Kate Middleton at 40: How the Duchess of Cambridge’s style went from youthful glow to timeless elegance
But even before becoming a Duchess, a young Kate Middleton kept her wardrobe well-stocked with assertive looks. For the Queen Consort’s 40th birthday, we take a look back at some of her best outfits, from her heady college days to the most formal royal occasions.
The Duchess shone in a gold gown for Bond’s latest London premiere. Credit: Chris Jackson / Getty Images
As a pre-royal Kate studied at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, her social life seemed similar to that of many her age. Clustered in the backs of the cabs, she might have been wearing shorter hems than she now does, but Kate’s love of dressing up was evident from the start.
Kate Middleton wears glitter at a charity rollerblading nightclub in London in 2008. Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images
Paparazzi photos taken of Kate in her twenties with glittering eyes suggest a penchant for sparkle: sparkly black mini-dresses and emerald green sequined halterneck tops were must-have looks. Even before she became one of the world’s most photographed women, her sartorial sensibility was daring – for example, if friends wore all-black ensembles for a night out on the town, Kate donned a baroque-print silk dress.
Today, a decade after her wedding to the royal family, the Duchess is still looking for glitter. At the UK-Africa Investment Summit at Buckingham Palace in January 2020, she wore a shimmering red lace and sequin dress from Needle & Thread, and last year she arrived at the Royal Albert Hall in London wearing a dress from dazzling malachite color.
The Duchess wore a simple, structured coat dress for the Climate Summit. Credit: Daniel Leal / AFP / Pool / Getty Images
Moments on the red carpet
When the occasion calls for opulence, the Duchess relies on trusted designers like Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen. In 2011, just months after her wedding at Westminster Abbey, Kate established herself as an evening wear enthusiast by wearing a classic strapless black velvet McQueen dress to a military ball.
Her classic velvet McQueen with lace details cemented Middleton as a staple in the fashion space. Credit: Arthur Edwards / AFP / Getty Images