Kate Middleton’s Royal Ascot Ensemble Was a Nod to Princess Diana in Multiple Ways

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We were so excited by Kate Middleton and Prince William's surprise appearance at the 2022 Royal Ascot that we almost didn't notice all of the duchess's subtle nods to Princess Diana with her outfit.

Yesterday, Middleton showed up to the major horse racing event in a polka dot dress from Alessandra Rich (which is sadly sold out, but you can get a similar dress from the same designer here). The brown-and-white frock included long sleeves, a draped bodice and a matching belt accessory, and according to the What Kate Wore blog, the duchess paired the dress with a brown NAEVA boater hat decorated with white origami flowers from Sally-Ann Provan, a brown suede clutch and matching suede Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps.

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As the Duchess of Cambridge looked absolutely stunning in her ensemble, it was clear that she was paying tribute to one of her late mother-in-law's most iconic outfits.

Back in 1988, Princess Diana attended the Royal Ascot in her own eye-catching polka dot ensemble. The princess was seen in a black-and-white dress with gathered fabric along the waistline, and she paired the dress with a matching tilted hat, as well as a color-blocked, black-and-white clutch. In classic Diana style, she also accessorized with a strand of pearls.

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Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images

While the duchess appeared to be paying homage to Princess Diana with her dress, there seemed to be another subtle wink to the Princess of Wales: the white flowers on Middleton's hat.

Middleton may have chosen this specific, floral-covered accessory because her late mother-in-law is often tied to white flowers. In fact, when Kensington Palace erected a garden on the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana's death, it was filled with some of Lady Di's favorite flowers, including white lilies, white roses and Cosmos daisies, and it was named the “White Garden.”

Head Gardener Sean Harkin revealed to Architectural Digest that the focus on the color white was deliberate with this commemorative garden, and the publication wrote, “It serves as a nod to Diana’s love for white and cream hues, and also complements Diana’s fashion exhibit inside the palace, which similarly shows off the beloved royal’s penchant for lighter shades.”

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Could we get any more obsessed with Kate Middleton's style?

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...