Friday, 29 December 2017

Year in Review 2017, Part 1: A Brexit Charm Offensive

It's that time of year again! Welcome to the first of our Year in Review: 2017 posts. A highlight on the blog is always looking back at the events, notable engagements, family photos and fashion highlights of the past twelve months. As with last year, a substantial chunk of Kate's duties were carried out abroad, and once again we've dividing the Year in Review into two posts. In Part 1, we're looking at the Duchess' trips in Europe.


March

Unusually, the Cambridges did not visit a Commonwealth country in 2017. Instead, the Foreign Office had one firm focus on their mind: Brexit. The Royal couple were deployed on several visits across Europe in what was described as a "soft power diplomatic charm offensive". William and Kate's first trip as goodwill ambassadors saw them undertake a two-day visit to Paris to bolster Anglo-French relations as Britain prepared to exit the European Union.


On St Patrick's Day, 17 March, the couple attended a parade with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow before boarding a flight to Paris where they were greeted at Élysée Palace by President Francois Hollande. The Duchess sported her green Catherine Walker coat which did double duty from the parade to the palace. An aide said of the meeting: "They are very grateful that the President has invited them to the the Elysee Palace for a meeting at the very start of their trip, which gives you an indication of the importance and status of the visit."


Following a quick change - into a bespoke McQueen dress, Gianvito Rossi pumps and pearls - it was time for a reception at the British Embassy.


William and Kate met young French leaders and a host of well-known faces including Jean Reno and Audrey Tatou.


Day one closed with a glittering gala dinner and the appearance of a shimmering new Jenny Packham gown.


Day two saw William and Kate undertake several engagements in the City of Light. The Duchess was clad in bespoke Chanel. The piece was described as "striped cotton tweed waisted frock coat with a box pleated skirt and bracelet sleeves in blue and red". Given Kate's talent for sartorial diplomacy, the fashion power house was the natural choice for the day. I loved this look, the belt the bag, the shoes...


Part of the day saw Kate meet inspirational Jessica who was wounded in the Paris attacks. The Mail Online reported: "The Duchess asked how she had found readjusting to life after the accident. 'You feel like you're in a dream,' Jessica said, adding that she had tried to view her rehabilitation work as a job in the week, and enjoy her weekends as she did before. She used her convalescence to learn Italian, and is now hoping to work organising fashion shows, telling the Duchess she had noted her Chanel outfit. 'I was ambitious, I am still ambitious,' she said, speaking in English. 'If I want revenge I must live and work and prove they [the terrorists] can't touch how we live in our great country. It sparked something: I realised you need to live.'"


Playing Rugby in Chanel :)


A memorable photo from the beautiful Musée d'Orsay.


When it comes to picturesque moments Paris is the city that keeps on giving. The Duke and Duchess posed for photos at the Trocadéro - with a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop.


The Cambridges concluded their visit to Paris with an appearance at the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and France.


May

The Duchess undertook her second solo overseas visit as a member of the Royal family in May - carrying out a variety of engagements in Luxembourg. Kate represented Her Majesty at commemorations marking the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Treaty of London that confirmed the country's independence and neutrality.


On arrival, Kate's first port of call was the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM). The Duchess was accompanied by Princess Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. I do so enjoy seeing various royal families together and Kate and Stephanie made quite the royal pairing!


Kate toured exhibitions and was keen to learn more about iconic works of art.


Teo Schlek was feeling very shy when he met Kate :)


Kate selected a bespoke pale blue Emilia Wickstead coatdress for the day. Below, Kate and Prince Guillaume.


Kate was given a guided tour of 'Luxembourg 1867 – Open City', the new exhibition, which explains how the dismantling of Luxembourg’s fortifications laid the foundation for the transformation of Luxembourg into an open and outward-looking city and country. The royals viewed original copies of the treaty and a model of Luxembourg City before the fortress’ demolition.


July

July was a busy month for William and Kate with trips to three European countries. The Cambridges undertooke a five-day tour of Poland and Germany, with two very special guests accompanying them :)


Speaking in Warsaw at the start of the tour, British Ambassador to Poland, Jonathan Knott told Sky News: "One of the features as you know of the Royal family is that they are apolitical, they are above politics, so this is really about the connection between peoples, between organisations. "That's one of the reasons why we've made sure that they talk both about Poland's past, but also that they see some of the potential for collaboration in future."


Kate and First Lady Agata talking among a sea of UK and Poland flags.


Wherever William and Kate travel, my favourtie photos always come from the walkabouts and the excitement from those they meet.


They visited the Warsaw Rising Museum, which opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is dedicated to the uprising of 1944 which saw the Polish resistance Home Army attempt to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The couple met members of the Polish Army and WWII Resistance.


Kate selected McQueen and dazzling ruby and diamond jewellery for the day.


In honour of the royal visit, the British Ambassador hosted a Queen's Birthday Party at the picturesque Orangery in Łazienki Park.


Kate's choice of dress by Gosia Baczynska proved quite divisive on the night. The Duchess tends to wear at least one piece by a local designer when touring another country and the reception seemed the perfect time to choose a Polish design. The dress is really quite a departure from Kate's signature look; it's a contemporary piece but was also quite edgy for the Duchess. The black and white dress features a plunging neckline and leaf embellishment at the waist.


Day two in Poland remains the most memorable day of the Royal tour for me.


