Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Kate in Floral Print McQueen for Team GB Reception at Buckingham Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a reception hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip for Team GB and Paralympics GB medallists from the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games at Buckingham Palace this evening.

The Duchess chats with Nicola Adams MBE - the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title.

An arrival video from Kensington Palace.

Other royals in attendance included the Princess Royal, who is president of the British Olympic Association, the Duke of York, the Duke of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Princess Eugenie was scheduled to attend but was unable to make it.

Below, Princess Anne introduces Lord Coe to the Queen. Her Majesty looked regal as ever in an Angela Kelly kingfisher and petrol blue dress.

Prime Minister Theresa May curtsies to the Queen.

Ahead of the reception, Kensington Palace tweeted: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are very much looking forward to attending tonight's reception." They added that Kate's patronage SportsAid has supported many successful athletes including Tom Daley and Ellie Simmonds.

Prince William admires Ellie Simmonds' gold medal. Ellie is a British Paralympian swimmer competing in S6 events. She came to national attention when she competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13. In 2012 she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, this time swimming at a home games in London. She won another two golds there, and set a world record in the 400m freestyle. She won another gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, this time setting a world record for the 200m medley.

Ellie looked delighted to meet the royals, especially Her Majesty.

It's been a very special day for Team GB. The athletes participated in a gilded victory parade today to celebrate their incredible performance at Rio 2016.

Team GB and Paralympic GB brought home a combined 214 medals, coming second in both medal tables. The fantastic results mean Britain is the first ever country to improve on their performance at the games following immediately after one they hosted.

The athletes looking very sharp in their formal wear by Simon Jersey before the reception began.

William and Kate met with Team GB's women's hockey team.

Kate, who has been a keen hockey player since her school days, enjoyed chatting to the ladies about their experiences at Rio.

Discussion with the athletes quickly turned to George and Charlotte. Emily Andrews reported: "Kate said Charlotte is loving learning to ride, while George was using his polo stick as a hockey stick - much to her delight. And although Kate doesn't share Charlotte's passion for horses, she's said she'll champion and encourage it as much as possible."

More from the Mirror:

'Kate spoke as she joined husband William and the Queen honouring Olympians and Paralympians at a Buckingham Palace reception. Equestrian triple-gold medalist Natasha Baker had a good chat with Kate. The Duchess told her: "George is fascinated by fencing but I think that's because of the face shields. "Charlotte would have loved to be here but she'd be running riot!"
Afterwards the Paralympian said: "I asked her how the children were and she said Charlotte is really enjoying her riding which is great to hear and I said we may see her here on a line-up in 20 years time. "She emphasised that Charlotte has this passion about horses and although she doesn't echo it, she'll do her best to champion and encourage it."

The Duchess debuted a new bespoke poppy print Alexander McQueen dress this evening.

Kate's dress appears to be a customised version of the pre-spring 2017 style shown below (with thanks to @katiemidleton). The Silk Floral Midi Dress retails for $3075 at Saks Fifth Avenue. There are several differences between the original style and Kate's dress, most notably the addition of long sleeves and a closed back.


More from the Telegraph's Bethan Holt:

"The collection was inspired by the intricately beautiful hand painted patterns seen in British folk art, with designer Sarah Burton recreating colourful flowers on dramatically flounced  mini dresses and maximalist tiered skirts.
Of course, translating such a richly detailled offering for the needs of a future queen has become a speciality of the Alexander McQueen team; the silk dress worn by the Duchess tonight came with an elegant v-neck, nipped-waist and long, cuffed sleeves.
It's likely that the dress chosen tonight was part of the same order as that worn in Canada as both come from the same collection."

The poppies feature considerably in McQueen's Resort 2017 Collection. In their review of the collection Vogue reported: "The mixtures of carnations, yellow roses, peonies, and poppies, each petal expertly defined with an artist’s paintbrush, were inspired, she said, by British folk art and domestic interiors: 'Wallpaper, patterns you see on canal barges.'"

A look at the print on McQueen's Poppy Print, Drop-Waist Dress.

Neiman Marcus

Kate teamed the dress with her red suede Gianvito Rossi pumps.


The Duchess carried her red Miu Miu Bow Embellished Suede clutch. The £640 bag is described: "Crafted in Italy from plush crimson suede. This ladylike style has a gilded silver chain strap and opens to three spacious compartments - including a secure zipped section. Use the internal mirror to refresh your lip color on the go." It's currently available at Net-A-Porter.


