Monday, 19 December 2016

A Festive Kate in Vanessa Seward for Volunteer Christmas Party

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry carried out a very appropriately festive engagement today - joining youth helpline The Mix for a volunteer Christmas party in support of their mental health campaign, Heads Together.


The day marks the Cambridges' final official engagement of 2016. It's a nice one to close the year with, as Heads Together has been a focal point for the young royals this year. The royal trio were all smiles upon arrival. Prince Harry has just enjoyed a romantic few days in London with girlfriend Meghan Markle, which included Christmas tree shopping and a theatre trip.


Meanwhile, the Cambridges are looking forward to Christmas with the Middletons in Bucklebury. Camilla Tominey reports Carole Middleton has been busy planning a Boxing Day shoot at the Yattendon estate in Thatcham, near the Middleton family home.


The trio chatting as they made their way inside.


A young girl from the Harrow Club presented Kate with a beautiful posy.


More on the work carried out by The Mix:

'Life’s tough, we know that. It can throw a lot your way and make it hard to know what the hell to do with it all.
So, welcome to The Mix. Whether you’re 13, 25, or any age in between, we’re here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts you have. We give you the information and support you need to deal with it all. Because you can. Because you’re awesome.
We’ll connect you to experts and your peers who’ll give you the support and tools you need to take on any challenge you’re facing – for everything from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from break-ups to drugs.
We’re a free and confidential multi-channel service. That means that you choose how you access our support, without the worry of anyone else finding out. Whether it be through our articles and video content online or our phone, email, peer to peer and counselling services – we put the control in your hands. You can even volunteer with us too.
We want to be the first place young people turn to get support. Sometimes what you’re told at school or at home just doesn’t cut it. We’re here whenever you need us, wherever you are. We can ensure you have all the best information to make the right choices for yourself.
Life is hard, but support doesn’t have to be. We’ve got this.'

The Mix is passionate about applying a multi-faceted approach to helping young people with issues that often feel too embarrassing or overwhelming to discuss. Thanks to their digital support services, countless under-25s have availed of their help. Their vision is to be the first point of contact for young people, providing them with the knowledge that "with the right skills and opportunities, you can take on anything life throws your way". It's a very empowering and encouraging statement for anyone to hear.


There were several elements to the day, beginning when William, Kate and Harry joined an annual general meeting hosted by youth support service, The Mix, to celebrate the volunteers and counsellors who support people through tough times in their lives.


Next, the royals had the opportunity to see the organisation's work first hand and participate.


The Duchess joined a live online chat about counselling with volunteers.


Prince William and Prince Harry will each join a group breakout session where counsellors and volunteers will share knowledge and receive training on dealing with a range of issues, with a focus on supporting people who are suicidal and helping young people coping with homelessness.


The royals chatted with young people who shared their experiences.


Festive fun in the form of some paper decorations.


A look at some paper chains created by Kate.


Kate appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the activity.


Prince William got stuck in creating a bauble masterpiece.


Naturally, chatter was firmly focused on the festivities with William revealing one very cute little prince is finding it difficult to wait until Sunday morning to open his presents. :)

Rebecca English Twitter

At the Christmas party reception they met the exceptional volunteers who support people through tough times in their lives.


One of the incredible gingerbread houses the royals helped complete.


The Duchess admired the beautifully decorated houses.


During the party, Their Royal Highnesses kicked off The Mix Annual Awards by presenting the Volunteer of the Year Award to George Yeorghaki. It's been a special year for The Mix and the other organisations involved in the Heads Together initiative; to mark this, volunteers from all the charity partners were invited.


More from Simon Perry's story:

'Volunteer George Yeorghaki also spent some time with the royals. “It was good to see them getting involved,” he says. “We spoke about the stigma around mental health and volunteering and getting more people to volunteer. At The Mix young people can contact us and talk about any issue they want to talk about.” The trio took part in making decorations and building gingerbread houses and met with those doing workshops and talks on homelessness, suicide prevention and counselling. He adds of the royals, “They have total understanding about the issues around mental health and the importance of trying to raise it in the public eye. They have huge passion and understanding of what we need to do to raise mental health up the agenda.”

Charity of the Year 2017, Virgin Money London Marathon - Heads Together campaign partners - are working together to tackle the taboo on talking about everyday mental health, so that people feel they can access support when they need it during tough times without fear of being judged.


A brief video of Kate talking to Donna and James during the Place2Be demystifying counselling session.


A very festive-looking Duchess selected the Cai Floral-Print Jacquard Dress by Vanessa Seward for the engagement. Kate has been experimenting with a host of new labels this year, and Vanessa Seward is a prestigious addition to her wardrobe. Having previously designed for Chanel and Azzaro her eponymous line is centred around chic, minimalist, classic basics. Born in Argentina in 1969, Vanessa grew up in London, later moving to Paris with her mother. Following the 2014 launch of her brand she noted: "It has always been one of my wildest dreams to start my own label."


The combination of red and green makes the dress an excellent seasonal piece - and I'm sure the Duchess chose it with such an occasion in mind. It is described as "cut from a silk-jacquard woven with a subtle pattern. This knee-length design has a button-fastening neckline and side slit pockets. Cinch your waist with the tie-fastening sash". As of writing, the dress is available in limited sizing at Net-A-Porter where it is reduced from $1,245 to $623.

Net-A-Porter

A closer look at the print.

Net-A-Porter

The Telegraph shared their thoughts on the look:

'While Seward might be a new designer for the Duchess, the dress's delicate floral print and midi-length are tried-and tested style signatures. Indeed the last time we saw Kate in a dress like this was the L.K Bennett 'Cersei' dress which she chose for a visit to the Natural History Museum less than a month ago. 
The assumption that the dress has been bought on Net-A-Porter.com also implies that this is a piece Kate may have chosen from the comfort of her sofa, perhaps with a little help from her stylist Natasha Archer. Just last week the Duchess wore a cashmere jumper by Iris and Ink, the in- house label of TheOutnet.com, and she has worn several pieces purchased on MatchesFashion.com in the past.
As reports have suggested that the Duke and Duchess won’t be attending the Royal family’s Christmas Day celebrations at Sandringham, and will instead be with the Middletons in Bucklebury, Berkshire, it’s unlikely that we’ll get to see how the Duchess decides to tackle Christmas Day dressing this year. But with this holly-like print and a Santa-style belt, she’s at least offering up some fun-yet-sophisticated festive fashion inspiration.'

