A heads-up for anyone dealing with arachnophobia or ophidiophobia, there are references to both in the post.
The Duke and Duchess started their engagements at the Ulster University Magee Campus.
More from Simon Perry in his story for People.
The couple arrived in Northern Ireland Wednesday morning for their first joint post-pandemic trip, visiting Derry-Londonderry in a previously unannounced visit. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are meeting with young people and local groups making positive change in the community.
Below, at the students’ union.
The Evening Standard reports, “They also tucked into a range of local food, including wheaten bread, a brown soda bread made with wheat flour, and ‘Tayto crisps’ potato chips.”
It looked like the Duchess was thoroughly enjoying herself.
More from The Evening Standard’s article:
Next, fortifying shots of whiskey and half-pints of Guinness were on offer for the couple at the students’ union, before they were plunged into the culture shock event which is designed to introduce new students to Northern Ireland.
The Evening Standard has more on the ‘culture shock’ exercise, an initiative to welcome the University’s international students. “William and Kate were quizzed on how to pronounce Irish names and learned some of the city’s colloquial phrases which have become world-famous thanks to the hit TV show Derry Girls.”
The royals were treated to music played by students using traditional instruments. Richard Palmer of The Express shared a video.
And a bit of Northern Irish music. pic.twitter.com/9ziPgVaKym
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) September 29, 2021
Danielle Stacey reports in her Hello story that “As they listened to the music, one student shouted out “Dance,” with William gesturing to Kate: “You should! She loves dancing,” but Kate laughed: “No, no, no!””
The royals toured a specially designed ambulance simulator.
More from The Telegraph’s article.
The Duchess asked about extracurricular care, saying: “Your well-being, and how you are, is that being introduced now? There must be a lot of stress to cope with.”
The Duke said: “It’s one thing to talk about mental health, it’s another thing to follow through. It’s incumbent on those above you to follow through with that.”
And spoke with nursing students.
They initially spoke with some of the students back in February.
They met the University’s first group of students in its new School of Medicine.
That school was created this year in response to the nationwide shortage in the medical workforce. In a news release, Kensington Palace notes, “The new School will develop a new generation of doctors who will work in Northern Ireland and beyond, once their studies are complete.”
One of the more interesting parts of the engagement came when the couple stopped by “KidzFarm,” a regular visitor to the campus, used to help students deal with mental health and anxiety issues.
Prince William made a new friend. More from The Daily Mail’s coverage.
The father-of-three quipped that his eldest son, Prince George, eight, was going to be particularly upset at the news that his dad had held the reptile.
The Duchess also made a new friend. We return to The Telegraph’s story:
Looking at the chickens in cages, the Duchess told a pet handler: “We’ve had lots of animals during lockdown. During lockdown, animals are often like therapy.”
Spotting a tarantula in a cage, she asked: “Ooh, please can I hold the tarantula? What’s her name?”
The spider’s name: Charlotte.
That reminded me of Princess Charlotte’s question for David Attenborough in October of last year: “I like spiders. Do you like spiders?”
The duo then visited the City of Derry Rugby Club.
They watched young people take part in activities offered through the Sport Uniting Communities program.
Those activities included mini rugby and Gaelic games.
More from the BBC’s story.
Anabelle Hunter told BBC News NI that the duke and duchess spoke to them about their love of sport and the team told them how GAA has helped bring people together.
Darcy Cooper said Prince William and Catherine talked about the initiative with them and how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected their training.
“We were initially supposed to play in a tournament in London, but because of Covid it stopped that from happening and Kate was saying how she hopes that we can go over there in the future,” Ms Cooper said.
Another activity was kicking a ball at an oversized dartboard.
The Duchess decided to give it a go herself.
A different angle.
I’m not sure how it went, but I believe this is a shot of Kate’s reaction to her kick.
The Duchess also took aim with another ball.
After the outdoor activities, the royals headed inside.
They met with players, coaches, and volunteers involved in ‘Sport Uniting Communities,‘ the program mentioned above.
That initiative promotes peace and reconciliation and includes the Irish Football Association, Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association & Ulster Rugby. More from Hello’s coverage:
William gave an impromptu speech at City of Derry Rugby Club, praising the Sport Uniting Communities initiative and saying he was “just really impressed (with) what you’ve achieved, seeing all the smiley faces outside running around enjoying their sports and having a really good time is just fantastic”.
“Just well done with all the efforts, all the coaching, all the hard work that’s been put in.
The Prince added, “The back of a pandemic is not the easiest time to be doing all this but hopefully it’s refocused minds to what’s important in life, so what you’re doing here is truly inspirational, so keep up the good work.”
The Duchess was in pieces by Emilia Wickstead, styles from her autumn/winter collection. The Dida Wool Flannel Jacket (£1200) is 100% wool, described as being made of a midweight flannel. The double-breasted silhouette is a classic cut, with flap pockets, peak lapels, and self-covered buttons on the front and at the wrist.
The trousers are a version of the Gus style, a slim cut customized for the Duchess, removing the wide cuff at the hem.
Thoughts on the look from The Telegraph’s senior fashion writer, Emily Cronin.
The most striking feature of the outfit, of course, is its colour. Purple has many associations. It can bring to mind women’s suffrage, political unity (red plus blue), and of course royalty – Cadbury wrappers, too. Today it proved a high-impact choice that ensured Kate stood out in a field of navy blue (Prince William’s choice) and camel.
Her suit helped Kate appear polished and put together, without looking too serious. The effect could have veered into Austin Powers territory had she worn it with one of her favourite pussy-bow blouses. But by emulating Wickstead’s styling, Kate took a modern approach to tailoring sure to resonate with countless women who also wear trouser suits (if in more traditional colours) to work.
She brought back her Emmy London Josie Block Heel Pumps ($405).
And quilted Jaeger handbag.
Along with her Liv Thurwell Bobble earrings.
We turn now to the second look worn by the Duchess today.
Made of a stretchy fabric, the jacket is a staple for the company. It has a slim silhouette, a front zipper, a funnel neck, zippered front pockets, and thumbholes on the sleeves. The style is offered in a wide selection of colors at Lululemon.
Thank you to Emily and her sister for IDing this item. I have not yet looked for the trousers and am not sure we’ll get them identified from the available photos.
Kate brought back her Vazee Transform Running Shoes by New Balance.
An aside about the Amaia Liberty prints used for their masks: the retailer has done a Mum and Daughter capsule collection of blouses using those prints. Below you see the Duchess Blue Pepper blouse; on the right, the Duchess Pink Pepper pattern.
We’ll close with two images from the day’s events.
I do have one ‘housekeeping’ note: we need to keep our comments centered on the Duchess’s fashion. We have drifted a little off course over the summer, which is entirely on me.
- The Evening Standard’s piece is here; Belfast Live’s rolling live feed is here; The Telegraph’s news story by Hannah Furness is here; some of The Daily Mail’s coverage is here; a BBC story is here
- The Telegraph’s fashion column is here; Simon Perry’s People article is here; Danielle Stacey’s piece for Hello is here; Victoria Murphy’s Town & Country article is here