Kate brought back a suit by French label Paule Ka for today’s engagements in Wales.
Kate’s appointments were her first as royal patron of Action for Children, a charity that helps disadvantaged children across the UK “from before birth…they are born until they are into their twenties.”
This is a patronage the Duchess is taking over from the Queen. You may recall that last year the Duchess visited Action for Children’s Cape Hill Children’s Centre northwest of Birmingham before she was the charity’s patron.
Action for Children runs over 600 services. That means managing a staff of 5000, as well as 2000 volunteers, providing care for 390,000 people in Wales.
Kate’s first stop today was at the MIST program (Multidiscipline Intervention Service Torfaen) in Torfaen, a “mental health project which works specifically with children who are living in care with foster families or birth families.” Below, Kate is greeted by Craig, who uses services offered at the program. On his left (our right, with dark hair) is Jenny, who manages program services.
Torfaen MIST is the only program of its kind in Wales; we learn more from Action for Children:
We help under-fives get ready to start school. Children need social and communication skills to do well when they start school and and early years services are crucial. We provide extra support services such as play sessions, speech therapists, health intervention and parenting programmes.
We partner locally with health visitors, midwives and other professionals to ensure we have a huge pool of resources, knowledge and experience to make sure we provide the best places to help families flourish.
In addition to meeting with staff, families, and volunteers, there was time for a little friendly competition.
Youngster Craig Davies, 15, became the Princess’ teammate in an impromptu game of pool and the pair spoke about their pets including Kate’s dog Lupo and hamster Marvin and his Jack Russell dog Wilf.
People’s Simon Perry shared a quick video of the Duchess playing pool.
— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) February 22, 2017
From People’s story:
The royal took part in an impromptu game of pool during a visit to a youth center in South Wales Wednesday, but she failed to impress her young teammate.
“She was dreadful!” Craig Davies, 15, joked to PEOPLE after the royal tried to sink a yellow ball.
Always the good sport, Kate patted his back and said sorry for her poor attempt.
As Kate was leaving Torfaen, she was presented with a posy.
Back to the People story:
As she left the center, two young girls Ypapanti Galimatakis, 8, and Chloe Bartlett, 10, handed her some flowers and asked about Prince George and Princess Charlotte — as Kate filled them in on their ages.
The BBC posted a short video with the girls getting a royal hug.
❤ When you get to cuddle the future queen… pic.twitter.com/AHhu9tf1Fn
— BBC Wales News (@BBCWalesNews) February 22, 2017
Kate’s second stop was in Caerphilly at the FIT (Family Intervention Team) project; it focuses on “work with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, problems with family relationships and those who have or who are likely to self-harm.”
More from The Express:
She then viewed the team’s family therapy work, which helps families understand the reasons behind certain behaviour.
The project is delivered by family support practitioners who are trained and supervised by a clinical psychologist and systemic psychotherapist.
Here you see her with 7-year-old Alife Thomas and 9-year-old Emily Davis.
Although the topics can be tough, there were also plenty of smiles today.
The Duchess was also given flowers as she was leaving Caerphilly. Below you see Casey and Emily doing the honors.
Now to what Kate wore for her Wales engagements.
We first saw the Paule Ka skirt suit in October of 2012 when the Duchess wore it for the announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Scholarships.
Today the Duchess changed the look by replacing the black crochet-trimmed top with a warmer piece, a turtleneck (polo neck) sweater, dark tights, and boots.
I believe the fabric is wool or a wool/angora blend; that is the mix for these pieces in other colors that I have seen being sold on the secondhand market. The double-breasted jacket features a shawl collar, two patch pockets, a slanted breast pocket and modified peplum detailing at the waist.
This image offers a better view of the detail on the back of the jacket.
The skirt is full with horizontal seaming creating three tiers and waistband.
The brand was launched by Serge Cajfinger in 1987. After his departure from the company in 2014 Alithia Spuri-Zampetti was named creative director. Ms. Spuri-Zampetti graduated from the storied Central Saint Martin School in London and previously worked at Lanvin, Valentino and Bottega Veneta.
The brand is offered at Paule Ka stores throughout Europe, Japan, China, and the Middle East. In the US there is a New York boutique, and Halsbrook offers the label online. It is also carried online at Stylebop. Luxury retailer Moda Operandi offers it, and also does trunk shows with designs from runway collections almost immediately after those collections are shown at Fashion Weeks. (Paule Ka’s a/w 2017 show is February 28 in Paris.) Here are a few designs Moda Operandi offered from the s/s 2017 collection: a Cotton A-Line Structured Dress in white, a Jacquard Paneled Deep V-Neck dress, and a Front Draped Long Blouse, also in white.
This is a brand we could see the Duchess wear in Paris.
Online media reaction was mostly positive. Below, a headline from InStyle:
…goes to show that a skirt suit will stand the test of time in your closet! We love the rich red shade and flattering flared shape of the skirt.
The Mail piece also referenced the number of skirt suits worn by recently.
…(the Duchess has) a new uniform when it comes to Royal engagements.
She’s in south Wales today and it’s the fourth time we’ve spotted her wearing a skirt suit in recent weeks. There was the magenta Oscar de la Renta, the scarlet Luisa Spagnoli and the emerald Hobbs. But this time she has repeated an old favorite.
While The Telegraph’s article focused on Kate’s polo neck (turtleneck in the USA) sweater.
But it’s the Duchess’s black polo neck jumper which she layered underneath the nipped-waist jacket that was today’s most noteworthy outfit addition. It marks the third time this year alone that Kate has worn this staple piece for a public engagement.
Kate wore black gloves with a bow at the wrist for part of the day.
I digitally lightened these a bit to better show the detail. The gloves haven’t been identified yet, although there have been some great suggestions on the Facebook page and Twitter.
Kate wore her hair partially pulled back.
Kate looked lovely today. As others have noted, I think the skirt was a skosh too short, although the dark tights and boots mitigated that effect somewhat. This isn’t because of Kate’s age. Rather, it involves her role as the future Queen (consort); additionally, the weather was very windy. It looked like what we used to call a ‘full skirt alert’ in tv, and it seemed more-than-possible in some photos that Kate could have experienced another awkward and unfortunate situation.
Having said that, it was clear the Duchess was in her element. She was shining a light on an important organization and reveling in her time with the children, staffs, and volunteers while also positively impacting many lives.
We’ll leave you with this 2-minute video from The Telegraph.
Duchess of Cambridge is ‘dreadful’ at pool but great for hugs pic.twitter.com/WSYY663OX4
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) February 22, 2017
Editorial Note: I apologize for the post being so tardy; I really had a crush of commitments today that couldn’t be rescheduled, aarrghh!
- Learn more about Action for Children at the charity’s website here; visit its Facebook page here; follow the Twitter feed here; Kensington Palace’s official story may be read here;
- The Evening Standard’s story is here; The Mirror’s story is here; an Express story is here; The Sun’s story is here; The Daily Mail’s story is here
- Bethan Holt’s fashion piece for The Telegraph is here; the InStyle piece is here
- The Fug Girls gallery and post may be seen here; PopSugar‘s gallery of oversized images may be seen here; Erin Hill’s story for People is here