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News Briefs and The Princess of Wales’s Chelsea Flower Show Ensembles

News Briefs and The Princess of Wales’s Chelsea Flower Show Ensembles

I am back with a look at ensembles worn by the Princess of Wales to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. First, some brief updates, beginning with this week’s release of a significant report from the Royal Foundation Business Taskforce for Early Childhood. You may remember the task force launch back in March 2023

The Guardian notes in its story that the report “identifies five areas in which businesses can make the greatest impact for children under five, the adults around them, the economy and wider society.” More from this ITV story

The Princess is said to be grateful to the business leaders who published the report into how business can better help children from birth to five-years-old, and has been kept fully up to date with their progress.

“I know, having briefed The Princess on this, that she is enormously grateful to the members of the Taskforce who have made such fantastic progress on this work over the past year,” said Christian Guy, who runs The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

Also this week, the Prince of Wales hosted a rather sodden garden party at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the King.

You can also see the Duke of Gloucester on the left, while the Duchess of Gloucester is behind Prince William. 

The Prince was joined by several of his cousins, including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, and her husband, Mike Tindall. Princess Beatrice was in a Beulah London dress, while Princess Eugenie wore a design by Ulla Johnson.

Zara Tindall wore the Isobel dress (£1500) by Laura Green London and a hat by Sarah Cant Millinery. Many of you will recognize her heels and handbag; they are styles we have seen the Princess of Wales wearing: Emmy London’s Rebecca Suede Heels ($600) in the ”makeup” colorway and the Natasha Clutch ($480) in the same color. Thank you to Royal Fashion Police for the fashion IDs.

As pointed out by Gert’s Royals, this is the first time the Tindalls and Peter Phillips have attended one of the monarch’s garden parties.

I wanted to include a look at Zara Tindall’s heels because I receive so many questions asking how one walks on grass in high heels. If you look closely, you can see that she is wearing heel guards.

This may provide a better view of the heel guards. 
Embed from Getty Images

I don’t recall seeing the Princess of Wales ever using the plastic protective devices, but have friends who swear by them. Below are two varieties: Solemates High Heel Protectors ($8.75) or Sole Guards ($9 for one set, $25 for a 3-pack). The guards are also available in different colors, like black

Earlier this week, the King and Queen visited the Chelsea Flower Show

The King is also now the official patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, which puts on the show. The event reminded me of visits to the show by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I thought it would be fun to look back at the ensembles worn for the event by the then-Duchess of Cambridge and the Princess of Wales. We begin with the green Catherine Walker design worn by the Duchess to the 2016 show.  

Among the 2016 displays, a field of 320,000+ individually crocheted poppies. Kensington Palace

An oft-raised question here (and in many fashion blogs about celebrities) involves the Duchess’s handbags: “What does she have in there?” It appears one item she carried was a tissue or hankie; it’s possible she was dealing with allergies.©Kate Green/WPA-Pool/Splash News

The Duchess was in a vibrant green Catherine Walker design first worn in 2014 during the Australia Tour (far right photo). 

She accessorized with pieces from LK Bennett, her Nina clutch (no longer available), and Fern heels ($281 on sale). 

When attending the 2017 show, the Duchess chose a silk dress by French fashion house Rochas.Duchess Cambridge pictures Chelsea Flower Show

This was a new label for the Duchess. The midi-length dress was crafted of silk crêpe de chine in a floral print. It featured a fitted waist and flared skirt, side slit pockets, exposed back zipper, and silk lining.

The Duchess wore either her Fern or Floret heels by LK Bennett. She did not carry a handbag but did wear her Monica Vinader Siren Earrings in green onyx ($178 at Monica Vinader).

In 2019, we saw the Duchess in multiple outfits as she co-designed an exhibit for the show. The RHS Back to Nature garden project was designed to “showcase the benefits of the natural world and trigger memories of times people have spent in nature…”. Below, the Duchess works on the garden installation with co-designers Andrée Davies and Adam White (of Davies White Landscape Architects).

Before the show opened, the Duke and Duchess took their three children to explore the garden. 

The children gave the garden a test run ahead of the show.

In these photos, the Duchess wore the Floral Ruffled Maxi Dress ($119, no longer available) by & Other Stories, a brand owned by H&M.

The Duchess wore the Polly Petal Earrings by Accessorize and the Carina wedge espadrilles ($141) by Castañer. 

The Duchess chose casual separates for the unveiling of the garden. 

Here you see the Duchess with Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was chairman of the RHS in 2019.

The ensemble included the Mabel cotton broderie anglaise shirt by MiH Jeans and a pair of linen/rayon culottes from Massimo Dutti.

