Kate's first engagement of the year saw her officially naming the Clore Art Room at Barlby School in London on 15 January. The Duchess selected the 'Naomi' dress by British luxury and maternity wear label Madderson London. The following day Kate paid a visit to Islington to celebrate the work of foster carers. Opting for a high street dress - the Hobbs London Animal Shirt Dress and a pretty pair of new Mirabelle earrings - it was a stylish start to the year.
January also marked the month Kensington Palace created their own social media accounts; up until then the Clarence House account had been used to share news and information. It has proved a very popular decision, with the Palace's Twitter account amassing 597K followers and their Instagram account a staggering 871K.
|Kensington Palace Instagram|
Kate was chic in a baby blue Séraphine maternity coat for a day of engagements in Kensington which saw her attend a coffee morning at Family Friends, a voluntary organisation providing befriending and mentoring services. When asked about the baby Kate said: "It's moving all the time. I can feel it kicking now". The Duchess also opened Kensington Aldridge Academy and a new leisure centre. I loved this look, and it was perhaps my favourite of the maternity styles she chose throughout her second pregnancy. The coat was beautifully tailored and the colour had us all speculating Kate might have been expecting another boy. :)
The Duchess was photographed during a relaxing weekend with her family in Bucklebury stopping for snacks at the local Peach's Spar. Kate looked casual in the very cute Beulah London Delaney sweater.
The month rounded off with the Cambridges annual holiday to Mustique with the Middletons.
A nautical Kate visited the home of Ben Ainslie Racing and the 1851 Trust in Portsmouth. It was a fun engagement with the Duchess showcasing her artistic talents by putting the finishing touches to a mural. She revealed she was painting with George the previous day and he loved it.
To mark Children's Mental Health Week Kate recorded a video message revealing how she and William have seen children struggle to cope with bullying, bereavement and family breakdown, and how the stigma around mental health issues means many children do not receive the help and support they need. Later in the year mental health would become a key focus.
Kate was moved when she met young families at Action for Children's Cape Hill Children's Centre. After hearing Michelle Griffiths emotional story in which she revealed she had "died" six times and been brought back after heart attacks, and how her thirteen-year-old daughter Chloe is her carer, Kate said: "You've brought a tear to my eye."
The Duchess made a private visit to the Goring Hotel - where she stayed the night before her wedding - to mark its 105th birthday celebrations. Again, Kate was on hand to add the final touches to a mural. Kate selected a very pretty floral-print Erdem dress for the visit.
Kate was pretty in pink McQueen as she and William joined the Royal family for the Commonwealth Observance at Westminster Abbey. The pale pink ensemble was completed with a Jane Taylor hat, Kate's pink Prada shoes and clutch, and Kiki Morganite earrings.
One of the most anticipated appearances of the year was Kate's visit to the set of Downton Abbey. William and Kate have long been fans of the show and the cast were tickled pink to meet the Duchess. Kate had a ball as she watched a scene being filmed and met the cast who shared many memorable quotes afterwards. Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, recently revealed the Duchess "smelled like roses".
We saw William and Kate the next day for a service of commemoration to mark the end of combat operations in Afghanistan at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Kate attended the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade where she surprised us by selecting a brown ensemble instead of green. Wrapping up the month, a visit to Brookhill Children's Centre in an Asos Spot-Print Dress, and a day of engagements in South London which marked Kate's last public appearance before the big arrival!
With Kate on maternity leave, April was the first of several quiet months during the year. As Kate's due date drew nearer we held a poll asking readers to vote for their favourite names for the little prince or princess. I think you all made some rather stellar selections with Charlotte, Elizabeth and Diana topping the poll.
Kate spent the final weeks of her pregnancy quietly and was only spotted out and about a handful of times, taking George to local farms and shopping. 'The Great Kate Wait 2' was in full swing with royal fans eager to find out if it would be a boy or a girl.
