As the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton’s every move is inevitably pored over whenever she makes a public appearance. So it was little surprise when the press spotted something different about the Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to a children’s hospital in London. For Middleton’s outfit appeared to be missing one vital detail.
Now, Kate was attending the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in January 2020 to support an initiative. You see, the National Portrait Gallery runs creative workshops for patients there to boost their happiness and overall well-being. Furthermore, these classes are staged in collaboration with the hospital’s play specialists and will often involve the youngsters’ parents too.
And Kate wasn’t afraid to get stuck in during the royal visit. Yes, the Duchess engaged with youngsters as they learned about and practised art forms such as photography, illustration and set design. Of course, she was perhaps the perfect member of the royal family to take on such a duty.
Indeed, the Duchess graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with a degree in art history. And weeks before her hospital visit she showcased her own photography skills by sharing pictures of two survivors of the Holocaust that she’d taken at Kensington Palace. To add to that, Kate is a long-running National Portrait Gallery patron, and in 2018 also took on a similar role at Evelina London.
So come the day, the Duchess was more than happy to pose for photos herself. Yes, the Duchess was pictured meeting a young girl named Anna-Victoria Amoafa-Sennie who presented her with a posy. The nine-year-old, who suffers a type of dwarfism, was one of several children who chatted directly with the royal.
Furthermore, the Duchess remained enthusiastic about the project throughout her visit. As well as speaking to many children taking part in the workshop, she also discussed its benefits with one of the teacher artists. She told Jessica Rosenfield, “It’s wonderful to see what art therapy adds. To be able to paint, to draw, to be able to tell your story.”
Touchingly, those in attendance sure appreciated the Duchess paying the hospital a visit. You see, Anna-Victoria’s mother Irene told the Southwark News, “It was so lovely to see Anna-Victoria meeting the Duchess. She was so happy and excited! It was wonderful and something that she’ll never ever forget.”
What’s more, Evelina London’s director Marian Ridley told the same newspaper, “It is a great pleasure to have the Duchess with us to see our young artists letting their imaginations run wild. Art is an invaluable therapy for children and young people while they are in hospital. It helps to develop their creativity and gives them something to enjoy, while reducing any anxieties they may be feeling.”
Of course, royal fans were just as interested in what Kate was wearing as they were her reasons for the visit. And the Duchess sported a co-ordinated tweed jacket and skirt designed by Dolce and Gabbana for the occasion. Meanwhile, her hair was styled in the kind of blow-dried waves that have become her trademark. But it’s not as if this is the first time Kate has put on an expensive outfit.
No, because Kate’s wardrobe was later scrutinized by the press during a three-day tour of Ireland with Prince William just over a month later. And the Daily Mail reported that the Duchess went through clothing items worth approximately $32,000 for the brief trip. But it wasn’t just high end designers that Kate favored.
Indeed, despite her vast fortune, Kate opted to wear several high-street brands during her Ireland jaunt including H&M and Accessorize. But it was the high-end outfits that inevitably grabbed most of the attention. While gracing an evening reception at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, the Duchess wore an emerald gown designed by The Vampire’s Wife which reportedly cost around $2,000.
Even when she visited a farm Kate made sure she looked as stylish as possible. The royal chose to wear a shirt from the latest collaborative line between Barbour and Alexa Chung. However, it was a piece of jewelry that proved to be the most expensive part of her Ireland wardrobe. Yes, the stunning earrings she wore as she arrived in Dublin were worth approximately $21,000.
Furthermore, the Duchess got everyone talking with a dress which some believed paid homage to her late mother-in-law. You see, the Oscar de la Renta outfit she sported on her second night in Ireland looked remarkably similar to a polka-dot ensemble Princess Diana wore on royal engagements during the 1980s. Of course, Kate wasn’t just in the Emerald Isle to show off her latest attire.
No, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridgeshire were of course there for royal duty. And they were given a whistle stop tour of various Irish attractions. For instance, after meeting Irish president Michael D. Higgins, the pair laid a wreath at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance. They then met the prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar.
On their second day in the country, the couple visited the National Centre for Youth Mental Health known as Jigsaw. They also traveled to the residential facility, Savannah House, managed by Extern, a charity for social justice. But William and Kate still got the opportunity to let their hair down during their trip.
And the following day the pair visited the Gaelic Athletic Association to discover more about two of the nation’s favorite sports, hurling and Gaelic football. Funnily enough, the couple even had a go at the ancient game of hurling themselves. What’s more, Kate looked particularly impressed with William’s prowess with a wooden stick – used as part of the sport.
Interestingly, the day before, William and Kate had embarked on a walk alongside the picturesque Howth Cliff in Dublin. There, the couple learnt how Ireland’s coastline had been affected by global warming as they enjoyed spectacular views of the Irish Sea. But they found some time to indulge in a bit of romance, too.
Yes, much to the delight of royal family fans, the couple shared a snap of their clifftop walk on Instagram. And the pair, who were sporting matching jackets, looked very much in love as they stood arm-in-arm. In fact, Kate was beaming away as she looked up at her equally happy partner, drawing a collective “aww” from their social media followers.
Of course, William and Kate were just a few months short of their ninth wedding anniversary at the time of the Duchess’ aforementioned visit to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. In fact, she ended up bonding with one particular patient’s mother over their long engagements. On that note, let’s quickly recap how the royals got together.
Well, the two had first met at the turn of the century when they were both students at university in Scotland. But they only started dating several years later. And William sure took his time in asking for Kate’s hand in marriage, too. You see, he only popped the question in October 2010, a full nine years after they first clapped eyes on each other.
