Mar 082012

Kate opted for familiarity today, selecting favored brands for her engagements with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as the UK portion of the Diamond Jubilee tour was launched.

Below we see Her Majesty and the Duchess as they are leaving London for Leicester this morning, the Queen was resplendent in another Angela Kelly ensemble, a cashmere coat and hat trimmed in black, Kate wore LK Bennett.

The British Monarchy/Clarence House

It was an important day for Kate, her first full day of official engagements with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. A high point of the morning was seeing Prince Philip looking so healthy.

This is Leicester

There was added significance with the monarch officially kicking off the Jubilee Tour commemorating her sixty year reign.

RachelGreen_29 Twitter Feed

The Duchess wore LK Bennett’s Davina dress and Jude jacket, both in dark teal.

The jacket is 100% wool, it was originally priced at £295 ($475).

De Montfort University Twitter Feed

Most recently the jacket could be found online for £145 at both LK Bennett and John Lewis, although I expect it to be sold out just about everywhere by the time our post is published.

The Davina dress is part of the brand’s Signature Collection, crafted from a fine wool crepe. We show it in three colors that better highlight the design details: the side ruching, asymmetrical collar and cap sleeves.

The frock remains available in many colors on the LK Bennett website, however, the dark teal is sold out.

Tina Bay Twitter Feed

The Duchess selected another brand she is fond of, John Lock, for her hat. Our thanks to WKW FB friend Melissa, she identified it as the ‘Fairy Tale‘ style.

James Goley Twitter Feed/John Locke

The hat is available in 8 different colors, retailing at £285, roughly $450 USD at today’s exchange rates.

Kate’s earrings were from another familiar name, Kiki McDonough, the green amethyst pair widely believed to be a Christmas gift from Prince William. Below we show a pair of Kiki McDonough earrings in the same design as Kate’s, made with citrines instead of green amethysts, on the very far right we have a different style of Kiki McDonough earrings shared only to provide an idea of the color in the earrings seen on Kate.

Kiki McDonough/Matches Fashion/Kiki McDonough

The Duchess wore a pair of Episode shoes, a brand is now carried only at House of Fraser, previously it was stocked by Debenhams . The company told me the pair is no longer available, they are from autumn/winter.

Below we see the Duke, Her Majesty, and Kate leaving the Leicester Cathedral following the service.

Diocese of Leicester Flickr Feed

This is one of those instances where we were lucky, we actually wrote about both pieces back in November, saying:

The (dress) side gathers running from the bustline to high hip and detailed neckline look very Kate. Next, the Jude jacket, also by LK Bennett. The gathered waist and kick pleat on the back of the jacket seemed to shriek Kate, the neck detailing and self-covered belt only added to that perception.

We updated the story in a December post, when it was reported by Grazia the Duchess purchased the items in advance of the Christmas holidays.

Grazia Magazine

Upon seeing the story intrepid WKW FB friends Bella Hayward (now found sharing Kate updates here on FB) and Jo Baldwin dug up more information on the specific items purchased.  Kate accessorized with a belt thicker than the one shown with the jacket.

Students were more than excited to meet the royals, more from the Daily Mail:

Lingerie design student Polly Shelton, 21, said: ‘I told Kate she looked gorgeous and she said “I like your lipstick”.

‘I can’t believe it. She loves my lipstick. I can’t even remember what colour it is.

Enormous crowds were on hand to greet the royals.

De Montfort University Facebook

The University’s award winning Gospel Choir entertained those waiting in the brisk morning air.

De Montfort University Facebook

Many waited for hours to see the royals, more from the Daily Mail:

Erica Swift, 85, from Blaby, was one of the well-wishers who had been waiting at the 300-year-old cathedral to see the royals since 10am. ‘I came because I want to see the Queen,’ she said.

‘Sixty years reign – she’s a gracious lady and I admire her a lot. Nobody can beat her. I wish her all the best now and for many more years.’

I love the poster this group of nursing students made.

De Montfort University Facebook

These youngsters will have a story they can tell for generations.

Diocese of Leicester Flickr

One of the day’s bigger events was the fashion show put on by students, below we see some of the models waiting backstage before the event.

Via HannahPorter24 Twitter Feed

Here we see Kate, the Queen and De Montfort Professor and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard watching the fashion show.

