Kate Middleton kickstarted the festive season with her ‘Together At Christmas’ carol concert on Friday evening.
In a graceful nod to winter, the Princess of Wales stepped out in a long ivory coat worn over a coordinating sweater and trousers. Kate’s outfit subtly exuded festive elegance while managing to steer clear of the usual holiday clichés.
The Princess finished her look with a petite structured handbag and her signature pointed-toe heels. Her Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra earrings added a glamorous finishing touch to her ensemble. (Find a full and thorough breakdown of Kate’s look underneath my writeup of the concert, below).
This is Kate’s third ‘Together At Christmas’ carol concert at Westminster Abbey since its inception in 2021. According to Kensington Palace, the heartwarming service is “a moment to bring people together at Christmas time and recognise those who have gone above and beyond to help others throughout the year.”
The Princess spearheaded the initiative through The Royal Foundation three years ago, following the pandemic. In its inaugural year, Kate used the concert to honour the individuals and groups who helped their communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. That year, she dressed a vibrant red outfit topped with a bow. Very festive:
Last year, 2022, the Princess dedicated the service to the late Queen Elizabeth II. The concert recognised the selfless efforts of individuals, families and communities across the UK in the late Queen’s honour. Kate dressed her whole family in a sumptuous shade of burgundy. Respectful, yet seasonally appropriate:
This year’s theme is “children and families”. Kate used the concert to amplify her ‘Shaping Us’ campaign, which she launched through the Centre For Early Childhood back in January. Themes from the campaign underpin the 2023 carol service. Topics like the hope of new life and why it’s important to build nurturing environments around children and the adults in their life, and the importance of early childhood in shaping future generations, were discussed during the service. Films on these topics will be broadcast on the TV broadcast that will follow the concert.
Kate arrived at the concert on her own. She headed into Westminster Abbey to chat with performers and guests. Here’s the Princess high-fiving a group of scouts:
And here she is having a chat before the concert begins:
Attendees were a tapestry of community heroes and those dedicated to the early years sector. Nominations came from Lord-Lieutenants nationwide and various charities connected to the Royal Family.
Guests also consisted of those who may have had a challenging year, including children and families, or those who might find the winter period difficult.
The Princess’s family from both sides attended too. Here’s the Duchess of Edinburgh:
Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips. Savannah Phillips and Isla Phillips (not pictured) also joined their father.
Princess Beatrice, with her husband Edoardo and stepson Christopher. Doesn’t Beatrice look fab? I love that coat (it’s from Beulah London).
Kate’s parents Carol and Mike:
Kate’s sister Pippa with her husband James. Loving Pippa’s trouser suit!
After welcoming and chatting with attendees, the Princess ventured back outside to meet William and her children. This year, for the first time, Kate brought her whole family to the carol concert. This certainly helped underline the theme!
In 2021, only William attended. The older two Wales children attended in 2022. It was lovely to see Prince Louis with his siblings this year. We haven’t seen the youngster since the summer.
Prince William looked dapper in his navy suit and burgundy tie. George wore a suit that echoed their father’s. Little Louis had on navy coat and boots. Charlotte re-wore the same burgundy coat from last year’s concert.
Before entering the abbey, the family met with members of the clergy, admired the Christmas decor and listened to the Action for Children’s Young Carers Choir perform.
Action for Children started the Young Carers Choir in 2017. Every member is between age six and 19, and is a young carer who helps look after a member of their family. The charity protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. Kate’s been their patron since 2019.
The Wales children also posted handmade cards in a special Christmas Post Box outside the Abbey:
. All the children attending this year’s Carol Concert were invited to create a Christmas card and send their best wishes to other children who might be struggling this year. The cards will be distributed to children supported by charities associated with William and Kate, including Evelina London, British Red Cross, Child Bereavement UK and the East Anglia Children’s Hospice.
The Abbey, with its historic and grand setting, was the perfect backdrop for the carol concert. The event organisers had worked hard filling the location with sustainable, eco-friendly festive decorations, which provided a beautiful Christmas backdrop and nodded to the theme of children and families.
According to the service’s programme, King Charles donated pine trees from Windsor Great Park to decorate the Abbey.
The royals and guests enjoyed music from Abbey’s world-renowned choir, who treated attendees to a blend of traditional and contemporary carols, reflecting the service’s inclusive nature.
