Kate Middleton looked elegant at the Cenotaph in London on Sunday.
The Princess of Wales looked solemn her a military-inspired coatdress by Catherine Walker as she watched the National Service of Remembrance from the Foreign Office balcony. She paired her black ensemble with a special pair of earrings that belonged to the late monarch (full details below).
This is the thirteenth consecutive year that the Princess has attended the Remembrance Sunday event.
The Princess stood alongside the Queen Consort again this year.
Starting at 11 am, the service commemorated the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women involved in the two world wars and later conflicts.
The King laid a wreath on behalf of the nation, as the Royals, Britain’s Prime Minister and thousands of veterans watched on.
Further wreaths were laid by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and by equerries on behalf of Queen Camilla and the Duke of Kent.
Here’s William at the Cenotaph. You can just make out the white flowers forming the ‘Prince of Wales Feathers’ at the top of his wreath.
This year, more than 800 Armed Forces personnel took part in the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremonies across central London.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a minute gun from Horse Guards Parade at 1100 to begin the Two Minute Silence. Then a bugler from The Royal Marines Band Service performed The Last Post. The Massed Bands of the Household Division provided music throughout the service.
The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth and The Central Band of the Royal Air Force joined The Massed Bands of the Household Division to play music as around 10,000 veterans marched past the Cenotaph.
Following the service, trumpeters of the Royal Air Force sounded the Rouse before the massed bands performed the national anthem.
This year’s Remembrance event marks a year of anniversaries, including the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and the 20th anniversary of the start of British military operations in Iraq.
This Remembrance Sunday is also the first-year nuclear test veterans joined the veterans’ march past the Cenotaph with their new medal, announced in November 2022.
Let’s move on to the outfit portion of the post now, and look at what Kate wore at the Cenotaph.
Kate’s Outfit on Remembrance Day 2023:
As in previous years, the Princess presented a dignified and somber appearance at the Cenotaph.
She wore a black Catherine Walker coatdress, echoing a military-inspired aesthetic with a high collar, zip-up front, and intricate military frogging, complete with tassels and corded braiding. Her attire not only paid homage to the solemnity of the event but also resonated with the military aspect of Remembrance Sunday.
The coat is a rewear—the Princess debuted the piece at the same service in 2019 – see below:
Kate chose a large brim swirl hat by Philip Treacy to accentuate her outfit. The elegant, wide-brimmed hat features unique looping embellishment on the front.
This hat has graced Kate’s wardrobe for years—we first saw it back in 2006, at Prince William’s Passing Out Ceremony at Sandhurst! This is its third appearance at the National Service of Remembrance.
At the time, Kate had not long graduated from St Andrews University and was navigating a new role as an accessory buyer for Jigsaw. The Passing Out Ceremony marked one of her earliest public appearances alongside Prince William, signalling the depth of their burgeoning relationship to the world.
Kate opts for Philip Treacy’s designs on a regular basis, she often chooses the milliner’s hats for high profile events like Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour. She also wore Philip Treacy at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee events last year.
Philip Treacy is a tour de force in haute couture millinery, heralded by Vogue as “perhaps the greatest living milliner”. An Irish native, Treacy’s London-based career flourished after his mentorship with fashion editor Isabella Blow, leading to accolades including multiple British Accessory Designer of the Year awards. Treacy’s designs are more than mere accessories; they are wearable sculptures that have graced high-profile events and adorned celebrities and royalty alike, from Madonna to members of the British royal family. His work, marked by its artistic originality, has earned a place in both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, cementing his status within the elite circle of millinery virtuosos.
Kate debuted a new handbag by Jennifer Chamandi. Unfortunately, there’s only one image which shows the bag. I cannot licence it to share with you, but view it by clicking here (new tab).
It’s the ‘Le 8 Bag‘ in black suede with a gold decorative accent known as “the eye of the needle.”
The black suede envelope clutch features a minimalist yet glamorous aesthetic. It was handcrafted at an artisan workshop in Italy and finished with Jennifer Chamandi’s signature ‘eye of the needle’ clasp’ in gold. The piece comes equipped with a magnetic fastening and an internal zip pocket for functionality.
