Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Royal Baby Due in April & November Tour Postponed Until Early 2018!

Good afternoon dear readers,

Kensington Palace made two significant announcements today regarding the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Firstly, it's the update we've been eagerly awaiting; Baby Cambridge is due in April 2018. The news confirms Kate is past 12 weeks and all is well with mother and baby. KP shared the news via Twitter with the message: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in early 2018".

Kensington Palace

April is already a very special month in the royal family. The Queen's birthday takes place on 21 April and William and Kate will mark their seventh wedding anniversary on 29 April 2018, they couldn't ask for a better gift than the arrival of a new baby the same month. Interestingly, when Kate was expecting Princess Charlotte, the Palace said the due month was "April". I understand both George and Charlotte arrived a little late, with the Princess born on 2 May 2015.

Royal watchers and global media will once again be firmly focused on the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital. Our first glimpse of the little prince or princess will come when William and Kate leave the hospital with their new baby. When they left with George they had a brief chat with reporters. When Charlotte was born, they returned to KP just hours after she was born, naturally the Duchess was exhausted and they headed home.

We've seen the Duchess publicly three times during her pregnancy. On 31 August, she joined William and Harry at The White Garden at Kensington Palace, to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales. Kate was beaming (she and William had quite possibly just found out she was expecting). Kate wore the Prada Printed Silk Dress with her very pretty Monica Vinader Siren Wire Earrings and L.K. Bennett Fern pumps for the appearance. Days later the Palace confirmed Kate was pregnant and suffering with Hyperemesis gravidarum.

Six weeks later, Kate returned to public duties to mark World Mental Health Day at a Buckingham Palace reception celebrating those working across the mental health sector. Kate was in good spirits on the evening. She wore the pretty iris Temperley London Eclipse Lace Collar Dress, Gianvito Rossi pumps and Kiki earrings.

And yesterday, we had a surprise appearance as Kate joined William and Harry for a Charities Forum engagement with children from organisations they support. It was a lovely event, and it was great to see Kate dancing with Paddington. William revealed "She's feeling much better". An aide added: 'The Duchess is feeling much better but she has still not fully recovered.' Of course, each pregnancy is different, but during her previous pregnancies, I believe it was around this point she began to really feel better. For Kate's third maternity look, she chose an A/W 2013 Orla Kiely Dress with new Tod's Suede pumps and Kiki Morganite earrings.

I expect we'll see Kate popping up at more engagements in the coming weeks.


The other update from the Palace concerns the postponement of William and Kate's November tour of Norway and Sweden. At the request of the Foreign Office, it was originally planned the Duke and Duchess would visit both countries and Finland at the end of November. Due to Kate's health, it has now been postponed until "Early 2018". William will now visit Finland solo next month.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

'The Duchess of Cambridge's continuing illness with acute morning sickness has forced the Royal Household to drop plans for her and Prince William to tour three Scandinavian countries next month. She and William had been due to spend four or five days touring Norway, Sweden, and Finland but Kensington Palace has decided she is not well enough to undertake the tour at the request of the Foreign Office.
 Instead, William, 35, will make a two-day visit to Finland on November 29 and 30 and the couple have postponed their visit to Norway and Sweden until early 2018. It was not possible to postpone the trip to Finland until next year, as the main official reason for going is to celebrate Finland's centenary year as a nation. It became an independent state on December 6, 1917. Unofficially, the visits to all three countries will be seen as part of a wider effort by Britain to shore up its relationships with European countries ahead of Brexit.
Her condition has improved in the last few days, allowing her to undertake two official royal engagements in the past week, but she is still not fully recovered. It is understood that even if she is feeling much better by the time William goes to Finland next month, she has ruled out joining him there.'

I suspect the change of plan was decided very recently. Last week, royal reporter Emily Andrews was told the tour was going ahead in November, contingent upon Kate's health.

Emily Andrews

When the Duchess was expecting Princess Charlotte in December 2014, she and William spent three days in New York. Kate was at the same stage in her pregnancy as she would have been on the November tour. Perhaps she found the travelling very taxing at the time? I understand the proposed itinerary for Sweden/Norway/Finland featured a hectic schedule over five days, much busier than New York.

Kate will be heavily pregnant when the tour goes ahead in 2018.


In other updates, last Wednesday, Kate's former private secretary Rebecca Priestley appropriately received the Royal Victoria Order at Buckingham Palace from Prince William. The honour is reserved for those who have served the monarchy. Rebecca worked for the Royal family for ten years and following the royal wedding, served as Kate's right-hand woman. She has already moved on to the next phase of her career, registering her own private company RAP Consulting and Communications at the beginning of this month. The business, based in central London, will specialise in publication relations and communications activities. Rebecca declined to speak with media after the investiture.


On the fashion front, I only just got a chance to have a gander at a new collaboration between two of Kate's favourite brands. L.K. Bennett and Preen have teamed up to create L.K. Bennett's first Ready-To-Wear Collection with internationally-celebrated label Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Design duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi drew inspiration from the floral watercolours of artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh to create the capsule collection.

Looking at the collection, the Vali Rose Silk Dress instantly stands out whilst achieving the brief of marrying a classic silhouette favoured by L.K. Bennett with the designer's vision. Romantic and feminine, with an undone quality Preen is so loved for. Rendered in 100% silk satin, it is printed with roses on a graphic red striped base. A brand archive silhouette, this wrap dress has a waterfall collar and falls to an asymmetric hem.

The print is beautiful.

The Syd Floral Print Dress is a 'very Kate' piece featuring a feminine silhouette modelled on a Preen archive piece. It has a fitted bodice, round neck, bracelet sleeves and flowing full skirt.

Two striking pieces from the collection: the Sioux Tulip Print Dress and the Shelly Black Print Dress.

More from the Telegraph:

Many of the dresses and skirts in the 15-piece collection are made from pure silk and, with prices starting at £195, the collaborators were keen to ensure that this was not just another ‘designer does cheap version of their hits for the high street’ story. Rather, the original designs aim to bring a similar level of quality, with some new, fashion-forward direction, for those who already love to shop at L.K. Bennett.
“We’ve long admired the British DNA and feminine handwriting of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and we felt there was a natural synergy between our two brands,” explains L.K. Bennett’s brand director Lorna Perrin. “We’ve developed floral feminine prints, which are already a big part of L.K.Bennett’s heritage, with Preen’s distinct silhouettes and a more directional slant, to create an exciting contemporary collection.”

The Patti dress is a pared-back piece with a very contemporary silhouette. This style is cut from a black silk-blend velvet, with a distinctive soft lantern shape and box-pleated skirt that swishes gracefully as you walk. The embellishment on the neckline is superbly done.

Separates include the Patti Blue Wool Jumper worn with the Shelly Black Skirt. We also see the Devoto Black Silk Top.

What do you think of the collection? Are there any pieces you would like to see Kate wear?

Monday, 16 October 2017

Kate Dances with Paddington for Charities Forum Engagement!

In an unexpected appearance, the Duchess joined William and Harry to meet children from the charities they support on board Belmond British Pullman train at Paddington Station.

The appearance marks Kate's second public engagement since the pregnancy announcement in early September. The Duchess returned to duties last Tuesday evening at a Buckingham Palace reception celebrating the contribution of those working in mental health across the UK. The Palace said the Duchess' condition was steadily improving but she was still suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum. It's wonderful Kate was able to make it and very much fits in with taking events on a case-by-case basis depending on how she feels.

More from Richard Palmer's story:

'It was her second public appearance since August 30 and since Kensington Palace announced on September 4 that she was pregnant with her third child and suffering from the severe morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum.She had previously pulled out of the engagement because of the HG, which can cause vomiting up to 60 times a day but decided to join her husband and brother-in-law as she was feeling so well today.
William said: "She's feeling much better. An aide added: "The Duchess is feeling much better but she has still not fully recovered."

The event was hosted by STUDIOCANAL, with support from BAFTA through its BAFTA Kids programme, and before embarking Their Royal Highnesses met the cast and crew from the forthcoming film Paddington 2.

The Duchess thoroughly enjoyed meeting Paddington. I wonder if they brought him a jar of marmalade? :)

In the 'photo of the day', Paddington gave the Duchess a twirl.

George and Charlotte will simply love these images :)

A brilliant video from Sky News.

William and Harry chat with star of the movie Hugh Bonneville.

The Duke and Prince Harry spent time meeting the young guests on board the 1920s and '30s vintage carriages that form the sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

Kate had the perfect answer when she was asked "What's the best thing about being a Princess?" by Amelia Kubas, seven, and ten-year-old Mahira Gazi, both from Portway Primary School, in Stratford, east London. She told the girls her favourite thing was "meeting special people like them".

Back to Richard Palmer's story:

'She had a long chat with Esther Windsor and her daughter Lilly, 10, from the Anna Freud Centre in north London. She discussed her shared love of art with Lilly. The Duchess said: "So you're creative. It's great fun, isn't it?" The two also discussed seeing the first Paddington movie and their plans to see the second, which opens on November 10. "Have you ever been on a train like this? No, I haven't either. I was just saying how big and comfy the seats are." After their chat, Lilly's mother, Esther, said: "We really like the train and it's very nice to meet Kate. She seemed very well."
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Henry Brown in the movie, praised the three royals for their support of children's charities. He said:  “Wherever they go awareness is brought to the causes they do wonderfully support. “It’s just fantastic when they can bring a bit of a spotlight to shine on these fantastic causes. Paddington is equally happy to smear them in marmalade!” He said he didn’t want to give too much away but revealed that the second movie’s baddie, played by Hugh Grant, is “not quite so scary as Nicole Kidman” from the first one.'

A video from the train.

The Palace described it as "a unique opportunity for members of Their Royal Highnesses' Charities Forum to nominate some of the children they support – many going through difficult times in their lives – for a special trip aboard the train".

Prince Harry meets young passengers.

After they disembarked, they waved off Belmond British Pullman as it departed Paddington Station to journey through the English countryside.

There are over 30 organisations involved in the Charities Forum, which consists of William, Kate and Harry's' patronages and other organisations with whom they work closely. The Forum aims to bring together Their Royal Highnesses' individual charitable interests. The group meets regularly, with organisations taking it in turns to host. The meetings provide an opportunity for the charities to update Their Royal Highnesses on their recent activities and projects, and also provide a platform for collaborative activity between the organisations. Opportunities to support each other are explored at meetings, relationships are developed and bilateral work is initiated, often between charities and organisations that would not ordinarily have been linked through the course of their own work.

The Duchess wore a pretty peach and black Orla Kiely dress for the outing.

The £139 Raised Flower Fitted Dress has been sold out for some time. It is described: "The dress has a fitted bodice and slim sleeve and pencil shape skirt. Dress falls just below the knee. The boat shape neckline is slightly lower at the back. The dress comes with a detachable contrast fabric bow belt." The dress is from the Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection.

Giulia identified Kate's new shoes as Tod's Suede Pumps. They are described: "Tod's suede pumps are chicness and practicality combined. Masterly crafted by skilled artisans in Italy, this timeless pair sit atop a sturdy block heel and arch to a streamlined pointed toe. The label's signature pebbled sole provides traction for those on-the-go days."

Kate carried her black Mulberry clutch.

The Duchess accessorised with her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.

And completed the look with Kiki pink morganite earrings.

What a lovely engagement! Hopefully we'll see another surprise appearance on two this month :)


In our final segment today, we send the happiest of birthday wishes to the team at Merci Maman! The brand are celebrating their tenth anniversary throughout this month. To mark the special occasion they are offering 20% of all orders for today only. For those in the UK, the code is THANKYOU20 and for those in the US, the code is THANKS20.

BĂ©atrice de Montille crafted her first bracelet in 2007 from her kitchen table in London. Fast forward ten years, and she now works alongside a team of twenty in the company's London studio. ‘Merci Maman’ translates to ‘Thank you, Mum’ in English and is a nod to the creator's French origins and the original celebration of the mother and child bond. The brand is considered a 'go-to' for those seeking unique gifts. Merci Maman has grown in strength and success, being featured in acclaimed publications including Vanity FairVogue and Gala France, as well as being loved by Royals and celebrities, including Autumn Phillips, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Isabella Branson and Jools Oliver. This year marked another amazing milestone; Merci Maman were awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade Category. Below we see Beatrice and Arnaud meeting Her Majesty at a Buckingham Palace reception earlier this year.

Kate was spotted wearing her Merci Maman necklace during a shopping trip in 2013 following the birth of Prince George.

Merci Maman

Kate's gold plated necklace has three charms: a disc engraved with 'George Alexander Louis', a heart engraved with 'W' for William, and the figure of a little boy.

Merci Maman

The Duchess Necklace remains available from £79.

Merci Maman

To mark their tenth anniversary, Merci Maman has designed an exclusive collection featuring three necklaces. Starting from £59, the collection offers different combinations including two sizes of hammered disc charms, a hand-engraved message chosen by the customer and a choice of twelve coloured birthstones.

Merci Maman

Below we see the Personalised Small Hammered Necklace. Available in 925 Sterling Silver or 18ct Gold Plated, this design features a single pendant with a hammered texture on the front. As with the majority of pieces by the brand, you can choose your chain length, metal and engraving message.

Merci Maman

The larger Personalised Hammered Necklace is described as: "A beautifully hammered disc sits alongside a smaller disc with a smooth surface to create an eye-catching contrast. Available in 925 Sterling Silver or 18ct Gold Plated and with your choice of chain, this necklace hangs perfectly at any length. Engrave the smooth disc with up to 18 characters around the edge of the charm and enjoy this combination!"

Merci Maman

Also in the collection - the Personalised Large Hammered & Birthstone Necklace.

Merci Maman

The necklace can be personalised with any birthstone.

Merci Maman

A reminder with the Christmas season ahead, customers can add a free gift box to their order and choose from a selection of greeting cards.

Merci Maman

To view the full collection please click here. A reminder, the 20% discount codes THANKYOU20 (UK) and THANKS20 (US) are valid for today only. The code is also valid for international orders.

Kate's Favourites