Happy Birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge!

Ain’t no birthday like a royal birthday! The Duchess of Cambridge is celebrating her 33rd birthday today, and KKHO is wishing her the happiest of days!

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Royal birthdays are just like everyone else’s birthdays, except they’re celebrated in historic homes and palaces and there’s always the chance of unwrapping a tiara. I celebrated my birthday two weeks ago and my dad got me an inflatable crown, so that’s always a solid back-up option if you’d like to pretend you’re Kate.

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Our favorite pregnant royal is said to be spending her birthday “privately,” with Prince William and Prince George according to People Magazine and rumored to be at Anmer Hall. Pretty logical conclusion as the young family just moved into their newly renovated property on the Sandringham Estate and spent the holidays there. However she celebrates, whomever she celebrates with… we all know we wish our invites hadn’t gotten lost in the mail.

Happy Birthday Kate! 

Keep Calm and Harry On Update

Hello everyone! As you have likely noticed (if you follow my blog and Twitter… which, you likely do if you’re reading this, duh), I have been a little absent lately. I fully realize I haven’t been posting as much, or as quickly lately, and when I have been, it hasn’t been as heartfelt and personalized as I like for it to be. While I should have posted this earlier as opposed to apologizing after the fact, I wanted to explain myself a bit.

I have always said, this is not my full-time job, it is my hobby, which I adore so very much, but that “real life” will sometimes trump my double life as a royal watcher. This is one of those times. There has been a lot going on for me lately, and I am just not able to keep up at the moment. This is not to say I am stopping completely (in the words of Michelle Tanner – no way jose), but I want to be honest about it. I hate appearing behind the eight ball, like a slacker, and disinterested. I hate not responding to everyone as quickly as possible. I hate missing out on the royal fun. So, I am being totally upfront that yes, I know I have been a bad blogger recently, and no, this isn’t changing right now. I’m still here, will blog and tweet when I can, so please don’t leave me out or forget about me! Until things settle down and I can fully commit myself the way I want to with this, just know you won’t see or hear as much content from me for a bit. Think of it as my pre-maternity leave before royal baby number two :)

Thanks for sticking with me, xx.

2014: The Year of Harry

If Summer 2013 was The Summer of George, this year was definitely The Year of Harry. It was a big year for Prince Harry – his milestone 30th birthday, leaving active post in the army for a desk job, seeing his dream of the Invictus Games come to life and wooing the world with his overseas visits. Harry was on fire this year – and I’m not just talking about his red hair.

The end of the year always brings the pressure for a “best of” post, which is always a struggle when it comes to Prince Harry, we all know I could go on about this topic for a lifetime, but this year it is even more difficult than ever. Prince Harry really came into his own this year and proven (not that he really needed to, IMO), that he is an integral part of the royal family. In my eyes, he is without a doubt the most relatable member of the firm and that really shown through in 2014.

Even though I don’t think I could really pick the best moments of this year if someone threatened me that I couldn’t eat pizza for the rest of my life, I’m going to try. I’m going on feeling here… those small moments that resulted in an instantaneous smile.

Cuddling babies in Chile

Harry’s visit to South America this summer may not have garnered the most press coverage, but it was one of the best visits he has undertaken. A big part of that was his interaction with so many children. It was where my #HarryWithKids movement was born. The most adorable moment of all came when Clarence House released a photo of Harry cuddling a little girl who had just awoken from a nap. If that didn’t melt your heart, you must not have one. Emily Andrews, royal reporter for The Sun, was on the tour and explained it perfectly to KKHO a few months ago, saying “I think he’s just a real natural. That comes from innate personality. He bonds with them very quickly, even when he doesn’t share their language. He is a very relaxed guy which transmits to the kids and they immediately respond. He’s not afraid of making a fool of himself either, he’s not hung up about protocol or looking serious.”

