Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Kate Supports East Anglia's Children's Hospices Appeal in Norfolk

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the launch of East Anglia's Children's Hospices fundraising appeal to build a new children's hospice in the heart of Norfolk.

Kate looked happy upon arrival and was greeted by large numbers of the media and many interested spectators.

The fundraising event took place from late morning to early afternoon at the Norfolk Showground, just under an hour's drive from the Cambridges' country home, Anmer Hall, located on the Queen's Sandringham estate where the Royal family spend Christmas annually. It was revealed over the weekend renovation have completed and the family have moved in. It is believed they will spend much of their time there in the coming years with William beginning his new role as a pilot for East Anglia Air Ambulance in the spring.

An overview of the Norfolk showground area.

Norfolk Showground Facebook Page

The Duchess received a posy of flowers from local children.

Kate has been royal patron of EACH since January 2012. It was one of her first choices following private visits and much consideration. Since then the Duchess has opened The Treehouse Hospice for EACH, visited other hospices in the UK, recorded a video message supporting Children's Hospice Week and forged links with organisations and hospices abroad during royal tours, including Hospis Malaysia.

Speaking about Kate's involvement with the charity, chief executive of EACH Graham Butland said:

'Everyone at EACH is honoured and extremely proud to have the Duchess of Cambridge as Royal Patron. The Duchess's support continues to help us increase awareness and understanding of the care and support we provide, and in this instance, to highlight the need for a new children's hospice in Norfolk.'

Hundreds of guests gathered to learn more about the appeal which has been organised to bring people together from all walks of life in Norfolk and beyond including individuals, businesses, charitable trusts, schools and community and voluntary groups.

Her Royal Highness met families, volunteers and supporters of the hospice and discussed their experiences before joining the launch of the appeal.

Among them was Leigh Smith whose baby daughter Beatrice was just sixteen weeks old when she passed away from a rare heart condition called restrictive cardiomyopathy in January (with thanks to Rebecca via Twitter) Mrs. Smith revealed Kate wrote to her personally:

'I was so surprised to receive a letter with such personal comments and signed by her. It was a lovely gesture and helped me through a terrible time. I was touched she had taken so much time to carefully read my letter and then to reply herself - it shows how much she cares. I hope Beatrice was looking down as I met Kate.'

Leigh gave an emotional speech at the launch about her daughter Beatrice. Reporters said afterwards, a tearful Kate put her arms around her and said "you're a brave lady". Below we see a beautiful photo of Leigh and Beatrice taken by talented Norfolk based photographer Rob Dodsworth.

Rob Dodsworth Photography 

The Duchess was appropriately seated at the 'George' table. A selection of the 100 most popular names were used for each of the tables.

Emily Andrews Twitter Feed

Kate admired a new range of pottery she helped designed to raise money for the appeal with Emma Bridgewater.

The Duchess helped design two 'Flower and Insect Mugs'. £5 from each sale will go to directly to EACH. They will go on sale in March.

Emily Andrews Twitter Feed

Regular readers will be very familiar with the work of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, and many of you kindly donated to the charity in aid of the Baby Cambridge Fundraiser, a charitable endeavour spearheaded by five royal bloggers, which I was incredibly proud to be part of. The organisation offers care and support for young people with life-limiting conditions and their families at a terribly painful time.


Let's discuss the appeal in a little more detail.

Due to the high demands of the charity's specialist services in Norfolk, the team has outgrown their current hospice in Quidenham, a very old two-storey building. Accessibility and flexibility within the building is restricted and there isn't scope to expand. EACH has obtained planning permission for a five-acre site but needs to raise £10 million to make this dream a reality. The organisation relies entirely on donations and requires £6 million annually to deliver essential services.


If you wish to support the fundraiser by donating, getting involved or attending one of the many events planned to spread the word and help achieve the target please click here. One can also visit the charity's online shop and purchase an array of interesting items including the EACH bracelet (previously worn by Kate), the EACH Umbrella and the charity's single 'Each and Every Day'.


Kate wrote a foreword for the launch "I greatly admire the dedication, generosity and achievements of the charity's supporters and volunteers and look forward to seeing the progress of this campaign".

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

£10 million is quite a sum and it will be no mean feat to achieve this target. It is hoped Kate's presence will give the campaign a boost and help to capture the attention of potential donors.

