Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Flowers, Prayer & Nurse Kate: The Cambridges' Away Day in Coventry

For their first 'away day' of 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Coventry for a day of engagements. The couple's visit was planned as an opportunity to congratulate Coventry on becoming the new UK City of Culture and open Coventry University’s new Science and Health Building.

There's been a great atmosphere surrounding the visit. Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper told The Coventry Telegraph:

“It’s going to be another memorable day for our city and we’re looking forward to seeing many Coventry people there, waving flags and cheering for our Royal visitors.
“We want people from right across the city, young and old, to help give the Duke and Duchess a warm Coventry welcome and show how proud we are to be UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Local children cheer as the royals arrive.

Victoria Murphy shared a video of Kate thanking the lady who helped organise the programme for the day.

The day began at Coventry Cathedral where the couple met members of the public before going inside.

Kate chatted with locals who waited for hours to meet the couple.

The Duchess received a selection of flowers and teddy bears.

People reports:

The couple arrived to cheers from hundreds of flag-waving schoolchildren from the local Sacred Heart School. Among them, was Darcy Hayes, 9, who gave Kate some bright orange flowers. “She said her son George will love the flowers because he loves orange — and police colors. I told them I had an American girl doll for Christmas and William said Charlotte loves dolls,” said Hayes. “They were nice and cheerful.”
When William and Kate were last in the English Midlands, they visited a famous whistle factory in Birmingham. There, they were given whistles. 
Seeing them again, Connie Hudson — wife of the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, who was in the welcoming committee at the cathedral — said she asked William, “Did you actually give the whistles to the children or did you chicken out?” Continued Hudson, “And he said ‘We did give them but they soon found their way into a cupboard because of the noise!’ “I said to the duchess that she’s ‘blossoming’ because she was just getting over the awful sickness when we last saw her,” said Hudson. “She’s doing well now and it’s an exciting year to look forward to with the baby and the wedding. What’s not to like?”

Kate was accompanied by her private secretary Catherine Quinn and RPO Emma Probert.

A video from the walkabout.

The Mail online reports Kate came to the aid of a sick boy.

'The Duchess came to the rescue of a 10-year-old boy who felt unwell after waiting three hours in the cold to see her. When she spotted that he was not well, she turned to one of her police protection officers for a sickbag. 'Princess Kate came over and give him a sickbag, our little Craig,' said Carole Flynn, a learning mentor at the school. 'I think he was a little bit overcome.'
The Duchess met Craig Skipper, a pupil at Corpus Christi primary school, on a walkabout outside Coventry Cathedral. Ms Flynn said: 'He went quite pale. She came over to speak to him, and noticed he was not very well. She asked if he was OK. She bent down, and was concerned.' The duchess then went over to talk to one of her police bodyguards, and came back with a brown paper bag of the type used by cafes for takeaway coffee and sandwiches. It was lovely of her,' said Ms Flynn. 'She really took time with him. You can tell she is a mum, and has got that caring side.'

The Cathedral has a fascinating history. St Michael's Church was largely constructed between the late 14th century and early 15th century. It was one of the largest parish churches in England when, in 1918, it was elevated to cathedral status on the creation of Coventry Diocese. This St Michael's Cathedral now stands ruined, bombed almost to destruction during the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940 by the German Luftwaffe. Only the tower, spire, the outer wall and the bronze effigy and tomb of its first bishop, Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs, survived. The ruins of this older cathedral remain hallowed ground and are listed at Grade I.

Following the bombing of the medieval cathedral in 1940, Provost Richard Howard had the words "Father Forgive" inscribed on the wall behind the altar of the ruined building. Theories claiming Winston Churchill had prior knowledge but chose not to act, because it would have alerted Adolf Hitler to the fact the Allies had recently cracked the Nazis' top-secret Enigma codes, only added to the fallout. The theory has never been proven.

William and Kate were given a short tour of the ruins of the original building

Afterwards, they met members of the local community gathered there.

The Duke and Duchess proceeded into the new cathedral, completed in 1962 and consecrated that year in the presence of the Queen.

