Kate was visiting Bletchley Park to mark the completion of a huge restoration project and also tour the facility. The landmark is where WWII codebreakers worked in secrecy. From Oliver Duggan’s story in The Telegraph
The royal tour marked the completion of a year-long, £8 million restoration project at Bletchley Park, which has returned the buildings to their Second World War appearance and created new visitor facilities. The site fell into near-dereliction after the war.
This photo shows only the primary building; there are more than 70 buildings on the grounds.
Kate meeting with staff members who worked on the restoration.
The facility was actually part of the government’s Code and Cypher School. Below you see the Duchess working with a replica radio identical to those used during the War.
There was another reason Kate wanted to visit; from the Bletchley Park website:
HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has a highly personal reason for visiting Bletchley Park. Her paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, later Middleton, worked at the Government Code and Cypher School’s top secret headquarters during World War Two.
Miss Glassborow worked in the newly restored Hut 6 (later named Hut 16) alongside her twin sister, Mary Glassborow. Both were Foreign Office Civilians in the Cover Management Y section, which managed the interception of enemy signals for decryption at Bletchley Park.
From a story by Ruth Styles in The Daily Mail:
As bombs fell on London and the Wehrmacht rampaged across France, a young woman named Valerie Glassborow was among the civilians working around the clock at Bletchley Park, feeding false trails to German High Command as D-Day approached.
70 years on, Miss Glassborow’s granddaughter, the Duchess of Cambridge, was back at Bletchley to see the results of a year-long £8m restoration programme and meet one of her grandmother’s former colleagues.
That former colleague is Lady Marion Body, seen chatting here with Kate.
From Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:
Kate listened to Lady Body describe the work she did with Valerie as they stood in the same hut the women had worked in.
Kate said: “What an incredible story that you shared your time here with my grandmother.
“It’s so moving for me, and to be here as well.
“I was aware of it when I was a young girl and I often asked granny about it but she was very quiet and never said anything.”
Many consider the work done at Bletchley Park to have had such a dramatic impact that it shortened the war by at least two years, others say the impact brought an end to the war 4 years earlier.
Google’s Cultural Insititute has a marvelous section on Bletchley Park, with pictures like those below: a drawing of “Our Hats” dated 1943, and a photograph showing Dorothy Du Boisson (left) and Elsie Booker (right), members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service who worked as Colossus Operators.
On to the style portion of our post. Many a Kate fashion follower recognized what she was wearing immediately; the Alexander McQueen separates were first seen in 2011 for a visit to Birmingham with Prince William. The Silk-georgette Blouse showcased gold buttons at the cuffs and on the front, a stand collar, military-style frogging on the front and a quasi-peplum waistline (my term).
The Embellished Wool Crepe skirt was below-knee length with embossed gold buttons, symmetrical slits (longer than those on Kate’s skirt) and side pocket decor.
The pieces both had military references in the style name and/or descriptions. The skirt was said to have a “covetable military aesthetic,” while the blouse was described as a “military-inspired silk-georgette blouse” that was embellished with “military-style frogging.” I only raise the point because today is another instance of the Duchess dressing with literal references to the engagement she is attending, or people she is seeing. In 2011 William and Kate were visiting an area of Birmingham ravaged by riots; today the connection is more obvious as she tours a former military establishment.
Kate accessorized with her blue suede Stuart Weitzman ‘Muse’ clutch from Russell and Bromley.
We also saw Kate’s blue suede heels. Today’s photos offered a good look at the shoes, I thought it merited sharing the tighter shot.
For jewelry, Kate wore her sapphire and diamond earrings.
Below we show Kate today (l) and in 2011 (r).
As you can see from the graphic the Minx in Kate’s camel color is sold out. There are quite a few other styles available for those fond of the brand and the savings seem decent.
We’ll see you later this week or over the weekend.
- learn more about Bletchley at the facility’s website here, follow the Facebook page, and/or visit the online gift shop, with an outstanding offering of books related to the site’s history and restoration, as well as broader topics like codebreaking and encryption
- For more information on Kate’s grandmother’s work, there is an excellent article from the Bletchley Park Trust on its website, “Valerie Glassborow, Bletchley Park Veteran and Grandmother of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge”
- read the BBC‘s story, “Bletchely Park: No Longer the World’s Best Kept Secret“, and/or watch the BBC story on Bletchley Park’s restoration
- The Daily Mirror’s live blog and photo gallery from today’s visit is here, The Daily Mail’s photo-laden story about the day’s events is here
- The Telegraph‘s raw video is here, its primary story on the visit can be read here, Richard Palmer’s story in The Express is here