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Kate Middleton dedicates carol service to Queen Elizabeth II
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Female royals know many a hack to look as best as they can before a public engagement due to the fashion rules and regulations they must follow. Although it is not clear how strict these rules are, it has been well documented that the royal women are advised to avoid skirt and dresses that are shorter than knee-length.
Kate, Princess of Wales, has often followed this rule, but there have also been times where she has accidentally broken it. This led to the late Queen giving her advice on how to avoid breaking it again – a handy, piece of advice, no less.
The Princess has broken this rule without meaning to during outdoor public engagements where a gust of wind has blown up her skirt, exposing her to a Marilyn Monroe-esque moment.
One example of this was back in 2016, when Kate and Prince William visited New Delhi, in India.
During a wreath-laying service at the India Gate in the capital in April 2106, a gust of wind blew Kate’s dress.
The Duchess was wearing a cream Emilia Wickstead dress with a flowing skirt.
Another instance was in 2011, when Kate donned a yellow Jenny Packham dress during her and William’s tour of Canada. The dress was relatively short, but it was made shorter by a gust of wind that blew it up, exposing Kate’s thighs.
However, after a slew of mishaps, Queen Elizabeth II had a handy trick to share with Kate.
Back in July 2019, when Kate and William were in Bhutan and the then Duchess of Cambridge’s skirts had blown up several times, a Buckingham Palace source told the Daily Star: “The Queen is fed up that Kate hasn’t heeded advice to have her hems weighted to prevent her skirts flying up.”
The Queen reportedly had a secret hack that kept her skirt in place: curtain weights.
Sewn inside the hem of each of the Queen’s handmade outfits were a couple of circular lead curtain weights, costing £1.50 for a packet of four.
They were reportedly sourced from the Chelsea department store Peter Jones by Her Majesty’s favourite couturier, Stewart Parvin.
Mr Parvin told the Daily Mail in April 2012: “The beauty of a handmade outfit is that it hangs just right but, of course, we have a few tricks up our sleeve.
“I just pop a couple of weights into the hemline of her dresses and coats and it makes them hang beautifully. If there is a flap in the coat then I will sew in one on each side of the split to even it up.
“And sometimes if she is wearing a lightweight chiffon skirt I will sew in a smaller lead weight the size of a pea or even a length of chain.”
The Queen reportedly told Kate about the curtain weights, and she uses them under skirts that have been made with lighter fabrics.
Although this has seemingly prevented wardrobe malfunctions over the years, the fashion protocols members of the Royal Family must follow are constantly changing and being updated, according to royal experts.
In an interview with Insider, royal fashion expert and author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, Elizabeth Holmes, noted that many royal fashion rules are “myths”.
She said: “There’s this expectation on how they look with this need to be stylish but sensible, fancy but frugal. It’s a very fine line that they are walking”.
In her book, the author went on to say that while there are some royal style protocols, most of them are not true and are just part of a “broader cultural insistence on sophisticated modesty, an expectation that they be composed and presentable at all times”.
Elizabeth added that the royals have many stylists who would never allow them to intentionally break a written fashion rule. Their job is also to prevent any fashion faux pas.
She said: “These women [female royals] are very famous, but they are not celebrities with free agencies. They cannot do or say what they please. They are working on behalf of the family and the Crown.”
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