The Duchess debuted a new suit by Catherine Walker for today’s visit to The Netherlands.
Above and below you see Kate with King Willem-Alexander at Villa Eikenhorst, the royal family’s official residence. More from Richard Palmer’s story for The Express:
Kate, 34, began a day of engagements in The Hague and Rotterdam by going for lunch with the King at the Villa Eikenhorst, a 1980s mansion where the monarch lives with his Argentine-born wife Queen Maxima and their three daughters on a wooded estate six miles from the centre of The Hague.
This was an important visit for the Duchess, her first solo overseas trip. (A visit to Malta by Kate was planned in 2014, but canceled because of her illness when expecting Charlotte.)
Today’s engagements come as Britain continues working on terms for its exit from the European Union. While the trip is said to have been planned months before the EU referendum, the timing is such that Kate follows in the steps of British PM Theresa May, who was in Holland yesterday. More from a story by Gordon Rayner in The Telegraph:
If Britain is engaged in a pre-Brexit charm offensive with EU nations, it will have few ambassadors as effective as the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Netherlands is one of Britain’s biggest trading partners, with £68 billion of goods crossing the North Sea every year, but has not received a visit from a senior member of the Royal family for three years.
Kate’s first stop following lunch with the King was at the Mauritshuis Gallery/Museum.
Video Kate arrives at the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague pic.twitter.com/fvoyJsNopu
— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) October 11, 2016
Her primary goal at the Museum was viewing an exhibition featuring works from The Royal Collection.
More via the Museum’s newsletter:
The visit is planned to coincide with the exhibition At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his contemporaries from the Royal Collection, which includes 22 important genre paintings from her family’s collection. The Duchess of Cambridge, who took a degree in art history at the University of St Andrews, is familiar with the collection of the Mauritshuis.
Kate is with Emilie Gordenker, one of two Museum Directors.
The Duchess and Ms. Gordenker in front of The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, part of the Museum’s permanent collection. We’ll hear more about the Duchess and this painting in just a bit.
Ms. Gordenker’s comments about Kate’s reaction to the artwork via The Telegraph:
“The Duchess seemed to particularly enjoy seeing The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius, but she asked a lot of questions about the presentation of the paintings, because although she is familiar with a lot of the Queen’s paintings she has never seen them in this setting before, which gives them a different context.”
Below, Kate studying The Goldfinch.
This event must have been enjoyable for the Duchess: an art class at an art museum with children, very much in keeping with some of Kate’s interests.
Greeting crowds outside the Museum.
More from Gordon Rayner’s Telegraph article:
She delighted crowds outside the art gallery by going on an impromptu walkabout, shaking every hand that was offered, though declining requests for selfies.
The Duchess then headed to the British Ambassador’s residence for a meeting & discussion about “tackling addiction and mental health issues across generations within the family” according to Kensington Palace.
— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) October 11, 2016
Representatives from two of Kate’s patronages, the Anna Freud Centre and Action on Addiction, took part in the discussion, as did professionals from the Trimbos Institute, the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction.
Kate’s final stop was at Bouwkeet Makers Spaces, an experimental project offering communal working space.
… a new charity-funded project designed to keep youths off the streets by teaching them manufacturing, maintenance and repair skills.
The project, housed in a formerly derelict post office covering 1,000 square metres, uses an American idea – Makers Spaces are usually places where people pay to use machinery – and is trying to develop it into a scheme to combat high rates of crime and unemployment in the area.
From Victoria Murphy’s story in The Daily Mirror:
Kate chatted to the teens in a woollen class at the Bouwkeet workshop project for teenagers in a deprived area of Rotterdam.
There was quite a crowd outside the building eager to see Kate.
Now to what Kate wore for the day’s engagements, a bespoke skirt suit by Catherine Walker.
The jacket features a fitted bodice with a wide collar, large self-covered buttons, a peplum waist, and a wide belt.
We have had quite a few comments about the fit of Kate’s jacket and the bumps beneath the fabric.
I think what we are seeing is the outline of Kate’s undergarments, not any kind of body armor. Regardless of the cause, the fit on a garment of this caliber should be such that we don’t notice little bumps and bubbles, the puckers and pulling we’re seeing today.
