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The Duchess in Catherine Walker for Her First Beating Retreat Concert

The Duchess brought back a Catherine Walker design for tonight’s ‘Beating Retreat‘ ceremony.

The previously unannounced engagement was held at Horse Guards Parade in central London.


Beating Retreat takes place every year on the Wednesday and Thursday before Trooping the Colour, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade.

It is described as “a spectacular evening pageant of music and military precision drill, including horses, cannon and fireworks.” This is Kate’s first appearance at the event. Below, a photo from last night’s concert. 

Tweets from Mark Lapin, who was at tonight’s concert, give you a sense of the size and scope of Horse Guards Parade. 

More about the event from the Household Division site.

Military Beating Retreat concerts have a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signalled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night.

Today a Beating Retreat is an evening military concert with a marching display and usually marks the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset.

In this photo from Mr. Lappin, you can just pick out the Duchess in the center of the reviewing stand on the far left of the image.  

Returning to info via from the Household Division site.

Soldiers of the Household Division are instantly recognisable through their distinctive uniforms and headdress and have a history spanning over three centuries.

Invariably described as ‘truly spectacular’ and ‘London at its finest’ the Household Division Beating Retreat cannot be seen anywhere else in the world and is a not to be missed event.

In its story, The Daily Mail reports the pageant includes “three hundred musicians, drummers and pipers from the Massed Bands of the Household Division performing traditional military music and marches. It has taken place on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall every year since 1966 and raises money for service charities.” Below, a photo of the London Scottish Pipes and Drums posted just before tonight’s performance

The Kensington Palace Instagram feed has several photos from tonight. (You can scroll through them using the arrow on either side of the photos.)


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The Duchess of Cambridge takes the Salute at the @HouseholdDivision’s Beating Retreat — a spectacular evening pageant of music and military precision drill, including horses, cannon and fireworks. Military Beating Retreat concerts have a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signalled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night. Today a Beating Retreat is an evening military concert with a marching display and usually marks the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset, performed each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping The Colour” as it is often called ?PA @armyinlondon @household_cavalry #BeatingRetreat #HorseGuards #horseguardsparade

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Now for our look at what Kate wore this evening, starting with a Catherine Walker piece we have seen before. 

The Duchess was in the cream coat first worn at the end of the Cambridge’s 2016 Canada tour. As noted in our 2016 post, “The piece has a modified princess silhouette, inserted waistband, off-center front closure, front flap pockets, and a hidden placket. The collar, pockets, and seams are all accentuated by trim in a slightly darker hue than the coat fabric.”

We first saw Kate in the coat in October 2016 when the Cambridge family was leaving Victoria, British Columbia at the end of their tour. The Duchess also wore it for 2017 Easter services at Windsor.  

Below right you can see the back of the garment.

The Duchess brought back a Mulberry bag, the label’s Amberley Clutch.  The bag is leather, measures about 9″ x 5″ x 1″ and comes with a detachable chain. Unfortunately, it is no longer available.

Kate also had on her oft-worn Gianvito Rossi 105 Pumps in the ‘praline’ suede color.

We saw the return of the Cassandra Goad Cavolfiore earrings (£4490, about $5700 at today’s exchange rates). Done in 18K yellow gold, each earring has seven pearls set with a diamond.

The Duchess wore the Irish Guards shamrock brooch by Cartier worn on St. Patrick’s Day and other isolated occasions, like the 2016 Northern Ireland garden party

Today’s Beating Retreat falls on the 75th anniversary of D-Day when Allied troops launched their attack on the beaches of Normandy, France. One of the pieces played was the theme from the classic film about the Normandy invasion, “The Longest Day.”

The day began at 6:56 am, the exact time 75 years ago that British troops stepped on to the beaches of Normandy and Piper Bill Millin lead them ashore under heavy fire playing “Highland Laddie,” “The Road to the Isles,” and “All The Blue Bonnets Are Over The Border” as his comrades fell around him. At 6:56 am this morning,  Trevor Macey-Lillie, the Piper Major from the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, played “Highland Laddie” on Sword Beach. 

Below, remembrance cards displayed on paper poppies on Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy.