On Sunday, 2nd May I awoke to news the Duchess had been admitted to St. Mary's Hospital in the early stages of labour. It was incredibly exciting and it was wonderful to see the reaction from you all throughout the day on our Live Blog.
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
Shortly after 11 am this joyous new was released.
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
We had an unexpected treat when delighted dad William brought new big brother George to meet his little sister for the first time.
That evening, the Cambridges presented their princess to the world. Kate left hospital sooner than expected and despite the fact she must have felt exhausted, she was beaming as she emerged on the steps of St. Mary's with her daughter in her arms.
The couple were clearly thrilled to welcome the new addition their family, and Kate's expression in this photo is one of pure joy.
Our first look at Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.
The Cambridges enjoyed their first few days with Charlotte at Kensington Palace where members of the Royal family and Middletons had the opportunity to meet her. William and Kate then travelled to Anmer Hall where they spent most of the summer.
June began with the Cambridges releasing four photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte taken by Kate at Anmer Hall. It was a real treat to see the darling pictures of the adorable pair.
The next day Kate took George to watch William playing polo at the Beaufort Club in Gloucestershire. Polo tends to be one of the highlights of the summer months as it offers an opportunity to see the royals candidly.
On Sunday, 5 July Princess Charlotte was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
It was the first time we had seen the family of four together publicly. It was an intimate ceremony attended by close family, including Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Middleton family, and the godparents and their spouses.
One of my favourite photos from the day: George checking in on his sister.
Tennis fans William and Kate were courtside for the Wimbledon Quarter-Finals which saw British number one Andy Murray fighting for a place in the next round. Kate wore the L.K. Bennett Cayla dress for the day.
William and Kate visited Portsmouth at the end of the month for the America's Cup World Series. Kate attended in her role as patron of the 1851 Trust. The couple enjoyed a fun day trying out a sailing simulator, although the race was cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
We didn't see Kate in August and the quiet spell led readers to come up with some wonderfully entertaining ideas. Our reader Julia suggested readers select their 'Dream Looks for Kate' and it turned out to be such a creative, collaborative and fun activity. It's certainly something we'll revisit next year. Below, a look at your winning look submitted by Megs.
The primary talking point in August came when Kensington Palace released a letter of appeal to publications purchasing paparazzi pictures of Prince George and to inform the public of the measures used by photographers to obtain these images. The letter spoke of "increasingly dangerous" methods being used to capture images of the prince.
September began with a break on the Queen's Scottish estate, Balmoral. William and Kate were photographed attending Sunday service at Crathie Kirk.
Kate returned to royal duties on 17 September with a visit to the Anna Freud Centre. The engagement began what would be an autumn programme focused on children's mental health. The Palace said Kate's visit would enable her to "see how the charity is working to lead a step change in children's mental health care". Kate chose the Ralph Laren Silk Austin Shirtdress for the day.
One of Kate's most intriguing engagement of the year was her unexpected visit to HMP Send, a women's prison in Surrey. The visit was previously unannounced and carried out under a media blackout due to security concerns. It was an unusual sight to see the future queen stepping through the gates of the prison and it was one of those occasions where the nature of the engagement overtook what she wore. Kate heard first-hand accounts from offenders on the role addiction played when offending.
Following the visit, the Palace released these remarks from Kate:
"I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such destructive role in vulnerable people's lives. I saw again today that a failure to intervene early in life to tackle mental health problems and other challenges can have profound consequences for people throughout their lives.
I am grateful to the women I met for sharing their difficult personal stories with me. It is encouraging to learn how organisations like RAPt are offering specialist support to help people break the cycle of addiction and look forward to a positive and crime free life."
Kate joined William and Harry for the England v Wales match at the Rugby World Cup, and much to our surprise sported a pair of floral-print Zara trousers. It's always fun to see Kate experimenting and trying something new with fashion. Her mother Carole was photographed around the same time in a pair of Somerset by Temperley print trousers. Perhaps they inspired each other to try the trend?
Kate's schedule became noticeably busier throughout the autumn with October seeing the Duke and Duchess supporting World Mental Health Day at an event hosted by mental health charity Mind at London's Harrow College. A focus on mental health especially in young people was developing. At the time, a royal source said: "The couple feel there is a real momentum building and people are ready to talk about it. They are feeling energized about it."
On the 20th it was time for William and Kate's first state banquet. We had been awaiting the white-tie appearance since the couple got married and it certainly didn't disappoint. Kate was the picture of elegance in a bespoke red Jenny Packham cap sleeve gown as she took centre stage, seated beside President Xi of China.
As you all know, I do love a tiara appearance and was thrilled to see Kate in the late Queen Mother's Papyrus/Lotus Flower tiara. With a chic updo, the piece looked fabulous and added a regal sparkle to the look. There was plenty of chatter over the other jewels Kate wore too, most notably two beautiful bracelets loaned to Kate by Her Majesty. One in particular is without question a very special piece in particular. It was in fact a wedding gift from Prince Philip, made with diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother. The other, a choker worn by Queen Mary c. 1920, and later converted to a bracelet worn by the late Queen Mother.
The following day William and Kate joined President Xi and his wife Madame Peng for a creative industry event. The Duchess débuted two new Italian designers: a lace dress by Dolce & Gabbana and a sleek pair of pumps by Gianvito Rossi. Many felt the look would have been better suited to an evening affair; I presume given it was a state visit Kate wanted to take things up a notch - in terms of sartorial formality.
The 26th and 27th were two packed days with four engagements for Kate. It began with a fabulously fun day at BAFTA, London where the royals enjoyed a screening of the latest Shaun the Sheep movie before playing 'welly wanging' and chatting with the children. It was a lovely engagement, producing photos such as this one..
For Kate's Date With 007 at the Spectre première the Duchess chose another bespoke Jenny Packham gown. It was a polarizing dress with opinion very much divided. There were many aspects I personally liked, however, I did feel the amount of fabric at the front almost swamped Kate. I loved her updo and choosing Carole Middleton's royal wedding earrings was a lovely touch.
We couldn't not include a photo of Kate with "Bond. James Bond". One slightly off topic titbit: it was incredibly endearing to see how excited Prince Harry was on the night. After meeting Daniel Craig he asked him to sign his programme. I expect he's quite a fan of the franchise. :)
Kate repeated an Orla Kiely dress for an engagement at Islington Town Hall where Kate learned more about Chance UK. The Palace said the engagement reflected "the Duchess of Cambridge's particular interest in early intervention programmes".
When we look back on Kate's style in 2015, the Erdem Alouette Gown she wore for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala Dinner will always come up in conversation. It was such a departure from her signature style, the print, the voluminous silhouette were all entirely unexpected. Looking back, I have to say I'm glad Kate wore it and took a risk with her style. I wonder if it shall ever make another appearance publicly.
The Duchess was loaned another pair of the late Queen Mother's earrings for the night: the Sapphire and Diamond Fringe earrings.
November began with William and Kate joining the Royal family for the first time for the annual Festival of Remembrance. The Duchess chose a black Dolce & Gabbana lace dress - an appropriate choice for the event. The next morning Kate was joined by Queen Máxima for Remembrance Sunday.
Monday 17th began with the Duke and Duchess signing the book of condolences following the tragedy in Paris. It was heartening to see the response to the terrible news from readers on the blog and the concern expressed for our readers in Paris. That evening Kate attended the Fostering Awards in a pretty blue dress by Indian designer, Saloni, I suspect the choice may have reflected the news just days earlier that the couple would tour India in spring 2016.
For the Place2Be Headteacher Conference the next day, Kate delivered a confident speech in support of her patronage. Kate spoke of how lucky she was to have a "wonderful and secure childhood". Aides described the speech as "very much her own", a fact which was evident by the text.
During an away day in Wales the Cambridges carried out a range of duties which saw them visiting a photography project, stopping at GISDA - an organisation working to help young vulnerable people by giving them opportunities to help improve their lives - and meeting locals who waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the royals.
The couple shared jokes and laughs as they enjoyed abseiling at the Outdoor Adventure Centre in Snowdonia. It was Kate's first attempt and she was determined to do well: "Not that we're competitive but if he climbs that wall I'll have to do it too." Kate also chatted about missing Anglesey and the mountains.
The month concluded with a very special treat - new photos of Princess Charlotte taken by Kate at Anmer Hall. It was splendid to see the beautiful little princess who had grown so much since we last saw her.
It was tiara time for the Cambridges second appearance at the glittering annual Diplomatic Reception. Kate surprised us all when we spotted she was wearing the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara. Steeped in royal history, it is best known as 'Diana's tiara'. In 1981, the day before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, Her Majesty gave her soon-to-be daughter-in-law a red leather box, and inside lay the sparkling headpiece. Over the year, it has become synonymous with Diana. I'm delighted to see Kate wearing it and looking forward to seeing it in its entirety at future events.
Kate débuted a much shorter haircut at the ICAP Charity Day. The much talked about cut was the work of Richard Ward, I still prefer Kate's longer hair but the style is growing on me, excuse the pun. Do you like it? Has your opinion changed? The royal couple closed a number of deals over the phone raising funds for organisations including several of their patronages.
Kate's new Reiss Rubik Coat was photographed twice over December. The Duchess initially sported the chic houndstooth coat for a visit to Action on Addiction's Centre for Treatment Studies in Warminster. Days later, Kate chose it for a spot of Christmas shopping at John Lewis.
Kate was festive in her red Alexander McQueen dress for her last official engagement of the year - Anna Freud Centre's Family School Christmas Party. The Duchess has been referred to as the 'Children's Princess' and it was more evident than ever as she embraced the children, chatting and sharing jokes during a drum lesson. Kate is very much in her element with young people, and it's always a joy to see these photos.
Kate repeated her popular red Luisa Spanoli suit for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon.
Afterwards, it was announced the Duke of Edinburgh passed his patronage of the RAF Air Cadets to Kate during an audience at Buckingham Palace. It is Kate's first role with an official link to the military and a very fitting choice given William's service with the search and rescue force, and Kate's late grandfather Peter Middleton formerly a RAF pilot.
The Cambridges publicly released their chosen Christmas card photograph ahead of the festivities. The family picture was taken among autumn leaves at Kensington Palace in October by photographer Chris Jelf. It's a smashing photo and it's always a treat to see the foursome together.
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
The Cambridges spent Christmas Day with the Royal family at Sandringham. The couple smiled as they made the walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church and chatted with locals afterwards. Kate chose a new green coat by SportsMax and a new rich green hat. I'm sure it was a very exciting day for the family as it was Charlotte's first Christmas and of course with Santa visiting. :)
William and Kate joined the royals for Sunday service at Sandringham. Kate selected a stylish new suit teamed with her Aquatalia boots and Fairytale hat. After much searching, it was unexpectedly identified as a Michael Kors design. It was a great look, beautifully tailored and very appropriate.
It's been another memorable year for royal watchers and it's been fantastic to follow it with you all.
What has been your royal highlight of 2015? According to the Court Circular Kate carried our roughly sixty-two engagements over the year (with many thanks to Cepe). Below, a graphic from the Mail Online.
With 2016 on the horizon, there's much to look forward to on the royal front. Our reader Rebecca from Sweden heard the BBC report the Cambridges tour of India will take place in April, it promises to be very exciting with a variety of engagements and events on the agenda. There's also the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations on the calendar. I hope to see Kate continuing her focus on mental health and young people, and perhaps expanding the focus with increased patronages and a larger number of engagements next year. It's an area she feels passionately about and one she can impact on. On a more personal level, George will be beginning pre-school and William continues to fly with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. William and Kate will also celebrate their fifth anniversary on 29 April.
I'm looking forward to 2016 and following Kate with you for another year. Thank you very much for popping in and commenting. Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and successful new year! :)