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A Message From The Princess of Wales and a Review of Her Trooping the Colour Style

A Message From The Princess of Wales and a Review of Her Trooping the Colour Style

UPDATE: Minutes after publishing this post, the Princess of Wales released a message on social media. 

The message was accompanied by this photo. 

Richard Palmer offered more insight

Those close to her have stressed that this should not be seen as her returning to full time public duties. She will ride in a carriage with her children to Trooping and appear on the palace balcony. But she is not expected at Garter Day or Ascot next week.

The King is said to be delighted after Kate spoke to him to tell him she would be at his official birthday celebration. Buckingham Palace: “His Majesty is delighted that the Princess is able to attend tomorrow’s events, and is much looking forward to all elements of the day.”

Roya Nikkhah adds this information

Kate has now started to work from home a little and hold meetings at Windsor with her team when she feels able, and may do some more engagements, health dependent. But her attendance at Trooping tomorrow should not be seen as a return to a full schedule of public engagements.

So we will see the Princess tomorrow for the traditional carriage ride and on the balcony at Buckingham Palace! In the photo accompanying the message, the Princess wears her Blazé Milano jacket worn to an air show last July and what appears to be her Kiki McDonough hoops with the Annoushka pearl drops

Now to our review of the the Princess’s Trooping the Colour style over the years. The Duchess of Cambridge took part in her first Trooping the Colour ceremony in June 2011

She wore an ivory coat by Alexander McQueen.

The Cotton and Wool Blend Piqué Coat was a double-breasted design.

The coat’s most striking design element was a cascading peplum that created a samurai skirt effect. It was a blend of 71% cotton and 29% wool. It also featured a short collar and lapels, accentuated padded shoulders, and long sleeves with button-fastening cuffs.

This image gives you a better view of the waffle-like texture of the fabric.

We saw the coat again the following year at Order of the Garter

The Duchess accessorized with the Lion Tamer hat by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co., considered a signature style in the company’s Couture Collection at that time. It is hand-sculpted from layers of dyed ebony sinamay and finished with a single ostrich feather. The Duchess wore the hat again that afternoon when attending a wedding and on two other occasions.

In the jewelry department, the Duchess chose her Grace White Topaz Earrings by Kiki McDonough

The Duchess opted for a sleek Erdem look for Trooping the Colour the following year.

The bespoke Erdem dress was in a soft blue-grey shade with a floral motif.

The dress was based on a classic Erdem sheath. It incorporated several of Erdem’s signature design elements: a gored bodice, seamed waist, three-quarter-length sleeves, and a modified portrait neckline. The Duchess wore the dress again in late September 2012 for a wedding.

She chose a hat by Jane Corbett, a saucer percher-style with looping straw bow tails. 

Later that year, Ms. Corbett shared a photo of the hat under construction. 

Accessories included the Links of London Bubble Stiletto Earrings and a version of the suede Alexander McQueen bag seen below. 

In 2013, the Duchess was in a soft pink ensemble.

She was expecting Prince George and opted for an Alexander McQueen coat in a loose cut with a wide collar, side darting, bracelet-length sleeves, and oversized pearl buttons.

The Jane Corbett hat featuring delicate lace and a bow was first seen at a May 2012 garden party.

We saw the Kiki McDonough hoops and Annoushka pearl drops, and the return of the grey Alexander McQueen clutch.

At 2014’s ceremonies, the Duchess changed things up a bit, wearing a skirt suit.

The Alexander McQueen design was crafted of silk and cotton jacquard material. The jacket featured a close, tailored fit with a notched collar, darts, and a peplum. It also had a concealed hook-and-eye front closure and buttons at the cuff. The skirt looked like a straight cut that likely had a back slit for ease of movement.

The Duchess altered some of the garment’s more dramatic elements, removing the front cutout portion of the peplum and eliminating the pleated back. The closure on her jacket was higher than in the off-the-rack version.

Her hat was a Jane Taylor design, a percher style adorned with lace detailing that looks like it depicts ferns.

The Duchess also wore a pearl or faux-pearl brooch that remains UFO, although the Court Jeweller notes it is similar to a pair of Balenciaga faux pearl earrings, a necklace, and a ring that is also unidentified. The necklace, ring, and earrings were worn to a Paris reception in 2017. We show the necklace below as worn at that reception.  

She carried the grey clutch again and wore the Kiki McDonough hoops with Annoushka pearl drops. 

