Kate chose a Dolce and Gabbana coat for an ‘away day’ with William in Sunderland, in northeast England.
The couple was in town to officially open a new arts hub built in a historic building that was once the community’s fire station. After William and Kate arrived they did a walkabout.
— Heart NE News (@HeartNENews) February 21, 2018
From the Daily Express coverage of today’s visit:
The couple spent a lot of time wowing royal fans as they stopped to speak to those who had braved the cold to greet them with bunches of flowers in the North East.
These young fellows looked happy to meet the Duchess.
Kate was given a flower posey by two darling children dressed all in blue.
Below, the Duchess chatting with Jane Johnson, who is 101 years old and was eagerly waiting to meet the royal couple. Jane’s brother worked at the old fire station.
In this photo tweeted by Springboard, a local charity providing education and vocational training, you can see William also spending time with Jane.
The historic firehouse, an iconic structure in the community, had fallen into disrepair.
This gives you an idea of the extent of the work that was needed to get the building ready for use.
The Fire Station now has drama and art studios, as well a heritage center.
Kate and William watched a dance performance (above) and an aerial demonstration, seen below.
The Duchess chatting with children who were taking part in a workshop at the new facility.
The Duke and Duchess seemed intrigued with the way the historic building was refurbished and repurposed.
Sophie Johnson of the Sunderland Echo posted this video of the royals watching Picnic Band UK, a local group, perform in the new restaurant inside the Fire Station.
— Sophie Brownson (@SBrownsonJP) February 21, 2018
The Duchess with volunteers.
In the old engine room the Duke and Duchess met local cultural groups.
Tracey Schaverien from Hello! shared a video of Kate getting a tattoo. (A henna tattoo.)
— Tracy Schaverien (@TracySchaverien) February 21, 2018
More from The Daily Mail:
Chatting to a group from Young Asian Voices at the Fire Station Arts Centre, Kate asked if one of the girls would draw a henna design on her hand.
The duchess seemed delighted when Shajida Begum, 18, drew a black flower with a swirl.
Miss Begum said: “I said ‘Would you like a design?’ and she was like ‘Yes, if you don’t mind’. “She was saying that it was really pretty.
(We show the tattoo above in the left corner of the photo.) The story notes that “Kate also asked the girls for a pack of bindis, which she said she wanted for her daughter Charlotte.”
The couple’s second stop was the Northern Spire Bridge, slated to open this spring. Kate and William met schoolchildren who will directly benefit from the bridge’s opening.
Then it was time to don the hard hats and other protective gear, as the bridge is still an active construction zone.
From Kensington Palace: “The couple were told how the 1,550-tonne bridge – which is taller than Big Ben’s clock tower and twice as high as Nelson’s Column – will help improve links between the Port of Sunderland and the city centre.”
The Shropshire Star reports the bridge “will help reduce congestion around the city, speed up car journeys and allow land along both sides of the River Wear to be regenerated and developed.” Here you see William tightening a bolt on the bridge.
The Duke tightens a bolt on the brand new bridge. 🔧
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 21, 2018
Chris Ship of ITV reports that William joked, “The bolt will probably fall out now.” Then it was Kate’s turn to take part in the ceremonial work.
The Duke and Duchess walked the bridge themselves to meet some of the engineers and construction workers who have worked on the project.
Now for what Kate wore during today’s engagements. She was in a new Dolce and Gabbana coat that appears to be a custom piece.
The double-breasted design very much has a military feel, featuring extended rows of oversized buttons, front pockets, princess seams and pick-stitching on the front panel of the coat. When chatting with Michelle of Perth’s Fashion about the piece she suggested the broad center front panel can be removed and the piece altered for a non-maternity fit.
When initially seeing the new coat some thought it was identical to the Dolce and Gabbana piece worn in Norway. While there are similarities you can also see the differences between the two garments when looking at them side by side.
Beneath the coat, Kate wore a new design from Séraphine Maternity, the brand’s Phaedra Dress ($259). The dress is part of the label’s Luxe collection. It is a woven piece, with an empire waistline, 3/4 sleeves, and full skirt.
Kate carried her Natasha clutch by Emmy London.
And wore her Tod’s suede pumps.
Kate changed into her Stuart Weitzman for Russell and Bromley Half ‘n Half boots for her stroll across the bridge. The pull-on style has a suede front and stretch panel on the back, with a low block heel.
The Duchess wore her Cornelia James Beatrice Gloves ($98).
She brought back her Mappin and Webb Empress earrings.
And her Cartier watch.
Our other item: word of a surprise guest at London Fashion Week yesterday.
We’re talking about HM; she made an unannounced visit.
There are few people that can get the usually aloof fashion crowd giggling in a state of high excitement. But then there is only one Queen Elizabeth II.
Her Majesty was a surprise guest on Tuesday afternoon at Richard Quinn’s show, the last of London fashion week and his second ever. There was a hush as she entered the room, with the audience standing up to greet the monarch and, of course, raising their phones to get that all-important social media picture.
The Queen sat front row, of course – with a special cushion placed on her seat – beside Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who in turn sat next to the monarch’s dressmaker, Angela Kelly.
The woman you see accompanying the Queen and seated on her right in the photo above is Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council. Ms. Rush was also at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange event at Buckingham Palace Monday night. If her dress also seems familiar, it is the same Burberry style as that worn by Sophie at the Fashion Exchange function. It is not identical; this version has long sleeves and the top-stitching is in green thread, while Sophie’s detailing was done with red thread.
The Queen wore a duck egg blue tweed dress and jacket by Angela Kelly.
It was HM’s first visit to Fashion Week.
Quinn paid tribute to the monarch with a collection full of swing coats, silk headscarves and vibrant floral prints that he called “a tongue in cheek take on Balmoral, but done my way.”
Rebecca English of The Daily Mail posted a video from the show.
The Queen actually looked like she wanted to take this Richard Quinn design home #LondonFashionWeek pic.twitter.com/Nk8lm7dGYF
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) February 20, 2018
After the show, it was time to get on with business.
HM was there to present the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Richard Quinn.
More about Mr. Quinn from The Telegraph piece:
Along with his runway collections, Quinn has created costumes for Lady Gaga’s world tour, won an H&M design award and completed print collaborations with Liberty.
“It’s a bit surreal,” a visibly shaken Quinn told the Telegraph after the show, only his second at LFW. “We only found out a few days ago, so we added in a few Queen touches with the headscarves and the scarf patterns. We were already planning a few scarves but we really hammed it up.”“She said that she was pleased that the award would support young designers…. I think she’s definitely a fashion icon.”
There were tears in the front row and cheers from the audience as the Queen congratulated Quinn, handing over the rose-shaped award that was designed by Angela Kelly, who has served as Her Majesty’s personal assistant and senior dresser since 2002.The Queen described the award as “a tribute to the industry and my legacy and all those who have contributed to British fashion.” The prize is the first of its kind in the U.K. and is due to be awarded annually.