The couple paid a sombre visit to the former Nazi Concentration Camp, Stutthof. Stutthof was one of the last camps to be liberated by the allies, in May 1945. 110,000 people – men, women and children – from 28 countries were imprisoned in Stutthof, of whom as many as 65,000, including 28,000 Jews, died. The couple had the honour of spending time with Zigi and Manfred - two friends who returned to the place of nightmares for the first time since the war ended.


Afterwards, Mr Shipper said William and Kate were clearly 'very moved' by what they saw, adding: 'You could see their faces. They were in pain.' Reflecting on his decision to return he added he 'most probably' wouldn't have returned to Stutthof if it wasn't for the royal visit but said he realised how 'important' it was to come back now he had returned. He had returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau several times, where he was also held. He said: 'I asked myself many times "why don't I want to go to Stutthof? I don't know. But when I came I realised how important it was."'


In the guest book, they wrote: "We were intensely moved by our visit to Stutthof, which has been the scene of so much terrible pain, suffering and death. This shattering visit has reminded us of the horrendous murder of six million Jews, drawn from across the whole of Europe, who died in the abominable Holocaust. It is, too, a terrible reminder of the cost of war. And the fact that Poland alone lost millions of its people, who were the victims of a most brutal occupation. All of us have an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated."


From there, the couple travelled to Gdansk where a rapturous welcome awaited them.


The day was a perfect example of the logistical challenges the tight schedules on overseas trips can present. Within a very short space of time, the Cambridges went from a concentration camp to a street party.


They tried some Polish and Gdansk delicacies, including Goldwasser, a traditional liqueur with flakes of gold. "It is very good, very sweet," William said. "And very strong," Kate added.


Finally, William and Kate visited the European Solidarity Centre, in Gdansk’s shipyards, the birth-place of the Solidarity movement in Poland. On departure they walked through the iconic shipyard gates, a key symbol of the protests during the 1980s, before laying flowers at the foot of the Solidarity Monument to Fallen Shipyard Workers, who died during the suppression of a workers' strike in 1970.


The following morning it was time to say goodbye to Warsaw.


A final look at Warsaw from Prince George...


And "Hello Berlin" from Princess Charlotte :)


Matching mother-daughter bouquets.


The day's engagements began with an official welcome and lunch with Chancellor Angela Merkel.


William and Kate's next stop was the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark and a symbol of German unification. The couple posed for photos upon arrival; we generally see them do this at least once during tours when visiting a landmark. It always lends itself to fantastic photos. Once again, we saw Kate opting for an elegant Catherine Walker ensemble for the varied day.


William and Kate travelled to the eastern district of Marzahn to visit Strassenkinder, a charity which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including homeless children. Strassenkinder care for 200 children daily, providing welfare assistance, education and sports activities.


There was a lovely moment when a little boy ran up to Kate for a hug before she left.


That night, it was red McQueen and Simone Rocha earrings for the Queen's Birthday Party at the Ambassador's residence in Berlin.


In a diplomatic speech, William raised Brexit: "This relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany really matters.  It is the product of many years of working closely together.  It will continue despite Britain's recent decision to leave the European Union."


Heidelberg was a very appropriate stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - it has been twinned with Cambridge since 1965.


At the German Cancer Research Centre, William and Kate received a briefing on leukaemia.


They wandered through the central market square, on which a British-German market was set up offering local food and drink. After a quick lesson from local apprentices, the Duke and Duchess got to grips with pretzel making.


William and Kate embarked on a rowing boat each joined by rowers from Cambridge and Heidelberg. Richard Palmer reproted: "Kate had jokingly told her crew: 'No pressure, but I do want to beat my husband,' before the race and she was given a huge advantage over William after an Olympic gold medalist was chosen to be in her boat. Filip Adamski, who was in the winning German eight in the London 2012 Games, was selected as her stroke. The rest of both crews were made up of local amateur crews from Cambridge and Heidelberg. William, with a hint of bravado, insisted it was 'fine' when told he was up against an Olympic champion as he arrived on the banks of the Neckar. But he admitted to his wife: 'This could  be a challenge,' before setting off without any advice on how to cox. Kate spent several minutes taking tips from her teammate before setting off, admitting she was 'worried about crashing' and indicating with her hands that she feared zig-zagging along the water."


William looked over and said "we're going to get them. Let's keep it up".


Prince William's team was victorious in the end. It's fun to see friendly competition between the couple and best of all for royal fans it produces brilliant photos.


Cheers!


That evening, the Duke and Duchess attended a reception in the vintage mirrored hall of Clärchens Ballhaus. Ahead of the reception the British Council said: "Both the British Council and Their Royal Highnesses William, the Duke of Cambridge, with his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, share the same passion about strengthening the intercultural and international links between Britain and the world. During their visit to Germany, Prince William and his wife Catherine aim to learn what makes Berlin such a strong magnet for artists from all around the world - especially for British creative professionals."


Kate selected the 'Wild Sparrow Dress' by German designer Markus Lupfer. The teal jacquard dress is from the pre Autumn/Winter 2017 Collection. It's a very fresh choice for Kate and one of the most memorable looks from the tour. Kate also debuted Diana's Triple Pearl and Diamond Spacer bracelet. Diana wore the elegant piece on a number of occasions.


The reception concluded the penultimate day of the tour.


The Duke and Duchess travelled from Berlin to Hamburg for the final day.


The first stop for the Duke and Duchess was the Maritime Museum on the bank of the river Elbe. The visit was planned to "celebrate" the joint UK-German year of science, which this year is focused on oceans. The museum houses a huge collection of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art, amounting to over 40,000 items and more than one million photographs. William and Kate viewed a model of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, the former royal yacht of the Queen, in service from 1954 until 1997.


