I think this morning’s event is the one everyone was waiting for – the Eiffel Tower, the iconic shots of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the city and, yes, Chanel. It would have been a small crime if Kate hadn’t worn at least one Chanel item during her stay in the city and when she decided she was going to go for it, she went for it.
Today’s first engagement was with Les Invalides, a complex of buildings in Paris’s 7th arrondissement made up of monuments, museums, a hospital and a renowned retirement home for war veterans. While visiting, William and Kate met with veterans living in the facility, as well as victims and first responders of the Nice and Bataclan terror attacks.
William told survivors of the Bataclan attack that, “We think you are very strong and very brave, you’ve made amazing progress,” while Kate told one of the affected women who was training to enter the fashion industry that she would keep an eye out for her clothes.
According to the Daily Mail’s coverage of the engagement, William and Kate were also shown a letter from Charles II to Louis XIV inquiring about the veterans’ hospital and asking him to share his plans. The hospital would go on to provide the basis for the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London. Today, Les Invalides houses about 80 people and includes a state-of-the-art prosthetics department used to treat wounded soldiers.
Video of William and Kate leaving posted by royal reporter Rebecca English:
Following that the couple were given a tour of the famous Musée d’Orsay, which was likely a treat for Kate who majored in art history while at University. (For that matter, so did William in his first year, though he would eventually switch his focus to geography.) Apparently the museum wasn’t shut down for the visit so tourists already in the building got an extra treat if and when they spotted the royal couple strolling around. It’s been reported, too, that they had specifically requested to see Monet’s water lillies and Kate, in particular, asked several questions about the various pieces they were shown.
Finally, the couple were taken to the Trocadéro (near the Eiffel Tower) where they played rugby with children from local rugby clubs who had gathered. William and Kate are both extremely athletic and seemingly pretty competitive; they tend to shine during engagements that actually let them partake in an activity, particularly if it’s sport-based. Indeed, Kate, even in a dress and heels, seemed to come alive the moment she had a chance to go for the rugby ball.
Now, for the fashion: I love that Kate wore Chanel. I do not, however, love this suit. My feelings towards it are similar to the Oscar de la Renta skirt suit she wore back in February in that while it’s exciting that Kate is venturing to wear some high fashion brands she hasn’t in the past, the choice she makes is so safe as to be almost dull. The dress is perfectly lovely, but it wasn’t “Kate in Paris” lovely. Just as with the Oscar de la Renta version, I think this whole look would have been elevated had she worn her hair up or gone with some sort of sheath.
Notably, the dress was cinched with a Chanel belt featuring the interlocking Cs and Kate carried a burgundy Chanel mico-lady bag that matched her trusty Tod heels.
And finally, I’ll end with a small note on this particular label choice for the Duchess. There was some speculation that Kate would never wear Chanel given comments that Karl Lagerfeld made about her younger sister, Pippa, a few years back. Specifically, he said:
“Kate Middleton has a nice silhouette and she is the right girl for that boy. I like that kind of woman, I like romantic beauties. On the other hand, her sister struggles. I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.”
So, while I think there was some desire to see Kate in such an iconic brand, it would have been understandable had she decided to showcase another as her nod to French fashion.