If you’re wondering how many lace dresses the Duchess of Cambridge can possibly own you’re not alone and the answer is many. We were expecting a gown tonight and on that front Kate didn’t disappoint. Personally, I had been wondering if we would get a repeat given the two formal dresses she debuted in Paris and, weirdly, I thought it was going to be the long black lace she wore in New York City in 2014. I was almost right, except it was a new (for us) gown and a fresh color…but otherwise, yes, I’m sorry, this is a bizarrely similar look.
Tonight Kate attended the National Portrait Gallery’s annual gala in London, which is one of my very favorite spots in the city. She has patronized the museum since the early days of her marriage and it’s proven itself to be one of her favorites as she has frequented events on their behalf several times over the years. It makes sense given Kate’s art history degree and, indeed, her very own portrait hangs on the gallery’s ground floor – the controversial image that drew so much ire from fans when it was unveiled back in 2013.
As patron, Kate was the guest of honor for a champagne reception and was given a tour of current exhibits, including a set of masks for sale by artists including Philip Treacy, Maggie Hambling and Dame Vivienne Westwood. Of note, also in attendance was Donna Air, who happens to be the long-term girlfriend of James Middleton, Kate’s younger brother.
Anyway, back to the fashion: the Duchess chose a floor-length green lace gown by Temperley, one of her go-to brands since her engagement. She also wore shoes by Jimmy Choo and new earrings by one of her favorite designers, Kiki McDonough, which Twitter and various outlets are telling me cost £8,900 and are made of green amethyst and pave diamond. So, do with that what you will.
But as I said above, and as I really can’t get over, this dress is SO similar to others Kate already owns and has publicly worn. I like the dress fine and I’m on board with the clear preference for lace, but my God, how many lace gowns can one person own? I’m not trying to make a point about budget or spending, just the practicality of it. I feel like this box has been checked for a while now, but what do I know? It’s lovely and Kate looks beautiful and so there you go.
As for the museum, like I mentioned, I’m a fan and at this point I don’t think I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve been. It’s a perfect blend of art appreciation for a history lover, and so if that sounds appealing to you then I highly recommend a visit next time you’re in London. If you go to the 2nd floor (I believe it’s the 2nd…) you can essentially start with the Wars of the Roses and end with the Windsors, giving you an amazing visual walk through history that not only gives you a snapshot of the last 500 years of the monarchy, but an idea of how portraiture has changed dramatically century by century. Given the not insignificant role that presentation and appearance played in how royalty was (and is) viewed – with a good dose of political propaganda – it’s a great way to get a real sense of about 500 years’ worth of information in a couple hours.
And finally, Kensington Palace made two new Kate-related announcements today. Next Tuesday, April 4, Kate is expected to attend the opening night of 42nd Street on Drury Lane, and on May 11th she will undertake a day trip to Luxembourg on behalf of the Queen. As we’ve discussed before, this yet another example of the soft diplomacy the Royal Family is being asked to play this year as Britain navigates the implications of Brexit.
Tomorrow, the Prince of Wales will arrive in Romania, before being joined by the Duchess of Cornwall in Italy on Saturday. I’m going to do my best to cover the trip day-by-day, but at the very least, I will have at least one post per country. I think these visits are incredibly interesting, not only for the engagements themselves, but for how they illustrate the role the Royal Family is expected to play abroad – both arms and legs of the government, but also representatives for the British through Europe.