Tag Archives: Sophie

The Duchess Who Cried Keen

Despite a flurry of reports towards the end of 2015 that Kate Middleton is “keen to demonstrate an increased commitment to the charity sector” as the Daily Mail indicated, Kate has performed exactly 0 official engagements to date this year and hasn’t done an official engagement since December 16, 2015.  While the British Royal Family has padded Kate’s engagements in the past, the brief wreath laying on January 10th was not included in the Court Circular as an official event.

Since joining the British Royal Family five years ago, Kate  Middleton  has undertaken a grand total of  342 engagements.  In 2015, the Queen carried out 341 engagements.  So basically it takes a 34-year-old-duchess five years to rack up the  same number of events an 89-year-old-monarch knocks out in one year.

Duchessing comes with some pretty impressive job security.  With most jobs, if you don’t bother showing up for work for over a month, your framed pictures, plants and the marshmallow shooter  you got as a Secret Santa gift probably won’t still be on your desk whenever you  decide to make a  special guest appearance at your workplace.

With no Kate Middleton engagements to report on and space to fill, media outlets have been rehashing Joanne Froggatt’s appearance on Conan during which the actress revealed she had made an “accidental sex pun” to Kate Middleton when she visited the Downton Abbey set on March 12, 2015.  Joanne Froggatt recounted that Kate had said, “It feels strange. Being in your bedroom.”  to which the actress responded, “Yeah, not many people get to come in Lady Mary’s bedroom.”

Kate Middleton’s tour of the Downton Abbey set counted as one of her 62 engagements  in 2015.  When Kate “popped  in”, Downton Abbey was already shooting its final season so there really wasn’t much of a point to Kate’s visit other than getting to tour the set of one of her favorite shows.  It certainly didn’t seem to have any  effect on the  show’s ratings.   In fact, when the first episode of season six debuted in the UK on September 20, 2015, it was the lowest rated debut  in the series run with 7.6 million viewers tuned in, down from the previous year’s 8.43 million.  (Source: Deadline).  The US  season six  premiere on January 3rd drew 9.9 million viewers, down from the previous year’s 10.1  million. (Source:  Variety).

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And why would Kate’s visit have any effect?  Would anyone suddenly start watching the tail end of a show just because Kate Middleton walked around the set, saw costumes  being  made and watched a scene being shot?  Would mainstream critics suddenly be swayed by the show’s quality because a woman who waited  almost a decade for a man to marry her met the show’s cast?

Kate was positively beaming during the tour as photos featured in the Telegraph revealed, showing the kind of interest normally absent from events when she has to pretend to care about sick kids or art or being a representative of the UK:

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Eight days prior to Kate’s Downton Abbey visit, Sophie, Countess of Wessex toured the set with Angelica Rivera, the First Lady of Mexico.   Sophie’s hosting duties did not count as an official engagement and yet Kate’s did.

So not only did  Kate’s set tour count as work, her desire to visit the set  of one of her favorite shows  wound up  costing the taxpayer  quite a bit in undisclosed security costs.  As Joanne  Froggatt revealed on Conan,  “But — and obviously there’s a lot of security that comes with it as well. She’s royalty. The days before we have the police around, sniffing dogs. It feels like a huge event.”

Note that Joanne Froggatt indicated the days before.   Securing a set is a massive endeavor.  There are the cameras, audio equipment, lighting, monitors, the sets, prop storage rooms, hair and make-up departments, wardrobe for every character,  etc.  The  taxpayers footed the bill for days of security teams doing sweeps, bomb sniffing dogs, and most likely background checks by Scotland Yard on each and every cast and crew member affiliated with the show.

Joanne Froggatt may have made an  accidental sex pun  that day, but Kate managed to screw over the taxpayers twice.  And it looks like she’s starting this year off just like the others, with much ado about nothing.

At this point, Kate has cried “keen” far too many times.  If she ever does decide to do the job she accepted on April 29, 2011, no one will actually believe it.

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Kate’s Hair is a Sight2See at Place2Be Headteacher Conference

For the second time since becoming Patron of Place2Be, Kate got jacked by the wind upon arrival at one of its events.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t as bad as when this happened:

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This time the wind just staged a hair assault.  But it did set a tone of levity in the press for an event at which Kate Middleton delivered one of those rare speeches with words and sentences and everything.

