Saturday, 5 January 2019

Year in Review 2018: Three Weddings and a Baby!

As we prepare for another year of royal watching, it's time for our annual Year in Review post. 2018 was a year which heralded major changes for the British Royal family with the arrival of Prince Louis, family weddings, and the Cambridges' first full year in London as full-time royals to name just a few. Let's take a step back and reminisce over the year collectively; the engagements, highlights for the family, the fashion and more...


January

Following Christmas at Sandringham, the Cambridges made their first 2018 appearance on 7 January, attending Sunday service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the estate. The couple made the walk with the then newly-retired Prince Philip. That weekend they also celebrated Kate's birthday a little early with the Middletons and friends James and Laura Meade and the Cholmondeleys.


Princess Charlotte marked a special milestone as she attended her first day at Willcocks Nursery School. Adorable images taken by Kate at Kensington Palace before she and William dropped their daughter off for her first day were released to mark the occasion. Charlotte looked cute as a button in her burgundy coat. I recall thinking she looked 'so grown up' that day; they really do grow up so fast!


Kate kicked off engagements for the year with a visit to Reach Academy Feltham, a school working in partnership with Place2Be and other organisations to support children, families and the whole school community throughout their school career. The Duchess sported a Hobbs London coat teamed with her Seraphine Florrie dress - the first of countless repeats we would see from her wardrobe throughout the year.


The Duchess made a surprise appearance at the Amnesty International UK office for a conference on young people's mental health. The Anna Freud Centre said they were "delighted" to welcome their Patron to the Conference. The organisation added: "HRH is a committed champion of children's mental health and wellbeing and it is fantastic to have her here." The conference was co-hosted by the charity.


It was a sea of flowers and teddy bears for the Cambridges for their first away day of 2018. Kate brought back her vibrant pink Mulberry coat for the day which encompassed a variety of engagements. A constant highlight of visits across different parts of the UK is the walkabout and hearing stories from various members of the crowds. These trips are lifeblood of the monarchy; offering an opportunity to meet and engage with those around the country. During the walkabout, Kate noticed a little boy, Craig, looked particularly unwell. She went over to her protection officers and asked for a sick bag. Craig's mother Carmel Flynn said: "She really took time with him. You can tell she is a mum, and has got that caring side."


Kate sported the 'red pop' Boden Lena coat for a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre. Kate said a few words congratulating the team behind it: "It's been my first trip to Great Ormond Street Hospital and I've been so impressed with everything I've seen and the scale of the work that's going on here. It's been wonderful to meet so many families and young people, and I've been so inspired by their bravery and courage at such a difficult time. But really, my main message is congratulations to you all." During the visit, she met several incredibly brave children including Rafael who discussed his love of olives with the Duchess who revealed Charlotte's also a fan.


Following the engagement, it was a quick changes of clothes before Kate's second stop of the day - Bond Primary School in Mitcham - to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative. Kate was in her element during tennis exercises; she adores the sport. There was a very sweet moment before she left when the pupils assembled in a uniform line to shake her hand, and one by one a row of little girls hugged Kate instead.


The Duchess visited Roe Green Junior School to launch Mentally Healthy Schools - Heads Together's new mental health project to support the mental health of young children in junior schools. The website is designed to give teachers and school staff the clarity and practical resources they need in order to support pupils. 'Mentally Healthy Schools' is a free and easy to use website, drawing together reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health.


Kate discussed Heads Together and progressing to the next stage during a speech: "Over the last two years, William and Harry and I have been honoured to take part in a national conversation on mental health through our Heads Together campaign. We know that mental health is an issue for us all – children and parents, young and old, men and women - of all backgrounds and of all circumstances. What we have seen first-hand is that the simple act of having a conversation about mental health – that initial breaking of the silence – can make a real difference. My own commitment is to the youngest and most vulnerable in their early years - babies, toddlers and school-children – and to support all those who care for them. The role of teachers here is absolutely vital. You see our children as they grow, learn and play, as they build their social skills that will make the difference to their futures. You are uniquely placed to help children speak out about their mental and emotional challenges, and direct parents and carers to the right support."


Kate brought back her much-loved baby blue Seraphine coat for an engagement with the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King's College. The Duchess also visited the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, part of South London Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Kate talked about expectations on mothers to feel "super happy" after birth, adding: "One in four of us aren't."


As January drew to a close, the Cambridges began a four-day visit to Sweden and Norway. The European trip was one of a number designed to bolster relations and deploy a touch of soft diplomacy as Brexit unfolds. The tour began in Stockholm with a very fun bandy hockey event at Vasaparken, an outdoor ice-skating venue. The photo below is arguably a contender for 'Best of 2018', with many a caption suggestion following! :) Kate was wrapped up in a Burberry trench, Sorel Torino boots and a Eugenia Kim beanie for the outing.


It's long been a wish of mine to see the Cambridges with their European counterparts more frequently. A highlight of the Swedish portion of the visit was the interaction between William and Kate and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. The couples joined forces for several events beginning with a luncheon hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.


Communication Secretary Jason Knauf said "From our perspective, it's a chance for Their Royal Highnesses to build a strong relationship with the royal families of each country, and particularly the royals of their generation who they will know throughout their lives. Those close relationships between countries on a people-to-people level are something that royal visits are particularly good at highlighting.”


The first black-tie event of the tour brought the first of two very divisive Erdem dresses. When I saw the first photo, I suspected it would be a polarizing piece. A number of factors come into play when examining why this one just didn't seem to work, and the low lighting at the dinner made it incredibly difficult for media present (apparently there was unhappiness about it). Instead of photographing the dark hue it is in the product shots, it came out looking a shade of mustard. Ultimately, as with many Erdem designs, there was simply too many elements competing against a very busy print.


Kate was effortlessly stylish in Catherine Walker, McQueen and burgundy accessories for day two in Sweden. We saw lovely interaction between the Cambridges and the Swedish royal couple. The day focused on the country's pioneering work in the field of mental health and children's wellbeing, and in particular how this translates into support for children and young teenagers going through the Swedish education system.


The Duchess wore blue velvet Erdem for a glamorous reception at the beautiful Fotografiska Gallery. The dress was another unpopular piece from the designer and led to many a suggestion Kate retire his pieces from her closet. It's interesting because Erdem, in my opinion, designed some of Kate's early defining looks (the blue dresses from the Canada tour), but his love for a distracting print tends to steer what is a potentially fabulous look off course. I often think if designs were one simple shade it would transform a look, however that wouldn't be Erdem.


February

Catherine Walker became a staple choice during the four-day tour with the Duchess choosing several bespoke coats. For the second leg of the tour, William and Kate travelled to Norway where they were warmly greeted by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. I was very sorry to read Mette-Marit was recently diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She's had a number of health problems of the years, but was on terrific form during the trip and excited to welcome to the couple to Oslo.


That night, a glittering dinner was held at the Royal Palace in the Cambridges' honour. True to form, Sarah Burton produced a stunning cape gown with crystal flower embellishment for the event. The gown was the sartorial highlight of the tour for me.


Kate donned Dolce & Gabbana for the final day of the tour. The morning focused on young people and coping mechanisms for mental health issues.


For their final engagements of the tour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Holmenkollen's most iconic landmark – the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. The photos took me back to the early days of their relationship. Some of the first images we saw of William and Kate as a couple came from their skiing holidays. They both adore skiing and took George and Charlotte to the French Alps in 2016.


In support of Children's Mental Health Week 2018, the Duchess of Cambridge recorded a video message encouraging children "to be comfortable in their own skin" and encouraging parents, teachers and those in the wider community to help children become "the best version" of themselves. The Duchess also referred to the role that all adults play in helping children become the best versions of themselves: "Some children will be facing tougher challenges than others, but I firmly believe that while we cannot change their circumstances, we can ensure that every child is given the best possible support to ensure they fulfil their true potential. This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures and thrive."


