Mar 192012

Kate looked every bit the royal this morning as she undertook her first public speaking engagement. The morning’s activities centered on the formal opening of the Treehouse, a new addition to the EACH family (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices).

Anthony Devlin/Press Association

The Duchess chose a dress that would not detract from the day’s events, an older frock by Reiss, you will note that Kate wore the original belt that came with the garment. Our thanks to WKW Facebook friend Samantha Wakelin, as well as Michelle, for finding those other images of the garment, you can see the details better in those photos.

Coolspotters (L)/Fat Girls like Nice Dress Too

It is the ‘Trina’ dress, dating back to 2008. As Reiss noted on its website:

“…the Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear the Reiss Trina dress for her first public address at The Treehouse children’s hospice, Ipswich. The Trina dress is no longer available, but why not shop our favourite blue dresses from the spring/summer 12 collection.”

Via Reiss Blog

There is a lot going on with the dress: it is double-breasted with an elaborate, oversized collar, two features that could stand alone as design elements, but there are also scoop pockets at the hip and horizontally pieced fabric about 8 inches above the hem.  The color could not have been better, and the length was ideal. Kate’s dress would have benefited by a touch of additional tailoring on the bodice, it seemed to hang loosely in certain photos. But in reality it matters not at all, the children and new hospice were the focal point today, not Kate’s dress.

As noted by many, it is a dress also worn by Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, on a 2010 outing to Ascot. The consensus is that both Carole and Kate own their own version of the dress, as opposed to borrowing from each other. Kate wore her black Episode ‘Angel’ shoes (hers are suede) and carried her trusty black bag.

The rest of the Duchess’s accessories were equally low key, she wore the sapphire and diamond earrings we believe were re-made for her from a pair of Princess Diana’s, and she had on the cross pendant we have seen on many previous occasions.

Press Association

She also wore her Tiffany Diamonds by the Yard bracelet, as well as another piece of jewelry.

Press Association/EACH

That is the fundraising bracelet from EACH on Kate’s other wrist, available for sale on the group’s website for £10, about $15 USD at today’s exchange rates. Color clash? Not at all, I don’t think there was a better style statement that could be made today. Below, two photos from the EACH website showing Kate wearing her bracelet.

EACH Website

UPDATE 3.20.12: We asked EACH about shipping the Bracelets to places outside the UK and heard good news, they will ship anywhere in the world, here is more from EACH:

We’ve had a lot of enquiries about the EACH bracelet which The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing yesterday. It is available to buy from our website and we can send it anywhere in the world.

Please be aware that these bracelets are individually hand-made in Suffolk – therefore your order may take a few weeks to reach you. We can send orders anywhere in the world – P&P will remain the same for all orders.

The total cost is only £10, that includes postage and processing, about $15.90 at today’s exchange rates. There is a great story behind the bracelet’s design, it was created for EACH by Imogen Sheeran, her son is a well-known musician, Ed Sheeran.

As mentioned above, the occasion was the formal opening of The Treehouse, a new children’s hospice in Ipswich.


Kate became Royal Patron of EACH in January following a visit to one of the organization’s hospices. Below we see “before” and “after” photos of the Treehouse.

EACH Website

Kate’s talk also went very well, she remained focused despite restless or uncomfortable children in the audience, no easy feat. According to ABC she practiced before “family, friends and a mirror.” Below we share the entire text of her talk, something she wrote herself.

“First of all, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for not only accepting me as your patron but thank you also for inviting me here today. You have all made me feel so welcome and I feel hugely honored to be here to see this wonderful center.

“I am only sorry that William can’t be here today; he would love it here. A view of his – that I share – is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved.

“What you have all achieved here is extraordinary. You as a community have built the Treehouse; a group of people who have made every effort to support and help each other. When I first visited the hospice in Milton, I had a pre-conceived idea as to what to expect.

“Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home. Most importantly, it was a family home, a happy place of stability, support and care. It was a place of fun. Today I have seen again that the Treehouse is all about family and fun.