Even though some speech experts recommend opening with a joke, I doubt many would suggest the kind of semen hair joke The Huffington Post UK went with in its Comedy Section Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s ‘There’s Something About Mary’ Moment piece featuring this side-by-side:

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The Daily Mail also made a movie reference with its Gone with the Wind!  Duchess of Cambridge struggles to contain her bouncy locks as she visits London Conference to make a rare public speech about her ‘wonderful and secure’ childhood headline that was practically as long as the cinematic classic itself.  One of their photos captured the same kind of Scarlett O’Hara “I won’t let it go while there’s breath left in my body” resolve Kate seems to possess when it comes to leaving her hair down.

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OK! proclaimed Kate Middleton embraces windswept hair as she attends the Headteacher Conference in London with a pic of the duchess featuring the kind of pompadour height The King would have envied:

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To be fair, Kate doesn’t control the wind.  Even Oprah doesn’t control the wind.  But Kate does have access to weather forecasts calling for an updo or a window that enables her to reach for a ponytail elastic when she sees the house from the Wizard of Oz fly by because it’s so freaking windy in London that day.  Weather happens.

This is how Sophie, Countess of Wessex, prepared for her November 11th Veterans Day visit to The Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in NYC which had some rain, some fog, some overcast skies and some sun with a high of 57 F and low of 50 F with winds topping out at 5.583 mph.

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Sophie often wears her hair back at events.  People tend not to take you seriously if they can’t see you.  That’s why you don’t see a lot of ghosts being interviewed on Charlie Rose.

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Perhaps the wind was trying to do Kate a solid and show off her recently debuted $3,300 Kiki McDonough diamond earrings which otherwise would have been lost in her locks.

KikiMcDonoughEarringsAnd at least the wind headlines cut down on the number of those proclaiming that Kate recycled her 2012 Matthew Williamson peplum dress.  I’m as guilty as anyone for using the word “recycle” when it comes to Kate wearing an article of clothing more than once, but it’s a strange way to refer to what is a completely normal occurrence every single day all around the world.  It both implies there’s something noble about Kate not immediately discarding clothing after use and it makes her sound like a labeled bin in which people should be putting their bottles and cans.

Kate’s speech came in at 3:20 and can be viewed on Daily Mail as can a transcript of the speech.  In terms of delivery, Kate showed some improvement over previous speeches which lends credibility to claims she’s been working on her public speaking, possibly with a coach.  Kate looked up more from the sheets of paper than in the past, however sheets of paper or note cards should only be used for reference so eye contact can be made with the audience.  Every time Kate lifted her head, her fringe flew up like flares, it was distracting.  Kate’s breathing was more measured in the beginning, but she began to lose confidence, seemingly strained by the Received Pronunciation affectation issue that’s plagued past speeches.  At one point her face went ashen, appearing to be daunted by the realization that there were still more words to go.  Her intonation was a slightly better but still needs developing.  Further practice will help with nerves and if she watches the speeches she has given to help her identify areas she needs to work on, she can continue to improve.

What I found most disappointing about the speech was its content in which she equated mental health with luck, referencing her own upbringing and indicating, “My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.”  That correlation suggests those with mental illness are just plain unlucky that they weren’t born to families that could afford better schools.  Her speech ignores genetic and biological causes of mental illnesses which according  to the Place2Be website effects three children in every classroom.  Kate stressed “not all children have the anchor of a strong family” which is a disservice to the cause she is supposed to be championing, mental health issues can effect anyone from any background.

One of the reasons mental health is such an important issue is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people are afraid to admit to any form of mental issues out of fear it will change how they are perceived.  It’s estimated that in the US 80% of those suffering from clinical depression do not seek any form of treatment for it.

Place2Be provides support to schools in the form of individual and group counseling for children, support for parents and care-givers as well as training and guidance for school staff.  Providing these resources in schools is very important, but they won’t be effective if they aren’t utilized by those who need them.

I went to a school which had a staff psychologist whose door was always open.  Literally.  None of the students took advantage of the resources provided by the school because of that door.  In the few instances it was ever closed, students knew it was because someone had made an appointment and a watch began to see who would come out of it, which member of the student body was secretly “crazy”.  In the girl’s bathroom one day, I remember one student advising another not to seek help for her emotional struggles through the school because it would be social suicide.

