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Pippa's Mini Royal Wedding

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I am posting from my phone, which I have never done before, to start a thread to discuss the wedding. I know lots of you want to get chatting, and although I can't blog about the wedding for another week, I thought we'd open the discussion anyway. 

I did peek at photos yesterday and thought Pippa was an absolutely beautiful bride. She was so radiant and her hair, make-up, dress, and delicate tiara were perfect. I am frankly happy to see she wore a little sparkling head piece. She deserves the accessory!  Kate and the kids were so cute and there was even a moment when the future little king got a scolding from his mom. :).

Ok, I am back to vacation. See you in a few days!

Kate In Christopher Kane at Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

This morning the Queen kicked off her first garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace. Kate likes to bunch her engagements, so I don't think anyone was surprised to see the lovely duchess behind the the Sovereign on the steps of BP. Prince William, who only attended his first garden party last year, seems to have acquired a taste for it, and was at his wife's side. 

This is the third time Kate has worn the shiny Christopher Kane. All who know me know I am not the first huzzah when this ensemble is trotted out. Let's review the illustrious history of the Shiny CK. Kate debuted this at a reception for the London Olympic in 2012. There were limited photos at that event, so we didn't get a fair view of the coat. It is not at its best in truncated version, and I intensely disliked it at the time. No way to sugar coat it... 

To my surprise, Kate gave it a second wear, and at the prestigious Order of the Garter, no less! Kate wore this in 2014 and paired it with a new hat that I have dubbed "The Oyster" by Lock & Co. The full-length view of this coat vastly improved my overall impression, but I can't say it edged it into the win category. 

I am surprised to see it again today. I just don't think the sheen works. Kate likes materials that are traditionally associated with night, most obviously lace, but also her penchant for chiffon. I am almost always up for lace and I have welcomed the near universal acceptance of lace as a day-time fabric, but to me, this super satiny coat is still just a little too "boudoir-ish" for my taste.

It is better in motion, I give it that:

I think Kate is wearing the silver dress she wore with her Jane Troughton coat in 2009 to the wedding of Nicholas van Custom. I loved that ensemble so much, and because Kate tends to keep her clothes for years and recycles with regularity, I think this is likely the same dress.

The Duchess wore her brand new Kikis a second time today. Kiki McDonough truly produces mouth-wateringly beautiful brilliants.  These eye-popping earrings were just debuted in Luxembourg by the Duchess and match her ensemble today perfectly. I am not in love with the coat, but the accessories are A+.

Kate's clutch is new, too, and I absolutely love it. The pattern looks like a medieval tapestry or the border of an illuminated manuscript! This clutch is unusual for her style as a Duchess, but Kate has shown interest in vintage purses in the past, so perhaps this is an older piece. I will let you know if there is an ID on it. 

This week has been full of Pippa news. One of Kate's own hair stylists, Amanda Tucker, was photographed at Pippa's house along with her signature suitcase full of (presumably) tools and products, and assistants have been seen entering with large dress bags holding Pip's wedding gown. Additionally, the big headlines just today report a massive glass menagerie is being erected in the Middletons' garden. It is going to be a very chic wedding.  Kate told guests that she is nervous about whether George and Charlotte will behave in their respective wedding roles, and excitement is clearly high for Pippa's big day. 

In this video, just at the end, you can hear William telling guests that a trip to Norway is hopefully coming up soon for the Cambridges! 

Kate was again accompanied by Rebecca Deacon, who is apparently continuing to work for Kate through the summer. You can see her pictured below, in a navy ensemble and nude pumps, to our right  of the duchess. 

The verdict is a mixed one. Time has not erased my gut-reaction to this coat, but I think it has softened it. The coat is always better in motion and with some perspective. I loved the new clutch and thought it was unusual, but a fun addition to the ensemble. Because I love everything Kate Middleton, a piece from 2009 puts a smile on my face and makes me nostalgic for the old days of royal watching. I don't think this ensemble was a miss, but today is win because we got to see Kate, not on the merits of the Shiny CK. 

The good news is that we saw Kate today. The bad news is that I am going offline for some days and won't be covering Pippa's wedding on the actual day. Yesterday I finished my last final, today I popped by the Passport Agency office and got my new passport, and tomorrow I fly east...sans laptop. As you may have heard, Homeland Security has been mulling the possibility of banning laptops on flights coming from Europe to the U.S., and I don't want that to happen while I am away. I am going to a wedding on Pippa's wedding day and then I am running all over the countryside for some days after, so there won't be much time for blogging anyway. Wherever I am on Saturday, I'll be trying to catch enough of a signal to get a peek at her dress! Enjoy the excitement of the big day and I look forward to catching up with you all when I am back state-side. A bientΓ΄t! 

