Feb 112014

Kate was in Jenny Packham for tonight’s black tie function at the National Portrait Gallery, the annual Portrait Gala.

Royal photographer Mark Stewart predicted it would be a glittering evening and he was correct. The Daily Mirror’s Victoria Murphy shared this photo of the the stairs heading into the gala event, it set the tone for the night.

Victoria Murphy/The Mirror

Victoria Murphy/The Mirror

The Duchess wore the inky blue Jenny Packham gown first seen at October’s 100 Women in Hedge Funds dinner. It was Kate’s jewelry that created the most chatter however. More specifically, the shining, shimmering diamond necklace loaned to her by the Queen.

Weir Photos / Splash News

Weir Photos / Splash News

It turns out Kate was in serious glitter mode herself, wearing the Queen’s Nizam of Hyderabad diamond necklace.



The necklace was a wedding gift for the then-Princess Elizabeth. More from the Artemisia’s Royal Jewels blog.

One of the most beautiful gifts came from the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam was the owner of one of the most celebrated and largest private jewellery collections in the world, and his gift was suitably impressive – a demi-parure of a tiara and necklace.The necklace was purchased from Cartier.
Actually, in a way it was acquired by Elizabeth herself: the Nizam wasn’t in London at the time and left Cartier instructions that the Princess will personally choose her present.

Below you see HM wearing the necklace in a photo used for the cover of Elizabeth: Reigning in Style, a study of the Queen’s wardrobe over the decades.

Anova Books

Anova Books

Written by Jane Eastoe and published in 2012, the book remains available from the publisher.  Our thanks to Trisha for the tip on what looks like an outstanding book.  Below, another look inside, with different lighting.

Alastair Grant/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Alastair Grant/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

The Royal Collection has a good photo of the necklace.

The Royal Collection

The Royal Collection

From the Royal Collection description:

The double drop pendant, which incorporates 13 emerald-cut diamonds, is detachable from the chain of 38 brilliant-cut open-back collets.

Alastair Grant/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Alastair Grant/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

This is the most valuable piece of the Queen’s jewelry we have seen Kate wear. As others have noted, this type of statement jewelry is in sync with the recent Daily Mail story discussed in this post.

Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

As you may have noted in the photographs, Kate was wearing the diamond earrings believed to be a gift from Prince Charles. They are becoming a favorite for Kate.


Splash News

Many will remember the inky blue dress by Jenny Packham. We show Kate wearing it last October and again tonight.

PA Wire/Splash News

PA Wire/Splash News

The silk gown was from last fall’s collection. It featured sleeves that can be worn on or off the shoulder, a deep vee neckline both front and back, and a black velvet sash at the waist.



The frock remains available at Stylebop in very limited sizes; it retails for $5400.

Today also happened to be the day Jenny Packham showed her fall 2014 collection in New York, there are some stunning dresses. We’ll have more on that collection in the next few days.

Jenny Packham Facebook

Jenny Packham Facebook

Kate also made brief remarks at the gala; more from the Mirror‘s live blog of the event:

“I just wanted to say how delighted I am to be here this evening to celebrate the fantastic work of The National Portrait Gallery.

“The Gallery’s achievements are exceptional.

“They hold the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, and their unique and brilliant exhibitions never fail to inspire us all.

Since becoming the organization’s Patron Kate has visited the Gallery several times. Below we see her wearing dresses from Emilia Wickstead (a bespoke piece), Whistles (the Sophie Rae dress) and Stella McCartney (the Ridley Stretch dress).
Splash News/John Stillwell-PA Wire/Splash News

Splash News/John Stillwell-PA Wire/Splash News

More information on the necklace may be found at Artemisia’s Royal Jewels, Royal Order of Splendor.


Also today, congratulations to Catherine Elizabeth, she won our giveaway for a gift basket filled with chocolate and books from author Megan Mulry. The reason Catherine is fond of Kate’s style?

I think she has remained true to herself. She just seems comfortable in whatever she has on. Her natural beauty is her biggest accessory. Classic and elegant, whether in jeans or an evening gown.

Catherine, if you haven’t already done so, please get in touch so we can get your gift basket on its way. (Email: Susan@WhatKateWore.com)


We’ll see you Friday Kate officially opens The ICAP Art Room at Northolt High School, Ealing, London.

  87 Responses to “Kate Glitters in Queen’s Diamond Necklace & Jenny Packham for National Portrait Gallery Gala, Contest Winner”

  1. Kate looks beautiful and elegant in the inky blue gown. The diamond necklace she wore is stunning and compliments her. She looks amazing in the pictures. She is known for her simple dressing and she can carry off any look.

