Kate Middleton opted for a white dress with black polka dot print for today’s Order of the Garter events. The Princess of Wales paired her spotty frock—from British brand Alessandra Rich–with a pair of two-tone slingback heels by shoe designer Jennifer Chamandi.
She finished the look with a sleek new clutch from Strathberry, a coordinating feather-topped hat by Philip Treacy and pearl jewellery that famously once belonged to Princess Diana. (Full fashion breakdown further down the page, as usual).
The afternoon’s festivities begin with King Charles formally investing two new Companions in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle. They were selected for their dedication to public service:
His Majesty The King has been graciously pleased to appoint the Right Honourable the Baroness Ashton of Upholland GCMG to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and the Right Honourable the Lord Patten of Barnes CH to be a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.royal.uk
The investiture was private, as was the luncheon that followed.
However, the public were able to witness the following Garter Day procession. The Knights and Ladies walked from Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel in full ceremonial attire—grand velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats—accompanied by a marching band.
Kate stood with Sophie to watch the grand spectacle. Sophie chose a floral dress by Emilia Wickstead, paired with hot pink accessories.
Inside the chapel, the monarch, members of the Order, and the royal family attended a short service where the new Companions were installed.
A second procession followed the investiture and service, as the monarch, Prince of Wales and other Companions of the Order returned to the Upper Ward of Windsor Castle by carriage or car.
Garter Day is a rich display of British tradition that’s steeped in centuries of history dating back to 1348. It has always been a grand spectacle of pomp and pageantry. This year’s proceedings did not disappoint.
Of course, this is the first Garter Day since the passing of QEII last September. It also marks the first time King Charles has led the proceedings.
Kate is not yet a member of the Order of the Garter (though one royal commentator thinks it’s probably on the cards). William received his Order of the Garter knighthood in 2008.
The Order of the Garter is the highest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom and one of the most prestigious in the world. It was founded by King Edward III in 1348.
In medieval times, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table that he set up his own group of honourable knights, called the Order of the Garter.royal.uk
Membership in the Order is limited to the reigning monarch, known as the Sovereign of the Garter, the Prince of Wales, and 24 “Companion” members chosen by the Sovereign. In addition, there are extra members who are members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs who are given the honour of joining the Order, known as “Supernumerary” or “Stranger” Knights and Ladies.
Let’s take a look at Kate’s outfit in detail now.
Kate Middleton’s Garter Day Outfit:
Kate looked as poised and polished as ever in her sleek white polka dot dress. Fans on Twitter were quick to draw parallels between the Princess and Audrey Hepburn’s iconic look in “My Fair Lady“.
As I wrote in the opening paragraph, today’s dress is an Alessandra Rich creation. The garment features a black spotty print, pronounced shoulders, ruching at the waist and a mid-length skirt.
At first, I thought it was the same frock she wore on the opening day of Ascot last year (it’s by the same designer).
But nope, they’re similar but not the same. It puzzles me why she didn’t just re-wear this one, it would have worked with beige accessories and a white hat. Why a new dress that’s so similar? (My personal theory is that she originally planned to wear a white coat dress but it was simply too hot today, so she opted for this as an alternative).
Middleton Maven remembered that Lady Eliza Spencer wore the same frock in pink to the Chelsea Flower Show last month:
The dress is from Alessandra Rich’s Autumn-Winter 2019 collection. It’s look 33 in the lookbook. Kate must have commissioned the dress in white/black polkadot.
The pink version is currently available to buy at resale luxury goods store, The Real Real in size XS.
Aussies can rent it from The Volte too.
The original RRP was £1255 at The Outnet.
The Princess is clearly a huge fan of Alessandra Rich. I think this is her 11th or 12th dress from the British brand in just a couple of years.
Get The Look For Less:
In love with Kate’s white spotty frock? Karen Millen offers a strikingly similar dress without the lofty designer price tag. Given that Kate has donned two dresses from this brand within the past year, it’s clear that Karen Millen’s designs are fit for a princess!
The Palace confirmed Kate’s matching hat is by Philip Treacy. Kate’s known to favour the British milliner’s designs. She’s worked closely with him for over a decade.
