The Princess of Wales' latest engagement revolved around fashion — and had a special connection to her father's side of the family
Kate Middleton’s latest fashion statement stitched into her latest engagement!
On Tuesday, the Princess of Wales, 41, visited textile manufacturers in Leeds and Lancaster to learn more about the industry, strides towards greater sustainability and education for the next generation. Princess Kate’s first stop was AW Hainsworth, a family-owned heritage textile mill (linked to her ancestors!) in Leeds, where she wore a deep green Burberry pantsuit with a white blouse and coordinating green heels. In a probable nod to the nature of the engagement, Kate recycled and restyled a suit she first wore to Windsor Castle in March.
The Princess of Wales looked elegant in emerald this spring when she welcomed Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway to Windsor Castle with Prince William. The meeting brought two future kings — and queens! — together, and Princess Kate looked the part in the power suit with a green pussy bow blouse.
Kate refreshed the look with gold hoop earrings and a matching necklace for the textile manufacturer visit on Tuesday, where her first stop had a special connection to her father’s side of the family. Her paternal ancestors were owners of a local woolen manufacturer and merchant William Lupton and Co., which was sold to AW Hainsworth in 1958. Kate’s great-grandfather Noel Middleton, who married Olive Lupton in 1914, was a director of the company. Noel and Olive had three sons including Peter Middleton, Kate’s grandfather and the dad of her father, Michael.
Shortly after arriving around midday, the Princess of Wales toured the mill and met some of the company's apprentices and mentors. She heard about how they supply fabrics to a wide range of customers, from fashion and homeware brands to the Armed Forces. A holder of a Royal Warrant (which signifies that a company is a supplier to the royal family) AW Hainsworth's fabrics were used during the coronations of both the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and King Charles in May.
Princess Kate seemed pleased to meet Oliver, a mannequin sporting a guardsman uniform and traditional bearskin hat. The Princess of Wales knows all about what a proper uniform looks like — after all, she’s Colonel of the Irish Guards! King Charles named his daughter-in-law to the position (a rank reassigned from Prince William) in December 2022 during a reshuffling of royal roles following the death of Queen Elizabeth last September.
Kate is widely praised for her impact on fashion lines and designers that she wears, and her latest outing highlighted the vitality of the textile sector in the U.K. economy. The princess seems to be on a suit spree and has popped in pantsuits multiple times this month.
Last Tuesday, Kate sported a tan suit to visit Streets of Growth in east London, a charity that works to transform the lives of young people, and rocked navy at HMP High Down, a men’s prison in Surrey, England, on Sept. 12.
Leaning into the structured separates trend, she also wore a black blazer with trousers at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset on Sept. 19 and a charcoal blazer with a black top and pants to check out Madley Primary School in Hereford on Sept. 14.
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Princess Kate has embraced a sleeker style since the start of the year, and one expert speculates the change was inspired by her elevated royal role.
"I think this is her power moment — she's easing into the Princess of Wales role and that promotion that she's had in such a beautiful way," Bethan Holt, fashion director at the Daily Telegraph, previously told PEOPLE. "She's got this big new title, and she's dressing for that job."
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