HRH The Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her 36th birthday yesterday. This year we have a new blogger, Royal author Claudia Joseph, who will bring us the latest news from Kensington Palace. This is a perfect timing as she turns 36 and this year promises to be a busy year for the borough’s most famous mum! Claudia, who is a journalist at the Mail on Sunday, has written three books about the Duchess of Cambridge: Kate: The Making of a Princess; William and Kate’s Britain; and How to Dress Like a Princess: The Secrets of Kate’s Wardrobe. She is also a TV commentator. Read her latest contributing article here.
One Wedding and Two Babies
“For all of us, the New Year symbolises rebirth: a chance to start afresh and make a host of resolutions (even if we break them by the end of January). But for the Royal family the symbolism is particularly apt as we are expecting two new Royal babies AND a Royal bride.
“William and Kate are expecting their third child in April – apparently, she is craving spicy food so is having a boy (Take that with a pinch of salt – unless it turns out to be true, in which case you saw it here first!). Then, in May, Harry and Meghan will walk down the aisle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. And, finally this summer, Zara and Mike Tindall are expecting their second baby (which is fabulous news after she suffered a miscarriage a year ago). So, next year’s family gathering at Sandringham will be eventful, to say the least!
“As a former fashion writer – I trained at the London College of Fashion and edited Tatler’s Street Smart guide – I am fascinated to see how Kate and Zara’s maternity wardrobes will develop over the next few months. Although, I imagine, from past experience, we can expect a mixture of designer and High Street fashions. We have already seen a few favourites pulled out from the back of the closet, such as the nude Goat Redgrave coat and Topshop contrast collar sheath dress she wore in November at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre.
“In the early stages of her pregnancies with Prince George, now four, and Charlotte, two, Kate, who kept her model figure, tended to favour bespoke creations by designers such as Emilia Wickstead over maternity wear. But as her pregnancy moved on, she turned to designer such as Madderson and Seraphine. You can see how lovely she looked in a spread from my book ‘Kate in Colours’.
“She has more than a dozen designs by Seraphine (her favourite maternity designer) in her wardrobe, including its powder blue Natasha coat, now sold with the tagline ‘Worn by the Duchess of Cambridge’. When Kate announced that she was pregnant for the first time, the maternity label launched an advertising campaign on London buses asking: ‘Is it a girl? Is it a boy?’ When Prince George arrived, she repaid the favour by wearing a Jolene dress for his first official portrait. The dress sold out within two hours and led to a four-week mailing list. Thanks to the Kate Effect. No doubt the same thing will happen after she wore their Marina tweed bouclé coat last month at the Rugby Portobello Trust.
“Zara’s maternity wardrobe is more of an unknown quantity as we don’t see her in public so often. But, when she was pregnant with Mia, who is four on January 17, she too mixed designer and High Street. For her first appearance after the news broke, at Glorious Goodwood, she wore a vibrant yellow dress by Paul & Joe. For Prince George’s christening – she is his Godmother – she chose a navy coat and dress by the Queen’s dressmaker Stewart Parvin and hat by Royal Warrant holder Rachel Trevor Morgan. But at Cheltenham Racecourse, a month before Mia was born, she wore a New Look Maternity Coat.”
How to Dress Like a Princess: The Secrets of Kate’s Wardrobe is available at www.splendidbooks.co.uk and all leading book sellers. I hope it helps you beat the January blues!