The Duchess’s first engagement after Princess Charlotte’s birth in 2015 was Trooping the Colour. For the occasion, she selected a Catherine Walker coat.

This was the first year Prince George was part of the event.

The Catherine Walker Astrid Coat featured a soft floral design. It is described as having “a contemporary pencil line and neat rounded collar that is sharply tailored in crisp textured woven ivory and ice blue silk.” It also has princess seaming, self-covered buttons, and bracelet-length sleeves.

A closer look at the collar and buttons.

Her Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Company hat was the Marisabel style done in Sinamay with a wide brim and a single feather.

The Duchess wore her hair down with a loose curl at the ends. 

She also had on the aquamarine and diamond earrings that remain unidentified. 

At Trooping the Colour in 2016, Princess Charlotte made her debut on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Her mother elected to wear the Alexander McQueen design seen at Princess Charlotte’s christening

Here is a look at the fit-and-flare design worn in July 2015 for the christening, with a photo from Trooping the Colour in the center and another on the right when the coat was worn in Belgium in 2017. The style was an intricately tailored design with multiple gores and darts. It also featured a fitted bodice with wide, winged lapels, slightly padded and raised shoulders, and a deep back pleat.

In these images, you get a sense of the complexity involved in the design. Both Photo by Splash News

This was the first year the Duchess wore her hair up. Her Philip Treacy hat from the Irish milliner’s spring/summer 2016 collection showed off the hairstyle nicely. The style showcased a broad brim with silk rosettes under the brim.

Jewelry included a new pair of Balenciaga earrings, the Eugenia silvertone clips with faux pearls and crystals. The Duchess also wore her Mappin and Webb Empress necklace.

The Duchess was ‘in the pink’ for the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Parade

She wore an Alexander McQueen design for the event.

Once again, the Cambridge children charmed the crowds. 

This was a departure from the paler, more subdued colors worn to previous Trooping the Colour ceremonies. The bubblegum pink style showcased a paper-bag waist and pleated neckline, with pleats in the skirt, long sleeves, and a concealed back zipper.

The wool-blend dress looked like it was derived from this autumn/winter 2016 collection piece.

Here you can see the waist detailing in the the Duchess’s dress and the off-the-rack designs. 

The Jane Taylor Lyssa hat was a hit with many fashion fans. It is described as “a fabulously flamboyant piece, involving swerving abaca pleats in tonal shades, which emphasise its depth and intricacy” on the Jane Taylor site.

The elegant updo allowed the Duchess’s earrings to shine. Below, the earrings worn at the 2017 Trooping the Colour event are shown on the far left (the sun makes them tough to photograph well); the other two images show them when worn on other occasions.

They were on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and feature a cluster of diamonds at the top, with a diamond ‘frame’ surrounding a line of four diamonds that graduate in size from small to large. 

The Duchess carried a clutch by Etui Bags

For Trooping the Colour in 2018, the Duchess returned to a favorite designer. 

She wore an Alexander McQueen dress in soft blue with a squared neckline, puffed sleeves, set-in waistband, and pleated skirt.  

Accessories in 2018 included a hat by Juliette Botterill. More about the design from the good folks at Royal Hats: “The sidesweep saucer is trimmed with abaca silk bows and net tulle veil in the same barely-there-blue along with cream silk flowers. While subtle, the colour is lovely against Kate’s colouring and dark hair and the hat’s lavish trim is a great counterpoint to the simple lines of her dress.”

The Duchess carried a bag that was not shown well in any of the photos I have seen; it remains unidentified. She wore jewelry by Kiki McDonough, the jeweler’s Signature Blue Topaz and Diamond Drop Earrings, with the Eden Flower Blue Topaz and Diamond Necklace

2019’s ceremony brought another Alexander McQueen dress, this one in a soft yellow hue. 

This was the year Prince Louis made his debut on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Another view.

The Duchess’s lemon yellow dress featured a v-neck with a double elongated collar, inset waistband, and slightly peaked shoulders. 

Many immediately recognized her hat; it was the Philip Treacy ‘slice hat’ adorned with silk with rosettes first worn for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The Duchess carried the Butterfly Box Clutch by Alexander McQueen.

She wore the Queen’s Bahrain Pearl and Diamond Drop earrings and an unidentified cross necklace.

In 2022, the parade was also part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. 

The Cambridge children rode in a carriage for the first time, accompanying their mother and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge. 

The Queen with a smile for Prince Louis. 

