Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Duchess of Cambridge in Emilia Wickstead for Buckingham Palace Garden Party

The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra for the season's second Buckingham Palace garden party.

The pandemic very much saw the 'pause' button pressed on multiple royal occasions which are highlights on the calendar. A return to garden parties earlier this month saw thousands of guests assemble on the Palace lawn for the first time in three years. In addition to three Buckingham Palace May parties and the traditional Palace of Holyroodhouse event in late June, the Queen granted special permission for the Not Forgotten Association garden party to be hosted by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace.

There's an additional significance to the parties this year with celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Year. We usually see members of the family attend one each year. Prince William wasn't in attendance today as he had a prior engagement with the Submariners Memorial Appeal.

The royals made their entrance at 4 pm to the sound of the national anthem.

The garden parties were instituted by Queen Victoria in the 1860s when they were known as 'breakfasts', despite taking place in the afternoon. Historically, Garden Parties took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, and have evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service.

Below, a view from the lake at the Buckingham Palace garden party in 1897.

The Duchess greets guests.

A beautiful photo of Kate meeting an attendee.

The royals disperse into the crowd, taking separate routes, known as 'lanes', to ensure as many guests as possible had the opportunity to meet a member of the Royal family.

It's a system which works like clockwork.

Kensington Palace tweeted: "So lovely to see so many people (including lots of familiar faces!) at today’s garden party".


The Duchess with Action For Children Young Ambassador Harleen. Kate has been patron of the charity since 2016.

Over the course of a year, the royals welcome over 30,000 guests to spend a relaxed summer afternoon in the beautiful palace grounds.

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The Palace describes Garden Parties as "an important way for the Queen to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community".

More from the official website:

"Throughout the country, a long established network of sponsors is used to invite guests, who include Lord-Lieutenants, Societies and Associations, Government Departments, Local Government, the Services, the Church and other Faiths.  They nominate guests for invitation and we hope in this way to achieve a representative cross section of the community.  It is not possible to acquire invitations to The Queen's Garden Parties through direct application to Buckingham Palace."

An overview of the Duchess with a group of guests.

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Preparations began months in advance to ensure everything was in perfection condition ahead of the first garden party.

Buckingham Palace revealed: "​Mowing the lawns, edge clipping, leaf-blowing and sweeping are all carried out across the grounds, as many seasonal plants and flowers come into bloom. ​Seasonal bedding displays near the rose garden are planted, including Osteospermum 'Tresco Purple', which will come into bloom from June right through to October. In and around the rose garden regular work includes dead-heading, weeding and clipping to ensure everything is as beautiful as possible. And in the final days and hours before guests arrive, final touches to the lawns and grounds are made."

This beautiful Magnolia, named 'Elizabeth', was given as a present to the Queen from Brooklyn Botanic Garden to celebrate her 55th Birthday.

At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.

A closer look at delectable treats on display.

Another great addition to the garden party? The lovely weather.

Princess Alexandra in a lovely pink ensemble.

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The Countess of Wessex in a pretty floral Erdem dress.

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The Duchess tends to opt for repeats more often than not at garden parties. In 2012, Kate wore a pink Emilia Wickstead dress; in 2013 she selected the vibrant yellow and white Marella coat by the designer. In 2014, Kate wore her much-loved, bespoke lace Alexander McQueen dress; and in 2016 the Duchess brought back the cream ruffled McQueen dress she first wore for Prince George's christening. In 2016, William and Kate also attended the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle. Kate chose a gold brocade coat by Day Birger et Mikkelsen she's had for over a decade. In 2017, Kate repeated her Christopher Kane coatdress. In 2019, the Duchess was pretty in pink Alexander McQueen.

This year, the Duchess selected an elegant new piece by Emilia Wickstead. It incorporates several design elements we've seen previously in Ms Wickstead's designs for Kate. It features structured shoulders, a defined waist and full skirt.

