Sunday, 31 August 2014

William and Kate Photographed on Date Night & Trip to Norfolk + A Tour of China Next Year?

We haven't seen the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for quite some time in terms of royal watching and tonight not one but two sets of off-duty photos have emerged of the royal couple. Today's Sunday Express features a photo of the couple enjoying a date night.

Sunday Express

William and Kate were photographed holding hands as they enjoyed a night out at The Kings Head Hotel in Great Bircham where they had a romantic dinner.

Daily Star Sunday
More from Camilla Tominey's story for the Express:

'William and Kate, both 32, tucked into sea bream and shared an ice cream dessert. William, dressed casually in a blue shirt, denim jeans and white trainers, held his wife's hand as he ushered her to the bar at the Grade II-listed country house hotel just three miles from the Queen's Sandringham estate.
 William who was driving, ordered a lime and soda, while Kate sipped on a white wine spritzer as four bodyguards sat an adjacent table.'

Built in the Edwardian era, the family-run hotel combines all the traditional warmth and comfort of a long established country house with sleek contemporary facilities. Given its close proximity to Anmer Hall, it may become something of a local for the Cambridges.

The King's Head

The restaurant offers a varied yet traditional menu. William and Kate both decided to try the same meal, grilled fillet of black bream with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, baby spinach and oven-dried tomatoes, priced at £16.25. Afterwards William ordered two scoops of vanilla ice cream, with two spoons.

The King's Head

Back to the Express story:

'An onlooker said: "William was extremely affectionate and considerate towards Kate throughout. She walked in with wet hair. She kept playing with it, twisting it around her fingers while talking to him. They were quite flirtatious and couldn't keep their hands off each other.
 When they had finished their meal, a couple of locals came up to them and said hello. They smiled and were very chatty. My overwhelming feeling was how normal they were."'

The Duchess was casually dressed in a black sweater, her J Brand skinny jeans and Pied A Terre Imperia Wedges. The sling-back espadrilles are still available for $140 at Dune London. Kate wore her hair in loose curls; it's a very natural look and reminiscent of her days at university and before the engagement.

Dune London

The Mirror published a separate set of photos of the royal couple with their dog Lupo dashing through crowds at London's King's Cross station. A gallery of photos can be viewed on The Mirror's website.

The Mirror Facebook Page

Commuters were surprised to see William and Kate dashing through the station on Friday as they returned to London following a visit to their country home, Anmer Hall. The couple are expected to spend much of their time there for the next few years as Prince William begins training for his role an air ambulance pilot. Prince George did not join his parents on the trip.


Kate was attired in one of her signature outfits with plenty of layers for the cooler weather. The Duchess wore one of her Barbour jackets. As the photos are rather blurry it's difficult to be certain but it looks very much like her Defence Jacket - a piece we've seen her wear again and again.

Barbour

The Duchess wore her favourite skinny jeans, a baseball cap, a sweater and a plaid shirt underneath. The shirt is very similar to the Gap Gingham Shirt Kate wore during the tour of New Zealand and Australia, and it's quite possible it's the very same.

GAP

Kate opted for casual footwear - her Mint Velvet plimsolls.

Mint Velvet

Kate carried two bags. The smaller bag is a piece she's had for years by Tod's (with thanks to Ashley Marie). We've seen Kate carry it at polo matches, including the one photographed below.


Meanwhile, the little Prince was photographed with his nanny, Maria Teresa, toddling around Kensington Gardens in an adorable rain suit by UK brand Hippychick (with thanks to What Prince George Wore). The suits can be worn over clothing and come in several colours.

Hippychick

More from Hippychick:

'With the UK experiencing an average of between 150 and 200 rainy days each year, opportunities for outdoor play can be halved unless you have the right protective clothing - a recipe for frustrated children and frazzled parents! All-in-Ones have been designed to be completely waterproof, windproof and breathable ensuring complete comfort and protection in all weathers.'

Prince George appeared to be having a great time out and about with his nanny. The pair have been spotted and photographed in the beautiful Kensington Gardens on a number of occasions recently.

