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The Princess in Burberry for Visits to Heritage Textile Mills

The Princess in Burberry for Visits to Heritage Textile Mills

The Princess of Wales brought back a Burberry suit for today’s engagements at textile mills in Leeds and Lancaster.

Kensington Palace said in a release the Princess has “…long been passionate about the importance of the textiles industry” and that today’s engagements involved learning more “…about the heritage, history, and innovation of the industry, the technical processes involved and how vital the sector is to the UK economy.” Her first stop was at AW Hainsworth, a historic mill in Pudsey, West Yorkshire.

A video as the Princess arrived via Richard Palmer of The Daily Express

In his People story, Simon Perry explains the Princess’s family connection to AW Hainsworth.

Kate visited AW Hainsworth, a family-owned heritage textile mill on the outskirts of Leeds. Her paternal ancestors were owners of a local woolen manufacturer and merchant William Lupton and Co., which was sold to AW Hainsworth in 1958.

Kate’s great-grandfather Noel Middleton, who married Olive Lupton in 1914, was a director of the company. Noel and Olive had three sons including Peter Middleton, Kate’s grandfather and the dad of her father, Michael.

Here is a quick video that references the Middleton family ties.

The fabric used for the anointing screen at this spring’s coronation was made from Hainsworth fabrics with embroidery done by the Royal School of Needlework.

At the coronation, Prince Louis wore a Garter Tunic made from Hainsworth doeskin fabric.

As noted in a news release, the company “is a fully integrated, vertical textile mill which supplies fabrics to a wide range of customers – from fashion and homeware brands to the Armed Forces.” AW Hainsworth makes the fabric used for the Grenadier Guards uniforms, seen here at the Trooping the Colour 2022.

The Princess had a tour of the mill. 

Another view. 

She also learned about the manufacturing process. 

AW Hainsworth uses traditional machinery and techniques, still considered the backbone of today’s industry. Here, you see her with Zeb Akhtar, Senior Weaver Trainer.

More from Rebecca English’s story in The Daily Mail

Zeb Akhtar, senior weaver trainer who talked the princess through some of the process, said afterwards: ‘She was very interested in the process and I talked her through how we made the cloth for the Guards on the somet loom. She had a good background knowledge. 

‘The princess wanted to know how it would stop if anything happened and as we were talking a thread snapped and it stopped automatically. We can make a hundred yards in an eight-hour shift.

‘It was such a pleasure to have her, very good. We feel very proud at being a royal warrant holder. We work hard and look after the royal family whenever they call upon us.’

It looked like the Princess enjoyed herself. Rebecca English also reported that at one point, she “grabbed handfuls of freshly-woven Merino wool fabric and declared: ‘I love the feel of it and the smell of it!'”

The Princess met “Oliver,” a mannequin modeling the King’s Guard military uniform.

A brief video via Rebecca English. 

The company’s fabric was used in a Madderson London dress worn by the Princess when she was expecting Princess Charlotte in 2015.

The company now has one of the dresses on display. 

Sadly, Madderson closed in 2019.

Rebecca English also reported on an iconic item sold by Hudson’s Bay.

Her eye was also caught by a group of ladies packing cream blankets with a distinctive colourful stripe for Canadian firm Hudson Bay, part of a batch of 1,600 that are being made and packed to send out in time for their Christmas market. 

‘I really recognise this,’ she said.

‘I think we were given one on tour to Canada as a gift. So I’ve still got it. It’s in a box. I’ll take photograph and send it to you.

‘I use it for the children all the time. I am going to double check when I get home and look at the label.’

Below, a wave from the Princess as she leaves AW Hainsworth.

The second stop today for the Princess was in Lancaster, where she visited Standfast & Barracks.

Founded in 1924, the company is known for its textile printing—more from Lancaster Live’s report.

The firm, now part of the Sanderson Design Group, is renowned for its heritage in textile design and creativity and employs around 160 staff to design and print 35,000 metres of printed fabrics each week.

On its website, Standfast and Barracks say they plan “…to be Net Zero emissions by 2030, we continue to reduce our carbon emissions to protect future generations and unite against climate change, whilst proudly being Planet Mark certified for the past three years.” Planet Mark “is a recognized symbol of sustainability progress. It demonstrates a business’ commitment to measuring and reducing its carbon emissions…” per the Planet Mark site.

Below, the Princess with the company’s Creative Director, Emma Douglas.

