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Diana, Our Mother Documentary Airs Today

Monday, July 24, 2017

With just over a month to go before the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, ITV has aired a new documentary created in collaboration with Princes William and Harry to tell the story of their late mother. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy aired on ITV at 9pm and it will air on HBO in the States at 10pm tonight.


This is the first time the princes have "spoken about Diana as a mother," and in an early showing that William hosted for the press before the trip to Poland and Germany, the Duke said that part of what has motivated this film is the fact that the younger generation might not even know of Diana at this point.

Of course, they couldn't let the 20th anniversary go without comment, and I think it is time they discuss their mother a little more in public. William shared how he tries to keep Diana's memory alive for his children, by framing pictures of her throughout the house, and telling George and Charlotte bedtime stories about their famous grandmother.

I haven't seen the show yet, but look forward to watching it when I can. It has sparked numerous headlines, as you can imagine. I think the princes are in a difficult position. Given how acrimonious Charles and Diana's divorce was, it is hard hard to walk the tightrope of praising her without casting blame on their father or the monarchy. Or admitting some apportioned fault. Many like to point out that Diana wasn't perfect, but I think even the staunchest supporter of Charles would have to admit the fault was overwhelmingly his. From reviews, it sounds like this special makes no mention of Charles at all.

Obviously William and Harry loved Diana deeply. To put her death in perspective, she died at 36, one year older than Kate is now. Although the boys were older, it is sobering to think about how very early her life was snuffed out. As more than a few commentators have remarked, Diana died at the height of her beauty and at the height of her popularity. Time never tarnished the rapport she had created with the public or the image she had crafted in the last years of her life, and to her boys she must have been quite perfect in every respect.

Via KP Twitter

At the same time, Charles is their father, and it seems very clear they love their father and that they have a good relationship with Camilla. The result is this strange parallel reality they have to create, to address each parent in isolation. In some sense it is a very sad predicament, and in another it is a tribute to the ability to see beyond faults and failings and love a person despite his or her faults. It's pretty universal, since it is something we all have to do daily with loved ones, friends, and the world at large.

I hope this ushers in a new chapter in William's life. Harry refers to his mother far more than William, but certainly William has paid tribute to his mother and his wife in gifting her some of the most meaningful pieces of his mother's jewelry collection. Most notably, he gave Kate his mother's ring and her sapphires reworked into Kate's favorite sapphire and diamond drops.

Kate surprised many by wearing the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara, which Diana made iconic, and I am sure William had a hand in that selection. At the most recent State Banquet, Kate also wore the pearl drop earrings Diana would sometimes wear with the tiara.

Just this past week, Kate wore Diana's pearl bracelet on tour:

And fans are still trying to determine if the rubies Kate wore to kickoff the trip might have belonged to Diana.

So, the Cambridges have been deliberately recalling Diana through Kate's jewelry of late, and it remains to be seen how much they speak publicly about her in the months to come.

P.S. The tour post will be late...obviously. I have an unexpected writing assignment that came up. :( 

Charlotte's Temper Tantrum on the Tarmac

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I have started into the fashion recap of this past week, but I thought I'd share my favorite moment from yesterday's farewell, and perhaps the whole tour. That would of course be Princess Charlotte's adorable little temper tantrum on the tarmac.

When the pictures first emerged it looked like the little princess had taken a tumble on the tarmac, but a brief review of the video revealed she was actually throwing a temper tantrum. Way more fun, I will tell you. 

Charlotte was gifted a little book, and from the tenacity with which she attempted to hold onto it, she was excited to dive right in and start enjoying. When Kate took the book from Charlotte, it infuriated Her Royal Highness who began a very nimble dance of rage and protestation.

Kate leaned over and appeared to tell the little tyke there were cameras documenting the darling debacle, or probably more persuasive for a two-year old, told her the family still had some fun things to see before take-off. Charlotte paused mid-way in the air and ever so briefly turned to consider her mom's comment...

Nope. She dismissed it, and when Kate tried to start leading her off, took evasive tactical measures by hitting the ground in protest. This is a smart kid, I like her style. Look at George, he is looking on thinking that Charlotte is definitely winning front page today unless he can come up with something quick.

Kate was completely unfazed throughout the brief interlude, and swooped down to pick up her offspring. It's a real tribute to the Cambridges parenting how quickly Charlotte brightened up and behaved. In her mother's arms, there were no further kicks or cries and she was back in bright spirits shortly thereafter. 

Royalty needs to walk a fine line between mystery and accessibility, and one of the advantages to having the kids along on these tours is that the public gets to see (even if fleetingly) the normal side of the Cambridges. This cute little moment was very short, but gave everyone a peek at their private lives, and a little bit of that is always good for PR. 

In Defense of Kate's Florals at Stutthof

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Cambridges began their second day of the tour today with a visit to Stutthof, a former Nazi concentration camp in what was occupied Poland. For me, this was the event for which I was most excited when the royals initially released their itinerary. It is deeply important for public figures to return to these erstwhile places of horror and draw with them the spotlight of media attention so that as a society and as individuals we don't forget the suffering of the past, nor the depravity to which humanity can fall if unchecked.

