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The hidden meanings behind Kate Middleton’s most stylish moments

How the Princess of Wales metaphorises through exceptional fashion.

Never complain, never explain is the famous royal creed when it comes to public relations. No matter how serious or trivial it may be, the royals refrain from publicly commenting on just about everything.

However, while avid royal watchers will know that whilst royalty may not verbally speak out, often times messages can be conveyed from what they wear. The late Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana were famous for this tactic, however, in recent years, Kate Middleton has proved to masterfully use style when it comes to “conscious dressing”.

Whether it’s a show of patriotic spirit or a nod to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, Kate Middleton’s outfits metaphorise an array of messages.

Here’s all the best times Kate Middleton has used her exceptional style to communicate a message.

01

The sheer Charlotte Todd dress

Though they had been friends and classmates for some time, Kate first turned Prince William‘s head when she stepped out on the catwalk for a charity fashion show. The fashion show was put on by Charlotte Todd who named the collection ‘The Art of Seduction’.

Kate stepped out in a few bespoke pieces, but the most famous of all was the brown sheer dress over a bandeau bikini top which is said to have caught William’s eye. Over the years, many of Kate and William’s university friends have cited this fashion show as the beginning of the pair’s love story. In fact, the story is so iconic that it appears in Season Six of The Crown.

02

The Strathmore Rose Tiara

During her 12 years in the royal family, the Princess of Wales generally reaches for three tiaras, the Cartier Halo Tiara, Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot (one of Princess Diana’s favourite) and the Lotus Flower Tiara. However, during a royal state visit from the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, Kate debuted a new tiara with a special nod to the late Queen Mother.

In honour of the state dinner, The Princess of Wales debuted the Strathmore Rose Tiara – which was gifted to Elizabeth Bowes Lyon. Elizabeth, who was Duchess of York at the time, wore the stunning piece in a number of official portraits. However, after the 1930s, the tiara has never been worn by another royal until Kate dusted it off from the Windsor vault in November, 2023. Whilst the late Queen Mother chose to wear it across her forehead (which was the style at the time), Kate gave it a modern touch by braiding the tiara into a slicked back hairdo.

Kate’s decision to pull a piece from the Queen Mother’s collection be a nod to Kate’s close relationship with the King, reflecting the similarly close relationship Charles shared with his late grandmother.

03

The Royal Variety Performance 2023

Just days after Omid Scobie’s tell-all book, End Game, was released Kate Middleton elegantly brushed off media speculation and criticism with what royal watchers dubbed as her “revenge dress”. While far less daring than the jaw-dropping Christina Stambolian design Princess Diana wore the day then-Prince Charles admitted his affair with now-Queen Camilla in 1994, the Princess of Wales still got people talking when she arrived at the Royal Variety Performance wearing a Safiyaa London gown.

04

The King’s Coronation

In perhaps one of her most metaphor-laden outfits yet, Kate blew us out of the water at King Charles’ coronation in May, 2023 with this exceptional look. Firstly, it was speculated leading up to the coronation that despite having access to a plethora of spectacular jewels, no women of the royal family would wear tiaras. Instead, the Princess of Wales gave a heartfelt nod to the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth by wearing a silver and crystal headpiece by milliner Jess Collett. Princess Charlotte also wore a matching headpiece.

For royal watchers, this was an apt nod to the late Queen’s coronation where her maids of honour donned similar floral headpieces. Beneath her royal regalia, Kate wore a stunning white Sarah Burton design which featured rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock motifs embroidered at the hem of the dress. These flowers represent England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Kate middleton style

05

The Princess of Wales’ wedding dress

The King’s Coronation was not the first time that the Princess of Wales incorporated the four florals of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales into her fashion. On her wedding day to Prince William in 2011, Kate wore another Sarah Burton design which once again featured rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock motifs embroidered into the hem of the dress.

Kate middleton style

06

The birth of Prince George

Upon the birth of their first child, Prince George, The Prince and Princess of Wales stepped out of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital cradling their newborn.

Standing in the same spot her late mother-in-law stood in 1982 following the birth of Prince William, Kate paid tribute to Diana wearing a blue polka dot dress: A clear nod to the one Diana wore almost 30 years prior when cradling a young Prince William alongside the then-Prince Charles.

Kate middleton style

07

The power suit era

In the early years of her royal style, Kate Middleton rarely reached for trousers. However, the Princess has worked to modernise her fashion since then as her role as developed and changed.

Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth, Kate and William’s roles as senior royals intensified when they became the Prince and Princess of Wales. Since that sad date, Kate has personified that role by increasingly swapping out tailored coat dresses and formal frocks with more powerful (and colourful) pantsuits.

Kate middleton style

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