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The Duchess Brings Back Smythe Jacket for Call with Frontline Workers

The Duke and Duchess joined frontline staff and counselors this week to talk about the severe impact the pandemic is having on workers’ mental health. 

During Wednesday’s call, the royals learned about mental health support that frontline workers are getting through Hospice UK’s Just ‘B’ counseling and bereavement support line.  They spoke with Just ‘B’ counselors Tony Collins (center, middle row) and Caroline Francis (right, middle row) and heard about the immense toll the pandemic is having on frontline staff.  Here is a clip from the call. 

The situation is dire as healthcare workers try to handle the crush of cases. On Tuesday, The NY Times reported, “As a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus continues to tear through Britain — with an estimated one in 30 people in London currently infected — hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed, even as authorities struggle to convince the public of the urgency of the moment.” Below, the London Eye last Thursday night, one of many landmarks lit up in blue as a sign of support for NHS workers. 

This Guardian story helps explain the scope of the problem.  

There are now 50% more coronavirus patients in UK hospitals than in April, with Prof Chris Whitty saying this week that the health service faces its worst month of the pandemic.

More than one in seven clinicians and nearly one in five nurses working in ICU reported thoughts of self-harm or suicide, according to the study, published in the journal Occupational Medicine.

More from Kensington Palace. 

During the call, NHS staff and emergency responders spoke about their personal experiences with mental health, and how services such as Just ‘B’ have allowed them to cope better and begin to come to terms with their grief. They also acknowledged the need to continue to encourage frontline workers to utilise mental health resources, with stigma preventing staff from seeking support for themselves during such a busy period for health and social care providers and the emergency services.

Hospice UK’s Just ‘B’ support line is available seven days a week from 8am – 8pm. 

The Royal Foundation’s support for the Just ‘B’ service was announced in July. More about the COVID-19 fund from The Royal Foundation

The Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund is the Foundation’s first crisis response fund, and reinforces The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s ongoing commitment to the frontline community and the nation’s mental health – two of the areas that will continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the months and years ahead. The grants will allow mental health charities to increase their capacity for helpline and chat services to meet rising demand.

Grant monies from the COVID-19 Response Fund have been supplemented by Our Frontline, a collaborative initiative that provides free, round-the-clock resources for all frontline staff and key workers.

UPDATE: With thanks to Elizabeth for the heads-up, a 6-minute video is available online

Now for a glance at what Kate Wore on Wednesday.

It looks like she brought back a Smythe blazer first noted at an October 2018 Coach Core engagement

The jacket is a wool/linen/nylon blend described as having a “…traditional riding blazer feel.”  The piece has a fitted silhouette with angled, oversized pocket flaps, a contrast collar, large leather buttons at the front, and a back vent.   

This will be the third time we have seen the Duchess wearing the jacket; Kate wore it again in November 2019

I did not see enough of the Duchess’s earrings to ID them.  UPDATE JAN 16: I have tried getting screengrabs offering a better look at the earrings but have not been successful enough to venture a guess about the pair. 

I will see you next week with another poll! 

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Sansa Stark

Monday 18th of January 2021

Since this blazer doesn't have the awkward square peekaboo on the bum, I am firmly a fan. And that November 2019 outing is still one of my favorite outfits of hers. The berry pants - swoon!

I like the pulled back hair! But I've never liked wearing my hair down with blazers generally. It feels too much like when men's hair gets too long and brushes their blazer or shirt collar, which I was taught meant they needed a haircut. I wouldn't be rude about that in public, of course, but I've always preferred to have my hair off my collar if I'm wearing one.


Sunday 17th of January 2021

In motion the ear rings look like a small gold disc a bit like the All the Falling Stars necklace.


Monday 18th of January 2021

Or even the Kikis she wore Christmas 2011


Sunday 17th of January 2021

She’s wearing a lot of makeup. I like the ‘made up’ face with her severely pulled back. Whatever her earrings are they are the right scale for this look. I am in the dislike court for that jacket. Jackets are supposed to button and have room to move in! But sitting down and close up images hide the shrunken style of this jacket.

shannon maxwell

Sunday 17th of January 2021

I like the blazer with her hair down tied back makes her look old!


Saturday 16th of January 2021

I really liked how the duchess paired the blazer with an up do. It is just so very classy.

Such a hard topic handled so well. Kudos to Kate and Will for championing the cause!

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