If anybody knows how to make an impression, it’s royalty. And Kate Middleton has proven herself to be impeccably royal since she married the future King of England.
And part of being royalty is honoring those who came before. As fashionable as Kate Middleton is, she often uses fashion to channel Princess Diana. Honoring her husband’s late mother in this way helps her protect and preserve the rich cultural legacy of the royal family.
Let’s take a closer look at the times that Kate Middleton dressed almost exactly like Princess Diana.
Ladies in red
The exact brands here are a bit different. Diana is visiting Sandringham Church while wearing a Moschino suit. Meanwhile, Kate is visiting Sweden while wearing a houndstooth coat from Catherine Walker.
However, we cannot deny the similarities in color and overall energy. These shades of red help bring out the most in each woman’s smile. And the patterns suit their mutual lifestyle: each is a study in motion, which is perfect for a woman on the go.
This look kicks off a real trend with Kate Middleton. While her fashion is often an homage to Diana, she’s not afraid to experiment and really make the look her own.
Twinning across time
Some of Kate’s looks are simple homages to Diana’s fashions. Other times, though, it looks like the two ladies are twinning through time.
That’s the case with Diana’s visit to Westminster in 1990 and Kate’s visit to Stephen Lawrence Centre in 2015. While there are differences (including Kate’s added collar and buttons), these looks are stunningly similar.
Stunningly similar and similarly stunning: that’s Kate and Diana in a nutshell.
Back in black
Not every royal occasion is one for celebration. Some events are a bit more serious, and they call for a correspondingly serious wardrobe.
Here, we can see both women attending the Remembrance Sunday Service. Diana is attending in 1991, and Kate is attending in 2016.
It seems pretty obvious that Kate’s Diane Von Furstenberg coat, complete with hat and a splash of red, is honoring Diana’s earlier look. She is showing that even as she mourns fallen soldiers, she can mourn the death of Diana as well.
Given a choice, both ladies seem to prefer dressing in lighter, airier colors. And it doesn’t get lighter than wearing white.
Diana donned this regal Catherine Walker dress when visiting the Isle of Wight in 1985. Later, Kate wore this Alexander McQueen dress to Princess Charlotte’s christening event in 2015.
Despite the difference in brands, we can see that Kate’s combo of dress and headgear is a tasteful callback to Diana’s impeccable fashion sense.
Christmas, but make it fashion
This combo of red coat, black dress, and black hat is arguably one of Diana’s most iconic looks. She wore this awesome ensemble to Sandringham on Christmas way back in 1993.
Later, Kate proved you don’t have to wait for the holidays to rock such an iconic appearance. She wore a very similar coat/dress/hat combo to The Royal Academy’s Sovereign Parade in 2006.
With these sudden homages, Kate has proven there is never a bad time to channel Diana’s stellar fashion sense.
In some ways, the biggest fashion challenge comes when traveling abroad. It can be difficult to balance cultural expectations of how to dress while still looking like a style icon.
However, both women are up to the challenge. We can see Diana wearing this respectful look to Pakistan’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in 1996. And Kate is wearing something quite similar to Malaysia’s Assyakirin Mosque in 2012.
Both women have proven that they can be cultural ambassadors to the world without losing their fashion cards.
Pretty in pink
By now, you should know that both ladies really love Catherine Walker clothing. Diana is wearing that here for her Royal Tour of Italy back in 1985. Meanwhile, Kate is sporting an Emilia Wickstead to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 2012.
And Kate is doing a pitch-perfect job of “modernizing” one of Diana’s iconic looks. She kept the pink dress and rakish hat, but the simple lines and elegant sleeves give her a very streamlined look.
One thing is for sure, though: each lady is quite pretty in pink.
The royal ‘blues’
Blue can be a hard color for many women to pull off. Many shades of blue look overly masculine, and the darker shades of this color really go against the bright colors that Diana and Kate each prefer.
The compromise is this perky pastel blue. We see it with Diana’s Catherine Walker coat (worn to Easter Sunday in 1987) and Kate’s Matthew Williamson coat (worn to Pembroke Refinery in 2014).
This lighter shade of blue reflects both confidence and cheer. Is it any wonder why Kate and Diana each love it so much?
One of the biggest similarities between Diana and Kate is their love of sporting events. Here, we see Diana attending the Royal Ascot race in 1988 and Kate attending Wimbledon in 2017.
We have to hand it to both ladies: spots are difficult to pull off, especially if you want to avoid any 101 Dalmatians jokes. But each of them makes the look work, and the spots positively command your attention even in the biggest crowd.
Interestingly, Diana opted for the hat and Kate did not. Nonetheless, Kate Middleton has made wearing cute matching hats one of her trademarks!
Return of the dots
How can you tell when a member of royalty really likes a certain look? When they wear it in public more than once!
Here, we can see each lady returning to their classic “dotted” look. Diana is wearing a dotted dress while giving an award to Prince Charles’ polo manager in 1987. Later, Kate wore a similar spotted look when she toured Warner Bros. Studio in London in 2013.
Who knows… maybe the (re) return of this royal look is right around the corner?