Following is a recap of some of the events marking the occasion today and yesterday. It is a lengthy section and some may want to scroll right past it if uninterested in the topic but planning to leave a comment. Today, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prime Minister Theresa May attended the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy.

Following the service, there was a parade of veterans and active duty personnel through the streets of Bayeux.  

Three generations.

That led them to the (CWGC) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Bayeux where they took part in a commemorative service.

A veteran at Bayeux. 

Another Normandy veteran at the Bayeux ceremony.

Back in England, Prince William took part in ceremonies at the National Memorial Arboretum, Britain’s national site of remembrance for fallen servicemen and women.

He quoted his great grandfather, King George VI, who spoke to the nation as the Normandy invasion was happening:

“Four years ago, our nation and empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy, with our backs to the wall. Now once more a supreme test has to be faced.”

“This time the challenge is not to fight to survive but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause.” 

“At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young, or too old to play a part in a nationwide, perchance a worldwide vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth.”

In this 37-second video, you’ll hear the voice of D-Day veteran Jim Radford singing what has become an enormously popular song, The Shores of Normandy. As of this morning, the song is ahead of the Ed Sheeran/Justin Bieber duet I Don’t Care, and it also bests Katy Perry’s latest on the Amazon UK new singles chart.

Prince Harry attended the annual Founder’s Day event with the Chelsea Pensioners. The following quotes are from his remarks. 

 “To all who are on parade today, I can only say that you are a constant reminder of the great debt we owe those who have served this nation.”
“You embody the fitting home that awaits them in the peace and tranquillity of the Royal Hospital, should they want it.” 

There were many events in Normandy today. Some attended the “D-Day Revisited Garden” opening in Arromanches, France, like British veteran Vera Hague.

Another scene from Arromanches.

The next photo has a remarkable story behind it. Below left you see French WWII veteran Leon Gautier. He is speaking with Blanche Boulet, 100. During the war, she did first aid, and she saved Gautier when he was injured in battle. 

Yesterday HM, President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders took part in the National Commemorative Event at Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Portsmouth was the primary departure point for the Allied troops as they crossed the English Channel to Normandy. Below, British troops embarking at Southsea on June 5, 1944.

These are US Army troops on June 6, 1944, on their way to board vessels heading to Normandy from Portsmouth.

HM is the only remaining living head of state in the world who served in WWII.

The Queen in uniform in 1945.

More from Stars and Stripes:

By February 1945, the war was still raging, and Elizabeth had turned 18. At her own insistence, according to the Royal Collection Trust, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service …and trained as a truck mechanic and driver.

An audience of veterans, active military, heads of state watched a program that told the story of D-Day and the Allied invasion of Normandy. Below, Veteran John Jenkins MBE as he arrives onstage to deliver a speech.

More from The Sun’s coverage:

Mr. Jenkins, from Portsmouth, told the crowd: “I was terrified. I think everyone was – you don’t show it, but it’s there.

“I look back on it as a big part of my life, it changed me in a way – but I was just a small part in a very big machine.

“You never forget your comrades because we were all in there together.”

D-Day veterans on stage.

Another view. 

Dignitaries at the event watching a flypast.

Prime Minister Theresa May read portions of a letter written by Captain Norman Skinner of the Royal Army Service Corps to his wife, Gladys, on June 3, 1944. The letter was in his pocket when he landed on Sword Beach on June 6.

My darling this is a very difficult letter for me to write.

My thoughts at this moment, in this lovely Saturday afternoon, are with you all now.

I can imagine you in the garden having tea with Janey and Anne, getting ready to put them to bed.

Although I would give anything to be back with you, I have not yet had any wish at all to back down from the job we have to do.

Captain Skinner was killed on June 7, 1944.

The stage presentation was followed by a reception. 

Below, Chief of the Air Staff Sir Stephen Hillier chats to veteran Bessie Thomas, 95 at the Portsmouth event.

Also yesterday, Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette joined veterans for the unveiling of the Canadien Monument at the Place du Donjon.

In Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France members of the Charles Shay Delegation, consisting of Native American Veterans from across the United States, as well as Native Americans from Mr. Shay’s Tribe, paid homage yesterday to Native American Soldiers that were killed during the D-Day invasion.

