Kate Middleton showcased her chic style during a visit to Birmingham on Thursday (20th April 2023). The Princess of Wales wore a burgundy pleated coat dress for a visit to celebrate the city’s diverse culture and heritage.
It was the couple’s first engagement following an extended Easter break with their children.
The first engagement of the day event took place at the Indian Streatery, an authentic, family run independent Indian restaurant based in the city centre. The kitchen is staffed entirely by a team of female chefs.
The Indian Streatery is run by the Sharma family, led by Head Chef and mum Meena, who came up with the original vision to bring real Indian street food to the streets of Birmingham. The restaurant, which is home to an all-female chef team, started life as a street food stall in Digbeth and was a firm favourite at the city’s Digbeth Dining Club.
The restaurant, which opened in 2017, serves up a combination of authentic Indian street food, Sharma family favourites and British/Asian fusion dishes.Royal.UK
The Prince and Princess met the Sharma family and staff at the venue. They also heard about the history of the restaurant before meeting former students from University College Birmingham who have completed their training at the location.
In the kitchen, William and Kate met the restaurant’s team of chefs and tried their hand at making a handmade roti, a simple flatbread often served with cooked vegetables and curries.
During their visit, William answered the telephone and assisted a potential customer. The future king took a booking for a table of two and gave directions to the restaurant.
After, the Prince joked that he’d probably sent the poor unsuspecting customer to the wrong location…!
Later, it was revealed that the customer—Mr Aggarwal—managed to find the restaurant in time for his reservation, thankfully. Evening Standard tracked down Mr Aggarwal and spoke to him about the experience. The customer had no idea he was talking to the prince.
Mr Aggarwal, a software engineer, said he had “no idea” that William took the call.
He said: “It’s pretty amazing and a surprise. I didn’t know at that moment, but it’s a very nice surprise.
“Obviously (I will be telling everyone), it’s not something that happens often.
“I didn’t recognise his voice at all, this is the first time I was listening to him on the phone, so I genuinely thought someone was taking the booking for me.”The Evening Standard
Watch the hilarious phone call below:
The royal couple leaving the Indian Streatery restaurant.
Next, William and Kate headed to The Rectory, a venue/restaurant in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a vibrant district renowned for its concentration of jewellery and metalworking businesses, art galleries, museums, and a rich industrial heritage.
Here, William and Kate met and engaged with with a variety of future leaders, business owners and local talent, including designers, artists, and playwrights.
The Prince and Princess listened intently as the representatives shared their experiences of opening and running businesses in Birmingham, and discussed the growth of the creative sector in the city. According to reports, the pair spent over an hour chatting and listening.
The pair met local legend Alison Hammond too. She is a Birmingham native and still lives in the city.
Alison is a British television personality known for her infectious personality. She rose to fame as a contestant on “Big Brother” in 2002 but today is a regular presenter on the daytime TV show, “This Morning“.
Alison is known for making everybody burst into fits of giggles—her interviewees, her cohosts and, of course, her viewers. It looks like Kate did not escape Alison’s bubbly charm during the visit either.
True to form, the royal duo showcased their competitive sides by joining guests for a spirited game of interactive darts at the 180 Club—an “underground Darts Bar” located in the basement of The Rectory. They were also joined by Ms Hammond who ‘jokingly heckled’ the future king during the game.
The Rectory, which opened its doors five years ago, boasts a rich history and has quickly become a popular pub and restaurant.
The day concluded with a walkabout. The Prince and Princess stopped to chat with members of the public.
This is Kate’s fourth official visit to Birmingham. The first took place in 2011. With William, she visited Birmingham as part of the royal response to the summer riots that took place earlier in the year.
The Princess visited Birmingham again in 2017. I think she was 3-4 months pregnant with Charlotte at the time. With William, she spent the day in the city, touring the Jaguar Land Rover Solihull Manufacturing Plant, taking a test drive at the Jaguar Land Rover Experience Centre, visiting Villa Park Stadium, and touring a whistle factory.
Three years later, in January 2020, the Princess returned to Birmingham for a solo visit to launch her ‘5 Big Questions’ landmark survey. And finally, in August of last year (2022), Kate watched the XXII Commonwealth Games at Birmingham’s at Sandwell Aquatics Centre with her husband and daughter.
Let’s move on to look at Kate’s outfit.
