Oct 102012

We saw another Christmas coat from Kate today as she made her solo visit to Newcastle and Stockton.

Weir Photos / Splash News

Prince William was scheduled to make the appearances with Kate but changed his schedule so he could attend the funeral of Olga Powell, the longtime nanny he and Prince Harry shared.

Kate’s first stop was the Newcastle Civic Centre, crowds gathered early to have a glimpse of the Duchess.

Newcastle City Council Facebook Page

Fans didn’t seem to mind the cold as they awaited Kate’s arrival, many came with flowers and other gifts for the Duchess.

Newcastle City Council Twitter Feed

We are fortunate that WKW friend Alyssa Phillips was on the scene, she shared these photos with us.

Courtesy of Alyssa Phillips

Glimpses of Kate’s frock peeking out beneath her coat have also provided an opportunity to finally identify that piece, more on the dress shortly.

Gathered inside the Civic Center, volunteers from multiple local initiatives, including many who worked on the London 2012 games. Among those she met, Newcastle’s Street Rangers (left) and Will Hardy (right), one of the City’s inspirational torch bearers, he was selected to give flowers to Kate.

Newcastle City Council Facebook Page

Kate also met students from the Percy Hedley School, the school specializes in working with students who have physical and communication challenges, many with cerebral palsy.  In this picture from the Percy Hedley Sports Twitter feed the Duchess is shown trying her hand at Boccia.

Percy Hedley School Twitter Feed

The next stop on the agenda was Elswick Park for a Fields in Trust function, that organization is the only group in England dedicated to preserving open recreational spaces in perpetuity. Prince William is a Patron of The Queen Elizabeth II Fields, some may recall the Jubilee visit he, Kate and HM made to Vernon Park in Nottingham this past June for a Fields in Trust event.

My Nottingham Facebook Page

Again, there were large crowds eager to see the Duchess, I couldn’t resist sharing the look on this little girl’s face.

Weir Photos / Splash News

Kate’s then traveled to meet with representatives of Keyfund at the Gateshead Youth Council, that group was chosen as a beneficiary of William and Kate’s wedding Charitable Gift Fund. Below, Kate leaving Gateshead.

Jo Taylor Twitter Feed

The final appearance on the schedule was at CRI Stockton Recovery Service, located in Stockton-On-Tees. Again, crowds gathered early.

Amy MacLaren Instagram Feed

Photographer Dave Charnley of Charnley Photography shared this image of Kate as seen in his viewfinder as she headed into the CRI building.

Dave Charnely Twitter Feed (@CharnleyPhoto)

The purpose of this portion of the trip was to meet families working with Action on Addiction’s M-PACT program, “Moving Parents and Children Together”. Kate is a Patron of Action on Addiction. Below, Kate meets with people at CRI.

Lee Johnson Twitter Feed (@LeejTees)

Kate very much seemed at ease throughout today’s activities, not at all fazed by undertaking the obligations alone. That confidence and comfort zone are evident in this picture shared by the BBC’s Caroline Alton.

Caroline Alton, BBC Twitter Feed

Clearly the day’s events were a success for the Duchess and those individuals and organizations she was on hand to showcase., she seemed to relish meeting people and learning about the places and people she visited.

Underneath the coat Kate wore a dress that hadn’t been positively identified, previously it was noticed when Kate and William made their trip to Copenhagen last November. That appearance was for a visit to UNICEF’s Emergency Supply Centre with Princess Mary and Prince Frederik of Denmark, the function designed to draw attention to UNICEF East Africa Crisis.

Jan Grarup/UNICEF

While not visible in the picture above, today’s photos and word from St. James’s Palace Kate was wearing a Whistles dress led to confirmation it is the label’s Sophie Rae dress.

Whistles/Splash News/Whistles

Back when the Denmark trip was made several savvy WKW Facebook friends suggested the dress was the Sophie Rae, it turns out they were correct. The piece is 100% silk, the color is called ‘burgundy,’ although it looks like a brighter hue in many photos. It features a deeply veed neckline, what some call a ‘granddad collar,’ a below-knee length and significant fabric gathering at the waist and shoulder.


It appears the body of the dress is lined while the sleeves are not.