No matter how many resources Place2Be provides, the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to change because children will resist programs that they feel distinguishes them as different in a way they perceive as negative.  Parents will also be less receptive to a program whose Patron suggested their children’s mental illness is linked to their poor parenting.

The steps Kate is taking to be heard are important, but even a flawlessly delivered speech cannot compensate for a flawed message that can be detrimental to the cause she is trying to help.  There were suggestions that Kate wrote this speech herself, which hopefully she did because if a professional speechwriter wrote her Place2Be speech, Kate might be better served trying that individual out as a stylist, tailor or hair wrangler.

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Remembrance Sunday

Sunday November 8th was Remembrance Day in the UK, a solemn day honoring the sacrifices of war and those who have fallen in current and past conflicts including the First and Second World Wars.

This year, the British Royal Family was joined by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.  King Willem-Alexander participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall while Queen Maxima joined Kate Middleton, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office balcony to watch the service.

Because Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is presently on a tour of New Zealand and Australia with Prince Charles, Kate was the most senior  member of the British Royal Family this year on the balcony.  Many royal watchers wondered how Kate would fare in the presence of the dynamic, intelligent, regal, quadrilingual, and accomplished Queen Maxima, especially considering Kate has struggled with event-appropriate demeanor since joining  the British Royal Family.

The Neverland Duchess wore Alexander McQueen for her balcony appearance with the Netherlands Queen.

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Kate’s ill-fitting Alexander McQueen coat  was bespoke.   Once  again Kate’s bespoke has left me bespeechless.  I’m baffled how clothing custom-made according to Kate’s measurements and tailored to her body could wind up  looking like it was picked up from an irregulars bin at a flea market.  London is world-renowned for its tailoring, it actually has famous tailors.  One was even awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to tailoring.  So why does Kate keep winding up with couture that looks like a Home  Ec assignment gone horribly wrong?

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The only way this would vaguely even make sense is if she had scuba gear on under her coat because she and William were planning on jetting off to Mustique immediately after the service.

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Caribbean happy thoughts might explain why Kate kept closing her eyes during the Remembrance Sunday service… her face probably looks a bit different when she closes her eyes and thinks of England.  Kate’s next scheduled event isn’t until the 17th and the Cambridges were rumored to be Mustique-bound in November.

Perhaps thoughts of flight were behind the butterfly fascinator which resembled cat ears, calling to mind the bunny ear pillbox hat of last year’s Anzac Day.

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Groucho Marx said, “Humor is reason gone mad.”  I can  only assume Kate’s brows were intended to lighten the mood.

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With cracks visible in Kate’s facade,  many wondered how she would hold up as the most senior role alongside the much loved and larger-than-life Queen Maxima, given her past  widely criticized appearances on Remembrance Sunday.

In 2011, Kate joined Camilla, Sophie and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office Balcony, visibly enjoying being royal on a balcony.  A festive Kate smiled and laughed,  played with her hair, made  faces, seemingly not grasping that most people view war and death with sadness.

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Kate’s crack-ups  proved infectious and the normally restrained Sophie lost her composure when Camilla suddenly disappeared from view.  One was not amused.  The following year the Queen appointed her Lady in Waiting, Lady Susan Hussey to the balcony.

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Under the watchful eye of Lady Susan Hussey, the royals scarcely dared to blink.  Kate behaved to the best of her abilities.

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Without the  adult supervision of Lady Susan Hussey in 2013, all of Kate’s pent-up crazy from the previous year’s Remembrance Sunday manifested in a flirty hair-twirling lark for the duchess who thought perhaps others might not be so bummed about lost loved ones if her hair looked pretty enough.

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In 2014, Kate and Sophie showed up in nearly identical  coats which seemed to have a sobering effect on Kate who was less expressive and exuberant than the previous year.

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With the exception of her curiously closed eyes, Groucho Marx brows and questionable headgear, I think Kate did a good job this year on the balcony, but honestly it’s becoming more difficult to tell with diminished expectation.  Kate didn’t burst out laughing during the service honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen, she didn’t flash anyone or spend an inordinate amount of time checking her extensions or searching her hair for Drops of Jupiter, she didn’t spin around really fast with her arms outspread to see if she could turn into Wonder Woman and she didn’t try to start a Mexican wave on the Foreign Office Balcony.  And maybe  the Catwoman headgear is a positive sign.

