After holidaying at Balmoral with the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to duty with an appearance at Stewards Academy in Essex which participates in the Place2Be program.
While Kate is the royal patron of Place2Be, there is unfortunately not much to discuss about the Paper Doll Duchess beyond her outfit. The speech was given by Prince William and Kate made no comments deemed noteworthy by the press. The conversation contributions Kate did manage were hard to hear and based on her hand gestures seemed like they were probably pamphlet parroting (she makes air circles when she regurgitates material).
At Friday’s event, Kate debuted a $2,150 (£1,728) dress by Altuzarra.
At first glance, I thought the 1930s-inspired dress had a black and white pill pattern, but alas, it was abstract dots. Kate accessorized it into sedation with her usual LK Bennett nude court shoes and Nina box clutch combo. Given that the cut of the dress with its yoke and button-down front has a vintage housedress feel, she really needed to take it in a different direction with the accessories. The dress cried out for a belt on her and Kate loves to belt dresses so I’m not really sure where cinching breakdown occurred. And if Kate really feels strongly about wearing a court shoe, I wish she would at least go with one that doesn’t look like a leather lobotomy like this Paul Andrew Ayla pump.
Even though Kate has a runway figure, she always sticks with the same fashion formula: dress + pumps + clutch = wake me when it’s over. I would have loved to see something other than the same old, maybe over the knee boots and a top knot bag. This is a glorious time for accessories from Chanel pearls to the revival of kinderwhore Mary Janes, leather bags with chains and candy-colored faux fur scarves. Designers like Saint Laurent have left no woman behind in their fall collections. And for all of the duchess’ McQueen, how does she not have these gloves? How do I not have these gloves?
Kate’s Altuzarra dress had a sexed-up high side slit that was tamed by some tailoring but she still managed to show off some of her legs with long strides upon arrival, which was really the only time I noticed she came with bendable joints.
Otherwise Kate’s body language seemed rigid throughout the two hour engagement suggesting she was even more uncomfortable than usual. In candid pics, Kate looked like she had been bent into poses meant to mimic animation during the product shoot and was in danger of tipping over.
With her doll hair, Kate basically looked like Mental Health Midge, a member of Barbie’s squad who, according to the box, cares how you feel, leather couch, framed diploma and prescription pad sold separately.
While William and Kate were doing their greetings, the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, took a tumble. The Daily Mail has a video. Compassionate Kate was so worried about the welfare of the 72-year-old man, her reaction was to turn her back to him and attempt to resume her conversation with her hand on her chest to convey surprise by the disruption and possibly concern. Once Kate realized all of the attention was on the man sprawled out on the pavement, she then turned back again and took a couple of awkward steps towards him and stopped as Prince William and others helped him up. Fortunately, the man was just embarrassed and did not appear to be injured beyond needing an ice pack for his wrist, although hopefully he was looked at by a medical professional.
Prince William and Kate attended an assembly at which selected students highlighted some of the issues they face with changes in their lives. Despite Place2Be being Kate’s charity, Prince William was the voice at the event, providing sound bites and a speech during which he admitted to having the jitters which had a humanizing effect and seemed to put everyone at ease.
Based on how uncomfortable Kate appears at events focusing on mental health, I’m not sure this is the cause for her. It doesn’t exactly help destigmatize mental health issues when the charity’s patron doesn’t look like she wants to be there and decides to pass along speaking responsibilities to her husband. I mean, Prince William doesn’t ask her to pretend to be a pilot, she should be able to step up to the podium. Allegedly at the launch of the Heads Together campaign, Kate was the only one slated to speak but she decided last minute she couldn’t do it so the speech was divided up with Princes William and Harry delivering the bulk of the content. A forum comment I randomly stumbled across mentions organizers were left scrambling two hours before the event to find additional podiums and microphones:
While Kate has always struggled with public speaking, she seems either less willing or less able to perform one of her major job requirements when it comes to the Heads Together campaign. If mental health doesn’t interest her or makes her feel uncomfortable, it is too important a cause to have its Palace-professed champion attempt to convey the message that mental health issues are something everyone should feel comfortable talking about while remaining silent.