Kate Middleton surprised us by wearing a vivid shade of teal to the Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day parade on Friday morning. It was an unexpected choice for the Princess who usually wears dark green to the regiment’s traditional celebration.
Of course, green is the colour most associated with the country of Ireland—the Emerald Isle—and is often worn by those marking St Patrick’s Day—the Irish cultural and religious holiday.
Although Kate’s choice might have felt surprising at first glance, I’d wager that it was deliberate—the Irish Guards’ plume is the same hue of blue-green. The shade also features prominently on their regimental badge:
Did you know the colour blue represented Ireland and its patron saint, St. Patrick, for hundreds of years, though it’s green that’s most associated with the island today? (If you read my fairly recent post about Kate’s visit to Northern Ireland, you probably do know that, haha!)
The St Patrick’s Day parade and following festivities are a highlight of the Irish Guards’ calendar.
As in previous years, Kate handed fresh shamrock sprigs to the officers and guardsmen, who in turn issued it along the ranks.
Shamrocks—or three-leaved clovers—are a common symbol associated with Ireland. Apparently, St. Patrick used them as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.
Kate always presents a spring of shamrocks to one other special attendee—the regiment’s Irish wolfhound mascot.
William—also in attendance—formally handed over the responsibilities of Regimental Colonel to his wife. She took the royal salute during the march-past for the first time.
Kate took on the honorary role in December 2022. After Queen Elizabeth’s death and King Charles’s accession to the throne, military patronages were reshuffled amongst Royal Family members. Prince William, as the Prince of Wales, became Colonel of the Welsh Guards leaving a spot open for Kate.
You might remember that the couple visited the Welsh Guards at Combermere Barracks in Windsor on St David’s Day—the Welsh national day—earlier this month. Kate handed leeks, associated with Wales, to the officers and guardsman.
Regular readers will know remember that the Princess attended an engagement with the Irish Guards just last week. She visited the regiment on Salisbury Common and carried out training exercises in the snow.
At the parade, the weather was a little more on the drizzly side.
The new and outgoing Colonels gave speeches:
William told the officers and guardsmen that he is incredibly sad to be stepping aside as colonel but knows his wife will be “committed, focused and [is] already incredibly loyal”.
The Princess said she’ll “listen”, support” and “champion” the regimen in her role as Colonel.
You can watch highlights of the speeches from 0:20 below:
Or read the speeches in full here.
During the visit, the Prince and Princess were given the opportunity to view a new regimental painting of the Irish Guards by artist Louise Pragnell. The painting, which was created this year in the state rooms of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, features the Regimental Mascot, Turlough Mor (Seamus).
The Prince and Princess had the honour of presenting Medals for Long Service and Good Conduct to six Irish Guardsmen. They also awarded a special Joint Commanders’ Commendation to Captain Chris O’Neill from Birmingham, for his work in assuring the training provided by the Irish Guards to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Ukraine. His efforts also included overseeing the safe extraction of personnel from the country just prior to the Russian invasion.
The visit concluded with a toast to William and Kate and special thanks to their new Royal Colonel for presenting the gift of shamrock. Both royals sampled a glass of Guinness, chatted with the soldiers and their families.
And one last photograph of the outgoing and incoming Colonels with the Irish Guards.
Let’s look at the individual components of Kate’s outfit in detail now.
Kate Middleton’s St Patrick’s Day Outfit
Teal, turquoise, Irish blue? Whatever you want to call the shade, it was a noticeable change in colour from previous years. I think this was a purposeful departure to mark this watershed moment—to see in the new era. As I explained above, before 2023, the Princess attended eight Irish Guards parades as the Colonel of the Regiment’s wife. In 2020, she attended as the Colonel in her own right. Switching colours underlines the change—if you created a slideshow or a collage of Kate’s attendance at St Patrick’s Day parades to date, this look would undoubtedly stand out.
The Daily Mail reports Catherine Walker & Co. designed the Princess’s military-inspired coat.
The exact coat is not listed on the design house’s website, but I think elements of the garment look really familiar and easily identifiable as a Catherine Walker piece. For example, the mandarin collar and shoulder pleat details remind me of two military-inspired Catherine Walker coats Kate’s worn in the past (on Remembrance Sunday in 2020 and 2022).
You’ll notice the collar and covered buttons are found on Catherine Walker’s Nero design (left), the pleats on the company’s Evie coat dress (centre), while the general construction (princess seams, sleeves and length) are very similar to the Beau Tie coat (right)—
On Twitter, Gert’s Royals explained why the Princess’s coat features two sets of buttons grouped in fours. It’s the match the buttons on the Irish Guards’ uniforms—you’ll notice theirs are the same.
Different Guards Divisions regiments group their buttons in different numbers. This is done to make it easier to tell regiments apart.