I've always felt EACH is particularly special to Kate, and even more so now as a mother expecting her second baby.

There was some confusion regarding Kate's choice of designer for the day. Initially reporters were told she was wearing a Catherine Walker design. It turns out the Duchess was in fact wearing Katherine Hooker. It could be a last minute change of dress or simply an error at the Palace.

Katherine Hooker Twitter Feed

Katherine Hooker confirmed the Duchess wore the Ascot Dress in custom red fabric.

The classic shift dress features a high neck which is described as the ideal choice for daytime or evening wear. It retails for £380 and is available in navy and black. Those who would like a custom colour like Kate's can order one by contacting the team.

Katherine Hooker

Kate has been a fan of the British designer for almost a decade. Most notably she has worn a herringbone coat by Ms. Hooker many times and the very elegant dove grey Buxton Grey for the Order of the Garter ceremony in 2011 and to the wedding of William's cousin Emily McCorquodale.

Kate wore her black suede Jimmy Choo Aimee Pumps.

The eagle-eyed Anna quickly noted Kate accessorised with the £4,000 Mappin and Webb Fortune Pendant and her Kiki McDonough green amethyst cushion cut earrings.

Mappin and Webb / Kiki McDonough

And carried her black suede clutch.

The Duchess wore her hair in a gorgeous ponytail today - it's a great look for her.

There's a good video at ITN Source and YouTube.

Finally, a new photo of William, Kate and George has emerged (with thanks to Rebecca). The photo was taken by Jason Bell before the tour and was the official tour gift. It's a gorgeous family shot and Kate gave a nod to New Zealand in her blue Rebecca Taylor suit. The designer was born in NZ.

Hot Monarchy

Wishing our friends across the pond a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Trip to China in Early 2015? Attire for NYC (And we're not talking about Kate) & All the Latest News

Good evening, we hope you're all having a fabulous weekend!

There's been a variety of royal news stories involving the Cambridges surfacing over the past few days involving a new addition to staff, the USA visit and more. We begin with a story that particularly piqued our interest: news the Duke and Duchess have been asked to undertake a historic tour of China in early 2015.

More from The Telegraph's story:

'The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been asked to carry out an official tour of China early next year to improve Britain's diplomatic links with the world's second-biggest economy.'

I did a double take when I read 'Early 2015', Kate could most likely be in her third trimester by then and is expecting her second baby in April 2015. The National Health Service advises pregnant women that most airlines will now allow them to fly beyond 36 weeks of pregnancy, which will be some stage in March for Kate. Back to The Telegraph'story:

'They are hoping arrangements can be finalised quickly enough for the Duchess - who is due to give birth in April - to be able to make the trip, though royal aides admit her participation is in doubt because of her pregnancy.'

Chinese officials are said to be "very excited" about the prospect of a tour by the couple, which would be the most high-profile since the Queen and Prince Philip visited in 1986. Royal tours to China have previously been fraught with unfortunate comments. During the aforementioned 1986 tour Prince Philip told British exchange students, "If you stay here much longer you'll be slitty-eyed", and a leaked diary entry by Prince Charles described Chinese leaders as "appalling old waxworks".

As many of you know, months ago rumours began to emerge about the possibility of this tour for the Cambridges taking place in Autumn 2015. That date would seem much more manageable and sensible for Kate. Royal tours can involve several engagements per day, quite a bit of travelling and are generally considered to be quite exhausting. As it stands, if the trip is to go ahead, it would seem likely it will be a solo trip for Prince William. Perhaps one in which he can focus on his conservation efforts?

Royal sources said it was "too early" to say whether or not the trip will go ahead, though they did confirm that dates for 2015 are being discussed. Interestingly, whether or not Kate goes, George is not expected to join his parents.

We'll keep you updated as news unfolds on this.


There's been an important addition to William, Kate and Harry's staff with the arrival of American PR Guru Jason Knauf as their new Communications Secretary. Kensington Palace announced Jason will begin his new role in the New Year. He replaces Ed Perkins, who left the Royal household earlier this year.

