Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"All Bets off Regarding Royal Duties" as Kate's Illness Continues, Jenny Packham Spring 2015 & More

Hello dear readers,

We're back with updates on Kate's diary and her condition. The Duchess of Cambridge will not be attending the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games this evening or attending the athletics event tomorrow, Kensington Palace confirmed this morning. Doctors caring for her informed Palace aides she would not be well enough to join other members of the Royal family at Olympic Park for the event.

The statement from Kensington Palace also touches on the Malta visit:

'The Duchess of Cambridge will not attend the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games this evening or the athletics event tomorrow. The Duchess's attendance on the forthcoming visit to Malta will be kept under review and a decision taken closer to the time.'

More from royal reporter Rebecca English:

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

We're very sorry to hear Kate is feeling so poorly; it must be an incredibly difficult time for her. Regarding the Malta trip, I cannot see the Duchess making it at this point. With travelling, a hectic schedule and a speech it would be quite stressful for her, not to mention how ill she is feeling. No doubt the Palace is busy organising another member of the Royal family to make the trip. Perhaps Prince Harry who has a free schedule at that time. The Maltese government congratulated the couple and noted they are fully aware of the situation. It also looks more than likely the recently reported (officially unconfirmed) China tour for next year will not be going ahead.

Meanwhile, other members of the Royal family have been reacting to the joyous news. At a Prince's Trust event in London yesterday, a beaming Prince Charles said, "It's wonderful to be a grandfather again. I'm looking forward to it - but - I hope it will be a girl this time." Princess Diana once revealed Charles had always wanted a daughter.

At an Invictus event Prince Harry also revealed how pleased he is but noted Kate was quite poorly the last time he saw her. There's a video featuring Harry's words on the announcement here.

Many commented they thought William and Kate would wait for a while before having another baby. According to The Telegraph the Duchess plans to have three before her 35th birthday:

'The Duchess of Cambridge decided to have two children less than two years apart because she intends to have a third child before she is 35, friends have claimed. The Duchess has reportedly told friends she would like "at least" three children, to give Prince George and her second baby the chance of having the sort of family environment she had.
 The Duchess is just 20 months older than her sister Pippa and less than five years older than her brother James. They remain incredibly close and rarely go more than a month without meeting up at the family home in Bucklebury'.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a serious condition, caused by elevated levels of 'pregnancy hormone' HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which increases after inception. Sufferers experience extreme nausea and may vomit up to thirty times a day. If anything, it is said to be associated with a normal, healthy pregnancy. Doctors are monitoring Kate closely at Kensington Palace where she is expected to remain until she recovers.

It's been wonderful to see such an outpouring of good wishes for William and Kate following the announcement. It's splendid news for both families and no doubt little George will love having a little brother or sister around. In terms of royal engagements, I believe there will be very, very few for the remainder of the year and certainly none in the very near future.


Fashion fans will enjoy our next segment. Have you been following fashion week? If so, you may have noticed Jenny Packham's Spring 2015 Collection.

Jenny Packham

The British designer was very much inspired by the iconic Marilyn Monroe:

'It's blatantly Marilyn Monroe. She's been there all my life, but I've rediscovered her again. She's still so relevant. What she wore doesn't date.'

Ms. Packham took her research for the collection very seriously by visiting Monroe's bungalow in Hollywood and travelling to Jersey to get a glimpse of a private collection of the late star's dresses.

Jenny Packham

Ms. Monroe's influence is certainly evident in the collection, but in a pared-back sense. Calf-length dresses and soft pink numbers featured.

Jenny Packham

The designer's love of sequins and detailed embellishment was incorporated.

Jenny Packham

Beautiful ball gowns fit for a Duchess. I don't see Kate wearing gowns like these in the near future but if anyone could pull them off, it would be Her Royal Highness at a white-tie event, teamed with a tiara of course ;)

Jenny Packham
Elegant little black dresses.

Jenny Packham

Somewhat reminiscent of the black crepe dress which had been hand-stitched with silver beading to represent New Zealand's national emblem.

This stunning blue gown is my favourite piece from the collection and it would look stunning on Kate, but perhaps she will select a darker colour.

Jenny Packham

The very talented Jenny posed with models after the show.

Jenny Packham Facebook Page

Will we see Kate in one of these Marilyn inspired creations? I do think so. What about you?


