Friday, 19 June 2020

It's Back to Business for the Duchess of Cambridge

We have news to share today I know you'll all be excited about! Yesterday, the Duchess of Cambridge carried out her first official engagement in person since the Cambridges decamped to their country home Anmer Hall in March as COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. Anmer has served as a base of operations, not only as the couple began conducting meetings in a very different way via Zoom, but also as the perfect setting to home school George and Charlotte. It seems only fitting their first public appearances would be focused on supporting Norfolk. Yesterday, the Duchess stepped out to visit Fakenham Garden Centre.


The engagement was organised to coincide with the re-opening of non-essential shops in the United Kingdom, and provided an opportunity to hear from an independent business owner about the challenges the virus has presented both in terms of adjusting to the new normal and the impact on the ground. Fakenham Garden Centre, located a short twenty-minute drive from Anmer Hall, was closed for seven weeks during restrictions. The spring season is a peak time of year for garden centre sales.


The appearance comes as the Queen sent a message to the British Chambers of Commerce:

'As many organisations around the country are reopening, I send my warmest best wishes and support to business communities throughout the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and across the world.
At a time of great difficulty for many, it is heart-warming to see the civic response and generosity of so many businesses, small and large, to the challenges posed, whether supporting the health sector or vulnerable communities.
As Patron of the British Chambers of Commerce, it gives me great pride to see the contribution you and your members are making to help firms, champion trade and rebuild communities.
 I wish all businesses every success in their endeavours in the weeks and months ahead.
Elizabeth R.'

Hello! reports during Kate's conversation with owners Martin and Jennie Turner, the Duchess told them the children love visiting garden centres. "They love it. It's such a great space for children and families..." The Duchess said George loves playing with Venus fly trap plants and that he and his siblings have been growing tomato plants at home. "They were very excited to grow them from seeds and now they're as tall as them."


More from Emily Nash:

'Keen gardener Kate wanted to encourage people to visit local businesses as they start to reopen. She said: "I've been food shopping, but I have to say I haven't been out a huge amount more but it's good and so important, now as things start to ease, people know they can go out and particularly to places like this."
She also said that she and husband William had found the social effects of the pandemic unsettling, adding: "When we do our food shopping we notice that everyone keeps their head down and it's hard for that social interaction."

Hannah Furness reports Kate discussed the impact of the changes to our day-to-day lives and was interested to hear how staff are coping.


More from the Telegraph:

Martin Turner, the owner, told her about some of the difficulties Fakenham Garden Centre had faced over the last three months, having to shut completely for a time, furlough 15 out of 50 staff and make redundancies. 
“This has been the most challenging thing we’ve ever experienced,” he said, noting that once they re-opened three weeks ago, people had been keen to buy plants.  
“There’s been a massive upsurge hasn’t there as people have been spending so much time outdoors and in their gardens,” said the Duchess. 
She was delighted when Mr Turner told her that they had seen a lot of people who had never gardened before.
“Really?’ she smiled. ‘That’s great. And now people have the time to do it.”

The Duchess, a firm believer in the importance of spending time outdoors, also emphasised the importance of such spaces: "It’s come up in so many different conversations whether it’s food, volunteering, and in all the mental health work that we've been doing, about how everyone is benefitting from being outside. So yes, they’ve been in lockdown but loads of families have been out on walks, more than they would do, outside."


Fakenham Garden Centre is a family business founded over thirty-five years ago. They aim to provide everything customers need for their gardens in addition to running a coffee shop and restaurant on site. It's been an immensely challenging time for businesses all over the world as they strive to implement measures to keep customers and staff safe.


It was interesting to hear from Martin and Jennie as they shared their own story, and to hear Kate's thoughts as the UK continues to reopen. Certainly, seeing the return of face-to-face engagements is a welcome signal for royal watchers, and a nice treat to end the week.


A video from the engagement. There's plenty of footage from Kate's conversation with the owners and staff.


Meanwhile, Prince William visited Smiths the Bakers who have been serving King's Lynn for fifty years and reopened their bakery shop on Monday. William heard how they adapted their business model by operating a local delivery service and the steps they have taken to reopen safely. He told owners Paul and Teresa Brandon: "The important thing is that shops like yours can get the footfall back in again and the high street and town feel like it's getting a little bit more back to normal."


The Duchess sported a causal separates look with a mixture of new and repeated items with her hair styled in a demi-chignon.


