Something rather fabulous has happened to the Duchess of Cambridge. Gone is the strained expression, the spaniel hair, the too-short skirts and the frumpy country Sloane look.
Instead we see a woman in her prime: stylish, confident and positively radiant, nailing outfit after outfit in the style stakes — and it’s a joy to witness.
So where does this new Kate come from? My guess is she was probably there all along, just not quite fully formed.
Spot on: Kate oozes style in an Alessandra Rich dress in May when visiting the D-Day exhibition at Bletchley Park
Dazzling: She displayed her lean figure this week in a fitted white midi dress
It’s certainly the case that she is at that age — 37 — where most women have worked out what suits them and developed their own style.
They have the courage of their convictions, confidence in their abilities —and the guts to call their own shots.
There is also experience. And with three gorgeous children, an adoring husband and a face and figure to die for, the strong, sassy Kate we see before us has far more resonance than the Waity-Katy, hanging-on-his-every-word ingenue she used to be.
Classic style with a modern, sexy edge
Designer Elizabeth Emanuel became a global name after co-designing Princess Diana’s wedding dress.
‘Kate manages to be classic and edgy. She adds small elements of excitement to conservative outfits and that is her genius.
‘In the past her fashion was often predictable; all that has now changed. It’s high fashion and very modern. She’s covered up but it’s a sexy look and she looks so confident.’
Daily Mail style editor Dinah van Tulleken says:
‘The Duchess has discreetly stepped out of her sartorial comfort zone — gone are the body-con dresses and knee-grazing skirts.
‘According to sources close to her, her fashion choices are a reflection of a massive recent confidence boost, partly due to doing more public speaking and solo appearances.
‘While she’s been working recently with stylist and fashion consultant Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey, rather than being told what to wear she is said to lead the way and indicate what she would like stylists to source for her.’
Of course, Meghan coming on the scene has changed a lot. Many Royal watchers thought the Duchess of Sussex might destabilise Kate.
And it’s true: contrasted with Meghan’s star quality, Kate’s wholesome image might have made her seem drab by comparison.
But it’s had the opposite effect. It’s only highlighted how grounded Kate is — and her status as one of the few grown-ups of the younger royals. There is a big difference between royalty and celebrity, and Kate understands which side of the fence she sits on.
You won’t see her hobnobbing with the likes of George Clooney, or partying with Hollywood stylists in the way that Meghan does.
The result? Kate feels real, whereas Meghan feels contrived. Like Princess Diana before her, who was always being photographed leaving parties, Meghan seems inalienably drawn to the bright lights, obsessed with self-image and controlling her exposure.
Kate, by contrast, comes across as unpretentious, maintaining a much more discreet profile. If she does let her hair down — which I’m sure she must — she does so in private, with close friends rather than famous faces.
And it has not gone unnoticed. Not just by us, the public, but by the Royal family itself.
Compared to Meghan, who seems determined to recast the Royal family as a platform for her own global domination, Kate is the perfect royal. Perhaps that is also why her style has become more elegant and confident: she feels it too.
That old uniform of girlish dresses, tan tights and nude heels has been replaced by dazzling super-chic outfits to satisfy even the most exacting fashionista — and yet, in true Kate style — she has done it without looking too try-hard or fashion obsessed.
There are few things more attractive than a confident, strong woman, and that is now the Kate we see before us.
Outdoor chic: Kate showed off High Street elegance in Massimo Dutti trousers last month
In vogue: Kate’s matching ensemble in May was a hit
Rather reserved: The slightly stooped and selfconscious Kate of old favoured muted colours and kept her hair under strict control
And here’s how she does it
Glowing after sculpting facials
World-renowned facialist Teresa Tarmey’s clients are said to include Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. She says:
‘In the past few months we’ve seen her skin go from healthy to almost luminous. The firmness of her skin and jawline may be down to gentle, non-invasive treatments to stimulate collagen production and help reduce fine lines.
‘I’ve heard that Nichola Joss is her facialist; she specialises in sculpting facials, which uses lymphatic massage inside the mouth to improve muscle tone. Her skin is so fresh looking, she may have started to use a product containing retinol, which stimulates cells production.’
Darker locks and sparkling eyes
Daniel Galvin, OBE, has styled the hair of Princess Diana and Twiggy. He says:
‘Kate appears to have gone a shade or two darker and the deeper colour emphasises her eyes and makes them sparkle.
‘I think she has had some long layers cut in which is encouraging her hair’s natural movement and so giving a more elegant yet effortless look.’
Lighter touch with the eyeliner
Millie Kendall, MBE, is CEO of The British Beauty Council and co-founded the Ruby & Millie make-up brand. She says:
‘If you compare Kate’s make-up now to a few years ago, she now uses a subtle bronzer rather than a pink blusher, and rather than a heavy lower liner that made her eyes look smaller, she’s opting for eyeshadow shades that complement what she’s wearing.’
Pilates to perk up her posture
Leading personal trainer Matt Roberts, whose clients include David Cameron and Amanda Holden, says:
‘I suspect she’s ramped up the amount of sports she’s doing. Her waist is trimmer than ever. In particular, her posture has improved. This is probably due to lots of either Pilates, Core Training or Yoga, or a combination. ’
…and practically perfect eyebrows
Eyebrow expert Shavata Singh’s clients include Adele and Victoria Beckham. She says:
‘Kate used to favour a too dark brow pencil. When she first joined the Royal family her eyebrows were tadpole shaped, thicker at the nose and with a slimmer “tail.” Now they are perfect, with a shape that works very well for her face.’
Interviews: Dinah Van Tulleken, Alice Smellie Claire Coleman