Back in London, Kate paid tribute to her patronage Action on Addiction at the opening of a new treatment centre in Essex. Kate's impromptu speech was very nicely done. She looked back on the six years since she began supporting the charity and credited getting involved with Action on Addiction as "the start of my learning" which led to her work in mental health. She added: "You're very special to me."


Kate's sartorial choice on the night of the BAFTAs in February sparked myriad conversations and debates. As actresses and attendees donned black in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, discussion on whether the Duchess would support the movement or not generated column inches globally. The choice was described as a "diplomatic minefield". I would have loved to see Kate in black; any woman who has experienced sexual harassment or knows someone who has is acutely aware it's a systemic problem across all industries; it's certainly not limited to Hollywood. While wearing black throughout awards season could not change deeply-rooted problems, it was a step in the right direction. In the end the Duchess chose a dark green McQueen gown.


The Duchess joined the Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice and host of well-known faces in fashion including Anna Wintour for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. It was a fascinating event showcasing fashions and textiles from all over the member nations. It was the night Erdem began to redeem himself too; the bespoke version of the Suzie dress worked perfectly as a maternity evening dress.


It was hard hats and a henna tattoo for the Cambridges varied day in Sunderland. Whilst chatting to a group from Young Asian Voices, Kate asked one of the girls to draw a design on her hand. Shajida drew a flower with a swirl and Kate loved it. Next, the Duke and Duchess travelled to see the Northern Spire, an ambitious and striking new bridge over the River Wear.


Late February brought the announcement of two new patronages for Kate: the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and Patron of the Nursing Now campaign. The Palace added: "The Duchess has seen first-hand the impact of front-line medical professionals during visits to hospitals and hospices, and through her work in support of children's mental health and early intervention. The Duchess' patronages at RCOG and Nursing Now provide an opportunity to shine a light on these vital professions, both in the UK and internationally." Kate was in a bespoke Jenny Packham outfit.


February drew to a close with the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum at the Aviva Offices in London. William, Kate, Harry and Meghan came together to discuss their passions, projects and vision for the Foundation. Host Tina Daheley asked Kate about coming up with the idea for Heads Together. Kate replied: "It's very generous of you to say it was my idea but actually it was going back right to the beginning when we were looking at ways we could all work with the Foundation and I suppose I learned through meeting with some of my patronages that there was sort of all these underlying causes across so many different sectors. Mental health just kept on flagging up every time, where it's with addiction or school support and with vulnerable young children. It's something I felt very passionately about. It's something I felt all three of us at the time could make a far bigger impact together rather than just one of us. I've always felt really strongly about putting ideas together."


Kate visited her patronage the National Portrait Gallery to view the exhibition 'Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography'. Kate wrote a foreword to the exhibition catalogue in which she discussed her interest in 19th century photography, the subject of her undergraduate thesis while an art history student at the University of St Andrews. "This period of history has long interested me. Photographs of children in particular, which feature predominately within the exhibition are of real interest to me. The photographs allow us to reflect on the importance of preserving and appreciating childhood while it lasts. Children held a special place in the Victorian imagination and were celebrated for their seemingly boundless potential. The notion still rings true for us today and it underpins much of my official work and the charities I have chosen to support, and, indeed, my role as a mother of a young family. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert became enthusiastic patrons of the new form of picture-making following its invention in 1839. Rejlander undertook commissions for the Royal family, and this exhibition contains photography by him borrowed from the Royal Collection at Windsor." The foreword was by far the most personal one Kate has written, drawing on her interests, education and the exhibition's connections to the Royal family.


March

March kicked off with a visit to Pegasus Primary School in Oxford to learn more about the work of the charity Family Links. Kate, wearing her cream JoJo Maman Bebe coat, was particularly taken with nine-month-old Tilly.


Kate was in her blue lace Séraphine dress to officially open the new headquarters of her patronage Place2Be. During her speech, Kate praised Place2Be for being at the forefront of efforts to give every child the best start in life: "We know that schools have a vital role to play in creating an emotionally healthy culture for children. In spite of often-challenging circumstances, and the ever-present focus on academic achievement, I have witnessed the determination of many teachers and head teachers, in schools across the country, to prioritise the mental health and social development of children in their care: to help them build social skills; to help them build emotional skills; and ultimately to teach them life skills that will last a lifetime, and be the foundation for becoming mentally healthy adults."


It was a Beulah London repeat and Kate's chic Lock & Co. Tiffany hat for the Commonwealth Day Service in March.


The Duchess met with representatives from British Tennis, Wimbledon and Coach Core at Kensington Palace to discuss children's tennis initiatives in the UK and sports at grassroots level. Participants in the discussion included well-known faces Judy Murray and former British number one Tim Henman. Since his retirement from the court, Tim has been a familiar face commentating at tournaments including Wimbledon.


The Duchess wrapped up in Catherine Walker for the annual St Patrick's Day parade. 


Continuing her series of engagements focused on early years, the Duchess of Cambridge convened a symposium on the importance of early intervention to provide solid social and emotional platforms for children.


During a speech Kate said: "As I look around the room, I see friends from many different sectors: friends who have shared with me their knowledge, and who have answered my questions patiently whilst I’ve interrogated them in my endeavour to learn about this complex range of issues. I could name so many of you, but I'm utterly grateful to you all for giving your time and wisdom so freely. We all know how important childhood is; and how the early years shape us for life. We also know how negative the downstream impact can be, if problems emerging at the youngest age are overlooked, or ignored. It is therefore vital that we nurture children through this critical, early period."


For Kate's final engagements before taking maternity leave, she and William celebrated the Commonwealth. After an event with SportsAid, the couple participated in preparations for a Commonwealth Big Lunch at St Luke's Community Centre.


April

With just weeks to go until the arrival of William and Kate's third child, the couple joined Her Majesty for Easter service at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Kate chose the bespoke brown Catherine Walker coat she debuted for the 2015 St Patrick's Day parade when she was expecting Princess Charlotte. She teamed it with her Betty Boop hat and pearl jewellery.


Shortly after 8 am on the 23 April, the Palace shared very exciting news...


Kate was admitted shortly before 6 am on St George's Day and just five hours later a new prince was born. Louis weighed 8 lbs 7 oz. The joyous news was met with delight by both families and well-wishers all over the world. The arrival of a royal baby is one of those magical occasions that truly brings the royal community together. It was such fun covering the event on the Live Blog with you all. Of course, the news was particularly exciting for George and Charlotte who couldn't wait to meet Baby Cambridge. William left St Mary's to fetch them and we saw darling shots of their arrival. George, in his Thomas's Battersea uniform, seemed quite shy whilst Charlotte (echoing her great-grandmother the Queen) perfected the royal wave. In many ways, it feels such a short time ago William and Kate stepped out and introduced George to the world.


Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge.


William and Kate looked overjoyed as they stepped out with newborn Louis.


May

May began with the release of two official portraits offering our first look at Louis since he was born.


The release coincided with Princess Charlotte's birthday week and we saw a very sweet shot of the three-year-old giving her brother a kiss.


May brought the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Two days before the big day, the Cambridges were spotted arriving for a rehearsal. Kate wore the Michael Kors carnation dress.

On a sunny Saturday morning the Cambridges watched on as Harry and Meghan said 'I Do'. Kate wore a primrose yellow silk version of her favourite McQueen dress with a new Philip Treacy hat and Kiki McDonough earrings.


George and Charlotte did a splendid job in their roles as page boy and bridesmaid. They were adorably kitted out in Givenchy for the wedding.


The happy couple.


