Updated: Kate’s First Solo Engagement

Another day, another Kate announcement! Last night the Duchess of Cambridge had her first solo engagement. As reported in the Daily Mail, she was filling in for Prince Charles who was in Saudia Arabia after the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s recent death. Pretty significant that she was able to step in like that on the fly!

On the Duke and Duchess’ website a palace spokesman has said, ‘She was so pleased that her first solo engagement was for the Prince of Wales, who has shown her so much support over the years.’ How nice.

We also can’t help but wonder if Kate is still trying to make up from her comments to coworkers back in April 2007 when she and William had broken up. At that time a work colleague by the name of Philiip Higgs told the Daily Mirror,

“She had about 10 people asking if she was all right and I think she just lost her rag. She said ‘It’s because of his daddy’. Everyone raised their eyebrows but didn’t want to push her. Normally, Kate doesn’t talk about anything. She’s very quiet. But it was as if she’d reached boiling point from one sympathetic question too many. She’d been trying to keep it together and hide her real feelings. But she got a bit angry about it all and momentarily lost her cool.That happens sometimes when people are being nice to you and you’re upset.”

Well, since we weren’t there we don’t know for sure if that happened, but that’s all water under the bridge at this point. It would have been seriously embarrasing for Kate! The spokesman’s comment helps to brush that little blip even more under the rug. For more of our favourite Kate Quotes, click here.

The attendees of the event were no doubt tickled that they were hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge in the end.

Via The Daily Mail
The event had about 30 people, and was in support of In Kind Direct, which Prince Charles founded in 1996. Robin Boles, the chief executive of In Kind Direct, said: ‘We were delighted that the Duchess was able to step in at such short notice after our founder was unexpectedly called away. ‘The Duchess hosted a very special evening with absolute professionalism and charm.’ Kate certainly looks like she really pulled it off:

Leila Tannaz over on the What Kate Wore facebook page identified this dress as vintage Amanda Wakely. Impressive! Kate has worn Amanda Wakely several times, most recently at the Royal Marsden hospital . This gown is another likely example of Kate readying her Royal Wardrobe during her relationship with William; maybe she wore it to an event at Highgrove in the past! It certainly has a but of a J.Lo/Marchesa vibe to it, which can go either way, but overall we think she looks stunning. Love seeing her in this colour and the darts of the skirt really make it – so floaty and ethereal looking. She’s certainly stuck to her favourite silhouette that we have seen over and over again at other formal evening events: long and lean.

Kate brought out her bling for the event; she appears to be wearing the same diamond earrings she wore on Canada Day and at Zara’s wedding, along with a diamond bracelet. These peices appear to have been given to Catherine around the time of the wedding. Perhaps from William? The pieces look rather vintage to us…

A sneak peak at the bracelet also worn that day:

Kate also wore the bracelet at the BAFTA event in Los Angeles (on her right arm):

Also interesting that Kate appears to be carrying a glass of water rather than the champagne flutes the other guests are carrying. This could simply be because she wants to be in top form on her first solo engagement, especially since she is representing Prince Charles. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Overall, it looks like a successful first engagement for Kate. It was well executed, and fortunate that there was no public prelude to this event, and that it was a relatively small in terms of attendence. It was also a nice touch that she was able to help Charles by stepping in for him at the last minute. Definitely a nice surprise today for all of us!

Earlier in the week, Kate was seen at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbride, the  Victoria & Albert museum in South Kensington and Starbucks in Chelsea. We wonder if she will be in London this weekend? On Saturday we are going to the Haunted Tour at Kensington Palace so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled!

Also, it was announced today that:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend a St James’s Palace dinner for the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal on November 10.

Kate’s London ~ Restaurants Part One

A few of you have emailed asking about places Kate has frequented in London. If you’re planning a trip to London, or if you live here and would like to try some new restaurants, here are some that she has been to.

Tom Aiken’s Restaurant
Kate went to Tom Aikens with her family on her 26th birthday back in January 2008.  The restaurant is in Chelsea, on 943 Elystan Street,  just off the King’s Road where Kate and Pippa are often seen. (We haven’t been to this restaurant yet, but it’s on the list! We’ll let you know what we think.) Here’s a pic of Kate and Pippa leaving the restaurant (Kate is in her famous Reiss coat):

