Sunday, June 19, 2011

THE ROYAL WATCH: Kate's a sell-out, Pippa isn't single & Michael Middleton for Father of the Year!

In this week's royal watch, we continue tracking the Duchess of Cambridge's steady rise as a fashion star. While most often we're commending her for making relatively inexpensive high-street choices look chic, this week she earned top marks for her choice of Jenny Packham's $5,600 nude colored sequin gown that she wore at an ARK Charity dinner. The designer is a current favorite of Kate's (once rumored to be in the running for designing the wedding dress) and is a perfect choice for her penchant for understated elegance. We're told the dress sold out all over London once the images of the duchess appeared the next day. In what's been dubbed "The Kate Effect" Packham is just the latest in a series of fashion brands that have gotten a serious boost in sales thanks to the Duchess. The $175 taupe Reiss dress she wore to meet the Obamas sold out in 24 hours crashing the company's website. One can only imagine the fashion PR pitches that Clarence House must have to deal with on a daily basis. The mind reels ...

Now, on to the latest about Pippa Middleton who is proving to be more than a worthy stand-in for the tabloids hungry for royal dish. Despite all the reports that Pippa had broken up with Alex Loudon, reliable sources in London are telling us that the couple is, in fact, still together and word of an engagement is "imminent." If you ask me, Pippa was taking a page out of sister Kate's book when she went on vacation with former beau George Percy. According to insiders, Pippa and Alex were going through a "rough patch" but all is fine now. If you recall, when Prince William broke up with Kate, despite her feeling devastated she made sure she was out and about being spotted -- and photographed -- having a wonderful time. It worked for Kate and, it seems, it might have worked for Pippa. When it comes to keeping their men in line, these girls know what they're doing. Perhaps they should pen their own British version of 'The Rules.'

I have to admit I didn't have high hopes for Finding Sarah, the six-part documentary on Sarah Ferguson's quest for personal redemption that premiered on OWN last Sunday, but boy, was I wrong. The first installment was absolutely riveting television as the Duchess of York laid bare of all her heartbreaking insecurities for the audience to see. Our fascination with all things royals made this a must-see if only to hear what little tidbits she might divulge about 'The Firm.' And, in fact, she did deliver when she talked (however briefly) about how she isn't in touch with Prince Charles and has been banished from the family's Christmas celebrations since the divorce. Sitting in the back of a chauffeured car eating "her sweets," she offered an insider-turned-outsider's tour around London, pointing to Buckingham Palace ("my old house") and sadly reminiscing about living there.

Having thought what could possibly be left to learn about her struggles with her weight and self-esteem, her revelations about the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of both parents was both sad and shocking. Even the requisite stunt casting which brought in Suze Orman and Dr. Phil to advise her felt raw and was riveting. The show left me rooting for the disgraced former duchess (who still won't admit to selling access to Prince Andrew despite being caught on film doing it -- but my money is on Dr. Phil for making her see the light). I, for one, am rooting for her. If you want to tune in the show airs on Sunday nights at 9 pm on OWN.

And finally, since it's Father's Day, I'd like to nominate Michael Middleton for sweetest father of the year. There were a lot of iconic images from the royal wedding but the ones that made me weep were those where he gallantly held Kate's hand for the long walk up the aisle and lovingly glanced over to her when they arrived at the altar. He is my all-time favorite 'Father of the Bride.' Those closest to the family have nothing but glowing things to say about the head of the Middleton clan citing his calm demeanor (which Kate apparently inherited), down to earth manner and quiet kindness as the qualities that make him who he is. Carole Middleton -- and the kids -- are lucky to have him. Happy Father's Day!

Photo credits: Getty Images, Press Association

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