Jun 142016

Kate returned to some of her older styles for today’s garden party in Northern Ireland.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The function was at Hillsborough Castle, located not far from Belfast.

Hillsborough Castle Facebook

The Castle serves as Northern Ireland’s official royal residence, as well as the Secretary of State’s residence.

The current Secretary of State is Theresa Villiers, seen below in the yellow dress.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The Belfast Telegraph reported that about 2,500 guests were invited to the function, “with attendees drawn from a wide cross-section of Northern Ireland society, including the voluntary and community sectors, local charities and youth organisations.”

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Senior members of the royal family usually attend the annual party. Last year Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex took part in the event. In 2014 HM and the Duke of Edinburgh attended.

Stephen Lock/i-Images/Polaris

Stephen Lock/i-Images/Polaris

The Secretary of State has hosted the party since the mid 1980s.

Kate Garden Party Northern Ireland Day Birger With Guests June 14 2016 via KP

Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal

The couple planted a tree to mark their visit.

Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal

Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal

We have seen Kate’s coat and dress previously. The frock is a Collette Dinnigan lace dress dating back to at least 2006; here’s a quick list of occasions when Kate has worn it before:

  • the 2006 wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes
  • the 2007 launch of ‘Young Stalin,’ a book by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • to May 2010 wedding of Charlie and Lucy Savory (photos here)
  • the 2011 wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall seen below center (click here for our post)

Below left, the book launch. On the right, the Zara Phillips/Mike Tindall wedding.  



There have been a few questions about how we know which dress is underneath Kate’s coat; here is a sliver of a high res photo.

Splash News

Splash News

The coat is by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, a Danish brand founded by Malene Birger and Keld Mikkelsen in 1997. As best we can tell the coat has been worn on four previous occasions:

  • the 2006 wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes, seen below left
  • the 2010 wedding of Mel Nicholson and Oli Baker (photos here)
  • the 2011 wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall seen below center (click here for our post)
  • to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, seen below right (our post is here)


After leaving Day Birger et Mikkelsen the designer launched By Malene Birger in 2003.

In an eBay auction the coat was described as “made from a stunning brocade fabric with a subtle gold paisley trimmed with champagne colour net.  It is long sleeved with a single breasted, off-centre, three button fastening.  It also has two flap pockets.” 

eBay Auction

eBay Auction

Lady Carrickfergus (as she is titled in Northern Ireland, William is the Baron Carrickfergus) accessorized with a new hat by Lock and Company

©Stephen Lock / i-Images

©Stephen Lock / i-Images

It is the Morning Rose Perching Hat

Sarah Clarke, UTV / Lock and Company

Sarah Clarke, UTV / Lock and Company

From the product description:

Swirls of pillarbox-red sinamay circle around a draped centre, inspired by the morning rose flower. The hat sits neatly on the side of the head with the tip of the teardrop shape adding elegant height to the wearer.

The chapeau is £645.  Thank you to Me and My Mum Kate for the speedy ID.  

Kate’s hair was up again today.

©Tim Rooke/CPNA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

©Tim Rooke/CPNA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

She carried her Nina clutch and wore her Fern heels, both LK Bennett items. The heels are not yet available in the US (expected almost any day), but they are still offered in very limited sizing on the UK website.

LK Bennett

LK Bennett

Kate wore new earrings today, they look like a customized version of Kiki McDonough’s Eden Diamond Flower Drop Earrings, with citrines instead of the lemon quartz stones shown online. Thank you to Irish Sara and Christin for their help on this ID.

Kate Northern Ireland Garden Party June 14 2016 New Kiki McDonough Eden Drops Splash i-Images

The brooch is the piece Kate has worn (and others before her) on St. Patrick’s Day when presenting shamrocks to the Irish Guards.

©Splash News/Splash News/

©Splash News/i-Images/Splash News

It is actually owned by the Guards and loaned out at their discretion. We show Kate wearing it atop a Catherine Walker coat on St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

©Nunn Syndication, Polaris /Polaris

©Nunn Syndication, Polaris /Polaris

It looked like it was a lovely day for the party, with sunshine and moderate temps.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Kate and William first visited Northern Ireland back before they were married, in March 0f 2011.

