10 Kate Middleton Dress Moments We Still Think About

By Charlie Colville

1 month ago

A deep dive into the gowns that define the Princess of Wales's personal style

If there’s one thing you can be certain about the Princess of Wales, it’s that she knows how to make a fashionable entrance. She’s been a source of style inspiration since she joined the British royal family, and admired for wearing outfits that perfectly balance tradition and modernity (while throwing in plenty of fun and sophistication). Here, we round up some of Kate Middleton’s most iconic dress moments, from her wedding gown to her most recent red carpet appearance.

Catherine, Princess of Wales | Kate Middleton in pink dress

RHS / Oliver Dixon

Which Dress Brands Does The Princess Of Wales Wear?

Being the trendsetter she is, Kate Middleton has been spotted in numerous brands over the years – we’ve rounded up some our favourites here – but when it comes to dresses, these are some of the standouts:

  • Alexander McQueen
  • Jenny Packham
  • The Vampire’s Wife
  • Emilia Wickstead
  • Self-Portrait
  • Roksanda
  • Erdem
  • Temperley London
  • Beulah London
  • Suzannah London
  • Tory Burch

The Princess of Wales famously favours British brands, as well as labels that have a historic relationship with the royal family. But that’s not to say she sticks to the ultra-luxurious and expensive; Kate has worn many affordable (and high street) labels during her time as a working royal.

Kate Middleton’s Royal Career In Dresses


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The Fashion Show Dress

Okay, so technically Kate wore this dress before she became a working royal – but since this is allegedly the dress that caught the eye of a young Prince William, we’re at liberty to say it’s royal family lore at this point. The year was 2002 and Kate, then a student at St Andrews University, was an active member of The Lumsden Club, which hosted a number of fundraisers and community projects throughout the academic year. On this occasion, however, it happened to be a fashion show.

Kate walked the runway in a sheer strapless dress with a blue trim, which she paired with black ballet pumps and black underwear. Her curly brown hair also featured a Y2K-era white braid running through it. It was a striking outfit designed to grab attention – and it worked. Various acquaintances of Prince William described him as being very taken with Kate (we believe the term used by his highness was ‘hot’), and not too long after the pair began dating.

You can read more about the dress, and its moment in The Crown, here.

The Wedding Dress

A bit of a jump, but our next iconic gown worn by the Princess of Wales is, of course, her wedding dress. Her 2011 nuptials marked the moment she officially joined the royal family, meaning this can be considered her first fashion moment as a working royal.

Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton, who was then the Creative Director of British luxury fashion label Alexander McQueen. A blend of tradition and modern stylings, Kate’s dress took its cues from Victorian gown design and featured a narrow waist and padded hips to create a corseted effect, a full skirt and 19th century lace sewn into the appliqué lace detailing. Her wedding gown was teamed up with a nine-foot train and a veil decorated with roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks.

You can read more about Kate’s wedding dress, plus other famous royal weddings, here.


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The London Olympics Dress

This vibrant green Jenny Packham gown made its debut back in 2012, when Kate Middleton donned the frock at a gala dinner ahead of the London Olympic Games. This was just a year after her wedding to Prince William, and also marked one of the first occasions in which the public saw the princess dressed with an updo.

She cracked the dress out again seven years later, when she wore it to Tusk Trust 2018 Gala Dinner (sans updo, this time).

The Ascot Dress

If there’s one event on the social calendar you’re guaranteed a royals sighting, it’s Ascot. Kate never fails to impress when she visits the racecourse, but her dove blue Elie Saab gown (a bespoke version amended to include long sleeves and cuffs) worn in 2019 is probably her best look to date; it featured a bow neckline, a lace bodice and sparkly polka dots across the sleeves and skirt.

The same look made an appearance at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 2023, in an exact replica of her Ascot outfit.

The Royal Variety Dress

Another stunner from 2019 was this beautiful black lace gown from Alexander McQueen, which Kate Middleton wore to annual Royal Variety Performance. A design steeped in vintage glamour, the dress featured a long silhouette, decorated with a black floral lace overlay, sheer sleeves, velvet trim and a sweetheart neckline.

The Bond Girl Dress

If we were ranking these gowns, we’d be hard-pressed to say this one doesn’t take the gold. The Princess of Wales donned this dress back in 2021 for the premier of No Time To Die – and was the first evening gown she’d worn in 18 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The dress itself was the product of a collaboration between designer Jenny Packham and Eon, the production company behind the James Bond films. Inspired by a scene in Goldfinger when Bond Girl Jill Masterson gets covered in gold paint, the dress was comprised of sheer, nude fabric covered in streams of gold sequins and gems – with an elegant cape to top it off. It’s safe to say, she understood the assignment.

The Portrait Dress

Another designer that Kate seems to be fond of is The Vampire’s wife. Over the years, the princess has been seen in many dresses from the brand – which you can usually recognise by their distinctly elegant, gothic silhouette – and for her first official portrait with Prince William, she chose one of her favourite gowns from the label: a shimmery green rendition of the iconic Falconetti dress.

Kate had previously been seen wearing this dress in early 2020 at a reception in Ireland, and has since been spotted in similar versions of the gown over the years (we love this pink one she wore during a state visit to the Caribbean in 2022).

The Earthshot Dress

A win for fashion and sustainability, Kate wore this Solace London gown to the Earthshot Prize 2022 ceremony in Boston. But rather than buy her gown new, it’s said that Kate decided to step into the theme of the event by borrowing her dress from popular rental platform HURR Collective. Fancy giving the look a go? You can still rent the exact dress worn by the Princess of Wales here (it’s currently available in sizes UK 6 to 14).


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The Barbiecore Dress

Margot Robbie’s Barbie was everywhere in 2023 – and even the Princess of Wales wasn’t immune to its tight grip on pop culture, music and fashion. In a surprise appearance at Chelsea Flower Show, her first since 2019, Kate Middleton worn a pretty pink dress from British luxury label ME+EM, which she teamed up with a pair of summery espadrille wedges.

This is a dress that has been popular in the Middleton family – with Kate’s mum even wearing it at one point – and was first seen on the Princess of Wales back in 2021 when she met participants in the Hold Still project during a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

You can find out more about Kate’s Barbircore-approved frock here.

The BAFTA Dress

Did we mention Kate likes Alexander McQueen? One of her most stunning looks from the label – besides her wedding dress, of course – has to be this beautiful white ball gown that she wore to the 2023 BAFTAs. The dress itself might actually look familiar to some of you, since it is an upcycled version of her 2019 BAFTAs frock. The House gave the gown an updated look by removing the appliqué detail from the shoulder and replacing it with a shoulder drape and bow. Worn with long black opera gloves and gold earrings, it’s a much more dramatic look than its predecessor – but one we welcome with open arms.

Featured image: BBC/The Earthshot Prize/Pip Cowley (Photographer: Pip Cowley / Image copyright: The Earthshot)