William and Kate made their way through Hamburg’s dockside warehouse quarter to the Elbphilharmonie where Kate conducted a few bars of Beethoven's 5th.


A final walkabout.


As they prepared to leave, Charlotte took a tumble after stomping her feet when Kate took some papers away from her. The moment made quite a few headlines :)


Sometimes being two isn't easy...


After a quick recovery, George and Charlotte joined in to explore an EC145 helicopter - the same one William flew with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. George was very much in his element. Do William and Kate have a budding pilot in the family?


Kate opted for a vibrant pop of colour for the final day of the tour - wearing a lavender bespoke dress by Emilia Wickstead. She saved the best for last in the fashion stakes. I'm not a huge fan of Ms Wickstead's designs but this one was perfect for Kate.


At the end of July, the Cambridges visited Belgium for a two-day visit to attend commemorations marking the centenary of the first day of Passchendaele, the third Battle of Ypres.


The Duchess and Queen Mathilde greeted each other warmly.


William spoke movingly at the Menin Gate monument: "Today, the Menin Gate records almost 54,000 names of the men who did not return home; the missing with no known grave. Members of our families; our regiments; our nations; all sacrificed everything for the lives we live today. During the First World War Britain and Belgium stood shoulder to shoulder. One hundred years on, we still stand together, gathering as so many do every night, in remembrance of that sacrifice."


Day two in Belgium saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend commemorations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Tyne Cot Cemetery to mark the centenary of the first day of Passchendaele.


Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres in Belgium is the largest Commonwealth burial ground in the world with 11,971 servicemen buried or remembered there - with 8,373 of them identified.


Four Belgium Defence F16's flew the Missing Man Formation over Tyne Cot Cemetery bringing the ceremony to an end. The Royals watched the display.


I always think it important to see senior members of the Royal family representing Britain at commemorative events. It is vital to remember and pay respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Belgium trip was most certainly not about fashion, however, looking back at the year, I think Kate's understated, elegant choice during the visit were particularly regal.


In late September, Kensington Palace revealed the Cambridges would undertake another European tour in the autumn. A tour of Scandinavia encompassing Finland, Sweden and Norway was planned for November. With news, the Duchess was expecting her third baby and suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum, it was postponed. Prince William visited Finland solo and the Norway/Sweden portion was rescheduled for January 2018. Richard Palmer reported: "The Duchess of Cambridge's continuing illness with acute morning sickness has forced the Royal Household to drop plans for her and Prince William to tour three Scandinavian countries next month. She and William had been due to spend four or five days touring Norway, Sweden, and Finland but Kensington Palace has decided she is not well enough to undertake the tour at the request of the Foreign Office."


It's very interesting to see the royals playing an important role in relations in Europe as Brexit unfolds. They are globally known and ideal ambassadors for the UK. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2018 holds in terms of overseas visits. With the arrival of Baby Cambridge in April, it's possible we'll see a brief trip abroad toward the end of the year, though I would be surprised to see any full scale tours next year with Kate's maternity leave. Did you enjoy William and Kate's European tours this year?

In Part 2, we'll be looking at the year in the UK :)

123 comments:

  1. A fantastic recap! I adored most of her fashion during her tours this year, especially the two piece she wore to the concentration camp and her purple Emilia Wickstead. With the exception of that ruffled off the shoulder McQueen creation!

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  2. The Duke and Duchess sure have been on a Brexit charm offensive this past year, but I am hoping for a Commonwealth tour next year. My wish would be the Caribbean or somewhere in Africa. I would also love William and Kate to visit Lesotho with Harry and Meghan to support Harry's charity, Sentebale.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this year in review post. I always look forward to them this time of year (and the polls!) The bespoke black McQueen dress and pearls for the British Embassy reception was one of my favorite tour looks (as was the Chanel the following day). I also liked the pale blue Emilia Wickstead coat dress from the Luxembourg tour.

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  3. I always love your recaps of years gone by and royal trips, and this one is exceptional. I have to agree with you about Emilia Wickstead, Charlotte. I have never been a fan of her dresses that the Duchess wears because they never seem to fit her properly. The lavender dress at the end of the Germany tour, though, is probably one of my favorite day dresses that Kate has ever worn. It was a beautiful color, perfectly tailored (for once), and very well styled. I hope we will see that dress again after the new prince or princess is born! Em from Colorado

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    1. I've seen that lavender dress live in Hamburg and must say I didn't like it at all! My least favourite look of the tour (and actually of all tour looks this year). It was such a hot day in July and the dress was way too warm and the colour not summer-like at all :(

      My favourites this year: The Chanel outfit and the bespoke black McQueen with pearls - both in Paris.

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    2. I've seen that lavender dress live in Hamburg and must say I didn't like it at all! My least favourite look of the tour (and actually of all tour looks this year). It was such a hot day in July and the dress was way too warm and the colour not summer-like at all :(

      My favourites this year: The Chanel outfit and the bespoke black McQueen with pearls - both in Paris.