The Duchess wore the £175 Fjallraven Womens Sormland Padded Vest in dark olive (a very swift ID by IrishSara1980). We've seen Kate wear several pieces by the Swedish company in recent years.



The piece is described:

"The Sormland padded vest is made with polyester and G-1000 fabric. Padded with G-loft supreme to keep your body heat in the colder climates. Silent Eco design to keep sound to a minimum when on the move. Two large button-close pockets to the front and a pocket to the back also. Finished off with Fjallraven logo on the left-hand side of the chest. Perfect as an extra layer under or over other items of clothing."

Underneath, the Duchess wore her Jaeger Aqua Linen Shirt. We saw Kate wearing the shirt for a very memorable photo during Back to Nature's unveiling. Middleton Maven notes an updated version of the style is available in most sizes at John Lewis for £99.


Innominate 93 suggests Kate's trousers are the Massimo Dutti Skinny Fit High-Rise Satin style in chocolate.


The Duchess accessorised with her Monica Vinader Siren Wire earrings.


And completed the look with her Superga Cotu Sneakers in 'Sherwood Gum'. They are available in most sizes for £55 on the Superga website. The Cotu is available in several other colours at Nordstrom.

As several of you noted on social media, members of the Royal family are not wearing face coverings during engagements. In the UK, it is encouraged where social distancing is challenging, though not required in the majority of settings including the circumstances we see these events conducted in at the moment. Should an appearance involve an inside visit to a hospital for example, it would obviously be a very different situation.

**************

In other news, Kate's Marks & Spencer blue mix Printed Yoke Midi Waisted Dress remains available in sizes 8-24 for £39.50/$69 on the Marks & Spencer website.


Next week is Children's Hospice Week; I expect we'll see either a Zoom call or engagement to mark it. In the meantime, wishing you all a safe and happy weekend!

44 comments:

  1. I am horrified to see Kate not wearing a mask. She is observing social distancing but why not take the extra precaution. I would think she would be a great example to all in doing so. I did notice a customer in the background wearing one. Masks are a necessity in every store/shop in the area of the country I live in. It has become a way of life that we have all become accustom to in the last couple of weeks as we begin to go out and stores other then the supermarkets and drug stores open. It is my feeling that we should take advantage of every possible precaution for our health and the health of others. On a more positive note, Kate looks fabulous! Kates casual look has always been my absolute favorite. Her complexion and hair make her look so fresh and lovely. She is looking very healthy in general and her fashion statement spot on.

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    2. The UK has different guidelines and safety protocols compare to here in the U.S. in fact in the UK, masks are required if you take a public transport like a bus, train,or uber. I understand you're concern but just remember all countries do things different.

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    3. Masks do not protect the recipient; only keep the infected from spreading. Also, she is outside and the virus strength is greatly reduced outside, if someone should have it. No one else in that group is wearing masks, either.

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    4. USA Granny I share your knee jerk reaction about the absence of masks. They have become such a regular part of our live that I am irritated everytime I see somebody without a mask. Even when it is just a movie.
      But I also try to remind myself not to judge other countries by the rules we have.

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    5. The current rules here in the UK are that masks should be worn in enclosed places, in public transport, and where it is not possible to maintain one metre of distancing. I think you can be confident that anything the royal family does will have been very carefully scrutinised for compliance with the rules, not least because of the high likelihood of their being criticised if they do not comply.

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    6. Tammy from California20 June 2020 at 19:43

      I am from California, and before we had to wear masks, we were asked to social distance by 6 feet and that along with washing more/sanitizing after touching common areas in public places flattened the curve. So I would like to submit "food for thought" only that Kate's well being is fine as well as the people she is coming in contact with.

      I'd also like to submit that not getting this virus sometime now or in the future is not likely. This virus is now here to stay until people create herd immunity (60% of the population or more) or until a vaccine is created that works. Getting a watered down version of the virus (ie being exposed to someone outdoors) is actually one of your best bets. Although not in the medical field, I have dealt with animal science and health for the last 3 years while studying it. When a herd animal gets a virus, we get that animal away from the herd so it is not spread, but then we put it outside in sunshine and fresh air: nature's natural remedy. We don't close it up indoors or put a face covering on it.
      My Point: balance. Wear a face mask when you are going to be close to people, especially indoors (and I would even say if you are going to be indoors with people you don't know), but when you are outside and can space 6 feet apart, you are getting all of nature's best healing as well as any watered down version of something.
      Cheers to your health and mental health everyone, we GOT this!

