Just a Girl & Her Tennis: Kate at Wimbledon

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Holy haircut, the Duchess of Cambridge is starting off July with quite the bang. But before we get there, let’s start with the tennis. Today, Kate appeared at the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in her capacity as royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, a role she has taken over from the Queen and whose annual duties were carried out by the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent.

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Kate greeting the Duke of Kent

Among other things, her duties include handing out trophies to the champions and she was photographed lending her support for Andy Murray, whose match was twice interrupted by rain today.

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She met with a few other players, inquiring after their match schedule. When asked if she played, she answered, “Yes, but not to any standard.”

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She also met with a group of ball boys and girls, reportedly telling them that it was their work that helped make sure each match happened.

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While her position with the patronage is new as of last year, this is certainly not Kate’s first foray at Wimbledon. In fact, she has appeared in the royal box every year since her wedding with the exception of 2013 when she was heavily pregnant with Prince George. The reason behind her absence that year was captured during an interview she participated in for the new BBC documentary Sue Barker: Our Wimbledon. She noted that her doctor had forbidden her from attending during her eighth month of pregnancy. George was eventually born just a few weeks later on July 22nd.

She was filmed in the same red Armani suit she wore to open the Global Academy in April.

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Kate pictured in the BBC documentary

During the interview she noted that tennis was a big part of the Middleton family, saying:

“I have watched Wimbledon, that was very much part of my growing up […] I was really taken by Agassi and Sampras, Ivanisevic and Steffi Graf. Those are my first memories. Roger [Federer] is my mother’s heartthrob. I don’t think she will mind me saying that! I think he probably knows that too.”

She also shared that before she married into the Royal Family she queued for hours just to get in. Indeed, she was pictured attending as far back as 2008, though given her status as Prince William’s girlfriend at the time, I doubt she had too much trouble.

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Kate at Wimbledon in 2008

Her answer to the question behind the documentary – what is it about Wimbledon that captivates us? – was: “It inspires young people including myself. Every time Wimbledon is on I am thinking ‘Yes, I could do the same’ and get out the racket. Sadly, not the same results.”

She also shared an “embarrassing dad” moment:

“My father is not going to appreciate this, but we were walking past Tim Henman and had just seen Sampras play. My dad said ‘Hi Pete’. I was mortified.”

Her love of tennis has been well-established. Back in 2009, the Middleton family actually pursued legal action against paparazzi photographs taken of Kate playing with her brother, James, over the Christmas holiday. And tennis courts were installed at Anmer Hall, the Cambridges’ country home, when it was undergoing renovations back in 2012/2013.

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Pippa as pictured in Vanity Fair

Notably, Andy Murray was actually a guest during Pippa Middleton’s wedding in May, so the relationship appears to extend beyond professional and public courtesy. Pippa, notably, also wrote about the festivities around Wimbledon for Vanity Fair during her stint as a columnist.

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Jumping back to present day and let’s take in this whole look, because there’s a lot going on. First, the dress. It’s a summery, knee-length black and white polka dot dress by Dolce & Gabbana, a brand first debuted by the Duchess back in 2015 when she started experimenting with higher-end labels. The only alteration Kate appears to have made was changing the neckline from a scoop to a square, and while I prefer the scoop, I’m still going to count this as a win. It fits her well and the cut is flattering. It’s youthful, while still being appropriate for the professional aspect of Kate’s day.

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Kate and the VB bag pictured in 2016

Her bag is by Victoria Beckham’s line, which is actually fairly notable. Despite Beckham being a guest at William and Kate’s wedding, Kate has never publicly worn apparel from the fashion house, only accessories. This is actually the same bag that Kate carried for Wimbledon last year. And while the bag is great (and often carried by VB herself), I’m hoping we eventually see her in a garment from the label.

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Now, the shoes. YES. I love them and I’m so glad she’s not wearing court shoes, even though I generally don’t have a problem with Kate’s footwear. These are the very affordable Office Nina Block heels and highly on trend – I think at this point many of us have picked up a pair similar to these in the past two years. They keep the look youthful and give it a hint of an edge, while not being at all inappropriate.

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And finally, the hair. If I were one to give a thumbs up, I would offer Kate two. I feel like this is the shortest Kate has gone without also throwing a fringe into the mix? The last time she veered in this direction was shortly after Princess Charlotte’s birth and the combination of the new length, the fringe and her keeping her hair straightened made the whole look fall flat for me. I mean that literally – her hair just always looked flat.

This, on the other hand, feels like a perfectly executed long bob with VOLUME. I’m a fan, and I’m impressed she committed to the shorter length. As someone with similar hair to Kate’s, including the length and sticking to the same general cut for years, I understand how a significant trim takes a certain amount of bravery. So, well done her. It should come in handy in a few weeks when she’s traveling.

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Part of the fun of seeing Kate at sporting events is how clearly into it she gets. By that I mean, of course, her facial expressions. There have been some real gems over the years, so for fun I’ve included her past Wimbledon looks and best candid snaps below. Her 2011 ensemble still remains one of my all-time favorites.

2011

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2012

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2014

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2015

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2016

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As of right now, the next time we’ll definitely see the Duchess is on the 13th, however I would hazard a guess that at least one more engagement will be added to the books before then. It was also announced earlier today that George and Charlotte will accompany William and Kate in Poland and Germany later this month. This is a new development, but apparently has to do with George starting school in September and perhaps this is being viewed as one of the last opportunities for him join a tour for the forseeable future.

Either way, the next couple weeks should be pretty active between the tour and the Spanish state visit.

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