For George's half-term break in late May, the Cambridges decamped to Anmer Hall. Duchess Kate was spotted at the Houghton Hall horse trials with George and Charlotte. Houghton Hall is owned by William and Kate's Norfolk neighbours, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Both couples have become great friends in recent years. Kate chose a blue print Zara dress for the family day out.


June

Kate made her first official public appearance since Louis' birth for Trooping the Colour on 9 June. The family came out in force for the Queen's annual birthday parade. Kate wore a bespoke McQueen pale blue dress with defined shoulders and a hat by milliner Juliette Botterill.


George and Charlotte were in a very playful mood on the balcony with their cousin Savannah.


It was a fun-filled day at the polo as Kate, George and Charlotte cheered on Prince William as he participated in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club in Tetbury. It was an unexpected surprise marking Charlotte's first appearance at the polo. Kate wore a gorgeous summery Zara dress for the day.


July

Prince Louis was baptised at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace on 9 July. The intimate christening was attended by the Charles, Camilla, the Sussexes, Middletons and godparents. The couple chose Kate's cousin Lucy Middleton and close friends Nicholas van Cutsem, Guy Pelly, Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, Laura Meade and Hannah Gillingham.


The event marked the first time we saw the Cambridges as a family of five.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined members of the Royal family for a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force the day after Louis' christening.


It was a duchess duo at Wimbledon, as the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex took pride of place in the Royal Box to watch a spectacular afternoon of tennis for the women's Wimbledon final which saw Angelique Kerber defeat Serena Williams to take the title.


Kate returned the next day in a vibrant yellow Dolce & Gabbana dress for the men's final with William.


We also saw the release of Prince Louis' christening portraits. The portraits were taken in Clarence House's Morning Room following the christening at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, by renowned photographer Matt Holyoak. The photographer said: "I was truly honoured at being asked to take the official photographs at the christening of Prince Louis, and to witness at first hand such a happy event. Everyone was so relaxed and in such good spirits, it was an absolute pleasure. I only hope I have captured some of that joy in my photographs."


A photo taken the day of the christening was released to mark George's fifth birthday. The Prince celebrated the day on the paradise island of Mustique as the Cambridges joined the Middletons for a relaxing holiday at their favoured haunt.


August

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their annual sojourn to Balmoral with George, Charlotte and, for the first time, four-month-old Louis in August. The Duchess was spotted travelling to Crathie Kirk with Her Majesty for Sunday service wearing a grey Catherine Walker coatdress. We saw a change to the Cambridges summer schedule in 2018. They would usually visit Balmoral in September and travel to Mustique in January, but due to George's school schedule we've seen a shift in that pattern.

September

As we awaited an announcement confirming Kate's return to duties in September, the Cambridges enjoyed a family day out at the Norfolk wedding of Kate's close friend Sophie Carter and Robert Snuggs. Sophie is Charlotte's godmother and fittingly the Princess and big brother Prince George were on hand for bridesmaid and page boy duties. Michael, Carole and James Middleton were also present. We saw an array of fabulous photos by veteran royal photographer Mark Stewart. Kate repeated her cornflower blue Catherine Walker coatdress with a matching floral headband. The hue matched the shade of blue worn by members of the wedding party.


October

Kate elected to take a longer period away from the limelight and duties following Louis' birth compared to George's and Charlotte's. She made her much-anticipated return in early October with an engagement very much in her wheelhouse - a visit to Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden - combining her love of the outdoors and children. Kate wrapped up in a jacket and jumper by Fjallraven, a Joseph Rainer Bud Print Shirt and her Zara biker trousers.


The Duchess repeated her lilac Emilia Wickstead dress for the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. The summit was described as "the next step in a journey to a new level of co-operation so that we can improve mental health around the world". We saw outstanding photos of William and Kate sitting on the Friendship Bench, part of an innovative programme from Zimbabwe which has taught elderly Zimbabwean women the skills to become city lay health workers.


Kate made a splash in Erdem for her first visit to new patronage the Victoria & Albert Museum. The designer won over many a critic that night when Kate arrived wearing the Iman off-the-shoulder boucle tweed dress. I loved this look, and in fact it's a contender for my favourite of the year. The fabric, cut, encrusted faux embellishments, length and accessories offered a very fresh, effortless style.


It was a return to Windsor for the autumn wedding of Princess Eugenie and her longtime love Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel. Kate chose a raspberry pink McQueen dress.


George and Charlotte undertook page boy and bridesmaid duties for the third time in 2018. Photo caption: "This is a doddle. Another wedding? No problem!"


The bride looked radiant in a Peter Pilotto gown. The low back feature on the dress was at the specific request of Princess Eugenie, who had surgery aged 12 to correct scoliosis. She has been widely praised for choosing to show her scars on her big day.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted a reception for the finalists of  BBC Radio One's Teen Hero Awards at Kensington Palace in mid October.


It was a sparkling appearance for the Duchess at the glittering State banquet in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima's visit. Kate was draped in jewels including the Lover's Knot Tiara, Diana's Collingwood pearls, a stunning pearl necklace from the Queen's vault and shimmering bracelet. The story from the night was news Kate had received the Royal Family Order from the Queen. Traditionally the order was made of ivory, but we knew we wouldn't see the Duchess wearing the material and instead Kate's was created with glass. The Order is awarded by the Sovereign of the United Kingdom to female members of the Royal family as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals men do. The order is a personal memento rather than a State decoration.


The Duke and Duchess visited Coach Core Essex today to meet new apprentices, hear from graduates, and learn how the scheme in Essex is engaging a diverse local community with sport.


It was a poignant and reflective visit to the Imperial War Museum for the Duchess who viewed letters relating to the three brothers of her great-grandmother, all of whom fought and died in the First World War. The visit provided an opportunity to learn more about Kate's family history and to gain a closer insight into the role several of her relatives played. As Kate looked through documents she said: "It's all so sad." When I look back on 2018, this was one of the standout events. The personal connection added another dimension to the visit, it offered an insight into Kate's family history and given the centenary commemorations last year it felt especially timely.


November

The Tusk Trust Awards saw the return of Kate's teal Jenny Packham gown to the delight of many fashion watchers. 


Kate was in Roland Mouret for the moving Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal British Legion's annual festival commemorates those who have lost their lives in service of their country. We saw a large turnout by the Royal family and touching performances throughout the event.


Kate and Camilla joined Her Majesty on the balcony at Whitehall for Remembrance Sunday.


That evening, the Duke and Duchess joined Her Majesty and other members of the Royal family for a service at Westminster Abbey in honour of those who lost their lives in the First World War and the Centenary of Armistice Day.


Ahead of Prince Charles' 70th birthday, the Palace released a fantastic pair of photographs to mark the milestone. Official images tend to be largely formal, so the choice of a shot depicting the future king with his family, taken in the gardens of Clarence House in September, made for a delightful choice. Kate selected an Alessandra Rich dress for the photos. She held her mini-me Louis in the shots. I noted the prince's resemblance to his mother several times last year. Similarly to his brother and sister, Louis is a delightful baby and changes so much with each photo.


William and Kate served lunch during a day of engagements in South Yorkshire. After a visit to automaker McLaren, their next port of call was homeless charity Centrepoint. Over lunch, they chatted with a group of young people about their experiences with the organisation.


A glamorous Kate was photographed en route to Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebrations in a pink one shoulder gown, dazzling earrings and a gorgeous updo. We await a repeat of the look to see it in its entirety.


To mark Anti-Bullying Week, William and Kate made a surprise visit to the BBC to view the work the broadcaster is doing as a key member of the Duke's Task Force on the Prevention of Cyberbullying. William discussed his disappointment at the lack of progress and willingness by tech giants to take steps to truly combat the mammoth issue of online abuse.


William and Kate joined Harry and Meghan for the Royal Foundation dinner at Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square. The annual event offered a chance to celebrate the successes of the year with staff from the Foundation and representatives from organisations the royals work with closely. The event is private, but luckily this year a couple of images emerged. Kate donned her red Preen Finella dress for the evening.


Kate made an unannounced visit to a University College London's developmental Neuroscience Lab to learn more ahead of the launch of her 'early years' initiative. UCL is conducting world-leading neuroscience research into the critical importance of the early years, and developing new treatments and ways of supporting children and parents. Its work includes a focus on the early parent-infant bond and how it develops.


It was a poignant visit to Leicester for the Cambridges, as they paid tribute to those who were tragically killed in the helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club’s King Power Stadium.


December

William and Kate got into the festive spirit with a Christmas party at the Orangery at Kensington Palace for families and children of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus. The party was beautifully planned to ensure families in attendance had a wonderful time. Kate was seasonally attired in a red print Emilia Wickstead skirt and Brora cardigan. 


Following the Christmas party, it was time for the annual white-tie Diplomatic Reception. In a change with tradition, a photographer was invited inside to take photos and we saw the royals in their finery properly. We've seen Charles take on increasing responsibility from his mother over the past year, I suspect the decision was his and will mark a change in coverage of the reception. Kate was every inch the princess in a shimmering bespoke Jenny Packham gown.


The next morning, William and Kate travelled to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to meet with serving personnel, families living on the base, wider station personnel, and members of the local community. The royal couple brought Christmas cards and gifts from the party at Kensington Palace to present to loved ones who would be away over the festivities. I would love to see this become an annual engagement involving different bases each year. Kate teamed her army green blazer with a stylish pair of navy trousers; a very professional look for her.


Kate chose a green polka dot L.K. Bennett dress for a pre-Christmas visit to her new patronage Evelina London Children's Hospital. Kate delivered a short speech at the event: "It’s always such a pleasure to come and meet patients and families who are here. A huge thank you to everyone here at Evelina for doing such an amazing job on a daily basis in supporting children and their extended families both here and also out in the community. Early years is such a big part of that work I am really interested in and that's really the main focus that you have here, supporting children at the earliest stages of their lives but also seeing them through to adulthood and supporting them in every way you can so it's a real privilege to be part of this organisation and I look forward to many happy years, hopefully ahead and congratulations to everyone here."


The Cambridges chose an autumnal family portrait taken at their country home in Norfolk for their Christmas card.


Kate was pretty in pink for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon. 


The Cambridges concluded 2018 with a family-filled Christmas at Sandringham. We saw William and Kate make the annual walk to St Mary's with Charles, Harry and Meghan. Kate told well-wishers George and Charlotte were "up very early" to open their gifts from Father Christmas. The Duchess was elegant in a berry red Catherine Walker coat for her final public appearance of the year.


In his annual letter to The Times, Tim O'Donovan noted the Duchess carried out 87 engagements in 2018.


For 2019, we should see Kate's number rise substantially. I would love to see a continued focus on core issues like young people and mental health (particularly the continuation of Heads Together) with a programme of 'away days' around the UK included. William and Kate haven't undertaken a joint Commonwealth tour since autumn 2016, and it would be great to see them tour countries they haven't yet visited. Perhaps a tour over the summer which works with the children's term times? With Brexit at the forefront for the Government, I anticipate the Foreign Office may deploy them on another European visit or two during the year. I'm hoping we'll see William and Kate involved in more State visits too. Before that, we can expect news on Kate's 'early years' initiative. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the project, Kate's aspirations and the plan of action. 

I'd be remiss to conclude the post without mention of the media storm which has snowballed in recent months. It's been an intense year in royal watching filled with a rollercoaster of headlines. Such is the popularity of the young royals, the voracious appetite to fill column inches has seen a shift in coverage. A shift geared towards the most sensational, salacious pieces possible. As a monarchist, it's worrying to see the conversation move from the royals' actual roles and functions as ambassadors for the UK and representatives of Her Majesty to gossip pieces. Whilst the private lives and more frivolous elements of the royals have and always will be of interest, recent coverage seems completely disinterested in the substantive aspects. In my opinion, the coverage is a disservice to the work members of the Royal family are doing at home and abroad. Royal watchers online, and particularly those active on social media, will have noticed the deplorable dissension and breakdown in communication. One of the saddest elements for me has been seeing women pitting two women against each other, using one to tear the other down. It's a desperately ugly situation. I greatly hope 2019 will signal a return to a kinder community; a community with more understanding and tolerance. I'm enormously thankful to those of you who have striven to continued reasonable and fair discussion and endeavoured to disagree respectfully.

I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each one of you for taking the time to pop in and read the blog. I look forward to another year of royal watching with you all! :)

86 comments:

  1. It goes without say that it was be amazing year for fans and family.William and Kate must be over the moon that they greeted new baby and I hope that they don 't pay attention to gossips,lies and arguments in media.I 'm looking forward what new year will bring.

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  2. Three weddings? Did I miss something? I count two weddings, two royal babies (Louie and Lena), one christening, and one royal pregnancy.

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    1. Hello Janet,

      Sophie Carter's wedding was the third.

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    2. Three Weddings... Kates friend Sophie Carter, Harry and Meghan,and lastly Princess Eugenie. One new baby Prince Louis of Cambridge.

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  3. Great post, once again Charlotte.
    Thank you for all the effort you put into this blog, and creating something that is not only about the fashion, but also has substance. I more often than not, learn something really interesting while reading about a great lady.
    May you have a wonderful 2019!

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    1. Thank you very much Marike. I hope you have a fantastic 2019 :)

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  4. Happy New Year, Charlotte! Many, many thanks for your incredible coverage of DoC and the high sense of integrity that you exude in your posts! I'm terribly grateful for your work, and look forward to an exciting year in 2019 for you, this community, and our beloved Duchess!

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  5. I very much look forward to these year in review posts of yours Charlotte. Your work is outstanding!! As a royal watcher I can say the past year has been sickening to witness and I pray 2019 will take more positive direction in terms of the media & social media storms. I know you were thanking us readers for being reasonable & fair, but I'd like to take the time to thank you for staying out of the negativity and writing reasonable & factual posts. This has been one of the reasons you remain one of my top sources for royal news. Happy New Year!

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  6. Thank you Charlotte and a very happy and prosperous New Your to you and your family

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  7. What a great post! The year in review has always been a favourite of mine. I am really forward to this year for Kate, and I feel it will be noticeable step up in engagements.

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  8. Thank you for the wonderful recap Charlotte! Wishing you all the best in 2019!
    Carol

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  9. Really amazing!! Thank you.

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  10. Charlotte, I just adore your work on these blogs. Heads and shoulders above anybody doing anything similar. No comparison. And I do so enjoy reading the comments from the community and different perspectives.

    The Duchess is just a vision and I am so excited to see where the Cambridge family heads this year.

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  11. Rebecca - Sweden5 January 2019 at 19:40

    First of all, thank you for all your hard work dear Charlotte!

    And wow, some of these things seem ages ago and some seem like yasterday. Thank you for guiding us down memory lane! A highlight for me (except the obvious with Louis) was (of course) the tour to Sweden and our neighbours! I've also loved seeing Kates continued work with early intervention and I am really looking forward to see this continue developing in the coming years. It has grown a bit under the surface during her years as a royal and I'm excited to see how it will develop now when it's a more "choosen" path.

    I have also really liked alot of Kates clothes and stylings this year. She has had a retro flair that I'm personally very fond of. She has had some misses, but she has also tried some new stuff which is always fun. And mixed in with some great traditional staples!

