Friday, 8 December 2017

Kate's Pre-Christmas Engagements, Royal Gift Guide & More

Happy Friday, dear readers,

We're back with a brief post before the weekend beginning with calendar updates and a look back at Kate's Christmas engagements. The Duchess of Cambridge will undertake two engagements next week with with links to the Grenfell Tower fire. On Thursday, 14 December, William, Kate and Harry will join Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Grenfell Tower National Memorial Service at St Paul's Cathedral. The service will be broadcast live on BBC One from 10.30 am.

Clarence House Twitter Feed

Before that, on Tuesday, 12 December, Kate will join children and families to celebrate the work of the Rugby Portobello Trust at its community centre in North Kensington. The Rugby Portobello Trust is part of a network of centres that help local communities, and provides support by running programmes for children and parents such as homework clubs, sporting activities, social groups and tuition. The Trust and the centre staff in Kensington have also been pivotal in supporting people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. During the visit the Duchess will join the Christmas party for the 'Magic Mums' group which supports mothers, babies and toddlers.

A 'Christmas Party' style pre-engagement is becoming something of an annual tradition for Kate. Last year, the royal trio joined youth helpline the Mix for a volunteer Christmas party in support of their mental health campaign, Heads Together. It was a nice way of closing the year with an event for the Heads Together charity partners.

With a good dose of festive fun.

In December 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge was guest of honour at Anna Freud Centre's Family School Christmas party.

Kate joined families in festive activities designed to help pupils reflect on the positive progress they have made during the term, not only academically but in their communications and social skills. The children were very excited to have a 'real life princess' at the party.

I loved this engagement; Kate never shines more brightly than during engagements with children. Royal engagements are of course planned down to the most minute detail and quite formal in their nature. Events like these are particularly special because we get to see more of Kate's personality and the expressions on the children's faces are priceless.

In December 2014 when Kate was expecting Princess Charlotte, the Cambridges travelled to New York for a 'mini-tour'. At the Northside Center, Kate joined staff and volunteers for a gift wrapping session. 

You might remember this memorable video went viral. 'Keep Wrapping'. :)

Kate tends to opt for festive red for Christmas parties; perhaps we'll see a repeat of her new GOAT Eloise dress for the 'Magic Mums' party.


We also have a couple of updates from the Court Circular to share. Yesterday, William and Kate held a meeting at Kensington Palace for the Royal Foundation.

Cepe Smith Twitter Feed

And on Wednesday, the Cambridges were represented by their former private secretary and most trusted adviser Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton at the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Mr Anthony Gordon Lennox in Southwarn Cathedral. Mr Lowther-Pinkerton, who is also Prince George's godfather, was listed as 'Extra Equerry'. He has been credited time and time again as someone the young royals trust completely and turn to for advice. I'm not at all surprised to see he's still officially involved in a much smaller role. Anthony Gordon Lennox tragically passed away in October, aged just 48. He served as a voice coach to Kate, who acquired his services before the Royal wedding. Below, Jamie with Kate at one of her pre-wedding engagements in Anglesey.

Embed from Getty Images


Last year, we put together a 'Christmas Gift Guide' for fans of the Royal family. From items worn by the Duchess, to Repli-Kate's, commemorative gifts and edible treats, there are endless options when it comes to gifting to the royalist in your life (or to yourself).


Hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead. For fans of Netflix's hugely popular The Crown, series 2 is now available to stream. The royals are actually fans of Peter Morgan's depiction of the early years of the Queen's reign, with Prince Harry admitting he enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to a night by the fire and a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc while watching this!

To get you in the festive mood, take a look at this tweet posted by Clarence House. I suspect George's police car is in there, and whatever present Charlotte is hoping for. :)

See you all next week!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Kate's Chic in L.K. Bennett & GOAT for Children's Global Media Summit in Manchester

Following a late night at Buckingham Palace for the annual Diplomatic Reception, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Manchester this morning for the Children's Global Media Summit at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

The summit looks to inform and redesign the future of media for this generation and explore the impact that digital technology will have in children’s futures.

A wave from the Duchess upon arrival.

They were welcomed by some very special guests. Seeing Postman Pat brought me right back to my childhood :)

A video from Kensington Palace.

Before the summit, the Duke and Duchess took the opportunity to speak to local school children taking part in a "Stepping Out" session.

Next, The Duke and Duchess participated in a feedback session with young children from The Friars Primary School.

They discussed mental health and how it affects them.

Victoria Murphy reports William revealed George played a sheep in his school nativity play.

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed

The session is a focus group where young people are able to give children's television editorial staff and content producers their view of how they respond to new programmes under production.

At the summit, William and Kate met some of the international delegates who will speak at the conference.

The Duchess then joined a forum hosted by Sesame Street's Workshop.

