The Duchess brought back a Séraphine dress for today’s Royal Foundation Forum.
This was the first formal engagement attended by William, Kate, Harry and Meghan Markle. While the four were seen together at Sandringham on Christmas, that is not considered an official engagement.
The royals (and royal-to-be!) used the forum to lay out their hopes and plans for their ongoing work under the charitable umbrella of the Royal Foundation, discussing why the foundation was set up, the projects they are currently working on and their ambitions for the future.
William opened his address by welcoming Meghan, saying they were “particularly happy” that this is the first Royal Foundation event with Meghan.
And from News Australia:
Ms Markle blushed as she received a huge cheer from the crowd when Prince William noted her addition to the Foundation established by the two princes as a way of distinguishing their work from the rest of their families.
The forum was designed to showcase the programs the Royal Foundation has created or worked on, and it included attendees who have benefited from the various projects. From The Daily Mail’s coverage:
“The Duchess said she had ‘learnt so much’ from her work in parenting and early intervention in mental health. She said: ‘You can’t help but reflect on your own life and it’s definitely had an impact on how sort of I look at how I mother, how we work as a family and you know, how we hope to bring up our children.’
This is from The Daily Mirror:
Prince Harry has joked the four royals do have disagreements while they are planning the work of the foundation.
He said: “Working with family does have its challenges, but we’re stuck together for the rest of our lives.”
But he said it was fantastic there were four different personalities all working together to plan the work of the foundation.
More on Harry’s remarks from The Daily Mirror’s live blog:
He told the crowd in his keynote speech: “We are part of a respected institution with the timeless values of family, service, duty and integrity.
“We feel a tremendous responsibility to play our part to affect societal change for the better.”
William spoke about Kate’s role and its impact; this is via The Daily Mail:
But William quickly brought the subject back to a serious nature, adding the Duchess of Cambridge was key to its development.
He said: ‘Catherine was the one who joined the dots up and came up with the idea and the concept. Harry and I had never thought about doing a campaign before and when it comes to mental health it was very difficult to know where to start.
‘It’s such a big issue and it is so entrenched in society in a negative way, sadly, that we weren’t quite sure how we would do it and how long it would take.’
This is via a Daily Telegraph story:
…the Duke, Duchess and Prince Harry each laid out their vision for how the younger generation of the Royal Family would conduct their charity work, in an era so different from that of the Queen or the Prince of Wales.
Saying they would utilise social media to spread their message further, and harness diversity to find a broad base of young leaders, the Duke explained they would not seek “quick wins” but “strive to make a long and lasting difference”.
The Duke, Duchess, Prince Harry and Meghan spent time speaking with volunteers, supporters and those who have been helped by the Foundation’s programs.
Following the formal presentation, all four listened to speakers helped by Foundation programs.
Despite the rather serious topic, there were many moments of levity.
Here is a condensed version of the morning’s forum via 5News:
“Working as family does have its challenges… but we’re stuck together for the rest of our lives”
Prince William, Prince Harry and future sister-in-laws the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle sat side-by-side to discuss the Royal Foundation. @Heads_Together | @WeAreInvictus pic.twitter.com/DjUxo7oZL5
— 5News (@5_News) February 28, 2018
The dress is crafted in a poly/viscose/elastane blend, and it features an empire waistline, inserted front waistband with gold button detailing, as well as a side and back peplum. As someone who has not worn maternity fashion, I don’t know if this would be the same dress worn in January, or perhaps the same design but in a larger size.
It looked like Kate was in her ‘Georgia’ navy heels by Jimmy Choo, although the lighting makes it difficult to state declaratively that is the case. I apologize for the rather ghastly looking photo; I lightened it digitally to better show the shoe.
Today’s mystery item is the pair of earrings worn by the Duchess.
It’s not a style we have seen her wear previously. Thus far efforts to determine the designer or seller have not turned up any strong leads. I wonder if they might be vintage; the curling metal portion has a retro look, circa the 40s or 50s.
We will continue looking for more information and will update if we learn more about the pair.
UPDATE MAR 4: It looks like the earrings could well be part of a Cartier set given to the Queen by her parents in 1945. Royal Order of Splendor noted on Twitter that “The Duchess of Cambridge’s earrings are interesting. There’s at least one (maybe 2) pair of earrings from the Queen that sorta look like this, but never a good enough shot to see detail for proper comparison.” The set includes the Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch. Below, the brooch compared to Kate’s earrings.
HM wearing the brooch at a flower festival in Canberra, Australia, October 20, 2011.
At the Queen’s Jewel Vault (sister site to Order of Splendor) there is more info:
According to Leslie Field’s The Queen’s Jewels, the gift also included a matching pair of earrings “in the shape of miniature flowers on tiny stems”, which are likely the ones seen above. The earrings, to my knowledge, haven’t been seen in many years. The brooch, however, is still in use, though its outings are rather rare.
Below, a photo from 1949 showing then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, with Prince Charles; you can just see the earrings in the picture.
At this point, it’s not possible to state declaratively Kate’s earrings are from this set. It is certainly a possibility; I will continue looking for more info and photos.
We will see you shortly for Kate’s National Portrait Gallery engagement.
- Read more about the Royal Foundation at its website here
- The Daily Mail coverage of today’s events may be seen here; The Telegraph’s story is here; The Express article is here; The Mirror’s live blog is here
- People’s style story is here and its news story here
- The Fug Girls post is here; PopSugar’s galleries are here and also here