Friday, 15 November 2019

Duchess Kate Officially Opens the Nook

During a conversation with other bloggers who cover a myriad of various topics some months ago, we briefly discussed the moment we knew exactly what direction our blogs would take and inspiration behind continuing to work on them. I've often spoken here about my love of royal watching, which stems back generations in my own family, and following Kate's journey from my early teens. Nonetheless, I still lacked a great deal of knowledge when I began 'Duchess Kate' in 2011 about many elements of the monarchy and the boundless potential of a royal role. Fast forward a year and I felt I had the understanding I needed. The answer to the question for me was simple: East Anglia's Children's Hospices.


EACH was one of Kate's first patronages, and properly taking the time to understand their incredible work coupled with the uphill challenges they were facing in terms of funding and resources completely opened my eyes. At the time, they needed £6 million in donations annually to deliver essential services. I was struck by the dedication and devotion from their Chief Executive to volunteers who aim to devote even a couple of hours around their schedules. This was a charity supporting families and children through times so painful most of us cannot even contemplate. When Kate was expecting George, myself and several other Kate bloggers started the Baby Cambridge fundraiser. We were all set on EACH receiving the proceeds. I was privileged to have the opportunity to speak to a family supported by them and volunteers since, and my admiration and respect continues to grow for all involved.


When EACH announced ambitious plans to raise £10 million pounds for a purpose-built hospice in the heart of Norfolk, named the Nook. It was clear this would be an enormous undertaking, but a necessary one, in order to care for the needs of families in the area. They had outgrown their hospice in Quidenham, a very old two-storey building with accessibility issues. Below, Kate launched the appeal five years ago.


The appeal showcased community spirit and the power of people coming together. Raising £10 million is no mean feat. On social media over the past five years, I would regularly see updates on fundraising events.


Supporters like Kelly, who raised £700 completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks.


£600 raised by the Attenborough Cadets.


Local companies and businesses got in on the action too.


Even ambassador Ed Sheeran collaborated with Heinz to benefit EACH.

And over the course of five years, a vision slowly came to life.


As indefatigable fundraising efforts continued, the Nook took shape.


Until finally last month EACH opened its doors.


The Duchess was warmly welcomed by local schoolchildren. The Nook is located just an hour from the Cambridges' country home, Anmer Hall.


People reports:

'Even before entering the new center, Kate was in full mom mode — asking student Poppy Parslow-Williams, “Are you cold?” and rubbing his arm after seeing him shiver. “It was amazing. I shook her hand!” he told reporters.
Niamh Bell, 11, added, “She was very kind. Even though she didn’t have a lot of time she still came to talk to us.”

The Nook will offer an array of services including specialist nursing care, symptom management nursing, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies, counselling and volunteer services in the family home; all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.


Kate joined a reception where she met families supported by EACH.


And participated in activities with the children.


The Telegraph reports:

'The Duchess was reunited with Leigh Smith, 38, who moved her to tears when they met in 2014, just months after Ms Smith had lost her three-month-old daughter Beatrice to a rare heart condition.
Ms Smith said after their private meeting: “She told me, ‘I don’t know how you did that, how you got through it. “It was really lovely to see her again and she gave me a big hug. 
“She asked me if I felt that what we had gone through was still a difficult subject to discuss, in the wider community and I told her that yes, death is still a big taboo, especially children’s death.
“But I told her how important her role has been in breaking down that taboo, and mental health generally, normalising it and making it easier to talk about such things. “She batted it off of course. She’s very down to earth and lovely."

Kate was impressed by the new sensory room.


Victoria Murphy spoke to outgoing Chief Executive Graham Butland:

“She was very keen to have regular updates as to how the building was going,” he said. Graham also noted how Kate has visited some of the families that the charity helps in their own homes as she continues her support behind the scenes. “She’s also made private visits to the hospice. She’s visited at least a couple of families in their own homes, all without publicity, not known etcetera,” he said.
He also spoke about Kate’s manner with the families. “She likes to get her hands messy, she likes to join in and do things. And it’s not put on, it’s just natural,” he said. “These parents, they can spot a dud at 100 miles. They know people who are just patronizing…To have someone like that who actually really is interested and empathizes with them is tremendous.”