Kate has proved herself fond of oversized collars. Below left, a Catherine Walker piece worn St. Patrick’s Day 2015, and on the right, a bespoke Alexander McQueen maternity piece with a Peter Pan collar that we first saw at Trooping the Colour 2013. (With thanks to Madeline for her comment sharing that a Peter Pan collar should be rounded, not pointed.)
The jacket also has notched sleeves that flare at the cuff.
The pencil skirt has an interesting design, you can see seam details at the hip just below the hem of the jacket. I would love to see the skirt without the jacket.
Several noted the similarity in design between today’s suit and the Luisa Spagnoli worn in New Zealand in 2014. (As well as for an Air Cadets photo in 2015 and at the University of St. Andrews in 2011.)
The suit has elegant lines, and it is crafted in a shade of blue that is very flattering on the Duchess. Unfortunately the wrinkles on both pieces were a distraction, particularly on the front of the skirt at the hips and on the upper arms. I’m not sure precisely what fabric was used for the suit, in some photos it looked like a silk/wool blend, or it may have been a wool crepe or Venetian wool. Kate took commercial flights to and from The Netherlands, so she had been wearing the suit for some time before her arrival at Villa Eikenhorst; I’m not sure there was a way to avoid the wrinkles. (Short of wearing a different garment in material less prone to wrinkle.)
UPDATE: According to Erin Hill’s story in People the suit is made of wool crepe.
Overall Kate looked lovely: she was appropriately dressed for the day’s appointments and the wrinkles were a distraction, not a fashion disaster. Something you would rather not see with garments of this quality, but certainly nothing sending a negative message of any kind or interfering with Kate’s ability to do her job.
The Duchess accessorized with familiar pieces, including her Gianvito Rossi suede pumps. We show them at Net-a-Porter where they are available in a dwindling assortment of sizes ($675); My Theresa also has the shoes in stock in a mix of sizes ($675).
Kate wore the pearl earrings that we first saw in Canada.
This is the pair that Anna of My Small Obsessions believed to be on loan from the Queen, previously worn by HM, as well as Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
It turns out Anna was correct, reporters received verification today from Kensington Palace that Kate was wearing the pair loaned by the Queen. Great work by Anna!
Finally confirmation those earrings are indeed on loan from HM The Queen, since 2012 I tried to confirm this pic.twitter.com/aJX1jSyWz0
— Kate&Sophie Blogs (@AnnieElizabethN) October 11, 2016
The secret of a successful royal visit lies in the planning, and the Duchess of Cambridge showed a superb eye for detail on her first solo foreign trip.
Knowing she would be shown Johannes Vermeer’s celebrated Girl With A Pearl Earring at an art gallery in the Netherlands, the Duchess borrowed the Queen’s own treasured pearl earrings for the day to provide the perfect photo opportunity.
A better look at Kate’s chignon.
We have had several questions asking why Queen Máxima was not at lunch, she is in Argentina.
Also today, a new engagement added to Kate’s Calendar.
- Tuesday, October 18: Kate and William attend a reception hosted by HM and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. The event honors Team GB and ParalympicsGB medal winners from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Others expected to attend include Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie and Princess Anne.
And don’t forget to vote in our earring poll!
- Emilie Gordenker, the Museum Director seen in several photos, is wearing a dress by Roksanda Ilincic. It is the designer’s Turlin Flounce Sleeve Midi Dress. Our thanks to Laura on Twitter for the dress info.
It looks like the UFO sweater worn by the Duchess in Canada has been identified. Sue B Style says Kate was wearing Jigsaw’s ‘Katherine’ cashmere sweater. The piece is 100% cashmere, semi-sheer, and also sold out.
- The Royal House of The Netherlands website is here; the King’s bio & other info is here; King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima’s official Facebook page is here
- The Mauritshuis Museum English-language website is here; the Museum’s Facebook page is here; its Instagram feed is here and Twitter page here
- The Royal Collection’s information on the exhibit may be seen here
- The Bouwkeet website is here; its Facebook page here and Twitter account here
- The City of the Hague website is here; its Facebook page is here and Twitter feed here
- Media Coverage: