Going To The Chapel And We’re……….

It was a great surprise to find out that we didn’t have to wait long to find out some of the details for the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle after yesterdays engagement announcement.

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Kensington Palace have confirmed the wedding will take place in May at St Georges Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Palace confirmed the coupe choose it as their venue as it is very special to them, having spent much time there during their relationship. The proximity to Windsor Castle is also believed to make it much easier for the Queen and Prince Phillip to attend the wedding. It is likely to be easier to control security in Windsor as well then it is in London for all the politicians, foreign dignitaries and celebrities that will attend the wedding.

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The chapel, which seats 800 will be very familiar to regular Royal watchers, it was the site for Prince Edwards wedding to Sophie Rhys Jones and for Harry’s cousin, Peter Phillips wedding to Autumn Kelly.

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It has not been announced if the weeding will ne televised but the palace have advised that the coupe are looking at ways to make the public feel a part of the celebration.

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The Palace also confirmed that Meghan will be accompanying Harry on her first public engagement this friday!  She will undertake a number of engagements in Nottingham including her first walkabout, so it will be lovely to see her interact with local members of the British public and how they will react to her after some of the negative online reaction. They will then visit events associated with partonages Harry has long been passionate about including a ‘fun, upbeat event that will highlight the work to smash stigma that can still exist around HIV’ and a visit to Nottingham Academy to meet mentors from the Full Effect program established by the Prince in 2013.

It has been announced that Meghan will not be continuing her work with the United Nations but will be starting afresh as a Royal with new causes and patronages. I think its quite natural that she will get involved with issues Harry has long championed such as working with HIV patients and veterans. Given her cultural heritage and their mutual love of Africa it is likely she will eventually get involved with Harry’s charity work there, however I think in an attempt to ‘British’ her up a bit, the focus will exclusively be on local British charities and issues for the next several months. Once she has chosen a few organizations to work with I would also expect to see her take on a patronage that promotes the empowerment of women.

Are you looking forward to seeing Harry and Meghan on Friday?

 

Kylie XO

 

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Diamonds For Kate

It’s a diamond fuelled week for the Royals, with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stepping out in a diamond print Kate Spade dress the day after the big announcement was made regarding her brother in laws engagement to Meghan Markle.

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Kate was out to visit the Foundling museum in London, which explores the interesting history of the Foundling hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. The hospital was founded in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for babies at risk of abandonment. Today the charity continues as Coram, among their programs is a creative therapies program which uses music and art to enable vulnerable children to express themselves and make sense of their world.

Kate, who was an art history major at the university of St Andrews has been a long-term patron of similar program The Art Room, which works in British schools to use art as a therapeutic tool to help children facing emotional difficulties thrive and visited Inner city arts at Skid Row in LA during her first Royal tour where she painted a snail.

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Upon arrival the press immediately greeted Kate with questions regarding the engagement of Harry and Meghan. She responded with ‘William and I are absolutely thrilled. Its such exciting news. Its really a happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment’

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Kate then toured the galley before taking part in an arts and crafts class with the children. She wore a new Kate Spade diamond dress from Kate Spade. Items in the same print have been found in a skirt, jacket and pants but the exact dress has not yet been located, giving some hope that it may be in an upcoming collection, will be music to the ears of replikaters who have found this year to be increasingly difficult to source available and affordable replikate outfits. She accessorized with her Gianvito Rossi ‘Gianvito 105’ Royale Burgundy suede pumps and a cranberry colored suede Mulberry clutch. She wore her familiar diamond and sapphire drop earring which previously belonged to Princess Diana and were remodelled for Kate and gifted to her by William after their engagement.

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When Harry Met Meghan

When the news that Prince Harry was dating American suits actress Megan Markle broke, I completely disregarded the story. I saw the headlines and the posts on twitter and Instagram but didn’t click on a single link. With nothing against Megan, who I hadn’t heard of having never seen Suits, I thought it was just more tabloid fodder, like the stories linking Harry in the preceding months to actresses such as Emma Watson and Margot Robbie.

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That was until ‘that’ statement by Harry was released by Kensington Palace. Not a polished official announcement put together by the Kensington Palace PR team, the statement showed a very upset boyfriend wanting to protect someone he was very much in love with, perhaps with some fear as well that his new girlfriend would decide that the intrusion into her privacy, along with the racist undertones many of the stories were along the lines of, would be all too much and she may decide to not continue with the relationship. Luckily for Harry that was not the case. Despite the pair being rarely seen in public, they have not spent more then two weeks apart at a time. Retreating to the privacy of their homes and a camping trip in Africa, the two have been able to develop a relationship largely out of the public eye. Culminating in hearts breaking all over the world yesterday as their engagement was announced, starting with an official statement released by the palace, followed by a photo call and official interview to mark the occasion.

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Stepping out hand in hand in a stunning white wrap coat by Canadian brand Line, into the sunken gardens of Kensington Palace, a favourite spot of Princess Diana’s, Megan glowed as she waved for the cameras and showed off her engagement ring, containing a large diamond Harry sourced from Botswana,  flanked by another two diamonds taken from Diana’s personal jewellery collection, which the Price had designed himself and proposed to the actress with one night at home whilst they were roasting a chicken.

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The two later gave their official engagement interview. With Megan’s experience in front of the camera, it is no surprise that she gave an incredibly polished, professional and personable interview. She has shown right from the start she is more then capable of handling the official duties which will now be required as she becomes a member of the Royal family. With a long-standing interest in charity work, having worked with the United Nations on gender equality and the empowerment of women and travelling to Rwanda for World Vision Canada’s clean water campaign, she is no doubt currently reviewing the charities and organisations she wishes to become involved with. Being much more used to public speaking and the spotlight then Kate Middleton was at the time of her engagement/wedding, I would expect to see Megan quite quickly out of the gate promoting the charities and issues she is passionate about. It was lovely to see prince Harry, who has not always had an easy relationship with the media. Looking happy and relaxed in front of the camera.

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What can we expect from here? We know the wedding will be held in the British spring. With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third baby due in April, we may be looking at a May wedding, though no official details have yet been announced including the venue. Will the wedding be televised? Again, we do not know. Whilst there is much international interest, Harry is not really in line for the throne anymore, pushed further down the line with each Cambridge baby so he may be allowed to have a more private wedding as his cousin Zara Phillips did when she married rugby player Mike Tindall. If it is a televised event I look forward to hosting a Royal wedding viewing tea party just as I am sure many of you are already planning as well.

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What we know we can expect from here though until there are more official details is lots of tabloid stories comparing Megan to another American actress who married a Prince, Grace Kelly. No doubt there will be comparisons as well to the last American divorcee to marry into the British Royal family, Wallis Simpson. Then eventually there will no doubt be the stories of a jealous Kate, pushed out of the spotlight by her new glamorous sister in law. Harry has confirmed in the couple’s engagement interview that Kate and Megan get along very well, and she has been very supportive of them. Kate has always been a bit of a homebody, preferring life out of the spotlight so I am sure she is more than happy to share some of the media attention normally lavished onto her with Megan. With the media engaged elsewhere it may even give Kate a bit more freedom to hit the shops at High street or walk the kids through Kensington Park, as she used to.

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I have been surprised by the number of messages I have received since news of the engagement broke, from both Royal watchers and non-royal watchers asking me how I feel about the engagement and expressing a dislike for Megan or surprise thinking the two weren’t that serious.  I am thrilled with the news, particularly after seeing how happy Harry is. I look forward to seeing how Megan adapts to Royal life and the charities she will champion. I look forward to seeing Prince George and Princess Charlotte taking an official part in Uncle Harrys wedding just as they did with Aunt Pippa. I can’t wait to see what Kate will wear to the wedding! I am sure after seeing how confident and happy the two were during the interview, some people who believed Megan might not be a good fit for the Royal family or capable of fulfilling the role, have changed their opinion. Possibly there was some surprise from non-regular royal watchers due to how infrequently the two were seen in public, however the privacy of their relationship was a signal to regular royal watcher just how serious the relationship was. I’m sure as the public get to know Megan more they will warm to her, at least once we all get over our broken hearts now that Harry is off the market………..

