2012 began with an announcement from St James's Palace confirming Kate had chosen her first four patronages The Art Room, The National Portrait Gallery, Action on Addiction and East Anglia's Children's Hospices. Kate reached her decision following a series of private visits to charities and while in Anglesey the Duchess would volunteer privately with UK Scouting.
On January 8th, the Duke and Duchess attended their first red carpet engagement of the year, the War Horse premiere in London's Leicester Square. Kate looked beautiful in the black lace Temperley 'Amoret' Dress.
Days later, William and Kate were photographed enjoying a romantic stroll on a beach in Anglesey. We also saw the latest addition to the Cambridge family, their adorable puppy Lupo :)
The Cambridges enjoyed a vacation with the Middleton family in Mustique in early February. Upon their return Prince William was deployed to the Falklands as part of a 4-man Search and Rescue crew. Flight Lieutenant Wales' tour of duty lasted six weeks.
William's deployment proved something of a learning curve for Kate who performed her first solo engagement visiting the Lucian Freud Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
On Valentine's Day Kate began a day of engagements in Liverpool with a visit to alcohol-free bar The Brink, a project by Kate's patronage Action on Addiction. Huge numbers turned out in the hopes of meeting the Duchess and those who met her described her as "utterly charming". Kate also visited Alder Hey Hospital where she was greeted with a posy of flowers by a little girl.
Following the Liverpool visit one thing was clear: Kate had become the new People's Princess. It was later revealed Kate was incredibly touched by the welcome she received.
The morning of March 1st was a very special one for Piccadilly as three generations of Royals visited luxury store Fortnum and Mason to mark rejuvenation efforts efforts in the area. With William in the Falklands it was simply wonderful to see the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall taking Kate under their wing. All three ladies coordinated and appeared to have a very enjoyable visit.
|Fortnum and Mason|
A week later, Kate joined the Queen and Prince Philip for a visit to Leicester as part of their UK Diamond Jubilee tour. During the visit, Kate admitted she "missed William desperately" but was being very well looked after. I adored Kate's look. The LK Bennett Jude peplum jacket teamed with the teal Davina dress and a Lock & Co hat made for one of her best looks of the year, in my opinion.
Kate made her first official speech during a visit to her patronage, East Anglia's Children Hospices, where she formerly opened The Treehouse Hospice in Ipswich. During her speech Kate said:
'First of all, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you for not only accepting me as your patron but thank you also for inviting me here today. You have all made me feel so welcome and I feel hugely honoured to be here to see this wonderful centre. I am only sorry that William can't be here today; he would love it here. A view if his - that I share - is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved. What you have all achieved here is extraordinary.'
The speech is available to watch in full here.
William and Kate attended a private engagement at Claridge's in May and Kate looked elegant in a cream Roland Mouret 'Lombarde' gown. Another beautiful look.
The next night, Kate showcased a teal Jenny Packham gown at the fundraising gala 'Our Greatest Team Rises'. It was Kate's first engagement as London 2012 ambassador.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was an unforgettable time in Britain. Not only did it marks Her Majesty's glorious sixty years on the throne but it unified a nation and provided some much needed fun. Jubilee parties were held in most towns and people threw house parties. The Thames Pageant saw over one thousand boats muster on the River Thames from all around the world. The flotilla measured seven miles from end to end and was the largest fleet of ships assembled on the Thames in over 350 years.
The RAF flypast marked the climax of the spectacular Diamond Jubilee weekend.
Kate wore Erdem for Trooping The Colour. The annual parade which celebrates the Queen's birthday is always an event to look forward to because of the carriage procession and balcony appearance.
On June 16th, Duchess Kate visited the Widehorizons Adventure Centre in Kent where she met children from ARK's King Solomon Academy. Kate took part in an outdoor residential course where she helped the children to build a campfire. When one of the inquisitive children asked Kate how long she would be on the throne for she replied "that's not my job yet" and when asked about being a Princess she said:
"It's nice and I get to visit lots of countries. William is very sweet and kind and spoils me."
No doubt a day to remember for the children!
|Rebecca English Twitter|
I love this photo taken by the wonderful royal photographer James Whatling, who takes the majority of photos I use on this blog. A good time to thank him for his hard work and dedication!
As a tennis fan, it was great to see William and Kate supporting Wimbledon in July.
Kate also attended the men's final with her sister Pippa. It was an emotional final which saw Roger Federer defeat a heartbroken Andy Murray. Both Kate and Pippa looked quite touched by Andy's speech (Andy went on to win gold at London 2012).
The Duke and Duchess travelled to Edinburgh to attend a service at St Giles Cathedral where William was installed as a 'Knight of the Thistle'. The ancient Order of the Thistle represents the highest honour of chivalry in Scotland and can only be bestowed by the Queen. Kate wore a bespoke soft gold Emilia Wickstead coat dress for the service.
In her role as Olympic Ambassador Kate attended numerous sporting events at the Olympic Stadium. Both with William and Harry as well as a number of solo appearances.
William, Harry and Kate visited the Olympic village and met the athletes.
