Wednesday, 10 November 2021

The Duchess Reunites with Holocaust Survivors During Imperial War Museum Visit

This evening, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Imperial War Museum (IWM) to officially open two new galleries – the Second World War Galleries and the Holocaust Galleries.

It marks the Duchess' first public appearance since she and Prince William joined the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in Glasgow for the opening day of COP26 on 1 November. This visit coincides with Remembrance Week, and this weekend's calendar staples: the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, followed by Remembrance Sunday -- both of which we can expect to see the Duchess attend. It's understood the Queen hopes to attend in person at the Cenotaph on Sunday, marking her first engagement since she became unwell.

You may recall over the summer it was announced Kate's portraits of two holocaust survivors would feature as part of a photography exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, featuring over fifty Holocaust survivors and their families. Kate said she was "honoured" her pieces were chosen.

Kensington Palace said: "Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors (6 August 2021 – 9 January 2022) aims to honour the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the full lives that survivors have built in the UK, whilst serving as a reminder of our collective responsibility to ensure their stories live on. It includes photography by 12 leading contemporary photographers, and has been created in partnership with IWM, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Royal Photographic Society (of which the Duchess is Patron), Jewish News, and Dangoor Education."

The Duchess beautifully captured Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein with their grandchildren. The portraits were part of an exhibition which brought together 75 images of survivors with their loved ones to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

The Duchess was inspired by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer because both Steven and Yvonne have strong links to the Netherlands. Speaking about the experience, Kate said, "While I have been lucky enough to meet two of the now very few survivors, I recognise not everyone in the future will be able to hear these stories first hand. I recall reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Her sensitive and intimate interpretation of the horrors of the time was one of the underlying inspirations behind the images. I wanted to make the portraits deeply personal to Yvonne and Steven – a celebration of family and the life that they have built since they both arrived in Britain in the 1940s."

Steven Frank was photographed with his granddaughters Maggie and Trixie. Originally from Amsterdam, Steven survived several concentration camps as a child. It was heart-breaking to read Steven and his brothers were 3 of only 93 children out of 15,000 who survived Theresienstadt camp where life or death was determined capriciously.

Yvonne Bernstein is originally from Germany. She was a hidden child throughout most of the Holocaust, travelling in the care of relatives through France and frequently changing homes. Yvonne was photographed with her eleven-year-old granddaughter, Chloe Wright.

Kate with Yvonne and Chloe today.

The Duchess greeted both Steven and Yvonne with hugs.

Steven brought a gift for the Duchess -- a letter his mother received from an American serviceman during the war.

Yvonne remarked, "You've got cold hands." Kate replied, "I've always got cold hands." The event marked Yvonne's first social outing since lockdown, and she shared her delight at spending the evening with her granddaughter. She also asked Kate if she gets to see enough of her children. Kate said, "All the time. They're my priority."

Kate viewed images of survivors Zigi and Manfred, whom she met in Stutthof in 2017.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust tweeted: "We’re so grateful to the Duchess of Cambridge for all her work on Holocaust education and the time she spends with survivors."


The Palace added, "The Duchess viewed the IWM’s new Second World War Galleries, which display over 1,500 collection items from 80 countries that bring to life the impact of the Second World War on millions of people. She will then visit The Holocaust Galleries, which tell the individual stories of some of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust."


It features over 2,000 photos, books, artworks, letters and personal belongings.

The Museum added: "The new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries will draw heavily upon the unique personal stories that IWM’s collections contain to present a vivid narrative that reflects the realities of the Second World War, the Holocaust and the resulting impact upon the world."

Diane Lees, IWM Director-General, said: "At the centre of the brutal and barbaric conflict was the state sponsored mass murder of 6 million Jewish men, women and children. This is why we are placing IWM’s new Holocaust Galleries at the central chronological fulcrum of our iconic London museum and linking them, architecturally and conceptually, to our new Second World War Galleries."

The Duchess opted for a navy and white ensemble featuring familiar pieces.


We first saw Kate's dark blue wool coat by Catherine Walker during a West Midlands visit in May.

The Duchess selected her white and navy military style Alexander McQueen blouse. Kate debuted the piece in 2011 on a visit to Birmingham, and wore it again in 2014 for a visit to Bletchley Park. It was most recently worn in Portsmouth in 2016.

Kate accessorised with her sapphire and diamond earrings.

And a poppy.

The Duchess sported a pair of navy pumps; it's thought they are a Gianvito Rossi style. 

Kate also wore a slim fit pair of navy trousers and her croc embossed belt.

As mentioned earlier, we expect to see the Duchess on Saturday and Sunday for Remembrance events. It's also been confirmed the Cambridges will attend the Royal Variety performance on Thursday, 18th November.

42 comments:

  1. I love that she recycled such an iconic piece. The pants give it a whole new twist and I love it. How touching to remember her early royal days and see how she has grown and changed/updated her style. I am not a big fan of the combination with the coat, which looks too bright in contrast with the deep navy of the rest of the clothes, but as soon as the coat was off inside, the outfit became perfect.

