As you may have heard we will next see the Duchess officially on Wednesday, 3 May when she will visit Farms for City Children in Gloucester to see their work giving young people from inner cities the chance to spend a week on a real working farm. Kate will join a school group of pupils and teachers as they muck in around the farm, and will meet children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare to learn more about the organisation they founded in 1976. Through a week-long programme, the charity offers urban children from all over the country a unique opportunity to live and work together on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. It should be a fun one, especially as we can expect images of Kate joining the children to pitch in on the farm, tending to pigs and chickens, and working in the allotments. The charity recently celebrated their 40th anniversary and have said they are "delighted" about the impending royal visit. It certainly won't be their first as the Princess Royal is their Royal Patron.
|Farms for City Children|
The itinerary for Kate's solo visit to Luxembourg on Thursday, 11 May has been released. The day will see the Duchess carrying out five engagements celebrating the "cultural and historic ties between the UK and Luxembourg". Upon arrival, Kate's first stop will be the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM) to tour current exhibitions by British artists Sir Tony Cragg and Darren Almond. The museum's permanent collection includes works by Andy Warhol and Thomas Struth. Kate will also attend a reception with leading young Luxembourgers in the fields of culture, education, business and the charitable sector. Kate is very much interested in the arts, and like her first solo trip abroad last year to the Netherlands, it's not a surprise to see they feature.
In the centre of the capital, the Duchess will visit Place Clairefontaine, and tour a cycling-themed festival, which celebrates the shared UK and Luxembourg passion for the sport. Her Royal Highness will be introduced to the Grand Duchy's most famous cycling icons, and meet children who are designing Tour de France jerseys ahead of the tour coming to Luxembourg in July. The Duchess will unveil a mural of British cyclist Tom Simpson and Luxembourgish cycling legend Charly Gaul.
As expected, Kate will call on Their Royal Highnesses, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg at the Grand Ducal Palace.
As you can see, the Grand Ducal Palace is a magnificent piece of architecture. It has quite a history too, beginning as the city hall of Luxembourg in 1572. Located in Luxembourg City, the Grand Duke performs an array of official duties there.
Next, the primary reason for Kate's visit: she will join the official commemoration of the 1867 Treaty of London, which confirmed Luxembourg’s independence and neutrality, at Luxembourg City Museum. Finally, the Duchess will continue to Dräi Eechelen Museum for the main commemoration event, where the prime minister, mayor and museum director will speak. The Duchess will be given a guided tour of 'Luxembourg 1867 – Open City', the new exhibition, which explains how the dismantling of Luxembourg’s fortifications laid the foundation for the transformation of Luxembourg into an open and outward-looking city and country.
The Summer season brings a host of annual events on the royal calendar. From garden parties to Trooping the Colour, it's always enjoyable to see photos, however, with news of an election in the UK there have been revisions to the schedule. Unfortunately, the annual service for the Order of the Garter, which had been due to take place on 19 June, has been cancelled. I must say, I was quite disappointed to hear this, although one understands the demands of the election take precedence. Below, we see Kate arriving for last year's Garter ceremonies.
Additionally, there will be notably reduced ceremonial elements at both the State Opening of Parliament and Trooping the Colour which takes place on 17 June this year. More from the Telegraph:
'The Queen will undertake a dressed-down State Opening of Parliament for the first time in more than 40 years, as ceremonial plans suffer major disruption because of the general election.
The Queen will not wear her Imperial State Crown or robes for this year’s State Opening, with the annual service of the Order of the Garter also cancelled for the first time since 1984. The changes to the Royal schedule, announced by Buckingham Palace today, will see the State Opening of Parliament take place on June 19, with the Order of the Garter service previously in the diary for the same day now cancelled.
For only the second time in her reign, the Queen will wear “day dress” and a hat for the State Opening of Parliament, abandoning the traditional Robes of State. She will travel in car rather than by carriage, with her heavy crown being carried by an officer of state along with the Sword of State and Cap of Maintenance, symbols of her power and authority.
