Saturday, 23 August 2014

Kate's Malta Tour: Two Days, Ten Engagements & All the Details

We're back again to share details of Kate's upcoming tour to Malta. In yesterday's post we noted how quiet things have been on the royal front (for those of you experiencing withdrawals, trust me when I say there is never too much of a gap without news or an appearance of some sort).

Kensington Palace released the full itinerary for Kate's first solo trip abroad without Prince William by her side. The two-day visit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the island's independence from the UK, will see the Duchess undertake ten engagements encompassing a wide variety of events including firsts for Her Royal Highness, such as meetings with the Prime Minister and President, usually a task William would have completed on previous tours. Let's take a look at the schedule along with the details revealed thus far.

Saturday, 20 September

Upon arrival the Duchess will call on the President of Malta, Maria Louise Coleiro Praca, at San Anton Palace where she will be staying during her visit. The beautiful Palace is located in Attard, it was constructed as a country villa by Knight Antoine de Paule, a French aristocrat, who named it Sainte Antoine after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua.

Kate is following in the Queen's footsteps; Her Majesty also stayed at the Palace during recent visits.

After a meeting with the President, Kate's next stop is the beautiful Auberge de Castille, where she will call on Prime Minister The Honourable Dr Joseph Muscat and his wife.


The Duchess will then view a re-enactment of an historical event - the inspection of the fort and garrison by Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John, before travelling to the National Library in Valletta where she will view historical documents, including letters from kings Henry VIII and George II, and the original citation awarding the George Cross to Malta.

National Library Facebook Page

The day concludes with a very special event which is considered the pinnacle of the visit; Independence Day celebrations at Upper Barrakka Gardens.


It promises to be a spectacular evening set against the backdrop of the Grand Harbour.

We expect Kate will pull out a show-stopper for this event. Be it cocktail or full-length this will most likely be the fashion highlight of the trip.

Sunday, 21 September

Day two is equally jam packed beginning with an Independence Day service at St John's Co-Cathedral. After the service she will view the two Caravaggios in the Cathedral Museum.


Art History graduate Kate will particularly enjoy seeing some of the works of Caravaggio - the artist Michaelangelo Merisi. Born in the town of Caravaggio, he was the first great representative of the Baroque movement. Indeed, he was the archetypal rebellious artist and led quite a turbulent life which matched the high drama of the chiaroscuro style that his paintings became famous for.


In 1606, while working in Rome, one of his many brawls resulted in Caravaggio killing a young man. With a price on his head he travelled to Naples where he would be outside the Roman jurisdiction and under the protection of the Colonna family. After one of many incidents and in an attempt to regain favour, he painted 'Salome with the head of John the Baptist' in which he depicted his own head on a platter and sent the work to Alof de Wignacourt - Grand Master of the Order of Malta and his patron - as a plea for forgiveness.


One of the paintings Kate will view: 'The Beheading of Saint John The Baptist'.

St John's Co-Cathedral

Next, the Duchess will visit Agenzija Zghazgh (Agency for Youth), a government agency which runs a number of initiatives supporting young people. Her Royal Highness will hear about the work of the organisation from young people who avail of the centre and support workers. Working with young people is one of the three main goals of William, Kate and Harry's Royal Foundation and it's nice to see that incorporated in an overseas visit.

Kate will take a short walkabout through Vittoriosa Square before being taken to the Church of St Lawrence to view Maltese art. Again we're seeing art included in the visit, and obviously this itinerary was planned with Kate's interest in the subject in mind.


Kate will then enjoy a boat tour across the Grand Harbour where she will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights and iconic views between Vittoriosa and Valletta. This promises to be a memorable one for the Duchess.

Voyages to Antiqity

To take a peek at what Kate will see, you can view webcams of the harbour at the Visit Malta website.


The visit comes to a close with a garden party at High Commissioner Rob Luke's residence marking Independence Day.

It is an important milestone for Kate as a royal. More from People's story:

'This a seminal moment for her, when she will be showing herself to be a stateswoman in her own right,' a palace source tells people. Kate is also giving a speech, which insiders say she is "nervous about".'

As you can see, much thought and consideration has gone into planning this trip. In fact, it is believed Kate discussed it at length with Her Majesty - and will no doubt be asked to report back upon return. Malta holds a very special place in the Queen's heart, and she spent some of the happiest months of her life there as a newly-wed when Prince Philip was stationed there as a serving Royal Navy officer. The royal couple stayed at a villa rented by Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten.

