Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Details on Princess Charlotte's Christening, Mario Testino to Take Photos, Brad & Angelina Take Tea at KP & More

Good evening!

We have a number of updates to share with you beginning with new information concerning Princess Charlotte's christening on Sunday. Yesterday, Kensington Palace confirmed the service will be attended by Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Mr Michael Middleton, Mrs Carole Middleton, and other family and invited guests. Notably, Prince Harry will be absent from the event because he is in Africa.

More from Kensington Palace:

'The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be pleased to welcome well-wishers into the paddock outside the church. The Duke and Duchess are hugely grateful for the warm wishes they have received since Princess Charlotte's birth - many of them from local people in Norfolk - and are delighted the paddock can be opened on the day of the christening.'

It promises to be an enormously memorable occasion and it will be the first time we have seen all four members of the Cambridge family together in public. Police in Norfolk are preparing for thousands of members of the public to turn out. They will stand in a field between St Mary Magdalene Church and Sandringham House - the same position they stand when members of the Royal family attend church on Christmas Day.

St Mary Magdalene Church

The Telegraph's Gordon Rayner noted: "It will be the first time in living memory that the christening of such a senior member of the Royal family has involved the public in any way". Prince George's christening was a much more private affair, but this time William and Kate seem eager to involve the public, particularly the people of Norfolk who have been very respectful of their privacy since they moved to Anmer Hall.


We'll all be incredibly excited to see the official christening photographs. Today, Kensington Palace confirmed the late Princess Diana's favourite photographer, Mario Testino, has been chosen to take the historic pictures.

Mario Testino

More from the official press release:

'The Duke and Duchess are delighted that Mario Testino will help capture this important moment for their family and look forward to sharing the photographs with the public.
 Throughout his career, Mr. Testino has also photographed the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Acknowledging the request to photograph Princess Charlotte's christening, Mr. Testino said: "I am overwhelmed and honoured to be chosen to document this occasion and to carry on the documentation of the family that is the soul of this country, a country that has given me so much."

Mr Testino is widely regarded as one of the most talented and influential portrait photographers of his generation. From high-fashion magazines, to A-list celebrities and royalty, he is the photographer of choice. Mr Testino has received numerous awards and honours in acknowledgement of his career and charity work, including an OBE and his native country’s highest honour, the Grand Cross Order of Merit in Peru.

Mario Testino / Clarence House

Of course, the photographer took William and Kate's official engagement photographs.

Mario Testino /Clarence House

Some have suggested because Mr Testino was his late mother's favourite photographer, it is another way for William to involve Diana in her granddaughter's christening. Below we see an iconic shot of Diana taken by Mr Testino. "Photographing Diana, Princess of Wales for Vanity Fair in 1997 was one of the most memorable days of my career," he recalled recently.

Princess Diana by Mario Testino

Mr Testino with Diana.

Mario Testino

It is expected the christening portraits will be released a day or two after the event.

As for the exact time, we know the it will take place Sunday afternoon, though specific details have not been made available yet, most likely for security reasons.

Richard Palmer Twitter Feed

Another big question. Who will the godparents be? It appears we will not hear this information until closer to the day, if not the day of the christening itself. Rumoured choices include Princess Beatrice, Peter Phillips, one of the van Cutsems and perhaps a relative of Kate's, too.

Weather permitting we hope to see Prince George walking down to church, while Princess Charlotte will most likely be in a pram. Further updates are expected closer to the day.

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Last Friday, the Duke and Duchess welcomed Hollywood royalty, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Kensington Palace for tea. Prince George was reportedly present too.


Kensington Palace confirmed this is indeed true, however, as it was a private meeting no photos were released. Brad and Angelina were photographed arriving at the Palace, and the photos can be viewed on the Brangie Love Instagram account.

Brangie Love Twitter Feed

The Palace said William and Kate had tea with the couple "to discuss their shared interest in combating the illegal wildlife trade".

More from the Mail Online's story:

'The Royal couple were said to be 'really excited' about the afternoon tea.
The Duke and Duchess, according to the source, were joined by their son Prince George - who will be two years old in July, but the Jolie-Pitts' children were not present.
 The Hollywood pair brought a special gift for their daughter Princess Charlotte, who was born in May. 'Everyone got on splendidly' said the source. Brad and Angelina spent much longer with the Duke and Duchess than planned. They ended up staying for almost a few hours.' 