The Princess met the founders of House of Hackney, a British interior design brand, Javvy M. Royle (center), and Frieda Gormley (right).

The Princess learned about the product development process between Standfast & Barracks and House of Hackney. We return to the Lancaster Live story.

They are now collaborating with Standfast & Barracks, to pioneer sustainable, traceable materials in their work.

Mr Royle said: “The whole re-gen thing is quite important to us, so we have been on this journey looking at all our fabrics.”

Kate said: “There is a growing need, isn’t there? And some understanding, from the consumer, about where their products come from.”

The Princess met Peter Ellison, the company’s longest-serving employee. In November, Mr. Ellison will have been with the company for fifty years.

Mr. Ellison’s granddaughter, 7-year-old Emily May Catto, gave the Princess a picture she had drawn and a bouquet of flowers. Mr. Ellison told Lancaster Live the Princess asked Emily “…about what colors she liked. She said keep up dancing. She told us about her daughter, Charlotte, she likes ballet and tap.” Below, a video via Richard Palmer. 

The Princess also spoke with employees. 
 Now for our look at what Kate wore for today’s engagements.

She was in custom separates by Burberry that we first saw in photos and a video used for the launch of the Shaping Us project, then worn again this March for a meeting with Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway.

The blazer is a custom version of the brand’s Wool Tailored Jacket ($2050), seen below in grey. The garment features a loose single-breasted silhouette with front flap pockets, defined shoulders, notch lapels, and four buttons prominently placed at the cuff. The Wool Wide-Leg Trousers ($1050) have a front zipper, angled front pockets, back button-through welt pockets, pleats, and belt loops.

We saw the return of the ‘Josie’ Block Heel Pumps ($490) by go-to brand Emmy London

The Princess wore her hair down.

She had on a new pair of earrings, the Shyla ‘Rosalia’ style (£68), with thanks to Found by Bojana for this ID. They are made in the UK of sterling silver with 22K gold plating and freshwater pearls. 

She also wore her Laura Lombardi ‘Portrait’ 14kt Gold-Plated Chain Necklace ($158), a chunky style with round and oval links. It was first noted when worn to a Boston Celtics NBA game last December

I show the necklace at Matches Fashion ($158) above, but it is also available at SSense ($160), as well as from Laura Lombardi ($180) and Net-a-Porter ($205). 


ITN’s Royal Family Channel offers roughly three minutes of coverage of the AW Hainsworth visit in this video. 

And roughly the same amount of coverage of the Standfast & Barracks visit in this video. 



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Wednesday 4th of October 2023

I really don't care for the trousers in the past two looks. Suit jackets are fine and this gold jewelry is nice, like the green pumps.

Susan B.

Monday 2nd of October 2023

I like the way Catherine is embracing the suit look, but I just don't care for this suit. The color is meh, the fit is off, it feels too big and overwhelms her, and the jacket seems too long. She is just engulfed. Love the necklace, and I like the chunky heels.


Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

@Susan B., I’ve been so excited seeing all these suits and I want to love this one but it really fit poorly. It’s kind of nice to see she’s not infallible haha


Friday 29th of September 2023

No offense intended, but Kate’s suit looks too big.


Friday 29th of September 2023

I just really love this outfit. The color and fabric of the suit, the chunky gold accessories, the contrasting white of her shirt/bodysuit with a very flattering deep v-neck - all of it works for me. It's a suit that shows that clothing can be tailored without being tight; and it can flow without sagging.

I think I *may* have preferred to see a more distinctive textile in her clothing for her visit to textile specialists. She has some lovely jacquards and tweeds that she could have repeated. But, the quality of the Burberry wool speaks for itself.

The trousers do need 1/4" hemmed up or a different shoe. The trouser is called a wide-leg trouser and clearly designed to be high-waisted, so there's no issue with the overall proportion. It's a current trend. But it does look like these were tailored on Catherine specifically for a taller shoe. Generally speaking, this tailoring-sensitivity is not something that is an issue with menswear; their dress shoes rarely vary in height. But for women, suit trousers can be finicky if switching in and out different styles of footwear.


Friday 29th of September 2023

Going to add my two cents: I love the color of this suit, the jewelry is also great and I dig a matching shoe. However the fit is not good and I think it’s primarily due to the rise being a bit too long. It might need to come in a smidge but I think if you fixed the rise the rest would be fine. I prefer her to wear dresses but from someone who rarely wears dresses and never to work, it would be hypocritical of me to complain about pantsuits.

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