02
May 11

Wedding fever goes on…

Don’t despair if you think that Wedding Fever is all over now. William may have gone back to work but he and his Duchess will be popping up quite frequently this summer.

They will be expected to make another balcony appearance on Saturday June 11 when the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony marks the Queen‘s official birthday.

royal-blog.jpgThe whole royal gang will be there to watch the wonderful show on Horse Guards Parade then back at Buckingham Palace royal eyes will be on the skies as they watch another amazing flypast.

Next morning they will turn out with the rest of his family to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh‘s 90th birthday on Sunday June 12 in Windsor. He was born on June 10 but he is busy that day so the family party will happen on the weekend.

That is the beginning of Royal Ascot Week and all the fashionistas are hoping that Kate will make an appearance, perhaps on Ladies Day in the royal procession down the course.

If she did, it would be just like a return to the days when Diana and Fergie paraded through the paddock meeting friends and tickling people with their umbrellas. What fun it used to be then. I never ever had time to look at the starters and riders.

Towards the end of June, William will take his wife off to Canada for their first tour abroad together which will be hectic to say the least.

As there was an incredible amount of interest in the royal wedding in the US. with street parties in New York and Union Jacks flying right across to California , I expect the US TV networks and magazines will be pouring over the Canadian border to report on the new star in our – and their – midst.

All the British networks – BBC, ITN and Sky – will be whizzing pictures of them travelling from the Atlantic Coast to the Far West, so you will see them every day on your TV screens.

Soon after Will and Kate return home they will be off to Edinburgh with the Queen and their other royal relatives to attend Zara Phillips‘ wedding to Mike Tindall. on July 30. There will be some high jinks and jigs that day.

But even if Kate’s appearances are rationed while she settles down to married life, remember we didn’t see much of her in the past.

She and William have only done a few official appearances since their engagement. Before then she was rarely seen at all.

So, if the Duchess of Cambridge does decide to return to her low-profile way of life while she adjusts to her new role, we still have her little sister Pippa to fill the gap.

 

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What a hottie!

A real girl-about-town, Pippa loves parties and I’m sure she will be top of every host and hostesses’ list in London. Invitations will be pouring in to her Chelsea flat.

And I don’t think their mother Carole will spending too much time quietly in Berkshire from now on. She looked so elegant in her Catherine Walker outfit on her daughter’s wedding day that she will also become one of London’s most wanted on the social scene.

Don’t be surprised if you see her at the Chelsea Flower Show and Royal Ascot too.

Those Middleton ladies are real scene-stealers.


29
Apr 11

Kisses for the missus

It’s the moment everyone is waiting for. While only 1,900 guests will see William and Kate make their vows in the Abbey, tens of thousands will cram outside the gates of Buckingham Palace to see the newlyweds make an appearance on its balcony.

And when they do appear around 1:25pm the crowd will be urging William to seal his new marriage with a kiss. It’s a tradition that began 30 years ago on July 29, 1981 when the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer. After they returned to the palace for lunch they stepped out on to the famous balcony with the Queen and the rest of the royal family.

Their fairytale wedding had captivated everyone and, carried away by the romantic atmosphere, the crowd wanted to see the couple kiss.

blog-29april-01.jpgAt the time the Prince appeared wary. ‘They are trying to get us to kiss,’ he told Diana, who replied, ‘Well, how about it?’

As was later revealed, Charles then turned to the Queen and said, ‘Mother, may I?’ With a nod of approval, she said, ‘Of course!’ He needed no further urging and puckered up with his beautiful young wife, as the crowd roared with delight.

Five years later it was Prince Andrew’s turn to kiss his bride Sarah Ferguson. When the newly created Duke and Duchess of York appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony they pretended they couldn’t hear the shouts of the well-wishers urging them to show their love for one another.

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Cupping an ear they mouthed the word ‘What?’ until finally they relented and amid an outburst of giggles, Andrew planted a long, smoochy kiss on his wife’s lips.

