Sunday, 15 April 2018

Kate's Maternity Wardrobe Milestones!

Before Easter, we looked through Kate's maternity repeats during her third pregnancy. Today, we're discussing Kate's maternity wardrobe during her three pregnancies, chatting about looks she chose for various milestones and events at similar stages, and taking a look at engagements through the years.

The 'Before the Announcement' Appearance

With each of Kate's pregnancies, we tend to remember her last appearance before the big announcement was made. On St Andrews Day's in 2012, the Duchess visited her old preparatory school in Pangbourne, Berkshire where she participated in a game of hockey. Wearing a tartan McQueen coat dress and Aquatalia boots, Kate cut a stylish figure. Fast forward to August 2014 when Kate joined William and Harry at the Tower of London for the official unveiling of 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', an installation of poppies in the Tower's moat. Kate chose her striking blue L.K. Bennett Detroit dress for the outing. Last August, William, Kate and Harry returned from summer break to pay tribute to Diana ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death. A smiling Kate chose a poppy print Prada number with smocking at the waist.

The First 'Post-Announcement' Appearances

Sadly the joy of each pregnancy announcement has been accompanied with Hyperemesis gravidarum for Kate. We first discovered the Duchess was suffering from the illness when it was announced she was expecting her first baby and she had to spend four days at King Edward VII Hospital. Kate looked incredibly frail as she left, wearing a DVF coat and a purple scarf. When Kate was expecting Charlotte she spent much of the first two months following the announcement in Bucklebury quite unwell. She carried out her first duty in late October 2014 to welcome President Tony Tan Keng Yam of Singapore and his wife Mary Chee Bee Kiang at the start of a four-day state visit to Britain. Kate wore a bespoke McQueen coatdress and a Jane Taylor hat. For her third pregnancy, Kate returned to engagements for a World Mental Health Day reception. She chose the pretty blue Temperley London Eclipse dress.

Christmas Day Appearances

William and Kate elected to spend Christmas 2012 with the Middletons in Bucklebury. Kate still looked quite under the weather as she was photographed departing church. She wore her Hobbs Celeste coat with red accessories. In 2014, The Cambridges celebrated Christmas at Anmer Hall with the Middletons and the group made the walk to St Mary Magdalene Church with the royals, ensuring time was spent with both families. Kate chose British labels for the day: a Moloh coat and a scarf by Really Wild. Dressed in an appropriately festive Miu Miu coat, Kate was in great spirits as she made the walk to church with the Royal family in 2017.

St Patrick's Day

The St Patrick's Day appearance is undoubtedly a readers favourite; Kate attended in each year she's been expecting. In 2013, the Duchess opted for Emilia Wickstead; in 2015 she surprised us in a chestnut brown Catherine Walker design; and it was Walker again this year.

Royal Family Events with the Queen

A radiant Kate joined the rest of the Royal family for the Queen's Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey in a bespoke Jenny Packham outfit. The Duchess was very much blooming at the service and enjoyed a chat with Zara Tindall afterwards. We also saw Kate in pink McQueen for the 2015 Commonwealth Observance, and in navy Beulah London for Commonwealth Day in 2018. Her Majesty and a number of BRF members were out in force for all three events.

A Touch of Blue

Blue is undeniably one of Kate's favourite colours and a tried and trusted go-to for the evening events. When Kate was expecting George she sported an Emilia Wickstead dress for a reception at the National Portrait Gallery. The empire line piece very much had a 1960s feel to it; it remains one of Wickstead's most-loved creations. When Kate was expecting Charlotte, she opted for a fabulous Packham gown with a split. She teamed the gown with a pair of pink L.K. Bennett Agata sandals. And for the Royal Variety Performance last year, it was a sparkling blue 'Elsa' Jenny Packham design.

Casual Kate

When thinking of 'Casual Kate' appearances over the years, I instantly thought of the day she volunteered with the Scouts in the snow at Great Tower Scout Camp. Kate wrapped up in a Barbour jacket and her trusty La Chameau wellies. In 2014, Kate, appropriately attired in a Scouts jacket, scarf and woggle, enjoyed a pre-Christmas engagement with a group of Beavers. And in January of this year the Duchess was back in the snow during the Scandinavian tour. Kate's first casual look of the tour was a real winner for me; she wore a black Burberry trench, Sorel Boots and a beanie.

