Thursday, 19 May 2022

The Cambridges Join Tom Cruise for 'Take Off' at Top Gun: Maverick Premiere

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Tom Cruise for take off at the London premiere of Top Gun: Maverick this evening.

I've been keeping an eye on the reaction to the film and followed the Cannes premiere, and one can safely say it's the most significant movie event since the pandemic, with the exception of the superhero genre. Critics have praised it as the best summer blockbuster in years and it is expect to boost cinema ticket sales globally in the coming weeks, seeing a more mature demographic returning to the big screens for the much anticipated sequel. It's been quite some time since Tom Cruise first graced screens as Maverick in 1986.

Top Gun has been very much a staple for decades and I have no doubt there's a copy in many of your homes. It turns out William and Kate are fans too -- not surprising at all given William's time as a pilot. It was reported at the beginning of April that Tom Cruise heard the Cambridges were big fans and invited them along with princesses Beatrice and Eugenie for the private evening.

Indeed, William teamed his McQueen tuxedo with a pair of Crockett & Jones embroidered with Top Gun F18 planes, per Roya Nikkhah. The ideal photo caption for this will be familiar with fans of the original film: "You can be my wingman anytime."


A closer look.

An arrival video.

Another view.

The movie star has a long history of meeting members of the Royal family. In fact, it's almost exactly 30 years since he met the late Princess Diana at the premiere of Far and Away at the same location tonight's event was held. Cruise and then wife Nicole Kidman would attend Diana's funeral five years later.

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Speaking about the Royal family and his attendance last Sunday at 'A Gallop Through History' (now, we know this is the one...we didn't see the little ones in a carriage :)) which Mr Cruise attended along with Her Majesty making an appearance. Cruise said he greatly "admires" the monarch owing to her "dedication to her country". On William and Kate attending the premiere: "Tonight is also about charity, giving back and they're here celebrating the arts. Also, you know, we have a lot in common. We love England. The Duke and I were both aviators so we love flying."

It is very much a night also about charity: it's the first Royal Film performance since 2019. 

The organization supports hundreds of thousands of people working behind the scenes in the UK’s film and television industry. This was especially apparent during the pandemic when the charity went above and beyond to help many of those who lost their livelihoods.

More from the Film & TV charity:

'The Royal Film Performance™ has been a mainstay of our fundraising since 1946, and today raises funds to help those working behind the scenes in film, TV, and cinema with a range of mental health, practical, and financial support.

Thanks to the generosity of individuals and organisations from across the industry, the charity was able to help more than 10,000 people during the pandemic – but our work is not done yet! As well as bringing new support services online (including, in the last 12 months our Bullying Advice Service), we are also working collaboratively to meaningfully change behaviours and to destigmatise the conversation around mental health to benefit everyone working behind the scenes.'

Kensington Palace added: "The premiere was hosted by Paramount Pictures and The Film and TV Charity and will be the 72nd Royal Film Performance™ delivered by the charity in its almost 100-year history."

Kate with stars Jennifer Connolly and Miles Teller. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is pictured in the background with Tom Cruise.

Mr Cruise leads the Duchess up the steps.

The film's plot? (Spoiler free). "After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it."

The trailer.

Another impressive element tonight? A Typhoon fighter jet was assembled in Leicester Square for the premiere.

A full video of the arrivals. There's complete footage of William and Kate meeting with the cast during the last 25 minutes of the stream.

The group make their way inside.

Inside, the Duchess was presented with a beautiful posy.

Kate joked the children couldn't come as it's "a school night".

The Cambridges met representatives from the Film and TV charity. They also spent time meeting with additional cast and crew, including director Joe Kosinski.

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Kate looked fabulous in a classic gown by Roland Mouret.


The sold out Lamble off-the-shoulder, two-tone gown features a fitted silhouette, a fluted hem and banded sleeves. Kate's piece has been customized to remove the visible zipper and lace insert at the back.


A look at the back.

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Kate's dazzling new earrings are a Robinson Pelham design.


The jeweller created Kate's wedding earrings and subsequently designed jewellery for Pippa Matthews' wedding. Gabi swiftly identified them as the Tsar Star Studs and Drops. They retail for £10,000. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they're a gift. Perhaps a 40th present from Kate's parents?


Kate wore her Prada cutout pumps.


And carried her black Alexander McQueen clutch.


What do you think of tonight's look?

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Duchess of Cambridge in Emilia Wickstead for Buckingham Palace Garden Party

The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra for the season's second Buckingham Palace garden party.