    What a great year on so many levels and I really look forward to what comes next! And I agree with every word regarding the gossiping!

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  12. Wow! Definitely a busy year! Thank you Charlotte for this great post! I'm still drooling over that gorgeous green coat with the fur collar!

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  13. Thank you very much Charlotte for your efforts and wonderful coverage. It's a privelege to follow Will amd Kate with you. You are really special. Thank you.

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  14. Fabulous post! Thanks Charlotte for all your wonderful posts in this last year. Catherine looks magnificent in all the photos you chose. IMO she is the epitome of a royal princess! Happy New Year! I must say I do like most of Erdem that Kate wears especially the one she wore to the VA.'

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  15. Thank you Charlotte, bit of a blue day and this cheered me right up. I appreciate all your hard work very much. Happy new year, Linda 😀

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  16. Royal 👑 Watcher5 January 2019 at 20:35

    Thank you Charlotte, what a year it has been! I’m especially amazed by Kate’s return to pre-pregnant body after baby number three. No idea how she does it!

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  17. Happy New Year to you and yours, Charlotte. Thank you so much for this excellent review and your thoughtful commentary. Thank you also for setting a tone in your posts that keeps this blog a lovely place to visit while displaying the variety of opinions of your readers.

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  18. Thank you for the thorough post, Charlotte! I had forgotten some of the things that had happened last year lol
    Lots of great fashion moments for me; a highlight was having an inside look at the Diplomatic Reception this time. I do hope we get a better view of the pink one-shouldered gown she wore to Charles’ 70th birthday bash! She looked stunning 🤩
    It was a great year all round for Kate (& for Meghan as well!). I’ve noticed Kate blossom & a new air of confidence about her since the birth of Louis. I hope to see her engagement numbers increase significantly this year & I’ll also be interested to see what ideas she has for her ‘early years’ initiative.
    Looking forward to what 2019 will bring for the Cambridges!

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  19. Charlotte, thank you so much for your dedication to this blog and your incredibly thorough and positive coverage of what turned out to be quite an eventful and exciting year for Duchess Catherine. Not to mention all of your work on the Duchess Meghan blog as well! Looking forward to voting for favorites of 2018, sartorial-wise. (At least I am hoping you will do that again!)

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  20. Charlotte,
    As usual you did an OUTSTANDING job this year on your blog. It is my favorite. I so look forward to this year. Are you going to do any year end polls on favorite looks that Kate wore?

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  21. Three weddings, it's correct: M&H, E&J and Kate's friend Sophie Carter where both children were on each event page boy and bridesmaid.

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  22. This is wonderful, Charlotte, thank you! I am a Royal fan from Boston, USA, and I check your blogs every day!

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  23. Happy Nee Year to everyone! Thank you, Charlotte, for this very informative post. I hope the New Year has been treating you well so far.
    I felt like we definitely saw a difference in Kate this year. I’m hoping 2019 will see an increase in her engagement numbers and I’d also like to see mental health stay a focus.
    Regarding fashion, there were highs and lows, and somehow Erdem was the designer for both. Her October V&A visit was the best look of the year for me, whilst the horrors from the Scandinavian visit were the very bottom. 2018 was very trying as a royal watcher. I don’t like the current climate on social media at all. I hope it gets better in the future, for everyone’s sake.

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  24. Charlotte, tour second to last paragraph is dead on. I could not agree with it more.

    Thank you for all your work.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden6 January 2019 at 10:38

      Bluuuuu!! I've missed youuuuuu! :)

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    2. Thank you Becks! Nice to see you too.

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  25. Thank you so much, Charlotte, for all that you do. I enjoy your blog immensely and always look forward to your posts!

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  26. Emmaline in the U.S.6 January 2019 at 01:57

    What a year! Charlotte, thank you for always providing such wonderful detail and depth in your royal coverage. It is a real treat to read in an world cluttered with clickbait headlines and unnecessary conjecture. I know it is a labor of love. I’ve so enjoyed watching the DoC really take an another step forward in carving out her place within the Windsors and watching the Cambridge family grow. Wishing you all the best in 2019!

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  27. what a lovely year hmm looking forward to the upcoming year for all i been looking forward next daily lifes of Cambridges looking forward to their journey wishing you the best in life 2019

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  28. what a lovely year hmm looking forward to the upcoming year for all i been looking forward next daily lifes of Cambridges looking forward to their journey wishing you the best in life 2019 i hope will leave we
    leave the negative and hate comments about the duchess of sussex family and not healthy

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  29. Ok because this has to be said, ever since the Sussexes wedding there has been so much talk about how Catherine is acting more "like a queen" and how she represents real royalty. But her working numbers remain pitiful, even if you account for the maternity leave. How is it that a 92 year old queen outworks Catherine so much? Even more so, how is it that Meghan who only joined the royal family in May also outworked Kate? And how is it that Kate also ranks so far behind both Harry and William?

    And I've heard all the excuses before -- she has three little kids, she's playing the "long game" or whatever, but still, as it stands, she is again dead last in terms of hours clocked in. I honestly don't see it changing. Work ethic is not something that can be snapped into someone overnight. Carole Middleton clearly has it in spades. The Queen does too. Charles, Camila, and (whether you like her or not) Meghan all seem to have this working gene. Catherine just doesn't.

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    1. Well it’s not really kate’s Fault because she was raised with immense privilege. She knew from a very early age that her parents are rich and probably thought that she dosent need to work. It’s probably a British thing as well, in America all the children of the rich political elite the trumps, Bushes, Clinton’s, Kennedy’s all worked hard to earn their own living. Did they have help form their parents? Sure, but they didn’t just work lightly and party all the time they worked hard in thier own career and partied. The aristocratic children in Britain don’t seem have their own careers. I think her parents money, meeting William in college contributed to lack of work ethic. And there is nothing wrong with that but Kate married into a family that requires you to work and perform royal duties. And she married a future king so she has to step up and perform duties befitting a future Queen.

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    2. Nope, Catherine actually has higher engagement numbers than Camilla. Having little kids is not an excuse. I see absolutely nothing wrong with her wanting to stay at home to raise kids who are going to have an absolutely extra ordinary life and who need a stable home life more than anything. Not even to mention the fact that she’s been pregnant/nursing on and off for years. And I honestly can’t believe so many women don’t see that.

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    3. Catherine has 3 young children to nurture and raise, and they are and should be her main priority. Her work ethic as a mother is outstanding! If those 3 children are not raised well, they will be tabloid fodder in 15+ years, and Catherine will be slammed as a mother by the media and other critics. What is more important than raising the future King of England and his siblings?

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    4. Huh? Camila has 149+70. Kate has 64+23. Obviously Camila has way more engagements than Kate. And no, I don't think having three young kids is an excuse to wear fabulous clothes and only make an appearance here and there. I was a latchkey kid from the age of 7. My parents had to work long hours. They did so without the help of nannies, maids and housekeepers.

      And as the mother of a future King of England it's important for the kids to see that respect from the people has to be earned. And you do it the old-fashioned way, the way the Queen does it -- at 92, still unstoppable and working for the people.

      Also, Kate's "work" is not really work in that she has to clock in 8 hours a day. She lives in London. Most of her engagements can be done while George and Charlotte are in school and she can probably be back in time to pick them up from school.

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    5. I fundamentally disagree with the assumptions that staying at home with your children is a ( lazy) way to avoid doing real work and that staying at home can only be justified if you have no help.

