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After two years of being grounded in the UK thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on their first overseas royal tour in 24 months in March: a week-long Caribbean Royal Tour to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
With travel abroad comes adjustments to Kate’s royal tour wardrobe, for both the weather, and for the numerous events and occasions that the royal couple must attend whilst they’re representing the monarch in her 70th year on the throne, and the Duchess’ attention to her wardrobe over the past few years has really shone through.
Kate’s mastery of high/low dressing – the combination of high-end designer gowns and dresses with high street-priced pieces – highlighted her approachable nature and left room for respect for the host nation’s she and Prince William visited.
The duchess was able to get involved and join in with activities such as preparing food at a fish restaurant in The Bahamas, and exploring the forest in Belize, whilst also showing utmost respect for evening occasions and state dinners.
Of course, dressing for a royal tour doesn’t come without its significance. Straight off the bat, the duchess’ blue landing outfit worn as she stepped off the ministerial jet to kick off the first leg of the tour in Belize nodded to the deep blue flag of the island nation, and the lesson in sartorial diplomacy didn’t end there.
Kate’s bright sunshine yellow Roksanda dress, worn to land in Jamaica reflected the golden cross on the nation’s flag, whilst her bespoke Emilia Wickstead aquamarine dress was in the same shade as The Bahamas’ flag as she arrived in Nassau with Prince William.
Brands, too, were picked with meticulous attention. The Duchess of Cambridge’s go-to British brands reigned throughout the tour, but attention was also paid to smaller, independent designers, some of which were local, such as a bangle by a Jamaican designer, Lashawndla Bailey-Miller, worn on days five and six.
Overall, it’s clear that Kate packed her A-game. Whilst the tour itself was overshadowed by calls for slave reparation and the removal of the Queen as Head of State, the Duchess of Cambridge thoughtfully and elegantly tread the sartorial diplomatic line and ticked all the boxes as she went.
Keep scrolling for the Duchess of Cambridge's best looks from Royal Tour of the Caribbean.
For her final appearance as she boarded the ministerial jet to return to the UK with Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge went into full Princess Diana mode with an Eighties-inspired peplum dress with puffed sleeves by Alessandra Rich.
The duchess waved goodbye to The Bahamas in the yellow floral midi dress, and accessories with a Ferragamo ‘Vara’ leather clutch bag, Gianvito Rossi ‘Gianvito 105’ white leather pumps and gold and quartz drop earrings by Patrick Mavros.
The final day of the Royal Tour of the Caribbean had just one event on the schedule before the Cambridge’s flew home to their three children.
Earlier in the day, the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a Rixo Izzy dress in a pink marble pattern for a visit to Abaco – a chain of islands in the northern Bahamas – to see how locals are rebuilding their communities following a hurricane that tore through the region in September 2019.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in true diplomatic style, didn’t let a little bit of tropical rain ruin their first full day in The Bahamas. The pair took the weather in their stride for a visit to Sybil Strachan Primary School in Nassau.
The duchess chose a Self Portrait pleated chiffon midi dress for the occasion, adapting the original pearl buttons to a more subtly fit with the dress’ pale green shade. She accessorised with her trusty Jimmy Choo 'Romy 85' white leather pumps, Nadia Irena ‘Maya’ hoop earrings and an Amaia Kids adult face mask in the Annabella pattern.
The afternoon was spent at The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta in the waters of Montagu Bay in Nassau, where Kate slipped into sport mode to get stuck in with the race.
In the first of not one, but two, outfit changes, Kate wore a £42 polo shirt by Gillmarine with a pair of canvas shorts, a Brora woven leather belt, her signature 2750 Cotu white canvas trainers by Superga, Ray-Ban Wayfarer classic black Sunglasses and twisted golden hoops by small independent brand Spells of Love.
For her second outfit change of the day, the duchess wiped off the rain of the day’s race to slip into splendour for a reception hosted by the Governor-General of the Bahamas, Cornelius A. Smith, at the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau.
A Phillipa Lepley turquoise gown was the choice of the day. The crossover style was created by the same designer that made Flora Ogilvy’s (Princess Alexandra’s granddaughter) wedding dress in September 2021.
For their final outing of their stay in Jamaica, the duchess coordinated with her husband’s Tropical Dress of the Blues and Royals in a white Alexander McQueen dress. The flattering pencil style dress, by the same fashion house that created her 2011 wedding dress, featured a layer of lace to soften the look.
