Happy birthday this 21 June to you Prince William Duke of Cambridge or should we say, using the The Duke’s style and title in full… Happy Birthday His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle and Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen. But wait … I forgot the most important title – Football Association President.
And how did the football mad Duke of Cambridge celebrate his birthday? By visiting Saint-Etienne in France for the England Slovakia clash in Group B Euro 2016. To be fair it was the night before so all he had to do was wake up next morning for a quick hop, step and jump across the Channel to celebrate with Kate, George and Charlotte.
Given the Prince is notoriously private, we probably won’t know what Kate and poppet Cambridges gave him for his 34th birthday.
In contrast, we do know that William likes to give his Princess fabulous jewellry. The first significant token of his affection was a rose-gold Victorian ring studded with pearls and garnets. Kate started wearing it in 2005 when they had been dating for around 18 months, a nice princely touch given pearls are William’s birthstone and garnets are Kate’s. Maybe young George made Dad a pearl encrusted collage he made at Montessori preschool. Creativity is encouraged there.
Then of course you have the biggie – his late mother’s 12-carat Ceylon sapphire engagement ring. The sapphire is surrounded by 14 diamonds and set in 18-carat white gold. There’s your wedding ring made from a Welsh gold owned by the Royal family, a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings that matched her engagement ring. Add in green amethyst and diamond earrings by her favourite designer, Kiki McDonough, and then a well deserved slim diamond eternity ring by Annoushka as a thank you for producing an heir to the throne. How about a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch embedded with sapphires? Okay – enough already.
We certainly don’t think William needs another title this birthday. He’s got enough already. Though I am somewhat intrigued by his existing ones – especially the Earl of Strathearn. Prince William was created Earl of Strathearn, as a subsidiary title to Duke of Cambridge, on 29 April 2011, the day of his wedding. Who would not want an Earldom and Strathearn has an intriguing history.
Strathearn or Strath Earn is the strath of the River Earn, in Scotland. I now know that a strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow (as opposed to a glen which is typically narrower and deep). Yet another scrabble word. Who says Gift Wrapping is not good for the mind? Strathearn extends from Loch Earn in Perth and Kinross to the River Tay. And what’s more there is a Strathearn tartan.
The Strathearn Tartan is said to have been worn by the father of Queen Victoria H.R.H. Edward, Duke of Kent, who was also Duke of Strathearn. As Colonel of the Royal Scots Regiment 1801-1821, he apparently sent a sample to Wilson’s of Bannockburn with a view to ‘dressing the gallant corps’. It is also the adopted tartan of the Comrie Pipe Band.
According to the Scotland Shop The Strathearn tartan was famously worn by Kate Middleton at the Queen’s Jubilee River Pageant and the striking red, green and gold colours have been sought after ever since. The website What Would Kate Do? has many images of her love affair with the Strathearn tartan. The Scottish Shop even proclaims “We are delighted to now be able to offer a range of products in the Strathearn tartan including a long, fine wool scarf stole just like the one Kate wore. Or we can custom make all sorts of other products for you in Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus’ favourite tartan.” BAron and Baroness Carrickfergus? That’s a whole other story!
For William’s birthday I have gone with a Strathearn tartan wrap. I tried all sorts of embellishments but this is a big bold tartan and I can assure you that it dominated almost everything I put near it – the same sort of problem you will have with any big bold pattern. The red, green and gold colours are not my normal colour choice – there are some fabulous pink tartans but they are not the tartans the royals go near. Matching the Strathearn colour combo with anything but a neutral will be challenging. I opted for a slim black cord. I also popped on a pair of suitable royal cuff links and Bob (in this case Andrew and Edward) is your uncle.