The Duchess of Cambridge was in an Alexander McQueen design. 

It was first worn for a G-7 reception in June 2021, as shown below. It has some design elements seen in the McQueen dress below. The style has the fit-and-flare silhouette the Duchess is fond of, with two buttons at the waist, peaked lapels, long sleeves with slightly flared cuffs, four buttons at the cuff, and a full skirt.   

The Duchess wore her hair up with a hat by Philip Treacy.

The style as shown on the Philip Treacy site. 

You can better see the hat and updo in this profile view.

The earrings once belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. The necklace was first worn when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, in December 2020. Below, it is shown when worn to the Commonwealth service in March 2022

The Duchess carried her Strathberry bag, the Scottish brand’s Multrees Chain Wallet Clutch.

Our final ensemble was seen at last year’s Trooping the Colour festivities

The Princess of Wales wore an Andrew Gn design. 

The vibrant green dress stood out against the colors at Horse Guards Parade.  

The green was a nod to her role as Colonel of the Irish Guards.

It also showed well on the Buckingham Palace balcony. 

One more balcony shot. 

The tailored design from the designer’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection showcased a slim fit, a satin placket, collar, pocket trim, and cuffs.

Here you see the style as seen on the Andrew Gn site. The off-the-rack version of the garment was described as being made of a viscose, acetate, and silk blend. The Princess dispensed with the ruffled trim at the collar and cuffs.

A close-up view of the embellishment on the front of the dress.

The Princess’s Philip Treacy chapeau featured a broad brim, a satin band, and a bow at the back with one of the embellished ‘buttons’ seen above.

The Princess wore a pair of diamond and sapphire earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, that were worn for last year’s Trooping the Colour events. The Princess also had on the Cartier Shamrock Brooch that belongs to the Irish Guards.   

She was in a new pair of heels that very much resembled the Aquazzura ‘Purist’ 105 in emerald green. We saw the return of the Dora Envelope Clutch by LK Bennett.

When taking a collective look at Trooping the Colour ensembles worn by the Princess of Wales, you can see the gradual shift to a more sophisticated look. Some thoughts:

  • The Princess first wore her hair up in 2016, and that was a permanent shift.
  • You really see the importance of Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen; 8 of the 11 looks were anchored by McQueen designs. 
  • Just 2 of the designs were repeats, both initially worn at significant events. The dress worn to Princess Charlotte’s christening was brought back the year Princess Charlotte made her debut on the balcony. The second repeat was worn for an engagement with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and brought back for the Platinum Jubilee. 

Saturday’s post covering this year’s Trooping the Colour ceremony may be read here


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Friday 21st of June 2024

So many wonderful looks over the years, and yet I think my favourite is still the pink coat from 2013! Kate had such a glow that year, and her hair looked stunning at every appearance. I just love the photos of her grinning in that cosy coat with its delightful buttons. The hat is divine, although the handbag is a curious choice; I'm surprised she carried the same one three years in a row.

Close second is the repeat of Charlotte's christening dress in 2016. The dress is lovely even if it's simple, but the hat really blew me away. I absolutely love the style of having flowers under the brim, a look that we've been spoiled with on multiple Trooping occasions.

I hope we see more bright colours in the future, it's fun to see it pop on the balcony photos.


Monday 17th of June 2024

I didn't get the chance to comment on this marvelous post, when it first came out, so, here goes...

1. Catherine's first Trooping the Color look was so pretty! The Alexander McQueen coat in cream, with its ruffled skirt made me think of an elegant 1700's frock coat:

The McQueen coat was a masterpiece of design. The romantic look was definitely shown with this beautiful coat, with a softly tailored top part that went beautifully with the delightfully frothy skirt part.

I also like that Catherine chose a black woven hat to wear with it, giving her look a light, airy quality, while also providing a combo of black and cream.

2. I Love the silvery blue/gray Erdem sheath! So Elegant! The Jane Corbett Saucer hat was an inspired choice to pair with the dress. It kind of looked like a gorgeous piece of origami!

3. The soft pink Alexander McQueen ensemble was delectable. I really love when Catherine was unabashedly romantic in many of her looks. For this outfit, another pretty Jane Corbett hat was featured, as well as very lovely pearl drop earrings.

