Saturday, 19 April 2014

Kate in Poppy Print L.K. Bennett for Sunshine State Visit

For day four of the royal tour of Australia, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the 'Sunshine State' of Queensland for a day of engagements.

The royals were photographed at the airport.


Their first stop was the Royal Australian Air Force Base at Amberley, located about an hour's drive outside of Brisbane. The visit was an opportunity for the couple, and Prince William especially, to foster an ongoing relationship with the Australian armed forces. This is an area of particular importance to William, Kate and Harry, as it is one of three areas - along with young people and conservation - that their Royal Foundation focuses on supporting.

Only last October, Prince Harry visited the Australian SAS and attended the Australian Naval Fleet Review.

Prince Henry of Wales Official Website

The Royal Australian Air Force's Base Amberley is the country's largest  operational base employing over 5,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. There are a variety of other formations on the base such as training colleges and maintenance areas.

There was an inspection of the guard followed by the viewing of some RAAF aircraft and their crews.

Kate sat in the cockpit of an F/A-18F Super Hornet. After William had got in, Kate decided she wanted to give it a go and demonstrated perfect deportment as she clambered in and out.

The Duke and Duchess exchanged banter on who should sit in the front seat. William asked Kate to get in the back, however, she was having none of it. Royal correspondent Richard Palmer noted a big theme of the tour has been Kate's confidence; she's no longer deferring to her husband.

The Cambridges were pleased to receive certificates for their Super Hornet training.

Department of Defence

The Duke and Duchess viewed Amberley's Memorial Garden, where the couple planted a tree.

The couple had the opportunity to pay their respects.

Kate received flowers from a little girl.

Afterwards, William and Kate attended a reception for serving air force personnel, veterans and their families.

Kate has plenty in common with military wives, having spent the first year of married life with William while he served as a RAF Search and Rescue pilot in Wales. Prince William retired from the RAF in 2013 after seven and a half years.

William and Kate posed for an official photo.

The Duke and Duchess then travelled to Brisbane City Centre to attend a reception hosted by the Governor Penelope Wensley and the Premier of Queensland Campbell Newman at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, which will be focused on Queensland's young people, drawn from a variety of walks of life and interests.

Guests enjoyed a feast made from top Queensland produce. Delicacies have been sourced from across the state, from avocado to goat cheese. Prawns, lamb and barramundi are on the canape menu as well as mango and pineapple for dessert. They were presented with a gift of 'Tambo Teddie' - a handcrafted teddy bear dressed as a stockman from the outback town of Tambo - to give to Prince George. They were also given a landscape picture of Brisbane by photographer Ben Messina to remember their visit.

Afterwards, the couple conducted a walkabout. 10,000 people waited to see them and several were treated for heatstroke as they awaited the royals.

Kate received an array of gifts for George.

Too many to carry in fact.

Little Grace Farrelly is lifted up to get a better view of her (hopefully) future-in-laws :)

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

The Duchess chose the very pretty L.K. Bennett Lasa Poppy Print Dress. The £245 snorkel blue frock is a beautiful spring piece and it is knee-length with short sleeves. It's without a doubt one of the brand's most striking pieces this season. It's the first formal high street outfit Kate has worn on this tour and it's always great to see her championing high street labels.

L.K. Bennett

More from the product description:

'Let your spring style blossom with the Lasa dress. This silhouette-skimming style comes adorned with bright poppies, arranged in an artful print against a white backdrop.'

The dress also comes in poppy.

L.K. Bennett

A look at the back of the dress.

The gorgeous print is also used in the £155 Lasa Silk Printed Top. It features the graphic, degradé poppy print in striking snorkel blue/white and coral/white. It's a loose smock style with 3/4 length blouson sleeves. It's currently available at L.K. Bennett and John Lewis.

