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Kate Middleton cuts an elegant figure as she steps out at V&A  

The Duchess of Cambridge cut an elegant figure in a retro-style red and blue paisley blouse as she stepped out at the V&A earlier today.

Kate Middleton, 39, who studied art history at university and is royal patron of the V&A, viewed ‘Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution’ at the London museum this morning. 

The mother-of-three debuted a new £139 blouse from Ralph Lauren for the solo outing, which featured a paisley pattern, which she paired with black trousers.

The Duchess could be seen wearing a black cloth face covering during her appearance at the exhibition, which visitors to the museum are asked to wear at all times, unless otherwise exempt.  

While facemasks are again compulsory on public transport, in shops and settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers in England, they are not currently required by law in museums.

Giving a masterclass in daytime glamour, Kate wore her bouncy brunette locks swept into a ponytail and finished the look with delicate gold necklaces and earrings.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, cut an elegant figure in a retro-style red and blue pussybow blouse as she stepped out at the V&A earlier today

Kate Middleton who studied art history at university and is royal patron of the V&A, viewed 'Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution' at the London museum

Kate Middleton who studied art history at university and is royal patron of the V&A, viewed ‘Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution’ at the London museum

The Duchess could be seen wearing a black cloth face covering during her visit. According to the V&A website, visitors are asked to wear face coverings inside the museum at all times, unless exempt

The Duchess could be seen wearing a black cloth face covering during her visit. According to the V&A website, visitors are asked to wear face coverings inside the museum at all times, unless exempt

The Duchess could be seen wearing a black cloth face covering during her visit. According to the V&A website, visitors are asked to wear face coverings inside the museum at all times, unless exempt

Online, Kate’s trendy blouse from the American designer is described as ‘an airy georgette shirt’ which is ‘defined by its feminine tie at the neck and delicate shirring’ 

Meanwhile it’s ‘lightweight fabrication is enhanced by the season’s paisley motif in a rich navy palette’.  

Ralph Lauren is a favourite designer for the Duchess, who regularly has worn pieces from the brand over the past year mixed with her usual high street style.  

The Fabergé exhibition, which opened on 20th November, showcases over 200 objects and celebrates the work of Carl Fabergé and his internationally recognised firm that symbolised Russian craftsmanship and elegance. 

During the visit, the mother-of-three heard more about Fabergé’s work and the relatively unknown Anglo-Russian nature of his enterprise, with his only branch outside of Russia opening in London in 1903. 

The exhibition features the largest display of his legendary Imperial Easter Eggs in a generation, several of which are being shown in the UK for the first time. 

The exhibition, which opened on 20th November, showcases over 200 objects and celebrates the work of Carl Fabergé and his internationally recognised firm that symbolised Russian craftsmanship and elegance

The exhibition, which opened on 20th November, showcases over 200 objects and celebrates the work of Carl Fabergé and his internationally recognised firm that symbolised Russian craftsmanship and elegance

The mother-of-three opted for a soft smokey eye for the outing at the London museum earlier this morning

The mother-of-three opted for a soft smokey eye for the outing at the London museum earlier this morning

The mother-of-three opted for a soft smokey eye for the outing at the London museum earlier this morning (pictured) 

The show that puts the fab into Faberge! Gathered together for a V&A blockbuster, 15 dazzling eggs worth up to £25m each… and guess who owns three of them 

They are the fabulously bejewelled eggs which entranced the last tsars and tsarinas — and could now sell for up to £25 million each.

Only the Russian Revolution cut short their creation, with goldsmith Carl Faberge’s St Petersburg jewellers seized by the Bolsheviks before he fled to Switzerland and died broken-hearted in 1920.

Now, the largest exhibition in a generation of Faberge imperial eggs, made as unique Easter gifts from the tsar for his tsarina, is being staged in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

Fifteen of the astonishing creations have been gathered together, alongside other masterpieces.

