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It’s a Bhutanese Kira for Kate at Welcome Ceremony, Shimmering New Earrings & More

We have seen Kate in two different looks today as the royal tour left India and traveled to Bhutan. For the departure from India and arrival near Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Kate brought back an Emilia Wickstead piece.© Stephen Lock / i-Images

Flying into Bhutan can be quite an undertaking; from The Telegraph:

The Duke and Duchess touched down in Paro, near Thimpu, at an airport that is reputed to be the hardest in the world at which to land. Only a handful of pilots are qualified to fly in to Paro, where they must perform a sharp 90 degree turn immediately before landing because of the mountains that surround it.

Kate and William’s visit is big news in the Himalayan country, many of the day’s events were live-streamed by Bhutan Broadcasting.

Bhutan Broadcasting

Bhutan Broadcasting

The Duke and Duchess were greeted by the King’s sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck.Roay Nikkhah, The Times @RoyaNikkhah

We previously saw this piece at the Order of the Thistle in 2012.©Splash News

Today the coat was worn with a belt, which enhanced the look of the coat significantly. Kate Yellow Wickstead Bhutan Arrival Belt Closeup images When leaving India this morning the Duchess wore her ‘Chrissy’ dress by Tory Burch, as shared in this picture by ABC’s Carolyn Durand; you can just see Kate as she is about to board this morning’s flight.

Carolyn Durand, ABC News

Carolyn Durand, ABC News

Kate previously wore the piece when attending a private Place2Be meeting in June 2014.Tory Burch

UPDATE 2: Sarah left a comment sharing that NBC’s correspondent reported Kate changing clothes on the plane today. I was definitely wrong on this one. Thanks to everyone who shared their input. The post has been changed to reflect the updated info. UPDATE 1: Several comments have noted that the Tory Burch dress is unlikely to have been worn under the Wickstead coat, the dress would have shown at the collar of the coat. That is a good observation. On some level I believe that if there was one person who might button up that coat to the neck, concealing all beneath it, that person is the Duchess. But that begs an obvious question: why would she do that?  My inclination is that she probably didn’t. Kate accessorized with her Natalie clutch and Fern pumps, both by LK Bennett. The Fern is out of stock but you can register your interest in owning a pair with LK Bennett if so inclined.©Stephen Lock/i-Images

She also wore a new pair of earrings we’ve yet to identify. UPDATE: It turns out they are by Scottish brand Brora, the retailer’s Gold Charm Earrings style.Kate Bhutan Arrival Earrings Apr 14 2016 S Lock im copy

Below, Kate and William on their way to the Tashichho Dzong for their audience with the King.

The Duchess changed into a traditional Bhutanese look, wearing a kira (also spelled as kera).James Whatling / Splash News

Inside the Dzong you see a massive tapestry behind the couple.King Jigme Khesar

More from Gordon Rayner in The Telegraph:

They arrived at the official royal fortress, the Tashichho Dzong, walking behind a procession of musicians and dancers in national dress, then bowed and curtsied to the king and queen, reflecting their more junior status, as they were welcomed by them.

After the audience, Kate and William saw what is considered the grandest room in the building, where monks perform their daily prayers. “Every inch of the room is covered in Buddhist art, and a thousand smaller statues of the Buddha line the walls.” 

After the private time, both couples made their way across the courtyard for the chipdrel, or welcoming ceremony. On the far right below you can see William and Kate.Rebecca English, The Daily Mail

The chipdrel features traditional Bhutanese musical and dance performances. Richard Palmer, The Express @RoyalReporter

You get a sense of the ceremonial energy in this brief video  #RoyalVisitBhutan @5_News

Then it was time for another formal photo memorializing the visit.Rebecca English, The Daily Mail

Kate’s purple fabric played nicely off the Queen’s rich red hues.© Stephen Lock / i-Images

After the ceremony ended Kate and William were treated to an archery exhibition and competition; archery is Bhutan’s national sport.

Rebecca English, The Daily Mail

Rebecca English, The Daily Mail

From The Telegraph’s coverage:

…crowds lining the archery field had been told the Duke might try his hand at archery, but clearly had not expected the Duchess to get involved too. After the Duke fired two arrows at a dinner plate-sized target from 50 yards away, shooting wide both times, he offered the bow to the famously competitive Duchess, who prompted a huge cheer from the 1,000-strong crowd when she accepted.

“Target? What target?”©James Whatling / Splash News

Now for a closer look at Kate’s outfit, beginning with some background on traditional dress from

The woman’s kera is an ankle length dress. Made from finely woven fabrics, the kira has traditional and beautifully coloured patterns. While machine milled traditional clothing is popular for daily wear, the traditionally woven dress is worn on all formal occasions including working in the office

The fabric for the piece was sourced and woven in Bhutan by noted artisan Kelzang Wangmo./

Kate did not actually wear a dress, but a skirt, what is called a half-kira. More from Monique Jessen’s story for People:

Putting her own spin on the look, Kate chose not to wear the full kira, which is normally draped around the entire body and secured with a brooch and a hand woven belt. Instead, Kate opted to wear a sarong-style kira skirt. “Normally the kira is not really a skirt, it is more of a dress because it comes right up to the neck – which is the traditional way of wearing it,” explains the translator, sitting by Wangmo’s side. “But some Bhutanese women wear a half kira, which is more modern and similarly the Duchess has chosen this style.”

