Is it Groundhog Day? Because a feeling of déjà vu overcame me when I saw the pictures from India of Kate, duchess of Cambridge, struggling to control her skirt à la Marilyn Monroe. Laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Delhi, then standing still while the Last Post plays should be a solemn moment for Kate and her husband, Prince William. It was nearly a disaster. The wind picked up the hem of her full-skirted dress and tossed it around, leaving Kate to abandon all dignity as she repeatedly grappled and pushed her skirt down in the gusts, her hair flying around her head like a dust storm.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Kate and her fashion. Indeed, it’s pretty much expected. For Kate’s love of full-skirted dresses and coats has caused repeated Marilyn Monroe moments. In 2014, I reported on her hair-and-hem problems, noting that, of “30 daytime public events in 2013, there were four unforced errors (13 per cent of the total), including a mid-thigh Moloh coat dress, whose back pleats went flying as she played table tennis with William at a Scottish community centre. For a royal, particularly one in her position, that’s a high faux pas rate.”
It seems to happen on every high-profile royal tour, including Canada (2011), and several times during their 2013 tour of New Zealand and Australia. And also at key moments, including arrivals and departures, when wind is a virtual certainty.
There are two simple solutions:
- Wear slimmer skirts, so the wind has nothing to grasp. She did that on their 2012 tour in Asia.
- Have weighted small curtain weights—$2.50 for a pack of four—inserted into the hems of vertically challenged skirts. The Queen’s designers have used that technique for years to keep her hems down.
Kate has had five years to get used to the strictures of royal life, including how to dress appropriately for her job. Yet she fails on this most basic task.