Kate Middleton: Did she teach us a diplomatic lesson or did she miss the point?

The President of South Korea and his wife are in London this week for a State Visit. Welcoming them were Prince William and Princess Catherine. Her outfit choice is creating a debate amongst royals watchers.

Kate Middleton Royal Family
© Karwai Tang / GETTY IMAGES
Kate Middleton Royal Family

The President of South Korea and his wife are currently in London for a three-day long State Visit. Yesterday, Tuesday 22 November, marked the beginning of that visit. Before joining King Charles and the Queen Consort, the Presidential couple was greeted by the Prince and the Princess of Wales.

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So far, nothing is out of the ordinary however, the outfit choices made by the Princess of Wales quickly raised eyebrows. Indeed, the Princess wore red from head to toe. Not only that, the outfit had a bow which was right in the middle. She also completed the look with a red hat.

Some are calling the outfit a lesson in diplomacy while others are more sceptical. Let’s see what this is about.

Kate Middleton and Queen Camilla coordinate

The State Visit started with all the glitter and royal pizazz that the British monarchy could muster. After being welcomed by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Presidential couple joined the King and the Queen on Horse Guards Parade.

Then, the royals and the couple got into carriages for a procession to Buckingham Palace. There, they had a private lunch and viewed ‘a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to the Republic of Korea.’ The day was then closed off by an official banquet at Buckingham Palace.

This State Visit is of crucial importance and is aimed at ‘strengthening trade and defence ties’ between the UK and South Korea. Every little detail therefore has its place. For instance, The Telegraph praises how the Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales dressed, appearing to coordinate.

Bethan Holt, fashion director at the publication writes:

In a clever message of diplomacy, Kate’s red look was complemented by Queen Camilla in a blue outfit (...) Together, they wore the shades of the taegeuk symbol, which features on the flag of South Korea and represents balance in the universe.

Moreover, The Telegraph spoke to a colour expert, Jules Standish, who believes that the Princess’ choice was a ‘powerful greeting statement’.

Did Kate Middleton miss the point?

However, though some commentators celebrate the Princess of Wales’ choice of outfits, others are more sceptical. This is the case of royal watcher and TikToker @matta_of_fact.

In a video posted on 21 November the commentator explains:

You have to wonder if Camilla knew Kate would be doing that.
Who, in this picture, does your eye go to immediately? It’s Kate, not the King and Queen.
Kate’s the one standing out today. She is stealing the show. 100%.

Of course, royals always communicate through their outfits and it is loved when they do something daring. However, here, the point of this visit is political. After his royal day on Tuesday 22 November, the President is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Sunak today to discuss ‘trade, technology and defense’. The trade talks the PM will have with the President are of vital importance.AP News reports that ‘an “upgraded” free trade’ agreement would ‘largely’ replicate the ‘the arrangements the U.K. had before it left the European Union.’

Joining @matta_of_fact in her thinking, it is normal to wonder if Kate’s choice, which led to attention being almost solely placed on her, wasn’t a mistake. Especially when considering the fact that Kate is ‘just’ the wife of the heir to the throne.

The TikToker rightfully asks:

Is this the time and place to do it when you are not only still the heir to the throne, or married to the heir to the throne (...) and you’re welcoming people to the UK.
As your guests who are dressed so much more conservatively than you, questions could be asked about if this is diplomatic dressing in the literal sense but is it diplomatic dressing in terms of letting your guests have the spotlight.

What did you think of the Princess of Wales’ outfit?

Read more:

Kate Middleton: The Princess criticised for 'making a mockery' of the Armed Forces

Kate Middleton has a subtle strategy to shift media attention, royal watcher says it's not working

This woman is believed to be the best dressed royal in the world and it’s not Kate Middleton


Royal Family Website

AP News: King Charles welcomes South Korea’s president with state banquet, mingles with K-pop band Blackpink

The Telegraph: Why the Princess of Wales's South Korean state visit outfit is a clever message of diplomacy

@matta_of_fact on TikTok

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