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The Duchess Brings Back Jenny Packham Fan Favorite for Royal Variety Performance

The Duchess of Cambridge brought back a Jenny Packham evening gown for tonight’s Royal Variety Performance. 

The event was at the Royal Albert Hall. 

The couple as they were welcomed. The Evening Standard has more

They were introduced to chairman of the Royal Variety charity Giles Cooper and life-president Laurie Mansfield who will host the duke and duchess in the Royal box.  “It it fabulous that it is back, doing entertainment for a full audience of 5,000 people. It is just remarkable in these times for the charity, it is a godsend,” Mr Mansfield said.

The Duchess as she entered the theater.

More from The Evening Standard’s coverage.

Comedian Alan Carr told the Duke of Cambridge he was “not hitting on his wife” after complimenting Kate, as the couple attended the Royal Variety Performance.

Greeting the royals at the 94th annual performance, host Carr said to the duchess: “You look absolutely beautiful.”

Addressing the duke, the comedian added: “Sir, I am sure you do not know who I am but I am not hitting on your wife.”

The Duchess as she was introduced to people in a receiving line.   

Here is a quick video via the Press Association’s Ellie Lorizzo.  

The Duke and Duchess chat with Rowan and Poppy after the presentation.

And from The Telegraph’s piece

Last year, the charity event was held at the Blackpool Opera House in front of a virtual audience because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to the duke, Ian Freeman, treasurer of the Royal Variety Charity, said: “It has been a tricky year for us.”

Here you see the Duke and Duchess in the royal box, singing the national anthem before the performance gets underway. 

The Daily Mail reports, “The royal couple were joined by Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton, along with her brother James and his new wife Alizée Thevenet, who recently tied the knot in Bormes-les-Mimosas in Provence in September.” (If photos become available that I can license, I will add them to the post.)

The annual performance is the major fundraising event for the Royal Variety Charity, 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.

This year the Charity celebrates 100 years of patronage from the reigning monarch.  The organization notes, “HM King George V became our first Patron in 1921 declaring that ‘the reigning Monarch or a senior member of the Royal family would attend an annual fundraising event in aid of Brinsworth House and the Royal Variety Charity every year thereafter.” 

The organization notes, “We’d like to sincerely thank all members of the Royal family for their steadfast and continued support of the entertainment industry, over the past century.” 

A news release noted that tonight, “The evening will be hosted by Alan Carr and will include performances from Ed Sheeran, Sir Rod Stewart, the cast of Matilda The Musical, Anne Marie, Years and Years, the cast of Cirque du Soleil, James Blunt, the cast of Moulin Rouge The Musical, and Germany’s The Messoudi Brothers. The evening will also feature performances from Gregory Porter and Elvis Costello, as well as a special collaboration by actress Keala Settle and the Some Voices choir.”

The Royal Variety Charity reports that it “continues to support members of the entertainment industry with its own nationwide grants scheme, assisting many people who have found this past year a particularly difficult one. The Royal Variety Charity also continues to manage its own care home, Brinsworth House in Twickenham.” Visit here: Brinsworth House

Brinsworth House offers “40 bedrooms, six separate living/ function rooms, an entertainment stage with a bar area, a conservatory, library, restaurant, television rooms, and even a hair salon. The home is decorated throughout to emphasize and represent its theatrical lineage and keep the ethos alive,” per the Charity.

On the night, Their Royal Highnesses will meet a number of performers as well as Royal Variety Charity and ITV executives, both before and after the show.

And for our look at what Kate wore to this evening’s performance.

She was in a sequin and crystal-embellished Jenny Packham evening gown that was first worn to a 2019 black-tie function in Pakistan.  On that occasion, the Duchess also wore a dupatta, the traditional scarf or shawl.

The ‘Tenille’ gown was released as part of the designer’s AW 2020 collection and featured the embellishments mentioned above and a round neck, lightly padded shoulders, a train, and a hidden back zipper.  A closer look at the embellishment from the Pakistan engagement.

And a look at two of the product photos from Harrod’s (no longer available.) 

A side-by-side view of the two different stylings.

The Duchess carried a clutch that looks very much like a Jenny Packham style we have seen before.

In the center photo, you see the clutch carried by the Duchess at a 2018 State Banquet. It is a Jenny Packham design the Duchess has carried in different finishes. It looks like she has had one of those bags re-purposed and covered in the green sequin fabric used for her evening gown. 

From what I could see, it appeared the Duchess was in her Emmy London Rebecca pumps ($405) in the ‘greenery’ colorway.

Tonight the Duchess wore her wavy hair down and pulled to one side. 

Her earrings were a pair she has worn before by Missoma, a London-based jewelry brand.  The Zenyu Chandelier Hoop Earrings are available at Missoma ($162) and also at Farfetch ($182). 

The Duchess also went for a deeper lip color this evening.

And now a look at the different ensembles worn by the Duchess to this event. For 2014’s performance, she opted for the ‘Zarita’ lace evening gown by Diane von Furstenberg; at the 2017 performance, we saw an icy blue Jenny Packham gown with illusion tulle covered in sequins and crystals; in 2019, the Duchess chose a black lace Alexander McQueen design. 

Thoughts on tonight’s re-wear from Caroline Leaper’s fashion column in The Telegraph.  

This year marks the fourth time that the Duchess has represented the Royal family at the annual Royal Variety show. In previous years she has always debuted a new gown….

But for 2021 (and fresh out of attending events around the Cop26 summit this month) the Duchess’s decision to re-wear a dress she already owns sent a more meaningful message.

Speakers at the summit had warned of the devastating impact the fashion industry is having on the environment, with party season perhaps being one of the most wasteful times of the year.

One more view of the Duke and Duchess tonight, this one as they left Royal Albert Hall after the performance. 



The Royal Family Channel has almost 7 minutes of coverage of the royals as they arrived for tonight’s engagement. 


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Tuesday 30th of November 2021

So glamourous beautiful,and really matches the event.

Holly W.

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

This gown is beautiful and, like so many pieces in the Duchess of Cambridge wardrobe, stands the test of time for stylishness. Thank you, Susan, for your relentless efforts to bring us positive, informative posts to accompany the beautiful pictures. I’ve learned so much about fashion, history and traditions from this site. Quick question: Will there be a What Kate Wore Calendar for next year?


Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

Thank you for the kind words, Holly! There will not be a WKW calendar for 2022, I'm sorry.

Jen E

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Love this look, gorgeous. And definitely here for the new hair style! Love trying new things.

And love supporting retired workers in their old age, so important. <3

This comedian talking about "not hitting on your wife" should go back to the 1950s! How awkward.


Sunday 21st of November 2021

I can get behind this outfit a lot more this time. As a South Asian, I was not impressed that Duchess Kate wore a western designer to the culminating event for the tour of Pakistan (and has done this multiple times before, see previous tours to Malaysia and India - it sends the message to her South Asian fans that our designers aren’t good enough for her style). This is a lovely dress and works in this occasion and I can appreciate it today in a way that was’t possible in Pakistan. Also like the hairstyle, don’t think we’ve ever seen something like this on her.


Monday 22nd of November 2021

I think it only fair to point out that she did indeed wear outfits made by Pakistani designers on that tour and she looked lovely in them . As that gown was custom made , fittings might have been a problem I should imagine .


Saturday 20th of November 2021

The dress, the hair, the make up the earrings are all absolutely stunning.

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