Saturday, 18 March 2017

It's Red Carolina Herrera for Wales v France Rugby Match!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge concluded their two-day visit to Paris with an appearance at the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and France.

Leaving the embassy where they stayed with the British Ambassador to France, Lord Llewelyn and his wife, the couple received a warm send off and flowers from local children.

The Duke and Duchess arriving at the Stade de France for the match.

It was reported the trip was actually planned around the rugby match with the Foreign Office asking Kensington Palace to plan a short visit. Today marks the first Wales match Prince William has attended since becoming Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.

William and Kate singing the Welsh National Anthem.

The Duke and Duchess enjoying the match.

Prince William chats with rugby union coach and former French secretary of sport Bernard Laporte.

It was an incredibly tense match which saw the game run into twenty minutes overtime before France clinched a victory scoring in the 100th minute.

The match ended with a final score of 20-18.

A great photo of Kate which no doubt captures one of the tense moments in the match.

Prince William was visibly disappointed.

The Telegraph reports: "It was the 100-minute match which finally consented to reach its conclusion. Wales were deservedly beaten in the game in which time stood still, in which 20 minutes injury time took place, which became so interminable that officials in Dublin were forced to delay the kick-off of Ireland versus England, the Six Nations finale which was supposed to end a full 20 minutes after the match in Paris had finished. France versus Wales in 2017, threatened never to end. But it did and for France it gave them rich hope of finishing runner-up the Championship table, their best placing in six years. For Wales, it killed the ambition of leapfrogging Ireland into fourth place in the rankings, before the World Cup draw in May."

The Duchess wore her red Carolina Herrera coat, first seen in Canada last year. The double-breasted red coat features a peter pan collar and is made of a double-faced wool and a cashmere mix blend. It retails for $1,915 and is only available in store.

The coat was a very good choice with red featuring in both the Welsh and French flags. Underneath Kate wore a turtleneck sweater and skirt (or perhaps one of her turtleneck dresses).

It is very much thought Kate's black ankle boots are the same pair she wore in New York in 2014.

 Kate's has had them for years, but they remain unidentified.

The Duchess was wearing her Cartier jewellery from this morning.


And carried her very chic Chanel bag.

William and Kate headed back to London after the match. It's been a very interesting two days. I enjoyed the itinerary and the mixture of events. From celebrating UK and French links, to meeting victims of the Paris attacks, viewing art, posing against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower to a glittering gala, it encompassed quite a bit in little more than a 24 hour period. The Duke and Duchess are excellent ambassadors for the United Kingdom, and with Brexit, the Paris trip gave us a taste of what we can expect in the future, with a visit to Germany and Poland scheduled for July. On the fashion front, I was impressed with Kate's wardrobe which included Catherine Walker, McQueen, Jenny Packham, Carolina Herrera and, of course, Chanel. I thought it a very good show of sartorial diplomacy to support the Iconic French brand whilst largely sporting British labels. What were your highlights of the visit? Which look is your favourite? Chanel and McQueen are clear winners for me.

Paris Blog Posts:

  • The Cambridges arrival, meeting with President Hollande and their appearance at a reception celebrating UK-French cultural ties can be viewed here.
  • The glittering black-tie dinner where Kate wore Jenny Packham can be viewed here.
  • Kate in Chanel for day two in Paris can be viewed here.

Finally, a reminder, Merci Maman are offering readers a special 15% discount to mark Mother's Day. Simply enter duchess15 at the checkout to avail. Kate's Duchess Necklace remains available here.

We'll next see the Duchess on Thursday when she will attend the launch of a series of educational films created by Best Beginnings, a charity partner of the Heads Together campaign, to raise awareness of maternal mental health challenges and start conversations about the well-being of parents and their children.

Thank you for reading and commenting throughout the trip. It was a very enjoyable one to cover :)

The Duchess in Chanel for Day in Paris!

Day two of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's royal visit to France got off to a busy start with several engagements in the City of Light.

The Cambridges' first stop was a particularly important one. They visited Les Invalides - a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France.

They enjoyed a tour.

The Duke and Duchess heard more about the site's history.

The history is a fascinating one.

Louis XIV initiated the project by order on 24 November 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The selected site was in the then suburban plain of Grenelle (plaine de Grenelle). By the time the enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres (643 ft) and the complex had fifteen courtyards, the largest being the cour d'honneur ("court of honour") for military parades. It was then felt that the veterans required a chapel. Jules Hardouin-Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant's designs after the elder architect's death. This chapel was known as Église Saint-Louis des Invalides, and daily attendance of the veterans in the church services was required. Shortly after the veterans' chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature (see below). The domed chapel was finished in 1708. Below, Louis XIV ordering the construction.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906. The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans (invalides) until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d'artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the musée historique des armées (Historical Museum of the Armies) in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l'armée in 1905. Below Napolean visiting the infirmary.