The announcement immediately led to speculation that the changes would suit the Queen, who at 91 would have to endure wearing the famously heavy 2.5lb crown. Last year, the Queen used a House of Lords lift for the first time, avoiding 26 stairs, in what was seen by many as a concession to her age.'
A planned state visit by King Felipe and Queen Leitzia of Spain to Britain in June has been postponed for a month due to the election. The visit will now take place from 12-14 July. It was my understanding William and Kate were due to be involved in the visit in some capacity and I imagine that remains the case. The Cambridges will be spending a week touring Germany and Poland in July; I believe their trip is scheduled for quite early in the month meaning they will likely be back in the UK to participate.
Our next segment involves the BBC Mind Over Marathon series which followed ten runners training for the London Marathon who shared their motivations, journeys and mental health struggles with presenter Nick Knowles. Part one featured an interview with Prince William and part two saw William, Kate and Harry participate in a training day. Both parts have now been uploaded to YouTube. You can view Part One here.
...And part two (featuring the royals at about 28 minutes in) is available here. Kate talks to a lady who is training and says: "You're the heroes really because you're standing up there very bravely sharing your stories and we hope to shine a light on people like you."
If you have time, I would highly recommend watching it. It's very insightful and the runners are incredibly open and honest about their experiences.
************Next, a fashion update on a favourite gown of Kate. Many of us have been longtime fans of the Roland Mouret Ella gown chosen for a dinner at Claridge's and again for the premiere of Mandela.
In the years since Kate first wore it, popularity and demand clearly hasn't diminished and the designer has released the gown in a pretty pastel pink (with thanks to Middleton Maven). Described as: "Crafted in the UK from pastel-pink wool-crepe, this 'Ella' gown is masterfully panelled and pin-tucked to create flattering shape and definition. It's spliced through the front with a knee-high split so it moves gracefully as you walk." Would you like to see Kate wearing the pink one? It's currently available at Net-A-Porter, while the off-white colour Kate wore remains available in limited sizing here.
You may recall the folks at Merci Maman offered a 15% discount for UK Mother's Day this year. They got in touch during the week to offer the same reduction again in honour of US Mother's Day which takes place on 14 May. There's a lovely selection of personalised pieces available including Kate's Duchess Necklace. The discount code will run until 9 May. Simply enter MothersDay at the checkout.
A word of congratulations to Béatrice and her team - Merci Maman was recently awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for enterprise in the international trade category. Speaking about the award Béatrice said: "I never imagined the Duchess of Cambridge would wear one of our necklaces - and to receive this award really is the royal seal of approval. I feel so humbled and proud and I look forward to meeting Her Majesty at the Buckingham Palace reception later this year."
With that, today is a very special day on the royal calendar, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary. I can still vividly recall
Speaking of weddings, Kate's PA Natasha Archer who has been primarily assisting with her wardrobe and liaising with designers for the past couple of years is getting married to royal photographer Chris Jackson in France this weekend. It is not known whether William and Kate were at Rebecca Deacon's wedding, so it isn't expected they are attending Natasha and Chris's nuptials. Best wishes to the couple!
Below we see Kate at a garden party last year with Chris Jackson to her left and Natasha (wearing pink) to her right.
UPDATE: A photo of the happy couple!
Finally, a couple of quick blog 'housekeeping notes'. One of my New Year's resolutions was to improve the quality of the comments section. With the use of monikers, and a great deal of effort from so many of our regular posters, it has been simply delightful to observe the improvement in the quality of debate, discussion and the respect shown when opposing views are represented. The key word is respect; we can agree to disagree, without becoming confrontational or offensive. I want to echo the importance of enjoying a lively exchange without comments descending into personal attacks.
Over the past several weeks, there's been an influx of 'Anonymous' posters. For those not attaching a name to their comments, please consider doing so, as it greatly lends itself to improving the community here. Due to issues with persistent trolls and those who might like to derail conversation, 'Anonymous' comments are subject to much stricter moderation. The blog is just six years old and I want it to be an enjoyable, fun and welcoming place for royal watchers to follow the Duchess. I love nothing more than hearing your views and seeing you share them with each other. Thank you to all who have made such an effort in helping to reach that goal! :)