Kate did not attend the Order of the Garter this morning, to my disappointment, but not surprise. She has never missed a Trooping, but she skipped out on the Garter service in 2013 when pregnant with George and I suspected that we were going to see that repeated today. This year, she may not be pregnant, but she is still trying to cocoon herself in that private time with Charlotte and George. It certainly signals a difference in outlook on the two events, which makes sense. Trooping is a big family affair and specifically honors the Queen–it is a veritable command performance. The Order of the Garter, while steeped in history and tradition, doesn’t quite rank with Trooping, and it is an event she can miss without raising too many eyebrows and drawing much ire. After her Saturday/Sunday appearances, I think she is probably spending quiet time with her children today.
I thought perhaps since she didn’t show today, we’d look over her past appearances. Like Trooping, The Order of the Garter is a formal, hats required kind of event, and Kate has had some lovely ensembles. As I mentioned in my missive in the Kate’s Clothes newsletter last Friday, Garter was one of the events that Kate got to attend before joining the Royal Family. In 2008, William was invested as a Knight of the Garter, and as his long-time girlfriend, (and future wife, even if not officially) Miss Middleton was issued an invitation.
Kate chose a suit she had worn previously, and has worn since. It has a longer hemline, a trend she returned to during the tour Down Under. Kate’s legs are gorgeous, but this longer hem is so flattering and super sophisticated. Kate rented her Philip Somerville hat from a local hat store in Berkshire. Somerville was a favorite milliner of Princess Diana’s, so aside from the flattering style, that was doubtless part of what drew Kate:
The summer of her marriage was certainly a honeymoon stage for fans as well as the new Duchess of Cambridge. She undertook a tour of Canada and Southern California, attended family birthdays and weddings, the races, Wimbledon, and public engagements, including showing up for the Order of the Garter. She debuted a new ensemble that still has some of us catching our breath. From royal-favorite Catherine Walker, this matching dress and coat, topped off with a bespoke disc hat from Rachel Trevor-Morgan, remains a favorite of mine.
In 2012, Kate thrilled fans by recycling the white McQueen coat she had worn in 2011 for Trooping the Colour. As is always the case with Trooping, we did not get a full-length shot, and so its reappearance in 2012 was a perfect opportunity to appreciate it full-length.
Ruffles and pleating are favorite embellishments of the Duchess. The Garter coat bears a resemblance to another McQueen piece, Kate’s ensemble for Prince George’s baptism. Both of these were sartorial home-runs.
2013 was the first year that Kate skipped. Heavily pregnant with George, she had undertaken her final public engagement on June 13th and a few days later, she attended Trooping in a pink ensemble by McQueen and a gorgeous hat by Jane Corbett. But, she stayed away from the Order of the Garter that same Monday. We didn’t see her again until she stood on the steps of the Lindo Wing holding George. In 2014 she was back, recycling a coat from Christopher Kane, and an equally unusual hat from Lock & Co.
It is disappointing that the Duchess didn’t make it out this year, but if she keeps up this schedule, we should be seeing her next year! In the meantime, she is probably planning her ensemble for Princess Charlotte’s christening, which is taking place next month at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.