She teamed it with a matching white hat by her go-to millinery designer Philip Treacy and accessorised with a white clutch bag, white court heels that look to be her trusty Jimmy Choo 'Romy 85' white leather pumps, and a pearl bracelet and earrings.
Departing Jamaica, Kate opted for a green Emilia Wickstead dress (previously worn in 2021) which she accessorised with Kiki McDonough cushion drop diamond and citrine hoop earrings, and the Queen's hummingbird brooch, a gift to Her Majesty during her Golden Jubilee visit to Jamaica in 2002.
The duchess continued to highlight her attention to diplomatic dressing as the ministerial jet landed in The Bahamas. Kate, stunned in a bespoke Emilia Wickstead aquamarine dress, in the same shade as the host nation’s flag, as she arrived in Nassau with Prince William.
The tailored dress, which honoured the colours of the island nation’s flag, featured a structured collar and tailored bodice with a knee-length skirt and long sleeves.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kicked off day five of their Caribbean royal tour with a meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet, and a visit to Shortwood Teacher's College.
Kate dressed for business in a white crepe suit by Alexander McQueen, the same British fashion house that designed her wedding dress in 2010, and continued the vibrant theme of her “tourdrobe” by pairing the tailored two piece with a tangerine crepe-de-chine blouse by Ridley London.
Kate dressed for business in a white crepe suit by Alexander McQueen, the same British fashion house that designed her wedding dress in 2011. Continuing the vibrant theme of her “tourdrobe” the duchess paired the white tailored suit with a tangerine crepe-de-chine blouse by Ridley London.
The duchess repeated her golden bangle by Jamaican designer Lashawndla Bailey-Miller, this time adding a pearl bracelet for layering beneath the McQueen suit. She wore her Maria Black pearl drop ‘Cha Cha’ earrings for the occasion, too, and stuck to her trusty Jimmy Choo 'Romy 85' white leather pumps.
Elsewhere, the duchess’ commitment to sustainability continues to ring true, and she chose another vibrant vintage piece to add texture to her outfit in the shape of a tangerine raffia beaded 1960s handbag, from the Willow Hilson Vintage Boutique in Cheltenham.
For the evening’s exclusive event hosted by Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica, at King's House, Kingston, Kate chose an off-the-shoulder Jenny Packham gown. The dress is believed to be a bespoke version of the designer's 'Wonder Glitter Tulle Gown', recreated in a dark emerald green hue in honour of the host nation’s flag.
Jenny Packham is one of the duchess’ go-to designers when it comes to making a splash in evening wear, opting for the British designer’s expertise in statement sequin and tulle gowns for glamorous events such as the London No Time To Die premiere last year, for which she wore a bespoke gilded sequin number.
Kate wore her hair in a chic chignon up-do, which allowed for her emerald and diamond earrings to shine through. Borrowed from the Queen, the duchess’ earrings and bracelet for the evening are from Her Majesty’s Emerald Tassel Parure collection.
The duchess also wore her Royal Family Order and the GCVO Star, which Her Majesty gifted to her in April 2019 for her eighth wedding anniversary, for the occasion.
The fourth day of the Royal Tour of the Caribbean featured not one, but two outfit changes for the duchess. Kate boarded the jet in Belize wearing a red vintage Yves Saint Laurent safari jacket, which she paired with a pair of white wide-leg trousers.
The vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket was reportedly bought during her time as a student in St. Andrews, but looks brand new, showing her care and commitment to being sustainably conscious with her “tourdrobe”.
Kate accessorised with Aquazzura white Cece pumps with a subtle gold detailing, a pair of Anthropologie coral shell drop earrings, an aquamarine and gold bangle by Halycon Days and her Mulberry Amberley crossbody bag in white.
A quick change on the jet and Kate arrived in Jamaica with a bang. Wearing a bespoke Roksanda Brigitte dress, the duchess nodded to the golden cross of the host nation’s flag. The original dress by the designer is sleeveless, but it looks like Kate had short sleeves added to meet the Governor General of Jamaica.
Kate kept her Aquazzura Cece pumps, but switched out her white Mulberry bag for a white Ferragamo clutch bag. For jewellery, the duchess chose a pair of Sezane ‘Celeste’ earrings and a bangle by an independent, Kingston-based jewellery designer, Lashawndla Bailey-Miller, giving a second nod to the host nation of Jamaica.
