The meaning behind Kate Middleton’s Trooping the Colour outfit

Kate Middleton’s choice of outfit for Saturday’s Trooping the Colour made a statement in more ways than one.

The Princess of Wales looked chic in a white Jenny Packham dress at Saturday’s Trooping the Colour, making her first public appearance of 2024 amid her ongoing cancer treatment. And instead of buying a new look, she upcycled an old one with a special meaning befitting the occasion.

The 42-year-old royal first wore the long-sleeved sheath to a pre-coronation event for King Charles III in May 2023, but reworked the design to look fresh for its second outing, swapping its original simple black waistband for a striped one and adding a jaunty bow at the neckline.

Trooping the Colour is held each year to celebrate the monarch’s official birthday, and since the 75-year-old king is also fighting cancer, her choice to rework a dress she debuted during his coronation weekend is especially significant.

Kate Middleton updated a dress she first wore in 2023 for Saturday’s Trooping the Colour. James Veysey/Shutterstock
She debuted the Jenny Packham style the day before King Charles III’s coronation. Getty Images

Susan Kelley, who runs popular royal fashion blog What Kate Wore, tells Page Six Style, “This is only the third time the princess has repeated a dress for this event,” adding that the look “signaled respect for her father-in-law, King Charles, as it was first worn to a high-profile pre-coronation luncheon.”

She says “there were also significant emotional ties” on the other occasions when Middleton chose a rewear for Trooping the Colour, like her white Alexander McQueen coat dress first seen at Princess Charlotte’s christening and her 2022 Platinum Jubilee outfit (also from McQueen), which she’d worn to a prior event with Queen Elizabeth.

“A lot of thought goes into these sorts of decisions, and there are often messages conveyed by the Princess’s wardrobe choices,” Kelley continues.

The princess looked overjoyed to be back with her family on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Getty Images
The princess added a striped bow to her dress. Getty Images

Kate Middleton Style Blog‘s Carly Whitewood tells us practicality might also have been behind this particular choice of outfit.

“Due to her illness, perhaps she had not arranged anything new to wear for Trooping. I imagine that she hasn’t spent any time planning her wardrobe, attending fittings, etc. over the last few months while undergoing treatment. Plus, the decision to attend might have been quite last minute. It would make sense to refashion an older garment that she knows fits well,” Whitewood says.

The blogger adds that the pick may well have also been a “mindful decision” and “reflection of her commitment to thoughtful fashion.”

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen Kate make frequent conscious clothing choices, like moving away from fast fashion, buying vintage and rewearing pieces that she acquired while at university. Plus, she increasingly wears clothing from eco-friendly brands, and buys garments that are made from sustainable materials,” Whitewood says.

Princess Charlotte looked adorable in a navy sailor dress. Getty Images
Middleton sported white Jimmy Choo pumps instead of the black pair she wore in 2023. James Veysey/Shutterstock

Of course, this isn’t the first time Middleton has given a sweet sartorial nod to one of the royals; she’s channeled Princess Diana with many a look over the years, and has worn plenty of Queen Elizabeth II’s jewelry since the late monarch’s 2022 death.

Middleton chose some tried-and-true accessories for Trooping the Colour, wearing pearl cluster studs by Cassandra Goad, a black Mulberry clutch and her favorite white Jimmy Choo pumps.

Her black-and-white Philip Treacy saucer hat was a new addition.

Although the Princess of Wales was a no-show at Monday’s Order of the Garter event in Windsor, we’re crossing our fingers for another stylish summer look soon.