L.K. Bennett

While Kate's dress is currently sold out, do keep an eye on the L.K. Bennett website because it's very likely they'll restock it at some point. The Detroit Dress Kate wore in February is back in stock at the moment in three colourways. The blue version is also available in a selection of sizes at Next. The label's dresses really do work very well for Kate.

The Duchess carried a new clutch today, the Odeion Bag by Australian modern lifestyle brand Oroton (with thanks to Melissa). Founded in 1938, the company has become synonymous with products of the highest quality and became iconic in the sixties and seventies for popularising gold and silver metallic mesh women's accessories. The indigo clutch is made of embossed leather and features a snake chain strap. It originally retailed for €170. Kate's private secretary Rebecca Deacon was seen carrying an Oroton bag earlier this week.


Kate wore her Alexander McQueen suede pumps.

The Duchess accessorised with her sapphire drop earrings and Mappin and Webb pendant.

And her Cartier watch.

Once again Kate wore her hair half up. It's great to see her embracing this look.

You can watch a video of William and Kate getting into the cockpit here.

Tomorrow promises to be a great day with the inclusion of Prince George:

  • Their Royal Highnesses will begin the day with at the morning service at St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney City Centre.
  • Following church, William, Kate and George will visit Taronga Zoo. They will view the bilby enclosure - named after Prince George - and conservation projects. They will see tree kangaroos, Taronga giraffes and birds of prey.
  • The Royal Party will relocate to Canberra for the remainder of the visit and will stay at Government House.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Kate in Zimmermann; Gives Speech: "To be Here Together as a Family has been Very Special"

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began day three (Good Friday) of the royal tour of Australia with a visit to the Royal Easter Show at the Sydney Olympic Park.

The show is one of Australia's largest events, and every year it attracts around 900,000 people over two weeks for a celebration of the country's culture and rural traditions, and helps support rural communities. It is run by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales and was first held in 1823. Queen Victoria awarded the society and its show the right to use the word "Royal" in its name.

The show comprises an agricultural show, an amusement park and a fair and combines the elements of each, showcasing livestock and produce. The comprehensive fair has many competitions including arts and crafts, photography and cookery, as well as tests of strength and skill such as wood chopping. It's very much a family day out, offering something for everyone.

Crowds eagerly awaited the arrival of the royal couple.

Airlie Walsh

William and Kate were introduced to Fred the ram.

We know the Cambridges enjoy exchanging banter and this was very much evident today when the Duchess suggested a solution for her husband's bald patch - an alpaca toupee and when the couple were watching sheep shearing and were shown the wool, Kate turned to William and said "you need it more than me".

A look at some of the produce on show.

Airlie Walsh Twitter Feed

The Kate pumpkin.

Kate was given a book about wombats and said "I will read this to George, he is obsessed with wombats at the moment". The Duchess also revealed the little prince "particularly fond of sweet potatoes".

Reporters said Kate was very taken with this little girl.

More from 9 News:

'Kate, a keen photographer, paid special attention to the pavilion's photography display. She told Alison Renwick, former chair of the arts and crafts pavilion, that she enjoyed taking photos, and painting and drawing. "She said she doesn't get much time for it anymore," Ms Renwick said.
The couple tasted wild berry and macadamia nougat and chocolates, and scores of presents were pressed into their minders' arms including baby clothes, fudge and tea.'

Rebecca English shared these great photos via her Twitter feed.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Prince William came across an admirer as he walked past the Haunted House.

Dash Royal Twitter Feed

William and Kate walk past a grain helicopter.

William looked very pleased with his Easter egg.

The couple met with 16-year-old Sophie Aylward - the young designer who won the 2013 Wool4Schools design competition. Sophie's brief was to create a formal piece of clothing for a member of the modern Royal Family - in her case the Duchess of Cambridge. The student researched her subject to find out what colours and cuts would suit the Duchess and then pulled all the elements of the brief together.