There were also musical performances from Jacob Collier, Freya Ridings, and James Bay, with a standout duet from Beverley Knight and Adam Lambert. Kate sharing a laugh with Adam Lambert before the performance:
According to Richard Palmer, the Express’s Royal Correspondent, Kate called in some favours to secure a surprise for music fans at the concert. She had Beatle John Lennon’s piano—which he used to compose and perform his hit song Imagine—brought into the Abbey. George Michael’s estate kindly leant the piano to the Princess for the service. It was used by singer songwriter Jacob Collier, who played George Micheal’s song ‘Last Christmas’.
Adding to the evening’s significance, the Prince of Wales and celebrities including Micheal Ward, Emma Willis, Roman Kemp, and Jim Broadbent delivered poignant readings.
A highlight was a specially commissioned poem by Joseph Coelho, the Children’s Laureate, recited by Leonie Elliott.
This December, twelve community carol services will be held across the UK. Each service, hosted by Lord Lieutenants and supported by The Royal Foundation, will be tailored to the local community but also share elements of the Westminster Abbey event. Guests will receive a special foreword written by the Princess of Wales. If you’d like to attend one of these carol services, you can find more details here.
Royal Carols: Together at Christmas – How to watch?
As in previous years, royal fans in the UK will be able to view the concert during a special broadcast at 7:45pm on ITV1 and ITV X on Christmas Eve. The special programme, titled ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’ will include an introduction by the Princess of Wales and additional films that emphasise the vital role of early childhood and celebrating community members’ efforts in supporting young children.
For those in the USA, I expect you’ll be able to watch the show on Britbox. I’ll update the post if I find anything confirming this, or any information about times/dates.
Let’s move on to discuss the festive fashion!
Kate’s Outfit At The Christmas Carol Concert:
Another masterclass in monochromatic elegance for the Princess! She chose an ivory ensemble comprising of a tailored coat worn over a coordinating pair of trousers and sweater.
In a rare move, Kensington Palace confirmed the designer of Kate’s ivory coat. It’s by Chris Kerr, a menswear tailor based in Saville Row in London. As far as I can see, the company does not typically make womenswear.
And this cream-white coat, worn in Wales in February this year. Two ID mysteries solved!
Chris Kerr’s company has quite the history. The original company was established in 1960 by Len Wilton. A young Eddie Kerr joined the firm in 1963 and worked his way up the business before acquiring it in 1990. His son, Chris Kerr, stepped into the business as an apprentice 7-years later, before taking the helm following his father’s retirement in 2002. Through the years, the company has served elite clientele, including Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp. They’ve also created costumes for television shows like Downton Abbey and Dr Who.
The longline tailored coat falls gracefully to create an elongating silhouette. The design is minimalist, featuring a single-breasted front with subtle button detailing that complements without overwhelming the look. Structured shoulders and a nipped-in waist offer a classic, feminine shape that is both modern and timeless. The coat’s finished with angled pockets and a peaked lapel.
Kate paired the white coat with a mix of new and familiar pieces. Let’s start with her sweater. We believe it’s from the Scottish brand Kiltane. The Princess first wore the cream-white sweater in February this year, at an event with “Polar Preet” at a secondary school in Derby.
The crew neck jumper is crafted from 100% pure cashmere and finished with ribbing at the cuffs, hem and neckline. It retails for £119 at Kiltane.com and is still available in multiple size and colour opinions.
Kiltane is a traditional Scottish textile company renowned for its premium cashmere and fine woollen products. Originating from Edinburgh and named after the Gaelic for “small church in the valley,” the brand marries classic Scottish style with expert craftsmanship, offering a range of handcrafted scarves, shawls, sweaters, and hats. Kiltane operates eight stores across the UK and enjoys a worldwide reputation, standing as a pillar of quality and culture in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.
Kate tucked her sweater into a pair of trousers we’ve not seen before—they’re by Holland Cooper. (Thanks to Middleton Maven for finding these so quickly!)
Handmade and hand cut in England, the trousers are crafted from a luxurious wool blend fabric that’s fully lined for comfort. They offer a smart yet casual aesthetic. The high, wide waistband accentuates the waist and creates a sophisticated silhouette. The trousers are finished with Holland Cooper’s signature gold hardware.
Last time I checked, the trousers are still available to order in all sizes. They are priced at £299 with a note to allow 8-10 weeks for delivery, reflecting the fact each pair is made-to-order.
