William & Kate Visit Sunderland

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were once again outside of London today, taking on a series of engagements in Sunderland. If there’s one thing I’m going to remember from this pregnancy, besides a never-ending supply of Goat dresses and coats, it’s going to be the number of times these two made it around the country. It’s a fun change of pace and one that I hope they keep up once Kate returns from maternity leave later this year.

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The day began with a walkabout for William and Kate to greet the crowds who gathered to welcome them to the city. It was the usual routine of waving flags, adorable children and aloft iPhones, but I have to say the weather was notably gorgeous this afternoon and a nice change from the wintry grey skies and rain that have made up the last few months.

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The first item on the agenda today was a stop by the Fire Station, one of Sunderland’s most iconic buildings, which was recently converted to an arts and music hub. There, the Cambridges enjoyed a quick Bollywood dance presentation, before being shown about the facility to see what programs and activities are available to the young people in the area, as well as the community members involved in the project’s development.

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It was there, chatting with a woman with Young Asian Voices, that Kate asked for a henna tattoo on her hand. She reportedly also requested a set of bindis to bring home to Princess Charlotte.

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Next up the two moved on to a new bridge, Northern Spire, connecting the Port of Sunderland with the city center. Donning hard hats, safety goggles and reflective vests, the two took a look at what has been the area’s largest construction project in recent years.

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Notably, the bridge will be the tallest structure in Northeast England once complete.

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Both William and Kate were photographed screwing in some of the last nuts and bolts to the bridge. Frankly, all I could think during this particular engagement is what a huge coup this is for the project developers. Infrastructure projects like this are lengthy, expensive and usually mired in any number of issues between regulatory hurdles to the reaction of the local community. After all of that, imagine being able to end the project with a visit from two most popular members of the Royal Family!

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Kate’s ensemble was new today, which frankly surprised me. She still has a handful of garments from later in her pregnancies with Charlotte and Prince George that could stand a recycle and not to get too negative, but I am slightly flummoxed by this level of investment in a wardrobe that Kate can’t really keep using. Today’s coat was a green Dolce & Gabbana and very reminiscent of the purple one she wore for her last day in Oslo (and that one, as a reminder, was v. similar to a black one she wore for Remembrance Day back in November).

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They aren’t identical, but so close to one another as to be slightly confusing. Unlike the purple, this one has no pockets and there is a prominent seam framing the double row of buttons.

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I don’t really have much to say about this coat. I don’t love the double-breasted cut of this, but it’s one very much favored by Kate. I like both the purple and green more than I liked the black, which was collarless, but there’s nothing about this coat that screams, “I need this in three colors!” The fact that it’s obviously not a maternity garment makes me hopeful that all of them can be tailored after Kate gives birth, but overall I’m underwhelmed by it. Kate has a lot of green coats and this isn’t the best of the lot.

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Beneath it, Kate wore a new Seraphine dress boasting a floral print in black, white  and blue. This doesn’t do much for me either, but it’s a cut and brand in which Kate is clearly comfortable and given that she is squarely in her third trimester I would say it’s all about whatever works for her at this juncture. It’s flattering and appropriate, so fair enough.

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Kate wore her trusty black Tod’s heels for the first half of the day, before switching to flat Russell & Bromley boots for the bridge visit.

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We’ll next see Kate this coming Tuesday when she undertakes two engagements related to nursing and public health, and then again on Wednesday when she attends an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. As for our other royal couple, no word on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s next appearance, but we’re due to hear soon from Kensington Palace.

 

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