The always insightful What Kate Wore noted actress Drew Barrymore recently wore the dress too. Click here to view a short video of Drew modelling the piece.


It's not the first time the Duchess and Drew have shared a fondness for the same sartorial piece. When Kate wore the colourful Tory Burch Floral Mesh Gown in Bhutan, several readers quickly noted Drew wore it that night to the annual Bergh Ball in New York.


Kate teamed the dress with her McQueen Glossed-Leather belt.

Net-A-Porter

A closer look at the belt on Kate.


Kate accessorised with her very pretty Catherine Zoraida Gold Fern Hoop Earrings.

Catherine Zoraida

Kate carried her black Mulberry Bayswater clutch.


And completed the look with her very chic black suede Gianvito Rossi pumps.

Gianvito Rossi

As the royals left, one little girl was particularly excited to see Prince William and decided a hug was in order. I think this one wins photo of the day :)


It was a lovely event ahead of Christmas.


We'll see you tomorrow for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon :)

148 comments:

  1. Nice christmas gift for the volonteers and the trio events are always fun :) And seems like a great event. Many different charitites, people and groups. Education, cooperation and fun! A perfect recepie for a good event!

    Great seeing them join in in the different sessions! Uplifting and encouraging for the volonteers there, and educational for the royals! Win-Win! And especially important when they were listening to the stories of the people who has used the services of the charities! Some people might think it is "like looking at fish in an aquarium" (hrm, hrm) but I think people underestimate the importance of being validated and heard.

    Very standard daylook for Kate, as is fitting. Rather 70s again. Not everyones cup of tea (not always mine) but the people who wanted her to be more fashionable, she is following fashion! And again, nothing groundbreaking, but I quite like the dress. It's a bit "granny" but it's also very sweet, festive and pretty. And the incoming 70s-ish fashion (which is quite covered) lends itself very well to royal life so I'm not surprised that this is a trend that Kate is following. And her willowy body is the kind that can pull it of. And I hope we see this dress again without a belt. The belt looks nice with it, but the stock photo of it without the belt also looks nice!

    I would personally probably worn my hair up, or half up with this. But the long hair also ties nicely in with the 70s look and is more casual which fits with Harry and William not wearing ties.And hair hair looks very nice, and have some nice "poof" in it today!

    I like the black accessories. Yes, they are standard and "boring". But I like that it pulls out the black base of the pattern.

    And red for Christmas. Too much says some, but I always like the little festive touch!

    (Something I've noticed with my comment here which makes me a bit sad is that it is almost preemptively apologetic and defensive. And I don't think that it is William and Kate and Harry's fault because nothing in this event needs to be defended. It makes me sad that I automatically default to defence even when nothing needs defending. Something that made me think about the climate of comments recently.... Not meaning that critique is worng, it certainly isn't! But I somehow am very tired of the relentless minute nagging... and I shouldnt even write this parentisis because it will start yet another outdrawn discussion....)

    So, to end this long comment. Well done William, Harry and Kate and hope everyone has a merry holidaytime! And thank YOU Charlotte for always being so great!

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    1. I agree with you Rebecca on your last comments. While I think opinions are great, I have become weary of the negative remarks. Lately I find myself just looking at the pictures and captions, and not the comments. It's kinda depressing to read some of the unkind comments. Others voice their disapproval in such a sweet and respectable way.

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    2. Rebecca, I don't think anyone should feel defensive about their opinions. Just because some people won't agree with you doesn't mean that your opinions are less valid than theirs! Well, except for mine, of course. :)

      But seriously, we are all people who see things through our own prism. The only time anyone should feel badly about a comment in my opinion is if they attack another commenter or otherwise become personal in their remarks.

      HO HO HO!!!

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    3. I hear you Rebecca, the tone of commenting has certainly changed and actually spoils Charlottes fantastic and professional work. I think that is what social media is doing to our society and Royals are particular targets because they do not answer back. It's all very well to critique, but many comments are beyond criticism.The trio have done an excellent job of promoting mental health this year and hope their efforts go from strength to strength for them and the charities involved. Wishing all a festive season and particularly to Charlotte and your family.

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    4. I don't love this dress at all. I can usually see why Kate chooses something to wear even if I don't really like it. I guess I find ways to justify what she wears but this is just bad for me. Maybe it is just too much of the 70s look, with her hair, and just really busy print.

      The real reason I chose to comment on your description is because of your last two paragraphs. I noticed myself doing it as well and that is one reason I took a step back from the blog commenting. I don't mind constructive criticism regarding the Cambridges or differing opinions. The comment section sometimes is a lesson in nothing being good enough. So I completely understand where you are coming from and you shouldn't have to feel defensive.

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    5. Lovely comments. And I echo your concerns and feelings. I think William, Kate and Harry are doing good things the very best they can. As is the rest of the family. I am sure is not as easy as some may think.

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    6. Rebecca - I feel your pain. I think people forget that tastes differ. I don't like this outfit, but I have never liked small flower print on anything. The same goes for the blousy 70's style. But that has got to do with my taste. The only way that I will like everything she wear is if I was her stylist.

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    7. Rebecca, what a thoughtful comment and I think that most people understand that you are not referring to differing points of view, but what is behind them. The need to undermine this couple is depressing, especially when you consider the latest terrorist attacks.

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    8. What is behind them is certainly what I dislike, RF. It is always the same no matter what and it is not good.

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    9. Julia from Leominster20 December 2016 at 07:52

      And what is behind these comments, royalfan, a respect for tradition and duty, arguably the only two reasons for a monarchy to exist? Respect for a very aged queen known for her love of having her family around her and for her belief that the most important thing about Christmas is its sacred aspect. Respect for those local people of Sandringham, many elderly, who wait patiently in the cold each Christmas to see the royals. These are clearly terrible things. And if we dare to mention it might be nice if William and Kate heeded the many adverts on TV, the Polish one being the most touching, and invited the Middetons to Amner since the elderly queen can't go to Newbury, we are "undermining" this couple. Why can't all views be respected as valid, especially since Charlotte has said they should be?
      I respect the position of others. But the facts are these: Kate has spent almost every Christmas with her parents since her marriage, including skipping the queen's lunch last year to be with them. It's not a case of "rotating holidays". She and William have yet to spend one Easter with the royal family. They have spent numerous holidays with the Middletons including taking Carole on their ski holiday. They are not spending Christmas in the house Kate grew up in, but one her parents purchased after her marriage. There were no official photographs from 2012 - all the British press, including Charlotte, honoured William and Kate's request for an embargo - but the photos were published internationally and it was a huge mess, one that I hope won't be repeated this year but probably will be. Royal households are not known for coordinating actions by all reports and almost anything William and Kate will do will detract from the queen and the rest of the family.

      bluhare, Anett and I can be painted as arch-enemies of William and Kate. But none of us indulge in the gossipy speculation that is rife elsewhere amongst the public about this decision, nor would I want to. I just think tradition is extremely valuable, that's all, and I'm sorry if that's view as such a negative thing.

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    10. I believe in the importance of tradition. But isn't going to Church on Christmas morning the more important of the traditions? Missing the dinner or the lunch is more a matter of respect to the queen, balanced with the other family claims. It is a pity they won't be able to go to church together. Also that they don't go together for Easter. But things being what they are, hoping that the future head of the Church isn't seen going to church on Christmas day so as not to detract from the actual head of the Church is a lack of respect to both of them and to tradition.

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    11. Julia, I did indicate what was "behind the comments"; it was my reference to W&K being undermined. When I read some of the criticism, I have this image of William driving his Grandmother's Bentley with Kate in the passenger seat and the Queen and Charles sitting in the back smiling and shaking their heads in amusement as they say, "Awww....these kids...there they go again...". I mean do some people actually believe that W&K have complete control over their roles at this stage, especially given all that transpired in the Firm during the 80's and 90's?


      I do support tradition and duty, but I can also appreciate the need for it to evolve a bit. I mean, tradition at what cost? For example, the idea that someone marrying into the royal family can never share a holiday with their own family again (and not on a royal estate) is an antiquated and harsh concept. If W&K were king and queen and they decided to worship in a more private setting, I might agree with you, but they are not and I see nothing wrong with Kate enjoying her family...in their own home. And I don't care when they moved into the house.

      And if you advocate tradition, what about the Middleton family's desire to enjoy Christmas as they know it, and with the added delight of sharing it with two grandchildren? What about the grandchildren being exposed to a tradition other than the more starchy and isolating royal experience?

      Forgive me for being blunt here, but instead of shaking a collective finger at William and/or Kate for "abandoning" a Grandmother who may be celebrating her last Christmas, what about considering that, most likely, they have her blessing? What about giving William some credit for making Christmas a more inclusive experience for his own family unit? For for being a man who loves his wife and also enjoys the company of her family? Just consider the emotional void filled by the Middleton's given Diana's death and Charles' "priorities." OMG. I believe that the Firm should be very grateful for the role that the Middleton's have played in William's life, and will continue to play in that of George and Charlotte's lives. Inclusive, unconditional love and acceptance is a mentally healthy experience, no? :)

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    12. Julia

      Wise words, as always!!! Only Bluhare could add more to it, not me!!!!:)))

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    13. Royal Fan,

      You spoke my thoughts on all that so nicely. Thank you for saving me the time. I am sure every generation of the Royal family has been doubted and criticized yet they prevail. Many of the dialogues found here can be found in print columns in the 1800's no doubt.

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    14. Anyone remember King George IV?

      Certainly makes me appreciate William and Kate all the more. The monarchy actually survived him. It will flourish with the likes of William and Kate.

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  2. Sarah from Calif.19 December 2016 at 14:47

    Thank you Charlotte for all you do to keep us well informed,up to date and drooling over the latest Kate styles :) from dresses, tiaras to warm winter boots.

    Wishing you and all of yours a very Merry Christmas !

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family Sarah :)

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  3. Sarah Maryland USA19 December 2016 at 14:51

    I'm just not a fan of these types of dresses. I miss the way Kate used to dress... like the dress and blazer she wore for her first engagement with William in. Dec 2010.
    I hope we see some photos of her on xmas day because the church they are going to is out in public and photographers have every right to be there

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    1. There were photos taken of them in 2012. No reason to think there won't be also this year. We might get to see George and Charlotte but that is the only questionable part.

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    2. You know, I hope we don't see them. I imagine we will, but I don't think that putting on a competing Church appearance is the way to go here. I really don't. William should be with the Queen.

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    3. Sarah Maryland USA, you just nailed it for me! This type of dress isnt´t my kettle of fish either. Th length, the cut, it just looks boring, although the pattern itself is nice if you take a closer look. I´m a big fan of the shoes, though!

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    4. I don't see it as a competition at all, no offense. Heaven knows the more good news the better.

      And that way they can check out each other's day. I am eagerly looking forward to both.

      Merry Christmas everyone. x

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    5. Just a reminder, even though photos were taken in 2012, it was expressly *against* KP's orders. Police had set up a media pen at the church but most were scared off by KP's warnings, threats frankly. And the photogs who were there continue to pay a price. Which is utter nonsense of course, going out to church is a public act. We shall see what approach they take this year, if the Middleton story is true.
      However, after seeing Camilla Tominey's Sunday morning article, I imagine it is, and the whole thing honestly reeks a little of William being in a snit with someone or something in my opinion!

      Bluhare I do agree timing will be dicey, and I think the entire thing will not play well over the Christmas days... as if the Queen is being disrespected. Whether people agree or not, that's the reality of how it will play.

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    6. Well, throwing a shooting party on the same day, it can be only "an accident". So I suppose it will another if they go to church at the same time. No competition?? I don't know.

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    7. Really, 1848. After all the talk here about how releasing photos and doing engagements could take away from someone else's thunder, you don't think that William and Kate going to church at the same time on the same day as HM isn't exactly that? It takes the attention and splits it. And it should be on the Queen, not 2nd in line and his wife's family.

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    8. In 2012 there were pictures of them outside the church, but spotlight remained on the Queen. It will depend on how the media presents it. Sure they will keep focus on Sandringham.

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    9. I don't know where the people criticising the Cambridges live, but the general view in the UK is that alternating with families is the norm and families accept it. This is only the 2nd time in 5 years they have gone to the Middletons. There is no public outcry.

      Media making a story or feeling miffed because there is no pictures of them with the rest of the BRF were single stories and the whole issue has been dropped.

