New GREAT Portrait Unveiled for Her Majesty’s 88th Birthday

Happy Birthday to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II!

On April 21, 1962, Princess Elizabeth was born. Now in her sixty-second year on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is preparing to pass Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch. In yet another year of important milestones for Her Majesty, it seems only fitting that a new portrait would be released to mark her birthday.

David Bailey

David Bailey

The photograph was as commissioned on behalf of the British Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. Done by renowned British photographer David Bailey CBE at Buckingham Palace last month and The Queen is wearing wearing pearls and a dress by Ms Angela Kelly, LVO in the historic portrait.

The image will be used in activity to support the GREAT campaign, which aims to generate jobs and growth through highlighting internationally Britain as a world-class destination for trade, tourism, investment and education.

What is the GREAT Britain campaign?

I have no doubt that over the past three years you have encountered the GREAT Britain campaign in one form or another. Did you watch London 2012? You most definitely saw the campaign in action.

The GREAT Britain campaign is the British Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer, in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

I know what you’re thinking… what does this have to do with the royals? Well, quite a lot actually. I can almost guarantee that the royals are the main reason why most (if not all) of you reading this blog want to visit Britain. Heritage is GREAT everyone! We all know this. The Royal Family has given strong support to the campaign since its inception in 2011. Prince Harry even launched the GREAT campaign in Brazil during his 2012 tour (and then again participated in a GREAT event with Prime Minister David Cameron in New York last year). while the Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in 2012 to highlight the excellence of our creative industries. Remember that beautiful lavender dress with the perfect updo? Yes, that night was a GREAT night.

Britain’s monarchy, including the nation’s Royal heritage and property, is one of the biggest drivers of tourism into the UK: a £127 billion industry which employs over 3 million people. It is estimated the Monarchy alone generates over £500 million per year from overseas tourism spend.

#HappyBirthdayYourMajesty! I hope it’s a GREAT year..

Royal Tour Down Under Proves The Duchess of Cambridge is a Superhero

Let’s talk about something we have all pretty much known for a long time – The Duchess of Cambridge is a superhero. Like Spider-Man ‘s spidey sense or Superman’s super strength, Kate’s greatest superpower at her disposal might just be her hair’s determination to look perfect in every situation.

Royal visit to Australia and NZ - Day 3

The first half of the royal tour down under has proved her superhuman abilities span much farther than that.

Walking down the stairs of a jet carrying a baby (a presumably heavy one at that)..in heels. 

I can’t even walk up and down the streets of Manhattan in heels carrying nothing but my black longchamp bag (BFF alert with Kate, BTW). Steam grates everywhere. It’s like a death trap.

Running on a beach in 4 inch heels.

Again, making me look bad as she ran down Manly Beach in Stuart Weitzman wedges. I grew up on the sand and can’t even walk on it in flip-flops. Wait, is Kate a superhero or am I just clumsy?

Zappos

Her hair. It looks perfect. ALWAYS. 

The day The Duchess of Cambridge has a bad hair day is the day I stop loving Prince Harry. I need to get that on a t-shirt.

Photo via Emily Andrews, @byEmilyAndrews, The Sun Newspaper

Photo via Emily Andrews, @byEmilyAndrews, The Sun Newspaper

Even in the toughest of situations, she can keep it together.

As a patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Kate is often immersed in trying situations that would make any person come apart at the seams. In Sydney, the royal couple met a terminally ill boy the same age as George and although Kate admitted she was “ready for a big sob” when she left, yet she and William didn’t completely fall to pieces during the event. Kate was even able to give an incredibly moving speech. I wouldn’t put Kleenex out of business right there and then.

Looking like the most well-rested person on earth after a day+ of traveling.

It was nearly a 30-hour journey to Wellington, New Zealand to kick off this royal tour. Yet Kate somehow stepped off the plane looking a lifetime better than I do after a two hour flight to Florida.

Climbing in and out of a fighter jet in a dress and heels. 

