The Princess of Wales attended The Festival of Remembrance on Saturday evening.
There was a full turnout of royals for the event, including the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, plus the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. You can see the Duke and Duchess pictured behind William and Kate, below:
Dressed in a black Emilia Wickstead dress, paired with poignant heirloom jewellery, the Princess looked appropriately respectful for the solemn occasion.
I’ll get into all the specific outfit details below, but want to talk about the festival itself first.
The Festival of Remembrance, hosted by the Royal British Legion, stands as a venerable tradition, weaving threads of gratitude, remembrance, and respect for those who have laid down their lives in service.
The festival has been described as an event to celebrate “ service, unity and camaraderie”.
This annual event unites performers, veterans, active Armed Forces members, and the public in moving performances to honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
This year’s festival marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and the 80th anniversary of The Battle of the Atlantic— a crucial moment in history remembered for its profound impact and heroism.
The festival also paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush, and honoured the contributions made by the Windrush generation to the military.
The ceremony followed a time-honoured sequence of events, beginning with the procession of the Royal British Legion standards and the Pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, followed by a musical display from the Royal Air Force Regiment.
The event was interspersed with poignant recollections from veterans and tributes to the forces’ dedication and bravery, plus heartfelt stories from ex-servicemen and the bereaved families of fallen heroes.
These narratives were complemented by emotional performances from invited artists, such as Katie Melua’s rendition of “Fields of Gold,” Alfie Boe’s performance of “Bring Him Home,” and Malakai Bayoh’s captivating “Pie Jesu”.
During the event, thousands of poppy petals are released from the roof onto the crowd of service men and women below. A two minute silence follows the famous “poppy drop”.
Before the festival began, King Charles and Queen Camilla attended a small private ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall. Here, the monarch unveiled striking new bronze statues of his mother and father, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Crafted by artist Poppy Field, these life-sized creations pay homage to the late Queen and her consort.
The event marked the first unveiling of a statue dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II since her passing. These bronze figures now accompany existing stone sculptures of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the hall.
Kate’s black dress & heirloom jewels:
The Festival of Remembrance is an event steeped in solemnity and reflection, commemorating those who have lost their lives in conflicts. The Royals always wear black to the performance—the colour is, of course, traditionally associated with remembrance and mourning, making it an appropriate choice.
This year, Kate did not deviate from the dress code. She re-wore her ‘Jorgie’ dress by Emilia Wickstead. The dress is a masterclass in refined elegance. The silhouette features a gathered waist that falls into a long, flowing skirt. The demure round neckline and long sleeves speak of sophistication, making it a suitable choice for the sombre occasion. Shown below in pastel pink at Harrods:
Kate’s worn the dress once before, at a reception in the days before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last year, at a luncheon held for Commonwealth Governors-Generals:
The Jorgie Ruched Flared Crepe Midi Dress formed part of Emilia Wickstead’s pre-fall 2020 collection and came in four different colours, turquoise, navy, yellow and pink. I would expect the Princess custom ordered the black version direct from the designer’s atelier.
The Jorgie is, sadly, no longer available to purchase in any colour. But if you’re in need of an understated yet elegant dress for your own high profile event, try one of the following instead: Elta, Georgie, Maram, Oakley and Belgium.
Kate’s clearly a fan of Emilia Wickstead. The Princess frequently wears her designs, reflecting a clear affinity for the brand. Her wardrobe includes several Wickstead pieces in various colours, such as the ‘Kate‘ dress named in her honour—see below:
This particular style was first worn by Kate in Hamburg in 2017. Kate went on to wear the design in two other colours. Emilia Wickstead’s vibrant dresses and impeccably tailored coats are a recurring choice for Kate, showcasing her fondness for the designer’s aesthetic.
Emilia Wickstead is New Zealand-born designer based in London. She’s known for her graceful and elegantly understated pieces. Starting her career at the age of 24 with a small collection, she quickly made her mark, opening a store in Belgravia and featuring in prominent magazines. Her style is described as graceful with a choice of colours that are pretty yet not overly sweet. Wickstead has been recognised for her contribution to fashion, notably winning the Red Carpet Designer of the Year Award in 2014 at the Elle Style Awards.
Let’s look at Kate’s jewels and accessories now. Let’s start with the standout piece, Queen Elizabeth’s three-strand pearl necklace.
The necklace features three strands of evenly sized, lustrous pearls, elegantly clasped together.
Kate first wore this necklace while welcoming the Queen’s coffin in London, alongside other Royal Family members last September. Buckingham Palace confirmed its origins from the late monarch. The Princess chose the item once again just a few days later, at a lunch for the Commonwealth’s Governors-General. She paired it with the same Emilia Wickstead dress she wore for the Festival of Remembrance.
Queen Elizabeth II owned several similar-but-different three-strand pearl necklaces. It’s not, as incorrectly reported elsewhere, the ‘go-to’ favourite that the late Queen wore to almost all her daytime engagement. That was shorter. This piece is longer. I think this is a photo of Queen Elizabeth wearing the longer version Kate’s wearing. However, I’ve not had this verified by any royal jewellery experts!
I wonder if Kate added the necklace to her ensemble in tribute to the late Queen and Prince Philip, to show she’s thinking of them during the Remembrance weekend?
Pearls have long been symbols of mourning in royal tradition, their subdued lustre was considered appropriate for times of grief. This practice dates back to Queen Victoria’s era. After Prince Albert’s death, Victoria wore pearls as a sign of her mourning, a custom that continued within the royal family. Kate often wears for pearl jewellery during times of remembrance and mourning still today.