During a speech the Duchess said: "You have created here at The Nook a nurturing, caring environment that allows families who are going through the unimaginable the ability to spend precious quality time with each other, comforted in the knowledge that their children are being looked after in the best possible way. EACH was one of the very first charities that I decided to become Patron of after my marriage. Whilst a lot has changed since then, my commitment and support for this wonderful organisation and the work that you do has not."


Kate also shared a lighthearted moment as she recalled her first speech. It's included in the video below.


Kate's full speech:

'It is wonderful to be here today to open the Nook Hospice. And a huge congratulations to everyone here involved.
The Nook is a realisation of a vision that began five years ago. Thanks to immense generosity and support from all those who contributed to the Appeal, this state-of-the-art facility is fully operational and already making such a difference.
At the opening of the Treehouse Hospice many years ago (which I think I will remember for some years to come as it was my first ever speech!), I referred to your hospices as being homes. This visit today has only reinforced for me just what is at the heart of what you do here, throughout your work, and that is family.
You have created here at the Nook a nurturing, caring environment that allows families who are going through the unimaginable the ability to spend precious quality time with each other, comforted in the knowledge that their children are being looked after in the best possible way.
EACH was one of the very first charities that I decided to become Patron of after my marriage. Whilst a lot has changed since then, my commitment and support for this wonderful organisation and the work that you do has not.
Over the years, I have seen first-hand the depth of EACH’s reputation as a standard-bearer in children’s hospice care, both here in the U.K. and internationally too, during my visits to Malaysia and Australia.
Your hugely dedicated and talented team are at the core of this success and I wanted especially today to thank you, Graham, for everything you have done over the past sixteen years and to wish you a very happy retirement.
The Nook Hospice is a fitting tribute to all your staff, its generous supporters and its awe-inspiring children and families who I have been so lucky to meet here today. I therefore could not be more delighted to invite my army of little helpers to join me in officially opening this new hospice.'

The Duchess departing.


EACH are still fundraising for £700,000 to ensure they have enough to properly fit out the Nook. To meet the need, they've reopened their Pave the Path campaign, which aims to find sponsors for the red clay bricks that line the garden path at the Nook. Alternatively, one can buy items for the hospice such as tea towels and bedding. Click here if interested in finding out more. To view their range of Christmas cards and calendars please click here.


Jade was incredibly excited to spot Kate at Norwich railway station.


Kate gave her ultraviolet Oscar de la Renta suit a third public outing. Readers may recall she first wore it in February 2017 for the Guild of Health Writers conference and again earlier this year for an engagement at the Royal Opera House. The ensemble comes from Peter Copping's (Oscar de la Renta's handpicked successor) first collection in 2015.


The Three Quarter Sleeve Tailored Jacket is rendered in a wool blend and features a pointed collar, dual breast pockets, and a pleated, flared hem.


The matching Full Pleated Skirt is rendered in a wool blend and features a full shape with box pleating and a back zip.


Kate carried her limited edition ‘Blue Heart’ clutch in black croc. It is described as "a beautiful collaboration between Aspinal of London and Beulah using Beulah’s iconic blue heart print on the interior lining. The Blue Heart clutch is a grown up classic with a timelessly elegant silhouette that works effortlessly and includes Aspinal of London’s distinctive signature shield lock clasp. The intricate metal chain is in a gold finish and adds to the functionality allowing the clutch to be held in the hand or elegantly draped over the shoulder".

The Duchess wore her Gianvito Rossi Piper shoes.


And accessorised with her Catherine Zoraida Fern Hoop earrings.


We'll see William and Kate on Monday night for the Royal Variety Performance!