The workshop is the the charitable foundation of the famous children's TV show, on research commissioned into kindness – a method used to help very young children express issues of emotional wellbeing.

Meanwhile, William attended a short private meeting related to the Cyber Bullying Taskforce, to continue efforts to find a universal tool for children to report bullying when they see it or experience it.

Over the three-day Summit, sessions and keynotes will focus on five key themes: Innovation, Empowerment, Freedom, Entertainment and Education. The Summit was founded in 1995 in order to help secure the future of children’s programming in a rapidly-changing world. Formerly known as the ‘World Summit on Media for Children’, the Summit is held every three years, beginning in Australia. London was the host city in 1998 and the last city to host the Summit was Kuala Lumpur in 2014. For the first time, the content of the event is being curated by the BBC who are working with a group of broadcast partners, academic institutions and policymakers to create a rich and unique programme of content which reflects the world of media through the eyes of a young global audience.

William and Kate met inspirational teenager Josh who created a programme to help other to speak out about their own mental health issues (read more on that here). I loved hearing William's words of encouragement for Josh, as he said, he's a "shining example".

Prince William delivered a passionate key note speech. "Parents like Catherine and me are raising the first generation of digitally-immersed children – and this gives us many reasons to be optimistic about the impact of technology on childhood."

William's speech:

'First of all, a word if I might about this great city of Manchester – to which most of you are visitors.  You may have seen, if you have had a chance to go outside, the symbol of the bee everywhere in the city – the bee is Manchester's symbol, a reminder of this city's industriousness and creativity. 
It is also a reminder of Manchester's community spirit, the sense of pulling together.  Manchester has had a tough year, and I personally stand in awe of the way that the people of Manchester have united in bravery and support of one another.  This community is a great example to all of us, wherever we are from.  I hope you all have a chance to witness some of this remarkable place for yourselves while you are here for the Summit. So, the Children's Summit.  We are all here today because we know that childhood matters.
The years of protection and education that childhood provides are the foundation for our society.  The programme makers and tech leaders in this room understand that. Our childhood years are the years we learn. They are the years we develop resilience and strength. They are the years where our capacity for empathy and connection are nurtured. They are the years where we impart the values of tolerance and respect, family and community, to the youth that will lead our nations in the future. Parents like Catherine and me are raising the first generation of digitally-immersed children – and this gives us many reasons to be optimistic about the impact of technology on childhood.
Barriers to information about the world are falling.  The child of today can learn about far flung corners of the world with previously unimaginable ease. Social media holds the promise for children who can feel isolated to build and maintain friendships. Digital media is seeing today’s young people develop a passion and capacity for civic involvement that is without parallel in human history. Programme makers have access to real-time research that helps them shape engaging, educational content for children in ways that would have been unheard of in years gone by.
We should celebrate and embrace these changes. What we cannot do, however, is pretend that the impact of digital technology is all positive or, indeed, even understood. I am afraid to say that, as a parent, I believe we have grounds for concern.
I entered adulthood at the turn of the millennium. The generation of parents that Catherine and I are a part of had understood the world of mobile phones, the internet, email, and the like for some time. We had every reason to feel confident. The changes we have incorporated into our own lives as adults have often felt incremental, not revolutionary. The vast array of digital television content that many households enjoy today did not spring up overnight. The birth of the smartphone was heralded as a landmark moment.  In truth, though, we incorporated constant texting, checking of email on our devices, and 24/7 availability into our lives over the course of many years.
The centrality of the internet for education, shopping, and the organisation of domestic life has been the work of two decades. And it is the gradual nature of this change – the slow warming of the water in the pot if you like– that I believe has led us to a moment of reckoning with the very nature of childhood in our society. The latest Ofcom research into the media consumption habits of British children shows us just how dramatically the landscape has changed without most parents pausing to reflect on what actually is happening.
Parents who were born before the invention of the World Wide Web now have children aged 5 to 15 who spend two hours a day online. Ten years after the introduction of the iPhone, over 80 percent of 12 to 15 year olds have a smartphone. Most of my contemporaries graduated university before any of us had Facebook accounts – and now 74 percent of 12 to 15 year olds are on social media. And a generation of parents for whom watching television was something that happened as a family around a single set have given a fifth of our 3 to 4 year olds their own tablets.
Now, I am no Luddite – I believe strongly in the positive power of technology; but I am afraid that I find this situation alarming. My alarm does not come from childhood immersion in technology per se. My alarm comes from the fact that so many parents feel they are having to make up the rules as they go along. We have put the most powerful information technology in human history into the hands of our children – yet we do not yet understand its impact on adults, let alone the very young. And let me tell you parents are feeling the pressure. We need guidance and support to help us through some serious challenges.
 Everywhere you go, mothers and fathers are asking each other the same questions.
‘Did you see that so-and-so's friend had an iPhone at the playground?’
‘How can I keep my daughter off social media if all of her friends are on it?’
‘How do I know what my children are doing online in their bedrooms?  How do I monitor what they're messaging to other children?'
‘How do I find out what apps my children have downloaded?’
How do we protect family time and teach our kids about actual connection, when all their communication is through their phone?
How do we convince our children to go outside and be active and fit, when all they want to do is play online?

These conversations are happening right now in our towns and cities and right across the world. We have all let technology slowly creep into our lives. And now we are waking up to the enormity of the challenge technology and modern digital media will mean for children. The people in this room may be the best placed in the planet to help today’s parents, teachers, and caregivers to grapple with these questions. As I said earlier, you are only here because you are passionate about childhood. Your combined experience and insight can be a powerful force for positive guidance. Parents are eager for your advice about how best to combine technology and  innovation with the timeless goal of safe and innocent early years that are filled with love and genuine connection.
Like all of you, I believe firmly in the power of bringing people together, people with knowledge and passion, to tackle big issues confronting our society. That is what I did through the Royal Foundation when we established the Taskforce for the Prevention of Cyberbullying. Bullying through phones and social media is an issue that caught my attention after reading about children who had taken their own lives when the pressure got too much. As a HEMS and Air Ambulance pilot, I was called to the scenes of suicides and I witnessed the devastation and despair it brought about.  And I felt a responsibility to do something about it.
The Royal Foundation brought together the leading players in digital and social media, the ISPs, academic researchers, and children’s charities. And importantly, we brought children and parents themselves to the table, so their voices could be heard directly. What we heard is that cyberbullying is one of those issues that had been allowed to slowly take root. An age-old problem had been gradually transformed and accelerated by technology that allowed bullies to follow their targets even after they had left the classroom or the playing field. The technology we put into the hands of our children had for too many families shattered the sanctity and protection of the home. After a year and half’s work, the taskforce announced a plan of action last month. The sector agreed to four main areas of work: the implementation of standard guidelines for the reporting and handling of bullying; a national advertising campaign to establish a code of conduct for the online behaviour of children; the piloting of an emotional support platform on social media; and finally the members have pledged to continue to work together to offer consistent advice to parents and more material for children to help them thrive online. And you will hear more about this next.
I am proud of what was achieved, but, as I said at the time of the plan’s launch, I had hoped we could go further.  I am very pleased that the BBC has taken up the challenge of supporting one area that I believe merits further discussion: the creation of a single, universal tool for children to report bullying when they see it or experience it – regardless of which platform it happens on.
What we have shown through the taskforce – and what we show when we gather on days like today – is that solutions to our challenges are possible when we work together. We can be optimistic about the way digital media will help our children when we can be frank about our concerns. Families can embrace technology with confidence when they can access the best the best support and advice. And we can be hopeful about the future of our society when we all know that protecting the essence of childhood remains our collective and urgent priority.

The BBC also unveiled details of the Own It project, one of the key outcomes of The Royal Foundation Cyber Bullying Taskforce. The Taskforce was convened through The Royal Foundation to bring together social media platforms and internet service providers with those organisations and individuals who strive to protect and support children and young people. Last month, William unveiled a plan of action to protect children and encourage a new standard of behaviour online.

Jack Royston reports as they were leaving a crowd member jokingly shouted "Hi, Prince Harry" to which William replies "I'm not ginger". You can see Kate's private secretary Catherine Quinn in the background.

The Duchess wore the chic L.K. Bennett Delli Check Coat today (with thanks to HeavenQRF). The piece is cut from a fine houndstooth weave in virgin wool. It features a crew neckline, a concealed button-down front and military flap pockets and a flared skirt. It retails for £495 on the L.K. Bennett website and John Lewis.

L.K. Bennett

A closer look.

L.K. Bennett

Kate selected the very pretty GOAT Elodie Tunic Dress in berry; a gorgeous seasonal hue (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style). The £450 piece is described as "Feminine and flattering the Elodie dress in vibrant red has been intricately crafted to offer a chic and stylish fit. A tunic dress with exquisite pleat detail on the sleeves and a gathered funnel collar." As of writing, it's available in a number of sizes on the GOAT website.


The dress also comes in red, marine blue and persian green at GOAT and Farfetch.


It's one of several looks Kate has chosen from the brand during her third pregnancy. 

The Duchess wore her TOD's Block Suede Pumps.

My Theresa

Kate carried her black Mulberry suede clutch.

And Kate accessorised with her Mappin & Webb Empress earrings.

Mappin & Webb

What do you think of Kate's look today? Did you enjoy the engagement? 

Kate's Favourites