Friday, 22 July 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Prince George!

Our favourite little prince celebrates his third birthday today and to mark the special occasion Kensington Palace released four new photos.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "The Duke and Duchess hope that people will enjoy seeing these new photographs. They would like to thank everyone for all the lovely messages they have received as Prince George celebrates his third birthday." The photos were taken by photographer Matt Porteuous  at their home in Norfolk earlier this month. Mr Porteous said: "I really enjoyed the opportunity to take these photographs of Prince George. It was a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. I'm honoured that they have decided to share these images with the public to mark his third birthday."

The show-stealing photo from the set for me is the image of George and Lupo sitting on a rug outside, it captures a lovely moment showing the Prince offering the family pet a taste of his ice-cream. A darling picture - one I imagine may take pride of place in the Cambridges' home.

Happy Birthday Prince George! :)

Note the swing is inscribed with "William & Catherine". It is believed to have been a wedding gift to the couple. The swing is by the Oak & Rope Company and can be purchased here.

A closer look at George's ever-adorable expressions.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

In the first photo, George wore a cute outfit by Pepa & Co. The £42 Whale Sweater is 100% cotton and  described as a Baby striped navy and cream, round-necked, long-sleeved sweater. Made in a soft, knitted cotton featuring a cute blue whale design on the front. It has mother of pearl buttons on the shoulder for easy dressing. Hello! magazine reports his matching shorts are the brand's too.


For his second outfit, George wore the Boys Blue/White Stripe T Shirt by Sunuva. We can certainly see Kate's love of stripes in her selections for George. The £28 piece is currently on sale reduced to £9. George also wore a pair of denim shorts and his Nantucket Canvas Shoes.

How have William and Kate decided to mark their son's third birthday? People magazine reports the day will be celebrated "in the most perfect way" with family gathering for a special tea party at their country home, Anmer Hall. One imagines it will be a low-key event with a small guest list.

Rebecca English reported newly-engaged Pippa was seen loading Party Pieces boxes into her car on Tuesday - thought to be for George's party. I imagine whilst the children are playing at the party, chatter among the adults will likely turn to the impending wedding. I'm sure it's been a hectic week for the Middletons with the announcement, and there's been a noticeably increased media presence surrounding Pippa, so it's a lovely opportunity for the family to gather and enjoy George's birthday.

Glancing through the Party Pieces website, there's an endless number of suggested themes such as the Flying High Aeroplane Party, a strong contender given George's excitement at the air show earlier this month.

Party Pieces

More from The Telegraph:

'The prince is known for his boundless energy and inquisitive mind, with Kate describing her eldest child as "a really lovely little boy".
But William and Kate should take note. According to the parenting guide What To Expect: The Toddler Years: "Three-year-olds can handle a little more party than two-year-olds - but just a little more. Too much more can send pint-sized party-goers into celebration overload, with less than pleasant results."
Prince George is likely to mark the milestone with a party with proud parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosting the event. Kate will have plenty of help from her parents who run a party paraphernalia business. She could even turn to newly engaged sister Pippa Middleton whose book Celebrate was marketed as a one-stop guide to entertaining - although it was mocked by some for its over-simplistic advice.'

It's been quite a year for the future king, filled with both typical and not so typical milestones for a two-year-old, seen perfectly copying Uncle Harry's expressions on his way to visit the Queen - or Gan-Gan as he calls her - for the annual Buckingham Palace Christmas luncheon.

For the Cambridges' Christmas card photo, we saw the family of four smiling among the autumn leaves at Kensington Palace.

In January, it was a landmark time for George who began his school life at Westacre Montessori School. The Prince was taken to school by both his parents and Kate took a selection of snaps as he made his way in.

In March, George and Charlotte played in the snow for the first time.

Balancing on gym blocks, George charmed in a new photo used for a set of stamps Royal Mail issued to mark Her Majesty's 90th birthday.

As her Majesty's 90th celebrations continued, a photo, taken on Easter Sunday at Windsor Castle by Annie Leibowitx, depicted the monarch with her five great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren. The children's parents were all there on the day, and Kate reportedly took photos of her own.

