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It's the floral pattern being scrutinized around the world: Could it be that Kate Middleton donned the same Alexander McQueen number that she wore to the 2017 BAFTAs—plus an alteration or two—at the National Portrait Gallery last night...or is it an entirely new dress? 

kate middleton national portrait gallery
WPA Pool/Getty Images

According to multiple reports (including People), her head-to-toe black floral number—which looked lovely BTW—is simply the work of an expert royal tailor. 

Flashback to 2017: Kate first debuted the dress with an off-the-shoulder sleeve. But at the spring gala for the National Portrait Gallery, it appears to have been updated with the addition of cap sleeves. Case closed, right?

kate middleton BAFTAs 2017
Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Not so fast, says royal fashion expert Elizabeth Holmes. Upon closer examination, the floral pattern—while the same material as her 2017 gown—lines up quite differently on the bodice circa 2019. In other words, it seems that this is a brand-new dress, which begs the question: When Kate commissioned this dress, did she commission multiple versions (i.e., her royal request was for one that was off-the-shoulder, one with cap sleeves...possibly more)?

It seems so. And, while we've all been there where we've loved a dress—or in Kate's case, a fabric—*this* much, we're impressed that she would want two very similar, albeit stunning, looks versus simply opting for a regular old-fashioned royal re-wear. (Something she's no stranger to doing.)

Royal mystery solved. 

RELATED: Bow Down: Kate Middleton Is the Epitome of Spring in Gucci Bow Blouse

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