The Duchess of Cambridge wore Self Portrait for her first joint engagement with Princess Anne.
The women have been at many functions together, but not a specific engagement with just the two of them. The pair arrived shortly after 3 pm local time at the Royal College of Midwives, one of Princess Anne’s patronages, and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, one of the Duchess’s patronages. The Evening Standard reports, “The building is home to a collection of women’s healthcare organizations and the hub has been designed by the RCOG to foster collaboration across the sector.”
Here is a quick video of the royals arriving.
The Duchess of Cambridge + Princess Anne’s arrival today The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists pic.twitter.com/SFNYykxrXp
— HELLO! Canada (@HelloCanada) April 27, 2022
More from Emily Nash’s story for Hello.
Princess Anne has been patron of the RCM for 20 years and has visited hundreds of midwives across the UK in that time.
Kate became patron of RCOG in 2018 and has made early childhood development, including during pregnancy, a key focus of her public work.
The organizations have been working in the new joint hub for some time, but today Princess Anne and Duchess of Cambridge officially marked its opening.
The Royal College of Midwives noted, “Nearly two years after we first moved into our Union Street headquarters, we are thrilled to see staff enjoying the building.”
They spoke with staff from Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement, an organization working to prevent stillbirths and premature births across the UK. More from Sophie Dweck’s Town and Country piece.
As part of their engagement, the pair met with workers from Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement to learn more about new digital tools being developed to help and support women with higher-risk pregnancies. Kate and Anne also spoke with representatives at the Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth collaboration to highlight the safety of fetal wellbeing during labor and participate in a roundtable discussion with experts and new mothers to talk about inequalities in maternity care.
Princess Anne and the Duchess participated in a roundtable discussion about what is being done to tackle inequalities in maternity care.
More from Simon Perry’s piece for People.
“What struck me was the way their Royal Highnesses were both interested and very curious about what we were doing and asked very personal questions — very much about looking after future generations and looking after mothers of today for the benefit of women and children of tomorrow,” Dr. Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, tells PEOPLE.
“I don’t think you needed for them to be mums to benefit from today,” Morris says. “But I’m sure having been mums and brought up children at very different times gave them a lot of ability and internal knowledge to ask questions that really helped the conversations to flourish and impart some of their feedback to things we might benefit from. For example, the Princess Royal was very interested in our work in Ukraine — clearly based on her experience with charities like Save the Children. It was wonderful to hear them talking from some of their own experiences as much as the keenness and very clear thirst to learn what the two colleges are doing.”
The discussion included experts, new mothers, and others working in the field.
When she sat down with Kate and the global health teams from RCOG and the RCM, Anne brought up the issue of how mothers are sometimes kept in the dark about their treatment by the medical profession.
She said: ‘Pregnant women, they should know just as much as everybody else does but they’re seen, as I’ve said before, “you’re seen as a patient you don’t need to be part of the answer”.’
At one point, the Princess Royal asked one woman how long she had been working as a midwife, and when told ’20 years’ replied ‘we need more like you’.
The Princess and Duchess watched a demonstration showing training for health care workers dealing with cesarean sections.
More from The Mirror’s piece by Russell Myers.
The Duchess and the Princess watched Dr Katie Cornthwaite, an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar and Dr Rachna Bal give a demonstration of new training for health workers faced with delivering, via caesarean section, an infant whose head is wedged in the pelvis – an issue that is a growing litigation problem for the NHS.
The royal women were shown a demonstration of a new Intrapartum Fetal Surveillance tool, which monitors the safety of babies during labour in order to move to an emergency delivery if the baby’s head gets stuck in the mothers’ pelvis.
We return to the Mirror’s article.
Professor Draycott stood at the head of the dummy mother to demonstrate the role of the anaesthetist in keeping the parents informed of what is happening during the procedure.
Anne made the medical staff laugh when she quipped “You do this with just an epidural?”.
A plaque marking today’s engagement was unveiled.
As the pair left today’s engagement, they were given some lovely flower bouquets.
One last portion from the People piece by Simon Perry.
At the end of their outing, the royals were greeted by three local schoolchildren, who handed Anne and Kate flowers. The Duchess of Cambridge told them to say hello to their school friends from her.
“They were really happy to meet us. And Anne asked if the flowers smelled good,” 9-year-old Shia tells PEOPLE, adding, “It was really nerve-wracking, but when they came we just felt really happy. We were telling each other to smile the whole time.”
I have had multiple questions about the ensemble worn by Princess Anne and wish I had more information for you.
Her office does not release information on her ensembles as Kensington Palace generally does. With thanks to Sarah in Royal on Twitter and the Royal responses site, we do know the coat was worn in a portrait used on cards thanking those who sent her 70th birthday sentiments and Christmas greetings in 2020.
Now for our look at what Kate wore to the engagement.
She was in a design by Self Portrait that looks like the Belted Lace Detail Jacket (£350, about $440 at today’s exchange rates). It is made of 100% polyester, described as a ‘heavy crepe.’ It features a fitted silhouette with notched lapels, a detachable self-fabric belt, flap pockets, and the distinctive embroidered embellishment.
Thank you to Gabi for her speedy ID of the jacket and Middleton Maven for sharing the dress shown below. Some thought the Duchess might be wearing a reworked version of the Self Portrait Tailored Crepe Belted Midi Dress ($585) shown below, but I don’t think there is enough fabric in the skirt to create the full skirt worn by the Duchess.
Self Portrait posted an image of the Tailored Crepe Midi Dress on its Instagram this evening, making me wonder if perhaps this isn’t what the Duchess wore….although I am mystified about the skirt.
It looks like the Duchess also had on a cami or similar style top beneath the jacket.
UPDATE April 28: The Duchess was wearing a dress yesterday, and it is available for pre-ordering online (£400, about $505 at today’s exchange rates). The description reads, “This midi wrap dress is cut from crepe and CDC. Designed with a long-sleeve bodice that is fitted at the waist with a leather belt and falls to and pleated midi skirt. The shoulders are accentuated with shoulder pads.” I believe CDC translates to crêpe de chine, which would be the lighter-weight skirt.
Thank you to Middleton Maven on Twitter and Anna for her comment here with the heads-up on this! The dress, lining, and embroidery are all 100% polyester.
The handbag the Duchess carried today looks like it is by Emmy London. I think it is the Natasha style in blush ($355), although some believe the color is Emmy’s biscuit (lower right).
I am still puzzling over the shoes worn by the Duchess today. If the Emmy Rebecca came in biscuit, that would make perfect sense as today’s heel. As that is not shown as an option on the Emmy site, another possibility is the Gianvito Rossi 105 in Bisque ($725) available at Farfetch.
While the Duchess wears the pendant and necklace sold as a unit, the pearl is available as a charm ($95).
Here is one more photo from today’s engagement.
The Royal Family Channel offers almost four minutes of video from today’s engagement.