Tom’s Kitchen

Tom’s Kitchen (another restaurant by Tom Aikens) is a few steps away from Tom Aikens, and is on 27 Cale Street. (Cale Street is also home to the London Collette Dinnegan store – where Kate’s champagne coloured lace dress and red lace dress are from). William and Kate had lunch at Tom’s Kitchen in March 2009.
We’ve been to Tom’s Kitchen for dinner and brunch (highly recommend the french toast). It’s a loud, busy, casual type of place and the food is good and straightforward. We’re impressed that Will and Kate ventured there knowing that they’d be recognized.
Kate has been known to frequent Bluebird Restaurant several times over the last few years. Located on 350 Kings Road, this place is right in the Kate and Pippa neighbourhood! Here are Kate, Pippa and Carole having lunch on the patio, circa 2008 (we think!). Kate’s wearing the see-through Issa ‘Lucky’ dress (for more on the Issa Lucky dresses that Kate and Pippa have click here):
We went to Bluebird for dinner back in 2008, with high expectations. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown. We didn’t have great service (it seemed we were forgotten about for about an hour) and the food wasn’t memorable. However, it’s definitely a ‘scene’ and we might try it again! Maybe it was just an ‘off’ night.
Anyway, Kate also attended the opening of the Bluebird store (underneath the restaurant), in June 2006. The Bluebird store is owned by Belle Robinson, who also owns Jigsaw where Kate worked part-time starting in December 2006. For more on Kate and Jigsaw check out our post here. Kate’s business relationship with Belle Robinson began in around 2005/2006.
As Robinson said in an interview in 2008:

Some people asked us if we were happy for Kate and William to go and stay in our holiday house in Mustique with some friends. They’re not allowed to pay for it but in return they would make a donation to the local hospital. And I said: ‘Yeah, fine.’ Through that, as a thank-you to us, Kate supported a couple of Jigsaw events we did.’ Then she rang me up one day and said: ‘Could I come and talk to you about work?’  (For the full interview click here.)

It’s interesting that Kate, as a private citizen, was already using her ‘star power’ to help friends and acquaintances. It’s a fine line to walk. Here is one such event that Kate supported – the opening of Belle’ Bluebird store. We’re guessing she’s also wearing a Jigsaw dress from the summer 2006 collection. This a rare picture of her in bangs! She grew those out pretty quickly.
In November 2007 Kate supported another event at the Bluebird store, called Time to Reflect. It was an exhibition of celebrity photographs by Alistair Morrison to raise money for Unicef. At the time, it was reported that it was Kate’s idea to put on the exhibition for Unicef. William attended, along with the Middleton family.

Photographer Alistair Morrison and Kate Middleton
Click here for Kate’s London ~ Restaurants Part Two!

Our Favourite Kate Quotes

Ok, so we haven’t heard Kate speak in public all that much and we understand why it will be a while until we do. Prior to the William and Kate’s North American tour, their Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said that Kate would not be speaking publicly. He said,  “There is a time and a place to choose to sensibly introduce yourself to the role of public speaking. When she feels comfortable to do that [she will].” This is all part of the strategy that has been carefully worked out for Kate’s introduction to Royal Life that we are seeing unfold, so, in the meantime,  here are a few of our favourite Kate quotes.

#5. “There’s a 3 D effect

This was Kate’s oh so diplomatic response to the Queen when the Her Majesty called the wedding dress display at Buckingham Palace (click on the link to see our favourite wedding dresses) “horrid” and “creepy”. Does this 3 D comment make sense? Not really. But what was she supposed to say? We’ve got to give Kate full marks for trying. She was dealing with a crabby Queen (on their way down the corridor to the exhibit she is overheard saying something like, “you’ve already seen this, so you don’t want to see it again do you?”) and she obviously didn’t want to be rude or hurtful to the  exhibit’s curator, something that the Queen didn’t seem too concerned about. Kate made a real effort for this outing and had her hair done and put on a new dress (quite different from the dress she was wearing when she first met the Queen-click here to see). We can all relate to this quote and being in rather desperate straights having to think of a quick response. Well done, Kate.

via MSNBC.com

#4 “By far the best dressing up outfit I ever had was a wonderful pair of clown dungarees, which my Granny made. They were white with big red spots and she used a small hula hoop for the waistband — genius!

This is an excerpt from an interview with Kate posted on the Party Pieces website in March of 2010. It was pulled down pretty quickly, no doubt due to concerns that Kate was using her celebrity to promote her family’s business (click on the link for more on the Middletons) while still trying to be a private citizen. It’s true you can’t have it both ways. Similarly, this picture was posted on the company website back in 2008 and was also quickly pulled down. At any rate, this quote is a nice insight into Kate’s childhood.

via PartyPieces.co.uk

#3 “It was a huge shock when it came and very excited

This was Kate’s take on how she felt when William proposed during their official engagement interview with ITN reporter Tom Bradby. There was a real giggle at the end. Cute.

via The Daily Mail

#2 According to fellow St. Andrew’s University student Richard Dennen (years before William and Kate were engaged – click on the link for Kate’s pre-engagement style) Richard he told Kate he was nervous about his new job at Tatler she told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you my first interview.” HA. Cheeky!