Kate's Working Wardrobe

During Kate's first pregnancy, we very much saw her sticking to her personal style with a selection of high street pieces from Topshop and Hobbs. It was really only when expecting Charlotte we saw a larger number of pieces coming from maternity brands such as Séraphine and Madderson London. This time around, we've seen a marked increase in bespoke pieces from designers such as Catherine Walker and Dolce & Gabbana, in addition to a significant number of repeats. There are several reasons for this: William and Kate are carrying out many more engagements now than they were in 2013 and for the Scandinavian tour Kate opted to order several coats from Walker. We tend to see the Duchess in fewer high street brands than when she first married. The hemlines are also longer with Kate favouring midi length dresses quite a bit recently. I suppose one could say we've seen the evolution of Kate Middleton's wardrobe to the Duchess of Cambridge's in the past five years or so. The graphic below offers six looks from each of Kate's pregnancies.

The Final Appearance Before Maternity Leave

Before Kate's maternity leave in 2013, we saw William and Kate at Trooping the Colour. Kate looked elegant in a pink coat with a heavy collar, three-quarter length sleeve and pearl buttons (you may recall the appearance prompted rumours Kate was expecting a girl). A day of engagements in South London in March marked Kate's final public appearances before Charlotte's arrival. The Duchess wore her much-loved cerise Mulberry coat. And Kate's last royal appearance this time was Easter Sunday service with the Royal family, when she brought back her brown Catherine Walker coat for the day.

It was fun to look back on Kate's maternity wardrobe milestones throughout the years. It's hard to believe George will soon be 5, and Charlotte almost 3!

With George back at Thomas's tomorrow, and a very busy week ahead for William with CHOGM events, and of course a very important impending arrival - the Cambridges are now back at KP where they will remain until the baby arrives. The Mail on Sunday reports Kate was out with her brother James in Hungerford, near Anmer Hall shopping for his new country home. I imagine the sighting may be from before Easter when the Cambridges were staying with the Middletons. Hungerford is about a twenty minute drive from the Middleton home.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Royal Baby Watch Officially Begins!

Royal Baby Watch officially commenced this morning, with parking restrictions in place until 30 April outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. Although there were rumours Kate might opt for a home birth this time - it was confirmed today William and Kate chose the London hospital where George and Charlotte were born.

Barriers have been erected on the street outside for photographers and journalists. The media will be permitted to make short visits to the press pen for filming purposes but will not be allowed to stay until the Palace confirms Kate has been admitted. Reporter Emily Nash notes "The Palace and the Hospital have worked hard to make sure the birth will cause minimal disruption to patients and staff - there are very good media arrangements in place. Don't expect to see regular reporting/updates from the Lindo Wing until the time comes."

The scene outside the Lindo Wing on the day Princess Charlotte was born.

Reporter Emily Andrews understands the Lindo Wing was always the plan. The Cambridges are enjoying a couple of weeks at their country home Anmer Hall and are not expected to return to London until the weekend - ahead of George's return to school next Monday.

Emily Andrews Twitter Feed

Once again, William and Kate have elected not to find out if they are having a boy or a girl before the arrival. More from the Mail Online:

'The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge won't know whether they are having a boy or a girl until the baby is delivered, it was revealed today. During routine scans William and Kate did not ask if they would be welcoming a son or daughter - opting to be surprised as with the Duchess's previous pregnancies.
Once news of the birth has been announced on the official Kensington Palace Twitter and Instagram accounts, a bulletin notice declaring the birth will go on display on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
Kate is likely to take an extended period off to recover and nurse the latest addition to her family but is expected to attend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19.
As a mother of three children under the age of four, the duchess's role as a parent is likely to be her focus for the next few years, providing a loving and stable home for her family.
The new royal baby will be born fifth in line to the throne. Once the prince or princess arrives, Prince Harry will shift down the line of succession to sixth place.'

