But even before she became a duchess, a young Kate Middleton kept her wardrobe well stocked with statement looks. For the queen-consort-in-waiting’s 40th birthday, we look back at some of her best outfits, from her heady college days to the most formal of royal occasions.
The Duchess shone in a golden gown for the latest Bond premiere in London. Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The college years
While a pre-royal Kate was studying at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, her social life seemed similar to that of many people her age. Bunched in the back of taxi cabs, she may have worn shorter hemlines than she does now, but Kate’s love for dressing up was evident from the start.
Kate Middleton wears sequins at a charity roller disco in London in 2008. Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Paparazzi photos snapped of Kate as a bright-eyed 20-something suggest a penchant for sparkle: glittering black mini dresses and emerald green sequin halter-neck tops were go-to looks. Even before she became the one of the world’s most photographed women, her sartorial sensibility skewed bold — for instance, if friends wore all-black ensembles for a night on the town, Kate donned a baroque-printed silk dress.
Today, a decade after she married into the royal family, the duchess is still reaching for sequins. At the UK-Africa Investment Summit at Buckingham Palace in January 2020 she wore a shimmering red sequin and lace dress from Needle & Thread, and just last year she arrived at London’s Royal Albert Hall wearing a dazzling malachite-colored gown.
The Duchess wore a simple, structured coat dress for the climate summit. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP/Pool/Getty Images
When the occasion calls for opulence, the duchess leans on trusted designers like Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen. In 2011, just months after her Westminster Abbey wedding, Kate established herself as an evening wear aficionado when she wore a classic strapless black velvet McQueen gown to a military ball.
Her classic velvet McQueen with lace detailing cemented Middleton as one-to-watch in the fashion space. Credit: Arthur Edwards/AFP/Getty Images