‘Kate: The Future Queen’ by Katie Nicholl

KTFQ KNSTORY: Katie Nicholl, bestselling author and royal correspondent for The Mail on Sunday, gives an inside look into the life of the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton.

Since becoming Duchess Catherine of Cambridge in 2011, Middleton has captivated royal fans around the world and now, Nicholl delivers the story of her early life, first romances, and love with Prince William.

Nicholl will reveal new details on Middleton’s initiation into royal life and, of course, her first pregnancy.

REVIEW: The author takes the reader on an interesting journey as we learn about Catherine Middleton’s childhood, members of her family, schools and homes.

Born in the UK, she spent 2-1/2 years with her parents, Michael and Carole, and sister, Pippa, in Amman Jordan where her father was working.  They enjoyed their time there and Kate and Pippa attended the local nursery school.  When they returned to the UK, the girls attended day school where Kate proved herself to excel in sports, especially hockey.  While Pippa’s grades were a little better than Kate’s, there was never any jealousy.  They have always been very close.

It was when both Kate and William attended St. Andrews school that they met.  They remained close friends which grew into love as the years went by.  William had said that he would not marry until he was 28 or even 30.  He wanted to join the military and take part in that aspect of his life before marrying.  As they are the same age, this meant that if Kate truly loved him enough, she would wait until he was ready to marry.  While this proved to be difficult for her over the years, she knew William was the man for her and she was willing to wait.  After they both graduated with their degrees, Kate worked with her parents in their party planning business.  Since she was not totally committed to a strict job, she was able to join William on vacations and family events.  

On November 16, 2010, it was finally announced to the world that they would marry at Westminster Abbey on August 29, 2011.

Thus began the intricate preparations for a royal wedding, lessons in everything she needed to know about being a Royal and Kate soon found herself surrounded by security guards knowing life would never be the same.  William had given her Princess Diana’s famous engagement ring which was very special and Kate was thrilled.  

The wedding was beautiful, everything went off flawlessly and even the weather cooperated giving them a perfect, sunny day.

After their wedding, William and Kate found themselves as very popular Royals and well loved by the people.  Kate took on many duties as a working Royal and settled in nicely with her new duties. Meanwhile, William was given a deadline of after Christmas 2012 to decide whether he wanted to continue working with the military or take up his duties as a Prince.

When word was released that Kate was pregnant, everyone was thrilled and the Royal Baby Watch officially began.  His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born on July 22, 2013.  The world rejoiced in the birth of the baby Prince.

Prince William has made the decision to leave the military and take up his duties as a Royal Prince. The health of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to the Queen, has not been good in recent years and even the Queen has decided to cut some of her overseas travel.  Therefore, William and Kate will be carrying out even more official duties.

I’ve always loved any and all books I can find about the Royal Family and this book did not disappoint. The book was very well detailed but not to the extent to be boring.  It was also written in an open way so as not to show any bias against any members of the Royal Family, as I have noticed in other biographies about the Royal Family.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope others will as well.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local library.

Kate and Wills/Royal Brides then and now…

If you haven’t heard of the wedding that took place on Friday April 29 at Westminster Abby, then you’ve lived under a rock. Prince William and Catherine Middleton exchanged and sealed wedding vows with a traditional kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as 2 BILLION people around the world watched.

It was really beautiful. Pure magic.

Prince William looked so handsome in his red tunic of the Irish Guards, while Princess Catherine’s dress was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. 

They say that she chose Alexander McQueen for the beauty and traditional workmanship and she worked closely with Sarah Burton in designing the dress. She looked so classy as well as SEXY! She reminded me so much of some of the classic Royal brides like Grace Kelley and Princess Margaret. Kate’s dress is very similar in design to both of those. I loved her lace appliqué and I hear it was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework.  The veil was made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, again embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.  And how about that tiara? It’s a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to her by The Queen.  It has great history. It’s from 1936 and was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King (you know the one in “King’s Speech”) and was given to Princess Elizabeth by her mother for her 18th birthday. 

Kate’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, were a personal gift to her from her parents.

Her shoes were of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the team at Alexander McQueen and her Bridal Bouquet was a shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily of the valley, sweet William and hyacinth.  It was designed by Shane Connolly and incorporates traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family. The flowers’ meanings in the bouquet are:

Lily of the valley – Return of happiness

Sweet William – Gallantry

Hyacinth – Constancy of love

Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection

Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.