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    6. Catherine does her work as any other royal ; how many engagements she has attended in the whole year is not important, unless she is paid hourly, which is not the case for any of them. Maybe they should add the hour spend for each engagement as an indicator to gave weight to those dry numbers. We could have a good laugh indeed.
      Her children are still very young ; and maybe her own "work ethic" is to spend as much time with the children as possible, to raise them properly and give them the best childhood every kid deserves. She has given birth to 3 babies not to have them raised by nannies only (as perfect as they are).
      The Queen who knows very well the importance for the children to be with their parents at those ages, supports Catherine entirely, surely.
      (JA.E)

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    7. I don't comment on the appropriateness of Kate's schedule because I'm not British, but I do think it's important to remember that many things go on that we are unaware of. For instance, we speak of Kate's pregnancies but seldom speak of the aftereffects of her HG. Yes, she gets the best medical care, but HG still has an effect on the total body. BBC ran an article back in March of last year (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-42902095) that speaks to some of the aftermath of living with HG. We have no idea what, if any, of these situations Kate faces, but I think compassion and benefit of the doubt are never out of place. As for work ethic, she obviously worked hard to attain the levels she got at university, and we repeatedly hear comments from people who encounter her in areas of their expertise who are surprised/impressed by her level of knowledge. That doesn't come from simply reading one or two pages of prep material provided by staff. Work ethic is shown in more ways than simply showing up.

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    8. Well maybe Kate agrees that cutting ribbons and smiling is not really work and it doesn't really matter if she does 30 or 130 of them? While she also knows, every hour with growing children counts. Future king and his siblings cannot be rised by nannies - not even the best in the world, cause no one wants them to be successful and HAPPY as their mother does. And Kate has the possibility to do her best and also is educating herself on the matter. Why, would she choose early intervention and mental health in young children as main focus of her work? What is early intervention, if not giving young children what their parents cannot give them, to better their life in future? Why would anyone work in this area and then would not give the best to their chldren? And loving well educated mother is the best.
      What is wrong with people calling motherhood - laziness? I dare anyone to give 3 children good, educative day without the help of technology, screens and sweets, I bet you will be begging for 10 hour day in office in no time (from expirience) ;)
      And one more thing about work, how do you measure who works the most? The one who works the longest hours, who has the most aching body, who solves the hardest problem, who makes the biggest profit, who feels the most responsibility, who saves the most lives? The truth is, some people accomplish more in a day than others in a lifetime and it is not related to their work ethic...

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    9. The unspoken deal between the British public and the Royal Family has always been that in return for the people funding the extremely privileged life of the BRF, the BRF "gives back" by doing good works around the country. It is absolutely a job. Kate has every right to stay at home and do nothing ... if she gives back her royal allowance, moves out of Kensington Palace, gives back her royal title, refuses the royal jewelry collection, etc. etc. As it is she's always dead last and doing the bare minimum. And yes I do see that as laziness. I know moms who commute two hours each way to work, pump breast milk during their lunch breaks, go home and take care of their kids, and wake up at 5 am each day to go to work all over again. They don't have housekeepers, nannies, "help," they do it all on their own, no excuses, and their kids turn out great. I don't see why Kate who lives the most pampered, privileged life one can imagine, and whose most difficult choices probably are deciding which outfits to wear during engagements, can't give back more to the British people who support her lifestyle.

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    10. I see your point, Ivy Lin, especially considering the state of the British economy with Brexit, right now.

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    11. The popular concept of royal work had its roots during a period when the royal family was experiencing a downturn in public opinion due to being associated with their German relatives at a time when Germany was the enemy. They Anglicized their names but they also created the image of "working" royals. Public appearances were not meant as payment for palaces- far from it. It was a distraction, a PR ploy.
      Monarchs and royals throughout history have had varying concepts of what is owed the public. There are Constitutional outlines of responsibilities. The performance of engagements now seems to be related to the need for the appearance of accountability as well as to individual personal beliefs regarding responsibilities and concept of what being royal means. Some have preferred to spend time on duties that would give the royal an opportunity to be seen, an important factor with the rise of republicanism.
      Does being seen now require the actual physical presence that was the only means of being "seen" prior to photography, television, film, and the internet age? HM is certainly seen during her Christmas message--by millions. (I hope that HM lets us in at some point on what she meant by the phrase popularly ascribed to her concerning being seen.) This concept has evolved from royal progresses to months-long tours on the royal yacht to television appearances with movie stars. Will this process of change be continued with future monarchs?

      Other than the monarch's obvious need to be seen, some royals have felt the need to devote time and energy to projects that, although not requiring a public presence, will have growing impact into the future and require an effort and dedication more than just showing up and being seen- which actually probably involves more time and effort than is often assumed but perhaps less so than in-depth projects.

      If there is any trade-off it is that the royals endure remarks from people who appear to have little interest in understanding how the British monarchy works. This is obvious when a heavy emphasis is made on upper class privilege and perks being payment for work and with comparisons to the average nine to five employee/employer relationship.

      Beata--great comment. I wrote a comment a couple of posts ago in which I called for royal activities to be evaluated on the basis of impact, not numbers. Harriet Beecher Stowe. These days it seems like intrinsic worth is tied to numbers...of "likes" and "hits" and followers. By the numbers measure a real housewife who isn't real could outscore a Mother Theresa.



      Also, "work ethic" is a term that is bandied about. Apparently, it is a buzz-word on social media. No one really knows what it means or to what types of activity it applies or under what circumstances; yet one royal is praised for having it and another shamed for not having it.
      Full time royal. What does British law or royal protocol have to say about who, what, when, where, and why a person is "full-time?" It is a creation of the media to use in manipulating public opinion. And it has worked.
      I know these polls and lists are considered news. I am just disappointed that the new year that we hoped would bring more kindness and understanding has started off with a topic that has caused more divisive and biter comment than any other subject discussed here.

      I hesitated to write this comment because I would either be preaching to the choir or butting up against an impenetrable wall. I just felt it needed to be said in response to some of the previous comments. Equal time sort of thing.

      PS I think some of Kate's most-difficult experiences were the times she held dying children and spoke with their parents in her hospice work. The times she visited with children who would likely not be alive much longer. Actually, that is not just my opinion. That comes straight from Catherine's statements. However, I don't recall her ever saying choosing which outfit to wear was the most difficult task she faced.

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    12. Ivy Lin,first of all, I am a full time working mother (in finance) commuting 2 hours a day to work and I have exclusively breastfed my child with no help, and with education in psychology (only BA though) - so i know how much time i spent with my child taking care of her myself, 3 hours a day - max - it is not enough to give her the best i can - and i base that on vast research body that I'm sure is known to Kate even more than to me. I do hope my amazing daughter will turn great as you say, on the other hand, she probably,I hope, won't ever read about herself and her loved ones in press on daily basis being criticised for every little thing she did or did not do and being pitted against her future siblings. But Kate knows that is exactly (in addition to their unique position) what her children will have to endure and it's her job to prepare them and insure they will lead happy life.
      Secondly - Kate did not apply for job and was found suitable - she married for love, as did I. She chose wisely, but maybe her sister chose even wiser, if you ask me.Pippa has comparible life style without anyone saying she owns something to someone.
      Third - Kate does give back. She is the brains behind "heads together" campain - the most successful young royals' campain to date.
      Kate chose very important topics as her main action areas. Yes, mental health - not sexy and trendy - hard problem, hard to research, hard to solve, hard to watch and feel helpless and to know that solution is complex, time cosuming and needing educating and changing prejudices of wide public.
      Fourthly - as anon above stated Kate never complained about choosing outfits (and i doubt she is that into royal jewels either. Diana hated tiaras.) And seeing people in hospices cannot be easy.
      And finaly Kate is very popular, but William is only third in line and she will only ever be his consort. Charles is known to hate to be outshined - either by his "consorts" or by his children. And he is second in line. Don't you think "the Firm" does its math on who should do how much? Monarchy is not popularity contest, its hierarchy - very rigid and acient one. And that's great part of its appeal.

