Friday 22 March 2024

"I Am Going to Be OK": The Princess of Wales Reveals She Has Cancer

Dear readers,

I know many of you are visiting the blog after absorbing the news the Princess of Wales is receiving treatment for cancer. I heard shortly after 5 pm a "major royal announcement" was imminent. Given the intensity of the online speculation circus that has unfolded in recent months, I thought perhaps, with George, Charlotte and Louis on their Easter holidays today, a message from the Princess may serve to calm the stormy waters of conspiracies that have dominated news in recent months. Another part of me contemplated the possibility of more serious news, and sadly it proved to be the latter. Addressing the public directly and speaking from the heart, Kate was filmed on Wednesday sitting on a bench in the garden surrounded by daffodils -- the national flowers of Wales.

The Princess shared:

'I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, personally, for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I have been recovering from surgery.

It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I've had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful.

In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.

This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.

As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be ok.

As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.

Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both.

We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery.

At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.'

It's understood it was especially important to Kate and William to share the news with the children before it reached the public domain. Several reports stressed throughout all of this Kate's first and constant priority has been George, Charlotte and Louis. "It has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be ok."

When she mentioned their names in the video, it was an incredibly emotional moment. For any parent to break such news to three young children, with the added concern of various elements of the gossip mill making their way into the children's classrooms and causing them more worry, it is unbelievably tough. As you may have read, it's been widely reported staff at the London Clinic accessed Kate's private medical information, so it was likely felt for multiple reasons now was an opportune time to share the news. The Wales family will decamp to their country retreat, Anmer Hall, for the next three weeks with Kate continuing her treatment.

ITV reports:

'William and Kate did not want Kate’s cancer to be in the public domain without first having told their children.

And no one can underestimate how hard that would have been.

It also took time for Kate and William to come to terms with the diagnosis, as well as time for her to recover from her other operation so she could start her “preventative chemotherapy”.

Kate started that cancer treatment at the end of February, several weeks after she left the private hospital, The London Clinic.'

It has been an utterly dreadful start to 2024 for the Royal family. The King continues to undergo treatment for cancer and in a statement this evening, said he is "so proud" of his daughter-in-law "for her courage in speaking as she did". Back in January when Charles and Kate were both admitted to the London Clinic, and His Majesty left via the back door, I suggested this was meticulously planned to shield Kate from the intensive interest in her health. Those days of privacy will have meant a great deal, especially in light of the uproar which we've seen day after day since. A Buckingham Palace source added: "The King has remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks. Both the King and Queen will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time."

Kate will, of course, continue to be surrounded by the Middletons. Carole has been spotted at Windsor often, and tonight, the Princess' brother James shared on Instagram: "Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together. As a family, we will climb this one with you too."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his best wishes for the Princess and underscored a salient point which bears repeating: "She has been subjected to intense scrutiny and has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media." The feeding frenzy we've seen, not only fuelled by social media trolls and equally a number of media outlets, has been appalling. The ever-growing practice of using human beings, most often women, for clickbait and profit is both dangerous and shameful. As anyone who has battled cancer, or watched a loved one go through it, will tell you, it's a profoundly painful and impactful time on the entire family.  There will be no Easter Sunday appearance nor will Kate be able to return to engagements for some time. It's my hope she will be given the time, privacy and respect to focus on her treatment and children. I know you'll all join me in wishing Kate the very best in the weeks and months ahead -- and the space, time and privacy she needs.

Sunday 10 March 2024

A New Photo of the Princess of Wales Marks Mother's Day

Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words, isn't it? In the first official photo release of the Princess of Wales since she underwent abdominal surgery in January, Kate is pictured outside Adelaide Cottage with George, Charlotte and Louis in a relaxed photo taken by Prince William last week to mark Mother's Day.

Often times when royal images are released, the finer technical points are closely inspected. Not this time, though. I think we're all just incredibly pleased to see Kate smiling, surrounded by her children, as she continues her recovery. A paparazzi image of Kate with her mum Carole Middleton circulated last week. It followed weeks of relentless, absurd, ridiculous and often cruel speculation on social media. There was a growing sense of pressure in the mainstream media too, sending a signal to Kensington Palace that perhaps something more needed to be done or said to quell the ever-growing circus. Whilst I don't believe it was initially the plan, releasing a photo to mark Mother's Day and thanking the public for their support will hit the right note to calm the brewing storm.

Later this month, George, Charlotte and Louis will begin a month-long Easter break from Lambrook. I imagine the plan is to decamp to Norfolk and spend the time at Anmer Hall. Until then, Kate will continue to recuperate at Windsor. In terms of a return to royal engagements, I don't believe anything is set in stone, and when she is well enough to return, it will likely be on a gradual basis.

It is wonderful to see Kate on the mend. I imagine it's been a very difficult and trying couple of months. Resuming "normal life" again will be a step-by-step process.

On that note, I want to thank you for your kind thoughts and messages as I continue my own recovery. A very Happy Mother's Day to all celebrating :)

Monday 5 February 2024

King Charles Diagnosed with Cancer

I'm spending the weekend with family and have been largely offline. I skimmed through Twitter this morning and saw photos of King Charles and Queen Camilla, waving and smiling as they made their stroll to St. Mary Magdalene church this morning. Very much business as usual, I thought. An encouraging sign, following a three-night stay at the London Clinic for an enlarged prostate. Over the course of January, amidst two royal hospitalisations, I think it's correct to say, the general feeling was one of "routine" with the King. We've all been far more worried about the Princess of Wales, who spent thirteen nights at the London Clinic following "abdominal surgery". The King left via the front door -- in an act he was widely praised for -- ensuring the spotlight was on him, the cameras had their "shot", therefore allowing Kate to exit privately. With that said, you can imagine my complete shock when I read a Buckingham Palace statement confirming His Majesty has cancer.

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It's a wholly unexpected development and deeply worrying news. I know there were plans for a packed year for the King, filled with visits up and down the country, and indeed tours all over the world. The mere idea 2024 would see two senior royals out of action, followed by this diagnosis for the King, is truly something I never dreamt of. The church photos from this morning take on an additional meaning now, the very definition of "keeping calm and carrying on". A visual message to the nation, perhaps, ahead of what will prove to be a rigorous programme of treatment. 

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The aforementioned mentioned Buckingham Palace statement continued with the King's wish to be open and transparent about his health: "During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer." Whilst seeking to reassure the public: "He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible." It's important to note this level of disclosure from a monarch regarding their health is unprecedented in the UK.

The type of cancer and its stage have not been revealed, and I would expect that information to remain private. The immediate focus will be rightfully on the King's treatment. He will be stepping back from public-facing duties for the time being, though. With duty always at the very forefront of his mind, he will attend to his red boxes and other important affairs when required. Before the news was shared publicly, Charles personally informed immediate family members, including his sons William and Harry. William is in Windsor with Kate and the children while the Princess recovers. It's been widely reported the Duke of Sussex plans to fly to the UK from California tomorrow.

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Queen Camilla was a constant visitor to the London Clinic during her husband's stay. She will be by his side as he begins out-patient treatment and focuses on his health over the next several months. Camilla has been keeping a busy schedule of engagements and intends to continue with her full scheduled programme as the King undergoes treatment. Earlier this week, Camilla opened a new cancer centre in her capacity as president of Maggie's, which will provide expert care and support for free for those with cancer and their loved ones.

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Camilla will be ploughing on with her work, as will the Princess Royal, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, however it now falls to William, as heir and Prince of Wales to step in for essential events. The timing, with Kate recovering, is unfortunate to say the least, but it is now incumbent upon William as his father's "liege man of life and limb", and ultimately as future king, to assume his father's essential diary commitments. William, who has been off duties since Kate's surgery, was scheduled to undertake a couple of engagements on Wednesday. It will now be a case of looking at the King's diary, investitures, liaising with No. 10 and being very much on hand when needed. For now, a raft of overseas (a great deal of Commonwealth travel) will need to be postponed for the King and discussions had internally on deputising others. I've long felt the British way of monarchs undertaking such arduous and exhausting schedules so far into retirement age is simply an unsustainable situation with far too much expectation which simply doesn't allow for the toll it takes. Charles's schedule over the past year has been dizzying.  Following the recent abdication of Queen Margrethe in Denmark, I do believe it's a model we're going to see with future generations.

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Kate, who is not expected to resume duties until at least April, will be surrounded by the Middleton family, Nanny Maria, and of course dedicated care from a trusted medical team. We've had no further official update, though it's been said repeatedly Kate may opt to share more details in due course. I imagine she's just happy to be back at home with the children.

Scenes outside Buckingham Palace tonight.