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  4. I love looking back over the year and thanks to you, dear Charlotte, it's so easy! Great post as ever, and I have to say, looking at Kate's overall looks, she did a very nice job with her clothing choices this past year. My favorite of the bunch from this post is the Chanel suit. I loved everything about it: color, silhouette, the sleeves, her accessories, "practically perfect in every way" to quote Mary Poppins. I also think this year was the "Year of Bling"- Kate had some striking new jewels in her collection this year as well as more borrowing from Diana and the Queen. I think we'll see more bling on her as Meghan emerges into the spotlight. I think Kate is delighted to have a new sister-in-law to compare notes with at tedious state dinners. She will be glad to nest with her new baby and let the media play with their new toy. I have to say, to dress so diplomatically on these tours without offending anyone is quite the feat. Bravo Duchess- job well done this year.

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    1. I'm with you on the Chanel look :)

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  5. Charlotte, thank you so much for all the hard work you do. Your blogs have got to be among the best-run on the internet--all of your posts are so interesting and informative, and I find myself going to back to read older posts all the time, just for fun. With how eventful the last few months have been in the royal sphere, you must have a lot on your plate, and I assume it must get overwhelming sometimes, so I wanted to let you know how much it's appreciated!

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  6. Well done Charlotte...lovely post! I had forgotten some of the engagements, so this was a nice refresher. Is it me, or do her outfits look better at a second glance? I think I enjoyed some outfits more now than I did before :)

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  7. I am glad you did not add a poll. I would have had a really hard time to decide.

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    1. Yes! I love the polls :)

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  8. What a wonderful recap Charlotte! In looking back, I am proud to see a very beautiful and gracefully poised young woman who has represented her country remarkably. They are a lovely family and I hope we see more of them in this next year. I would wish for William and Kate to have a very successful 2018 where they will continue to expand and develop their royal roles, and that their growing family shares good health and happiness always. cc

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  9. Excellent review!
    I agree with you on the idea of Royal Tours next year, I think a small one at the end might be possible but I see it unlikely with 3 kids.

    Thank you so much for your efforts and comments! It was a delight to read!

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  10. Charlotte,
    I always look forward to you end of the year reviews. Do you think there is any chance that William and Kate will visit the United States this year in their Brexit tours? I am just wondering. I probably would not be close enough to anywhere they would go to see them, unfortunately, if they did.

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    1. Although it's possible, I'm not expecting a trip to the US in 2018. I think we might see a short trip abroad towards the end of the year. It's all speculation at this point but I can't see a full scale tour happening next year with Baby Cambridge so young.

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  11. Excellent Charlotte. Simply Excellent. Bravo.🌷

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  12. Darla from Colorado29 December 2017 at 04:57

    Thank you, Charlotte, for such a lovely post! It was so nice to review all the Cambridge's oversea's visits. I especially liked Kate's Jenny Packham dress in France, the floral dress in Poland, and the lavender Emilia Wickstead dress in Germany. I also loved the coat dress for the second day in Belgium. It reminded me how busy the Cambridges have been this year in addition to all their duties at home. It will be interesting to see what a full time royal schedule will look like for Kate after her maternity leave. I don't mind if she isn't quite full time yet as I believe the first few years of a child's life are very important and mom and dad need to be close by for important bonding to take place.

    I, too, want to thank you, Charlotte, for your time and work on this blog. It is a highlight to my day whenever I find a new blog post. I can't help but check daily even when I am sure there are no engagements planned just in case there is something new I haven't heard about elsewhere. I am never disappointed!

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  13. I love the fact that William is really stepping up and finally embracing his role. I hope to see a lot more of this in the future and hope Kate joins him more.

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  14. Charlotte, I so very rarely comment on your blog but am a faithful reader. I very much appreciate all your posts following the Duchess of Cambridge. You always offer an in depth look at the various engagements the Duchess chooses beyond simply what she wore that is so very refreshing. I feel as though I learn a great deal about Britain from reading your words. Thank you for all the tremendous effort you put in each day. Happiest of New Years to you! I look forward to following the Duchess with you in 2018! Kindly, Annette

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    1. Annette, you have summed up beautifully the quality and hard work that Charlotte puts in, for her readers, and I concur with all that you have said.
      HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!!XOXO

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  15. They are perfect ambassadors of UK abroad.Their visiting in my country,Poland let us to understand fame of royal family and it had affected on increasing interesting of monarchy in Poland.I am proud of Polish who greeted warmly Duke and Duchess with children.

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  16. A very nice write-up. The most moving visit of course was Passchendaele. The crowds were excellent for the German/Polish tour and the engagements well-balanced. Hopefully, the French tour was diplomatically successful. Kate's tour of Luxembourg appeared seemed to go very well as did William's tour of Finland.

    From a fashion point, for me the most interesting and original outfits were the cocktail choices in France, Poland and Germany. The coatdresses in Luxembourg, the grey in Passchendaele and the cornflower in Germany were very regal - whilst the lavender in Hamburg was a lovely colour for Kate.

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    1. Julia, I hope to see the green Catherine Walker coat again. It's actually my favorite of the outfits featured here. I realize a lot of people think CW is on the conservative side, but IMO this is exactly what makes it a good choice for Kate. I love the feminine designs and am happy to see Kate wear the label.

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    2. I love the green coat too - to my mind, royal clothes should be conservative for the most part - that's what distinguishes them from celebrity clothes. The craftsmanship of Walker clothes is amazing. I would be happy to see Kate wear some of their gowns too.

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    3. 🎈🍖Happy New Year Pippin to you and your family. :)

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    4. Another vote for CW gowns. :-) Absolutely agree with you Julia.

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    5. The same to you Surfer Girl and royalfan, and to Charlotte and all - look forward to the Swedish/Norwegian tour and hopefully new gowns next year.

