Saturday, 26 September 2020

An After School Visit From Sir David Attenborough Delights The Cambridge Children

There was a great deal of excitement at Kensington Palace on Thursday when the Cambridge family were joined by Sir David Attenborough after school. As you can see from the expressions below, particularly Princess Charlotte's, it was a splendid visit for the children. 

Sir David brought a magnificent gift for Prince George in the form of a tooth from a giant shark which is 23 million years old. David discovered it in the late 1960s during a trip to Malta with his family. It was embedded in the island's soft yellow limestone which was laid down during the Miocene period. It's an incredibly special gift. As you can see Louis was eager to have a look too :)

'Prince George, seven, is known to have a fascination with dinosaurs, with his mother once telling a group of children during a Natural History Museum that he "loves the T Rex because it's the noisiest and the scariest."

The visit was a long time coming for the three children, who have all watched his television programmes. 

On a previous encounter with Sir David, the Duchess told him: “The children were very upset that we were coming to see you and they weren’t coming, they’re massive fans of yours."

Sir David and Prince William enjoyed an outdoor screening of Attenborough's poignant new documentary A Life On Our Planet. Kensington Palace shared this teaser on Friday.

The reflective Netflix documentary sees the renowned broadcaster "recount his life, and the evolutionary history of life on Earth, to grieve the loss of wild places and offer a vision for the future". Produced by WWF and award-winning wildlife film-makers Silverback Films, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet is described as "a first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature and a message of hope for future generations." It's very much a stark reminder of the devastating impact on the natural world in recent decades.

It will be available to view on the streaming service on 4 October. 

A review of the documentary from The Guardian:

'I am David Attenborough and I’m 93. This is my witness statement.” There is a tremendously moving sense of finality about Attenborough’s terrifying new documentary on the climate emergency. It is being marketed as a retrospective, a look back at his life and 60-years-plus career. But make no mistake about its true agenda: Attenborough is here to deliver a stark warning that time is ticking for the planet. It is a personal film – and political, too. There is emotion and urgency in that familiar soothing voice. At one point he rubs his eyes, reddened and damp.

You could rename it The Dying Planet, a short, sharp, shocking 80-minute lesson on global heating. There is an obligatory dramatisation of Attenborough as a boy in short trousers collecting fossils. And, of course, clips from the BBC of him as a hearty young man rolling around with baby gorillas in Rwanda. What he didn’t know then, he says mournfully, was how much damage we were inflicting on the planet. “The forests and seas were already emptying.”

One of Britain's national treasures, Sir David Attenborough has been a groundbreaking force with his environmental work and his documentaries; the Life series, which collectively constitute a survey of plant and animal life on earth. Sir David's connections with the royal family are many. We've seen the Duchess with him on numerous occasions in her role as patron of the Natural History Museum. During the opening of Hintze Hall, Kate quoted him in a speech in reference to the importance of experiencing the natural world: "Sir David Attenborough has famously talked about the fact that people will not protect what they don’t first care about, and will not care about what they have never experienced." Below, David and Kate at a naming ceremony for the RRS David Attenborough last year.

The Duchess wore the elegant Gabriela Hearst Marley belted-cotton chambray dress (another amazing ID by UFO No More for their work on the look).

The $1,590 dress is from the Pre-Fall 2020 Collection. It's described as a 'midi dress tailored to look like classic shirting and has a flouncy skirt that's punctuated with mother-of-pearl snaps - undo a few to create a split and use the tabs to keep the rolled cuffs in place.' 

It's currently available in two shades of blue denim at My Theresa, Net-A-Porter and Matches.

The Duchess accessorised with a pair of Patrick Mavros Pangolin Haka earrings in silver.

Kate also wore a pair of navy pumps. 

Kensington Palace said: "With a shared passion for protecting the natural world, they continue to support one another in their missions to tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges our planet faces. This includes working together on the Earthshot Prize - the most prestigious global environment prize in history – further details of which will be shared in the coming weeks."

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Duchess Visits Battersea Park To Support Parent-Powered Programmes

The Duchess of Cambridge today carried out engagements virtually and in person, focused on the importance of parent-powered support programmes.

This morning, the Duchess joined a virtual chat with volunteers and representatives from a number of organisations who run peer-to-peer support programmes. These included Home Start UK, Parents 1st UK, Island House Charity Community, Blackpool Better Start, Applied Research Collaboration, Coram Family and Childcare, and NCT - the UK's leading charity for parents. Kate said to them: "To you and your army of volunteers, a huge well done. Both William and I hear about how vital these relationships are to families – they’re a real lifeline. I like you would love to see it more embedded and celebrated actually in communities and in societies as a whole." Click here to view a snippet. 

