William and Kate commemorated the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing with a poignant visit to St David’s Cathedral in South Wales on Friday.
The Princess of Wales honoured the late monarch through her outfit in a subtle, yet impactful manner.
For the occasion, the Princess chose a burgundy coat dress and matching tonal accessories. The deep shade was a nod to traditional mourning colours, instantly signalling the day’s gravity.
Her accessories didn’t just serve aesthetic purposes; they carried symbolic weight too. The pearl earrings were originally loaned to Kate by the late Queen Elizabeth. Of course, pearls are steeped in royal tradition for mourning.
Adding another layer of tribute, Kate’s milliner for the day is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, subtly tying her entire look back to the Queen.
With her thoughtfully curated ensemble, the Princess of Wales presented an elegant tribute to the late monarch, perfectly setting the tone for the day’s commemorative events.
Members of the clergy welcomed the Prince and Princess to the cathedral.
The visit began with a short, private commemorative service. According to journalists, the 10-min service included prayers, readings and music.
During the service, Princess Kate stepped forward with her husband by her side to place a bouquet of white flowers at a portrait of Queen Elizabeth. They were visibly moved, standing solemnly before the photo in a moment of silence.
The event, called “an act of reflection for accession day,” included prayers said in both Welsh and English. An incredibly poignant moment came with the singing of “Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts,” evoking the sadness of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.People
Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle last year, aged 96. She carried out her final engagement—appointing Liz Truss as prime minister—just two days prior.
Following the service, William and Kate spoke to community members in the adjacent cloister. They chatted with locals who’d met the monarch during her incredible 70-year reign.
St David’s Cathedral was built on the grounds of a former monastery between 1180 and 1220 and stands as one of Wales’ most iconic religious sites. It has been a place of pilgrimage since 1120, when David was officially recognised as a Catholic saint.
The late Queen Elizabeth visited four times during her reign and, as sovereign, she formed part of the cathedral’s ‘chapter’, or governing body:
Her late Majesty the Queen had a unique connection with St Davids Cathedral. As Sovereign, she held the First Canon Cursal Stall in the Quire among the Cathedral Chapter, and she took her place there on some of her four visits to the Cathedral. She was also the first monarch to visit the Cathedral since the Reformation.Churchinwales.org.uk
St David’s the only cathedral in the UK where the sovereign has a stall in the quire.
The city of St David is renowned for being the UK’s smallest city, and despite its status, it has the feel of a small town. It’s also known for its stunning coastal scenery.
In 1994, as part of the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the town was granted city status “in recognition of [its] important Christian heritage”. In 1995, Queen Elizabeth formally presented the letters patent in a ceremony at the cathedral.
Wiliam and Kate, who received the Prince and Princess of Wales titles following King Charles’s accession to the throne last year, have focussed considerable effort into getting to know communities across the country.
Over the last twelve months the couple have championed a welsh mental health initiative, met emergency services workers, been abseiling with a mountain rescue team, visited the island they lived on for three years as newlyweds, met local coastguards, visited a community hub and watched a rugby game.
The visit to St David’s kick-started Kate’s autumn schedule as she returns to work following the summer break. On Saturday, the Princess will attend a rugby match in France in her role as Patron of English Rugby.
Ahead of the afternoon’s engagements in South Wales, William and Kate shared a message on their social media channels remembering “the extraordinary life and legacy” of the late monarch, signed off with their initials:
Photographs, including a lovely picture of the family stood with the monarch during Trooping the Colour last year, accompanied the social posts.
Kate Middleton’s outfit in Wales – deep dive:
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Princess of Wales selected an elegant dress in a deep burgundy shade, the sombre colour influenced by the anniversary of the passing of the late queen, no doubt. The smart coat dress is from Eponine London.
The wrap front coat dress features an ankle length hem, a v-neckline, full-length sleeves, and a buttoned belted detail at the waist.
You’ll probably recognise the garment from last December, the Princess first wore it for the Together At Christmas carol concert (below) —
I believe the dress is a bespoke commission. If you’re looking to purchase something similar, you will need to contact Eponine and book in for a consultation (either virtual or at their Kensington atelier). Prices start at £3,000.
