Kate chose a look matching the occasion today, wearing her red ‘Ami’ coat by LK Bennett as she and William took part in London Poppy Day activities. Here we see the Duchess on the steps of Kensington Palace waiting to greet volunteers and supporters of the fundraising initiative.
The Duke and Duchess welcomed Royal British Legion volunteers and veterans to the Palace as part of a daylong fundraising effort. The couple then climbed aboard the special London Poppy Day bus for a trip to High Street Kensington station, tv personality Barbara Windsor is on Kate’s left. More from Richard Palmer’s story in the Express:
The Prince, who has rarely got the chance to travel on public transport since childhood, wondered about the pleasures of being crammed in with other passengers. “It’s very sociable,” he said, “Although I suppose everyone’s got their earphones in.”
As the bus emerged from a private road leading to the apartments at Kensington Palace, a crowd of tourists waved and took photos of the royal passengers, who waved back. “Brilliant,” said William.
Back to Richard’s story:
At the station amid the melee, he and Kate met forces personnel and volunteers spending two weeks selling remembrance poppies there. They had been told to expect visitors but many had not been told it would be the world’s most famous couple.
Chatting to RAf staff, William, laughing, compared buckets filled with money. “His is heavier than yours,” he said to one.
There William and Kate met with more volunteers and did an impromptu walkabout.
Kate told one group of RAF men that William was missing flying helicopters but also revealed she has taken to the air herself to try out piloting a plane, following in the footsteps of her late grandfather Peter Middleton, an RAF hero.
Commuters were surprised to see the couple at the station, the royals chatted with RAF personnel.
From the Mirror’s live blog of today’s events:
Our reporter Vicky Smith says huge crowds gathered at High Street Kensington Tube station when commuters realised Kate and William were visiting poppy sellers.
She says extra police had to be called in to cope with the crowd as hundreds of people tried to catch a glimpse of the couple during the visit, which had been kept under wraps.
More from The Mirror’s coverage:
Poppy Appeal volunteer Tim Connolly chatted to the Duke and Duchess about how the appeal was going.
He said: “It was a surprise. We were told we would be having VIPs here today but not who.
“It was a shock, very much so.
“William picked up the tin and saw it was full and said ‘well done’.”
Here we see Kate listening to Cpl. Steve Johnson as he does a little busking (performing publicly with hopes of receiving donations).
Today’s events are part of the Royal British Legion’s goal to raise £1 million in one day through poppy sales. More than 2,000 volunteers are helping to collect donations at Tube and railway stations; the volunteers represent the Army, Navy, RAF, and many other companies. More from The Mirrror:
A series of events will take place across the capital to mark London Poppy Day, starting in Covent Garden with RBL ambassador Barbara Windsor and the Poppy Girls, who will sing the appeal’s official single The Call (No Need to Say Goodbye).
The Legion provides support to “serving members of the Armed Forces, ex-Service men and women (veterans), their families and dependants all year-round.” Their overall goal for this year’s poppy sales is £37 million.
The poppy became a symbol to honor war dead after World War I. More on America’s observance from the VFW:
The Poppy movement was inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields” written by Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces before the United States entered World War I. Distributing replicas of the original Flanders’ Poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice.Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled, needy and aging veterans in VA Hospitals, State Veterans Homes and Domiciliary across the country.
Many of us in the US grew up seeing poppies sold every year by VFW volunteers. I remember being able to purchase one each November in elementary school, volunteers selling the paper flowers could be seen on street corners, at shopping centers, restaurants, and other locations. That sight is but a distant memory for many of us. Now I buy one at the local grocery store the weekend before Veteran’s Day.
London Poppy Day was officially launched on Tuesday by Mayor Boris Johnson, he fired a gun salute at Armoury House, home of the Honourable Artillery Company.
Below, volunteers getting a donation at Waterloo Station this morning.
There was music at Victoria Station as Mike Alderson showed in this Twitter photo.
Prince Harry and the Duke of Edinburgh were at Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance for an 11am ceremony as seen in this photo from Gordon Rayner of the Telegraph.
The bus then moved on to #10 Downing Street where Prime Minister David Cameron met volunteers and supporters.
Today the Duchess appeared to have three of the flowers pinned together on her coat.
We have seen Kate’s red ‘Ami’ coat from LK Bennett several times.
The wool blend coat is a distinctive color that is flattering on Kate, it worked well again today. She paired the coat with her black Episode ‘Angel’ shoes, shown below from her trip to Grimsby in March of this year.
One of the niftiest things on the Legion’s website: a chance to plant a virtual poppy.
The red flowers come in all manner of sizes, here is how one member of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Association displays their poppies.
A reminder that Kate’s next appearance is likely to be at Remembrance Day activities this Sunday at 11am.
NOTE: As suggested here by several commentors (sp?) and on the WKW Facebook page, as well as many other places, it appears Kate is wearing the Topshop Contrast Collar Dress worn to the Child Bereavement Center in March.
- You can learn more about the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal at the organization’s website here, visit the group on its Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter
- Buy your own poppy at the Legion’s online Poppy Shop, including the style worn by Kate, the Buckley Poppy.
- Read a history of the poppy in the USA by clicking here, visit the VFW’s website page here, or its Facebook page here
- The Mirror’s story and photos may be found here, the Daily Mail’s story with an enormous number of photos is here, and The Telegraph’s coverage is here
- ITN’s video is here, Sky News coverage may be found here