His Grand mum, The Queen gave a lunchtime Reception at Buckingham Palace for only 650 guests (including Kate’s postman and the butcher). Guests were served a choice of canapés, including:

Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini

Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney

Roulade of Goats Cheese with Caramelized Walnuts

Assortment of Palmiers and Cheese Straws

Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini

Miniature Watercress and Asparagus Tart

Poached Asparagus spears with Hollandaise Sauce for Dipping

Quails Eggs with Celery Salt

Scottish Langoustines with Lemon Mayonnaise Pressed Comfit of Pork Belly with Crayfish and Crackling

Wild Mushroom and Celeriac Chausson

Bubble and Squeak with Comfit Shoulder of Lamb

Grain Mustard and honey-glazed Chipolatas

Smoked Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole

Miniature Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Fillet of Beef and Horseradish Mousse

Gateau Opera

Blood Orange Pate de Fruit

Raspberry Financier

Rhubarb Crème Brulee Tartlet

Passion Fruit Praline

White Chocolate Ganache Truffle

Milk Chocolate Praline with Nuts

Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffle

As for the booze, guests were served Pol Roger NV Brut Réserve Champagne and plenty of other soft and alcoholic drinks.

And now we come to a CAKE! And what a cake it was! Kate and Wills had his and hers cake. Kate’s wedding cake was designed by Fiona Cairns and is made from 17 individual fruit cakes and has eight tiers. It has been decorated with cream and white icing and there are up to 900 iced flowers and leaves. Each of the 17 different flower designs on the official wedding cake has their own individual meaning according to the Language of Flowers. They include:

White Rose – National symbol of England

Daffodil – National symbol of Wales, new beginnings

Shamrock – National symbol of Ireland

Thistle – National symbol of Scotland

Acorns, Oak Leaf – Strength, endurance

Myrtle – Love

Ivy – Wedded Love, Marriage

Lily of the Valley – Sweetness, Humility

Rose (Bridal) – Happiness, Love.

Sweet William – Grant me one smile

Honeysuckle – The Bond of Love

Apple Blossom – Preference, Good Fortune

White Heather – Protection, Wishes will come true

Jasmine (White) – Amiability

Daisy – Innocence, Beauty, Simplicity

Orange Blossom – Marriage, Eternal Love, Fruitfulness

Lavender – ardent attachment, devotion, success, and luck.

Wills had his favorite chocolate biscuit cake which was created by Mcvitie’s Cake Company using a Royal Family recipe. His cake was square and consisted of three tiers above its golden stand.

It was decorated with white chocolate water lilies, milk chocolate leaves and a mixture of white and milk chocolate feathers with flowers placed at the corner of each square on top.

HA! They say it’s a secret recipe, but I have Google on my side! So, here’s a recipe, so try to make your own.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

   Yield: 12 servings

   For cake:

   1 (7-ounce) package butter tea biscuits (sold in the cookie aisle)

   1 cup heavy cream

   2 tablespoons honey

   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

   16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 cups)

   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   For glaze:

   2 tablespoons butter

   1/4 cup heavy cream

   6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

   1. Make the cake. Coat a 7- or 8-inch round spring form pan with cooking spray. Break up
biscuits with your hands into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces; you want chunks, not crumbs.

   2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup cream, honey and 1/4 cup butter. Microwave
on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until bubbling. Add 16 ounces chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir
in vanilla, then crumbled biscuits.

  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top.
Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air pockets. Refrigerate for 3 hours or
until thoroughly chilled.

   4. Once the cake is chilled, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat,
combine 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup cream. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Add 6
ounces chocolate, stirring until smooth.

   5. Carefully remove the sides from the spring form pan (you may need to slide a paring knife
around the inside upper edge to ensure the sides come away cleanly from the cake). Invert the
cake onto a wire rack, and then remove the bottom of the pan. Set the rack over parchment paper to
catch drips.

   6. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing it to drip down and completely cover the
top and sides. Allow to firm up, and then transfer to a serving plate. Refrigerate leftovers.

So if you want to inhale (505 calories; 33g fat; 19g saturated fat; 50mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 49g carbohydrate; 34g sugar; 3g fiber; 80mg sodium;) a piece, go for it!

Interesting rumor during and after the ceremony:

Prince William told Kate, as she joined him at the altar:  “You look beautiful” and as they settled in the carriage, she turned to him and asked: “You happy’ and he said “Yes, you?” and she nodded and said “Yes”. When they stepped out on the balcony, she went “WOW” looking at the crowd, and what can I say about “THE KISS” or in their case TWO kisses! It was AWESOME!

What a day! How I wish Diana was there to see her son today…Made me cry thinking about it…Well, God Bless Wills and Kate!