Tuesday, 23 March 2021

The Cambridges Return to Westminster Abbey on National Day of Reflection

On the National Day of Reflection, marking one year since the first lockdown in the UK, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Westminster Abbey, where they were married almost a decade ago, to visit the recently opened vaccination centre.

Kensington Palace said, "In early March, the NHS opened the Westminster Abbey clinic to provide up to two thousand life-saving jabs each week to local Westminster residents. Run by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the vaccination centre operates from the south transept, home to the world-famous Poets' Corner. The Abbey continues to remain open for a daily Holy Communion service. Doctors, nurses and countless other staff, supported by volunteers and others, are delivering the vaccination programme at more than 1,600 sites across the country ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums."

The couple were welcomed to the Abbey by the Dean, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, and the Receiver General, Paul Baumann.

More from Westminster Abbey:

'The Duke and Duchess were escorted around the clinic by Scott Craddock, the Abbey’s Head of Visitor Experience, and Victoria de la Morinière, Head of Quality Improvement at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust. The visitors met NHS clinicians, Abbey volunteers and patients.'

William and Kate spent time with staff and heard about their roles in the country's largest vaccination programme to date. 

In just over 100 days since the programme began, over 22.8 million people have had at least one jab. On Sunday alone, between 11 am and 12 pm,  almost 100,000 vaccinations were undertaken - at a rate of 27 per second.

The Duke and Duchess spoke with a number of people receiving their vaccines today.

The Duchess speaking with staff.

Kate discussed the abbey with staff, noting, "It's a good distraction to be in a beautiful building like this."

Following their visit, the Cambridges took a moment for private reflection in Westminster Abbey, remembering all those who lost their lives over the past twelve months. William lit a candle at the Shrine’s altar and Kate laid fresh daffodils.

The BBC reports:

'A year ago today, fewer than 1,000 people in the UK had died with coronavirus. The figure now stands at more than 126,000. The prime minister said then there were "no easy options" and the way ahead would be "hard". But few would have imagined the scale of the loss of lives - or liberties - to come; the restrictions we would still be facing 12 months on.

Indeed, as millions of us watched, listened and stopped a year ago, Boris Johnson said the restrictions would be reviewed three weeks later, and would be relaxed, if possible.

This easing of the rules came months rather than weeks later, soon to be followed by their reimposition as summer gave way to autumn and winter. As we enter a second year of restrictions, there is hope life will soon get better.

But the shadow of the pandemic looms large.'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, "This day of reflection is an opportunity to pause and remember all that's happened over the past year. To mourn those who have died, but also to give thanks for those who have looked after us and our communities."


The visit comes as Her Majesty reflected on the "loss felt by so many" while she marked the day by sending flowers to to St Bartholomew's Hospital, where Prince Philip underwent heart surgery. The Queen wrote: "As we look forward to a brighter future together, today we pause to reflect on the grief and loss that continues to be felt by so many people and families, and pay tribute to the immeasurable service of those who have supported us all over the last year."


The Duchess was elegant in the Catherine Walker 'Valeria' coat for the visit (with thanks to Caroline Parr). The Valeria is a signature piece in the Catherine Walker & Co. Collection. The winter white, soft wool coat is a timeless piece described as "precision tailoring...contrasted with an artisanal approach to embellishment".

Delicate ivory floral lace has been hand-applied to the front.

The Duchess accessorised with her Annoushka pearls and Kiki McDonough hoops.

Kate carried her Métier Roma small suede shoulder bag.

Kate's tan suede pumps have proved quite a tricky ID due to limited high-res images. Kate's Closet suggests the Jimmy Choo Romy 85 while Kate's Closet shared the Gianvito Rossi 85 style

As several of you correctly noted, elements of the look echoed Kate's wedding day in the choice of white, floral lace and her hair worn in a demi-chignon. I expect we should hear more on celebrations for the Cambridges' tenth anniversary in due course. Perhaps previously unreleased images and a new portrait to mark the occasion. 

Update: Westminster Abbey lit up NHS blue tonight to remember all those who have died during the pandemic. 

55 comments:

  1. Catherine looks lovely, and how appropriate her dress would be for a renewal of marriage vows. The look they give each other walking up the aisle must hold so many memories of the past 10 years together.

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    1. Zora from Prague23 March 2021 at 17:45

      Well said, Elizabeth!

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  2. Catherine looks beautiful, but I think the coat would look better if the length was shorter.

    With their ten year wedding anniversary coming up next month, it is nice to see them at The Abbey, continuing their work after ten years of marriage and three beautiful children.

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  3. I love Kate’s outfit today very elegant. I also like the way she put her mask strap around her ears. My mask strap is always loose around my ears so maybe I’ll try Kate’s mask wearing technique.

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  4. Those are just beautiful images of the Abbey! And the dress/coat is very attractive, especially in this setting. Vaccination is going well in the US; I have had both vaccinations. People still must be careful; a local young man with five very young children just died. He was too young to have received the vaccine; people need to realize that a little care can save others.

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  5. What a beautiful engagement. I wonder what’s behind all those daffodils lately. Is she making it her signature flowers? Do I read too much I to the daffodil being the national flower of Wales???? Anyhow- I love daffodils and I love she used them a lot at the moment.
    Coming to something not so wonderful. What if this coat? Couldn’t she repeat (and the public LOVES repeats) one of her many gorgeous coats? This one looks really more suited to Camilla. Catherine Walker isTHE brand you think off when the topic is mother-of-the-bride. Sometimes it works, but in that case- it’s a big miss for me. It also seems to not fit properly or maybe it be because the a-line and the longed length look strange with the more straight top? A short a-line or a straight skirt would have given a nicer silhouette. The lace panel also looks pretty heavy and not at all intricate. Also it looks like an afterthought. It looks already out-dated even though it’s a new piece. Her white McQueen coat from Charlotte’s christening or the Cathrine Walker from June 2019 (hope the date is right) look much more fashionable and have a better fit.
    C.

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    1. C., the shoulders on the model seem just a bit more pointed than they appear on Kate, although I don't know why that would be. That little touch gives more interest. I am not a lace person -- I remember some lace dresses that Kate and Meghan wore, and I didn't like them; I don't even like lace on wedding dresses! But the color looks very nice in the setting, and perhaps it was a harken back to her wedding dress.

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    2. Daffodils are the flower of the Marie Curie Trust, which promoted and coordinated today's Day of Reflection. Of course, they are also one of the most cheerful and welcome signs of the British spring.

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    3. @Cecilia: Thanks for the information! I didn’t know about the Marie Curie Trust. I just saw her using them today and at the vigil for Sarah Everard. I only knew about Wales and my thoughts jumped to the Prince and Princess of Wales roles that might lie in their near future.
      The UK definitely seems to be a great place for daffodils. Before COVID-19 I was regularly visiting family in the North of England and its an amazing sight. Meadows full of them, every bit of grass in York (especially around the wall) is yellow when you are there at the right time. I say they grow there like weed. It is as you said, most cheerful. I try hard to cultivate them in a big amount in my garden (actually all of those spring flower bulbs)- crocuses, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths).
      C.

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  6. What a wonderful and poignant visit. The U.K. is doing so well with their vaccine roll out. It’s a credit to everyone. Catherine looked beautiful and confident.

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  7. Great to see W&K out and about. Personally, not a fan of cotton lace but I do like the overall style of the lines of her coat. William looks very dapper!

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  8. First, let me say that I am glad that they went to the clinic and met with clinicians, volunteers and patients. I also appreciate that they took a moment to reflect, as I would have done the same thing. The daffodils are a nice touch, and I think they are Kate's go-to flower for remembrance.

    All that being said, I dislike her outfit for today. I think it feels heavy and more likely to be worn by the Queen. Maybe it's the scalloped edging on the closure of the coat (kinda reminds me of the zig-zag closure on a blue coat the Queen has). While I know Kate will be Queen, I just think this makes Kate look older than she is.

    But I am glad to see them out and supporting this!

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    1. Agree - the weight of the fabric overwhelms her, or maybe it's the added lace. Too heavy and matronly

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    2. Daffodils are blooming right now... I like the idea of flowers from their garden.