It's a 'classic Kate' look, and HRH has long favoured bespoke coatdresses for significant events. They have become something of a 'go to' option over the years. The piece bears notable similarities to other Wickstead designs such as the green coatdress Kate wore on St Patrick's Day in 2012 and the blue piece she wore in Luxembourg in 2017.

Kate's matching hat is a Jane Taylor design.

Kate debuted the hat for Trooping The Colour 2017;

The Duchess carried her vintage Josef clutch.

The Duchess accessorised with a pair of Kiki McDonough cushion drop earrings.

It looks like Kate wore her Emmy London Rebecca pumps in pink.

Kate wore her hair in an elegant updo.

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A very exciting calendar event tomorrow evening: the Duke and Duchess will attend the London premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. In response to queries about 'A Gallop Through History' on Sunday night, both the Telegraph and the Times reported the Queen's great-grandchildren would travel in the procession. It's not known if there was a last-minute change of plan, but Mike Tindall (Zara's husband) said the 'rehearsal' was merely 'a bit of a fun' and nothing more. Others have suggested the little ones may appear over the jubilee weekend. It's a 'wait and see' on this one.

42 comments:

  1. I love this color, but that hat isn’t one of my favorites. It’s interesting to see other sites that comment on the clothing choices worn by Kate. She really can’t win! Some are disappointed she’s wearing the same style and doesn’t give other designers a chance. It’s almost too bad that she doesn’t just do like the queen did where you have one designer do everything for you! Thank you Charlotte for all your work! I would love to see all the great grandchildren, but I honestly doubt we will since some of the parents limit photos of their kids (which is totally their choice!) Sue

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  2. I was married before Catherine was a member of the BRF. I love her hair! If I had seen this this photo of the back of Kate's hair, I would have shown the salon this pic and this would have been the style I used on my wedding day. Instead, I wore my long hair down and the wind came and blew all the curl out. I looked a fright!

    This is a pretty color on Kate and she looks stunning.

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  3. The young woman in the pearl skull cap wins! Omg I adooore that cap!

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    1. It's an en vogue and youthful look on this young lady, and a great photo of her with Kate!
      Beautiful!

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    2. She's a darling for sure! And I love the pearl cap as well.

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  4. It’s a beautiful look. This cut and colour really flatter her and she looks much healthier, more relaxed and overall fresher than the last weeks. It might be boring as we have seen this style again and again but it just works beautifully for her. There are only so many styles out there and I don’t fault someone for wearing what makes them look their best instead of desperately chasing trends.

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    1. I completely agree with you Anon. This is a very flattering style on Catharine and there is always a 'polish' to her look. I think she is taking a little page from the Queen's 'playbook'. Also, as someone who follows Queen Letizia and while I really do like her style, I often think sometimes it's just a little too much all the time, IMO, and perhaps why I appreciate Catharine's more muted style. Loving how this shade of coral pink blends very well with this hat, which was worn at another time with a more berry colored dress and it looked good then too. She looks lovely, but then don't mind the monochromatic look. I do like Sophie's hat and the print on the Erdem dress, very light and fresh for a garden party. Happy to see the return of the garden parties and how this Jubilee celebration is gearing up!

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    2. Queen Letizia actually dresses in a fashionable but conservative and restrained style 99% of the time, and I might note that she only very rarely wears outfits that have been custom-designed for her. Her clothes are expensive ready-to-wear and thus available to other women. The royal who tends to go over the top (though in a very enjoyable way) with fashion experimentalism and adventurism is Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Her clothes can be lots of fun, but sometimes they are definitely "a little too much".