It will be interesting to see if we see anything further comes from the meeting - such as the couple lending their support to one of the wildlife conservation organisations Prince William works with - by becoming ambassadors or perhaps starring in an advert. Which couple do you think was more nervous about the meeting? :)

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Do you all recall stories emerging in the weeks leading up to, and after, Princess Charlotte's birth claiming Carole Middleton had moved in to Anmer to run the household to the detriment of her marriage? At the time, several sightings of the Middletons around the Bucklebury area were reported and it quickly became obvious the story was fabricated.


Mrs Middleton has now got a correction to the Daily Mail story, it can be read here.

Daily Mail

Speaking of the Middletons, a selection of photos of Carole and Prince George enjoying an afternoon outing at Bucklebury Farm Park were published at Pop Sugar last week. George appeared to be having a splendid time and Carole is very much a doting grandmother. The family are frequent visitors to the farm, both Kate and Carole have taken the prince there a number of times separately and together. The photos can be viewed here.

Pop Sugar Twitter Feed

George's hair looks adorably cute and natural!

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We're delighted to announce the winner of Mirabelle Lolita Earrings Giveaway is Mrs D in Dublin. If you could please email me at hrhcatherineblog@hotmail.com we'll coordinate the delivery immediately. With thanks to all who entered and to Mirabelle for sponsoring the contest.

Mirabelle

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Finally, for those asking about possible appearance for Kate. The Duchess was spotted in Norfolk over the weekend meaning I think a Wimbledon appearance is perhaps most likely at some point next week. The Royal Norfolk Show takes place Wednesday and Thursday - it was suggested as a possible appearance for Prince George. There's been no official word on this, and royal commentators appear to think it very unlikely but not impossible.

As we mentioned earlier in the post, we expect to hear more christening details in the coming days.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Kate Loves: Tiaras

For today's 'Kate Loves' post we're going to discuss one of my favourite aspects of royal watching...tiaras! Many of us grew up reading about fairytale princesses marrying their handsome princes in ethereal gowns and of course - the obligatory tiaras.


The Queen is said to have the largest and most valuable collection of tiaras in the world, but it's interesting to note Her Majesty only elected to lend a piece from the collection to one of her daughters-in-law, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, on her wedding day.

The then Lady Diana Spencer had use of a family heirloom: the Spencer Tiara. The piece is now in the possession of Diana's brother Earl Spencer.

Royal Post

For Sarah Ferguson's wedding to Prince Andrew, the Queen bought her a modern diamond tiara and necklace from Garrards. As a new bride, the Duchess of York reportedly ran around showing off the jewels and shouting, "Clock the rocks"...

PA

For Sophie, however, the monarch's favourite daughter-in-law who married Prince Edward in 1999, a tiara from Her Majesty's collection was altered with pieces said to date from Queen Victoria's time. Royal commentators have drawn lines between the wedding tiaras and the marriages associated with them. While neither the Waleses or Yorks had happy endings, Edward and Sophie's marriage has endured the test of time and the Countess has become a valuable asset to the Royal family.

British Monarchy /PA

My own interest in royal jewels began in the weeks leading up to the royal wedding as articles began to fill column inches with headlines including, "Which Tiara Will Kate Middleton Wear?" and quite a few claiming Kate would forego the traditional headwear in favour of a more low-key look - wearing flowers in her hair. Kate's hairdresser at the time, James Pryce, revealed Kate was originally considering to wear flowers in hair but the plan changed a couple of months before the wedding. Indeed, the Queen Mother, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon opted for flowers on her big day.


Prince William and his grandmother are said to enjoy a wonderful relationship, and Her Majesty has been enormously supportive of him throughout the years and very much so in the lead up to the wedding. Of course she was going to lend his bride a tiara with royal history - a visible token of the confidence she has in Kate, and I'm sure quite some consideration went into choosing the perfect piece for the royal wedding. I, for one, was very pleased to see Kate arrive at Westminster Abbey wearing the elegant Halo tiara.


The Cartier Halo Tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and purchased by the Duke of York (later King George VI) for the Duchess of York (later the Queen Mother). It is a striking piece composed of stylised petals, paved with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette-cut diamonds. The name derives from its halo shape.

The Royal Collection

Indeed, it has been described as a "Starter Tiara" for royal ladies over the years. Apparently it wasn't a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and she soon passed it on to her daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) as an 18th birthday gift, however, she never wore it publicly.