Royal commentators have described it as a sign of self-confidence in her grandson's wife that the monarch has asked Kate to travel to Malta. William and Kate's roles as members of the Royal Family will change dramatically in years to come (I was chatting to a seasoned royalist the other day who noted it is not beyond the realms of possibility they will be king and queen in fifteen years) and I do believe gradually easing into these duties and responsibilities can only prove a positive for the Cambridges and the monarchy.

Kate's wardrobe for the visit will also have required quite a bit of planning. The Duchess will more than likely want to give a nod to her host country through her selections whilst remaining mindful of being appropriately dressed for the nature of each event. Bespoke pieces may have already been created by her favourite brands Alexander McQueen and Alice Temperley. We're going to see hats and possibly Kate's favoured coatdresses, with evening attire for receptions on both nights. While we won't see a tiara, the occasion will call for a nice piece of jewellery or two. Keep an eye out for red or white pieces!

While Kate's away, William be on parenting duties and like the rest of the world, will see his wife's solo visit covered on the television and in the media (when little George isn't keeping him occupied).

We're very excited about this tour, and feel certain Kate will do a terrific job. What do you think of the itinerary? What events are you most looking forward to?

Friday, 22 August 2014

William and Kate Enjoy Pub Supper with the Middletons, Hobbs' Autumn/Winter Styles & A Royal Rewind!

Hello-Hello dear readers,

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been keeping an incredibly low profile this month. It is believed they have been spending much of their time overseeing the finishing touches to their Georgian country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk, before Prince William begins training for his new role as an air ambulance pilot in the autumn.

It has been widely reported they plan to take Prince George to Balmoral where they will have the opportunity to spend time with the Royal Family and enjoy the Scottish countryside. However, it does appear they've spent at least the earlier part of this month in Berkshire with the Middletons. There were a couple of sightings of Kate in various shops in Berkshire and earlier this month the Cambridges and the Middletons enjoyed a family meal at their local pub, The Pot Kiln, located just three miles from the Middletons' manor in Bucklebury.

The Pot Kiln

An onlooker was surprised to see William and Kate arrive at the pub accompanied by Mike, Carole, Pippa and her boyfriend Nico Jackson. The group looked casual and relaxed in shirts and jeans as they enjoyed an evening without interruption. Kate and Pippa tucked into Scotch eggs; the traditional snack consists of hard-boiled egg wrapped in a thick layer of sausage meat with a breadcrumb crust.

Betty Crocker

Despite the royal guests, fellow diner Carole Scott was more taken by Pippa's boyfriend! :)

Carole Scott Twitter Feed

The Pot Kiln is the sort of rural pub William and Kate love. In fact, for Valentine's weekend 2010 they popped in for a bite to eat and had drinks. During their time in Anglesey too, they frequented local pubs, though in London they prefer to entertain at home rather than sampling Michelin-starred eateries.

Baeur Griffin

More from The Pot Kiln's website:

'The Pot Kiln has been regarded as one of Britain's best country pub restaurants since it was taken over by Mike and Katie Robinson in 2005. The pub is very much the real deal, being not only a haven for serious eaters, but also a watering hole for those who love the peace and tranquillity of a proper old English pub serving real ales.'

The view from the front door is beautiful.

The Pot Kiln

The bar food menu offers hearty classics including steak sandwiches, pies and Kate and Pippa's favourite scotch eggs.

The Pot Kiln

At present there haven't been any engagements announced for the Duchess. If nothing is announced next week, it would seem there wont be much in the way of appearances until Kate's solo trip to Malta on 20th September.


Moving on to all things fashion. It is also wonderful to hear quotes about the royals from those who know them. The Duchess of Cornwall's daughter Sara Parker Bowles, associate editor at Harper's Bazaar UK and senior editor at Town and Country UK gave an interview to The Telegraph, during which she spoke about Kate briefly:

'Of The Duchess of Cambridge she will only say: 'We've talked about designers we admire in the past and she's always very complimentary about what I wear, but clearly, she feels she's got more important things to think about - and that's what makes her so endearing.'

Our next topic involves the Autumn/Winter Collection from one of Kate's favourite high street retailers Hobbs. We've been increasingly impressed with their offerings of late; sophisticated, chic, classic pieces which work particularly well for professional and formal settings.


We know Kate loves blue and there are some gorgeous blue garments which would look perfect with a fitted blazer. What do you think of the romantic lace work on the Delphinium Dress, the Madeira Dress and the fit-and-flare Abigail Dress.


The ladylike Luisa and Anita dresses.


A smart skirt suit or a pretty dress with a matching jacket also makes a good style statement. The Duchess would look great in the Eaton Jacket and Dress. We also look at the collarless Martha Jacket with matching pencil skirt.


Red is a colour which works very well for Kate and it's a hue we'll be seeing plenty of for the coming season. Below we see the Etoile Dress, the Brunswick Dress and two rose printed frocks.


The £349 Hampton Coat is part of the brand's forthcoming collection with Historic Royal Palaces, a collection that's rich in opulent textures and winter hues. There's so much to like about this coat in the double-breasted military buttons, full-length drape and flared, feminine shape. It is very Kate.


Fans of Hobbs will be pleased to see similar pieces from the brand arriving in the coming weeks. With another winning collection we expect to see Kate wearing their pieces again this year.


Our other fashion update today concerns the Beulah London 'Eden' Scarf Kate wore at a rugby match during the royal tour in April. The cashmere blend scarf with fractured blossom print is reduced from £125 to £95 for the remainder of this week.


Finally today we have a new feature to share with you, which we hope you will enjoy. Many of you will be familiar with the popular 'Throwback Thursday' craze which has hit social media. Readers have suggested it as a possibility for this blog and I thought it fun to take a look back at old candids or events at the end of a news post such as this every week or two. 

For our first 'Royal Rewind' we thank Ashley for sharing this previously unseen candid of Kate arriving at the McQueen studios accompanied be her protection officer Emma Probert. Kate is casually dressed in a white top, oatmeal cardigan, jeans and carrying her Mulberry Polly Push Lock Bag.

Ashley Marie 

One imagines it may have been one of Kate's last meetings with Sarah Burton before the royal wedding; even the last fitting perhaps? It was such an exciting time, although April 2011 now seems like a very long time ago!


When the Cambridges visit Balmoral (if they are not already there) it is quite possible we'll see photos from a church service as we did last year.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We'll be back with another 'Kate Loves' post next :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Kate Loves: Rebecca Deacon

During each royal engagement we see dozens of photos of Kate arriving, meeting officials, attending receptions and departing events. Those who look a little more closely, beyond Kate's dazzling smile and much talked about sartorial choices will notice another brunette just a few feet away.

Rebecca Deacon has become Her Royal Highness's most trusted and relied upon aide since the royal wedding.

The youngest of three sisters, Rebecca, known as Becca to her friends, was raised by her mother Selina after her father Michael, an army major passed away in 1986 when she was just three. After working as a house mother at Port Regis prep school in Dorset, her mother was ordained as a priest and is now a vicar at St John's, in the small Wiltshire Parish of Upper Studley. In 2007 she presided over her daughter Hannah's wedding.

During a 2009 interview Selina spoke and her work and her daughter's reaction:

'I was widowed when I was 34 and my daughters were eight, six and three. I had always been a regular churchgoer, and during that terrible time my faith became more of a living thing. The girls were filled with dread at the thought of seeing their mother in a 'dog collar' - not cool. My daughters are very proud now. My youngest, Becca, said she loves seeing me at the altar.'

In fact, Rebecca's family have moved in royal circles for some time. Her uncle Sir Philip Trousedell, ran Sandhurst Military Academy just a few years before Prince William and Harry attended. Appropriately Rebecca was a pupil at the exclusive Royal School in Bath, a school for pupils aged three to eighteen, before studying English at Newcastle University.

With her cut glass accent and talent for attention to detail, she landed her big break in 2007 when she worked on the Concert for Diana as an assistant to the producers. It was an incredibly important event for the Princes, marking ten years since the tragic death of their mother and raising much needed funds for causes close to their hearts including the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, homeless charity Centrepoint and a charity Harry co-founded, Sentebale.

William took notice of the brunette's organisational skills and her ability to work under pressure ensuring any project she's involved with runs smoothly. Following this, she worked with Harry's aforementioned charity before transitioning into the Princes' private office, where she quietly earned the respect of the royals through her hard work and dedication.

On 16th November 2010, a very special announcement came which altered the course of Ms. Deacon's career.

When William and Kate announced their engagement, wedding preparations were at the forefront of everyone's mind. However Prince William was quietly thinking ahead, considering the role, duties, responsibilities and pressures of the public glare his new bride would face and felt it important to ensure Kate had a valued member of staff whom she could rely on as she made the transition from Kate Middleton to future queen. With input from his most trusted aide, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Rebecca was assigned to Kate.

At the time, a royal source told The Mirror:

'William has never forgotten the way his mother was left to cope without any support from courtiers. He is determined that will never happen to Kate, even though it has brought him into conflict with officials from time to time. He wants to surround Kate with people she can trust.'