      And as for "clashing" with the Queen going to church. That will depend on the time of service. This is so ridiculous - blaming them for something they have no control over.

      This makes Rebecca's comment (14.44) all the more understandable.

      More importantly - fashion!
      I like the dress, don't like the length - on the knee would improve it. Dislike the belt and think that the tie belt would have been better.
      This is good work clothes. Appropriate and festive!

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    10. Bluhare
      I absolutely agree with you about .William & the Queen. I wrote something similar and lots of people disagreed.

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    11. Thank you 1457. I don't care what Kate does. Frankly she's peripheral in all this. William is the important participant and if he's allowing his wife to turn his head away from his duty, then shame on him. He is not just another married man trying to make everyone happy. He is a future King and should behave like one. His father's motto is Ich dien. What's William's? Ich dien, wenn ich Lust dazu habe?

      That's terrible German I know, but I hope it translates to "I serve when I feel like it" or something close to it! I'm becoming so disillusioned with him, I do think things might come to an end when his grandmother goes, and certainly when his father dies.

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  4. I liked the pattern but it is one of those dresses that look fine on paper but something just ain’t right. It looks like a tablecloth, too long and so silly on her with that huge belt, it works on Drew Barrymore because she has some curves, no offence meant.
    Either she should put on some weight or choose better fitted clothes.
    I suppose it summed the whole year perfectly up from fashion POV for me. Her style is so predictable and boring:(

    Charlotte, as it was their last official outing, I want to thank you all the hard work you put into this blog and made the whole year more fun as it actually was.

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    1. Thank you very much for reading!

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    2. Julia from Leominster20 December 2016 at 07:57

      And thank you, Charlotte. I truly appreciate all you do here and wish you a Happy Christmas while sending my condolences to Germany and especially Berlin and to our friends there and all readers who may be from there.

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    3. And to the family of the Russian ambassador.

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  5. Sorry to say, it looks matronly. I love Katherine, but this one is a boring holiday tablecloth.

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  6. How is Kate not freezing in a silk dress walking outside, standing and chatting to people in very cold weather? Where is her coatdress? Where is her coat?

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    1. Sarah Maryland USA19 December 2016 at 16:08

      Exactly! This outfit isn't appropriate for the season at all!

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    2. A festive coat would've been weather appropriate. It was lovely to see the three of them together, Thank You Charlotte and a Very Merry Christmas to you and your family!!XOXO

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  7. Another first. Harry accompanied Meghan to the airport with security officers present and an airport official accompanying Meghan to her flight. This sounds like it could be the real deal.

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    1. That was veery, veeery impressive. Harry was definitely treating his lady riiiight. Lucky girl.

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    2. I think Meghan's new light purple bag could possibly be a Christmas present from Harry? Pure speculation but I don't think she's carried that bag before and since the bag really didn't go at all with her travel clothes she might have been carrying it simply because Harry gave it to her.

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    3. I was thinking the same thought about the bag :-)

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    4. It's called "Bag Think", lol. We all have it.

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  8. Thank you, Charlotte, for the very quick and informative post. It is great to see all 3 HRHs out in force, supporting such worthy causes. Since this blog focuses on sartorial choices, I will comment in that the fabric of the Duchess' dress is definitely festive. However, I find the dress to be the dowdiest design choice yet. It is always her choice to make, of course, but with so many designs available and people to help her choose, it just baffles my mind why she would pick a dress so unbecoming on her. She is a beautiful woman and with her hair not in any particular style today, she just looks a little undone.

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  9. Don`t like it on Kate. Too loose and long and it just looks "frumpy" on her. Plus, I was never a huge fan of her voluminous curls from 2010-2012. Drew Barrymore wore it better, waaay better.

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    1. Not loving the dress either. The print is pretty but the dress style and length is unbecoming. I wonder what Prince William thinks. This is not the girl he married ( fashion wise:-). I think her hair looks amazing, however and as I own these earrings, I do love them.

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    2. Lovely earrings, Erika!!

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    3. Surely it would be shallow for prince William to only look at her in terms of fashion. I don't think it matters one iota to him and for all we know he enjoys the way she dresses. It also quite clear that fashion is in the eye of the beholder. By his own admission she is a good wife to him and quoting Emily Andrews, the reporter, Kate has conducted herself impeccably under sometimes difficult circumstances and is an asset to the BRF. What more could he want.

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    4. Maybe, it does not matter for William in what Kate conducts herself impeccably(LoL) but I remember that this Prince Charming saying his wife looking like a banana in Australia. So he has an opinion:))like all of us.

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    5. Thank you Anett:-)

      Oh yes 18:55, only talking from a fashion perspective and not about any of her other lovely qualities. I'm sure William loves her no matter what she wears but as Anett points out, he has been known to have an opinion on the subject. Not sure he's finding her all that hot in this dress.

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    6. Erika, lol,
      I am surprised William doesn't fire Natasha or at least conveniently promote her to another position somewhere else. He probably does want to bring sexy back. Granny gowns be gone.

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  10. Kate looks fabulous as usual. The dress looks exactly the same on kate as it does on the model, which is a compliment. She really has great taste in clothes, not overdressing for such a humble occasion, yet perfect for the season. I love these type dresses on her. Wish I were that slim!

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    1. My opinion on the dress exactly 15:42, except for a pretty red coat to go over it. I got chills just seeing her out shaking hands in the cold. brrr.

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  11. Oh dear - this looks like a tablecloth and the cut is very unflattering and dowdy. Drew looks adorable on the other hand!

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    1. I totally agree! I thought "wrapping paper", but "table cloth" works just as well - like the oil cloth you use on a picnic table! I thought Drew looked great in it though I couldn't see much - mostly because she rolled the sleeves up!!! ;)

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    2. Last week at a friend's home, I was served lunch on a nice cotton tablecloth that looked very much like this dress! I really don't like this small print on Kate, and the dress is too long. I suppose the black accessories make it a working outfit, but the sash and red shoes would be more festive and more graceful. The silk fabric must be lovely to wear, but perhaps not very warm. Kate's hair looked beautiful.

      I love the three together, and especially the hug! A very worthy event.

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  12. Meh. Not a big fan of the dress to say the least but it was probably very nice for the volunteers to see the royal trio in action and that's the most important. I also hope some pics at the church on Christmas Day and whitout any tantrum if possible.