The new Cathedral.

They heard about the history of the Cathedral before taking part in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation. The Litany is prayed by those inspired by the story of Coventry Cathedral, aimed at healing the wounds of history and building a culture of peace. Written in 1958 by Rev Joseph Poole. It is a prayer that has been in use for decades and continues to be prayed each weekday at noon in a short ceremony in Coventry Cathedral as well as by thousands of people around the world.

The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation:

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Coventry Cathedral shared this image of the couple leaving.

The couple enjoyed a cup of tea with staff and volunteers at the Rising Café, a social enterprise aimed at providing work and opportunity for those overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

The Express reports: William said that Charlotte would like the princess cake - and described the Union Jack one as “very patriotic”. He added: “You should be on Bake Off.”

A selection of beautifully decorated cakes, scones and afternoon tea were prepared for the royals.

Kate revealed she isn't a fan of almond milk. More from the Evening Standard:

'Ms Gardener, who lives in Birmingham, revealed how the best planned royal visits can have slip-ups. “We put almond milk on the table, because we had read that she had it. She said, ‘Don’t believe everything you read - I don’t even like almond milk.'

From there, the Duke and Duchess travelled on to Coventry University to open the new Science and Health Building.

William and Kate with staff.

And shared a lighthearted moment with a patient.

The University is one of the fastest growing in the country, with more than 26,000 students. The £59 million Science and Health Building trains nurses, midwives, paramedics and other health professionals using the latest technology and simulation methods. It is the only facility of its kind in the UK, where students can learn to care for a patient at every stage of their medical experience; from paramedics arriving at their house and their ambulance journey, to their stay in hospital, through to their rehabilitation at home.

William and Kate met students before following the journey of a fictional patient through the various areas of specialty taught at the faculty, from the Paramedic Ambulance Simulator and operating theatre to the rehabilitation area and adapted living 'houses'.

The couple met 'Meti-Man'... A state-of-the-art patient simulator, who needs and responds to care like a real life patient.

Time for a 'wiggle dance' during a communications training session :)

William and Kate officially opened the Science and Health building.

Finally, the Duke and Duchess saw first-hand the work of the Positive Youth Foundation in the city.

The Foundation works with young people who find themselves living in challenging circumstances. It provides education programmes for excluded young people or those at risk of a range of social issues. The Foundation also provides community sessions for young people newly arrived into the UK and a variety of other support programmes, working with over 2,500 young people each year. The charity formed an integral part of Coventry’s successful UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

The Duchess joined a discussion about mental health.

Meanwhile, William headed to the sports and music area. James Ogundare, 18, spoke to Prince William on his visit. He said: “He was a genuine guy, he enjoyed our games and I was telling him he would take it away with him. I wish he could have joined in but he didn’t want his suit to rip! He enjoyed our energy. That’s why all of us come because this is who we are. We had to tone it down a bit so Kate could hear. We were excited and nervous but the excitement took over. We were just ourselves and relaxed.”

More from the Foundation:

'The Positive Youth Foundation has been working with young people for over two decades across Coventry. Many young people in challenging circumstances are dealing with issues related to poverty, the lure of gangs and family concerns. All of which can have a profound effect on their future lifestyle choices.
At the Positive Youth Foundation, we work with young people to help them overcome their barriers through targeted provision across multiple areas of engagement. For the young people of Coventry, the chance to talk to their Highnesses is an incredibly inspiring and significant moment for them.
Rashid Bhayat, CEO of Positive Youth Foundation, said: “The Positive Youth Foundation support young people through targeted education, health, creative and social-engagement programmes'

The couple met staff and volunteers.

William and Kate watched a performance from young people.

The Duchess brought back the cerise pink Mulberry coat she debuted in New York in 2014. Kate has repeated a number of looks from the maternity wardrobe she wore when expecting Charlotte.

The £2,600 coat was described this way: 'A double-breasted coat is a timeless winter style with a reassuringly classic silhouette. Updated in vibrant cerise, this version has beautiful finishing details including elegant horn buttons and contrasting midnight blue lining.'