It is thought the couple will be displeased by the publication of these photos. Royal commentators noted demand for paparazzi photos is higher than ever at the moment due to the drought in official appearances.

Phil Dampier Twitter Feed

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In other news, The Sunday Times reports the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an historic tour of China next year:

'Plans are being drawn up for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to make a historic tour of China. Sources have confirmed that Kensington Palace and the Commonwealth Offices are in talks about a potential trip that would take place next year.'

This is an incredibly interesting story if true (The Sunday Times tends to be reliable). China offers vast opportunities for British business and it may be an excellent step in improving relations between the two countries. Monday week William and Kate will open a China Centre Building at Oxford. We'll keep you informed as news comes in about this - it would certainly make for a very interesting tour!


Finally, royal editor Martin shared news he expects William and Kate to play a role in the Singapore State Visit this October, most likely the State Banquet. The couple toured Singapore in 2012 and it would seem very fitting for them to be in attendance.

@Courtier UK


If so, we can expect to get another glimpse of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's Papyrus tiara.


We hope you're all having a stellar weekend!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

UPDATED: Upcoming Engagement Announced, Make Up Shopping at Harvey Nichols, Simponized Kate & How Well Do You Know Kate's Style?

Hello-Hello, we hope you're all having a splendid week!

We're very pleased to be back with news of an upcoming engagement for the Cambridges. On Monday, 8 September the Duke and Duchess will formally open the Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre building at St Hugh's College.

St. Hugh's

More from the official press release:

'Their Royal Highnesses will meet members of St Hugh's College staff, students and friends of the centre before being shown the China Centre building. At the new China Centre, the Duke and Duchess will meet designers and building contractors who worked on the project, donors and academics.
 In the courtyard, the royal party will join others for a traditional Chinese ribbon cutting ceremony.'

The centre is a dedicated building for the study of China. In fact, the University of Oxford is Europe's leading centre for the study of China with nearly fifty permanent academics working on the politics, economics, history, literature and society of the country.

St. Hugh's

The new centre contains a dedicated library and reading room, which will provide a permanent home for books from the Bodleian Libraries' China Collection, as well as 63 student bedrooms and a range of conference and seminar facilities. The centre is named after Mr Dickson Poon, a Hong Kong philanthropist who donated £10 million towards the cost of the building. His companies own well-known brands including Harvey Nichols and S.T. Dupont.

St. Hugh's

We expect to hear more engagement announcements for September. Following such a dry spell there's usually a busier month or two afterwards.

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Speaking of Harvey Nichols, Kate was spotted shopping for make up there by a couple of excited tweeters.

Ety Makeup Twitter Feed

The English luxury department store stocks Kate's favourite Bobbi Brown range as well an extensive selection of other beauty ranges. Aside from beauty, their womenswear collection boasts labels favoured by the Duchess including M Missoni, Amanda Wakeley and Max Mara. The Duchess has been spotted browsing there several times before.

Visit London
According to another fellow shopper the Duchess purchased mascara and the Clarins Restorative Total Eye Conentrate which is described as a "restorative eye care treatment that targets all signs of ageing. It retails for $83 with Free Shipping at Sephora.

Clarins

More from Charly Jones:

Charly Jones

It's an interesting sighting, as it means the Cambridges are not in Balmoral yet. It had been reported they planned to spend much of August there, but it would seem unlikely given sightings of William and Kate in Berkshire and the Duchess' Bicester shopping trip earlier this month.

