We love hearing how Kate has influenced your life – be it through fashion, food, travel or other ways. This month, we’re sharing a once in a lifetime trip that WWKD reader Susannah recently completed in London – definitely asking what Kate would do – in today’s guest submission. Here is all about Susannah‘s trip of a lifetime, in her own words (and amazing pictures)
This June I went on another fabulous trip to England to visit my dear friend and fellow royal follower who currently lives in Reading. Getting there just a few weeks after Pippa’s wedding, I suggested we visit Berkshire. Lucky for us, St. Mark’s Church in Englefield was open. We went inside, looked at the prayer room, sat in the front row (where I thought Kate might’ve sat), and signed the guest book. We also walked around the side entrance to the churchyard where the Cambridges came through for the Christmas service last year. It’s a beautiful place, and right next to it is a plant nursery, where the Middletons might have bought some flowers for the wedding. Then we thought the Old Boot Inn, a favorite of Will and Kate’s, would be the perfect lunch spot. We met the owner, John Haley, who has been interviewed by several different media outlets about the royal visits. We enjoyed Pimm’s cups and their bangers and mash dish.
My mom arrived a few days later for the London portion of my trip, and who should show up at the Paddington train station on the day we went into the city, but the Queen! It was the anniversary of when Queen Victoria first traveled by train 175 years ago. She and the Duke of Edinburgh made the trip on a new train from Slough to Paddington. In honor of the anniversary, she officially named the new train Queen Elizabeth II.
That evening I took a train out to Watford Junction to tour the Harry Potter studios in Leavesdon, the very same that William, Kate, and Harry toured when she was pregnant with Prince George. It was PACKED full of all sorts of props and sets from the film series. For any Harry Potter fans, this is a must. They even had butterbeer ice cream, my new favorite flavor. You will recognize the Gryffindor Common Room and Diagon Alley from the photos of the royal visit.
The next day we trained our hearts out starting with our day trip to Highclere Castle, the filming location of Downton Abbey, another favorite of Will and Kate’s. Again, any fans of the series should put this on your must-see list. When we arrived, Lady Carnarvon gave us a background on the house (castle), and as part of our tour package, a signed copy of her very large new book, At Home at Highclere Entertaining at the Real Downton Abbey. (We had to mail those suckers home.) Unfortunately you can’t take any photos inside the house, although my mom snuck a few. You get to see every character’s bedroom except for Lady Mary’s, which is a set. The amazing thing is that the Carnarvons live and entertain there on a regular basis, so it’s sort of a modern version of the series. In the gift shop, I was tempted to buy one of the hats that they sell that is made by the same lady who made Lady Edith’s hats on the show.
The same day after a few delicious snacks in the Highclere tea house, we trained to Bicester (pronounced “Bister”) Village, a favorite outlet shopping area of Kate’s. I highly recommend this beautiful place. We were able to drop off those very heavy books from Highclere with the concierge, so we didn’t have to lug them around while we shopped. It has most of Kate’s places there: LK Bennett, Temperley, Oscar de la Renta, Mulberry, Gucci, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Tod’s, Tory Burch, and more. I was happy to find one of the last Mulberry Bayswater clutches on sale in red as they are now discontinued. I also found Kate’s grey Tod’s purse on sale, but I couldn’t splurge for that, too (teacher’s salary and all).
Friday we went out to Canary’s Wharf on the tube and took a bus out to the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre for Kate’s engagement. I had stopped by Me + Em to get the appropriate Breton top, so I matched some of the people working the event. This must not have gotten enough publicity because Mom and I were the only people waiting to see Kate arrive. The great part about that was that when we waved to her and Rebecca Deacon through the window of their car, we know they could have only been waving back to us! Fortunately, some of the activities with the school children were outside where we could watch.
The next day we got up early to claim our spot for Trooping the Colour. The first time we did it in 2015, it was cold and rainy. This time it was boiling. It was so fun to see George and Charlotte though. Watching them, I realized that Will and Kate have them stand on stools to see over the balcony.
That afternoon the National Portrait Gallery was the perfect break from the heat. After 3 visits to London since Kate’s portrait was first displayed, it’s been on loan to some other country every time. This time it was there! I have to be the millionth person to say it doesn’t do her justice. I think it’s the dark background and the pursed lips. Our Kate is always laughing with a big smile. I’m not sure what smile this was. But now I’ve seen it. Check.
Sunday we went to the Duchess of Cambridge Pub in Windsor after doing the Long Walk by the castle. That’s where the royals get into the carriages that take them to Ascot. The pub was festive with pretty good food. The best part I have to say was the powerful air conditioning as it was still very warm outside. Not many places had it. Sadly I don’t think Kate has visited this pub yet despite the name.
Speaking of Ascot, my favorite royal event of this trip had to be attending the first day of Ascot. The Parade Ring is where I stood to watch the carriages process in, and it was so fun to see the different royal family members greet each other and chat. After the first race, William and Kate awarded the trophy to the winner, also in the Parade Ring. I’m going to have to make sure my friend doesn’t become addicted to gambling because she bet on Lady Aurelia and won. For one race I went down to the edge of the racecourse. From there you can turn back toward the stands and see into the royal box. Another really fun part of Ascot is of course looking at all the women’s outfits and hats. At the end of the day, all of the racegoers gather around the bandstand and have a sing-a-long to different well-known songs. (By that point in the day, many people were quite drunk.)
With this trip I have a new record. In the course of one week, I saw both the Queen and Kate in person 3 times. My goal is still to meet them during a walkabout, but this was good progress!
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