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The Princess Wears Plum Ensemble for South Africa State Visit Ceremonies

The Princess Wears Plum Ensemble for South Africa State Visit Ceremonies

The Princess of Wales chose a design believed to be by Emilia Wickstead for this afternoon’s state visit duties.

On behalf of the King, the Prince and Princess of Wales greeted President Cyril Ramaphosa at his London hotel.

This is the UK’s first state visit since 2019 and the first hosted by King Charles as monarch.

President Ramaphosa arrived at London Stansted airport last night.

The Prince and Princess then accompanied the President as they traveled to Horse Guards Parade. The Princess of Wales as she arrived at Horse Guards Parade.

The Prince and Princess join the King, Queen Consort, and President Ramaphosa at the Royal Pavilion for the ceremonial welcome.

There was a royal salute, and the South African national anthem was played.

In this view, you can also see Prime Minister Rishi Sunak behind the King. 

Today’s ceremonies involved more than a thousand soldiers, about 230 horses, seven military bands, and nine military units from the British Army’s Household Division.

More on the visit from this BBC story published before the welcoming ceremonies.  

This is the diplomatic equivalent of getting out the poshest plates and cutlery to impress the visitors.

Flags are out on the Mall, there will be a ceremonial carriage ride, honour guards and a banquet in Buckingham Palace.

There is a serious soft-power intent behind the toasts and tiaras of the visit. Trade with South Africa represents 30% of the UK’s entire trade with the African continent, worth almost £11bn per year.

The King is also now head of the Commonwealth and will want to send a positive message about strengthening relations.

One more photo of the Prince and Princess at the ceremony. 

Then it was time for a carriage ride.

President Ramaphosa rode with the King and Queen Consort. 

Here you see the Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals accompanying the State Carriage on the Mall.

The Princess of Wales. 

The route took the group from Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace. Below, the Prince and Princess as they arrived at Buckingham Palace.

Following a private lunch, the King and Queen Consort, Prince and Princess of Wales, and President Ramaphosa moved to the Palace’s Picture Gallery to view an exhibition of Royal Collection items related to South Africa.

Here you see the couple with Dr. Naledin Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, looking at a chess set Nelson Mandela gave Prince Philip in 1996.

Other objects included a map showing the route of the Royal Train during the Royal Tour of South Africa, undertaken by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret in 1947. Chris Ship of ITV shared a photo of the late Queen Elizabeth at age 21 on that trip as she read the famous speech pledging her service for her “whole life whether it be long or short…”. 
President Ramaphosa holds a photograph of Nelson Mandela with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in this image. 

Now for our look at what Kate wore for this afternoon’s welcoming events. Her rich, plum-colored ensemble included a dress that very much looks like an Emilia Wickstead design.

The midi-length piece features a fitted bodice, peak lapels, applied waistband, and pleated skirt. We do not have confirmation that this is an Emila Wickstead design and it may be another designer altogether. But to me, the design carries many of the Emilia Wickstead signature elements seen in other coatdresses worn by the Princess. The most significant distinction between today’s garment and other Emilia Wickstead pieces is the inclusion of a fully pleated skirt, with pleats that are stitched down.   

The Princess wore a new pillbox hat with a bow in the back that looks quite similar to the Sean Barrett style worn for this year’s Commonwealth service in March (below right). Thank you to Liz at Kate’s Closet for pointing out the similarity!

She accessorized with her Gianvito Rossi pumps. 

And Mulberry clutch, along with a pair of UFO gloves.

The Princess wore a stunning brooch for today’s events, Queen Alexandra’s Three Feathers Brooch. The Beau Monde explains the piece is “… composed of eighteen Round Cut diamonds with small emeralds that surrounded the traditional symbol of the Prince of Wales, three ostrich feathers surrounded by a crown with the motto ‘Ich Dien’ (I Serve). It also came with a detachable cabochon emerald pendant that can be hung from the bottom of the Pendant.”

And from The Court Jeweller’s piece about today’s jewelry.  

Alexandra (who was then Princess of Wales herself) received the brooch and its coordinating emerald drop earrings as a wedding gift from a committee of women, the Ladies of North Wales, in 1863. The Three Feathers (or Prince of Wales’s Feathers), a trio of white ostrich plumes, is one of the most important symbols of the Prince of Wales title, and the brooch features the feathers set in a diamond frame. This particular piece can be worn with or without the emerald drop, and it can be used either as a brooch or a pendant.

Diana, Princess of Wales liked to wear it as a pendant on a necklace (both with and without the emerald drop). More recently, Queen Camilla has been the wearer of the jewel. She’s always worn it as a brooch, and always with the emerald drop.

Below, Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing the brooch in 1991 during an official visit to Canada.  
Embed from Getty Images
Here you see the Duchess of Cornwall wearing the brooch and matching earrings to an October 2006 movie premiere.

Here is one more photo from the afternoon engagement. 

Click here for tonight’s state banquet coverage.


The Royal Family Channel offers two minutes of coverage from the hotel. 

Here is a video covering the welcome ceremony. 

 This coverage includes the carriage ride and arrival at Buckingham Palace. 

The Royal Family posted a video. 

Here you see the carriages arrive at Buckingham Palace. 

The Royal Family shared some of the preps for today’s official welcome. 


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Monday 28th of November 2022

late with my comments, but here they are: Love the color but hate the pleats and the way they are affixed to the rest of the dress/coat. I wish the gloves, shoes and purse had been black leather. I like the idea of the hat, but dislike the bow at the back. The hemline is too long and throwing off the proportions. I love that she is wearing the POW broach.


Saturday 26th of November 2022

I LOVE this color with her hair color. I also like the contrast of the emerald drop. I didn’t realize she’d take the hat off to go in


Thursday 24th of November 2022

One of the joys of following the fashion choices of the Royal ladies is getting to see them wear the kind of clothes that most women don't wear anymore, such as hats. They wear hats, not for just warmth, (or not only for warmth, in the colder months), but rather, they wear them for style, and to complete their more formal looks. I love the hats that both women are wearing, Queen Camilla and Princess Kate. Both are in beautiful colors/styles. There was a time, up until the mid to late 1960s, or so, when most women wore hats for style, not just for practical reasons, and I think that was a special look, but the wearing of hats didn't last, except to keep heads warm in wintry months. Hats are beautiful and it must have been fun, back in the day, for women to choose which hat one might wear to any given event. So, that's all my way of saying that I enjoy the retro/vintage style elements of the Royal women. They are modern women who dress in some of the best ways from the past, without looking dated, in the least. They look beautiful and special and set apart from the rest of us, most of whom would never think of wearing a hat just for the sake of beauty, particularly a pill box hat with a fetching bow. As to this look, I adore it all. The Princess of Wales wears a beautiful, elegant and stylish outfit, with a visually exciting combination of lovely colors, as well a look that has some lovely elements from clothes of the the 30s, 40s and 50s. (She somehow manages to convey both retro and up-to-date in such a graceful way). My favorite part of this entire ensemble is the richness of all that purple set off by that incredibly stunning brooch. How Wonderful she included the emerald tear drop! And those white tear drop pearl earrings! Wonderful! So much glorious, unabashed color! Of course, I'm pretty certain that Princess Catherine wasn't thinking of the expression, "Give Women the Vote," from a very long time ago, but her colors are the same as what many Suffragettes wore: (G)reen, (W)hite and (V)iolet. It took a long time for women to achieve the right to vote, and ever since I learned that those were often their colors, I have loved green, white and purple combos even more than I otherwise already would. Kate looks just wonderful in this outfit, and I particularly find beautiful the pleats, the longer length of the skirt and the slightly wider width of the belt, as well as those beautiful lapels. This dress, with that glorious pill box hat is wonderful! Her accessories are also perfect! Also: the Queen Consort looks absolutely marvelous in royal blue! Her hat, with the dashing feathers, is stunning, I truly love her entire look! I really enjoy Queen Camilla's style, just as much as Princess Kate's. Queen Camilla has a dashing sense of style that I just love.

Sherin from Australia

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

@Zell, I also love Camilla's outfits. I am closer to her age and sometimes fall in love with some of her dresses. They compliment each other in dress style very well. It seems they are friends as well. It is nice to like your work colleagues, and both are focused on the job in hand. Catherine looks amazing in this outfit. How lovely to see her starting to wear broaches. More beautiful jewels for us to enjoy.


Friday 25th of November 2022

@Spruha, thank you!!! The beautiful combination of purple, white and green c were used by British Suffrage women but there were also other colors and symbols too!


Friday 25th of November 2022

@Zell, what a lovely comment Zell! Now I will also keep an eye out for this color combination


Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

I love the color and the style of this outfit. The pillbox had is always a classic. I feel like a broken record, but why are her hemlines so long? The skirt looks out of proportion.


Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

@NickyT, Interesting when reading these opinions about Catherine's outfit, mostly all positive, the biggest difference in opinion seems to be about her hemline. I think that if you just wait a little, she will revert back to shorter hemlines. She has always been interested in and follows latest trends in her own moderate way. Fashion changes all the time and longer hemlines will eventually go out of high fashion and, I believe, Catherine will follow the new trends. Unfortunately in my view, because I think with her height the long hemlines do really suit her long willowy figure. Unless, she has made the longer hemline her "statement look", for the future. In the way that Sophie Wessex often wears the 40's New Look inspired dresses, which have become a bit of her personal "statement look", complimenting her figure perfectly.

Ava Pittman

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

I love this beautiful plum color, the day dress looks great, especially with the pleats of the skirt. The matching accessories work well in this instance. The emerald brooch is divine. IMO the pearl earrings are a mismatch. The emerald earrings that are part of this family with regards to the emerald brooch would have been a better choice. Especially with the plum background. A pearl used in place of the emerald on the brooch would have been the other alternative. The overall look would have been elevated. Regardless of my tastes this is a wonderful outfit. The Princess looks beautiful.

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