Kate also wore the aubergine coat made by an independent dressmaker, it was first seen on Christmas Day at Sandringham. (Our original post is here.)

Ian Jones/Splash News

This is the coat described as being made by an ‘independent dressmaker,’ I wonder if it was another design originated by Kate and brought to life by one of the Queen’s seamstresses. Kate accessorized that day with a Jane Corbett hat.

Today’s accessories included the Kiki McDonough Citrine Drop earrings we’ve seen so often, and we also saw the Alexander McQueen suede belt again.

Splash News

The Aquatalia black Suede Rhumba Boots returned as well.

Courtesy Alyssa Phillips/Aquatalia

As of this writing both Neiman’s and Bergdorf Goodman have the boots available in a mix of sizes and colors with the Espresso more readily available than Kate’s black, Aquatalia looks to have multiple sizes in both colors.

One additional note, Kate will be attending the October 23 reception at Buckingham Palace for Team GB athletes, coaches and others. The function is hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip. More on the function from the Royal Blog:

The monarch and her husband Prince Philip will host a garden party at Buckingham Palace on October 23 in honor of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic stars, with all medalists among the 350 invited guests.

A source said: “The queen is very proud of what the amazing athletes achieved in our wonderful summer of sport and wanted to personally thank them.

“It will be a fitting finale to a truly spectacular year of sporting success for Britain.”

Despite the formal setting, organizers insist the event will have a more casual feel – and the Olympians will attend wearing their Stella McCartney-designed Adidas tracksuits.



  38 Responses to “Kate Brings Back Another Christmas Classic on Solo Visits to Newcastle & Stockton”

  1. I liked this coat very much over Christmas. It was such a beautiful color and had the matching hat. The color and the addition of the hat seemed perfect for the holidays. This would make one think that I also like the coat today, right? Well, not quite right. I am not sure what caused the problems with the fit of the dress, weight gain, more movement, more bulk from garment underneath, the addition of the belt stops the coat from moving the way that it is designed to, etc. It just doesn’t fit in an appropriate and flattering way. Most any garment can be made to look like a million dollars if it is fit correctly. I have always told women to purchase for less and then pay for expert tailoring. Tailoring is something available to the Royal Family and should be used with every garment that they are going to wear in their public life.

  2. Beautiful woman, but the entire ensemble was not her best look. The cost was too tight, the dress clashed with the color of the coat and the boots looked too heavy for the occasion. Further, why did she leave the coat on indoors?

  3. I like the coat, and the flash of brighter colour is great. The boots are to die for (and beyond my pocket). But that belt – I just don’t like her coats with the great big belts. They look much more elegant without.

    With her hair down like that this belted look reminds me of early morning and dressing gowns. Sometimes less is more.

  4. Although the Reiss coat was more striking, I like this coat’s color but it’s much too tight! It’s pulling at the closure, bunching over the arms and flying open to show too much of the dress. It may be that Kate has gained weight although that wasn’t apparent in the Reiss coat which is also from last year. The silk dress shouldn’t cause much bulk so maybe the belt is the culprit. Agree would have looked better indoors if she had taken the coat off (easier if there had been no belt) but I’ve noticed royal ladies seldom do that.

    Just seen pictures of Kate in a black coat and dress at a Mayfair club. She looks fabulous! Black is definitely her color. What a pity royal duties don’t allow it to be worn more often.

  5. As always – Love the post! However…
    1. I do wonder how cold it really is. The coat seems heavy for this time of year? BUT, I live in the deep south so my “cold” is slightly skewed…
    2. I love the jewel tones and varying shades of the color! Monochromatic outfits are boring and she should change it up a little and wear color as much as posbsible.
    3. I don’t like the belt or the boots with this coat. Maybe its because she just wore them both yesterday that I think she should change it up. Yesterday she was outside, in the grass a good bit, where boots would come in handy; whereas today she was “in town” where I think pumps would be more appropriate.
    4. ***Has anyone figured out if there is a protocol regarding removing one’s coat when inside at an event? I’m very curious!!***
    5. I love Catherine and her bravery after such a humiliating couple of weeks. She is a wonderful woman to look up to and I think she is not recognized for what she does as often as for what she wears.

