The Duchess sported a mix of new and old designs for today’s visit to The Mumbles and Port Talbot in South Wales.
Richard Palmer of The Express tweeted a video of the couple arriving.
The Duchess of Cambridge is wearing a Hobbs coat and Zara dress today. pic.twitter.com/PVnxkpGQvy
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) February 4, 2020
It was a brisk, sunny day.
And there was plenty of wind.
The first stop was at the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) Mumbles lifeboat station.
From a Palace news release: “Lifeboat operations in The Mumbles have been looked after by the RNLI since 1863 and the service frequently helps the greatest number of people for a single station in Wales”.
The Duke and Duchess met rescue crews and volunteers at the station and presented a 20-year service award.
Emily Nash of Hello! tweeted a quick video of James Bolter being applauded for his many years of service.
— Emily Nash (@emynash) February 4, 2020
More from the ITV Wales coverage of today’s engagements:
Prince William and Kate spoke to crew members about day-to-day life as part of a team that provides 24-hour rescue services at sea.
The duke and duchess also spoke with Paul O’Dwyer who was rescued by the crew last summer after his yacht broke down.
He [William] was keen to hear about the range of incidents the crew are called out to and whether they had other jobs.
“Are you all full-time?” he asked. “It’s a great thing to do. It’s rewarding, it’s challenging, it ticks lots of boxes.
Laughing with one of the crew over how it impacts family life, he held an imaginary phone to his ear, pretending to take a call saying, “I’ve got to go” I bet your other half isn’t pleased.”
The couple greeted well-wishers as they left the lifeboat station.
There was quite a crowd gathered at Mumbles Pier eager to meet the royals.
Kate and William did a walkabout.
Richard Palmer shared a video.
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) February 4, 2020
Despite the chill, people waited to see the couple.
I love Kate’s face here.
The couple then visited Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor.
It is a family-run business now in its fifth generation, started in 1898 by Joe Cascarini when he emigrated from Italy. I love the look on William’s face in this picture.
More from Robert Jobson’s Evening Standard piece:
William, who went for a vanilla cone with chocolate sprinkles, met owners Dominic and Adrian Hughes.
“I am a chocolate man,” he said, as he walked in. “I bet it’s packed in here in the summer.”
William went on: “I am a chocolate man, you see, but I’ll try both.” He was then given a small cup of chocolate.
Asked if his children liked ice cream, William said: “They do, some more than others.”
Kate and some of the children at the eatery.
ITV tweeted a video of the Duke and Duchess enjoying some of the tasty treats offered at the parlor and speaking with parents about Kate’s Early Years projects.
— ITV Wales News (@ITVWales) February 4, 2020
More from Simon Perry’s People story:
And they also discussed Princess Kate’s survey on children’s early years, called “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives.” The survey was launched this month as Kate undertook a whirlwind 24-hour tour that also took in the Welsh capital Cardiff. Last week, it emerged that more than 100,000 had taken part in the month-long project.
Kate with one of the little ones.
What a little cutie he is.
From the Wales Online live coverage:
Caroline Morgan, headteacher at Oystermouth School, said: “They were asking us a lot of questions about Mumbles, and the school and local community. Kate was asking us about the Big Survey which our parents have done.
“They were lovely and very natural. Five pupils were here and the rest were down at the lifeboat station so the whole school has been involved. It’s been fantastic.”
More from Wales Online’s live blog:
“Kate was very surprised that we have about 110 staff in total. They wanted to know which was the busiest shop and which one was the first shop.
“All of the staff really come through the ranks from when they were 14 or 15 and now we have staff at the age of 50 who are now directors.
“They wanted to know what the secret was which we didn’t divulge. It’s a fabulous honour and great for Swansea. Kate had a vanilla ice cream and William had a vanilla in a cone with chocolate sprinkles and then had a chocolate one. He loves chocolate.”