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    13. I really wouldn’t hold the trump children up as an example of work ethic. 2/3 older ones and Jared are currently the subjects of a federal investigation that is likely pointing to corruption and election tampering. They also got jobs in their fathers company (which is also in the process of being exposed as a sham), so I would not use them as a comparison for Kate.

      Privilege is privilege. I think British might have more of a class culture at play, but the American families you mention all have many examples of younger generations having opportunity handed to them without significant work. Or their family connections keep them out of trouble (particularly with many younger Kennedy’s)

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    14. I can't find the comment to which you refer in 10:29, Anonymous.

      A family does not need wealth to pass on knowledge or a career interest or a modest family business--to give their children a start in life.

      I'm not sure what privilege means. I think it is entirely contextual- a matter of perspective. Someone said Kate was "raised with immense privilege." I imagine if she had compared herself to a few of her classmates from aristocratic backgrounds Kate would not have thought of herself as privileged. Growing up, a kid from the projects could view his middle income classmates as "privileged." If one uses someone in the news as a model for a goal in life one may be disappointed. I don't have much materially but I feel so fortunate to have shelter when I see those living on the street. "I complained I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

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    15. What an interesting conversation, I think work ethic means different things to different people. As for Kate I do think she needs to step up her game a bit and I don’t think she has a great work ethic. Before she married William she had no spouse, children, to take care of and she mainly went to night clubs and partied using her parents money. She got a part time job two years after graduation and a lot of vacation days handed to her to be with William. That sounds like an entitled rich girl to me. She might be different now form her pre-marriage days but her laziness to work showed even before she had kids.

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    16. Ivy Lin, I cannot disagree with you. The facts you state are all correct. But instead of being bothered by it or judging Kate, I've just decided to save myself the annoyance (though I'd definitely tend toward annoyance if I allowed myself). I have a lot of other things to be annoyed by in life, so I don't let her choice to be a non-frequent Royal affect my overall enjoyment of Royal Watching. It's so easy to compare Kate to our own situations, and think about what we would do differently. The only thing you have control over here is how (or whether?) you get enjoyment from following along with her and this community, so I've decided to take control of that and simply not judge (which I do also see as the point of Feminism, and I count myself as a Feminist). Highly recommended the strategy for all!

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    17. I am responding to anon 14:23 who was referencing the children of American wealthy/political families. That comment indicated perhaps there is a cultural different around wealthy people working hard between British/American culture and my point was I would not look to those families as an example of this. They are examples of “privilege is privilege” in all the negative ways of jobs being handed to them and not getting in trouble for bad behavior or in the case of the Trumps, potentially egregious corruption. So I’m actually defending Kate. She grew up with and still has immense wealth, but I would not compare her to these families.

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    18. Privilege isn’t really contextual. Kate has always had it. Her family may be self made but they are millionaires. And she grew up privately (at least that’s the term in USA) educated with a crowd that could afford luxuries and connections. This opens doors that are not available to custodians or cashiers or most low income workers. That is the definition of privileged. Sure some of her classmates had more or less resources but they to my understanding of the term they are all starting from a default elevated position.

      I won’t speak to what Kate understands or feels as I’m sure she is an intelligent and empathetic woman but I think she has never truly been in the situation of wondering where her next paycheck will come from, or deciding between housing/food for the month. That’s massive privilege to not have those concerns. And I think the point some people are making is that much of the Royals charitable work occurs with that population. So there is an expectation that given their immense wealth and comfort (much of which is publically funded) they show up and empathize accordingly. I can see where it raises eyebrows that her numbers seem low. I also really like her and also understand she has had 3 babies and consistently names motherhood as her main priority. I don’t fault her for that a bit. But I just wanted to discuss a little more this notion of privilege and why my sense is some are a little put out by her work record. All comments truly meant to be friendly and a discussion! :)

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    19. I don't understand why it's an either/or. Kate can be a full time mom to her kids. She can be home for them every night and read to them and pick them up from school. She can also "give back" by making appearances in London. As it is, how is it that Sophie, the Queen, Camila, Harry, William, Meghan all outworked her. I'm sorry there's no excuse for that.

      The British public funds Kate's fancy lifestyle. They make it so she never has to worry about her next paycheck, the choice between her going hungry or her kids going hungry. Her mother Carole Middleton funds the Cambridges' annual private island vacations. The good works of HM who is 92 have ensured the goodwill of the British people which allow the monarchy to flourish. You know what all of this took? WORK. I'm sure there are days when the 92 year old Queen would rather stay in and play with her Corgis. I'm sure there are days when Carole Middleton would rather just chill and life off the money Party Pieces has already made. I'm sure there are many days when many young British mothers want more time with their kids. But guess what? They don't have that choice, or don't make that choice.

      So Kate can make a choice about what kind of royal she wants to be. And the choices she's made and her yearly records speak for themselves.

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  30. Thanks for the recap Charlotte!
    I'm not so sure we will see Kate that much more - maybe a dozen more times per her trend:
    2018 47 days Louis born
    2017 62 days Pregnant with Louis
    2016 63 days Queen’s 90th Birthday
    2015 39 days Charlotte born
    2014 50 days Pregnant with Charlotte, Commonwealth Games
    2013 34 days George born
    2012 55 days Pregnant with George, Olympics, Diamond Jubilee
    2011 30 days Married to William

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    1. Which would you rather have..ten pennies or five dollars? Numbers are meaningful in context only. Just asking if one prefers ten or five pieces of money tells us nothing.We need to know the value of each piece. Ask a five year old..ten pieces or five? He will say ten even though the actual worth is less. Most adults realize numbers alone are meamingless.
      Aside from the issue of the value of parents time to a young child reflected in William and Catherine's stated goals , one must consider the relative value of a royal appearance at a charity from the point of view of the charity. Five Kate visits or ten Edward visits? Which usually brings more press, attention? Without even discussing the additional effect of those five public engagements following a number of quiet, getting acquainted visits, letters, emails, it is obvious that a Kate or Meghan visit will be noted and remembered more often than an Edward visit. A good example of this effect is a commenters thinking Megan's new animal welfare patronage was the first among the royals when other royals have been making such visits for years.

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  31. Happy New Year and thank you, Charlotte, for a wonderful, comprehensive wrap up of 2018. What a wonderful year for the Cambridges and those of us who enjoy following them. Amen to your call for a return to focus on the good works that the royals perform and away from gossip and pitting Kate and Meghan against each other. I just ignore all of that and limit my consumption of royal news to your blogs and other similarly focused sources. Again, looking forward to a wonderful 2019! Best wishes, AnneHH

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  32. As a U.S.-based Anglophile, I will add my thanks for your efforts. I truly enjoy visiting your blog to see your insights along with the photos/fashion commentary that I could find elsewhere if I chose. It's an instant cheer up and pick-me-up when things are so bleak and uncivil in so many other quarters these days on both sides of the pond.

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  33. We i enjoyed the past week i love the year end post charlotte I love watching and commenting. N the blog hmm i love too see Cambridge in 2019 with lots Increasing enagement specially your duchess i love she different to showcase her knowlege to others and i think those negative comments about the cambridges. Vs the sussex Is the healthy at all i wish. More happiness no bittetness in 2019 as the past Year has been beautiful and amazing wishing you Merry 2019 to you all

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  34. Courtney from NC6 January 2019 at 06:15

    Kate had a really good sartorial year, minus the two Erdem pieces from Sweden. There was definitely a marked change in her confidence and demeanor when she came back from her maternity leave with Louis.

    I absolutely adored her green BAFTAS look. Everything from that look was on point. The cream tweed maternity dress look was also excellent. The tweed dress post maternity leave was so different for Kate and spectacular on her. The raspberry at Eugenie's wedding was a great look as well. She had a lot of high points this year. Can't wait to see what she gets up to this year.