Those who follow Kate’s style regularly will recognise the Holland Cooper brand. The Princess has demonstrated a fondness for the British label, we’ve spotted her wearing more than ten of their pieces in public to date. I suspect she likes Holland Cooper’s unique blend of classic equestrian style and city-style tailoring.
Holland Cooper is a brand steeped in British heritage, aimed at those who appreciate the finer details and quality of luxury tailoring. The label is known for its classic designs with a contemporary twist, appealing to a demographic that values traditional craftsmanship and timeless style. With a history of using UK-woven wool and producing hand-cut garments, Holland Cooper positions itself as a bastion of British excellence in fashion.
Kate’s handbag was another new item we’ve not seen before. It’s the Strathberry Mosaic Nano Leather Top Handle Bag in vanilla.
The bag features a textured calf leather exterior with a subtle pebble grain. The design is clean and structured, boasting sharp, geometric lines that give it a modern and sophisticated appearance.
The front of the bag displays the Strathberry signature metal bar, which elegantly secures the top flap. The metal hardware is in a gold tone, contrasting beautifully with the vanilla colour of the leather. The bag has a compact and boxy silhouette, ideal for carrying essentials.
The bag comes with a top handle and a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap, offering versatile carrying options.
Want to add this gorgeous bag to your Christmas list? Find it on Strathberry’s website.
Strathberry is another Edinburgh-based luxury label, renowned for its craftsmanship and quality. The brand has quickly established itself with a focus on simple, elegant designs and exceptional attention to detail. Each Strathberry piece is handcrafted in Spain by skilled artisans, using only the finest materials. The brand’s signature metal bar is a distinctive feature, giving a sleek and modern feel to traditional luxury.
Let’s return to the familiar pieces Kate wore to the carol concert. I recognised her shoes instantly. They’re a pair we’ve seen a handful of times before, the Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps in Bisque.
Crafted from 100% suede, these pumps feature a sharp pointed toe and a stiletto heel standing at 105mm. Their slip-on design, coupled with a low vamp, enhances the foot’s silhouette, while the soft leather composition on the outer, lining, and sole promises a comfortable fit.
Want to buy a pair? You’re in luck. You can find the bisque shade worn by Kate at FarFetch.com.
This is the seventh time we’ve spotted Kate wearing the beige heels to date. She debuted the versatile pumps in June 2022, at the Platinum Jubilee National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s. She last wore them with a cream knit co-ord in October 2023 during a visit in Nottingham (below).
Kate owns this shoe in nine other colours and fabrics, plus a further four pairs with a lower heel. She also owns another eight pieces of footwear from the Italian designer, including three pairs of boots and one pair of sandals. By my calculations, Gianvito Rossi is Kate’s go-to luxury heel brand, and the footwear designer she’s worn more than any other to date. The Princess clearly has a preference for Rossi’s elegant and classic shoe designs. Her repeated choice of the label for a variety of engagements signals an affinity for the comfort and sophisticated style that Gianvito Rossi offers.
Gianvito Rossi, founded in 2007, has quickly risen to prominence in the luxury footwear industry. The brand is celebrated for its handcrafted Italian shoes that blend modernity with traditional craftsmanship. Aimed at those who appreciate meticulous design and luxurious materials, Gianvito Rossi shoes are known for their comfortable fit and timeless elegance, making them a staple for the discerning fashion enthusiast.
Speaking of timeless elegance, let’s finish up by looking at Kate’s stunning earrings. They’re a repeat wear too. They’re the ‘Alhambra‘ earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels.
These exquisite earrings are crafted from 18K yellow gold and set with polished mother-of-pearl, forming the iconic clover motif that is both a symbol of luck and a signature of the brand.
The Princess debuted the earrings on the BAFTA red carpet in 2020, and this is their fourth public appearance to date.
These earrings retail for £6,000. Find them at vancleefarpels.com. As you can see above, the Princess also owns the matching necklace.
Van Cleef & Arpels is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship, innovative designs, and the use of the finest materials. Founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his brothers-in-law, the brand quickly established itself at the forefront of luxury jewellery design. Known for their artistry and expertise in selecting the best stones, Van Cleef & Arpels has become synonymous with exclusivity and prestige, offering pieces that are both investment-worthy and heirlooms. The ‘Alhambra’ collection, in particular, reflects their commitment to creating jewellery that combines whimsical charm with sophistication.