Eponine is a family run luxury fashion house specialising in unique and colourful womenswear. The company takes a ‘slow fashion’ approach, plus commits to producing locally, which enables them to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum.
Kate’s a fan, she’s worn a handful of creations from the London-based company in recent years.
Kensington Palace confirmed the Princess wore a hat by Sahar Millinery for the cathedral service. The brand is new for Kate. We’ve not seen her wear designs by this milliner before.
I cannot find the exact hat on the company’s website—I expect Kate’s is a bespoke creation. It looks like the Princess is a wearing a combination of these designs—the large teardrop base on the left topped with a bow like that on the right.
Sahar Millinery has a special connection to Queen Elizabeth. The company’s owner and designer was awarded the prestigious QEST scholarship in 2020—the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. QEST was founded by Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Warrant holders, and is dedicated to excellence in British craftsmanship through investing in talent, supporting education, sustaining skills and promoting traditional craft.
Need a hat for your next big event? Sahar Millinery do stock ready-to-wear pieces on their website. The hat on the left is £300 to give you a rough idea of price. Some of Sahar’s creations are available for hire, too.
Let’s move on to Kate’s shoes now. The Princess accessorised her coat dress with a pair of her signature Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps in an identical shade.
We believe she wears the stunning ‘Burgundy Royale’ hue. The shoes are not a new addition to the Princess’s collection—they’ve been a staple in her wardrobe since 2015. This marks the 13th time we’ve seen her in this particular colour.
These pumps feature a sophisticated pointed toe and a tastefully elevated 105mm heel, combining both suede and leather materials. The result is a shoe that embodies both luxury and durability.
Kate’s affinity for Gianvito Rossi is no secret. A recent deep dive into her shoe collection revealed that she has worn the brand’s designs to an impressive number of public events—over 130, to be exact. She owns 17 unique pairs from the label, underscoring her appreciation for both the brand’s fashion-forward designs and exceptional craftsmanship.
For those looking to emulate Kate’s style, various shades of this elegantly tailored footwear are available at MyTheresa.com and Net-A-Porter.com. Unfortunately, the featured Burgundy Royale hue is currently not available for purchase.
Remarkably, Kate has dedicated space in her closet for ten different shades of the Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps, including the burgundy pair worn in St David’s. They must be a real favourite.
Let’s look at another one of Kate’s familiar and regularly worn accessories now. The Mulberry Bayswater Wallet clutch. The Princess carries it here in conker suede (but she owns it in black suede and buttercream suede too).
The wallet-clutch features Mulberry’s iconic gold hardware on the front. Inside is the chain strap, and plenty of pockets for cards, cash, mobile phones, etc.
This is another item Kate’s owned for over a decade. We first spotted her carrying this clutch in December 2011, at the Christmas church service at St. Mary’s church on the Sandringham Estate. She’s carried it on ten other occasions (in public), including for the cathedral service.
Finally, let’s look at Kate’s earrings. They feature simple pearl drops suspended from a sparkling diamond stud. Queen Elizabeth loaned the earrings to Kate several years ago.
It’s no coincidence that the Princess chose the pearls for the anniversary—the royals traditionally wear pearls when they’re mourning. You’ll recall Kate wore lots of pearl jewellery in the week following the Queen’s death last year.
The Princess owns many pairs of pearl earrings, so I think she selected this pair to mark the anniversary. I think that’s a lovely, thoughtful touch.
The Court Jeweller refers to the earrings as the “late Queen’s Silver Jubilee Pearl Earrings”.
The earrings take their name from one of their most important public appearances: the celebration of Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in London in June 1977.
Queen Elizabeth wore the diamond and pearl earrings for a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral and a luncheon at the Guildhall in London.
The earrings were never among Elizabeth’s most-worn jewels, and over the last decade she loaned them to two members of the family: The Duchess of Edinburgh, when she was Countess of Wessex and Kate.
Kate has reached for the earrings for important daytime occasions several times in the years that followed.The Court Jeweller, slightly edited for brevity
William and Kate also visited an ocean farm and a nearby Lifeboat station. The Princess changed into a casual outfit—I will cover that in a subsequent post. Please check back later.