Rebecca took on her new role with aplomb and began juggling the various duties her role encompasses. Her duties include planning Kate's diary, ensuring the Duchess is fully prepared for engagements, knowing the background of the organisation and information on the people she will meet. From writing speeches, answering phone calls and keeping up with essential correspondence to ensuring there isn't a hair out of place before Kate meets the press, it's all part of her job.

As the Duchess began to undertake royal engagements and her first solo appearances whilst William was deployed to the Falklands, Rebecca was by her side for what must have been quite a daunting new experience.

When Kate greets the public at a walkabout, one often observes Rebecca quietly moving things along to ensure the needs of the schedule are met at all times.

As private secretary to The Duchess of Cambridge, Rebecca's position requires her to accompany the Cambridges on overseas trips including the most recent royal tour.

At the London 2012 games.

Rebecca visited Kate when she was hospitalised during the early stages of her pregnancy.

Sharing laughs with Prince Harry at the recent Commonwealth Games.

Kate and Rebecca are around the same age and one imagines it's quite nice for her to have another woman around to chat with and discuss things, work-related and otherwise. Having such a trusted aide by her side has helped the Duchess become more confident and adjust to royal life.

It has been interesting to observe the growing interest in Rebecca's style during the last couple of years and we've found we're sometimes asked 'What did Rebecca Wear?' immediately after publishing a post. And it's not in the least surprising to hear those questions. Rebecca has an understated style which she no doubt puts plenty of thought into.

She is always perfectly dressed for the occasion and like Kate, ensures she is respectful of the event whilst never overshadowing the Duchess in the style stakes. Her wardrobe includes some striking pieces from Zara, Reiss, and Hobbs, with stylish black boots and sensible court shoes from Russell & Bromley.

This look below is a classic example of her style. A pretty black and white rope print shift dress by Oasis teamed with a fitted black blazer, black pumps and tights. Rebecca wore it for Kate's first solo engagement at the National Portrait Gallery.

A closer look at the dress.


Does Kate's style influence Rebecca's? While we know Kate chooses her own clothing and her sense of style has evolved and changed in recent years, there's no denying Rebecca has some input and there are similarities in their style. During the recent royal tour of New Zealand and Australia she wore a 'very Kate' dress from Alice Temperley's diffusion line for John Lewis, 'Somerset by Alice Temperley'.

The Contrast Trim Dress from the SS13 Collection was an excellent choice. Youthful yet appropriate and perfect for the weather conditions. Embroidered with the signature whimsical aesthetic of the Temperley brand, it offers a Victorian-style finish to a contemporary shirt dress. It's a piece I could easily envisage Kate wearing.

Somerset by Alice Temperley

During the tour the Duchess carried a new clutch bag by well-known Australian brand Oroton. Rebecca, too, debuted a new bag by the brand. It's possible Kate was sent a selection to choose from and they both chose their favourites.

Like the Duchess, Rebecca recycles and has a selection of go-to pieces we see time and time again.

Looking effortlessly stylish in an elegant navy gown at the Tusk Conservation Awards alongside William's private secretary Miguel Head.

As Kate's right-hand woman, Rebecca works closely with other members of staff at Kensington Palace. Working closely and often spending weeks abroad and away from home leads to close friendships and last year it was revealed she had become particularly close to Nick Loughran, the Cambridge's media advisor. The two have been seeing each other since and it is reported to be "very serious" according to various royal sources (now that would be a wedding for William and Kate to attend, should it progress to that stage :)).

The demands of Rebecca's role will change in time to come. When William becomes first-in-line it will undoubtedly become a much more hectic role as she organises a full-time schedule of engagements for Kate and helps her to make another transition just as she did after the royal wedding.

A source told The Mirror:

'Rebecca has become a key person in the Duchess' life. She knows when to stand back and let Kate meet the public and when to step forward and introduce herself.
 Although Rebecca now has a relationship with the young royals where she can be relaxed and talk to them as her friends, she remains very respectful of their status. She will routinely curtsy and maintains an entirely professional relationship with them. The younger royals are known for being more relaxed, but there is still a respect for tradition.'

I do love this photo which was taken during a trip to Scotland last year after an event had ended. An onlooker caught the snap of the two sharing a giggle on the way back to their car. There's something very natural about the informality of it and it's interesting to see them interacting outside of a professional setting.

Simon Vigar Twitter Feed

I expect we'll see Rebecca by Kate's side for many years to come, and it will be quite a journey for Ms. Deacon as she helps to prepare her for future life as a queen.