4. The pale silver Alexander McQueen skirt suit was another pretty, romantic choice that also had a rahther sleek and chic vibe. The beautiful texture of the material gave even more interest to the ensemble. Her Jane Taylor percher hat with the ferns of lace - sigh! - makes me very happy. I always delight in seeing the bold and classy, five pearl brooch, whenever Catherine wears it. It has a modern quality that is, in no way, cold. Rather, the minimalist quality is nicely softened by the luster of the lovely pearls.

5. My Favorite might be the Catherine Walker Astrid Coat, in "ice blue silk" with an exquisite floral design. This coat is Beyond Gorgeous!!! Oh my goodness, this is one coat I wish we could see Catherine wear again!!!! The Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Company hat was an Excellent choice! Lovely in bright white, sculptural and tilted, with a fancy but also delicate curled feather, this hat had so much Oomph power to it! (Catherine simply looks smashing in hats! I've never seen her not look perfectly marvelous in any hat she has worn).

6. Romance Galore, from the Alexander McQueen fit and flare dress, as well as that boldly tilted, Philip Treacy hat with soft pink roses under the brim! The Eugenia silvertone clip earrings, featuring large pearls, went Perfect with the hat!

7. They call it "bubblegum pink" and it is a color I adore, although I wish it had a prettier name. Whatever it's called, however, it is emphatically Pink, and there's no question about it, and this is the scrumptious color that Catherine wore in 2017 for the Trooping the Color festivities, (but this look also would have been right at home last Summer, when the Barbie movie dominated the media and ruled the Summer). This pink is so girly and pretty and sweet and...powerful. Yes, Powerful, because there's nothing shy about this pink. It definitely stands out (beautifully) in a crowd. And it made a very nice Alexander McQueen dress so much more Gorgeous than it might otherwise had been, and I think this is because the dress had some rather odd (to me) elements, such as the stiffly pleated neckline and slightly awkward looking "paper bag" waist. However, these modern design trends are completely beautified when seeing them in that very alluring, bright pink color. In fact, I actually love the contrast of the bright pink with the severe elements of the dress. It turns out to be a winning mix, as I see it. And the hat! Shades of lovely pink in the intricately ruffled Jane Taylor Lyssa hat, so perfectly sublime! And the earrings! On loan from Queen Elizabeth, they looked very antique, perhaps from the 1700s. Every element of this ensemble, I have come to love, in no small part because of that Emphatic Pink!

As for the rest of the Trooping the Color ensembles remaining, they are all extremely beautiful. However, for me, it is the above 7 that I find the most beautiful.

Susan Q

Saturday 15th of June 2024

I thought the words Catherine wrote were so personal and heartfelt. How kind of her to share those thoughts with us, which translated, at least to me, “I’m still here and I’m still me!” I loved the look back at her fashion from previous TTC, which includes my favorite look of all time, the bubblegum pink Alexander McQueen!! Perfection from head to toe! I wish her continued healing and look forward to the return of her public role, where she is greatly missed.🙏

Bonnie A

Saturday 15th of June 2024

@Susan Q, agreed, they were so personal and heartfelt! Her mention of school-life was relatable to the many parents of school children who can appreciate what that means.

Kristi D

Saturday 15th of June 2024

Another amazing post! Thanks for all your hard work Susan!

Bonnie A

Saturday 15th of June 2024

What a beautiful portrait of Catherine among nature. It was a clever way of warming us up for her appearance at Trooping and in a way softening her own landing in public. How nice to imagine her in this kind of environment, managing her health and her roles as mother and Princess of Wales on her own terms. I think there's something to be said about her managing her own communication in this. No patronising management by her husband or other members of the royal family. It is very much her perspective. In the context of the royal family and female public figures, I find it modern and inspiring. And of course, a lovely outfit. I note she is still rocking skinny jeans and if she can, then so can I!

About Trooping the Colour. To be honest, I have never really managed to understand the event. From so far away it doesn't really register in NZ. I can see that Catherine looks forward to it and enjoys sharing the event with her family. Alexander McQueen serves her so well here though! Charlotte's christening McQueen is my favourite, worn best with my favourite Phillip Treacy hat. Second is the lemon hue, also with a gorgeous Phillip Treacy. I notice the pastel colours don't alway sit well next to William on the balcony in red. I suppose she plans more for the look in the carriage.

I'm reading this catching up on all the news. I'll go and examine her latest appearance now!! How exciting.

Bonnie A

Saturday 15th of June 2024

@Bonnie A, I'm just recalling some lovely commenters telling me about the significance of the event last time I commented on it. I should go back and read it again.

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