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This Week in Royal Fashion: Commonwealth Day, Kate at Henry Fawcett Centre & Kate and Beatrice at the Portrait Gala

We were treated to another big royal fashion week including Monday’s Commonwealth Day service, two engagements for the Duchess of Cambridge, plus an appearance by Princess Beatrice at the Portrait Gala.

There is much to discuss this week – let’s look at some of the fashion highlights:

Commonwealth Day

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex started the day by meeting with young Canadians at London’s Canada House. Meghan gave a nod to her former home, wearing a stunning green coat by Canadian-born designer Erdem.

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The vintage-style coat, which is a bespoke version of a runway style, carried on the 1960s theme she’s had going on in recent engagements. It features black beaded floral appliques as well as buttons in the same fashion.

According to Vogue, model Guinevere Van Seenus wore the coat during Erdem’s Fall 2019 show at London Fashion Week. Meghan’s version is a bit more toned down in terms of the number of appliques and appears to have a slightly shorter sleeve.

Underneath, the Duchess wore a matching green dress with the same black applique detail at the bottom.

She paired the outfit with a pair of instantly recognisable shoes, her favourite Aquazurra Deneuve bow heels. Meghan accessorised with two other repeats: a black Givenchy clutch and opal earrings by Birks, per Meghan’s Mirror.

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Later in the afternoon, the Sussexes joined The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.

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Meghan changed into an elegant cream coat and chain-link pattern dress for the service, both by Victoria Beckham. The Duchess’s long textured coat is a bespoke piece from the designer, and her printed crepe dress is another runway style, this one from Victoria Beckham’s Fall Winter 2019 collection, according to UFO No More. Meghan’s dress appears to have a slightly altered neckline than the frock available online.

She continued her 1960s vibe of the day by adding a cream pillbox hat, giving off major Jackie O vibes (or nurse vibes, depending on whom you ask – social media is very divided on this one).

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According to Meghan’s Mirror, the Duchess repeated her Dean Davidson ‘Mini Knockout’ earrings, which she also wore on visits to The Mayhew and The Association of Commonwealth Universities earlier this year.

“Meghan’s satin pumps matched the green hue of her dress’s print, and she also coordinated her clutch in a similar shade of green. Both appear to be pieces from Victoria Beckham made in a custom shade of green,” said Laura of UFO No More.

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The Duchess of Cambridge repeated the red military-style Catherine Walker coat she wore for the start of 2014’s tour of New Zealand. It was definitely a memorable look from that tour; royal watchers might remember the images of her stepping off the plane carrying a sceptical-looking baby Prince George.

The coat features 18 shiny buttons marching down the front, a full skirt, and a pointed collar.

We can see a bit of red dress peeking out underneath, but it’s unknown what style she wore. Her earrings appear to be a new pair, with a diamond cluster design.

Kate topped off her look with a new red hat featuring a fun bow detail on the side, grey suede heels, and a matching clutch bag from Emmy London.

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The Queen had another purple moment this week, looking resplendent in a bright violet coat by Angela Kelly. She paired her outfit with a matching hat topped with flowers in shades of purple, her often-worn pearl and diamond stud earrings, and the Kent Amethyst Brooch.

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Lastly, one of my personal favourite outfits of the day was the Duchess of Cornwall in a regal velvet coat by Bruce Oldfield. The outfit appeared purple at times and a purplish royal blue at others, but the addition of a fantastic feather hat by Philip Treacy is what really made her stand out.

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Camilla added one of her favourite necklaces, a four-strand pearl piece with a diamond clasp. Her go-to pearl drop earrings, black gloves, black pumps, and a black handbag finished off her look.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Henry Fawcett Centre

Tuesday morning the Duchess of Cambridge headed to an engagement at the Henry Fawcett Centre, which supports young children and their parents.

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Whilst Catherine typically sticks to dresses for this type of engagement, she stepped out of her fashion comfort zone, wearing wide-legged trousers for the visit. Her navy trousers appear to be the same Jigsaw pair she wore to Cyprus last December.

She paired the trousers with a new lilac-coloured Gucci pussy bow blouse. Priced at £790, it is described on Net a Porter as “cut from fluid silk-crepe” and featuring “fabric-covered buttons that run down the back.”

The Duchess wore her blouse with the buttons down the front (although they’re blocked by the tie in most photos), prompting royal fashion fans on social media to wonder if she wore it like that on purpose, or if it was an accidental wardrobe malfunction.

Either way, the blouse will inevitably show up again in her working wardrobe, so we’ll see how it’s styled then. This is a versatile piece that would look great with a pencil skirt or a skinny cropped trouser, too.

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Catherine carried a handbag from Aspinal of London, the lilac Midi Mayfair Bag, and wore what appears to be a new pair of black block heel pumps, although they’re mostly hidden by the wide trousers.

Lastly, she added her Links of London Hope Egg earrings, as first seen in the Duke and Duchess’s official engagement portraits.

The Portrait Gala

Our last fashion moment of the week was an interesting one, as the Duchess of Cambridge attended the annual Portrait Gala Tuesday night in her role as patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

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Catherine arrived in the same floral print Alexander McQueen gown she wore to the 2017 BAFTAs, except this time it featured cap sleeves. It seemed like it was a simple alteration, however, What Kate Wore pointed out that the flower placement on the dress from two years ago doesn’t match up to this one, which means one of two things. Either the Duchess owns two different gowns with the same exact print, or she had the entire bodice of the dress and some or all of the skirt reworked.

As shown in the below photo from 2017, the dress was originally an off-the-shoulder style.

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Hello! is claiming she does, indeed, own two versions of the dress: “We assume at the time of the BAFTAs back in 2017 Kate was given a couple of options for the gown and decided on the off-the-shoulder style. The other one – with the cap sleeves – was left hanging in her wardrobe hoping to be worn one day.”

Catherine often repeats her evening wear, so going to the expense of altering an existing gown to this degree rather than just wearing it again in its original form does seem like an unusual choice, prompting me to think it might be true it’s an entirely new piece. But this is a fashion mystery that will probably never be solved.

The Duchess carried the same black Prada clutch with a jewelled clasp she wore with the gown in 2017 and added the morganite Kiki McDonough drop earrings she wore to her sister Pippa’s wedding.

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Princess Beatrice also attended the gala, making her first public appearance with her new boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. She wore a velvet shirtdress by Alaïa for the occasion. The rich burgundy dress, priced at £5,010, features a three-tiered detail to the skirt and according to the designer, is “embroidered with mini-arabesque motif.”

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She cinched the waist with a red leather Alaïa belt covered in silver studs. Beatrice paired the dress with a black clutch, a wide cuff bracelet on one wrist, and a more delicate gold bangle on the other. My personal favourite shoe of Beatrice’s finished the look: her retro-style blue velvet ankle-strap heels by Jimmy Choo that she’s worn on previous occasions.

Perhaps mixing navy, burgundy, and black isn’t the most obvious choice, but somehow it works here, and the richly-coloured velvets plus the embroidery of the dress gives the look a somewhat baroque vibe.

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We’ll be back next Friday with the fashion details from St. Patrick’s Day, the Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to The Foundling Museum, and The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge’s joint engagement at King’s College.

About author

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