Ms. Wangmo is so respected she was asked to create pieces for the wedding of the future Queen Jetsun. Kensington Palace shared a brief video of the weaver reacting to news that her fabric was used for Kate’s skirt.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The Duchess introduced another clothing brand, wearing a Paul and Joe wool cape.Paul and Joe

The cape is all wool, with a silk lining and hook & eye front fastening. The intricate embroidery seen on the piece was actually done in India.Net-a-Porter

Our thanks to HRH Duchess Kate for the identification of this piece. Kate wore her LK Bennett Fern heels again   UPDATED: It turns out that Kate changed shoes before the afternoon’s engagements. She put on something with a lower heel than the Fern worn this morning with the Emilia Wickstead. Below we show the heels worn in the afternoon compared with the LK Bennett Florete; it very much looks like the Floret (It’s spelled both ways), but even LK Bennett can’t definitively say it is their shoe.i-Images/LK Bennett

She wore a beautiful pair of earrings we haven’t previously seen.

UPDATING EARRINGS: I think the photo in the upper right of this updated montage shows what the other two pictures didn’t, the diamond borders on the earrings. It looks like Anna of My Small Obsessions was correct in thinking they are Kiki McDonough’s Lavender Amethyst Pear and Oval Drops (£3900).

Kiki McDonough/Various

Kiki McDonough/Various

This evening the Duke and Duchess have a private dinner with the King and Queen. I am doing a separate post on that event, lest this become unmanageably long. We leave you with this funny face of Kate’s.

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

UPDATED APR 15: Apparently Kate’s expression had nothing to do with song lyrics. I am hunting for the proper info and will update when I am able to do so.


  • The King of Bhutan’s Facebook page is here, the Queen’s page is here, the Bhutan Archery Federation website is here
  • A BBC piece, “Bhutan: Things you may not have known about the country” is here
  • The Daily Mail‘s story on the arrival is here; The Telegraph’s story is here;
  • A Daily Mirror piece on visiting Bhutan is here 
  • A profile of weaver Kelzang Wangma in the Taipei times may be seen here, the Kelzang Handicraft website is here and Facebook page is here 


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Wednesday 5th of May 2021

I know my response is now 6 years old....but it is regarding her it possible she is wearing the 'GILBERT" patent leather pumps in Nude by JIMMY CHOO....or the 'MALORY' kid leather Nude pumps by RUPERT SANDERSON??? I think the JC's may be a better match as the heel looks to be lower than LKB or RS.


Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Thank you for commenting, Lori. It's certainly a possibility! :)


Friday 15th of April 2016

I love seeing all the beautiful textiles from Bhutan! Oddly, the thing that stands out to me the most in these pictures is how Kate holds her hands when walking. This must be why she prefers to carry a clutch when possible, her hands do look very nervous, just clutching the fingers like that. I can sympathize, I get quite nervous in crowds too and I'm not being photographed by zillions of people. It would be ideal to practice doing something different with her hands though, maybe loosely hold her wrist instead of down by the fingers, or try keeping them at her side.


Friday 15th of April 2016

I think the Duchess looks lovely in the half kira! When I first saw the pictures that was my first thought for sure.


Friday 15th of April 2016

Can we identify Queen Jetson's red shoes?


Friday 15th of April 2016

On the yellow Wickstead - I am amazed at how the small changes made to this coat completely altered my opinion of it. Seems to fit better, and I don't know how it's possible, but the waist appears to be "longer" with the addition of the belt, directly in opposition to what common sense would dictate. And I'm definitely in the minority in my opinion of the color - yellow is a tough color but the combination of tone and sheen of this coat I've always thought lovely.

The cape and kira - I thought this was a beautiful look for the Duchess, and a graceful nod to the Bhutanese culture. My quibbles are minor. Her shoes were a bit "status quo" - nothing exciting, but she must feel comfortable walking in them in so narrow a skirt ( in contrast I loved the "jazzy" appeal of the Queen's platform sandals). And the cape for archery is downright unsafe. I am an archer, albeit with a compound bow (which has small "gears", for those who don't have experience), and all of that blowing fabric around a bow and arrow is just not safe, nor is her hair being worn down. Those were big "no-no's" when I was learning archery. Of course, the photos are gorgeous - all that hair and fabric flying while she holds the bow and shoots - quite "Zena-warrior-princess", which might have been the ultimate goal. My minor quibbles aside, I felt the outfit was smashing, and she looked absolutely lovely.


Friday 15th of April 2016

I was shocked by the yellow coat as well. When I first saw it, I thought it was the EW but wasn't completely sure because it looked different in some way. Maybe she had it slightly altered. She's so incredibly thin, but maybe after the 2 babies, some things had to be altered. I say this because I can't believe that a simple belt was enough to change the look. But maybe it was.

I think this is one of my top favorites from this trip. She looks better in this kind of yellow, it's like a buttery yellow. Her "banana" dress from the Australia trip was too harsh. I'm not a fan of the solid colors that have a white base on her. It's too bright and stark. She looks better in her blues, be them variants of blue, or colors that have a base color of blue, which I think is what the EW coat dress has going for it. ((hope I'm making sense when I say base color, which could be the wrong terminology))

It saddens me that this plain coat is one of my favorites on this trip. She's in India. My goodness the colors and fabrics and prints she could have done. When I saw the blue dress the first night, I thought we'd be in for a treat and it's just been disappointing. I know she went for some prints, but they felt a little plain and a little too safe. Although some of them were just huge disappointments.

Oh well.

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