We are back with a quick post about a call the Duke and Duchess had with local business owners and first responders from Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
The couple made the call last Friday, wanting to hear about the impact of the ghastly wildfires which the island dealt with in January. Below, a scene from the fires.
More from a January BBC story:
Kangaroo Island in South Australia has been likened to a Noah’s Ark for its unique ecology. But after fierce bushfires tore through the island this week, there are fears it may never fully recover.
Kangaroo Island is one of Australia’s most important wildlife sanctuaries, renowned for its biodiversity. Now it’s feared that half of the island (more than 215,000 hectares) has been scorched.
Hopefully, these two maps provide a better sense of the location.
The Duke and Duchess spoke with (top row) Peter Davies, Dana Mitchell, Captain Mike Swayne; on the bottom row, Stephanie Wurst, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Brigadier Damian Cantwell.
Captain Swayne spent five weeks fighting the fires as a volunteer for the South Australian Country Fire Service. On the call, he spoke about the problems first responders encountered, especially the weather conditions and the incredible speed at which the fires spread.
Stephanie Wurst, a farmer who lost her home and farm infrastructure as well as half her livestock, told the couple it was a “pretty traumatic time looking back at it now” and said “we’ve had so much support”.
The Duchess asked: “How are your kids with it as well? [You’re] trying to manage this with their worries and their fear as well, how are they doing now?”
Speaking to Brigadier Damian Cantwell of the Australian Defence Force, the Duke said:”I think both Catherine and I would say to you, and Mike and your team, what a fantastic job you did and it sounds like some of the most difficult circumstances.
In addition to the devastating fires, everyone had to deal with COVID-19 as they tried to recover and rebuild following the fires.
Here is a clip from the call.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard from local business owners and first responders from Kangaroo Island 🇦🇺 a small community off the south of Australia, who were impacted by devastating bushfires earlier this year. pic.twitter.com/lYAAwsfEzM
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 1, 2020
The fires burned more than 800 square miles and the loss of animal life was enormous. It’s estimated 50% of the koala population was lost in the fires. In the video, you saw Dana Mitchell with Grace the koala. Below, an injured koala being treated at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park on January 8th. Dana and her husband Steve are co-owners of the park.
The park reports that in months following the fires, they saw more than “600 koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, goannas, birds, and possums come through in need of critical care for burns, dehydration and starvation.” Below, Dana with an injured animal in mid-February.
Below you see Dana and Steve Mitchell and son Connor with Penny Lenehan Hawser, an Australia Zoo ranger, as a recovering koala is released back into native bushland.
The park itself was able to reopen May 16th.
Kensington Palace noted that the Duke and Duchess “praised the efforts of all those who had worked to tackle the spread of the fire and protect the island’s residents in the most challenging of circumstances.” Prince William said, “It’s fantastic to hear about the community spirit in Australia as always, which is what Catherine and I see when we come down there. Aussies are very good at looking out for each other and it’s fantastic to see that you’re all pulling together.”
Now for our look at what Kate wore for last week’s call.
It very much looks like she brought back a Dolce and Gabbana Fitted Dress likely selected for its color; gold is one of Australia’s national colors. The piece was first worn for a July 2018 Wimbledon match.
The dress is from the brand’s Resort 2017 collection and made in a rayon/acetate crepe. The piece features a fitted bodice, round neckline, concealed back zipper, and ruffled sleeves.
I wasn’t able to get a good enough view of the Duchess’s earrings to venture a guess as to which pair she was wearing.
Also today, I want to share a delightful follow-up about Kate’s All the Falling Stars necklace and earrings. You’ll remember the Personalized Gold Three-Layered Disc Necklace ($127.65) with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis’ initials the Duchess has worn recently.
And the Gold Disc Circle Earrings ($58) seen on Tuesday.
There is an interesting story about how Kate acquired the jewelry. Monique Jessen has more in her People story.
Thérèse Tully, a physiotherapist in Galway, Ireland, met Kate when she and Prince William visited the Salthill Knocknacarra Gaelic Athletic Association club (SKGAA) as part of their tour of Ireland in March. Needing somewhere to change in between engagements, the couple used her treatment room on site — and it was there that she left a note to the couple and a special gift for Kate.
I’m guessing the Duchess needed to change out of her dress into the more casual pieces worn at the sporty engagement (below).
Back to Monique’s article:
“It’s so amazing to see her wearing them, she seems to be getting so much wear out of the pieces – I’m just delighted,” Thérèse Tully tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“I wanted to give her something handcrafted from Galway, so I called Aisling, a local jeweler and commissioned her to make something bespoke, something fit for a princess. I didn’t give her much notice but she did an amazing job,” she adds.
Below, a photo of Aisling from the All the Falling Stars site.
After the couple left the room, Tully couldn’t wait to go inside and see if her gift had been accepted.
“I came back into the room and the boxes were gone and I was so excited! I phoned Aisling straight away and we just screamed down the phone, we were so happy,” she shares.
What a fun backstory about the jewelry! You can read the entire piece here.
A quick Retail Roundup note: LK Bennett has launched its mid-season sale and everything in the sale is at least 50% off. Another Kate favorite, Reiss, kicked off its sale this week as well, with the designs up to 60% off.
Here is the full ten-minute+ video from last week.