© Nunn Syndication / Polaris

© Nunn Syndication / Polaris

From The Belfast Telegraph:

Royal watchers will be hoping today’s engagement is as memorable as the last time William and Kate visited Northern Ireland in 2011 when they arrived as part of a UK tour ahead of their marriage.

On that occasion Kate wowed crowds at the City Hall in Belfast when she flipped pancakes to mark Shrove Tuesday.

© Nunn Syndication / Polaris

© Nunn Syndication / Polaris

We will update with more photos and information in several hours. (There’s a commitment taking me away from the computer.)

NEW at 7 PM: Emily Andrews of The Sun reports Kate & William will be at Royal Ascot tomorrow (Wednesday.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 6.12.01 PM


  75 Responses to “Kate Wears Pieces From 2006 to 2016 For Northern Ireland Garden Party & Royal Ascot News”

  1. I think it’s time to gracefully retire this coat. While I appreciate the Duchess’ recycling as it shows a down to earth side, this has never been one of my favorite looks for her. There’s just something about the material and cut that strongly reminds me of dresses that were in style when I was in high school circa 1991-1992. IMO it’s a very dated look. On the positive side, love the updo and new earrings.

    PS. I’ve noted there is another Jennifer posting of late, so I’ve tried to clarify things by adding a 1 to my nom de plume.

  2. Mmm, not my favorite coat but today is the best it’s ever looked in my opinion, with the Tindall wedding a close second. The brocade just screams Granny’s drapes, and it feels like their is to much beige/nude/tan going on. I still can’t decide if I like the hat or not, but it’s certainly unusual and just like Brooke said, the pairing with that chignon is very clever. Speaking of which, I am still loving the sophisticated updos, her hairdresser must be having so much fun these days!

    As for the new earrings, I wonder if citrine was the best choice. I wonder if the green amethysts in her other Kiki McDonough earrings would match the brooch’s emerald? She has 3 pairs with green amethysts to pick from :)

  3. Spotting the ID of that dress is a stroke of genius! Just made me realize the detail in which you go to examine the pictures. How beautiful Kate has been looking in the last few engagements! Exquisite!

    Even the most loyal Kate fanatic (like me!!) will find it hard to appreciate this coat. It looks really ill fitted, even though I know nothing about tailoring. But I think it is quite a favorite of Kate.

    Would be awesome to have a post on all Kiki Mcdonough earrings that Kate owns. :)

    To see one chignon after the other has been a real treat! Waiting for the Royal Ascot post. No pressure though ;)

  4. I have always loved this coat and I like how she changes it up with each hat(or lack of) she pairs with it. I do think it would stand to fit a little closer to her body and be more like a dress than a coat, but still its lovely none the less. I liked the new hat and the asymmetrical chignon to go with it. The hat is unique, but just small enough not to be too over the top. I will say that Zara and Mikes wedding is still my favorite outing of this ensemble, I to this day adore the hat she wore!

  5. I wish she had worn the red version of the hat with her new red heels–that would have been stunning! Or the hat she wore to Zara’s wedding. As it is, she blends in to the crowd too much. The coat and hat are gorgeous, just not together.

  6. I actually love the coat but it is not fitting her well and emphasizes all the wrong things about her slender frame. She looks like she’s getting swallowed up in it. I am however LOVING the updos!!

  7. I thought we weren’t supposed to be commenting on her weight as the point is to focus on the clothing. Fit is fair game; I feel like the emaciated comment crosses the line. One thing I notice about her, evident in this post, is that she wears the same clothing from long ago, so it’s not like she was a substantively different size earlier. Her face does look thinner, but that’s normal as people age. I was looking at some pictures of myself from college, when I actually weighed a bit less than I do now, but my face looks significantly thinner now than it did then.

    • Thanks so much for noting this, that was one that I completely missed.

