Wednesday, 22 February 2017

UPDATED: "Proud" Kate Carries Out First Engagements as Patron of Action for Children in Wales

The Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Wales to visit two Action for Children projects supporting vulnerable families. Today marks her first engagements with the organisation since becoming its patron in December, following on from Her Majesty The Queen.

Kensington Palace said "The Duchess of Cambridge is incredibly proud to follow The Queen as Patron of Action for Children. The Duchess firmly believes that every child who needs it should be given the best support at the earliest opportunity. She is looking forward to getting to know the people that make Action for Children such a success and meeting the young people they work with."

Upon arrival at the Action for Children centre in Torfaen, the Duchess was introduced to Mayor of Torfaen, Veronica Crick.

Action For Children cares for disadvantaged children from across the UK, from before they are born until they are into their twenties. The organisation helps all types of families, supporting children and carers through fostering or adoption, and intervening early to stop neglect and abuse. The charity also makes life better for children with disabilities. It’s 7,000 staff and volunteers operate over 600 services, improving the lives of 390,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year.

More on the history of the organisation and its founder from the charity "Over 147 years ago, Methodist minister, Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson took the time to listen to homeless children living under the arches of Waterloo station. Stephenson couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Everything he did was 'In the service of the children'. He listened. And we’ve been listening and taking action ever since. From one family home in Waterloo, the charity quickly grew to become the National Children’s Home (NCH)."

Below we see Fred and George, the first children taken in from the streets, rather than having to face the workhouse in 1869.

There's a very brief but incredibly interesting video on the history of Action for Children available on YouTube.

The Duchess first heard more about MIST (Multi-disciplinary Intervention Service), a child and adolescent mental health project which works specifically with children who are living in care with foster families or birth families. The service works with both the young person and their carers or birth family to address complex mental health needs, intervening where it becomes clear the child is at risk of being placed in residential or institutional care, with the aim of keeping the child in their local area, and having as normal a life as possible. MIST has been running for 12 years.

Kate met service user Craig, 15, from Torfaen has been in care since the age of seven due to some difficult relationships within his birth family. Since being referred to Torfaen MIST 16 months ago, Craig has made great strides working with his young people practitioner, Jordan Jones, and is exploring a return to his birth family when he reaches his 16th birthday. You can read more about his story here.

Kate chatted with MIST Service Manager Jenny, about the stigma attached to mental health and the importance of relationships.

The Duchess met with birth families, foster carers and therapeutic foster carers who shared their experiences.

Kate enjoyed a quick game of pool with some of the service users.

You can view a video of Kate trying her hand at pool here.

More from the Mail Online "The royal also showed off her pool-playing skills during a light-hearted moment after a morning talking to children and young people with complex mental health needs. Kate was welcomed to MIST by service user 15-year-old Craig Davies, who also became her team-mate in the impromptu game of pool. Unfortunately for Craig, who was playing with the Duchess against fellow service user Connor Goodacre, also 15, she missed her shot. Craig said he was initially nervous about meeting Kate but lost his nerves, especially after chatting with her about Prince George and Princess Charlotte. He said they also discussed their pets including Kate's dog Lupo and hamster Marvin and his Jack Russell dog Wilf, adding: 'She was talking about how MIST helps us and stuff with life and school. She was really interested in what we were talking about.' Asked what he thought of Kate's pool skills he pulled a face and said: 'She was dreadful.'"

Cheering on the next participant..

Action for Children said "Staff and families from our Torfaen service loved meeting the Duchess today". There was a very sweet moment when a little girl hugged Kate.

BBC News Wales shared a video of the memorable moment.

Next, Kate visited the Caerphilly Family Intervention Team (FIT) to learn about their work with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, problems with family relationships and those who have or who are likely to self-harm.

Kate met a group of very excited children. I love photos like these - in many ways they epitomise just how special a royal visit can be. Seeing the smiles on the children's faces is priceless.

The Duchess viewed the team’s family therapy work that helps families understand the reasons behind certain behaviour. It supports them to manage feelings and behaviours using creative techniques that are tailored to meet individual needs.

The project is delivered by Family Support Practitioners who are trained and supervised by a Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Psychotherapist.

Kate brought back her chic burgundy Paule Ka suit today. The Duchess styled the look with her favourite black polo neck sweater.

Readers will no doubt remember The Duchess first wore it in 2012 for a visit to Middle Temple where the Cambridges launched a scholarship for disadvantaged students. It's interesting to note the choice of a French designer so soon after the announcement of the upcoming trip to Paris.

A look at the back of the suit.

It is thought Kate's suit comes from the designers 2011 collection. The double breasted jacket features modified peplum detailing at the waist. Below we see the design in a different colour.

Paule Ka

Paule Ka is a French ready-to-wear brand, created in 1987 by Serge Cajfinger. Born in Lille in 1955, Cajfinger spent his childhood in Brazil; he returned to France in 1968. In 1974, he opened a multi-brand store in Lille known as Paule Ka. Inspired by the grace and elegance of 50’s and 60’s style icons including Jackie Onassis Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace Kelly, he sought to bring a modern twist to their timeless elegance. The brand's style is geometric and sober, sophisticated yet urban. Today, the brand is a favourite of everyone from Amal Clooney to Jessica Chastain. More styles from the brand would prove an excellent fit for the Duchess should she elect to wear French brands during her trip to Paris.

Kate teamed the suit with her Stuart Weitzman Half N Half boots.

It looks like Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Eternal Citrine Cushion and Diamond Earrings.

The £1200 pair are described as "These teardrop earrings are crafted from the finest 18-karat gold, citrine, and diamonds that create a look you'll love for a lifetime."

Kiki McDonough

I'm definitely a fan of Kate's look today. The tailored suit teamed with the boots is very much reminiscent of her pre-wedding style. I thought the choice of earrings injected a nice pop of colour brightening up the look. What do you think?


27 February - Before we leave you, Kensington Palace announced two new additions to Kate's Calendar. On Monday, 27 February, The Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family, will host a reception to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017. This engagement is a natural one for William and Kate following their tour of India last year. A highlight of the evening will include a special Indian themed menu of canapés prepared by Royal Chefs working alongside chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK's oldest Indian Restaurant. There will also be a display from the Royal Collection including items from previous royal visits to India, and Indian gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library.

13 May - The Duke & Duchess & Prince Harry will host a tea party at Buckingham Palace for children of those who have died serving in the Armed Forces. More from the Palace "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have arranged the event as a way to acknowledge and honour the fact that a number of young children have had to come to terms with the loss of someone very close to them at a young age, having lost a parent in Armed service to the country. Their Royal Highnesses hope the event will provide an opportunity for these children to broaden their support networks amongst other families with similar experiences." The party takes place exactly one week before Pippa's wedding.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kate in Red Philosophy Blazer for Valentine's Day with RAF Cadets & A Trip to Paris!

The Duchess of Cambridge visited RAF Wittering near Peterborough to meet with local air cadets today.

Of course, today is Valentine's Day, a fact Kate didn't forget when choosing her ensemble for the engagement. I imagine it's very likely William and Kate have plans for a romantic dinner at Kensington Palace this evening.

From arrival, Kate appeared to be having a wonderful time. Those expressions are priceless :)

Before returning to KP to spend the evening with her pilot, Kate met another pilot who showed her a tutor aircraft. 

Kate was shown the controls. 

The Duchess became Royal Patron and Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation in December 2015. The Duke of Edinburgh passed on his Patronage, after 63 years as Air Commodore-in-Chief. Today marks Kate's third visit since.

The RAF Air Cadets, which is made up of the Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force promotes a practical interest in aviation among young men and women, providing training while encouraging the development of life skills including leadership and teamwork. The organisation currently comprises 42,000 air cadets aged 12-19, and 15,000 adult volunteers across the UK and abroad. It was first established in 1941 during the Second World War, with the aim to train young men in aviation skills before they joined the RAF.

The Duchess met air cadets from Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing Air Training Corps, who are taking part in a half-term skills development camp. The week acts as an initial “camp experience” for cadets who are in their first six months of membership.

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore McCafferty said: “It was a delight to see the Duchess again and to witness her engaging with our young cadets and adult volunteers in such a relaxed manner. “Her personal support of the RAF Air Cadets is very much appreciated and I am sure those lucky enough to meet her today will keep those memories for a lifetime.”

Kate joined join the cadets as they participated in a personal development training session.

The Duchess quickly got into the spirit of the session. The young cadet beside her will have quite a story to tell about how he spent Valentine's Day!

Kate chatting with the air cadets.

The cadets were learning safe weapon handling.

The Duchess took to the skies for an air cadets flight training simulator session.

Kensington Palace shared a video.

More from the Express:

"But then the Duchess had a go in a training simulator. During her ‘flight’, Kate reached a speed of 60 knots at an altitude of 4000ft as she took the controls of a flight simulator. The simulator mimics the performance of a Vigilant motor glider that the air cadets use - vibrating like the real thing and showing a screen of terrain ahead. 
After about five minutes of gingerly trying the controls, she gradually took over after instruction from Fl Lt Michael Salter. He revealed: “She was gentle on the controls. Very often people are too rough but she had it exactly right. “The controls are extremely sensitive and she was extremely sensitive.” Kate told him she had not flown before “but she wanted to understand what the feeling was like in the air. He said: “She now realises how the controls alter the sensation in the air. She was a natural.” Kate told Flt Lt Salter that she felt the movement in her feet on the pedals. “It flies exactly like the real aeroplane. She said ‘sometimes it sways’."

Kate signed the visitors book before leaving.

The Duchess opted for a 'smart casual' look with a sartorial nod to Valentine's Day. I thought it a very nice touch to select a red military inspired blazer.