De Montfort University

ITN also has solid fashion show coverage here.

Perhaps the happiest person on campus was Becka Hunt, she was one of six footwear design students involved in a contest to create a shoe for Kate.

De Montfort University

Becka’s design was the blue suede with beaded lace overlay, we show her with the winning design today after hearing the good news.

Demon FM Twitter Feed (L) /De Montfort University Facebook

Thank you to the 3189 voters who took part in our informal poll about which of the designs they thought Kate would pick, Becka’s design was close to being your first choice, the vote almost reflecting Kate’s selection.


114 voters thought Tabitha Duffield’s nude and soft pink shoe would win.

De Montfort University

Here is a better look at Becka and her winning shoe design via the University’s home page.

De Montfort University

Below we see Kate accepting flowers (L), and with Prince Philip as they prepare to leave the University.

De Montfort University Facebook

It looked like Kate was very much enjoying herself.

De Montfort University Facebook

All three royal family members looked splendid, what a lovely start to the tour.

Philip Vernon Flickr

You can learn more about the Diamond Jubilee here, the official Jubilee Tour here, visit De Montfort University here or on its Facebook page, the Dicocese of Leicester here, and see its Flickr feed here, there is also nice video from The Telegraph here, and ITN’s story is here.

The Telegraph


One other item of note today, yet another addition to Kate’s calendar. Just as the royals arrived in Leicester this morning Clarence House tweeted the following:

Clarence House Twitter Feed

Kate, Charles and Camilla will meet children participating in the Great Art Quest, a program managed by Children and the Arts, Prince Charles is the group’s royal patron. More about the project:

Great Art Quest introduces children from deprived areas of the UK to the visual arts by partnering schools with local galleries, professional artists and storytellers, and providing them with the skills and confidence to create their own work.

The Duchess of Cambridge has a personal interest in the arts and supporting young children, and The Prince of Wales is taking this opportunity to show the successful educational work His Foundation for Children & the Arts has been doing in London.

Children and the Arts

The event will take place at Dulwich Picture Gallery a week from today, learn more here.


Mar 062012

We have news of more appearances added to Kate’s calendar, they come after Thursday’s Diamond Jubilee tour kickoff, when the Duchess joins the Queen and Prince Philip in Leicester.

The most immediate addition to the calendar is on St. Patrick’s Day when Kate will make her first military appearance alone, taking part in ceremonies with the Irish Guards. Richard Palmer’s story in the Daily Express has more:

The Duchess will present shamrocks to the Irish Guards and their mascot, Conmael, an Irish Wolfhound, at a St Patrick’s Day parade at Mons Barracks.

St James’s Palace said it would be the start of a long relationship between the Duchess and the Irish Guards.

Some may recall William was appointed Colonel of the Irish Guards last February, Kate and William visited the regiment last June, on Armed Forces Day.

There are at least two frocks we know about already in Kate’s closet that she could elect to wear St. Patrick’s Day, both are green, both have been previously worn. On the left we see Diane von Furstenberg’s green silk Maja dress, worn on the North American tour and to Zara Phillip’s wedding, on the right, the Mulberry Shirt Dress in ‘cabbage’ worn in November at a Buckingham Palace media reception.

Diane von Furstenberg/Mulberry

The event generating the most discussion is on the 19th of this month, that is when Kate undertakes her first public speaking engagement. Kate’s speech is part of ceremonies marking the formal opening of ‘The Treehouse,’ a new hospice facility under the EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) umbrella, this one is located in Ipswich. More from EACH:

The Duchess will tour the facilities including the sensory room and music room, and meet children and their families who receive care and support from the hospice service, as well as staff and supporters.

The group has been fundraising and building the new facility for some time, below we share The Treehouse page from the EACH website.


As for why Kate has selected this particular event to start her public speaking career, here is more from The Telegraph:

A spokesman for the Duchess said: “She wanted her first speech to be on a topic she herself is affiliated to and which she is passionate about.

“It is also the first of her solo engagements which has lent itself to a speech because it will include a more formal element than some of her other visits.”

There are wonderful photos of the Treehouse unit on the site, showing the building progress as well as interior shots.