  2. Are you sure that short, dark red dress with the black sash is the Sophia Rae from Whistles? It looks an awful lot like the Claret Red Silk Chffon maternity cocktail dress from Seraphine. We know she shops there and wasn’t she pregnant at the time she wore it?

  3. Please, please leave Kate alone. There is nothing wrong with her long hair or her clothes. Some people are just jealous of her, and therefore the comments. She is a beautiful lady, Camilla must keep her nose out of Kate’s business I would think.

  4. Bah, this is exactly what I was afraid of when I read the Daily Mail piece trumpeting more jewels from the Queen’s collection for the Duchess. I know the general response was “hurray! bring out the bling!”, but I for one really enjoyed the Duchess’s signature, understated style. I love her minimalist jewelry (maybe the minimalist description isn’t entirely apt, but almost every piece she wore previously is minimalist in comparison to this necklace). Perhaps this is a foolish thought of mine, since I always knew that eventually the palace would push her to start wearing more formal jewelry. However, I simply wished it wouldn’t be quite so soon (though I’ve read reports that Wills and Kate are being asked to up their game as Prince Charles takes on more responsibilities). This necklace just doesn’t look like the Kate we all know and love. Sigh.

    The dress is lovely, but I agree with other commenters: pull the sleeves off the shoulder!

    • AshleyOlivia — how lovely to hear from you! I’d been missing your calming presence… I agree seeing this kind of jewellery on Kate is a bit of a step change. I also suspect since it’s so unlike her usual choices it must feel a bit alien to her as well and she has yet to work out how to show it off.

      I’ve always assumed there’s a bit of an obligation on the part of royalty to bring on the bling on certain occasions, visiting dignitaries especially might feel cheated at state banquets and the like unless there’s all that going on. Royalty generates funds at events like the NPG, doesn’t it? and I suppose it must help bring the big names along if a visiting royal puts on a bit of a show.

      And as the Queen is stepping back, other ladies have to start stepping forward to dress up like Christmas trees! Kate gets the option on the whole caboodle one day, so I imagine it pays for her to start test driving items to see which she can live with.

      • ElizaMo, what a kind response! It’s always nice to feel appreciated, and I do so love the What Kate Wore community.

        I suppose you are right about the Duchess wanting to try on some of the jewels for size, and you bring up a valid point that as pieces like this are so out of her comfort zone, she will need some practice before feeling at home wearing them. I suspect she will become more adept at suiting the rest of her outfit to complement jewelry this ornate as time passes. And I really cannot complain about anything that raises funds for the National Portrait Gallery. It was one of my favorite experiences when visiting London.

        (And don’t think for a minute that I didn’t immediately recall your eerily prescient comment about Kate trying out this Packham gown at the Hedge Fund event before wearing it with glamorous accessories–”glammed out,” if you will. How right you were!)

        • You are the soul of discretion, AshleyOlivia, and very patient with such as myself, advertising my own feeble predictions, sad, really! I’m so glad you liked the NPG. It was one of my favourites, too, when living in London.

  5. The necklace is beautiful but I have to agree with other posters that it does not really suit Kate. Perhaps with a different dress or an updo it would be an improvement but I really think it’s just too heavy for her. I loved it on the Queen in the photo with the strapless dress. I don’t love this dress either. The top of it just does not appeal to me. I’m so excited that she is wearing the Queen’s jewels and am looking forward to more to come!

  6. Can I say? I love this blog. I love the main posts hugely, but I also love the community of commentors. I’ve learned so much from you all, about cut and fabric and jewellery and and and. It’s glorious! Thank you :)

  7. Since you’re interested, here is a link to a diamond color chart.

    When you purchase gemstones, you look at the Four Cs – cut, color, clarity, carats. Color goes by letter. My guess is that the Queen’s necklace is an extremely fine piece, probably an E or G. But I think that’s not the most flattering color for Kate, who is not as pale as the Queen. I suspect Kate is better suited to I or J colored diamonds, with a slightly cream cast to them.

    It’s something you never know until you see it against your skin. It’s completely plausible she looked at the necklace in its case or on a velvet tray. Even if she tried it on with the dress, the lighting might have been different.

    I think Kate can wear sapphires beautifully, mostly likely rubies, and we know she likes semi precious stones like citrine. I really want her to wear Persian or Indian turquoise, there is some in the royal collection. Queen Mary loved turquoise.


    • Wow — thanks for this, a whole new world opens up. I shall have to go and do some serious gem study. It’s all fascinating!

    • Finally someone with accurate knowledge and information on gemstones, I tried to mention one thing about a Tiffany item even with a two emails stating I was accurate in my information and whack, free speech is something I am denied even with source’s. Even if my comments get erased and ignored about certain things it’s nice to see that Brenda you are being listened to.