D-Day veteran Charles Shay, seated, at the ceremony. The Penobscot tribal elder is a recipient of both a Bronze Star and Silver Star, as well as the Legion d’Honneur.

Yesterday there was a commemorative parachute drop over the fields of France. Here you see 95-year-old veteran Harry Read after he took part in that parachute descent. In 1944 he was a 20-year-old wireless operator.

A US WWII veteran, Tom Rice, age 97, also took part in a parachute drop over Carentan, Normandy. From the AP:

This time, 75 years almost to the hour after he parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, Tom Rice again found himself floating down through Normandy’s skies, now a grizzled 97-year-old thrilled as a little kid.

“Woo-hoo!” the ex-paratrooper yelped after hitting the ground, carrying the memories of comrades lost in battle and on a new mission — of remembrance this time — for the ever-shrinking numbers who sacrificed so much in World War II.

There were many other events yesterday marking the occasion. Below, veterans Jack Gutman (L) and James Frolking react during a ceremony at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. 

Canadian veterans of the Battle of Normandy and family members during a ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy.

Canadian Richard Brown (c) also attended the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian event; here you see him being applauded as he leaves the event with his son Andy after it concluded. 

Lawrence MacAulay, a Canadian Member of Parliament and Minister of Veterans Affairs shared photos from that event. 

US veteran Leila Morrisson as she arrived for a ceremony yesterday Carentan, Normandy.

US WWII veteran Loren Kissick from Puyallup, Washington, stands on Omaha Beach. 

Canadian forces stormed Juno Beach on D-Day. Below, veterans at the Juno Beach Centre.

The Royal British Legion hosted more than 250 D-Day veterans on its D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance. From the Legion: “After leaving Dover it first visited Dunkirk before arriving in Poole where veterans watched displays by the Royal Marines.” 

Stanley Elliss, age 97 on the beach in Dunkirk. 

The veterans received a warm welcome in Poole.

The Legion has shared a series of videos about the veterans and the trip.


Our final photo is another look at piper Trevor Macey-Lillie on the Beach this morning.



This link takes you to a site where you can see quite a bit of tonight’s Beating Retreat concert:

This series of still photos offers a good overview of the invasion.


For those who want to watch yesterday’s Portsmouth ceremony, the BBC has it up on YouTube.

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Cassandra Barton

Friday 14th of June 2019

This was a beautiful and moving post about D-Day and the remembrance we all still carry. I love following the fashion of the Duchess but also deeply appreciate the serious focus you place on the events they go to promote. As a great granddaughter of a soldier who stormed Omaha beach, this tribute was sobering and moving. Thank you.


Wednesday 12th of June 2019

I've always loved this coat on Kate, it's one of the few I find that are well tailored to her shape. She should rewear it more often.

And thank you for all the D-Day coverage, it was such a huge historic milestone and it is sad to see that soon many of the men who participated that day will no longer be with us.


Sunday 9th of June 2019

This dress could never be described as a coat, which was the description given by the palace - "primrose yellow wool silk tailored coat by Alexander McQueen" - so I do not believe this dress was intended for Harry's wedding as many have speculated. Additionally, the coat worn to the wedding was clearly not white when compared to Meghan and the flower girls, even outside in the bright sunlight. In the family portraits, her pale yellow dress (or cream if you like) looked lovely with the Queen and Ms. Ragland's green dresses and the green bouquets. It seemed an intentional choice to me, not a matter of "oops, my clothes don't fit! What can I pull out of the closet today?"


Sunday 9th of June 2019

Oh no, I meant to post this in the trooping the color comments! Sorry!


Sunday 9th of June 2019

Feminine classy, respectful but also soft she absolutely nailed this look.


Sunday 9th of June 2019

This entire look completely takes my breathe away. She looks STUNNING. I love every single thing about this outfit and how she accessorized it. She looks so elegant and royal. I am usually amused when she ventures out and tries something new (brown crop pants??), but when I see her like this, it reminds me that she is literal royalty. I love it. I love it. I love it.

I also really appreciate all the D-Day info in the post. Thanks mods!

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