Thursday, 18 November 2021

Kate Sparkles in Green Jenny Packham for Royal Variety Performance

It was an evening of entertainment, star-studded performers and glamour at the annual Royal Variety Performance.

It was a glittering arrival.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the Royal Albert Hall for the second time in less than a week. On Saturday they attended the venue for the annual Festival of Remembrance with members of the Royal family.

Indeed, it's been an important year for the iconic concert hall -- it's 150 years since Queen Victoria opened the Royal Albert Hall. The monarch attended as a tribute to her late husband, Prince Albert, and to see his dream of a hall promoting the arts in London come to fruition.

As a visibly upset Queen Victoria began to speak at the opening, she said, "I have to express my great admiration of this beautiful Hall and my earnest wishes for its complete success." It was Victoria's wish the hall would bear Albert's name, deviating from the initial plan to name it the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences.

I imagine it would greatly please Victoria and Albert to know, 150 years later, the hall remains an iconic and much-loved landmark for the arts. A space enjoyed by their descendants and people from all over the world.

The Royal Variety Performance takes place every year and is held in aid of the Royal Variety Charity.

Funds raised from the show help hundreds of entertainers throughout the UK, who are in need of help and assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times. Kensington Palace said, "In 2021, the Royal Variety Charity has continued to support members of the entertainment industry with its own nationwide grants scheme, assisting many people who have found this past year a particularly difficult one. The Royal Variety Charity also continues to manage its own care home, Brinsworth House in Twickenham. The nursing and care staff have ensured that the home remains a place of safety, peace, and happiness for retired members of the entertainment industry. The residents are now back showing off their own theatrical skills and even producing and performing their own stage shows."

Kate was presented with the winter posy 'A golden age of Christmas at Brinsworth House', with foliage from the garden of the Royal Variety Charity care home.

Hosted by Alan Carr, this year's line up saw Ed Sheeran, Sir Rod Stewart, the cast of Matilda the Musical, Anne Marie, Years and Years, the cast of Cirque du Soleil, James Blunt, the cast of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and the Messoudi Brothers take to the stage. The evening will also feature performances from Gregory Porter and Elvis Costello, as well as a special collaboration by actress Keala Settle and the Some Voices choir.

The Duke and Duchess take their seats.

Sky News reports:

'Comedian Alan Carr told Prince William he was "not hitting on his wife" after complimenting Kate at the Royal Variety Performance.

Greeting the couple at the show at Royal Albert Hall, Mr Carr told Kate: "You look absolutely beautiful."

Addressing the duke, the star then said: "Sir, I am sure you do not know who I am, but I am not hitting on your wife."

The Royal Variety Performance dates back all the way to 1912, when the inaugural performance was watched by King George V and Queen Mary. In July 1919, a second royal show was performed. Held at London Coliseum, the show was staged as a 'celebration of peace' and, as the official announcement expressed it, "Had been commanded by the King to show his appreciation of the generous manner in which artistes of the variety stage had helped the numerous funds connected with the War."

A poster from the 1930 performance.

In fact, this year is particularly special as it marks the centenary of the reigning monarch being patron. It is believed to be one of the few charities in the UK that has an unbroken line of patronage from the reigning monarch. Below, Her Majesty at the 2012 performance.

Though the event remains black-tie, it was once an occasion which called for a tiara. Below, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arriving for the 1955 show in Blackpool. Her Majesty has attended 39 performances.

A reminder of the night's entertainment in 1955 from the Royal Variety website:

'The first of the two Royal Varity Performances of 1955 – and the first ever staged outside the capital – featured many acts familiar to Blackpool audiences. The organised Reginald Dixon who has become a popular resident in the Tower Ballroom was there, with the signature tune he made all his own, ‘I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside’. Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss delighted their fans as usual. From the Tower Circus came the Musical Clowns Charlie Cairoli and Paul, while George Formby and the American star Eddie Fisher added to the star-studded line-up, along with Arthur Askey and couple of young comedians by the name of Morecambe and Wise.

The highlight slapstick act of the evening belonged to the consummate comedians, Lauri Lupino Lane and George Truzzi, who treated the Blackpool audience to their celebrated paper-hanging routine. This was centred round two people trying to paste a piece of wall-paper on a wall with different coloured paste. The consequences can be imagined, and at the end of it both comics had to have a good wash-down before next appearing on stage.'

A video.

William and Kate invited special guests. Hello! reports:

'Seated to the left of the Duchess were her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, as well as her brother James and his new wife, Alizée Thevenet, who he married back in September in an intimate ceremony in France.'

There's an image of Carole, Mike, James and Alizée in this tweet. I haven't seen other photos yet.

