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.
We have news of more appearances added to Kate’s calendar, they come after Thursday’sÂ 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 Patrickâ€™s Day parade at Mons Barracks.
St Jamesâ€™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: â€œShe wanted her first speech to be on a topic she herself is affiliated to and which she is passionate about.
â€œIt 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.Â 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.)
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.
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.
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 Hockneyâ€™s show across the road at the Royal Academy.
Says my source: â€˜She arrived around 7pm, after the gallery closed. She was very friendly to the staff telling them how much she enjoyed it.â€™
â€˜She wanted to have a look at the museum and the services it offers,â€™ confirms an aide. â€˜Itâ€™s an interest of hers although thereâ€™s no suggestion she plans to take it on as another patronage.â€™
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.
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/SplashNews.com
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.
It also has characteristics of these past season pieces at Nordstrom and 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.Â 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.Â 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.
As a military wife, Kate was particularly interested toÂ 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 â‚¬425, about $565 at today’s exchange rates.
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.
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.
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.Â 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.Â The styleboard shows that there would be no platform, the heel would not be “too high,” not more than 3″ to 4″.Â 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.â€
She said: â€œI love her fashion sense. Sheâ€™s really elegant.â€
Sam said: â€œI wanted to make a cool and sexy shoe for a formal occasion and itâ€™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.â€
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, demonstratingÂ 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?