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Opinion: Was Kate’s diplomatic dressing in Ireland a tour miss?

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
i-Images/ Pool

Did Kate’s style on #RoyalVisitIreland leave you feeling green around the gills? Debate has gone on all week over the Duchess of Cambridge’s latest take on diplomatic dressing. Here, our Chief Reporter, Kristin Contino, argues you can have too much of a good thing.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first trip to Ireland this week, making headlines with their post-Brexit diplomacy, fun-loving outdoorsy moments, and even a bit of juggling.

As usual, Kate’s fashion was big news too, but some of the chatter on social media was about just how much green she was wearing. Kicking off the tour in top-to-toe shades of green, the duchess set the tone for three days of flying the flag for Ireland in her wardrobe’s colour scheme.

I’ve talked about diplomatic dressing on the Royal Central Podcast in the past, and Kate pulled this off to great acclaim during last year’s tour of Pakistan. Integrating national colours and symbols is a time-honoured royal tradition when visiting another country, and something the Duchess of Cambridge typically does quite well.

However, there’s a difference between wearing local designers or adding embroidery with a national flower to an outfit, versus wearing the colours of their flag day after day without any real connection to the nation.

I fully expected Kate to show off at least a touch of Ireland’s traditional green during their arrival. But she turned up in at least four different clashing shades of green in the same outfit, followed by another green dress that night and a third green dress on the final day of the tour.

Wearing a green coat one day, a white coat the next, and an orangeish jumper the third day quite cleverly showed off the colours of Ireland’s flag, I’ll give her that. But Ireland is known for their wool jumpers and she could’ve very easily worn something from a local knitwear brand; instead, she chose a jumper identical to one she already owns in red by British label Really Wild Clothing.

She showed off a shamrock pendant and dangling shamrock earrings during the tour, but then it turned out they were from London-based Daniella Draper. Why not pick up some shamrock earrings or a lovely claddagh pendant from an Irish jeweller?

The only Irish item during this visit was the Dubarry jacket she wore on the cliff walk. Her other tour outfits had zero connection to Ireland, choosing items ranging from inexpensive Zara jeans and a repeat Equipment blouse to £5 Accessorize earrings with vintage Oscar de la Renta.

In this post-Brexit world, showing support for Britain’s European neighbours means more than turning up in a green dress. Shining a spotlight on up-and-coming Irish designers and giving a boost to Irish businesses would have done so much more than wearing a random shamrock necklace.

Do you agree? Royal Central’s Jess Ilse doesn’t – she thinks Kate got things just right. Read her take on the Duchess of Cambridge’s diplomatic dressing and then let us know what you think over on our Instagram page.



About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.