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    7. Thank you Tammy!! Very wise and rational advice. Balance is always the key, not too much, not too little, but just right!! We do GOT this!!

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    8. USA Granny you would be even more horrified in New Zealand because hardly anyone wears masks in public places here. We have relied on a strict lockdown early on, plus enforcing social distancing very stringently as well as testing and contact tracing. The reason for not using masks much, except for hospitals, care homes etc., is because the country had very little PPE and we were last in the queue to get it from overseas, so we were asked to give doctors and nurses priority for this vital equipment. We also had very few ventilators and if we had got lots of hospital admissions, our hospitals would have been overwhelmed like Italy and Spain. That is the reason we shut most things down early and had such strict social distancing. For two months from early March my husband and I practised self isolation, getting our groceries delivered and not seeing any family or friends until restrictions were lessoned and we could include our daughter in our bubble. We did go for short walks together, and got the influenza injection, otherwise were confined solely to our home. Polls showed well over 80% of New Zealanders supported our government's policies and complied with the rules, although there were some grumbles of course. Because people accepted the science behind the public health rules, the result was the comparatively low number of deaths here. Of the 23 who died, all were retired Pakeha people in poor health. Maori and Polynesian deaths were nil, when it is well known they are more vulnerable to similar illnesses. Now we have no community transmission, the Government has lifted most internal restrictions but we are still having the problem of infected people arriving from overseas unfortunately, so there is a border quarantine. I do hope that things will improve in other countries still with increasing deaths.

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    9. Thank you Tammy for this explanation and advice :)) I work in psychotherapy and complementary medicine. So I think it is important to build up trust in ourselves and the intelligence and capacity of our immune systems single and collective because this disease will stay with us .....
      Solemnly fear based approaches to meet a challenge work for a short term but not on the long run. So wearing masks should be done in an intelligent way and not become the new normal - it gives people a wrong impression of safety. We need different safety methods in different fields like you are suggesting...
      I think Kate does well to show people that we can meet especially outside and be safe. We need to be aware that for a lot of people social distancing is hard to bear and we are missing people smiling at us. In Germany Garden Centers became hotspots during the pandemic because all other shops except groceries closed. Our gardens have never been more cared for......Good to see the Royals back in Public!

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    10. A NZ Fan, it is so interesting how New Zealand reacted so quickly. I had friends who were sailing on a Costa Deliziosa around-the-world cruise right smack in the middle of the height of COVID. They were scheduled to to to Asia but were diverted at the Cook Islands to go the southern route to see New Zealand and Australia. They landed in a port in New Zealand and when they left the entire country was shut down two days later. At Australia, they were in port but the Captain didn't allow anybody to leave the ship unless they had a ticket to leave to home. A few left but most stayed on the ship. When it left the port, Australia shut down the very next day. Then for the next 40 some odd days they were at sea, only stopping at ports to fuel and restock. They were the last cruise ship in the world, to disembark first in Spain and then again in Italy (of all places) and had to follow strict rules to get back to their countries. This couple weren't given a choice on how to return, just given the tickets to get home and to follow all guidelines. When they reached our state, because they came from a cruise ship, they had to follow CDC guidelines and self quarantine for 14 days (they were even called and tracked via cell phone to be sure they were in compliance). This young couple was very responsible and showed complete respect for the process, but the credit goes to the Captain who was very diligent with his leadership and in conjunction with New Zealand and Australia, his ship returned without a single case of COVID!! It's quite a story, here is the article, but in this case common sense prevailed and trust was paramount. Interesting.

      https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/costa-deliziosa-last-cruise-ship-what-happened/index.html

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  2. Great to see Will & Kate out and about supporting their local businesses As always Kate looks fab and perfect dress for the appearance

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  3. Caroline in Montana19 June 2020 at 16:24

    Oh my, I was not expecting this!! The shirt looks wonderfully comfortable and soft and I like the vest. I'm about to order some of those shoes in raspberry, I must have:)
    But I'm sure this will come as no surprise to anyone (lol), but my opinion on these pants - awful, simply not good, yikes. they are way too high-wasted and too short at the ankle and frankly way way too tight. was hoping she would grow out of her love of skin tight pants. She has a lovely figure but I don't need to see every inch of it. never been much of a fan of these earing's either, I don't know why, they just don't do it for me.
    so glad that she is out and about. love garden centers, something about growing things that is good for your mind.
    Now that she is out I feel like a trip to the hairdressers in coming, will be interesting to see what she does. Her hair looks really long, and red(!?).
    really like the brown sandals on the gal modeling the pants.
    Hope everyone is still healthy and safe. have a good weekend everyone. Thanks charlotte!!

