Sunday, 29 November 2015

Charlotte's photo album updated

Mum knows best and when it comes to photographing this royal baby, that really is the case. The Duchess of Cambridge has stepped behind the lens to take the latest official snaps of her daughter, Charlotte, and the results are really rather lovely.

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge photographed by her mother
Anmer Hall, Norfolk, November 2015

Taking everyone by surprise, Kensington Palace released two new images of the baby princess via Twitter on Sunday. The stand out sot is of the fourth in line to the throne playing with a cuddly toy with a total look of glee on her face. The other image shows Charlotte Elizabeth Diana in pensive mood, perched on a chair at the family's Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.

Charlotte's thoughts - the baby princess in pensive mood in a new snap

It's the first time Charlotte has been captured on camera since her christening photographs back in July when she posed, sort of, for world famous snapper Mario Testino.

Kate on the other side of the camera on Charlotte's christening day in an image by Mario Testino

All wrapped up in the Honiton lace christening gown (mark two) and in the arms of her cream clad mother, Charlotte showed off dark eyes and dark hair and looks rather like George's. The new images show a little girl looking much more like daddy but with mummy's hair and eyebrows.

The only one not looking at the camera - Charlotte's christening photo with the star of the show rather unimpressed

Before that we had seen Charlotte in a set of images taken by Kate at Anmer Hall two weeks after she had welcomed her little girl. The photos, featuring Charlotte and George and another impossibly clean white sofa, were released on Twitter and caused a sensation as well as a run on knitwear for baby girls.

George and Charlotte, son and daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Anmer Hall, Norfolk, May 2015

The images were released at the start of June and gave everyone their first proper idea of who this little princess might look like.  And a first glimpse of what George was like as a big brother.

Blue for her boy and white for her girl - another of the photos taken by Kate soon after the birth of Princess Charlotte

The latest images come just over six months after Charlotte's birth and her famous first appearance on the steps of the Lindo Wing in her mother's arms just ten hours after her birth.

First glimpse of a princess - Charlotte in her mother's arms on May 2nd 2015 just hours after her birth in London

And with Christmas just around the corner there will be plenty of royal fans hoping that this early festive photo present is just a forerunner of more goodies to come.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Royal Wardrobe: the Netherlands

Queen Maxima visited Bangladesh in the week and although there were limited photos of her time in the country, there was no doubting from the few that came through that this consort was keeping it colourful on her trip made in her capacity as a special advocate for the Secretary General of the United Nations on inclusive finance.

(photo Dutch Royal House Facebook)

The brightest of her bursts of colour was worn for a visit to a clothing factory where she heard from workers about the advantages to them of being paid their salaries via digital systems. Her dress, with its fuchsia top and peach skirt, matched the vibrant colours of the environment well.


For her arrival in Bangladesh, Maxima chose a red dress with orange and white patterning and an orange collar matched with a favourite pair of red and clear shoes.


Queen Maxima also met the President of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid, on the final day of her visit. She wore a black and white print dress with a striking green scarf.


Princess Beatrix went for black and blue for a trip to the ballet. She wore an eye catching cobalt lace effect top and jacket over a black dress for her engagement at the Ballet Gala Foundation Dancers' 79 in Amsterdam. One of the best royal looks of the week.


Princess Beatrix opened a centre for children and families coping with suspected abuse.  The outfit was a smart white two piece skirt suit with black pattern effect and black hat and show.


The Royal Wardrobe: the Duchess of Cambridge

We got three Kate looks this week plus one of her famous sports casual moments thrown into the mix for good measure. And autumn has definitely arrived at Anmer Hall - apart from a burst of blue, this duchess was reaching for the muted shades as the year fades to grey.

(photo Fostering Network Facebook)

Kate started her week at the Fostering Network awards in London where she chose a royal blue dress by Saloni with a slightly flared skirt and a crinkle effect. Whether it was chosen to match the frock picked by TV star, Holly Willoughby, will remain a mystery but they did complement each other rather well.

