No Ugly Sweater?

Kate's Christmas: What the Duchess Might Wear

Her first royal Christmas reportedly requires five ensembles. What might the Duchess of Cambridge pick?

The first Christmas with the in-laws is always a booby trap-strewn event, but, when your new grandmother-in-law is the queen, it’s particularly important not to put a foot wrong as you pick your way through the minefields the festive season presents.

So pity poor Kate Middleton, who, according to a report in the U.K. gossip magazine Grazia, will be expected to cycle through five changes clothes during the course of Christmas Day alone.

Royal etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith told the magazine, "She won’t be able to wear the same outfit twice. Kate will need a casual outfit for breakfast, a smart outfit—and a hat—for the morning church service, a dress for lunch, a cocktail dress for early evening drinks and a full-length dress for the evening meal."

So what might Kate wear this Christmas? Tom Sykes picks some festive clothing choices for the duchess.

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Christmas Day breakfast is a serious matter at English country houses, and Sandringham is no exception. The meal needs to be big enough to keep one going till Christmas lunch which might not arrive till 3pm, so Kate can expect to find porridge, breakfast cereals, kedgeree, fried bacon and scrambled eggs all on offer.

The Queen is a late riser, so if Kate wants to make an early dash to the breakfast table before Her Majesty arises, Kate could simply wear her nightdress with this fantastic cashmere and mink gown from Chelsea’s Monogrammed Linen Shop (£1250), which she could have custom-embossed with the crest of the Duke of Cambridge. For the full Elizabeth Taylor effect, why not match with a pair of sheepskin-lined Uggs?

If Kate fancies a lie-in herself, then it might be best to head downstairs in some of her High Street favourites – Kate shops at Zara, Topshop and Warehouse among others. It’ll be the only opportunity to wear jeans all day

Tim Graham, Getty Images; Kirsty Wigglesworth, AFP/ Getty Images


The Duchess of Cambridge has shown that she is unafraid of recycling clothes, and one of her favourite items, that dates from long before her elevation to Royal status, is this Katherine Hooker coat which goes well with the mink trapper hat. Katherine Hooker’s immaculately-tailored tweed designs have been a staple of the Duchess’s wardrobe for six years, and if it’s a fine day, Kate could even recycle this other Katherine Hooker beauty which was last seen at the Garter day service in June.

Pair with these tan gloves from Purdey and knockout pictures in the Boxing Day papers are guaranteed.

Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP / Getty Images


Christmas lunch at Sandringham is no time for showing off. You want to be warm, of course, and just a little bit on the un-glamorous side. It’s important at family do’s to where something utterly unrevealing, which shows absolutely no cleavage, as nobody wants Prince Philip leering at their chest during the turkey (and make no mistake, the tribal elder is always seated next to the prettiest girl at the table). May we suggest this safely buttoned-up yet festively red dress, last seen at the UN food packing base in Copenhagen?

Matt Baron, Pool / Getty Images


 We are not sure where Grazia’s etiquette expert is getting her information, but the chances of squeezing in a cocktail party on Christmas Day would be slender at most British stately homes. But, assuming for the sake of argument that there was to be a drinks party at 7pm, this gorgeous grey sparkly creation by McQueen would be the very thing last seen on Kate at the BAFTAS reception in LA.

‘The thing about posh country houses in England is that you can really dress up,’ says one fashion plate with knowledge of these matters. ‘With all those Gainsboroughs on the walls, you can dress up like you’re going to the Oscars and you won’t feel overdressed.’

Lefteris Pitarakis, AFP / Getty Images


The best thing about dinner, from a sartorial point of view, is that even the coldest of British stately homes should be approaching something like warmth by 9pm. Increased levels of heat radiating from fireplaces and radiators alike mean that Kate might be safe to end the day with this dramatic one-shouldered creation, last worn at an event in aid of National Memorial Arboretum Appeal at St James’s Palace, in London, on November 10, 2011.