Saturday, 17 March 2018

Elegant Kate in Green Catherine Walker for St Patrick's Day!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the St Patrick's Day Parade at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow this morning.

St Patrick's Day is very much a favourite royal event among readers and always one which produces great photos. Prince William is colonel of the regiment, which he was made in May 2011; it was his first honorary position in the army. Her Majesty the Queen is Colonel in Chief of the regiment. As you all remember, the Prince opted to wear the Irish Guards tunic for the royal wedding.

The Duchess was festive in green.

Three hundred and fifty soldiers marched onto the Parade Square at Cavalry Barracks.

Kate presented shamrock to officers and warrant officers, who in turn issued it along the ranks.

Kate presented shamrock to mascot Domhnall.

Photos of Kate and Domhnall have become a staple over the years, and remain my favourite from the day!

1st Battalion Irish Guards trooped its colour at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in June 2016 before returning to their primary role of light infantry. Exercises in Otterburn and Sennybridge followed in the autumn, in preparation for two overseas deployments.

In November, Number 1 Company travelled to the Falkland Islands for three months, conducting training and patrolling across the islands. Number 2 Company flew to Thailand for a month, where they took part in a jungle exercise with the Royal Thai Army – the first UK-Thai joint exercise for over 20 years.

In the New Year, the battalion returned to public duties, notably conducting the Changing of the Guard in the heavy snow of Storm Emma.

I remember seeing this photo during the worst of the 'Beast from the East'; Domhnall did his bit to keep the show going despite the weather.

A great shot of William and Kate before the parade ended.

More on the tradition inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, in 1901 when a decree stated:

'Her Majesty the Queen is pleased to order that in future, upon St. Patrick's Day, all ranks of her Irish regiments shall wear, as a distinction, a sprig of shamrock in their head dress to commemorate the gallantry of her Irish soldiers during the recent battles in South Africa.'

The tradition has become synonymous with a number of royals since, most notably the Queen Mother, who had a long affiliation and love for the Irish Guards after attending the annual military parade for the first time in 1927. It wasn't until 1964 she started to present the Royal Shamrock to the Battalion, describing it as a "great pleasure which has enabled me to forge a link with the regiment I greatly cherish". The regiment supplied the pallbearers for her funeral in 2002.

In recent years the tradition has been continued by Kate.

The Duke and Duchess met members of the regiment before sitting for official officers' and sergeants’ mess photographs. There was snowfall throughout the morning which appears to have reemerged during the official photos.

 Afterwards they met soldiers and their families. Finally, the Duke and Duchess visited the Guardsmen's Lunch where the longest-serving guardsman in the battalion proposed a toast to the royals.

The Duchess was perfectly attired for the occasion in the green Catherine Walker coat she debuted in Sweden in January. Kate looked effortlessly elegant at the parade; it's a beautifully crafted coat, which was likely designed with St Patrick's Day in mind.

Kate accessorised her coat with a faux fur collar and faux fur cuffs from Troy London. The brand was set up by Rosie Van Cutsem and her sister Lucia Ruck Keene. Rosie's husband William Van Cutsem is one of Prince William's oldest friends and godfather to Prince George.

The Duchess wore her Gina Foster Meribel hat. The milliner describes the hat as "a hard shell beret with a large bow".

Kate also sported the hat for St Patrick's Day in 2015.

Kate wore her black Tod's suede pumps.

Kate completed the look with her Kiki McDonough "Special Edition Green Tourmaline, Green Amethyst and Diamond Earrings". It is thought they were speically made to the celebrate the birth of Princess Charlotte.

Once again, the Duchess wore the Irish Guards gold shamrock brooch this year. The three-leaf brooch which has been worn by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, belongs to the regiment and they determine to whom it be loaned. Kate also wore a sprig of shamrock on her lapel.

And a closer look at Kate's updo.

The Irish Guards sent their greetings for the day (with a little reference to the England v Ireland rugby match taking place this afternoon).