      Keep posting Brenda. Five bucks says I get erased! Back to the subject I love the turquoise by the way; always love how beautiful Turquoise piece’s with diamonds, and it has flowers like her unknown designer bracelet (the one with the ring, halo baguette earrings, I like to call it her mini suite; no necklace yet). I say the set is Van Cleef & Arpels always inspired by nature or Cartier maybe from their Collection Haute Joaillerie.

      However, wasn’t the set a gift from her father in law Prince Charles, as I recall (back in the 1980s when Diane and Charles became engaged) he was a bit mad when Garrard had Diane’s and now Kate’s Sapphire Engagement Ring in their Christmas Catalog. Perhaps the jewelry brand will be kept private.

      As for Kate’s Jewelry for events even though it is not from the Royal families collection just something that caught my attention. I think I could see Kate in this Cartier Necklace style its like the Zara Necklace and it has a Sapphire Cushion Cut to go with her ring — http://www.jewelsdujour.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Lot-1788-A-RARE-SAPPHIRE-AND-DIAMOND-NECKLACE-BY-CARTIER-.jpg . Plus she would look great in a light fancy blue, or the Queen’s fancy pink brooch the one framed by diamonds.

      And yes I agree with a lot of people she needs to wear her hair up when she wears these gems not just the gallery one on this post, but, the Mouawad ruby necklace when she was at a Military award show in 2011 or 2012.

      • Hello Margarita/Melissa, thank you for commenting again! I sent a quick email to the address used on your previous comment but it was bounced back as an invalid email. It would be great to be able to get it to you, if you could let me know a valid email address. If you prefer not responding publicly via another comment, you can always email Susan@WhatKateWore.com :)

  8. Is it just me or does this dress also make her posture look really bad? this dress might look nice off the shoulder, but it doesn’t look right the way she is wearing it to me…

  9. All that hair is in the way! As little as I care for this necklace, it’s undoubably a master piece and should have been on the center of the stage, not the wavy hair…
    Having said that, she looks gorgeous.

  10. In the video, when you see her speaking and moving, the necklace, the hair and the dress all make sense together. Really lovely!

  11. I agree with many others about her hair. Pinning some or all of it back would have made her look more confident. Wearing such an ornate, heavy necklace with her hair half covering it and wisps going all over her neck made it seem like she was hiding the necklace.

    Personally, I don’t even like the necklace, it’s just too MUCH, too old fashioned, but if you’re going to wear something like that, then go all the way and really wear it, don’t let it wear you!

    About the state of her hair as a lot of people bring up, I think she deserves a break! After pregnancy, a lot of women experience major hair shedding and thinning and it can take a year or more for the hair to come back to normal. IF her hair is thinned (and we can’t really know), it might be hard for her to get it to look right because there isn’t as much to work with. And maybe she doesn’t want to change the cut or style dramatically now because she isn’t ready or she is waiting for her hair to just come back to normal. Now that I think more on it, maybe this is why she wore her hair down. Maybe an updo didn’t look the way she wanted it to for lack of volume. Anyway, the first year to 18 mos. after having a baby can be really bumpy with lots of changes to get used to.

    • I had a baby two days before Kate, I also have long curly hair, and my hair is still in that difficult postpartum phase. It’s only just stopped falling out in huge clumps, so it’s thinner than usual, and now I have little wisps of new hair growing in along the front. So, everyone, stop giving her such a hard time about her hair! Admittedly I don’t have a professional styling mine every day, but I can understand how an updo might show more than she wants to right now.

    • I think the biggest problem with her hair is the ringlet style. Thinning or not, her hair looks much better with the softer waves when she wears it down

  12. I really like the dress, it’s simple but very elegant and sophisticated, and underlines her stunning beauty. I think the sparkling necklace is a perfect choice with the soberness of the gown.. they are perfect together.
    I don’t like her hair tonight.. If I had her, I would always change may hairdo at avery engagement.. she has beautiful hair.. she can fix it as she wants….
    I hoped for a new outfit.. she really inspires me and I was missing her style..

  13. Kate and diamonds were clearly made for each other – she looks breathtaking. I think some of the shots of her face as she’s getting out of the car are some of the loveliest I’ve seen of her.

    However she also looks a little apprehensive and that degree of opulence in jewellery is far from her usual discretion, so in a way I can understand the hair still being down over it all. The picture of the Queen shows how much better the necklace looks with an off-shoulder style.

    I’m almost tempted to wonder if the necklace wasn’t the reason she bought the dress, and maybe she just put it through its paces last October. I have no problem with seeing this one again, she can wear it as often as she likes as far as I’m concerned; it has so much potential. I still think she may save having her hair up with all the trimmings until she has William by her side.

