Friday, 20 January 2017

The Cambridges' Plans for 2017 Confirmed, Vote for Kate's Best Separates Look & More

Hello and Happy Friday everyone,

Today Kensington Palace shared a statement on Twitter confirming the Cambridges' plans for 2017. As expected, Prince William has decided not to renew his contract with the East Anglian Air Ambulance and will take up full-time duties in support of the Queen when he finishes his role this summer. The Palace said: "Their Royal Highnesses have loved their time in Norfolk and it will continue to be their home. From this autumn, however, the Duke and Duchess will increasingly base their family at Kensington Palace. As they have in recent years, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to continue to increase their official work on behalf of the Queen and for the charities and causes they support, which will require greater time spent in London."

Kensington Palace

More from the Telegraph's report:

'The Duke of Cambridge is to quit his role as an air ambulance pilot this summer so he can take up full-time royal duties in  support of the Queen, Kensington Palace confirmed today.
The Duchess of Cambridge will also step up the number of royal engagements she undertakes, and the couple will move back to London with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
With the Duke of Edinburgh in his 96th year and the Queen preparing to celebrate her 91st birthday in April, the onus has been on the Duke and Duchess for some time to take on a greater share of royal engagements.'

Undoubtedly a range of factors came into plans when making this decision. One of these was likely the fact Prince George begins school in London. I suspect it seemed like the best time to make the transition. The Palace confirmed George will begin school in London in September (the choice of school was not revealed), whilst Princess Charlotte will also go to nursery in London.

Prince William thanked the people of East Anglia for their support and said his experiences "will add a valuable perspective to my royal work for decades to come". The statement continued: "I would like to thank the people of East Anglia for being so supportive of my role and for letting me get on with the job when they have seen me in the community or at our region's hospitals. I would especially like to thank all of my collegues at EAAA, Babcock and Cambridge Airport for their friendship and support. I have loved being part of a team of professional, talented people that save lives every day. My admiration for our country's medical and emergency services community could not be any stronger."

ITV News deputy political editor Chris Ship noted the timing of the release coinciding with the presidential inaugartion in the US.

Chris Ship Twitter Feed

We recently discussed the topic following The Sunday Times' Roya Nikkhah report. As I said at the time, I think this was a huge discussion for the couple. As in Anglelsey, they have loved their time in Norfolk and the privacy they enjoyed. Anmer Hall will continue to serve as a country home for the family, likely at weekend and school holidays as schedules allow, but their primary home will be Kensington Palace. With George starting school in September and HM approaching her 91st birthday, it very much feels like the time is right to make the transition. We will reportedly see William taking on a full-time schedule of duties; whilst Kate will continue to focus on George and Charlotte, we're certainly going to see a marked increase in engagements.

William and Kate make a fantastic team, they represent the monarchy with aplomb at home and abroad, and are fantastic ambassadors for Britain. I believe they can achieve so much not only for causes close to their hearts, but in modernising the monarchy while staying true to its traditions. The next couple of years are going to be particularly interesting, during which we will gain an insight into the paths they wish to carve for themselves within the Royal family. It's a period of big changes for the family, and it's also an exciting time full of opportunity.


Best Separates Look

In today's poll, we're asking you to vote for 'Kate's Best Separates Look of 2016'. Pairing a skirt with a jacket or blouse can provide a relaxed, chic look and we saw Kate opt for smart skirt suits and stylish separates on a number of occasions in 2016. It's amazing to see how a simple piece can be elevated when paired with the right item. We're looking back on ensembles the Duchess put together for official appearances. With that, let's take a look back through Kate's looks...

In January, the Cambridges and the Middletons joined the Royal family for the 100th anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli campaign. Kate repeated her slate/claret Michael Kors suit. The Virgin Wool Plaid Blazer is described as a "vintage-inspired equestrian silhouette" with notched lapels, long sleeves, four-button closure and plaid knit print. The Guncheck Wool Trumpet Skirt is crafted from heritage guncheck wool with the trumpet silhouette offering a flattering feminine fit. Kate teamed the suit with a black turtleneck and her trusty Aquatalia Rhumba Boots.

For Kate's video message in support of Children's Mental Health Week, the Duchess wore her blue Rebecca Taylor suit. Kate first wore the jacket and skirt in April 2012 for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole, and more recently in New Zealand in 2014. The suit is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2012/2013 Collection. Both pieces are crafted in heavily textured melange weft. The jacket features frayed trim and sequin floral embellishment at the neck.