Grenadier – singleGerts Royals
Coldstream – pairs
Scots – threes
Irish – fours
Welsh – fives
The collars are similar to the those on the red uniforms too. What attention to detail.
I’m a huge fan of the colour, I hope we’ll see this coat again in the future. She does look elegant in it.
Kate has a working relationship with the Catherine Walker design house since she became a member of the royal family. She’s worn a number of the company’s coats and dresses over the years for both official engagements and overseas tours.
Catherine Walker, who passed away in 2010, was a designer known for creating elegant and timeless pieces that were favoured by Princess Diana. After Walker’s death, the brand continued under the leadership of her widower, Said Cyrus, and the couple’s talented design team.
Kate wore a coordinating hat with the coat—the Clio Heart-Shaped Cocktail Hat by Jane Taylor.
The designer describes the item as “a wonderfully romantic hand-sculptured heart-shaped cocktail hat. Made from a luxurious […] felt with a matching […] pleated crin detail which fans around this stunning-shaped hat.”
Jane Taylor sells a ready-to-wear version in black for £1,450. The hat is made to order and can take up to three weeks for creation and delivery.
Appointments are available for those looking to order a bespoke creation—like Kate—to match their outfit.
Kate’s worn dozens of hats and headpieces from Jane Taylor Millinery over the years. The Princess has been spotted wearing the brand’s designs on many high-profile occasions, such as Royal Ascot, at all three of her children’s christenings, at her sister’s wedding, at Trooping the Colour and at several National Services of Thanksgiving.
Although I did independently identify the hat myself, I’m informed PolkaDotPopp found it earlier than I did. I wanted to give a shoutout to her account because she does some brilliant work IDing pieces worn by royals around the world!
The Princess carried a clutch bag and leather gloves in matching teal hues on her way into the engagement today. Only this photograph exists showing her carrying the items (as far as I know). Sadly, it doesn’t really give us much to go on!
I think the gloves could be from Dents. I’m awaiting confirmation on this.
The bag looks like another Emmy London Natasha clutch. The Princess owns 12 of them so far, this would be her thirteenth. The colour shown is called ‘Lake‘. A strong possibility I think? I can’t verify this for certain, though—but I have emailed the brand to see if they can provide confirmation.
I wondered if Kate carried the matching Rebecca shoes by Emmy London in the same shade, Lake. (Kate owns the Rebecca shoes in 8 other colours so it’s a reasonable thought. They look a pretty good match, right?)
Nope, not them! Look from behind, at the soles. The logos doesn’t match. Emmy London use a distinctive cursive logo and finish all their shoes with a diamanté stud.
I am pretty sure Kate is wearing the Gianvito Rossi Gianvito 105 pumps. Shown below at Vestiaire—
The Italian designer finishes his shoes with his signature running down the sole and the leather symbol underneath. Both seem present on Kate’s shoes. I’d say they’re a match?
The leather symbol lands at just about the same place on the sole, near the bottom.
The symbols on the sole and beige coloured heel caps rule out other brands that Kate favours (Jimmy Choo, Aquazzura, L.K. Bennett, Manolo Blahnik, Stuart Weitzman, Russell and Bromley—none were a match).
I’m struggling to find any information about this colourway though. I think it might be called “Persian” but I cannot confirm this. It doesn’t look like the shoe is widely available or distributed by the usual retailers. Kate must have ordered them from the designer specially (we know she did this with three pairs of boots). It looks like the style was available at some point—perhaps a very limited run—as I’ve found a couple of pairs on pre-loved selling sites: The Luxury Closet, Poshmark, The Luxury Closet again, Vestiaire.
The Princess is clearly a fan of Gianvito Rossi. This is the 20th pair of his shoes that we’ve counted her wear since joining the Royal Family (three pairs of boots, two pairs of sandals and fifteen pairs of heels last time I checked).
Let’s move on to Kate’s earrings now. The Princess added sparkle to her outfit with a pair of emerald and diamond cluster drops. I believe they’re the same unidentified pair she’s worn for years—The Data Duchess informs us she debuted them in 2012 and this her twelfth wear to date. Their provenance is unknown. Sorry, I can’t tell you anything more about them!
Kate also wore the gold shamrock brooch, a piece from Cartier crafted from gold, it appears to have a green gemstone in the middle.
About the brooch:
[T]he shamrock brooch reportedly belongs to the Irish Guards.
Per Lauren Kiehna, who runs the site the Court Jeweller, the brooch “is loaned out to royal ladies who are associated with the regiment.”
Despite being a popular piece of jewelry associated with the royal family, its origin story is still somewhat unclear. Some reporters cite Queen Alexandra as the first owner of the brooch, but according to Up the Micks! An Illustrated History of the Irish Guards, a book written by James Wilson, which features a foreword by the Duke of Cambridge, the piece was crafted by Cartier and then presented to Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, by the regiment in 1961.Town and Country Mag
It’s also been worn The Queen Mother and Princess Anne.