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Kate Brings Back Alexander McQueen Separates for Visit to Historic WWII Site with a Family Connection

For a visit to historic Bletchley Park the Duchess wore separates from Alexander McQueen.Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

Kate was visiting Bletchley Park to mark the completion of a huge restoration project and also tour the facility. The landmark is where WWII codebreakers worked in secrecy.  From Oliver Duggan’s story in The Telegraph

The royal tour marked the completion of a year-long, £8 million restoration project at Bletchley Park, which has returned the buildings to their Second World War appearance and created new visitor facilities. The site fell into near-dereliction after the war.

This photo shows only the primary building; there are more than 70 buildings on the grounds.

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park

Kate meeting with staff members who worked on the restoration.

Clarence House Instagram

Victoria Murphy Twitter Feed (@QueenVicMirror)

The facility was actually part of the government’s Code and Cypher School.  Below you see the Duchess working with a replica radio identical to those used during the War.

Clarence House Instagram

Clarence House Instagram

There was another reason Kate wanted to visit; from the Bletchley Park website:

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has a highly personal reason for visiting Bletchley Park. Her paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, later Middleton, worked at the Government Code and Cypher School’s top secret headquarters during World War Two.

Miss Glassborow worked in the newly restored Hut 6 (later named Hut 16) alongside her twin sister, Mary Glassborow. Both were Foreign Office Civilians in the Cover Management Y section, which managed the interception of enemy signals for decryption at Bletchley Park.

©The Middleton Family via Clarence House

©The Middleton Family via Clarence House

From a story by Ruth Styles in The Daily Mail:

As bombs fell on London and the Wehrmacht rampaged across France, a young woman named Valerie Glassborow was among the civilians working around the clock at Bletchley Park, feeding false trails to German High Command as D-Day approached.

70 years on, Miss Glassborow’s granddaughter, the Duchess of Cambridge, was back at Bletchley to see the results of a year-long £8m restoration programme and meet one of her grandmother’s former colleagues.

That former colleague is Lady Marion Body, seen chatting here with Kate.

Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire

Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire

From Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

Kate listened to Lady Body describe the work she did with Valerie as they stood in the same hut the women had worked in.

Kate said: “What an incredible story that you shared your time here with my grandmother.

“It’s so moving for me, and to be here as well.

“I was aware of it when I was a young girl and I often asked granny about it but she was very quiet and never said anything.”

Many consider the work done at Bletchley Park to have had such a dramatic impact that it shortened the war by at least two years, others say the impact brought an end to the war 4 years earlier.

Google’s Cultural Insititute has a marvelous section on Bletchley Park, with pictures like those below: a drawing of “Our Hats” dated 1943, and a photograph showing Dorothy Du Boisson (left) and Elsie Booker (right), members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service who worked as Colossus Operators.

Bletchley Park Google INstitute Images Crown Copyright kind permission Director GCHQ

©Crown Copyright/Kind Permission Director GCHQ via Google Cultural Institute

Kate planted a tree to commemorate her visit, seen in this photo shared by Amy Woodfield of Heart FM radio.
Shared with Kind Permission of Amy Wordfield

Shared with Kind Permission of Amy Woodfield, Heart FM (@HeartNews_Amy on Twitter)


On to the style portion of our post. Many a Kate fashion follower recognized what she was wearing immediately; the Alexander McQueen separates were first seen in 2011 for a visit to Birmingham with Prince William. The Silk-georgette Blouse showcased gold buttons at the cuffs and on the front, a stand collar, military-style frogging on the front and a quasi-peplum waistline (my term).

Military Stytle Silk Blouse via Net-a-Porter


The Embellished Wool Crepe skirt was below-knee length with embossed gold buttons, symmetrical slits (longer than those on Kate’s skirt) and side pocket decor.

McQueen Wool Embellished Skirt at Net-a-Porter


The pieces both had military references in the style name and/or descriptions. The skirt was said to have a “covetable military aesthetic,” while the blouse was described as a “military-inspired silk-georgette blouse” that was embellished with “military-style frogging.” I only raise the point because today is another instance of the Duchess dressing with literal references to the engagement she is attending, or people she is seeing. In 2011 William and Kate were visiting an area of Birmingham ravaged by riots; today the connection is more obvious as she tours a former military establishment.

Kate accessorized with her blue suede Stuart Weitzman ‘Muse’ clutch from Russell and Bromley.Stephen Lock/i-Images/Polaris

We also saw Kate’s blue suede heels. Today’s photos offered a good look at the shoes, I thought it merited sharing the tighter shot.Stephen Lock/i-Images/Polaris

For jewelry, Kate wore her sapphire and diamond earrings.

Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

Below we show Kate today (l) and in 2011 (r), Polaris

A couple of quick Sales & Savings opportunities: 1) The Reiss sale started today. Kate’s Delaney Seam Detail Fit & Flare coat is now priced at $414 USD. (This is from the Reiss US site.)Lyst/Lyst/James Whatling Splash News

2) Also today, Stuart Weitzman is on sale at flash sale site RueLaLa.



As you can see from the graphic the Minx in Kate’s camel color is sold out. There are quite a few other styles available for those fond of the brand and the savings seem decent.

We’ll see you later this week or over the weekend.



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Saturday 21st of June 2014

Kate looks wonderful to me! I love this outfit!!:) I think she looks the best in McQueen.


Saturday 21st of June 2014

I love the outfit. It was so wonderful to see a picture of her grandmother and learn of that special connection. I hope whatever happened to her shin heals up soon! That looks sore!


Saturday 21st of June 2014

Love the blog, been a fan for a long time! However, I'm getting bored of Kates constant repeats....anyone else?


Saturday 21st of June 2014

I'm not bored by the repeats but I do tend to feel a bit cheated of a brand new outfit to look at and discuss :)

On the other hand, I admire Kate for wearing things more than once. As someone has already said, the blouse could with work with a different skirt or trousers - and I'd really like to know if it has a peplum.


Friday 20th of June 2014

I really love this story, it lends a background to the person, helps you understand where they're coming from.

I am one of those who feels the clothes to be quite custome-y the first instance around. After all it was not a festive occasion. But this second time around it is quite fitting and lovely.


Friday 20th of June 2014

I'm plucking up the nerve to comment here for the first time just to say that this a special post for me as long-time reader; my grandmother's cousin was also a codebreaker at Bletchley, and it's my local historic landmark (and a very good friend of mine got married there a few years ago). It's a fascinating place and well worth a visit, everyone in the local area is so pleased that the money was found to restore it as it's such an important part of the story of WWII. My office was abuzz this week with the news that the Duchess of Cambridge was coming to our town. Oh, and I covet her skirt in a serious way.

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