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  9. So great to see them, and love the engagement as a whole. I really like the texture and bits of interest in this coat. I wish the fit was a bit better (around the waist looks funky to me) but I’d enjoy seeing it again. Thanks for the quick post, Charlotte!

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  10. Tammy from California23 March 2021 at 19:00

    I was SO excited for their wedding. I couldn't stop thinking about it! A good day :)

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  11. What a wonderful visit and acknowledgement of all the hard work going into getting shots into arms. Always love seeing the Abbey, so beautiful. I like the coat and the fit. The lace I think works and adds some great texture. I think it is a lovely look for the setting and the event. At first glance I though a bit too long, but looking at it again I like the length. Love the earrings. William looked nice also:).

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  12. I think the Duchess looks beautiful. I love the white coat, very regal looking on her. As usual both doing amazing work for Queen and country. I think the daffodils meaning is that it's more personal because she picks them herself from the palace garden. The flowers that the Queen sent are beautiful and very thoughtful. The last few weeks must of been very hard for her. The Duke in hospital and not having her family around her. It's been a very long and hard year for all of us. Charlotte, thanks for opening the comments again, good to see everyone is behaving themselves.

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  13. Wonderful engagement, and so sweet to see her in white lace in the Abbey on almost their 10th anniversary.
    I really like the coat and she looks so elegant and dignified. Love the hairdo. So nice to see a new coat, and a real engagement, after months of zooms and repeats. It feels like life is coming back

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  14. A word of thanks for efforts to get the comments back on track and on topic. I appreciate it.

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  15. I think I would like it better without scalloped edges maybe scalloped neckline and sleeves instead.

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  16. Susan in Florida23 March 2021 at 22:28

    I’m very touched that they laid flowers and lit a candle in a church to honor those who passed. On the secular side : I love her coat today. Very feminine and light colored for spring. I grew up in Massachusetts , in the western part. We had snow and cold weather all through March and sometime the first few weeks of April. We would always look for spring colors in our sweaters or coats just to mark the holiday. I’m a big fan of lace (as if I haven’t said it before LOL).

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  17. I'm so glad they were able to attend in person and, on a frivolous note, it's nice to see the Royal 'look' from head to toe. I know what other commenters mean about the fit (but it's probably difficult to do proper fittings in a socially distanced manner!) and that the outfit reads a bit too mature. But it is in Kate's wheelhouse and I think this is a very 'solemn' time where maturity is appropriate. Yes, I think she looks younger wearing jeans and a t-shirt but I don't think this look ages her; I think it probably helps establish dignity which fits her role.

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  18. Charlotte, I thought a bit ott to close the comments but hindsight is a great thing. Very wise move. As I said I'm glad people are behaving themselves. Far better to focus on kindness and good deads. Thanks for all your hard work on the blog and the beautiful choice of photos.

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  19. How fast 10 years have flown by, a decade since the wedding. I thought that they both look elegant today. What a lovely visit, and how perfect they are.

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  20. The Duke and Duchess in sready service of the British people. She is usually beautiful. Carry on our Royal Highnesses.

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  21. Robbie from Hampton, Virginia USA24 March 2021 at 01:27

    What a gorgeous coat! The Duchess looked classy, appropriately dressed for that beautiful cathedral, and the warm white was elegant and cheery. Perfection

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  22. Admin, I am sorry if I have caused any issues with a post about Harry & Meghan. I did not see my post on here & have not read if any other posts that may have caused controversy. Did I cross a line? If so, I apologize. I do love reading your blog. Thank you for taking time to write the blog.

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    1. Anon, there's absolutely nothing to apologise for. My hope is to avoid discussion on the Sussexes here. I really appreciate your kind words.

      Whilst on the topic, I should post a general explainer.

      I closed comments because I was wading through so much vitriol it was reaching a point where it was becoming deeply unpleasant. I've been insulted personally more than I care to consider over the past month and read comments which horrified me. What you all see here is quite a different picture than I do in moderation.

      So, taking a step back was necessary for me. It's been a tough year for all of us and royal watching has always offered enjoyable escapism. Sadly, that hasn't been the case for some time, though I hope we can get back on track. My hope is the comments on this blog can return to focusing on Kate, her engagements and fashion. Praise Kate for Kate. Not because you want to include a subtle dig directed at anyone else. We're going to see major changes in the years to come with Kate becoming Princess of Wales and hopefully a resumption of overseas tours and major events before too long. There's going to be much to discuss and plenty to observe - please let's keep the focus there.

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    2. I left to be just a Sussex commenter but the interview somehow allowed me to come back here, too. There is a lot of symbolism involved in "royal duties," and I am going to enjoy Charlotte's incredible blogs without worrying about behind-the-scenes drama, things we have no control over. I love the scenery and buildings with their history, and I particularly like seeing new jewelry; I do wish Kate was more into bracelets! Thank you, Charlotte, for continuing your hard work and for being such a good role model.

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    3. Dear Charlotte, I am very sorry to hear this. I can only express my thankfulness for making my days better with your wonderfull posts. I have been reading your blog from almost 10 years now and I have always appreciated your work. Thank care of yourself. Anna🙂

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    4. Goodness! I am so sorry that happened to you.

      Your blogs are wonderful and have given me years of enjoyment. Your writing is fantastic, the research on fashion items is extensive and the photographs are comprehensive. If I fall in love with something Kate wears (and can afford it), I and I know right were to make a purchase. Thank you so much for all your do.

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    5. You are right Charlotte. Things were getting a bit too intense and it was a good idea to pause so everyone could cool down. Personally I read this blog to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Some of your readers are having to endure various privations and the blog offers a chance to distract ourselves by focussing on Kate and her doings. It gives some temporary relief from thinking about covid19 and the earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and floods we are experiencing in our everyday lives. Thankyou for that.

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    6. I greatly appreciate your comments and feel heartened to know several of you are feeling similar to me. I do believe the vast majority of readers pop in here to read about Kate and nothing more. For those of you active on social media, you'll know how desperate the situation is. I just don't want things to descend to a point whereby a blog that's meant to offer an enjoyable place for royal watchers is a very negative place.

      I used to say (in a hopeful way :)) we didn't need to choose between any two royals. Now I feel it's very much a case of doing my utmost to keep both blogs as totally separate as I can moving forward.

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    7. Hi Charlotte, I'm horrified that you've had to wade through personal insults. That is beyond ridiculous. I, too, have been reading your blog since shortly after you started and I come here for your writing far more than the comments. I say that you should feel free to turn off the comments any time and make sure you put yourself first. Take care, and wishing you all the best.

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    8. Charlotte, I really appreciate you wading through this difficult time and not quitting on either blog, but keeping them separate. Your consistency, knowledge, thoroughness, and objectivity is to be commended!

      Kate always looks beautiful. This coat dress is definitely mature looking to me, but I can see various reasons why she chose it... the top two, IMO, being regality and honoring her anniversary.
      -Victoria, Oregon

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  23. I like the coat style but not with the lace I think it doesn't add anything in my opinion it would be nicer plain. I also agree with C above that she has some lovely cream/white outfit worn previously and in these times re wears seem more apropriate than new. I'm also not a fan of the tan suede shoe and bag with this I think tonal cream or white would look nicer as on the model. Her hair looking beautiful as always.
    10 years since the wedding wow!

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  24. It's interesting to see the staff enforcing the rule about not wearing one's own mask in a medical setting. I can't recall, off the top of my head, if that has been done with the Cambridges on their other visits to similar places. Do you know if it has?

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    1. Interesting. I believe it is the first time I see her wear medical mask.

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  25. The duchess and the Duke of cambridge did a great job lifting you handle the vacinedor for covid-19 and all the nurse and doctors who been part frontliners I love that the Duke and duchess of cambridge walking thru abbey bring back their wedding in 2011 how fast in year it's been 10 years with 3 kids love the duchess outfit by the way

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  26. Charlotte, I'm so sorry to hear that you have personally received abuse on here. Regardless of what is or has gone on, this is not the place for it. I certainly don't want to read it, it's unfortunate that you had to. Far too much hate and negative in this world. As you said the blog is on The Duchess of Cambridge.... End of.. Again thanks for all your hard work.

