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Opinion: Kate’s Ireland wardrobe was perfect diplomatic dressing

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kensington Royal Instagram

Perfection or overload? As the debate continues about how much of a nod to a country’s flag is enough when it comes to royal tour dressing, Jess Ilse argues that the Duchess of Cambridge’s recent wardrobe picks on #RoyalVisitIreland were spot on.

Kate wore a lot of green, I’ll admit. But I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad thing. At their core, royal visits are all about diplomacy and maintaining relationships; and in this post-Brexit Britain, when every relationship counts, Kate choosing a soft way to spotlight Ireland only adds to the publicity this visit received.

Think about it: she’s one of the most photographed women in the world. She has the power to sell out stock, crash designers’ websites, and inspire hundreds of “repli-kate” looks for fans who want to dress just like her. And what do we associate with Ireland? Green. Shamrocks. Both major symbols that Kate used in her clothing this week. I’m not saying that Kate should dress entirely in green when she goes back to Ireland (she wore other colours, too, including a few vintage pieces from her closet and what looked like ‘80s Oscar de la Renta), but this thematic approach to royal style is a nice way to pay tribute to the country that’s welcoming her.

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kensington Royal Instagram

It only adds to the overall effect of a visit. The host country decides what they’d like to spotlight during a royal visit with input from the royals themselves; so in addition to a visit that focused largely on young people, Irish culture and sustainability, William and Kate also took part in significant events like visiting the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, ringing the Peace Bell at the President’s home and trying Gaelic football and hurling.

To me, Kate’s only following in the footsteps of The Queen. Remember her first State Visit to Ireland in 2011? That historic visit was the first by a British Monarch since Irish independence. And how did The Queen honour the significance of such a visit? She wore the Vladimir Tiara with the Cambridge emerald drops.

Photo Kensington Palace Instagram

This isn’t the first time Kate has used her style to pay tribute to the country she’s visiting. Red and White in Canada? Both visits. The Queen’s fern brooch in New Zealand? Yes. And her styling for their visit to Pakistan last autumn, not only in sporting green and white clothing in honour of the Pakistani flag, but also respecting the customs there, earned her serious sartorial points. And William, too! Remember the green Sherwani he wore to a reception on the second night? The headlines following the reception were very positive for the royals.

Ultimately, whatever Kate wears is going to make headlines. If she harnesses that power to highlight the country she’s visiting and adds to the charm offensive in maintaining relationships between the UK and host countries, that’s not a bad thing.

Do you agree? Our Chief Reporter, Kristen Contino, isn’t so sure Kate got things right – see her take on the Duchess of Cambridge’s Ireland wardrobe then add your thoughts here or on our Instagram page.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.