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    3. Vittoria, your distinction between Queen Letizia and Queen Maxima is so noted and quite true. Both woman have a very innate sense of style and look very good, but while Queen Maxima is a little more over the top, they both seem to wear different clothes all the time, rarely repeating, which begs the question as to why they aren't criticized for that type of 'excessiveness' and Kate's is? Or maybe I just feel the need to defend the choices of our Duchess, albeit some are custom-designed, I would venture that the cost of Letizia's wardrobe is probably more than Kate's given the sheer number of Letizia's appearances, and have to believe Kate's customized 'uniform' style is not over the top in design. Kate would look great in many of Letizia's styles, but there is something about having something that somebody else cannot wear or duplicate that makes Kate's style more interesting to me, or maybe just more royal, especially at events like these where she tends to wear her coat dresses. While I like to be able to replicate some of Kate's choices, I also like that I can't! There is a photo of Letizia arriving at an event in the very same dress as another woman at the event, which I think is wonderful and amusing and she handled it superbly, but doubt you would find that happening to the Duchess and for that I like her sense of style. Whether one thinks her style is boring, she always is well put together and does stand out.

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    4. Thank you, but my point was that a fashionable, if expensive and conservative, ready-to-wear wardrobe like Letizia's is actually more interesting than a wardrobe full of custom-made items that all look the same. The latter doesn't really represent a "sense of style," rather a uniform with which one is comfortable.

      Uniforms are fine -- Queen Elizabeth has worn one for decades -- but they tend not to be very exciting, vis-a-vis fashion and style.

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  5. I agree with Anon 21:27. She looks wonderful, I like this so much better than all of the previous garden party outfits, and I think it's quite appropriate to have a "uniform" style when it's so very attractive. She also looks so good from a distance, and she's not wearing a print that would compete with all of the guests.

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  6. Simple but elegant also great color on Dss Kate. She has this coatdress in several colors and each of it looks good. The only thing the heels are a killer on a lawn, but she seem to handle it just fine. So nice to see Pss Alexandra there to, she is always elegant, where ever she goes. I like Sophie's drees too, not over stated either Hope everyone enjoyed them self's.

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    1. It's so true about heels on a lawn, it's like you are aerating it with every step. If you look at the somewhat aerial photo of Kate from the back, you can see her very defined calf muscle, which aside from her being athletic and in heels, is probably because she is balancing a little on the balls of her feet to keep the heel from punching through the grass!! She does know how to walk in heels and look good doing it!

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    2. I am guessing she is wearing these little heel stopper thingy things (i.e. Solemates High Heel Protectors, Grasswalkers, GoGo Heel Stoppers) that stop your heels from sinking into the grass. I wore them at my wedding that took place on my farm with the ceremony on the lawn.

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    3. Anon 03:41 I didn't know they existed thanks for the info.

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  7. The Queens in waiting, riding in the carriage together is such an historical photograph; the two, second only to HRH Elizabeth II !

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  8. Thank you for this lovely post, Charlotte. So thorough and timely! I am interested in who is dressing/styling the Duchess these days. Is Natasha Archer still there?

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    1. Thank you Zoey! She is indeed, I read Natasha and Chris welcomed a baby boy over Christmas.

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  9. I think Catherine looks absolutely beautiful! The color is gorgeous on her and that style hat is my favourite. I often wonder if she chooses that style of dress for warmth. Rather than have a dress and a jacket…this style keeps her warm and looks beautiful. Plus it’s heavy enough she doesn’t have to worry about “Marilyn” moments.

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  10. Catherine looks Gorgeous! Love the dress and hat. Lovely look for the Garden Party. Sophie and Alexandra look lovely also. Ali

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  11. Absolutely stunning! What a drop dead gorgeous color. The Queen would approve I think! The Duchess’s radiant beauty and obvious kindness just light up the world around her. Always elegant and appropriate and no one pulls off a hat like her! Love the hair too. She’s just divine in every way.

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  12. I’ve always loved this vintage Josef clutch. Love the colour on Kate, too. I feel this look was a bit too formal & structured for this occasion. I would’ve preferred something maybe a bit more softer & floral like what Sophie was wearing. But a nice, solid look from the Duchess.

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  13. A knockout color, but I've nothing to say about the design of this coatdress, since it's yet another iteration of a pattern we've seen so often. As I've commented before, the Duchess has clearly found a uniform she likes, which is understandable, but I wish she'd step outside of her comfort zone a bit more often. This coatdress is a bit stiff and formal for a garden party. Something softer and more flowing wouldn't have come amiss.

