Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Elegant Kate in Red Preen Dress for Government House Reception

Following a day of engagements in beautiful Bella Bella, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Government House to spend time with George and Charlotte, before attending a reception hosted by the Province of British Columbia at Government House.

The Duchess made a stylish entrance.

Tonight's reception has been dubbed as the most formal event on the tour itinerary. Hosting an event at Government House seemed an ideal choice for a number of reasons aside from its prominence as the residency of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. It is serving as the Cambridges' base throughout the tour, allowing them to travel back and forth from engagements to spend as much time with the children as possible. In terms of privacy throughout their stay it was an ideal choice.

It stands in the provincial capital on a 14.6 hectares (36 acres) estate at 1401 Rockland Avenue; while the equivalent building in many countries has a prominent, central place in the capital, the site of British Columbia's Government House is relatively unobtrusive within Victoria, giving it more the character of a private home. The property is owned by the Queen in Right of British Columbia; as with other Crown property, Government House is held in trust for future rulers and cannot be sold by the monarch except by her lieutenant governor with the proper advice and consent from the Executive Council of British Columbia.

The event, the Black Rod ceremony, is steeped in symbolism. Global News reports the Black Rod was created for the British Columbia legislature to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Black Rod is used in the legislature when the Queen or Lieutenant Governor is present. It has its origins in the British Parliament and is used in Commonwealth countries around the world.

More on the origin of Black Rod and its role in Parliament in England from Wikipedia:

'The office was created in 1350 by royal letters patent, though the current title dates from 1522. The position was adopted by other members of the Commonwealth when they adopted the British Westminster system. The title is derived from the staff of office, an ebony staff topped with a golden lion, which is the main symbol of the office's authority.
Black Rod is best known for his part in the ceremonies surrounding the State Opening of Parliament and the Throne speech. He summons the Commons to attend the speech and leads them to the Lords. As part of the ritual, as Black Rod approaches the doors to the chamber of the House of Commons to make his summons, they are slammed in his face. This is to symbolize the Commons' independence of the Sovereign. Black Rod then strikes the door three times with his staff, and is then admitted and issues the summons of the monarch to attend.
This ritual is derived from the attempt by King Charles I to arrest the Five Members in 1642, in what was seen as a breach of the constitution. This and prior actions of the King led to the Civil War. After that incident, the House of Commons has maintained its right to question the right of the monarch's representative to enter their chamber, although they cannot bar him from entering with lawful authority.'

It is adorned with three rings, representing the province, Canada and the link to the UK. Tonight Prince William added a fourth ring, engraved with eagle feathers and a canoe to symbolise First Nations in the Province.

The Canadian government describes installing the ring of reconciliation as "embodying the historic relationship of the Sovereign as the guardian and protector of the Aboriginal peoples and to symbolize the reconciliation of all cultures in British Columbia Reception Hosted by the Province of British Columbia".

The reception was attended by leaders from British Columbia's legislature, government and judiciary. Below, the Duchess mingling with guests.

Now, let's talk about Kate's look tonight! The Duchess looked stunning a 1950s style red gown by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. It's the first time Kate has worn a piece by the British brand. Brought together by a shared love of Victoriana, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi launched Preen to instant success in 1996. Romantic but contemporary, their collections are worn by Kate Bosworth, Michelle Obama and Scarlett Johansson. In less than a decade the brand has gone from one boutique on London's Portobello Road to a fashion week and celebrity favourite.

The Finella Satin Midi Dress is crafted from heavyweight satin and has a classic fit-and-flare silhouette that's elevated with a wide asymmetric hemline, front pleated wrap, and box pleats at the skirt. The gown is in available in very limited sizing at Matches and Net-A-Porter for $1,715.


A closer look at the fabric.

The dress comes from the Pre-AW16 collection and is inspired by the late Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, an English writer, memoirist and socialite. She was the youngest and last surviving of the six Mitford sisters, who were prominent members of English society in the 1930s and 1940s. The Finella is described as "oozing a grandeur that she would approve of".

The Finella Midi Dress is available in black at Net-A-PorterAvenue 32 and Boutique 1.


The Duchess accessorised with the Queen's Maple Leaf Brooch.

Kate wore her Baroque Pearl Double Sided Earrings by Soru Jewellery. They are described: "18ct Yellow gold vermeil on sterling silver earrings for pierced ears. Hand crafted with iridescent baroque pearls edged with multi faceted Swarovski crystals. Slight natural variances may occur between colours, shapes and sizes of the gemstone."