Preview of Party at the Palace

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When I imagined what Kate would wear to Party at the Palace this morning, I saw her in the creamy Chloe from Canada. When the duchess stepped out on the steps, she was wearing the exact dress. It's not surprising, because this was such an obvious fit, and I likely imagined it because the scenario is very similar--a party, in a garden, with children and young people. 

Even though it was so perfect that I dreamed it beforehand, I was a little bored to see it again so soon.  Obviously it was great to see Kate, and it was also nice to get some shots of her in the dress without any obstruction. As darling as Charlotte was, she did make it hard to get a clear picture of Kate on the last wear. Anyway, this is just the preview I promised as I wait for freedom on Monday, so I will leave it at that. Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that Kate's recent hair-cut needs a tweak or two? All those waves running in competing directions and crazy loops...

I thought this ensemble was picture perfect and Kate looked fab. A little twist would have made it fun, even just a high ponytail that wouldn't make it to prim and proper for the afternoon games, but would give us a little new perspective. Garden parties are where Kate loves to recycle, though, and since pictures are so slow and never in abundance, I guess I am ok with that. (Mr. Security!)

And I love to see the Annoushkas back!

It was a great event that supported military families and their children, which I am always excited to see. I look forward to writing the full post. Thanks for all the supportive comments, by the way. They all put a smile on my face! :) 

Harry's hand written invitation:


Kate's Visit to Luxembourg + Blog Conflicts

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kate was in Luxembourg today for an afternoon of engagements. She debuted a new Emilia Wickstead that is very close in design to the green St. Patrick's Day coat she wore on her very first appearance at that popular event! I love that green coat, so I was thrilled to see the same style today. (It is also almost the same color as the blue maternity dress that Emilia Wickstead made for Kate!) This coat is so flattering on Kate! Sadly, I can't write the post tonight, or tomorrow, or this weekend. I am wrapping up my semester here in a  flurry of finals and I won't be free to pop some bubbly and put my feet up until Monday evening. I will throw a little preview of the garden party up on Sunday, but a full post on that will also be postponed. 

I know these delays are tedious, but summer is so close I can taste it. Send prayers and good wishes my way and I will "see" you soon! 

Harry Hugs Meghan at Audi Polo Challenge

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Another day at the Audi Polo Challenge and both William and Harry played. Obviously, we were hoping that Kate might make an appearance, but it doesn't sound like she did. Meghan was there, however, as you would expect. Who flew across the Atlantic to sit home for day 2? Not this girl. 

She was snapped giving Harry a hug, appropriately by an Audi. This is the picture we were cheated of yesterday, because if there is one thing that happens at polo, it's sweaty hugs. 

Isn't it a funny world where someone hugging their girlfriend is a headline? :)  Kensington Palace gamely tried to get the focus off the hugging and onto the match, but it is a lost cause. I admire their tenacity, though.

Meghan Markle Debuts at Audi Polo Challenge

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Well, it is Derby Day here in the states, and Gold Cup, and all such horse-related things. But across the pond it was the Saturday of the Audi Polo Challenge and a very special guest turned up at the field to cheer on her handsome prince charming. Meghan Markle made her debut in the royal box today. 

The match benefits Sentebale and WellChild, two of Harry's charities, but I bet it was more than just the cash influx for a good cause that was putting such a bright smile on Harry's face. His striking girlfriend watching from a balcony was putting a spring in everyone's step.

The annual Audi Polo Challenge has been a staple on the royal calendar, and we are used to seeing, or recently hoping to see, another royal heart-throb. The Audi Polo Challenge was played on May 10th in 2009 and Kate was there to cheer William on. The photo-set from that sunny afternoon feature some of the most famous shots of William and Kate in their dating days. 

All three royals were out together in 2012 for the Audi Polo Challenge, and goofing around just a bit, too.

Meghan joins a long quasi-royal tradition of girlfriends at the polo field. Girlfriends and royal brides... Heather over at The Fug Girls is hypothesizing that Harry and Meghan are already secretly engaged, which I think is an interesting possibility. 

