Friday, 14 December 2018

Harry and Meghan Choose Romantic Wedding Photo for Christmas Card

With just eleven days to go until Christmas, Kensington Palace shared a festive surprise this morning. To the delight of royal watchers, Harry and Meghan chose a previously unseen photo from their Frogmore House wedding reception for their Christmas card photo. The black and white image captures a romantic moment when the couple were watching the fireworks display and holding hands.

The image was taken by portrait and fashion photographer Chris Allerton. Windsor has always held a special place in Harry's and Meghan's hearts, and it will take on an even greater significance next year when they move to Frogmore Cottage, where they plan to base themselves and raise their family.

It was a treat to see another shot of Meghan's beautiful Stella McCartney gown. 

The Crepe Halterneck gown is currently available at Nordstrom and Net-A-Porter. The £3,500 piece is described: "Just one look at Stella McCartney's gown will tell you it's fit for royalty - quite literally, as Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, wore this exact style at her wedding reception. Precisely cut from weighty crepe so it skims your curves, it has a column silhouette and long train that will look beautiful as you walk down the aisle and dance at the party afterwards. Wear it with a sleek updo to show off the open back."

It was a delight to see the coordination between Kensington Palace and Clarence House, releasing Christmas card photos from their principals together. I'm hoping it heralds the beginning of a new tradition. Below, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall pictured in the garden of Clarence House over the summer.

The lovely photo was taken by Hugo Burnard.

The Cambridges shared a fabulous family portrait taken at their country home Anmer Hall by photographer Matt Porteous.

Next year, Baby Sussex will make his/her first Christmas card appearance :)


In other news, we have word on two private engagements Meghan carried out this week. On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess attended a board meeting for the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. On Wednesday, Meghan had a private meeting with the National Theatre's artistic director Rufus Norris. Her Majesty is patron of the National Theatre. 

Finally, the Palace announced the Duchess will visit the Royal Variety Charity’s residential nursing and care home, Brinsworth House, on Tuesday 18th December. The Royal Variety Charity, of which the Queen is patron, assists those who have worked professionally in the entertainment industry and are in need of help and assistance as a result of old age, ill-health, or hard times. The visit follows the Duchess’s attendance at the Royal Variety Performance in November.

Rebecca English reports: "Meghan apparently wanted to see first hand how the charity cares for those who have spent their lives working in the entertainment industry."

Monday, 10 December 2018

Duchess Meghan Honours "Incredibly Kind" Clare Waight Keller at British Fashion Awards

The Duchess of Sussex made a surprise appearance at the 2018 British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall to present a very special award.

Meghan was thrilled to present Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller with the British Designer of the Year Womenswear Award.

Embed from Getty Images

Gone Girl actress and fellow Givenchy fan Rosamund Pike introduced Meghan on stage much to the delight of the designer and audience.

Embed from Getty Images

As Meghan walked on stage to cheering applause, she said: "It is such a pleasure to be here celebrating British fashion and British fashion designers in my new home of the UK. It's so nice to see so many familiar faces; many of you I've known for quite a while and a lot of you I've been able to meet in the past year, so thank you for the warm welcome."

Embed from Getty Images

Meghan continued: "As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear. Sometimes it's very personal, sometimes it's emotional. But for me this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it's about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women." The Duchess noted she recently read an article which said "the culture of fashion is shifting from where it was cool to be cruel to where it's cool to be kind. To that point, I feel especially proud to announce tonight's winner, who yes is a British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also in incredible kindness, which is why when I met her for the first time eleven months ago, I knew that we'd be working very closely together".

Clare Waight Keller was completely taken aback admitting she was "shocked". She said: "I just saw her last week." The designer added she was "thrilled and honoured" before turning to Meghan and saying: "As part of my speech, you were in it. This woman is amazing and I got to know Meghan on such a personal level, and to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honour, and I can't thank you enough."

Embed from Getty Images

Born in Birmingham, the designer studied at Ravensbourne College of Art, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in fashion, followed by a master's degree at the Royal College of Art. She started at Calvin Klein in New York as a stylist for the women's ready-to-wear line, then at Ralph Lauren. Ms Waight Keller last year became the first female artistic director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy.

It's been quite the year for both the Duchess and the talented designer. Their collaborative journey began in January when Meghan selected Waight Keller to design her wedding gown. "It was an extraordinary moment when she told me. Of course it's an incredible thing to be part of such a historic moment. I think she had very much seen my work and knew what I did. I think she loved the fact that I was a British designer, and working in a house such as Givenchy which has its roots in a very classical, beautiful style.

Ms Waight Keller said over time they quickly got to a point where the Duchess felt she knew exactly what she wanted after various meetings and trials. This meant that the designer got to know her, and she said of the new Duchess of Sussex: "She's exactly what you see on TV. She's just so genuine and warm and radiant. She's just glowing. She's a strong woman. She knows what she wants, and it was really an absolute joy working with her." She revealed the groom was more than pleased with the results: "He came straight up to me and he said 'oh my God, thank you, she looks absolutely stunning'. So I think for the both of them, they were just radiant at that time."

Embed from Getty Images

Ahead of the Windsor Royal Wedding exhibition, Meghan recalled the process and the reasons she chose Waight Keller "I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the day, and what I wanted the dress to look like, and so what was amazing in working with Clare is that sometimes you’ll find designers try to push you in a different direction. But she just completely respected what I wanted to see for the day, and she wanted to bring that to life for me. So I knew at the onset I wanted a bateau neckline, I wanted a cropped sleeve, I wanted a very timeless, classic feeling and, obviously with respect to the environment we were in and St George’s Chapel, being really modest in what it would look like, I knew that the tailoring was so key, because the dress itself would be so covered up."

Embed from Getty Images

Meghan says in the commentary she had followed Clare Waight Keller’s career for a long time and she ticked “all the boxes” from being British, to reflect the duchess’ new home, and a woman, to working for Givenchy as artistic director, a global fashion house which added an international dimension to the big day."

The annual celebration of creativity and innovation shines a spotlight on exceptional individuals and influential businesses that have made significant contributions to the global fashion industry over the past twelve months. The Fashion Awards are a fundraiser for the BFC charities and focus on celebrating excellence in the fashion industry and supporting the future pipeline of creative talent. The BFC is a not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to support sustainable growth for the sector, with wide-ranging activities which include charitable initiatives that support educational programmes and scholarships through to financial and mentoring awards for emerging talent.

Embed from Getty Images

Meghan, Clare and Rosamund.

The star-studded night saw the biggest names in British and International fashion gather in London. Below David and Victoria Beckham arriving.

Penelope Cruz on the red carpet.

Actress Uma Thurman in a black embellished gown.

The Duchess looked stunning in a black velvet one-shoulder, asymmetric gown by Clare Waight Keller.

The fit of the dress is exquisite; it's a gorgeous maternity choice too. It was complemented by a sleek updo, minimal make-up, dark nail polish and gold accessories. Meghan and Clare have struck up a very special partnership which has delivered understated chic looks time and time again. Tonight's gown is one of my favourites.

Embed from Getty Images

Laura shared a photo of a similar Givenchy design.

Meghan wore the $550 Tamara Mellon gold Karat sandals. They are available in most sizes at Orchard Mile.

The Duchess accessorised with gold jewellery by Canadian jeweller Pippa Small, including the Omeen Bangle and Wajiha Bangle. Every piece is hand made in Kabul by the artisans of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. Training and employing young people in meaningful, creative jobs is vitally important now in Afghanistan where the young desperately need hope and a sense of purpose in a beautiful country tragically caught up in violence and conflict. With thanks to Meghan Maven and Meghan's Fashion.

Monique Jessen reports:

'The charity was founded at the request of Prince Charles to regenerate the traditional arts and craft industries in war-torn Afghanistan.'

Meghan's £50 gold stud earrings are also made by artisans of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation.

From Pippa Small.

It was a lovely surprise to see Meghan supporting Clare Waight Keller tonight. I expect the two will enjoy an enduring relationship. 

Embed from Getty Images


In other news, Harry and Meghan attended a private Royal Foundation Christmas reception on Thursday.

And the Duchess has been shortlisted for Time Magazine's person of the year 2018. Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

UPDATED: The Duchess Attends ACU Education Event at King's College London

The Duchess of Sussex joined university leaders, academics and international scholarship students for an event hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities at King's College London to discuss higher education opportunities for young people all over the world. Discussion focused on the role of universities in addressing human trafficking and modern slavery, gender equality and inclusion, peace and reconciliation, and climate change and resilience.

The ACU shared a photo of the Duchess during the meeting taking notes.

The ACU reported attendees included:

  • Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester
  • Professor Paul Boyle, Vice Chair of the ACU Council and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester
  • Professor Edward Byrne, Principal of King's College London; Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham
  • Dr Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International) of University College London
  • Professor Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-Principal (International) of King's College London
  • Professor Shaun Ewen, Chair of the ACU Peace and Reconciliation Network and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) of the University of Melbourne

The Association of Commonwealth Universities said: "HRH the Duchess of Sussex attended the event and took part in discussions, following her first official speech to students at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji in October 2018." During the speech in Fiji, Meghan announced two new grants awarded to the University, allowing them run workshops to empower female staff and to support students during their education, provided by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. 

During the speech in Fiji, Meghan said: "I am fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world - myself included. It was through scholarships, financial aid programmes and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition - that I was able to attend university. And, without question, it was worth every effort. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital."

Following the meeting experts and groups shared tweets.

The ACU said they were "honoured" to be joined by Meghan.

Professor Laura Hammond noted the group had an "excellent" discussion.

Established in 1913, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world’s first international university network, and remains the only accredited organisation representing higher education across the Commonwealth. Founded to lead ‘common action in matters of common interest’, the ACU is governed by its member institutions through an elected council. A UK-registered charity, it received a royal charter in 1963 and, in 1986, Her Majesty the Queen became its patron. I suspect at some point in the not too distant future we'll see this patronage passed on to Meghan. Education is incredibly important to her and will form a key part of her future work.

The Duchess wore a cocoon coat, black short-sleeve sweater and skirt for the meeting. 

Meghan's coat is the $350 Artizia Wilfred Cocoon Coat in 'petale' (with many thanks to the Meghan's Mirror team).

The talented Elizabeth from Meghan's Fashion identified the top as the Hugo Boss Filonka Short-Sleeve Sweater. It's on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue. 

It's fascinating to get a glimpse into Meghan's private work and the research she's undertaking ahead of the announcement of her patronages and future projects. It's also interesting to see her work with the ACU  in Fiji and now London. The Commonwealth encompasses a plethora of diverse nations. I expect it's important to Meghan to focus on work that can impact across member nations in addition to the UK.