Friday, 17 November 2017

New Dates for Kate's November Calendar, a Visit from Tennis Royalty, William's Cyberbullying Taskforce & a Royal Family Celebration!

Happy Friday!

We're back with an assortment of updates from the past couple of days beginning with news of three additions to Kate's Calendar for November. Next Wednesday, 22 November, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will carry out a day of engagements in Birmingham. Richard Palmer reported last week we could see Kate undertaking several engagements outside of London in the coming weeks. If you're a longtime royal watcher, you'll likely remember William and Kate visited Birmingham just months after the royal wedding in 2011 to support riot-affected areas. Kate debuted her nautical McQueen ensemble that day, and it remains a popular choices in her wardrobe over six years later.


The couple will begin the day at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull Manufacturing Plant. William and Kate will then visit the Jaguar Land Rover Experience Centre, where they will meet mountain rescue volunteers participating in a vehicle familiarisation exercise. The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to drive a vehicle in the off-road driving area. Afterwards, they will meet local children and volunteers who support projects focusing on regeneration, education, young people, charity work and the environment.

Kensington Palace

From there, an engagement William will be particularly excited about as a Villa fan - a visit to Aston Villa Football Club to see the work of the Coach Core programme taking place in Birmingham. Finally, the Duke and Duchess will visit Acme Whistles, creators of the first police whistle and the original Acme Thunderer. During the visit, they will hear about the history of the company and see past and present products. They will enjoy a tour of the workshop seeing the production process, including the press work, plating, moulding, welding and polishing of the 115,000 whistles that are made and tested every week.

Aston Villa

On Friday, 24 November, the Cambridges will make their second appearance at the Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre in London. The Royal Variety Performance takes place every year, either in London or in a theatre around the United Kingdom. The event is in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, formally the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron. The glamorous evening promises a night of entertainment with performances by the Killers, Paloma Faith, Louis Tomlinson and the Script. William and Kate made their debut in 2014 when Kate first wore her DVF Zarita gown. Looking forward to seeing them attend again!


And on Tuesday, 28 November, the Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Foundling Museum. Kate will learn more about the museum's history and the way it continues to focus on its founding principles to use art and creativity as a means to support and engage children and vulnerable families. The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. Kate will meet families and children who have benefited from the museum's education and outreach programmes, including preschool children from a local nursery who regularly visit the museum and young care leavers who are being trained to run their own creative workshops.


************

Last night, William, Kate and Harry attended the annual 'Autumn Dinner' for the Royal Foundation at Sunbeam Studios in London.


The stunning venue is an enormously popular wedding and events venue. With its unique blend of Edwardian elegance and modern aesthetic, it's not difficult to see why.


More on the venue:

'The venue is made up of three large halls and two meeting rooms along with extensive gardens. Talbot Hall, Main Hall, Rootes Hall and the Shrewsbury Room all connect via the mezzanine level, with grand staircases descending in to Main and Rootes Halls, both of which open on to our beautiful private gardens. The Board Room is available on its own or in combination with the other spaces adding more versatility.'

Whilst a photographer was on hand for the evening, it's highly unlikely we'll see any photos. No doubt a fabulous evening was had by all!

************

I want to briefly switch gears to discuss important work William has been doing. Yesterday, he attended a meeting of the Royal Foundation's Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying at Google's headquarters and unveiled the Taskforce's action plan. Convened in May 2016, William brought together the UK's leading tech and media companies for the first time, as well as children's charities, parents, and a panel of young people. He believes that the largest social media, tech, gaming and media companies have a positive opportunity to create the solution to support children online, and to help children feel empowered to question online behaviour, speak out and support their friends. Organisations including Google, Apple, EE and Twitter have all been involved.


Shortly after George was born, William heard the tragic story of a young boy "who had killed himself following a vicious campaign of online bullying", a Kensington Palace statement said. "As he looked into the issue further it was soon clear there were many similar stories from the UK and around the world." Last year, Lucy Alexander started her own campaign to raise awareness of the issue after her son Felix took his own life. After hearing her story, William asked to participate in the taskforce to help others gain an understanding of the impact of cyberbullying. In the moving video below, William talks with Lucy and Chloe Hine, a young girl who contemplated suicide because of the bullying she endured online from her peers.