The Telegraph

Mr. Knauf has an impressive résumé and has been described as "fun" and "well liked". More from The Telegraph:

'Mr Knauf, 30, whose experience of crisis management includes trying to diffuse the row over a £963,000 share bonus paid to RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester in 2012, will be in his new job in time to manage the media arrangements outside St. Mary's Hospital when the Duchess of Cambridge has her second child.
 He was appointed as RBS Director of Corporate Affairs in May, having previously been the bank's head of media relations. Before that he worked as a press officer at HM Treasury and as a speechwriter to New Zealand's deputy prime minister Michael Cullen.'

There was some surprise the royals' deputy communication secretary Nick Loughran (pictured below with Kate's private secretary Rebecca Deacon, the two have been in a relationship since last year) wasn't appointed to the senior role, however, given the recent breakdown in communications between the press and the Palace it is undoubtedly a wise move to bring fresh blood into the mix and Jason is perfectly equipped to repair relations and start a new chapter in terms of communication.

We wish Mr. Knauf the very best of luck in his new role.


Prince William has been busy of late and we thought we'd share news on his latest engagements too. The Prince was in high spirits on Friday night at the Royal United Service Institute where he presented Melinda Gates with the Chatham House Prize in recognition of her work to end poverty and empower women.

There was a light-hearted moment when master of ceremonies Richard Birtchnell mistakenly announced him as his 93-year-old grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh. (Off topic note, but how much does William remind you of George in this photo!)

William met with Kofi Anan.

We spoke about William's conservation efforts earlier in the post: the Prince has been busy championing such causes closes to his heart this week. Writing for The Telegraph, William wrote 'Time is running out for Africa's most magnificent creatures':

'This year, more than ever, we will be highlighting the danger that park rangers face in Africa. Hundreds have been killed in the past decade in battle-like conditions against heavily-armed poachers. For the poachers, the temptation to make comparatively big money is too tempting to resist.'

William recorded two videos in which he speaks of his concerns over the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and teamed up with Angry Birds in a bid to save the anteater which is in danger of 'being eaten to death' in its native China.

United for Widlife

On Tuesday, Prince William will have the opportunity to honour and commend heroes at the Tusk Conservation Awards at Claridges Hotel. Last year, the Duke and Duchess attended the inaugural awards - this year it will be a solo for William.

For those who asked about the increase in engagements for the Prince, he's currently training and doing exams until March and will start his work as a Air Ambulance co-pilot then.


We're only a couple of weeks away from the Cambridges' visit to New York and there's been an unusual amount of discussion regarding suitable attire (and no we're not talking about Kate).


A look at the report from the NY Daily News:

'We threw off British Rule in 1776 - but American reporters still face a royal dressing down if they don't bow to sartorial standards when William and Kate come to town. U.S. reporters applying to cover a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New York and Washington next month have been reminded of Buckingham Palace's posted policy on proper dress for covering the Royal family'.

The official website of the Royal family states:

'Journalists wishing to cover royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of the Queen, or any other member of the Royal family. Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away.'

Several media outlets suggested (and later amended) that a 'communique' has been issued to US journalists advising them how to dress, however, this was not the case. Last week the Senate Periodical Press Gallery sent out an email reminding reporters of the general rules of etiquette while covering Congress. Separately the media was referred to the official website which states the rules mentioned above. It looks like it all originated from a story by Politico, as correctly noted by our commenter Stephanie.

There is nothing new whatsoever in these rules and the Palace certainly didn't send out specific instructions to US media. It's very much a storm in a teacup situation. I know from following royal reporters over the past few years they always dress smartly and in a manner befitting the event they are covering.


Next, a brief fashion update. Kate's elegant black lace DVF Zarita gown proved so popular with readers, we received a number of emails requesting 'Repli-Kate's'. With the festive season just around the corner  (is it too early to say we're feeling very Christmassy already) a great black dress is a perfect piece for so many events.

It just so happens our friends over at Kate Middleton Style have found the perfect alternative - the Adrianna Pappell Long Sleeve Lace Gown. The striking dress also features sheer sleeves, a V back and a scalloped neckline. The dress is currently discounted from $218 to $99.99 with Free Shipping at 6 pm.


The dress is available in Cassis and Mulberry at Nordstrom and comes in regular and petite sizing. Shorter versions of the dress in an array of colours are also available at Nordstrom with Free Shipping.


With thanks again to the ladies at Kate Middleton Style.


Place2Be shared an album packed with images from the 'Wellbeing in School Awards' via their Facebook Page. To view the album in its entirety please click here.


