Skip to Content

It’s Black Lace McQueen for Royal Variety Performance

Kate was in a new evening gown by Alexander McQueen for tonight’s Royal Variety Performance.

Below, the Duke and Duchess as they were welcomed.

Here is a video as the couple is greeted inside the London Palladium.


Kate’s posy is called ‘Frosty Winter Garden’ and as noted in the tweet above, it included flowers & foliage that were picked at Brinsworth House, the retirement and nursing home supported by the Royal Variety Charity.

Below, the bouquet as shown at Brinsworth House and as Kate carried it this evening.

This is the major fundraising event for the Royal Variety Charity (which you may have seen referred to as the EABF, Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, in previous years), an organization helping entertainment industry professionals in need of support through old age or hard times. HM is the charity’s patron; here you see photos of her with the Duke of Edinburgh and comedian Arthur Askey at the 1955 performance in Blackpool.


The show is taped for broadcast in December on ITV. It has been staged since 1912 and is now watched by over 152 million TV viewers worldwide, making it the most successful and longest-running entertainment show in the world, per the Royal Variety site.  

More on how the event started from this Daily Mail story:

It dates back to 1912 when King George V and Queen Mary – William’s great-great grandparents – agreed to attend a Royal Command Performance at the Palace Theatre in London.

A second royal show was performed in July 1919 and billed as a celebration of post-war peace.

It became an annual event at the suggestion of George V in 1921, when the King decreed that ‘the monarch or a senior member of the Royal Family, would attend an annual performance, in aid of Brinsworth House and the Royal Variety Charity, once a year thereafter’.

The performance was hosted by comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, who joked that Kate and William were having a date night. More from Rebecca English’s Daily Mail story:

The comic pair introduced the royal couple and joked that they were on a ‘date night’ as the camera focused on them laughing and giggling in the Royal Box – William nodding with mock seriousness.

The comedians asked whether they had paid the babysitter to stay ‘until 12 or 1’ – joking: ‘It’s always worth £20 for the extra hour.’

Ranganathan said he, like the Cambridges, had three children and guessed that William and Kate thought the same thing when they saw their three little faces running into their bedroom each morning: ‘Why did we do this?’ The royal couple roared.

The Palace shared a great photo on Instagram.

Performers included Robbie Williams, Harry Connick Jr, Jamie Cullum, and many others. Below the couple with Laurie Mansfield (l), Lifetime President and Executive Producer, along with Giles Cooper (r), chairman of the charity.

Below, the Duchess speaking with cast members of the new Mary Poppins musical. Pop music great Petula Clark is seen on the far right.  

More from Rebecca English’s Daily Mail piece.

‘I love Mary Poppins!’ William exclaimed. Petula Clark told Kate she would have to bring the children to the show, to which she replied: ‘They would love it.’

As she chatted with Ms Clark the Duchess said her children had been really excited about where she and William were going – particularly the dancing and singing – and asked if they could come, but she had to tell them: ‘Not on a school night!’

Rebecca tweeted a video of Kate meeting the cast.


The royals spent time with performers after the show concluded. I believe these children are also from the Mary Poppins cast. 

Another view. 

The Duke with Robbie Williams (c) and co-host Romesh Ranganathan (I *think*). 

Here you see him with Rob Beckett, the other host. 

The Duchess speaking with other performers. 

A quick video of the couple onstage.

Now for our look at what Kate wore for this year’s Royal Variety Performance.

She was in an evening gown by Alexander McQueen with a black lace overlay in a floral pattern atop a nude underskirt.  The fitted bodice and waist are defined by a band of velvet trim, and the back has a deep scoop; the sleeves are sheer.  There is a full skirt; you can see how it moves in this video from Emily Nash of Hello!


Here is a closer look at the lace and other details. 

The shoulders are puffed and there is some sort of trim or embellishment at the seam. On the left below, a closeup of the shoulder seams of an Alexander McQueen dress; Kate’s shoulders are shown in the center and on the right.