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Many of you were kind enough to get in touch and comment to share a wonderful story about 'Simpsonized Kate'.

aleXsandro Palombo

The Duchess is lauded as a major style icon all over the world and Italian artist aleXsandro Palombo celebrated it in an entirely unique and delightful way - Kate as a Simpsons character. We just love this here at Duchess Kate Blog. I can vivdly recall watching The Simpsons after school many evenings as a child. I don't think there are many households where someone doesn't enjoy viewing the antics of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.

aleXsandro Palombo

In several of the photos Kate is depicted alongside the Queen.

aleXsandro Palombo

Welcome to Buckingham Palace :)


Kate in L.K. Bennett for her visit to Leicester with HM.

aleXsandro Palombo

Mr. Palombo did a stellar job emulating some of Kate's most classic looks including the Alexander McQueen military-inspired look the Duchess most recently wore to Bletchley Park.

aleXsandro Palombo

Kate's Emilia Wickstead coatdresses.

aleXsandro Palombo

Evening gowns including Kate's strapless velvet and lilac McQueen are featured.

aleXsandro Palombo

How well do you know Kate's style? Can you identify all of the pieces worn on 'Simpsonized Kate'. Test yourself with five looks we've selected randomly (Answers at the bottom of the post).

1. Let's start with an easy one. This military-inspired coatdress made it's debut for the Cambridges' arrival in New Zealand in April. Which designer made this memorable piece?

aleXsandro Palombo

2. Kate wore this during her pregnancy. The pretty peach coat and custom-made dress are by two separate designers.

aleXsandro Palombo

3.  Kate stole the show in this beautiful silver, one-shoulder gown, but who designed it?

aleXsandro Palombo

4. Kate wore this when she made her first speech at East Anglia's Children's Hospices. A major clue: it's a piece she shares with her mother Carole or vice versa.

aleXsandro Palombo

5. Pre-engagement gown worn to a Starlight Children Foundation event in 2009.

AleXsandro Palombo

To view all of Mr. Palombo's 52 illustrations his blog is here.

AleXsandro Palombo

This set of illustrations is not the first time the talented artist has been inspired by Kate's style or The Simpsons. Last year he combined both to feature Marge Simpson as a model wearing some of the most iconic dresses of all time. This included Kate's ISSA engagement dress.

Vogue

Mr Palombo said: 'I made a strict and careful selection of what, in my opinion, has really influenced the style of the last 100 years.' Other famous looks which made the cut included a Catherine Walker gown worn by Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's Givenchy dress, and the pink suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. You can view the full selection at Vogue.

Vogue

 Now, time for those all important answers!

  • 1 -Catherine Walker.
  • 2 - Tara Jarmon Coat / Dress by Independent Designer.
  • 3 - Jenny Packham.
  • 4 - Reiss.
  • 5 - ISSA.


How did you score out of five? Let us know in the comments section! :)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Kate's Malta Tour: Two Days, Ten Engagements & All the Details

We're back again to share details of Kate's upcoming tour to Malta. In yesterday's post we noted how quiet things have been on the royal front (for those of you experiencing withdrawals, trust me when I say there is never too much of a gap without news or an appearance of some sort).


Kensington Palace released the full itinerary for Kate's first solo trip abroad without Prince William by her side. The two-day visit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the island's independence from the UK, will see the Duchess undertake ten engagements encompassing a wide variety of events including firsts for Her Royal Highness, such as meetings with the Prime Minister and President, usually a task William would have completed on previous tours. Let's take a look at the schedule along with the details revealed thus far.

Saturday, 20 September

Upon arrival the Duchess will call on the President of Malta, Maria Louise Coleiro Praca, at San Anton Palace where she will be staying during her visit. The beautiful Palace is located in Attard, it was constructed as a country villa by Knight Antoine de Paule, a French aristocrat, who named it Sainte Antoine after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua.


Kate is following in the Queen's footsteps; Her Majesty also stayed at the Palace during recent visits.


After a meeting with the President, Kate's next stop is the beautiful Auberge de Castille, where she will call on Prime Minister The Honourable Dr Joseph Muscat and his wife.

Wikipedia

The Duchess will then view a re-enactment of an historical event - the inspection of the fort and garrison by Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John, before travelling to the National Library in Valletta where she will view historical documents, including letters from kings Henry VIII and George II, and the original citation awarding the George Cross to Malta.

National Library Facebook Page

The day concludes with a very special event which is considered the pinnacle of the visit; Independence Day celebrations at Upper Barrakka Gardens.

Wikipedia

It promises to be a spectacular evening set against the backdrop of the Grand Harbour.


