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The Duchess in Alexander McQueen for Defence Rehab Centre Engagement, Plus News of Ireland & Australia Trips

The Duchess wore Alexander McQueen for today’s engagement at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.Kate William Charles Camilla Defence Rehab

Kate and William joined the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall for a joint visit to the rehabilitation center, located in Loughborough, roughly 120 miles north of London. More from Simon Perry in his story for People:

Future kings Prince William and his father Prince Charles joined forces for a rare joint outing on Tuesday — bringing their future queens with them.

On a special day for the heirs to the British throne, who had Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall by their sides, William showed his father a new rehabilitation center for service personnel that is close to his heart.

Victoria Murphy shared a video of the royals arriving. 

 Known as ‘DMRC Stanford Hall’, the center is on the grounds of the Stanford Hall Estate in Leicestershire. The center is operated by the Ministry of Defence, providing in-patient and residential rehabilitation services for serving members of the Armed Forces.  Prince William is the patron of the fundraising appeal for the center. Kate middleton navy McQueen Suit Defence Rehab Centre Feb 2020

The royals were given a tour of the facility by its commanding officer Captain Alison Hofman. Kate William Charles Camilla Defence Rehab Centre Tour

Kate speaking with staff and patients about the facility.

The foursome also visited some of the therapy areas. Duke Duchess of Cambridge Prince Charles Duchess of Cornwall Joint engagement photos

The facility opened last October. We learn more from a Forces Network story:

The Ministry of Defence-operated centre on the Stanford Hall estate, near Loughborough, began admitting patients in October 2018 and provides rehab treatment to serving military who have suffered battlefield, neurological or other injuries and illnesses.

The new facility at Stanford Hall is four times the size of its predecessor and offers designated bedrooms to patients who had once shared a room between four. 

Kate Middleton Navy McQueen Suit Defence Rehab Centre feb 11 2020

More from The Daily Mail’s story by Rebecca English

Former Major Peter Norton, a triple amputee, said of the Duchess: ‘She was asking me about the mental health and welfare aspect of the work here which is a huge part of the care you receive. It’s a very natural process here. They know the two go hand in glove.’

The Duke decided he’d try his hand at wheelchair basketball. 

More from The Telegraph‘s coverage

Persuaded to have a go at basketball, William gamely climbed into a wheelchair to join the experienced servicemen and women in a game. 

As shot after shot – taken from seated position – missed, Prince Charles took matters into his own hands to push the chair forwards so he was nearer the basket. 

As yet another shot missed, Charles gave him an encouraging rub of the shoulders and William exclaimed: “It’s not going to go in!”

Prince Charles rubbing Prince William's Shoulders Basketball Defence Rehab

The Telegraph’s Valentine Low tweeted a video of the basketball action. 

  The Duchess saying goodbye to some of the patients.

The Cambridges as they were leaving the facility. 

Kate chatting with the facility’s Commanding Officer, Captain Alison Hofman. Duchess Kate Navy McQueen Suit Defence Rehab Centre Feb 2020

Thoughts about the visit via that Forces Network story

It was clear just how much the visit meant to the patients, especially Lance Corporal Jack Silverwood, who is recovering after losing his hand in an off-duty accident.

“Great seeing them come round”, he said.

“For people who are wounded during work and stuff, it’s good to know that they’re not just put in a corner and forgotten about”, he added.

The two heirs unveiled a plaque marking today’s visit.


Kate and William greeting people who had been waiting in hopes of meeting them.

As best I know this is the first joint engagement the two couples have undertaken since they all attended a Gary Barlow concert in December 2011.Charles Camilla Kate William Gary Barlow Concert Zara Tulip Dress

Now for our look at what Kate wore, beginning with her Alexander McQueen suit.

The jacket appears to be based on the brand’s Military Jacket (now sold out) while the skirt has similarities to the Military Long Skirt (€1395, roughly $1500 at today’s exchange rates) and the Wool-Blend Midi Skirt ($1065).  All three of the off-the-rack pieces shown below are from the Pre-Fall ’17 collection, crafted of a wool/silk/polyamide blend. Kate had the peplum removed from the skirt.

