Kate Middleton is a senior member of the royal family, so she’s used to scrutiny. Everything from her hair, clothes, jewelry and makeup is poured over, rated and criticized. But occasionally, looking closely at the duchess’ sartorial choices can reveal more than you might think. And a style change in the summer of 2020 convinced many fans and experts that something big could be on the horizon.
The duchess’ style has always been understated; Kate plays by royal rules from it comes to hats, shoes and everything in between. In particular, her nods to the late Princess Diana’s love of polka dots shows how seriously she takes her royal style choices. However, it wasn’t always this way.
Prior to joining the royal family, Kate was able to dress as she saw fit, which led to some now famously risque outfits. One of these was chosen while she was at university in Scotland, and it was a see-through ensemble which she gamely donned during a student fashion show. Once Kate became the future queen, though, the style rules changed.
Kate’s royal look was already in place by the time she had become engaged to Prince William in 2010. Onlookers could expect to see long, blown-out locks, natural make up, modest-length skirts and covered legs. But even within those confines, the duchess always managed to find variation and changed her look when necessary.
But Kate’s style changes were often very subtle, and even small alterations can mean so much more than we ever imagined. The duchess, it seems, has made a habit of switching things up at a very specific time. And royal followers agree that there’s an unusual reason for revamping her look.
Of course, onlookers are always looking for hidden meaning in everything the Windsors wear. And Kate has herself been the subject of rumors fueled entirely by her outfit, hairstyle or jewelry choices. In fact, even the smallest perceived change in her look can lead to a flood of theories.
In January 2020 Kate made an appearance at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in the U.K. capital. The duchess was seen sporting a matching two-piece suit as she visited the art therapy department to craft and paint with the young patients. Kate’s blown-out locks were also present and correct, but two very important elements of her outfit were notably absent.
Onlookers quickly noticed that Kate’s fingers were missing two of their usual adornments. The first was the famous 12-carat sapphire engagement ring that had once belonged to William’s mother. Furthermore, the 18-carat white gold diamond eternity ring gifted from her husband to mark the birth of their first child was also absent. And as a result, some fairly horrible rumors started flying about regarding the meaning of this.
The two rings are considered to be mementos marking important milestones in Kate and William’s relationship, so their absence was seen as a possible sign of romantic strife between the couple. Surely there could be no other reason for the duchess to not wear them?
Those rocky relationship rumors were definitely erroneous, however. Visitors to Evelina London are requested to avoid wearing jewelry, so Kate stripped her accessories back to help stop the spread of germs. But there is another reason that the rings may have been left behind.
Kate’s visit included a trip to an arts workshop, so it may have been a smart move to leave precious gems at home – far away from the glue and paint. And if that doesn’t disprove those rumors, the duchess wore both rings the very next day. However, the episode does go to show just how closely her entire being is scrutinized.
Even Kate’s color choices are picked over; according to some royal watchers, the shade or hue of her outfits can also point to hidden meanings and messages. Take, for instance, a dress the duchess wore in April 2020 during the U.K.’s weekly “clap for carers” event.
During the first half of 2020 Britons showed gratitude to healthcare workers by cheering and clapping on their doorsteps every Thursday. Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge uploaded a video to their official Instagram account to show support for this endeavor.
The clip shows Kate, William and their three children clapping wildly. But the duchess’ outfit in the video caught the attention of the Daily Express, which claimed that it sent out a secret message to another member of the Windsor clan. But who could she be talking to via her clothes?
In the video, Kate sports a blue dress with a floral print made by Ghost. But it’s the hue that sent royal fans into a tizzy. Apparently, the shade is Elizabeth II’s favorite color; but more than that, it also has deep-rooted connections to her family. Known as Royal Blue, this particular pigment was apparently invented for the monarch’s third great grandfather: King George III.
Kate’s dress wasn’t quite Royal Blue, though according to the Daily Express, the outfit “sent a powerful message of support to the Queen.” So, for the duchess, even the shade of a particular hue can cause rumors to fly. However, a September 2020 appearance showed how color and jewelry can combine to create even bigger theories.
According to the Daily Express, Kate was seen wearing a piece of jewelry that was neither a gift from her husband nor on loan from the extensive royal collection. In fact, the piece is something she’s been wearing since around 2008. And if royal watchers are to be believed, it sends a big message to the world.
The piece is a ring that includes a large citrine stone and could be worth as much as £20,000, according to the newspaper. But Miltons Diamonds managing director Ben Johnson believes the ring says more about Kate than she realizes. He told the Daily Express in September 2020, “The citrine rock could be making a reappearance because of what the stone is said to represent.”
Ben went on, “It is widely claimed that the Citrine crystal emanates optimism and can be used to direct personal will and decisiveness.” And this, he believes, helps Kate show that “she is an experienced royal now – capable and independent.” But it’s also when the duchess chooses to wear the ring that’s fueling speculation.
The jewelry expert continued, “This would explain the motivation behind Kate’s decision to wear it on occasions when she is not accompanied by the Duke of Cambridge – attending events on her own terms.” And then there are those who, rather than looking at the duchess’ outfits individually, see them as a series of small clues leading to one, much larger, message.
In May 2020 Woman & Home magazine floated the theory that Kate’s seven most recent outfits up to that point actually spelled out an important message of support. The duchess’ appearances early that year all featured brightly colored ensembles. But eagle-eyed royal watchers began to notice something of a pattern developing in her chosen shades.