    • Thank you so much. I read that comment yesterday and it had been bugging me ever since. I actually came here today to voice my displeasure. Now that the comment has been removed I feel better :)

      I am probably the same size as Kate. All my life I have heard comments, always expressed with concern (not real concern though) about my weight. It is extremely rude and disrespectful and as I get older, I have started calling people out.

      Body shaming is never acceptable no matter what the size. Thank you Susan for sticking to you policy.

  8. Hat reminds me of a giant rose; the cinnamon roll comparison also works but makes me hungry ;-)

    I am loving her hair and makeup choices this week. The updos have been very elegant without being stuffy. I loved the cat eye we saw and in these photos, her brows appear to be a bit bolder a la her Vogue shoot. They’re more squared off in the middle and filled in all over. Love it.

    The coat is another old lady coat for me. She looks so stunning in coats when they are a bit more playful – the red coat at the Order of the Garter is a great example of a coat dress done well. When the coat has more movement, they’re just more flattering on her figure. This oatmeal-y color also washes her out a bit.

  9. She looks delightful! The textures of the brocade coat and the (straw?) hat play nicely off eachother. They are different but complimentary and it saves the monochromatic look from being boring. The shoes, I do not like. What would have looked better? Maybe shoes with gold accents, or maybe navy pumps? Love the updo! Her hair color looks great in the sunshine in these photos.

  10. Busy week for the Duchess! I have always loved her Burberry coat. Too bad we didn’t see it again since 2011.

  11. I do love the coat and the dress, but I very much dislike the hat! If you look in the first photo, the one credited to David Maxwell, you can see how truly disproportionate it is. Small Duchess, fitted coat, LARGE hat atop. It’s positioning is so far forward that I feel it might have been distracting for those conversing with her. “Do I look her in the eyes or the cinnamon roll?” lol
    I LOVE the Duchess, but the hat is a miss for me. I love the jewelry she paired with the coat – very elegant.

  12. This is one coat that clearly stands up to wear, though I’m not sure it quite matches the stiff competition from Kate’s increasing stock of bespoke couture. It’s on the ball for a garden party and sits well on her. All that brocade is a bit strong for my taste but I think it works for a visiting royal, helping her stand out from the crowd.

    But that hat. I fear that with Kate consistently making stellar pics in the hat line it hits harder when there’s a bit of a miss. The attempt to create soft petals out of solid hattery looks like something well fossilised from a remote geological age. But never mind, it photographs quite well from several angles, where her head isn’t bent forward to get the full cabbage-in-bloom effect, and, like the coat, it is very garden party.

    I’m overjoyed we have such a fabulous view of the updo this time. This is her fourth over a single weekend. I love to think of her getting into the habit of clicking her fingers and having someone run to put it up for her. It helps us hugely too, when new earrings are debuted and these citrines are just solid gorgeous – it looks like Kate is getting quite a taste for bling.

    On balance,I think I can give this outfit a thumbs up, just. She’s doing so well at the moment it’s hard to keep up such a high standard every time.

  13. White Dolce and Gabana and a new hat for Ascot.

  14. William being baron makes her baroness not lady according to my research.

  15. This coat isn’t one of my favourites–I find the brocade, as beautiful as it is, a bit heavy and lumpy (‘oatmeal’ indeed), and the overall effect of this outfit reads rather bland. Kate has done a nice job of perking it up, though, with the mix of textures of hat and coat, the gorgeous earrings and the lovely chignon. I must be one of the few who like the hat–the proportions work and the angle is jaunty. The Irish Guards brooch is a nice thematic touch in the royal tradition. (And lovely to see Kate wearing a brooch at all–more, please.)

    After the visit to India and this busy month of June, I may go into withdrawal. Thanks for your amazing coverage of it all, and your sensitive post on the Cambridges’ visit to the U.S. embassy.

  16. I think Kate has been looking wonderful lately, although this look is not my favourite – the hat looks a bit like chelsea bun to me! But how amazing she can fit into a dress from 10 years ago after 2 children!
    Thanks for such a great blog and your thoughful and sensitive posts.

