We begin this evening's post with news of several additions to Kate's calendar for February. As expected, we're going to see increased appearances in support of Heads Together by Kate, William and Harry as the London marathon approaches in April. I've often said one of the advantages of being second-in-line is the ability to really focus one's efforts on causes close to the heart - and destigmatizing mental health issues is an incredibly worthy cause.
A tweet posted by Kensington Palace earlier today.
|Kensington Palace Twitter|
On Sunday, 5 February, the Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry will join a training day with the runners taking part in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for Heads Together at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Kate, William and Harry will join 150 runners while they are training on the London Marathon Community Track and at a warm down in the Copper Box Arena. The royals will also set out how all 38,000+ runners in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon will be able to help Heads Together make it the ‘mental health marathon’, alongside supporting whichever great charity or personal cause they may be running for. They will be joined by Paula Radcliffe, the current Marathon World Record Holder and three-time London Marathon winner, who will also give advice and encouragement to the assembled Heads Together runners.
The following day, Monday, 6 February, William and Kate will attend ‘the Big Assembly’ by Place2Be hosted at Mitchell Brook Primary School, as part of the Heads Together campaign. The Big Assembly, on the theme of kindness, is one of many being held at primary schools across the UK to mark Children's Mental Health Week (6th to 12th February 2017). The royals will have the chance to meet staff and pupils, attend the assembly, and present the first Place2Be 'Kindness Cup' to the pupil who has shown exceptional kindness in their school community and beyond. Pupils will act out role plays about being kind, and the school choir will perform.
Also that day, the Duke and Duchess will attend a Guild of Health Writers conference focusing on mental health, which is being supported by the Heads Together campaign. The Guild is an independent membership organisation representing many of Britain’s leading health journalists and writers and encompassing the whole spectrum of health and wellbeing. The theme of the conference is ‘the Anxiety Epidemic’ and will feature a number of guest speakers. The Palace described the event as "an opportunity for Their Royal Highnesses to engage with members of the Guild of Health Writers working in print, online and broadcast media on Heads Together and its ambition to create millions of conversations on mental health in 2017".
And the news that has everyone talking today! William and Kate will make their debut at the glittering BAFTA Awards on Sunday, 12 February. This is obviously very exciting news, as many of us have been hoping to see the couple on the awards' red carpet for the star-studded affair for some time now. Prince William, who is President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, will present the Fellowship - the highest accolade bestowed by the Academy to an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games. The recipient of this year’s Fellowship will be announced ahead of the ceremony. Past recipients have included Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.
More from the Palace:
'The Duke, President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the Duchess will meet BAFTA representatives and watch the ceremony. The Duke will also present the Fellowship. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. While BAFTA is well-known for celebrating excellence and championing creativity through its awards, it is a charity committed to identifying talented individuals, and making sure they receive the encouragement, professional support and advice that will enable them to succeed, regardless of their background or other circumstances.'
As you may have seen The Sun ran a story earlier this week causing quite the kerfuffle. The story claimed senior staff at the BAFTAs actually didn't want Kate to accompany William to the ceremony because she would detract attention from A-list stars. I was dubious about the veracity of this one, and, as it is awards season, the presence of the Cambridges could only add to to the evening. Without delay, BAFTA responded vehemently denying the claims and branding the story "nonsense". The statement said it was "completely untrue that BAFTA has suggested that our president attend on his own. We would be delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses any year that they are able to attend".
It's a special year for the awards which celebrates its 70th year and nominees in the acting categories this year include Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen and Jake Gyllenhaal. It promises to be quite the red carpet with Hollywood's stars and the royal couple mingling. Fans of the Duchess will no doubt be excited to see what she elects to wear on the night. I think we're certainly going to see a gown, perhaps teamed with sparkling jewels. Readers will recall the Cambridges attended a BAFTA reception in Hollywood in 2011, Kate wore that beautiful lavender Alexander McQueen gown with the Queen's chandelier earrings. Could she give it a second outing on the night?