It appears the Duchess is carrying the Jenny Packham 'Casa' clutch in red. The Duchess has the clutch in silver and carried it to the Spectre premiere last year. The £455 clutch is described: "A glamorous evening bag, this solid frame box clutch features angular enamel and a crystal encrusted clasp. Complete with a silk cotton lining, small inside pocket and a matching mirror."

A closer look at Kate's red pumps. It's possible Kate's wearing her Gianvito Rossi pumps - we'll update once we're sure.

A closer look at Kate's elegant side chignon.

This look was easily one of Kate's best to date in my opinion. The dress is perfection on her; the colour, 1950s style, the silhouette, the off-the-shoulder detailing the Duchess has come to favour. The look was beautifully polished off with an elegant chignon and red accessories, and Kate's Soru earrings added a chic finish to a very memorable look. Effortlessly regal. What are your thoughts?

Tomorrow's Schedule:

  • 12:35 p.m. - Travel to Kelowna for a public visit to UBC Okanagan and watch volleyball match.
  • 2:10 p.m. - Visit 'A Taste of British Columbia'.
  • 6:10 p.m. - Fly to Whitehorse, where they will meet Canadian Rangers.
  • 6:40 p.m. - See a performance at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

**We'll have more updates and photos as they become availabe**

Monday, 26 September 2016

It's Casual Kate for a Rainy Day in Bella Bella!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Bella Bella for a day of engagements, getting day three of their royal tour of British Columbia and Yukon underway.

Upon arrival in Bella Bella, the royals were welcomed by the Heiltsuk community in a traditional ceremony. They then made their way to the Wawiskas Community Hall to witness a cultural celebration.

The couple were set to experience views of the wilderness for themselves with an aerial tour of the rainforest in a float plane. Unfortunately, the weather put paid to the tour and all water activities scheduled for the day. CTV News reported: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be met with more than pristine wilderness when they tour B.C.'s rugged central coast: high winds and heavy rain is in the forecast. Up to 40 millimetres of rain will drench Bella Bella Monday, with winds gusting up to 50 kilometres an hour, according to Environment Canada."

Premier Christy Clark shared this photo of William and Kate's arrival and noted "the royals came prepared for the rain".

It's undoubtedly very disappointing to have to cancel some of the events as one of the key aims for the itinerary was very much planned to allow William and Kate to explore the rugged wilderness of Canada's West Coast and the rainforest tour would have given them great insight into the area. Despite the change of plans, the couple were eager to stick to the itinerary as closely as possible. Federal tour co-ordinator Dominique Colin said: "Bella Bella is an incredible place with a wonderful community. We will have a great day…whatever the weather."

Whilst meeting locals chiefs William said: "It wouldn't be the rainforest without the rain, it's authentic! We're very excited to be here. Stunning views."

The Duke and Duchess enjoyed the performances.

The Palace tweeted a photo with the caption: "Children are the real stars of today's welcome."

William and Kate looked quite taken with these adorable babies :)

The local community were excited to welcome the royals.

William and Kate were given blankets and 'dancing vests' by the Heiltsuk people for George and Charlotte.

Next, they walked to Elders Lodge where William marked the dedication of the Great Bear Rainforest as part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative.

During his speech Prince William said: "It gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Great Bear Rainforest is officially committed to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy. By 2018, it is expected that all 53 countries of the Commonwealth will have joined the Queen's Canopy, creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism now, and into the future. Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution."

The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy is a unique network of forest conservation initiatives, which involves all fifty-three countries of the Commonwealth. It presents a rare opportunity to unite the whole Commonwealth family and save one of the world’s most important natural habitats – forests. Creating a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects, the QCC will mark Her Majesty the Queen’s service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations.

The Great Bear Rainforest is known as the 'Amazon of the North' and stretches for more than 250 miles along the Pacific coast of British Columbia. It is home to the rare Kermode bear, which is deemed to be sacred by the T'simshian people. Also known as the Spirit Bear, it is a sub-species of black bear with white fur.

The temperate rain forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. It was officially recognized by the Government of British Columbia in February 2016, when it announced an agreement to permanently protect 85% of the old-growth forested area from industrial logging.

The couple pictured leaving the lodge with smiles as the weather picked up...