She kept her hair swept bag into a low ponytail, as she had done in Belize, which proved useful as the wind crossed the tarmac at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
Following a welcome meeting with the Governor General of Jamaica, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were taken on a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, to meet with the locals. The duchess flew the sustainability flag once again by opting for a colourful vintage 1950s dress for the occasion.
The vintage striped coral and turquoise dress from Willow Hilson Vintage in Cheltenham had been slightly tailored from its original state. The original spaghetti straps had been replaced with wide straps, created from the original dress’ bandeau feature. The updated dress better fits the etiquette of the royal dress code, but still revealed a rare glimpse of the duchess’ extremely toned arms.
The day was filled with activities from meeting the Jamaica National bobsleigh team (and trying out the bobsleigh itself) to watching Prince William play football with locals and England star Raheem Sterling, to playing drums during a visit to Trench Town Culture Yard Museum where Bob Marley used to live, so a comfort-first block heel was definitely the appropriate choice.
For the third day of the trip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a trip to Caracol, an ancient Mayan archaeological site deep in the jungle of the Chiquibul forest, and the outfit of choice was a practical one for the day’s activities.
Kate wore a simple white scoop-neck T-shirt with a pair of appropriate G Star Raw khaki green high-waisted G-Shape Cargo skinny trousers for her day in the forest. For the first part of the day, walking around the archeological site, the duchess wore her signature 2750 Cotu white canvas trainers by Superga, Ray-Ban Wayfarer classic black Sunglasses and twisted golden hoops by small independent brand Spells of Love.
The duke and duchess spent the rest of their day in the forest visiting the British Army Training Support Unit at the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in Good Living Camp. Kate slipped a long-sleeved belted Tencel safari shirt by Maison Scotch over her white T-shirt, and swapped out her Superga trainers for something a little more appropriate for the terrain; a pair of £80 Palladium Pampa Hi HTG Supply Boots.
But it was the evening’s reception at the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech that the Duchess of Cambridge really upped the ante in her first formal wear outfit on for royal tour. Hosted by the Governor General of Belize in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the celebratory occasion called for the duchess to reach for a trusted brand.
Kate upped the ante for the occasion in a bespoke The Vampire’s Wife sequined pink gown, Jimmy Choo silver leather sandals and O'Nitaa London crystal drop earrings, and paid homage to the host country by choosing a Maya embroidered clutch handbag for the occasion.
Off the jet and straight into the action, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started day two of the royal Caribbean tour with a trip to Hopkins, a small village on the coast, which is considered the cultural centre of the Garifuna community in Belize.
Starting off with a visit to the Che'il Mayan Chocolate Factory in Indian Creek, Kate wore a colourful floral midi dress by Tory Burch, with a stretch poplin detail and short sleeves to stay cool in the Caribbean climate.
The duchess coordinated her woven fan clutch by British designer Anya Hindmarch with her Stuart Weitzman Minx wedges, both summer wardrobe staples for Kate. She also wore a pair of threaded blue Sezane earrings to match her dress.
Following a traditional dance with the locals, where the duke and duchess were greeted by organiser Laura Cacho at the Garifuna Cultural Centre and joined local school children on the sandy dance floor for a traditional Garifuna festival, Kate slipped into some flat Stella McCartney woven raffia espadrilles for a stroll on the beach with her husband.
But dressing for a royal tour doesn’t come without its significance. Both the duchess’ blue landing outfit, and her Tory Burch look to visit the Che’il Mayan Cacao Farm and Chocolate Factory in Maya Centre Village, have nodded to the deep blue flag of Belize, the first island the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited on their week-long tour of the Caribbean.
If you needed any further confirmation that the royals aren’t quite like us, the Duchess of Cambridge looked immaculate as she stepped off the Voyager ministerial jet on Saturday after a 15+ hour flight with no tracksuit bottoms in sight.
Stepping off the jet wearing a stunning bespoke Jenny Packham peplum dress, the designer behind many of the duchess’ best evening gowns, royal fans were able to catch a glimpse of the inside of the ministerial jet through an Instagram post on the Cambridge’s account.
The duchess matched the lace peplum dress with a pair of Emmy London blue suede pumps and a coordinating blue clutch bag with a scalloped fastening. She swept her signature brunette hair into a half-up style, revealing the symbolic jewellery set that she had chosen for the occasion: the late Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond earrings and necklace.
Watch: William and Kate dance with the locals in Belize