Flying a fighter jet (or in this case, pretending to) is SUCH a superhero move. Kate telling her Royal Air Force pilot husband to sit in the back? Even more amazing.

via Emily Andrews, The Sun Newspaper, @byEmilyAndrews

In conclusion, The Duchess of Cambridge is my favorite superhero. Can Marvel make a movie about her already?

G’Day Mate! #RoyalVisitAus is Underway!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with everyone’s favorite baby prince, HRH Prince George of Cambridge, have arrived in Australia for the second leg of their official tour Down Under.

Wednesday, April 16 (or Tuesday, April 15 if you’re in New York), saw the young family depart New Zealand for Australia, where they will tour through April 25th.

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

William, Kate and The Prince of Cheeks stepped off the plane in sunny Sydney where they were greeted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other dignitaries. Kate was rocking my new favorite hairstyle and a stunning yellow Roksanda Ilincic dress along with her trusty L.K. Bennett nude pumps. I have to say, yellow is among my favorite colors on the duchess – I wish she would wear it more often! Apparently her husband doesn’t agree with me though, as Kate reportedly told an onlooker, “William said I look like a banana.”

The royal parents then attended a brief, private reception at the iconic Sydney Opera House before making their way outside, where they were greeted by an extremely enthusiastic city. William and Kate then set off into the sunset – literally – for Admiralty House.

The images coming out of the arrival were simply breathtaking; the final appearance of the sun combined with Kate’s dazzling yellow dress and the iconic landmarks of the city made for quite the regal welcome.

Photo via Emily Andrews, The Sun Newspaper - @byEmilyAndrews

Photo via Emily Andrews, The Sun Newspaper – @byEmilyAndrews

The next week and a half will filled to the brim with special moments and events. William even remarked that his boy might pick up his first words in Australia: “I suspect George’s first word might be ‘bilby,’ only because ‘koala’ is harder to say.”

April 16 – Sydney, NSW

April 17 – Blue Mountains, NSW

April 18 – Sydney, NSW

April 19 – Brisbane, Qld

April 20 – Sydney, NSW * Easter Sunday*

April 21 – Canberra, ACT

April 22 – Uluru, NT

April 23 – Adelaide, SA

April 24 – Canberra, ACT

April 25 – Canberra, ACT

#RoyalVisitNZ – The Highlights

Just over a week after landing in Wellington, The Cambridge’s have left New Zealand for the second half of their tour in Australia. What an incredible week it has been! As much as I would have loved to be blogging every moment of it, that was logistically impossible. Hopefully, you were all keeping up with our royal experts on the ground - aka, the press pack that never quits, but in the event you didn’t listen to me (how dare you), let’s recap the highlights, shall we?

Day Three - Prince George. Just everything he did. If there were an award for cutest kid on the planet, Georgie would win it. Scratch that, they would replicate his cheeks for the statue they give out at the ceremony to the winner. Which would be him. Every. Single Year. 

The first official event of the tour was a playdate for George and ten other babies born within two weeks of him last July. Not surprisingly, George (and his cheeks) owned the room. He’s already breaking the ladies’ hearts to boot – he claimed a little girl’s toy in the name of the monarchy. Oh, and Kate wore Tory Burch!

Day Four - William and Kate headed to Blenheim where they commemorated the centenary of World War I with a wreath laying ceremony, a walkabout, a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Ceremony with Sir Peter Jackson and finally, a State Reception. 

Perhaps my favorite moment of the day happened at the walkabout in Seymour Square when The Duchess of Cambridge came face-to-face with a fellow princess:

Day Five#competitivecuddles were the theme of the day as the royal couple battled it out in an America’s Cup Yacht Race in Auckland. Kate wiped the bay with William, beating him not once, but twice.

If it were possible for Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses to sell out, Kate would be the only one to make this happen.

Day Six – The power couple divide and conquer and visit their namesake, Cambridge!

While William went to Pacific Aerospace, the “children’s princess” visited Rainbow Place children’s hospice. The Cambridge’s then drew an estimated crowd of 15,000 in a town with only 18,000 residents. The best part of the day was Kate’s green Erdem coat. Someone please lend me thousands of dollars to buy it. I NEED IT. 