  17. Another beautiful pair of Kiki earrings, how I lust after Kate’s gorgeous collection! I love the Grace earrings and have 3 pairs myself, the blue topaz, citrine and amethyst and am hoping to get another pair soon but am unsure of which stone to go for. Would never have looked at these kind of pieces before Kate came on the scene.

  18. I think the hat is debatable, but definitely chic

  19. I read some of the replies.
    I must say I actually like the hat. Yes it seems fun and funny but I actually like it with this very heavy coat dress. It lightens up the heavy type coat. It looks fun and going well with a garden party being a flower.
    The times before when Kate wore this coat – it just seems so heavy. The hats – especially the first one doesn’t match. No I like this one best with this coat.
    Someone said about jewellery (shamrock) /patterns (Scottish tartan) being a bit much. But then again the Queen, Princess Ann, (“Princess Diana”) – they all do the same. Courtesy to their host. That’s all it is.
    The shoes and clutch: A deep maroon/burgundy would have looked nice in contrast perhaps?? or some beige shoes with a flower and glitter motif. (I saw some beautiful tan shoes with a flower motif and glitter pieces on the flower on the internet the other day) That would have looked good with the overall garden theme and flower pattern.

  20. Slinky and sweet. Catherine rocked this look.

  21. Huge fan of HRH and her looks this past week. As an American grateful for their visit to the embassy. I think the dress could be her McQueen dress she wore with Diana’s tiara? I would like the hat better if it were positioned differently it looks too forward, instead of on the side. I covet her jewelry collection especially the Kiki pieces and G Collins Tanzanite set. She does a great job in the face of tremendous criticism

  22. This whole look is fashion oatmeal for me. Bland and beige. I was not a fan of the hat but seeing it in red, I think I am just not a fan of the beige version. The red one is more appealing to me, I think because it looks more like a flower than a baked good.

    • I actually don’t mind the hat but I love your reference to a ‘baked good’. There is some lovely humour from contributors to this website.

  23. The Duke and Duchess stopped to sign a condolences book at the US Embassy in London before heading out. The Duchess was wearing a cute dress and earrings. Any ID on that outfit from the Daily Mail story? Love everything you do!!!!

  24. Love the coat, it’s lovely on her and perfect color and weight for a garden party. Love the hair & up-do’s look more finished than hair worn down. I am afraid I hate the hat. I love hats in general but not this one. I think Madam Secretary’s hat would be a different style for the Duchess/Lady to try

  25. My reaction is less about the clothes and more ‘how exhausted must the Royals be after so many days all dressed up and on display????’ And Kate’s doing it all in heels which makes my feet hurt just looking at the pix!

    And to that point, thank you so much for your speedy, complete and intelligent coverage of this last gasp of the Queen’s b’day. It’s been a joy to read.

  26. After all the great outfits of the past few days, this one looks rather blah. And the blah shoes go well with it. The coat is too busy and the added piece on the bottom is confusing. As someone else said, the hat is rather comical and I can’t figure out why it is priced at well over a thousand dollars. I do love the updo and hope she will continue this hairstyle with other hats.

    I’m thinking how weary Kate, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family must be feeling. They’ve certainly had many busy days. But they all handled it with grace and dignity.

  27. I adore how “princess-y” Catherine looks lately. The hair and jewelry are really taking it up a notch. And good gracious, I have to admire her for fitting into the same clothes 10 years and 2 babies later. I wish I could do the same. The hat though? It looks really, um, whimsical (“stupid” is what I want to say but I’m sure that won’t get past moderation). Why are hats so expensive? 650 GBP? Really?

  28. Kate is really on par lately with all of her fashion choices and today is no exception! I agree with many of you, the mixing of old and fresh has just been so refreshing and her hair up do’s are what are really making the outfits shine! I love her flowing locks as much as anyone but, there is a refinement to her styling this past week that make her appear, in my opinion, more regal but still young! I simply love how this up do mimics the rose pattern in her that. While this is not my favorite coat, today’s styling pieces make it very much work! Bravo Kate! Also, I just love this website. The pictures, the exquisite attention to detail, the environment you have created, it is just the best and and I thank you for all of it!

