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The Duchess In Catherine Walker for Commonwealth Service

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. 

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. 

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. 

In this photo, you can see how deep the back vent is on the coat.

Rebecca English reports the Duchess of Cornwall wore a Fiona Clare coat and Philip Treacy hat. 

And now for our look at what Kate wore. 

The Duchess was in a wool crepe coat by Catherine Walker. The piece has elements of the Sapphire (below left) and the Mayfair (below right).  

The single-breasted design has velvet lapels, self-covered buttons, a flared cuff, and flared skirt.

Beneath the coat, the Duchess wore a blue dress or skirt in a fabric that looked like it had a satin finish. Thank you to Laura, UFO No More, and Middleton Maven for the ID work.

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.  

VIDEOS

Here is coverage from the Royal Family Channel. 

 And here is the Evening Standard’s video coverage. 

LINKAGE

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Lizinoz

Saturday 19th of March 2022

I'm intrigued by this coat. Is it a coat dress as the opening at from shows what we assume is a dress or it is it a lining as when she is walking or the photo of back opening there is absolutely no material showing so it cannot be a dress unless it is a new style of hem -very short at back long at front?

I think it does elongate her too much and could have been a tad shorter but it is a stunning colour and fits like a glove.

Karen

Thursday 17th of March 2022

As always, Kate looks perfect for the occasion. The problem I have is that the coat should be shorter. She sometimes lets her coats fall too far below the knee like when she also wore the Catherine Walker coats with the bow on the shoulder.

Gabrielle

Thursday 17th of March 2022

The coat dress is perfect & beautiful.the blue stunning on Kate. I’m not sure why some have such d’aversion to maxi length. It’s been in style for an age in UK, Europe but perhaps not in America? See the model in red - same length. But you have to have the body to look chic in as Kate does.

Sarah

Thursday 17th of March 2022

What an absolutely spectacular color! And I love the subtle message with the jewelry. She really knocked it out of the park with this one.

Sam

Thursday 17th of March 2022

For me, this is an instant favorite. I think the length of the garment could've been a tad shorter, but otherwise, gorgeous color, great cut, lovely look (it reminds me of that sharp McQueen coat she wore for Easter in Australia). And what a classy, subtle, and heartwarming tribute with the choice of jewelry!

Karlie

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

I simply don't understand why readers just assume that because Kate is wearing blue it is due to support of Ukraine. Kate's outfits would most likely be planned well in advance and blue is a fairly common colour which is worn often. Not sure why people jump to conclusions. Also why are some posters allowed to reference Kate's body shape, not very nice and really not relevant. By the way love Kate's outfit, professional and stylish. Looked amazing, fabulous tailoring, demure length and timeless elegance.

k van voorhees

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

Probably because they publicly released a statement in support of Ukraine and President Zelensky on their Instagram.

"In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelensky and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future.

Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future ?? W & C"

They also have posted an image of a Ukrainian flag.

She wore blue on their visit to the Ukrainian Culture Center and a Ukrainian flag pin, the only other time she's worn that sapphire necklace was when they met with Zelensky and his wife two years ago. So not much of a stretch.

That said, I highly doubt the making of the coat had anything to do with Ukraine. We don't know when the coat was made or even if it was specifically made for this event and for this year.