Day Seven - Squashing pregnancy rumors one glass of wine and adrenaline rush at a time!

Day seven of the royal tour of New Zealand just may have been the most buzzed about – the day Kate silenced the speculators about a nonsensical pregnancy rumor with a rugby match, wine tasting and ride on a shotover jet in Queensland. Like any good day of alcohol and thrill-rides, the day began at church. SO MANY ACTIVITIES. 

Day Eight - The final day of New Zealand public engagements took a somber tone in Christchurch, as William and Kate honored the lives lost in the devastating  2011 earthquake.

While the day took a reflective tone as the couple looked back on the hardships the Christchurch has faced and how far it has come since Prince William visited after the tragedy in 2011, the day’s engagements also looked to the future – including next year’s cricket world cup. Yes, Kate played cricket in heels. Yes, her hair looked PERFECT. The day The Duchess of Cambridge has a bad hair day is the day I stop loving Prince Harry.

LOOK AT THAT HAIR PERFECTION. This photo via @byEmilyAndrews will be coming with me to the salon very soon.

LOOK AT THAT HAIR PERFECTION. This photo via @byEmilyAndrews will be coming with me to the salon very soon.

Thanks for a top week, New Zealand! Australia, you’re up!

Royal Tour, Commence! The Cambridges Arrive in New Zealand

IT’S FINALLY HERE! After months of excitement (on our end) and a day+ of traveling (on their end) the royal tour of New Zealand and Australia has officially begun!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrived in Wellington, New Zealand at 11:45 am local time….Monday, April 7th. Yes, I’m blogging from the future. After traveling for 27-hours, taking a commercial Qantas flight from London to Sydney via Dubai, the royals took a three hour Royal Air Force New Zealand to dreary, rainy Wellington.

William, Kate and George board RAFNZ plane in Sydney for Wellington

William, Kate and George board RAFNZ plane in Sydney for Wellington. Kate repeated her Max Mara dress while William carried her bags (black Longchamp) and George’s stuffed kangaroo.

Making their way through Sydney airport

Making their way through Sydney airport

After a slight delay of about 20 minutes due to poor weather conditions, the royal plane touched down and the royal trip emerged looking cute as ever. The Duchess of Cambridge looked very Jackie Kennedy in a red (finally called a color right!) Catherine Walker dress and Gina Foster pillbox hat, polished off with The Queen’s diamond and platinum silver fern brooch, given to Her Majesty in 1954 on a visit to the nation. The best part of her outfit, however, was a very unimpressed looking Prince George who donned a cardigan and bloomers for the arrival. William wore the same navy suit and maroon tie.

Reuters Live Stream

Reuters Live Stream

The group then departed for Government House, home of Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae where they received a ceremonial welcome known as a Powhiri. While mom and dad took part in the grand, traditional welcome the airport arrival was it for George’s appearances…unless you count him looking on from a window!

Via Emily Andrews, The Sun - Twitter @byEmilyAndrews

Via Emily Andrews, The Sun – Twitter @byEmilyAndrews

Via Emily Andrews, The Sun - Twitter @byEmilyAndrews

Via Emily Andrews, The Sun – Twitter @byEmilyAndrews

The family traveled with quite the entourage, including the couple’s private secretaries, three press officers, a personal assistant, a tour secretary, Kate’s hairdresser, an orderly, their advisor Sir David Manning and last but certainly not least, Prince George’s new nanny, Maria Borrollo. Talk about hitting the ground running with a new job!

After an exhausting journey, The Cambridges will have time to recoup before the madness truly begins on April 9.

The rest of the tour goes as follows: 

New Zealand

• Wellington (April 7, 9, 16)
• Blenheim (April 10)
• Auckland (April 11)
• Hamilton and Cambridge (April 12)
• Dunedin (April 13)
• Queenstown (April 13)
• Christchurch (April 14)

Australia

• Sydney (April 16, 18, 20)
• Blue Mountains (April 17)
• Brisbane (April 19)
• Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) (April 22)
• Adelaide (April 23)
• Canberra, (April 24 and 25)

For a very detailed look at the full diary, check out Royal Central.

