And so the day is finally here: the Chelsea Flower Show preview. Have you been on pins and needles? I know, so exhausting. While yesterday’s release of photos and video of the entire Cambridge family paying in the “Back to Nature” garden the Duchess co-designed may well prove the highlight of the entire endeavor, today had one big draw: the Queen.
But in fact Kate made two appearances today. This morning she welcomed a group of schoolchildren to the garden, where she showed them the teepee, tree house, and rope swing, and helped them roast marshmallows.
The latter was apparently a first for the Duchess, which feels slightly shocking given her work with the Scouts, but I’ll take her word for it.
It was noted in the video last night that all of the sticks and pine cones used to construct the teepee were collected by Prince George and Princess Charlotte at Anmer Hall, which is a cute touch.
Fashion-wise, Kate debuted two new labels this morning via a white eyelet blouse by M.i.h Jeans and a pair of tan culottes by Massimo Dutti. On her feet were her reliable white Superga trainers, which we’ve seen on more than a few occasions (though given their immaculate condition, it’s a good bet they’ve been updated).
I’ll admit this look isn’t quite doing it for me. Each piece separately is okay – I’m even willing to give those culottes a fair shake in other conditions, but all together it’s just kind of missing the mark. I will however offer up some points just for Kate mixing it up a bit.
Later this afternoon, Kate returned in a floral Erdem dress with William to show off the garden to other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen. The couple greeted her with kisses (and bows and curtsies), but it was nice to see William very much standing back to let Kate lead the way in giving HM the proper tour.
The Queen remarked that the garden looked “very tidy,” which one imagines is high praise. Or at least Kate knows her audience, because shortly before her grandmother-in-law arrived, she was spotted sweeping up spare twigs and leaves.
When they said goodbye, Kate noted that they would see her “later,” so perhaps there is some family event going on privately this evening.
Also there were the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Sophie seemed to be channeling Kate’s 2017 Rochas dress, and she gamely tried up to view the tree house.
Princess Beatrice also stopped by, and it was nice to see her and Kate engaging. For a while there, there were rumors the two didn’t get along, but things seemed perfectly friendly today.
Other members of the family spotted include the Duke of York, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Michael of Kent (this past weekend’s mother of the bride), and Princess Alexandra.
As for the floral Erdem, I like this fine, but a bit like the polka-dot Alessandra Rich (which I liked), it’s an awkward length. Not quite floor-length, not quite midi, and I’m not sure if the wedges, though practical for the venue, make that better or worse for me.
Regardless, it was eye-catching, and it combined florals, ruffles, and a structured neckline, so it’s easy to see why Kate bought it.
It’s unclear when we’ll see the Duchess next, but with two garden parties on the calendar and no announced engagements, I’m hoping that means she and William are planning to make an appearance at Buckingham Palace.
…But before I go, a note on the weekend, which saw a wedding, an anniversary, and the most extensive collection of photos ever released of the Cambridge kids. Specifically, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a series of unseen, behind-the-scene images from their wedding last year just 24 hours before KP issued the Cambridge pictures. In this particular case, I think it’s just a matter of the calendars intersecting in an unenviable way – neither can change their anniversary, nor the Chelsea Flower Show (which, by the way, I’m saying in my head like the “Catalina Wine Mixer”), but it raises a larger question as to how the RF is going to handle the roll out of content from four high-profile social media accounts. Are Frogmore Cottage and KP talking? Because they probably should be.
In any event, it was a busy weekend. I didn’t post about the Sussex photos on the site, but some of them are featured on the Instagram page (@rebeccastarrb), so you can check them out there.