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I was watching BBC Newsnight, and host Victoria Derbyshire remarked Charles is now part of the "cancer community". A close family friend was diagnosed last autumn, and the impact it has on a family as a whole is shattering. The uncertainty, the fear, the challenges various treatments present. I sincerely wish the King a full and speedy recovery. I know we'll all be thinking of him and the entire family as they navigate a trying time. I'll leave you with a look at the cover of The Times.

If you would like to learn more about Maggie's - Everyone's Home of Cancer Care, or support their work, please click here. I know many of you have been impacted by cancer, and continue to be. I'm thinking of each of you tonight.

Monday 29 January 2024

The Princess of Wales "Making Good Progress" as She Returns to Windsor

I was very much hoping we would hear the Princess of Wales had been discharged today, and was heartened when Kensington Palace confirmed the news this morning: "The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress." All was relatively quiet around the London Clinic today. The only tell-tale sign Kate was leaving was a car sighting of her long-time assistant, Natasha Archer. Following almost a fortnight at the hospital where the Princess underwent abdominal surgery, I know we've all been concerned and awaiting an update. At this point, we don't know anything more about Kate's condition (the internet is, as expected, alight with speculation). In the fullness of time, it's thought the Princess may choose to share more. Health matters are deeply personal and whatever decision Kate makes in the future is entirely her own. I know we're all just pleased to hear it was deemed appropriate to continue the recovery process at home. I'm sure seeing George, Charlotte and Louis will be an enormous sources of joy for her today. It's the longest period they've ever been apart from their mother. It will certainly be a balm to be reunited after school. In fact, as I write this, school should be out. The Wales trio will be racing in the door of Adelaide Cottage to see mum any minute now.

The Kensington Palace statement continued: "The Prince and Princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided. The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world." Meanwhile, No 10. described the news as "welcome for the royal family and the public more widely".

The Telegraph reports:

'The Princess will now recuperate at home as planned, returning to public duties only when her doctors agree.

Prince William will recommence his public engagements soon, when the Princess is settled at home, a source said.

The Prince has been in to visit his wife in hospital, but her three young children have not been seen coming and going, attending school as usual.

The King paid a visit to her bedside on Friday, ahead of his own procedure for an enlarged prostate.'

Back at Adelaide Cottage, and under observation by a medical team, Kate will begin the process of what is expected to be a lengthy recovery. Two short overseas trips scheduled for spring -- an embargoed visit to Latvia and a brief trip to Italy -- have been shelved with the Princess's diary cleared. I understand the working assumption is Kate will gradually resume duties after Easter, but it is wholly dependent on her recovery and medical advice at the time. The children will be on Easter break from late March through late April, so I think it will be closer to May, all going well. William is due to resume duties once Kate is settled. The Middleton family will likely be a constant presence in Windsor in the coming months, and Nanny Maria, as always, will be on hand.

More from ITV's Chris Ship:

'The palace refused to specify exactly why the princess was in hospital, but did confirm what she was treated for was non-cancerous.

It is the same hospital where the King underwent a procedure after he shared he was suffering from benign prostate enlargement.

Buckingham Palace, in an unprecedented double royal health scare, announced the King’s diagnosis on Wednesday just an hour-and-a-half after Kensington Palace revealed the Princess of Wales had undergone abdominal surgery.'

Several hours after news was shared about Kate, the King left the London Clinic with Queen Camilla by his side. The contrast between Charles leaving through the front door and Kate leaving privately does perhaps underscore the fact this was clearly a serious operation.

Buckingham Palace said: "The King was this afternoon discharged from hospital following planned medical treatment and has rescheduled forthcoming public engagements to allow for a period of private recuperation. His Majesty would like to thank the medical team and all those involved in supporting his hospital visit, and is grateful for all the kind messages he has received in recent days."

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Below, the King waving upon departure.

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Several of you have asked about sending Kate a card to share your good wishes. You can so by addressing:

HRH The Princess of Wales

Kensington Palace


W8 4PU

I'll keep you updated on any developments, dearest readers.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

The Princess of Wales Undergoes Abdominal Surgery

Dear readers,

I certainly wasn't expecting this to be my first post of the new year. Today Kensington Palace announced that the Princess of Wales has undergone planned abdominal surgery. A statement read: "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was admitted to The London Clinic yesterday for planned abdominal surgery. The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery. Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter. The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate. She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private. Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness' progress when there is significant new information to share."