Today was, in many respects, Meghan's royal debut. It is the first "public" event that the couple have attended together, and Meghan was doubtless eager to look her best. She wore a navy day dress with an asymmetrical hemline and carried a polka-dot clutch. She definitely brought the Hollywood glam:

This beautiful frock is by Antonio Berardi. It is the Double-Breasted Sleeveless Dress and is retailing at Saks right now--one sale--for $1,617. It features almost military style button closure, piping, a fitted bodice, and full skirt with the trendy cut-out and an exposed zipper. It is en vogue, kids. This girl plays to win in the fashion stakes. 

It got a little chilly, so Meghan slipped on a crisp white blazer which she left around her shoulders, rather than using the sleeves. Meghan is no Kate, and I am betting that the fashion we see from Meghan will be the type that people have been wanting from Kate, but that she just hasn't delivered. 

That is not a negative judgment. Kate and Meghan are very different women with very different styles.  You can like both, as I do, but I think many expected Kate to shift gears after her marriage and showcase Meghan's kind of style, and there was a lot of disappointment when she didn't. Interestingly, I think that these two women fit their spouse/boyfriend perfectly. William is more buttoned up and traditional, Harry is more of a wild child; Kate's style is more sedate, and Meghan's is more va va voom. It's a healthy balance. I am excited to see more of Meghan, and more of Meghan with Kate at some point. Anyway...Meghan certainly had the smile of a woman head over heels in love...and possibly hiding a sparkly in her dresser drawer? Everyone else is trying to figure out if now is the time to take a break and run for more champagne and Meghan is like, "isn't he playing magnificently?!" Great day. :)

Huge thank-you to James Whatling who has been documenting these polo days for years. It is so fun to get snaps and someone has to make the Saturday a work day for that to happen. Also, if you missed it, I wrote a full post on Kate's visit to the farm this past week, which was published this morning. That is available here

Follow-Up Post: Duchess Kate's Trip to the Farm

I am always excited for a "Casual Kate" day, but my favorite is when Kate goes country. From remote Anglesey beaches to fireside afternoons in the Lake District, when Kate puts on her boots and Barbour she is at her best. On May 3rd the Duchess headed to Gloucester for a day at Wick Court, a "small-scale traditional livestock farm, with sheep, beef cattle, pigs and poultry." 

The farm is one of several owned and operated by Farms for City Children. The charity hosts urban kids for week-long stints at their various farms where the young people, in the words of the organization's website, "learn by doing." I think this is such a great project. When the spring lambs arrived at Mount Vernon, I zipped down to see them, and there was a school group touring. The kids were hanging on the fences looking at the lambs and they didn't know the sheep were...sheep! So, the more we can get kids out into the fresh air and onto farms to learn about other living things, the better.

Kensington Palace

Kate shared that she is giving George and Charlotte a taste of the farm right at home. Daily Mail's Rebecca English reported that Kate chatted with one of the youngsters and shared details about her growing menagerie:
Rehanna , ten, chatted to the duchess at length and said afterwards: 'She said she had lots of animals at home, a dog, a hamster, a lamb and her chickens. She said she also had lots of eggs in an incubator and they were hoping they would hatch into chicks. '
Apparently George and Charlotte are hatching chicks in an incubator, so it isn't clear to me if Kate keeps chickens regularly, or if this is just a 4H project. Kate told kids gathered that she wasn't sure if the incubator would work, but that George and Charlotte check it every morning. My family hatched chicks when I was young, too. It was very, very exciting, so I know exactly how Charlotte and George feel. Once they hatch, it gets even better, obviously. All those little yellow, chirping fluff balls are super sweet.  

Farms forCity Children

The student Rehanna also mentioned that Kate had sheep. That might have turned out to be nuanced. I read somewhere that the Cambridges don't have any sheep, but that an adjacent neighbor does, and George and Charlotte go and feed that sheep. Since Kate and William don't have extensive staff at Anmer, I suspect that the sheep belongs to a neighbor, but who knows! If people wonder what Kate does with her time, we are certainly getting a sense of it now!

Kate got a full tour of the yard. How often do we see the Duchess of Cambridge leaning against a pig-pen?

Kensington Palace
It's more of a pigpen with a purpose. The kids and Kate were corralling the pigs to weigh them!