    As it is, she remains sheltering behind those tumbling locks, and I don’t blame her, what an intimidating experience it must be to have to get out there, to be in the spotlight, and to have every detail of what she wears picked over. I’m not a fan of quite such a stringy hairstyle, but it’s a current thing, and I think the intricacy of the waves sets off the stunning gems, and complements the delicate knife-pleated overlay. I do find it hard to get used to seeing her with so much less body at the crown.

    The only real query I have is with the wandering strands of hair which spoil the side of her face, much as they did at the Mandela film premiere. The better pictures of her are where the strands merge back into the main body of the hairstyle.

    • Had meant to say thanks so much for the post, as always. And also to make a small observation, you list Kate’s three other appearances to the gallery, but, er, the names you give for the dresses are in a different order from the pics below, ie the Stella McCartney is no. 3 picture, and the Whistles is no. 2.

      I only mention cos as a bear of very small brain I had a job sorting them out at first! Thanks so much for all your hard work

      • Thank you. (The errors in the post demonstrate why I shouldn’t try and multitask between the real job and a Kate post, arrgghh!) The comment is much appreciated, and very helpful! :)

        • I know you’re multi-tasking and feel guilty pointing anything out! — I’ve no idea how you pull these posts together on your own, it looks like a superhuman task on top of normal frantic life. Thanks again.

  14. A second outing for this dress did not make me reconsider — I really don’t like it. However, I was of the opinion that a statement piece of jewelry (and not costume jewelry) would help the look, and I think it would have, if her hair had been pulled back. I thought her hair last night looked about the worst it ever has, and I agree with others, I just can’t imagine what’s going on there. I hate to be so negative, but I hope there are better things ahead Down Under. And I also hope this is the beginning of frequent sightings of the Queen’s jewels for Kate, when the occasion is appropriate. I would personally be surprised if this were Kate’s own choice of which piece to wear, but at least it’s a start.

  15. Kate did exactly what the Palace and Prince Charles asked from her. Palace: longer hems and more statement pieces. Check. Prince Charles: wants everyone to stop talking about what Kate wears and concentrate more on the “real issues” important to him. Kate recycled a gown. Check. She’s lovely and is trying to fulfill her role without showboating.

    • The supposed “longer hemlines” issue referred to street-length day dresses, not long evening dresses. And the Duchess has recycled clothes often enough that I don’t believe her recycling this one has anything at all to do with Prince Charles’s desire to focus on “real issues”.

      In any case, the notion that the Queen wants her to wear longer hemlines and more “statement pieces” has been called into question. Apparently, at least part of that report turned out to be false, and considering the source (the extremely unreliable Daily Mail) it’s not at all unlikely that the rest of it is false, too.

      • Hmmm. The only real rebuttal of the tiaras/hemlines diktat theory came from Judy Wade on Twitter, where she only tweets about once every six weeks. Moreover she recently came off worse in a public spat with Katie Nicholl, and there is such a thing as scoring points/settling scores between royal reporters.

        Also, I’m unhappy with the myth being perpetrated that the Daily Mail is necessarily unreliable, you may have to bear in mind different sources speaking to each reporter, ie one has the ear of Buck House, the other of Clarence House, and the immediate heir to the throne is ever straining at the leash as regards his mother.

        If the only impression people are getting of the Mail is when they hunt through the celebrity-fuelled sidebar then what they are seeing reflects the page they are on. On serious news, and in my own field of interest, finance, it is one of the leading and most reliable, and indeed, long-established titles in the UK.

        It is a paper with whose editorial policy I myself am diametrically opposed, but like a large proportion of its readers, I visit regularly to see what the other side says, and to get a feel for one side of a populist view on major political and social issues.

        However, in the printed version, some of the most trenchant views are regularly shown with the opposite point of view shown on the facing page, this is balanced reporting. An established newspaper cannot “lie” — there are restrictive laws of libel which prevent any such thing. The same laws apply to what we write here, and write indelibly in electronic form. So if we accuse anyone of “lies” or “fraud” we must take care, as we too can end up in the same dock as the Mail would were it to try such a thing.

        The infamous celebrity Sidebar of Shame is typical of the Mail in as far as it has always had a natural feel for the common touch. All those celebrity stories result in it being one of the most visited news sites on the planet — something like a million hits a day, which is very good for business. And all the Mail celeb stories are based on a sounder basis of “fact” — ie the face in question really was seen walking in the street, or whatever — than the majority of what really is fabricated on other much more lurid celebrity-only websites.

        And celebrity of course, is not lightweight matter in itself. All those well-known faces shown interminably going into one airport or other and then out of it again are the focus of such manufactured stories because they all sponsor brands, of clothes, watches, whatever. And then we are into the global zillion-dollar faux-luxe market.

        Did I mention an interest in finance? Here endeth the lesson.

