Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Cambridges Celebrate Community Projects In Bradford

It was an 'away day' for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they carried out a day of engagements celebrating "a number of projects which support the community and promote cohesion within it, in one of the UK’s most diverse cities."


It marks Kate's first public engagement of 2020. The Cambridges spent Christmas with the royal family and enjoyed the school holidays at Anmer Hall where they celebrated Kate's birthday with Michael and Carole Middleton and a host of friends. They returned to London last week ahead of George and Charlotte's return to Thomas's Battersea. The Court Circular recorded a meeting for Kate last week regarding her early years work - we will be hearing quite a bit more on the project soon.


In November Bradford was named the "most improved city" to live and work in the UK. The West Yorkshire city was credited with an impressive "work-life balance" in the study by PWC and think tank Demos which measured cities against criteria people think most important to quality of life in addition to opportunities. National businesses including Channel 4 have invested and brought jobs to the area in recent years. It is home the largest proportion of people of Pakistani ethnic origin (20.3%) in England. Following William and Kate's tour of Pakistan, highlighting the Pakistani community would have been one of the key reasons for today's visit.


A gorgeous posy for Kate upon arrival.


In honour of the royal visit, City Hall turned red, white and blue last night.


City Hall was in fact their first port of call today.


Inside the couple met with a group of young people from across the community to hear about life in Bradford. 


More from the Mail:

''STEM is something we have been going around asking about a lot,' said William., 'getting girls into engineering. ' He asked: 'How did you find the journey getting into it. Easy? Difficult? What more can be done?'
Caitlund told them eloquently about the 'stigma' she sometimes felt the profession came with for women. There was, she said, a misnomer that women wouldn't be good with their hands and said there was an urgent need for more apprenticeships.
Kate also chatted to Rosena Nawaz about mental health issues and asked her: 'Do you think a lot of your friends are talking about mental health as topic of conversation? Is this something people your age are talking about? Is there a big conversation around anxiety and depression?''

According to a 2017 report, Bradford is home to an increasingly younger population with 30% aged 20 and under. They also had a chat with employers and businesses who are helping young people into employment.



As an enthusiastic crowd waited outside, a police officer decided it was time for a spot of 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes' to keep the children entertained :)



In Centenary Square, it was time to meet the public.


The Duchess was very impressed by the green and red uniforms on display from local schoolchildren.


Josh was particularly excited to meet the Duchess and got "a big hug".


William was seen communicating with a well-wisher using sign language. Yesterday the Prince made headlines during an investiture when he congratulated deaf interpreter Alex Duguid MBE in sign language.



Next, it was time for a previously unannounced engagement for the Duke and Duchess as they visited British Asian kitchen, My Lahore. The restaurant takes inspiration from Lahore which is considered the culinary capital of Pakistan. Kensington Palace said it "evoked memories" of the recent tour.


Kate had a great time making a Kulfi milkshake, while William made a Mango Lassi.


Milkshake in hand, Kate set about meeting guests. She always finds the little ones in the room :)


More from The Telegraph:

'The royal couple made mango and kulfi milkshakes in the kitchen, under the guidance of operations director Ishfaq Farooq. The duke and duchess chose ice cream to add to their drinks and mixed them using blenders.
William called his milkshake "delicious" as he took a sip, before asking staff about the origin of ingredients used.
Boxer Amir Khan, a friend of the family who own MyLahore, met the duke and duchess during their visit to the restaurant. He said he spoke to William about his boxing foundation and mental health in sport.'

William and Kate with Amir Khan.


Meeting chefs and staff.


Kate told well-wishers the trip to Pakistan was "such a special visit, we really enjoyed it".



William and Kate visited one of Bradford’s Khidmat Centres, whose main focus is to help the most vulnerable members of the community from minority ethnic backgrounds.


They heard about the activities and workshops offered at the centre, and the organisations that they support.


They were wowed by an outstanding 'William and Kate' cake made by the incredibly talented Siama Ali. The creation depicted events in their lives. Emily Andrews reports when William saw his baby photo he thought it was "our little Lottie".


Danielle Stacey shared a closer look.


From there, the couple joined a session involving groups supported by Better Start Bradford, which delivers over 20 projects to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 4.


What did I tell you about Kate finding the little ones? :)


Speaking of children, Kate was asked if she and William have any plans to add to their family. More from The Mirror:

'During a chat with Josh Macpalce, who told her he had sent her and William cards congratulating them on the births of all three of their children, she replied: “I don’t think William wants any more.”