The pandemic very much saw the 'pause' button pressed on multiple royal occasions which are highlights on the calendar. A return to garden parties earlier this month saw thousands of guests assemble on the Palace lawn for the first time in three years. In addition to three Buckingham Palace May parties and the traditional Palace of Holyroodhouse event in late June, the Queen granted special permission for the Not Forgotten Association garden party to be hosted by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace.

There's an additional significance to the parties this year with celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Year. We usually see members of the family attend one each year. Prince William wasn't in attendance today as he had a prior engagement with the Submariners Memorial Appeal.

The royals made their entrance at 4 pm to the sound of the national anthem.

The garden parties were instituted by Queen Victoria in the 1860s when they were known as 'breakfasts', despite taking place in the afternoon. Historically, Garden Parties took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, and have evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service.

Below, a view from the lake at the Buckingham Palace garden party in 1897.

The Duchess greets guests.

A beautiful photo of Kate meeting an attendee.

The royals disperse into the crowd, taking separate routes, known as 'lanes', to ensure as many guests as possible had the opportunity to meet a member of the Royal family.

It's a system which works like clockwork.

Kensington Palace tweeted: "So lovely to see so many people (including lots of familiar faces!) at today’s garden party".


The Duchess with Action For Children Young Ambassador Harleen. Kate has been patron of the charity since 2016.

Over the course of a year, the royals welcome over 30,000 guests to spend a relaxed summer afternoon in the beautiful palace grounds.

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The Palace describes Garden Parties as "an important way for the Queen to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community".

More from the official website:

"Throughout the country, a long established network of sponsors is used to invite guests, who include Lord-Lieutenants, Societies and Associations, Government Departments, Local Government, the Services, the Church and other Faiths.  They nominate guests for invitation and we hope in this way to achieve a representative cross section of the community.  It is not possible to acquire invitations to The Queen's Garden Parties through direct application to Buckingham Palace."

An overview of the Duchess with a group of guests.

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Preparations began months in advance to ensure everything was in perfection condition ahead of the first garden party.

Buckingham Palace revealed: "​Mowing the lawns, edge clipping, leaf-blowing and sweeping are all carried out across the grounds, as many seasonal plants and flowers come into bloom. ​Seasonal bedding displays near the rose garden are planted, including Osteospermum 'Tresco Purple', which will come into bloom from June right through to October. In and around the rose garden regular work includes dead-heading, weeding and clipping to ensure everything is as beautiful as possible. And in the final days and hours before guests arrive, final touches to the lawns and grounds are made."

This beautiful Magnolia, named 'Elizabeth', was given as a present to the Queen from Brooklyn Botanic Garden to celebrate her 55th Birthday.

At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.

A closer look at delectable treats on display.

Another great addition to the garden party? The lovely weather.

Princess Alexandra in a lovely pink ensemble.

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The Countess of Wessex in a pretty floral Erdem dress.

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The Duchess tends to opt for repeats more often than not at garden parties. In 2012, Kate wore a pink Emilia Wickstead dress; in 2013 she selected the vibrant yellow and white Marella coat by the designer. In 2014, Kate wore her much-loved, bespoke lace Alexander McQueen dress; and in 2016 the Duchess brought back the cream ruffled McQueen dress she first wore for Prince George's christening. In 2016, William and Kate also attended the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle. Kate chose a gold brocade coat by Day Birger et Mikkelsen she's had for over a decade. In 2017, Kate repeated her Christopher Kane coatdress. In 2019, the Duchess was pretty in pink Alexander McQueen.

This year, the Duchess selected an elegant new piece by Emilia Wickstead. It incorporates several design elements we've seen previously in Ms Wickstead's designs for Kate. It features structured shoulders, a defined waist and full skirt.

It's a 'classic Kate' look, and HRH has long favoured bespoke coatdresses for significant events. They have become something of a 'go to' option over the years. The piece bears notable similarities to other Wickstead designs such as the green coatdress Kate wore on St Patrick's Day in 2012 and the blue piece she wore in Luxembourg in 2017.

Kate's matching hat is a Jane Taylor design.

Kate debuted the hat for Trooping The Colour 2017;

The Duchess carried her vintage Josef clutch.

The Duchess accessorised with a pair of Kiki McDonough cushion drop earrings.

It looks like Kate wore her Emmy London Rebecca pumps in pink.

Kate wore her hair in an elegant updo.

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A very exciting calendar event tomorrow evening: the Duke and Duchess will attend the London premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. In response to queries about 'A Gallop Through History' on Sunday night, both the Telegraph and the Times reported the Queen's great-grandchildren would travel in the procession. It's not known if there was a last-minute change of plan, but Mike Tindall (Zara's husband) said the 'rehearsal' was merely 'a bit of a fun' and nothing more. Others have suggested the little ones may appear over the jubilee weekend. It's a 'wait and see' on this one.

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