    • No the coat isn’t too heavy. That day in parts of the UK it was cold. Surprised she wasn’t wearing gloves. I was :) She was in the north east which can be particularly chill with cold air coming off the continent.
      Today is warmer and wetter. Very changeable – which is why we always talk about the weather.

  6. I like every piece in this ensemble – but just not together and all at once. I wouldn’t have paired a red dress with a purple coat; I think black would have looked much better, either as the coat color or as the dress color.

    I will say that she looks so confident and happy at these events. I can see why she and William waited to get married to see if she could take on the job (because it IS a job). If she had been thrown into this lifestyle when she was 22 or 23, I don’t think she would have handled everything quite as well.

  7. Too bad yesterday’s Reiss coat wasn’t this plum color. Love this color on the Duchess. Love the boots as well; she looks good in them. (I’m a boot fan in general though.)

    I don’t care for the McQueen belt with this coat, however. It spoils the fit, though maybe weight gain does too, as evidenced by the pulling of the fabric. (I am glad she’s put on a few pounds; she looks healthier.) The Reiss coat certainly seemed to fit her better, and it’s a more interesting coat.

    I do think she needs to consider more carefully whether a belt works or not. Though I much prefer the Reiss belt she wore yesterday to this McQueen, I also thought the Reiss belt interfered with the strong vertical lines of Reiss coat.

    I like the color of the dress with the coat.

  8. Two more things …. I have a feeling there might be multiple reasons for the belts. She obviously likes a belt and – given all the recent unwanted media attention – I’d guess that the belts around that small waist are to stem the tide of “Kate’s baby bump!!” headlines in the tabloids. Also, my other note … I wish that Kate or someone would give some styling help to Miss Deacon. Brown booties with black tights? Not so much, dear! Maybe Kate could gift her with a nice pair of Aquatalias for Boxing Day!!

  9. .. gorgeous ! x 3-
    I’ve loved the three outfits since lovely Kate’s return from Southeast Asia. (for some reason, I didn’t like any of those– ! uncharacteristic of me–)

    the deep, striking jewel tones are yummy.
    so are the textures, here.. the suede, inky boots. the velveteen-looking nap of the oh so flattering, plum coat I’m happy to see again. the wonderfully chunky, cinching belt with its flash of gold color.. and the pop of deep rose of the silk dress- which we know must feel so good against bare skin-

    then there’s the ever present beaming smile, impossibly shiny, bouncy hair!, and the radiating good will and cheer and dignity Kate always brings to her “appearances”.. her work.

    I’ll say it again- that Somerset Maugham quote (from The Painted Veil):
    “.. the only thing that counts is the love of duty; when love and duty are one, then grace is in you and you will enjoy a happiness which passes all understanding.”

    I believe Kate personnifies this powerful quote/thought——

    she is inspiring!
    I started coming here, for fun.
    then to admire.
    I still do both (!) but never thought I’d also grow to include “inspiration” on my list of reasons why I enjoy “following” the young duchess’s appearances..

    thank you for the site ! again..
    it’s a sweet place to visit—

  10. The color and cut of the coat are gorgeous. I quite like the belt with it, too—gives it more interest. I am such a huge fan of the Aquatalia boots, and they are comfortable and warm and easy to walk in, so that also makes them a practical choice. (I have 3 pairs of Aquatalia). I also love the dress, but not under that coat—to me, the colors clash a bit—red with aubergine. I think that a black or grey frock would have looked better with the coat and boots. As always, the duchess looks happy and lively, and she made William proud while he was at his nanny’s funeral.

  11. Not a co-ordinating, matching outfit. Agree that a pencil dress would have gone with the coat a lot better. Colours don’t match, belt was unecessary. Oh well … you can’t worry about it all the time … she still looks good.

  12. So glad to read most agree about this ensemble….not a great fit, the belt is unnecessary and the colors don’t really blend so well in the light of day. Did you notice her minders in the first photo—even they look a bit worn, no? Perhaps they are realizing just how difficult this kind of job really is….which is why the Queen is the Queen. She found her ‘look’ years ago and stayed true to it. She long ago quit trying to please the designers who can very quickly drain the life out of someone. For royals (and even the rest of us), it looks better to wear the well tailored clothes….so how does something this odd happen?