The Duchess was stylish in the Reiss Vinnie High-Neck Shirt - cut from a lightweight chiffon with a textured stripe design - and the Dolce & Gabbana Boucle Wool Blend Skirt. I loved the pairing of both these pieces and thought it a lovely choice for the day.

For a trip to Scotland in February, Kate removed her green SportsMax coat to a reveal a classic combination of a black turtleneck with a grey houndstooth wool kilt with pleated pin embellishment by Scottish brand Le Kilt.

The Duchess debuted a gorgeous look by Kensington-based label Eponine London for a visit to the XLP mentoring programme in March. The red and white skirt suit is from the brand's Spring/Summer 2016 Collection. The top features a boat neck and three-quarter sleeves while the skirt is A-line. It's a beautiful outfit and I love the silhouette, the lines, and the gingham pattern.

HRH combined high street and designer for the Heads Together launch in May. Kate chose the cream Goat Binky Blouse with full sleeves and the Blue Geo Jacquard Midi Skirt by Banana Republic.

Kate brought back a favourite Alexander McQueen ensemble for a visit to Portsmouth to learn more about her patornage, the 1851 Trust. The nautical-looking, military-inspired look is always a hit for me; it's beautifully tailored and versatile.

For the Cambridges' new official portrait, Kate sported an ivory jacket from Alberta Ferretti's diffusion line Philosophy with a rounded collar, embroidered detailing and three-quarter length sleeves, with a pleated skirt.

The Duchess spent a rainy day on the Isles of Scilly in September and surprised us all when she chose print trousers (rather than her favoured skinny jeans) for the event. Kate teamed the GAP Bi-Stretch Skinny Ankle Pants with her navy Smythe Blazer and an Off-the-shoulder top by H&M.

An elegant Kate hit all the right style notes in a pale blue bespoke Catherine Walker skirt suit for her first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands. The belted jacket features large buttons and peplum detail, whilst the skirt falls to just above the knee. What I love about many Catherine Walker designs for Kate is the feeling of timelessness - this suit could be worn in a decade or two and still exude classic style.

Kate wore her Dolce & Gabbana Boucle Wool Blend Skirt again for unannounced engagements in November to a women's prison and the Nelson trust. The Duchess completed the low-key look with a black turtleneck.

At a fun pre-Christmas engagement with the scouts, the Duchess debuted a new brand - Iris & Ink - wearing their Grace Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater with jeans believed to be from Zara.

An excellent selection, I think you'll agree! I love the pale blue Catherine Walker skirt suit and the Eponine London look in particular. Which look got your vote? Do let us know in the comments section. :)

Kate's Best Separates Look of 2016 free polls


Finally, a couple of sales opportunities to share with you. The updated version of Kate's much-loved Aquatalia Rumbah boots are currently discounted by 30% ($750 to $524) at Nordstrom.


Kate's Preen Finella Dress is significantly discounted from £1,126 to £450 at Boutique1.

Kate's Temperley London Desdemona Dress is reduced by 50% at Net-A-Porter in black. The jade version Kate wore is available in limited sizes (reduced from $1,395 to $837) at Avenue32.

Temperley London

And Beulah London are offering readers an additional 10% off sale items with the code HRH10 throughout the weekend. Sale items include the pretty Pink Wool Coat, the Black Devore A-Line Dress and the Alice Print Shirt Dress.

Beulah London

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and thanks for reading as always! :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

William, Kate and Harry Outline Hopes for "Mental Health Marathon"

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry spoke at a briefing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Carlton House Terrace today to outline the next phase of their mental health campaign, Heads Together, as efforts intensify to create millions of conversations on the topic in 2017.

Ahead of the royal arrival the Palace said: "Heads Together wants to use the privilege of being Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health. With fewer than 100 days to the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April, Their Royal Highnesses will open up the Heads Together campaign to organisations to become supporters that can help get the country talking about mental health in 2017."

The royals were greeted upon arrival.

Heads Together has very much been a project the young royals are extremely passionate about. There were several reports of late suggesting the initiative was actually Kate's brainchild and, along with William and Harry, the trio felt it was a subject they could really put their stamp on. I've noted before one of the advantages of being second-in-line is the ability to devote one's attention to a cause such as this and other areas of interest. The stigma attached to mental health remains all too often, and the fear of judgement can stop those most in need getting help. Ultimately, this campaign is about getting people to talk and open up.

