We have several interesting stories and updates to share with you today, beginning with news William and Kate arrived in the Maldives at 9.45 this morning via a British Airways flight for a week long holiday. The surprise trip comes just weeks before the couple embark on a three-week-tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince George. The couple elected not to take their son with them and it has been reported he's staying with the Middleton family in Bucklebury.
According to news outlets in the Maldives, the Cambridges are staying at a newly opened private resort in the northern part of the Maldives. The area hosts a selection of luxurious spa resorts with hotels and villas.
Royal reporter Richard Palmer shared this via Twitter.
|Richard Palmer Twitter Feed|
The vacation has been described as a "bad move" on William and Kate's part. Given the fact there's been only a handful of engagements this year another holiday (Kate recently went to Mustique and William to Spain on a hunting trip) seems a very unexpected choice for the royal couple. If there had been even a couple of engagements recently, it may have deterred some of the negative headlines they will no doubt receive. Of course, it's all about balance and finding a happy medium between a private life and their public role.
We'll update if news and/or photos emerge.
In other news, Kensington Palace has confirmed The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks, Aldershot. The event marks William and Kate's first joint engagement this year. William will attend as colonel of the regiment and Kate will present the traditional sprigs of shamrock to officers and guardsmen.
This will mark the third consecutive year the Duchess has presented shamrock, a tradition previously kept by The Queen Mother. In 2012 and 2013 Kate chose a green Emilia Wickstead coat dress. Will it have a third outing, or will she opt for something new? It is the only engagement pencilled in for Kate this month.
What else has Kate been up to this week? Her Royal Highness was a guest at the farewell party for Sir Marcus Setchell, The Queen's surgeon-gynaecologist who delivered Prince George last July at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington. The doctor was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order shortly after George's birth.
The party, which took place at the Hyde Park Hilton, doubled as fundraiser for the Wellbeing of Women, an organisation which works towards improving the health of women and babies across the UK. No photos emerged from the event, nor details about Kate's outfit, however, I suspect a smart black dress would have been an excellent choice. It was lovely to hear Kate supported Sir Marcus and of course, Wellbeing of Women, an incredibly worthy organisation. Perhaps one Kate might work with in the future?
'Despite spending more than £1 million of taxpayers' money on making their Kensington Palace home fit for two future kings, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on yet another programme of decoration.
Kate, is understood to have sought help from a flamboyant designer after becoming dissatisfied with the colour scheme she planned while pregnant. She tried to do the revamp cheaply with the builders who did the kitchen, and she got Dulux paints to match the Farrow & Ball colour palette to save money, I'm told. But she wasn't happy with the result, and one room came out with a horrible, unexpected purple tinge. She's blaming it on her hormones before the birth.'
I quietly smiled to myself upon reading about the "purple tinge". Who hasn't had a home décor disaster or two? I vividly recall the living room in my parents home was redecorated one summer whilst we were away. Upon returning the neural palette we were used too had been replaced by a forest green and burnt orange colour scheme. Needless to say the paintbrushes were out within hours. Even the royals have situations like this. Decorating twenty-one rooms is no mean feat, even for those with sublime taste.
Our last portion of today's post focuses on recent tour headlines. Following the official announcement of the Cambridges' tour itinerary, headlines emerged reporting The King of the Maori people has refused to meet the royal couple during their tour of New Zealand next month. Prince William was due to meet King Tuheitia, who ascended to the Maori throne in 2006, at his official residence, but separate engagements for the couple scuppered plans.
More from the BBC story:
'His office said the King was "not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone". A statement from his office said that while he had "agonised" over the decision, the monarch was not prepared to meet the royal couple for only 90 minutes.
It blamed "faceless bureaucrats" for a "grave error in judgement" and said the full reasons for the refusal were conveyed to the royal couple in a letter several weeks ago. The statement added, "The King wanted to give his best to the couple to reflect their status, he was being prevented from doing that."'
Moving on, several readers have been in touch enquiring about the possibility of reading the official press release from Kensington Palace regarding the tour. It is available in full on William and Kate's official website with a detailed look at their schedule and remarks by William's private secretary Miguel Head. Below we share a segment:
'The party is similar in size to recent overseas visits undertaken by Their Royal Highnesses. It consists of me and the Duchess's Private Secretary, Rebecca Deacon, three press officers, a Tour Secretary, a Personal Assistant, a Hairdresser and an Orderly to help manage the logistics. Sir David Manning will also accompany Their Royal Highnesses throughout. A new addition to the party is, of course, Prince George’s nanny.
The Duke and Duchess will travel from London to Australia by scheduled flights, and onto New Zealand courtesy of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Once in New Zealand, the RNZAF will very kindly transport the royal party around the country. The flight from Wellington to Sydney will be provided by the Royal Australian Air Force and, similarly, all flights in-country will be with the RAAF. The return flight to London will again be on a scheduled airline.
It goes without saying that The Duke and Duchess are hugely grateful for the support of both air forces in helping to deliver the tour. On behalf of Their Royal Highnesses, and their Household, I should also like to thank, if I may, the Governors-General and Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia, who have been immensely kind in the guidance and support they have given thus far.
Taking a nine-month-old on a Royal tour is not a first, but it has not happened in this Royal Family’s context for many, many years, so there has been much to think about – as any new parent travelling long distance will recognise!
In summary, if I might, this visit will cover off much territory and will allow Their Royal Highnesses to do what they wanted to do above all else: meet New Zealanders and Australians – in Wellington, Blenheim, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch; then Sydney, Brisbane, the Adelaide area, Uluru and Canberra – and this list is not even exhaustive. There is no hiding the enthusiasm for this visit by both The Duke and The Duchess.
Naturally, there's much excitement in New Zealand and Australia as preparations are underway to welcome the royal couple. New Zealand's official issuer of commemorative coins has designed a Royal Visit 2014 Silver Proof Coin. The $139 (NZD) pieces feature William, Kate and George in front of Government House, Wellington.
|New Zealand Coins|
Finally, a look at this week's tour-themed cover of Hello! Magazine.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this week's royal stories. We'll be back with more tour style possibilities next. :)