  29. I love the hat and the earrings are beautiful. I’m bored with this bag and shoes combination now though. I’m also not a fan of when Kate tries to go themed; tartan in Scotland, shamrock brooch in Ireland. It feels a bit cutesy to me.

  30. Love the coat and the updo. Loathe the hat! It’s borderline comical. And she has so many hats that would have been lovely, I’m very surprised that she chose this.

  31. I love the hat and new earings. The coat, not so much. I feel like the fabric is too soft for a coat and it doesn’t lay flat. Or maybe the fabric needed some interfacing to thicken it. I usually love how well Kate’s coats are tailored so perfectly. And this one just isn’t.

  32. What are the odds that William has bought all of her Kiki McDonough earrings for various occasions? We know he has bought some for her in the past and they did just have a wedding anniversary.

    I love that she really uses the things in her closet and changes up the accessories to keep it interesting and fresh. She is keeping things classic and pleasing while still making the effort to be modern. She’s switching up the toe shape on her iconic nude shoe choices and she’s playing with more unusual hats. I don’t know if that is her growing into her role and her style independently or if it is the touch of a stylist, but I think she’s looking the best she ever has lately.

    I know her long locks have their own cult following, but I ADORE her hair in these updos. She looks so very sophisticated.

  33. Thank you, as always, for your detailed posts! Can’t say I’m a fan of the hat, but her hair is beautiful. I hope Kate continues this trend of wearing it up with hats.

    FYI Kate is actually Lady Carrickfergus. “Baroness” is reserved for women who hold a barony in their own right.

  34. I know it’s all very British, but I’m so over the hats with nearly every outfit and nearly every event. I own that Burberry frilled-hem trench coat! Love it.

  35. Well, this coat is not one of my favorite Duchess wardrobe items. I’ve always found it a touch frumpy, which is ironic, since I own a dress by Day, Birger, and Mikkelsen that is, in the authoritative opinion of my husband, one of the all-time sexiest ever to grace my closets. Brocade can work very well for clothes (rather than upholstery) in limited doses, such as a jacket or pencil skirt, but an all-over brocade coat screams Grandma-of-the-1960s-or-70s in my view.

    (I do think that’s the Colette Dinnigan lace dress underneath, since she’s worn it with this coat on previous occasions. The fairly good glimpse of it I saw in other photos didn’t suggest it could be anything else.)

    Enough about the coat. I am mad about that hat! I realize it looks somewhat eccentric from the front, but a touch of eccentricity is often a hallmark of a great hat, and the views from the side and back have me sighing (and yearning) with delight. That’s one delicious piece of headgear, let me assure those of you who are on the fence about it.

    In fact, I think I’ve got to have it.

    • I think you may be right about the hat, this is a pleasing amount of eccentricity and the result is quirky — suitable for a mad hat tea party? Sorry. I think I may have to back off from a full thumbs down after all.

  36. I enjoy it when Susan posts previous wearings, which allow us to see Kate’s fashion evolution. I think that this coat, like the blue coat with the frayed trim, should be retired. They’ve done their duty. Kate looks much smarter in her bespoke McQueens, and other pieces that are custom for her.

  37. I don’t doubt it’s the same dress however she’s had the inner slip lengthened if the photos on the Daily Mail are anything to go by.

  38. I love the coat, the updo, the earrings. It is charming that Kate is appearing again in such a beautiful piece– this brocade is subtle and elegant.

  39. Not a fan of the hat, but I love this hairstyle on her.

  40. What a fabulous hat- to be almost silly but yet beautiful is perfect for a summer hat!
    I love it and love her hair- just really well coordinated! Her updos have been really gorgeous- her hair must be the perfect length for these styles as it used to look heavy and almost falling when it aaas longer and pinned up. Nice to see a beautiful citrine earring; much preferred to the plain jane teardrops she usually wears in this gem stone. She looks young and happy and beautiful!