(photo Fostering Network Facebook)

The following day, Kate was in London for a headteachers conference organised by Place2Be of which she is patron.

For this high profile event, at which the Duchess of Cambridge made a speech, she recycled a Matthew Williamson grey dress with a peplum at the waist and ornate beading around the neck and sleeves.

Her last engagement of the week was in north Wales where the duchess chose a Reiss coat first seen before her engagement worn over black with a pair of her favourite black knee length boots.

And just to top the week off, Kate tried a bit of abseiling and climbing which meant another of her sporty looks. The bright red jacket meant she ended the week with the same burst of colour with which she had begun it.

And Kate's best look this week is.......?

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Royal Wardrobe: Spain

There was a big fashion focus on Spain's Royal Palace this week as that modern style icon, Letizia, welcomed the original 21st century queen of elegance, Rania of Jordan. And as well as the meeting of fashion minds, the newest consort on the continent also had several other engagements which allowed her to dive into every corner of her royal wardrobe.

(photo Casa Real Twitter)

Letizia started quietly with a navy trouser suit and purple blouse that has been worn many times before but suited her visit to the Women of Africa forum in Madrid to perfection.

But she was given a lesson in smart suits by her mother in law, Queen Sofia, who attended an event marking the 50th anniversary of a maternal and child health hospital in Madrid in a super smart grey dress with pleated skirt and matching jacket. Autumnal elegance at its best.


There was more royal recycling for Queen Letizia at the Sports Awards which she presented alongside King Felipe, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Her brown and blue pattern dress was another good match for the tone of the event and got the bit of pep it needed from some bright blue earrings.

For the same event, Sofia chose another grey suit - it is autumn after all - which did the job admirably.


Then it was time to reach for the red. First out of the scarlet starting blocks was Queen Sofia who chose an eye catching two piece in a pink red to present the poetry award that bears her name to Ida Vitale at a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid on November 18th.  Regal, royal and rather nice.


The following day, Queen Letizia welcomed Queen Rania to Spain in a dress first seen almost a year earlier when she attended a nutrition conference in Rome. It's a day dress but in the sunlight of a Spanish afternoon looked every so slightly sparkly. Chic but OTT.

Another repeat for the evening dinner and a few more sparkles. This time, Letizia rewore a black sequinned cocktail dress with feature waist. This time, she needed a bit more dazzle as Rania chose a modern take on the LBD with some beyond on trend shoes and stole the show.

But they both had to nod to Queen Sofia who matched her gold two piece to the occasion like the master of the royal wardrobe that she is. The suit suited the event to perfection and meant that the two fashion queens weren't necessarily the first to catch the eye in the photos. The Infanta Elena went the other way and picked a white blouse and pastel trousers that might have worked just as well for a day out at a museum.


But for the final appearance alongside Queen Rania, Queen Letizia was on top form with a smart grey dress with peplum and black accessories that ticked every box and put Spain's consort at the top of the fashion pack.

(photo Queen Rania Instagram)


Heights and hearts for William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spent the day in north Wales in a series of engagements that scaled the heights and tugged the heart strings.

The Duchess of Cambridge makes a new friend on a day out in north Wales
(photo Kensington Royal Instagram)

Kate and William started the day in Caernarfon where they stopped in at Gisda, a charity which which provides help to young homeless people with around 400 people being supported by the organisation every year. William and Kate met some of those being helped by Gisda to hear their stories.

The royal couple also visited an art project established to help young people with mental health problems. The project is run by MIND and William and Kate visited a photographic exhibition put together by young people using art to voice their problems and concerns.

William and Kate also took a short trip to Snowdonia where they dropped in at the Towers Residential Outdoor Education Centre to get a better understanding of how physical activity is used to help young people overcome mental health problems and heard how exercises are used to bolster confidence. And then they donned safety gear and tried a spot of abseiling. As royals do.

'This is the aaagh moment,' Kate said as she began her descent down a 36 foot slope. Safe again at the bottom, she then watched her husband show off by trying to climb it again before taking a stumble and setting his wife giggling. William had the last life by recovering and speeding his way to the top.

