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The Duchess in More McQueen for Royal Air Force 100th Anniversary.

Kate wore Alexander McQueen for today’s historic events marking the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary. She attended the RAF 100 service at Westminster Abbey, arriving with Prince William and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Seeing the Duchess at the service was a surprise, she had not been included in the original list of participants released by the Palace.

Flag bearers making final preparations before the service.

Some of the active-duty RAF personnel on hand this morning before the service got underway.

There was a very strong royal presence at all of the events marking the occasion. Sophie, Countess of Wessex, looking very elegant as she arrived at Westminster Abbey.

Sir Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne.

Prince Andrew.

Other dignitaries attended, including Prime Minister Theresa May.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince William and Kate being greeted as they enter the Abbey. The Duke wore the No. 1 uniform of the Royal Air Force and his RAF wings, showing he is a qualified RAF pilot.

As always, the final person to enter an event is HM.

The Dean of Westminster, the very Reverend Dr. John Hall, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Queen ready to head up the aisle.

More than 2200 people attended the service.  At the podium in this photo, Wing Commander Nikki Thomas, the first ever female RAF Tornado bomber squadron commander. She read the poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr., “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.”

More on the service from an ITV story:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, addressed the congregation and said the RAF has in its first 100 years been a decisive factor in serving the country, as well as being key in protecting democracy and freedom.

With an RAF ensign draped over the high altar behind him in the abbey, Mr Welby also highlighted how members of his own family have served and been killed in the RAF – drawing attention to his own father who flew low level sorties in Burma.

Following the service, the Queen presented a new flag to the regiment, a ceremony known as the Presentation of Colours.

You see many of the other royals in attendance.

HM delivered remarks, saying, “I remember the Battle of Britain being fought in the skies above us, and we shall never forget the courage and sacrifice of that time.”

The RAF was a new branch of the British military when it was formed in 1918. The Royal Naval Air Service was merged with the Royal Flying Corps to create the new entity. The Queen spoke about her father, George VI; he was the first member of the Royal Family to qualify as a Royal Air Force pilot.

The Royal Air Force Pipes and Drums taking part in the parade after the service and ceremony.

Crowds lined the streets to watch the parade and flyby.

Another view.

Another view from above.

You can see a number of London landmarks in this picture.

The Red Arrows leave their mark on the sky.

Another view.

And a video of the jets as they flew over the Palace.

In the afternoon there was a reception at Buckingham Palace for RAF veterans, active duty staff, and their families. Princess Anne and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence meeting personnel from the RAF’s Emergency Response Team.

The Duke is clearly in his element at events like this one.

Sophie and Edward spent time at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths STEM tent at the reception.

The Duke of Kent as he arrived at the reception.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Prince Charles speaking with a vet who looks like he *might* have served in WWII.

Now for what Kate wore.

Many will recognize the piece, as it is almost identical to two other Alexander McQueen designs the Duchess has worn. Most recently the Duchess wore the style in a very (very) pale yellow to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  

Originally we saw Kate wearing the style to Charlotte’s christening.

She brought the dress back for Trooping the Colour in 2016, and again for a Battle of Passchendaele centenary service in Belgium in July 2017.

Today the Duchess debuted a new hat by Sean Barrett.

Mr. Barrett is a milliner specializing in chapeaux for the dramatic arts, designing primarily for television and film. His IMDB listing shows credits for TV programs like The Crown and Downton Abbey, and films ranging from Mary Poppins Returns to Evita.

Kate wore the diamond drops on loan from HM we have seen previously.

And the RAF Air Cadets Dacre brooch.

Set with diamonds, rubies and other gemstones, the Duchess first wore the brooch in February 2016 at a church service honoring the 75th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Cadets, of which she is the patron.

Kate carried a new clutch that I haven’t yet identified.

She wore her Gianvito Rossi suede heels in the praline colorway.

There are some terrific videos related to the anniversary. This one offers a 1:50 overview of the day’s events.



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Sunday 26th of September 2021

The clutch is the McQueen "Butterfly Box Clutch Bag". She has about half a dozen in different colours. This fabric looks custom, but there are similar McQueen fabrics out there -


Monday 27th of September 2021

Thanks, Em!


Sunday 15th of July 2018

Just wanted to float one more theory that if she is breastfeeding and/ or pumping it could be that this style is just the easiest to accommodate that which could explain why she keeps wearing it - it’s a pain to excuse yourself and get undressed each time otherwise.

NOTE: quick admin edit


Friday 13th of July 2018

So good to see Kate in this style of coat-dress, again. This style is simple, delightfully well-fitted, and just plain gorgeous. Disappointed to see, for a third time, that this outfit needs one more snap (or hook-and-eye) just at the waist seam. The coat pulls open there, despite how well-fitted it is. Kate looks so lovely - this little distraction could be so easily avoided.


Friday 13th of July 2018

Why do we think she owns this in three colors? Two worn in rapied succession?

I’d love to know thoughts?

My thought-so she doesn’t have to make choices? She’s already decided she likes this cut so the two times she has been out while really on maternity leave the choice is made and maybe most importantly her cloths are drawing attention away from the event. I wonder.


Thursday 12th of July 2018

I understand why some people want to see Kate in more exciting outfits, and less of the predictable and similar pieces she has worn in the past. I do too, however, let's put ourselves in Kate's shoes - she just had a baby and is now a mother of 3 (a handful!). The last thing she is probably interested in doing is thinking about what fabulous outfit to wear every time she has a public event. Yes, I'm sure she has nannies and assistants, but she still has to make the final decision on what to wear, what goes with what, etc. It still takes effort and I really think it's not her top priority. Wearing similar pieces and sticking to certain designs minimizes decision-making - it's efficient. So let's cut her some slack. I'm sure she will surprise us with something new and fabulous - at some point!

Mary Ann

Friday 13th of July 2018

I think you make a good point. Plus I'm wondering if there is any cue she is taking from the Queen who seems to always wear a matching coat and dress and she is moving towards this for official "state" type events such as the recent ones we've seen. I do think Kate is rather traditional in her fashion choice (others have called it matronly but I think it's really just classic and traditional) so starting to move towards a more static type "uniform" as is the Queen's practice or at least trying it out, may be part of what we are seeing. She may also be moving towards aligning herself more with the Queen and older royals and letting Meghan be the style setter as Kate and William will be moving up to a more senior role in the future whereas Meghan and Harry will not.

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