A very Happy St Patrick's Day to all celebrating!


Also today, we have news of several interesting engagements announced on Wednesday and Thursday. I thought Kate might wrap up appearances after today, but that is not the case. Emily Andrews recently reported Kate is due around 23rd of April; that date is beginning to make sense as time presses on. The events celebrating the Commonwealth will coincide with appearances leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next month.

21 March - The Duchess of Cambridge will convene a symposium on the importance of early intervention to provide solid social and emotional platforms for children in their early years, helping them to become healthier and more resilient later in life.
22 March - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake engagements celebrating the Commonwealth. They will meet athletes supported by SportsAid, some of whom aim to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and help to prepare a Commonwealth Big Lunch at St Luke's Trust.

**This post will be updated with more photos shortly**

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Duchess Kate Discusses Children's Tennis Initiatives at Kensington Palace!

An unannounced engagement for Kate today! The Duchess met with representatives from British Tennis, Wimbledon and Coach Core at Kensington Palace to discuss children's tennis initiatives in the UK and sports at grassroots level.

Participants in the discussion included well known faces Judy Murray and former British number one Tim Henman. Since his retirement from courtside action, Tim is a familiar face commentating tournaments including Wimbledon. Kate's private secretary Catherine Quinn and assistant private secretary Laura Baker were also present.

The meeting follows William and Kate's appearance at yesterday's Commonwealth Day service. Kate has stepped up her engagements markedly over the past couple of months. A number of you have been in touch asking when she's taking maternity leave; I think it's quite possible St Patrick's Day will be her last engagement before then. It's a nice one to finish up with.

Kate and Judy Murray appear to get along incredibly well thanks to their shared love of tennis. Kate has spent time with Judy at a number of engagements over the years, most recently at a Coach Core graduation ceremony last October.

Kate visited Judy's tennis programme in Scotland in 2016. Built on the assumption that more can be done to capitalise on the success of the Murray brothers, 'Tennis on the Road' was created to increase coaching capacity in Scotland and grow the game at a grassroots level. Featuring engaging and creative activities, the programme is tailored to teach the basics of tennis to parents, teachers, volunteers and sports development teams to help children develop core skills. Since Judy founded the workshops in 2014 over 2,200 adults have been trained and over 35,000 children have had access to tennis as a direct result of the programme.

As noted above, representatives from Coach Core were present:

The Coach Core apprenticeship scheme was designed by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to take young people aged 16 – 24 with limited opportunities, and train them to be sports coaches and positive role models and mentors in their communities. The apprentices learn technical sport skills alongside an inclusive and holistic approach to coaching, with an emphasis on employability and mentoring skills.
Coach Core is proud to have transformed the lives of its apprentices with 98% of its graduates now being in full-time employment or education, and 80% retain strong ties with their employers and continue to engage in community sport. Apart from qualifications, participants gain the opportunity to grow, support from a network  of professionals and the chance to develop personal qualities including leadership and confidence.

In December 2016, Kate took over from the Queen as Royal Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, better known as Wimbledon. The choice was a splendid fit for Kate, who is a keen player and avid tennis fan. Kate generally spends a day or two at the tournament every summer.

It very much looks like Kate wore her GOAT Redgrave coat for the meeting. Kate first wore the piece in 2013 when she was expecting Prince George for a visit to Child Bereavement UK and again last November for an engagement with Family Action. The label has served as a firm favourite throughout Kate's pregnancy.

The nude A lined shaped coat features side seam diagonal welt pockets. It's described as "classic and sophisticated". The piece remains available in several colours at GOAT and FarFetch.

It's always interesting to see behind-the-scenes royal work. Perhaps we'll see a children's tennis initiative developed by the Royal Foundation down the line? It was also noted in the Court Circular, Kate received the Rt. Hon. Nicolas Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards, this morning.

We'll see William and Kate on Saturday for St Patrick's Day :)

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