The official hashtags for the tour are #RoyalTourNZ and #RoyalTourAus. And of course, make sure you’re following the trusty royal press pack for updates over the next three weeks.Remember, time zones are NOT our friends on this one people… and although I love the royals, I love my sleep more. So, there you have it – follow the pros!

Christmas in April

That’s exactly what it feels like right now – Christmas. Tomorrow (well, technically the day after tomorrow but for us East Coasters, it’s really tomorrow), The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Wellington, New Zealand with Prince George for a three week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Just think about the photos, videos and anecdotes that will come out of this tour. I can’t, so many activities my head is spinning.

To say the anticipation for this has been high would legitimately be the understatement of the century. More than 450 accredited media will be joining the world’s most adorable family on the historic tour. Couple that with the time difference (Sydney is 14 hours ahead of New York, Auckland is 16), and it will be next to impossible to keep up with. So here’s my fair warning, as much as I’d like to do nothing but royal watch until April 25th, that’s not happening. I will tweet as much as I can and do recap posts, but there are much better resources out there than me.

How does one keep up? With the help of this expert crew. Here is a list of some of the best royal journalists to add to your Twitter lists for the tour:

Max Foster, CNN

Paul Harrison, Sky News

Richard Palmer, Daily Express

Rebecca English, Daily Mail

Simon Perry, People Magazine

Gordon Rayner, The Telegraph

Victoria Murphy, Daily Mirror

Emily Andrews, The Sun

Robert Jobson, here there and everywhere

Arthur Edwards, if you don’t known who he is you have no business on this blog ;)

Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Mark Stewart, Photographer

James Whatling, Photographer

Like I said, there are more than 400 media on the ground tracking every smile, every time William puts his hand on the small of Kate’s back and waiting for George to roll over on a picnic blanket, but these guys are the ultimate. Don’t forget to keep up with Royal Central and WhatKateWore because you know they will be on point with every detail!

Get your sleep tonight royal watchers, with dreams of chubby cheeks and tiaras dancing in your heads.

Visiting Royal Britain

You may have noticed my (terrible) lack of posting over the past month, but I assure you I have a very good reason for it – I was on a business trip in Britain for three weeks! While traveling throughout England and Wales I uncovered royal touches in the most unexpected places. Yes, I popped by Buckingham Palace (okay, more than once), and hit Kensington Palace when I was there a few months back, but there is so much more to “royal Britain” than the obvious attractions.

I could go on for ages about planning your perfect trip to Britain and where to rock your invisible crown, but I neither have that time nor would you read that much. So here’s the plan, I am introducing a new monthly series on the topic. First up, my own personal experiences and insider tips from my most recent hops across the pond.

Always be on the lookout – royal mentions can pop up in the most unlikely of places

We are all well aware of how many openings and commemorative celebrations the royal family attends in England, Wales and Scotland, but once the hour has passed, do we really remember every single center opened, hospital wing visited or hotel stayed in? Well, most of those places are happy to tout their royal visitors, and chances are, you might stumble upon a fun photo opp!

When visiting the Parc y Scarlets rugby stadium in Llanelli, Wales, the legendary Phil Bennett showed off his suite, featuring a photo of him with a young, dapper Prince Charles.

photo 1

In Portmeirion Village, AKA the most adorable/unique/beautiful place to visit, I sat in the exact spot in the golf cart that Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall sat in on their visit… #dorkalert

photo 2

I obviously had to pose with the plaque at the Bodnant Food Centre (#nomnomnom), commemorating when Prince Charles and Camilla opened the site in 2012.photo 3

Visit Shops Boasting Royal Warrants

Popping into a place that holds a Royal Warrant is an easy to way to “feel the regal.” When you step into a place that has a personal seal of approval, you truly feel like you’re a part of something special. My favorite place to do this? Fortnum and Mason.

On my final day, I enjoyed a pot of “Jubilee Tea” before heading off to Heathrow… I may or may not have bought a box of “Royal Tea” to bring home.

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Check back next month for the next installment of “Visiting Royal Britain!” In the meantime, get vacation planning already, would ya?