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    6. Happy New Year, ladies. Stay safe. :-))

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  17. Oh can't wait to have some "me-time" this evening to read and enjoy this post fully :)))

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  18. From fashion point of view, I can't say I was thrilled during these tours. Either because I have seen enough coat dresses or I found her choice inappropriate. If I had to choose one though, I would like to choose the Polish designer white dress because of its edginess. Though the tits part is a bit off.

    Whether these tours strenghtened any political ties is beyond me, but let's be hopeful they did.

    As they published the number for the royals today, and Kate came really the last, I suppose there is only one way from here which is up. It would be also nice to see her leave the London turf and visit the countryside more, even so she said many times that she is a countrygirl.

    Thank you for the round up!

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    1. Why wouldn't Catherine be last on the list? She has two small children to attend to and spent weeks on bed rest for the third. Plus she's not even one step removed from Ascension; that would be Charles and Camilla's charge, as well as the Royals of their generation.

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  19. Charlotte, you really outdid yourself with this post! I'm amazed at how you find the time to bless us with not only one fantastic blog, but two! Thank you for all the effort you put in :) Next year is going to be even better x

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  20. Oh thank you for this post, I had forgotten how many smash hit looks Kate rocked this year! I get distracted by the misses and this was a great reminder that she's STILL GOT IT! What a stunning beauty Kate is, and that tour wardrobe - the fit and flare silhouettes - LOVE that two piece floral crop top/a-line skirt combo - and hair and hats - that creamy coat from the christening re-worn to perfection - she is a super-style star still! Looking forward to an incredibly exciting and festive 2018. Cheers!

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  21. P.S. I am looking forward to the upcoming Scandinavian tour! As my great-grandmother was Swedish, I'll be interested to see what William & Kate get up to in Stockholm & what cultural aspects they will highlight. & Norway has always fascinated me, too, so I'm really excited :) To add to the excitement of next year, I hope we hear that Pippa is expecting as we haven't heard much news from her lately. I'll also be fascinated to see how Charles develops his role in taking over from the Queen. My mother & I were having a discussion & were thinking HM should step down from her duties next year. After turning 92 in April, it really seems time for her to put her feet up. It's sad to think about, but Charles isn't getting any younger & quite frankly, I don't want to see him die waiting to take on the role. Prince Philip's retirement made me realise all the time & dedication he & Elizabeth have given to their roles. I would love to see them both have a good rest & enjoy their last years together without the strain of royal duties.

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    1. Nice to get to know you a bit Kiwi Gal:)

      While I agree, at that age they both should enjoy retirement, I can't see the Queen step down, maybe slow down rather. As Claudia usually says we are into a pretty exciting 2018!

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    2. I have two Swedish grandmothers and one Norwegian great grandmother, so looking forward to the Scandinavian tour as well, Kiwi Gal.

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    3. Kiwi Gal and Erika, it hadn't occurred to me that there are probably more readers here whose family roots, or a part of them, are in Scandinavia! I only thought about Rebecca/Sweden. How exciting for you to see the Cambridges visiting Sweden and Norway!

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    4. Yes, it is interesting to know that others here have Scandinavian roots, also! I hope Rebecca gets a chance to see the Cambridges...it's going to be a great tour, I can't wait :)

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    5. I have also loved the perspective that watching "The Crown" has brought to me. It's entirely enhanced what I've remembered about The Royal Family, especially The Queen & PP! To watch them try to find their way during the early years just gives so much perspective while looking at & appreciating them now at the other side of their journey! Such an Amazing Couple & Individuals! (There is no way to say this in a way that won't offend someone) however, I have found myself feeling aware of the struggles they have had as parents & with possible disappointment at times with their children.... but I think they (HM & PP) Really Got It Right With Their Grandkids! Amen To That! They appear to be a Great Joy & Comfort to Them Both during their later years.

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    6. Gott nytt ar kiwi gal and Rebecca Sweden. Rebecca did I get that right?

      Zora, I can't wait to see where they go and what they do.

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  22. Thank you for your very kind comments, I'm glad you enjoyed the round up :)

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  23. I hope the Cambridges visit Portugal and Spain next year. In addition does anyone think that Kate will undertake a solo overseas trip next year?

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  24. This review is amazing!

    The tour I loved most was the poland/germany tour as I live in Germany. I was glued on tv during their visits to Berlin Heidelberg and Hamburg ;-) so excited to watch them! Brexit charm offensive worked perfectly!

    Like the fact that Kate chooses local designers when abroad. That shows how attentive she is.

    There were lots of stunning outfits this year. But my favorite outfit without any doubt is the lavender Emilia wickstead dress she wore in Hamburg 💕 the color, the tailoring, the clutch and her hair styled that way 💕 can say I'm in love with this look.

    Like that she chopped her hair and like it styled with the waves. And think this year some looked best during the poland/Germany tour...she was glowing a and looked even more beautiful 💕

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  25. Loved your Part 1 recap, Charlotte. That photo of George in the helicopter is precious! My favorite looks for Kate on tour were the Chanel in Paris and the Markus Lupfer in Germany.

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  26. What a fun review. She did have some great outfits. Wish she would wear that Chanel dress again. That is a gorgeous piece and would work for lots of outings. The bespoke black McQueen dress and the Gosia Baczynska dress are also wonderful cocktail/evening dresses.

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  27. What a lot of great reporting Charlotte. Thank you so much for the retrospective!

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  28. What a wonderful roundup! It was so much fun to look back on the outfits she wore abroad.