Via Zimbio.com

#1 “I’m not very good at that was Kate’s off-guard comment when the official engagement interview came to an end. Kate was so relieved it was over she fell back on the couch pillows and uttered these words.  She did do a great job, but like anyone she was being hard on herself. She must not have known it was caught on camera and would be included in footage…but it is so real and normal we love that it did!

Check it out for yourself by clicking on this link here. This adorable moment is at the 25:02 minute mark. It’s soooo worth it, even if you’ve already seen it before!

Let us know if we’ve missed one of your favourites!

A Review of Kate’s Official Engagement Outfits – Part Two

Continuing on from yesterdays post (click here for a refresher), we will now review the rest of Kate’s UK public appearances since her wedding.

8) Wimbledon, June 2011.

During Kate and William’s tour of North America, Kate was asked by a child in Los Angeles what her favorite color was. Kate replied that she liked white. That certainly is evident when it comes to her clothing! Kate wore this new gorgeous tennis-y, white Temperley London dress to Wimbledon over the summer. This is another label that Kate likely has a working relationship with. Her sister, Pippa, famously wore a custom green Temperley dress for the wedding dinner at Buckingham Palace and recently sat in the front row of Temperley’s show at London Fashion Week.

This outing was also the second time Kate publicly wore the sapphire and diamond drop earrings. Here’s a better view:

via The Daily Mail

Here are the earrings on Diana before they were made into drops:

9) Royal Wedding Dress Exhibit at Buckingham Palace with the Queen, July 2011.

Kate brought out another new dress for Kate. She’s wearing a lovely cream Joseph dress from the then-current collection. If you haven’t seen any yet, there are a number of hilarious videos of the Queen commenting on the dress display. Poor Kate was trying to keep things nice and on an even keel, no doubt so as not to humiliate the curator, but the Queen really went for it calling the display of the headless wedding dress wearing mannequin “horrid”.

10) Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall Pre-Wedding Event, July 2011.

We'd love to know the joke!

This is the second UK appearance repeat for Kate since the wedding (as noted in Part One, these posts are not including the Royal Tour to Canada and California). This Diane von Furstenberg dress was first seen in Los Angeles and was the perfect choice for the cocktail party aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. We love that she is so relaxed and not wearing something that would draw attention away from the bride.

11) Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall Wedding, July 2011.

The new part of this dress is the hat. And what a hat it is! The hat was created by milliner Gina Foster. The hat was available off the peg in navy, but Kate requested it be made in this straw colour to match her coat.

The coat is by Malene Birger and it, along with the lace dress she is wearing underneath, have been worn to two previous weddings – Laura Parker Bowles’ in 2006 and friend Oli Barker’s in 2010.

Here she is at Laura’s wedding in 2006:

And at Oli’s. Not sure the black hat really goes but she is trying to mix it up!:

She also wore the dress at a book launch in 2007 (during the break up phase which explains the rather sad look on her face). Here’s a shot of the lovely lace dress from that appearance:

12) Post-Riot Visit to Birmingham, August 2011.

Another military inspired Alexander McQueen ensemble made an appearance – Kate’s fifth McQueen ensemble since her wedding day (she must have had so much fun picking them all out!). On the day of this engagement, this outfit was available on Net-a-Porter.

Overall, this outfit was a bit of a miss we have to say. Kate looks polished and professional, but the outfits just seems like a bit much and out of place (Birmingham is not a coastal city!). As soon as we saw the pics we thought this might be the first bit of criticism Kate will get from the media since the wedding. There was a bit of criticism for wearing such an expensive outfit to the riot scene, but for the most part the media is still being kind to Kate and long may that last.

So, that sums it up folks – twelve official Royal-related public appearances in the UK since the wedding…with mostly new outfits and a smattering of old favourites (three repeats in the UK, to be exact).

What will it be on Thursday when William and Kate visit the Royal Marsden Hospital? We will post our predictions later today – stay tuned!

A Review of Kate’s Official Engagement Outfits – Part One

Hello, again! This is a long post today, so settle in and get comfortable. We have broken this post into two parts, so please come back tomorrow for part two! Yesterday we looked at Kate’s outfits as a royal fiancee. Click here for a refresher. Today, let’s review her choices for her official appearances in the UK since April 29th. (We won’t cover the Canada tour in this particular post.)