    How sweet that she reunited with the survivors, I admire that she created a lasting "friendship" with them. It speaks volumes about her.
    Ella

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    1. Ella, I read your comment after I posted mine, so funny to see that we said the same thing! You, much more eloquently, though. Cheers!

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    2. I never liked the blouse but the more modern and normal pants definitely improve its look.
      It’s always great to see repeats because only so many engagements really call for new outfits. I always criticise her lack of repeats, so I take this as an opportunity to praise for a change.
      It’s also great to see long term involvement in her projects. Also something I sometimes miss
      So all in all a good engagements in all accounts for me.

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    3. Tammy from California11 November 2021 at 02:57

      SO true about the lasting "friendship", it DOES speak volumes about her and I am happy you pointed that out.

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  2. Remember the fallen of any war, is just around the corner. We owe them a debt we will never be able to pay. Their willingness to give their all, shall never be forgotten. I THANK THEM FOR THEIR SERVICE TO GOD AND COUNTRY, this includes my family members too who served. I am glad Dss Kate went to the War Museum to remember them.

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  3. Kate's wonderful at engagements, always so professional and charming. Sartorially speaking, I think I preferred the blouse with the skirt she wore before, but I suppose she wanted to 'switch things up a bit' and perhaps adopt a slightly more informal look here (?). Amazed her hair is still so long and she hasn't yet had a trim, I thought she might have wanted that length for the Earthshot look and would get it cut soon after. But it still looks fine to me like this. I think it would be nice if she sometimes wore a lower heel to formal engagements: that would make a great statement to woman and for women.

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    1. Tammy from California11 November 2021 at 02:59

      I swoon over her hair. SUH-WOON.

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    2. Her hair is amazing!

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  4. Like the waves in her hair, a good look.

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  5. I'm being 'picky', but prefer her in wide-legged trousers.

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    1. I prefer her in dresses. But if she has to wear trousers I prefer these to the wide legged

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    2. Robbie from Hampton VA USA11 November 2021 at 00:37

      Could she be growing her hair longer than usual to cut and donate to one of the charities who make wigs? Would be amazing.

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    3. Now im on board for that idea. Im doing exactly that right now and sure am having a lot of hair to clean, brush, and comb. I thought I'd do it once more while my hair is naturally brown still. Do they accept colored hair? Genuinely curious.

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    4. I think these are so much better the wide legged pants. These are more fit and trim.

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    5. She has donated before. I hope she brings a photographer with her if she does it again

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    6. Did she? I didn't know. She has chopped many inches a few times, it makes sense.

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  6. I love this blouse. Didn't care for it with the coat, but once she took that off, she looks perfect. So nice to see her sweet reunion with these wonderful people.

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  7. Love the repeats, but agree with Lori P and Anon 19:13, like the look better without the coat, too many navy's to match! Love the blouse with the trousers, and yes I prefer this style to the wide legged style. I am finding that I look forward to seeing how Kate wears and mixes up her clothing, and hope she has more 'Earthshot' moments! I am glad she went to the War Museum; strongly encourage everybody to take a moment at some time to go to one in or near your city, or a Holocaust museum if there is one; very interesting, informative, and very humbling.

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    1. I like that she is bringing attention to exactly what we all need to be aware of: the cost of war in human deaths and suffering as well as the lives of the survivors. But I disagree that everybody should visit a Holocaust museum. My husband and I took our son, then 13, with us on a trip to Germany where we visited the camp where Anne Frank and her sister died. We were very intent on learning as much as we could, but we didn't realize the effect on our son until in the car afterward. He literally couldn't talk to us for over two hours afterwards, he was so shocked and distressed by what he had experienced there. Do visit, but be careful of your more sensitive family members!

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  8. Excellent engagement and lovely to connect with the subjects of her photography. Such an important reminder of our past that we should never forget! I’m so glad the Royal Family does these events to honor and remember military and veterans.

    Fashion-wise I love seeing a repeat. It’s a nice look with pants and I liked it with a skirt. Sue

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  9. It continues to be so important that the world never forgets. I also read "The Diary of Anne Frank" (that was my last name, too). Sadly the family had tried to come to America in 1941, but a distrust of refugees foiled that effort. It's funny -- I don't like the blouse, but it looks so good on her!! The coat should be black, but she looks excellent once the coat is removed.

