The Princess of Wales turned to a favored designer, Erdem, for her Commonwealth Day ensemble.
The Prince and Princess joined other royal family members for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. The Commonwealth is “a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific.” Below, flag-bearers at Westminster Abbey representing each of the 56 nations.
Today’s service is part of Commonwealth Day, “marking the beginning of a week-long series of events and activities happening around the globe – including faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies, and cultural events.” This is the first Commonwealth Day since Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s death, and the first presided over by King Charles as King and Head of the Commonwealth. Here you see him welcomed with a traditional ‘Hongi’ by a Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club member.
It was a breezy day, and many women needed to hold their hats down to keep them in place. Below, the Queen Consort as she arrived with the King.
The wind caught the Princess’s skirt.
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh as they arrived for Monday’s service.
Last week it was announced that Prince Edward was bestowed the title of the Duke of Edinburgh, previously held by his father, Prince Philip. The announcement was made on the Duke’s 59th birthday. The Duke is also now the patron of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Returning to Monday’s service, here you see Princess Anne and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
Below, the King and Queen Consort as they are greeted by dignitaries and clergy inside the Abbey.
Per Westminster Abbey’s report on the service, “Among the 2000-strong congregation were High Commissioners, senior political figures from the UK and the Commonwealth, faith leaders, and some of the home nations athletes who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year. They were joined by more than 750 children from schools and youth groups.”
Below, members of the royal family as they are about to proceed to their seats.
There were special musical performances from saxophonist YolanDa Brown OBE and the all-female Amalgamation Choir from Cyprus. Marking Rwanda’s role as the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, the National Ballet of Rwanda (Urukerereza) also performed, as seen below.
The King delivered his Commonwealth Day message from the Abbey’s Great Pulpit.
From the King’s remarks.
Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved mother, the late Queen; a treasured opportunity to celebrate our Commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life. The Commonwealth has been a constant in my own life, and yet its diversity continues to amaze and inspire me. Its near-boundless potential as a force for good in the world demands our highest ambition; its sheer scale challenges us to unite and be bold.
Our shared humanity contains such precious diversity of thought, culture, tradition and experience. By listening to each other, we will find so many of the solutions that we seek. This extraordinary potential, which we hold in common, is more than equal to the challenges we face.
The King also said, “In succeeding Her Majesty as Head of the Commonwealth, I draw great strength from her example, together with all that I have learnt from the extraordinary people I have met, throughout the Commonwealth, over so many years.”
The Queen Consort, Princess of Wales, and Duchess of Edinburgh as they were leaving after the service concluded.
The King and Queen Consort as they exited the historic church.
The Prince and Princess as they were leaving the Abbey.
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
We quickly look at what some of the other royal women wore for the service, beginning with the Queen Consort. She chose a rich blue ensemble in wool crepe by Fiona Clare, accessorized by a Philip Treacy hat, described by the Royal Hats blog as a “striking royal blue beret trimmed with a crescent of royal blue and black feathers anchored with a knotted felt twist.”
More about the spectacular brooch worn on her coat from The Court Jeweller.
… the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch. It’s a Romanov jewel, originally from the collection of Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. She was a sister of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (and the mother of the doomed last tsar, Emperor Nicholas II). It’s a Romanov jewel, originally from the collection of Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. She was a sister of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (and the mother of the doomed last tsar, Emperor Nicholas II).
Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, wore a Proenza Schouler coatdress with the Ilithyia hat by Jane Taylor, an “ivory felt pillbox hat with pork pie indented crown, trimmed with a looping black buntal bow around the back” per Royal Hats. Her black and white pearl earrings are the pair worn for her wedding, and she also wore a modern brooch. Thank you to UFO No More for the coat ID.
Princess Anne was in a structured green coat, minty green trilby, and a modern brooch set with an amethyst.
The Princess’s coat is a design seen on multiple occasions, including Christmas Day services at Sandringham in 2016.
Now for our look at what Kate wore to the service.
We begin with her suit by Canadian-born, London-based designer Erdem Moralioglu. The Ottoman Jacquard Peplum Jacket ($2495) and Flared Ottoman Jacquard Midi Skirt ($1695) are from the designer’s pre-fall 2023 collection. Both pieces were made in the United Kingdom, crafted of a viscose/polyester fabric in navy blue with a delicate white floral motif. The lined jacket has a slim fit, button front, pleated peplum, raised shoulders, and distinctive topstitching. The unlined skirt features a flared silhouette, waistband, zipper, and interesting seaming details.
Many thanks to Laura for her speedy ID of the suit. More on the look from this Vogue piece.
Kate Middleton tends to veer away from more fashion-forward wardrobe choices for an occasion as formal as this, often opting for her uniform of coat dresses from the likes of Catherine Walker, Alexander McQueen, and Emilia Wickstead. Today, though, she displayed her fashion credentials by wearing a pre-fall Erdem look, which won’t be available to buy until at least August 2023.
The Princess has worn Erdem for royal tours and gala dinners in the past, and today wore a navy blue jacquard-print skirt suit, featuring a striking silhouette thanks to the darted waist of the jacket leading to a pleated peplum and flared skirt. As is often the case with Erdem’s designs, the look has an elegant feel to it—with his pre-fall collection being inspired by the wallpapers and upholsteries of Victorian houses.
Here is a closer view of some details, including the zigzag topstitching used at the front and back darts, the branded buttons, the concealed snaps beneath the buttons, and the raised shoulder.
Here are better views showing the intricate construction of the skirt and its fullness.
Many of today’s accessories were familiar, including the Gianvito 105 Suede Pumps ($695) by Gianvito Rossi. This is the brand’s signature style, with a classic point-toe design and 105mm (4″) stiletto heel.
The shoe is available at My Theresa ($695), as well as Net-a-Porter ($775), and FarFetch ($775).
We also saw the return of the Natasha Clutch ($425) in navy suede by Emmy London.
The Princess also carried the bespoke blue gloves with bows at the wrist, designed by Andy Shiels in collaboration with Dents Glovers and The Worshipful Company of Glovers in London.
There was a new accessory worn to the service, a hat by milliner Sean Barrett.
Thank you to Emma for her work on this ID as well as the design worn for the late Queen’s funeral. You can see the similarity between the hat worn Monday and the style seen at the Queen’s funeral in September.
The Princess wore her hair up.
In the jewelry department, the Princess brought back Queen Alexandra’s Three Feather Brooch.
We first saw the brooch last November during the South Africa state visit. On that occasion, it was worn with the emerald drop. As noted by The Court Jeweller, the brooch “…which can also be worn as a pendant, has been worn by several Princesses of Wales.”
She also wore the sapphire cabochon cluster earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
They were first seen at last year’s Commonwealth service and again at Trooping the Colour in June (below).
Thank you to everyone for your supportive messages regarding my husband’s surgery; he is doing much better. I will have a post on the annual St. Patrick’s Day ceremony with the Irish Guards tomorrow or Saturday.
Here is the BBC’s complete service coverage, including the royal family members’ arrivals.
A backgrounder on today’s event.
Happy #CommonwealthDay to all 2.5 billion citizens of the #Commonwealth!
Today marks the beginning of a week-long series of activities happening around the globe – including faith and civic gatherings, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies and cultural events.
— The Commonwealth (@commonwealthsec) March 13, 2023
Sunday 19th of March 2023
I think the suit is beautiful and feels like spring with the fabric and feminine styling. Love her jewelry too. The only negative is her hair. I wish she had worn it down or had a simpler more modern updo-it seemed to age the look, perhaps due to all the twists and turns in her bun.
Saturday 18th of March 2023
You can tell people the cost of each item, but the smile of Katherine was priceless.
Saturday 18th of March 2023
This garment is magnificent. The detailing, the 40's styling. Just yesterday I was working on the preservation of a nearly identical garment that belonged to my mother, except her's is heavy wool and does not move like Catherine's. Amazing.
Friday 17th of March 2023
I forgot to add that the wonderful white top stitching, that looks so striking and beautiful in front (those 2 deep Vs), also looks even more amazing from behind, as the white stitched lines above the peplum suggest the look of a corset, (someone else has also noted this). I think that subtle suggestion of a corset is a Brilliant design, and looks marvelous against the print. The entire silhouette of this ensemble is so pretty, and also has a polished, ladylike sophistication. But - is it "costumey," as some say? Why, it might very well be, if regular people were to wear such an outfit to most any event (at a swanky wedding, it could work, or if one is daring and dashing in how they dress, it could work in many ways, especially if they don't mind not overly blending in, shall we say?), but on the Princess of Wales, such a look is, for me, precisely how she is meant to dress: Divinely and Wonderfully! Truly, this look is Exactly what I am always hoping to see her in: clothes that are not only exceptionally well made, with the kind of beautiful little touches that a bona-fide Princess can easily pull off, but also: a look that has a certain kind of sartorial risk taking, as well. We saw this last aspect (taking a bit of a risk) with those glamorous, glorious long black velvet gloves she wore with her dreamy, floaty, dramatic white gown, at the BAFTA awards. We also see certain risks being taken quite successfully with this Commonwealth look, such as the corset suggestion on the jacket and the fit and flare skirt, (which so nicely echoes the ebullient pleats of the peplum. That is very fetching jacket, for sure! And how wonderful it looks with that skirt)! The color of her hat is not a bother to me, either. Itseems to have a hint of purple in the blue, that comes out beautifully in various lights. I very much like that hint of purple, and think it goes with the entire outfit, while also adding in another nice bit of dash of the unexpected. I also do think that a very matchy-matchy look can be undeniably awesome, but, by the same token, so can a harmonizing of the same color, in slightly different hues. That lively hint-of-purple-in-blue c of the hat makes for a beguiling contrast with the navy blue of the rest of the outfit.
(I also forgot to add that I am happy to hear that the Admin's husband is doing better. May he continue to have a very successful recovery)!
Friday 17th of March 2023
It feels a bit..Mary Poppins?
Monday 20th of March 2023
@medici, Yes, there is that vibe to it. I also feel it's a bit too '80s instead of the '40s feel that others are commenting about.(?). I do loooooove the inside pattern of the white and navy! That was unexpected!