        • Sorry, ElizaMo, but as someone from a newspaper family who reads newspapers from around the world, I have to tell you that it’s not a myth: the Mail has very little credibility. It is also a very poor-quality paper, except for its photos. The writing is appalling, and they seem never to have heard of editors and proofreaders.

          The Mail does indeed publish incorrect claims about royals — all of the tabloids do. (Despite its pretensions to the contrary, the Mail is a tabloid.) They feel safe doing so because it is highly unlikely that the royals will sue, unless a claim is inflammatory or involves criminal or immoral behavior. For the most part, therefore, their claims are innocuous (such as claiming that the Duchess’s parents had been invited to spend Christmas at Sandringham), but they still cannot trusted. They are rarely properly sourced, and in some cases, we can be very sure that someone close enough to a given royal to know this or that about him or her would not be running off to the Mail to give anyone there the information.

          The editor of one British tabloid remarked some years ago that a story about the royals didn’t have to be true, in his opinion; it simply had to seem plausible. That has long been the tabloids’ general philosophy.

          The Mail’s claim that the Queen had asked her designer/dressmaker, Angela Kelly, to advise the Duchess of Cambridge on her wardrobe for the Down Under tour turned out to be false. That being the case, all of the Mail’s claims on the subject of the Queen’s supposed interest in the Duchess’s wardrobe for the tour have been called into question.

          By the way, the fact that a publication is popular is not a measure of its quality or reliability.

          • Remember that there are two different Mails: the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. The Sunday paper has a different staff and more credibility (Richard Kay writes for the Sunday version). The DM and especially its website repurpose news from elsewhere with their own snarky twist. The DM commenters are especially hostile to Kate and the Middletons.

          • The claims about Angela Kelly have not been disproved, just contradicted by a fellow royal hack on a rival title.

            The comments about wearing more regal jewellery have already been borne out and with suspicious speed — this smacks of an “off the record” briefing, exactly as the article states, from a Palace source, but one that preferred not to be named. It’s common journalistic practice.

            It is necessary, as stated, to go and actually look at other than the celebrity Home page to assess the broad character of either the Daily Mail or Sunday Mail – focusing solely on celebrity reflects more on the reader than the paper itself.

  16. While I think an undo would have been stunning I think the look underlined her intensions with fundraising/non profit appearances. She simply states “It’s not about me”. I love that she is always understated, always showcasing the cause, not herself.

  17. I’m laughing like a nut while reading some of these comments. This young woman cannot do anything right apparently. People don’t like her hair because it should be up, no it should be down; the necklace “doesn’t fit” (excuse me?); she should have worn a “new” dress and not the old thing she wore; no, it’s okay to repeat a dress but not “so soon”; it’s great she re-wore a dress but she didn’t wear it right because the sleeves should be off the shoulder; Some of you people are just ridiculous. I know it’s your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it but, come on people, give this woman a break. Can’t you all just enjoy the pictures and not make nasty comments?

    Of course, I don’t really have to defend the Duchess because the one thing I most admire about her is that she does her own thing and she has a loving husband and family that she can turn to when this life she leads gets too be to much. She’ll survive all the criticism, mainly because she has no clue any of you exist.

    • This blog is partly about discussing the Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion choices and offering opinions on them. That is one of its purposes. It’s not about simply looking at the pictures. There wouldn’t be a point to having a comments section at all if it were.

      I don’t think the comments are, or are intended to be, “nasty”. Moreover, it is not as though the Duchess of Cambridge is going to be coming here to read them and will have her feelings hurt. However, people do have opinions about clothes and style, and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with expressing them. One of the interesting things about the comments is how different the opinions of something can be. And, as more than person has remarked, the discussions and debates can help people who are just developing a sense of style figure out what seems to work and what doesn’t.

      However, if you don’t care for the comments, you are certainly not required to read them. You can, if you prefer, simply enjoy the pictures.

      • I agree completely with mslewis. Of course everyone is entitled to their “opinions” but as far as saying that she doesn’t have to read the comments, that’s ridiculous. Just as people are entitled to nitpick the duchess, it’s perfectly reasonable to comment on the nastiness of the comments. I’ve literally read comments saying that her hair looks “dirty” whaaaat?

    • Thank you! I am so glad you said all that you did. (Btw, the pictures don’t do her appearance justice. Everything about the duchess’ look played out much better in video.)

      • Certainly a matter of opinion. Her posture and the speech were both atrocious. She obviously is not ready for ‘prime time’ yet.

    • It’s a bit harsh to say that she has no clue that any of us exist. Kate definitely knows that the public exists and has opinions, and the people on this board are members of the public. This is an internet board where people share their opinions and critique her style choices. It’s not like anyone is saying she’s a horrible person or other things that are uncalled for. Are we all supposed to water our opinions down for fear of backlash from other readers? You may think people are being too hard on her, but I think you’re being too hard on the readers on this board.

    • I am the one who wrote that she has recycled the dress “so soon”. Yes, it IS “soon”. Someone please remind me…..has the Duchess has a formal event between when she wore this gown in October and wearing it the other night? If a public if figure is going to repeat outfits (which of course they should) then they should be farther apart on the calendar and in the public’s memory. When Diana repeated gowns, she often subtly changed the gown so that it had a fresh interest. Kate could do the same by changing her hair style.

      I do like the gown and I wish I was half as pretty as Kate. But honestly what most of us are saying is just plain common sense.

  18. Love the dress and necklace. But the overall look does not do justice because of her hair. An updo would suit – especially when one is wearing so elaborate a necklace as the one gifted by the Nizam of Hyderabad (India).

  19. I’m not surprised that Kate recycled a gown; I am surprised she recycled this one so soon. She has gowns from 2 years ago that haven’t been worn again. I’m remembering the go regions black velvet in particular.

    And if she was going to repeat the gown, she should have changed the hair style.

    It’s almost as if she’s embarrassed by the necklace and doesn’t want to show it off.m

  20. Kate is gorgeous as always, but I must admit that this look confuses me. The dress and that magnificent necklace are so elegant, but her hair seems to be something she would wear on a casual night out with friends. An up-do, or at least a half-up, would have been much more in keeping with the event and the look. I understand she wants to remain a woman of the people, but sometimes a girl just has to get her princess on.

    • “Get her princess on” – love it! I think Kate is so lovely but I agree, a different hairstyle would have really showed off the beautiful neckline of the dress and that stunning necklace. The long hair down looked casual to me and was a little distracting. She has gorgeous hair but I always think she looks beautiful with it half up or with an updo.

    • This may sound silly, but I wonder if the elegant jewelry made her feel a bit self conscious. Perhaps, wearing her hair down to cover it somewhat and having her hair in her standard “comfortable” style, is helping her ease into a “new” way of dressing.

  21. Well, hmmmm. I have been in the forefront of wanting Kate to wear important jewels, but I don’t think this was the right necklace. She would have looked spectacular in sapphires such as the King George Victorian suite. You can see it here.


    This doesn’t fit her, and I mean that literally. My uncle the jeweler was very particular that women choose pieces that were properly proportioned and also the right color for them.

    The Queen is and was well endowed, especially in relation to her height. Kate is not. She has broad shoulders and a flat chest across. This doesn’t sit well on her. It’s also too icy a setting for her skin tone. She looks better in diamonds with more warmth. (I won’t bore you with jewelry terms, but if anyone is interested, I can look up some color factors that would work well for her.)

    Rather than a drop piece for this dress, Kate would do better with something rounded. I agree putting up her hair would have helped, but I still don’t think this was the right piece for her.

    • I really love this dress. But I was startled when I saw the first picture of Kates outfit – for me, there are again too much ringlets and not enough shine in her hair. But above all I’ve been wondering why the very same necklace can look so elegant on the queen and so off, somehow unwieldy, on Kate. Thank you for explaining!

    • I’m fascinated by your insights into jewellery, thanks so much. I myself thought that Kate herself almost outsparkled those fabulous rocks, so I’m not sure thatI can see that the colours were wrong for her.

      I had thought the necklace looked a little bulky and oddly-shaped, but had put it down to my being unfamiliar with this level of bling on Kate. I certainly don’t think of her as flat-chested but it’s as plain as day that much of what puzzles about the necklace would largely be resolved by wearing an off-shoulder style with an updo.

      But I also wonder if Kate wasn’t petrified of sporting quite such a grand treasure for the first time in her life and needed some comfort and protection, ie, all that mass of hair!

      • Thanks and when I say flat chested I don’t mean her bust, I mean the area from shoulder to shoulder. I think in seamstress terms, as in how to construct a garment. Every body (and everybody) is built differently. That’s why I don’t think the necklace fits, and because I also know how fine jewelry and especially estate pieces are constructed, thanks to my uncle, I think I can speak with a little authority. There is definitely a “fit” to pieces this size. For instance, look at photos of the Queen Mother, look at Camilla, and look at Diana. Jewelry looks different on each of them, as with the Queen. It’s not nit picking Kate. It’s to say her build lends itself to different kinds of jewelry.

        • Have looked back at the October WKW listing on the Packham dress and the designer’s site recommends wearing the dress with diamonds — so maybe Kate really did buy it with that in mind.

          Spookily I also see on the same posting my own words predicting that she could have been wearing the dress then on a test run as it were, to get used to wearing it!

