Looking very regal, Catherine, The Princess of Wales, debuted a glittering long white Jenny Packham cape dress on Nov. 22 to welcome President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa as part of King Charles III’s first official State Dinner. The dress was a backdrop for the main attraction, the incredible jewelry Kate now has access to, including her favorite Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara and pearl drop earrings (both formerly Princess Diana’s), a pearl bracelet of the late Queen Elizabeth, the blue sash of the Royal Victorian Order, the Dame Grand Cross, and an award given by the late Queen to select royal females – a portrait of herself on a yellow ribbon.
Queen Elizabeth’s Jeweled Inheritance
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth, her priceless collection of jewels – including the British Crown jewels as well as those in her private Collection, with a worth estimated in the billions – now pass directly to King Charles, to be distributed to members of the royal family.
Who will get what? Time will tell. Queen Consort Camilla wore the late Queen’s beautiful Belgian blue sapphire and diamond tiara, sapphire necklace and bracelet at the recent state dinner. And Kate has been wearing jewelry on loan from the late Queen for years. Expect to see both Camilla and Kate, as well as other members of the extended royal family, displaying select favorite pieces, including tiaras.
Will they be on loan only, or direct gifts? One reason they might remain as loans – under British law, the monarch doesn’t have to pay an inheritance tax on these items, but no other royal family member would be exempt.
Kate’s Evolving Style
William and Kate are now senior royals, central to the monarchy, key representatives of King Charles III and the Crown. With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth, William and Kate are next in line to the throne. Kate’s emerging style is a projection of that role.
Will and Kate were former college companions and used to live an informal lifestyle. Their 2011 wedding projected Kate into the international spotlight, instantly establishing her as a style icon. But during the last decade, Kate’s style has continued to evolve. She is now arguably the world’s preeminent style icon. “The Kate Effect,” is responsible for an estimated $1 billion in revenue yearly to the British fashion industry. What is the key to her style magic?
Kate is very polished, with every detail attended to. Her designer dresses often have slight modifications, such as a different skirt length, to make them more appropriate. Her hair and makeup are always impeccable, even on casual days. Thoughtful care creates each outfit.
While visiting Canada, she wore a Canadian Maple leaf pin. At the Queen’s funeral, she wore pearl earrings and necklace that were the Queen’s. Every detail is coordinated, from hair, to shoes, handbags and jewelry. But nothing is fussy. She enjoys fashion and it shows.
Kate wears her outfits; they don’t wear her. She always looks fresh and natural, even on formal occasions. She looks like she’s enjoying herself. She isn’t afraid of bright colors (like Queen Elizabeth) – blue, purple, green, pink, red, yellow – and enjoys fresh, fun patterns such as polka dots or small florals. On informal occasions, she can wear casual skinny jeans – and still look polished and appropriate.
For jewelry, Catherine favors – but does not limit herself to – British designers, such as Kiki McDonough, known for her upscale brightly colored semi-precious gems. Kate mixes with ease priceless royal pieces, including her treasured sapphire engagement ring, classics from major designer houses, such as her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch and Van Clef and Arpel’s Alhambra quatrefoil necklace, with popular on-trend inexpensive add-ons. Everyone loves her style because they can visualize themselves wearing what she’s wearing. She is everyone, LeveledUP!
Not since Diana, the people’s princess, has the world embraced such an international star. The outpouring of emotion at Diana’s 1997 funeral was visceral. The Queen’s recent funeral also profoundly moved the world. How will Kate’s style continue to evolve, drawing on both these influences, in the years ahead?
She is already, after only a decade, at the top of her game, with decades more to go. Like Diana, she is a style icon, but more – an inspiration for who she is, her character on the world stage. Who will Queen Catherine be? We can’t wait to see.