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  27. Zora from Prague24 March 2021 at 18:13

    With spring finally in the air here, I just want to say that I love 1. Kate, 2. her coat, 3. all the daffodils in the world, 4. Westminster Abbey, 5. this blog! 😍
    Thank you so much, Charlotte, and may blooming flowers bring hope and joy to all of us! ❤️🌱🌷🌼

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    1. I love your 'loves' Zora!! Well said. Also daffodils are the symbol of rebirth and new beginnings, can't think of a better time for a reboot of hope!! Take care. cc

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    2. Zora from Prague25 March 2021 at 18:41

      Thank you, CeCe, take care too! 😊

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  28. Long time reader, never commented before...but I was also sad to hear what you were going through with the comments. Kate will always be my favorite, so I am so very glad you are continuing to keep this blog going! ❤️

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  29. For the first time, in our worlds long year of sadness & despair, my heart truly smiled when I read Charlotte’s wonderful post.
    There were so many reasons to smile ... the serene setting of The Abbey in all its glory, the joy of seeing the look of love between Kate & William, the beauty of Catherine from head to toe, a glimpse of hope our new normal is returning ... but the greatest reason for my smile was right here in the comments section. A lovely collection of thoughts & musings that were a joy to read! Kind, considerate, gentle critiques & applause. I confess it actually also bought a few tears as well - after almost 10 years of following Charlotte’s amazing blog, I was on my edge of leaving, the comments were so upsetting. I’m so grateful and thankful for your incredible writings Charlotte and creating a special place for all of us that love Kate & William to enjoy! Take care ... and thank you!

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  30. Thank you Charlotte for the work you do to create the blog content and the work you do to manage comments. I love to come here for an escape and seeing hurtful or rude comments can be hard - especially after such a tough year. Your dedication to this royal coverage is greatly appreciated - hopefully this bumpy road will smooth for all
    involved and we’ll get back to enjoying some lovely and well meaning appearances. Until then, stay strong and know you bring joy to many.

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  31. It was lovely. What I missed was Kate's smile. I hope masks aren't here to stay.
    I must also say, after years of reading this blog, what really impresses me is her inner strength and serenity. I remember when those invasive sunbathing pictures appeared, she was all smiling loveliness in beautiful light blue lace and pearls in her updo. I feel the same today, she really shines.

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  32. I'm not sure what everyone is talking about; I love this look! So elegant and appropriate.

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  33. Always a pleasure to read your blog with its sense of history and positive coverage of Kate. And a great relieve to read sensitive and sensible comments again. I just feel sorry for everyone.

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  34. Thankyou Charlotte for not only your wonderful blog but your moderation. I am one of the many who come here for escapism into beautiful things, be they clothes, jewellery, flowers, buildings, tours, events, etc. I also love learning about the history, cultural context, etc that you provide. Reading your blog makes me feel like I'm travelling but without the hard/stressful bits of travelling! *wink*
    I can only imagine how hard writing in an "interactive" format must be. Unlike traditional writing formats, the work doesn't finish once the final draft is "submitted."
    I am so sorry that you have/had to wade through vitriol. I believe that closing off comments was a wise decision which I respect - your sandpit, your rules. Thankyou for letting us share your "sandpit" - you are a wonderful hostess!
    Stay safe Charlotte and fellow readers. Kate

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  35. Thank you Charlotte, for your dedication, your research, your writing, your decisions with regard to comments, your commitment to high values, and for making this little corner a positive place. I will continue to support & honor you and your work. The ten years I've been reading your blogs have been very enjoyable and I look forward to as many more as possible.

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  36. Thank you for your very thoughtful comments!

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  37. I have been quietly reading without commenting in recent months. I love Charlotte’s royal blogs and the community here. Informative and full of wisdom!

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  38. I believe the new lovely Golden brown Suede pumps are the Gianvito Rossi 85 mm Style pumps, there is more shoe where the arch of the foot and Jimmy Choo has less, since I own a pair of 85mm Jimmy Choo Pumps, there is less, this is my observation. 🧡

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