Writing for news.com.au, Royal writer Daniela Elser said one of Kate’s “defining moments” as a Princess came the day after her wedding to Prince William. As she crossed the Buckingham Palace lawn to a helicopter to whisk the pair away, Kate started one of her first days as a member of the Royal Family not in any fancy designer ware – but a £49.99 blue dress from Zara. For Ms Elser, Kate’s choice of clothing said something crucial about her character – but yet, something which had changed in more recent years.
She wrote: “The symbolism was clear: Kate might have snagged the prince, gotten herself a title and was now calling a palace home but she was the same woman as she had been 48 hours earlier. With one outfit she was making it clear to the world that she would do things her way and that despite her elevation to royal ranks, she remained firmly tethered to normal life.”
The Royal reporter added this was just the first of many examples of Kate choosing ordinary clothing rather than being enticed by designer luxuries.
She wrote: “It was a potent and very canny move and a style strategy we have seen her wheel out again and again in the year since then.”
Royal reporter Elizabeth Holmes noticed the same strategy.
She said on the Royally Us podcast of Kate’s clothing towards the start of her time as Duchess: “So, Kate was a commoner. Especially in the British collective thinking, it was really important she did not overstep.”
She explained that as Kate had been in the public eye for some time prior to marrying William, people had grown accustomed to seeing her dressed down in more casual attire.
Ms Holmes said: “If she would have gone out wearing designer head to toe, bespoke from the start, it would have sent a message.
“But instead, you just sort of kept going with what she was doing.
“There are a lot of pictures of Kate and William in their dating years, they dated for a very long time, the public was very familiar with her by the time they announced their engagement, and she stayed true to that. And I think that lent a sort of authenticity to her.”
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She went on to add Kate’s “every-girl image” had been important for the Duchess – and for the monarchy.
She said: “Because Diana had been the people’s princess, here was one of our people joining those ranks, and there is real power in us as viewers seeing somebody we can relate to.”
But more recently, this former strategy of Kate’s appears to have fallen by the wayside.
Ms Elser wrote: “According to my calculations, in the last 100 days Kate has worn more than $83,851 (£48,679) worth of readily identifiable clothes, shoes and jewellery, not including the number of bespoke designer pieces she has showcased, items that I could not find prices for or the value of the royal jewellery she has worn.”
Such extravagant new purchases included her appearance at the Top Gun premiere, at which she wore a £2,969 Roland Mouret dress, Prada heels, a £2,564 Alexander McQueen clutch and new £10,526 diamond earrings from Robinson Pelham.
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For Ms Elser, this revelation was a “bit disquieting”, suggesting that the Duchess has lost one of the main ways by which she distinguished herself from the “royal status quo”.
She said that the Duchess’ former fashion choices had suggested a “certain wonderful sense of defiance”.
She described it as “She might have a title but she was still Kate.”
However, the Duchess’ decision may also be to better prepare her to be in a position to take on the role of Queen in the eyes of the public, the Royal reporter hypothesised.