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    1. I agree Sarah, I don't like this dress either. I do like that she went festive colors though, for the kids, but this is way too busy for me. Also. Does anyone find it weird that George got into his presents? Do they not pretend about santa to the kids? When I was little, no presents went under the tree until Christmas Eve when I was in bed. Of course, to have the magic that santa delivered them Christmas morning, I did also have gifts specifically from mom and dad and not just santa. So maybe they put out the gifts from them under the tree before santa comes!

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    2. @ Anonymou 19:14. I don't find it weird that George got into the presents. Christmas was always a religious holiday for me growing up. No mention of Santa ever. So presents always came from actual family members which meant that presents showed up whenever (although we still weren't supposed to touch!)

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    3. our presents from parents, relatives etc were always left under the tree. only santas presents were delivered Christmas eve

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    4. I don't like the dress - too highnecked, too long, too frumpy. she has a wonderful figure that she could wear ANYTHING! Maybe if this was a few inches shorter it would have been nicer. or more fitted. I could honestly see the Queen or Princess Anne in this and that isn't right!

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    5. lol, that is a Princess Anne or Elizabeth dress. Ruh roh.

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    6. Anon 1:58 and anon 10:16, I suppose everyone just does it a little bit different :) 1:58, maybe they do it more as a religious holiday, like the queen so there is no santa that delivers gifts. 10:16, this makes sense too, everyone's parents do things a bit different I suppose :) I also didn't mean weird as in bad, just different than how my family did and how I was used to it is all haha. Thanks for the inputs!

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  13. The Mix sounds like an excellent front lines type of deal. The Heads Together Initiative is brilliant, a real Godsend. Kudos to Wiiliam, Kate and Harry.

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  14. Always love to see William, Kate and Harry together, especially for such good causes. Absolutely love the picture of the three of them together where Harry and William are smiling at Kate. Very nice. Probably am in the minority but I like the dress, my only quibble would be that it should be a tad bit shorter and would have liked it without the leather belt. But as always Kate looks good, happy, in her element and appropriate for the occasion. Hope they all have a wonderful Christmas season! cc

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    1. I feel the same way, Anon 16:33, both about the engagement and the dress. Plus, I like Kate's hair today! and her earrings. And I love the girl's hug for William and Harry 's smile at that moment :)

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    2. Zora, I agree about the girl's hug for William and Harry's smile! That picture hadn't posted when I commented, but the spontaneity of her action, William's genuine reaction and the smiles all the way around just pretty much summed up the general warmth and upbeat nature of the engagement....its what its all about! BTW agree about Kate's hair and earrings...was so busy looking at all the smiles I had missed the earrings! :) cc

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  15. Wonderful event, and a positive way to end the year. Where did 2016 go? Kate looks festive, and always very beautiful, but I have to admit this is not one of my favorite looks for her. However the emphasis should be on the people, and all they do to help our younger generation cope. Merry Christmas all!

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    1. Tedi that sound was me hitting the floor! Just teasing, because you never say anything remotely critical ;)

      I did not care for the overall look, primarily because I think it was styled so poorly. Please, all I want for Christmas is for Kate to rubbish that belt! It is so worn and does not go with this dress at all.

      I think the dress could have worked if it was styled in a more youthful, "sexier" way, with better accessories/jewellery too.

      Merry Christmas Tedi!

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    2. Totally agree!

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    3. Claudia, I hope you didn't get hurt hitting the floor!! Had a good laugh. Thanks Claudia, and Merry Christmas.

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  16. I like the festive dress. Bet she'll wear it privately to other Christmas functions (Christmas luncheon with the Queen perhaps) in the future (if she hasn't already done so). I think the choice for her hair being left down is in line with the more casual/approachable event, as opposed to a more formal occasion (museum, charity dinner, movie premier, etc). The whole idea is for people to open up in a friendly atmosphere and I think this lends itself to that very well.I think maybe the reason some think it's matronly is the length. If it hit her just above her knee as her other older dresses do, it would seem more youthful perhaps. Just a thought.

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    1. Yes, I agree that were the dress knee length, it would have a more youthful feel. I think knee high boots would have worked with this longer length better than the pumps as well.

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  17. Nicole from France19 December 2016 at 17:20

    such a quick post, Charlotte ! great ! I do like the design of the dress, especially the length, which to me looks perfect on Kate (and God knows I am not keen on such length ) ! but that hugh ! design ..... no mater the red and green, it is terribly dull (as was the design of the dress worn in India), especially accessorized with black , although there is black in the pattern ... and the belt does not do much to a dress that flows so nicely around Kate's slim body ! her hair look fantastic to day, he must have had them looked after before the great Middleton's meeting ! LOL and I shall not comment on Kate and Will going for a shooting, they respect elephants but not those poor birds specially raised to be released and shot within a day ....

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    1. Theresa. New York19 December 2016 at 21:19

      Wholeheartedly agree with you about the "shoot." It is past time that this practice is retired.

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    2. IMO, as long as there are men (okay. AND women, women hunt also) on this planet, there will be hunting. I pray wars would cease also.

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    3. Right. If your going to get rid of hunting, hunting people (war) should be the first on the list.

      Delete
  18. I agree that the dress is a bit too long. As for the belt, i think I may have preferred a plain black belt without the gold buckle. The pattern, however, is festive and pretty. I know that I am not alone in wondering where the heck her coat is. She wears coats when it is warm out so why not today? Rebecca Deacon was on hand to hold it if Kate felt like taking it off. I know that she probably goes straight from the car into the building but really, a coat is only sensible.

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    1. It also strikes me as very funny that it's not unusual for Kate to wear a coatdress in the middle of summer, yet today of all days she doesn't wear one!

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  19. Great event, always lovely to see the 3 of them together - there is something added from their interactions that makes their presence even better than when each individually attend an event. As for the choice of clothing - there are so many beautiful clothes to choose from that would be festive and beautiful I can't help but feel crestfallen. That's more on me than her, however. Charlotte this may be the last time I have a chance to say this before the holiday as I may be too busy - but you are amazing and your blog is a wonderful place to visit and commune. I can never thank you enough. I hope you have a simply wonderful holiday season. And, you should know I now make Nigella's Perfect Christmas Pudding all thanks to one of your Christmas posts a few years ago. Would never, never have even known her name but for you as I am so busy. Thanks and happy holidays -

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    1. That's incredibly kind of you, thank you so much! Do check out YouTube and search for 'Nigella's Christmas Kitchen', there's great advice and simple tips for traditional Christmas favourites (and let me say, if someone as culinarily challenged as myself can do it, anyone can).