As they were leaving the ice cream parlor Kate had a surprise, seeing two of her former teachers from St Andrew’s Pangbourne, Denise Evans-Alford and Kevin Alford. More from The Mirror’s coverage.
Mr Alford taught her French and German, while his wife was her netball coach. Denise said, “She hasn’t changed at all you can tell Pippa and James are wonderful too. “I’ve been waiting 20 years for this.”
Below, the Duchess with her former teachers.
The Alfords traveled some distance and waited outside the ice cream parlor, giving a note to one of the couple’s security staff who then alerted Kate that the couple was outside. The Mirror story notes that Kate gave them a hug and told them: “I want to instill in my children what I learned at St Andrew’s.”
Kate and William then moved to the Tata Steel facility in nearby Port Talbot.
The plant has been operating on the site for over one hundred years.
More from The Gazette’s coverage:
The area’s biggest employer and one of the most important across Wales – Tata Steel – welcomed the Cambridges to its Port Talbot plant to learn about its role in UK manufacturing – from food cans to warships and cars.
In the control room, known as the pulpit, the couple chatted to staff about the process and were told the steel they saw was being reduced to five millimetres in thickness would be used be used in car manufacturing.
The royals were given three Welsh Dragons as a gift.
The final engagement of the day was at Bulldogs Boxing and Development Centre.
More from The Gazette:
The final stop for the duke and duchess was Port Talbot’s Bulldogs Boxing & Community Activities centre, where they spoke to children being helped through tough upbringings and mental health issues by boxing and fitness.
Kate took part in a teamwork exercise with some of the children, where the group stood in a line holding sections of a pipe and steered a small orange ball from one end to the other.
The duchess was forced to poke the ball from her section into one held by a young girl next to her after getting into difficulty and joked: “Slight cheating.”
Kensington Palace noted that the visit to Bulldogs was timed to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week.
And from Wales Online:
Simon Warren, a fitness mentor, said: “They were asking what we do here and ask how the kids came here and how they are part of the project. They were asking the kids if they like it and how long they’ve been doing it.”
Below, the Duchess and six-year-old Brooke.
More about Brooke from The Daily Mail’s story:
Kate and Brooke first met at a team-building game called Gutterball where participants have to coordinate and work together to get a ball to move along a line of gutters and into a box.
But when that was over and Kate, and husband Prince William, moved on to the next part of their visit, Brooke dragged her willing charge off elsewhere. ‘She decided she wanted to be Their Royal Highnesses’ guide.
‘She took the duchess to see where she does coloring and pointed out the outside space we have. She did a great job at it,’ Samantha Fox, project manager at Bulldogs Boxing and Community Activities in Port Talbot, explains.
Below, a photo shared by Bulldogs Boxing on their Facebook page.
And from Wales Online:
Chief executive at the Bulldogs Boxing Club, Mal Emerson, said: “William and Kate were blown away to see it all and to see the children’s commitment. It is really inspiring to see the children put their hearts and souls into it.
“We are all about giving people a chance in life and this becomes people’s safe haven. We are so proud to have William and Kate here and to think we started with nothing in 2008 and to have this happening now, we can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable. You can see the pride on everyone’s faces. The royal couple really got involved with everything.”
A Kate funny face.
The Duke and Duchess were each given a pair of boxing gloves.
They were also sent home with three sets of boxing gloves for George, Charlotte, and Louis.
People’s Simon Perry tweeted a video of the couple as they prepared to leave.
— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) February 4, 2020
Returning briefly to Children’s Mental Health Week, this year’s theme is “Find Your Brave”. More from the CMHW site: “Bravery isn’t about coping alone or holding things in. It’s about finding positive ways to deal with things that might be difficult, overcoming physical and mental challenges and looking after yourself.
Children’s Mental Health Week is organized and managed by one of Kate’s patronages, Place2Be. The Duchess released a letter in support of the week of activities. We now move to our look at what Kate wore for today’s engagements in Wales.