          Also, while I fully accept what you’re saying about gem stones (I must go and look out mother’s jewellery — though how does one determine what is right for one’s own skin tone?) I would also imagine that the flash photography would be a serious drain on colour.

          Thanks again for all your insights.

    • Agree! I thought a round necklace would have been nice.

    • We’d love to hear more details about the type and color of jewels that would look well on her! Although, I must say I liked the necklace on her.

  22. I love this dress, the mysterious ink-blue and the style. Contrary to what others have said, I would wear my long hair down if I had that weight around my neck, brilliant as the jewels might be. On loan from The Queen I’m thinking they are for royal show, not a personal choice, being that Kate is ‘at work’ on this occasion.
    Above all, I love her smile.

  23. I found it interesting to see the picture of the queen wearing the diamond necklace. She is wearing a black strapless dress. It is interesting to me because of the uproar that Diana created when she wore a black strapless dress while engaged to Charles. Granted, Diana’s was a little more low-cut……..

  24. The dress QEII is seen wearing on the book cover looks alot like the one Diana wore on her 1st event with Charles after the engagement .

  25. Although I would have loved to see Kate in a new dress, this is one of my favorite gowns. The color works well for winter and the neckline is perfect for the stunning jewels. Jenny Packham along with Alexander McQueen are my favorite designers and hopefully we will see some of their new designs on the Australia trip.

    I am looking forward to seeing Kate wear more of Her Majesty’s jewels. It seems that the story a few week’s ago about the Queen’s wish that Kate wear longer skirts and more jewels may have been correct. I would love to know the details of how Kate selected this particular necklace, perhaps with the help of the Queen’s design coordinator Angela Kelley.

  26. Why oh WHY would you wear your hair down with that necklace?! I am sorry, I get she likes it down and yes, she has pretty hair, but the whole point of that piece is to catch the light and sparkle, why, WHY would you impede that.

    Dress is just as beautiful as it was the first time and I love it that she recycles her looks, especially since nothing is going to be noticed with that whopper of a necklace around her neck, perfect time to recycle it I’d say. Also, I don’t know, I just think that she chooses such beautiful pieces of clothing it’s a total shame to only wear them once. Good for her!

    I read some where that this is her first engagement of the year, is it really? If it is, I am kind of disappointed… still, she looked good save for the questionable hair choice, both of which we have come to expect from her.

  27. i already liked this dress but thought it called for a statement necklace. and, ta dah!, the nizam of hyderabad necklace! gorgeous!

    i’m with others tho in thinking her hair is not helping her.

    i haven’t liked her hair since she got a new hairdresser last year. maybe she and her hairdresser wanted to go for a more natural or “young” look? regardless, i think her previous style of a blow-dry with curls and lift on the scalp looked great on her (even worn down when maybe the event called for a more formal look), and her new hair looks do not in my opinion.

  28. I agree with all of the others who mentioned that 1.) the dress should have been worn off the shoulder and 2.) the hair should’ve been worn up, all to show off the bling.

    That said, I’m not a big fan of this particular piece. Don’t get me wrong, the stones are stunning, but the style is just not my cup of tea. This dress would have been magnificent with Diana’s sapphire, diamond, and pearl choker. (I’m not sure if/when Kate will have access to the rest of Diana’s sapphires and other jewels, but this dress was practically made for that choker!)

  29. Well, I’m disappointed, too, but for reasons different from L’s. I actually had rather a strong suspicion that we were going to see this dress again this evening, and I’m delighted, because I greatly admire it. However, she is just not wearing it to the best advantage. I feel strongly that it should be worn as the designer intended, off the shoulders, for the greatest impact.

    Moreover, if you’re going to wear such a serious piece of bling, you need to show it off. That necklace screams for an updo, but instead the Duchess obscured both it and the bodice of the dress with her long hair, which was not even well styled. The Queen obviously understood how to wear the necklace — with shortish hair and bare shoulders — and if she could do it all those years ago, the Duchess certainly can. There are no decorum problems that I can perceive, and as the Gallery patron, she had every right to make a stunning entrance and impact at this type of event.

    I can’t quite figure out what the situation with her hair is these days. During the first months of Prince George’s life, she clearly didn’t want to do much to it, probably because she was breastfeeding and worried about chemicals in hair care products. It looked very problematic for a while, but we all understood. Then, however, she did have it cut and “rehabbed,” after which it looked far better, but now we seem to be back to the limp and over-long ringlet effect. I confess to real puzzlement, since I truly cannot understand why she thought this look worked with either the dress or the necklace.

  30. It is a stunning, marvelous necklace and a significant piece of royal jewelry.

    That said, I was disappointed that Kate the Duchess of Cambridge did not give it the gravitas it deserved.
    Her hair should have been worn up off of her shoulders in the lovely chignon style she wore once with a green lace dress.
    Her lipstick should have been a fire engine red – and she should have worn a new dress!