A closer look.


Middleton Maven shared an excellent Repli-Kate for the coat; the L.K. Bennett Bay Raspberry Coat.

L.K. Bennett

Kate wore her much loved TOD's suede pumps.


Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Morganite earrings.

Kiki McDonough

The Duchess carried her black suede Mulberry clutch and wore Cornelia James Beatrice gloves.

A lovely day in Coventry with an excellent itinerary!

The Duchess has two engagements tomorrow. First, she will visit Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building. Later that afternoon, the Duchess will visit Bond Primary School in Mitcham to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Sweden and Norway Itinerary: "The Duke and Duchess are Keen to Experience a Taste of the Scandinavian Way of Life for Themselves"

With just two weeks to go until the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertake an official tour to Sweden and Norway; Kensington Palace released a statement with the itinerary and additional details regarding the trip. The four-day tour marks William and Kate's first official visit to the two European countries. What can we expect? There's a full itinerary planned involving members of the Royal families in both countries. "The Duke and Duchess have asked, as with previous overseas visits, that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Swedes and Norwegians as possible. Their Royal Highnesses will meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, those working in the mental health sector, and leaders in business, academia and scientific research, government, civil society and the creative industries."

More from the Kensington Palace statement:

'During the tour, The Duke and Duchess will be welcomed to Sweden and Norway by the respective Royal Families of each country. Their Royal Highnesses have been invited by Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden to a special luncheon at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, and in Norway will join Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja at Oslo's Royal Palace for an official dinner. The Duke and Duchess also look forward to spending time with Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who will join Their Royal Highnesses on a number of their engagements throughout the visit. 
The tour will also take in the beautiful settings of both Stockholm and Oslo, and     The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to exploring these two cities for the first time. Their Royal Highnesses will wander through the cobbled streets of Stockholm en route to the iconic Stortorget square; they will take in the lit up skyline from the Fotografiska Galleries, and they will visit the ski jump Holmenkollen, one of Norway's most iconic landmarks, which boasts dramatic views over the city of Oslo.
The four day tour will also include time learning more about what makes Scandinavian culture so unique, from attitudes towards young people and mental health in schools, to the importance of being active and spending time outdoors, whatever the temperature may be. The Duke and Duchess are keen to experience a taste of the Scandinavian way of life for themselves, and to see how people of all generations battle the elements to make the most of their surroundings, whether ice-skating in Stockholm's local parks, or skiing off-piste in the hills that surround Oslo.   
The UK’s links with each country are extensive, and Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of both Sweden and Norway.'

Tuesday, 30 Jaunary

The tour kicks off on Tuesday morning in Stockholm, at a bandy hockey event at Vasaparken, an outdoor ice-skating venue in the centre of Stockholm. Interestingly, we won't see airport arrival photos from Sweden, instead William and Kate will fly over on Monday and arrive at the rink from the Residence of the British Ambassador to Sweden, where they will have stayed the night before. The Duke and Duchess will meet a group of local bandy players on the ice, and learn more about the sport and its popularity in Sweden.

From there, William and Kate will head to the Royal Palace of Stockholm for a packed royal affair at a luncheon hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to officially welcome them to Sweden. Approximately fifteen members of the Swedish Royal Court will attend the luncheon, including Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel. It's quite possible Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and Princess Madeleine will be there.

I'm very excited to see William and Kate teaming up with Victoria and Daniel. They have two young children, Estelle and Oscar, no doubt they'll have plenty to discuss and get along famously. The foursome will walk through the picturesque cobbled streets of Stockholm from the Royal Palace to the Nobel Museum. During this walk, The Cambridges will have an opportunity to meet members of the Swedish public that will have assembled in Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm, and a charming public space outside the Nobel Museum. Once inside the Museum, they will meet a number of Nobel Laureates, and will hear more from the Museum's curator about Science in Sweden and the Nobel Laureate system.

From the Nobel Museum, The Duke and Duchess will travel to Ark Des, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. They will attend an event celebrating architectural collaboration and the best of Swedish design, from the most iconic and global furniture brands, to up-and-coming homeware designers with new takes on sustainable furnishings.

