The Duke and Duchess arrived in rainy Blackpool shortly after noon local time.
A closer look at Kate in her Sportmax coat.
The first stop for the couple was the iconic Blackpool Tower, seen below on a sunnier day.
The pair as they arrived inside the historic building, long a landmark on Blackpool’s coastline.
They watched dancers in the tower’s ballroom. (You can just see them on the balcony upper right.)
While the tower opened in 1894, the original ballroom was a fairly small pavilion. The current ballroom was completed and opened in 1899. It is renowned for its architecture, but perhaps more so for its sprung dance floor, a shock-absorbing surface that was unique at the time. Below, a production from another era.
After seeing parts of the tower the Duke and Duchess attended a briefing on the severe housing issues the area faces.
It is a critical issue for the community.
They also heard about innovative projects underway to address the problem.
Kate and William then headed for their next stop.
Which was a walkabout right in front of the building.
On a walkabout outside the Tower as they visited the Comedy Carpet on the promenade, Kate told well-wishers she hoped to bring her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to visit Blackpool next time.
She joked: ‘Is the weather always like this?’
The duchess expressed her disappointment at not going up the Tower.
‘No we didn’t. Next time I think. There’s so much here the children would love as well. Hopefully next time we’ll bring them back.’
Visit Blackpool shared a nice conversation Kate had with well-wishers.
— VisitBlackpool (@visitBlackpool) March 6, 2019
Prince William saying hello.
The rainy weather did not appear to dampen anyone’s spirits.
Kate was given a lovely posey by some little girls.
In the shadow of its famous Eiffel Tower-like structure on the promenade, William and Kate walked on the Comedy Carpet (in the style of the Hollywood Walk of Fame) that decorates the pavement with catchphrases and depictions of jokes, songs and stories.
A view from above.
This video offers a sense of scale.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 6, 2019
While this photo gives an idea of how tall the tower is.
The Duke and Duchess then took a walk along Kirby Road, an area discussed in the earlier briefing on the housing crisis.
More from Kensington Palace: “Housing is a critical issue in Blackpool — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Kirby Road to see the realities of the town’s housing problems and the significant work underway…”.
The pair visited a former boarding house.
Chris Ship of ITV shared a video as the Duke and Duchess saw the rundown quarters.
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) March 6, 2019
More from Chris Ship’s ITV story:
The couple were shown a dilapidated house – which until recently had a family living inside.
Rain was leaking through the windows, there were holes in the ceiling and the floor had to be temporarily supported to make sure William and Kate did not fall through it.
The house, in the South Shore area, was covered in black mould and graffiti, with debris littering the floor and children’s toys and a small coat left behind.
They then went across the street to visit Christina Jackson who lives in a similar building.
Ms. Johnson really is just across the street, an example chosen to show what happened under a plan the Blackpool Council put together that funds investments in old properties and subsequent renovation. We return to The Evening Standard piece:
The couple were particularly keen to hear about the support residents received for mental health issues, with Kate asking: “Do you find it hard to reach out?”
Miss Jackson said afterwards: “They said the house is absolutely lovely. They’re so down to earth, they really got it. They seem to know everything that was going on and were very understanding.”
Kensington Palace reports about “…50 bedsits in the area have now become 13 good quality homes for families.” (If I remember properly a ‘bedsit’ is essentially one room where a renter lives/sleeps and does some cooking, but shares bathroom facilities.) Here is a look at some of the exteriors on Kirby Road as seen on the My Blackpool Home website.
Kate as the couple heads to the day’s third engagement.
That next stop was the Blackpool Central Library. Here is a quick video of the couple arriving.
— Blackpool Gazette (@The_Gazette) March 6, 2019
They were at the library to learn about Blackpool’s ‘A Better Start’ program.
A Better Start is “….committed to working together to ensure our families and every new baby in Blackpool enjoys the early care and nurture they need for healthy development and readiness for school.” Below, the Duke and Duchess with parents, and practitioners from the Blackpool Hospital Family Nurse Partnership.
The Family Nurse Partnership is “…a structured programme of intensive home visits delivered by highly trained family nurses to young women who are pregnant with their first baby, continuing through to the baby’s second birthday.” At the meeting, there was a discussion about the positive benefits of making long-term investments in mothers, fathers and children, especially when the children are very young.