70 comments:

  1. On Monday a lot of us commented on how Kate’s different outfits depicts her different roles. Today she is the token royal to cut the ribbon and view the new facility and celebrate the culmination of a huge project. And she look the part. The OdlR suit is not my favourite but it is perfect princessing.

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    1. I wouldn't exactly say token royal. This is her patronage and Kate has been very involved in fund raising for The Nook.

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    2. Today Kate is not the token Royal for a ribbon cutting ceremony. East Anglia Hospices is one of her patronages.

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    3. I think my meaning got lost in translation or in this case in writing. By refer to Kate as the “token royal” I don’t mean to disparage her role in the project.
      Maybe a better way to desribe her role TODAY was that she was there in her capacity as the heir to the “world’s most experienced plaque unveiler” (how Prince Phillip refered to himself), hence the more princessy outfit.

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  2. Yay! One of my favorite pieces of hers. I love the cranberry color and the flirty hemline. Only the sleeves seem to hike up a little high on her arms. I also love opaque black tights. It's one of the best looks on any woman IMO and don't understand why more women don't wear them. They slim the legs and look amazing. Love this look.

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    1. Ivy Lin... I couldn't agree more. She looks fabulous!

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    2. I agree Ivy Lin!

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    3. I agree, Ivy. Great dress. The sleeves are 3/4 and Catherine often pushes them up a bit, thus the high look.

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    4. Agree.
      In the past, I've been meh about it, but today I loved it.
      Not sure if it's because it's Fall and the color is fabulous, or if more of the photos show the outfit in motion, but I love everything about it. The color, the fit, the cut, the flounce of the skirt and the jacket hitting the perfect proportions. I LOVE it.

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  3. Pretty color on the Duchess of Cambridge. Thanks, Charlotte. I look forward to the full post.

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  4. I too love the look of very opaque black tights but can never seem to find ones that are opaque enough. Any idea whose tights Kate wears?

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    1. @katewatcher, although I am not certain about this particular pair, she often wears the eye-wateringly expensive Wolford tights.

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    2. I just looked up wolford tights. Good grief! I had no idea they could BE that expensive? Are they personally tatted by silk worms? I was just thinking she must have dozens of pairs always ready in case one has a run in it but perhaps these magic tights don't get runs. They must be really comfortable/durable/flattering.

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    3. Sonja from Bavaria16 November 2019 at 16:29

      I don't know where you are from, but you could try Calzedonia! They're very affordable

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  5. I want to love this outfit, but the top seems to short. It fits her size wise but not length wise. It needs to be a few inches longer. You can see it in the sleeves too. At first I thought they were suppose to be 3/4 sleeves, but they actually look more like full length sleeves that are just too short for her long arms. Fit aside, she looks beautiful in that color and even more beautiful because of the good work she's doing. As a teacher and mother, I love her focus on childhood services.

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  6. Wow love this outfit Great to see Kate bring it back Always dresses for the occasion so regal Great to see her opening this facility and highlighting the hospice

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  7. So glad she's rewearing such a cute outfit!! It draws attention to the event very well.

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  8. I commend Kate for her involvement with this organization. Must be very heart wrenching at times.

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  9. I agree with Rachel — this is a professional yet “Princess” look that is sure to bring joy and good cheer to all she meets. Kate is really just lovely.

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  10. Is there a color she doesn't look great in? Wish I could pull off (beautifully) as many colors as she can. She looks very "princessy" in this suit...love it on her! I have this Beulah x Aspinal clutch in the blue heart print, and I adore it!

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    1. While being able to pull off a wide spectrum of colours was probably not what attracted William to Kate, it is a very useful trait to have as a future queen. 😉

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  11. It looks to me as if the hemline is lower than before, or is it just the perspective of this photo?

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  12. I love her outfit! A happy person! I admire her! RESPECT! XOXOXOXO

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  13. Oh, I take it back on the skirt length. I just saw more photos and it looks just as short as ever. I guess those tights help a bit...