The result: a beautiful woollen evening dress with many interesting elements incorporated. The lace pattern is taken from Kate's wedding dress; on the back of the bodice a light chiffon is used to add contrast; and the skirt of the dress is made from fine merino wool. The garment is very reminiscent of Jenny Packham's earlier designs. It would be quite something if the Duchess chose to wear it publicly and very special for Sophie. Below we see Sophie with a model wearing her creation.


A look at the number plate on the royals' official car.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

After popping back to Admirality House to have lunch with George, the Duke and Duchess visited Bear Cottage Children's Hospice. I was surprised to read it is the only Children's Hospice in New South Wales - a real pioneer in Australia - and a very warm, colourful and remarkable happy place for families going through some very difficult times.

Kate spent time with patients.

The Duchess was very keen to learn from Australian providers of palliative care, and to share her thoughts from her work with her patronage East Anglia's Children's Hospices. It's an area Kate's very passionate about and it's wonderful to see a hospice visit incorporated on the tour of Australia, particularly as there's only one in New South Wales.

Bear Cottage

Support and awareness are vital for expansion of these badly needed services.

Kate unveils art work received as a gift from patients and their families.

In honour of the visit, this incredible cake was made by the talented folks at Spectacular Cake.

Spectacular Cake

The Duchess made an unannounced speech at the hospice:

'It really is wonderful to be here today - having the chance to meet you all and see the incredible work of Bear Cottage. First class delivery of children's palliative care is life changing. When families are confronted with the shattering news that their children have a life limiting condition, their world can fall apart. It is at those times that professional support is imperative.
 I first saw this through East Anglia's Children's Hospices and have since been fortunate to see similar work in Malaysia, then last week at Rainbow Place in New Zealand and now here today. William and I are strong believers in collaborative work. The sharing of best practice is transformational for organisations. The needs of families requiring children's palliative care across the world are varied. Circumstances and environment can differ - but the aim of those supporting them is the same - to offer the best and most loving care possible.
 I am delighted that Bear Cottage and EACH are planning to be part of a 'community of best practice'. The haven that you have created here is inspirational, and there is so much that you can share with each other as you continue to support and nurture those in your care.
 If I may, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has welcomed me and George so incredibly warmly on our first visit. To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories. Thank you for inviting us here and for such a generous welcome.'

I enjoyed Kate's speech, although she was a little nervous she came across very well and clearly cares about children's palliative care. You can watch the speech at Sky News.

Bear Cottage

Bear Cottage relies almost solely on community donations to keep their doors open to families. The hospice is there for every child, parent or family who needs them, and they will never have to pay a cent. If you wish to find out more or donate please click here. There's a terrific video showcasing their work at YouTube.

Bear Cottage

Staff and families have been incredibly excited about the visit.

Bear Cottage

According to Hello! Kate said she was "ready for a big sob" after the emotional visit. The couple fought back tears as they met a dying baby the same age as Prince George.

Bear Cottage

From their Bear Cottage visit, William and Kate  travelled to Manly Beach where they watched a display of life-saving skills and met volunteers. It's estimated volunteers at Manly have saved 200 lives every year for the last 25 years.

A cute moment.

There was tremendous excitement in Manly as locals assembled to welcome the couple.

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

Kate's private secretary Rebecca Deacon took off her high heels on the beach while Kate left her wedges on.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

The Duchess running on the beach.

Kate said she wished she could have brought George to the beach but he was asleep.

The Duchess looked elegant in a dress by Australian designer Zimmermann (a designer we looked at in our earlier tour predictions post). Nicki Zimmermann has been one of Australia's most influential fashion figures for over twenty years. From her ready-to-wear collection to a successful beach wear range, the brand is in demand both at home and internationally.

Kate wore the label's cream eyelet Roamer Day Dress from the Summer Swim 2014 Collection. The dress arrives in stores worldwide in June for $495. It is a beautiful garment and so very Kate. It's excellent to see Her Royal Highness championing an Australian brand today.


The dress has been worn by actress Naomi Watts, who played Princess Diana.

Zimmermann Facebook Page

Those who enjoy Zimmermann designs may be interested to hear they're available at the Zimmerman Website and  ShopBop (get 25% off with the code INTHEFAMILY14 at checkout).


Readers quickly noted Kate's dress today is somewhat reminiscent of the broderie anglaise Alexander McQueen suit she wore in Singapore in 2012.

Kate accessorised with her Stuart Weitzman Minx Wedges. The stylish camel wedges are currently available at Zappos for $395 with Free Shipping. They're currently on sale in ivory at 6 p.m. reduced from $395 to $118.

Stuart Weitzman

Kate carried her L.K. Bennett Natalie Clutch.

L.K. Bennett

Kate accessorised with her Annoushka pearl earrings.

And her Cartier watch.


Finally, an off-topic titbit I wanted to share with you - back at home in England - coverage of the tour has been so plentiful one royalist was concerned not to see a photo of Kate in The Times. Tuesday was the couple's rest day hence the lack of news on Wednesday :)

British Royals Twitter Feed


Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day:

  • Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Queensland and visit the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley. The visit will include a tree planting ceremony and a reception.
  • The Duke and Duchess will travel into Brisbane City Centre to attend a reception hosted by the Governor and the Premier of Queensland.

Today was my favourite day of the tour thus far - excellent quotes, Kate's speech and terrific photos made for a very fun and interesting day.

Share your thoughts on today's events and Kate's dress in the comments section below. As always, I'm looking forward to hearing your input. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Kate Reveals "It's Amazing to Finally be Here" During Blue Mountains Visit

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the second day of their royal tour of Australia in the Blue Mountains.

The couple travelled in an Australian Military Helicopter.


The Blue Mountains are famed for their natural beauty - a popular destination for Rock Climbers, Mountain Bikers and Hikers as well as canyoning and other adventure sports.

The couple received a warm welcome upon arrival.

Blue Mountains Australia Twitter Feed

Unfortunately the mountainous region is also known for the terrible bushfires the area has endured. In October 2013, fires in the Greater Blue Mountains Area had burnt over 65,000 hectares, much of the area lying within the Blue Mountains and Wollemi national parks. The 2013 New South Wales fires claimed two lives, and destroyed at least 248 dwellings and other buildings, with 193 properties destroyed and 109 damaged in the lower Blue Mountains area. The damage was devastating for those living in region. Following the fire Her Majesty The Queen sent her sympathies to those affected and praised the emergency services for their speedy response.


William and Kate met privately with some of the families affected by last year's bushfires. Locals requested that no live cameras be on the ground given they are still healing from the fires. Their Royal Highnesses spent ten minutes with one family who discussed their experience.

Kate spoke with volunteers from the Rural Fire Service about their experiences as first responders to the fires.

Their Royal Highnesses enjoyed luncheon with the girl guides.

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

The (very cute) girl guides were delighted to meet Kate.

William and Kate posed for a photo with the girl guides. Instead of saying cheese they enthusiastically said "Princess".

William and Kate participated in a tree planting ceremony: a red eucalyptus to signify all the trees that burnt down in Blue Mountains.

Kate revealed how happy she was to finally be in Australia.

Robert Jobson Twitter Feed

The Cambridges stopped at Echo Point Lookout. Perched on the edge of the escarpment of Echo Point, it provides panoramic views of the southern Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd wilderness and The Three Sisters rock formation.

The Three Sisters sandstone rock formation is one of the region's best-known tourist attractions.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

The couple received a possum fur cloak for Prince George at Echo Point comprised of seven skins. He can add to it on special occasions.

Well wishers had the opportunity to see Their Royal Highnesses at the site. Details of the visit had been kept under wraps until yesterday with palace officials only offering vague details about the itinerary for the day, so those in the area were delighted to have the chance to meet the royal couple. The exact route the couple would take, however, was not disclosed. Most likely for security reasons.

There was in fact a security alert today. More from the Mail Online's story:

'Police have stopped and searched two suspects who were "acting suspiciously" and "causing a disturbance" just metres from where the Duke and Duchess were travelling during their visit to Australia's Blue Mountains. Two men were detained, one of whom was wearing a vest made of mesh, with pro-Israel stickers attached.  
 A witness said they were searched completely and had to take all their clothes off. A NSW police spokeswoman said, "They were stopped and searched and moved on from the area".'

Certainly it was a very minor incident, but excellent to see such a diligent and thorough response from local law enforcement.

Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism chairman Daniel Myers shared his excitement:

'The Blue Mountains is one of the most recognisable, not to mention magnificent locations on the planet. It is fitting that one of the most recognisable couples on the planet visit it.'

The Blue Mountains has been a favourite royal tour destination for almost a century. The Queen and The Duke of Ednbirgh visited the Blue Mountains and Lithgow in 1954; before that The Queen's parents, then The Duke and Duchess of York visited in March 1927, and also visited Echo Point. The Duchess (later the Queen Mother) was overheard to say, "Look at those clouds! Isn't it wonderful."

There were lovely moments throughout the visit including a quote from a little girl who met Kate: "She had a really lovely voice - like she was from another country." The Duchess also said George is "cute, but very, very loud. He might scare the animals at Taronga Zoo".

Kate selected the Diane von Furstenberg Patrice Cotton Wrap Dress for today's visit. The $325 is a true wrap style in the ikat print of the season. With 3/5 length sleeves and a subtle flare skirt, it's a feminine and sophisticated piece. The dress is currently available at DVFMatches and Harvey Nichols.


Below we see a closer look at the print.


For those who like the ikat batik print, other DVF pieces which feature it include the Jaden Printed Cotton Blouse, the Avalon Corset Top, the Amelia Printed Skirt and the Amelia Silk Combo Flared Dress.


The wrap dress works very well and nobody does it better than Diane von Furstenberg - It is very much a staple piece - perfect for daytime engagements without compromising on style. Diane created the wrap dress in 1974 - forty years ago. By 1976 she had sold over a million of them. The concept behind them was to take women from the office to a night out using fabric that was clingy but not cumbersome, it celebrated a woman's silhouette. The dress embraces diversity like no other and is favoured by women aged 20 to 70 and sizes 0 to 20. Are many of you DVF customers? I always thought the designs were a perfect fit for the professional but stylish woman.

Below we look at popular examples of the wrap dress currently available; the versatile black and white Tallulah Dress, the Julian 2 Knit Wrap Dress (currently reduced from $285 to $213), the Amelia Woven Wrap Dress, the floral Jeanne Dress and the pleated Kaley Dress. All dresses shown are available in a number of colourways at Nordstrom.


The Duchess has long been a fan of DVF and previously wore the gorgeous green silk  DVF Maja dress during a trip to Los Angeles following the Canada tour in 2011. Kate has worn a number of the designers pieces over the years.

Kate teamed the dress with her trusty Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges.

Stuart Weitzman

The Duchess carried her black suede 'Muse' clutch and accessorised with her Cartier Ballon Bleu Watch. The $6000 piece is available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Once again, Kate wore her Mappin and Webb pendant.

And her sapphire and diamond drop earrings.

The Duchess wore her hair in a loose side ponytail on the helicopter but took it down before arriving. It's a very pretty on Kate.


A busy day planned for Their Royal Highnesses in Sydney tomorrow:

  • The Duke and Duchess will visit The Royal Easter Show, which takes place at the Sydney Olympic Park.
  • Their Royal Highnesses will visit Bear Cottage Children's Hospice; it is the only children's hospice in New South Wales.
  • The couple will travel the short distance to Manly Beach, where they will watch a display of life-saving skills and celebrate the work of surf life-saving volunteers.

Are you enjoying the Australian leg of the tour thus far?