The structured jacket has McQueen’s classic military references like the high collar and buttons. The piece also features distinctive starburst darting (my term) on the bodice, defined waistband, and concealed placket. Many thanks to Heaven for her speedy ID work. 

Many noted the jacket’s similarity to other McQueen garments we’ve seen the Duchess wear. From left to right you see today’s look, the coat worn for St. Patrick’s Day 2019, as well as the 2018 Remembrance Sunday look.

The coat worn for the January away day in Bradford has some of the same design elements.  Several people remarked on social media Kate looked cold. The weather was less than inviting. Here is a quick video Victoria Murphy posted of the hail and wind at the Rehab Centre just before the royals arrived. 


Beneath the jacket, Kate wore a finely ribbed knit top.

McQueen was an apt choice for the engagement; today is the tenth anniversary of Lee Alexander McQueen’s death. Below, one of a series of Tweets posted by the house to mark the anniversary.

You can see the series of ten photos and captions used for the tweets here on the McQueen site

The Duchess also carried a handbag by the label, the ‘Wicca’ style. 

Kate has carried the Wicca in other sizes and fabrics. Below left, a wicker version at Wimbledon last July and on the right, an off-white color for the official naming ceremony of the Royal Princess in June 2013.   

We saw the return of Kate’s boots which are believed to be an older Ralph Lauren style.

I believe Kate’s gloves are the UFO style worn last week for the Wales engagements, and on other occasions.  

Kate wore her Empress Earrings in 18 ct. white gold and diamonds (£3750, about $4880 at today’s exchange rates) by Mappin and Webb. 

Many thanks to Heaven for her speedy ID work today!


Also today, news about one confirmed trip and another that is not yet confirmed.  Kensington Palace announced Kate and William will undertake an official visit to Ireland from Tuesday, March 3 to Thursday, March 5th. 

There are also reports the Duchess will join her husband for a trip to Australia. More from The Sydney Morning Herald

Prince William and his wife, Catherine, are set to tour parts of Australia devastated by the recen­t bushfire crisis.

Scott Morrison will later this week formally write to Kensington Palace with proposed dates and locations for the trip.

Last month, the royal couple sent Australians a message of sympathy focused on those who had lost their lives and the firefighter­s who spent months defending­ people and properties.

“We continue to be shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the fires that are destroying homes, livelihoods and wildlife across much of Australia,” the statement said. “We send our deepest con­dolences to the families and friends of those who have tragic­ally lost their lives, and the brave ­firefighters who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others.”

The couple most recently visited the country together with Prince George in 2014. 

Hopefully, we’ll receive official word on this one way or the other in the not too distant future.

We’ll leave you with one more photo of the Duchess today. Kate Middleton Defence Rehab Navy McQueen Suit Military Style


Forces TV offers a two-minute story about today’s engagement.

 The Royal Family Channel has more than 6 minutes of coverage in this video. 

The UK Press Association has roughly one-minute of video from today’s engagement in this piece. 



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Tuesday 18th of February 2020

I love the handbag and her hair i'm not feeling the outfit it is too tight and taut!


Monday 17th of February 2020

I love this outfit. To me, this is Kate trying out more “fun” fashion, and straying away from the safe zone of fit-and-flare pastel coat dresses, pussy-bow blouses and LK Bennett shirt dresses. Even though the suit is severe, it still seems fun to me because it plays with the military vibe that Kate loves so much, and the length of the skirt and high collar, along with the tailoring, feels very vintage and 1930s-era. To me, this is the winter weather equivalent of the midi length blue polka-dot Alessandra Rich dress she wore to the Bletchley War Museum. I like Kate the fashion risk taker, and I think this sleek, streamlined look is absolutely flattering to her slim figure, and the navy blue and pulled-back hair really draw attention to her lovely face and smile. I do agree there is something slightly off with the fit of the jacket-perhaps a last minute addition of a thin base layer to keep out the cutting wind?

I also like the tribute to Alexander McQueen. Even after his death, his fashion house has been so trusted and influential for Kate, who relies on McQueen for so many of her iconic, historic “royal milestones” (her wedding and reception gowns, dresses worn for her children’s christenings, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Trooping the Color, State Dinners, Remembrance Sunday, etc). He was a troubled but brilliant man who brought a lot of beauty into the world (appropriate with Kate’s focus on mental health), and it is nice to see her honor his work by wearing his label on this day, especially.


Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Really well said about McQueen and I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly I feel like this was a bad representation of the brilliance of the fashion house. The fabric of the coat and skirt is wrinkly and I find the skirt length to be horribly unflattering, especially when paired with knee-high boots. Perhaps it's just the photo quality and the weather conditions, but even the black bag looks much shabbier than Kate's other versions of it. The whole look was clearly well-intentioned but it fell flat for me.


Saturday 15th of February 2020

Stunningly beautiful look for Kate. What style and elegance. Incredible!


Saturday 15th of February 2020

The cut of this outfit reminds me on the 1930s, which is a rather grim decade in many people‘s minds. Nevertheless it featured elegant womenswear with a slick and slender line. I like it on the duchess. In her position it‘s not too much. As usual McQueen gives her style a romantic touch, that lifts it above basic agreeable lady. This brings me to a point I often feel when I‘m reading the comments on this site. Many people judging her attire on this blog seem to believe, that the more people agree with her choices the „better„ she did. As if „getting it right for a mainstream crowd“ is naturally the name of the game. Well,I‘m sorry to say this but, if this is, what the crowd believes, the crowd must be wrong. Because this way one is draining out the joy and life of fashion and that’s not what it’s all about.


Monday 17th of February 2020

BerlinLondon, I so agree with you about how we judge fashion. Does it get the popular vote? Will more people find it agreeable or even neutral? I personally love Kate’s fashion risks (except that one exception: the mustard floral Erdem “Stephanie” dress from the Scandinavian tour) and prefer them over her safer, “meh” outfits which are designed to offend no one and please the greatest number of people. These outfits are also necessary to Kate’s wardrobe, but it is fun to see her try something new and surprising once in a while. I’d rather feel strongly about a look than feel neutral or bored.

I’m a fan of vintage style, too, and love the 30s-era look. Very lovely.

Caroline A.

Friday 14th of February 2020

Unlike some, I really like this severe look on The Duchess. I love buttoned up styles in cold weather, and that length and cut of the skirt really suits Catherine's statuesque, slim figure. I can't imagine that this outfit would suit someone as well who is less slender, as another reader said. At first I thought the outfit was dark green, but now I see that it's navy. I would love to have seen it in a deep burgundy because I am not a big fan of blues in the winter. I like the cut of the boots. Even though they are described as being an older style, they haven't dated, in my opinion. I prefer this suede look to leather for some reason which I think is to do with the warmer texture in cold weather and because it also has the effect of softening/balancing the severity of the rest of the outfit. The earrings are superb and will never date! The round shape balances the severe collar perfectly. I'm not a fan of the bag as it looks too small in proportion with The Duchess's height, and looks sort of dinky in relation to the severity of the rest of the outfit, and I don't like bags with handles at all really and I don't know why, but I think it's because I like the hands to be free. You would think I wouldn't like clutches for the same reason, but a clutch can always be tucked under the arm. I would have preferred a simple clutch in a slightly larger size, or even better, a bag with a shoulder strap. I think that would have looked fitting with this outfit which has a WWII uniform fashion feel to it. I think shoulder bags were often worn then with women's uniforms. A shoulder bag might have detracted from the clean, long silhouette that Catherine wanted to achieve though. We seldom see Catherine wearing a shoulder bag. I have always thought that they would be more practical as they leave the hands free, but I suspect that Catherine likes to have something to do with her hands, and also that shoulder bags might swing around and get in the way a bit. I suspect that Catherine tries not to wear gloves when shaking hands. Actually, I get the feeling that she might not be a big fan of gloves as a fashion item at all. I don't like making comparisons with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, but I recall that Diana rarely wore gloves, and when they did seem to be a requirement of dress etiquette, e.g. at a wedding, she would carry them instead of wearing them. I suspect that she had the same aversion to shaking hands with gloves on as Cartherine appears to have and for the same reason, i.e. because she liked to make contact with people. (I think I read something like that about Queen Victoria too, but I might have imagined that). Catherine was carrying her gloves when she arrived, although at the end she put them on because it must have been bitterly cold.

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