What was your reaction when you heard about the royal engagement?

 

Kylie XO

My Afternoon With Paul Burrell

On Wednesday, this week I had the absolute pleasure of heading to the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast for a charity fundraiser high tea which was also attended by a very special guest speaker, Paul Burrell, former butler to the late Princess Diana. A controversial figure within Royal watching circles, whilst I understand he is not everybody’s cup of tea, he did show me how to pour the perfect cup in case I ever have the pleasure of hosting her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for tea.

The high tea was in support of Young care, an organisation which helps young people with high assisted living needs exit or avoid admissions to aged care facilities.

There were two events on the day. The Royal afternoon tea and conversation with Paul Burrell was the main event however prior to that there was a VIP event for only 12 people which I attended.
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Nervously ushered into an elevator we had no idea where we were going until we ended up in Paul’s very own room, the hotels Imperial suite, a luxurious three-room suite which boosts possibly the best view on the Gold Coast. With mellow music coming from a guitar player/singer in the corner and Versace staff circulating with trays of champagne and cucumber finger sandwiches, Paul Burrell emerged into the lounge. Just as synonymous with Diana to me as her ‘boys’ Princes William and Harry, Kensington Palace or that pearl and sapphire choker, it is quite a thrill when he appears, almost like catching up with an old friend as his image is so familiar. The presence of Diana lingers around him, almost to the point you expect her to pop through the door at any second.

Much like a cocktail party on an episode of the Bachelor, everyone breaks off into small groups where we wait for our own private ten minutes with him where we can take a photo, have him sign a copy of his bestselling biography ‘A royal duty’ and ask a few questions each.
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My first impressions of Paul Burrell, he has a smile which is larger than life, he radiates warmth and personality, he is slightly embarrassed when you ask him for a hug but always obliging, he is skilled at putting people at ease and calming their nerves, he effortlessly drawers you into conversation. His sunny disposition and megawatt smile are what directly led to him getting the job as the Queens personal footman after only two years of service at Buckingham Palace. That and an uncanny knack at being effortlessly able to pinpoint someone’s needs and fulfil them before they ask. Summoned to see the Queen from the breakfast table one morning as she was interested in the ‘footman who always smiles so much’ he thought the only thing a footman could be summoned for at this time of the day was to walk the Queens beloved corgis. Slipping 2 sausages in his back pocket he went to see the Queen. ‘Would you like to walk my Corgis?’ she asked, ‘of course’ he replied. Out in the gardens of Buckingham Palace the Queen peeked through the curtains as her 8 corgis, normally terrors to control were enthralled and chasing down the footman, or his two sausages at least. Upon his return, the Queen commented ‘They do seem to love you, I think I will keep you’ and promoted he was to be one of two of the Queens personal footman.