  13. This outfit does not look “put together”. Somehow the dress and coat look a bit mismatched. Perhaps the coat worn with a pencil dress might have worked.

  14. she looks hot!

  15. Gosh, I love Kate. She seems so happy and at ease on these visits. That color looks absolutely amazing on her (but the light-colored dress underneath looks a little off with the dark shoes and coat).


  16. Thank you for this wonderful website and all the work that’s put into it. Maybe Kate hasn’t gotten used to carrying a few more pounds and wants to emphasize that she can still wear her clothing, even belted to emphasize her small waist. Yesterday’s outfit fit better, although I didn’t like the gray color as much as today’s aubergine. I agree that it looked better last Christmas with the Jane Corbett hat.

  17. Love the coat and the dress separately, but not together. Not a great color combo in my opinion. Never been a huge fan of the belt or the boots because they don’t seem regal in my opinion. Kate could really use the help of a stylist, or at least a second opinion, because I really don’t think this outfit is well put together. Its a shame since all the pieces are nice individually.

    I also noticed that her hair is not looking as lovely in these photographs. I actually have similar thick, long brown hair… and this is basically how my hair looks everyday without even styling it, so I’m confident Kate’s should be looking a lot better with the help of a professional! Sorry, I know that sounds petty, but I just can’t understand why the person doing her hair is not doing a better job. Maybe I’m imagining things, but I think it used to look better before. Like most people, I think her updo’s or partial updo’s are far better than this somewhat unruly look.

    • I actually thought her hair looked great today! It was sleek and light. A nice break from the heavy sausage curls.

      As for the rest, her outfit had way too much going on. The two starkly different shades of red don’t go well together and the belt is completely unnecessary and unflattering. Black suede pumps would have been better. The boots don’t compliment the elegance of this coat.

      • I agree, much too much going on although I like the flash of colour.

        Black pumps would not have been good that day. Sunny but cold. Boots are necessary some days in the UK now!

  18. Another great, classic and understated choice. Again, I think we see the difference between Kate styling and picking her own clothes vs. the possible choices by some sort of stylist. I’m not a huge fan of the red dress under, a black dress would seem a better choice due to the coat pulling apart at the bottom. So many people seem to dislike the boots so here’s my two cents – they are comfortable for standing and walking and being on her feet, classic and chic, warm and go well with just about any outfit up top and they give her a few extra inches of height! The Vamp sandals or some uber-tall stiletto pumps are hardly practical – not to mention they’re not Kate’s walkabout style! We’re not in the glitzy, glammy ’80s now and it’s great to see even the extremely wealthy recycling!

    • Haha! I doubt anyone complaining about the suede boots would suggest the Vamp sandals as a replacement! They would look very odd with the winter coats. (Plus, I seem to remember the Vamp sandals were about as despised by WKW commenters as the Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon wedges.)

      All jokes aside, you are on target about recycling and comfort. The Duchess knows what works for her feet, as we’ve seen with the LK Bennet Sledges.

      • Exactly and that was my point, though not as clearly stated as it could have been! I guess I’m not quite sure what those who dislike the boots think the alternative should be for these appearances when she’s on her feet and walking quite a lot and where it’s clearly cold outside. Actually, I LOVE the Vamp sandals and the Corkswoon wedges, it was just some of the outfits she wore the wedges with that gave pause. The Vamp sandals were entirely appropriate for the events at which they were worn.

  19. I do like this coat, but I liked it better during the Christmas outing when a much more limited amount of motion was called for than today’s event. The color is beautiful and I’m quite fond of the design, but it looks as if it has some constructional flaws that really became apparent today. (The button closure in the up-close picture really bothers me.) There is a chance, however, that the problem is the Duchess’s small amount of weight gain and not poor construction of the garment. Also, I do not like how much of the dress underneath becomes visible when she sits down. Perhaps this is quibbling, but I think it makes for very unpolished photographs. Also, is there etiquette about the Duchess not removing her coat once inside an event? In the photo with the individuals from the CRI, the Duchess is the only one in a coat. I’m just wondering aloud, since I really have no idea.

