Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Kate Middleton channels vintage royal style for Commonwealth service

Kate Middleton made a bold fashion statement on Monday attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, her first since becoming Princess of Wales last September.

The princess arrived at the abbey, alongside Prince William, wearing a vintage inspired, sharply tailored, skirt suit with structured jacket and a fluted calf-length skirt by one of her favorite designers, Erdem.

The ensemble was paired with a large picture hat in navy suede and matching shoes, handbag and gloves.

To accessorize, Kate wore Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond drop earrings which compliment her engagement ring, together with a diamond Prince of Wales feathers brooch, also formerly belonging to Diana.

The princess has often referenced vintage fashion silhouettes in her working wardrobe, notably her collection of 1980s inspired Alessandra Rich dresses worn throughout 2022, including a cream and chocolate brown outfit worn to Royal Ascot.

The highly structured skirt suit is reminiscent in ways to Christian Dior’s 1947 Bar Suit, the look that revolutionized post-war fashion, earning itself the nickname of “the new look.”

The “new look” was replicated by major fashion houses around the world and inspired many designers throughout the 1940s and 1950s. At this time, Queen Elizabeth II regularly wore similar fit-and-flare jackets with skirts, as did her fashion-minded sister, Princess Margaret.

The 2023 Commonwealth Day service is the first to have taken place since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and tribute was paid to her dedication to the organization in the celebrations on Monday.

In previous years, Kate’s style choices for the Commonwealth Day services have been highly anticipated by both royal watchers and the fashion press.

Kate’s first attendance of the annual ceremony occurred in 2015 when she was pregnant with her second child, Princess Charlotte. The royal wore a pale pink Alexander McQueen ensemble comprising a coat with pearl effect buttons, a matching under-dress, pink sculpted hat and accessories by the fashion house, Prada.

Most recently, in 2022, the princess wore an all-blue outfit, in a shade similar to the ground color of the Commonwealth flag.

The finely tailored coat dress worn for the occasion was designed by Catherine Walker & Co. and the royal paired it with a matching pillbox hat and accessories.

The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day service is “Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future,” which appeals to a cause close to King Charles’ heart, climate change.

In his first Commonwealth message as head of the organization, released on Monday, the monarch said: “Whether on climate change and biodiversity loss, youth opportunity and education, global health, or economic co-operation, the Commonwealth can play an indispensable role n the most press issues of our time. Ours is an association not just of shared values, but of common purpose and joint action.”

Also in attendance at this year’s event were Queen Camilla and the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh—Prince Edward and his wife Sophie—as well as Princess Anne and her husband Sir Tim Laurence.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Kate Middleton made a bold fashion statement on Monday attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, her first since becoming Princess of Wales last September.

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