The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Modern Royal Style – Bethan Holt

Published by: Ryland Peters Small
Pages: 176
Date released: 09/02/2021
Date read: 09/02/2021

Thrust into the global spotlight on her engagement to Prince William, Kate Middleton chose to wear a sapphire blue wrap dress by London-based label Issa, which promptly sold out. It was the first step in Kate’s evolution to become the modern royal style icon she is today.

In the decade since, Kate has become the Duchess of Cambridge, a future Queen and a mother of three. Her outfits range from high street to haute couture, with women worldwide fascinated by her style and eager to copy it. The Duchess has used her clothing to make diplomatic gestures, to send messages of solidarity, and to show respect. One day, her wardrobe underscores her status as a senior royal; the next it’s all about being just like any 30-something Mum. But, thanks to an explosion of 24/7 news coverage and social media, her choices are analysed more closely than those of any royal before. In this book, Bethan Holt marks the tenth anniversary of Kate’s royal life by taking readers on a highly illustrated journey through the Duchess’s style evolution.

I’ll start here by saying I am 100% a royalist so this review might be somewhat biased – but then again, would you be buying a book solely dedicated to the clothes of a royal if you weren’t?

I have loved the Duchess of Cambridge ever since she first came to public awareness, and I have followed her royal style over the past decade. She is acutely aware of her position as future Queen consort and dresses as such, but manages to juggle this with being a hands-on (in Royal terms) mother, and a modern-day, down-to-earth member of the royal family. She can easily match a £20 dress from Zara with £10,000 earrings. Or a £2,500 dress from Alexander McQueen with £6 earrings from Accessorize for example. And yet she never seems to be flaunting her status her privilege.

I know many people will see this book as frivolous – why should we care about what she is wearing? They’re just clothes. She re-wears the same coat 4 times? Wow! I’ve been in the same sweatpants for about a month, that’s normal. But when you’re the future Queen of England, clothes become part of your arsenal.

Take her first trip to Canada for example, where she wore a white dress and a red maple leaf hat, the colours of the Canadian flag. Could you imagine the reaction if she had touched down in Canada wearing stars and stripes instead for example? She knows to wear long-sleeved, high neck clothing in religious places, removing her shoes and covering her head as a mark of respect. She wore clothing made by Pakistani designers on her trip there; she wore traditional Bhutan dress on their tour; on her trip to Singapore, she wore a dress by Prabal Gurung, a fashion week regular who just so happens to be from Singapore. She knows how to dress for the occasion without it being over the top. And that means a lot to the people she is meeting, that she has spent the time to really think about what her clothes mean. And for that, I hold her in very high regard.

And I’m still holding out hope she will decide I’m to be her new friend.

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