Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Open the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially opened the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall today.

The Duchess arriving.

The exhibition explores the life and times of Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) and marks the centenary of his birth. 

It provides insight into Mandela’s journey from young freedom fighter to becoming the inspiration for an international movement against South Africa’s violent and oppressive apartheid system. The exhibition is jointly curated by the Apartheid Museum in South Africa, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives, and the Southbank Centre.

The couple were met by CEO Elaine Bedell.

A gorgeous photo of the couple inside the centre.

Born and raised in a rural village, Mandela joined the African National Congress where he became a leading figure in the fight against apartheid. Enduring life on the run, several long political trials, and ultimately 27 years in prison, Mandela developed a deep wisdom and a distinct ability to connect with others. As he famously said of his and others’ struggle against apartheid: ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’ It was not just his ideas, but also his magnanimous personality, resilience and charm that enabled Mandela to lead South Africa through a volatile transition. In 1994, he became the country’s first democratically elected president. He transformed the political landscape at home and around the world, becoming one of the most influential and iconic individuals of the 20th century. 

In 1996 on a visit to London, Nelson Mandela said:

"The response of the people of this country exceeded my wildest expectations... I wish I had big pockets, because I love each and every one of you, and I'd like to fit you in my pocket and return with you to South Africa."

Kathi Scott, Executive Director of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK said 'Mr Mandela recognised that Britain was the heartland of the anti-apartheid struggle. Twenty-two years later, on the occasion of his centenary, it is wonderful and fitting that such an important exhibition comes to life at Southbank Centre in London, where so many people in this country will have the chance to continue his wonderful legacy.'

The exhibition is based around six themes (Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator, Statesman), and is made up of information and photo panels, along with films and archive items from different periods of Nelson Mandela's life.

Harry and Meghan toured the exhibition and at each themed panel.

They met people associated with the exhibition and with Mandela's work including Andrew Mlangeni, who stood as an accused on charges of sabotage against the then apartheid government during the Rivonia Trials, and spent 26 years imprisoned on Robben Island.

The Duke and Duchess also met Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela.

The Mail Online reports:

'Nelson Mandela's granddaughter said today that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's stance on 'justice and fairness in the world makes them a shining example for the youth of today'.
She said: 'Today's event is hugely significant - not only because we are here to celebrate the life of a great man in history, but also because we are able to educate the next generation, that we must never repeat the mistakes of the past. The visit of Their Royal Highnesses Harry and Meghan is a great honour. I hope by being here today they can be huge advocates for the exhibition so that as many people as possible can learn about what my grandfather was about.'

Omid Scobie shared the full quote from Zamaswazi Dlamini:

Harry and Meghan viewed the Robben Island Bible - which was actually a copy of Shakespeare plays disguised as a Bible. 

The Robben Island Bible.

They met Paul and Adelaide Joseph, Anti-Apartheid activists and close friends of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela.

The royals heard speeches by Lord Peter Hain, Chair of The Nelson Mandela Centenary Committee, and Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive of Southbank Centre, before joining those present in celebrating the official opening of the exhibition.

Queen Elizabeth Hall reopened in April 2018 following almost three years of renovations with world class, environmentally-improved new facilities for audiences and artists. It was the perfect choice of location for the exhibition.

Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms Fountain is a hugely popular attraction at the centre. Shooting jets of water into the air, the fountain creates rooms that disappear as quickly as they emerge.

Harry and Meghan departing.

A video from the engagement.

Meghan wore the blush pink Sleeveless Trench Dress by ethical Canadian label House of Nonie.

Made in Canada, the $1085 piece is described as "A light trench coat from the Nonie SS18 collection. This sleeveless trench is cut from a stretchy mid-weight cotton blend fabric and features an open detail in the back and front tying straps."

The brand was launched by Nina Kharey a decade ago. The collections are made with a tailored and refined aesthetic, with a twist of Eastern inspiration. Kharey has always felt passionately about keeping the brand true to its Canadian roots. “I’m incredibly proud to be ethically producing in Canada and contributing to this industry here. It’s sad to see how much of it is a struggle when it comes to factories, and also sales.”

The dress is a piece from Meghan's closet. She purchased it while living in Canada last year. People reports:

“Seeing Meghan Markle, wear the NONIE Trench Dress today with such elegance and grace is beyond exciting!” Nina Kharey, founder and creative director of NONIE tells PEOPLE. “Her continuous support of Canadian brands is remarkable, and it is a true honor to be the first Canadian based ready-to-wear designer she has worn since her wedding earlier this year.”
And after a flurry of new fashion purchases, the $825 NONIE dress, from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection, is actually a re-wear from her own closet. The duchess purchased it from the Calgary-based designer while living in Toronto, just before she moved to London in the fall of 2017.
Taking inspiration from Eastern Europe and India, Kharey launched her minimalist brand in 2008. She later took a break from the industry, coming back in 2015 with a full collection. Meghan’s best friend and stylist Jessica Mulroney is also a fan of the ready-to-wear womenswear label.'