Now, mom Sarah Ibendahl, whose son Benjamin was in Evelina for an auto-immune condition, knew all too well about waiting for a proposal. Yes, because the south east Londoner was only asked for her hand in marriage nearly a decade after meeting her husband Ralph. And Sarah soon connected with the Duchess over their spouses’ lack of urgency.
Touchingly, Sarah told the Daily Mirror, “We also bonded over the fact it took our husbands like nine years before they asked us to marry them. When I mentioned it she laughed politely and gave a knowing smile.” And Kate’s marriage status further became a source of debate following her hospital trip – thanks to one notable missing piece of jewelry.
Indeed, Kate wasn’t sporting her engagement ring of all things, reported Harpers Bazaar. Now that piece of jewelry, out of interest, had originally belonged to Princess Diana. And the 12-carat sapphire ring wasn’t the only thing conspicuous by its absence. The Duchess was also without the 18 carat white gold diamond eternity ring that William had reportedly given her to celebrate the birth of Prince George.
But don’t worry – Kate didn’t turn up to the Evelina entirely jewelry-free. The Duchess could be seen wearing her Welsh gold wedding ring on her fourth finger during her visit. But talk still turned to why the future Queen had attended such a public event without her usual jewelry collection.
Well, it turns out that Kate was merely adhering to protocol. Yes, guests at the Evelina are asked to wear as little jewelry as possible to reduce the risk of spreading germs. This also explains why the Duchess, who like any visitor had to wash her hands thoroughly before gracing any treatment center, didn’t wear nail polish either.
Of course, there could have been additional reasons why Kate chose to leave such a valuable item at home. You see, the Duchess was dealing with young children, sticks of glue and sticky tape, during the art class. And some believe that she simply wanted to avoid any damage being done to something so precious.
Anyway, fears that the absence of Kate’s ring spelled some kind of marital trouble in the royal household were soon dispelled. You see, just a day after visiting the hospital, the Duchess turned up at a nursery in South London. And on this occasion the sparkling diamond engagement ring was in full view, reported the Daily Mail.
Observant fans of the royal family may already know that this wasn’t the first occasion that Kate had appeared in public without her engagement ring. Indeed, the Duchess also left the item at home in 2018 for another duty related to children’s care. In fact, she was attending the official opening of a new medical centre at the world-famous Great Ormond Street Hospital. On that note, let’s get some background on the item in question.
Well, the oval 12-carat Ceylon sapphire engagement ring was chosen personally by Princess Diana in the early 1980s. And of course, this was prior to her ill-fated marriage to Prince Charles. But interestingly, its selection went against royal tradition at the time because, whilst expensive, it simply wasn’t specially made. In fact, anyone with a spare $60,000 lying around could have also got their hands on the same ring.
So while it might not have been exclusive to the royals, the sapphire is one of the Duchess’ most recognizable pieces of jewelry today. Appearing alongside William shortly after they announced their engagement in 2010, Kate said, “It’s beautiful – I hope I look after it. It’s very special.”
But according to Paul Burrell, the engagement ring should have been in Meghan Markle’s eventual possession, reported the Daily Express. The former royal butler claims that Prince Harry had chosen the item from his mother’s collection in the wake of her 1997 death. But in a selfless act, he passed it on to his brother after learning that he was to propose to Kate.
Going back though, Princess Diana did stick with royal protocol when it came to her wedding ring. You see, ever since Elizabeth Bowes Lyon married the future King George in 1923 with a ring made from Welsh gold, all other royal brides have followed suit. This includes the Queen, her sister Princess Margaret and her daughter Princess Anne, as well as Diana and Kate.
Even the member of the royal family probably deemed the most rebellious has kept up with this near-century-spanning tradition. Yes, Meghan Markle’s wedding band was fashioned from Welsh gold that came as a gift from the Queen herself. However, her husband, Prince Harry, chose a wedding ring made from platinum for himself.
And if you’ve ever wondered just how the royals clean such precious items, then wonder no more. In 2019, the Queen’s dressmaker of 25 years, Angela Kelly, wrote a book about her experiences of working with the monarch. And she revealed that one very unusual ingredient is used to keep the jewels spotless.
Yes, in The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe, Kelly writes, “A little gin and water come in handy to give the diamonds extra sparkle. Just don’t tell the jeweler.” Now, Kelly’s official title is personal advisor and curator (The Queen’s Jewelry, Insignias and Wardrobe) and in-house designer. And gin wasn’t the only tip she gave to keep things clean.
Indeed, Kelly also advises to use nothing more than a splash of washing-up liquid and water to remove any stains caused by hairspray. And the Liverpool native additionally uses a novel method to dye a replica of the traditional gown used for royal christenings. She simply immerses each lace piece in a blend of Yorkshire tea and cool water.
However, Kelly admits that when it comes to the Queen’s jewels, sometimes a little more professional assistance is needed. She writes, “The Queen’s jeweler will give the stones a deep clean when necessary. So for me it’s just a matter of a quick polish and they’re sparkling once more.”
As for Kate, her personal jewelry collection made further headlines during a trip to Northern Ireland and Scotland just weeks after her engagement ring drama. There she showed off her latest must-have fashion accessory, a pair of earrings designed by Catherine Zoraida. Apparently, the Duchess has been a fan of the London-based label for years, reported Hello! magazine.
Furthermore, Kate had plenty of opportunities to further show off these earrings and other jewelry in early 2020. You see, following their trip to Ireland the royal couple appeared at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. That same day they staged a Buckingham Palace reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of charity Place2Be.
And although most eyes will be on the bride at the next royal wedding, Kate’s outfit will surely be scrutinized as always. For both the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge have been invited to Princess Beatrice’s nuptials in May 2020. The daughter of Prince Andrew and Fergie is due to wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at St. James’ Palace’s Chapel Royal in London.