The Princes gave interviews during the games and during a brief chat with the BBC's Sue Barker, William revealed worrying about being caught on the 'Kiss Cam' with Kate and also revealed his wife is a "sight to behold with a hockey stick" :)
The best moment of London 2012 (for royal watchers) came as the Cambridges were watching the cycling at the Velodrome, and when Team GB's sprint team won gold in record time, William and Kate embraced each other. It was a wonderfully spontaneous romantic moment. Completely natural.
|The Strait Times Facebook|
Speaking about the tour, Principal Private Secretary and Equerry to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said:
"The aim of this tour is to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Duke and Duchess will use the tour to pay tribute through what they do and say, and who they meet, to the Queen's lifetime of dedication to the mix of peoples and cultures that make up all of Her Majesty's Realms and the Commonwealth. The Tour will comprise a mixture of formal and informal moment which reflect these aims and the Duke and Duchess's characters and interests specifically."
|Media-Mode.com Courtesy photo|
Kate wore a gorgeous floral print Erdem dress at an Eden Hall reception.
William and Kate's final engagement in Singapore was a sombre one with the couple visiting Kranji Commonwealth War Cemetery. The Cambridges then travelled to Malaysia where Kate made a speech at Hospis Malaysia, praising the work of the staff there.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended an official dinner given by His Majesty The Agong at his official residence, the Istana Negara, in Kuala Lumpur. Kate dazzled in a long cream gown with embroidered gold hibiscuses (the national flower of Malaysia) by Alexander McQueen. Kate puts a huge amount of thought into her sartorial choices and again we saw her honouring her hosts with her choice of dress.
Only a couple of hours later, Kate visited the Asskyakrin mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the first visit to a place of Islamic worship, wearing a flowing white Beulah gown with a matching headscarf. She must have been feeling terrible but never showed it, instead performing her royal duties with grace, poise and a smile.
Royal photographer Arthur Edwards, thought to be William's favourite photographer, recently spoke about the day the photos emerged and William and Kate's reaction in an article he wrote for The Sun:
"The tour had begun badly with the publication of topless photos of Kate taken in France. I told Wills, 'I'd just like to say your missus has done a brilliant job on this tour and you must be very proud of her'. 'Yes,' he said, 'that's why I married her.'"
|Galaxie Magazine Twitter|
Next, the couple enjoyed a colourful visit to Solomon Islands.
Following a busy day of engagements, William and Kate flew to Marau, which is on the furthest end of the main island, Guadalcanal. On arrival, the Duke and Duchess were honoured by leaders and members of the local communities.
The couple proceeded by boat to the island of Marapa, where they visited a village before travelling on a traditional war canoe the short distance between Marapa and Tavinapupu. On arrival, William and Kate received a local music and dance welcome and spent the night at the exceptionally beautiful Tavinipupu Resort Hotel.
The Duke and Duchess spent the last night of the royal tour in Tuvalu where they enjoyed a traditional dinner hosted by the Governor-General. We had been hoping for evening gowns and a tiara but got something much better :)
The couple spent the evening dancing the Fatele and wearing traditional grass skirts. It was enormous fun and undoubtedly the moment of the Royal tour.
The perfect ending to a truly memorable tour!
In October, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited St George's Park for the official opening of the Football Association's new facility in Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire.
Kate recycled her DVF wool coat for a sombre appearance on Remembrance Sunday.
On November 28, William and Kate paid their first visit to Cambridge. The city's name was conferred by the Queen on the day of the royal wedding when Prince William became HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Kate became HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. William and Kate went on a walkabout and appeared on a balcony much to the delight of the crowd. William was presented with the gift of a babygro by a member of the public, upon which was the picture of a helicopter and the caption 'Daddy's little co-pilot' (you can watch a video of that moment here).
Kate visited her old prep school St Andrew's in Pangbourne, Berkshire to mark St Andrew's Day and met with staff and students. The Duchess made a brief speech and played a game of hockey. Little did we know then, but there was a huge announcement to come...
|Newbury Today Twitter|
On December 3 the Palace officially announced the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby:
"Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby.'The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princes of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news."
Sadly, Kate was hospitalized for three days at the King Edward VII hospital in London with hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute form of morning sickness which can lead to dehydration. When Kate was discharged she said she was "feeling much better", although the illness can last for the duration of the pregnancy.
Despite feeling unwell, Kate took time out of her recovery to present two awards at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The Duchess could only stay at the awards ceremony for a short while but was eager to participate due to her role as Olympic Ambassador. Kate looked elegant in an emerald green Alexander McQueen gown.
The Duke and Duchess spent Boxing Day at Sandringham where William participated in the annual shoot and Kate attended a picnic.
What were your royal highlights of 2012? I'm looking forward to hearing what you all choose. 2013 promises to be the most exciting yet with the arrival of William and Kate's baby. Judging from what we've seen of the Duke and Duchess interacting with children I think Baby Cambridge will be one very lucky child :)
Happy New Year Duchess Kate readers and thank you for following the blog this year! x