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    1. Caroline, tell us how you really feel about the pants, LOL!! It just goes to show that everybody has different tastes, I like the pants and think they work with the tennis shoes and really like how they look with the sandals. I think this is probably Kate's go to look at home, there is just an ease to her casual wear. She looks very happy and healthy!!

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    2. While I don’t think those particular pants work well on her I absolutely do love her wearing skinny jeans. Skinny jeans are a very acceptable piece of clothing for all ages and all figures in Europe. I am always astonished why many Americans are irritated by that and what their problem with tight clothes or more cleavage is. Europeans have a much more relaxed relationship to human bodies. I definitely hope Kate will stop embracing the frumpy prairie style and go back to a more sophisticated but fashionable and elegant way.

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    3. I don’t love skinny jeans on a royal but I can get behind them for this kind of visit. However, while Kate is very slim, these pants need to be one size bigger. Look at how they are pulling across her hips and knees. Not good.

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  4. So glad to see Kate out and about again! And I’m in love 😍 with the beautiful M&S dress she wore the other day - if I were as tall as her I would definitely buy it!

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  5. Casual but very nice. I like the vest. So nice to see her in life mingling with people at work. The video talks are OK for a few times but it can not compare with being there in person. Great job.

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    1. Zora from Prague19 June 2020 at 20:25

      What a great surprise, thank you, Charlotte! I was so glad Kate chose a garden centre as it is a place which is so normal and real. (Just like William's bakery!) I like that they want to support local businesses and are interested in how it has been going for the owners. Watching the videos, I realised again how both Kate and William talk with their hands - I love it! I bet their kids will do it too.
      For some reason, watching William pay with his credit card made me laugh - I suppose I've never seen a royal shopping! 😂
      Kate's look is very nice and relaxed, I like her hair. I'd just prefer different earrings, these look mismatched to me.
      I'm really happy that the worst seems to be over and the Cambridges, as well as other royals, will be able to meet people in person once again.

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  6. So happy to see her out and about. I love this outfit. Even casually dressed she always looks put together. We are growing patio tomatoes too!!

    Hope from USA

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  7. Great to see her out and about again but jeez all the BRF (Kate, William, Sophie, Charles, Camila) should be wearing masks. I'm horrified that none of them did this week in their engagements. In the U.S. most cities require a mask when you venture out.

    I really like the outfit. The jeans' cut is a bit high-waisted for my taste but otherwise, nice casual outfit and I love the color of the shirt.

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    1. They are not a requirement in the UK or Ireland except in certain circumstances- like on public transport or going to a hospital appointment

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    3. I live in the US and they are not required except specifically by individual businesses or offices.

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    4. I was also surprised to not see masks being worn! However, as in a lot of US cities, masks are only optional (required only in certain situations/shops)

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    5. I live in NJ and masks are definitely required inside any store.

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    6. Caroline in Montana22 June 2020 at 16:20

      I live in MT and the only place we are required to wear a mask is in the court house, hospital or in costco for shopping, I have no need for those and have not been wearing one. wearing a mask is not going to stop the Covid19 and they are social distancing.

      I don't think folks should judge others for wearing or not wearing masks.

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  8. I’m so excited to see Kate out and about. I do wish today’s outfit had been lighter and fresh. Personally, I have had enough doom and gloom the past few months.

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  9. Dearest Davion, Ouch!!! I guess when people who live in the UK and Ireland cough or sneeze they are lucky that their germs do not travel as in the USA. Most comments are innocent and of surprise or concern and said nicely. Every thought does not require research. Opinion and judgement are two completely different things. Aren't we lucky to live in a land that allows us to offer either without recourse.

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    1. USA Granny, as I said above I completely share your feelings about masks and that people should be able to raise their opinion about it.

      But if there is one thing I have learned while commenting on the royal world is how often people will raise their opinion and not realize that it is reading as a very harsh judgment. When people use words like “should”, “must” and “horrified” it comes across very judgemental and doesn’t read like an opinion.