But once the celebrations have ended, EACH will continue to need funds to operate the The Treehouse. You can learn more about those needs, or see ways you can help the organization by clicking here. Or, you can shop and donate at the same time via the EACH e-commerce site, offering goodies like this Coloring book.


More now on this Thursday’s events and the kickoff of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour. HM, Prince Philip and Kate will travel by train to Leicester, they will visit De Montfort University in the morning.

Preparations for Thursday’s historic visit are well underway, banners are going up on buildings.

A Sensitive Brick Twitter Feed

The BBC reports more than 10,000 Union Jacks and 1000 metres of bunting will be used for the event.  Of course, if you are interested in having your own bunting, you may purchase it from the official Diamond Jubilee site. (There are plenty of other items for sale at the site.)

Official Diamond Jubilee Online Shop

Here is a loose rundown for other events via the BBC.

The tour will begin at De Montfort University with a performance by students and community groups celebrating the city’s diversity in Magazine Square.

The Queen and duchess will then watch a fashion show by students, while the duke meets representatives of the university’s Square Mile initiative, which helps local community projects.

Kate, HM and the Duke will then head to Leicester Cathedral, the programs are printed and ready for “a service of Christian worship…at which people of different faiths will take part”. (Read more about the service from the Diocese of Leicester here.)

Soar Valley Press Twitter Feed

Practices and rehearsals have been underway for days.

Diocese of Leicester Flickr Feed

This is Leicester report reports there will be plenty of music.

Singers aged from eight years will be performing some of the monarch’s favourite music from the past 10 years when she visits the cathedral on Thursday.

Diocese of Leicester Flickr Feed

The service sounds like it will be magnificent: trumpet players will welcome people to the service, 40 children will sing “Jubilate,” and there will also be a prayer sung in Urdu while dancers perform.

Following the church service the action moves to St. Martins House for lunch. Young waiters and waitresses have been busy rehearsing service techniques.

Diocese of Leicester

The Leicester Mercury spoke with a young lady named Felicity, she will be serving Kate’s table.

“I’ve never served anyone famous before. When they asked for five people to serve the main table, I put my hand straight up.

“I’ve got to serve food, wine and water to her. The hardest thing will not be getting in anyone else’s way and not spilling any food on her lap.”

That would be daunting for even the most seasoned waiters and waitresses, let alone students learning their craft. Below, a tweet from St. Martins House:

St. Martins House Twitter Feed

After lunch the group will watch a performance marking the Holi Festival, a Hindu celebration of spring’s impending arrival and unveil a plaque commemorating the visit.

To see more photos of preparations at the Cathedral and St. Martins House, click here for the Diocese of Leicester’s Flickr feed, or follow their Twitter feed here, click here for the Diamond Jubilee page. You can follow De Montfort University’s Twitter feed here, their Art & Design feed here, the Leicester Mercury newspaper site is here, and its Twitter feed here.

aaamiraaa Twitter feed

This is not the first Royal visit to the University, below we see The Queen Mother in 1966.

De Montfort University

No will Thursday’s fashion show be the first watched by members of the Royal Family, another photo shows models from the 1966 fashion show.

De Montfort University

Queen Elizabeth was also on campus for a visit, this one was in December of 1993.

De Montfort University

To read more about previous Royal visits to DMU, click here.

A reminder, don’t forget to vote for your favorite in the student shoe design competition, things have tightened up and two designs seem to be breaking away from the other four.

De Montfort University

We’ll be closing the poll at midnight Wednesday, well before Kate picks the design she likes best while in Leicester on Thursday. It will be fun to see which she chooses and then see it again when it has been manufactured and she wears the shoes.


A few more quick updates, Kate has been keeping busy since her visit to Fortnum & Mason last week with the Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen, she is said to have visited a new exhibit at the Royal Academy, according to Richard Kay in the Daily Mail:

Kate paid a private visit to David Hockney’s show across the road at the Royal Academy.

Says my source: ‘She arrived around 7pm, after the gallery closed. She was very friendly to the staff telling them how much she enjoyed it.’

Below, a short video about the show.

© David Hockney, Photo: Jonathan Wilkinson via Royal Academy

You can learn more about the Academy and the Hockney show by clicking here.