Courtesy of Emily Andrews, The Sun, @byemilyandrews

Courtesy of Emily Andrews, The Sun, @byemilyandrews

 The Invictus Games

ICYMI: Prince Harry welcomed his first child this year. First name Invictus, middle name Games. After attending the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado, Harry returned home determined to bring the Olympic-style event for wounded veterans to Britain. After leaving his active posting with the army earlier this year, in September, just in time for his thirtieth birthday, Harry blew the world away with the Invictus Games. We always knew that Captain Wales was passionate about the armed forces and veterans, but the Invictus Games shown an entirely new light on that. I don’t think we have ever seen Harry more in his element. Just recently, Prince Charles said that “I’m incredibly proud of what my youngest son achieved at the Invictus Games. I hope he hears that.

via @sperrypeoplemag

via @sperrypeoplemag

Private Visit to Lesotho

Just this month, while his brother and sister-in-law drew crowds in New York City, Prince Harry made a private visit to Lesotho for his charity, Sentebale. So, what was different about this visit from all the rest we’ve seen Harry take over the years? Harry got behind the camera, alongside Chris Jackson of Getty Images, to show the world his Lesotho. #HarryWithKids has reached an entirely new level. If it were actually possible for a human heart to melt, I would be donezo.

Swinging at the Olympic Park

Get your mind out of the Hazza gutter! Harry got on an actual swing, at a playground, for the unveiling of a new play area at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I know this wouldn’t make most people’s top list for the year, but I die laughing at the sight of this. Classic Harry. Kid at heart. Its not often you see a guy in a suit climbing on a jungle gym.

Like I said, asking me to narrow down the year in Harry is just too monumental of a task, but I think the above really point to the man that Harry is, the man that the world got to see a little better this year. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for this kick-ass royal. (Please, a photo with Prince George, pretty, pretty please).

#HarryWithKids – It is soo a thing

If you know are at all interested in the goings on of Prince Harry (which, if you’re not, you you’re probably on the wrong site), then you know exactly what that title means today. And you’re most likely suffering from some sort of heart malfunction at the moment.

But in the off chance you’re like, “Kelly, what in royal heavens are you talking about?” Let me fill you in. Today, with the massive help of Sentebale and Chris Jackson of Getty Images, Prince Harry melted our hearts into puddles. Last week, from December 5 – 10, Prince Harry made a private visit to Lesotho in Africa for his charity, Sentebale – and Chris and his camera were along for the ride. (Thank goodness). Plot twist! Not only did Chris capture the adorable moments of the trip, but Harry got behind the lens for a change and took some stunning imagery as well.

This trip to Lesotho focused on viewing the construction and development of Sentebale’s new Mamohato Children’s Centre. The facility will increase four-fold the number of vulnerable children Sentebale can support through healthcare and education. Using the existing Camp Mamohato initiative, the Centre will provide emotional and psychological support to children living with HIV. During the visit Prince Harry attended a number of workshops and activities that help children with HIV develop greater confidence, self-reliance and address the stigma surrounding them. You can view all of the photos here. WARNING: Please do not open the link if you have an existing heart condition. Scratch that, please just use caution if you have a heart at all. Or eyes. Just, beware k?

While this may be the best thing to ever happen in the world of Harry watchers, this is certainly not the first time we have been salivating over Sir Swoon’s moments with the kiddos. The baby in Chile this summer, pretty much every visit to Lesotho, the playground antics at the Olympic Park in London, baseball in Harlem..someone please stop me because I could go on until Christmas. Harry is a natural with kids, he always has been, but it seems lately we are seeing more and more of it through his royal work. Yes, the entire family has their moments with the little ones, William and Kate in particular, but there is something different about #HarryWithKids. Nothing against the others, but there is a spark, a look about Harry when he is with his youngest admirers that really takes a hold on you. He is his mother’s son. Although it is not always fair to compare William and Harry to their mother, sometimes it is called for – this is one of those situations. He has that sparkle in his eyes, in his smile; and that pull on all of us just as Princess Diana did. Harry has made no secret of the fact that he longs for children and a family, and I so hope he gets that wish when the time is right. In the meantime, I would settle for a photo of him with Prince George. Please, H?

Whirlwind Royal Day in the City with William and Kate

Well, that was a case of the head spins! Whirl”wind” literally – in case you missed it, today was absolutely ghastly in New York City. I’m talking water up to my ankles style rain. But as usual, they did not slow down The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The final day of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the USA began with a somber stop at the National September 11 Memorial where the couple paused in remembrance at the reflecting pool where the South Tower once stood (and Kate placed white roses) before making their way inside to visit the newly opened National September 11 Memorial Museum. Having visited the museum earlier this year, I can tell you that it is one of the most overpowering experiences I have ever had. I am from the area and will never forget every moment of that day and the days that followed. For that, this engagement was my favorite – I knew it would be coming in. Even as we pulled up to the site, my eyes welled with tears. The fact that William and Kate visited – and stayed outside for several minutes in the horrific downpours – really tugged at my heart strings. While The Queen, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall have visited the memorial before, it is ever more developed since then.