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  29. Thank you charlotte you do such a lovely job with this blog. I thoroughly enjoy it. I was surprised to see that I missed a few posts. The year in review is always enjoyable. I LOVE the Chanel. I also love that she wears an outfit by a designer from the country she is visiting. So much fun to see. It's also visually pleasing and kind of cute when the family matches but it is a bit forced. Really shows how much time and energy goes into picking the looks for the tours, etc.

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  30. Wonderful recap, Charlotte! What would we do without you?! I do love looking back and reviewing all of the fashion of the past year. My top 3 outfits are first, that Chanel outfit. The dress, belt, shoes and bag - it all works even though I don’t think that was my original opinion. LOL. I’m hoping we’ll see it out and about after baby #3 arrives. My second and third are interchangeable - the floral dress from the concentration camp / street party day in Poland. I also loved the sparrow print dress by Markus Lupfer in Germany.

    I don’t think there was anything that stood out as the worst. I like the dress and the boldness of trying new local designers but do not like the unfortunate placement of the seams on the Gosia Baczynska dress from the Queens Birthday Party in Poland.

    Overall, I think it was a good year of fashion for Kate - some hits & some misses. I like when she tries new designers and I’m hopeful that she will continue to try new designers/brands/silhouettes.

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  31. Steph from Canberra29 December 2017 at 20:57

    Thanks Charlotte for such a wonderful post! I don't know how you manage to do both blogs so well!

    So many gorgeous outfits, I'm finding it hard to pick a favourite. I think I have to go with the Chanel, such a lovely cut. I also love the floral dress from Poland, the yellow in Hiedelberg, the white Alexander McQueen in Poland and the black McQueen. The green coat and blue Catherine Walker outfit are gorgeous too - these colours always look so lovely on her.

    Looking forward to 2018 on the royal front - you are going to have a busy year Charlotte!

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  32. Great Roundup! What a wonderful year it has been. I did not expect to see the kids as much as we did. And I am overjoyed at the thought of William and Kate having a third child by April. What a wonderful family they are. More and more, I am seeing what a wonderful King William will be. He really knows how to balance duty and family life with grace and dignity.

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  33. I forgot how much the Cambridges traveled during the year. Fashion wise, the Chanel and lavender EW stood out for me. Tour wise, I enjoyed the trip to Germany/Poland. There was great variety due to the length and it was wonderful seeing the children accompany their parents. I thought that was never going to happen again due to the post Canadian tour comment.

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    1. Erika, first, a simple but sincere thank you. :-) And, yes, I had a similar first impression. They do have some travel miles under their royal belts!

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    2. Tough room:) Several times you backed me up when no one else would. I haven't forgotten.

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    3. Anytime :-) Thank you again.

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    4. Happy New Year to you Erika, always enjoy your comments.

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    5. Don't know when that was, Erika. But I apologize if I was remiss in supplying any support you might have needed. I don't recall you needing extra support. :)

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    6. Happy New Year Julia, and likewise 🎉

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    7. Oh no, sufer girl, I didn't mean that no one else has ever had a kind word when I needed one. You, Julia, bluhare, Claudia, Rosman and others have all been wonderful to me as well. I've always said that DKB is an amazing community made up of extrememly nice people, and I mean it.

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  34. I loved everything from the Paris two day visit. Most especially the green Catherine Walker coat, and the black McQueen cocktail dress. The visit, though short was sweet, and William and Kate were wonderful ambassadors. I also enjoyed her solo in Luxembourg, and thought she acquitted herself well. Also liked the Wickstead coat dress.
    Poland and Germany were top of my list for importance. The only standout sartorially for me was the Wild Sparrow dress by Markus Lupfer, with second mention to the lavender Emilia Wickstead dress. Kate looked queenly in Belgium during the very moving two day visit. I especially loved her first day outfit.

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    1. Tedi, I loved the Markus Lupfer dress, too. That is something I would definitely wear! The lavender EW was very pretty also.

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    2. I loved the sparrow dress too!

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    3. It was also a favourite of mine - Kate wears that length wonderfully well and it was outre without being over the top.

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  35. A great year in review post Charlotte . The duchess sure was busy and brexit and trump was the worse things that happened this year. I'm looking forward to 2018 and more positivity through events like Meghan and Harry's wedding. thanks for all your hard work this year and always Charlotte. Happy new Year

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  36. Thank you for this round-up, Charlotte!

    My favourite dresses from this are the red off-the-shoulder McQueen (youthful!), the yellow embroidered dress (love the sleeves), the ice blue suit dress she wore to the art museum, and the lavender Emilia Wickstead. So I guess the theme of my favourites is a nice bright bold block of colour and a relatively simple flattering shape. I see a lot of love for the Chanel in the the comments and I have to say that’s one of my least favourite looks here — to me it feels fussy!

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  37. A wonderful year ending with a baby to look forward to in the new year! 2018 will be exciting for me as In the next few months I will luckily be visiting England twice, London in January for 8 days and in April another trip to show my younger girls London for a few days then touring the country for a week. May not get to see W&K as I did the last time but still hoping Baby Cambridge #3 is born while I’m there. Now if only I could go again in May for the wedding!

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    1. You are very lucky, Pam! How exciting! 😃

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    2. And I’m especially excited because my husband “Mr. I hate cities and we need to save all of our money for retirement,” is coming along willingly both trips (I left him at home last time). I’m excited to show him what I love about the country and hoping to convert him to an Anglophile as well!