Later in the morning, Kate met a group of parents and volunteers in the Old English Garden in Battersea Park in South London to hear about peer support via organisations including several of those mentioned above.

Parents discussed the impact of Covid-19 on that crucial support and how they can all lean on each other during difficult times.

A recent survey conducted by Home Start UK, Best Beginnings and Parent-Infant Foundation during COVID-19 found only around 3 in 10 parents (32%) were confident that they could find help for their mental health if they needed it, and 4 in 10 (38%) pregnant respondents were concerned about getting reliable pregnancy information and advice. Peer support has been cited as "really important" for one in ten women during pregnancy and early motherhood.

The Telegraph reports:

'This morning The Duchess spoke with representatives and volunteers from seven different organisations who run peer-to-peer support programmes. The Duchess asked them: "Does it help emotionally too? You feel less judged? "Everybody needs to have those friendships. It must be difficult to meet up socially-distancing." 
Afterwards Irma, who was referred to Home-Start after her 22-month-old son Emmanuel was diagnosed with Down's syndrome, said: "She said she was passionate about support for single mums through peer support." In conversation with Nalini Sadai and Jessie Brett who provide peer-to-peer mum support for the National Childbirth Trust, the Duchess said: "It's good being able to listen and being listened to while being off guard.'

The Duchess was delighted to meet Morgan Cassius and her six month-old daughter Makena Grace.

Hello! writes:

'Christine Thatai, 37, and Morgan Cassius, 29, told the Duchess they held daily 11am zoom calls with other mums via an app called Mush.
At one point, Kate removed her sunglasses and raised a smile cooing over Morgan's six-month-old daughter Makena-Grace. Morgan said afterwards: "I told her lockdown was difficult because I couldn;t go swimming or meeting friends just stuck inside with the TV." Christine said: "Kate was very interested in how we struck up friendships."
Kensington Palace said: "Today’s engagement follows on from the Duchess’s longstanding work around supporting families, and children in their earliest years. Since lockdown began the Duchess has spoken with organisations supporting vulnerable families, videocalled midwives and nurses, launched the BBC Education initiative Tiny Happy People, and brought British brands together to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide."

A video from the engagement with some lovely footage.

Kate chose a very stylish smart casual look for the outing. The Duchess' tailored dusky pink Marks & Spencer suit has proven an excellent purchase and versatile addition to her wardrobe. It proves a suit doesn't need to be designer nor expensive - however it does have to be a good fit. M&S have made great strides in women's tailoring which lends itself to a professional, wearable look.

The Duchess first wore the suit just before the Cambridges decamped to Norfolk during lockdown for a visit to the London Ambulance Service 111 control room in Croydon.

We also saw a photo of Kate discussing the pandemic with Place2Be from Kensington Palace. 

The £59 Wool-Blend, Cropped Trousers feature a zip, hook and bar fastening. Front pintucks and two functional side pockets. The exact pink hue Kate wore is currently out of stock. The slim fit style remains available in multiple other colours on the M&S website.

The Duchess' pretty top is the Lauren Ralph Lauren Nadalia style (with thanks to Heaven QRF). The £99 puff sleeve top is described: "This top from Lauren Ralph Lauren puts a new spin on the jersey top with a ribbed texture. Neat fitting with gentle puff sleeves, the square neckline adds an ultra-feminine twist." It's available at John Lewis and Ralph Lauren.

Kate wore her trusty Superga Cotu sneakers.

Kate accessorised with her Daniella Draper cupid hoop earrings: "These 9ct Gold Mini Cupid Hoop earrings are a definite must-have. Gold hoops are the perfect finishing touch for any occasion."

Kate's new necklace is the Double Strand Beaded Satellite Necklace by Welsh brand Spells of Love (with thanks to Middleton Maven).

A closer look at Kate's G, C and L charm necklace.

Kate wore her Halycon Days Maya bangle.

Kate's Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.

The look was completed with Ray-Ban Youngster sunglasses.

As the UK faces a new wave of restrictions and a very challenging winter ahead, I do hope so many of the amazing organisations like Home Start can continue to provide virtual support for parents. The charitable sector has adapted with admirable determination and dedication, and I have no doubt they will continue to do so as we navigate these turbulent times.

Before I sign off, I have a request from a talented producer who is making a documentary entitled When Will and Kate Got Married which will be broadcast next spring to coincide with the Cambridges' 10th wedding anniversary. Lesley Shields tells me the programme will "be warm and nostalgic, simply letting people who were directly involved in the event in some way, tell their personal stories. We would also love to include some home video or phone footage in the programme, from people who were in the watching crowds and perhaps captured something special or funny or unusual". If you would like to participate in the documentary please email

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