They were like playful puppies, who simply could not hide their feelings for one another.

It was different when the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999.

Their wedding took place at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where there is no balcony. But Edward had already demonstrated his passion for his bride on the day they became engaged. He grabbed his laughing fiancee and kissed her soundly in front of the cameras.

From the time Queen Victoria became the first member of the royal family to marry in public, smooching or canoodling was quite out of the question. Public displays of affection such as this were not considered appropriate until Princess Diana came along. Although she was an Earl’s daughter she had a wonderful common touch, which endeared her to the public.

So, it wasn’t surprising that she was ready and willing when her groom planted a loving kiss on her upturned face. The body language between the two revealed a longing to be kissed on her side and enthusiasm mingled with wariness on his.

So what can we expect from Kate and William? They have been great smoochers right from the start. It was back in 2004 when William kissed Kate on the slopes of Klosters that we first knew she was his girlfriend.

William is someone who likes to surprise us. So I won’t be astonished if he stops at the Great West Door of the Abbey as he emerges with his wife on his arm and kisses his new missus.

Since then they have been snogging and canoodling all over the place. So don’t be surprised if they break all records on the palace balcony and kiss repeatedly.

My only worry is it may rain just when they appear. This would ruin the highlight of the day for all of us. So, let’s hope the rainclouds roll away and it’s nothing but blue skies for them both from here on.


25
Apr 11

Kate is our good news girl

Slender Kate Middleton looks as if she weighs no more than 110 pounds or a shade under eight stone. But to us in Britain every single ounce of her is pure 24 carat gold.

Her popularity is so great internationally that an estimated extra 800,000 tourists will visit our shores this year on top of the usual 600,000. Many of them will be spending their Euros, Yen and Dollars on royal wedding souvenirs, making wonderful music at the cash tills for retailers.

 

 
blog-kate-25-april-03.jpg“I wouldn’t be surprised if Kate Middleton’s legacy is bigger than the legacy of the Olympics, both domestically and internationally,” Dr Harold Goodwin, a professor of tourism at the University of Leeds, told The Times.

The teal blue dress Kate wore on her engagement day has been endlessly copied and sold around the globe, as has the sapphire and diamond ring she wears which once belonged to Princess Diana.

People have been queuing for blocks to visit Westminster Abbey which charges adults a hefty £16 for admission and £6 for children. Then there are the royal wedding souvenirs, the Union Jack flags, the bunting and other decorations for the street parties being held around the country.

And I’ll bet that within 24 hours of making her vows, some clothing company will have a near identical copy of the bride’s dress on sale, bringing in more bucks.

On April 29 London will be the centre of the world with more than 2 billion television viewers glued to every second of the wedding coverage.

One estimate claims that the wedding will spark so much interest in Britain that it will bring in an extra £2 billion for our economy and create 50,000 extra jobs.

Yes, in a nation reeling under the impact of the economically troubled times, Kate is our good news girl, cheering us all up.

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So only the most miserable republicans would moan about the cost of the pomp and pageantry this Friday.

As Kate floats down the aisle she will have the goodwill of the nation behind her. She is more popular apparently than any showbiz celebrity like Lady Gaga. So I’ll raise a glass on the 29th to William whose good judgement in choosing such a winning wife has brought us all such a windfall.

And, as for Kate, I would offer a little advice after all my years of reporting on royal brides. We are all behind her willing her and William to live happily ever after. All she has to do from now on is smile and look happy.

People are already increasing pressure on Kate by speculating that she may produce an heir in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year. Forget about that, Kate, just concentrate on loving and supporting William. There is plenty of time for babies, but you can never recapture the joy of those early months of marriage.

So, take it slowly, don’t rush into official life and most of all, whatever you do, NEVER talk to a fake Sheikh!


18
Apr 11

Longer may she reign

In all the feverish excitement about THAT wedding I hope you haven’t forgotten that the Queen turns 85 this week.