      A very Happy Christmas to you and your family!

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  20. Even though I don't think the style of the dress is super flattering, the print is so festive, it makes up for it. I do hate that belt. I don't think she's ever worn it where it "works" with the outfit. Maybe it looks fantastic in person, but with this dress, it looks heavy and distracts from the print. A skinny black suede belt would've liked much better. Regardless, it was nice to see her with the brothers at this engagement. Happy Christmas to all!

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    1. Anonymous in Colorado19 December 2016 at 20:14

      @zipzipzippy : My thoughts too! I don't mind the dress but agree that a simple black belt or a sash would have elevated the look. Though this buckle belt along with the festive print is like a very chic twist on Santa Claus' suit...is that weird that I see that?!

      And I personally think all this brouhaha about the Cambridges spending Christmas with the Middletons is hilarious. What are they supposed to do, spend every Christmas with the Queen because it could be her last? That's an awkward elephant in the room, so to speak ;-)

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    2. Anonymous in Colorado19 December 2016 at 20:21

      PS. I think Kate's hair looks healthy & glossy!
      PPS. Thank you Charlotte for a great year!!

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    3. Colorado, nope. Someone else mentioned a Santa Belt. Could be a "Kate thing" but I don't know.

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    4. how could anyone fault anyone for going to church anywhere, anytime after what happened today? God help us all.

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  21. Many thanks for the lovely festive wishes. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.

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  22. Well, I made my comment about the dress - but it´s the event and the cause that always are so much more important for me!! The three together are a good team - is it "allowed" to imagine how it might be this time next year with maybe Prince Harry´s fiancĂ© by his side? ;-))) THAT would be a real "power quadruple", right? Just daydreaming after another long day moving house, haha.....
    I heard that there will be no Christmas photo this year (at least not of the Cambridges). Very sad and the wrong move in my opinion if those rumours turn out to be true! I absolutely adored the last one!
    Thanks so much, Charlotte, for another great job with this post!! As I´ve just mentioned, I am moving house at the moment and I am totally exhausted right now, so this post was a treat!

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    1. I am sitting here listening to CNN and thinking what a mad, mad world we live in. :( I hope that you and your family are safe...

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    2. Yes, Eve, hope you and yours are safe. Kind of puts things in perspective doesn't it?

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    3. meaning our quibbles are nothing when compared to what is going on in the world.

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    4. Oh thanks everyone! I live in the south of Germany, but yesterday, amidst all the stress and hard work, these horrible, horrible news on top - I burst into tears and couldn´t sleep all night! But I am safe and my family, too. Still, my thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the victims, the injured and their families and all who had to witness this horror....
      And yes, @royalfan, I agree with you. Mad, mad world, those were my thoughts exactly.... I am a trained therapist, so I have quite a lot of understanding for all kinds of behaviour, but how someone can deliberately kill innocent people... I will never understand, ever...

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    5. Big hug, Eve, ❤️

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    6. Eve, I do understand your reaction to it. And I feel for you as I watch the coverage and, finally, hear a spade called a spade. Stay safe xx.

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  23. Thanks Charlotte for another wonderful, informative post. I love when the three of them appear together, and this is such a great cause. As far as Kate's sartorial choice, I have nothing positive to say about it - sorry. It is frumpy and just not attractive on her at all, in my opinion. Sometimes I just don't know what she's thinking. Even my granny wouldn't be caught wearing this dress. But...it is festive, it suits the occasion in that regard, and it isn't inappropriate at all, just boring, and well...that's about it. Some days it seems Kate feels like dressing as a 30 something, and other days she appears to feel like dressing as someone decades older. Her choice. What's more important is that she had such a fun time and she contributed to a wonderful cause. I look forward to any holiday appearances, and thanks again for all of your wonderful posts this past year. I always look forward to them. Happy holidays to you and yours.

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  24. LOVE. LOVE, LOVE the "winning" photo of the little girl spontaneously giving William a very big hug. 🎉
    I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE William, Kate and Harry.
    There, I've said it. She inspired me. Truly, I think they are among the best. The world is a better place because of them. ❤️

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    1. Yes, and the best part is that he looked perfectly comfortable hugging her right back.

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    2. I agree! I always enjoy seeing the trio together like this.

      The dress is festive, but me thinks the belt is not "soft" (feminine) enough for a silk print dress. Just my two cents. :)

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    3. Exactly. :), BethNY, yay

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  25. Here's hoping for a kinder, more compassionate 2017.

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  26. I actually love this on the Duchess, as I think an aspect of her style is bohemian and "hippy" although that may come out more in her casual clothes. And I am dying over the large curls--she is stunning! But, I am so perplexed when she wears coats as dresses quite frequently. One would think it is because she tends to be cold, but this looks like a summer-fall transition dress. It is most definitely not winter. How is she not freezing??

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  27. Hate to anger anyone, but IMO this dress is so ugly. Hate the print - such a literal translation of xmas it looks like wrapping paper to me. The buttons down the front are hideous, so 1985! Kate is so hooked on blousey long sleeves, I'm so tired of this element. Also the long length - just frumpy, the shoes look like something the queen would wear, albeit with a higher heel. I'm not even going to mention The Belt. Except to say that it reminds me of those brown jeans and boots she wore the other day - worn and dull! I never thought Kate could put a fashion step wrong, but this year has proven that is not the case. Of course I still love her, just talking clothes here!

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  28. I didn't think this blog was just about what Catherine wears? But ever since I have been reading this blog that is mostly what it is about. Why can't the comments focus on the good Cathetine does plus her clothes. The focus has been lost on her good deeds.
    Charlotte gives a great back ground and information on the engagements and her dress. But most of the focus is on her dress.