Today's engagement brought together Heads Together charity partners and supporters with leaders from the UK, ranging from media and technology to business and the voluntary sector. It was an opportunity for the royals and other speakers to preview some of the themes and initiatives people can expect to see in the months ahead. The main goal of the campaign in the run up to the marathon will be to show people how important it is to just start a conversation with a friend, family member, colleague, or a professional when dealing with a mental health challenge.

Below, the Duchess chatting with news presenter Sian Williams.

The royals met London Marathon, Heads Together runners and posed for photos.

The Mirror reports Kate was sceptical when she heard of William's plans to run a marathon in Kenya one day. More from The Mirror:

'Good Morning Britain presenter Sean Fletcher, who is running the 26.2 mile course for charity Young Minds after his 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with OCD, said: "I chatted to Prince William and he has promised that he will run a marathon in Kenya sometime. "Then I spoke to Kate and she said 'I'll believe it when I see it'." The presenter added: "This is all very new to me, I'm learning very fast because of my son's situation.'

Kate adjusted Jon Salmon's headband before photos were taken.

The trio gave speeches outlining their vision for the campaign in 2017. William said "Mental health matters to each and every one of us. It matters just as much as our physical health. It's no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing. It is our ambition to make the Virgin Money London Marathon the Mental Health Marathon – to help change the conversation on mental health."

The Duchess added "We have heard time and time again in the course of our work how talking can help heal the hidden challenges we can’t deal with alone, So the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is how we can get more people to start talking".

Prince Harry said "We can all help each other. You don't need any qualifications to help your mate, simply to listen to what they have to say. At the heart of this campaign is our hope that no-one should be afraid to ask for help, and no-one should worry about knowing how to help."

The full speeches from the Heads Together website:

Prince William -

'Thank you Sir Keith. And thank you to everyone here today for being enthusiastic about Heads Together. We launched the campaign last year and are extremely proud to support the life-changing work of our eight Charity Partners. We are also very grateful for the support of our Founding Partners. Mental health matters to each and every one of us. It matters just as much as our physical health.   The crews I have worked with, whether RAF Search and Rescue or Air Ambulance, must take their mental health as seriously as they do their physical health or else they would not cope – and, actually, that is true for everybody at some time or another in their life. There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenges – and when that happens being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing.
Talking to someone else is a positive and confident step to take – but for too long it has been a case of ‘Keep Quiet and Carry On’. As a result, too many people have suffered in silence for too long, and the effects of this can be devastating.
The three of us are really optimistic that things are changing.  We believe that 2017 can mark a tipping point for mental health – a moment when more and more people no longer feel they have to bear the weight alone for fear of judgment.
It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or colleague.  And that’s what Catherine, Harry and I want to do – we want more people to be having those conversations. It is our ambition to make this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon the Mental Health Marathon – a major opportunity to help change the conversation on mental health, and to get people talking.  And for that, we really need your help. '

The Duchess of Cambridge - 

'As William has said we have heard time and time again in the course of our work how talking can help heal the hidden challenges we can’t deal with alone.  We have seen that two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem.
Yet, the challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help.  Admitting that they are not coping.  Fear, or reticence, or a sense of not wanting to burden another, means that people suffer in silence – allowing the problem to grow larger and larger unchecked.
William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery.  Just last week at the Anna Freud Centre, I heard from one mother how talking to a support worker was – in her words – like medicine.  Simply by having someone there to have a conversation with helped her immensely.
So the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is how we can get more people to start talking.  How do we encourage people to take the first step. What Heads Together is proposing is that in the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our campaign will showcase people from all walks of life, talking about the life-changing conversations that have helped them with their mental health challenges.
We hope that these real-life examples will serve as encouragement to others to do the same. If we succeed with this, we will have taken a powerful step in normalizing mental health as an issue in our society, thinking about it as we do our own physical health. Harry will explain more in a moment about what you can do to help us with this challenge. But first I would like to introduce Jon, who is running for Heads Together in the Marathon; and Steve, who will tell you the story of how a conversation made such a big difference to their mental health.
Jon and Steve … thank you. '