She was wearing the Bianca Coat (originally $625, now on sale for $420) by Hobbs, a military-inspired style in a blend of 78% wool/22% polyamide. The maxi-length design is a structured style in a double-breasted silhouette with distinctive burnished buttons, oversized patch pockets, and shoulder epaulets.
A closer look at some of the details, including the cuff (center), one of the garment’s interesting design elements.
Kate’s version of the coat is also available in limited sizes on the Debenhams UK site (£259, roughly $335 at today’s exchange rates). The design comes in a shorter style, although there are a few design elements not seen on the maxi version, including on-seam vertical front pockets. It is in stock at Hobbs (originally $625, now discounted to $375) also at Debenham’s (£199, about $260).
The Duchess was in a Zara dress we’ve not seen previously.
It is a viscose/nylon blend with a round neck, modified balloon sleeves with an extended cuff. Our thanks to Heaven for the dress ID.
Kate wore a new scarf from Beulah London. It is the retailer’s Shibani Red & Ecru scarf ($120 / £95) in Beulah’s hearts print. The piece is available for pre-ordering with delivery expected at the end of March. (We have a repliKate suggestion here.)
Kate’s hair was partially up.
She repeated her Oak Leaf Small Hoop Earrings ($6450) by Asprey London.
Kate also wore her Daniella Draper personalized necklace first seen in late January, the jeweler’s Trio Diamond Midnight Moon Necklace (£1270, roughly $1650 at today’s exchange rates). On the far left you see the piece as worn January 22nd, showing the initials G, C, and L for the three Cambridge children; as worn today (that looks like the back of the piece we’re seeing); and the product images from the Daniella Draper website.
We saw the return of the Half ‘n Half Boots by Stuart Weitzman that were made for Russell and Bromley.
The style features a suede front with a stretch panel at the back, block heel, and rounded toe. Kate has had the boots for years and this specific style is no longer offered at Russell and Bromley.
The current iteration of the Half ‘n Half is carried at several retailers, including at Bloomingdale’s ($675) and also at Nordstrom ($675). Here you can see the differences between the older version and the contemporary style: the heel is lower and on the Nordstrom pair the back shaft appears fuller, although I’m not sure if that’s merely a function of the way the boot was photographed or not.
I’ve not yet had time to look at Kate’s belt or gloves.
UPDATE FEB 5: In a comment yesterday, Sarah asked if I could do a side-by-side with the Hobbs ‘Gianna’ worn in January 2018 for a Place2Be engagement. Sarah’s thought was that the two coats are very similar; that was a great request because there were a couple of mentions on social media yesterday wondering the same thing. When looking at the garments side-by-side the distinctions between the two become significant. The biggest difference to me is the length, followed by the different silhouettes: the flared skirt on the Gianna vs. the relatively straight cut of the Bianca.
There are other design elements differentiating the coats, like the much wider lapels on the Gianna, but the length is probably what I find the most striking. I’m glad Sarah asked for the comparison; it was a good exercise to put some photos of the two garments side-by-side.
The Telegraph offers an overview of the day running about 1:15.
The Royal Family Channel has several videos from today’s visit. The first is of the RNLI engagement and walkabout.
This is the Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour visit.
At Tata Steel.
And at Bulldog Boxing.
This is roughly 3:25 covering most of the day’s events via Canada’s Global News.
The UK’s 5 News has about 8 minutes of coverage of the RNLI engagement.
- Learn more about Children’s Mental Health Week at the event website here; visit Place2Be’s site here; the Place2Be Facebook page is here; the organization’s Instagram page is here
- Wales Online has great coverage here; A Daily Mail piece is here; an ITV Wales story is here; The Telegraph’s story is here; The Mirror’s article about Kate meeting her former teachers is here; The Evening Standard piece is here; The Gazette’s full story is here; The Sun’s article is here;
- Simon Perry’s People story is here; Hello’s story and gallery are here; Town and Country’s gallery is here; the Fug Girls post is here