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UPDATE: King’s Cup Date Changed, Plus Kate’s Nautical Style

We are back with a preview of the King’s Cup this Friday this Thursday and a refresher on some of Kate’s nautical styles. First, the King’s Cup. Many will remember when the Duke and Duchess announced the event in May

NOTE: Because of weather conditions the event has been moved up a day and will take place Thursday, the 8th, not Friday as originally scheduled. Above, the couple unveiling the historic trophy, first presented by King George V in 1920. 

A refresher on the basics:

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will race head to head in an eight-boat regatta, each skippering one of the boats.
  • Each boat will represent one of eight charities Kate and William support; all will benefit from funds raised through the event.
    • Kate’s charities are:
      • Action on Addiction
      • Place2Be
      • the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
      • The Royal Foundation in connection with Her Royal Highness’s work on Early Years
    • Prince William’s charities are:
      • Child Bereavement UK
      • Centrepoint
      • The London Air Ambulance Charity 30th Anniversary Campaign
      • Tusk
  • The race will be just ahead of the annual Cowes Week, the world’s oldest and largest sailing regatta.
  • The race now starts at 2pm local time, 9am EDT/6am PDT.
  • The racing will take place in the Solent and be run by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Below left, a map showing the Isle of Wight in relationship to London. On the right, you see the Isle’s location in the Solent (the strait that separates it from mainland England).

Last week celebrity ambassadors for all of the charities were announced. 

From left to right, top row: TV presenter Katie Thistleton, BBC Radio presenter, Place2Be; John Bishop, comedian, Action on Addiction (see the Duchess and Mr. Bishop at this engagement in 2014); Helen Glover, Olympic Rowing Champion, the Anna Freud Centre. In the second row, we see Prince William on the left, representing Child Bereavement UK; on the right, the Duchess, competing on behalf of The Royal Foundation. The third row: Dan Snow, historian and television presenter, London Air Ambulance; Fara Williams, soccer player, Centrepoint; Bear Grylls, outdoorsman/television presenter, Tusk.

As mentioned, the Royal Yacht Squadron is managing the race. 

The clubhouse is located in Cowes Castle, originally built by Henry VIII in 1539 as one of his “chain of coastal defences, protecting the Island from invasion and the naval dockyard at Portsmouth from attack” per the RYS

As noted in this 2015 NY Times piece, the Squadron has “a uniquely rich maritime history whose members and their boats played a role in both World Wars. The membership roll has included the Arctic polar explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton, a Russian czar, British kings, the round-the-world solo-sailing pioneers Francis Chichester and Robin Knox-Johnston, as well as Ben Ainslie…”.                                                                                                                                 

HM is patron of the RYS. Prince Philip is an Admiral and member; he is shown below at the Squadron in 1952 after the Britannia Challenge Cup. 

Princess Anne is a Royal Honorary Member, seen here at Race Week in 2011. 

Fast 40 monohulls are being raced; each will be crewed by 12 people. (The boats seen below are 40 footers, but they are not Fast 40s. Many thanks to Becky for the heads-up!)

We’ll have coverage starting bright and early Thursday morning! Here is another look at the original video about the race.

This video offers an overview of the Royal Yacht Squadron; running time is about 2:45.


Now for a look at some of Kate’s nautical ensembles. (This is not intended as a full, definitive list of all Kate’s nautical styles.) I decided to break them up between more casual pieces worn when she was actually on the water, sometimes in competitive events, and those seen for more ceremonial occasions.

We’ll begin with the infamous dragon boat race in Charlottetown during the 2011 Canada tour. Kate and William were in separate boats for the race, and the Prince’s team came out ahead. 

The Duchess was in a jacket by Nike, her Sebago Bala boat shoes (still available in some sizes at Zappos, $94.95 and also at Amazon), and jeans that many of us believed to be by J. Brand.

At the 2012 London Olympic Games Kate wore Team GB gear when watching the sailing competition. 

