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The Duchess Mixes Old & New Pieces for West Midlands Visit

Today the Duke and Duchess traveled to the West Midlands to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.  

This is the 21st year for the annual week of activities designed to raise awareness of mental health issues and the opportunities to achieve good mental health. (In the US, Mental Health Awareness Week is in October.) This year’s theme is focused on nature. 

More specifically, “…the important role it can play to help improve mental wellbeing, as well as its power to prevent or aid recovery from poor mental health” per Kensington Palace. The Mental Health Foundation’s campaign has two goals: 

  1. Firstly, to inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact that this connection can have for their mental health.
  2. Secondly, to convince decision-makers at all levels that access to and quality of nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one.

The Cambridges started the day at The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton.

The Youth Zone is a purpose-built facility for young people aged 8–19. More from The Birmingham Mail:

William and Kate’s first stop was The Way Youth Zone, an organisation that provides sports, arts and recreation activities for youngsters every night of the week.

Those who come through its city centre doors are also offered advice and support on health and wellbeing, life skills and independent living, and can explore different foods and learn to budget in the training kitchen.

The couple took part in a mental health and wellbeing session.

Another view. 

Most of the activity was outside, including a little archery. 

Kensington Palace notes today’s engagements were “about understanding local organizations here in Wolverhampton.  Organizations that are motivating and inspiring young people to transform their lives.”

There was also a friendly ping pong game. 

More from Hello’s coverage

The notoriously competitive couple went head-to-head during a table tennis match. 

“Come on Catherine!” William said as he encouraged her to join their foursome, “Catherine is really good at table tennis.”

When she did, the couple were in their element. “This could go on for hours,” said William. “Talk amongst yourselves!”

Richard Palmer of The Express shared a quick video

Another view. 

There was also a gardening session.

Roya Nikkhah of The Sunday Times reports that “William and Kate joined in with group football, archery, table tennis and gardening activities, with William, 38, admitting a milestone birthday is on his mind: “We are still calling ourselves young but we are not. I don’t see myself as that young anymore. I’m nearly 40.” 

A video of the planting from The Telegraph’s Valentine Low. 

We return to the Hello article

Afterwards 14-year-old Keshia Riley, who had shown them round the centre, said: “I asked them about their dog, and what they do to be active. They like to walk their dog, and spend time with their kids. They like to bake as well, and make different foods with their family. 

“They asked questions about what we like to do. I spoke about how I like to dance. Catherine said how she loves to be in nature. She likes to go on walks, and is also interested in sport, as we saw outside with the table tennis. They are very competitive!”

The Duchess was given a gift for Prince George. 

Next on the agenda, a trip to Base 25

Base 25 is a charity offering support for young people who have difficulty accessing mainstream services.

Among the assistance offered, counseling and a daily drop-in center. 

The Duke and Duchess heard about the impact of the charity’s support from young people using the organization’s services. 

They also met staff that tailors outreach and support efforts to the community, including during the pandemic.

The final stop was at Huggle Pets in the Community, where the royals met children from Loxdale Primary School. 

Huggle uses Animal-Assisted Intervention therapy to assist children experiencing mental health challenges.  Here you see the Duchess with 10-year-old Anya Southall and a chameleon. UPDATE: I am advised this is Barbara the Bearded Dragon.

HugglePets in the Community works with over 25 different schools helping students with issues that include anxiety, low mood, resilience building, and suicide awareness.

The royals visited the center’s Sensory Activity Centre and Community Aquarium.

Another view. 

Anya and the Duchess, along with Gus, the Guinea Pig.

Another view of Kate, Gus, and Anya. 

A video. 

One final photo from the Huggle engagement.

Tomorrow the couple will Duke and Duchess will also participate in tomorrow’s annual Mental Health Minute, a one-minute simulcast across 500+ UK radio stations at 11 am local time. 

Now for our look at what Kate wore, beginning with a new coat by Catherine Walker

It is a classic cut in a fitted silhouette with princess seams, notched lapels, and four buttons at the cuff.  Thank you to Middleton Maven for the ID on this item.  

The Duchess sported a new blouse by Tory Burch in a polka dot print, the label’s Scalloped Edge Silk Shirt, featuring a scalloped collar and cuffs, front button closure, and shirttail hem.

A closer look at the details. 

We show the blouse at Farfetch, where it is sold out. Thank you to Katherine and Bojana on Twitter, as well as Anna on Instagram for the blouse ID. 

It looked like the Duchess brought back her High Waisted Trousers by Jigsaw, first noted when the Duke and Duchess visited Cyprus.

Kate brought back her Emmy ‘Josie’ pumps ($490).

As well as her Smythson Panama Purse ($785) in navy cross-grain leather. The bag is also called the Panama Wallet, understandable because of its size: 7.5″ x 5″ x 1″.

The Duchess wore her hair down. 

She had on a new pair of earrings by Freya Rose London, the Mini Hoops with Detachable Pearls (£95, roughly $135 at today’s exchange rates).

The hoops showcase five freshwater pearls on 18ct gold-plated silver earrings.  The site notes, “Freya Rose is a British designer renowned for creating world-renowned shoe collections that incorporate her expertise in fine jewellery with the finest levels of craftsmanship and intricate detailing….jewellery (is) responsibly sourced in Bali, where she has also worked with the same family for 10 years, now employing 10 jewellers.” Many thanks to Chrissy for identifying the earrings. 