Global News Canada spoke to Nina Kharey:

“It’s just surreal, I still can’t believe it’s actually happened,” Kharey said to the Calgary Herald. “She looks stunning, stunning. I actually can’t get over how good she looks in it. I’ve been trying to imagine what she would look like in it.
Kharey said that Markle requested the dress last November prior to her engagement. It may have taken her some time to pull it out of her wardrobe, but it was well worth the wait for the designer who said that she immediately began to feel the “Meghan effect.”
“Getting that royal stamp of approval is just huge. … It is tough doing this from Calgary but things like this, when the most famous woman in the world is wearing one of your dresses and looking amazing in it, it does wonders for a brand like mine.”

Heaven identified Meghan's new pumps as the Dior 'Dioressence' pumps.

Meghan carried the Mulberry Clifton Bag is Rosewater Classic Grain. It is described as "The Clifton is compact, understated shoulder bag that cleverly camouflages an organiser's paradise underneath its neat exterior. Internal compartments provide ample room for essential." It's reduced from £750 to £600 at Mulberry and Italist.

The Duchess accessorised with stacking rings and a gold bracelet.

And a look at Meghan's earrings.

Meghan's Mirror identified them as the sold out Birks 'Bee Chic' white quartz silver earrings.

The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition will run at Southbank Centre from 17th July to 19th August.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

It's a Family Affair for Prince Louis' Christening Portraits

We're back with a very brief post covering Meghan's appearance in the official portraits of Prince Louis' christening. The images were taken after the service at Clarence House by photographer Matt Holyoak.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

The Palace released four photos, including one with Charles, Camilla, the Cambridges and the Sussexes. I thought it presented very powerful imagery - the future of the British Royal family. Hello! Magazine revealed the image will grace the cover of this week's issue. As you can see they are 'Mad About Meghan' too :)

Harry and Meghan also featured in a group photograph with both families.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

Matt Holyoak said “I was truly honoured at being asked... and to witness at first hand such a happy event. Everyone was so relaxed and in such good spirits, it was an absolute pleasure. I only hope I have captured some of that joy in my photographs."

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

 Matt Holyoak is one of the world's leading celebrity portrait photographers. His love of portraiture started at Art College, where he studied to be a fine artist, specialising in contemporary portrait painting and drawing.  He then discovered his passion for photography and perfected his craft working in still life, fashion and portraiture; assisting some of the most revered photographers of our times.

His photographs have been published internationally in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Another, Vogue, Dazed and Confused, Elle, Empire, Rolling Stone, Interview, L’Uomo Vogue and Vanity Fair. He has shot campaigns for Adidas, Gilette and Qatar Airways. A number of his pieces have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery for their permanent collection.

Holyoak took the hugely popular 70th wedding anniversary images of the Queen and Prince Philip.

The Duchess wore an olive green Ralph Lauren dress with a matching Stephen Jones hat, Cartier earrings and green accessories for the service.

It turned out to be quite the week for Ralph Lauren with Meghan selecting a crisp stripe shirt and wide leg trousers by the American brand for Wimbledon yesterday.

On Tuesday, Harry and Meghan will officially open the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall. The exhibition explores the life and times of Mandela.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

It's a Very Royal Girls Day Out as the Duchesses Do Wimbledon!

It was a very royal girls day out as the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge attended Wimbledon today.

It marks Meghan and Kate's first joint outing together without their husbands, and Meghan's first visit to the tournament as a member of the Royal family. As they both love the game, it seemed very fitting for the pair to attend. Kate has been patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 2016. It's another royal milestone for Meghan who had a busy week with the RAF Centenary celebrations and a successful two-day visit to Dublin.

An overview of the royal duo arriving.

An arrival video.

Before they took their seats, the Duchesses met a number of former Wimbledon Ladies Champions, as well as some of the Championships' ball boys and ball girls to hear more about their experiences at the tournament.

The royals met wheelchair competitors.

The Telegraph reports: Tia Carter, 11, who will be performing the coin toss before the ladies' singles final, said she was both excited and nervous to meet the royals. She said: "Meghan asked how old I was, and what I was doing today. I told her I will be performing the coin toss and she said 'so I will be seeing you later'. Tia’s father Wayne serves in the RAF, as did her mother Joyce, who sadly passed away suddenly last year. The RAF Benevolent Fund’s flagship youth support scheme, Airplay, has been a great support to Tia as she comes to terms with the loss of her mother.

Meghan and Kate meeting junior players.

Spectators from all over the world descend upon the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for a fortnight of incredible tennis. Steeped in tradition, it is the only tennis major played on grass, with players donning white, precisely as they did a century ago. It is also the only Grand Slam tournament with a Royal Box. This year, Wimbledon celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The Duchesses enter the Royal Box.

Another view.

Kate and Meghan took their seats and enjoyed chatting.

They are clearly very much at ease in each other's company and had a wonderful time discussing their shared love of tennis.