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  10. Love this event. It's wonderful to see Kate at event that have multiple "tie-ins" to her previous efforts. I thought this was a nice change to see Kate in slim-fitting trousers. Agree with other comments that the blue coat is a little off. A camel or ivory coat would have worked. We all wonder what her decisions are behind her choices. Hope she chooses a 're-wear' for Remembrance Day. There are eight - correct me if I'm wrong - coats previously worn. Three have them have a strong military style which I suspect she shouldn't wear at most other events she attends. Would like to see the the one with the ivory collar again :-)

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  11. hmm she reunited with the survivors she formed a friendship on them and knowing and talking to their stories was s great thing impact and i think listening to them knowing their stories for me id a learning expectance too hmm i love the duchess wearing

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  12. I really love her new twist on her outfit today. I love how she paired it with the pants and belt. I love the style of the coat, and torn on the color. At first I didn’t care for it, but then I thought maybe it gives it a different pop of color. But love the blouse and pants with the belt for sure. I like the straighter leg too, but just my preference.

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  13. I like the look of the blouse and the slim-fitting pants together but dislike it with the coat. For me, it does not look cohesive because the shade of color seems off. Maybe its just the photos? Idk. I noticed it with her previous engagements like the one pictured above when she wore the same coat and again a few weeks ago with the green coat and blouse. And this slim fitting pants suits her better than the wide-legged ones. Overall,she looks good, polished and professional-looking especially after she took off the coat.

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  14. Tammy from California11 November 2021 at 02:55

    Of all the fashion that struck me, it was the cranberry dress that Yvonne wore that got my attention. That color is so beautiful with her hair and eye color! Who says you have to be young to knock someone's socks off?!

    I think the Duchess is very fond of Yvonne. I am remembering when they were together last time, there was a lot of laughter. A spunky little lady.

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  15. I have always hated that schmaltzy shirt. But oh is it good to see our beloved duchess out and about!
    Beth in SF

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  16. The color mismatch between her coat and her outfit kind of endears her to me. It makes her seem like another working woman, just like us. How many times have we found something that seemed to match in the dim light in front of the mirror but just didn’t work outside? I feel like Kate did the same thing, pulled together some rewears for a working day, and later when she looks at photos (does she look at photos of herself after events, I wonder??) she might think, oh those colors don’t really match. There might be high profile events where stylists pore over every detail, but more and more Kate has “working days” where she needs to pull together a decent outfit. And kudos to her for that.

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    1. I think the thing is when Kate is off duty, she isn't that dressy of a person. If you look at her "off duty" clothes they look very much like her clothes in casual engagements: she favors skinny jeans, boots, and a chunky sweater. So the dressy, matchy-matchy stuff she has to do for engagements doesn't come that naturally to her. That's why I think sometimes we'll see Kate trying to "match" an outfit but the coat, skirt, and shoes are like three different shades of red/blue/green.

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    2. The cost is a much lighter blue, I don't think it was intended to match exactly the dark blue of the shirt.
      But I agree about putting together a decent outfit, so relatable.

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    3. Sophie that is so true about the "dim light in front of the mirror" or in your closet. Navy's are hard enough to match, but I have taken to marking my shoes with a B for "black" and a N for "navy", after going to work one time with the same style of shoes in different colors!!! They definitely looked the same in the closet!! So so relatable!!

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  17. This is so precious! The video is just great, it captures the lovely moments of Kate's reunion with the survivors... Thank you, Charlotte!

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  18. I like both the repeat blouse and the slim-leg pants. I dislike the coat though -- way too long, weird high slit up the back, shade clashes with the rest of the outfit.

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  19. Love the slimmer pants--finally!! Hopefully the wide legged option goes out the window. The different navy shades doesn't bother me at all. She looked lovely.

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  20. Would like to sometimes see Kate in a lower heel for formal engagements. Love her look (with the lower heel & long skirt) in the black & white photo here of a few years back when she was photographing Steven Frank and his granddaughters. (Pity part of his face is in considerable shadow in the photographic portrait, I think: just my view). Remembering the fallen and injured of so many conflicts over the years.

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  21. Her hair looks amazing, I love the waves. It looks so natural like this, not 'overdone'.

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  22. The famous phrase about the Holocaust is : Never Forget. I am glad to see the Duchess involved in this part of human history. She looked physically and mentally comfortable today. I didn’t care that her coat didn’t match, she only needed it for outside.

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  23. I think the blouse with the straighter leg pants is a good look but I’ve never liked this blouse it’s a bit old fashioned for me. I like the recycling of outfits. I may have mentioned in previous comment that her hair is very long I think it could be a bit shorter as I think it drags her face down. A lovely visit to Holocaust survivors.

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  24. She looks sensational thank you for this post Charlotte. Lest we forget.

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  25. I love these pants, they suit the Duchess perfectly, marvellous length. The top, I am not a fan of but personal preference only. She looked terrific on this occasion. The Sapphire and diamond earrings are stunning, love them.

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  26. Kate is such a deep and thoughtful woman. It's been a pleasure to watch her blossom and grow into her royal role.
    Nice to see her in slimline pants! I really like this outfit without the coat, as I feel the two different shades of blue clash a bit.

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  27. I am not often impressed by Kate's work (long periods where nothing is communicated or little follow through), but I love this project. I hope she does more engagements with them, I think many will benefit from the knowledge.

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