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William and Kate then visited The Door, not too from far from the memorial, to witness the work they carry out with the CityKids Foundation. The couple toured the organization and took in performances from the youngsters. Another nod to his late mother on this NYC trip, Princess Diana was very involved with the CityKids Foundation and Prince William remarked it was the highlight of their visit.

Back-to-back GREAT receptions took the remainder of the afternoon, the first, a Creativity event attended by both The Duke and Duchess and the second, Innovation attended by Prince William. 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. The Royal Family has given strong support to the campaign since its inception in 2011 and there have been GREAT events throughout many recent royal tours. Prince Harry attended GREAT events during both South America tours and  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 the creative industries.

The Creativity is GREAT reception hosted by NeueHouse brought out some very well known names in the creative industries, including Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE – who had a few laughs with The Duchess and Creative Director of J Crew, Jenna Lyons, with whom Kate had a seemingly lovely conversation (Kate even wore J Crew jeans last night when she met Bey and Jay). Harvey Weinstein who was particularly keen to meet Prince William and is behind the new Paddington Bear film, had a few moments to converse with The Duke.

At the event, British Ambassador to the United States Peter Westmacott spoke of the creative industries influence in Britain while the royal couple looked on, laughed and smiled. The Ambassador highlighted that film tourism (of which Kate and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa spoke about how her husband, Mr. Weinstein, loves making films in England) is booming – visits to Glencoe in Scotland after Skyfall are up 40 percent! Even Sir Patrick Stewart remarked, “It is certain that seeing the best of British talent on their home stages, many Americans make the trip to London, Stratford and Chichester to get an even wider taste of what British entertainment has to offer.”

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Prince William joined The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, at The Empire State Building for an innovation event hosted by Shutterstock. In addition to taking in the iconic view from the 86th floor observation deck, Prince William attended a techology-themed reception and presented the winners of the GREAT Tech Awards with trophies.

Last but certainly not least – a fancy smancy gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrating the 600th anniversary of St Andrews. Which is now beginning… but as you will see from above, I’m exhausted, soaked and spent, so it’s off I go to dream of the next royal visit. More later!

Case of the Mondays, What? Royals Take On America

Today was nothing short of EPIC. Kate had NYC falling at her perfectly dressed feet, William showed up in D.C. to conquer America back in the name of Her Majesty (okay, that didn’t actually happen but whatever) and sitting courtside at a NBA game across from Beyonce and Jay-Z. AND THEY MET. And declined an offer for free nachos. I’m sorry, WHAT?! I really don’t often use the word “epic” but I’m pretty sure the word was created for moments like that.

William spent the first half of his first full day stateside with his first-ever visit to Washington D.C. where he had his second-ever meeting with President Barack Obama, to whom he confessed that he was so excited when George was born, he forgot to ask if it was a boy or girl! And yes, it will be a surprise for the second baby as well. Royals in the White House – just what this Yankee likes to see! The highlight of William’s visit to the capital was to speak at International Corruption Hunters Alliance conference, a cause extremely close to his heart and the focal point of his visit. He noted that he was “inspired by my grandfather and my father, who have championed international conservation for over fifty years.” William even blogged for The Huffington Post about his strong feelings on the subject.

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While her other half was away, Kate began her day in Harlem at the Northside Center for Child Development, Harlem with the First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray. The center fosters the healthy development of children and families by providing high-quality mental health and educational services – a cause both The Duchess and First Lady’s hearts are champions of. To get in the holiday spirit, they took part in gift-wrapping and craft making with children, who adorably thought that Kate was Princess Elsa from Frozen! Which, I can tell you firsthand was the mood of the day: FROZEN. OMG, NYC SO COLD. (Which, BTW William said later in the day that he “loved.” No, Will, NO).

Photo Credit: British Consulate, New York @UkinNewYork

Photo Credit: British Consulate, New York @UkinNewYork

Then, Kate made her way to midtown to the residence of Her Majesty’s Consul General to New York, Danny Lopez, for a lunch with members of the local British community making contributions in the cultural and business sectors, including Welsh actor Matthew Rhys and Mashable CEO Peter Cashmore.