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    3. Would love to hear about your past W&K sighting, Pam!

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    4. Zora from Prague1 January 2018 at 16:51

      That's wonderful, Pam! :) I really hope your husband becomes an Anglophile too! There are such a lot of things a man can love about Britain... My husband loves smoking a pipe, for that matter 😉. And just like Old Zoey, I'd be happy to hear about your W&K sighting experience!

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    5. I would like to say that my W&K sighting was intimate and close-up, but the reality is that I was one of thousands of people lining the Mall the see Trooping the Colour in 2015, and watched the entire Royal family go by in the parade (William was on a horse and wearing one of those bearskin hats which covered most of his face, which in my ignorance, I did not know in advance. I thought he would be in a carriage like the others. So I didn't realize it was him going by until I overheard the man next to me pointing William out to his kids. I did however, watch him go by when the parade returned back up the Mall to the palace). Then to see them on the balcony afterwards, with George, I was far away and they were quite small! Should have brought binoculars. Nevertheless, it was very exciting and I would definitely recommend going if you can sometime.

      (I also was lucky enough to see Princess Diana in '93 - she was attending a movie premiere in Leicester Square)

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    6. I do think my husband will love the pubs! He's already told me he will happily spend the afternoon at one while my daughter and I go shopping.

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    7. Oh, Pam, you're a lucky lady! Hope your lucky is equally good to you on your next trip.... :-)

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    8. Zora from Prague5 January 2018 at 22:05

      Thanks for sharing, Pam! I have a very similar experience from Trooping in 2016, including not recognising William in the hat 😁. The best of luck for you three while you're there!! And please let us know how it was when you get back!

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  38. Thanks so much for such a comprehensive post. I'd forgotten half of the beautiful ensembles worn by Kate this year. My favourites were the Gosia Baczynska cocktail dress (evening) and the Chanel worn in Paris (Daywear). I think the Gosia Baczynska appealed to me because it was so different - and a little bit quirky. I think its inspiring that Kate surprises every now and then. The Chanel is sublime. I wonder if she wears this in private. I would.

    On that note, there must be so much more to the job than just public appearances. I wonder what Kate wears around the office?

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    1. Now that is an office I would like to work in! I would imagine she would dress in less formal, more “casual” dresses, pants/skirts and tops with less expensive jewelry. A nice skirt, top, necklace and bracelet would be perfect for a day at the office. I think Kate would balance professional and casual.

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  39. Great roundup. Kate had some excellent looks this year. I am partial to the lavender EW dress. And I thought the dress she wore on the second day in Belgium was quite lovely. I don't adore some of her evening choices from the Germany/Poland tour but that is personal taste. I appreciate her experimentation and breaking out of the norm.

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  40. Fun, Charlotte - thanks! The entire Chanel outfit was the clear winner for me...she looked as if she felt like a million bucks. I know I'm in the minority but the Jenny Packham was a real miss for me - so stiff and straight on our lovely Kate...did not flatter IMHO. The McQueens are a,ways spot on and elegant.







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  41. Not sure if this will be a duplicate post - hit the Enter key too soon. This is a lovely retrospective, Charlotte - thank you so much! My favourite outfits are the blue Catherine Walker and the ensemble she wore to the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. Her lovely smile is one of her best assets though! :)

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  42. Now that you put it all in one post, I can't help but notice: Kate's outfits for the "Brexit charm" were more colorful, hip, fashion-forward than the clothes she wears in local appearances. I notice the bright colors, the more daring cut of the dresses (off the shoulder! sleeveless!), the more modern shoes (sandals! with painted toes!). I wonder whether that was deliberate or that Kate simply likes to experiment more with clothes when she's traveling.

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    1. I think it is a matter of "...when in Rome" Ivy.

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  43. Thank you for the lovely post, Charlotte! I really enjoyed the roundup, it does help to create the right perspective. For me, the best outfit of all was the Chanel, closely followed by the floral dress from Poland and the blue Catherine Walker from Berlin (very elegant and polished look). The only look I didn't like was the red McQueen from Berlin. With that one exception, I liked all Kate's sartorial choices from their travels. And the trip to Poland + Germany was also special thanks to the kids' presence. Perhaps K+W wanted to take them also because they already knew it would be their last trip as a family of 4.

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  44. As a long-time lurker on this blog, I just wanted to say thank you and well done on such an excellent job. Always informative about the reason for the event/the work of the organisation being visited, and positively guru-like levels of knowledge and detail about the fashion.

    As a Brit living in London for many years (well over half a century OMG!), and as a staunch royalist my entire life, it makes me proud to realise the impact our royal family has upon the world. There are so many naysayers, people who think à royal life is one of parties and jewels and swanning about in carriages. They don't realise the efforts the royals make to study the people and organisations they visit.

    I've been lucky enough to have had a royal visit to the charity where I was working at the time (not Kate, I'm afraid! This was some years before her arrival into the RF). It was Prince Edward and this was only a minor local charity but he was so knowledgeable about the work we did and so interested in us as people, it was such an uplifting experience for everyone.

    And they have to keep up that level of interest and enthusiasm for every event. Can't be easy....we all have off days, times when we can't be bothered, or we're just bored. Many years ago in my late teens I was doing the most miserable, dull summer admin work at a horrible company in Marylebone, right next door to the Royal Academy of Music. They also had a building directly opposite on the other side of the road. My work colleagues and I could see some hubbub outside and the rumour spread like wildfire that Princess Diana was visiting the academy (she was patron), and would be leaving the building opposite, crossing the road, walking past our building and going in next door. It was all so sudden, we didn't even have any flags to wave! But we all stood outside and stared. We all felt a bit awkward but she just smiled and said hello, and then we all started cheering! That moment has never left me...the power that another human can have to bring a wave of sparkling joy (about what? It didn't matter! We'd met Lady Di!) into someone's day.