“For many, this is a home from home — a lifeline, enabling families to live as normally as possible during a very precious period of time. What you do is inspirational — it is a shining example of the support and the care that is delivered, not just here, but in the children’s hospice movement at large, up and down the country.

“The feelings you inspire — feelings of love and of hope — offer a chance to families to live a life they never thought could be possible.

“So thank you again for inviting me here today. I feel enormously proud to be part of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and to see the wonderful life-changing work that you do. Thank you.”

To watch the BBC video and hear Kate’s speech, click here.


More on Kate’s speech from Ipswich radio station Town 102 FM:

Kate looked confident as she stood in front of staff and volunteers from a charity and paid tribute to their efforts helping children with life-threatening conditions.

The royal sounded a little apprehensive but nerves never got the better of her and she had clearly committed her speech to memory as she glanced at her notes only occasionally.

Town 102FM, Ipswich

Fans were up and out early, more from the Eastern Daily Press:

Several people arrived at the scene early this morning, armed with their Union Jack flags, in the hope of catching a glimpse of Kate. Among the members of the public who turned out for the visit was five-year-old Tabby Cook and her mum Louise from Fressingfield.

Tabby said: I’m really excited. She is so pretty, I’m excited about seeing a princess.

There was plenty of entertainment for those waiting.

Town 102 FM, Ipswich

Following time with the children and a tour of the new building it was back outside for a walkabout.

Peter Hunt, BBC Twitter Feed (@BBCPeterHunt)

And tree planting duties – what could be more apropos for a hospice named The Treehouse?

Town 102 FM, Ipswich

Kate also was given flowers, she obviosuly enjoyed chatting with everyone.

Town 102FM, Ipswich

To see Town 102 FM’s entire photo album, click here.

Learn more about EACH on its website, visit their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter here. There is now a special fundraising effort to help celebrate the Treehouse opening and Kate’s visit, you can make a donation by clicking here.

At the wise suggestion of several WKW Facebook friends we wanted to share resources for US-based children’s needs as well, always a good idea. Be advised the US children’s hospice movement is in its infancy, you may want to look at some of the links shown below, or do a search with your location and the term “children’s hospice” or “children’s medical research” if interested in becoming involved with a local organization.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many thanks for the kind emails, I promise to have a new post up tomorrow about Saturday’s Emilia Wickstead look for the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Guards event. :)

  42 Responses to “Kate Regal in Royal Blue for First Speaking Engagement (UPDATED)”

  1. kate is gorgeous and works hard to make the royal family proud. you go kate!

  2. Didn’t like Kate’s dress one bit – she usually does much better.

  3. I love the color but hated the style of the dress. It was too bland. I am sure someone will work with her on her speeches. This was her first. She will get better.

  4. Kate’s mother, Carole, wore that same blue Reiss dress. Not exactly sure when, but she probably borrowed it from her mother’s closet! haha

    check it out on this website:

    if u scroll down a bit you’ll see her mother wearing the same blue dress and black belt. I think Kate wore it better :P

  5. I have to say, I am a little disappointed, not in the outfit, but her performance. I mean she has been dating the prince for over 8 year, married for a year, and still appears so nervous. She should have been practicing for years, knowing this was coming. I know many will say she is new at this, but come on, she knew she would have to give speeches. To sound that nervous, and that robotic is not good.
    But I do love the outfit and the shoes!!!! I wants those shoes!!!!!!!

    • Public speaking requires more than practicing in front of a mirror. You need professional coaching. Moreover, as an experienced public speaker I can tell you that practice and suddenly finding yourself in front of a live audience are quite different things.

      She did not, in fact, know for a very long time whether Prince William would propose. Had she spent money on coaching without being certain that it would be needed, she could have ended up being thoroughly roasted by the press and public had anyone found out about it.

      Most of the royals are not particularly good public speakers. They’ve become practiced over time, but they are not really gifted at it.

