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The Duchess Marks Baby Loss Awareness Week

Today the Duchess of Cambridge marked Baby Loss Awareness Week with a visit to the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College London.

Kate was at the facility to learn about the work being done by Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research.

More from Hello’s story by Emily Nash. 

Staff from Tommy’s and Sands – which is a charity that provides support to bereaved parents – talked about the importance of emotional support for the whole family, and the practical help they offer to anyone affected. The Duchess also met children who have been born thanks to specialist care at Tommy’s research clinics. 

In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth.

Kate heard about COVID-19 trials underway at the Centre with a goal of better understanding the risks of the virus to pregnant women and their babies.

Richard Palmer of The Express shared a video from today’s visit. 

 Professor Phillip Bennett, the Centre’s director, said “By finding the root causes of miscarriage, we can take steps to stop it from happening. For example, we know that around half of all early miscarriages are not due to genetic abnormalities, so there must be underlying causes that we can treat.”The Duchess was also introduced to families who have experienced the loss of a baby and have received support from the charity. Below, Kate speaking with Obiélé and Nii-Addy Laryea. 

Emily Nash reports the couple “…lost two babies in pregnancy before coming to a Tommy’s clinic in London, where the team performed a cervical stitch operation that kept their now two-year-old son Tetteh-Kwei safe in the womb until he was old enough to survive.” 

The organization’s Chief Executive, Jane Brewin, said in a statement that “Baby loss is often dismissed as ‘one of those things’ and something that ‘wasn’t meant to be’. This fatalistic attitude contributes to a failure to bring about change. Baby loss is one of the most heart-breaking things any family can experience – and one that’s endured all too frequently, but often quietly, because of this persistent stigma in society.”

Below you see the Duchess speaking with a bereavement specialist named Clare Wogan.

More about Ms. Wogan from Simon Perry’s People story

One woman, Clare Wogan, told her how the loss of her baby girl, Alice, who was stillborn, inspired her to become a midwife. Wogan recounted how she spent three days in the hospital in Manchester after Alice was born in September 2017.

“We spent those three days cramming in a lifetime’s worth of memories,” she said. “When she was born, she was absolutely perfect. Her birth was literally the best thing that ever happened to me. And also the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
“When we went home our lives had been turned upside down. We had been devastated,” she continued. “A week after Alice’s funeral I decided I wanted to become a midwife, because the care I received was so amazing. I wanted to do what they had done for me.”
Kate sympathized and said, “It’s so brave of you to be able to talk so openly. A lot of the research, a lot of the support for organizations, is being driven by parents who have been through this experience, and want to help others. It is so inspirational.”

Another photo from today’s engagement.

The week runs from October 9 through the 15th.  Tomorrow (Thursday) night at 7pm BST (2pm EDT) candles will be lit around the world as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, each candle signifying one of the lives lost. A special hashtag, #WavesofLight, is suggested for those wishing to post an image of their candle on social media. 

The Duchess was given a special candle today during her visit.

The Plum and Ashby Tommy’s Wave of Light Candle (£26) is a fundraiser for Tommys. It is available for pre-ordering with 100% of profits going to Tommy’s.

We now make a hard turn to our look at what Kate wore for today’s engagement.

Many immediately recognized the Emilia Wickstead dress from last November when the Duchess wore it to the launch of the National Emergencies Trust. 

The appropriately-named Kate dress is described as having “a slim-fitting bodice, enhanced with contouring darts above and below the waistband…and a fully lined A-line skirt.” The Duchess has worn this style in other colors, although the green version has a squared neckline as opposed to the round neckline of the lavender and blue.

It looks like Kate repeated her navy Prada pumps. 

The shoe is a classic point-toe style with a 3.5″ heel.  

The Duchess wore her Amaia Kids facemask in ‘blue pepper’. (The fabric is also available by the yard from Liberty London ($34 per yard).