In a world where we are so used to seeing commentary from friends and family of Diana’s or the Royals being split firmly in two different camps and loathing the other side, it is surprising to see someone talk about both the Queen and Princess Diana with the same love and affection. But he does. Possibly the only member of Diana’s camp who didn’t want to cheer during Charles Spencer’s eulogy inside Westminster Abbey, he wanted to tell people to stop clapping, to look at the Queen, that the Queen was heartbroken. Always respectful of the entire Royal family he cannot be baited to speak poorly of even Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. When asked of his opinion of Camilla and Charles’s relationship he simply replies, ‘I can never speak warmly of Camilla, I am Diana’s man, she was not my mistress, she was somebody else’s mistress, Diana was my mistress and it is with her my love and loyalty will always lie’. In fact, I kind of get the feeling that he wishes people would stop mentioning both Camilla and Diana in the sentence. That he does not want Camilla to become as synonymous with Diana as her boys, Kensington Palace and her style. That he hopes when we focus our discussion on Diana we will focus on her legacy, her charity work, the way she changed the Royals and the world, her sons and grandchildren and not be fixated on the parts of her life which brought such pain and heartache.
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It is surprising how little gossip and scandal he does discuss. When he talks of Diana he discusses their friendship, her charity work, her love for her sons all peppered with personal memories of their day to day interactions with one another. Topics such as previous lovers including Hasnat Khan and Dodi Al Fayed, preparing for her funeral, her divorce with Charles only come up when he is asked directly and ask him we do constantly. When asked if he wishes that Diana had never married Charles he replies it is impossible ‘it was Diana’s destiny to marry Charles, to have those two boys, to change the monarchy and the world today, to pave the way and go through the hardships she did to create a better life for her boys and grandchildren, it was her destiny’.
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Ushered from the private event to the foyer outside the ballroom for the afternoon tea we are greeted by doorman dressed as Queen guards and trumpeters announce the event officially open. Walking into the ballroom we are greeted with candle light and over 5000 flowers, mostly roses in tribute to England’s rose. My own outfit, a dress from Australian brand Review, covered in a rose pattern blends in with the décor.
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After some on stage introductions Paul joins our table for a traditional afternoon, the menu includes delights such as English cucumber finger sandwiches, candied lemon and sultana scones served with balsamic strawberry jam with cream, guava and passionfruit mousse and finishes with a chocolate dome etiquette smash, so called as it contains a small take home guide book on etiquette.


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Halfway through the tea Paul takes to the stage for an hour presentation where he talks of his life pre-Royals, how he was studying a hospitality and hotel management course and dreamed of working at sea with Cunard cruise line. He applied to Cunard at the same time he applied at Buckingham Palace. In a secret, he only found out from his younger brother on the day of his mother’s funeral, his mother had received two letters on the same day, one from Cunard and one from Buckingham palace, both offering him employment. She took the letter from Cunard and tossed it on the fire telling his younger brother that if he went far away to sea they would never see him again. It seems just as much as he believes it was Diana’s destiny to marry into and change the Royal family and touch people the world over by becoming ‘the people’s princess’ it was just as much his destiny to enter a life service with the Royals and to be there for Diana, the princess needed her rock. He talks of her work, their trips overseas, her joy at connecting with the common people and making a real difference on issues such as land mines, her legacy of her sons and grandchildren. Through William, he feels the Monarchy is in safe hands and will flourish in the future. He advises he has no inside special knowledge but he sees Harry being happy in a way he hasn’t seen since before his mother’s death and he predicts another Royal wedding next year. I’m sure we all have our fingers crossed for that one! He addresses the charges of theft of Diana’s personal items and the intervention by the Queen which stopped the trial, the only time the Queen has intervened in such a legal matter. He says his favorite memory is of Diana, in her robe, her hair in a towel, playing her piano, finally having a moment to live her life like she doesn’t have cameras pointed on her at every second.

What did I learn most from my afternoon with Paul Burrell? A little kindness goes a long way, life is precious and can change at any second, a sunny disposition and a smile can get you far in life and the importance of a thank you note, in fact I am off to write one now.