A much discussed visit to Italy, which was expected to be William and Kate's first joint overseas trip since becoming Prince and Princess of Wales, will be postponed. Whilst this is incredibly concerning news, I was somewhat relieved to read the Daily Mail's report stating that, "She was not rushed to hospital and her condition was not something that developed over the weekend." They also stress her condition to be "non-cancerous." Additionally, it is heartening to read the Princess is "doing well" after her "successful" surgery.

The statement expressed Kate's desire for privacy and I think it is incumbent upon all of us to respect her wishes. In time, Kate may choose to disclose further information, particularly if it is a condition that effects many in their lifetime. The Telegraph's Victoria Ward writes: "The Telegraph understands that Kensington Palace has not ruled out more details about the Princess's surgery being revealed in due course. Sources noted that it was the Princess's private medical information and so was a matter entirely for her. However it is thought that as and when she is ready to talk about it, she may opt to do so."

Meanwhile Kate will be supported by all her loved ones, the Middleton family live within close distance. Kate is incredibly close to her family and no doubt they will be a key fixture at Adelaide cottage in the coming weeks. The Daily Mail reports "Prince William will combine being by his wife's and children's sides throughout" and "will also postpone a number of engagements as he supports his family and will not undertake official duties while his wife is in hospital or in the immediate period after Kate's return home".

Just a short while later, Buckingham Palace announced the King will be admitted to hospital next week.

The statement reads: "In common with thousands of men each year, the King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure. The King's public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation." The Guardian reports, "It is understood that the King was keen to share details of his diagnosis to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked in line with public health advice."

Speaking from the perspective of someone who is recovering from a difficult bout of illness, I hope both Kate and Charles take the time they need to recover. I know you'll all join me in sending them good wishes, thoughts and prayers. It's going to be a very challenging start to 2024 for the Wales family. I very much hope, after a period of recuperation, this will all be behind Kate and she can look forward to the rest of the year feeling stronger than ever.

Monday 25 December 2023

A Royal Christmas at Sandringham Closes 2023 for the Waleses

Hello dear readers,

I hope your Christmas morning has been filled with loved ones, gifts and I'm sure a little traditional chaos in the kitchen. I'm sneaking away from our own festive lunch preparations for a quick post covering the royals' annual Sandringham church walk appearance.

Note: Adorable Mia Tindall holding Louis' hand for 'moment of the day'.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales wished followers and well-wishers a Happy Christmas on social media this morning with the release of a new portrait of George, Charlotte and Louis. Taken by Josh Shinner, as part of the 'Christmas card' photo shoot, I think we can all agree, they are growing up so, so quickly!

King Charles and Queen Camilla, coordinating in camel tones, led a large gathering of immediate and extended family members to St Mary's.

The parish church of St Mary Magdalene is one of exceptional historic interest, with memorials to many members and relations of the Royal family, from Queen Victoria onwards. It is considered one of the finest carrstone buildings in existence and dates back in its present form to the 16th century.

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The Princess Royal in winter white with her husband Sir Tim Laurence.

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The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh have had a packed year with a great deal of significant trips made both at home and abroad.

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Zara and Mike Tindall with little Lena.

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Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi were in high spirits.

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Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.

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The York princesses had an additional reason to be joyful today: for the first Christmas since they were children, they are joined by their mother, Sarah, Duchess of York at Sandringham. For a mother to be separated from her children for any part of Christmas must be incredibly painful. This will likely be the greatest gift Bea and Eug will receive this year.

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Gathering to wish the royals season's greetings is a tradition for many. It was so lovely to see the warmth from the crowd once again this morning.

The royals departing after the service.

The Princess of Wales accepts beautiful flowers.

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A lovely shot of the Wales family.

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Kate shares a moment with her mini-me :)

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George and Charlotte exchange Christmas wishes with locals.

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I think we can safely say Charlotte and Mia are going to be firm friends.

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Lady Louise and James pictured after the service.

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The family will sit down to a traditional Christmas lunch at 1.15pm. Norfolk turkey accompanied by a selection of cold meats and a variety of side dishes is served. The children will be happily wrapped up in their gifts before refreshing walks, festive drinks and board games fill the evening. At 3pm, it will be time to take seats and watch the King's Speech. A spot of television will be enjoyed, and we do know the Queen Consort is partial to Strictly Come Dancing. Will the royals watch the Christmas special? Refreshments and cocktails will be enjoyed, followed by a sumptuous dinner and games until midnight.

