Saturday, July 9, 2011

A flash of thigh, a sensational week for Kate... but who was that baldie trailing behind her?

By Jan Moir

Kate looked demure in her primrose yellow silk, but we saw more of her endless legs than she intended

With a swish and a thunderous sigh of relief, the red velvet curtain falls on the end of the first week of the first official royal tour for the Duchess of Cambridge.

And so far, so very, very good. Most excellent work, your royal Sister of Pippa-ness.

Really, things could not have gone better. During her nine days in Canada, the Duchess did not squash any toddlers under her impeccable nude platforms, suffer a wardrobe malfunction nor flash any unfortunate boob-age at the grateful Canadian nation.

Agreed, there were a few blowy moments in cricket whites and primrose silk when we saw envious yardage of royal thigh and the merest glimpse of knickerdom. Yet after a few desperate tugs on the hem of her pretty summer dresses, duchessorial blushes were spared.

No circle-of-shame snaps in a glossy magazine for HRH Kate this week, thank you very much. Elsewhere, international incidents, diplomatic skirmishes, awkward moments when she fled to the airport clutching her passport, trying to buy a one-way ticket to Monaco? All avoided.

Feathers ruffled? None. Terrifying polar bear rugs encountered? One. Trees planted, ditto. Posies accepted from little children in that official low crouch, knees together, side swivel position invented and patented by Diana, Princess of Wales? At least two.

Gifts amassed so far? One diamond polar bear brooch, one red fleece Ranger hoodie, one pair of beaded moccasins, plus one traditional Calgary wide-brimmed, Smithbilt cowboy hat.

A pretty good haul. Better than anything at Bicester shopping village, that’s for sure. Check out the quality of those diamonds. Pippa will die!

And whether at a ceremony of remembrance, whisking up canapes in a kitchen, paddling a dragon boat or smoking caribou skins on a reservation, the Duchess was endlessly sunny.

She can do sombre, she can do formal, she can do parsley garnishes. When required, she can stick her oar in with the best of them and can do campfire geniality along with genteel cocktail chat at the ambassador’s residence. In fact, she can do no wrong.

Yes, there was one tiny difficulty, as the Duchess swished from civic reception to official dinner, her excellent Middleton legs sheathed and twinkling in standard royal issue high-gloss tights. Exactly who was that dull guy with the bald patch and old man’s blazer who kept doggedly following her around? Could someone call security, please?

When visiting a provincial Canadian town, it takes some doing to come across as the least groovy bloke in the boondocks. In such circumstances, however, you can bet your anchor-stamped brass buttons that a Windsor man will always triumph.

No one can out-anorak a royal anorak, especially when he’s trying to do smart-casual in a canoe.

Cast adrift in the stardust of his wife’s slipstream, there were moments when Prince William seemed like some plodding member of the protection squad intent on invading her personal space and getting his mug in the official photographs.

Without her, who would turn out to see him? Perhaps no one, except a lost moose or two and a few ladies from the crochet club at a loose end on a weekday afternoon.

Yet to see the young Duke and Duchess stand shoulder to shoulder, meeting officials, consoling the survivors of a devastating forest fire or cheerfully shaking hands with the Canadian crowds is to understand the eternal potency of beauty.

Shoulder to shoulder: Kate's star quality is rubbing off on a relaxed William

Being married to a lovely woman like Kate gives a man like William prestige and cachet. By her side, he instantly looks more handsome, debonair and assured. And not only does she make him look good, she also humanises and glamorises the entire Windsor brand.

Look at Kate on Canada Day in the Canadian capital, attending a Canadian citizenship ceremony wearing the Canadian national colours, accessorised by a hat fluttering with maple leaves (the Canadian emblem) and a maple leaf diamond brooch.

She couldn’t have tried harder if she had donned buckskins, flung herself at the feet of the Governor General and begged to be called Squaw Who Dances With Willie.

Her red and white ensemble may have been more national costume than elegant outfit, it may have been slightly de trop, but it was utterly charming.

And it proved yet again that the Duchess is a class act; a woman with an inbuilt sense of duty, a representative of the monarchy who knows and understands what is expected of her.

Unlike other royal wives, such as the Duchess of York for ghastly example, the D of C realises that despite all the attention and endless interest in her Erdem dresses and choice of handbag, it is not all about her.