The next day Kate is said to have visited the V&A Museum of Childhood, among the exhibits she visited was The Value of the Paw,

Museum of Childhood

More from the Daily Mail:

‘She wanted to have a look at the museum and the services it offers,’ confirms an aide. ‘It’s an interest of hers although there’s no suggestion she plans to take it on as another patronage.’

We leave you with the cover of this week’s Hello! magazine, the wonderful photo of the Queen, Camilla and Kate wrapping up their tour at Fortnum’s last Thursday is by photographer Niraj Tanna.

Hello Magazine

We’ll see you Thursday.

UPDATED: The BBC has posted Thursday’s schedule:

  • 11:30 GMT (6:30 ET): Arrive at Leicester Station
  • 11:45 GMT (6:45 ET): De Montfort University visit at Magazine Square
  • 12:45 GMT (7:45 ET): Arrive at Leicester Cathedral
  • 13:00 GMT (8:00 ET): Private lunch at St Martin’s House
  • 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET): Arrive at Gallowtree Gate

The Leicester Mercury has published a map showing routes and times, click here to see it in a larger format.

Leicester Mercury


Mar 012012

Kate broke with tradition today, selecting a non-British designer for her appearance with the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall. The trio visited Fortnum and Mason’s flagship store in Piccadilly, the event marking rejuvenation efforts in that area of central London.

Fortnum & Mason

Kate chose a lovely blue coat by M Missoni, the diffusion line from parent brand Missoni. All three royal women were in shades of blue, clearly some color coordination went on ahead of time.

Toby Melville - Ian Jones Photography/

The collarless coat featured multiple panels in the back, exposed seams, and fringe trim at the neck and down the front placket.

In the UK M Missoni is carried at Selfridge’s, Harvey Nichols and Harrod’s in the UK, although Simon Perry, People magazine’s chief foreign correspondent, shared that the coat was something of a bargain.

Simon Perry Twitter Feed (@SPerryPeopleMag)

Kate’s coat is similar to another M Missoni garment, the cut, exposed seams and fringe are the same on this coat, although it is made from woven cotton, as opposed to the knit bouclé seen on Kate.

The Outnet

It also has characteristics of these past season pieces at Nordstrom and The Outnet.

Nordstrom/The Outnet

Our thanks to WKW FB friend Michelle (aka Shellie Bells on Twitter), she spotted the blue jacket on the far left that is the shorter version of Kate’s coat and was good enough to share the photo with everyone.  We also want to thank Elisa Roche of the Daily Express for sharing confirmation the coat was definitely a M Missoni piece.

The regal group received hampers laden with goodies from the upscale grocer.  From The Telegraph’s story:

They laughed as they rummaged through their goodies and spotted the “hearty treats for happy hounds”.

While the Queen is known for her love of corgis, Kate and William recently acquired a cocker spaniel they have named Lupo.

Another look at Fortnum’s interior:

Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly

Kate wore two daffodils while Her Majesty and Camilla wore leek brooches, in honor of St. David’s Day. He is the patron saint of Wales, daffodils and leeks are both symbols honoring Welsh heritage; all three women were presented with bouquets of fresh daffodils upon leaving Fortnum’s.

The British Monarchy

More on the visit from Hello!:

As a military wife, Kate was particularly interested to meet staff working on the Gifts For Troops scheme, an initiative which sends packages to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

We saw the return of Kate’s Rupert Sanderson Malone heels in grey suede, previously seen at Order of the Garter events back in June. The shoe features a rounded toe and 4″ heel, it is currently stocked in all sizes, selling at €425, about $565 at today’s exchange rates.

Rupert Sanderson

We also saw the return of Kate’s Hope Egg earrings by Links of London.

Links of London

Kate also repeated the well known blue Zara dress first seen the day after her wedding, repeated for Prince Philip’s 90th birthday.

One of the more intriguing things about Kate’s ensemble today is what was omitted: she carried no clutch or other handbag, something of a departure for the Duchess.

It was also a repeat appearance for the Queen’s ensemble by Angela Kelly (Majesty Magazine’s Joe Little shared that it was first worn in Oman in 2010), Camilla was in a navy and cream Bruce Oldfield coat.

One of the topics discussed with Kate while inside the store was tea, People has more:

She apparently likes it, too. “I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea, as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong,” Kate admitted.

Fortnum’s has also unveiled their Diamond Jubilee gift collection.

Fortnum & Mason

We thought it a strong sartorial selection by Kate. Some found the look too staid, saying it was “boxy” and “too old,” while others had more favorable feelings about the style. I am among the latter group, thinking it was ideal for the occasion: a classic cut that was understated but also elegant, and appropriate to the occasion, not something that was likely to distract or overshadow the Queen, a paramount concern. It was a beautiful blue that is very pretty with Kate’s coloring, it was also nice to see her in something other than earth tones.

In conjunction with its story about the appearance The Mirror is running an online poll asking if the choice is a fashion “hit… or Missoni”, here is how the voting looks:

The Mirror

For The Telegraph’s video, click here.

The Telegraph

ITV also has a nice story, its video may be found here.



Our other item today is quite lighthearted, it deals with something near and dear to many fashion fans: shoes. As some readers may know, next week the Jubilee Tour is officially launched in Leicester, in central England. The Queen, Prince Philip and Kate will be in Leicester for a dizzying number of events, including a competition among students from the Footwear Design course at De Montfort University.  More than 100 students took part in the competition, the list is now down to 6 finalists.

Kate will pick the winning design herself while visiting DMU, and the shoe will then actually be created and she will wear it. How amazing would that be for any young designer, let alone students working hard to learn their craft? Once word of the competition was public, the always-on-top-of-things Carly from Kate Middleton Style blog suggested a poll might be fun, letting WKW readers select their favorite of the six designs.

Not one to turn aside a brilliant idea, we share all six designs (you can see them on the DMU Facebook page), as well as some background information on each.

We begin with a royal blue shoe by Becka Hunt.

Becka Hunt / De Montfort University Leicester

This design is crafted from blue suede with beaded lace overlay, and we all know how much The Duchess enjoys her lace.  The styleboard shows that there would be no platform, the heel would not be “too high,” not more than 3″ to 4″.  Ms. Hunt counts Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen among her idols, sharing more about her inspiration in a Peterborough Today story:

“My design is inspired by 19th century fashions and based around the things Kate wears, her engagement ring and her style.”
She said: “I love her fashion sense. She’s really elegant.”

You can read the entire story about Ms. Hunt by clicking here.

Kay Yeng-Chen’s shoe sits atop a sizable platform, similar to that of Kate’s nude Sledge heels from LK Bennett.

Kay Yeng-Chen/De Montfort University Leicester

The primary motif is that of a fairytale, showcased in lavender and fuchsia.

Mei Chun-Lai created a design that celebrates the Year of the Dragon.

Mei Chun-Lai/De Montfort University

The shoe’s shape is inspired by Chinese lanterns, the primary colors are orange and blue. Ms. Chun-Lai shares more of her idea with This is Leicestershire:

“Kate’s style is really elegant but I think she might choose something a bit different with this, maybe.”

In his design Sam Sawkill also used lace, incorporating an English rose theme.

Sam Sawkill/De Montfort University

He told The Mirror:

Sam said: “I wanted to make a cool and sexy shoe for a formal occasion and it’s fantastic to have been shortlisted but it would be great to be selected over all as it would get me recognised as a designer.”

Summer Spencer uses colors from Kate and William’s Coat of Arms in her design.

Summer Rose Spencer/De Montfort University

The tartan plaid is used as a reminder of the couple’s time at the University in Scotland. This student is also smart, demonstrating  her familiarity with shoes previously seen on Kate, including the blue “Art” courts worn to to open Darwen Academy.

Tabitha Duffield has created a classic shoe with what looks like a fairly high heel in nude and soft pink.

Tabitha Duffield/De Montfort University

But Ms. Duffield has also updated the silhouette with laser-cut flowers and a flourish at the back, she shares thoughts all of the finalists would echo More from this student, again via This is Leicester:

“It would mean the world if she chose my design. The fact this competition has even come our way is amazing.”

It is obviously a talented group of young designers, it was fun reading the reasons certain elements and themes were chosen for inclusion in the designs.

Now it’s time for you to vote: of these six designs, which shoe do you think best reflects Kate’s taste and is the one she is most likely to select?