Another unusual sight is the duchess next to a horse. The rumors about Kate's alleged allergy to horses has changed so many times in the past six years that even I have not kept up. Where were we when the dial stopped spinning? She was. Then the Palace said she wasn't. Then they said she was? Who has tracked this better and can let us all know?

This picture of Kate in the barnyard, with the bricks in the background, made me think of a scene from Downton Abbey when Lady Mary is touring the estate. I just love these country shots.

Kate hit just the right note with her ensemble, of course. Although she did not wear a Barbour, she recycled her Troy London parka that she debuted in Canada just last year. There was some confusion about the sweater, but it turns out it is a new sturdy cashmere from J.Crew. The gingham blouse appears to be the Gap button down from her day at the winery while Down Under in 2014. Her trousers are the famed Pangolin Pants, which debuted on tour in India. We all know and love her Penelope Chilvers boots which she has had for years, but has certainly been giving more love these past months.

Finally, Kate finished it off with her Lauren Leaf earrings. As you all know, these aren't my favorite from her jewelry box, but today (well, a few days ago) they worked just right. I really liked them in this setting! Kate's hair has really gotten long and she chose to do a very unpolished half & half, which I loved.  It had no obvious curls or careful blowout, but was full and natural.

As I mentioned on the initial post, which left up since several days have gone by, I am really passionate about unplugging our kids and making sure they have a stronger connection to reality through nature. We are organic and I truly believe that some of our instabilities and mental health bumps stem from our isolation from reality. We have already seen Kate giving her kids plenty of exposure to reality through trips to the Farm Park in Bucklebury, raising them at Anmer Hall, even days at the polo field tumbling in the grass or afternoons picnicking at the horse trials. I am thrilled to hear that Kate is giving George and Charlotte an even more proximate experience by hatching eggs at their home. What a happy and well-rounded childhood!

Kate Visits Farms for City Children

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Kate is in Gloucester today visiting Farms for City Children. I love Casual Kate and I particularly love Country Kate, which is what we are getting today. The Duchess is wearing the blouse, sweater, and coat she wore in Canada and her Pangolin Pants from India. The boots she has had for years, but they made an appearance on both the India and the Canada tours. (The check might be more in keeping with Kate's Gap shirt from Down Under...)

[Update] Just saw a picture of Kate without her coat. This sweater is not the Canada sweater, which was quite sheer. It looks new to me.
Not pictured above, but visible a little in the photos below, Kate is wearing her Kiki McDonough Lauren Leaf earrings. As you know, they aren't my favorite, but their woodsy theme is appropriate for today, so I think I like them with this outfit! They fit.  

I am a little disappointed not to see a Barbour, and as much as I love Penelope Chilvers, we haven't seen her Le Chameau wellies in a while, but as she has switched up her casual/professional with patterned skinnies and fancier shoes, I guess we can all get on board with a little variety in this area, too. 

All of that is the good news, the bad news is that my schedule does not permit me a full blog post today. I am particularly disappointed about that, because I think this program might be my favorite of all Kate's activity thus far.

According to Kensington Palace, the founders set up this farm in 1976 to allow children from urban areas the chance to experience farm life. I think dirt and grass and sunshine and sky are so important for children, and for adults. One of my concerns with the increasing technology we have is how it cuts us off from reality, from nature. I don't think it is healthy at all. A connection to the land promotes happier and more balanced people, so I think this is a great, great program. I wish I could give more attention to the post and all the pictures that are sure to roll in throughout the engagement.


I hope to expand the post over the weekend.  I hate when life preempts, but these sorts of conflicts don't happen often and I look forward to getting back to normal and dependable posts very soon. :)

Princess Charlotte 2nd Birthday Photos

Monday, May 1, 2017

William and Kate have released a new photo of Princess Charlotte today to mark her second birthday tomorrow. As has become the custom, Kate took the photo of her little princess herself at the family's Norfolk home. 

This sole image of Charlotte is certainly a change of pace from the photo-sets the couple have released in the past. I don't think we have ever gotten just one single shot of either George or Charlotte. William and Kate usually release a set of 2-4 images. 

I do love that Kate has dressed Charlotte in yellow and blue, echoing the color scheme Kate and William wore on the May day they presented Charlotte on the steps of the Linda Wing:

I agree with everyone who has been seeing the Queen in Charlotte. She has been favoring her great-grandmother for some time now, but I still see Carole and Pippa in Charlotte, too! And some specifically William in this little half-smile that Kate captured. 