Instead, she fully grasps she is not just a support to her husband, but also a kind of cipher, an agreeable, British and royal symbol upon which entire nations can project their feelings of goodwill and benevolence.

The baton has been handed to a newly minted royal couple upon whose shoulders the entire future of the House of Windsor depends. Be serious. Who else is capable of appearing on the world stage on behalf of Queen and country, exuding that tricky mix of gravitas, charm and sincerity that the post requires?

Prince Harry and his latest chick, lingerie model Flossy Boomps-adaisy-Boops and her fruity selection of balcony bras? Those galumphing horrors Beatrice and Eugenie in matching ostrich feather comedy hats?

Shop-soiled Prince Andrew or sulky Prince Charles? I don’t think so. Not for a second. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are our last hope.

So back home, the Queen will have been watching with great interest how this tour develops.

With an experienced eye, she will be appraising the performance of her grandson and his dazzling new wife, praying that the mistakes and hysteria of the Diana era are not to be repeated. Will HM be pleased? I suspect she will be absolutely thrilled.

On THE most basic level, you have got to admit Kate looks great. From sea to shining sea, the Duchess has been working her classically elegant, faultlessly neat, sexy secretary look to great effect.

She has shimmered in purple silk, dazzled in navy lace, worn a dress the colour of a beige envelope and given it a first-class stamp.

And while frying onions in a chef’s jacket or scrambling into a seaplane in her favourite J Brand jeans, what was much more important was the fact there was no mistaking the frighteningly fierce delight she takes in her new-found royal chores.

In the Northwest Territory, the Duchess visited community projects with unbridled enthusiasm.

At Yellowknife, she was presented with a hockey stick and looked at it with something approaching ecstasy.

While meeting dignitaries, ordinary folks or uncomprehending babies, her all-weather smile never dims — those dimples could be drilled into the bone.

That perma rictus of bleached gnashers, semaphoring a bedazzled delight at her own good fortune to the world, is becoming an infectious trademark.

The toughest test was saved for the last day, when the couple had to attend the Calgary Stampede and try to remain regal in cowpoke attire. They glowed pinkly beneath their matching ten-gallon rabbit fur hats.

Our girl managed to look fascinated by a lot of cows milling around and pawing the ground. Just like the polo crowds at Windsor, really.

Canada has fallen for her charms, California is next and the triumphant Duchess of Cambridge seems an irresistible and unstoppable royal force.

The Windsors — and us — could do with a high-wattage dose of uncomplicated, affable, natural charisma.

So long may the old Duch reign — and let’s hope royal life does nothing to curdle her bottomless charm.


Left: Boarding the plane to Canada in a Roland Mouret dress, Mulberry bag, Smythe les Vestes blazer and Manolo Blahniks, Kate looks a touch too like a sales rep. Total: £3,058
Centre: By the time she arrives, she’s in an Erdem dress, LK Bennett shoes and a Tiffany bracelet. This is savvy, showing she is taking fashion seriously. Total: £2,115
Right: For a barbecue, she’s in Vinnie Day earrings and Pied a Terre wedges. But her Issa dress looks more like Next. A bit frumpy and plain for a goddess like Kate. Total: £633

Left: Her striking outfit for Canada Day (Reiss dress, Lock & Co hat, Anya Hindmarch clutch, Kiki McDonough earrings and Hobbs shoes) was my tour highlight. Total: £1,624
Centre: I love the colour, draping and low cut of this Issa dress teamed with an Anya Hindmarch clutch and Prada pumps. Her hair is sophisticated. Total: £1,109
Right: Catherine Walker may have been Diana’s favourite designer, but this dress is too staid. Hobbs clutch, Tabitha Simmons pumps, Links of London earrings. Total: £1,789

Left: I simply love the embellishment on this Erdem dress at a prayer service. Nude LK Bennett shoes are much younger and fresher than traditional black. Total: £2,170
Centre: This pretty Joseph dress is a little flimsy. The Links of London earrings, LK Bennett clutch and shoes don’t inject the colour this outfit needs. Total: £510
Right: The Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen nautical dress is fabulous and the ponytail is youthful. But why finish it off with such dreary Prada shoes? Total: £1,600


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