Hello, and welcome to a rather different Christmas Day post. We begin with the reflective message from the Duke and Duchess shared on social media this morning. (You can scroll through the photos accompanying the message by clicking the little arrows in the post below.)
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall posted a message on social media: “Wishing you all a happy Christmas and here’s to a better New Year!”
The Queen’s annual Christmas message also struck a different tone this year, as HM told viewers, “you are not alone.”
In her remarks, HM said, “For many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness — some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members, distanced for safety, when all they really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand…”.
The 7-minute video included a performance by the NHS Lewisham and Greenwich Choir, as well as photos from the Hold Still exhibition. HM noted that “In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit.”
For those curious about the brooch worn by HM, it is the Queen Mother’s shell brooch, with a shell design done in diamonds and a single round pearl; it is officially called the ‘Courtauld Thomson Scallop-shell Brooch.’ The Queen’s Jewel Vault notes “it was designed by Lord Courtauld-Thomson, who was Chief Commissioner for the British Red Cross during the First World War. The jewel was made in 1919.”
The full 7-minute message is included at the bottom of the post.
And now for our look back at the Duchess’s Christmas Day ensembles over the years. This is a year when we learned to find pleasure in seemingly ‘small’ moments, and while there aren’t new photos of smiling faces at Sandringham, there are plenty of pictures from previous years. I thought it might be fun to take a look back at Kate’s Christmas Day outfits.
We begin with the aubergine coat and hat worn for Kate’s first Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham. Below you see the Duchess walking with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to a Communion service at the church of St. Mary Magdalene. The Duchess was in her ‘Angel’ Fit & Flare coat by Reiss and ‘Rhumba’ ankle boots by Aquatalia.
When attending the full Christmas Day service Kate was in an aubergine coat by “an independent dressmaker.”
There was quite a crowd eager to see the royals on that sunny Christmas in 2011.
Many believe the design to be an Alexander McQueen design because of its similarity to another coat with the same lines.
The coat featured a funnel neck, princess seams, concealed front closure, decorative pick stitching, angled front pockets, and a deep back vent.
Kate’s hat was by Jane Corbett.
She also wore a pair of black suede pumps by Mascaró and carried her ‘Bayswater’ clutch by Mulberry.
The Duchess was wearing a new pair of earrings believed to be a Christmas gift from Prince William. From Kiki McDonough, they showcase green amethysts and diamonds.
The Duke and Duchess spent Christmas 2012 with the Middletons, attending services at St. Mark’s Church in Englefield.
Kate wore her ‘Celeste’ coat by Hobb’s London.
She wore a red scarf and carried a Gucci logo bag from the company’s 1921 Collection; it was initially noted at a rugby match in Wales (that post is here). It was an older Monogram Canvas Horsebit shoulder bag/clutch style.
In 2013 we also saw two ensembles. When attending the early service, Kate wore a coat that remains UFO.
It was seen at a March 2013 wedding the Cambridges attended in Switzerland.
Kate wore the ‘Luxury Wrap’ shawl in claret (£135, about $180 at this week’s exchange rates) from Really Wild. Crafted in a wool blend from Scotland, the piece measures about 26″ x 82″.
For the later service, the Duchess brought back her Black Watch tartan coat by Alexander McQueen.
This image offers a better view.
The Duchess first wore the coat in November of 2012 for a visit to her old prep school.
Once again, there was quite a crowd on hand. Below, the Duchess accepting flowers from a well-wisher.
And a montage from 2013.
Kate’s hat was by Gina Foster, the ‘Mirabel’ style, described as a “hard shell beret with a large bow.”
She wore her ‘Rhumba’ boots by Aquatalia.
And Kiki McDonough green amethyst/diamond earrings.
The Duchess did not carry a handbag this year but had on her ‘Imogen’ gloves ($131) by Cornelia James.
The design was called the ‘Turpin.’
It came from a 2013 collection, done in a brown and creme tweed fabric with flecks of red. It was a double-breasted style with gold buttons, short lapels, epaulets, and decorative tabs at the cuffs. Beneath the coat, she wore her Animal Print shirtdress from Hobbs.
Kate brought back her ‘Betty Boop’ hat from Lock and Company.
And wore a silk scarf by Really Wild in a motif called ‘Autumnal Partridge.’
The Duchess also wore her chocolate brown ‘Valerie’ heels by Emmy Shoes.
Along with her Cornelia James ‘Imogen’ gloves.
And her Catherine Zoraida Double Leaf earrings.
The Duchess opted for a deep green coat in 2015.
As you can see, it was not one of those brisk, sunny days.
The rain eased up a little bit later in the day.
Kate’s coat was by Sportmax, owned by Max Mara. It featured wide lapels, angled pocket flaps, and pick stitching.
