On the 18th of July 2017, day two of the Royal Visit to Poland began at Stutthof, a former Nazi Germany Concentration Camp 34 km east of the city of Gdańsk.
Stutthof was the first camp set up outside of German borders (in September 1939). It was also one of the last camps liberated by the Allies (in May 1945).
110,000 people from 28 countries were imprisoned in Stutthof. 65,000 people, including 28,000 Jews, died as a result of executions and horrendous living conditions.
Those who survived the hell of being imprisoned at Stutthof speak of the daily lottery of life or death.
And many of those who died did so in the months before the Allied victory.
As Russian forces advanced on Poland, Nazi guards marched thousands of prisoners to the Baltic Sea where they were forced into the water and shot by machine gun.
– ITV News
During the visit, the royal couple were shown a series of exhibits that illustrate the conditions in which prisoners had to live at the camp.
William and Kate also met with a group of five former prisoners to hear about their ordeals in the camp.
Two of the survivors have returned to the camp for the first time in over 70 years.
Next, William and Kate travelled to Gdańsk, a Polish city on the Baltic coast.
The city is famous for the colourful buildings and narrow cobbled streets in Main Town, in the centre of the city.
Lots of people turned up to Gdansk Market Square to welcome the couple:
The crowds were impressive:
The couple with the Mayor of Gdańsk:
In the market, William and Kate were given an amber processing demonstration. Gdańsk is known as the City of Amber since the Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of the gemstone.
They also sampled a couple of local delicacies, including pierogi, dumplings that feature either a sweet or savoury filling.
The couple sampled Goldwasser liqueur, which features flakes of gold.
According to the Express, William downed the drink in one before remarking “it is very good, very sweet.” “And very strong…” added Kate.
The couple visited the Artus Court building:
Next, William and Kate visited the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre. The Prince of Wales is the theatre’s Royal Patron. Here, they toured the theatre and attended a small reception for Polish people from the world of theatre, arts, culture and media.
During the seventeenth century there was a large English-speaking community based in Gdansk, which made the city an important destination for travelling English players. The Shakespeare Theatre opened in 2014, and is home to the city’s annual Shakespeare festival, attended by theatre-lovers from around the world. The Theatre has an adaptable auditorium which allows for three different sized stages, and a retractable roof.
William and Kate saw the roof opening during a special performance, toured the theatre and attended a small reception for Polish people from the world of theatre, arts, culture and media.
After, the couple visited the European Solidarity Centre, the home of the Solidarity movement in Poland.
The Solidarity movement in Poland is arguably one of the most unique and inspiring movements in modern European history. Between 1980-1989, Solidarity led what has often been described as a “10 year revolution”, which ultimately resulted in the collapse of communism in Poland, a key turning point which triggered wider reform and revolution across the Eastern bloc.
– Dr Kelly Hignett
The couple toured the museum and laid a rose at the foot of the Solidarity monument.
Kate chose a floral printed top and skirt by Erdem.
Shown below: the designer’s Imari skirt:
According to the Erdem website, the Imari Skirt is made from a cotton blend ‘faille’ fabric, which gives the garment a slight sheen. It previously retailed for £760 GBP (around $996 USD) before going on sale at £380 ($498). The dress has a fitted high waist and pockets. Erdem says the feminine shape is created by tucks and folds in the skirt’s fabric, which gives it volume.
The boxy top features three-quarter length sleeves and a ‘boat’ neckline. A quick search of Google shows that Erdem produced the Arleen top in a number of different prints and fabrics. However, we’ve not yet found an example of it in the same fabric Kate’s wearing. To me, this suggests Kate had it custom-made to match her skirt.
For reference, the floral print is called “Hurst Rose”.
Also, a quick reminder: this autumn, Erdem will be releasing a clothing collection in collaboration with H&M.
Kate carried a new bag. It looks like it’s from Etui bags. Pictured below, a similar bag from the company:
Etui stock their bags in a number of stores across London, including John Lewis and Topshop. Kate’s carried their bags with some frequency since the Poland tour was announced earlier this year. Pictured below, Kate carrying one of Etui’s bags in Luxembourg.
Kate debuted a new earring and necklace set during today’s engagements. It’s thought they feature an Amber stone, which Gdańsk is famous for. We do not know who designed the necklace and earring set at this time.
Speaking of amber necklaces, the Polish Embassy tweeted that Kate had been gifted a necklace from Gdańsk, made from amber and gold, designed to match her “modern style.”