomorrow:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/fashion/2017/07/16/TELEMMGLPICT000134891941_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqBueEBHlwfZPLVG_u2OpKkSJowsslqBnzkhZE8TzQmHA.jpeg?imwidth=450

    http://cdn01.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/pei-william/prince-william-kate-prince-edward-island-providence-house-03.jpg

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  24. The photos Kensington Palace just posted from William, Kate, and the children’s from visit to the garden today are wonderful!

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  25. Glad you enjoyed Windsor, Becca. Wonderful ideas for the garden. The Duchess has always been outdoorsy. Thanks, Charlotte for the informative post.

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