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Kate in Dubarry and Chloé for Garden Visit & The Designing Duchess!

The Duchess was in a mix of outdoorsy styles for this morning’s visit to King Henry’s Walk, a community garden in Islington, North London.

Emily Nash from Hello! tweeted a video of the Duchess arriving.

The garden opened in 2007 and is cared for by volunteers.

From The Daily Mirror:

The garden, which is hidden off a busy London street, has been described as a ‘secret oasis’ by local residents.

“We are very proud of the garden, which is run by a really strong community team of volunteers, which is so representative of Islington and Hackney.”

Details on the urban oasis from The Garden Classroom:

A secluded community garden with enclosed pond, wildlife woodland, bee observation hive, food growing space, clay pizza oven and spacious classroom facilities.

Sessions available in science, bees, food growing, maths, literacy, drama and The Acorn Club.

The Garden Classroom is a charity that provides “urban children and adults with transformative outdoor experiences devised to encourage active lifestyles, promote self-discovery, inspire growth and stimulate respect for nature.”

Kate spoke with volunteers and residents about the garden’s role in the neighborhood and its many benefits. It has plots that residents cultivate using organic gardening practices that are said to “promote a diversity of plants and wildlife,” according to the KHWG website. 

Students from St. Jude & St. Paul’s primary school were at the garden for some outdoor learning.

From a Daily Telegraph story by Hannah Furness:

…the Duchess advocated outdoor life to tell children: “There’s so much to discover isn’t there? It’s really fun. If you haven’t tried it you don’t know how cool it is.”

They worked on making birdhouses.

The Duchess asked the children about outdoor creatures, like worms.

The garden has an outdoor pizza oven and the children set to work making lunch.

Kate was asked an interesting question: does HM eat pizza?

But that wasn’t the only question.

Another interesting query came up while making pizza; more on this one from Rebecca English’s Daily Mail article:

Patrick, eight, said; ‘Here’s my ideal question. Can I see your children?’

Kate replied: ‘They would love to come and do this with you. They will be very sad that I’ve been out here waking pizzas with all of you and they haven’t been here. They are in school.’

‘What school do they go to?’ Another child asked.

‘They are in a classroom. Their school is called Thomas’s. George is at a school called Thomas’s. He’s learning about space. Have you all learnt about space?’

The Duchess spoke about the joys of learning outside of a formal classroom setting.

A video of the Duchess receiving gifts from the children as she prepares to leave.

She was given a jar of honey by 8-year-old Ayaan Ahmed.

7-year-old Kyrah Symister gave Kate a copy of ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert Macfarlane, with illustrations by Jackie Morris. The book covers words that disappeared from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

More from The Guardian’s review, that described it this way: “A book combining meticulous wordcraft with exquisite illustrations deftly restores language describing the natural world to the children’s lexicon.”

…in a book of spells rather than poems, exquisitely illustrated by Morris, Macfarlane gently, firmly and meticulously restores the missing words. Acorn, blackberry, bluebell, conker and “perhaps the one that cut the deepest” for Morris, “kingfisher”, are lovingly returned to future generations of children.

An illustration. 

It looks like a terrific concept and even better book. It is available online and at bookstores.

Now to the news that the Duchess is working on a garden display for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Below, HRH at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show.

From a Palace news release:

To highlight the benefits of the great outdoors and inspire children, families and communities to get back to nature, The Duchess of Cambridge, the Royal Horticultural Society and landscape architects Davies White have today announced that they will design and build the 2019 RHS Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The garden will build on Her Royal Highness’s passion for the outdoors and the proven benefits that nature has on physical and mental health. The Duchess is a strong advocate for the positive impact that nature and the environment can have on childhood development…

Kate at the 2016 show with William and Harry.

The Duchess has been working on the garden for three months and will continue to be involved all the way up to the opening of the display. From The Mirror’s story:

Kate’s creation – a collaboration with award-winning landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White – will use wild planting and natural materials aimed at providing visitors with a “sense of wonder and magic”.

The Duchess has been working on the project secretly for three months, meaning it was one of her first jobs as she returned from maternity leave in October.

Below, Adam White and Andree Davis.

The RHS notes that the Back to Nature Garden is part of its partnership with NHS England, “promoting the physical and emotional wellbeing that access to green spaces and gardening provides. After Chelsea, some of the planting and landscaping will go to an NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of a national competition run by the RHS.” This dovetails perfectly with Kate’s interest in mental health.

Kate won’t be contributing for just the one display, though. We return to the Daily Telegraph story:

The Duchess will also co-design two further RHS Gardens with the same team, maintaining many of elements from the garden at Chelsea, for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July and the RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey in the autumn.

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from May 21 – 25.

Let’s take a look at what Kate wore for today’s garden event.

She was in the Bracken Tweed jacket by Dubarry.

The piece is made of Teflon-coated wool and features a standup collar, gathered patch pockets, zippers at the back cuff, and the front button and loop closure. We show it at Outdoor and Country Retail, where it is only available in larger sizes (£279.30, about $360 at today’s exchange rates). At the Dubarry US site, it is available in all sizes ($599).

The pictures seen above are somewhat darker than the fabric really is in my mind; I opted for those images because I wanted to be able to show the back of the piece. Below you see the jacket in a truer light. 