Kate and William also met people impacted by issues that can accompany mental health challenges, such as homelessness and addiction. And they spent time with first responders.
Despite the serious topics, there were also lighthearted moments.
The couple’s final stop in Blackpool was at Revoe Park.
As you can see, the rain returned. More about the park from Simon Perry’s People story:
…which has been transformed with the help of local park wardens and Better Start Blackpool. It is now used by local kindergartens and fathers’ groups as a forest school to promote outdoor learning and better parenting.
Kate being shown different elements of the park.
It wasn’t raining the entire time they were at the park.
But it looked fairly sodden. Back to the People piece:
Dave Bannister, 52, from Blackpool’s Dads 4 Life, started by showing the couple a workshed where local fathers are taught new skills.
Both the Duke and Duchess received a personalized gift.
They were given “woodland necklaces.”
The Duchess was also given a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers.
We now take our look at what Kate wore for the Blackpool engagements.
Many immediately recognized the Duchess’s Sportmax coat.
It is the fourth time we have seen the Duchess in the piece. Looking at the photos from right to left (my oops, should have arranged them left to right), you see the first occasion was Christmas Day 2015 for church services at Sandringham; the coat was worn in February 2016 for Kate’s first solo engagements in Scotland; again in January 2017 at Sandringham; and then today.
Thoughts on Kate’s look from The Telegraph’s Chloe Mac Donnell:
Hers is a look that is carefully honed: the coat that falls just below the knee, a shoe with a sensible heel height and a mid-length daytime dress mostly with a fit and flare silhouette. Often these key pieces, fall under the header of classic investment pieces, which Kate will then style with more trend led pieces or update with a key accessory, say a headband or ribbon.
Featuring a peacock print, [the dress] was quite a bold look for Kate, but its mid-length hemline, long sleeves, collar detailing and front button fastening are all details that have all become synonymous with Kate’s style.
Kate’s dress is by Michael Kors. It is from the brand’s diffusion line, Michael Michael Kors, that features lower price points and more youthful, at times edgier designs than the primary collection. The Peacock Pattern Dress is midi-length, and made of 100% polyester; it’s actually machine washable. The frock features a button front and self-covered buttons, pointed collar, and self-sash/belt.
It has a yoked and gathered back and gathers at the waist; it almost has the feel of a blouson top.
One of the most distinctive design elements is the sleeve treatment shown below right. The sleeves are slightly gathered at the shoulder, sheer to just above the elbow and then intricately pleated with a button cuff.
That segues perfectly into Kate’s choice of bag today, the Manu Atelier ‘Micro Bold’ bag first seen in Dundee.
She also wore the UFO boots seen at the RAF Christmas party at Kensington Palace.
Simon Perry reports that at Revoe Park Kate had changed from the boots shown above to a low-heeled pair.
Kate brought back her Kiki McDonough Green Amethyst and Diamond Cushion Cut Earrings (£1166, roughly $1530 at today’s exchange rates).
We do not yet have an ID on the gloves or the scarf.
We’ll leave you with this really lovely shot of the Duchess by our Friend, royal photographer Mark Stewart.
This RFC video runs about 5 minutes.
This 2-minute piece from Channel 5 News covers the first two parts of the visit: Blackpool Tower/Walkabout, as well as the Kirby Road elements.
Derelict homes of Blackpool were a stark contrast to the palace.
This time it was William and Kate who saw how the other half live. pic.twitter.com/NqHieOPQG6
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) March 6, 2019
- Learn about A Better Start program on the organization’s website here; its Twitter feed is here
- There is more info about the Family Nurse Partnership on this website; here
- Visit the Blackpool Tower website here; the Facebook page is here; Twitter feed here and Instagram page here; The Comedy Carpet website is here
- The Daily Mail’s coverage is here; a Hello! piece is here; The Evening Standard’s story is here; The Blackpool Gazette’s live coverage is here (with lots of photos);
- Chloe Mac Donnell’s fashion piece in The Telegraph is here; Simon Perry’s People story is here; a PopSugar gallery is here and another is here; Town & Country’s gallery is here; People’s slideshow is here