William and Kate met families from the ‘Older Yet Wiser’ project, a unique and innovative workshop series for grandparents who have child-caring responsibilities for their grandchildren. Participants in the workshop are given tools to enhance their relationship with their grandchildren whilst receiving up-to-date information on raising children in the 21st century.


Kate joked about trying her hand at knitting a very special jumper for George. The video also has a clip of Kate doing a little dancing with her new friend.


Kensington Palace added: "The Duchess’s longstanding work on the early years has highlighted the importance of supporting children and families during this seminal period of their lives, and the importance of all members of society in raising children."


Their final event was a workshop run by Near Neighbours, an organisation which brings people together in communities across the UK that are religiously and ethnically diverse.


The Duchess wrapped up in a new green military style coat by Alexander McQueen.


Underneath, Kate sported a ZARA Printed Dress. The piece is described as: "Flowing long sleeve dress featuring a high neck with ties and a V-shaped opening, an elastic inner waist, a detachable belt in matching fabric with a covered buckle, and front button fastening." It's currently on sale for just £16.


Kate carried her black croc Aspinal of London Midi Mayfair bag.

And in a sartorial nod to the recent tour of Pakistan and today's events, Kate brought back her earrings by Pakistani brand Zeen.


The Duchess completed the look with her Gianvito Rossi Piper block heel shoes.



It was fantastic to see such a lovely atmosphere in Bradford and to learn more about the wonderful organisations and projects in the area. On Monday, William and Kate will host a reception on behalf of the Queen to mark the UK - Africa summit.


Comment Note: For the sake of keeping the comments section on topic, civil and manageable, please keep the conversation on the Cambridges and not the recent news regarding the Sussexes. Thank you very much for your understanding on this.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Happy Birthday Kate & January Engagements Announced

Happy Birthday Kate! The Duchess of Cambridge is celebrating her 38th birthday at Kensington Palace today (She was spotted driving earlier today, click here to see photos). The Duchess privately celebrated with family and a group of close friends at Anmer Hall over the weekend before returning to London for George and Charlotte's return to Thomas's Battersea on Tuesday. To mark the occasion, a new image, taken by one of the Cambridges favourite photographers, Matt Porteous was shared.


It's a lovely photo and has a similar feel to several of the shots we saw of Kate at RHS Chelsea before Back To Nature opened to the public. Judging by Kate's outfit, it's possible it was taken the same time as the Cambridges 2018 Christmas card at Anmer Hall.


Kate is wearing her Fjallraven Forest Green Sweater and (it appears) Asprey Oak leaf earrings.


Also today, The Palace announced several engagements for January beginning with a packed day in Bradford on Wednesday 15 January.


More on the itinerary:

'The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel to Bradford on Wednesday 15th January to visit a number of projects which support the community and promote cohesion within it, in one of the UK’s most diverse cities. They will then join a session involving groups supported by Better Start Bradford. 
Their Royal Highnesses will first visit City Hall in Bradford’s Centenary Square to join a group of young people from across the community to hear about life in Bradford. The Duke and Duchess will then meet representatives from local employers and businesses who are helping young people into employment. Before departing Centenary Square, Their Royal Highnesses will have the opportunity to meet members of the public gathered outside City Hall.
The Duke and Duchess will visit one of Bradford’s Khidmat Centres, whose main focus is to help the most vulnerable members of the community from minority ethnic backgrounds. On arrival, Their Royal Highnesses will hear about the activities and workshops offered at the centre, and the organisations that they support.
The Duke and Duchess will then join a session involving groups supported by Better Start Bradford, which delivers over 20 projects to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 4. Their Royal Highnesses will meet families from the ‘Older Yet Wiser’ project, a unique and innovative workshop series for grandparents who have child-caring responsibilities for their grandchildren. Participants in the workshop are given tools to enhance their relationship with their grandchildren whilst receiving up-to-date information on raising children in the 21st century.
The Duchess’s longstanding work on the early years has highlighted the importance of supporting children and families during this seminal period of their lives, and the importance of all members of society in raising children.
Finally, The Duke and Duchess will join a workshop run by Near Neighbours, an organisation which brings people together in communities across the UK that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community that they live in.'

Additionally on Monday, 20 January, William and Kate will a host a reception at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen to mark the UK-Africa summit. The summit will bring together heads of state and government and senior representatives from African countries, key multilateral agencies and high profile UK and African businesses. I expect it will be an evening event with cocktail dress.


Wishing the Duchess a very Happy Birthday!


On a side note, I've covered the news the Sussexes are stepping back from life as senior royals on my other blog. We'll keep the discussion on that topic over there. Many thanks.

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