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    1. I do get so very tired of constant, extensive fashion comments. It's shallow in my opinion. This blog is about the "Life and Style" of Catherine. I so wish the comments struck that 50/50 balance between the two. Charlotte does a great job of keeping it 50/50 and several regular commenters do a great job at balancing both (Rebecca - Sweden comes to mind) so I try to focus on those and ignore the "I like it, I don't like, I like it, I don't like it" lol! :)

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    2. There is alot of talk of her clothes. Alot of people come here for a spot of fun fashion talk to take their mind of the day. And that is totally ok. But there is also some quite good (and sometimes less good) discussions about the work :) Both has a place here, but since talking fashion is lighter and easier there will be more posts about that. But that doesn't mean that there is no talk about the events. In this case, there is not much to talk about. People can generally agree that it is good and fun. :P

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  29. a fun event for all. I think Duchess Catherine looks comfortable and casual. I am more a fan of solids that prints which can be tricky in my opinion. However, it is a festive colored dress for the holidays. Happy holidays to all!

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  30. I wish Kate would not wear these dresses as I think they age her too much. They look cheap even though they are not, and patterns too small are just ageing or look aged. This is not the right look for a woman who is still so young. I like the colour combination but it could be done in other ways.

    Charlotte, thanks for your hard work in bringing us another year of wonderful posts. Have thoroughly enjoyed it even though I don't always comment. Happy Christmas to you and your family

    KiwiNic

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  31. Dear Charlotte, now that I have finally settled here in Ireland and have converted my U.S. phone plan to Irish, I can enjoy your blog once again. One of my main reasons for hurrying into the phone store almost as soon as I landed [smile.] Thank you so much for all of your photos and the interesting information you give, not only about Kate, but also about the rest of the RF. I do go to other sites to find out what William is up to. He has really been doing so much more in recent days. I don't care that Kate isn't, I think what she does do, and how she is looking after her little family, is just fine. I have made it a resolution, now that I am this side of the pond, that I am not going to pass personal judgements on the RF but just enjoy things. Besides, I am in Ireland, not Northern Ireland, so the RF is just a happy pastime for me not a bone of contention. Happy Christmas Charlotte and, again, thank you for all that you do.
    P.S. My earrings from the Yukon that I ordered because I loved them on Kate arrived before I left the U.S.! I love them!

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    1. That is so sweet Valerie, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful time during your break :)

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    2. Valerie, That is SO funny you rushing to the phone company to stay tuned into DKB. lol I can SO relate to that. Hope you enjoy Ireland. :)

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  32. The Telegraph, 12/8/16, "Every Outfit The Duchess Has Ever Worn". Looks like over 300 and some outfits. Might be a fun article.

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  33. Forbes magazine has a very thoughtful article on Meghan Markle today, by Cecelia Rodriguez entitled, "Does Prince Harry's Girlfriend, Meghan Markle, Have What It Takes To Be A Princess?". She poses and answers some of the questions we've been asking. It was an interesting read.

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  34. Thoughts and prayers with our readers in Germany and those who have loved ones there. X

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    1. Yes, so sorry this has happened. I hope everyone in our community here as well as their family and friends are safe.

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  35. Thank you. Family and friends are in Berlin.
    ali

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    1. I hope they are ok ali.

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    2. Thank you Erika, my son checked in with me yesterday to tell me he and his girlfriend were fine. Sounded like the type of place and event that would draw a wide range of people in terms of ages and backgrounds.

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    3. Good news ali. Yes, I expect it drew a fairly international crowd as well.

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  36. First, wishing you all many joys and blessings through the holidays and in 2017. Next, I appreciate the focus these three have placed on this issue. They will take on patronages and charities as the Queen determines, and Charles when he becomes King. Until those assignments occur, it's great to see their involvement in the causes they currently undertake. Last, to Catherine's outfit. Very appropriate to the season and the event. Loved the fabric choice and festive colors. But, the dress bothered me. At first, I thought it was the length and the same old long blousy sleeves. So matronly. But I stopped myself. I like midi-length dresses so why would I be so put off by this dress? I looked at Drew Barrymore's clip and I decided that the problem is the styling. Drew has rolled her sleeves up and has interesting shoes. It boils down to Catherine's footwear for me. Had she worn black boots or booties, then I could see the dress as "boho". But to wear black pumps, the effect is lost.

    Anyway - happy holidays!

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  37. Charlotte, may I make a recommendation?

    I have seen a lot of complaints that people are focussing too much on Kate's clothes and not on her work. Some will say it is because she doesn't give the people much more to talk about, and that it is bloggers like yourself who probably do more work in exposing charties, others do not believe that but feel Kate's efforts are just completely overlooked.


    Either way, I have an idea for you, one that may make the blog atmosphere even more positive.

    Instead of the title of your posts being "Kate in (brand name) for (event)" maybe you could change it to "Kate (something interesting she did) at (event)". With a much smaller description of what she wore that day (but of course it is still interesting and worth including).

    And at the end of a tour, or end of the year, instead of doing votes for favourite clothing, maybe do polls for favourite speech, favourite project, favourite "away day", fav tour, fav event, fav gala, etc etc. OR, if that isn't as fun for people, maybe still do a clothing one, but include a work-related poll as well.


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    1. Stephanie, I think a lot of people don't comment on the event for the day because comments would be the same. "Good cause, nice event, looked fun for the kids" etc. A lot of people like commenting on her clothes, I think the problem is people jump to defend her so quickly, and get really rude to people who don't like her clothes and (nicely) comment. Just because people don't like her outfit choice for the day, doesn't mean they are disliking the event/ her herself.

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    2. I think Stephanie has a good point. Although I love reading others opinion on her fashion choices.:) So please no radical changes Charlotte!:)

      But sometimes, many times, you come away with these engagements empty handed. She rarely gives a speech, occassionaly say something about the kids, but what else should we all take with us? She spends an hour there, smiles if she does, makes sad faces except it is sailing and leaves. Job's done.

      Heads Together was a meaning thing to do, hope they continue. Unlike working with hospices.

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    3. My last sentence as I meant it to be:

      Heads Together was a meaningful thing to do, hope they continue. And don't share the same fate with hospices which was also her "thing."

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    4. Anett,

      Kate's visits are not unlike the ones the Queen has been successfully making for decades.

      And, the Queen sponsors many charities, perhaps even some hospices, that she also doesn't frequent that much, if at all.