Also, is Charlotte wearing the same bow clip she wore in her first birthday photos? I think we might have a royal recycle!

Happy Birthday, HRH Princess Charlotte! 

Chris Jackson Weds Natasha Archer in France

Sunday, April 30, 2017

I know everyone has been waiting and wondering. There were rumors that royal photographer Chris Jackson and Kate's personal assistant Natasha Archer were getting married this weekend! He just confirmed that they did with a stunning black and white on his Instagram page. The handsome couple wed in Bordeaux, France at Chateau Rigaud according to the photo's tag:

A post shared by Chris Jackson (@chrisjacksongetty) on

A guest shared this snap of the reception venue:

Natasha's dress is absolutely beautiful...kind of hope he posts a few more in color. I also love her graceful chignon that looks very much in the same vein as a certain HRH's favorite up-do. Now the Jacksons share their wedding anniversary weekend with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who celebrated six years yesterday! 

Best wishes! 

[Updated] Kate, William, and Harry at the London Marathon

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The big day finally arrived! Today was the London Marathon featuring the Royal Trio's mental health campaign.  William, Harry, and Kate met and mingled with their Heads Together team earlier in the day, posing for pictures, listening to stories and giving last minute hugs of encouragement before the competitors headed to the start line.

The Royal Trio officially began the race by pressing the big red start button in unison, launching 50,000 runners onto the course!

The button doesn't bite! :) I guess they didn't have a practice round pressing the button, but they figured it out. Apply pressure downward. Harry is like, "I'm gonna let you guys work this out--call me when you are ready to push."

The trio watched the race from the halfway point. Runners would slow to greet the smiling royals, but the three would urge them on. Prince Harry especially seemed keen to keep people on their time. :)

Kate learned this two-handed wave from Prince George in Canada and she deployed it full force today. 

The duchess was radiant. Dressed in a Heads Together jacket, dark jeans, and her white Supergas, she looked simple and sharp next to the boys. Kate's hair was immaculately blown out, and she wore her Lauren leaf earrings from Kiki McDonough. Kate is clearly wearing one of her Breton tops under there, which is a perfect choice because the navy and white combo matches her Heads Together gear.

At first I thought she was wearing her Tori Breton top from Ralph Lauren. But, when the sleeves stick out at the cuff you can see it has quite a generous depth of white cuff--more than her Tori has. It also has a tighter knit quality from what I can see. Based upon the stripes along the collar she doesn't have any Breton tops that match the pattern, so I think this is new. While I was on my Easter/HolyWeek hiatus Kate wore a new Breton top by MIH Jeans. This is that top. You miss stuff when you go off the radar for week. 

I chose photos that highlighted what I wanted to show in Kate, but quite a few of the pictures I saw (and didn't pick) had Harry looking a little glum. Obviously a few stills don't necessarily tell an accurate tale, but he did seem a little on the quiet side this morning, occasional bursts of enthusiasm aside. Harry gives the bottle a little squirt to hit William right in the face.  

I love the obvious warmth between Harry and Kate. They have clearly got along for many years, but we have seen them working and interacting together publicly a lot more in the past three years or so. Good to see them so close. I am so interested to watch the dynamic if Meghan joins the family.

The Duke and Duchess and Harry have reportedly been absolutely amazed by the response they have received from this initiative and have decided to extend the campaign. What that will look like practically speaking is not as clear, but obviously they feel they have built great momentum and really collectively hit their stride on a project they can develop further. 

I am not exactly sure what is happening here. It sure looks like William is trying to give Kate a quick kiss, but maybe he was just trying to whisper and the camera caught him at just the right second... Maybe.

At one point, a runner ran by and threw water at William. He took it well, but Kate looks a little non-plussed. I don't blame her. First, she isn't dressed to get wet. Look at that glossy perfect hair and make-up. She is the Duchess of Cambridge dressed to be photographed for worldwide consumption. Even more concerning is the security risk this poses. No one should be throwing liquids at the royals, and I am sure Mr. Security & Co. are reviewing this and trying to come up with ways to minimize something like this in the future.

Obviously today was a pretty straight forward in the fashion department and an easy win. It was really fun to see William, Harry, and Kate pull off such a successful endeavor and garner the kudos from media and royal watchers alike. They've had some bumpy press over the past five years, and I for one and happy to see them applauded for the work they do.

This shot really summed up the day, supportive hands and heads together.