Skip to Content

It’s Tailored Separates for Prison Visit & Big News About Alexander McQueen

It’s Tailored Separates for Prison Visit & Big News About Alexander McQueen

The Princess of Wales chose tailored separates by Alexander McQueen for an engagement at HMP High Down in Surrey.

HMP High Down is a men’s facility with around 1,100 prisoners. The Princess was at the prison in her role as patron of the Forward Trust

More from Hello’s story by Ainhoa Barcelona.

The Princess became Patron of The Forward Trust in June 2021 when the charity merged with Action on Addiction, which was one of Kate’s first patronages in 2012 following her marriage to Prince William.

The trust works in 25 prisons across the UK, helping people address issues including substance misuse, mental health, housing and employment for those leaving prison, and improving relationships with friends and family, including children.

The visit began with the same security check other visitors undergo when visiting the prison.

More from The Telegraph’s piece by India McTaggart

During the visit, the Princess heard about how The Forward Trust was working to support some of the inmates to manage their addiction and to help break the intergenerational trauma of addiction. 

The charity delivers a range of services at HMP High Down, including an intensive abstinence-based programme called The Bridge and a course of workshops focused on restoring communication and confidence with loved ones, titled Family Ties.

The Princess spent time with family members visiting loved ones to hear about the visiting process.

The Princess also visited The Clink, an on-site restaurant at the facility.

We return to Hello’s live coverage of today’s engagement

Kate also makes a stop at The Clink, the prison’s on-site restaurant that is open to the public and is run by prisoners in partnership with The Clink Charity. 

Prisoners study for National Vocational Qualifications in cooking, food service, and cleaning while they work. They also receive mentoring upon release, including support with employment and accommodation.

This is the Princess’s third visit to the facility. Here you see her in 2015 when she learned about work done by the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt)

In 2020, part of the rollout of the Early Years “5 Big Questions” survey was at the facility.

For those curious about the bandage on her right hand.

The Evening Standard story has more information. 

She revealed during the tour that she had suffered the hand injury during a trampolining session at her home in Windsor. A Kensington Palace spokesman said it was “a small injury, nothing serious”.


On a related note, there is big news in the fashion industry: Sarah Burton is leaving Alexander McQueen after 26 years at the brand. We learn more from Elizabeth Paton’s New York Times piece.

Ms. Burton, 49, who has worked at Alexander McQueen for 26 years, half of which she has spent as its creative director, said in the statement that the label’s show at Paris Fashion Week later this month will be her last. A successor has not yet been named.

“I am so proud of everything I’ve done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen,” Ms. Burton said in the statement. “I am looking forward to the future and my next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me.”Below, Ms. Burton at the ELLE Style Awards in London last week. 

Below, Ms. Burton at the ELLE Style Awards in London last week. 

And from this Caroline Leaper column for the Telegraph

Burton had worked under the label’s founder, Lee McQueen, for more than 14 years before his untimely death in February 2010, and was appointed as his successor that May. She is credited for successfully continuing his design legacy, adapting the house’s darkly romantic codes to suit a new generation of fans – including bringing in the Princess as a star client.  

Of course, the designer famously designed the Princess’s wedding gown. But she has been so much more, a vital “go-to” for the Princess, with an enormous impact on her royal wardrobe.

Here you see Ms. Burton with Mr. McQueen on her own wedding day.

We return to the Telegraph piece by Caroline Leaper.

Despite being kind and chatty backstage at her shows, she rarely gave formal interviews and shied away from the spotlight that so many other designers chase. In a 2014 interview with The Telegraph, Burton was asked whether she had any interest in being a “star designer” and confessed that she hadn’t ever actually wanted the job of fronting a fashion house.   

“There have been times when, if I could have disappeared from this industry, I would have,” she admitted. “I had to battle with it. I don’t look like a fashion person, I’m not cool, and I always just loved people who are good at what they do.”

Ms. Leaper notes in her story the news is “prompting speculation she may set up her own label.”  

Now for our look at what Kate wore for today’s engagement.

In some photos from today’s engagement, it looked like the Princess was in the amethyst separates by Alexander McQueen, which we first noted during the visit to Boston in December (below left). In other photos, it appeared to be the navy version.

I am going with this being the amethyst color Alexander McQueen Leaf Crepe Jacket ($2510) and the High-Waisted Cigarette Trouser.

Her top appeared to be a cream or ivory knit piece. There is not enough detail in the photos to identify it. 

It looked like the Princess also had on her Gianvito 105′ Navy Suede Pumps ($795). Today, the Princess wore familiar jewelry, her ‘Lauren’ Pavé Diamond Leaf Earrings ($2300) by Kiki McDoungh, and her Daniella Draper Trio Diamond Midnight Moon Necklace ($1700). 

This is something of an abbreviated post, lacking the standard detail about the engagement and forcing me to keep the Sarah Burton news much shorter than I would like it to be. I am traveling for a little vacation! 

NOTE: the post originally had incorrect information regarding the date of Sarah Burton’s wedding. I haven’t been able to find the correct date. Thank you to Hrhdhd for letting me know about the error. 

Pin It

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Friday 15th of September 2023

The princess is dressed in an elegant and appropriate manner for the engagement. Navy and white styled in a superb way with sensational hair. Not fussed on the necklace at all. I understand the sentimentality however the design is primitive.

Ava Pittman

Thursday 14th of September 2023

This was a wonderful visit. Love the Navy pantsuit, fits well and looks stylish.


Thursday 14th of September 2023

Since I'm also short on time (would never have guessed you were vacationing Susan - the post is in no way lacking) I'll just say three cheers for pants that are long enough but not a mile wide!!!


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

I’m now grateful for every McQueen outfit that Catherine may have bought in multiple colours. While I might concede that twenty years at one atelier might be more than enough, my frightened sense tells me that the same level of immaculate polish might not be achievable were Sarah Burton working elsewhere. I feel that Burton has more-or-less defined monarchy for our time through her long cooperation with Catherine, and has produced a long string of iconic outfits. Were she to move abroad I suppose we might lose her input forever. Watch this space.

It seems appropriate then that Catherine should step out for this demanding prison engagement in a snappy McQueen pant suit that we know of in at least two colours. I love the deeply angled pocket flaps on this Leaf Crepe Jacket, hinting at the swashbuckling heritage of Alexander McQueen, albeit toned-down for royal dignity. The skilfully shaped waistline helps preserve balance for the structured shoulders, and the elegant Cigarette Trousers show off long legs, nicely lengthened by Gianvito pump heels.

Catherine’s hair is amazing on this outing, though I think we have seen struggles result from bangs before. For me they can spoil an updo, as when she had droopy hair hanging round her face when wearing the sheer pale blue Packham evening gown to the James Bond Spectre premiere, a polarising look for me. On this occasion the waves are tumbling down in an impressive manner, framing her face beautifully. Lovely to see the return of her Lauren Pave Diamond Leaf Earrings and the Daniella Draper GCL pendant.


Thursday 14th of September 2023

@Zell, I agree it's fun to see Catherine switch up her hairstyles and she's been keen on this present long straggly style for a while, perhaps her tribute to messy hair. I think it looked great today, but I am hoping we don't have stray hairs with tiaras this winter, there's a time and a place ;)


Thursday 14th of September 2023

@Bonnie, McQueen definitely pushed the envelope! I'm always interested in seeing how Burton references the exaggeration and swagger that were his trademark. I'm wishing her all the best for the future.


Thursday 14th of September 2023

@ElizaMo, what a good thought on Catherine buying McQueen staples in multiples. I agree; they'll be anchors of her wardrobe for some time to come. I also agree that Catherine's partnership with the McQueen house is one for the ages; I hope it can continue under new leadership, but I also hope we have not seen the last of Sarah Burton!


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

ElizaMo, I'm not as knowledgable about fashion as you are, so I could be wrong about this. I always felt that Alexander McQueen, when he was alive, pushed the envelope on every outfit making it edgy and something that only the very daring would wear. It seemed to me that when Sarah Burton took over, that a "softer" more "normal" look emerged, that allowed the outfits to be suitable for Royalty. It will be most interesting to see what the future holds for Ms. Burton. She has amazing talent, so hopefully she will rise in a new invention of herself.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

@ElizaMo, the McQueen pant suits are amazing and so is Sarah Burton! People have so many opinions about her hair. Personally, I like a casual look with bangs that stray a bit. The blue Packham gown had a graceful ease that wasn't marred by a more relaxed hairstyle, but I'm very easygoing about hairstyles in general. It is fun, for me, that Catherine loves to experiment with her hair. I love how it looked in the podcast she participated in. Like silk, really so beautiful.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

Loved everything about this look. Perfection for this visit. I also love Catherine's hair - I have no problem with the length, curls, or styling. In my opinion it is simply gorgeous!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.