Two years ago, William, Kate, and Harry traveled to Arromanches, France to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Today, they were back in France at the Thiepval Memorial to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme (tomorrow) and to pay tribute to the dead.
The Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest battle in human history. One million men died over the course of the engagement which spanned five months, from July to November of 1916. Despite the caveat that the battle lasted not days but months, the human carnage is difficult to process.
The Cambridges and Prince Harry were given a historical briefing overlooking the now calm farmland of Picardie and their somber faces eloquently conveyed the terrible facts they were being told.
After getting a sense of the scope and tragedy of the event, the trio attended a candlelit vigil at the Tiepval Memorial. The memorial was built to commemorate some 70,000+ Brits and South Africans who died in France and have no known graves. World War I truly wiped out a generation of Western Europeans.
|Kensington Palace Twitter|
Appropriately, Kate wore a new ensemble for this event. This is the Snake-Stitch coat from Missoni, although I prefer to call it a chevron pattern in grey and black. :)
The coat is the longer length that Kate has been favoring and features oversized patch pockets and a demure collar. The back is quite unusual, using clever tailoring to create a slimming illusion. It retailed for over £2,000.
Kate wore a new black pillbox which has been very well received. I absolutely love it. It looks similar to the Betty Boop Kate loves so much, just in a new color. They are certainly close cousins. Carole Middleton wore the Betty Boop on Christmas morning in the same manner that Kate sported today's hat--pushed back and with the bow at her neck.
The earrings we saw just this month when Kate debuted them at Trooping the Colour. They proved to be a bit difficult to ID, but I think that Annie Elizabeth finally figured out that they are in fact by Balanciaga.
The verdict is a big win. This was a beautiful ensemble with which to mark this somber and historical occasion. I like the chevron look and am excited that she wore it, and that hat is so very elegant. The hat and her dark hair really framed her face well this evening. The Duchess struck just the right note of sophistication, fashion, and respect.
There is a beautiful song with which you may already be familiar: The Green Fields of France. It is about a young man who fought and died in France during 1916. It is a very moving song, juxtaposing the beauty of the melody with the plaintive and tragic story of young lives lost in the mud and horror of France's deadly trenches. My favorite version is by Ronan Tynan:
The sun now it shines on the green fields of FranceThere's a warm summer breeze that makes the red poppies danceAnd look how the sun shines from under the cloudsThere's no gas, no barbwire, no guns firing nowBut here in this graveyard it's still no man's landThe countless white crosses stand mute in the sandTo man's blind indifference to his fellow manTo a whole generation that were butchered and damned.
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See you tomorrow.