Nov 302012

Kate made a savvy style statement today while visiting her old prep school, Saint Andrew’s, Pangbourne.

Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire

Why is it a wise choice? Because her Black Watch tartan coat sends a message of respect for the day and the school, November 30th is St. Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s National Day. There is additional significance to the tartan on its own merit: the navy and green pattern is that of Scotland’s 3rd Battalion Regiment, known as the Black Watch. Below, a better look at the design.

It was also a nod to one of Kate’s favorite fashion houses, founder Alexander McQueen was Scottish.  More from the brand on its use of this motif:

The use of the navy and dark-green plaid of Scotland’s 3rd Battalion Regiment, the Black Watch, represents the brand’s reverence for history and tradition. The same fabric has been used in previous McQ Alexander McQueen collections and unites the label with the mainline brand.

Kate attended St. Andrew’s from 1986-1995. Among other sports, she played on the rounders team, she is seen in the front row on the far left.

©Middleton Family

The school traditionally holds special activities to mark St. Andrew’s Day, it really was an ideal occasion for Kate to visit and dedicate a new hockey field.  As one would expect, anticipation was high, students were eager to see Kate, this photo comes via BBC Radio’s Matt Treacy on Twitter.

Matt Treacy BBC Radio Twitter

Our thanks to Matt Treacy for posting so many wonderful photos of today’s events.

Matt Treacy, BBC Radio Twitter Feed (@RadioMatty)

Paul Harrison of Sky News shared pictures of Kate’s arrival and official welcome.

Paul Harrison, Sky News Twitter Feed (@SkyNewsRoyal)

More from Newbury Today:

Appropriately dressed in a tartan outfit, the Duchess was greeted by a piper at the school as she arrived at 12.40pm.

It is the first time the Duchess has undertaken an official visit in West Berkshire, where she grew up, since her marriage to Prince William…

Once inside Kate watched students performing traditional Scottish songs and dancing.

Matt Treacy, BBC Radio (@RadioMatty)

Back to the Newbury Today story:

Her Royal Highness enjoyed a lunch of Scottish beef after which she met pupils and staff. As she entered one of the classrooms, she commented: ‘It’s very quiet in here. I bet it’s not always like this.’

Kate was on hand to dedicate a new hockey pitch (field).


Kate made brief remarks before unveiling the plaque commemorating the new field, following is a portion of her comments:

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that when I had to leave, I told my mother that I was going to come back to be a teacher. While that didn’t quite happen, I was thrilled to have been asked back today on St. Andrew’s Day.

‘It was while I was here at school that I realised my love of sport. Sport has been a huge part of my life, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had to get outside and play in such wonderful open spaces – though sadly there was nothing quite as glamorous as this in my time!

You can hear Kate’s entire address in The Telegraph’s video.

The London Telegraph

Kate then surprised everyone by picking up a hockey stick and taking to the field in her high-heeled Aquatalia Rhumba boots.

Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images (Courtesy Photo Provided by Aquatalia)

Kate still seems to have her touch on the hockey field.

Newbury Today Twitter Feed

The non-sporting footwear didn’t seem to faze her at all.

Max Foster, CNN Twitter

She clearly enjoyed herself, speaking with students and staff.

Via Mel Bloor, ITV Twitter Feed (@MelBloorITV)

As we mentioned, Kate opted for an occasion-appropriate coat from McQ by Alexander McQueen.

Matt Treacy, BBC Radio Twitter Feed

Kate’s coat dress incorporates elements from several of this fall’s pieces, including the McQ Alexander McQueen Black Watch Coat ($7220 Special Order at Net-a-Porter), primarily the full skirt and oversized flaps at the hips; the bodice has some similarity to McQ’s Black Watch Blazer ($879 at Zappos Couture).

McQ Alexander McQueen/ PA Wire

Here is how the coat is described at Net-a-Porter (where it is available by special order):

  • Cut from swathes of Black Watch plaid, this mohair-blend coat marries the romantic, historical and theatrical influences of the collection.
  • Epaulettes, flap pockets, flared skirt, raw hem, fully lined
  • Concealed asymmetric button fastenings at front
  • 50% mohair, 30% fleece, 20% polyamide

Kate’s coat is minimally influenced by the McQ Black Watch Origami Mini Dress (£610 at Alexander McQueen, approximately $1000 at today’s exchange rates).

McQ by Alexander McQueen

A reminder of Kate’s “Origami Coat” in white, worn most recently for Order of the Garter in June of this year, today’s piece has none of the folds or inverted pleat seen the dress above and the white coat.

PA Wire

The Black Watch is a popular pattern, actress Marion Cotillard wore the dress on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in early November.

Alexander McQueen Facebook

As mentioned, the Fall 2012 McQ collection showcased this tartan, more from Women’s Wear Daily review of the McQ runway show (subscription req’d.) back in February:

The polished, elegant clothes popped with McQueen signatures, including Black Watch tartan for coats with cinched waists and full skirts, as well as kilts for men.

McQ is the brand’s hipper, edgier arm, there were multiple pieces of in this tartan.

McQ by

Above we show the Bustier Dress ($4795 by special order), Straight Leg Trousers and the Buckled Shoe ($535). Not shown is a Mini Slash Neck Wool Dress.

Many will have already noted that Kate was in her Aquatalia Rhumba boots when she took to the hockey pitch.

Aquatalia/PA Wire

The oft-seen black suede clutch made a return today, as did Kate’s sapphire and diamond earrings.

One aside that may prompt a smile, during the visit Kate shared what her nickname was at school, more from the Daily Mail:

The Duchess of Cambridge today paid a visit to the beloved prep school where she spent nine happy years – and revealed that as a pupil she was nicknamed Squeak – just like the school’s pet guinea pig.

Kate, 30, who ‘adored’ her time at St Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire, confessed to the moniker when she was chatting to a group of young children in the pre-Prep part of the school.

She asked them if they kept pets at school and told how when she was at St Andrews, the school had two guinea pigs. ‘There was one called Pip and one called Squeak, so my sister was called Pip and I was Squeak,’ she said.

The Duchess appeared to be enjoying herself a great deal.

Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire


One other morsel to share, and it is great news: Russell & Bromley has finally opened its ecommerce site.

Russell & Bromley

This is ideal for fashion fans looking for Kate’s favorite pieces online, like the Muse clutch or Park Ave shoe.

Russell & Bromley

Currently the company is only shipping to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but there is word that will be expanded in 3 to 4 months.