Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Caribbean tour was full of memorable moments. The visits to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas each had a unique atmosphere reflected in the distinctive engagements undertaken by the royal couple.
For Kate, the tour offered plenty of opportunities to pay homage to the countries and her hosts through thoughtful references in the wardrobe she brought with her. Famous for her sartorial nods, Kate’s touring wardrobe has garnered admiration from the fashion press and royal watchers following visits.
Although the couple received a warm welcome at every stage of their tour, it was marred by some controversy. Anti-colonialist protests in Belize and Jamaica made headlines ahead of the couple’s arrival and an open letter to William from 100 prominent Jamaicans calling for an apology for slavery and reparations was also sent. The couple’s visits carefully traveled through territories that, while still retaining the Queen as head of state, could quickly become republics.
Despite the controversies – part of most royal tours, not exclusively William and Kate’s Caribbean tours – the couple drew large crowds to their appearances and took the opportunity to address important issues such as the Caribbean COVID-19 response and environmental preservation efforts.
Throughout, Kate has deployed her diplomatic wardrobe to its best advantage, combining a mix of new, old and vintage pieces to create a collection of fresh and modern looks.
Right here Newsweek sums up the fashion highlights from Kate and William’s Caribbean tour:
Arrival in Belize
For her arrival in Belize, the Cambridges’ first major overseas royal tour since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kate wore a lace blouse and skirt by designer Jenny Packham. The set was in a shade of blue that paid homage to both Belize’s flag and the famous blue ocean that runs along the country’s beautiful coastline. The outfit struck a conservative note as before the royals arrived in Belize, an engagement had to be called off due to protests from a local group ahead of a planned visit to a cocoa farm. The classic silhouette is one that Kate relied heavily on in the early years of her marriage and helped set a regal yet respectful tone for the rest of the tour.
Dancing Queen at the Garifuna Festival
On the second day of the Belize tour, William and Kate took part in a traditional Garifuna festival, a celebration of Garifuna culture that includes traditional dances. Much more casual on this occasion, Kate wore a Tory Burch print day dress with smocked details and a layered ruffled skirt. The occasion was highlighted in the press for the laid-back nature of Kate and William, who took part in the dancing and playfully teased each other in front of the assembled crowd and the press corps.
Sparkling reception at Cahal Pech
For the final evening reception hosted by the Governor General of Belize, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in the country, William and Kate were hosted at Cahal Pech, the site of ancient Mayan ruins. Kate shone for the occasion in a topaz pink dress by The Vampire’s Wife brand with a slicked back hairstyle. The dress featured delicate flutter sleeves with a defined waist and flowing skirt. In the evening, William delivered a speech closing the couple’s visit, saying: “Now we know why Belize is so fondly called ‘The Jewel’. We hope to return soon and introduce our children to this wonderful country.”
Leaving Belize Vintage
Kate has displayed her environmental attitude through her wardrobe by wearing items repeatedly, sometimes 10 years apart. Leaving Belize, she took that to a new level by making her public debut in a jacket she’s had in her wardrobe for over 20 years. Appearing at the airport in Belize as she flew to Jamaica for the second leg of the Caribbean tour, Kate wore a striking red jacket with statement pockets and buttons. The press corps accompanying the tour learned that the jacket was a vintage Yves Saint Laurent piece that Kate had purchased while still a university student. Kate paired the jacket with white flared pants and a Mulberry handbag to complete the look.
Sunny arrival in Jamaica
Kate brought sunshine to Jamaica when she touched down in Kingston on an overcast and windy fourth day of the royal tour. The Duchess changed mid-flight from her vintage YSL jacket and trousers to a stunning marigold yellow dress by British design brand ROKSANDA. The dress’s voluminous skirt billowed in the wind as the Royal Family took their official greetings on the tarmac at Norman Manley International Airport, and the architecturally structured bodice helped Kate stand out in the crowd. Kate paired the dress with shoes from Meghan Markle’s favorite shoe designer, Aquazzura. The choice of yellow for the dress was deliberate. As in Belize, Kate honored a primary color of the Jamaican flag in the first outfit of her visit.
Vintage look in Trench Town
Although Kate has been known to wear and re-wear older pieces of her clothing, an example being the Belize Yves Saint Laurent jacket, it’s rare that we see the Duchess wearing a vintage piece she only recently acquired. . After arriving in Jamaica, William and Kate paid a special visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, where they met sports personalities and celebrated the music of local icon Bob Marley. Kate wore a dress identified in the Daily Mail like a vintage piece from the 1950s that was recently purchased from vintage retailers Willow Hilson Vintage. Kate had the piece modified to provide more generous straps than the original spaghetti strap design and the overall effect of the chic print dress was relaxed and elegant.
Meeting with the Prime Minister of Jamaica
Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen suit with an orange blouse and matching handbag to meet Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet at Vale Royal, Kingston’s official residence. The handbag is yet another vintage piece launched by Kate during the tour. Reports suggest the bag was purchased from the same retailer as the Duchess’ printed dress worn during a visit to Trench Town.
Governor General’s Dinner—King’s House, Jamaica
At a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica at King’s House in Kingston, Kate wore an emerald green ruffled royal ball gown embellished with crystals by designer Jenny Packham. The Duchess wore the family order (badge) of Queen Elizabeth II, the star of the Royal Victorian Order and earrings with a matching bracelet made of diamonds and emeralds set in gold which had her were on loan from the Queen’s private collection.
Jamaica Defense Force commissioning ceremony
To attend the Jamaican Defense Force’s inaugural commissioning parade for graduates of the Caribbean Military Academy’s Officer Training Program, Kate wore a white lace Alexander McQueen dress with cap sleeves and a hat by Philip Treacy .
Kate chose a bright green Emilia Wickstead dress for her departure from Jamaica as she traveled to the Bahamas for the final leg of the Caribbean tour. Kate paired the dress with another piece of jewelry borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II, a hummingbird brooch presented to her in 2002.
A warm welcome to the Bahamas
For her arrival in the Bahamas, Kate changed her emerald green Emilia Wickstead dress for a turquoise look from the same designer. This one, following the trend set by the Duchess at each stop on her tour, paid homage to one of the colors of the Bahamian flag. Kate paired the outfit with nude suede heels, a turquoise clutch and statement earrings.
The dazzling finale
For the final night of the tour, Kate wore a stunning ice blue evening gown by London clothing designer Phillipa Lepley. The off-the-shoulder form of the dress’s neckline showcased the Duchess’ Van Cleef & Arpels necklace and earrings from her own collection. Lepley’s dress is reminiscent of timeless 1950s evening wear and marks Kate’s first major house order.