A plume of feathers sit on top and below the hat’s wide saucer brim. Each feather features a coordinating black polka dot print. It’s a bespoke creation for Kate but you can see two similar hats in Treacy’s spring summer lookbook:
Kate holds the bag back to front for most of the Garter Day festivities, however in some photos of the Princess walking, you can see the bag’s distinctive gold bar closure if you zoom in.
The Strathberry Multrees Wallet is a rectangular-shaped wallet that features Strathberry’s logo and iconic gold bar hardware on the front. It comes with a gold chain strap, which can be removed, allowing it to be carried as a clutch or worn cross-body. Kate always opts for the latter.
The bag is handcrafted in Spain using 100% calf leather and is finished with an embossed croc print design.
The Multrees Wallet is described by Strathberry as understated, elegant, and the perfect day-to-night companion. The spacious bag features an interior with 8 card slots and a zipped pocket. The fold-over magnetic closure top is decorated with the signature gold Strathberry bar.
Let’s look at Kate’s shoes now. They’re a white slingback with a two-tone black toe detail:
You’d be forgiven for thinking they’re the Alessandra Rich ‘Fab’ shoes she wore frequently last year. Nope, they’re a new pair by Jennifer Chamandi. The Princess wears Chamandi’s ‘Vittorio 105’ pumps. Thanks to Emily and Middleton Maven for tracking down and sharing.
The Vittorio shoe is handcrafted by Italian artisans and features a 105mm stiletto heel. It’ a versatile and wearable shoe that can be worn in two ways: with or without a fine leather strap threaded through Jennifer Chamandi’s signature ‘Eye of the Needle’ heel detail, buckled across the foot.
Chamandi’s team told Middleton Maven that the exact pair Kate owns are not available on her website yet. I’ve found the Vittorio 105 in plain off-white at Net-a-Porter, and the Vittorio 85 in two-tone ivory/black at Net-A-Porter if you feel it’d be the perfect summer shoe (the sleek off-white is a great bridal option.)
Kate’s worn Jennifer Chamandi shoes just once before, also with an Alessandra Rich dress by coincidence.
Let’s finish up by looking at Kate’s jewellery. She wore earrings and a bracelet that both had a significant link to her mother-in-law Diana—they belonged to the late Princess: the “Collingwood” pearl drop earrings and the Nigel Milne triple-strand pearl bracelet.
The earrings are named after Collingwood, the jewellery company that sent the earrings to Diana as a wedding gift.
“The earrings feature a round diamond stud, from which is suspended an additional round diamond and a bell cap set with three more rows of small diamonds. The bell caps each contain a lovely pearl drop”The Court Jeweller
And a look at the bracelet:
Below, the original listing for the three strand bracelet in Nigel Milne’s catalogue.
About the bracelet from a blog post published to Nigel Milne’s website:
[It] was designed by me and featured in our 1988/1989 jewellery catalogue. In 1988 we decided to produce some jewellery and donate the proceeds from their sales to the charity, BIRTHRIGHT. For personal reasons Cherry and I had become supporters of this charity, Sir George Pinker, Cherry’s gynaecologist, being its President and The Princess of Wales its Patron.
The three items that we chose for our Birthright Collection were a pair of diamond bow and pearl drop earrings, a diamond half eternity ring and a three row pearl bracelet with diamond and pearl spacers and clasp.
This is the bracelet that Princess Diana wore on several occasions including at the Birthright Ball in 1989 and with her iconic Catherine Walker ‘Elvis’ dress in Hong Kong and has now been seen adorning the Duchess of Cambridge!
This look was very typical of the style of jewellery that we were making at that time.Nigel Milne
Last year’s Garter Day look:
And, I just thought I’d finish with a reminder of Kate’s elegant blue ensemble from Garter Day last year:
The then Duchess of Cambridge wore a periwinkle blue coat dress thought to be from Alexander McQueen, a Juliette Botteril hat, Aquazzura Love Link slingbacks and G Collinson and Sons jewellery. Her clutch is as yet unidentified. The then Countess of Wessex wore a Valentino dress.
And that’s all from me for today! I’ll be back with more Kate later—she’s due to attend an event with the National Portrait Gallery today.