The Telegraph adds: "The Duchess will be looked after by a team of leading medical professionals during her stay, which will be lead by Alan Farthing, the Queen’s surgeon-gynaecologist, and Guy Thorpe-Beeston, surgeon-gynaecologist to the royal household. Both of them helped to deliver Prince George and Princess Charlotte. In the Lindo Wing, The Duchess will again be given a bespoke experience akin to a five-star hotel with en suite rooms available "providing a modern, homely environment in which to start your new or expanded family life", the unit's website states."

The exact due date is not known. Emily Andrews understands the baby is due around 23rd April, whilst The Telegraph reports mid-late April.

As with George and Charlotte, when the Duchess goes into labour we can expect a tweet and official press release from Kensington Palace, once the Queen and both families have been informed. Below, the tweet posted when Kate was admitted to St Mary's on the day Charlotte was born.

Aside from photos of William and Kate with their bundle of joy, many of us are hoping for a shot of William bringing George and Charlotte to meet their new sibling.

When the prince or princess arrives, big sister Charlotte will make history. More from the Evening Standard:

'The two-year-old is the first-ever member of the royal family that will not lose her spot in line to the throne if a male heir is born. This is due to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which was passed when the Duchess was pregnant with Prince George and stated that succession to the throne would be based wholly on birth order – not gender.'

The Duchess selected bespoke Jenny Packham dresses when she left the hospital with George and Charlotte (she had both pink and blue polka dot options ready when George was born). I expect it very likely she'll choose the British designer again.

Another interesting read from The Telegraph: The Duchess of Cambridge and the art of the 'going home' look:

'The art of the 'coming home' look is a relatively new one for the royals. Wedding dresses, diplomatic tour outfits and ballgowns have all been finely honed over the past two centuries, but until the birth of Prince William in 1982, babies were delivered in the privacy of royal palaces with no need to pose for pictures until they were at least a few weeks old. The first images of then-Princess Elizabeth gazing lovingly at little Prince Charles were published a month after his birth, offering plenty of time for recovery and beautifying. 
There was no such luxury for Princess Diana when she left hospital, bump still visible, the day after giving birth to William and, two years later, Harry. Similarly, Kate faced the world's cameras little more than 24 hours after George's delivery and a mere ten hours after Charlotte's, so we can likely expect a similar modus operandi with baby number three.
For both her births, she has commissioned bespoke dresses by Jenny Packham, one of her favourite designers. It seems likely that we can expect another new outfit for the birth of baby number three. When Kate emerged with Prince George, wearing a pale blue polka dot dress, immediate comparisons were drawn with the outfit worn by Diana to present William to the world. It was a sensitive sartorial tribute at a moment when her absence was keenly felt. Although the duchess's style squad- stylist Natasha Archer and hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker- were pictured arriving at the hospital, the results of their work were soft and subtle; Kate's hair was styled in natural, loose waves, her make-up was minimal and she wore comfortable wedges rather than heels. 
With Princess Charlotte's birth is was a different story. Although the chosen Jenny Packham dress was as pretty and loose as the first with its buttercup print, many commented on the choice of white as particularly brave. Kate paired the look with her beloved beige heels this time while her hair and make-up was more glamorous- bouncing curls and lashings of eyeliner. 'Fresh as breeze' and 'stunning appearence' were The Telegraph's Gordon Rayner's summation of the look. 
If the post-George look was 'relatable(ish) and relaxed new mum', then the message post-Charlotte was that of a consummate professional royal.'

Once Kate is admitted to hospital, I'll start a 'Live Blog' which will run throughout the day with timely updates and items of interest. It's a hugely exciting time for William and Kate and of course George and Charlotte :)


We also have several fashion updates to share today. Kate's gorgeous 'red pop' Boden Lena coat is reduced from £220 to £110 on the website.

The Boutique Moschino coat Kate wore for a roundtable discussion at Kensington Palace in November is reduced from $497 to $437 at Yoox.

The Monsoon Eva wedges are available in most sizes at present.

Kate's blue Philosophy Twill Double-Breasted Blazer is back in stock at Barneys (thanks to Middleton Maven).

And Kate's Ray Ban Wayfarers are available at Nordstrom.

In our next post, we'll be taking a look at Kate's maternity wardrobe :)

Kate's Favourites