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The Princess was elegant in a striking blue McQueen coat, styled with a matching hat, her Gianvito Rossi boots and her sapphire and diamond earrings. 

A reminder, His Majesty's Christmas speech will stream live at precisely 3pm on the link below.

On that note, I would dearly like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! May the day be filled with warm memories for you. I'm equally cognizant of how the day can be for those who have had a particularly difficult year, including several of our readers. You're all in my thoughts today. As we close another year in royal watching, I want to express my gratitude for your enduring support.

Now, time for (a rather tardy) Christmas lunch :)

P.S. I will add a link here to Kate's carol concert the moment I find a good copy available.

Saturday 23 December 2023

Kate Hosts Festive Tea for 'Together at Christmas'

 Good evening, dear readers,

With Christmas firmly upon us, Kensington Palace shared three photos from a festive tea party the Princess hosted last month in London as part of plans for 'Together at Christmas'. Footage from the tea will feature in the carol concert tomorrow night. Kate broke quite early this year for Christmas holidays. In lieu of traditional engagements, we've very much seen the carol concert take centre stage as the focal point of the Waleses' December schedule.

A Palace spokesperson shared: "Three inspiring people making a real difference to the lives of young people. It was so lovely to join Rico, Arwyen, Jenson, Poppy, Henry and George for a special surprise celebration for the people in their lives who have helped shape them. Russell, Ray and Brenda, it was a pleasure to meet you!"

People reports:

'So, at the Christmas party, Kate learned more about how the adults are making incredible contributions to raising the next generation.

One of those was Ray, who comes from a familiar place for the Princess — he works as a music therapist at East Anglia's Children's Hospices, of which she has been a patron since she started in her public life more than a decade ago. Ray has helped support the family of Henry, 10, (who joined the party with his brother George, 12) who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 18 months old.

The Princess of Wales also spent time with Brenda, who is a retired mental health nurse from Sussex in southern England. She volunteers in local schools helping children like Jenson, 8, who Kate met, develop new skills like reading through the local intergenerational program.'

This year's service was organised to "thank those who are supporting the very youngest members of our society during those crucial early years”.

 The Telegraph writes:

'The Princess met 13-year-old Rico and Russell Gray, the Manchester football coach who helped to build his confidence

“Christmas is a time when we come together and celebrate the birth of a newborn baby,” she will say.

“The arrival of every baby is a precious and momentous time, it brings us together to reflect on new beginnings and brings hope for the future.

“Throughout our earliest interactions, relationships and experiences, with those who love us, even before we are born, we lay the foundations to so much of what that future will depend on.

“But only by valuing and supporting the vital role of the adults in a child’s world can we hope to make a difference.”

She added: “This is not just making a difference to children today, it will go on to shape a happier, healthier, fairer world in the future.”'

The Princess wore the seasonal red Miu Miu cardigan she debuted ahead of the 2021 carol concert. This year, she teamed the piece with matching red trousers.

The sold out £1,350 piece is described as: "Miu Miu's cardigan is made from cashmere with a diamond pattern and tactile bobbles. It also has a detachable cotton collar and is jacquard-woven with black and white roses. Match the lustrous mother-of-pearl buttons to your earrings."

Royal Carols: Together at Christmas will air on ITV tomorrow evening at 7.45 pm. In preparation for the event, Kensington Palace, shared a darling childhood photo of Kate with the caption, "Sharing some festive memories this Christmas because Shaping Us is all about the vital importance of our early years and the role played by those around us in shaping the rest of our lives."

I very much hope to be able to share a YouTube link for the concert in the Christmas Day post covering the annual walk to Sandringham on Monday. For those enquiring about the annual pre-Christmas luncheon, it was held again this year at Windsor Castle. Last year, the Waleses were not in attendance as they decamped to Anmer early. According to the Telegraph, they were in Windsor for the event this year, but we didn't see any arrival/departure images because they live on the estate. There's also growing talk of a short official trip to Rome in the spring. It will mark the couple's first joint trip on behalf of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in two years. It will be officially confirmed in due course.

Until we chat again on Christmas Day, I hope all your plans are coming along nicely. If, like your faithful scribe, you still have much to get organised or are spending an evening immersed in wrapping paper and gift bags, pour a glass of your favourite drink, turn up the festive tunes, and fear not, we still have Christmas Eve for all those last-minute tasks :)

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