The Diamond Trellis Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna, for Easter in 1892. This egg holds a surprise of an ivory elephant automaton, which was lost until 2015

The Diamond Trellis Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna, for Easter in 1892. This egg holds a surprise of an ivory elephant automaton, which was lost until 2015

The Colonnade Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for Easter in 1910. The egg's decorative elements portray the emperor's family: the four gold cherubs around the base represent his daughters, the doves inside refer to him and his wife, and the cherub on top symbolises his son Tsarevich Alexei

The Colonnade Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for Easter in 1910. The egg’s decorative elements portray the emperor’s family: the four gold cherubs around the base represent his daughters, the doves inside refer to him and his wife, and the cherub on top symbolises his son Tsarevich Alexei

The Alexander Palace Egg (pictured)  was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for Easter in 1908. The children and homelives of Emperor Nicholas II are celebrated with this jewelled and gold-mounted nephrite egg. Its shell is inlaid with oval miniature watercolour portraits of the couple's five children

The Alexander Palace Egg (pictured)  was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for Easter in 1908. The children and homelives of Emperor Nicholas II are celebrated with this jewelled and gold-mounted nephrite egg. Its shell is inlaid with oval miniature watercolour portraits of the couple’s five children

The Basket of Flowers (pictured) features a basket containing a colourful abundance of enamelled wildflowers emerging from a bed of gold moss. The base was originally enamelled white to match the shell, but later damaged and re-enamelled blue. Queen Mary bought the egg for her Faberge collection in 1933

The Basket of Flowers (pictured) features a basket containing a colourful abundance of enamelled wildflowers emerging from a bed of gold moss. The base was originally enamelled white to match the shell, but later damaged and re-enamelled blue. Queen Mary bought the egg for her Faberge collection in 1933

A spokesman for the V&A says: ‘This is the largest collection on public display for more than 25 years.

‘It includes several never before shown in the UK including the largest, the Moscow Kremlin Egg, inspired by the architecture of the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow — and featuring a music box that plays Tsar Nicholas II’s favourite hymn.

‘Also on display for the first time is the Alexander Palace Egg, featuring watercolour portraits of the children of Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra — and containing a model of the palace inside.’

Another highlight is the Third Imperial Egg of 1887, found by a scrap dealer in 2011 — one of the elusive ‘missing’ eggs that was lost for many years. It still contains its surprise, a gold Swiss pocket-watch. 

The Peacock Egg of 1908 contains an enamelled gold peacock automaton. The exhibition by curators Kieran McCarthy and Hanne Faurby illustrates for the first time the importance of Faberge’s London shop, which opened in 1903.

Three of the eggs on display are from the Royal Collection, owned by the Queen — the Mosaic Egg, Basket Of Flowers Egg and Colonnade Egg. 

The Cradle with Garlands Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his mother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. From 1890, the Imperial Easter Eggs' designs began to celebrate events in Romanov family life. This egg marks the family's joy at the birth of Tsarevich Alexei, a male heir, in 1904

The Cradle with Garlands Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Nicholas II to his mother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. From 1890, the Imperial Easter Eggs’ designs began to celebrate events in Romanov family life. This egg marks the family’s joy at the birth of Tsarevich Alexei, a male heir, in 1904

The Winter Egg (pictured) was inspired by Russia's harsh winters. Its rock crystal body is decorated with delicately engraved and diamond-mounted platinum frost patterns

The Winter Egg (pictured) was inspired by Russia’s harsh winters. Its rock crystal body is decorated with delicately engraved and diamond-mounted platinum frost patterns

The Third Imperial Easter Egg (Pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter in 1887. Seven of the 50 Imperial Easter Eggs produced by Faberge are now missing. This jewelled yellow gold egg was also lost until 2012, when it was rediscovered in America

 The Third Imperial Easter Egg (Pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter in 1887. Seven of the 50 Imperial Easter Eggs produced by Faberge are now missing. This jewelled yellow gold egg was also lost until 2012, when it was rediscovered in America

The V&A spokesman adds: ‘Royalty, aristocrats, American heiresses, exiled Russian grand dukes and maharajas, as well as socialites and financiers with newly made fortunes, all flocked to the London Faberge jewellery shop, the only overseas branch. They bought gifts of unparalleled luxury for each other.’

The first egg, known as the Hen Egg, was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III in 1885. He and Tsarina Maria were delighted with its white enamel shell, ruby-eyed hen, gold yolk and miniature replica of the tsar’s crown. Faberge became the official imperial crown goldsmith.

Each egg was unique — and after a few years it became established that each contained a glittering ‘surprise’ element.