Kylie XOXO

A Closer Look At The Heads Together Campaign & My Own #oktosay

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If you are a regular follower of mine, you will be aware that I am a big supporter of the Duchess of Cambridge. I love her fashion, regularly purchase some wonderful British products that she has been associated with, such as Emma Bridgewater and Jo Malone, that I would not have heard of without her association and I like to think that I support her causes and work. Of course, I have heard of the Heads Together campaign, when the surprise video came out announcing that it was this year’s partnership charity with the London marathon I watched it, I loved the informality of the video and rushed to the J Crew website to buy my own breton sweater as Kate had worn in it. I knew the campaign had something to do with mental health. For the next twelve months, I eagerly awaited each appearance associated with the campaign by the Royals. However, it was not until well after the marathon had actually commenced that I had a real understanding of what the campaign was actually about. For today’s post, I am going to be taking a much closer look at the campaign and share my own personal #itsoktosay

Whilst I have come a bit late to party on this important campaign, the hard work that William, Kate and Harry have done in promoting the cause for the last year will be wasted if we all move onto the next issue and stopped having the conversation!

The Heads Together Campaign is the biggest project that Kate has tackled so far. She has spent the last year, along with Princes William and Harry spearheading the campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health. The campaign brought together key charities from the trios work in areas such as homelessness, veterans and addiction, such as place2be, the Anna Freud center and contact.

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The aim of the campaign was to change the national conversation on mental health and well being so we could all feel confident speaking up if we had any issues, without the fear of being stigmatised by admitting we had problems. Through a video made for the campaign and William and Kate’s recent radio interview with BBC1, we have had an unusually personal glimpse into the lives of Royals with Kate admitting she had a difficult time adjusting after the birth of Prince George and William and Harry opening up about the death of their mother, Princess Diana and how, despite the close relationship between the two, they did not talk to each other or support each other enough.

The #itsoktosay was created as a way for people to join in on the conversation surrounding mental health, by either sharing the videos and press releases from the Heads Together campaign or by encouraging their friends to reach out if they had issues or to use it reach out to others with their own issues when they weren’t sure how to start the conversation.

Which brings me to an important issue I would like to discuss which is online bullying. I don’t think there has been any replikater who has posted pictures of themselves in a replikate outfit who at one time or the other has not been targeted by trolls who want to criticise the person’s weight, their lack of own personal style or chastise them for what they see as a frivolous use of money.

At least twice a week I find myself targeted by online trolls who want to tell me I’m fat or would need to spend a million dollars on plastic surgery to come close to looking like Kate. Even the back handed compliment has come up a few times such as ‘you could be so pretty if you lost weight so why don’t you’. For the record, I know that I am overweight and should lose weight for health reasons, I have a long history of unhealthy yo yo dieting. I also don’t believe I look like Kate but I am highly influenced by her style and wearing an outfit, whether inspired by or directly copied from her gives me a confidence boost and makes me feel special and pretty so what’s the harm in that? I have turned down multiple online media opportunities in the past as I know the criticism will be mainly around my weight. I think its sad that I have let these online bullies influence my decisions in this way for what should be happy and exciting moments.

Whilst I am sure there are people who will feel that I have brought this criticism onto myself by posting a picture of myself side by side with Kate, it is the only way that a lot of us can reach out to find other replikaters or people who share our greater Royal obsession as I can’t think of many who have family and friends outside of the online community who support, encourage and understand our obsessions. Posting our replikates is a way to connect with others so we don’t feel alone, another important aspect in promoting good mental health.

I have also been criticised by one of the major Kate accounts for deleting derogatory comments and blocking the people who leave them. If someone came to your front door right now and started to call you fat or make other derogatory comments, what would you do? You wouldn’t invite them into your home, you would ask them to leave and if they didn’t you’d most likely feel threatened enough that you would call the police. Online bullying is such a problem as there is no escape from it, you essentially invite every bully into your home, your own private space, so I don’t feel there is any harm with deleting or blocking the people who are leaving personal and degrading comments. If you find yourself the target, you don’t want to constantly be seeing the degrading comment or giving that person the opportunity to come back and try to make you feel bad about yourself again so we should all encourage and support each other to block the culprits and even report people for their online bullying behavior.

