We’ve several updates today covering a variety of topics. We begin with a brief word about the ITV documentary Our Queen at Ninety. The program was very well received, with positive reviews from royal watchers and fashion followers; it also includes a few more clips with Kate that weren’t released prior to Sunday’s night’s broadcast. There is more video from the 2015 diplomatic reception, affording a glance at the back of Kate’s evening gown by Alexander McQueen.
Having had a chance to watch the program I can recommend it; there is some wonderful archival footage and the interviews with family members and staff are fascinating. A version of the documentary remains available on YouTube.
There is news about photos of two of the Queen’s great-grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte: The Sun’s Emily Andrews reports the children were at Windsor Castle Monday where renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz was taking pictures for an official portrait(s) commemorating the Queen’s 90th birthday. From the story:
“Wills and Kate were with the children but as adoring parents rather than wanting to be in the pics themselves,” a royal source told The Sun.
“Annie was taking the official pictures but Kate took her own snaps for the family album. It was really cute.
The Queen’s other great-grandchildren are sure to be featured in some of the official photos as well. It’s likely these will be released to coincide with the Queen’s actual birthday in April, or closer to the ceremonial occasions in June that will mark the milestone. We were expecting a new picture of Charlotte commemorating her first birthday, perhaps that will be in the form of pictures taken by Kate on Monday.
Today Kensington Palace released the detailed itinerary for Kate and William’s upcoming tour of India and Bhutan. The couple will visit the Taj Mahal, attend a red carpet gala, see where Mahatma Gandhi spent his final days, and take a lengthy hike. They “…cannot wait to meet the people of India and Bhutan” according to a Palace news release. This is the Duke and Duchess’s first full-scale tour since the New Zealand/Australia trip in 2014. (Although they visited New York in 2015, that isn’t something I would consider a full-scale tour, but more of a visit with a few quick stops at NYC landmarks.) Following are some of the more notable aspects of the upcoming trip.
ARRIVAL: The tour begins in Mumbai on Sunday, April 10th when William and Kate spend the night at the Taj Palace Hotel, one of the sites of the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. The itinerary describes the hotel as “an iconic symbol of the city’s resilience and strength. The stories of the bravery and dedication of the staff there are now known around the world.”
When they arrive at the hotel Sunday the first thing Kate and William will do is lay a wreath at a memorial site inside the hotel, and then meet staff members who helped protect hotel guests during the 4-day siege. More on the Mumbai agenda from The Daily Mail:
they will visit the poverty-stricken streets of Mumbai – made famous by Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
The royals will meet and play with children who live in slums around the city and will see people who are living in tough circumstances in a small slum during a visit to the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai.
In writing about the cricket match the couple attends Sunday afternoon the Palace noted there “may be a couple of surprises” in store; my guess would be perhaps a celebrity appearance or two.
RED CARPET GALA: Sunday night we’ll see the most glamorous event of the trip, and probably the most fashion-focused part of the tour. Kate and William will attend a glamorous reception held in their honour that also “…celebrates Mumbai’s film and creative industries.” More from the Kensington Palace information released today:
The Duke and Duchess will be introduced to some of Mumbai’s leading figures, including some well-known names from Bollywood and the city’s thriving business world.The event will include red carpet arrivals, dance and musical performances, and of course fashion.
We can expect to see Kate in a major party frock; I would look for a new bespoke gown by one of her go-to designers like Jenny Packham, Erdem, Alexander McQueen, or Temperley London. In keeping with Kate’s sartorial diplomacy skills it wouldn’t be surprising to see an element of local culture incorporated into her dress for that evening, much like the Alexander McQueen frock seen at the state dinner in Malaysia that featured the hibiscus, Malaysia’s national flower.
NEW DELHI: The first public element of this leg of the tour is a stop at the India Gate war memorial, followed by a visit to the Gandhi Smriti Museum. Inside the museum is the site of Old Birla House, where Mahatma Gandhi lived for the last several months of his life and where he was assassinated in 1948. Tuesday evening (April 11) the Duke and Duchess attend a party honoring Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, during which William will “personally pay tribute to his grandmother with a speech to the invited guests.”