That evening will see the first glamorous evening event of the tour, The Duke and Duchess will attend a black tie dinner at the Residence of the British Ambassador, attended by members of the Swedish Royal Family, and representatives from government, and popular culture, including Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and actors Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd and Alicia Vikander. It promises to be a memorable night and the perfect opportunity to bring out a gown and jewels.

Wednesday, 31 January

The morning of Day Two will focus on Sweden's pioneering work in the field of mental health and children's wellbeing, and in particular how this translates into support for children and young teenagers going through the Swedish education system. More from KP:

'Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, will begin the morning at the world famous Karolinska Institute, which accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden. The Duke and Duchess will meet with leading scientific researchers and practitioners to discuss ground-breaking academic work in developmental psychology, and Sweden’s approach to managing mental health challenges, including the impact of physical activity on mental health. Their Royal Highnesses will also hear about the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) programme run by the National Association for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill Health (NASP). YAM is a programme run for 14 – 16 year olds promoting increased knowledge about mental health through dialogue and role-play, and now operates internationally, including in the UK.
The Duke and Duchess and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel will then head to Matteusskolan, a comprehensive school in the heart of the city centre. Their Royal Highnesses will join children who have taken part in the YAM programme during one of their mental health activity sessions, and will speak to the mentors who run the training.'

That afternoon, the two Royal couples will visit one of Sweden's leading department stores – NK – to open an interactive exhibition of UK design, fashion and brands that operate in Sweden. The Duke and Duchess will learn how these brands in particular put innovation, technology and sustainable practices at the forefront of their businesses. The event will take place in NK's entrance hall, and for the duration of the exhibition the best of British brands will feature in the display windows of the store.

They will travel to Haga Palace, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's official residence, for a private tea with the Royal couple.

On their last evening in Stockholm, The Duke and Duchess will attend an event at the Fotografiska Gallery, which at night boasts beautiful views over Stockholm. The event will be a celebration of contemporary culture with guests representing the worlds of music, film, television, theatre, tech, dance, art and sport, with live music, drinks and canapés. William will also deliver a speech at this event. Weather permitting, the couple will travel to Fotografiska by boat, allowing William and Kate to take in the views of Stockholm by night as they pass around the harbour.

Thursday, 1 February

On Thursday morning, the Cambridges will depart Sweden for Norway from Uppsala Airbase. Prior to their departure, The Duke and Duchess will receive a short briefing on the Swedish Armed Forces' operational capabilities, before viewing some of the Gripen aircraft of the type deployed by Sweden as its commitment to the Joint Expeditionary Force. The Duke and Duchess will land in Norway at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in the late morning, where they will be met by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. From there, Their Royal Highnesses will travel directly to the Royal Palace, where The Duke and Duchess will stay at the invitation of King Harald and Queen Sonja.

The KP statement continued:

'On arrival at the Royal Palace, The Duke and Duchess will be officially welcomed to Norway by The King and Queen by way of a luncheon, which will also be attended by other members of The Royal Family. Following this, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park within the Palace Gardens, which opened last year in the name of Princess Ingrid Alexandra to mark the 25th anniversary of The King's reign. The sculptures, of which there are now four, are designed by and for children, through cartoon competitions in schools across the country. During this visit, The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to meet members of the public gathered in the park.
Later that afternoon, The Duke and Duchess, accompanied by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, will attend an event held at MESH, a co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to grow their businesses and thrive in a creative environment. Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation are high priorities for Norway and the UK, with plenty of exciting collaboration across the North Sea. Their Royal Highnesses will meet a number of Norwegian and UK companies based at MESH showcasing their work, and will see how some start-ups are tackling issues such as the environment, and mental health and wellbeing, in new and engaging ways.'

That evening, Their Majesties will host an official dinner in William and Kate's honour at the Royal Palace. The dinner will be attended by members of government, leaders in business and those from the Norwegian creative industries. There will also be serving members and veterans from the Norwegian Armed Forces, who will be introduced to Their Royal Highnesses. Both King Harald and Prince William will speak at the dinner. Although, this sounds like an ideal tiara opportunity, royal reporters were told the Duchess would not be wearing one during the tour.