...Enough for them to talk a walk down a boardwalk in Great Bear Rainforest.

William and Kate unveiled a plaque to mark their visit.

As expected the Duchess was casually attired for the day.

Kate wore a cream jacket by Holland and Holland. The eagle-eyed What Kate Wore quickly identified it as the brand's Ladies Lightweight Multipocket Safari Jacket. The jacket is made from lightweight Sahara cotton and features four patch pockets on the front, with a center back vent opening into a split at the bottom. Cinched in at the waist with a full top-stitched Sahara cotton belt, it originally retailed for $780.

More on the history of Royal Warrant holders Holland & Holland:

'Holland & Holland have been at the pinnacle of British gun making for over a century but the roots of the company are rather unconventional. The founder was not a gunmaker, but a London tobacconist, who happened to be a fine competition pigeon shot. His name was Harris Holland and he started having guns built to order in the 1840s.
By 1850, ‘H. Holland’ was a ‘gun-maker’ and Harris Holland’s successes in the pigeon ring continued to be reported in the press, no doubt aiding sales. With expansion, came a move from King Street to Bond Street, in the heart of fashionable Mayfair.
In 1860, Henry William Holland joined the company as an apprentice. He would become an inventive genius and gifted businessman, helping drive his uncle’s firm forward. He lodged the first of the company’s fifty one patents in 1861and became a partner in 1876, thereby creating ‘Holland & Holland’. During the rest of 19th century the company prospered; notably winning all classes in the 1883 rifle trials held by ‘The Field’ magazine and gaining Royal Warrants from the King of Italy and King George V, among others. In 1885 the name ‘Royal’ was adopted for the firm’s best guns.'

The company now stocks womenswear, menswear and accessories collections.

Kate teamed the jacket with a blue sweater, checked shirt and Zara jeans.

Kate's Closet suggests Kate wore the navy blue Topshop Gingham Print Shirt. The A/W style comes in a lightweight chiffon. It's currently available in all sizes for $65 on the US Site and £34 on the UK site.


For those fond of gingham shirts, Topshop also stocks the 'Alexa' Gingham Shirt in blue and red. It's available at Nordstrom and Topshop.


The Duchess selected her trusty Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel Boots for the day. The £475 boots remain available and are described: "The original Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel Boot in Spanish vegetable-dyed leather. This handmade boot is cut close to the ankle for a more feminine fit, has a scalloped detail at the zip panel and a leather tassel on the zip pull. It is fully leather lined and has a Goodyear Welted Commando rubber sole."

The boots are becoming something of a tour favourite; the Duchess also wore them for the hike to Tiger's Nest during April's tour of India and Bhutan.

Kate's pretty new earrings are by Canadian designer Pippa Small.  Kate's earrings are the 'Kite' style. What Kate Wore shared news "they are the large size and available at Pippa Small boutiques in London and LA. They are £1,200". Below, the smaller version of the earrings (as you can see there are noticeable differences between these and Kate's) the Small Kite Earrings, 18K gold, available at Piednunola.

The designer "has established a cult following with her striking organic necklaces, rings and earrings. Each covetable piece is designed in London and crafted in Rajasthan, India, by a team of highly skilled goldsmiths and stonecutters". More on Pippa Small from Matches:

'Born in Canada but raised in the English countryside, Pippa Small was naturally drawn to jewellery-making, collecting gems and shells as a child. Later, to fund her anthropology degree, she resumed jewellery design, going on to collaborate with the likes of Gucci and Chloé, before launching her own eclectic, travel-inspired line. Her signatures? Uncut precious stones, talismanic pendants and 18kt Bolivian gold.'

Pippa Small is involved in a number of ethical projects. "I began working on my 'projects' about eight years ago, sure that there would be a way to bring benefit from working with traditional communities. I feel that jewellery has the potential to change lives by working with communities, creating jobs and opportunities, and using design to raise money and awareness. It has given the communities a re-found respect for traditional materials and a sense of self confidence and pride in their creations." You can read more here. I expect this may have been a key factor in attracting Kate to the brand; it's great to see the Duchess championing a Canadian designer!


  • Global News has an arrival video here.
  • Rebecca English posted a video from the welcoming ceremony on Twitter.

Tonight, William and Kate will attend an evening reception hosted by the province of British Columbia at Government House. It is set to be the most formal event on the itinerary and we expect to see Kate in evening/cocktail attire.