In his speech, William said:

'For me, the issue of cyberbullying and its consequences are personal. My work as a HEMS pilot has exposed me to the tragedy of suicide and the despair felt by those who have been subjected to cruelty and abuse. Through my work on mental health, I have spent time getting to know parents and children for whom the impact of online bullying has been devastating.
And as a parent myself, I understand the sense of loss and anger of those particular families who have lost children after they were the targets of campaigns of harassment. I feel a responsibility to do what I can to help. I began work on the issue of cyberbullying a few years ago and as I explored it in more detail, I felt a growing sense of alarm. I came to realise what it meant for bullying – an age old problem – to be supercharged by the power of social media. New, exciting platforms that at their heart, want to help people make and maintain friendships, were allowing bullies to take their abuse beyond the traditional theatres of classrooms and playgrounds. They could now follow their targets home.
A new generation of young people – tech savvy, connected, and optimistic about the future – were encountering new social spaces without established standards of behaviour to guide them. And many parents and carers, who seek to make their homes a haven of safety, felt powerless to protect their children. And even worse, some had no idea about the suffering their children were experiencing from bullying that was coming through their phone or their laptop. My overall sense was that social media was in many ways an ungoverned space, where our children were fending for themselves.
But as I looked into this issue more, I also gained a sense of optimism. I saw the example of Lucy Alexander, who is with us today. Sadly Lucy lost her son Felix after he experienced terrible bullying online. In her grief she felt compelled to take action. She spoke out and challenged the technology sector to work together to help protect other children from experiencing what Felix had.
And I also realised that while we were encountering new forms of bullying, technology was also openly revealing behaviour that had often been hidden from view in the past. I came to believe that if the tech sector was willing to work together, their powerful tools could actually help children to put respect and support for each other at the heart of the way they interact with their peers.
My hope was that internet companies would see the potential to pool their knowledge and resources to create spaces online that were much safer for our children. So I established the Cyberbullying Taskforce – through The Royal Foundation – to seize the opportunity that collaboration could bring. The Taskforce has brought together social media platforms and internet service providers with those organisations and individuals who strive to protect and support children and young people.  And after a year and a half of hard work and frank discussions, we can today unveil a plan of action to protect children and encourage a new standard of behaviour online.
 There are four major planks to our plan.
First, the technology company members of the Taskforce have agreed to adopt new guidelines to improve the process for reporting bullying online, and to create clearer consequences for those who behave unacceptably. 
Second, the Taskforce is launching today a new, national campaign to educate children on how to behave with respect and kindness online. The campaign is being driven by the powerful reach of the industry members of the Taskforce.
Third, a new programme will be piloted through Facebook and Snapchat which will see the NSPCC providing emotional support to children in need, as a result of online bullying.
And finally, the companies and charities that have been part of the Taskforce, will continue to work together to provide consistent advice to parents and to continue to take feedback from children and young people as they develop their policies.
Through this process we have all been honest with each other. And of course I have been honest that I had hoped we might be able to go further. I hoped, for example, that the social media companies would agree to a form of standardisation around reporting and clear timelines for handling complaints. I also hoped that the tech companies might create a single, universal tool for children to report bullying when they see it or experience it regardless of which platform it happens on.
I am, however, encouraged that the BBC is looking at the potential for a tech solution along these lines and all I ask is that everyone keeps an open mind as the outcome of the BBC’s work, and other options, emerge in the coming months. There is a lot more that can be done. I am proud that the Taskforce has generated a plan of action with some practical, industry-driven initiatives and I hope all of you are too. It is a big, important step in the right direction. It is my view that if this plan is implemented, the U.K. can become a world leader on tackling cyberbullying. Nowhere else has the sector come together and voluntarily agreed to take collective responsibility for tackling an issue like this rather than just promoting your own individual initiatives.
And I am proud that listening to children and parents has been at the heart of our work. It has been their advice which has led us to this ambitious plan of action today. Now the onus is on the people in this room and the organisations you are a part of. We have been working together for many months, but today is only the beginning. In implementing these plans, you have a chance to show that something special has happened here in the U.K., that the rest of the world can learn from. You have a chance to show what I know you all believe – that technology companies are serious about their social responsibilities. You have a chance to win the trust of today's generation of parents, and to help them feel confident about the positive experience their children will have online. And, you have the opportunity to help children lead the way with respect and positivity to build the vibrant, exciting future that you all believe in. To the children and young people here today, I want you to know that it is this hope for a positive future that has motivated everything we have done. I am always amazed by the savviness and creativity of your generation. I am excited about the world you are going to create and then lead in decades to come. And I hope the action plan we are announcing today can help you, in at least a small way, to embrace technology with confidence and optimism.'