    I've also been fortunate enough to have been invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party...but I realise I've just written loads, so that's a story for the next time I stop lurking:-)

    Thank you again for the most enjoyable blog. All good wishes to you.



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    1. Kaye in London you should stop lurking and write more!! What a wonderful story and a very special memorable moment. It is nice to hear new perspectives, so will look forward to your next story. cc

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    2. Kaye, reading your comment was a real pleasure! Thanks for sharing and for your perspective. I'm looking forward to "the next time"!

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    3. I echo CeCe's and Zora's sentiments. Yes, please! :-)

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    4. Oh Kaye in London please post more!!!

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    5. Kaye, What an interesting eye witness account of your first hand experience and story you shared.

      Happy New Year Charlotte, everyone and all your loved ones.

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    6. Kaye in London, welcome. I come and go with posting but please continue to join the conversations! Your first hand account is wonderful and this is a great group of individuals to share stories with. 😀

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    7. Kaye. In London? Yippee. :) We have another pair of boots on the ground in the Royal hood. :)
      Such sweet, special stories.
      "swanning about" (so British, love it).
      And for a moment I thought you were talking about bluhare, what with the "guru-like levels of knowledge" and all, (tee hee). :)
      And like Zora, I am looking forward to "the next time". :) Welcome, Kaye in London. :)

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    8. rf, you're here. yay. whew.X :)

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    9. :-) SG, you sweetened my coffee this morning. Thank you. XO

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  45. I very much like the Catherine Walker coats and the Emilia Wickstead dresses, and I love the beautiful Jenny Packham gown. The McQueen baptism dress is always beautiful. But they should have been banned from designing cocktail dresses! Kate’s efforts to use European designers had mixed results. The Chanel is a pretty design on a frumpy fabric. The sparrow dress is graceful but not memorable. The Polish cocktail dress is certainly memorable, and I rather liked it. As for the rest, I was not crazy about the chintz flowers in Poland or the neon yellow embroidery in Germany. The way Kate’s hair looked at times in France and Luxembourg was good reason to cut it, and it was beautiful after she had it restyled.

    William and Kate did a very nice and graceful job in carrying out their European assignments, both solo and together. I was not sure about the purpose of including the children on the longer tour, but it was nice to have a glimpse of them. It will be fun to see W&K with the Scandinavian royal families. They appeared to enjoy the companionship of the royals in Belgium and Luxembourg. In France and Germany, meetings with heads of state had a more official feel, as was no doubt intended. The Cambridges represented the Queen at the remembrance ceremonies in Belgium in a regal and very meaningful way. All in all, they did well, had some fun, and no doubt learned a lot,

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  46. Thank you so much Charlotte for all of your hard work.

    Where was it that the Cambridges were given a baby item and Catherine commented that they would have to have more kids? How long was it until the pregnancy announcement?

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  47. July 17 I think. Baby announcement was around 8 September!! Linda

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  48. Thank you Charlotte for the wonderful posts you so carefully and thoughtfully curate throughout the year. I have been following your blog from a far since its inception. But until now have not posted. Looking forward to a very interesting 2018!

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  49. Tammy from California31 December 2017 at 16:49

    If I may be a little "cheeky" here: no wonder Kate is with child! The two had CHEMISTRY (ooh-la-la!) on the Brexit tour! She hasn't worn a smile like that since she got pregnant, poor thing! LOVED the year in review! XOXO Happy New Year to all!

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    1. LOL Tammy!!! Happy New Year to you as well. It will be a great year for royal watching.

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    2. Happy 2018 Charlotte! Thank you for all you do.

      Happy New Year everyone! May we have a peaceful year with lots of wonderful royal watching.

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    3. :-) Yes they did! Happy New Year to you also.

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  50. Happy New Year to everyone!! 🎇🎆May we all continue to enjoy this blog and work on keeping it a place of kindness towards each other and respect towards different opinions. This way it will bring us even more joy in 2018. Thank you for everything you do for us, Charlotte!

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    1. Thank you Zora, and I second everything you just said!

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    2. Amen Zora, well said!! cc

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    3. Amen, Zora. A very happy and safe New Year to YOU. :-)

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    4. Happy New Year, Zora!

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  51. Duchess fan from Downunder31 December 2017 at 23:55

    Wasn’t the solo visit to the Netherlands also this year?

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  52. Duchess fan from Downunder31 December 2017 at 23:58

    Never mind, it was late 2016! Time is evaporating ;(

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  53. Happy New Year from Florida to you all! I am so grateful to share this "hobby" with you! I hope 2018 is a year of positivity and joy for all of us! Many heartfelt thanks and a special Happy New Year wish to Charlotte for her blogs. ❤

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  54. The recap was awesome. Great job, Charlotte. Happy New Year EVERONE!

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  55. Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 bring you and your family love, blessings and prosperity.

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  56. A very happy new year to all with the best of good fortune. Thank you as always Charlotte for a great post.

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  57. Happy New Year, everyone!

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  58. This is Kate’s best year yet! More hip. More patterns. More colors. More jewels! I can’t pick a favorite day dress or evening or coat. There are too many spectacular showings!

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