Who else could meet the President of the United States in his bathrobe? :)

George made his second Trooping the Colour appearance last month. It marked the first year of many we'll see William, Kate, George and Charlotte assembled together for. George appeared to be in his element, wearing the same outfit William wore for Harry's christening in 1984.

Another milestone for George over the past year has been a gradual introduction to royal engagements. Kensington Palace said: "The Air Tatoo is a fantastic family-orientated event and the Duke and Duchess know that George will enjoy seeing the aircraft up close." George appeared to have a splendid time exploring and looking at the abundance of aircraft on display. It was an excellent idea to take him along on an engagement where he could enjoy looking at the planes.

A little wave from the Prince.

We hope it's a lovely day for the family!

We'll see you on Sunday when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make a return visit to Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Confirmed: Pippa Middleton is Engaged! Will Kate Be Matron of Honour?

We had intended to bring you a new Kate Loves post, alas that shall have to wait for another day as there's been a very special announcement for the Middleton family. Richard Kay exclusively reported Pippa Middleton is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, James Matthews.

Mail Online

Rumours swirled when Pippa attended the Frost Summer Party in aid of the British Heart Foundation, alongside Princess Eugenie, with her left hand resolutely hidden in every photo. Interestingly, Pippa wore the popular L.K. Bennett 'Karo' Dress for the event; Kate reportedly wore the dress in blue for the SAS event in Hereford over the weekend.

This morning official confirmation came with a statement from Michael Middleton who said he and Carole are "absolutely thrilled". He continued: "They make a wonderful couple and we wish them every happiness together."  Kensington Palace followed with: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are absolutely delighted."

PA Royal Reporters Twitter Feed

Pippa beamed as she showed off her art deco sparkler today. It's a beautiful ring, isn't it?

Daily Mail

The Telegraph reports the ring is by Robinson Pelham, a favoured jeweller of the Middletons who created Kate's wedding earrings:

The octagonal ring that Miss Middleton carefully displayed to waiting photographers is understood to have been purchased from the London jeweller Robinson Pelham. The company has been a regular source of jewellery for the Middleton family, and provided the diamond earrings the Duchess of Cambridge wore on her wedding day. The girls’ mother, Carole, as well as Pippa herself, wore pieces by Robinson Pelham.
While the company would not comment on the ring, The Telegraph’s jewellery expert Annabel Davidson described the piece as “quite Art Deco in style” with a central stone that is “upwards of three carats”. Diamond experts yesterday valued the ring at between £150,000 and £200,000. Sarah Sheard, of Hatton Jewels, said: “The diamonds have an excellent clarity and white colour.”

A closer look.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

It's obviously an incredibly exciting time for the Middleton family who are utterly delighted for Pippa. The wedding - which will take place next year - will undoubtedly be one of the most talked-about and glamorous affairs of 2017. The two are said to have bonded over their love of sport and outdoor pursuits. They love physical challenges and earlier this year successfully completed a 33-mile cross-country ski race in Norway.

James Matthews is the co-founder of Eden Rock Capital Management Group, an investment advisory firm with expertise in credit and structured finance. The financier serves as the company's chief executive officer. His parents bought the luxury Eden Rock hotel in St Barths in 1995, and it is currently one of the Top 100 hotels in the world.

The popular Caribbean resort is visited by a number of celebrities; the Middleton family has holidayed there recently, too. Prince William has an enormously close and warm relationship with the Middletons and it appears they enjoy the same with James. Carole has been photographed joining James and Pippa for dinner several times.

How did the proposal take place? More from the Mail Online's story:

'Heads down against the breeze that blows across the peaks of the Lake District on the sunniest of days, the couple had their eyes on a distant hill. Like other weekend walkers out on the fells last Saturday, Pippa Middleton and her boyfriend James Matthews paused to enjoy the magnificent views from the summit and to catch their breath.
But as Pippa took in the scenery, her romantic beau was dropping to his knees and preparing an even more spectacular sight – drawing out a stunning diamond ring from deep within a pocket. Kneeling before her James asked Pippa to marry him. And within a moment she said ‘yes’ and suddenly Britain’s most eligible young woman was off the market.'

Pippa and James were briefly an item in 2012 and rekindled their relationship last year. Richard Kay reports the 40-year-old hedge fund manager asked Michael Middleton for his permission before popping the question to his daughter. Mr Kay wrote: "The engagement, which I understand took the 32-year-old former party planner completely by surprise, has thrilled Kate and William and delighted the duchess’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton. Another family friend says: ‘Mike and Carole are very happy. They like James and they are sure he will make Pippa very happy.'"

More from the article:

'Their marriage will not just cement Matthews into the wider family circle that William and Kate have established, it will also link them to the celebrity world inhabited by James’s brother Spencer, the coke-snorting louche lothario of reality TV show Made In Chelsea.
More intriguingly the union will connect two families with uncannily similar backgrounds. Like Pippa, James is the grandchild of a coalminer from the North of England.
Like Pippa, he boasts a parent of humble origin who has achieved considerable wealth: Carole Middleton is a former air hostess who grew up in a council flat, while James’s father David, who made millions in the motor trade began his working life as a trainee mechanic in Rotherham.
Many will seize on both families rags-to-riches journey from working class ancestry to moneyed middle-class success as a shining example of the social fluidity of modern Britain.'

Indeed, the question many royal watchers are asking is, will Kate be her sister's matron of honour at the wedding? It's a very interesting question and undoubtedly a topic that will have been discussed. Given Kate's public profile, she wont want to take the limelight away from the bride. Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter noted on Twitter it is "not so much about protocol more Kate wouldn't want to upstage the bride & in some circles married women aren't bridesmaids". Kate and Pippa are, however, incredibly close, so there's no question Kate will be very much involved whether it be a formal role such as matron of honour or behind-the-scenes planning the special day. Pippa was a source of assistance and support as her sister prepared for the royal wedding in 2011, and Kate will want to return the favour.

Pippa was thrust into the limelight after she made global headlines for wearing a figure-hugging Alexander McQueen dress at the royal wedding. Media attention and the paprazzi glare have become a part of her life since. She's a divisive figure, often garnering criticism for her career choices which have included writing columns for publications such as Waitrose and publishing a party-planning book called Celebrate. I think it was always going to be challenging for her to forge a career in the public eye without the royal connection angle being mentioned.  It's been quite a journey for her and Kate, two sisters who grew up in Berkshire, and became known worldwide.

One observation about Pippa I think we can safely make: she's been a good sister to Kate. She was by her side throughout the 2007 break up, and I can recall seeing a video from that time, when paps were attempting to provoke Kate, and Pippa quickly stepped in to her sister's defence.

Apart from being sisters, they are firm friends who share many similar interests from the outdoors to tennis, and the same fashion brands. For those of you who have sisters, you'll know it's a very special and unique bond to share.

Below we see Pippa and Carole with Kate as she arrived at The Goring the day before the wedding. Preparations, dress shopping, flowers, choosing a wedding venue, invitations and much more will be on their minds once again.

The children will surely have a role, too. Charlotte will likely be just gone two at the time of the wedding, but George will almost certainly be involved in the nuptials as a page boy. The ever-talented ladies at What Would Kate Do shared this image on Twitter.

What Would Kate Do Twitter Feed

Who could forget Prince William's memorable page boy appearance including the sailor suit he wore for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York?

And this adorable outfit for the wedding of Camilla Dunne to the Honourable Rupert Soames.

Of course, talk has already begun about the subject of Pippa's choice of designer for the wedding dress.

Vogue weighed in on the topic in this article:

'The wedding, which has been predicted to take place in 2017, is bound to be the wedding of the year. Additional details aren’t known at this time. Will Pippa wear a white silk Alexander McQueen gown—like the one she donned as a bridesmaid at the Royal Wedding? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure, if she can cause such a stir as a bridal party member, her wedding day look is not likely to disappoint.'

She favours a broad spectrum of designers from Temperley London and Tabitha Webb to Matthew Williamson and Suzannah. Below, images from Temperley London's bridal lookbook.

Temperley London

What Kate wears to this event will be of great interest. The Middleton women are more than adept at coordinating and complementing each other at special occasions - from the royal wedding to most recently at Prince George's and Princess Charlotte's christenings.

All that remains is to congratulate Pippa and James!

Mail Online

We expect to see photos for George's third birthday on Friday!