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    2. I agree. But in my experience it is a general difference in speaking patterns. In the US the choice of words seems to be, what we would call always slightly over the top. Awsome, horrific, brilliant and so one are often used to describe things we would probably call really nice, unfortunate, good/well/advanced. So people sometimes feel jumped on while it wasn't meant like that. Like Kate's photography skills. She is very good but she is in no way as brilliant as people make her out to be. You find thounsands of equally as nice pictures by amateurs. Noticing this does in no way take away from her skill level though.

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    3. Caroline in Montana22 June 2020 at 16:21

      Thank you RachelZA - said it better than I would:)

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  10. great too see duchess out and healthy and its good the the duke and duchess suppoet local bussinness and diing there best cope in times of pandemic

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  11. Thank you Charlotte for a delightful post. So pleased to see the reopening of small business being supported. They are going to be so important in helping make it through to the other side. Hasn’t it been interesting we all face the same enemy and each country has choosen a slightly different modus operandi. Where I live masks only for people with active respiratory symptoms and visit to hospital etc. we are more focused on social distancing lots of testing and rapid contact tracing. Of course thete is no way of knowing what is going to prove the most successful in both health and economic terms.
    Really have liked that Kate is supporting High Street fashion at present. It seems the right thing to do.

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  12. Great she is out and about. The green of the shoes does not quite go with the brown and the blue of the rest.

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  13. I have said it before, but I love the more coordinated effort by the BRF. It is no coincidence that they all had their first face to face engagements in the week after HM’s birthday parade. Each royal doing something different and still close to home but all with the same theme of we need to live with the virus and return to some sort of (new) normal.

    I wonder when the Cambridges will return to London?

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    1. A good point Rachel! This is here to stay and we must learn to adapt.

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  14. I love seeing Casual Kate! I'm wearing my gardening clothes this weekend, wish I looked as lovely as she does. So nice to see her and William out and about.

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    1. I'm with you Lori!! I wish I looked as good as Kate with my gardening clothes on! So happy that she and William would choose a nursery and a bakery to visit!! Gardening is on the uptake with all this coronavirus and I have been lucky that even during the most critical part of this virus in April (for my town) the nursery outside of town stayed open under strict rules with pre-orders and curbside pick-ups. As an avid gardener it was great to see them adapt to keep themselves and the community busy. Also heard that baking has been a big quarantine activity for families, i.e. sourdough bread seems to be a popular one! I personally tried one Kensington Palace scone recipe one day....delish!!

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  15. How wonderful to see the Duke and Duchess mixing with their public again. I have to say that both have been exceptional during this terrible period of time. Going above and beyond with kindness, support and highlighting very important issues like mental health ect. They are indeed the jewel in the Crown. Also have to give credit to the Earl and Countess of Sussex. They have finally been able to show all the very hard work, that they do on behalf of Queen and county. The very best of British.

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    1. Zora from Prague21 June 2020 at 20:31

      Anon, you probably mean the Earl and Countess of Wessex - Sophie and Edward? Otherwise, it's the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (= Harry and Meghan).
      Personally, I sometimes wonder why we get to see Sophie more than Edward. I'm not sure if it's just the optics or if she really does more engagements than him. I really like when they are seen both together or as a family.
      I agree that William and Kate have been great in supporting various important issues!

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  16. Tammy from California20 June 2020 at 19:50

    My favorite engagements for Kate are gardens. I agree with the video here: I have seen so many people out in their gardens during this quarantine. It has been SO NICE. It reminds me of when I was little, dads were out mowing their lawns every Saturday. Picking weeds and planting flowers every Saturday. I rarely see that anymore, so this has been an awesome reminder for me, to slow down, appreciate and get back to nature.
    On a fashion note, I thought Kate's top was blue, but it is actually a light sage green? Anyway, she of course looks wonderful and I love the fresh chop she has on her locks.

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  17. Cara, Australia20 June 2020 at 21:51

    What a boost for the UK that non-essential shops are opening. Here in Australia, we are almost back to normal, and the effect on well being is immense. Feeling safe to shop (socially distanced of course) is one step closer to recovery. It’s a great mile stone to mark, so well done Catherine and William!

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  18. Lovely outfit today, I am a big fan of the chocolate and pale aqua blue! The pants are great, I want some! Good initiative supporting garden centres, although in Australia these have been superbly busy, people growing veggies and other edibles like never before. More time, fear of food running short.. many reasons, all valid.
    Royal 👑 Watcher

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