The bullying has at times been so bad that I have considered shutting down both my blog and Instagram accounts and more than once I have been upset enough that I have stress eaten excessive amounts of sugar, which isn’t helping the weight issue the trolls take so much pleasure in pointing out that I need to do something about but on the flip side I have meet some great women who support and encourage each and inspire me to be completely myself. I would hate to think I wouldn’t be there to encourage or support a new Replikater who was going through the same issues as I had let the trolls intimidate me into shutting down my accounts or making them private. Please remember if you do find yourself a target in the future, the bullying says a lot more about the person making the comment then it does about you.

I have found this post quite difficult to write and I hope that by sharing the experience I have encouraged those going through similar issues to speak out and stand up for themselves and to start their own #itsoktosay conversation

The Royal Week In Review

Starting with the most recent Royal appearance, yesterday saw Catherine, William and Harry along with other senior Royals including the Queen attend an unveiling of a new memorial dedicated to Britons who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq during 1990-2015. During that time 680 Britons on active service in these areas lost their lives however the memorial is designed to celebrate the sacrifice made by all personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to bring peace and stability to the area.

Kate wore a Michael Kors coat we are all familiar with, having seen it previously during the Anzac day service William and Kate attended at the Australian War memorial in Canberra during their Royal tour to Australia and New Zealand and in 2014 when she officially opened the Magic garden at Hampton court palace.

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Kate also repeated many of her accessories, wearing her tanzanite earing and pendent set from G Collins and sons that we have previously seen on multiple occasions, including when the Royal trio hosted the Obamas for dinner at Kensington palace and her trusty muse clutch and Rupert Sanderson navy suede Malory heels.

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The fashion stand out piece within this outfit was by far the new Lock and co Tiffany drop brim hat that Kate debuted. Inspired by the infamous black drop brim hat with white ribbon that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the hat oozes sophistication and glamour and was perfect for the occasion. Costing 325 pounds the hat is still available here;

http://www.lockhatters.co.uk/tiffany-drop-brim-hat.html

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I have a military themed day event to attend in May which I think this hat would be perfect for and have been frantically searching for the perfect replikate so you if you have found something similar please drop me a line.

This week was all about Rebecca

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It’s not often that another member of the Royal family can completely dominate the headlines over Kate, so the fact that this week, a member of Royal staff completely dominated most of the news stories shows what a valuable and indispensable asset to Kate she was.

The week started with the happy announcement that Kate’s private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, or Becca, as she is affectionately known amongst her family and friends, is soon to wed her partner Adam Priestly. Becca has been given the honor of being able to use the chapel royal at Kensington palace, which Royal watchers will remember from Prince Georges christening, however has been used for many key Royal occasions dating back to King Henry VIII.

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Later in the week came the sad announcement that Becca will be stepping down from her role at the end of the summer after 10 years of service to the Royal family. No doubt the heavy workload and irregular hours, though rewarding, make maintaining a personal life difficult. It will be quite unusual to see Kate at appearances for quite a while without Rebecca at her side but I am sure everyone wishes her much happiness and success in the future.

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Updates to Kate’s calendar

In exciting news for our readers from Germany and Poland, it has been announced that the Royals will be touring the area in July at the request of the British Foreign secretary to ‘extend the hand of friendship’ and ensure strong relationships between the nations continue post Brexit. This will be Williams second trip to Germany since the Brexit referendum. In a speech he gave during the first trip he stated ‘the depth of Britain’s friendship will not change after Brexit’. Kate has not yet formally travelled to either country.

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Whilst it was widely assumed that both William and Kate would not be attending the st Patrick’s day Irish guard parade to hand out shamrocks as the date coincided with the first day of their mini tour to Paris, it has been formally announced that they will be in attendance. It appears they will then travel to Paris so I wouldn’t expect to see many events on their first day in Paris outside of a formal welcome and a possible black tie function that evening. Details will be confirmed as they become available which shouldn’t be to far away as the tour commences on friday. At this point there are no appearances scheduled til friday.