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  14. I love this fuchsia suit, I even bought a dress in the same colour, unfortunately it just looks already worn out in some places, as you can see in the close-up photos... Especially on the sleeves. Otherwise a great Kate look 😊

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  15. Kate's EACH patronage always makes for such lovely engagements. Not one of my favourite outfits though, the colour really suits Kate but it just looks as though the sleeves and skirt are just a tad too short, kind of like it's sized for a slightly shorter person.

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  16. Although I loved the suit when originally worn I no longer think of it as appropriate to her age. It is now a very school girl look worn by a women broaching 40. I would really love Kate to find her look and develop her fashion in a more sophisticated manner. This skirt could have easily been redesigned into a pencil skirt changing the entire appearance. I enjoy watching for her fashion choices but one never knows what is coming there is no clear "signature look" enhanced by accessories. Black tights are wonderful and very useful when hemlines are to short for certain age brackets.

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    1. You are of course allowed to disagree but the most common complain I have read about Kate over the years is that she has too much of a signature look or uniform and while her outfits are always appropriate they are never exciting.

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    2. I agree. I did not like it for the first time, nor today. Too girlish, she should wear more clean cut business type clothes, she is not in her twenties any more.

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    3. She can’t win. When she wears longer skirts, she’s too matronly and “she should dress younger” and when she does, it’s too girlish.

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    4. I'm with RachelZA here, plus I also read very often that she is too matron style in her outfit choices.

      I love this dress and the color very much and she pull it out very well.

      Silvia

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    5. Kate has great legs so why not flaunt them! I think she has made a good call here with wearing this outfit to this opening.

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  17. Thank you for the very moving insight to the work EACH is doing, as well as how this organization influenced your wonderful blog in its early days. It's fantastic that this was one of Kate's first patronages and that she was with them today to celebrate this massive achievement. I hope this organization continues to do great things for children and families.

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    1. Ditto, Jennifer! Well said.
      Bravo Kate and thank you, Charlotte!
      The work the Nook is doing is just amazing. So important and awe-inspiring. As a devoted mother and a sensitive person, no doubt Kate cares deeply for the families. She is genuinely interested, very natural and down-to-earth. Just the right kind of person for being a royal patron of such an institution.

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  18. She looks great but the dress is a bit short... maybe im a prude but im younger than kate and think its a bit short

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    1. Well she's only in her thirties & the hem is just above the knee. I think it's the full cut of the skirt that's making it look short. Plus she's wearing it with opaque tights. It doesn't get much more modest.

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  19. Caroline in Montana15 November 2019 at 19:26

    What a great engagement, must be a moving experience even going there. while this is not my favorite outfit on her (agree the top just seems small) she looks great all the way around, very youthful. I watched that video from the train station and cant believe she was just walking amongst the people (liked the way the skirt moved), I think id totally freak out to be that close to her!! :) thanks charlotte

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  20. Thank you for quoting the CEO, and thanks to her too to let us know that Kate does do things for her patronage unlike many people loves to say.

    I don’t know all patronages of the RF but I don’t think there will be many as important and meaningful as this one. The job these people are doing is priceless and it needs to be recognized and valued.

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  21. Thanks Charlotte for helping to bring us full circle from the launch of the campaign to today’s opening. Kate supports a number of seemingly related causes (on purpose) and I don’t always pay attention to details about the engagement’s sponsor. Your description of your connection to EACH means this is one great charity to that I am going to remember.

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  22. Thank you for a beautiful write-up about this occasion, Charlotte. I felt like I understood it's significance-both for Kate and for EACH-at a much greater depth.

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  23. She sounds so genuine. I just love her. And this outfit is really lovely, this color is so vivid and looks great on her.

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  24. I love this suit. The color is great and a very good look on her. Perfect for the occasion.

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  25. I agree with you Charlotte. This is such a worthy, beautiful cause to support. I always enjoy your coverage but today's is cherry on top. Sometimes though I felt, Kate neglected it or did not do her best to support them. Something like missing in action thing. I am happy she took the train and went there today. Nobody knows when they gonna need such support system. I hope they raise the money they need very soon.

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    1. That’s why I meant when I said some people are always saying she does nothing for her patronages. So if she wrote a book to get money to this cause you would like it better than her “taking the train and going there” or visiting families privately in their homes?

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  26. An observation. I absolutely love how upbeat and happy she is with these kids. I find myself looking at some of these children with knitted brows and sadness on my face because they do not deserve this and neither do their families. I can’t help but see my son when i see them and that possibility hurts my heart and my empathy just explodes.
    I know Kate is not immune but I know families don’t want pity and the kids want to be addressed as just kids. Not what illness they have. She comes into these hospices and just smiles and gives her support. Even though the reason the child is there is so sad, there needs to be happiness as well.
    So I think just that small thing is huge! And honestly pretty amazing. I would be a wreck

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    1. +1

      She is just that wonderful.


      Silvia

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    2. Thank you for saying that! I’ve read people on twitter criticizing her for the thumb up picture. Do you remember that when she launched this project pregnant with Charlotte there was a picture of Kate in the car after leaving the engagement crying? I appreciate that she brings some happiness with her visit and I’m sure all the families do too.

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  27. Working which EACH is doing is just incredible.They give children and parents hope except professional care and help.Meeting with ill children must be so moving for Kate.

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  28. Charlotte this is my favorite post of yours ever. Love the personal parts you added.

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    1. Thank you very much Courtney. I know at this time of year some of you might be considering donations to charities as Christmas gifts etc. Please consider EACH, they are just amazing. I cannot stress that enough. I had a conversation with a volunteer some years ago who told me no matter how heartbreaking the circumstances, the courage of the children and their families truly put the preciousness of life into perspective.

      All of their services are provided free of charge and they rely heavily on donations. It can mean the difference for a family in so many ways including having the option to have a child cared for at home, in their community or one of the hospices.

      I forgot to add (I'll do it now) they have their own range of Christmas cards. No donation is too small. As we saw with The Nook, every penny counts.

      https://www.each.org.uk/get-involved/online-shop

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    2. This is the absolute best post ever- thank you, Charlotte!

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  29. So impressed with EACH and all who have made this new facility a reality. Thanks Charlotte for the background and progress information. I was so taken with the event that the clothes didn’t really matter. I do love the colour of her suit as it brings happiness and a touch of lightheartedness to Kate’s presence today.

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    1. Jax/Canada, I share your sentiments. What an incredibly wonderful organization and well deserving of this new facility. That this was Kate's first patronage carries special meaning and this milestone shows what power the royal family has in helping to promote and advocate for these all too critical organizations. Quite moving. Kate's presence and look does radiate a positivity, it just seems to be her nature! Well done by all. cc

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  30. Steph from Canberra15 November 2019 at 22:13

    Gorgeous - one of my favourite outfits of Kate's! I think this is such a young and fun style, but still works perfectly for the event.

    Charlotte, I always find your background info very interesting, but I particularly liked hearing about your personal connection to the charity through blogging. Thank you for sharing with us!

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  31. Michelle in California15 November 2019 at 22:42

    I am so pleased that EACH has been successful in this extraordiary fund raising effort. As a long time Kate follower I remember anxiously watching her first public speech and feeling for how nervous she was. It was such a lovely organization and was a good fit. thank you Charlotte for sharing more backstory on the organization. I have supported EACH through the years in various ways - i bought the little candy purple and orange bracelets, and Christmas cards from the EACH site.... but I will mostly associate the launch of the Nook Appeal as my introduction and love of Emma Bridgewater pottery. I bought the EACH mugs and gave away a few sets for gifts all in honor of EACH. I have bought alot of Emma Bridgewater since - but those first EACH mugs remain my favorite and were all part of the Nook Appeal.

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  32. Great engagement. Love the color, though the fit has never been my fav. Thank you for including some of the comments from the CEO. We get to hear of the behind the scenes work of some other royals but not from Kate so it’s great to hear she has done private visits, including connecting with people at their homes.

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    1. I think if KP decides to share only a picture of every meeting or non public work William and Kate do people will finally stop considering them lazy. Although as Natacha says on her comment Kate’s doesn’t seem to look for recognition so I think we will never know everything she does unless some CEO tells us...

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  33. Wow Charlotte watching the video brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful meaningful post, patronage and progress. Kate has such a profound warmth and genuine demeanor it is really something to see.

    I love this suit on Kate and particularly for this occasion. I believe the fit of the suit, sleeve length, etc all intentional by the designer. I like this wear the best of the 3!! Happy not to see another Emilia Wickstead crepe dress.

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  34. Tammy from California16 November 2019 at 02:32

    How wonderful to see this come together. So heartwarming and inspiring!

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  35. This is a rare miss for me.

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  36. Thank you for a beautiful post. I smiled as I remember my interest in Kate as a person ( I had already been mesmerized by her clothes) stems from her choice of patronages. She didn't choose the popular or glamorous causes but those who are badly needed, like addiction. I thought here is a common sense, real person. And that common sense approach is something that has never left her. I also love how humble she is, how she never brags or think she is special. Also how discreet, if the CEO hadn't told now, nobody would have known how involved she is with this charity. But I think those qualities of her can be a hindrance as the public seems to think she only works when she is seen. But I personally prefer that kind of personality, that does good without looking for recognition and I think in the long term, the public will realize how much she cares.

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    1. Well said Natacha. I completely agree and believe that slowly the public is realizing Kate's true nature. I have recently read two articles speaking to the very qualities you mention. Kate's appeal is her quiet, steady approach to her work and her genuine nature, which makes her very relatable. For those of us who have followed Kate for a long time, and have always believed in her behind the scenes efforts, the success of EACH is especially significant and moving. cc

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  37. Thank you Charlotte - a wonderful post about a wonderful charity!

    Kate's sweet suit has such a happy, uplifting vibe to it. This is a cause that has clearly captivated in her heart, but some of the interactions must be heart-wrenching, nevertheless. Perhaps it helped to head out into the day, having put on something youthful and bright. Though I've had mixed feelings about it in the past, it felt just right today.

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  38. I think Kate is amazing with all she does. Always looks beautiful. This suit is lovely and a good color and style for her but the size and length are not perfect. It should be fitted perfectly for that price point.

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  39. I think Kate is amazing with all she does. Always looks beautiful. This suit is lovely and a good color and style for her but the size and length are not perfect. It should be fitted perfectly for that price point.

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  40. Love love love the look. My only issue is the black stockings. No need for them and they don't look all that great. Kate always looks great. Her smile lights up the world. Plus, she does good works too. Thanks for the great post.

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  41. Hello Charlotte, what a lovely and insightful post you've created here. Thank you! I have always loved this outfit of Kate's. I Googled some images of it just now and just happened to come across duchessorange.wordpress.com, which states this is actually the fourth time Catherine has worn the suit, the first being to the Queen's Christmas luncheon in December 2016. It shows a photo of Kate arriving at the luncheon in what appears to be this suit. (I am just a layperson in this matter, lol, but I thought I would pass that along.) Thanks again and all the best!

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  42. As the wife of a hospice chaplain I so appreciate learning about this charity!
    I would love to see this outfit with tall black boots instead of heels. I think boots would "mature" and "modernize" and "cover" Her look.
    It is interesting to see her hair 3 different lengths in the same outfit. I love her hair where it is the shortest (where it ends at the points of the collar). That length "lifts" and "brightens" her!
    Carla from USA

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  43. This post nearly brought tears to my eyes, reading how everything for EACH came together. Thank you for all the amazing work you do with this blog. I too, began to follow the life and style of Catherine in my early twenties, I've loved her ever since. It is so great to follow this blog and continue to learn not only the history of the royal family, but the evolution of Catherine. It's also so refreshing to find other like-minded people who value and share the same idea of what it means to be a true LADY. Thank you!

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