It was quickly lent out to other royal ladies; most noticeably Princess Margaret wore it several times as an early tiara, as did Princess Anne in the early 1970s.

Photos 1 & 2 Princess Margaret; Photos 3 & 4 Princess Anne

A photo of the tiara from Cartier's archive.

Cartier

By the time, Kate wore it for her wedding it had not been publicly seen in decades, meaning while it is a strong family piece, it doesn't hold a strong history and it isn't instantly associated with any one member of the Royal family. Kate teamed the piece with diamond oak leaf earrings echoing the Middleton family coat of arms. Michael and Carole Middleton commissioned them from Robinson Pelham and they worked beautifully with the Halo tiara. I would love to see both pieces worn together again in the future.


We didn't see the Duchess of Cambridge in a tiara again until December 2013, when she and Prince William made an unexpected appearance at their first joint white-tie function at the annual Diplomatic Reception. Hosted by the Queen at the Palace Ballroom, Buckingham Palace, it is considered one of the most glittering events on the royal calendar. Sadly, photos are not usually released from the event and we had to make do with arrival pictures.


A white-tie event calls for a tiara, and royal watchers were delighted to see Her Majesty lent Kate the Papyrus tiara, also known as the Lotus Flower tiara.


The dainty tiara which goes by many names was much like the Halo tiara, seen on the Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York during her early years. It was made from one of her wedding gifts in 1923 - a necklace of a Greek key pattern with pendant diamonds and pearls given by her husband.

Order of Splendor

Garrard jewellers dismantled it and created the Papyrus tiara instead. As you can see, it is a very delicate design of fanned motifs crowned by floating diamond arches and studded with two pearls at the base and a central top pearl.

Tiara Mania

Geoffrey C. Munn, author of Tiaras - A History of Splendour, described it this way:

'One of the prettiest of Queen Elizabeth’s tiaras…was Egyptian in inspiration, arranged as a band of stylized lotus flowers and overreaching arches, with the graduated pinnacles surmounted by a single pearl.'

The then Duchess of York wore it in a fashionable bandeau style during the late 1920s. In 1959 she gave it to her daughter Princess Margaret who wore it for numerous occasions. Margaret lent it to Serena Stanhope for her wedding to her son Viscount Linley in 1993. After Princess Margaret passed away the tiara went back to the main collection and was not seen again until Kate wore it.

The Queen Mother/Princess Margaret/Serena Stanhope

The Duchess accessorised with a dazzling pair of chandelier diamond earrings lent to her by the Queen. She also wore them in Los Angeles in 2011.


Many asked why didn't Kate wear the Halo tiara for the event? It was actually part of a Cartier exhibit in Paris at the time. So it remains to been seen which of the tiaras will be Kate's 'go-to' for the time being, though I'm hoping for the Papyrus. What about you?

Interesting points to note on both occasions Kate wore a tiara - they were both early tiaras for the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, and Kate teamed both with a demi-chignon hairstyle and an Alexander McQueen gown.


Definitive expert Geoffrey Munn offers this advice on when a tiara should be worn and how it should fit:

“It was the event and not the status of the wearer that signals whether or not tiaras will be worn. In the past, full evening dress (white tie and medals) was the starting pistol for tiaras.
 However, even in 1900 people needed the reassurance supplied on the invitation, Tiaras will be worn, was shown to the bottom left of the invitation. The strictest protocol proscribed tiaras for girls and unmarried women. They were also proscribed in public places of entertainment like hotels and hired ballrooms.
It should be placed “with the surface of the jewel work in the same plane as your face, so that the full impact of the jewel work is made on the other guests. Worn on the back of the head in the manner of an Alice band is hopeless, as the scintillation of the stones is lost to the ceiling void.”

We expect to see Kate attend very, very few white-tie occasions over the next few years and wear either the Halo or Papyrus tiaras for such events.  Indeed, this will change when Prince William becomes first-in-line to the throne and we'll more than likely see Kate wearing a more substantial tiara with dazzling jewels from the collection. Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, described an 18ft tall wardrobe containing an enormous safe with drawer upon drawer of jewels which looked like "an Aladdin's cave".

“It was a royal Aladdin’s cave: a private collection of tiaras, necklaces, brooches, earrings, bracelets and gems that had been passed down from monarch to monarch.”

Possible tiaras we may see the Duchess wear down the line, when she is Princess of Wales (presumably the title she will take) and Queen Consort include Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara - originally a necklace inherited by Queen Victoria which was later remodelled into a tiara and worn by Queen Mary. It was worn by the Queen Mother too, and made an unforgettable appearance as the Queen's wedding tiara.

Order of Splendor

The Strathmore Rose Tiara is another piece worn by the Queen Mother, who received it as a gift from her father for her wedding in 1923. The diamond tiara features a garland of roses mounted in silver and gold. It's a beautiful, yet understated tiara and it's exactly the type of piece I could see Kate gravitating towards.


Finally, the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara has often been suggested as a possibility for the Duchess. The day before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, Her Majesty gave Diana a red leather box and inside lay the tiara. Perhaps one of the most famous tiaras of all the time, it is synonymous with the late Princess Diana, who found it quite heavy and headache inducing. Because of its history I would be surprised if Kate wore it, however, William gave Kate his mother's engagement ring, so it remains a possibility down the line. If not Kate, it would be quite a piece for Princess Charlotte of Cambridge someday...


When will we see Kate wear a tiara again? That remains to be seen, though I am very much hoping the Cambridges will attend the state dinner in October during President Xi Jinping of China's state visit. Prince William issued the invitation in Beijing in March and it would seem very fitting for William and Kate to attend. Watch this space. :)

Saturday, 20 June 2015

UPDATED: Mirabelle Winner, A Weekend of Celebrations for the Cambridges, Resort 2016 Collections & Beulah London

We're back with a fashion-based post looking at Resort 2016 Collections and Spring/Summer styles from brands favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge. We also have an exciting giveaway courtesy of Mirabelle Jewellery! Before all that, however, we have a couple of news stories to share.

It's going to be a very special weekend for the Cambridges with several occasions to celebrate. On Sunday, 21 June, Prince William celebrates his 33rd birthday, and it's also Father's Day and Kate's parents' 35th wedding anniversary. On top of that, Michael Middleton's birthday is on Tuesday.


Last year, the family gathered at Anmer Hall for a private celebration. One imagines they'll do something similar this year - either at Anmer or Bucklebury. William and Kate enjoy low-key family dinners and no doubt the entire group will have fun spending time with George and Charlotte too.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge / Kensington Royal Twitter Feed

More from People's story:

'And William’s Father’s Day will be twice as special now that he’s a dad of two. There is no word from the palace on how William is celebrating his birthday and Father's Day, beyond that it will be spent "privately."
 His presents are likely to remain a secret, but wife Kate, 33, will surely involve Prince George in the preparations. She talked about the little royal’s budding artistic streak when she revealed that she’s been painting with George, so dad could have a few homemade cards in store for him!' 

Also, the Royal Mint announced they will issue a range of commemorative coins to mark the christening of Princess Charlotte on 5 July. William and Kate will participate in choosing the design of the coins.

Richard Palmer Twitter Feed

For those asking about Kate's next appearance, I understand it will be Princess Charlotte's christening and there's the possibility of a Wimbledon appearance or two shortly after that :)

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What better way to relax on a Friday evening than with a look at gorgeous designs? Roland Mouret can always be relied upon to excel at creating feminine, sophisticated, elegant designs.

Roland Mouret

For his Resort 2016 offering he focused on draping. "To be the master of draping. You have to be a slave to the fabric." he said. Inspired by Italian women and the way they move the collection has been described as "less fitted, more free". I particularly enjoyed seeing the shades of green used.

Roland Mouret

I'm somewhat surprised we haven't seen the Duchess in more of Mr Mouret's pieces considering the two successfully collaborated on the divine Ella dress Kate wore twice. The gown remains available in limited sizing at Net-A-Porter, and I wouldn't rule out seeing Kate wear it again.


Current styles available from the designer offer a multitude of possibilities for the Duchess, particularly for receptions and black-tie events. Below we see the black and white crepe Lilyvick One-Shoulder Gown, the Gazella Twist-Front Silk Gown, the strapless Calcott Wool-Crepe Gown and the Mirah Fishtail Gown.

Net-A-Porter

A selection of fitted, knee-length dresses would make stylish choices for engagements. The Afyon Dress has carefully placed darts to flatter and streamline your silhouette. We also see the Gabelle LBD, the Sesia Wool-Crepe Dress (currently reduced by 30%) and the Nepa Dress.

Net-A-Porter
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The king of prints, Erdem Moralıoğlu, didn't disappoint with his Resort 2016 Collection. Inspired by Victorian details such as high collars and white lace bibs, details from the swinging '60's were in there too. He described his inspiration as akin to "the way that certain decades look at other eras, the 1960's looking at Victoriana, or the '70's looking at the '20's".