Kate sported blue, yellow, red, pink, orange, purple and green outfits over the course of several appearances. And if this run of colors sounds familiar, that’s because they form the shades of a rainbow. But why would the duchess quietly wear such a message? Well, it’s all to do with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
During the U.K.’s period of lockdown, the rainbow became a symbol of support for the NHS, which was tirelessly looking after the country’s most vulnerable patients. The Cambridges have, of course, been very supportive of the organization’s crucial work during this period. So, it makes total sense that Kate would show her appreciation in such a colorful, creative and subtle way.
Royal watchers, though, point to one particular aspect of Kate’s style that, they believe, always precedes a happy event. And, to be fair, they might actually be on to something. Given that this particular change has happened three times now, it seems that eagle-eyed fans of the duchess get exclusive confirmation of amazing news long before everyone else.
Believe it or not, there is a theory that Kate makes a change to her hair ahead of a huge announcement. Indeed, it seems that the duchess changes her do just before officially confirming that she’s pregnant. But these differences are often so subtle that only a small number of people even notice.
Take Kate’s most recent pregnancy with her third child: Prince Louis. The duchess officially announced she was expecting in September 2017. But in July that year, her hair gave royal watchers a heavy hint that baby number three was on the way. That month, she unveiled a subtle change to her look during a visit to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Kate sported a shorter, shoulder-length do styled with loose waves during her appearance there. In addition, her tresses were now a darker shade of brown than before. The change sent rumors flying that a baby announcement was imminent. And, lo and behold, the Duchess of Cambridge confirmed her pregnancy just a few weeks later.
Of course, by 2017 royal watchers had become pretty accustomed to spotting the signs of a Cambridge pregnancy. Or maybe not. Before announcing baby number two, it seems Kate doubled down on her usual trick – perhaps in a bid to put off any rumors. In July 2014 – several weeks before confirming her second child – the duchess debuted a new, curly hairstyle. But she didn’t stop there.
Kate changed her hair again later that month; yup, that’s two new styles in a matter of weeks. According to Hello! magazine, the second look was “a half-up, half-down swept-back do reminiscent of the [1960s] thanks to added volume at the roots.” We’re not sure that ploy fooled anyone, though, and the couple confirmed the pregnancy in September 2014.
And, of course, this all began way back in November 2012. Kate made a head-turning appearance at London’s Natural History Museum just over a year after the couple’s wedding ceremony. The do was a marked difference from her usual light brown side parting – eschewing longer layers for a center-parted fringe, darker shade and 1970s-style curls.
Kate then confirmed her pregnancy just a month after her museum appearance. So, it definitely looks as though ardent fans of the duchess might know a thing or two about her tendencies while pregnant. And we mention it because, in August 2020, she once again changed her hairdo.
Furthermore, at least one royal expert is convinced the theory is real. Aranzazu Santos López told the Daily Express that month, “Every time the Duchess of Cambridge changes her look, she announces that she is pregnant within a few days.” And, as we’ve seen, there certainly does seem to be a pattern developing here.
Kate’s new style – a lighter brown with some blonde overtones – is an obvious change. But does it mean that she’s pregnant with baby number four? If the pattern is correct, an announcement would likely have been made in September 2020. And it seems that some – bookmakers in particular – think a new family member is imminent. In fact, at least one company stopped taking bets on the happy event that month. But there are other signs to look out for, too.
For instance, the duchess doesn’t just change her hairstyles, she also varies the cut of her clothes. Kate opts for looser-fitting outfits and coats – most likely in a bid to hide the changes to her body. She also reportedly clears her work schedule as she often deals with an extreme form of morning sickness while pregnant.
So, if Kate suddenly starts wearing baggier clothes and then disappears for a while, we’ll know exactly why. Of course, she isn’t the only royal family member whose pregnancy was given away by a change in style. Onlookers caught the subtle style signals before Meghan Markle confirmed that she and Harry were expecting their first child.
Meghan managed to keep her pregnancy under wraps into her second trimester using some clever style tricks. Carrying large folders and the smart draping of fabric in dresses meant that few people had any idea that a baby Sussex was on the way. That is, until the duchess was a guest at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018.
Meghan’s full-length Givenchy A-line coat was covered up in a way that sent the rumor mill into overdrive. Having kept the secret for so long, Harry’s wife unwittingly gave the game away with her outerwear choice. And on that very day, the couple announced their happy news to their family.
Meanwhile, the Queen herself comes under just as much scrutiny as any other royal – particularly during high-profile political events. The monarch often hosts other leaders on luxurious state visits, which can include palatial banquets. And on those occasions, every inch of her outfit and behavior is under the microscope.
The royal family make a lot of effort to be politically neutral – regardless of who they might be entertaining. Which is why the Queen’s choice of tiara during a state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump raised a few eyebrows. To the untrained eye, the piece showcases just how beautiful rubies can be. But the jewels also have a hidden message.
Good Housekeeping magazine quoted the crown’s official jeweler, who said that the tiara’s rubies were a wedding gift to the Queen from “the people of Burma.” However, they also have a special use. The description goes on to explain that the stones are “intended as a symbol of protection against illness and evil.” Make of that what you will the next time you see the monarch in Burmese rubies.