The Peacock Egg (pictured) contains a surprise of an enamelled gold peacock automaton perched on a coloured gold flowering tree. The peacock can be removed and wound up to walk and fan its tail feathers proudly

The Peacock Egg (pictured) contains a surprise of an enamelled gold peacock automaton perched on a coloured gold flowering tree. The peacock can be removed and wound up to walk and fan its tail feathers proudly

The total freedom given to the master jeweller, who delivered his creations by hand, meant they became ever more elaborate. 

His Diamond Trellis Egg from 1892 contains a ‘surprise’ of a miniature clockwork elephant, crafted from ivory, which was only discovered lying unidentified in the Queen’s collection six years ago.

Nicholas II, who became tsar in 1894 but was executed with his wife and children by communist revolutionaries as Lenin swept to power in 1917, continued the tradition.

Poignantly, the 1915 Red Cross Egg reflects the much-needed battlefield healthcare in Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War I against Germany.

Faberge’s lucrative contract only came to a definitive end in 1918 when the Bolsheviks seized the company, the largest jewellers in Russia. 

The Hen Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter in 1885. It was the first of its kind, and the emperor was so happy with it, he went on to commission an egg every year for Easter

 The Hen Egg (pictured) was given by Emperor Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter in 1885. It was the first of its kind, and the emperor was so happy with it, he went on to commission an egg every year for Easter

After the outbreak of the First World War, the designs of the Imperial Easter Eggs reflected the conflict. The Russian Red Cross was the theme of the Red Cross with Triptych Egg (pictured) given in 1915. By this time, Empress Alexandra and her two eldest daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, had enrolled as nurses with the organisation

After the outbreak of the First World War, the designs of the Imperial Easter Eggs reflected the conflict. The Russian Red Cross was the theme of the Red Cross with Triptych Egg (pictured) given in 1915. By this time, Empress Alexandra and her two eldest daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, had enrolled as nurses with the organisation

All its stock was confiscated. The final two commissioned eggs, believed to have been unfinished, were neither delivered nor paid for.

In total, 50 imperial eggs were made. Initially, ten were kept in the Kremlin, ten were believed stolen, and others began to be sold by the Bolsheviks to wealthy European and American collectors.

Seven eggs remain missing — but, as the works of art featured here show, they will for ever be something to treasure.

Faberge In London: Romance To Revolution at the V&A runs from Saturday, November 20, to Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Items include the long lost Third Imperial Egg, discovered by a scrap dealer in 2011 after it went missing in 1964, the largest Imperial Egg – the Moscow Kremlin Egg -inspired by the architecture of the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow and featuring a music box that plays Tsar Nicholas II’s favourite hymn, and the Alexander Palace Egg, which contains a model of the palace inside. 

The collection also includes three items lent by Her Majesty The Queen, including the Colonnade Egg, Basket of Flowers Egg and the Mosaic Egg. 

People travelling across England, visiting hairdressers and picking up takeaways MUST wear masks according to new Covid restrictions

New restrictions on compulsory facemasks, testing and travel in England were published last night and came into force at 4am this morning.

FACEMASKS 

From today, people must wear facemasks in the following places:

  • Public transport;
  • Retail shops;
  • Beauty salons;
  • Hairdressers;
  • Banks;
  • Post offices;
  • Takeaways;
  • Estate agents;
  • Veterinary clinics;
  • Taxis;
  • Driving instruction cars.

Those caught flouting the restrictions will be fined £200 for a first offence, which will double on each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

Schoolchildren are being asked to wear facemasks in communal areas but not classrooms. Teaching unions have called for masks to be extended to lessons. 

TRAVEL 

All travellers returning to the UK must take a PCR test and self-isolate for 10 days until they receive a negative result. 

Anyone who breaks the self-isolation law without a ‘reasonable excuse’ faces a fine of £1,000, rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders and serious breaches.

A number of countries in Africa were added to the UK’s red list last week. They are:

  • Angola;
  • Botswana;
  • Eswatini;
  • Lesotho;
  • Malawi;
  • Mozambique;
  • Namibia;
  • South Africa;
  • Zambia;
  • Zimbabwe.

SELF-ISOLATION

All contacts of anybody who tests positive for the so-called ‘Omicron’ variant must self-isolate – regardless of their age or vaccination status. 

This has sparked fears of a return to the ‘pingdemic madness’ of the summer, when a million healthy pupils were forced to stay home because of the Test and Trace system. 

Anyone who breaks the self-isolation law without a ‘reasonable excuse’ faces a fine of £1,000, rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders and serious breaches. 

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. 

It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers.

Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.

The Duchess became the first Royal Patron of the V&A in March 2018 and visited earlier this year when the museum reopened after lockdown.  

It comes as Kate prepares for the Christmas carol service she will host at Westminster Abbey next week to celebrate the ‘incredible work’ of pandemic heroes.

Earlier this week, the Duchess posted a photo of the invitations sent out to guests, including charity workers, teachers and volunteers, ahead of the event on Wednesday 8.

The service, which will include musical performances from mystery guests, has been developed with BBC Studios Events Productions but will be broadcast on ITV as part of a special programme next month.

Prince William and Kate reportedly dropped the BBC as the broadcaster for their Christmas special in the wake of the two-part series The Princes and the Press, which was criticised by the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family.

An industry insider said last week: ‘It was all arranged to be on BBC1 but it was switched in the last few days because of the terrible row over the documentary.

‘And things are likely to get a lot worse between the Royal Family and the BBC before they get better as the second part of the documentary threatens to go further.’

The second part of the documentary, which aired last night, saw Meghan Markle’s lawyer issue a technical and bizarre denial the Duchess had ever bullied staff – before insisting ‘but she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.’

The programme also said people connected to both the Cambridges and Sussexes briefed about the other.

Kensington Palace declined to comment.

Kate will no doubt be hoping to brush aside any rumblings over the documentary ahead of the carol service next week.

The order of service have not been shared but it was revealed today that the event will be a ‘blend traditional elements with a modern and inclusive feel to encompass people of all faiths and none’.

Posting about the carol service on Instagram today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote: ‘This Christmas we are celebrating the incredible work of individuals and organisations across the nation who go above and beyond to support their communities.

‘Next week, The Duchess will host a Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey, supported by The Royal Foundation, bringing many of those inspirational people together.

‘The service, which will be broadcast in December, will look back on the last eighteen months, to think not only of the unprecedented challenges that we have all faced as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to remember the positives: people and organisations pulling together in their communities, the small acts of kindness across different demographics and generations, and the unsung heroes who stepped up to help others.’

The event, supported by The Royal Foundation, will bring together inspirational individuals from across the UK who have gone above and beyond to care for and protect those in need during the pandemic.

It will also involve guests who may be more vulnerable or isolated, including people with limited social connections, the recently bereaved or those without their own homes.

The Christmas special marks a massive coup for ITV, which usually loses out on royal content to the BBC.

The mother-of-three donned a new £139 Ralph Lauren blouse for the outing in London earlier this morning (pictured)

The mother-of-three donned a new £139 Ralph Lauren blouse for the outing in London earlier this morning (pictured) 

Giving a masterclass in daytime glamour, Kate wore her bouncy brunette locks swept into a ponytail and finished the look with delicate gold necklaces and earrings

Giving a masterclass in daytime glamour, Kate wore her bouncy brunette locks swept into a ponytail and finished the look with delicate gold necklaces and earrings

Giving a masterclass in daytime glamour, Kate wore her bouncy brunette locks swept into a ponytail and finished the look with delicate gold necklaces and earrings

The Duchess, who studied art history at university and became the first Royal Patron of the V&A in March 2018, could be seen crouching down to study the eggs during her visit

The Duchess, who studied art history at university and became the first Royal Patron of the V&A in March 2018, could be seen crouching down to study the eggs during her visit 

Speaking about the decision to drop the BBC for the Christmas concert, a TV industry source told the Sun: ‘It is a brand new format — the royals have never hosted a televised TV concert before. And to have the Duchess leading on it is a big deal.

‘Naturally most royal programming goes automatically to the BBC as the national broadcaster. Now it looks like they will work more with ITV in the future.’

The source said ITV was ‘surprised but delighted’ by the sudden change of plan, adding, ‘it will be a fantastic Christmas carol concert that will be TV gold for viewers at home.’


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