      • I don’t want to argue about this cos I know Kate can never do wrong for some people on this forum. The public would never have to know if she was getting coached while they were still dating And I believe that it was in 2008 William promised to marry her, and he said it in their interview after announcing the engagement that the both had been planning this (marriage, that is) for a while, and it just a matter of timing. All I’m saying is that she should have started practicing then. Live audience or mirror, that amount of nervous and robotic-ness is just bad. I mean, they have been married for almost a year now!!! I still love her like crazy, but I expected much better!!

        • Of course she can do wrong; I am not one of the people who uncritically adore her. However, if you don’t have a lot of public speaking experience, you may not realize the problems and stresses involved.

          • As someone who is involved in public speaking, I agree with Sassy.

            Arrangements could have been made to have the Duchess rehearse multiple times front of rotating assessors; second, she couldn’t have asked for a cozier, less intimidating environment than the venue where she was at for her first words (hardly a speech as the media went on and on about).

            I’ll give her some benefit of the doubt given it was a first time but I was disappointed and certainly hope she polishes her public speech skills. She is a 30 year old woman with a college education not an 18 year old ingenue.

  6. I loved the green coat.. something I would wear and purchase and I don’t say that about alot of Kates wardrobe. The blue outfit was appropriate for the occasion but not my favorite. She sounded very nervous but looked confident. I think she needs more practice and training in public speaking and writing speeches but for a first speech it wasn’t bad, the writing could use work.

  7. does anyone know exactly where she got that cross necklace from? who is it made by?

    thanks in advance!

  8. It seems royal blue is the perfect colour for Kate’s official events. She’s absolutely perfect!

    Just Rock and Rose.

  9. All I could say this morning when I watched her speech was “go, Kate, go!” She was nervous, but pushed through. So hard to do when giving a speech! The outfit was secondary to what she was actually there to do. And that’s as it should be.

  10. Just realized that the belt she wore today is the same belt she wore with her olive green Ralph Lauren sweater dress when they visited Centrepoint in December.

  11. As usual, great post! Loved all the info about the dress. I loved the color and thought the dress was pretty and appropriate for the occasion but its not my favorite of her outfits. Looking forward to your St. Patty’s day update soon!

  12. Nice to see her in such a lovely blue. I thought the wide black belt swamped it a bit.

    How sensible for her to wear something familiar on such a potentially nerve-racking occasion. She spoke clearly and held her head up and did a good job.
    Good for you Kate!

    • I agree with you about wearing something familiar on nervy occasions — I’d thought the same as you that it could have been a conscious decision. Looked like she’d been practising a lot with her speech!

  13. There you are, I was worried about you! As usual, she looks just great. And what a great cause! I’m glad that she did a speaking engagement, it actually got shown on CNN this morning.

    I will miss her for the next month :( Although my credit card will have time to cool off! :)

  14. Lovely color, one that we know suits the Duchess well, but yes, this dress has a lot going on — too much — and therefore isn’t the best example of Reiss design I’ve seen. The fabric also looks a little tired and perhaps not of particularly high quality. Still, the color was a good choice for a first speech, and the overall look of the dress was basically businesslike and appropriate.

    The last time I planted a tree, I wore jeans, wellies, a down vest, and an ancient, motheaten sweater. Honestly, no one should be asked to heft a shovelful of dirt in a nice dress and high heels. Must be men who plan these things.

  15. So glad to see you all back!! Have missed out on the company.

    And I loved the colour of this dress too, really bright and cheery, I even liked the dress, though I thought the belt a bit heavy and agree it’s a bit much with the double row of buttons. Too bad we have to stick with black accessories yet again, but there we are,she still looks lovely.

    Thanks especially for such clear illustration of the bangle — had seen it written about elsewhere but had somehow been unable to catch sight of it. And thanks for such a professional presentation as always!

  16. the colour is lovely her and I love her simple cross necklace.