Prince Harry - 

'Thank you, Jon and Steve, for sharing your conversation and the impact that it’s had on your lives; and thank you Jon for running for Heads Together. I’m reliably informed that you’ll run it in under four hours! Good luck with your training!
Over 500 people will be running for Heads Together, leading from the front (well perhaps not right at the front!), raising funds for the vital services provided by our Charity Partners. These runners will also be leading by example by starting conversations on mental health with their families, friends and colleagues.
It has been unbelievably encouraging to see that attitudes towards mental health across the country are beginning to change. In the past, the phrase ‘mental health’ would be translated to mental illness. But thankfully that is changing! As a result of family, school or work pressures, everyone’s lives are lived at a frightening pace and these stresses can often seem overwhelming.
Some will ignore the signs of stress, others will insist they’re ok after losing a loved one. Some will be afraid to ask for help, others won’t have anyone to turn to. One thing is certain, we are all wired differently. We all have mental health; and we’ll say it again and again and again, if you want to be fit, healthy and set yourself up for success then your mental fitness is absolutely as important as your physical fitness. Everyone would get help for a broken leg, so why not seek help for an issue that could hamper you and others around you.
The truth is we can all help each other. You don’t need any qualifications to help your mate out, simply to listen to what they have to say. At the heart of this campaign is our hope that no-one should be afraid to ask for help, and no-one should worry about knowing how to help. That initial conversation could be the cure, before it has a chance to manifest itself.
The BBC have announced today that they are running a season on mental health to coincide with the Marathon, which is fantastic news. But every single one of you in this room can help too. You are all role models and highly respected people in your industries – the way you talk about mental health will have a profound effect on millions of people, whether you’re speaking from personal experience or encouraging those around you to do the same. So please could I encourage you all to have a conversation with the Heads Together team, who are here today, and share your ideas. We need as many people as possible – famous or not – who can help showcase what it’s like to have a conversation with a friend, family or stranger. All your ideas are welcome. '

Rebecca English shared a video of Kate's portion.

It was hoped the young royals would announce plans to participate in the marathon. Richard Palmer reports security fears meant this could not be realised:

"The royal trio would have liked to compete but it was ruled out on the grounds that policing the 26-mile course through the capital would be a security nightmare. However, William, Kate and Harry will be cheering from the sidelines and plan to use the event on April 23 to promote their campaign to get Britain talking about mental health problems and how to overcome them."

Musician and singer Professor Green spoke eloquently to the press as he left. The artist made a very moving documentary, Suicide and Me, focusing on the suicide of his estranged father. It's a topic close to his heart and it's very encouraging to see high-profile figures getting involved and sharing their stories and views.

A lovely photo of William, Kate and Harry leaving the briefing.

I must say, I immediately loved the look of Kate's Erdem dress today. It is such a versatile and chic piece which could take the Duchess from a lunchtime briefing to an evening reception. Kate wore the designer's Evita Dress in Black Lily Collage.

Made in Portugal, the £1,050 dress is described: "Transitioning as effortlessly between seasons as it does from day to evening, the Evita Dress possesses an innate elegance. Vibrant lilies in yellow, green and blue boldly punctuate a light weight, textured black matelass√© background; intensely gathered around the waist, neckline and down the sleeves, delicate sprigs fall freely on the skirt, adding free spirited appeal to the formality of the demure silhouette."


A closer look at the beautiful floral print - Erdem's signature.


The Duchess teamed the dress with her popular Tod's Fringed Leather Pumps. Kate debuted the sold out £267 shoes during the Canada tour. They feature an almond toe, fringed detailing and a metal buckle.

Kate carried her Mulberry clutch.

And completed the look with her $190 Oscar de la Renta Hammered Gold-Plated, Faux Pearl Earrings.

Oscar de la Renta

A look at the earrings on Kate today.

And how amazing did Kate's hair look today?

You can view a video from the briefing here with lovely footage from the speeches and others involved in the campaign.

A fantastic look for Kate today and great to see efforts for Heads Together continuing. I know some were disappointed we didn't hear more today, however, it was great to see all three talking, including Kate's reference to Anna Freud Centre reflecting on a conversation she had just last week. It's also excellent to see figures from the media and sports world getting behind them. My one peeve with the day: when the royals arrived and exited the car they were within very close proximity of several respected royal reporters and didn't greet them. Richard Palmer reported: "William noticeably blanked us all from two feet away. Charming." While Emily Andrews added: "Said hello and Wills ignored... Oh dear." I thought it quite poor behaviour given the support the media has shown for Heads Together and entirely unnecessary to put a dampener on a positive event for their campaign. We're never going to see the royals having conversations with the press at engagements (although, a quick informal chat with reporters on the initiative would have really amped up the event), but when one is in a situation where they are greeted upon arrival, it's costs nothing to be polite - especially considering today was all about spreading the word on their ambitions for Heads Together. The relationship between the Royal family and the media needs to be fostered and a little gesture such as "hello" goes a long way...