Kate Middleton’s confidence has become her ‘secret weapon’ after breaking royal style rules
26th October 2020

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Kate Middleton long been hailed for her flawless style and the “Kate effect” on fashion – with designs selling out almost instantly after she’s pictured wearing them.

And appearing in London at the launch of her Hold Still lockdown photography exhibition at Waterloo Station with husband Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge turned heads in a bold crimson military coat by one of her favourite designers, Alexander McQueen.

Accessorising her look with a top-handle Grace Han bag and her signature bouncy blow-dry, Kate, 38, exuded confidence as she carried out her duties.

And royal expert Katie Nicholl – the author of Kate: The Future Queen – insists the Duchess’s sense of style has grown with her confidence over the years.

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“Kate never wanted to be a style icon and it didn’t come naturally to her in the early days. In her teenage years and at university, her sense of style was casual and comfortable. She wasn’t a clothes horse.

“But before her engagement to William, she hired Natasha Archer as her stylist and the pair have worked together since. Natasha took the time to trawl the internet and do her research to work out Kate’s signature look – which is classic, simple yet stylish.

“Over the years, Kate has come to discover what she loves about fashion. She’s championed British designers like Jenny Packham and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, who designed her wedding dress in 2011. As her confidence has grown, her love affair with fashion has too. She’s always looked fantastic in what she wears but now her confidence shines through.”

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And Kate isn’t afraid to break the royal style rules. In her early days as a young royal, she often wore skirts that were above the knee or dresses that were off the shoulder. She also insisted on doing her own make-up for her wedding day and has recently favoured a trouser suit on a number of occasions – a style reportedly detested on women by the Queen.

Katie adds, “Kate and Natasha have worked together for years and Kate trusts her. She’s very loyal to her inner circle. She feels comfortable to be more playful with her style, with pussycat blouses, pops of colour and more modern looks like trouser suits. She won’t be forced into an item of clothing that she doesn’t feel is right. Similarly with her make-up, her beloved kohl eyeshadow has softened over the years and her foundation has become a bit more glowy – but Kate still knows what she likes and what makes her feel comfortable.

“For royal engagements, there needs to be an element of comfort. She doesn’t want a short hem or a plunging neckline when she’s bending down to greet children. It has to be practical.”

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But Katie insists that the Duchess isn’t afraid to make a statement with her look when the situation calls for it.

“A lot of meticulous planning goes into Kate’s style,” Katie explains. “When she’s visiting a country, she’ll pay tribute with a brooch or the colours within her ensemble. It’s well thought out. Some of Kate’s more bold looks have been my favourites, too.

"When she turned up to a dinner at Claridge’s in 2012 in a stunning white Roland Mouret gown with silver Jimmy Choo sandals, she took onlookers’ breath away. And everyone commented on how stunning and powerful she looked in a structured black blazer for her recent video at the Natural History Museum.”

And as many noted how similar Kate’s red coat was to a style worn by her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, Katie says it’s not the first time the Duchess has appeared to pay homage.

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“There was no bigger royal style icon than Diana. Unlike Kate, she really loved fashion from day one and adored dressing up. Kate paid tribute to her mother-in-law after the birth of Louis when she wore an almost identical dress to the one Diana wore for her photocall following the birth of Harry.

"She’s also been known to dress her children in similar outfits to those Harry and William wore. Diana’s style is timeless so it’s not surprising that Kate and her team will draw inspiration from it."

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