    • Love your summing up of the hat, between yourself and Lili I think I may be able to reconcile myself to it. You’re quite right that whatever quirkiness is in the hat, its wearer remains very beautiful.

      And that’s an interesting point about her hair. Can it be that with it shorter it becomes easier for her to wear it up? The weight of her heavy tresses might have been a bit much to cope with. I’ve known folks who got headaches if they tried pinning up a lot of long hair. In Kate’s case of course there’s extra anxiety in case the hair falls out, bad enough at any social occasion, but in front of all those cameras — no joke!

  41. This look is just okay. The coat needs its top button moved so there’s not that ripple of fabric that I see in each front-facing shot.

    I like the hat.

  42. love everything about this outfit and her hair looks gorgeous.

  43. She looks very pretty, as always. I can’t quite make up my mind about the hat, but I think I like it.

    There actually appears to be a slight fitting issue with the coat. In all the pictures, you can see it pulls a bit at the bodice, and gapes between the first and second buttons. At first I thought the top button wasn’t sewn in quite the right spot, but it does the same thing on the person in the ebay pictures. It must be an issue with the cut, or maybe the fabric?

  44. Her hair is stunning. I love the up do’s she wears. The hat is nice. Unfortunately, I do not like the coat. I’m not sure what it is- the colour of it looks an off yellow in some pictures. II preferred the coat when it was worn with the ‘pringle’ hat to Zara’s wedding.

  45. Like the coat, hate the hat. As said earlier she wore much nicer hats with the coat on previous occasions.
    Like the broach, it’s a classy touch.

  46. I’ve always loved the coat and the rose hat is a delight!

  47. Overall, not my favorite look on the duchess. Brocade screams grandmother to me and the hat looks like a large cinnamon roll sliding off her head. The other odd bit is that placket of material around the bottom of the coat. I don’t care for that but the dress is beautiful! Look how young and happy she looks in the book launch photo. The pale pink lace is lovely.

  48. Out of curiosity, how do you know which dress she’s wearing under the coat if we can’t see it? Or were there other photos where the dress is visible underneath?

    • That’s a great question. I will post a photo in an hour or two, but there are photos showing the eyelash lace just under the coat. :)

      • Yes, please do! I am always dying to know what the dresses underneath look like!! And how anyone knows what’s under there!

  49. I suspect Kate’s hat will be polarizing in the comments here! At first I thought it looked too much like a giant cinnamon roll, but it’s growing on me.

    • Exactly what I said…..lol!

    • I had to look twice but on the second glance, I fell in love. It’s whimsical and I think quite pretty.

    • I think the color of the hat is what makes me cringe more than the actual hat itself. It would probably be adorable in a navy or dark color.

      I dislike intensely this coat. The fabric reminds me of a bad drape and the color is just. Ugh.

    • I actually quite like the hat, but I did think “cinnamon bun” — and then, scanning the post rapidly, I read that it’s made of “sinamay” and I’m terribly afraid I giggled.

      I am too old to giggle. But I do like the hat!

  50. I love this coat and dress! I’m glad she’s bringing back items from before she was married. She, again, looked lovely though I’m not a fan of the hat she wore today. The hat she wore with this coat to Zara’s wedding is my favorite. Those new earrings are to die for!

    • That hat is my favorite too but I did like today’s hat very much. Quirky in a subtle way. Quite interesting.The earrings are to die for!

  51. Loving that Kate’s updo mirrors her hat. Clever!

  52. She is flawless. I’m curious now as to how many Kiki McDonough earrings she has now?

  53. May I ask how we are so confident in the Collette Dinnigan lace dress under the jacket on all these occasions? I do see a peek of lace in one of today’s pictures that looks similar to the dress, but am otherwise mystified! Are there pictures released that aren’t shown above?

    In any event, the dress appears a bit on the slinky side for a daytime garden party — I assume Kate wouldn’t have removed her coat?

    • I will post a photo in an hour or two…but there are photos showing the eyelash lace just under the coat. :)

      • You can also just barely see the lace peeking out around the neckline in the close up photo of her face/hat in this post, just under the eBay photos.

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