There have been comments about the dress’s similarity to the Temperley Amoret gown worn to the War Horse premiere in 2012 and again in 2013 for an engagement at the Natural History Museum. 

These images better show the full skirts of both dresses. 

Thoughts on the look from The Telegraph’s Tamara Abraham.

Lace is timeless, but the pattern also creates a sense of drama and helps her stand out.

Kate, no stranger to complex dress codes and royal protocol understands that it’s her job to be identifiable – lace helps her do that while sticking to black tie. It’s likely a tactic learned from the Queen, who is said to always wear bright hues so that she can be easily spotted by the crowds who gather to see her.

This is the first time we have seen the Duchess wear McQueen at this event. For 2014’s performance, she opted for the Zarita lace evening gown by Diane von Furstenberg. We saw an icy blue Jenny Packham gown with illusion tulle covered in sequins and crystals at the 2017 performance.

The Duchess brought back her Jimmy Choo Celeste velvet clutch. It measures roughly 8″ x 4″ x 2″ and comes with a chain strap so it can be carried as a clutch or worn over the shoulder. (The bag we show is crushed velvet, not a standard velvet finish like Kate’s bag.)

And we saw the return of her Romy 100 Velvet Pumps ($895), also by Jimmy Choo. This is a classic point-toe pump with a 4″ heel, part of the brand’s made-to-order collection.

The Duchess wore the Erdem earrings we first saw at an October 2018 event at V&A.

The ‘Floral Hoop Drop style’ ($1220) is from the 2018 fall collection. The design features a crystal-embellished hoop with a  floral shape brass smoked topaz with crystal and pearl ‘petals.’

Here is a look at Kate as she left the event this evening.


The Royal Family Channel has about 3:15 of coverage in this video.

A video


Pin It

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Susan Manoj

Friday 29th of November 2019

Dear Susan,

I am a fan of the Duchess of Cambridge's elegant dressing. Surely suitable for future Queen. Thanks for your posts. Its really inspiring and many young women can learn decent dress sense from her. Keep up the good work. It worth reading always.

Regards, Susan Manoj.

Linda from San Jose

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hello Susan, Nothing adds more to my day than a new post from you! I enjoy each and every one, scrolling carefully through the beautiful photos and your detailed text. Whether an outfit or accessory falls within my personal taste or not, I think the Duchess always looks exquisite, and I savor your blog. I'm thankful for you, and thank you for all you do! I hope you're fully recovered, and can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with those you love the most.


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Oh, thank you for such a lovely comment, Linda! That made my afternoon! I’m thankful for you and every other reader. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I do. ?


Friday 22nd of November 2019

I feel like she looked sooooo good in the Temperley Amoret at War Horse, that this one is just set up to be compared to it - and to surely come in second.

Caroline A.

Friday 22nd of November 2019

I know this isn't 'What Camilla Wore', but I just had to write to report that I had a very brief exchange with The Duchess of Cornwall in Cathedral Square in Christchurch yesterday and she looked very elegant. In view of the variety of events that she attended that day, which included donning a Māori cloak, and later an apron, I was struck by how important it is for The Duchess to dress appropriately for both formality and for informality wearing the same outfit. There's a photo below. And yes, The Duchess spoke to me! She thanked me for a small posy of flowers that I had thrust forward across the barricade, and which had sadly wilted in the heat to the point that I had almost decided not to offer them. I was like a stunned mullet, but managed to reply. HRH is a very warm, kind, and caring woman, and I am very happy to have met her.


Monday 2nd of December 2019

I like Camilla's shorter hemline. She looks more in proportion, less dowdy and actually..more athletic. NOTE: admin edit


Friday 22nd of November 2019

Caroline, how exciting! I’m so glad you were able to see her and give her the flowers, that is just terrific! ?

Camille Tiller

Friday 22nd of November 2019

I'm late for a look. It's fine. Her Royal Variety Show looks never excite me but it's fun when they show up. I thought this was Temperly London thinking of that older dress that I didn't like. I don't think she's worn any TC recently. Not usually a fan of the dresses, but I have several tops.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.