Their final stop was at the Mens Sheds project to hear about work on helping men speak out about mental health problems. The visit, which ended a day focused on mental health issues, gave William and Kate a glimpse of groups set up to allow men to socialise and learn to share their issues.

Earlier in the autumn, Kensington Palace said that Kate would be focusing on mental health issues as her agenda picked up following the birth of Princess Charlotte. And today's engagements come hot on the heels of visits highlighting difficult issues and the ideas being used to solve them.  And there's little doubt that the presence of William and Kate has helped bring the issues to a far wider audience.

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Merry Wives of Monaco

Before National Day in Monaco got under way the question was whether Jacques of Gabriella would steal the limelight. Instead, it turned out to be all about a style lesson from the two newest royal wives in Monte Carlo.

Princess Charlene and Beatrice Borromeo chose different styles but the effect was the same - stunning
(photo Palais Princer Monaco Facebook)

Princess Charlene has done this before but motherhood has done wonders to her confidence and her new haircut and bold outfit was as surprising as it was stunning. It takes a lot to make brown work but it was no bother for this princess. From the cut of the dress to the matching tights and shoes, the whole twenties style outfit was about as perfect as could be.

She added a cloche hat over a pixie cut and went straight to the top of the best dressed this year list.

Charlene + cloche = chic
(photo Palais Princier Facebook_

And then Beatrice Borromeo arrived. The royal bride of the summer was making her debut as a wife at Monaco's National Day and she did it in some style with a mix of colours and lines that surely made her mother in law glow with pride.

There was a super elegant coat, a pastel dress and a pillbox hat at a jaunty angle that looked so chic it was impossible to ignore. Add in a chignon, subtle jewellery and a smile as wide as you like and suddenly there was a fashion duel on a regal scale.

The way the photos fell we never got to see Charlene and Beatrice next to one another but we got enough of a glimpse of both of them to decide that it was totally impossible to choose between them. No wonder they were smiling - when it came to National Day, it was all about the Merry Wives of Monaco.

Rania and Letizia, night and day

They have often been compared to one another and on November 19th they met face to face in Madrid. Queen Letizia of Spain played host to Queen Rania of Jordan as she and her husband, King Abdullah II, began a working visit to Spain.

King Felipe VI welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan to Spain on Thursday - the two monarchs and their consorts, Letizia and Rania, posed for photographers after the official welcome

The first encounter was by day as Felipe and Letizia headed to the airport to offer an official welcome to their guests. And while this trip is a working one for the Jordanian king and queen, the first encounter was also a fashion fest for royal watchers as Letizia and Rania met again.

The queens of Spain and Jordan greet one another in Madrid on November 19th 2015

Letizia chose a red dress previously worn for day engagements but usually indoors. Under the bright sun of a Madrid November day there was a lot of sparkle going on so at times the queen looked as if she was dressed for cocktails while everyone else was ready for lunch.

Letizia sparkles but was the dress too glittery for a trip to the airport?
(photo @casareal Twitter)

Rania went for pastels which were perfect for the setting but while the dress and coat were elegant the belt, at first glance, looked every so slightly messy. It takes a few looks to fully appreciate.

Queen Rania chose a coat and dress but was the belt a fashion step too far?
(You Tube)

The Queen of Jordan didn't take long to get her working visit underway and in the afternoon headed to Media Lab Prado where she heard about their work to explore the power and potential of the digital world. For the engagement, Rania chose a black skirt with check effect blouse and produced a total winner.

Queen Rania heads out for an afternoon engagement in Madrid
(photo queenrania Instagram)

And the night belonged to Rania, too. At the evening dinner hosted by Felipe and Letizia for their guests, she picked a contemporary black evening gown with gold belt and looked sensational. Queen Letizia recycled a black sparkle effect cocktail dress and looked pretty but somehow lacked the total wow factor of Rania's outfit.

Rania steals the show on a night in Madrid

Queen Sofia also attended and chose a gold two piece suit which complemented Rania to perfection while the Infanta Elena went smart casual with a white blouse and trousers.

Spain's royals with their guests at a meal in Madrid to mark the working visit of the King and Queen of Jordan
Madrid, November 19th 2015

Rania and Letizia will be spending today together as well as the working visit goes on and as their style passes from day to night to day again.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Kate speaks out

This one was definitely a speech. Just hours after the Duchess of Cambridge took to the stage at the Fostering Network Awards and made a mini speech, she was back in front of the microphone talking about challenges close to her heart. And this big public appearance was all about the mental health issues that can face young people.

The Duchess of Cambridge meets some of the schoolchildren attending the Place2Be conference in London
(photo Kensington Royal Instagram)

Kate was opening the Place2Be headteachers' conference in London and she told those present that getting help to vulnerable young people early was of vital importance. Kate said 'I have seen time and again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges'.

The Duchess' speech touched on many of the challenges facing parents and teachers as they try to guide children and young people. Kate also said 'I am sure you will agree that all children deserve time, attention and love from the adults in their lives. The basic qualities are so much more valuable than the always changing material and social concerns that can seem so important to young people.'

The Duchess of Cambridge is patron of Place2Be which provides emotional and therapeutic services in primary and secondary schools. The conference brought together headteachers from across the UK and their focus was on the role schools and teachers can play in tackling mental health problems.

There's no doubt the presence of the Duchess of Cambridge helped to put even more of a spotlight on the issues being discussed by Place2Be. She has now spoken out about two major issues affecting young people in just under 24 hours. And some of Kate's words summed up the spirit of the event, and her work on mental health issues affecting young people, as she said 'it is our duty, as parents and teachers, to give all children the space to build their emotional strength and provide a strong foundation for their future.'

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Letizia joins Felipe in the coin gallery

For the first time since her husband became King of Spain, Queen Letizia is to feature on a coin. The royal couple are shown on one side of a new 30 euro coin being released to mark the 400th anniversary of one of Spain's most famous literary masterpieces, Don Quixote.

Both sides of the new coin marking the 400th anniversary of Don Quixote - Letizia of Spain features on money for the first time as a queen
(photo Real Casa de la Moneda)

The coin, made of silver, shows Europe's newest king and his consort in profile on one side and on the other are images associated with the work of Cervantes. Don Quixote himself, on his beloved horse Rocinante, stands in the middle with one of the windmills he so famously tilted at also shown.

A special presentation of the coin issued to mark the 400th anniversary of the completion of Don Quixote by Cervantes
(photo FNMT Facebook)

It's the first time that Letizia has featured on a coin as a queen consort. She has appeared on Spain's money before in a special coin released in 2004 to celebrate her marriage to the then Prince of Asturias.

The special coin released in 2004 to mark the wedding of Felipe and Letizia

This new coin has been released by the Royal Mint of Spain.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Kate's date with the Fostering Network

Kate had a very important date in London this evening as she gave her support to the Fostering Network award. The Duchess of Cambridge tooktea tea with nominees and handed out some of the prizes. But were her words on stage enough to be classed as a speech?

The Duchess of Cambridge takes tea with some of those nominated at the Fostering Network Awards which were presented in London on November 17th 2015
(photo Kensington Royal Instagram)

The annual awards celebrate the work of foster carers, social workers and young people themselves and among the prizes that Kate handed over was the Fostering Achievement Award won by Adam Howlett, Emily Bowyer and Sian Connolly. Helping the duchess celebrate was TV star, Holly Willougby, who later described Kate as 'wonderful'.

But while the focus of this special evening were the carers and young people whose work was being celebrated, there was debate about whether Kate had made a speech or not. The duchess took to the mic to say that 'it is wonderful to meet so many inspiring people involved in the incredibly important world of fostering'. Whether or not it is long enough to count as a speech, the sentiment was shared by many.

The Duchess of Cambridge spent several hours meeting many of those involved in fostering. And it is an important issue which Kate has chosen to highlight - this year, over 8,000 foster families were needed in the UK. Kate helped put a spotlight on the work of the Fostering Network earlier this year in a visit to the organisation but her latest, high profile link to Fostering Network has ensured that this issue gets more of the attention it so needs and the praise it deserves.