The residence had a brief break before both The Duke and Duchess attended a Conservation reception there (last minute change of plans as Kate originally was not due to attend). The reception was in recognition of the conservation work carried out by Tusk and United for Wildlife partners: Wildlife Conservation Society; Conservation International; and The Nature Conservancy. Secretary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, were present for the event and spoke to the crowd. In Prince William’s speech, he stressed that “Time is running out, but this room reminds us that time is definitely not running out.”

The wildlife conservation spotlight then led the couple to another borough – Brooklyn, for a NBA game, or “off to shoot some hopes or whatever it is the Americans call it,” according to William. Talk about throwing the royals out of their element! The game played between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers was in support of the partnership between the Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife and the NBA. King [LeBron] James? SMH, it’s all about the future king and his future queen. Oh, and the fact that they met Bey and Jay courtside. And they were so cute, so enthusiastic throughout their time watching the game. It was purely precious.

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via @UkinNewYork

via @UkinNewYork

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GAME OVER BYEEEE! Oh wait, there’s still tomorrow.

Welcome to America, William & Kate!

The day we have been talking about for what seems like a lifetime is finally here… this afternoon, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down in New York City. Where I live.

Before I get into the royal arrival, some operational notes if you will. I am thrilled to say that I will be Royal Central’s eyes and ears on the ground here in NYC for the royal couple’s visit. However, it will not be anything to the level I was able to do during Harry’s US tour last year; in fact, it might be almost on-existent at times, but I will be doing my absolute best of course! I will do a daily recap of events and be tweeting and snapping as much as possible, so stay with me and Royal Central on Twitter.

The Duke and Duchess arrived in the Big Apple at 4:37pm at JFK airport after a slight delay with their British Airways flight on the other end of the pond, and checked-in at The Carlyle, a famed luxury hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The Carlyle is actually a part of Rosewood Hotels, which opened an incredible property in London last year – The Rosewood. The Carlyle has special significance, as it was the place Princess Diana called home when visiting New York City. Obviously there were plenty of fans waiting outside (I was not one of them).

via @EmilyNash of The Sun

via @EmilyNash of The Sun

Of course, Kate looked flawless in a deep purple Seraphine maternity coat as she and William arrived at The Carlyle and fans and media got a two second glimpse outside. I cant tell you this, I look nothing like that when I get off the plane at JFK from Heathrow, that’s for darn sure.

The arrival was the only “public appearance” for the royal couple today, but have no fear – the next two days are absolutely packed with engagements. Tonight, they will attend a private dinner reception for the American Friends of the Royal Foundation at the home of advertising mogul at the home of Sir Martin Sorrell. So, what’s on tap this week?

Tomorrow, Prince William will make the quick jump down to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., for the International Corruption Hunters Alliance conference where he will make a keynote address. While there, he will also meet with President Obama (whom he and Catherine met in London following their honeymoon in 2011). Simultaneously, Kate will visit Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem with the First Lady of New York City. You may recall her brother-in-law made a splash in Harlem during his visit last year. Then, it is off to the Consul General’s residence for a lunch with members of the British Community in New York from culture, arts, hospitality, and business sectors. The Duchess will then take a break while The Duke returns to New York City and makes his way to Consul General Danny Lopez’s residence for a Conservation reception that Hillary and Chelsea Clinton will attend; co-hosted by the Royal Foundation and Clinton Foundation. To end the day, it will be perhaps my favorite engagement of them all – it’s off to Brooklyn for a Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA game. Where there is the possibility of a Cambridge/Beyonce and Jay-Z photo opp. The game will support the on-going collaboration between the Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife and the NBA.

Tuesday is full-on, starting with an emotional and somber visit to the National 9/11 Memorial. Something tells me this will be the biggest events of the program  – it means the most to the people of New York City, and the location lends itself to the opportunity for the biggest public crowds. The rest of the day will see the duo attending an engagement at The Door for the CityKids Foundation, a Creative industries reception supporting the UK government’s GREAT campaign, an Innovation is GREAT event with Shutterstock at the Empire State Building (Prince William only), and last but not least a glamorous gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrating St Andrews University 600th anniversary.

So much royal my head is going to explode. I. Cannot. Wait.