William and Kate met French Invictus Games competitor Sgt Philippe who has been supported by the prosthetics team at the hospital and discussed his experiences. Sergeant Phillippe was training in the French army as a dog handler when he had a motorcycle accident in France leaving him with one prosthetic leg. Prince William said "You are an inspiration for all the other guys".

A poignant part of the visit saw William and Kate meeting survivors and first responders involved in the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris as well as the lorry attack in Nice on Bastille Day last year. The Duke and Duchess chat to Les Invalides patients - two Parisians, Kevin and Jessica, wounded in the recent Paris attacks.

More from the Mail Online:

'Jessica said the encounter meant a great deal to both, who have found it invaluable to speak about their trauma and prove to the public that life goes on. William told the Bataclan attack survivors: 'We think you are very strong and very brave, you've made amazing progress.' The Duchess added she would be keeping an eye out for Jessica's work, after learning she is retraining to work in fashion.'
The Duchess asked how she had found readjusting to life after the accident. 'You feel like you're in a dream,' Jessica said, adding that she had tried to view her rehabilitation work as a job in the week, and enjoy her weekends as she did before. She used her convalescence to learn Italian, and is now hoping to work organising fashion shows, telling the Duchess she had noted her Chanel outfit. 'I was ambitious, I am still ambitious,' she said, speaking in English. 'If I want revenge I must live and work and prove they [the terrorists] can't touch how we live in our great country. It sparked something: I realised you need to live.'
Kevin described how he attended a concert at the Bataclan, only to hear shouting and gunfire. They started shouting at the audience and opened fire. 'Anyone who shouted was shot, so I tried to be as quiet as possible. I was hit twice in the leg but lay there and kept quiet.' Of meeting the Duke and Duchess, he said: 'It was a very positive experience because I was able to speak about this experience and what I went through. It feels very important to tell these stories and be listened to.' Asked how his emotional recovery had been, he told the Royal couple: 'It gave me a challenge, I like a challenge.' The Duchess said: 'You're a very brave man.'

William and Kate met locals as they left.

The couple's next appearances were embargoed and it was something of a mystery as to what was on their itinerary, with a few interesting surprises. Their next stop was the beautiful Musée de d'Orsay.

The Musée d'Orsay is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.

The couple toured the Impressionists Gallery at the Musée d'Orsay and heard from the curator about these iconic works of art. A number of these works will be exhibited at the Tate Britain in London later this year.

We know the Duchess is very much interested in the arts, so I imagine this visit was a real treat for her.

William and Kate reportedly took a particularly close look at London, Houses of Parliament, which was inspired by Monet's 1871 visit to London when he was struck by the 'effects of fog on the Thames'. Prince William asked director Laurence des Cars: 'This is one of his most famous paintings isn't it?'

More on the piece:

'The London Houses of Parliament crop up regularly in Monet's work in 1900. At first the artist observed them from the terrace of St Thomas Hospital, on the opposite bank, near Westminster Bridge. Monet's London production, which includes views of Charing Cross bridge and Waterloo bridge, is in fact dominated by variations in the light and atmosphere due to the famous London fog, which enveloped the city, especially in autumn and winter.
The unreal ghostly outline of Parliament buildings looms up like an apparition. The stone architecture seems to have lost its substance. Sky and water are painted in the same tones, dominated by mauve and orange. The brushstrokes are systematically broken into thousands of coloured patches to render the density of the atmosphere and the mist. Paradoxically, these impalpable elements become more tangible than the evanescent building which seems to dissolve in the shadow.'

Next, following on from the "Les Voisins" reception last night, the couple attended a Les Voisins in Action event to highlight the strong ties between the young people of France and the United Kingdom.

Then there was time for a spot of rugby.

The Duchess appeared to very much enjoy the activity.

The Duchess looks at the Eiffel Tower with a telescope made by local schoolchildren.

And the ultimate shot for anyone visiting Paris - the Duke and Duchess posed for photos at the Trocadéro - with a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop.

A lovely photo. I'm delighted a posed photo opportunity was included as the results are excellent.

William and Kate pose with local children.

Kate meets a little girl during the walkabout.

Rebecca English revealed Kate told a group of children about George's toy rabbit. "Zena Hilton said: Kate was interested in my daughter’s toy monkey and said that George had a toy rabbit called Bum Bum".

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

When we heard William and Kate were going to visit Paris, many of us hoped the Duchess would wear Chanel, and she did so in style today. Indeed, Princess Diana wore Chanel during official visits to Paris, and it seemed if the Duchess was going to support a French label, why not one of it's most iconic? The bespoke piece is described by the Telegraph as a "striped cotton tweed waisted frock coat with a box pleated skirt and bracelet sleeves in blue and red". I absolutely love this coat; in fact it's my favourite look from the trip thus far, and the design and fit is effortlessly chic.

The black belt bore Chanel's signature interlocked double C. The image below also offers a better look at the detailing on the sleeves.

A closer look at the fabric and the array of colours used.

Perth Fashion notes the piece is based on a design from the Spring/Summer 2017 RTW Collection. The piece is priced at £8,350.


Kate's stylish burgundy quilted bag is also by Chanel.