Kate’s outfit in Birmingham:
The garment featured notched lapels, a waist tie and a crisp pleated skirt. The Karen Millen website notes the dress is perfect for colder days.
At the time of writing, the garment is out of stock in the ‘merlot’ colour worn by Kate. It’s available in black in limited sizes. I have to say, I’m liking the black—it’s very smart. Was £229 but today is available for £183.20 in the summer sale.
Karen Millen is a distinguished British fashion brand known for offering high-quality garments at an accessible price point. Founded in 1981, the label targets modern, professional women who value impeccable style and quality craftsmanship. The brand specialises in tailoring, coats and evening wear.
It was the ‘Forever Dress’. Karen Millen currently stocks the item in lots of different colours if you’d like to add it to your workwear wardrobe—see it here. The garment is also in the brand’s summer sale.
Kate paired her burgundy dress with three accessories with seen before. Let’s start with the earrings. They’re by Sézane.
They’re the French company’s Dina Earrings. The earrings are crafted from gold-plated recycled brass and feature tassel drops with natural stones in shades of ocean blue.
The Princess of Wales debuted the pretty boho-style earrings on Christmas Day 2022.
If you’re hoping to snag a pair of the beautiful earrings for yourself, I am afraid you are out of luck. Sézane no longer stock the design.
Kate has a penchant for Sézane earrings. She owns six pairs from the company.
Kate’s necklace is from Daniella Draper. It’s the Gold Citrine Baby Treasure Necklace.
This pretty necklace is made from 100% recycled 9ct gold and set with a shimmering yellow citrine stone. The chain and pendant take up to two weeks to be made at Draper’s Lincolnshire workshop.
The Princess has worn the piece just once before, earlier this year. She debuted the sparkling necklace at an event she hosted for the England Wheelchair Rugby League Team in January (2023).
Daniella Draper is a British jewellery designer that handcrafts pieces in the UK from recycled gold and silver. She creates high quality, timeless pieces, drawing inspiration from nature, history, travel, and romance. Her brand is also an independent family-run company, with a commitment to preserving and protecting the natural world.
The necklace is the sixth item in Kate’s collection of Daniella Draper jewellery.
Let’s finish with Kate’s shoes. They’ll be familiar to our regular readers, the Princess has worn them on many occasions before. They’re the Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps in Burgundy Royale.
The shoe features a pointed toe and an elegant stiletto heel that measures in at 105mm. They’re crafted from suede and leather.
Sadly, the shoe cannot currently be purchased in this exact colour at this time. Though there are plenty of different shades available at MyTheresa.com and Net-A-Porter.com for anybody looking for a sleek pump for their next big event.
I recently spent time researching and counting the number of heels Kate’s worn by different designers. I can tell you Gianvito Rossi topped the list as her go-to brand. The Princess has worn 17 pairs of Gianvito Rossi’s heels to more than 130 public engagements since she first debuted the brand in 2015. It’s clear that she’s a big fan of the designer’s elegant silhouettes and impeccable craftsmanship.
Kate owns this very shoe in nine different colours, including the burgundy hue worn in Birmingham.
Finally, it looks like Kate carried her trusty black Smythson East-West Tote Bag as she departed Birmingham, you can see it in this video still:
It looks like the Princess crammed the black bag with sandwiches for the journey home!
Here’s a close-up of Kate carrying the tote on a different occasion.
We regularly spot the Princess with the Smythson bag at airports and train stations following royal engagements. It’s clearly her favourite bag for travel. We know she’s owned the bag for at least eight years, showing it’s a long-lasting and hardworking item.
The Smythson Tote is a versatile accessory. Its size and durability make it perfect for carrying essentials while on the go, whether for work, travel or leisure—as Kate has demonstrated!
The East-West tote that Kate carries has a pocket and gold hardware on the front. Smythson have now discontinued this style. They do still sell a refreshed version of the bag without the front pocket—click here to see it.
GET THE LOOK – Smythson East-West Tote In Panama
Looking for the perfect black tote? A simple black statement bag that’s functional yet stylish? The Smythson East-West is perfect for busy days, travel, meetings and even the occasional royal-inspired shopping spree…. Note: Kate carries an older version of the bag with a front pocket from a past collection. This sleek, new refreshed version doesn’t have the front pocket.
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