This evening marks the Cambridges' fourth outing at the Royal Variety. They first attended in 2014 when Kate repeated her black lace DVF gown. In 2017, the Duchess debuted a sparkling blue Jenny Packham design. In 2019 it was a bespoke Alexander McQueen gown with lace overlay and puffed sleeves. I've loved all of Kate's Royal Variety looks, and the sense of tradition and continuity associated with the event.

A couple of readers suggested including photos/fashion information on previous appearances for regular calendar events. It's an excellent idea and one I'll be implementing.

Kate's been repeating a number of memorable pieces from her closet lately. She continued that trend this evening to the delight of Jenny Packham fans. The shade of green has quite a lovely festive feel to it (it's not too soon to mention Christmas :)).

The Duchess debuted the glittering green gown in Pakistan in 2019. It was originally worn with a scarf in reference to the traditional Dupatta.

The gown is a custom version of the Georgia style. The £3,640 sequin dress is from the Autumn/Winter 2019 Collection and described as: "Fitted with a tailored waistline which is further accentuated with a row of crystals, the utterly feminine design is dripping in head-to-toe sequins, delivering an audacious amount of unapologetic glamour."


Gabi suggests Kate's new green clutch is also a Packham piece. It makes sense, as it appears to match the gown perfectly.


The Duchess accessorised with a pair of earrings also debuted during the Pakistan tour -- her Missoma Zenyu Gold Chandelier earrings. They retail for £125.


Kate's statement lip and wavy locks looked fabulous with the dress.


The Duchess completed the look with green pumps. They look like her Emmy London Rebecca shoes.


A great night and a nice start to the royal festive season!

59 comments:

  1. I was hoping to see this dress again, she has so much good clothes she wore only on tours so this appearance gets both fashion and sustainability points.

    DP

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    1. I like the 'sustainability points" comment. High scores all the way around.

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  2. Wow!!!!! Deep green and sparkles...every inch a queen!

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  3. Wow. That was quick Charlotte. Lol. This is a beautiful repeat on the Duchess. Head to toe perfection. Her hair looks lovely as well tonight. For this occasion I think emerald earrings, either her own or a pair from the Royal collection. S. ☺

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  4. I loved this dress first time round - I'm so pleased she repeated it. The long sleeves and deep colour suit the season. I like the hair and earrings too. although emeralds from the Royal Vaults would have been even better!

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    1. i was just about to say the same. the cheap earrings dont do the event or the dress justice. the dress is beautiful and lovely to see a repeat

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    2. I agree! Emeralds would have been perfect.

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  5. So pleased she repeated one of my favourite dresses. She looked great and I like the earrings; although emeralds from the royal vaults would have been even better!

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  6. OMG, she is so gorgeous, elegant, composed, regal...what else is there to say? The RF is so blessed to have her, along with William, to represent the future of the Monarchy. She never makes it about herself, she takes it all in stride - Keep Calm & Carry On. I look forward to the complete post later, thank you!

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  7. Just spotted the Middletons are in the Royal box. How lovely to see them out with Kates family tonight. She is very blessed to have such a lovely and supportive family around her. Having looked at the pictures again. I think either the Grenville emerald earrings or Queen Victoria's tassle emerald earrings would look very nice with this dress. Regardless she looks amazing, better than the first time she wore it. S. ☺

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  8. Love it! I've also seen a photo from earlier in the day when she had a remote/online meeting and she looked beautiful.

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  9. REPEAT ALERT! Yea. So happy to see Kate repeat this gown. After all the rich green color is perfect this time of year. It fits her perfectly, love the extended shoulders. And her makeup is beautiful - darker lipstick makes her look more glam. Her hair pulled to one side is wonderful as well.

    William in a navy velvet blazer is also a nice change. And lovely to see the Middleton's in attendance. This must be a wonderful event for all attendees. So festive.

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    1. So happy to see the Middletons! I wish we could see more of them.

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    2. Elle I agree! So festive and very nice in terms of returning to normalcy of meeting people and celebrating stuff together. I love her hair pulled to the side but I would prefer for the waves to be bigger, less of curls and more of soft waves. This reminds me so much of her hair back in 2011/2012? at the tour when she danced in hot and humid climate and her hair went all natural curls. Which is great but I can't get used to it on such a festive occasion, I still see her on a beach or so.
      Ella

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  10. One of my favorite rewears of all time. I love how she (and her team) spiced it up with the new hairstyle and lipstick.

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  11. Love her hair! It looks very classy yet unfussy at the same time. The entire combo is really nice.

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  12. Gorgeous. The dress is wonderful. Love her hair to the sides. I am not a fan of inexpensive earrings with this type of dress. The gold works but I would prefer 14 or 18 kt solid gold earrings which I am sure she has many that would have worked beautifully. Not sure about the handbag either. Will need to see better photos.