William also launched the first ever online code of conduct, 'Stop, Speak, Support', to empower all young people to take a stand against bullying. The website offers support, guidelines and advice on how to act when "banter turns bad". From telling an adult or clicking the report button, to contact information for Childline, it is the early stages of a resource aimed at young people.


I think it's very encouraging to see tech giants coming together to work on a solution for a problem that is well and truly out of control. Most of you who may be active on social media will have witnessed the atrocious, abusive conduct which is so commonplace there's almost a blasé attitude to it. For young people of school age in particular, cyberbullying means the bullies are not only in the schoolyard but come home with their victims to their living rooms and bedrooms. Growing up and the formative teenage years can be challenging enough without the very real concerns the online sphere present. There are obviously numerous advantages to accessing such technologies, yet I've often pondered if users should be of adult age before they have to navigate it. A core issue is the anonymity. Keyboard warriors type before they think, without thought or consequence, certainly without consideration for the person they are aiming their vitriol at. There is so much that needs to be done to stop tragedies like Felix's occurring. It's not going to be fixed with one campaign, or in a year, but this is a positive step. William's role and status meant he was in a unique position to gather tech giants and create a taskforce to enable cohesive developments. I'm very glad to see him using his role to tackle issues like this.

************

Also tonight, the Cambridges played host to the Prince of Tennis Roger Federer and his family on Wednesday night. The tennis star is in London for the ATP Finals and took the opportunity to drop in on the royals with his wife Mirka and their children. The couple have been friends of the Middletons for some time and recently attended Pippa's wedding. In an interview for a documentary on Wimbledon, Kate jokingly noted Roger is Carole's crush. Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on the wall for the playdate between George, Charlotte and the little Federers? :)


************

Finally, On Monday, 20 November an incredibly special milestone occurs. The Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary will be celebrated with a family dinner at the State Apartment at Windsor Castle, as reported by Majesty Magazine's Joe Little. The anniversary is being marked privately, although it is hoped a family photo, like this one released for the 60th wedding anniversary (with thanks to our very own Rebecca) will be released. A family photograph would certainly be a treat!

Embed from Getty Images


Wishing you all a great weekend! :)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Kate Reveals William Found Parenthood Difficult Initially During Family Action Engagement!

The Duchess of Cambridge was scheduled to kick off a busy autumn programme on 4 September with a visit to Hornsey Road Children's Centre. Photographers and reporters assembled, waiting to snap photos of the Duchess arriving; instead Kensington Palace announced the Duke and Duchess were expecting their third child. Kate had to cancel because she was so unwell, however, she took a rain check and paid a visit to the centre this afternoon.


Hornsey Road Children's Centre offers a welcoming environment for expectant and new mothers, and an outlet for children to play. It provides vital care and mental health support to parents, as well as offering antenatal and postnatal services, a nursery, play groups, and family support services.


The Duchess was greeted upon arrival.


There was a firm focus today on perinatal health services, delivered at the centre by the Queen's patronage, Family Action. It's an area of particular interest to Kate and one she is keen to learn more about during recent engagements. Kensington Palace said "The Duchess's visit to Hornsey Road comes as Her Royal Highness works to understand the challenges and issues surrounding maternal mental health." Perinatal mental health problems can occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child, and can affect up to 20 per cent of women. If left untreated, it can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman and her family.


A video from Victoria Murphy.


Founded in 1869 as the Charity Organisation Society (later the Family Welfare Association), Family Action is one of the biggest national providers of early intervention services for families and children, transforming lives by providing practical, emotional and financial support. The charity works with over 45,000 families through over 130 community-based services, and aims to strengthen families and communities.


The Queen agreed to become Royal Patron of the charity in 1953, upon the death of Queen Mary. If I were a betting woman, I would wager it's quite likely this is a patronage we'll see Kate taking over in the not too distant future. Not only has it strong links going back decades with the Royal family, but it's aims and ethos are very much in Kate's wheelhouse.


Below, the Queen and Princess Margaret arriving for a charity performance of Gigi in 1959 in aid of the organisation.

Embed from Getty Images

There is an excellent timeline of events charting the history of the organisation here. There's also a YouTube video available here, with experts and speakers chronicling the issues which brought about the organisation and its role today.