Eager to emulate the Princess’s style? The ‘Le 8 Bag’ is still available for purchase. The luxe piece is priced at £880. See it here. Each purchase supports a noble cause, 10% of proceeds go to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families—one of Kate’s patronages. The Princess took on the patronage in 2016.
The Princess is no stranger to Jennifer Chamandi’s creations. We’ve spotted her wearing three pairs of heels from the designer since 2021. Though, this is the first time we’ve seen Kate carry one of the designer’s clutches.
Jennifer Chamandi Boghossian is a British designer of Lebanese origin. She’s known for her unique blend of numerical precision and elegant design. An Economics graduate from the London School of Economics, she transitioned from a successful banking career to pursue her passion for shoe design. Her collections, crafted in collaboration with a family-run Italian atelier, are characterised by meticulous attention to detail and a distinctive aesthetic that draws inspiration from abstract geometry. The brand’s signature feature, the ‘Eye of the Needle’, is a testament to Chamandi’s innovative approach and commitment to luxury. You’ll find the Eye of the Needle throughout Camandi’s collections in some form or another.
Kate often wears gloves to the National Service of Remembrance. This year, she opted for a black pair with a small bow.
At first, I thought they were her ‘Beatrice‘ gloves by Cornelia James. However on closer inspection, I can see they’re a different pair entirely. The bow is smaller than the Beatrice design.
The Data Duchess correctly pointed out Kate carried this particular pair of gloves to the late Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral last year. Their origin remains a mystery.
Speaking of mysteries, Kate’s earrings are a bit of an enigma too.
Let’s take a closer look at the stunning jewels. They feature a large pearl surrounded by diamond leaves.
If the design feels familiar, that’s because Kate wore a similar looking brooch during a trip to Belgium in 2017. She wore the brooch to a service commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
The late Queen Elizabeth loaned to brooch to the then-Duchess.
Kate wore the brooch again last autumn, for a service at Westminster Hall, following the procession of the late Queen’s coffin.
It looks like QEII wore the brooch and earrings on a handful of occasions herself, too.
Neither lady has worn the earrings and brooch together, leading us to wonder, are they the same piece—earrings that detach from a brooch—or part of a parure?
I’ll leave you with The Court Jeweller’s thoughts on this topic: (I often defer to The Court Jeweller when it comes to royal gems, she is far more knowledgeable than I!)
The earrings appear to be part of the same suite that includes the late monarch’s Diamond and Pearl Leaf Brooch, notably worn by her in South Korea on her birthday in 1999. It’s possible that the earrings are either separate pieces that match the brooch, or two detachable leaves from the brooch itself. (As Kate has previously worn the stem of the brooch with a trio of paper poppies, I’m leaning toward the latter.)The Court Jeweller
Kate debuted a new military brooch on top of her black coat. The piece signifies her role as Commodore-in-Chief of The Fleet Air Arm—a new role given to her by King Charles back in August.
I believe the item features pilot wings, surmounted by a crown and laurel leaves that encircle an anchor [source].
Under the brooch, you’ll notice that Kate pinned three poppies.
Why does Kate wear three poppies?
I know this is a pretty popular question with everyone from royal watchers to Kate style aficionados to laypeople who watched the Remembrance Day service on TV. The truth is, we don’t know but there’s plenty of speculation.
The leading theory is the Princess uses the three poppies to pay tribute to her great-grandmother’s three brothers who were killed in action during the First World War. This personal family history was highlighted during a visit by the Princess to the Imperial War Museum in 2018, where she viewed letters from her ancestors.
The second theory is that each poppy represents different branches of the UK’s armed forces, the Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force.
The third theory is that that Kate wears the three poppies for aesthetic reasons—they make a more attractive, noticeable group on her coat. A single poppy might look a little bit lost on its own.
I guess we’ll never know for certain, unless she comments on the reason herself in years to come.