Skip to Content

The Duchess in Recognizable Styles for Release of Landmark Research Results & Speech

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a mix of familiar pieces in images released in conjunction with the results of her ‘5 Big Questions’ research project.  Last night Kensington Palace posted photos of the Duchess being briefed on the results.

Here you see the Duchess as she reviews the data during a Tuesday videocall with Kelly Beaver of IPSOS Mori, the firm conducting the research. The project was commissioned by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Some readers will remember that more than 500,000 people participated in the initial survey (more in this post). The importance of the endeavor cannot be overstated. As The Telegraph reports:

Its conclusions will inform her work for years to come as she seeks to create generational change. Next year, the Duchess will announce ambitious plans to help elevate the importance of early childhood. Kensington Palace said the research has already been described as “invaluable” by the early years sector, which is expected to draw extensively on its findings.

Today the full 56-page report was released by the Royal Foundation. You see Kate holding it below, titled State of the Nation: Understanding Public Attitudes to the Early Years.

More from Richard Palmer’s piece for The Mirror

The Duchess of Cambridge wants a sea change in attitudes towards families with young children after publishing a landmark study.

Kate – concerned that a poor start is a cause of social problems such as family breakdown and addiction – is seeking ways to provide better support for ­families with children aged under five.

Those issues along with homelessness and mental health cost £17 billion a year in intervention in England and Wales.

Half a million people took part in a survey fronted by Kate around early childhood that is published today.

The report includes graphs and charts explaining some of the data.  

It breaks down responses into digestible elements. 

There was an online forum today about the research—more from The Telegraph.

The online forum was hosted by Dr Xand Van Tulleken, associate professor of public health at University College London, who is better known to parents as co-presenter of CBBC programme Operation Ouch, alongside his twin brother, Dr Chris Van Tulleken.

Several experts took part in a panel discussion about the report’s findings, including: Dr Trudi Seneviratne from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Jon Rouse, director of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Dr Guddi Singh, a  paediatric specialist at Evelina Children’s Hospital, Guy’s & St.Thomas’s.

The Duchess delivered the keynote address at the forum. 

We return to The Telegraph’s story by Victoria Ward. 

In a passionate keynote speech, delivered at a Royal Foundation forum, the Duchess revealed that her own interest in early childhood did not stem from becoming a mother, insisting that being a parent was “not a prerequisite for understanding the importance of the early years.”

She warned that waiting until parenthood before showing an interest was too late.

Kate’s specific remarks on the topic: “People often ask why I care so passionately about the early years. Many mistakenly believe that my interest stems from having children of my own. While, of course, I care hugely about their start in life, this ultimately sells the issue short.”  

Her speech underscored the impact on society as a whole when children do not receive appropriate care. 

The science shows that the early years are more pivotal for future health and happiness than any other period in our lifetime.  The early years are therefore not simply just about how we raise our children. They are, in fact, about how we raise the next generation of adults. They are about the society we will become.

Additionally, videos were released revealing “5 Big Insights” gleaned from the research. Insight #1: People overwhelmingly believe that a child’s future is not pre-determined at birth. However, most of us don’t understand the specific importance of the early years. 

 Insight #2: 90% of people see parental mental health and wellbeing as being critical to a child’s development.

 Insight #3: Feeling judged by others can make a bad situation worse. 70% of parents feel judged by others & among these parents, nearly half feel this negatively impacts their mental health. 

 In addition to the “5 Big Questions” the general public responded to, additional research was done with a scientific sample, and questions about the pandemic were added. More from The Guardian’s story

The study showed the Covid-19 pandemic had dramatically increased parental loneliness, with 38% experiencing loneliness before the crisis, and 63% after the first lockdown, a jump of 25 points.

That pandemic data relates to Insight #4: People have been separated from family and friends during the pandemic and at the same time parental loneliness has dramatically increased. Disturbingly, people are also less willing to seek help for how they’re feeling.  

 Insight #5: During the COVID pandemic, support from local communities has substantially increased for many – but not for all. 

In her remarks, the Duchess referenced plans to look for actionable solutions.  

Because I believe, the early years should be on par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time. And next year, we will announce ambitious plans to support this.

It is a brave thing to believe in an outcome – in a world even – that might not be fully felt for a generation or more.
But what you do isn’t for the quick win – it is for the big win. It is for a happier, healthier society as well as happier, healthier children.

The response to the research and Kate’s involvement has been very positive; more from Simon Perry in this People story.  

Eamon McCrory, a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London who joined Kate’s steering group on this topic in 2018, has seen her experience and expertise blossom over that time.

“She is working with homelessness and mental health and with parents and perinatal care — she sees all aspects of the system,” he tells PEOPLE. “She’s talking to neuroscientists and is interested in understanding what it means for parents or what does it mean if we are interested in tackling mental health. She is really interested in putting the pieces together and having a cohesive response.”

“She has genuine curiosity and a real respect and understanding of the science,” McCrory says. “It’s really impressive.”

He adds: “There is a growing influence of her work, and it’s likely to expand and have a long-term impact on the field.”