Needless to say, your faithful scribe loves a royal evening gown appearance and as black-tie events go, there aren't many more glamorous than the BAFTAs. With that in mind, I've been peeking through the evening wear collections of several of Kate's go-to designers and drooling over the possibilities! Looking through McQueen's current collection, the Embellished Silk-Cady and Tulle Gown is an incredible elegant piece. It's described: "Meticulously made in Italy from dusty-pink silk-cady for a curve-enhancing fit, it has an elegant sweetheart neckline and is veiled at the shoulders and sleeves by wispy tulle. The exquisite crystal, bead and sequin-embellished appliqués are thoughtfully placed to accentuate your waist." Given Kate's recent penchant for the off-the-shoulder look, the gorgeous Red Crepe Gown instantly caught my eye.
The Queen of evening wear, Jenny Packham, has an abundance of possibilities as always that would look sublime on the Duchess. How amazing would the Beaded Short-Sleeve Tulle Gown look with an updo? The sweeping gown features a jewel neckline, A-line skirt and a very princessy train. Kate, this one was made for you!
Other gowns from the designer include the Dark Navy Beaded Long-Sleeve Gown and the Crystal Bodice Short-Sleeve Gown.
Other gowns from favoured designers I think would work brilliantly include the silk crepe de chine Temperley London Rosemary Gown and two strikingly elegant gowns from Roland Mouret: the plush burgundy Silvabella gown is knotted at one shoulder and gathered at the front, and the Lely Stretch Crepe Gown features the label's signature asymmetric neckline and deftly placed, contouring seams. It has a cutout back and ruffled split hem.
What would you like to see Kate wear to the BAFTAs? Do you think we'll see a new gown? Bespoke? A repeat?
Best Designer of 2016
Next in today's (very fashion filled) post, we're continuing on with our polls asking you to vote for Kate's Best Designer of 2016. Unlike the previous polls, tour ensembles are included for consideration to give us a better sense of each designer's contribution throughout the year. We've kept the list of nominees small, including only those who made the most frequent appearances in Kate's wardrobe.
Alexander McQueen is always the first in contention when it comes to considering Kate's best designers. Kate and Sarah Burton have enjoyed a hugely successful relationship since the designer created her wedding dress in 2011, and it has flourished ever since. In 2016, McQueen contributed extensively to HRH's working wardrobe. From tried and tested repeats, to a vibrant arrival outfit for the India tour, it was another memorable year for McQueen.
For me, Jenny Packham surpassed herself in 2016 with an array of beautiful, sophisticated bespoke pieces for the Duchess. From the sparkling blue gown Kate wore in India, to her impeccably stylish arrival outfit in Canada and the bespoke lace dress with a peter pan collar she designed for her to wear in France, the designer proved herself an invaluable sartorial asset capable of supplying stylish yet appropriate pieces for day or night.
When Kate began wearing Catherine Walker during the 2011 Canada tour, it was suggested she was paying homage to the late designer who was Princess Diana's favourite. Whilst the brand continued to make appearances, it became a dominant player in Kate's wardrobe in 2016. A beautiful blue embroidered coat for the National Service of Thanksgiving, a chic blue skirt suit for Kate's first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands and a gorgeous cream coat in Canada make Catherine Walker a serious contender this year.
And finally we have Alice Temperley, a designer whose winning pieces came into their own during the India tour in particular. The Delphia crop top and maxi skirt offered an entirely new evening look option for the Duchess and the jade Desdemona dress was an elegant choice for meeting the Prime Minister.
I am very excited to see your winning vote for this one. We also saw Kate debut an array of new designers in 2016, let me know in the comments section if you would like a poll for your favourite new designer too. :)
Finally, we have news of the return of a very popular dress worn by the Duchess in India last year. Topshop has released Kate's Embroidered Midi Dress in a very pretty new print (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style and Natasha).
The £75 dress is described: "The boho trend gets an instant update in this pretty midi dress. In an autumn perfect burgundy, it comes adorned with pretty floral print and embroidery, complete with cool lace-up detail to the front. Layer under a denim jacket and ankle boots to complete the look." The update from pink to burgundy works very well. The dress is available in sizes 6-14 on the Topshop website.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend! :)