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  13. Again, so happy to see a repeat! Both Kate & Will look really nice, and I love his velvet tux in this color. I agree with the other posters above about wearing even a simple pair of the family emerald earrings. :) Sue

    A nice variety with her hair as well.

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  14. Beautiful and handsome couple! Kate is gorgeous with the brighter lip color and curly hair style. These formal events are spoiling us. Thanks Charlotte.

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  15. Balbina - Austria18 November 2021 at 22:41

    Can anyone explain, why Hello Magazine insists on calling the Duchess "Kate Middleton" after more than 10 years of marriage to Prince William. "Prince William and Kate Middleton wow at the Royal Variety Performance ..." Why??? It hurts my eyes reading this. I find it disrespectful beyond words and I simply can't understand their intention. Does anyone have any idea why this keeps going on?

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    1. Balbina: It's a good question -- it seems to be done only for Kate and Meghan.

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    2. I also find it frustrating, but I do understand there are reasons behind it. The biggest one is internet searches (you will find it is mostly online publications that use Kate Middleton)

      The way British titles and search engine optimization work does not synch. There were 10 years worth of articles on Kate Middleton, before she became the Duchess of Cambridges and at that point nobody knew how long she would be known DoC before her title change. What we do know is that she will be known by at least 4 different “names” in her lifetime. So they try to work both Kate Middleton and DoC into the article, so that you will pick it up if you search for either.

      Sophie Wessex is a good example where they did seldom use her maiden name. But there was very little on her before marriage so if you include Wessex in your search you will find almost everything on her.

      My guess is, if Kate became Princess Kate upon marriage (as is the custom in most other European monarchies) and stayed Princess Kate until she becomes queen, we would have seen a lot less Kate Middleton.

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    3. There was a lot about Camila before she married, she was much better known than Kate ( for the wrong reason), but once she married nobody ever wrote "the Prince of Wales and Camila Parker Bowles".


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  16. Wow I love this repeat! This was one of my favorite dresses. I also love the curly hair look. I understand Kate's hair is naturally very curly, and it;s nice to see her embrace the curls.

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  17. Wow ! Catherine looks so pretty!! Her makeup is more vibrant and so fresh!

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  18. Great that she's re-wearing items. Looks wonderful & doing a fantastic job as a senior member of the royal family.

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  19. I also love this repeat and have to say that the flower Posie she was given was a fabulous complement to her gown in the flower colors and the red berries that were included.

    Border Terrier lover

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  20. A lovely post! The dress is beautiful, although I would have loved some not-too-fancy emeralds for earrings. Her hair looks very nice flowing on one side, and it helps to see her earrings more clearly. :) Love the older photo of PP and the Queen. And I've always been crazy over Rod Stewart!

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  21. Yay for another repeat. Yay for trying something different with her hair and make up. Not sure the make up
    worked but changing things from time to time doesn’t hurt. Massive NAY for this green dress. I disliked it in Pakistan and I do dislike it now. This shade of green isn’t really flattering and it’s pretty overwhelming on the eye. I love many of her sparkly gowns but this is one of the ones that drown her and are actually kind of bland or uninspired. If you compare it with her silvery JP all over sequinned dress that she wore shortly after Prince George- it had a simple cut as well but it didn’t drown her and worked so much better. I wish she would bring back a simpler dress (no pattern, no sequins, no prominent lace accents) and bling it up with some royal sparklers: massive necklace, big earrings or stacking some diamond bracelets.
    Looking back- I think her 2014 appearance is still the best out of all four.
    C.

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  22. God she looks radiant! I love her hair like this so pretty relaxed and curled love it. she looks great in this green gown

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  23. Great cast, Kate looks fantastic. I wish I was there to join in the fun.

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  24. hmm i love the outfit before hmm i love it more with the curls ad lovks

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  25. Valerie in Arizona19 November 2021 at 01:56

    I loved watching the video of their arrival. Thank you Charlotte, for linking it. I am amazed at how good all of the Royals are with small talk. Every person on the receiving line was given a personal greeting and some kind of question. I also thought it was cute when William said "Back again" to (I think?) the manager of the Hall. I was lucky enough to go to Royal Albert Hall in September for one of the Proms nights while I was visiting England for a month. It was such a special occasion for me; I have always wanted to go to a live Proms. I had also been there during the day, when I picked up my ticket, and had a lovely snack at the cafe in the Hall. Ahhh, such good memories!

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    1. What a lovely memory, Valerie! :)

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  26. I would really like to see her in the silver version of this dress. I don't think green is her color, although she always looks stunning. Love the bold red lipstick, not sure about those earrings with the dress.

