01 August 2017

Royal Gathering of the Day: The Belgians and British Mark the Passchendaele Centenary

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a two day trip to Belgium on Sunday and Monday to join the King and Queen of the Belgians for events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginnings of the Battle of Passchendaele, or the Third Battle of Ypres, in World War I. On Sunday, they attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial.

Sgt Ross Tilly/MOD Crown Copyright 2017
We have our little fashion wheelhouse here, and this is one of the times when everything passes muster in a "let's not talk about the fashion too much" sort of way. That's precisely what you want. The Duchess paired up two repeats for the first events, her Alexander McQueen coat from Princess Charlotte's christening and her hat from Trooping the Colour 2015. She also wore a brooch she's used in the past.

Sgt Ross Tilly/MOD Crown Copyright 2017
The Queen chose a new outfit with a lace coat over a satiny dress, topped by a new Philip Treacy hat. It's a nice choice for an event that went into the evening, but still included full hats (which are usually more of a daytime thing).

Belgian Monarchy
The Prince of  Wales joined the group on Monday at Tyne Cot Cemetery. Sir Timothy Laurence, husband of the Princess Royal, was there for both days; he is Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Once again, I think it basically checks out, sartorially speaking. The second day saw a new lace-topped dress from Natan appeared for Queen Mathilde, with a hat from Fabienne Delvigne. For the Duchess, it was a new Catherine Walker coat dress.

What intrigues me here is Kate's use of jewels, because I think jewel selections can help to convey, in a quiet manner, events of greater significance. The Duchess of Cambridge wore brooches on both days. While she's not a newcomer to brooches and while they definitely serve a functional purpose here - securing her traditional poppy for remembrance - they're enough of a step out of the usual to make it special.
Her brooch on the second day is a new loan to her from the Queen, the Pearl and Diamond Leaf Brooch, which I've covered at the Jewel Vault (not that there's much to say about it, it's kind of a mystery). She added in the Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings from Diana, Princess of Wales, which she debuted at the Spanish state banquet. I'd call it adding a layer of gravitas to the ensemble, a wholly appropriate thing for such an event. Respectfully well played.