Kate brought back her Alia Hoop Earrings (£62 available for pre-order) by Spells of Love, an artisan jewelry firm based in Wales. 

Today’s belt (seen below left) looks like the same UFO belt worn on other occasions, including the first day of school for George and Charlotte (shown below right).

Today’s belt is *not* the UFO belt worn most recently with the Massimo Dutti separates for a World Mental Health Day engagement, shown below right. The hardware on that belt is not curved like the belt worn today. (We may have an ID, more info here.)


The Royal Family Channel offers more than 3 minutes of coverage from today’s visit in this piece. 



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Tuesday 20th of October 2020

With this being such a heavy and sad topic talking about fashion seems so frivolous!But i will say that kate looks classy as usual the colour is so chic but maybe one needs to invest in a adult mask because this one is a tad tight looking.


Sunday 18th of October 2020

I feel so much for all the commenters here who have shared their stories of grief, and all of the many other families out there (1 in 4 pregnancies?! Wow) who have had to go through such unbelievable pain. I have nothing to offer but kind words, thank you for sharing your stories and I wish you all the best in overcoming difficult moments. I'm grateful that Kate and others are drawing attention to this issue that is so much more widespread than we realise.

Kate looks fantastic for such a somber occasion, I have always loved the silhouette and colour of that dress. While I preferred the original belt, the contrast on this one makes for a nice change in a repeat look. I also like that the belt and shoes don't match – the navy shoe is a better choice than the patent leather on the first wearing.

Regarding the mask, it does look a bit tight in some wearings, but I wonder if that is just based on the expression Kate is making. I bought an Amaia Kids adult-sized mask after Kate's first outing in one and it is honestly the most comfortable mask I own. It is quite snug but the cotton lining feels wonderful on the face. To be fair I've never been photographed wearing it from all angles, so I can't really tell how it fits my face as compared to Kate's! But I think it is fitting as it is supposed to. Because of the soft material I don't experience red marks from wearing it either (other than the "maskne" I get from all of my masks, but that is a separate issue).


Friday 16th of October 2020

I lost my first son when I was 21 weeks and 4 days pregnant due to an incompetent cervix. Our William was with us for 2 hours before he passed away. It will be 3 years in December and I think of him every moment of every day. During my second pregnancy I had the cervical cerclage as mentioned in the article and I made it to 35 weeks, but it wasn't easy. We now have a healthy 21 month old boy named Matthew. Even though I live in the US I am so glad Catherine is bringing attention to this topic. I still feel like when I talk about William people feel uncomfortable and change the topic. It needs to be talked about and parents need to be able to speak about their babies.


Saturday 17th of October 2020

Tiffany, I share your sadness for the loss of William. I also share your joy on the birth of Matthew. Life is not always easy, nor fair, but life goes on and so must we, sometimes in pain. I am very sorry that people are uncomfortable when you speak about William. It is because they don't know what to say; it is not that they don't care. Be assured that there is caring in the WKW community and we thank you for telling your story.


Friday 16th of October 2020

It's really great to see Kate highlighting such an important issue here, especially one that has only become slightly less taboo over the last few years with people (mostly women) sharing their experiences of losing a baby on social media. I honestly didn't realize just how common miscarriage/premature birth resulting in the death of the baby was that common until the last few years and I know a few people around me who have suffered the loss of a baby during pregnancy. It's so important for women to be able to talk about these experiences openly and not feel ashamed. It's such a difficult and sensitive topic and it goes fittingly with Kate's mental health causes she supports. It is so crucial to normalize talking about it, so many women suffer in silence unnecessarily.

As for the fashion, I don't have much to say about it honestly because to me it really isn't the focus here. Kate was smart to wear a repeat. The only thing I don't like is the belt, I much prefer the original belt she wore the first time around with the dress.


Thursday 15th of October 2020

This woman is just all class, all the time. The clothes, jewelry, bags and shoes are just part of the equation... Very proud to have her as our future Queen here in Canada.

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