      California girl

      Delete
  38. Although this is Kate fan site, I enjoy the variety of opinions on both the fashion front and on the dynamics of the monarchy itself. I'm always scrolling back to view photos again after reading others' insightful comments. I think some of the critical opinions about behaviors stem from readers who are viewing the royal family within the context of history and understand the shakiness of the institution in today's world. Students of European royal history and monarchists take this fragility seriously, which is why there are strong opinions expressed when it's perceived royals aren't respecting traditions. As to the latest dust ups, Kate and William may prefer the casualness and comfort of the Middleton home for Christmas (I would, too) or it may be the Middletons' turn, but royalists will tell you that the monarchy would be best served by having the future heirs to the throne at Sandringham, attending church together, and being seen as a united family. Afterwards, William and Kate can go to her family home. Also, what's the big deal with the card? Without a doubt, they should release a family photo with a holiday greeting. It's a small gesture, but one that carries a lot of goodwill. There was speculation that the refusal was due to comments made about last year's card. I hope that's untrue. They are public figures. All public figures are subjected to unpleasantness. Carry on!

    I think Queen Elizabeth will be the last great monarch. She has always understood the importance of duty, loyalty, sacrifice, and impeccable moral character. Certainly times and additudes have changed with respect to monarchies, but I will view it as a great loss should this be the case.

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    Replies
    1. I like the way you think, Kim! I too look at William and Kate's place in more of a historical perspective. And, sadly I think you may be right about Elizabeth.

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  39. Ok, Haven't read any responses yet but I Must Say I Put My $$$ On Kate Being Pregnant! :)
    1) Full Face
    2) Fuller Healthy Figure
    3) Belt Not Nearly Sinched In As Tight
    4) Lower Pumps
    5) Lower Key True Family/Kid Friendly Christmas Plans at Mum's Where She Won't Have To Be "The Hostess" & Yes Get TLC :)....... I Hope I'm Not Wrong Because That Means She's Having An Easier Time Of It & They Can Announce On Their Own Timeline! :) If Not? Then It's Just So Good Seeing Her So Radiant & Looking So Healthy! :)
    Wait.....
    I Just Glanced Above & See Charlotte Posted Something About "Germany"!? I'm Sick In Bed & Haven't Checked News All Day! Sending Prayers For All Of Germany & Will Go See What Happened? :(
    Peace & Prayers,
    Becca USA

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    1. Forgot to mention I noticed right away that She looked a bit "Busty"? Notable as she can often look quite the opposite when she is quite thin! So time will tell I guess?

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  40. I love everything this trio does.

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  41. Gotta say, "I don't love this dress." I have to wonder why choose it - one thought, maybe she's pregnant, another thought, it looks pretty good on the model and she bought it based on that, the colors - she thought the red and green would be festive. If I were Santa, I would bring Kate a new belt. That belt worked so well on the outside of coat or her blazer/suit but it's so heavy for a silk dress. Black patent shoes would have looked better.

    It's wonderful to the trio out for this engagement. And it's nice to see the interaction with many of the volunteers and kids.

    Hopefully we'll be able to figure out what Kate wears tomorrow. My guess is that we will see the Cambridges on Christmas Day - one way or another.

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  42. Oh dear - this just doesn't work for me on Kate at all. It might have worked for a much more casual look with espadrilles or sandals in the spring. But with high heels and the belt it just is not working. She tried to make a very casual dress into something more tailored and classic and it's not right. Take off the belt or put a rope belt with it that is loose and not structured and as said, pair it with sandals - it would work for me then. I dislike her hair immensely today. It's stringy and far too much up front in her face - almost like she really didn't look in the mirror before she left home! I would have liked to have seen her in a pair of trousers with a nice red or green sweater and a scarf maybe for this event with her hair pulled back (at least half of it). The boys are much more with it looking for this event than Kate was. It's a fail in my book.

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  43. I thought she looked beautiful. Lovely festive colours. Anne. U.K.

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  44. Following on from today's news: I do hope she takes up croquet - a much more interesting game than tennis.

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  45. Love your blog!
    This dress is a bit dowdy, matronly for Kate's age. I think the belt didn't coordinate with the dress as well. She usually looks fabulous.

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  46. Please, please will someone tell Prince William to wear more light gray and charcoal.... at least in winter months? He looks terrific in those colors and it seems blue should be used in the warmer months. Does anyone agree with this?

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    1. Jan, I completely agree with you. The few times he has worn grey he has looked great. A beautiful charcoal sport coat would be great! It has my vote. cc

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  47. Even the New York Times always mentions in some detail Kate's outfit. Almost every publication does. They have done that for the Queen for years and years and they did that for Princess Diana, so it isn't surprising that we do that here. We love fashion and we do help Kate choose her wardrobe annually after all.

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  48. Charlotte:

    I know it is not year-end yet; however, it seems like the best time to say thank you so very much for yet a wonderful year of posts of our dear Duchess, Catherine. There are "umpteen" blogs that feature the Duchess, but yours is my favorite and the one I look to first and always for the latest news. I enjoy most reading what you have written, no one writes as well as you do, and I mean that sincerely.

    I would like to take this opportunity also, to wish you and your hubby, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Joyous New Year. Make plenty of wonderful, happy, joyous, and unforgettable memories. In later years when you look back, you will be happy you did!

    In addition, I like to wish the same for your family and to all the readers here, Merry Christmas and Blessings on you All.

    Stay safe everyone.

    RW.

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    1. I greatly appreciate your very kind comment. Thank you so much :)

      A very, very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

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    2. Charlotte:

      Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      RW.

      Delete
  49. She looks beautiful nice to see them all together. Thanks Charlotte. Merry Christmas.

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  50. Merry Christmas Charlotte. Thank younger a wonderful year of blog posts. You are always my first point of contact when anything happens with the Cambridge's :-). I like the dress on her but not sure about the belt.

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  51. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Charlotte and your husband, and to all the posters on this blog. Hope everyone has a good and safe time over the holidays. Charlotte, I’m pretty sure that your blog is the “gift that keeps on giving” to all of us, and I`m often extremely grateful for it. I’m certainly going to be anxious to see what all the Cambridges and the rest of the Royal Family get up to over the next year. It’s also lovely to be able to go back in time on here and see how the Duchess is growing into her role. She’s a keeper, for sure!

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  52. Leahmaria, you said that so nicely. DKB is "the gift that keeps on giving". sweet. :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours also.

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  53. Oh i love. The. Royal trio. Its seem to be good

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