And if you suppose that she will be taking the day off to enjoy a slice of birthday cake with a glass of her favourite German white wine, you’d be mistaken.

H.M. will be working, of course, because her birthday, April 21, is Maundy Thursday, an important date for her as Head of the Church of England.

 

blog-18-april-01.jpgIt’s the day when the Church of England recalls the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and this ritual has continued down the centuries in a modified form. Elizabeth I used to give poor people gifts of food and bags of money as well as washing their feet.

Every year during the church service the Queen still presents bags of silver coins to the same number of people as her age, on this occasion 85.

This year the ceremony takes place at Westminster Abbey, the church where Prince William and his bride Kate Middleton will marry just eight days later.

Like any other mother or grandmother, the Queen loves family weddings. It’s not often you see our dignified monarch actually run anywhere, but I remember seeing her running after the balloon-bedecked carriage carrying the just married Duke and Duchess of York as they left Buckingham Palace for their honeymoon in July, 1986.

When her youngest son Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in June, 1999, at Windsor the Queen sent her personal maid to help the bride get dressed. My palace spies tell me that the maid or ‘dresser’ as they are known at court, then had to rush back to the Queen’s apartment at Windsor Castle.

As she left the bride she explained, ‘The Queen wants me to see her new wedding outfit before she leaves for St.George’s Chapel. She is so excited about it.’

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So while everyone is examining the bride’s dress next week I will also be fascinated by what the Queen is wearing.

There should be a few other queens present at the royal wedding but I’ll bet ours is the most stylish of all. Her clothes are always colourful and eye-catching because one of her main aims is to be seen by as many people as possible.

Unlike the rest of us, the Queen has not one but two birthdays. Her second is always celebrated in June with the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horseguards Parade. This year it will be a double celebration because it falls on June 11, the day after the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday.

So the appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony of the whole royal family will be even more special this year. And of course, there will be a newcomer waving to the crowd in the Mall.

The new Princess Kate will be standing beside her husband William. The following month her granddaughter Zara Phillips will also wed. It all adds up to the happiest summer for the Queen and the Duke for a very long time.


12
Apr 11

An English Rose

TV crews from America, Australia Norway, France and Germany as well as the BBC, ITN and Sky descended on a small Lancashire town called Darwen this week.

The big attraction was, of course, Prince William and Kate Middleton making their last public appearance before they tie the Windsor knot on April 29.

It was noticeable that barely six months after her engagement Kate has learned a lot about life in the royal spotlight.

 

blog-12april-01.jpgThe smooth way she greeted officials, plunged into crowds of well-wishers and chatted to small children while carefully staying three steps behind her Prince was very revealing. Kate charmed the locals like a true English rose which prompted one local Paul Ratcliffe to present her with a bouquet of red roses and wish her all the best for her wedding.

‘It’s nice to be spoilt,’ Kate told him with a dazzling smile.

This gift prompted me to realise that Kate really is a true English rose with all the qualities to be a great 21st Century queen.

First there is her rapport with the public. ‘Hi,’ she said repeatedly, as she went on a lengthy walkabout though Witton Park.

This informal greeting demonstrated that she uses the language ordinary people speak. She is not too ‘posh’. Her easy, relaxed style made people feel she was approachable and friendly.

When I asked those who had shaken her hand what they thought of her, most replied, ‘Beautiful, simply beautiful.’

Kate connects with people effortlessly – not in the way Diana did because she is nothing like Diana, who was a giggly young girl when she became engaged.

Kate is more mature. She thinks before she speaks and quite importantly she is a commoner. The Middleton family count a few miners on the maternal side which makes Kate’s rise to future queen an inspiration to everyone.

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Her outfit on a cold, rainy morning was also spot on. Her French navy skirt suit looked smart but not extravagant. While representing British fashion Kate must not appear to be a slave to it or she will seem shallow and frivolous.