If unfamiliar with the brand, Dubarry of Ireland offers a range of higher-end clothing, boots and accessories. The majority of products are what I call ‘upscale utility wear,’ pieces that provide protection from the elements that are also attractive, designs that work well for both town and country settings. The brand’s tweeds are woven in Scotland, while much of the actual production is now done in Portugal. The company was named after Madame du Barry, the renowned French courtesan.

The Duchess had on what appeared to be a new turtleneck sweater.

A closer look at the rollneck and cuff detail. 

Middleton Maven suggests it is the Mockneck Sweater in Supersoft Yarns in ‘mahogany’ ($79.50 ), it is by a retailer we know the Duchess has worn before, J Crew

The sweater is made of a nylon/merino wool/alpaca/elastane blend, and available in a rainbow of colors. 

The Duchess had on Zara trousers, although we aren’t sure if they are new, or a previously worn pair. Emma4AboutRoyal tweeted they could be the pair worn in Canada during the 2016 tour.

Kate wore a new pair of boots from See by Chloé in dark suede with leather trim. The style features an oversized back pull loop, reinforced eyelets, treaded rubber sole and a distinctive stacked 1.5″ heel.

They are available in just two sizes at Net-a-Porter ($267, 40% off), but the product page shows several sizes as “coming soon,” so it is worth checking. There are also very limited sizes available at Luisa Via Roma (on sale for $311).

Many recognized the earrings immediately; they are the Lauren Pavé Leaf style by Kiki McDonough.

We will see you tomorrow for Kate’s visit to the costume department at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden!


Here is 3:40 of natural sound from the Royal Family Channel.

And this is 27 minutes+ from 5 News.


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Beth Burke

Thursday 28th of February 2019

Hi, I'm a blogger too and my theory is that the trousers are Zara's high rise super stretch leggings xxBeth

Eileen M

Saturday 19th of January 2019

@Jessica, the green floral Rochas dress is probably one of my most favorite items in her closet. I couldn't agree with you more. I'd love to see her wear it again with her citrine drop earrings and either a green or navy blue shoe.I

If her hairdresser (not you Susan; you already work harder than anyone else!) posted a video tutorial on how to create that perfect ponytail in the history of the world, life would be complete!

On topic: I would love to see Kate wear more earth tones, even during more formal engagements, especially given how stunning the shades of the sweater and coat are on her! I know why she wears brighter shades in public, but earth tones are her friends! The J.Crew sweater in that color is one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen her wear, period.

I am not loving the skinny jeans look either. I am a couple of years older than Kate, and while I do wear skinny jeans, it's all about finding the best fit, fabrics (no more than 2% of the jeans should be Lycra) and the brand in order for them to be flattering.

In my opinion, Kate's skinny jeans so form fitting, it looks as if she threw on a coat after leaving the gym and is headed for her car. The skinny jeans resemble workout pants to me. It's especially noticeable in the videos where one can see how each garment move. Her legs are quite muscular too, which isn't a bad thing, but it continues to make me think "they fit like workout pants."

That said, I do wonder how skinny jeans would look if Kate opted for a different brand or style? Perhaps even buying one size larger than normal and having them tailored would make a huge difference. I don't presume to speak for anyone else, but they look so tight and out of proportion against her sweater and coat, hence the jarring (to some of us) appearance of her skinny jeans during visits like this one.


Sunday 20th of January 2019

I agree re: the Rochas dress. One of the most overlooked and underrated pieces she's ever worn. It's such a splendid color for her; and portrays such an effortless style. I want to see her wear it again.


Sunday 20th of January 2019

Eileen, I think you've put your finger on the problem with Kate's jeans. If they'd look less painted on - as most women's skinny jeans do - I think there'd be many fewer negative comments about them. Maybe Kate should try a different brand or size, as you suggest.


Saturday 19th of January 2019

I love this outfit. It is something that I would wear if I was to go outdoors, especially hiking!

I always wonder what pant people would suggest she wear with a boot if not skinny jeans. This is why skinny jeans were made - for boots. Any other style won't go into a boot without unsightly bunching in the leg. The only other style which suits a boot is breeches and no one is riding here, so breeches aren't going to work. The outdoors mean tucking your pants into your boots to prevent pesky bugs from getting onto your skin! Skinny jeans, wonderful things!

That children's book looks delightful! I might have to get it for my nephew!


Wednesday 16th of January 2019

Kate was certainly in her element at this engagement! I love seeing her interact with children. She's so natural and involved when speaking with them. Amazing.

I am a member of the skinny jeans non-fan club and particularly here. Especially in the films of Kate's arrival, I found that her jeans looked like leggings and moreover, the very skinny leg made her boots look large and clunky. But maybe that's how they're supposed to look. My hiking boots look like that on me, but I never found the sight particularly beautiful.

What is beautiful, though, is Kate's smile, her laugh, her complete devotion to whatever she's engaged in.


Wednesday 16th of January 2019

I love this look, but i wanted to comment on my favorite - the little boy "Patrick" with the glasses that asked to see Kate's kids. So freaking adorable and, as an American, one of my most favorite things is an English accent on small kids. It's just the cutest thing!

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