    She doesn’t have the dignified glamour of Princess Diana. I used to think she was refreshingly down-to-earth, but that was before she kept wearing her outfits over and over despite being the wife of the future King and the mother of another future King.
    Royalty should be splendid, not ordinary.

    • I’m a fan of red lipstick myself, but the Duchess has never worn red (or any statement color for that matter) and I think it highly unlikely we will see her sporting red lipstick anytime soon. I’m not sure if her reason for avoiding dramatic lip color is personal preference or related related to palace protocol. As for her tendency to recycle dresses, this is motivated in part by the economic recession. Many feel as you do, that she should be wearing fresh outfits for public occasions, but many more gripe about the prices of her outfits. I believe she tries to please both camps in her choices by wearing new dresses, but frequently recycling, too.

  31. I really like her eye makeup tonight. Would love to get Kate’s thinking process as to why she wore her hair down tonight. What a shame to hide that fairy tale necklace behind all that messy hair.

  32. Let’s be honest…. Her hair looks terrible and ruined the look. I am a huge fan of the Duchess and just about everything she wears; however when you wear jewelry of this significance, the rest of the styling should match. I’m beyond excited to see her wearing some of the queens jewels (and hope to see more soon!) but her hair caused my excitement to fall short. I hope this isn’t a mistake we see again soon.

  33. Great post — and you got it up so quickly! I must admit I’m disappointed in Kate’s look tonight. She looked beautiful, as always — but I was really hoping to see a new dress instead of a repeat. She totally blew me away with her last couple of evening gowns: the silvery sequined one and the white gown she wore with the Zara necklace (I’m terrible at remembering designers’ names; I apologize!) — so I guess I was expecting to be blown away again! But my reaction is more “Meh.” Obviously she looks better than I do on even my best day, lol, but something about it fell flat for me. This dress isn’t one of my favorites to begin with and I think the necklace would have been showcased better if her hair was up. Oh well! Again thank you for a thorough post! :)

  34. Hi,
    LOVE Kate in diamonds – divine!!! Can’t wait to see all the fabulous ensembles she has planned for her trip to Australia, YAY!!
    Have a query though ….
    Is anyone else just a bit confused about the post on Kate’s vest from 2012 ?
    It looks nothing like the one in the ebay photos i.e. clearly hers has buttons & no zip, the pockets are angled down on hers not a flap pocket, no fur lining and no collar. On the current Really Wild Clothing Company site there is a leather vest basically identical to Kate’s in this photo.
    Have I misunderstood the post?

    • Hi, and *thank you* for commenting, that was my error entirely. The vest shown in the auction is from May of 2012, when she spent time camping with the Scouts on Anglesey. I have corrected today’s post as well as the original back in June.

  35. Looking at the ebay picture and the vest Kate is pictured in above, the ebay one has different snaps as opposed to Kate’s which has green buttons, and does not appear to be fur lined… I’m confused, the ebay one is supposed to be the same as that Kate is pictured in?

    • Hello Rachel, and *thank you* for commenting, that was my error entirely. The vest shown in the auction is from May of 2012, when she spent time camping with the Scouts on Anglesey. I have corrected today’s post as well as the original back in June.

  36. Catherine looks GORGEOUS!!! This beautiful dress needs a necklace and Her Majesty’s diamonds are perfection on her! Wow I love her hair it is coiffed so nicely and this dress. She looks elegant.

  37. I went to Amazon to check out the book about the Queen’s style. While I was looking at the description, it went from 8 available (more coming soon) to 5 available (more coming soon). Wonder why the sudden demand! :) It was $12.32 and I got 1 of the last 5.

  38. I love the gown and the necklace, but I feel Kate would have looked much more regal with her hair in an updo.

    • I have to agree. The long loose curls just don’t look right to me with that dress design.

    • I agree, Elle. I love the dress and the jewels, but the hair was a miss. It seems like more and more it’s just hanging flat. It needs some volume at the top, or for the whole thing to have been pulled into an updo. Her hair is definitely “her thing” and I disagree with those who think it’s too long or should always be put up, but it looks like maybe it’s getting too heavy and should be thinned out a bit.

  39. I don’t think the eBay photos and the vest the Duchess wore are the same vest. Different pockets, different buttons, and hers didn’t have furry arm holes.

    • Hi, and *thank you* for commenting, that was my error entirely. The vest shown in the auction is from May of 2012, when she spent time camping with the Scouts on Anglesey. I have corrected today’s post as well as the original back in June.

  40. It looks like Kate is wearing a new ring to go with her original wedding set. It looks like a thing pave band in front of her engagement ring. Perhaps a push present?

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