Friday, 2 February

The final day of the tour begins at the Hartvig Nissen School, which was the location for the hugely successful Norwegian television programme 'Skam'. Skam is a drama series highlighting teenagers and the challenges young people can experience growing up, such as identity issues, bullying, relationships, sexual assault, and eating disorders. Following on from the theme lines of the show, the characters started their own social media profiles to engage with the audience watching directly, creating an international following and fan base.

Later that morning, The Duke and Duchess will travel to Skaugum, the official residence of The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway, for a private lunch. I imagine we'll see an official photo or two.

The tour will end at Holmenkollen:

'The final engagements of the tour will take place in the beautiful setting of Holmenkollen, the snowy hills that overlook the city of Oslo. Here, Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by The Crown Prince and Princess, will see how Norwegians embrace the outdoors in the coldest of temperatures, and champion the importance of exercise and wellbeing.'

William and Kate will firstly visit Holmenkollen's most iconic landmark – the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. With panoramic views over the city, the ski jump is truly impressive in its size, and has capacity for more than 70,000 spectators. The Cambridges will walk through the Holmenkollen ski museum and then watch a demonstration from some of Norway's top under-18 ski jumpers, before meeting them at the top of the ski jump. The Duke and Duchess will then attend an event organised by the Norwegian Ski Federation, at which they will see a group of local nursery children taking part in an afternoon ski school session on the slopes. The Duke and Duchess will join children taking part in a number of outdoors activities, from experiencing Sami tents, to roasting sausages on an open fire.

From Holmenkollen, The Duke and Duchess will depart for the airport, and on to London.

It's an excellent itinerary; jam-packed with events highlighting the beautiful surroundings of both countries. There's a nice focus on businesses in both countries especially the visit to NK, and the creative industries are highlighted. William and Kate's focus on mental health and young people is also a prominent feature. I'm looking forward to seeing the Duke and Duchess carrying out engagements with Royals from both countries and of course the black-tie evening events promise a host of sparkling looks for the Duchess (I bet Jenny Packham is busily adding finishing touches to a gown or two). Kate will be around six months pregnant when the tour commences; I expect we'll see bespoke items, maternity wear pieces and a look or two by designers and brands based in Norway and Sweden. Are you looking forward to the tour? :)

George and Charlotte will not be accompanying their parents on this tour. George is attending school at Thomas's Battersea and Charlotte began at Willcocks Nursery earlier this month. They will be looked after by Nanny Maria and the Middleton family.

Speaking of the adorable pair, the Queen shared a little update on George and Charlotte. Richard Palmer writes:

'The Queen has suggested royal chatterbox Princess Charlotte loves to boss around her big brother Prince George. She made the comment after asking if a schoolgirl she was presenting with a Bible “looked after” her little sister.
The mother of the girl replied that it was “the other way around”, prompting the Queen to say: “It’s like that with Charlotte and George.” Her description of her great granddaughter echoed a remark by the Duchess of Cambridge, who in March last year said Charlotte was “the one in charge”. The Queen discussed Charlotte with Ellen Clay, 38, who went to Sandringham House to watch her daugher Emily, 10, receive a Bible. 
Every year, she presents a Bible to the pupil from primary schools on her Norfolk estate who does best in a religious studies project. This year the prize was awarded to Emily of Dersingham, Norfolk, whose father Tom Clay, 38, also won it in 1990. Mrs Clay said: “She asked if Emily looked after Hadleigh and I said it was more the other way round. She said it was like that with Princess Charlotte and Prince George.” Insurance worker Mr Clay added: “The Queen was implying that Charlotte keeps an eye out for George rather than the other way around. “It is often the case that a younger child is more confident. It is second child syndrome.”

See you tomorrow for William and Kate's day in Coventry. In the meantime, don't forget to vote for Kate's Best Coat and Gown of 2017 here.

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