More from The Telegraph’s Camilla Tominey on the bigger picture of Kate’s early years work, today’s research results, and speech. 

For having entered royal life in her husband’s shadow almost a decade ago, the 38-year-old quickly realised that she both wanted and needed a “legacy” project of her own.

Determined to do something by herself, in the vein of Diana, Princess of Wales’s work on AIDS and Prince Charles’s environmentalism, Kate quickly found that her passion lay in finding out the reasons for adult trauma.

Quietly, and largely behind the scenes, Kate has been working hard not only to carve out a niche but also become an expert in her field.

According to a source close to the Cambridges: “She is impressively well briefed. This isn’t a figurehead thing – she is across all the latest data, reading all the reports and, having studied the issues for nine years now, she is genuinely well informed.”

Politicians and other public figures are often in a hurry to invoke change for fear of being out of the spotlight after their five minutes of fame are up – but for the royals, it is very much a marathon not a sprint. “The Duke and Duchess have to define themselves as a future King and Queen of this country,” added the source.

Now for what Kate wore in the many photos and videos.  In the first set of photos with Kate going over the results, she is wearing a piece many recognized immediately, a Zara jacket sported during the Canada tour in October 2016

Kate repeated the item for an 1851 Trust engagement in June 2017

The Zara Waffle Knit Blazer features angled front flap pockets, a welt pocket at the chest, three buttons at the sleeve hem, a single button closure, and a center-back vent.

The buttons on the jacket look gold in some light, but silver in other lighting conditions.   

Kate also had on her Daniella Draper Mini Cupid Hoops ($245), worn initially with shamrock charms (shown as worn on a previous occasion).

For her keynote address, Kate brought back her suit by Marks and Spencer, or at least the blazer. 

The look is from the retailer’s Autograph collection, worn in March for an engagement at a London ambulance call center. At that event, Kate wore the Autograph Wool Blend Blazer and Wool Blend Slim Leg Cropped Trouser.  The jacket is made in a poly/viscose/wool blend with a touch of elastane for stretch; it is a double-breasted style with topstitched external darts, welt pockets, contrasting buttons, and a polyester lining.

I don’t know precisely which top Kate wore today beneath the jacket.  

Many also recognized what the Duchess wore in the first Insights video released, a dress dating back to 2012.

It is the ‘Trina Dress’ by Reiss, worn when the Duchess delivered her first speech in March 2012.

Kate was formally opening the Treehouse, a new addition to the EACH family (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices).

The double-breasted dress showcased an oversized collar and scoop pockets at the hip and horizontally pieced fabric roughly eight inches above the hem. The frock was previously worn by Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, when attending Ascot in June 2010. 

The dress came with a black suede belt as seen on the Duchess in 2012, but in the new video, the Duchess wore her Anderson’s Croc Effect Leather Belt ($160).

The Duchess also wore her Daniella Draper Trio Diamond Midnight Moon Necklace (£1270), shown below as worn on another occasion.

In the video for Insight #2, it appears Kate was wearing a Gap sweater, with thanks to Sophia (Regal RepliKate on Twitter) and Anna on Instagram for that ID. 

The piece looks like Gap’s Cable Knit Sweater ($26), made in 100% cotton with cable detailing down the front and on the sleeves.

(There is a very similar crewneck version at Gap Factory (19.99), as well as a children’s Crewneck Dress in the same color.)

For the Insight #3 video, Kate was in her Equipment blouse.

The garment was initially worn for a September 2019 visit to Sunshine House and then again in March of this year when the Duke and Duchess were in Dublin.  Made of 100% silk, it is slightly fitted and features a button front, double chest pockets, and a box pleat on the center back.

The Insight #4 video brought a piece from the Barbour Alexa Chung collection.

It is the Edith Waxed Cotton Jacket in the sand colorway. 

The piece has an oversized silhouette, with a corduroy collar, slightly cropped sleeves that hit just above the wrist bone, flap pockets with snap closure, covered zipper placket with snaps, angled front pocket with zipper, and gingham checked lining.

The garment has a game pocket, also called a poacher’s pocket, seen above in the center photo next to the left side seam. Lined with nylon, the pockets were originally made for carrying game.  Thank you to Middleton Maven for this ID.  In March Kate wore a blouse from the Barbour Alexa Chung collection beneath a Dubarry jacket.

Kate brought back her Alia Hoop Earrings (£62 available for pre-order) by Spells of Love, an artisan jewelry firm based in Wales, for this video. 

The Duchess was wise in wearing previously-seen styles in most of the images associated with today’s news and speech, keeping the focus on her work. 


  • Read the full research report at the Royal Foundation here; the keynote address is here.
  • The Mirror’s article by Richard Palmer is here; Victoria Ward’s piece for The Telegraph is here; Robert Jobson’s story for The Evening Standard is here; The Guardian’s coverage is here; a Press Association article is here; a BBC piece is here.
  • Camilla Tominey’s Telegraph column on Kate’s legacy is here; Simon Perry’s People piece is here; a Harper’s Bazaar article with the full text of Kate’s speech is here.