Kate completed the look with her £130 Soru Jewellery Baroque Pearl Double Sided Earrings. The earrings are described: "18ct Yellow gold vermeil on sterling silver earrings. Hand crafted with iridescent baroque pearls edged with multi faceted Swarovski crystals. Length of stones: 2-3cm approx, stone sizes vary slightly as no two pearls are the same making your earrings totally unique to you."

Soru Jewellery

A brief wrap up of the event from Kensington Palace.


In other news, Kate has written the foreword for the GCHQ's (the UK's national intelligence and security agency) new puzzle book. The Duchess' decision to write the foreword was based on two reasons: her grandmother, Valerie Glassborrow, worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and sales of the book will support William and Kate's mental health campaign, Heads Together.

In the foreword Kate speaks of how proud she has always been of her grandmother: "I have always been immensely proud of my grandmother, Valerie Glassborrow, who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. She and her twin sister, Mary, served with thousands of other young women as part of the great Allied effort to break enemy codes. They hardly ever talked about their wartime service, but we know now just how important the men and women of Bletchley were, as they tackled some of the hardest problems facing the country."

The Duchess continued: "In a new century, their successors at GCHQ continue this intellectual tradition. Like their Bletchley predecessors, they have become well known for valuing neurodiversity and understanding the importance of mental well-being. William, Harry and I are very grateful that this book  is supporting our Heads Together campaign. I hope it will not only amuse and challenge readers, but help to promote an open discussion of mental health problems, which can affect anyone, regardless of age or background."

The book will feature more than 140 pages of codes, puzzles and challenges created by GCHQ's expert code-breakers in their spare time. These will range 'from easy to mind-bending' and include ciphers and substitution codes, tests of numeracy and literacy, and picture and music challenges. It will be available on Thursday, 20 October.

We'll be back with the remaining tour polls next!

Friday, 14 October 2016

UPDATED: Kate in Erdem for 'Away Day' in Manchester

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Manchester for a day of engagements.

Royal 'away days' tend to offer an excellent variety of engagements and that's certainly the case with today's itinerary. The day kicked off with a visit to the National Football Museum.

A look at the crowd waiting to greet the Duke and Duchess in Manchester.

The National Football Museum is located in Manchester's Urbis building. It was founded to preserve, conserve and interpret several important collections of association football memorabilia. During the first six weeks after opening, the museum welcomed over 100,000 visitors, and in just over two years over a million had walked through the turnstiles. Visitors enjoy world class objects (over 2,500 are on display at any one time), ground breaking interactives and a changing programme of temporary exhibitions, linking football to topics as diverse as fashion, history, art and World War I.

I believe I've shared the fact I know absolutely zilch about football during previous engagements related to the sport (attempts to educate me have proven unfruitful :)). Rebecca English echoed the sentiment as she arrived at the museum noting: "It'll be my most challenging brief this week as I don't know one end of a football pitch from t'other - and even less about the guys on it."

William and Kate attended a reception with young Mancunians who are making a difference to their communities.

Football Association president Prince William was very much in his element today. He is an avid Aston Villa supporter, whilst Kate supports Chelsea.

The Duke and Duchess met representatives from their Royal Foundation's Coach Core apprenticeship scheme.

William and Kate met 1966 England World Cup winner Roger Hunt, who brought along his winner's medal.

They enjoyed a tour of the museum, which aims to explain to fans and non-fans alike how and why football has become ‘the people’s game’, and a key part of the UK's heritage and way of life.

Prince William was excited to try the penalty shootout simulator. Dr Kevin Moore, director of the National Museum of Football, who showed them around, said afterwards: 'The Duke chatted very knowledgeably as you would expect about football, but the Duchess did as well. She was very interested and knowledgeable about aspects of the game. She's also fully aware of her husband's great pride and support for Aston Villa. As for William's penalty shoot-out, he belted it down the middle but it caught the keeper's toe. He definitely scored one after that though. His speed of 46 mph was very respectable indeed. Put it this way, he hits it hard. It was a proper penalty.'

Before they left they received a Manchester City football for George, a mini kit four Charlotte, cuddly mascots and two life-sized replica 1966 World Cup footballs, which were next to a photo of William kicking a ball when it was a child which made Kate smile.

William and Kate received a warm reception as they met locals during a walkabout.

William and Kate met children who had masks of their faces and several who wore crowns.

