The Duchess wore a new dress by Ridley London for a previously unannounced engagement today.
The engagement dovetailed perfectly with Kensington Palace’s announcement that the Duchess is the new royal patron of the Royal Photographic Society.
This is another patronage passed on to the Duchess by HM. The Queen was the organization’s patron for 67 years.
The Royal Photographic Society is one of the oldest photographic societies in the world, founded in 1853 with the objective of promoting the art and science of photography. Its very first royal patrons were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The society honored Kate with an honorary lifetime membership in January 2017. The Duchess has been widely applauded for the photographs she has taken of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
The society’s chief operating officer, Mike Taylor, said: “It is a huge honour to have the duchess as our patron, especially given her personal interest in photography.” Below, Prince George on his first day of nursery school in photos taken by his mother.
Returning to the day’s activities, Action for Children helps disadvantaged children across the UK.
More than 7,000 staff members and volunteers provide 522 services, “…helping 300,000+ children, teenagers, parents and carers every year…from before birth until they are into their twenties.” Below, the Duchess looking at a timeline showing Action for Children milestones.
Kate became Action for Children’s royal patron early in 2017; previously The Queen was the charity’s patron. The Duchess’s first engagement with Action for Children dates back to February 2015 when she visited Cape Hill Children’s Centre.
Today’s workshops were held at the Warren Park Children’s Centre, a residential care service for young people with disabilities that offers both short breaks and long term care.
The workshops were led by honorary RPS fellows Jillian Edelstein and Harry Borden. Below you see Ms. Edelstein with the Duchess.
The interactive sessions were designed to show how learning photography can help young people develop confidence.
Various elements of photography were covered, such as the use of light and color. Below, Kate with Ffion Turner.
Another discipline the groups worked on was taking portraits.
The Duchess with one of the participants.
Below, Kate with 9-year-old Josh Evans from Liverpool.
More from The Daily Mirror’s coverage:
Sitting on a bench in the garden with the schoolboy, Kate said: “Oh wow, you’ve got a real talent there. That’s really good. Do you like taking artsy pictures like that? I think you are very good, you should definitely keep it up.”
Russell Myers of The Mirror tweeted a video of the Duchess and Josh.
Kate spends time with Josh Evans, 9, from Liverpool chatting to him about his new found passion for photography as she becomes Patron of The Royal Photographic Society – passed to her the Queen. Read the full story here ➡️ https://t.co/oL9YU5o2mO pic.twitter.com/V8Es4mkUYE
— Russell Myers (@rjmyers) June 25, 2019
The Mirror reports that Josh’s mother said: “…her son, who has ADHD and suffered from behavioural problems, has been transformed after being supported for a year by a junior mentor provided by Action for Children.”
In addition to learning new skills, the workshops also demonstrated how photography offers a universal language for young people to express themselves and explore their thoughts and feelings. Below, a hug for Faith Olukoya from Kate.
Kensington Palace noted that “As part of her longstanding work on early years The Duchess is on a mission to support organizations like Action for Children that aim to give every child the best possible start in life.”
Here you’ll see the Duchess and children as they pose for a picture memorializing today’s visit.
Posing for a picture. pic.twitter.com/y5uTCJig9V
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) June 25, 2019
And the end result.
This image of the Duchess with Chloe Cooper (l) and Josh Evans (c) was taken when everyone was posed for the group shot.
The Duchess as she was leaving today’s engagement.
Now for our look at what Kate wore today, starting with her Ridley London dress.
Below you see Kate’s dress design, the Virginia Midi Dress (£449, about $570 at today’s exchange rates) in silk chiffon. It is shown in a different colorway, the apricot Josephine pattern. (Kate’s design is not available online.)
The dress features a v-neck, flutter sleeves, a fitted bodice with an A-line skirt that also features a flounced hem. A closer look at the bodice shows the darts used for shaping and the invisible zipper on the back.
It is also available in a sage green colorway.
Camilla Ridley started the brand in 2016. She has worked in fashion for more than thirty years, and her original training was in textiles; that background is evident in the company’s fabrics. Below, three of Ridley London’s current designs: on the left, the Adlington Maxi; in the center, the Milly Shirt Dress; on the right, the Araminta Maxi Dress.
It was a treat to learn Kate was wearing this brand, as it is one I have thought for some time would be ideal for her. Thoughts on today’s look from Bethan Holt in her Daily Telegraph column.
A midi dress like Kate’s is a failsafe option for dressing smartly in the heat, better still if it’s in a breathable fabric like cotton. But warm weather dressing has always proved seemingly effortless for the Duchess, who typically strikes the right balance between looking appropriate for the occasion and comfortable in the heat.
It is Ms. Holt who initially identified the dress after many of us had searched unsuccessfully for the piece for more than an hour. Our thanks also go to the UFO No More crew who confirmed things with the company.
More reaction comes from Jessica of The Fug Girls:
This dress is really pretty. It’s VERY I’m Just Strolling Around My English Garden At This Party I Didn’t Have To Plan, which is my favorite type of party.
UPDATE: With thanks to a lovely commenter, it turns out this is a Liberty of London print, something several of us suspected early on in the search for the garment. Our commenter directed us to Scottish retailer House of Bruar, where we found what looks like the identical print in cotton, used for House of Bruar’s Ladies Liberty Open Collar Shirt (£49.95, about $64 at today’s exchange rates).
The pattern is called ‘Peach Flourish’ from what I see on the House of Bruar site. Here is another picture of the top as well as close-ups of the fabric used in the top and in Kate’s dress.
As best I can tell, the pattern is the same but the colors may be different.
The Duchess brought back her Castañer ‘Carina’ espadrilles. The shoe has a jute toe and sole, a suede upper, and suede ankle ties. The heel cup is made of cotton; the height is 9cm, about 3.5″.
One more photo from today’s engagement.
Also today, a quick update on the HRH Countess of Wessex blog for those who have been asking about a site specializing in coverage of Sophie. My friend Anna, who created the site, has decided to stop writing the blog. I spoke with her last night and she says the decision is final. Her post with the announcement about her decision is here.
This Royal Family Channel piece about Kate’s new patronage runs about 1:30.
This video from the Royal Family Channel is focused on today’s engagement; it runs roughly 3:35.
- Learn more about Action for Children at the charity’s website here; visit its Facebook page here; follow the Twitter feed here
- The Royal Photographic Society website is here; the organization’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed may be seen here and Instagram page here
- The Daily Mirror story is here; The Daily Mail’s coverage is here; a Metro UK piece is here; The Telegraph’s story about Kate’s new patronage is here
- A People story is here; a People slideshow is here; a PopSugar gallery is here; the Evening Standard’s gallery is here; Bethan Holt’s full Telegraph piece is here; the Fug Girls post is here