Now for an overview of Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Whatnot Sales & Savings opportunities. The pandemic prompted many retailers to offer deals earlier in the month, and some will continue into December. Here is a sampling of what I found on Duchess-related products.   

Both pairs of Missoma earrings the Duchess wears are on sale. The Zenyu chandelier hoops (normally $162, now $121) and Rhodochrosite Gold Mini Pyramid Charm Hoops (now $82.50, usually $110) are part of the Black Friday sale at Missoma, offering 25% off all merchandise.

The entire Monica Vinader site is discounted by 25%. This brings the price of Kate’s ‘Siren’ Earrings from $175 to $131. 

The entire US Superga site is discounted 30%, so the Duchess’s Cotu Classic is now $45.50 with promo code BF2020. But at Macy’s, the shoe is on sale for $39, while at Nordstrom, it is on sale for $39.90.  At Backcountry, it is $45

On the UK Superga site, the offer is “at least 20% off everything,” making the price of Cotu in the Sherwood Gum colorway $45.84, but delivery is $25. 

The Sebago Bala is on sale at Zappos for $107.99, and at 6 pm for $95.99

Kate’s Equipment blouse is 17% off at Nordstrom ($230 instead of $280) and $224 at Shopbop with promo code SHOP20.

Mulberry has different discounts on a mix of merchandise. The Duchess’s Small Darley in the Scarlet Croc Print is 30% off, bringing the price from $825 to $574. Thank you to Gemma for this tip!

Kate’s Aspinal London Midi-Mayfair bag is discounted 20%, bringing the price to $680 from $850.  Both the Deep Shine Black and Deep Shine Lilac colors the Duchess carries are on sale. 

While not discounted, the 2021 What Kate Wore wall calendar is available for purchase, with shipping expected next week! 


Pin It

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


Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Not a fan of any of these outfits but the red jumper looks cute


Monday 30th of November 2020

Such an interesting project, but none of it is truly surprising to me.

As for the fashion, I’ve always loved the Zara blazer and the Equipment blouse. Everything else I could leave — especially the new Barbour jacket; I’m not a fan of oversized, but I’m sure it’s perfect for stalking stags at Balmoral ;)


Monday 30th of November 2020

I find the initiative very interesting and I think early childhood development is a cause worthy to be involved in for Kate. However I haven't been a huge fan of its execution for reasons I won't get into here. I do think though the 5 separate videos for the 5 Big Insights could have been combined into a single under two minute video (I found the video of Kate sticking Insight Number 2 on the wall super cheesy for example and unnecessary). I understand wanting to make several videos for social media for the launch as this is considered a landmark project but to me it just seemed a little excessive with all the outfit changes.

At least Kate was aware these videos were not the place to show off a series of new outfits and mostly showed repeats. I think the only new piece here we've never seen is the Barbour jacket? My favorites are the white Zara blazer and her Barbour jacket. The white blazer is very crisp and tailored really well to her. And I've always enjoyed Kate's outdoorsy jackets.

Never was a fan of that blue Reiss dress. It looked too big on Kate the first time she wore it and that thick belt is just so awkward and just so ungainly looking paired with the dress. The top of it in the video looks okay, but if you can't showcase the whole outfit, time for it to go. I also am not crazy about that pink blazer. In the long video where Kate is presenting the project, it looks okay in the muted lighting but it also looks like an entirely different color there.


Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Hello Amelie,

you took the words out of my mouth when you said that the multitude of videos was unnecessary, in relation to the not overly complex message -- and that the video with the wall-pinning was cheesy. I must confess I thought of Martin Luther, pinning his thesis on the church door. I can only hope this reference was not intended, since this would be megalomaniac in itself. My second thought was that her PR team overdid it. She cannot really be blamed for this, I hope.

Dawn C

Monday 30th of November 2020

I must be the only person who does not like the M&S blazer. There was only one photo where she didn't look older and/or tired. Maybe it was the lighting and the heavy brow and eyeshadow.


Sunday 29th of November 2020

An ambitious and will thought out project. But when the questions were asked, it was explicitly said there weren‘t any right or wrong answers. Now, it seems a little condescending to say what is wrong and what is right afterwards, even if it is true. („Just a quarter of you realize...“) As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist I‘d have very much to add, but since this is a fashion Blog, I won‘t ?. The white Blazer may be a wee too small, but not really much too small. I have to disagree, a blazer should be able to be fastened, no matter the times or the current trend. It does not have to look bulky if able to be fastened — that depends on the cut. I love the red GAP sweater! Speaking of bulky, just look at the wax jacket. The 1980ies revival is a very, very unflattering and unfortunate trend. The Issa dress goes to show how much her Style has evolved this past decade. I still like the colour.


Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

I would love to hear your expertise on the child development question!


Monday 30th of November 2020

she looked lovely and poised, and the outfit really stated how professional she has become she is a big believer in what she says that big change starts small - she has worked so hard and long to come up and actualize this initiative but I must say i had the same reaction when i heard her say that only a 1/4 of you realize, i must say i was a little offended and i didnt even take the survey :) but all in all, i am hopeful for her work!!

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