    Thank you Charlotte for all of your hard work and the excellent coverage you provide on both blogs. I like both but this one will always have a special place in my heart. I wish you the best of the new year and hope your year brings all you hope for.

    Happy New Year to all the lovely people I have "met" on this blog. There is a special group of people who frequent this blog!

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  35. Lovely post Charlotte so through with wonderful photos - thank you for all your efforts. It should be an exciting royal year to come.

    And Pippin and his fellow spaniels are happy because the Luxembourg portrait for Grand Duke Jean's 98th birthday includes a spaniel!

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  36. As always, Charlotte, yours is the gold standard of blogs on your chosen subjects. I enjoy following your posts and almost always agree with your tastes! What I admire is your ability to provide both breadth and depth of coverage with consistently high quality content. Thank you also for your encouragement of polite discourse.

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  37. Nicole form france6 January 2019 at 12:59

    Once again, Charlotte, you won all my admiration , for the way you master both blogs and keep it aplace of sharing and good discussions ! As a foreigner , first I mainly joined in for fashion .... although I have been in love with UK since’ my first stay when I was 14 , now beeing 71.... then I appreciated all the informations about England and English ways, and laws etc , I learned such a lot, from you Charlotte and all the readers . Fortunately’ shall I say, I do not have access to the British trash press, and do not read gossip magazines, so these blogs are my only sources of information , and I do appreciate it !
    Catherine’s sartorial choices have puzzled me more than once, she quite often seems to have put on what she found when opening’ the closet door ... not speaking of the headbands and all those Erdem curtain like dresses ... she is a very traditional english woman , and seeing how beautiful, tall and slender a woman she is , I quite regret it sometimes..... also because she is still young ! Anyway , that’s her choice , so I like commenting and’ giving my point of view and ... fortunately she does not read my comments ahahahaha
    Regarding her ethic of work ... I have a few op8nions but do not feel entitled to really comment, as a foreigner ! My thoughts could be seen as critics , no need for that ! I just very strongly feel that William does not really want to be a king, although he will certainly take the job in turn , we shall definitely never see again a British sovereign like the Queen , not only because she has already had a long reign which embraces so different moments of history and social evolution , but because she is a woman , and therefore has a motherly’ image now doubled with a patriarcal one , UK has 3 kings in waiting , and after Charles who is still « old school » royal , the philosophy of the position might change, either in the’ « kings to be » minds, but also in the public mind . I don’t say it’s bad, I am quite curious to see it, and hope to live long Enough To see it !
    Speaking of living long enough, let’s all have the best possible start for 2019 , I wish you all the best for this coming year, and to Charlotte and mr Charlotte, who certainly is for something in these’ blogs, supporting Charlotte !

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    1. Nicole, such a nice comment! Thank you

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  38. Happy new year and great thanks to you, Charlotte - everything you do is wonderful! I hope for all the best for the BRF in 2019 - and agree completely that Catherine needs to get to work. Hard to find excuses after pregnancy.

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  39. Thank you Charlotte. Yours is my go to blog. I appreciate the lack of snippy commentary and comments. The year in review is a wonderful post. Thank you. It seems you have more content of late have you hired more helpers. I love it.

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  40. I am enjoying the discussion about Kate's work ethic. As an American, I am not very familiar as to what constitutes "work". I would appreciate if someone could describe the expectation of royals regarding this. May I am assume it is more than simply appearing at an engagement? Is there any accounting of behind-the-scenes activities?

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  41. Happy New Year to all. Thank you Charlotte for your impeccable and insightful coverage. It was fun to look back at 2018, but how the year flew by. I have been discouraged by all the drama, real and fabricated surrounding the Cambridges and Sussexes relationship. Some of the headlines are almost laughable, if they weren’t so salacious. The press just continues to stoop to new lows to sell papers. The Royal Family just continues to do what they have always done, and that is carry on. Hopefully 2019 will bring relief from all the gossip.

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    1. Zora from Prague6 January 2019 at 21:17

      Happy New Year, Tedi! Thank you for saying it all for me.
      And thank you, Charlotte!

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  42. Thank you for a terrific post, so well written, interesting and informative.

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  43. Anja from Gernany6 January 2019 at 21:15

    Thank you, Charlotte, for your fabulous work! I am looking forward to another year of royal watching and your interesting, entertaining posts. All the best in 2019 for every reader and commenter who appreciates this high quality blog.

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  44. Zora from Prague6 January 2019 at 21:15

    This is a message for royalfan. Hi royalfan, where are you? Are you OK? Have you been following the blog? Many greetings and a Happy New Year!

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  45. As I said on your later post re the Cambridges at church this morning, wishing you a Happy and HEALTHY New Year! Love the review and, compared to what's going on over here, the Royal Family is peaceful and dignified and I appreciate that.

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  46. Fantastic, Charlotte. Happy New Year to all.

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  47. Thank you Charlotte. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog. Wishing you all the best for the New Year. I hope you are fully recovered and are doing well.

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  48. Charlotte- an absolutely stellar wrap-up! I hadnt dropped you a line just to say thank you for this - and as always how impressed I am with all your hard dedicated work. This was your best re-cap ever! very enjoyable.
    From a purely sartorial perspective, I have to say, I felt that the Duchesses' formal evening looks this year were fabulous and the highlight of the year for me. ( Not everyone's favourite, but that light blue silk taffetta for the Dutch State banquet was her best look ever. The Norwegian blush chiffon neck and neck in my book..) Suppose, I'm odd though- I acutally liked the gold printed Erdem in Sweden( only becuase its just so funky for events there - she could actually get away with it- and CP Victoria is so inconsistent'y odd with her choices that you can't do worse than her most times...) Butthen again- I didnt like the Erdem that you and others loved so much for the V&A...( too 80's re-dux for me.) But that's horse- races! Go figure! thank you again for a lovely re- cap...It was a very good year- and the Duchess really is hitting her stride now- even if over the long haul , it might be headed a bit on the " dull side"....

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  49. One's intrinsic worth seems to be based on numbers these days-numbers of likes,followers, clicks...by that measure a real housewife who isn't really real or a K family member could out-score a Mother Theresa.

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    1. So true! And so sad...

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    2. Caroline in Montana9 January 2019 at 23:12

      Very true. I find it sad that stay at home mothers get a bad rap for "not working" - it seems some are negatively colored by their lack of having a stay at home mother themselves:(
      Glad that Kate seems to have enough self worth and confidnece to not let the negativity get her down!

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    3. Carolineinmontana, it don’t think it has anything to do with not having a stay at home mom themselves. But it has to do with not be appreciated as working woman.

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  50. a great year indeed for beautiful Catherine! happy birthday Kate!

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  51. I decided the time has come to break several years of silently following this blog. Charlotte; your blog/blogs have turned me from being mildly interested in the British Royals to being quite educated on the subject. I have also enjoyed the comment section.

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    1. Thank you so much November Nanny and welcome to the comments :)

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  52. I'm only just now reading this post. It's a lovely wrap up of a very busy year indeed! My greatest heartfelt thanks to you Charlotte for all the research, reporting & educating you do for all of us who follow DKB & MAM!! You are tops & my one stop shop, as you are for so many others! I can only imagine how much your work load has increased with both ladies being so busy & with weddings & babies galore! I'm a little in the dark (by choice) about how bad it is with the negativity. I chose to not have that in my life, but I'm sure it makes your job with the blogs so challenging & it sounds saddening. I too hope things all around our world even out a bit in 2019! Lord knows we could use a little less drama in all corners! Thank you for a wonderful 2018 & here's wishing you & all our DKM MAM Blog Family a bright 2019! Peace!
    Becca USA

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