    The Whistles dress is beautiful; it would be great for Christmas parties! It’s interesting that the red photographs as such distinct shades in different lights. On my monitor, it appears red in some and almost hot pink in others. Although the fabric looks thin, there is a significant amount of gathering at the top of the sleeves as the admin pointed out, so I do wonder if part of the pull on the coat’s sleeves is from wearing the Whistles dress underneath.

    One feels for Prince William at a time like this. It must be so comforting to him to know that he can rely on the Duchess to fulfill the royal obligations while he said goodbye to an important figure in his life.

    • Excellent post. Agree on all points, and also excellent question about etiquette regarding wearing her coat indoors. I wonder the same thing.

    • I don’t think there is any “etiquette” issue regarding removal of a coat indoors — people are really attributing very petty, picayune etiquette rules to the royal family that do not actually exist.

      The problem is that if you go indoors for a reasonably short period of time — just enough for an hour or so of PR — there isn’t much point in taking your coat off. You are being ushered from place to place, there’s no one place to put your coat (and your belt), so you keep the coat on.

      It’s rather like a man’s keeping his suit jacket on over his shirt and tie.

  20. I liked this outfit a lot. And Kate seemed perfectly at easy in it. She even did a little sprint across the street in it to see the crowd before getting in the car. (If you watch the videos, you can see this.)

  21. Well written and informative, as always. Thank you! Love both the coat and the dress. :)

  22. Love the coat but it doesn’t need the belt. I don’t like the dress. Again with the waistline way tp high.

  23. This was such a lovely coat the first time Kate wore it and the colour is still gorgeous on her, but I think it’s been really spoiled by that belt. I can’t help noticing you chose the photo with some of the worst pulling of the fabric thanks to the belt. It’s a shame she seems so set on a few style notions without apparently thinking through if they’re always relevant.

    I’ve never like suede boots and I’m tired with this pair, especially with the dark tights once more. I love the colour of the dress underneath but was sorry to see the whole garment is another one of those shapeless old seventies retro styles. Thanks for another thoughtful post.

    • Wouldn’t it be lovely if she wore some nice leather boots, instead of the suede?

      I think sometimes when she wants to recycle an outfit but make it more interesting, she just adds a belt (ie, Navy Erdem dress with the McQueen belt she wore to a wedding in April). I can never decide if the outfits truly look worse with the belts, or if I’m just prejudiced against them because I’ve never been a fan of accent belts… However, I really thought the belt with the Reiss coat yesterday was stunning, and the belt with the red coat for the Unicef trip was quite striking as well.

    • Just out of curiosity: “relevant” to what? I’m not sure that “relevance” is the issue here.

      I don’t love this outfit, as I’ve explained, but I can’t say that it was “irrelevant” to the occasion. If you think so, I’d be interested in why.

      Perhaps “relevant” wasn’t quite the apposite word?

      • Thanks for your interest — by relevant I simply meant coordinated with the rest of the outfit — in particular here I was concerned at how the belt seemed to pull the coat out of shape.

  24. I wasn’t overjoyed by this coat the first time I saw it, and my opinion hasn’t changed. I do rather like the aubergine color (and I loved the Corbett hat worn at Christmas), but the coat has an uninteresting “homemade” look that leaves me shrugging. There’s nothing egregiously wrong with it; it just doesn’t excite me.

    The belt does give it more interest, though I’m not convinced that belting works with this coat as well as it has on some others she’s worn. There seems to be a slight fit problem possibly caused by the belting but possibly by the fact that she has gained a few pounds since last Christmas.

    I really don’t care for the dress. It has that quasi-70′s look the Duchess has sported before and that I dislike. However, there are people who love the other examples she’s worn — the Beulah dresses, the green Mulberry shirtdress — and for me this is just a matter of personal preference and not a design quality issue.

  25. I think for one time she could have tossed away the belt…I love the coat the way it comes, simple, elegant and very figure flattering. :) It’s such a nice color on a brunette. :)

  26. I really like this coat–it is a great colour on Kate and I liked it with the belt and boots. The coat seems to be getting a bit small on Kate, based on some of the pulling across the back and on the arms, but that’s probably not a bad thing overall.

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