Due to the men's semi-finals going considerably over schedule, not only did Meghan and Kate have the opportunity to see the ladies' semi-finals, they also saw the final two sets of an epic match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

It was an incredibly tense match.

Following a spectacular display of tennis Novak Djokovic was victorious.

The royals chat with Gill Brook, wife of AELTC chairman Philip Brook.

An overview of Wimbledon.

How amazing does the 'Tennis Ball Hedge' look?

Over 300,000 glasses of Pimm's are consumed at the tournament. Meghan once revealed "having a love of all things Brit" she adores the refreshing gin-based drink.

Meghan's attendance today came as no coincidence. The Duchess was reportedly very keen to visit the tournament this year to support her close friend Serena Williams. The tennis superstar attended the Royal wedding and accompanied the Sussexes to Coworth Park with her husband Alexis Ohanian just days before her first match. The pair have been close for several years and in 2016 (the summer Harry and Meghan met) she was courtside at Wimbledon twice to cheer Williams on.

In a piece for her lifestyle blog The Tig, Meghan shared the following on their friendship: "We hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in, and chatting not about tennis or acting, but about all the good old fashioned girly stuff. So began our friendship. She quickly became a confidante I would text when I was traveling, the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches, and the down to earth chick I was able to grab lunch with just a couple weeks ago in Toronto. We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations – our endless ambition. Serena is undoubtedly one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen."

Williams has been inundated with questions about the Duchess' possible attendance for the past two weeks. Responding to the news she would be cheering her on today, she said, "We've always had a wonderful friendship and every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, has supported me and now she’s supporting me in a different role. But our friendship is still exactly the same," she said. "We always have supported each other, just been there for each other through a lot."

Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, played for her 24th major singles title. Title number 24 would tie Serena with Margaret Court for the highest number of grand-slam singles titles won by a female player. The tennis pro returned to the tournament after giving birth to her daughter Olympia ten months ago. Following a life-threatening scare during the birth, it's astonishing to see her back at a Wimbledon final less than a year later. Serena's opponent is German tennis player Angelique Kerber. The former world No. 1 won Major titles at the 2016 Australian Open (beating Williams) and the 2016 US Open. She has also won an Olympic silver medal while representing Germany at the 2016 summer games. Kerber and Williams have played on numerous occasions including the Wimbledon 2016 Final where Williams was victorious.

Meghan cheers Serena on.

Alas, it was not to be for Serena Williams this time. Angelique Kerber gained control very early on and won in two sets. It's a very special day for the hugely talented player, marking her first Wimbledon win.

Supportive hugs after the match.

The Duchesses congratulated Angelique.

I'm sure Meghan was disappointed for her friend, however as anyone who follows tennis knows, Serena will be back. I thought this a particularly sweet photo, taken immediately after Serena lost. There's been such efforts in the media and among fans to pit these two women against each other. I think today proved they're firm friends.

We've all been looking forward to seeing Meghan's sartorial choices for her Wimbledon debut as a member of the Royal family. She looked cool and chic in a crisp Ralph Lauren shirt and wide leg trousers. I thought it a very fresh take on the 'Wimbledon Whites' look we see spectators choosing. The the pop of blue from the shirt added a nice splash of colour to the look. Meghan's choice of Ralph Lauren was no coincidence - as the brand supplies the clothing for the Championship's ball kids, lines judges and umpires.

Meghan sported the $590 Ralph Lauren Collection Striped Cotton Shirt (with thanks to What Meghan Wore). The piece is described as "A spread collar and a relaxed fit bring an easy chic to this American-made shirt. Crisp Italian cotton and genuine mother-of-pearl buttons add a subtle sophistication." The piece is available at Ralph Lauren and Orchard Mile.

Meghan's trousers are the Ralph Lauren Charmain Silk Wide-Leg Pant. The $1690 pair feature a wide-leg silhouette, intended to hit the floor. Concealed left-side-seam zipper with a hook-and-eye closure and full stretch silk lining. They are available at Ralph Lauren and Orchard Mile.

The Telegraph writes:

'While the high-waisted cut of the trousers was unmistakably feminine, the overall look was quite androgynous, and topped with a panama hat the twin of the one she wore to Wimbledon two years ago.
And there is more than an element of nostalgia here. In 2016, Meghan attended Wimbledon as a guest of Ralph Lauren - the brand's PR was rumoured to have introduced her to Prince Harry. Wearing the brand to revisit the championships, now as Prince Harry's wife, shows she hasn't forgotten the connection.'

Anne identified Meghan's new hat as the Maison Michel Virginie Straw Sunhat. The hat is available with a grey stripe at Net-A-Porter and a red stripe at FarFetch.

It very much looks like Meghan's new sunglasses are the Illesteva Leonard round-frame acetate sunglasses (with thanks to Meghan Maven). They are available at Net-A-Porter.

And Meghan carried her ALTUZARRA Ghianda Saddle Bag.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a bespoke Jenny Packham dress. To read more, click here to visit Duchess Kate.

We'll see Harry and Meghan on Tuesday. The couple will open the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall.