Kate Middleton's Belizean Blue Suit Cuts Conservative Figure on Royal Tour

Kate Middleton's wardrobe for the opening visit of her week-long Caribbean tour with Prince William struck a conservative note, setting a serious tone for the critical tour.

When RAF Voyager, the British government's official plane, landed at Belize's Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport on Saturday it signaled the beginning of a tour that marks a crucial moment in the relationship between the monarchy and the Caribbean nations retaining Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state.

Before William and Kate had even stepped onto the tarmac, the visit to Belize had suffered its first major hiccup. A planned visit to Akte'il Ha cacao farm in Indian Creek had to be canceled after an anti-colonialist protest was staged by locals and objections were raised over the planned site of where to land the helicopter being used for the visit.

A quick rescheduling effort was made, but the first day of the tour was already being framed against the context of anti-monarchist sentiment in the increasingly republican-minded Caribbean area.

Kate Middleton Jenny Packham Belize
Kate Middleton's blue lace detailed Jenny Packham suit set a conservative tone to the start of the critical Caribbean tour. Photographed at Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport on March 19, 2022. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Usually on a royal tour Kate sets the tone of the occasion with her outfit. She likes to make a patriotic splash with a special nod to the host country either through the color of her outfit, the accessories she uses or the jewelry she wears.

As the duchess stepped off the plane in Belize amid the cacao farm controversy, she cut a more classical figure than was first expected. Wearing a blue lace Jenny Packham suit consisting of a structured top with peplum detail and skirt with plain belt, the silhouette was reminiscent of Kate 10 years ago, rather than the more streamlined royal she has come to be known for in her trademark chic Catherine Walker & Co. coat dresses.

The only nod to the host nation was through the choice of blue, which could be considered a tribute to Belize's flag, or the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

For jewelry, Kate wore a set she was last seen wearing only last week at the annual commonwealth day service at Westminster Abbey. The necklace and earrings are made of sapphires and diamonds said to have been inherited from Princess Diana's collection. The set matches the duchess's engagement ring, also a legacy from the late Diana.

Kate Middleton Belize Fashion
Kate Middleton cut a conservative figure in a Belizean blue lace suit by Jenny Packham (L) photographed at Belize's Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport on March 19, 2022. On the second day of the royal visit, Kate wore a Tory Burch printed day dress (R) photographed at a traditional Garifuna festival on March 20. Karwai Tang/WireImage/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Cambridges' Caribbean tour is being made as part of a wider series of global visits by members of the royal family marking the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. William and Kate's weeklong visit to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas is being followed only next month by the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, visiting the other islands where his mother is head of state with his wife Sophie.

Kate's wardrobe decisions for the tour are of interest as she takes particular care to pay tribute wherever she can through dress, as displayed already numerous times this year.

Last week, at the annual 1st Battalion Irish Guards St Patrick's Day parade the duchess wore a green coat dress and shamrock brooch in honor of her regimental hosts. To the Commonwealth Day service Kate chose a blue hue matching that of the commonwealth flag and to a daytime visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London she wore an Alexander McQueen sweater in a blue matching the Ukrainian flag.

On the second day of the visit to Belize Kate wore a more relaxed Tory Burch printed dress accessorised with sunglasses and wedged sandals.

The most glamorous events on royal tours are usually the official dinners given by the host nations in honor of their guests. With this in mind Kate usually dresses to impress out of respect for those hosting her. This was most recently evident on her 2019 visit to Pakistan with Prince William. With three official dinners lined up, Kate's wardrobe will have considerable demands placed on it this tour.

Kate Middleton Royal Tours
Kate Middleton likes to make a patriotic nod to the countries hosting her on royal tours through her wardrobe. On the first day of her 2016 tour of Canada (L) Kate wore a hat with maple leaf details and a maple leaf brooch loaned to her by Queen Elizabeth II, on September 24, 2016. On her 2019 visit to Pakistan (R) Kate paid tribute to the cultural dress of her host nation. Kate wore a diaphanous dress with trouser details. Chris Jackson/Getty Images/ Samir Hussein/WireImage

As the royal couple's tour of the Caribbean progresses throughout the week, Kate and William are representing the monarchy at a crucial time that could see the landscape of the institution's future change dramatically. As it stands Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in 15 countries, how this number stands when King William V accedes to the throne is, in part, dependent on the success of tours like these.

For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:

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