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The Duchess in Emilia Wickstead for Burns Night Message to NHS Staff in Dundee

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wished NHS workers in Dundee, Scotland, a “Happy Burns Night” via video today.

The staffers are part of the multi-disciplinary COVID-19 response team working in the dedicated COVID-19 Intensive Care (ICU) and High Dependency (HDU) Units at NHS Tayside

More from The Telegraph’s story by Victoria Ward

Aides said the couple, who met at St Andrews University and are regular visitors to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Highlands, were conscious that Burns Night would not be the same as usual for most Scots and wanted to do something to show their appreciation.

In the video, the Duchess notes that Burns Night this year is “…a little different. And for many of you working on the frontline, tonight will be a very different occasion, as you work tirelessly through this pandemic to protect the most vulnerable in our society.” 

Here is the video released by the Palace: 

Below, staff watching the greeting from Kate and William.

Kensington Palace reports nursing staff and others were treated to a traditional Burns celebration lunch of haggis, neeps, and tatties, courtesy of Tayside Health Fund and NHS Charities Together, of which The Duke and Duchess are Patron.  And, Scottish brand House of Bruar arranged for an additional two hundred food boxes to be delivered for staff.  Haggis is considered Scotland’s national dish because of the poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns, “Address to a Haggis.”  (Neeps and tatties are mashed potatoes and turnips.)   

Biology Big Brother, CC BY 2.0

The Daily Beast offers a bit of background on Burns Night.  

Every January 25, Scots around the world gather to celebrate Burns Night, which pays homage to the birth of the country’s national bard, Robert “Rabbie” Burns. It’s a welcome joyous respite from the country’s long, cold and dark winter, when the glorious Scottish summers are a distant memory.

Perhaps most widely known for works like Auld Lang Syne that have been adapted numerous times over the years, Burns had a prolific career as a poet and lyricist. Born in the town of Alloway, Scotland, in 1759, he died at the age of 37. Five years later, his friends and family decided to commemorate the poet by hosting a party that would become a beloved tradition across the country.

Earlier today, video of Prince Charles reciting Auld Lang Syne.  

 Now for our look at what Kate wore in today’s video. 
She brought back tartan Emilia Wickstead pieces worn for previous engagements.  The Duchess wore the pleated skirt for an RAF Christmas party at Kensington Palace in December 2018.  We saw what looked like a version of the blouse (Or possibly a dress) when the Duchess arrived for HM’s annual Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace in December 2019. Last month, we saw the scarf and skirt during the final day of the Royal Train tour

The Duchess also wore a face mask in the print last month.    

The skirt is from Emilia Wickstead’s AW ’18 collection.

The pattern was a significant part of that collection.

There were also dresses in the print available, including one with sheer sleeves, as well as a sleeveless design.

We’ve never known if the piece worn to the Queen’s Christmas luncheon was a version of the dress or a separate top. It is clear Kate’s sleeves are not sheer as seen above left. It’s been my theory the Duchess owned separates, but it’s entirely possible she is in the dress. We won’t know until more photos are available of the Duchess wearing the piece(s). UPDATE JAN 26: Middleton Maven connected with an Emilia Wickstead sales staffer and was told the Duchess was wearing the dress.  

Kate brought back her Simone Rocha Faux Pearl Curb-Chain Earrings ($310, now sold out). 



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Thursday 28th of January 2021

Kate looks beautiful! Love this event. I’m not British, so I don’t know: What is the NHS? Thanks!


Thursday 28th of January 2021

That's a good question, Jenale; I should include the info more often. It is the National Health Service, the government-funded health care system. :)


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer, Bonnie, and any family members who might have known are gone. Are you of Scottish descent yourself? I know a lot of Scots went to Canada. It was certainly closer than Australia!


Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Marguerite, Well, your story has a bit of a mystery, but the wonderful book of poetry is there for you to enjoy and pass on to the next generation. Not sure if you can find the name of the publisher and see if they sold their books in Australia back in the day.

No, I am not Scottish, although I have certainly visited and enjoyed Scotland. I was born In England, of Irish/English parentage and came to Canada at age five.


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

That is certainly a lot of very bright tartan if Kate is wearing a dress or matching top with skirt. However, I imagine it’s popular with overseas viewers and is undoubtedly all in a good cause. I’m fond of the lovely swishy Wickstead skirt Kate wore, when we first saw her in this fabric, which chimed well with a neat black top and long boots.

I can’t see evidence of narrow pleats as per the skirt in this picture so maybe she has opted for a dress, but the original Wickstead designs soften the busy-ness of the bold plaid with sheer sleeves or a reversed-out pale background version, which to my mind is an improvement. Solid self-colour sleeves border on being a touch too much.

The contrast white collar and cuffs are becoming a theme for Kate as she follows the trend for this vintage detail. The Simone Rocha drop earrings are ideal as they are large enough to counter the strength of fabric colour while featuring softening pearls. And what a lovely gesture to supply Burns Night haggis and neeps to the Scottish NHS staff, tho tatties and neeps are often combined into a single side veg rather than served separately, giving a full buttery flavour.

Dottie Schreck

Thursday 28th of January 2021

I love this print/pattern on her. The contrasting collars could be switched out for a bit of different look since she sets an example by rewearing clothes. She seldom hits a bad fashion note. I admire her sense of duty and the way she treats others. There's no evidence that she appears condescending and she seems quite humble.

Mary H

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Wonderful, heartfelt gesture by the Duke and Duchess to those truly deserving. Regarding Catherine's ensemble, the head-to-toe pattern is too much. While the tartan pattern is delightful, and this was an appropriate reason to wear it outside the Christmas season, it should be worn as separates and paired with a solid neutral.


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

I think it's possible to get away with total tartan when wearing a more subdued plaid. I thought Princess Di looked quite lovely once or twice at Balmoral with a deeper-toned blue-green check or similar. I agree that a bright red dress tartan like this comes over a bit strong.


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Here's a fun posting from Hello magazine showing many royals wearing tartans. There is an especially cute photo of Prince William as a young boy with a tartan umbrella.

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