I like that Kate chooses to uphold this tradition, it maintains continuity and respect for the past.
The Princess added an appropriate amount sparkle to her look with a pair of pearl and diamond earrings—another item that once belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth.
Known as the ‘Bahrain Pearl Drop earrings’, these beautiful jewels have a rich history. The pearls in these earrings were gifted to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) by the Hakim of Bahrain in 1947 as a wedding gift. The earrings feature two of the seven pearls she received.
The earrings were frequently worn by the Queen in her early years of marriage, but they became less visible as her jewellery collection grew. The Queen later loaned them to Princess Diana in 1982 and the Countess of Wessex in 2012. Kate’s been the sole wearer of the earrings since 2016. She’s showcased them at significant royal events like Remembrance Sunday, Royal Ascot, the Platinum Jubilee and the funerals of the late Queen and Prince Philip. I count that Kate’s worn the sparkling earrings roughly 10-11 times since their debut.
Kate used a new brooch to secure her poppy at the Festival of Remembrance. It started out as a bit of a mystery…
But fans on social media quickly worked out its origin. It’s the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards brooch. The brooch matches the regiment’s badge:
It features a central shield flanked by outward-facing wings which form part of a two-headed bird. The bird holds a sword and an orb with its feet. Above the shield sit three crowns, one large crown that tops a yellow and red ribbon and two small, which sit on top of the birds heads.
This elegant brooch has a storied history, originally crafted in 1959 for the Queen Mother, who served as the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment from that year until her passing in 2002.
Just a few days prior to the Festival of Remembrance, Kate received the brooch as a gift during a visit to Norfolk, presented to her by Brigadier Alan Richmond on behalf of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards.
At the time, he said the following to Kate: “We’re hoping you’ll wear it as often as you like, to show you’re part of our regimental family.”
I wonder if he expected her to wear it so soon? I hope the regiment spotted the Princess wearing it!
Bickerton specialise in handmade regimental jewellery. They’ve created pieces that have been presented by British Forces to members of The Royal Family, including The Queen and Diana, the late Princess of Wales. I do not know if they created this brooch for the Queen Mother back in the 50s, but they do craft brooches for the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards today. Prices start at £195 for a Sterling silver version of the brooch. You’re looking at £2,940 for the brooch set with sapphires and diamonds (pictured below).
Kate brought back her Stuart Weitzman ‘Muse’ clutch in black suede for the Festival of Remembrance.
The a rectangular suede handbag is characterised by a simple flap closure and comes with a removable strap.
Still going strong, we first saw the Princess carry the black bag exactly twelve years ago, on Remembrance Sunday. Although we refer to it as the ‘Muse’ clutch, it was known as the ‘Raz’ style in the USA.
Kate clearly loves the bag. We’ve spotted her carrying it in four different colours: taupe, navy blue, black, and chocolate brown. Kate’s used these clutches at roughly 40-50 engagements since joining the Royal Family.
Unfortunately, the clutch has been discontinued and is not currently available for purchase. It was previously retailed at £275 at Russell & Bromley in London.
The Princess is well-acquainted with Stuart Weitzman’s designs. Besides the Muse clutch bags, she owns several pieces of footwear from the brand, including the Zipkin boots, Minx wedges, Power pumps, and the iconic Corkswoon wedges. These wedges, worn at various events including the 2012 London Olympics, became so synonymous with her that they were often referred to as the “Kate Middleton wedges.” It’s believed that she purchases her Stuart Weitzman items from Russell and Bromley in London, which I believe are the exclusive UK stockists of the brand. (I can’t confirm this, but I am certain they’re the only place I’ve seen the brand sold in the UK).
Stuart Weitzman is an American luxury footwear brand established in the 1980s. The brand is celebrated for its exceptional craftsmanship, innovative materials, and meticulous attention to detail. Stuart Weitzman has made its mark in the fashion world, becoming a go-to brand for celebrities and those who are fashion-forward.
Kate completed her ensemble with her Aquazzura Purist 105 pumps in black suede.
The sleek sophisticated Italian-crafted Purist pumps feature a refined, feminine silhouette that exemplifies pure elegance. The design is minimal yet impactful, with a pointed-toe style set on a slender stiletto heel. Luxuriously crafted from buttery suede in a rich black hue, they possess a leather lining, padded insole, and a signature gold-dipped pineapple logo on the leather sole. The heel height measures 105mm.
We’ve only seen the Princess wear the pumps on one other occasion, last September for a meeting with the Ukraine’s First Lady at Buckingham Palace on the eve of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
Looking for a luxurious pair of pumps for your next big event? Want to emulate royal style? The Purist 105s are currently available for purchase in black suede. They are priced at £565 / $638 at Farfetch.com.
Kate’s has shown a notable preference for Aquazzura footwear in recent years. We know the Princess owns at least five other pairs from the brand. This collection includes the Bow Tie 105 pumps in black and blush suede, Cece 105 pumps in white/gold, Love Link slingback pumps in blue, and Fenix 105 pumps in gold.
Founded by Edgardo Osorio in 2012, Aquazzura is a brand that radiates modern elegance and allure. Handmade in Italy, the brand is celebrated for its comfort, wearability, luxury, and craftsmanship. Osorio’s creations are known for their innovative design and vibrant colour palettes. Starting in the historic Palazzo Corsini in Florence, the brand has expanded globally, with collections available in over 300 top retailers across 58 countries. Aquazzura has since evolved into a lifestyle brand, recently introducing handbag lines and a Casa Collection inspired by interior design.