Kate repeated her Maya Torque Aquamarine & Gold Bangle by Halcyon Days. 

Her mask looks like the Blue Phoebe style (£15) by Amaia Kids we saw in December.

One more image from the day.


Also today, a quick update on the Cambridges’ YouTube channel.  Since launching the channel last week, two more videos have been posted. Both are with people memorialized in Hold Still photographs.  In the first video, the Duchess speaks with Mila, who was isolated from her family during the pandemic because she was receiving treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

You may remember the Hold Still photo called Shielding Mila, taken by her mother, Lynda Sneddon, as her father came to visit her through a window every day. Mila’s older sister, Jodi, also visited her every day.

At the beginning of the call, you hear Mila very politely saying, “Good morning, Your Royal Highness,” and the Duchess responds, “Good morning.  My goodness me, you’re so polite, Mila!” More from The Daily Mail’s coverage

Mila asked the Duchess of Cambridge if she had a princess costume, prompting Kate to say: ‘I’m not wearing a princess costume right now I’m afraid Mila.’ 

After learning Mila’s favourite colour is pink, she added: ‘I’ll have to make sure I try and find a pink dress. Hopefully when, one day, hopefully, Mia, we’ll get to meet and then I’ll wear remember to wear my pink dress for you.’ 

Here is the full 6-minute call.

In a second video, the Duchess chats with Romy and her mother, Niaz Maleknia.  

Niaz submitted a photo titled ‘Cancelled’ to Hold Still, showing Romy last spring. 

Here is that conversation. 

The Duchess is wearing a familiar piece in the videos, but one not seen for some time.
It is the Whistles blouse worn in one of her official engagement photos.

The blouse shown above is the reissued version released by the retailer. It is 100% silk and described as having a loose fit and shaped stepped hem, along with the distinctive frill detail at the center-front, a “grandad collar,” a concealed button placket, and dropped shoulder seams.  The original blouse featured visible buttons and a point collar; Pippa Middleton has been photographed wearing the piece.  

It also looked like Kate wore the Jigsaw trousers shown above in today’s post, as well as her Jubilee earrings on loan from HM (seen below when worn to another engagement), and the Mappin and Webb Empress necklace.



The Royal Family Channel offers almost 4 minutes of coverage of the Way Youth Zone engagement.

They also have 3+ Minutes of the Base 25 visit. 

 And 3+ minutes from the Huggles Pets engagement. 

Coverage from Channel 5 totals almost 18 minutes. 



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Tuesday 25th of May 2021

The Duchess nailed it - this look is trendy and modern: Long coat; wide trousers.....Catherine is tall and slim, she cant wear it. .I am in love with it. It is something I wear myself. My only (Minor) quibble is the collar of her blouse: too girly . Much better, than her „living on the Prairie“ dresses.


Tuesday 25th of May 2021

I meant: She can wear it, sry for the typos


Friday 21st of May 2021

I like her outfit. I love a cute business look with a blazer. I love navy, it always a looks nice. I think the tailoring is impeccable. I think she looks great in trousers, long, lean and professional. The blouse keeps it from being too business looking. I do agree that the coat could’ve been shorter for this time of year, the length makes it seem more suited to winter. I must say add that I don’t know what the weather was like, but looking at others in the pictures it doesn’t seem cold. I do also think the length would be a hindrance to getting down to child level like she likes to do. My conclusion, I love the outfit, but perhaps for a different event and a colder time of year. Regardless of what she’s wearing, I’m happy to see her out supporting her causes!


Thursday 20th of May 2021

I think Catherine looks great. I don't understand the "swamped" comments. That coat is impeccably tailored, with classic English touches - the armhole high and tight, with narrow sleeves, cut close to the body with the gorgeous flare at the waist in the back. She has the height to carry it off. And it works perfectly with the long tapered trousers. She is wearing them at the length the designer intends them to be worn at. I for one welcome Kate not second guessing her designers. I like the blouse too, the white collar offsets the blues perfectly and the polka dots also add a playful, youthful note. It too is tailored and fits close without being tight. I think monochromatic outfits are very elegant and smart. A way to easily look polished and pulled together without being stuffy and formal.

Forgive me, but sometimes I feel the comments fall into the no nit too small to be picked category.


Thursday 20th of May 2021

There's so much about the outfit i don't like!Love her hair make up,and face mask though.


Monday 17th of May 2021

The Duchess looks beautiful, as usual and is beautiful on the inside, too, as those video snippets show (and Prince William, as well). I do not share the criticism that her coat and pants were too long, blouse too fussy, etc. She always looks Excellent, and I love the easy, breezy style of this outfit that has a freedom to it, while still being appropriate and nicely tailored, of course. I also love the romanticism of Kate's clothes. Somehow she always looks modern and fresh, but with a feminine loveliness.


Wednesday 19th of May 2021

I agree. I’m always in awe of women who can look so flawless in those type of trousers. Flowing and carefree come to mind. I on the other hand would look like a sack in those trousers. Her tailoring is impeccable.

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