The Duchess of Cambridge wore Catherine Walker for today’s Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
The service celebrates Commonwealth Day and the 54 nations and 2.5 billion people who make up the Commonwealth. Below, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as they arrived.
Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin, waves to the Melodians Steel Orchestra members as they perform outside the Abbey.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester planned to attend the service, but he has tested positive for COVID-19. Another royal who usually attends, the Countess of Wessex, is on a working visit to New York.
Today’s service was the first in-person gathering of the Commonwealth since the start of the pandemic.
On Friday, Buckingham Palace announced the Queen would not attend this year’s service. More from Erin Hill’s People story.
“After discussing the arrangements with the Royal Household, The Queen has asked The Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
Although she recently recovered from COVID-19, PEOPLE understands that the Queen’s absence from the Commonwealth Day Service is not related to illness. There were discussions surrounding the monarch’s comfort when it came to her travel arrangements and attending the service.
Below, HM as she arrived at the 2020 service.
HM did release her annual message, noting that, “In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service.” Below, a portion of this year’s message.
Buckingham Palace released a video showing the Queen’s 70 years of service to the Commonwealth.
In 1952 when The Queen acceded to the throne, she also became Head of the Commonwealth – a family of nations, spanning every geographical region, religion and culture.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 14, 2022
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Another view of the Duchess.
A video as members of the Royal Family enter the Abbey.
— BBC Studios Events Productions (@BBCS_Events) March 14, 2022
The theme for Commonwealth Day this year is Delivering a Common Future.
More about the service from The Telegraph’s piece by Hannah Furness.
Guests at the Westminster Abbey service included the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, and Commonwealth Secretary-General, as well as High Commissioners, Ambassadors, dignitaries from across the UK and Commonwealth, faith leaders and more than 600 school children.
The service began with a message about HM. More from this Metro piece.
As the service began, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, praised the Queen who is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee.
He told the congregation: ‘In this jubilee year, in which we rejoice in the 70 years that Her Majesty the Queen has presided over this Commonwealth, we also thank God for her faithfulness and commit ourselves to learn from an example of duty and service.
Elizabeth Kite of Tonga, a youth leader and activist, delivered the Reflection.
Nadine Benjamin MBE and the Commonwealth Ensemble perform “Beacon of Brightest Light,” inspired by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and composed by Debbie Wiseman according to The Telegraph.
Lord Sentamu, the former Archbishop of York, gave the address.
More on Lord Sentamu’s remarks from this People article.
Lord Sentamu, former Archbishop of York, led an unscripted three cheers for Her Majesty, saying “hip, hip, hip” followed by a “hooray” from the congregation. He repeated the “hip, hip, hip” twice more, each time the “hoorays” becoming louder.
Before the cheers, Lord Sentamu paid tribute to the Queen, saying that “inspired by Her Majesty, let’s try and leave the world” a more “friendly place than it was when we were born. Long live the Queen.”
Emeli Sandé and The London African Gospel Choir performed “Brighter Day.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reads Psalm 72: 1–7, 12–19: “The mountains also shall bring peace and the little hills righteousness unto the people.”
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC (L) speaking with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
A moment of levity.
Prince William speaking with the Prime Minister after the service concluded.
And the Duchess chatting with Emeli Sandé.
Another view of the royals as they are about to exit the Abbey.
Flowers for the Duchess.
It was a damp, blustery day in London.
Below, a video of the couple as they left the Abbey.
— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) March 14, 2022
In this photo, you can see how deep the back vent is on the coat.
And now for our look at what Kate wore.
The single-breasted design has velvet lapels, self-covered buttons, a flared cuff, and flared skirt.
For those thinking the blue may be a sartorial nod to Ukraine, the Duchess did wear a diamond and sapphire pendant seen on just one other occasion.
That was when they met Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, in December 2020.
This ensemble may have been created for last year’s Commonwealth Service or another event that was canceled because of the pandemic.
Now to the Duchess’s hat. The Daily Mail’s Rebecca English reports it is a style by milliner Sean Barrett.
The pillbox style looks like it is crafted of the same material as the coat. The wide bow is a style the Duchess favors, as seen in her Betty Boop hat by Lock and Company, shown below. We saw the return of the ‘Celeste’ clutch by Jimmy Choo.
And the ‘Malory’ heels by Rupert Sanderson.
A look back at previous ensembles.
From left to right:
- For the 2020 service, the Duchess brought back a Catherine Walker double-breasted coat.
- In 2019, the Duchess repeated a different Catherine Walker style, a version of the brand’s Russian Greatcoat.
- At the March 2018 service, the Duchess was expecting Prince Louis, and she repeated Beulah London’s ‘Chiara’ coat atop a navy dress.
- When attending the 2016 service, the Duchess opted for an Erdem coat and John Boyd hat.
- In March 2015, when the Duchess was expecting Princess Charlotte, she wore an Alexander McQueen coat and hat by Jane Taylor.
Here is coverage from the Royal Family Channel.
And here is the Evening Standard’s video coverage.
- Read The Queen’s message in full;
- Read more about the Commonwealth on the official Royal Family website here; visit The Commonwealth website here; the organization’s Facebook page is here, and its Twitter feed is here.
- The Telegraph’s article is here; The Daily Mail’s coverage is here; Metro’story is here.
- Erin Hill’s People piece is here; Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country story is here; a Hello story is here.