Erdem

There's plenty of potential in the collection for Kate in terms of floral prints and silhouettes we may see implemented for bespoke coat dresses, day-wear dresses and evening gowns.

Erdem

Spring/Summer pieces from the designer are equally promising. The Evita Printed Dress is a stunning piece featuring red, lilac and pastel-yellow floral print. We also take a look at the Loreen Printed Silk Dress adorned with cream and cobalt blue flowers.

Net-A-Porter

The very pretty Shirlette Embroidered Dress, the Vivi Printed Fit and Flare Dress, the Breeson Lace Shirt Dress and the Floral-Print Dress with Peter Pan collar.

Net-A-Porter

There's some fantastic separates available too. The Signe Layered Cotton-Blend and Lace Sweater looks chic with the Safia Guipure Midi Skirt. We also see the Safia Crocheted Skirt teamed with a sleek black top and the Reesi Frayed Textured Twill Trenchcoat.

Net-A-Porter
The majority of the pieces shown above are currently on sale at Net-A-Porter. The online retailer is holding a significant sale at the moment with reductions up to 50% on an array of Kate's favoured brands.

Net-A-Porter

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Beulah London are offering readers Free Shipping on purchases over £150 with the code BeulahLondonTreat. Below we look at some 'very Kate' pieces available at the moment: the Darcey A-Line Coat Dress, the Leieila Box Shift Dress and the Senna Jacket, the Elina Mint Dress and matching Senna Jacket are effortlessly elegant pieces.

Beulah London

The backless Porcelain Gown is a sweeping silk chiffon garment perfect for any red-carpet event.

Beulah London

The code is valid until Tuesday!

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Ashley Marie shared a sales tip fans of Kate's Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges will be pleased to hear. The shoes are currently reduced from $398 to $288 at BlueFly.

Stuart Weitzman

The updated version of Kate's Stuart Weitzman Minx Wedges - the NuMinx Wedges are on sale at Bloomingdales. There's a significant amount of Stuart Weitzman footwear included in the Bloomingdales sale.

Bloomingdales

Also on sale - Kate's popular Mint Velvet Bibi Plimsolls are reduced from £89 to £69.

Mint Velvet

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Next, our friends at Mirabelle Jewellery are giving away a pair of Kate's popular Lolita Earrings to one of our readers. The £30 gold-plated loop earrings are a stylish and affordable addition to any collection. The handmade, fair trade pieces are described as "22 carat on Brass, 4cm long. The hooks are sterling silver gold plated".
Mirabelle Jewellery

Kate debuted the pretty earrings during an engagement in January when she visited foster carers in Islington. They add a touch of glamour to day-time looks as demonstrated by Kate, however, they are also a great accessory on a night out.

Mirabelle Jewellery

Mirabelle's Jewellery is described as: "Hand made designer jewellery, fair trade, unique and unusual jewellery, made with Love and Soul. Mirabelle founder Veronique Henry has travelled extensively throughout her life, gaining a unique perspective in creating and sourcing jewellery.'

The brand has a number of stellar collections available. My own personal favourite is the charming Vintage British Collection. Original British designs from the '50's through to the '70's offered inspiration for the pieces. Below, the £30 Treble Clef Charms, Carriage and Birth Certificate Charm (designed to mark the birth of the royal baby), and the You're My Cup of Tea Charm.

Mirabelle Jewellery

The Flying Bird Pendant with a delicate freshwater pearl on top, the Pegasus Pendant with Amazonite and Pyrite, and the British Sterling Silver Apple Pendant.

Mirabelle Jewellery


Other notable pieces include the Gold-Plated Mini Cross Earrings, the Keepers Ring and the Cladagh Ring.

Mirabelle Jewelelry

Back to the giveaway. If you would like to win a pair of Lolita earrings:

First Entry - Leave a comment and let us know what you would wear your Lolita earrings with.

For additional entries:
 Like the Facebook Page.
 Post about the giveaway on your social media account.

Let us know how many entries you have completed in your comment (each participant can have a maximum of four entries). The giveaway is open internationally.

UPDATE - The contest has now ended. Congratulations to our winner Mrs D in Dublin! If you could please send me an email at hrhcatherineblog@hotmail.com we'll coordinate your delivery.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We'll be back with a sparkling Kate Loves post! :)