William leads more tributes to Paris

The Duke of Cambridge, President of the Football Association, has joined tributes to those killed and injured in the Paris attacks at the England-France friendly at Wembley tonight.  William carried a wreath of tricolor flowers on to the pitch before the game began alongside Didier Deschamps and Roy Hodgson before the game began.

The Duke of Cambridge carries a floral tribute on to the pitch at tonight's France-England friendly at Wembley as he joined tributes to the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks on November 13th 2015
(Photo @wembleystadium Twitter)

William is at Wembley along with Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to join fans from England in showing his support for the French team, its supporters and all those affected by the attacks which left 129 people dead. Wembley's famous arch was lit red, white and blue and William watched as the teams stood arm in arm and the Marsellaise rang around the stadium in an emotional tribute.

Earlier today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the French Embassy in London to sign the book of condolence and make their own tribute to those killed and injured in the attacks. 

Their message read 'To all those who have died and were injured in the heartless attacks in Paris, and to all the people in France. Nos plus sinceres condolences.' It was signed William and Catherine.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Royal responses to Paris attacks (new updates)

As the full horror of what happened in Paris on November 13th 2015 continues to unfold, the thoughts and sympathies of people around the world are with the city.  And monarchies are sending messages of condolence to the French president and expressing their support, and that of their fellow citizens, for the people of France. Prince Albert II of Monaco said that the attacks in Paris had revulsed him and that he, his family and the people of Monaco sent their solidarity to France.

Albert II of Monaco has sent a message of condolence to the French people following the attacks in Paris
(Photo by Surtiscina via Wiki Commons)

The Sovereign Prince of Monaco added that he remembered the many victims and spoke of the immense sadness of their families. And he said that, along with his family and fellow citizens, stood alongside all those opposed to terrorism.

The statement of Prince Albert II of Monaco released on the official Monaco Royal Family Facebook 
November 14th 2015

Monaco's flag was lowered to half mast over the Prince's Palace on November 14th as a sign of respect.

Queen Rania of Jordan tweeted to say that she was horrified by the attacks and sent a second message saying that 'humanity must unite against the enemies of humanity'.

Within hours of the attacks, the Prince of Wales sent a message of sympathy and condolence to French President, Francois Hollande.

And speaking at an event in Australia, Prince Charles asked those present to take part in a minute's silence to honour those who had lost their lives. He described the attacks as 'bestial' and expressed his 'utter total horror' at what had happened. He also publicly expressed his condolences and his solidarity with the French people.

The Prince of Wales expressed his utter horror at the Paris attacks
(photo Northern Ireland Office via Wiki Commons)
The Queen sent a message of condolence on November 14th. In it, she said that she had been deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life and sent sympathies to the families of those who had died and to the French people.

The Belgian Royal Household was among the first to speak on the terror attacks. Within hours, it tweeted that it was shocked by the events and said that Belgium stood in solidarity with France. And the statement added 'courage to those directly affected' by these hateful actions.

The King of Spain, Felipe VI, is understood to have left a private engagement within moments of hearing of the attacks to return to his office and follow development. The Spanish Royal Household was another to tweet its message of sympathy in the first instance saying that it was horrified by the attacks and that Spain stood with France, its authorities and the French people.

Felipe and Letizia later visited the French Embassy in Madrid where they signed a book of condolence and met the with ambassador.

King Felipe of Spain signs the book of condolence at the French Embassy in Madrid
Madrid, Spain, November 14th 2015

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia later visited the French Embassy to leave their messages of condolence.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain at the French Embassy in Madrid
Madrid, Spain, November 14th 2015

King Harald V of Norway said he had received the news of the heinous attacks with sorrow and sent his condolences and sympathies to all those affected and to the French people.

King Harald V of Norway described the Paris attacks as heinous

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands said he was 'deeply shocked' by the attacks. He described how close his country felt to France and said, along with the French people, 'we mourn the victims'. 