During the 2014 Australia/New Zealand tour the Duchess squared off against Prince William again, only this time the watercraft was a little bigger than dragon boats; America’s Cup yachts were raced. (Kate’s team prevailed and won both races.) Kate wore a classic Breton stripe top by ME+EM and Zara jeans.  

When in Portsmouth to watch America’s Cup races in July 2015 the Duchess represented the home team, Ben Ainslie Racing, in pieces from sailing outfitter Henri Lloyd.

It was more Henri Lloyd for the Duchess at another Portsmouth event, this one in May 2016 (you will see McQueen separates also worn at this engagement in the next section of the post).

Kate and William were also in casual looks when watching America’s Cup races in July 2016. The Duchess paired Henri Lloyd styles with skinny jeans and her Adidas Pure Boost sneakers

Our final ‘on the water’ casual look was from yet another race when the Cambridges were competing on separate teams. This was the July 2017 race on the River Neckar in Germany; William’s team won this race. Kate opted for a Hugo Boss top, skinny jeans and her Superga Cotu Classic trainers

Now for dressier designs (including some at events when Kate wasn’t on the water). We’ll start with the June 2012 Jubilee River Pageant when the Duchess wore Alexander McQueen

During the Jubilee tour in 2012, the Duchess sported a dark navy dress by Mulberry for a traditional canoe ride. 

For a June 2014 engagement at the National Maritime Museum, we saw a Jaeger dress.  

When visiting Portsmouth in February 2015, Kate wore a Max Mara coat and a sailboat print dress from the Somerset by Alice Temperley collection at John Lewis.

The Duchess repeated Alexander McQueen pieces for another visit to Portsmouth in May 2016, this one on behalf of the 1851 Trust. The trust is an education charity, and Kate is its patron. She wore what I often call the ‘McQueen military separates,’ with both pieces featuring gold anchor-embossed buttons.  

The Duke and Duchess took a boat for a visit to the Scilly Islands in September 2016. Kate opted for skinny trousers in an ikat print by Gap and her Smythe One Button Blazer.

We saw a mix of pieces for a canoe trip to Haida Gwaii during the November 2016 Canada tour. Kate wore the Duchess Blazer by Smythe, a blouse from the Somerset by Alice Temperley line, and boots by R Soles. For a fishing expedition later that day she added the Wax Parka by Troy London.

And our final look was seen above at the May announcement about the King’s Cup. The Duchess wore a nautical ensemble for that event featuring LK Bennett’s ‘Parker’ trousers, a top that I believe is still unidentified, and shoes by Emmy London



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Thursday 8th of August 2019

Is the "bright and early" coverage on some other WKW site than this one? I can't seem to find it.


Thursday 8th of August 2019

The Scilly Islands ensemble is one of my all-time favorites!


Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Kate rocks the nautical look in all its different versions.

I was surprised that the nautical McQueen, worn on the 2011 tour of Canada, wasn't included.


Wednesday 7th of August 2019

The red McQueen ensemble and the Jaeger dress are two of my all-time favorite looks!

Amy De Rosa

Thursday 8th of August 2019

My favorites, too!


Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Congratulations on such a comprehensive review of Kate in nautical mode! I sometimes wonder if she enjoys to tease with different Breton stripes just to watch the scramble to ID it. She still has one up on us all from the Kings Cup launch outfit. Kate certainly looks well in navy whether in stripes or solid form and it's clearly appropriate as a common team colour.

I love seeing the old outfits again and wondering at how feminine and chic Kate always looks, even in the most practical gear. One of my all-time favourites was that Jaeger shift with its bold defining navy lines, I'm sorry we haven't seen it again but I'm sure it must re-emerge one day. I also have a soft spot for the LKB crop Parker pants with their very own set of complementary Breton stripes.

I'd further forgotten how good the Smythe blazer with Gap ikat pants looked when she was on the Scilly Isles. They were a break-out of sorts, I suppose, when she managed to sideline navy and white stripes for a smart print. Looking forward to some fun shots tomorrow, Mr and Mrs Cambridge produce some of their best moments when caught up in sporting events like these.

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