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK: This portion of the tour deals with an issue of significance to William, wildlife conservation; the park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The duo begin their visit Tuesday night at a campfire when they will “meet local people and see dance and musical performances. It will be a colourful and fun introduction to rural life…”. The next day they take an open-air tour of the National Park and visit the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.
BHUTAN: After an official welcome at the Thimphu airport Kate and William take part in a traditional welcome ceremony like the one seen below, sure to be one of the most colorful events of the tour.
The country’s textile history is recognized around the world, renowned for its vivid colors and complex, sophisticated weaving techniques.
The Royal Textile Academy works to preserve that rich textile tradition while also teaching its intricate techniques and skills to new generations. Bhutan’s King and Queen will probably be wearing traditional Bhutanese styles in those lush hues when they welcome the Duke and Duchess to their country. Below you see some of the time-honored design elements in these images of Queen Jetsun Pema with her newborn son last month (l) and at a 2015 ceremonial event (r).
Thursday night the Duke and Duchess will have a private dinner with TRH at Lingkana Palace. Friday morning they will hike to Paro Taktsang, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, considered the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism. The trek is expected to take 5 to 6 hours and it will be arduous, if only because of the altitude; the Monastery is situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet.
For the hike up the mountain, Kate will probably be in clothing much like that worn in the rainforest during the 2012 Jubilee Tour.
Friday night there is another reception, this one for “…British nationals in Bhutan and Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK.”
Saturday morning TRH return to India where they will visit the Taj Mahal. This is one of the tour high points for many royal fans, evoking memories of Princess Diana’s visit to the landmark. More from Gordon Rayner’s story in The Telegraph:
The Duke of Cambridge “cannot wait” to visit the Taj Mahal because it is a place where “his mother’s memory is kept alive”, his spokesman said today.
The Duke of Cambridge is of course aware of the huge esteem his mother, the late Princess of Wales is held in India and he appreciates the iconic status of the images that exist of The Princess at the Taj.
Jason Knauf, William and Kate’s spokesman, also added that “Twenty-four years on from her visit to the Taj, the Duke and the Duchess are looking forward to seeing this beautiful place for themselves and creating some new memories as they say thank you to the people of India at the conclusion of this tour.”
The Mirror’s Victoria Murphy reports the couple will travel with an entourage of 11, including Kate’s hairdresser and four press officers. Kate’s private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, is part of the group, as is Miguel Head, William’s private secretary.
We’ll get the Kate’s Calendar page updated with the details so there is an easy reference for you to review. We’ll also have a more in-depth look at the fashion element of the tour in the next week. The topic timing syncs well with fashion-related activities in India, as Lakmé Fashion Week kicked off today in Mumbai. Below, a shot from today’s Manish Malhotra show.
Our final note features jewelry showcasing one of India’s national symbols, the lotus flower, as well as Bhutan’s national flower, the Himalayan blue poppy. The gorgeous designs are part of a limited edition StyleRocks collection inspired by the upcoming tour.
Also part of the collection, these elegant Tree of Life pendants. In our latest giveaway with StyleRocks, the online customizable jewelry company, one lucky winner will choose any piece she likes from the limited edition group, up to a value of AUD $1000.
But if a pendant isn’t what you’re hoping to add to your jewelry box, not to worry – the winner will choose anything she/he desires from the entire StyleRocks site, up to the $1000 limit. That includes pieces like the green amethyst ring, a dainty daisy ring, a ring featuring a pink button pearl, or a russian rings wedding ring.
Because each StyleRocks design is made to order according to your wishes, every style on the site is is available in different metals with different gemstones and finishes. But if you don’t enter you can’t win – click here to enter if you haven’t already done so!
- The full news release from Kensington Palace may be seen here
- Victoria Murphy’s Daily Mirror story is here, The Daily Mail’s story about the tour agenda is here, Gordon Rayner’s story in The Telegraph is here;
- Richard Palmer’s story in the Express about the Taj terrorist attacks is here, The Guardian’s photo gallery/essay on Bhutan is here
- For a Daily Mail travel piece on Bhutan click here
- Simon Perry’s story for People magazine is here, the Us Weekly piece by Omid Scobie is here