The photos were taken by the incredibly talented Hugo Burnand who took William and Kate's official wedding photos. Below we see stunning images from Kensington Palace.


Finally, renovations completed, William, Kate and George have finally moved into their country home Anmer Hall (with thanks to Roya Nikkhah from The Sunday Times).

That's all the news for today! We'll see you on Tuesday when Kate attends East Anglia's Children's Hospices Norfolk Capital Appeal Launch.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Kate Mixes High Street & Designer for Place2Be Awards

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Place2Be 'Wellbeing in School' Awards at the Kensington Palace state apartments this evening.

Tonight marks the inaugural awards, and holding the event at the Palace made it even more special for all involved. Of course, William and Kate's London residence is Apartment 1A, Kensington Palace; before they moved in it was envisaged they would use the state apartments to hold functions such as this in aid of their charities.

The Duchess met the finalist in each award category at a reception before the awards.

Kate has been patron of the organisation since April 2013, reflecting her interest in child mental health and the importance of early intervention to provide children with in-school mental health services at the earliest stage possible, to tackle problems before they can escalate.

Royal reporter Victoria Murphy shared a photo from the Queen's Gallery.

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

The Duchess met with nominee Georgia Alvery, 11, who described Kate as "beautiful" and praised her understanding of mental health issues.

Place2Be provides emotional and therapeutic support services in primary and secondary schools, building children's resilience through talking, creative work and play. They currently reach 90,000 children, helping them to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.


A beautiful piece of artwork by a child who availed of the services provided. Before receiving support she wrote, "Dear Place2Be, I am sad because my parents have split up and I am not feeling very good and every time I wake up my belly hurts and sometimes I cry in my sleep".


The awards celebrate those often unsung heroes who make a real difference to the life of their school community through their commitment to children's emotional wellbeing. Parents, grandparents, teachers and others who have seen the life-changing work of Place2Be for themselves were asked to nominate their school leaders, parent and children champions and volunteers.

Kate wrote a foreword for the awards in which she said, "It is wonderful that this important area of children's emotional health is being recognised with these inaugural awards".

Ryan Hooper Twitter Feed

The organisation shared their excitement via their Facebook page earlier today.

Place2Be Facebook Page

In a statement the charity's chief executive said:

'We are greatly honoured HRH Duchess of Cambridge will be attending the first-ever Place2Be Wellbeing in School Awards.
 The Duchess is committed to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children in the UK. Her support for Place2Be has helped to shine a spotlight on the need to tackle children's mental health at the earliest possible stage.'

Kate presented the Child/Young Person Award to eleven-year-old Bailey Dunne.

If you wish to support the incredibly important work carried out by the charity, there's a number of ways to get involved. From donating to fundraising, one can also attend an event or take on a challenge and get their company involved. All the relevant details are available on the website.


The Duchess mixed high street and designer for tonight's look - something fashion fans praised her for since the royal wedding. We haven't seen too much of it lately, and instead Kate has been opting for designer dresses and bespoke coatdresses.

Kate's black top is by Hobbs London.

Hobbs London

The Invitation Emilia Top is an elegant  textured crepe garment in a form-flattering shape with eye-catching embroidered polka dot design making it perfect for a special occasion. It originally retailed for $155 before going on sale for $120, unfortunately is completely sold out everywhere at present.

Hobbs London

For those who love the design of the top, Hobbs suggested their £149 Marigold Dress as an alternative. It's a classic little black dress and a fabulous addition to any wardrobe especially with the party season almost upon us.

Hobbs London

The Duchess teamed the top with her £450 Alexander McQueen Glossed-Leather belt.

Alexander McQueen

I personally felt the belt didn't work well with the peplum top and would have looked better without it.

Kate's gorgeous peacock blue skirt is a Jenny Packham design from the Fall 2013 collection. We would have loved to see Her Royal Highness wearing the look on the left, it's effortlessly chic.

Jenny Packham

Kate chose her black suede Jimmy Choo Vikki Pumps for the event.

Jimmy Choo

An injection of sparkle was added to the look with her Cassandra Goad Temple of Heaven earrings. The 9ct yellow good pieces retail for £1,365.

Cassandra Goad

Kate carried her black suede clutch.

Kate's hair was lovely tonight - pulled back with braid detail.

What do you think of Kate's look tonight?