Beneath the coat, Kate wore the ‘Cezanne Pleated Dress’ from Great Plains, the more moderately priced arm of French Connection. The Duchess was first seen wearing the ‘Cezanne’ in a color called ‘winter pink’ for a series of engagements in Grimsby in May of 2013.
The Christmas Day dress was in the ‘pine needle’ colorway featuring green, blue, and salmon hues.
Kate’s hat was another piece by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. Hatters.
Her hair was worn up; this image offers a better look at how it was styled.
The Duchess brought back a brooch we first noted at the Diamond Jubilee Luncheon in 2012. It features acorns and oak leaves, elements in the Middleton family coat of arms.
She wore her Kiki McDonough diamond and green amethyst earrings.
In 2016 we had a special treat when Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined their parents and the Middletons at church.
The couple was back at St. Mark’s church near the Middleton’s Bucklebury home.
The Duchess was in the same coat she wore for the Christmas Day service at St. Mark’s in 2012.
It was the ‘Celeste’ style by Hobbs.
Made of wool crepe in a chestnut brown color, it was embellished with studded leather cuff straps and coordinating belt.
Kate updated it with what looked like the Faux Fur Mini Sloth-Through Collar from ASOS.
She carried another familiar item, her ‘Bayswater’ clutch by Mulberry.
Her earrings were one of the loaned pairs from the Queen the diamond stud with the pearl drop. They are shown below on Christmas Day 2016; on the right, Kate wearing them for the Duke of Westminster’s memorial service in November 2016.
The Duchess debuted a new designer for Christmas Day 2017.
In 2017 Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle, attended the Sandringham service.
The Duchess’s coat was by Miu Miu, a line created by Miuccia Prada in 1992 and owned by Prada.
Well-wishers brought lots of bouquets.
Here are two views showing the ensemble.
The specific style name for Kate’s coat: the Double-Breasted Tartan Pea Coat. Made in a wool/alpaca blend, it featured double-breasted styling, velvet collar, back belt and inverted pleat, vertical front pockets with oversized tabs, and domed gold buttons.
Kate wore a new chapeau by either Lacorine or Peruvian Connection.
And her Tod’s point-toe suede pumps.
Her earrings were Kiki McDonough’s Eden Diamond Flower Drops, with citrines instead of the lemon quartz stones shown online (and below).
Christmas Day 2018, Kate was in a rich berry coat and hat.
They joined HM, the Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and other royals for the annual service.
A nice view of the two duchesses.
In this photo, you get a sense of the crowd size.
The vibrant color of Kate’s coat stood out on what was a relatively dreary day.
The Duchess’s coat was by Catherine Walker.
The double-breasted style had a fitted bodice flaring into a full skirt, slanted pocket flaps, and velvet trim at the collar, cuffs, buttons, and pocket flaps.
She also was in new headwear by Jane Taylor.
It was a new design for the milliner called the Halo Band.
Kate carried her Mulberry Bayswater clutch. Her gloves looked like the Bow Detail style by M and Co., a privately owned Scottish chain.
She brought back her Gianvito Rossi pumps.
Kate wore the acorn and oak leaves brooch again in 2018, along with her Asprey Oak Leaf Earrings.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended the Sandringham church service for the first time in 2019.
It was another bright, sunny Christmas Day.
Members of the royal family as they left church following the service.
Well-wishers were especially excited to see the Cambridge children.
The Duchess and her daughter.
Kate wore another Catherine Walker design.
The coat incorporated the bodice, belt, and sleeves of the ‘Larissa’ style in mohair with a faux fur collar.
Beneath the coat, Kate brought back the MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Peacock’ dress first worn for March 2019 engagements in Blackpool. (Her coat in Blackpool was the Sportmax style worn for the 2015 Christmas service.
The Duchess chose accessories that coordinated with Charlotte’s coat, bringing back the Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. hat seen above on Christmas Day 2015.
It was also worn on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. The point on the front of the hat was rounded between the Christmas 2015 and St. Patrick’s Day wearing.
Here is a more comprehensive look at the ensembles.
I hope this retrospective puts a smile on your face. For those celebrating the day, Merry Christmas wishes to you and those you love. For those just getting through Christmas 2020, may peace find you, and the warmth of this community and others bring you solace. And for all of us, may 2021 bring kinder, calmer, healthier days. I’ll close with these words from the Queen’s Christmas message, and the belief that better days are ahead.
“Let the light of Christmas—the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope—guide us in the times ahead. It is in that spirit that I wish you a very happy Christmas.”
Here is HM’s full message.
- The BBC’s story about the Queen’s message is here; The Telegraph’s coverage is here; The Guardian’s piece is here; The Daily Mail’s article is here
- A post about the brooch at Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault is here; The Court Jeweller’s post on the piece is here; a Daily Mail story about the brooch is here