  17. The color on her looked so regal. My only comment is that the dress looked a tad loose. It’s one of those dresses/outfits you have in your closet that can pass as “it fits” but in reality it could use a teeny weeny bit of tailoring. Lastly, I wish the belt was not as wide. But the thing with Kate is that she looks fantastic and just stunning in anything she wears. Despite the fit and the belt, she still wore the dress, the dress did not wear her. She carried that outfit (and herself) with such grace.

    I actually dig the design details of the dress. I think it’s very stylish and chic without being too trendy. Boy, that royal blue color is so refreshing and striking.

  18. I hate this dress. It’s too 80′s. Lovely color,tho.

  19. I think the colour is flattering, though I’m not over keen on the dress itself. I wonder how the Duchess manages to keep the dress so crease-free, when it looks as though it creases easily, looking at the photo of her mother wearing it and that on the model.

  20. I was wondering if you could post pictures from Kate’s St. Patty’s engagement and her art gallery visit with Prince Charles this past week. I loved her outfits and would love to see this website’s take on them.

  21. This is a bit “meh”–kinda nice but not fantastic. I do like that she wore this vibrant blue, especially for her first speech. I like the double breasted style on Kate, the openness of the neckline and the thick belt helps give Kate some shape. However, the sleeves seem longish, and the dress could have done without the pleats at the shoulders. I’m not sure I like the horizontal band on fabric across the bottom of the dress. The dress seems like it is slightly too big for her.

    While this dress looks better on Kate than on her mother (I thought it was a poor choice for Carole’s figure), it does seem like something that one’s mother would wear ( I know, I know, they say Carole borrowed it from Kate). This is definitely a few notches below what we have seen recently from Kate. If she wanted to wear something along these lines, I would rather she had recycled the green Burberry dress!

    • Did you mean the Mulberry one? In my humble opinion, it looks even worse than this one! At least the colour is pleasing to the eye on this dress. I agree that this dress is very matronly!

      • Yes, Mulberry–thank you! I prefer like the colour of this dress, but the Mulberry, while not my favourite, seems a bit younger and overall, better designed.

  22. She looked so simple and yet so elegant! Blue suites her very well. It is a verly lively colour. I know that the Reiss dress is no longer available, but sometimes you post pictures of similar dresses for smaller prices that can be bought online.

  23. I really don’t like this dress…so bleh…the color is nich but that’s pretty much to it. The fit, the feel, looks just wrong, kind of 80~ish. :(

    • I agree that the dress was bland, but i also understand that she wanted to keep the focus on the charity, which is the right thing to do. I have to say, however, that I think she looked down at her notes entirely too much and the way she scanned the room in the exact same pattern every 5 seconds seemed very robotic. Hopefully she will get better at public speaking as time passes.

  24. I’m so glad her first public speech was a success. However, I think this dress is a total miss for the Duchess. It is ill-fitting and looks cheap. The belt with the double-breasted top is very odd. All of the details like extra seams and puffy sleeves make it seem homemade rather than finely tailored.

    Also, will you have any coverage of yesterday’s green coat for the visit with the Irish Guard? She looked lovely!

    • Yes, I’ll be doing a post on Saturday’s event later tonight or early tomorrow, apologies for the lapse, the weekend completely got away from me. :(

    • Agreed! Just feel the dress is almost like something from Princess Di’s era…

      So looking forward the green coat you were talking about.

  25. Blue is a lovely colour on her, and it is nice that she chose an older dress for the occasion!

    Does anyone have any ideas who made her cross pendant? It looks simple but elegant!

  26. Great post of today’s event! One note – I think her clutch was the suede one with the bow. If I recall correctly, the Muse clutch is the brown one….

  27. Oh, this poor woman always gets stuck planting trees while in heels and a skirt! She handled it gracefully, but I do wish the people planning these sort of things would handle it a bit differently.

    I like this color on her, and I really like the flattering cut of the dress. I thought it was smart to wear the fundraising bracelets, as everything Kate wears sells out in a heartbeat!

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