    I'd also like to see her be a bit more adventurous with hats. The hat she wore to a wedding in early 2011, some months before her own, with her Libelula Dulwich black velvet coat, had a certain stark elegance, because it didn't involve veiling or ribbons or bows or flowers. I admire that sort of sophisticated millinery and wish the Duchess would wear it more often. One of my favorite examples was Meghan Sussex's cream beret-style fascinator, worn with a cream Amanda Wakeley coat and navy sheath dress. A fabulous look.

    So delightful to see Princess Alexandra in her pale-pink! She retired from royal engagements owing to ill-health some years ago. It's lovely that she's still available to attend the occasional event and that she's still stylish.

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  14. I am a big fan of kate and I know she occasionally wears repeats but from an environmental perspective buying very slightly different outfits again and again is wasteful for people who believe in action on the environment. It’s important to model the values you preach.

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  15. The Duchess looks lovely, similar in style to her previous wears as shown above. Love the clutch.

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  16. Oh My GOSH!!! She's stunning! I love, love, love, everything, her hair, hat, coatdress, shoes. What a great color on Kate. And that vintage bag makes me drool, heavenly!

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  17. Kate looks relaxed and happy and you can really see her confidence in her duties now, what an honour it must be for her to represent HM and the RF in this way. I really love the colour of the dress and the hat, shoe and clutch are perfect choice I'm so happy to see a subtle pivot from the matchy matchy look. I think the colour takes away from the fact that it is a style she has worn so many times before. Her hair in a lovely up do completes a very polished look. Sophie looks beautiful in her dress and Princess Alexandra looks lovely too.

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    1. I completely agree, but —and it is nitpicking - she always represents the Queen, the RF and the country. That’s the underlying base of all her engagements. But of course it’s a bit different if you fill the exact spot HMTQ would have filled otherwise.

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  18. A Grand and lovely garden party. Kate looks lovely!

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  19. This style is very flattering to her and the color is lovely.

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  20. Sublime color on Catherine. I adore the dress and accessories. Stoked for Top Gun tomorrow.

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  21. A beautiful summer day for a garden party.

    A smart and formal coat dress with towering heels seems out of place in a packed garden but Kate does stand out in the sea of flowery day dresses.

    Princess Alexander looks spiffy in her pink ensemble.

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  22. Love the hair, hat, clutch, earrings and color of the coat. I am tired of seeing this same coat in different colors though.

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  23. Kate looked fantastic & the weather looked even better!

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  24. Brilliant in everyway... bravo Kate

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  25. I loved this hat when Kate first wore it at Trooping The Colour. Clearly, the hat was given to the folks at Emilia Wickstead and asked to select a fabric for a comfortable "remake". The color is spectacular - just look at the wide shot photo, Kate stands out in a sea of guests. I too love her vintage Josef clutch and think all together she looks stunning. I will say, with these simplistic style, please add a broach Kate. It will just add a little extra spark.

    Sophie looks great as well in her Erdem. Glad the sun was out for such a lovely day.

    Charlotte, thanks for sharing the images from previous garden parties. I would like to see Kate re-wear that last pink McQueen to an Easter service or perhaps a Garter event.

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    1. I agree with you about a brooch!! That would add just a little extra detail!!

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  26. A beautiful colour on The Duchess for spring. All the ladies look very well. Great to see them pulling together to represent The Queen. Especially Princess Alexander. S. ☺

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  27. Gorgeous color! Looking like the prettiest spring flower in the garden, and every inch a Queen.

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  28. Excellent color choice, fresh. The bright solid color allows Catherine to stand out and be seen in the crowd. Very important. And she looks beautiful. However, the style of dress is so boring; ho hum. Too many Emilia Wicksteads that are identical but for color, or so similar they might as well be identical.

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  29. wow lovely she love every tittle of outfit

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