Most recently the organisation was chosen to disburse funds raised in an appeal for vicitms of the Grenfell Fire:

'Family Action is very honoured to have been chosen by Haley Yearwood to disburse the funds raised through her incredible crowdfunding appeal. We have established a new grants scheme in order to disburse £750,000 of the money generously donated by over 36,000 donors through Haley’s appeal. The rest of the money raised will fund a long term responsive service providing practical and emotional support to the Grenfell community.'

Kate toured the facilities which support local parents and young children, and had the opportunity to learn more about Family Action's perinatal mental health services which operate nationwide.


Kate described children's activities as "the best fun".


The Duchess also heard some of the personal experiences of parents who have benefited from the charity's support.


Whilst meeting single dad Billy, Kate revealed William initially found fatherhood difficult. Richard Palmer reports:

'Kate met father Billy, 39, during a visit to a care centre for expectant and new parents, after her own pregnancy led to a previous trip being delayed. Billy is raising his seven-month-old daughter Violet alone after taking custody from her mother and spoke about his experiences at Hornsey Road Children's Centre in north London.
The Duchess, who is currently four months pregnant with her third child, described how William had felt he did not know what exactly to do when he first became a father. Speaking after meeting Kate, Billy said: "She was saying William was sort of similar and I just wanted to let her know how Family Action have been there for me and I think they need more support." Billy said the mother of his daughter showed up on his doorstep out of the blue, saying she was pregnant and had already had two children taken away so could not care for a third. He said: "I was under mental health myself, I was suffering from severe depression and I thought I'm not going to let my daughter go into care, I'm going to step up and do this - I managed to turn myself around. "I've been doing it from day one at the hospital, fed her her first bottle."
Volunteer worker Maggie Sandy, said about Kate: “We just felt that she genuinely was interested. “And it’s so good because it really raises the profile of perinatal mental health. We always say that this goes across social class, we reach all sorts of parents and it is actually to do with being a parent and she can relate to that.” When asked about Kate’s comments about William, she added about dads: “We do offer support to dads. “I think it’s so important because dad’s sometimes get left out in the mix after the birth of a baby and they sometimes get sidelined.'

One little boy was feeling a tad shy :)


Kate joined a round-table discussion with experts and practitioners in maternal mental health.


Kate was given a beautiful posy of flowers.


Kate revealed Charlotte's favourite colour is pink. More from People:

'Kate, who is expecting her third child in April, shared a touching moment with 6-year-old Nevaeh Richardson-Natiko, who presented the royal with a bouquet of flowers.’
“She asked me what my favorite color is,” Nevaeh, who wore a pink party dress, told reporters after her chat with Princess Kate. “I said it was pink and she said that’s Charlotte’s favorite color too,” Nevaeh added.'

The Duchess brought back her £600 Goat Redgrave Coat today. Kate first wore the piece in 2013 when she was expecting Prince George for a visit to Child Bereavement UK. Kate sported a selection of gorgeous pieces during her first two pregnancies, it's great to see a couple of my personal favourites back again. The Redgrave remains a very stylish coat and last week we saw the return of Kate's DVF Zarita gown.


The nude A lined shaped coat features side seam diagonal welt pockets. It's described as "classic and sophisticated". It's available on the GOAT website in sizes 6-16.

GOAT

The coat is available in a plethora of colours including black, cream, plum, marine blue and persian green at GOAT and Fatfetch. The green version is also available on The Outnet discounted to £295.

GOAT

It very much looks like Kate teamed the coat with her Topshop Collar Contrast Dress once again. Below, Kate wearing it during the 2013 Child Bereavement UK engagement.


Kate didn't take her coat off today, but we can see the distinctive collar quite clearly.


Kate wore her Russell & Bromley Half N Half black suede boots. The £455 pair are described as "These beautiful block heeled boots from our collaboration with Stuart Weitzman offer a knee-high alternative to the iconic 50-50. In luxurious black suede with a low block heel these boots are detailed with trademark stretch panel at the back for a clean fit and elongated silhouette." For those in the U.S., the very similar Stuart Weitzman 50-50 style (which Kate's are described as an "alternative" for) are available here.


Kate carried her black suede Mulberry Clutch.


And accessorised with her Annoushka pearls and Kiki McDonough hoops.



At this point, there's nothing announced for Kate's Calendar. I expect that to change very soon. Thank you for reading as always :)

Kate's Favourites