Kate's Closet noted it appears the Duchess carried the brand's Calfskin Bag with Enamel Handle from the Fall/Winter 2015/2016 Collection.

Kate wore her £267 Tod's Pumps with fringes. The shoes feature an almond toe, fringed detailing and metal buckle on the toe, with leather insole.

For Kate's jewels, she chose another iconic French brand, Cartier.

The eagle-eyed Anna identified Kate's pieces as jewels from Cartier's Trinity Collection. Below, we see a the earrings and pendant.


More from Cartier:

'Conceived by Louis Cartier in 1924, the Trinity ring is one of the Maison’s signature pieces of jewellery. The three interlaced and mobile bands, open for interpretation by the wearer, are the timeless inspiration behind an iconic collection, a symbol of style and elegance.'

Kate completed the look with her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.


You can view a video below.

This afternoon we'll see William and Kate at the rugby. It begins at 2:45 pm (UK time).

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Duchess in Ice Blue Jenny Packham & Queen's Jewels for Gala Dinner

Day one of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's two-day visit to Paris came to a close with a glittering gala dinner.

Kensington Palace posted this beautiful photo of the Cambridges coming down the stairs. It looks very much like a still plucked from a move - a truly memorable shot!

The black-tie event was held at the official residence of the British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn - Lord Llewellyn of Steep - David Cameron's former chief of staff at Downing Street. The Ambassador, who earlier described the visit as "a special day" has been accompanying the royal couple throughout their visit. Below we see William and Kate arriving for the dinner with Lord Llewellyn and his wife Anne.

Royal reporter for ITV Chris Ship shared this lovely photo of the British Embassy on Twitter.

Kensington Palace shared a look at the ballroom before guests arrived.

What's on the menu tonight? The Mail Online reported guests dined on "sole crown and Dublin Bay prawns, crayfish, braised leg of Welsh lamb with a seasonal vegetable garnish and roast potatoes with thyme, and an iced white and dark chocolate soufflé, butterscotch sauce with a pistachio and almond diamond shortbread".

The Cambridges were joined by a host of well-known figures including sportspeople and actors. Among those present were Kristin Scott Thomas (who played the Queen on Broadway in Peter Morgan's The Audience), Audrey Tatou and footballer Robert Pires.

Below, Kate chats with actor Jean Reno.

Prince William delivered a message from Her Majesty.

More from the Telegraph:

"The Duke used a short address at the  black tie dinner to deliver a message from his grandmother, the Queen. Recalling her numerous visits to France during her reign, she said: "Although much has changed since my first visit, the ties between our nations have stood the test of time and will, I am sure, continue to prosper."

Indeed, there was a moment of comedy when Kids United performed Pharrell's 'Happy' for William and Kate, the song he danced to in Verbier.

William and Kate mingling with guests.

For the most glamorous event on the itinerary, Kate selected an ice blue gown from her go-to evening designer Jenny Packham. As we've come to expect from Packham, the garment is a shimmering creation with intricate embellishment and sheer detail. I love the colour (on social media many find it reminiscent of Elsa in Frozen) and the placement of the floral detail.

The attention to detail is exquisite. 

Kate styled the gown with her Oscar de la Renta Platinum Lamé Cabrina pumps. The shimmering $690 pumps are described as "our enduringly classic Cabrina pumps...reworked for the new season in glistening platinum lamé. This Italian-made pair has a sleek, architectural silhouette with a pointed toe, scalloped sides and raised back". They are available in limited sizes on the website.

Oscar de la Renta

The Duchess carried her Jenny Packham Casa clutch.

Jenny Packham

Kate's sparkling jewels are on loan from the Queen. The chandelier diamond earrings have been in Kate's jewellery box since shortly after the wedding, and we've seen her wear them on numerous occasions since.

Kate's sparkling bracelet tonight.

The bracelet was originally a choker Queen Mary wore, circa 1920. It was later converted to a bracelet and worn by the late Queen Mother. We saw Kate wear it at the Chinese state banquet in 2015.

A closer look at Kate's partial updo.

Day one has certainly been interesting. From their arrival in Paris to this evening, it all seemed to go by in a flash. The schedule was obviously very close in terms of time. What did you think of Kate's looks today? We saw the Duchess opt for tried and trusted favourites Catherine Walker, Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham. There were surprises in the jewellery department, and two new pairs of Gianvito Rossi's. Will we see Kate sport a French label tomorrow? To read our post on William and Kate's appearance at the St Patrick's Day parade please click here, and for the post on their Paris arrival, meeting with President Hollande and Embassy reception please click here.

Tomorrow's itinerary:

  • The Cambridges visit Les Invalides - a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France. The couple will meet survivors and first responders involved in the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris as well as the lorry attack in Nice on Bastille Day last year. 
  • William and Kate will then attend a Six Nations Rugby Match between Wales and France which is scheduled to begin at 2.45 pm.

It's been enormously fun following the visit with all of you and reading your comments. I look forward to doing it again tomorrow! :)