The talented Kate's Closet swiftly identified the piece as the PHILOSOPHY DI LORENZO SERAFINI Double-breasted twill blazer. The £760 claret blazer is part of the Resort '17 collection, inspired by the work of French designer Jean Bouquin who is famed for dressing the St Tropez jetset in the '60s and style icon Brigitte Bardot.

Woven with touches of wool, this twill piece has a double-breasted front, peak lapels and embossed gold buttons. The garment was made in Italy. It's currently available at Net-A-PorterBarneys and FarFetch.


A closer look at the garment.


The blazer also comes in blue. It's available at Browns Fashion and Farfetch (Take 10% off your first order with code v10cff)

Browns Fashion

Renowned Italian designer Alberta Ferretti founded Philosophy in 1984 with a focus on soft, feminine dressing for day and evening. In 2014, Lorenzo Serafini assumed the role of creative director, adding a touch of glamour to the label’s romantic roots. We first saw Kate wear the label last year when she sported a chic ivory jacket for a new official portrait.

Kate teamed the jacket with a black polo neck sweater, black jeans and her Stuart Weitzman boots from Russell and Bromley. Middleton Maven notes the US version of flat black suede boots are available in very limited sizing at Farfetch.

Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren earrings. Again, the heart shaped earrings were a nice reference to the day.

Kiki McDonough

And Kate completed the look with a pair of black bow gloves.

I think the blazer is very chic and a great choice for today. The choice of earrings, sleek ponytail and boots are all win for me, however I'm not sure the skinny jeans work particularly well with it. The blazer is quite weighty and with the skinny jeans the proportions seem off. What do you think? Do you like it?


We have all been awaiting news of a tour or overseas trip for the Cambridges in 2017. Yesterday, Kensington Palace confirmed the Duke and Duchess will undertake a two-day trip to Paris on 17 & 18 March. 

The Palace released the following statement "Their Royal Highness' visit is at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Full details of the visit will be announced in due course, but the itinerary will include a reception for young French leaders from a variety of fields, a formal dinner at the residence of Her Majesty's Ambassador and attendance at the Wales v France Six Nations test at the Stade de France". The Mail Online reports the couple will carry out around eight engagements over the two days. It will be somewhat similar to the Cambridges 2014 trip to New York.

The visit is set to be a poignant one marking William's first official visit to Paris since his mother died there in 1997. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her passing. More from The Times:

'The Duke of Cambridge is to make his first official visit to Paris next month, 20 years after his mother was killed there in a car crash. Accompanied by the duchess, he will travel to the French capital for a two-day trip on March 17 at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Although William has not been to Paris publicly since 1997, he has made more than one private trip there, according to Kensington Palace. It is not known whether those trips included a visit to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, where the accident took place on August 31, 1997. The couple are not expected to visit the tunnel next month.'

Richard Palmer notes the couple were initially invited by the Welsh Rugby Union and the Foreign Office asked Kensington Palace to build a visit around it:

"The royal couple, who have enjoyed several holidays in France, were initially invited to Paris by the Welsh Rugby Union - William has just taken over from the Queen as the WRU's patron - but the Foreign Office then asked Kensington Palace to build an official visit around the match.
They are expected to meet senior French politicians but sources insisted the trip would not be overtly political and was part of a wider remit to use the Royal Family to maintain close ties with Britain's European neighbours. The visit on March 17 and 18 comes in the month that Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to be able to trigger Article 50, beginning Brexit negotiations. A senior royal aide said: "We have a very strong relationship with France and the French people and this visit will celebrate those close ties."

It has been reported they will stay at Hotel de Charost, the official residence of the British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing the full itinerary. With Brexit, it has been suggested we'll see an increase in European royal visits. There will also be significant interest in Kate's wardrobe during the trip. Will we see French designers? I imagine at least one. We'll keep you up to date as further details become available :)


William, Kate and Harry joined presenter Nick Knowles at St. Mary's University yesterday for filming of a new BBC show 'Mind Over Marathon' that will air in April. The show will see Mr. Knowles work with those with mental health issues who are participating in the marathon. From what we can see from the photos, it looks like he chatted with the royals about Heads Together before they took part in a warm up routine. I initially thought it was filmed the same day as the London Marathon Training Day as Kate wore the exact same ensemble. Kate once again sported her Perfect Moment Jacket, Zara Jeans and Sweaty Betty / New Balance trainersClick here to visit the Mail Online's article which includes a selection of photos.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed/Mail Online

And finally, Kensington Palace announced The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Ronald McDonald House Evelina London on Tuesday 28th February, officially marking the opening of their purpose-built 'home away from home’ accommodation for the families of children being treated at Evelina London Children's Hospital. On arrival the Duchess will hear more about Ronald McDonald House Charities, and what the new House will mean to the families and children being treated at Evelina London. Kate will then be taken on a tour of the House, meeting families who are currently benefitting from its new facilities and services. Before departing, The Duchess will attend a short reception in the Day Room, and unveil a plaque to mark the House's official opening.

A very Happy Valentine's Day to you all :)