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  27. The Duchess looks sensational. This is a beautiful gown, intricate beading, wonderfully crafted, gorgeous colour deep green. Love the shoes and clutch, shade of colour is perfect. Her hair looks divine, soft and natural. Makeup is on point. She is the epitome of elegance and is all class.

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  28. Well..I love everything about this look. But especially her hair. It is so fresh, and makes her seem approachable but in the most glamourous of ways!

    I get what everyone is saying about the earrings not being up to the task of matching the dress. But I have a small confession. I don’t really like a lot of the Royal jewels. I am find the styling with a lot of them to be out of date and so big they are almost gaudy. Sorry…I know a lot of people will be aghast..but just my POV.

    The green dress is a knock out and has certainly put me in the festive spirit !

    Charlotte thank you for your excellent coverage. Seeing a performance at Albert Hall is on my bucket list so I greatly enjoyed your account of the history. So appreciation your work on this blog!!

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    1. Kate does look glam! The style of the dress, the hair, and Kate's svelte figure are giving me 40's movie star vibes. Even the earrings somewhat art deco!! It works for an entertainment event.

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    2. Jean, I posted about the earrings earlier, i do not think she needed big Royal bling but I thought solid gold simple earrings, hoops or dangling would work better, I can not imagine there is not something like that in her jewelry collection or even a simple pair of stud diamond earrings.

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    3. Ali….great suggestions. Gold hoops are classic in my view. Versatile, never dated, and go with so many outfits. Every woman should have a pair.

      I would say the same about a pair of diamond stud earrings. I have a pair that I purchased about 20 years ago…they were a bit of an investment at the time but the per wear cost made it truly one of the best purchases I ever made.

      Excellent suggestions!!

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  29. I like the dress it suits a Christmas time celebration but I do agree with some other comments that this may not be the right colour for Kate. I too agree re the earrings some stunning earrings from the royal vault or the ones she wore in Pakistan would have been better. But 10/10 for her hair very lovely tonight and it’s good to see her repeat her gowns.

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    1. I think the colour is wonderful and she looks good in green. I agree about the earrings, emeralds would have been nice.
      I am more on the fence about the make up, she looks beautiful of course, but I think it is too heavy

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  30. Thank you for a lovely post, Charlotte!
    Great look for Kate and I love the earrings, don't think other earrings would have been better. These are very stylish and the occasion is a show, not a state visit that would call for something "super-royal".
    The Cambridges make everyone feel noticed and appreciated - that's one of their gifts. The kids were wonderful! There was something about the girl that reminded me of Lady Louise Wessex.

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    1. Great point about the earrings Zora! While I would have loved an emerald earring, Kate somehow knows how to glam up, yet keep it relatable. And while the Cambridge's receive the lion's share of the attention, their gift is truly knowing their role of highlighting others. Love that the Middleton's are their, would be nice to ''backstage' or 'after the show' photos of William and Kate interacting with her family!! Everybody looks great.

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  31. Nice to see her hair curly. I wonder if she got tired of it hanging to one side, and started fiddling with it during the performance?

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  32. Va-va-voom - the colour of the dress and that hair marks the coming of a self assured 40 year old woman! Prom queen be gone!

    And yes, I'm one of those who find bouncy curler curls outdated by five centuries!

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  33. I love everything! The dress, the reason for the event, the flash-back photos. Perfect!

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  34. She looks stunning! Love the side-swept hair on her and truly the entire look is spectacular.

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  35. Wow wow wow.. Glittering, glamourous, sparkling... Kate is so beautiful here! I mean, she's always beautiful, but green and all this style are just spectacular. Actually, she looks really good in all shades of green! Here, also make-up, hairstyle, etc.. are all matching. Thank you Charlotte! also for posting photos from previous years. For me, among all styles, this green ensemble is the winner!

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  36. @Charlottw- it seems HMTQ did indeed join the double christening. Would you consider writing a post about it here?
    C.

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    1. C,

      My apologies for the late reply. It was wonderful to see HM attend. I loved the idea of a double christening for August and Lucas. I was saddened to read Eugenie's father-in-law passed last week. It must have been very difficult.

      I was very much hoping we might get one official photo. Sadly this wasn't the case (and the arrival photos are not available for licensing at any of my sources). If we do see anything I'll definitely cover it. My schedule has been a bit frantic this year, however I am looking forward to working on The Royal Digest again and covering more royals.

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    2. Would love to see posts about Princess Anne and Sophie Wessex as well.

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  37. I did not know that about Eugenie's FIL; I have grown to appreciate her SO much and am very sorry that he passed away.

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  38. So thrilled to see this gorgeous dress again. Kate’s hair and make up were lovely too. It feels that every time event she sets the bar higher.

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  39. Sarah from Calif.26 November 2021 at 04:36

    Beautiful!!!

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