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Sure, at first the Queen  might be resistant to Catwoman Catherine  but Kate’s only other career aspiration is inherently flawed.

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Cruella of Cambridge

This week, Kate Middleton has four days of engagements scheduled.  I’m assuming the why involves a ransom note, a picture of Kate’s nude LK Bennett Sledge pumps in front of a current newspaper and one of the heel tips dropped off as proof of life by an eighty-eight year old woman with a purposeful gait, pastel coat and hat, with her purse positioned on the exact spot on her arm that lets aides know she will donate those tired patent court shoes to charity if Kate doesn’t break single digits for engagements this year.  At least that’s how it happened in my head.

On Wednesday, Kate visited the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and Resort Studios in Margate.  Because her engagements involved some interaction with children, Kate wore a pattern she knew kids would really respond to:

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Kate’s Dalmatian Hobbs coat is a recycled look, first seen of course, here:

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The duchess’ hair was pulled back into the ponytail version of erectile dysfunction.

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At the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery, Kate viewed the Self: Image and Identity exhibit and spoke with several of the artists.  This is either Kate viewing Jeremy Millar’s “Self Portrait As A Drowned Man” or the reaction shot of artist Gavin Turk after Art History graduate and National Portrait Gallery Patron Kate Middleton spoke with the artist about her brother James’ beard and asked him questions about beard maintenance.

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Kate admitted during her visit that she sometimes forgets she’s pregnant.  Which makes sense because she also forgets people can see her when she does this:

KateDalmatianCrotchClutchWhich she did a lot of.  Seriously, I was expecting her to pull a baby or a rabbit out of that thing.

On Thursday, Kate will be visiting the set of Downton Abbey where Sophie, Countess of Wessex recently went with Angelica Rivera, the First Lady of Mexico on March 4th.  As in eight days ago.  While Kate’s visit to the Downton Abbey set is not connected to any charity, it is expected to shine the spotlight on duchesses who can somehow can get this to count as an official engagement.  Sophie’s visit however was considered a private visit, despite her hosting duties.

Perhaps Kate’s Downton Abbey outfit will take its inspiration from another Disney classic.

Lady&TheTramp

 

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Two New Coats Kate

Back from her Balmoral Babymoon and recovering nicely from Fake Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a convenient prenatal condition that effects only the Kate Middleton of the population, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for three events over the weekend in brand new attire.  While Hyperemesis Gravidarum leaves sufferers exhausted and dehydrated from chronic vomiting, Fake Hyperemesis Gravidarum leaves duchesses with plenty of time to amass a whole new wardrobe.

For her visit to the Valero Pembroke Refinery and a Rugby Union international match on Saturday, Kate Middleton donned a Matthew Williamson coat with unfortunately placed buttons.  The silver circular buttons line up exactly with Kate’s unevenly matched set of baby feeders, with buttons serving as areola armor, this pale blue frock shall be referred to as the Nipple Button Coat.  One wonders if the designer customized nipple button placement for Kate so they corresponded to her left nipple being higher than the right or if the asymmetrical nipple shields spoke to Kate on a subconscious level.

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The Nipple Button Coat joins Kate’s extensive collection of blue outerwear.

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For Remembrance Day, Kate appeared appropriately somber for the occasion for the most part.  Possibly because she was mourning showing up in a nearly identical Alexander McQueen coat as Sophie, Countess of Wessex.  It’s been said that seeing another woman wearing clothing she owns deeply upsets Kate so this McQueen double-take might have been why Kate’s demeanor was more appropriate than usual for the occasion.

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Regretfully for my city,  it’s being reported that Kate will be joining her husband for a three day trip to NYC in December which is the city’s busiest month for tourism.  Kate is reportedly “very excited” because she’s always wanted to see New York City, so no surprise this trip has been planned for the best month to visit NYC.  Likely they will be staying at the Waldorf Astoria where the tiniest single goes for $1,000 a night in the month of December.  Fortunately for the Cambridges, cost shouldn’t be a factor since it’s a “working” visit for Prince William’s charity United for Wildlife and will therefore be covered by UK taxpayers or the charity or some other foundation that raises money for people who raise money…  I’m not familiar with the charity, but I assume it’s where a bunch of hunters gather to pretend to care about animals before going on holiday shoots on their familial estates.

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Bad Will Hunting with Kate

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