How Kate Middleton went from prim to trendy and reclaimed her crown as queen of style

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WE never thought that we would see the day when the Duchess of Cambridge hung up her prim dresses in favour of on-trend culottes and trainers.

Kate has had a style overhaul this year, with the 37-year-old opting for more stylish brands and age-appropriate outfits.

HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending the BAFTAs 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall in London
HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending the BAFTAs 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall in London
Camera Press

This week alone, Kate scored a sartorial hat-trick, stepping out in three fashion-forward looks that have grabbed our attention. And it is all thanks to her new stylist and friend Virginia Chadwyck-Healey – nicknamed “Ginnie” – a former executive editor at Vogue.

She stepped in after Kate’s regular stylist Natasha Archer went on maternity leave in December.

And with Meghan tucked away with newborn Archie, now is the perfect opportunity for Kate to claw back the spotlight from the glamorous actress. Here, Fashion Editor Gabriele Dirvanauskas gives her verdict on some of Kate’s most eye-catching outfits from the past five months… and the lowdown on the woman responsible.

February 27

Kate Middleton at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast

The Duchess opted for this green metallic, lurex dress from Italian label Missoni to visit Northern Ireland. While pleats are a classic look, we loved the mermaid-inspired design. It was miles apart from Kate’s old tailored twinsets.

March 12

The Duchess of Cambridge at Henry Fawcett Children’s Society
News Group Newspapers Ltd

The purple £800 Gucci blouse caused shockwaves – partly as Kate purposely wore it backwards. She ditched her usual skinny jeans in favour of wide-leg trousers and accessorised with a handbag instead of clutch.

May 7

Kate at the King’s Cup Charity Regatta, South East London
Splash News

She dressed up as a sailor for a sailing event and it worked. The wide-leg trousers made another welcome appearance and she even substituted her beloved courts for trendy block heels.

May 14

Duchess’ D-Day exhibition, Bletchley Park look
PA:Press Association

Polka dots are hot this season, but critics argued the knee-high split was unseemly. Kate happily sported the £1,750 Alessandra Rich dress after Meghan’s actress pal Abigail Spencer wore it to the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding last year.

May 19

The Duchess holding Prince George’s hand with Prince William, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis closely behind at the Chelsea Flower Show
supplied by Pixel8000

Kate usually sticks to upmarket brands but the floral frock she wore to unveil a garden she co-designed cost just £89 from high street store & Other Stories. It has since sold out, with savvy shoppers flogging it for up to £375 on eBay.

May 20

Kate Middleton in her second floral frock at the Chelsea Flower Show
James Whatling

Kate tapped straight into this season’s prairie trend with this £2,500 floral-print dress by the Canadian designer Erdem. She teamed it with on-trend espadrille wedges and her usual bouncy blow-dry was replaced with a bohemian ’do.

Another great look on Kate at the Chelsea Flower Show
Getty – Contributor

It was another wardrobe win for Kate on Monday when she sported £69.95 brown culottes by Spanish label Massimo Dutti. She teamed them with a £255 broderie anglaise blouse by Brit brand M.I.H and £50 Superga trainers.

What she used to wear

Alpha Press

Kate Middleton in November 2018 at the UCL Developmental Neuroscience Lab, London[/caption]

PA:Press Association

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (front) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave Westminster Abbey, London, after attending a National Service to mark the centenary of the Armistice last year[/caption]

Splash News

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge at last year’s Christmas party at Kensington Palace for families and children of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus[/caption]

So who is her super stylist?

VIRGINIA “Ginnie” Chadwyck-Healey worked her way up to become Executive Retail Editor at Brit fashion bible Vogue over 12 years.

The 36-year-old said her decision to leave the publication last year “felt like both a divorce and a rebirth”. She added that since then, her “heels are lower, the carb count is a little higher, the pace is a little slower, the freebies are a little fewer”.

Virginia 'Ginnie' Chadwyck-Healey met Kate Middleton at St Andrews university and became her stylist after quitting her role as Executive Retail Editor at Vogue
Virginia ‘Ginnie’ Chadwyck-Healey met Kate Middleton at St Andrews university and became her stylist after quitting her role as Executive Retail Editor at Vogue

Ginnie studied history of art at St Andrews university, where she became close friends with fellow students Kate and William.


While she may have hit the high street for Kate this week, Ginnie is nearly as posh as HRH – her dad is the third Lord Strathalmond and her Eton-educated husband, Oliver Chadwyck-Healey, is a buyer for the middle-class masses at Waitrose.

The family upped sticks from London’s plush South Kensington to the Berkshire countryside three years ago, with daughters Nancy, four, and Maggie, three, where Ginnie is slowly changing the minds of her posh pals who think that “L.K. Bennett was the only place to buy work shoes”.

Well, she has managed to convince one very important client . . .

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