We expect Kate will pull out a show-stopper for this event. Be it cocktail or full-length this will most likely be the fashion highlight of the trip.


Sunday, 21 September

Day two is equally jam packed beginning with an Independence Day service at St John's Co-Cathedral. After the service she will view the two Caravaggios in the Cathedral Museum.

Wikipedia

Art History graduate Kate will particularly enjoy seeing some of the works of Caravaggio - the artist Michaelangelo Merisi. Born in the town of Caravaggio, he was the first great representative of the Baroque movement. Indeed, he was the archetypal rebellious artist and led quite a turbulent life which matched the high drama of the chiaroscuro style that his paintings became famous for.

Wikipedia

In 1606, while working in Rome, one of his many brawls resulted in Caravaggio killing a young man. With a price on his head he travelled to Naples where he would be outside the Roman jurisdiction and under the protection of the Colonna family. After one of many incidents and in an attempt to regain favour, he painted 'Salome with the head of John the Baptist' in which he depicted his own head on a platter and sent the work to Alof de Wignacourt - Grand Master of the Order of Malta and his patron - as a plea for forgiveness.

Wikipedia

One of the paintings Kate will view: 'The Beheading of Saint John The Baptist'.

St John's Co-Cathedral

Next, the Duchess will visit Agenzija Zghazgh (Agency for Youth), a government agency which runs a number of initiatives supporting young people. Her Royal Highness will hear about the work of the organisation from young people who avail of the centre and support workers. Working with young people is one of the three main goals of William, Kate and Harry's Royal Foundation and it's nice to see that incorporated in an overseas visit.


Kate will take a short walkabout through Vittoriosa Square before being taken to the Church of St Lawrence to view Maltese art. Again we're seeing art included in the visit, and obviously this itinerary was planned with Kate's interest in the subject in mind.

Wikipedia

Kate will then enjoy a boat tour across the Grand Harbour where she will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights and iconic views between Vittoriosa and Valletta. This promises to be a memorable one for the Duchess.

Voyages to Antiqity

To take a peek at what Kate will see, you can view webcams of the harbour at the Visit Malta website.

Wikipedia

The visit comes to a close with a garden party at High Commissioner Rob Luke's residence marking Independence Day.


It is an important milestone for Kate as a royal. More from People's story:

'This a seminal moment for her, when she will be showing herself to be a stateswoman in her own right,' a palace source tells people. Kate is also giving a speech, which insiders say she is "nervous about".'

As you can see, much thought and consideration has gone into planning this trip. In fact, it is believed Kate discussed it at length with Her Majesty - and will no doubt be asked to report back upon return. Malta holds a very special place in the Queen's heart, and she spent some of the happiest months of her life there as a newly-wed when Prince Philip was stationed there as a serving Royal Navy officer. The royal couple stayed at a villa rented by Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten.


Royal commentators have described it as a sign of self-confidence in her grandson's wife that the monarch has asked Kate to travel to Malta. William and Kate's roles as members of the Royal Family will change dramatically in years to come (I was chatting to a seasoned royalist the other day who noted it is not beyond the realms of possibility they will be king and queen in fifteen years) and I do believe gradually easing into these duties and responsibilities can only prove a positive for the Cambridges and the monarchy.


Kate's wardrobe for the visit will also have required quite a bit of planning. The Duchess will more than likely want to give a nod to her host country through her selections whilst remaining mindful of being appropriately dressed for the nature of each event. Bespoke pieces may have already been created by her favourite brands Alexander McQueen and Alice Temperley. We're going to see hats and possibly Kate's favoured coatdresses, with evening attire for receptions on both nights. While we won't see a tiara, the occasion will call for a nice piece of jewellery or two. Keep an eye out for red or white pieces!


While Kate's away, William be on parenting duties and like the rest of the world, will see his wife's solo visit covered on the television and in the media (when little George isn't keeping him occupied).


We're very excited about this tour, and feel certain Kate will do a terrific job. What do you think of the itinerary? What events are you most looking forward to?