The navy colour of her suit was so similar to William’s dark business suit that perhaps intentionally she did not stand out in the group of officials around them. On a dark, overcast day this caused more than one well-wisher to say, ‘I wish she had worn something brighter.’

There were also many comments about Kate’s slender shape. ‘She’s so slim,’ I heard again and again.

There were a few sighs of disappointment when Kate’s lovely face was hidden by the black umbrella she carried. Next time perhaps she could borrow a clear plastic one from Camilla who still uses the ones the late Queen Mother had.

But the people of Darwen and her next stop Blackburn clearly loved her. They were so pleased to welcome both her and William that most waited more than two hours in heavy rain for a glimpse of them.

Prince William led the way proudly, clearly delighted that his choice of a bride is approved by the British people.

He frequently put his arm around her and, at one point, held her hand as they stopped for a few minutes while touring Witton Country Park.

‘I am fortunate’ said William earlier that day, ‘because I have the support of my family and friends, I do a job I love and I have Catherine.’

Listening to him you get the feeling that this is a royal marriage that will last. They may be in the final stage of singledom now.

But clearly they both can’t wait to end their bachelor days and start the next, exciting stage of married life together.


04
Apr 11

A sunny honeymoon?

Prince William may believe Anglesey, where he has been living with Kate, is a Welsh kind of heaven. And, I’m told, in Summer it can be. Especially if, like that soon-to-be-wed couple, you have an isolated house with a sea view and your own private beach.

I must admit I was bowled over by the place last week but not in a good way. Howling, gale force winds almost swept me off my feet as I arrived at RAF Valley, where the Prince works as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

The royal press pack were waiting for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to fly in from RAF Northolt, near London, on an executive jet, but the 50mph winds almost prevented their plane from landing.

blog-prince-william-01.jpgPrince William had planned to greet his grandparents on the airfield apron and show them around the Sea King helicopter he flies on rescue missions. But their rendezvous had to be moved into a hangar to avoid everyone getting hypothermia.

The ten minute rendezvous finally took place as planned, but as I left the strong wind blew my notebook out of my hand and I was in despair until a kind policeman chased after it and returned it to me.

Most of us reporters and photographers had arrived the previous evening after a five hour journey from London. When we all gathered in a hotel nearby for dinner there was just one topic of conversation – the royal honeymoon.

We are not planning to invade it, of course, but we were playing guessing games as to where it will be.

The snappers thought it would probably be somewhere like cold, rainy Balmoral. They reckon that during the recession any honeymoon in a sun-soaked luxury resort would make Kate and Will look extravagant and heedless of ordinary people’s troubles.

blog-balmoral-01.jpgThe Queen’s highland home, they argued, would also guarantee the couple complete privacy as well as a low cost break.

I disagreed strongly. This is hopefully the only honeymoon Kate and William will ever have as this royal marriage has got to be one that lasts.

So, why should they be deprived of a fantastic, once in a lifetime holiday in a sunny place?

Yes, I know they have fantastic holidays in places like Mustique, Ibiza and Kenya every year, but they aren’t like us ordinary folk who can grab a package deal and hop on a plane to Spain.

They can only truly relax in a secure place where the paparazzi can’t find them. Will (as friends and family call him) has an extremely stressful job and deserves a complete rest.

For me, Mustique would be a perfect haven. Kate’s parents were there in January which makes me think they could have been checking out villas for their daughter and future son-in-law.

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Will and Kate had been there a few times most recently in 2009, renting the exclusive Villa Rocina, which has its own infinity pool.

Photographers, who are banned from the island, but cruise around in boats offshore, did catch them sunning themselves on a yacht. No doubt there will be heavier security on the royal honeymoon and paparazzi snappers could soon find no respectable newspaper or magazine will buy their pictures.

Who wants to publish shots which destroy the private happiness of these royal newlyweds? Most British newspaper readers would be outraged.

I would also suggest that there is another point to consider. Anyone who has lived and worked in Anglesey over this past Winter, deserves some sunshine and blue skies. In my experience (five visits) they are in short supply around that island which sticks out into the Irish Sea.

Let Kate and William go where they please, PLEASE! And let’s hope no envious Republicans dare to criticise them if they turn up on some exotic isle.

But Will and Kate have proved to be so clever at keeping secrets lately that perhaps we will never find out where they begin married life.


28
Mar 11

Hooray for Harry

Ask anyone in the royal press pack who is their favourite member of the Queen’s family and most will probably nominate Prince Harry.

Here’s just one reason why. Last June when Prince William and Prince Harry went to southern Africa we went to cover the fun, frolics and the fantastic work they both do for their charities down there.

Botswana was the fun part – When we went to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve they both put on a show for the photographers, wrapping an enormous python around their necks.

prince-harry-william-snake-z.jpgPrankster Harry was first to let the snake coil around his body, then grabbed its head and turned it towards a protesting William. Harry’s horseplay gave us one of the best pictures of the tour, so I’ll bet William’s stag party last weekend, with his brother calling the shots, was a real riot.

On the African trip William wanted to show his brother the work he does for the Tusk Trust saving endangered species like elephant and rhino, and Harry regularly has holidays in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, so is just as passionate about its wildlife.

We were all having a great laugh until we flew on to Lesotho where Harry showed William why he set up his charity Sentebale (which means ‘Forget Me Not’) which cares for orphaned children in a country where AIDs has made life expectancy just 34 years. That’s when the jokes stopped and the serious work began.

While meeting some of these youngsters, both princes were asked to write down their secret dreams. William joked around, scribbling nothing very revealing but Harry wrote words straight from his heart.

 

prince-harry-children-z.jpgHe wrote,’ I want to live in Africa’ and that he dreamed of becoming ‘a wildlife photographer.’

That’s typically Harry, always open and honest. What you see is what you get. William, not surprisingly, is more guarded.

In Africa both brothers were more relaxed than usual. They loved being together because their Armed Forces careers mean they see little of each other now.

It was the first official tour the Princes had done together, and, sadly, I now suspect it will be the last.

Once William is married he will tour with his new wife Kate and Harry will be left to carry on alone. Well, have you ever seen the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York on a trip abroad together lately?

The third in line to the throne now becomes Britain’s hottest bachelor with scores of Harry Hunters prowling London nightspots hoping to hook him.

But I suspect the only girl he really cares about is Chelsy Davy and that is not just because she is a gorgeous, brainy blonde. Zimbabwean-born Chelsy’s father runs a safari company so she has shared unforgettable holidays with Harry in unspoiled areas of southern Africa.

 

prince-harry-chelsy-davy-z.jpgChelsy is the unpretentious type who would genuinely rather be roughing it on a camping trip in Namibia than hanging out at Mahiki.

She gets homesick for the sunshine and vast empty spaces of her homeland, and who can blame her? Harry feels the same. For a prince living under the fierce spotlight forever focussed on the royal family, Africa means real freedom, a dream come true.

When William has children of his own, Harry, like his uncle Prince Andrew, will drop further down the line of succession and, unless he finds a meaningful role for himself, will be surplus to the Crown’s requirements.

So, my secret dream is that one day Harry will get a job that requires him to live for extended periods in southern Africa. He isn’t destined to be king, so why not let him lead the life he really yearns for?


21
Mar 11

Something to remember

Forget about that glittering ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29. Let’s talk about what really matters – the wedding memorabilia.

Of course, there are a few mugs bearing pictures of William and Kate with the place and date, but the only one I’d like to buy is the wonderfully naff one featuring Harry‘s face instead of his brother’s. The Chinese designer who created that really is a big mug.

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Apart from that, I haven’t seen much that I would like to keep and hand down to my future grandchildren.

Prince Charles’ online Highgrove shop is selling a William and Kate jigsaw for £29.95 but I know I would lose vital pieces of it within a few weeks, so it’s not for me.

Moorcroft have produced a traditional vase costing £480 ($770.45) which is a bit outside most people’s budgets and it doesn’t even feature the bridal couple, just a floral design.
No, I am looking for something that screams ‘royal wedding‘, preferably something out of the ordinary.

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I hear that the Potteries are busy churning out commemorative tankards and plates, but I don’t want any of those. Something more fun is what I had in mind.

A German company has been producing royal tea bags for some time featuring the Queen’s head on cardboard arms extending on either side of a cup with the teabag dangling beneath in the hot water.

The manufacturers Donkey Products GmbH & Co. have now issued ‘Katea (geddit?) and William’ teabags which I can’t save for the future as I note on the packaging the words ‘Best before 2.2014′.

 
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A friend of mine was given a pair of woolly gloves for her birthday last week. On one hand was embroidered the name Kate and on the other the word Wills. They are cute and cosy but as I regularly lose gloves within days of buying them, I suspect these would be a waste of money for me.

Thirty years ago it was so different when Charles and Diana got married. I remember a few of my journalist colleagues joined me on a visit to the Design Centre in London and we were really spoiled for choice.

To this day I still cherish several 1981 royal wedding items which I bought there. I especially love a mug in the shape of Prince Charles’ head, with one ear as the handle.
Inscribed on the side of his face is a short poem by the renowned wit, critic and TV presenter Clive James. It goes like this:
‘Whatever beverage brims in this cup
Thank God and Prince Charles when you pick it up.
And as you quaff it bless that same Grand Planner
Who gave him for a bride the fair Diana.’

Well, that marriage didn’t last but the cup has. I heard recently that it is now worth upwards of £70 and I paid less than a fiver.

I also cherish a game I can only describe as a sort of solitaire. It features a circular board on which is a drawing of Charles and Diana in evening dress. Scattered on its surface are 17 fake diamonds which you jiggle until they drop into small holes forming a tiara on Diana’s head, her earrings, and shiny epaulettes on the Prince’s shoulders.

It has helped me to waste many happy hours over the past three decades, although I have never managed to get every single ‘diamond’ into its correct spot.

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Doubt if I’ll ever find something like that this year but I am quite keen on five royal wedding plates with jokey messages such as IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME and THANKS FOR THE DAY OFF.

I’m just off to Hoxton Square London to get some now at the KK Outlet shop!


14
Mar 11

That Dress!

I am getting rather worried about Kate Middleton. She must be under a tremendous amount of pressure created by all the speculation (and I confess I’m guilty of this) about her wedding dress.

Of all the royal weddings I have covered, starting in 1981, not one has kept the name of the wedding dress designer a secret as Kate has.

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Diana had the Emanuels, Fergie chose Lindka Cierach and Sophie Rhys-Jones used Samantha Shaw.

So we knew well in advance who had been selected to create the bride’s frock and there was a lot of interest but nothing like the feverish anticipation surrounding this one.

Will it really be Sarah Burton of McQueen, or was that leak a red herring? Will this frock put Britain back on top of the fashion world? Or, will some snooty European designers and fashionistas say Kate’s choice, which she has reportedly helped to design, is a big disappointment?

All this must be incredibly stressful for a girl who has so many other things to worry about right now. As well as preparing for the world’s biggest wedding and her new role as William’s princess, she also has to get organized for her first tour abroad in July – traveling right across Canada for ten days. Each day she will have to wear something comfortable, something appropriate and something that will delight her fans. Phew!

Behind the scenes she also has a lot of last minute paperwork and planning to do. There will be hundreds of thank-you notes to write to those who have sent gifts or just good wishes.

She has to buy presents for her bridesmaids and a million other matters to sort out. Getting married is an ordeal for any girl, never mind one whose wedding will be a TV satellite spectacular viewed by billions around the globe.

So, just multiply the stress of planning an ordinary family’s wedding by around a thousand and you may understand how Kate is feeling. Of course, she has staff to help but the decisions will be all hers and William’s.

By keeping the designer’s name a secret she has saved him/her from unbearable scrutiny. The Emanuels had to cover their windows to prevent paparazzi trying to see what they were creating and Lindka Cierach reported similar problems.

All I know is THE DRESS is not being made at Buckingham Palace. A senior royal source assures me of this.

I seem to recall that the Queen’s sister the late Princess Margaret surprised everyone at her 1960 weddding (I wasn’t around to cover that one) by wearing a starkly plain dress. No lace, no embroidery, no nothin’, just a design that emphasised her tiny waist.

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By doing so she focussed attention on her stunningly lovely face and she made a point we should all remember. A wedding dress is supposed to be a supporting player not the star attraction!

So, whatever Kate wears she will look gorgeous. And I’m sure Prince William agrees with me.

If she sticks to her elegant, classic style her dress won’t overwhelm her the way Diana’s did. It also won’t soon look out of date. Those wedding pictures will be endlessly published around the globe for years so something stylish but timeless is called for, I think.

Kate is a clever woman, so, I suspect she has two dresses being made right now – one to wow us in the morning and a totally different one to wear in the evening at the dinner for friends and family at Buckingham Palace. Two dresses equals double the stress!


07
Mar 11

Safety first?

Pay attention, all you fashion naysayers! I have an urgent request – Can you please stop ripping Kate Middleton apart at the seams?

Her clothes are too ‘safe’; you claim, which is just another way of saying boring. Or, as a Sunday Times columnist claimed last weekend, her style is ‘dangerously close to Boden-land.’

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Vivienne Westwood, with whom I did her first national newspaper interview when she was Queen of the King’s Road, was even worse. “I would love to have dressed Kate Middleton,’ she sniped, “But I have to wait until she kind of catches up a bit somewhere with style.”

Ouch!

Even a report that Kate has chosen Sarah Burton, creative director of avant garde fashion house Alexander McQueen, to design her wedding dress, hasn’t stopped the comments.

Apparently the fashion industry is extremely disappointed in our Kate. Editors at  Paris Fashion Week are said to be holding their heads in their hands at the thought of Kate as an ambassador for British fashion.

Simply because, she studiously ignores the cool and edgy (some would say freaky) clothes that appear on the catwalks and sticks to classic styles.

They argue that image is everything and Kate is letting the side down. How little they know her.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 29, is one very clever cookie. She must surely be aware that Princess Diana was for many years regarded as a mere clotheshorse. The wonderful work she did was often overlooked because the media reported only what she was wearing, not what she was doing. Often Diana didn’t wear her clothes, they wore her! It took years before she was taken seriously, managed to change her shallow image and win support for AIDs sufferers and the victims of landmines.

Kate also knows that to swan around like a fashion victim in expensive designer creations would not go down well at a time when everyone else is tightening their M&S belts. So she recycles outfits, switching jackets, shortening coats and constantly wearing her favourite black suede boots, while still managing to look simply stunning.

Many years ago when I was just starting out on my royal reporting career, a wise old mentor told me one reason the Queen was such a crowd-pleaser was her wardrobe.

My friend said, “All her clothes are couture, made from the finest fabrics, but they look like she could have bought them on the High Street. They don’t look extravagant and they don’t incite envy.”

Whether this is by accident or design really doesn’t matter. It simply means that the Queen has always avoided the Marie Antoinette tag. I have since learned that she often digs out fabrics given to her more than 40 years ago and has new outfits made. She is famously frugal when it comes to spending tax payers’ money on her official life.

At this early stage of her royal career Kate must also be careful not to overshadow her more important other half. Princess Diana did and look what happened to her marriage. I seem to remember that Kate can rock the frocks when she wants to, especially in the evening.

Remember that slinky, peach halter-neck gown she wore to the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008? Or the elegant grey one she wore to the Starlight charity evening at the Saatchi Gallery?

Leave the poor girl alone and let her create her own special look. So, sheath those long claws at least until we see what she dazzles us with on her wedding day.

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