Interestingly, although she wore four repeats in six public appearances during her engagement, she wore three repeats in the twelve UK official events since the wedding. (Again, this does not include the Canada tour.) This is not a criticism at all – we love seeing new outfits, as well as recognizing old favourites!

1) Meeting the Obama’s at Buckingham Palace, May 2011.

William and Kate’s first publicized engagement after their wedding was a visit with the Obamas at Buckingham Palace during their State Visit. Kate wore a new Reiss dress called  ‘the Shola’, which was available for purchase in spring 2011. The dress quickly sold out and Kate was lauded both for looking chic and for wearing an accessible High Street label. She also wore the dress in such  a way that it looked like a much pricier item. Kate also appears to be wearing some statement shell jewelry around her neck – perhaps purchased on honeymoon in the Seychelles?

And I know we are focussing on the clothes, but what do you think they were all talking about? The wedding, honeymoon, how the Obama’s trip has been going so far? We bet Kate and Michelle had some good talking points planned out in their minds  to keep the conversation going. Must be strange trying to have a conversation when you know you are going to be photographed. Kate and William both like to keep their hands animated for the photos!

2) ARK Charity Gala, June 2011.

This was the first formal evening event for Kate as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and she wore a new Jenny Packham dress that was still in stores at the time (on sale). Although not a tiara event (we have a post in the works on Kate’s tiara future – stay tuned!), she really brought out the bling with the dazzling Jenny Packham dress that was conservative (she didn’t have to worry about cleavage like Diana did when she wore that black strapless number on her first formal evening out with Prince Charles), flattering, age appropriate and FUN.

Here are a couple of pictures of Diana at her first formal royal event at the Royal Opera House in March of 1981. Looks like a very stressful dress to have worn! It was designed by the same duo who created her wedding dress, David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

Kate’s Jenny Packham dress is also the same silhouette that Kate has repeatedly worn for formal evening events so it’s safe to say this is the silhouette we will keep seeing. Let’s take a look at the evening dresses we have seen Kate in to make our point.

Here she is at the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2006 wearing BCBG:

And here she is at the same event in 2008 wear a pink Issa gown:

And we have another Issa dress here. This picture was taken at a charity dinner for the Starlight Children’s Foundation in 2009:

And I’m sure we all recognize this from the BAFTA event in Los Angeles in July 2011. This gown is Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

So I think we’ve made our point…onto the next!

3) Prince Philip’s Birthday service, June 2011.

Kate and William at Prince Philip's Birthday Service, June 2011

Kate wore this Jane Troughton coat (above) that she was last seen wearing in 2009 at the wedding of Nicholas Van Cutsem and  Alice Haddon Patton. We talked about that outfit (one of our favourite pre engagement looks) here.

Kate wore earrings made from Diana’s set for the first time in public at this event. As has been widely discussed elsewhere, these earrings were made from a set of diamond and sapphire jewelry that Diana received as a wedding gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The stones worn as earrings by Diana and Kate were originally set as the wrist band of a watch.

Here are a few pics of the stones once they were set as earrings.

Diana in one of the original settings of the diamond and sapphire set
And again, in another setting

The way Kate is wearing the earrings seems like a perfect fit for her. Not too flashy but still beautiful. That way she doesn’t have to wait for ‘big’ events to bring them out and could wear them to Wimbledon! More on that in tomorrow’s post (part two).

4) Order of the Garter Ceremony, June 2011. 

Kate was stunning in this grey Katherine Hooker dress and coat that was specially designed with an antique clasp for her from the Buxton design. She got some criticism for looking older than her age, but we think she looks very princess-perfect, and appropriate for what is a very special event for the Royal family. We hope to see this one again in the new few years, perhaps at a wedding or baby christening…

That’s a serious hat, too. Can’t help but wonder how much room those hats take up in her closet at their cottage in Kensington Palace.

5) Trooping the Colour, June 2011.

Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen for this occasion which featured her second royal carriage ride and appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony.  Two months after their big appearance on the balcony after their wedding ceremony, Kate and William appear once again in remarkably similar ensembles. William is wearing his Irish Guards uniform like he did on The Big Day, and Kate, standing once again to his right, is again wearing white Alexander McQueen. The pleated detailing on the coat is very reminiscent of the bustle on her wedding dress, don’t you think? No doubt she picked this outfit out for this occasion with that in mind. It’s a sweet nod to her wedding dress.

via Zimbio.com
via The Royal Collection
- Via Zimbio
Kate on Armed Forces Day in McQueen. Via NowMagazine.