Next, the Duke and Duchess visited Manchester Town Hall and attended a ceremony at the Cenotaph to lay commemorative paving stones honouring Manchester's six Victoria Cross recipients as part of the First World War Centenary campaign.

As part of a UK Government First World War Centenary campaign, special paving stones are being laid in the hometowns of all those in the United Kingdom who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest decoration for bravery under enemy fire. The Palace added: "These paving stones have been presented to councils in the areas where First World War Victoria Cross recipients were born. It is hoped that the stones will provide an enduring legacy of local heroes and enable residents to gain a greater understanding of the impact the war had on their community."

The Duke and Duchess laid a wreath.

Kensington Palace tweeted: "628 Victoria Crosses were awarded in WW1. Of these, six recipients were born in Manchester."

The Duke and Duchess met relatives of the six Manchester Victoria Cross recipients honoured today.

You'll notice the Duchess arrived with a side ponytail and decided to undo and wear it loose after the engagement at the cenotaph. I suspect it may have come loose and she decided to wear it down rather than redoing it.

The couple's next stop was the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester. They visited the new Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) currently under construction, where they helped to seal a time capsule within the building's foundations. The new development aims to build on the city's science and engineering heritage by providing world-class academic facilities.

Sir Andre Geim showed William and Kate around the Clean Rooms in the National Graphene Institute.

Earlier, I noted William was very much in his element at the football museum. The Prince was even more enthused as he tried out a car made of graphene. I was interested to learn graphene is the thinnest, strongest, most conductive material on the planet, and is also transparent, flexible, stretchable, and impermeable to water. Its potential applications are almost endless - from bendable smartphones to providing clean drinking water, from drug delivery to the next generation of aircraft.

What's the verdict on the car? Judging by his expression in this photo, I think it's safe to say he loved it!

Below, Kate signs a photograph for the capsule.

The couple placed their photos in the time capsule.

William and Kate unveiled a plaque before leaving.

Their final stop of the day was Francis House, a hospice which cares for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.

The hospice was opened in 1991 by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.

More on the history of the hospice:

'Francis House provides respite care, home care, sibling support, activity weekends for bereaved siblings, end of life care and bereavement support. This year the hospice needs to raise £4.2 million to fund running costs, and all services are given completely free. Very few young people with life-limiting conditions were able to survive past the age of 16 years in the mid 1990s, now thanks to facilities like Francis House, many are able to live beyond this.'

The Lodge started out as a four-bedroom house. It was a unique opportunity to trial different types of equipment and ways of working and informed decisions on the building of a new wing at Francis House. The new £3.5 million wing created a seven-bedroom extension to the hospice and became known as Francis Lodge. Respite care is now provided for 113 young people over the age of 16, with different care and emotional needs.

William and Kate met families at the new lodge.

The Duke and Duchess unveiled a plaque to mark the 25th anniversary.

The Duchess debuted a new Erdem coat today. The bespoke plaid garment is based on a design from the Resort 2016 Collection (with many thanks to Perth Fashion). We know the Duchess loves her coats, and this is another fabulous addition to her amazing collection. A solid choice for the varied nature of engagements.

Another look at the coat on Kate. Do you like it?

Alyssa J noticed Kate's black top appears to be the same one she wore with her Paule Ka suit for a Middle Temple engagement in 2012.

It appears Kate wore her navy suede Rupert Sanderson Malory pumps.

Rupert Sanderson

And her L.K. Bennett Frome clutch.

L.K. Bennett

We also saw Kate sporting a new pair of earrings.

The eagle-eyed Kate J. from What Kate Wore Facebook identified them as the $190 Oscar de la Renta Hammered Gold-Plated Faux Pearl Earrings. The earrings are described: "Oscar de la Renta's earrings are an elegant way to complete day or evening looks. This gold-plated pewter pair is hammered to beautifully catch the light and centered with smooth faux pearls. Wear yours with swept-back hair." They are currently available at Farfetch.


Several readers noted the similarities between Kate's earrings and the pair Diana wore when visiting Francis House. I'm inclined to think this isn't merely a coincidence - especially considering it's the first time Kate's publicly worn them.

Rebecca English shared a nice video from the museum visit.

And one from the walkabout.

Victoria Murphy posted this video of Kate chatting to a family at Francis House.

We'll see William and Kate on Tuesday for a reception for Team GB and Paralymics GB at Buckingham Palace. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend :)