Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Family and Friends Gather at Kensington Palace for Prince George's Birthday!

It was quite an unusual day at Kensington Palace as the Royal Family celebrated Prince George's birthday. The day no doubt began with various preparation for the party; icing the cake, preparing food and ensuring the children had plenty of activities to keep them entertained. Earlier, Kate and Nanny Maria Tereasa brought George to Buckingham Palace to see his great-grandfather Prince Philip, who was unable to attend the party due to other commitments.


In the early afternoon onlookers began to gather outside Kensington Palace to see guests arrive.

Julius Sowu Twitter Feed

One could say people were really (and I mean really) getting into the spirit of the day :)

According to one observer there was "a fabulous atmosphere and a sense of excitement in the air as the future king marked his first birthday. It was a beautiful day and all the guests looked very happy as they drove past".

Emily Andrews Twitter Feed

As expected, the party was a small affair including only the couple's closest family and friends. Mike and Carole Middleton were among the first guests to arrive; they travelled separately.

Pippa, who just completed the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Race, arrived solo for her nephew's party. It is thought the author played a large role in organising the event.

James Middleton followed closely behind. It is rumoured James was accompanied by his TV presenter girlfriend Donna Air. 

William's cousin and George's godmother Zara Tindall was all smiles as she drove past with her husband Mike and daughter Mia Grace.

The young royals' closest advisor Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton was there too. As someone who has played such a significant role in guiding the Princes in recent years it would have been quite special for him to see his godson George turn one.

William and Kate's close friend, and another of George's godparents, Emilia Jardine-Paterson was also there with her baby.

Fashionistas will recognise Emilia's dress as the Beulah London Blossom Dress; Kate also owns this dress and wore it to Alice St John Webster's wedding in 2012. It's a beautiful piece and perfect for the occasion, which leads me to wonder: what did Kate wear today?

Official Freyja Twitter Feed

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

No doubt the event got underway after the guest of honour, Her Majesty The Queen was inside the palace.

Prince George Pieces Twitter Feed

Despite her very full schedule I thought it a lovely gesture she made time for her great-grandson's first birthday party. Charles and Camilla were otherwise engaged with royal duties.

Prince Harry was reportedly there too, and the van Cutsem's were spotted by onlookers and members of the press. It seemed a perfect celebration for a one-year-old with family, godparents and a couple of little playmates in attendance too. 


Since we wont be seeing photos from inside, we leave you with a look at Legoland's interpretation of Prince George's birthday party. A miniature Buckingham Palace was recreated with a traditional garden party for the prince. If you look closely you'll see a cake with one candle marking his age, balloons and birthday presents.

I hope it was an excellent day for all in attendance and a fun one for Prince George!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Family Portraits of the Cambridge Family Released, Malta Trip Confirmed & Latest News

Two portraits of the Cambridge family were released by the Palace to mark Prince George's first birthday tomorrow.


As expected, they offer lovely shots of William and Kate with their son in an informal setting. In this beautiful photo below Kate is holding George as he touches a butterfly which is resting on his father's hand. I think this one is my favourite official photo of the family together thus far.


A closer look at the Blue Morpho butterfly.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed/PA

The photos were taken by Press Association photographer John Stillwell at the Natural History Museum's 'Sensational Butterflies' exhibition earlier this month. On Saturday night the Palace released a portrait of George toddling towards the camera. Shall we take another look? (I don't know about you, but I never tire of seeing photos of Georgeous).

Clarence House Twitter Feed

William and Kate issued the following statement to mark George's birthday:

'We would like to take this opportunity on George's first birthday to thank everyone over the last year, wherever we have met them both at home and overseas, for their warm and generous good wishes to George and our family.'

A closer look at the birthday boy.


Can you believe it's been a year since this?

The portraits have proven very popular with tomorrow's papers.

Daily Mail

A look at the cover of The Express.

Daily Express

For the portraits, the Duchess selected her Budding Heart Silk Tea Dress by Suzannah. The £475 frock is based on the brand's best-selling 1930's inspired tea dress style. It's described as "a fabulous day dress" with a matt silk crepe skirt part lined in 100% habotai.


The Duchess wore the pretty frock underneath her Erdem coat during the royal tour and most recently at the Tour de France send-off. It's great to finally see it properly and it was an excellent choice for the nature and location of the photo-call.

Kate accessorised with her Annoushka pearls.

It is believed the Cambridges plan to move to their country home in Norfolk shortly where Prince William will take up a full-time position with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. This may be the last time we see little George for quite a while, at least in an official capacity. Royal commentators hold the opinion the public will see far less of the future King compared to previous generations. What do you think of the birthday portraits?


One year on, Sir Marcus Setchell, the former royal gynaecologist who delivered Prince George spoke about the experience for the first time:

'You just keep reminding yourself that although it's very important, for the couple and the-about-to-be-born baby, it's just another healthy young couple giving birth to another, hopefully, very healthy baby.
 And I constantly reminded myself of that so that the pressures of the hundreds of media people outside the hospital didn't affect me, at least not more than minimally.' 

The Duchess attended Sir Marcus's retirement party earlier this year.

With George's special day almost upon us, a wide variety of articles looking at the Prince's first year and his future have been published. One particularly unexpected piece makes a shocking prediction. Diana's royal biographer Andrew Morton believes William will abdicate in favour of his son in time to come.

Speaking to The Sun he said:

'I think William will become the first King to do the job for several years but then abdicate. This could mean George is still relatively young when he takes over, which obviously mean he has a totally different life ahead of him.
 I'm not saying William has consciously planned this far ahead but I think this is how it will unfold. William never talked about his future in terms of his destiny or duty. He always talks about being king as a job, not a vocation or calling. '

It's quite a shocking prediction, one that will hopefully never come to fruition (one I cannot envisage). Perhaps, as William gets older a love for the role and all it encompasses will develop. It would now seem full-time duties are some time away, in fact, and I would predict not until Charles become king. Majesty Magazine's Ingrid Seward dismissed Mr. Morton's claims as "ridiculous".


The Palace has confirmed The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Malta on 20 and 21 September to represent The Queen on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Malta's independence. The two-day trip will mark Kate's first solo overseas visit as a member of the Royal Family. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh lived in Malta during the early years of their marriage while Prince Philip was first lieutenant on board HMS Chequers. It is believed they were extremely happy there and no doubt Her Majesty will be very pleased to see Kate representing her in September.

The British Monarchy Flickr

We'll hear about the itinerary and more details in due course.


In other news, it was revealed last week that Kate attended a two-week cookery course alongside popular television chef Rachel Khoo at the prestigious Leiths Cookery School - and passed with flying colours.

Rachel Khoo remained tight lipped about the Duchess but said:

'Kate was in my class. She was ill for a few days, so I took notes for her. She was a lovely person, but she kept to herself.'

The school has a reputation as a first-class culinary institute for chefs. Students come from all over the world to enjoy dedicated teaching and a friendly atmosphere. Interested amateurs like Kate enjoy perfecting new and much-loved dishes and learning some of the tricks of the trade, enabling them to add a professional touch to their own cooking at home. Courses usually cost around £1,600.


A look at some of the school's popular dishes.

Leiths Cookery School

It is not known exactly when Kate took the course, but her sister Pippa also undertook one at a different cookery school. It looks as if they're both following in their mother's footsteps with a keen interest in cooking and preparing delicious family meals. The Duchess is said to be a keen cook and was photographed grocery shopping several times during the couple's time in Anglesey.

William and Kate are very rarely spotted out for dinner, and it is thought they prefer to host dinner parties for their closest family and friends at Kensington Palace, which boasts two kitchens. Kate had the existing 350 sq ft kitchen, originally designed by Princess Margaret's husband Lord Snowden, refurbished at a reported cost of £170,000. Courtiers stressed that the additional "private, family kitchen" was paid for by the couple's private funds.


In tonight's fashion corner, we begin with news on the pink peplum Alexander McQueen ensemble Kate wore in Adelaide during the recent royal tour.

It was believed Kate was wearing a top and skirt at the time, however it turns out the garment is in fact a dress from the brand's Pre-Fall Collection. The Wool and Cashmere-Blend Dress is currently available at My Theresa for £1,985. It's partially lined with a zipped back, hook fastening and a flared skirt with high-low hem.

My Theresa

A closer look at the dress.

My Theresa

From the product description:

'Alexander McQueen lends a vintage theme to this pretty dress. Light pink fabric, reworked for a figure-sculpting silhouette, is given a feminine boost with a peplum waistband and draped detailing. 90% wool, 10% cashmere.'

It also comes in poppy red, a colour which suits the look and structure of the dress better than the soft pink, in my opinion.

Lane Crawford

Now that we've seen the piece properly, has your opinion changed? If I recall correctly it wasn't one of the most popular pieces worn during the tour.


Finally we take a look at the The Mirror's offering George: The First Year. The £4.99 84-page commemorative magazine recaps George's first year from his first appearance at St. Mary's Hospital to his christening and the royal tour.

The Mirror

Sending Prince George the happiest of birthday wishes!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Prince George's First Birthday Portrait Released & A Birthday Celebration with The Queen

The Palace released the first of three portraits tonight to mark the first birthday of Prince George. The photo depicts the adorable Prince toddling towards the camera with his arms in the air wearing blue overalls.

Clarence House Twitter Feed

The first photo was published in time for the Sunday papers whilst the remaining two will be released on the eve of the princely birthday - Monday night. It is believed they are both family portraits. They were taken by Press Association photographer John Stillwell, who also took official photographs of Prince Harry in Afghanistan. Speaking about George Mr. Stillwell described him as "very lively and very sure of himself and confident - a very determined young boy. I'd have to say he looks like his dad".

Clarence House Twitter Feed

Clarence House shared the photo via their Twitter Feed with the caption "Look who's walking! Here's our little Prince ahead of his 1st birthday".

Clarence House Twitter Feed

The photographs were taken when the trio visited the "Sensational Butterflies" exhibition at the Natural History Museum earlier this month.

Natural History Museum

The exhibition offers a fabulous day out providing fun for all ages. Visitors have the opportunity to spot species from around the world, fluttering above you and among the dense foliage. It's very much a learning experience for children as they hear about the metamorphosis of these creatures and experience more than fifty butterflies and moths from around the world. Below we see a little girl getting close to a blue morpho butterfly, which is among the largest in the world with a 5 to 8 inch wingspan, and comes from the jungles of Latin America.

Natural History Museum

Our regular readers will recall William, Kate and George were photographed leaving the exhibit after the photos were taken. With many thanks to Emily Rickard for sharing her photos and letting royal fans in on the news early (I think you had all guessed :))

Emily Rickard Twitter Feed

The venue was specifically chosen because The Duchess of Cambridge is patron and it seemed an excellent way to support the museum; the location was ideal offering a picturesque background. As with previous official photos of Prince George, William and Kate have opted for a relaxed, casual feel, rather than the formality of the Palace. Choosing the butterfly exhibit meant George most likely had a very fun morning - and I'm sure a less stressful experience was had by all (one imagines encouraging a one-year-old to look at the camera could prove a little challenging).

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website

For those who wish to support the museum or who have a keen interest in all things butterflies do take a look at the Online Shop which stocks some fabulous items and keepsakes, including a Sensational Butterflies Sticker Book, an Abstract Butterfly Scarf, a very pretty Forget Me Not Butterfly Pendant and a hand-decorated Butterfly Chest of Drawers.

Natural History Museum

The photo proved incredibly popular with the press. Below we see tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph.

The Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Express offers a souvenir pullout.

Sunday Express

How will Prince George celebrate on Tuesday? A Daily Mail story claiming the Middleton family already hosted a Peter Rabbit themed party at their Bucklebury home has been denied by reputable media sources. In fact, William was at a polo match when it allegedly took place.

Party Pieces

I believe Camilla Tominey's story offers an accurate account:

'The Sunday Express can exclusively reveal the Queen will be guest of honour at Kensington Palace on Tuesday as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge throw a private party for close friends and family to mark their beloved son's milestone. A Kensington Palace spokeswoman said of the birthday "The family are going to be marking it privately with close family and friends at Kensington Palace". 

Richard Palmer's article One is one year old! offers this information:

'Surrounded by his family and his parents' closest friends, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge will be feted at a discreet celebration on Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of his birthday. Toddling across the floor and displaying his latest trick - opening and closing doors - the future King will be ready for a spot of mischief. '

The celebrations are in stark contrast to Prince William's first birthday. He was left with his nanny at Kensington Palace while his parents undertook an eighteen-day tour of Canada. They called to wish him Happy Birthday: "All I could hear was a few squeaks," Charles said at the time. It must be very difficult for any parent to miss such an important occasion. One gets the impression hands-on parents William and Kate will want to be there every step of the way and plan to put George and family life first, before royal duties.

I came across this lovely photoshoot of Charles, Diana, William (and his koala toy) taken a couple of months before his first birthday. .

It's interesting to see some of William's first photos as George approaches his first birthday. British Royals kindly shared an excellent video which shows how everyone celebrated William's first birthday from afar.

George looked very cute in a navy polo shirt and blue and white stripe overalls by Petit Bateau with reverse straps (with thanks to Prince George Pieces). The US site still has the dungarees in stock for $50. They're described as "Baby boy short cotton cloth overalls with Oshkosh stripes. Patch kangaroo pocket on the front center of the apron. Petit Bateau sailboat print lining". It appears George wore the brands Short-Sleeved Cotton Bodysuit underneath his overalls. The little Prince also wore his Early Days 'Alex' Pre-Walker Shoes.

We'll be back on Monday night with the two remaining portraits along with the latest news. What do you think of Prince George's first birthday portrait?