The King of the Netherlands expressed his sympathy and solidarity following the attacks in Paris
(photo Dutch Royal Household)

The Dutch King said that alongside the French he and his fellow countrymen would defend freedom against those who try to undermine it with terror. And he ended by saying that his thoughts are with all those grieving and with the victims of the cowardly attacks.

The King of Sweden sent his sympathies to President Francois Hollande on the morning of November 14th. Carl XVI Gustaf said that he and his wife, Queen Silvia, wanted to express their deepest sympathies following the terrible losses following the attacks in Paris. They sent their sympathies to those who were mourning and to the people of France.  Their message was released on the Swedish Royal Household webpage and on its Facebook page as well.

The King of Morocco also sent a message of sympathy to the French President following the attacks. Mohammed VI offered his saddened condolences to the victims' families and the French people and said that he condemned 'in the strongest terms' and on behalf of the Moroccan people, the vile terrorist attacks. Mohammed VI went on to express full solidarity in 'this ordeal'.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark sent a message of condolence to President Hollande in which she said she sent her deepest sympathies and that she and her husband, the Prince Consort, sent their sympathy to all those affected by the attacks.

Margrethe II added that they sent their very best wishes to France at this time.  Later, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie and their family visited the French Embassy in Copenhagen to pay their respects. Princess Marie, who was born in Paris and lived there until her marriage to Joachim, was close to tears as she arrived to express her condolences.

This page will be updated as new statements are released.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Royal support for Norway's footballers

It wasn't the best result for a team hoping to make a major international competition but at least they had lots of royal support getting there. Norway lost 1-0 to Hungary in the first leg of a play off to reach Euro 2016 with a king and two monarchs in waiting watching on.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway at the crunch Euro 2016 match
Ulleval Stadium, November 12th 2015
(photo Norwegian Royal Household)

You could look at the packed royal box in two ways. It was a ringing endorsement of the football team who now have a lot of work to do to reach the Euro finals. But it also meant that as the players trudged off the pitch knowing they had a mountain to climb to make the tournament they had to do it in front of most of their country's royal family and let's face it, no one wants an audience when they've had a bad day.


King Harald had led the royals into the Ulleval Stadium for the game with Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus and Marius Hoiby all following in his footsteps. Queen Sonja had obviously taken the option of watching at home on the TV to see more of the match.


 There's still a chance for the team to go through when they head to Hungary for the second leg - but they might never get the chance to play again in front of such a royally packed royal box.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Countess in New York

Sophie Wessex is one of the hardest working members of the Royal Family and very often what she does goes under the radar. This time last year, William and Kate headed to New York and their stay in America made international headlines. Sophie is in the Big Apple right now but her visit has barely made news. And yet the Countess in New York is doing some important work.

The Countess of Wessex visits the 9/11 Memorial in New York
November 11th 2015, New York
(photo British Monarchy Instagram)

On Remembrance Day, Sophie paid tribute to many lives lost in moving acts filled with solemnity. The Countess of Wessex placed a wreath at the Queen Elizabeth II Remembrance Garden in New York on a grey November 11th. There was little pomp or ceremony - instead, Sophie carried her garland of poppies into the simple garden and, having placed it amongst many others, bowed her head in remembrance.

The Countess of Wessex at the Queen Elizabeth II Remembrance Garden
November 11th 2015, New York
(photo British Monarchy Instagram)

Sophie also visited the September 11 Memorial to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that day. The Countess left a bouquet in remembrance and walked slowly along the wall in an act of commemoration.

There was also an opportunity for Sophie to spend time at the 9/11 Museum and visit the Last Column.


The Countess of Wessex had arrived in New York on November 10th where she attended the Five Hundredth Education Event of 100 Women in Hedge Funds Next Generation Initiatives - she is a global ambassador for the organisation.  Later, she was their guest at a dinner in New York.

And there were other events linked to the organisation for the Countess on November 11th including a working breakfast and a gala. Sophie now moves on to Canada where she will carry out engagements over several days.