6) Irish GuardsArmed Forces Day, June 2011.

Kate wore a new military inspired navy Alexander McQueen dress and jacket from the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. This was the third appearance of Kate in McQueen after her famous wedding dress and the Trooping the Colour appearance. It would appear that Kate has forged a mutually beneficial relationship with the label and must get a discount on the pieces she has chosen. She is a dream unofficial brand ambassador for them, after all.

Kate also accessorized the coat with a lovely gold shamrock brooch which has also been worn by Princess Anne and the late Queen Mother. We love that Kate is getting right in there and keeping these traditions alive.  But we digress. Back this this ensemble.

The first thing we thought when we saw Kate striding out for the visit in this coat was “Kate, brace yourself for some serious Diana comparisons”. It’s inevitable, of course, but this one pretty much asked for it. Diana also wore military inspired outfits when visiting regiments, most notably in this white Catherine Walker skirt suit with gold detailing. Kate’s choice isn’t as overtly costumey, but still we thought it was a rather bold move for Kate! A pop of color in the clutch or shoes would have been a good choice to mix things up a bit…

7) Epsom Derby, June 2011
This was a beautiful, summery look for Kate at the Epsom Derby. Kate mixed various designers for this look; the jacket is by Joseph and the dress is a floaty, cocktail number from Reiss, and her shoes are LK Bennet. The skirt is lovely for this event, but the jacket was certainly necessary for this event. Here’s what the dress looks like by itself:
On close inspection of this ensemble, we’re not TOTALLY convinced that the jacket really goes with the dress (the jacket color seems a touch too creamy) but, overall, we still love it. Such a classy look. And was nice to see Kate’s hair up for a change!
See you tomorrow!

How Much Things Change and Stay the Same: The Middleton Family

Via the Daily Mail

This has been quite a year for the Middleton family and, in addition to how things have changed for Kate, we find ourselves wondering how life has changed for her hardworking parents, Michael and Carole.

We all know Kate and her family had a very different introduction into this life that Diana had. Diana had grown up around the Royal Family so it wasn’t as much of a shock. Diana told Andrew Morton when collaborating with him for Diana Her True Story, “You see, I had a very good lifestyle myself. I had my own money and lived in a big house. So it wasn’t as though I was going into anything different.”

For the Middletons, it’s a different kettle of fish. I mean they probably would have liked to have visited Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as tourists when Kate was young.  No doubt Carole also read a Diana biography or two way back when and occasionally picked up an issue of Hello. All this to say that prior to Kate heading to St. Andrews, they had no concept or thought that on day they’d be up there on the Buckingham Palace balcony waving to their daughter’s future subjects. No way.

It must still seem totally surreal that their daughter has become ‘Her Royal Highness’ and perhaps the most celebrated women of the year. They have had several years to start getting used to the idea, but they didn’t know how this would all play out. Carole reportedly spoke to a Telegraph reporter in November of 2008 while at the Hennessy Gold Cup. She said,

“I feel very vulnerable about everything. I’m not a celebrity and don’t want to be one…I haven’t asked for all this.”

Fair enough. It must have been tough to have been criticized in the press for things she didn’t do or say, like the rumour that she said “pleased to meet you” to the Queen while chewing gum at Wiliam’s Passing Out Parade at Sandhurst in December 2006. That one was 100% false we now know. Carole and Mike didn’t even meet the Queen until after the engagement, when they were invited to lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor.

via Hello

Anyhow, on Michael’s part, he first spoke to the press in May of 2003 when he said,

“We are very amused at the thought of being in laws to Prince William, but I don’t think that is going to happen.”

First of all, if we were Kate back then we would have been absolutely cringing that he said that and we can only imagine that they had a few words. But, as we all know, it did happen and boy did they ever look tickled pink while speaking to assembled reporters outside their home the day the engagement was announced. And who can blame them? Even after so many years of getting to know William as just plain William, for this to actually happen must have still been TOTALLY SURREAL.

Via The Mirror

So the engagement happens and the Middletons get geared up for the wedding, showing lots of class along the way. In many ways, they seem like real quality people who could really teach a thing or two to the Royals. Then the hoopla of the wedding is over and it’s back to a new normal involving occasional Royal invitations, watching their daughter get a hero’s welcome all over Canada, and photographers trying to get your picture as you spend time in your garden. That must be so odd. I’ve got to say, this photo  of Michael Middleton working in the garden was taken just two days after the wedding is one of my favourites. He really seems like a very kind, grounded man:

Via The Telegraph