This was the first time we saw the Duchess wearing Massimo Dutti, a brand owned by Inditex, the parent company of Zara. The label has become one favored by the Princess of Wales. She was in her Superga Cotu Classic Sneakers ($70) and Monica Vinader Siren Earrings ($178 at Nordstrom). 

The Duchess changed into an Erdem dress for that afternoon’s official preview of the show. 

Here, you see her showing the garden to the late Queen.

The Erdem Sheba Floral Silk-Cotton Gown featured a high neck, tiered skirt, a hidden zipper, and a front ruffle. 

The dress also included accents of white crocheted lace and raw-edge ruffled trim.

In this montage, you can see the Duchess shortened her dress by several inches. 

Her hair was partially pulled back and braided.

Her earrings were the  Cassandra Goad Cavolfiore Studs (£5620, about $7100 at today’s exchange rates) and the Castañer espadrille wedges.

Our final ensemble features a dress by ME + EM

The dress was worn to last year’s show, where the Princess of Wales hosted the very first Children’s Picnic, part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening

The ME + EM Color Block Silk Shirt Dress dress features a pleated front panel, point collar, gathered shoulders, side seam pockets, self-belt, and an asymmetrical hem that is longer in the back.

It was first worn when the Duchess of Cambridge met 5-year-old Mila Sneddon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in May 2021. 

The Princess accessorized with her Catherine Zoraida Fern Drop Earrings ($220) and the Castañer wedges shown above. 

All good wishes to those marking the Memorial Day Weekend. We will wrap up our One-Hit Wonder series next week. 

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Saturday 8th of June 2024

Wow I loved this roundup! I think this event marks some of my favorite outfits of hers. I remember that Erdem dress being not very popular here when it was first shared but I love the dress and her hair. And the silk Rochas dress is a total win for me. I want one!


Saturday 1st of June 2024

I walked past Buckingham Palace on my way to the theatre on a very rainy Tuesday last week, and saw people in hats and heels queuing for taxis and thought, "Oh no, there must have been a garden party today." What a miserable day for it! Well done to the many royals who still made it out in those conditions. I am a big fan of Zara's outfit.

Hard to believe we haven't done an overview of Chelsea Flower Show outfits before, but it is quite a fascinating journey. To me it feels like over the years the outfits have become less polished and more...childish, almost? Or maybe just youthful. I suppose it makes sense given Kate's last two appearances there were related to childhood causes. But the pink gown and dressed down looks for her last two years are quite a change from the polished Catherine Walker worn to her first visit as a royal. At the same time, it's hard to believe her own garden was on show 5 years ago – it feels like yesterday! I had just started a new job nearby and hoped to catch a glimpse of the royals on my lunch break, but no luck. It seems so weird now, to see those photos with the children looking so young, and realise how long I've been in the same office. 😅 How time flies!


Friday 31st of May 2024

It was lovely to see all the royal ladies out for the Buckingham Palace garden party in support of a very dapper Prince of Wales. Zara Tindall looked especially fantastic and it was a treat to get a glimpse of her footwear-versus-grass strategy. Both Eugenie and Beatrice looked great.

The Rochas green print dress worn by Catherine to the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show is among my all-time favourite outfits and one I have long wished we could see again. It looks versatile and comfortable in the pictures, but who knows? I’ve always loved the green Catherine Walker she wore the previous year as well, a fine piece of tailoring

I also like the fun causal separates of broderie anglaise top with Massimo Dutti culottes. However I could live without seeing another layered floral maxi dress on the princess again, though I can see why she finds that a useful casual option with her young family.

Sue V

Friday 31st of May 2024

How did we all miss the Rochas dress for the one hit wonders?! I think it is charming and seems a shame if this was its only outing. It seems to meet Catherine’s length criteria so I think it deserves another appearance - if we ever get any nice, sunny, warm, dry days in the UK this summer: so far the omens are not great. I haven’t read the comments yet but find the 2019 Erdem definitely comes under the ‘ugh’ heading for me but I love Catherine’s hair that day. Erdem is either love or hate in this community.

Re the ‘tissue’ photo, it looks as though William is rubbing his eyes, wonder if they both had a reaction to something........

Zara smashed it out the park (BP garden) at the garden party although her suede shoes suffered; I also liked Beatrice’s dress, the colour was a lovely beacon on that sopping day.


Thursday 30th of May 2024

I so much appreciate these columns in the absence of appearances by the Princess! Thank you.


Thursday 30th of May 2024

Thank you, Ginny. They are fun to put together!

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