The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were scheduled to visit the Isles of Scilly on 2nd September 2016, but the couple’s plans had to change due to poor weather conditions. The royals amended made an impromptu visit to the Eden Project instead.
The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s also an educational charity. It’s based near St Austell, Cornwall. From the Eden Project’s website:
“The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future.
Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.”
According to the Express, William and Kate’s team phoned the Eden Project and organised the visit just two hours before arriving! However, a senior aide revealed that the couple has had a “longstanding invitation to visit” and it “was always a good wet weather option”.
Speaking on behalf of the Eden Project, Gordon Seabright, the managing director said their staff were prepared:
“We knew there was a possibility, so we were ready. They were staying locally and we are the biggest attraction in the south-west of England.”
The Duke and Duchess arrived at the Eden Project around midday local time. They visited the Rainforest Biome first, which houses the world’s biggest undercover rainforest and over 1,000 species of plants. The plants are native to a number of locations including Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America. The biome is described as “a vast indoor jungle” with “surprises around every corner” and it is kept between 18–35°C. Toasty!
The Rainforest Biome is home to a canopy walkway, a Malaysian hut, a waterfall, lots of birds, and a couple of baby dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park fans, don’t get too excited…. It’s not a real baby dinosaur! They’re models from the Eden Project’s ‘Dinosaur Uprising‘ attraction.
During the tour, the couple listened to Eden Project staff discuss the Rainforest Biome’s ecosystem.
Before heading into the next dome, William and Kate sampled a Baobab smoothie.
Next, the couple headed over to the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome. This is a huge indoor garden with over 1,000 varieties of plant. It is kept at a much cooler temperature, between 9-25°C. The Mediterranean Biome is home to an assortment of citrus plants, olive trees, cork sculptures, vines, herbs, poppies and tulips.
As the mist cleared in the afternoon, the Duke and Duchess were able to visit the Isles of Scilly. However, royal aides amended the couple’s itinerary due to time constraints. The couple had to skip three engagements on the Island of St Mary’s but were able to visit Tresco and St Martin’s as planned.
First, on Tresco, the couple visited the Abbey Garden. While touring the garden, William remarked: “at least the rain is good for the plants”.
Next, the couple journeyed to the island of St Martin’s. They travelled there by boat:
First, they visited postal flower service Scilly Flowers, which operates out of Churchtown Farm. The company specialises in winter blooms thanks to the island’s unique climate.
Then, the couple paid a visit to St Martin’s Community Centre, where they met with families and a number of local children. They also spoke with Gladys Wilkins, the island’s oldest resident!
Kate chose a pair of blue ikat print trousers from GAP for the day’s engagements.
The style name is ‘bi-stretch skinny ankle pants’. They originally retailed for £44.95 GBP / $69.95 USD.
The trousers are made from 95% cotton and 5% elastane for added stretch. The fabric is specially designed to hold shape all day. Update – August 2017: As you might expect, the trousers are now sold out. However, GAP still sells the same style in different prints and colours. Click here to view.
Just a note about the trousers. They were made by women who participate in the P.A.C.E education program set up by GAP:
“In 2007, we launched Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) to help the women who make our clothes gain the skills and confidence they need to advance at work and in life. More than 35,000 women in 12 countries have participated in the program to date, and we have now committed to educate one million women throughout the world by the end of 2020.”
P.A.C.E teaches women tangible skills in a number of areas, including communication, finances, health and planning for the future.
Back to Kate’s style. She chose her Smythe One Button Blazer for today’s events. The wool blazer features a quite distinctive notched lapel on the back and three gold buttons on the sleeves.
Kate first debuted the navy blue wool blazer in 2011 and has worn it numerous times since. She also owns it in green.
Smythe released and renamed the piece. It’s now known as the ‘Duchess blazer’. It can still be purchased from ShopBop and Saks Fifth Avenue for $595 USD. The company ship worldwide and offer free international delivery.
Under the blazer, Kate wore H&M’s Off-The-Shoulder Rib-Knit Top in white.
Here’s how H&M describe the top:
Fitted, off-the shoulder top in rib-knit fabric with short sleeves. 85% rayon, 13% nylon, 2% spandex.
Sadly, it is now sold out. Click here to shop similar styles at H&M.
Kate wore her Fleur wedges by Monsoon for most of the day.
A little later, she changed into her Sebago Bala boat shoes, as you can see from the image below –
This doesn’t surprise me! The Duke and Duchess had to take a boat between the two islands. Kate usually changes into her Sebago Bala shoes if she going on or near the water. Kate’s owned the shoes since at least 2011 and has worn them on a number of occasions. They can still be purchased today: check here for details.
Kate carried her Natalie clutch bag from L.K. Bennett, which most regular readers will recognise. She carries it regularly.
She wore her blue sapphire and diamond earrings, thought to be adapted from a pair worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. (pictured below on another occasion). For more information about the earrings, click here.
Kate wore a pair of sunglasses during some of the brighter moments of the day.
They’re her Ray-Ban Wayfarers.