Finally today, for those who enjoy following other royals The Royal Digest is back and will feature regular posts covering British and European royals along with weekly features covering iconic royals including Princess Diana and Princess Grace and of course plenty of tiaras and jewels. There's a link on the sidebar or you can find the blog here.

We'll keep you updated on any news regarding Kate :)

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Duchess of Cambridge is Expecting Her Second Child

In unexpected and breaking news, Kensington Palace has confirmed the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child. The couple only found out very recently and Kate has not yet reached the crucial twelve week stage.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website

We wish to extend our congratulations to William and Kate. The couple are doting parents to Prince George and we're so pleased they will be welcoming a new addition to their family.

Once again, William and Kate have been forced to take the difficult decision to announce the pregnancy because Kate is suffering with Hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. Her Royal Highness will be unable to accompany William for today's visit to Oxford.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

When Kate was in the early stages of her first pregnancy, the morning sickness was so severe she was hospitalised at King Edward VII hospital. This time Her Royal Highness is at home at Kensington Palace being treated by the surgeon gynaecologist to the Queen Alan Farthing. Dr. Farthing assisted Marcus Setchell when Kate was expecting George.

More about the condition from Pregnancy Sickness Support:

'Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum are particularly isolating conditions and women are very often left feeling misunderstood and alone for months on end when housebound'.

The official statement from the Palace:

'Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child. The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.
 As with her first pregnancy, the Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum. Her Royal Highness will no longer accompany the Duke of Cambridge on their planned engagement in Oxford today.'

Kate's sickness means her first solo trip to Malta later this year is seriously in doubt. A Palace source said that a decision would be made closer to the time. But the Duchess does plan to support her brother-in-law, Prince Harry, at the Invictus Games for the opening ceremony on Wednesday evening, although it will depend on how she feels.

While we don't know exact dates, it's been reported Prince George will have a brother or sister in late March-early April next year.

The baby will be a Prince or Princess, as The Queen ensured all William's children would become HRHs with fitting titles. The Prince or Princess will be fourth in line to the throne and the the fifth great-grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip. Allegedly the Queen and Prince Charles were informed over the past 24 hours while the Middleton family were told the good news last weekend.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Official Website

The press gathered outside Kensington Palace today.

Meanwhile, a very happy looking Prince William formally opened the Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre Building in the grounds of St. Hugh's College this afternoon.

The Prince was greeted by excited school children who shouted 'Congratulations' and received a posy of flowers for Kate and a toy swan for George. During the engagement he revealed he hopes Kate "will be over the worst of her morning sickness in a few weeks time". There's a video from the appearance at ITN Source.

Before leaving William said a few words to the press:

'She's feeling ok thanks. It's been a tricky few days..week or so. But obviously we're immensely thrilled.  It's great news, early days. We're hoping things settle down and she feels a bit better.'

Do you think William and Kate will have another little prince or a princess? :)

Friday, 5 September 2014

Kate Loves: Royal Protection Officers

As Prince William's girlfriend, the then Kate Middleton became one of the most talked about and photographed women in the world. Paparazzi intrusion into her life reached fever pitch when she shared a flat with her sister Pippa in the heart of Chelsea, owned by their parents Mike and Carole Middleton. Determined paps would wait outside to photograph Kate leaving for work in the morning (she briefly worked as an accessories buyer for Junior Jigsaw), on family nights out, running errands, or when socialising with William the media interest was immensely intense.

The scene in Sloane Square in 2007 as Kate left Kitts nightclub with friends.

Following the announcement of William and Kate's engagement in November 2010, Kate's life would change in more ways than one. Never again would the future queen browse through her favourite shops, go supermarket shopping or enjoy one of her much-loved outdoor pursuits alone again. As members of the Royal family are considered potential terrorist targets, a team of protection officers from the Metropolitan Police were hand picked to watch over Kate 24 hours a day.

Royal protection is handled by the Royal Protection Command which provides protection to members of the Royal family both at home and abroad. The branch has responsibility for guarding royal residences as well as providing 24-hour uniformed guarding of certain buildings. The branch also offers protection for foreign royals visiting the United Kingdom.

The Royal Protection Command as we know it today was formed in 1983, but its role in protecting the monarch stretches back more than 150 years when officers had their work cut out for them protecting Queen Victoria - she survived five assassination attempts during her reign. During one incident, a would-be-assassin fired a gun at her as her carriage drove past St. James's Park, before he was overpowered by PC William Trounce.

More recently, Princess Anne's former protection officer, James Beaton, received the George Cross for his actions in protecting the Princess during an attempted kidnap in 1974. A man, Ian Ball, driving a Ford Escort forced the Princess's car to stop on Pall Mall before opening fire on, and injuring, Mr. Beaton who exited the limousine in order to shield the Princess. Mr. Ball approached the car and told Anne of his kidnapping plans, which were to hold her for ransom, before directing her to exit the car to which she replied, "Not bloody likely". (There's an interview with Princess Anne where she discusses the incident here.)

Anne visited James Beaton in hospital.

Below we see the Queen and Princess Anne with Mr. Beaton and others who helped to foil the attempt.

The above examples show the role of a royal protection officer brings unexpected situations and dangers meaning they have to be completely aware of individuals in the surrounding area of their principal ensuring they are safe at all times.

Acting Chief Inspector Nigel Partridge spoke about the role for this Met Police piece:

'As a PPO, you travel with your principal wherever he or she goes. You are assigned an individual, and you often get to know them very well. But we operate in a range of circumstances and we have to be very flexible. For example, we are there to protect members of the Royal family whether they are carrying out official duties or going on private holidays.'

When it came to selecting officers for Kate, two females were chosen to be part of the team (as far as we know there are still very few female protection officers; there were just three in total at the time of the engagement). This may have been done for a variety of reasons: to ease Kate into being accompanied constantly, and to blend in easier, to name two. The first officer we'll look at is Karen Llewellyn.

Karen is a petite blonde lady in her late forties who, when photographed with Kate, could easily be mistaken for a friend or a relative. However, she is highly skilled in martial arts and escape tactics and previously protected the King of Norway when he visited Britain and Princess Beatrice during her university days.

Speaking to the aforementioned Met Police magazine Karen said:

'When a principal is out and about, as a PPO, you are always thinking about the next stage. Is your principal moving on? When? Where is the car? Are there paparazzi around? What is the the threat, what is the risk? So it is never boring. You are always doing recces, thinking tactically and planning.'

Kate's other female protection officer, and perhaps the best known to readers, is Emma Probert.

Emma has been photographed with Kate numerous times, perhaps most notably when she sat in the front seat of the Rolls Royce which drove Kate and Michael Middleton from the Goring Hotel to Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding.

The sergeant, in her early forties, has suffered great personal tragedy and joy in her time protecting the royals. In 2009, her policeman husband died in a skiing accident while on holiday in the French Alps with his wife. Emma found love again with fellow royal protection officer Colin Childs and in 2012 she informed Kate she was expecting a baby. The Duchess was said to be "absolutely delighted" and joked "you beat me to it".

Will Munn Twitter Feed

Like Karen, Emma previously protected Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who were said to be very disappointed to lose her. It is believed Kate and Emma have forged a great bond over the past three years and have got to know each other really well. Today, Ms. Probert is regularly photographed accompanying Nanny Maria Teresa and Prince George on their walks around Kensington Palace.

Among others, this man has also been protecting Kate since 2011.

He accompanied Kate and George to watch Prince William play polo on Father's Day. As you can see he's keeping a close eye on the photographers.

With an officer who accompanied the Cambridges to Anglesey. 'Shall I drive or would you like to?'

As with all roles, William and Kate's protection officers sometimes leave for personal reasons or to pursue others roles. The Duke and Duchess were said to be "surprised and upset" when their chief bodyguard Chief Inspector John Hourihan decided to leave in order to take a position as head of security at Berkshire's secure psychiatric hospital, Broadmoor. Before protecting the Cambridges he worked as a PPO for the Earl and Countess of Wessex. It was not revealed who replaced Chief Inspector Hourihan.

It's interesting to take a look at the role of the protection officer and the level of commitment it requires. During a royal tour or a private holiday officers can expect to be away from their families for weeks at a time. It's a 24-hour job with varying shifts and responsibility to watch over some of the most high-profile people in the world. For Kate, it must have been a difficult transition to adjust to being accompanied at all times. Undoubtedly at times the lack of privacy must present its difficulties. Judging from photos, she appears to have good relationships with them and they can enjoy a giggle and a chat, which is very important for people who must spend so much time together.

What are your thoughts on royal protection officers and if, like Kate, you had round-the-clock protection how would you feel about it?