The Cambridges had a very special day planned, because they had the opportunity to meet with several individuals who were imprisoned at the camp during its time of operation, and survived. 

KP Twitter

The single blight on the event was the unhappy chatter of royal watchers faulting Kate for wearing a floral pattern rather or grey, I assume? I don't know what the preferred ensemble was, but apparently this floral didn't pass muster. I don't know when a muted floral became an inappropriate ensemble for a significant occasion. When did flowers become incompatible with gravity?

KP Twitter

When someone dies, what do you send to bereaved family members? Flowers. When you arrive at the funeral home or church, what is the coffin covered in? Flowers. When you visit a loved one at a cemetery, what do you bring to leave at the grave? Flowers. There is absolutely nothing incompatible between mourning or gravity and flowers.

What was that memorial to WWI dead that we all loved so much several years ago? A veritable sea of poppy flowers! Kate wore a bright blue on that occasion and no one complained. What's more, one of the women accompanying the royals today was wearing a cheerful blue, which looked professional and respectful on her. 

Like anything else, flowers and floral patterns come in different shapes, sizes, and "flavors" that vary for the occasion. I thought Kate chose a really fantastic ensemble today. This is not a girlish, summer picnic floral like the one she wore to Wimbledon. It is true to Erdem's often brooding and quirky style, and features a busy, but subdued floral print that actually reminded me of the style popular in the 1940s. 

Kate is supposed to look her best when on a public engagement, even more so when on such an important stop. This was a visit, it was not a commemorative service or specific event like Remembrance Sunday or a centenary. You don't downplay your clothes, you look your best as is appropriate, to pay your highest respects. She hit the nail on the head. 

Later in the day (not the camp) via Twitter

I don't even think I would have liked this pattern in another scenario, but the vintage charm and the way it stood out against the green of the grass and the shadows of the buildings, was perfect. If you still think Kate was an insensitive wretch, though, justice requires you apply your standard uniformly. In which case, I give you Her Majesty the Queen at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City...wearing a brighter floral dress than Kate debuted today. (Thanks to Cepe for alerting me to this. ;))

The pictures today were stunning, and the contrast between her beauty and the echoes of evil that linger at such a horrible place, created a powerful juxtaposition of light and darkness. It's the lesson we have to draw from these terrible events of the past, too, that darkness is always followed by light. Well done, Kate. 

George Does a Tarmac Toe Dance as Cambridges Land in Poland

Monday, July 17, 2017

Late last night I thought, gosh I wonder when William and Kate's trip to Poland starts. Lo and behold,  that would be today.  It's been an incredible summer, but very busy one. A lot of non-legal things have slipped through the cracks. But, here we are. The Cambridges are on tour. 

KP Family

I have good news and bad news. The good news is the tour is off to a smashing start. William and Kate have brought their little charmers Charlotte and George.  George has just hit the age where he is getting awkward with strangers. He was reluctant to greet his fans when the family deplaned:

And then stood on the tarmac doing the shy-shuffle. We've all been there, right? Toe-tapping imaginary lint around while we try to pretend we are quire relaxed at the presence of other humans.

Nothing says, "I'm confident and I know it" like a model worthy pose while you take comfort kissing your dad's knuckles. I love this sweet child. 

Kate wore McQueen, and as one reporter remarked, carried her best accessory, Princess Charlotte, who by the way, is not suffering from George's sudden stage fright. She has been waving and shaking hands and generally yucking it up with all about her. They'll have to rein her in soon before she decides to enter politics...

To the delight of many, Kate wore a custom dress from a Polish designer this evening:

Of course, the big news item today was that Kate was gifted something meant for a baby, so her response was to tell William, "I guess we will have to have more babies." That has turned into a headline on the Daily Mail claiming Kate wants more kids. I watched several iterations of the comment throughout the day on several news sources, and it really is like the game Telephone. Everyone puts just a hint of a spin on her remark until it's a completely different statement. As it happens, I think these two are planning more kids, so we will see how that plays out. In the meantime, raise your glass to another Cambridge. And santé:

The bad news is that I am not going to cover the tour. Some you will read this as: I am quitting blogging. No. I am not quitting blogging, but I am not covering the tour. Covering a tour is exponentially more work then a regular post. There is sooo much to keep track of, to report on, and explain. More pictures, more data--it's a lot to synthesize and pass on. This week I have to choose the law instead of Kate. 

I will post a little something at the end of every day--my favorite pictures or some piece of news that surfaced that was interesting--and on the weekend I will do a full retrospective of the tour talking about the clothes and the highlights. That will be a big post. But, I can't spend thirty-five hours blogging this week. It often disappoints me that in life, you just can't always have it all. 

The consolation prize, if this disappoints you, is that if you want more tour coverage, I will be active on my Instagram account, where I post stories and pictures. I will "go live" tonight to talk about the day and the fashion. If you aren't familiar with Instagram Stories, you can start a live video and interact with other Instagrammers in real-time, which allows you to ask questions and for me to answer. So, we can have a quasi-conversation. Anyone who wants to tune in for that should follow my account and I will go live tonight and throughout the week. Remember that Stories are only available on the mobile app, you can't join in from your desktop.