Because she's worth it! Charles' accounts to reveal the cost of Kate's wardrobe for the first time…. and it could be as much as 35,000 so far this yearPrince picks up the tab through his official Household budgetLarge number of recycled outfits keeps down the final bill
17:22 GMT, 25 June 2012
For a self-proclaimed Queen of the High Street, she has embraced the joys of designer shopping most enthusiastically.
Indeed, a quick tot up of her recent purchases suggests the increasingly glamorous Duchess of Cambridge has spent more than 35,000 on couture and ‘high end’ outfits since the beginning of the year alone.
Quite a turnaround, then, for the young woman who, shortly after her wedding last year, insisted she did not want to be seen as a ‘clothes horse’ and went on her honeymoon in a 49.99 Zara dress.
High end fashion: Over the Queen's jubilee weekend, the Duchess of Cambridge wore dresses by designer Alexander McQueen, which sell for 1,185
In the next few days the public is going to be given an insight into the real ‘cost of Kate’ when Prince Charles opens up his financial accounts for the first time since the royal wedding.
For unusually, the Mail can reveal, it is not the Duchess’s husband who is footing the bill for her dazzling new wardrobe but her father-in-law, Prince Charles.
The future king has agreed to pay for the cost of any dresses the Duchess wears for ‘work-related’ functions and engagements through his official Household budget.
While some may question why the duchess’s husband, Prince William, doesn’t fund his wife’s wardrobe this is because, ostensibly, he earns only 44,000-a-year as an RAF helicopter pilot.
The 10 million he inherited last week from his late mother’s estate on turning 30, for example, is considered to be his private income.
Charles funds his public work – as well as that of his wife, Camilla, and both his children – through the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate of land and property holdings which last year provided him a bumper pay pot of 17.8 million.
His official expenditure – out of which will come Kate’s clothing allowance – amounted to 11.4 million of that.
Royal watchers will be scanning the new accounts eagerly to see how much that has risen by – and whether his personal spending, which last year came to 2.5 million, has also seen an increase as a result of paying for his son’s wedding.
Glamour: Kate looked stunning when she joined Prince William at the Our Greatest Team Rises Gala dinner earlier this year. But the bespoke Jenny Packham dress (similar Jenny Packham dresses cost 2,050) and 450 Jimmy Choo heels were lavish choices
Charles is extremely fond of his ‘darling daughter-in-law’, as he likes to call Kate, and – for the time being at least – does not mind indulging her in the slightest.
But he may yet live to rue his generosity for it is a bill that is rising by the day, not least because the Duchess insists – rightly so, in the opinion of many – on paying full price for all her garments.
While most celebrity clients can expected a substantial discount in return for their endorsement of a particular product, Kate has instructed her staff to never pay less than the going rate.
She also point blank refuses to accept any of the hundreds of free garments sent to her by designers each month, desperate for a piece of what has been dubbed ‘The Kate Effect’.
If a particular piece catches her eye she will instruct her Private Secretary cum Girl Friday Rebecca Deacon, or another member from her small team of private office staff, to buy it instead.
It’s not surprising that designers are so keen to see Kate appears in one of their outfits. A 600 suit she wore recently sold out within just half an hour.
She wore this dress by Irish designer Orla Kiely, whose designs retail at 355, when visited an art gallery with her father-in-law in March
Jeweller Links of London estimated it had missed out on around 8.2 million in sales by not acting fast enough when Kate wore its topaz earrings for her official engagement photograph.
But Kate has privately made clear that while she is keen to champion British design around the globe, she does not want to become a ‘rent-a-royal’ fashionista.
Indeed such is Kate’s growing sartorial confidence that she has refused all offers by the Royal Household to provide her with a stylist or a dresser, their female equivalent of a valet.
Although she has, on occasions, sought the advice of Camilla’s own much-trusted dresser, Jackie Meakin, Kate hunts out and chooses all of her outfits herself.
And while much research is conducted over the internet, Kate is still not above browsing the rails herself.
Designer duchess: To a film premiere in April, Kate wore this 1,089 Matthew Williamson dress, left, while in May she wore a RM by Roland Mouret dress from the 2009 autumn collection (this season's dresses cost around 1,320), again with her 450 Jimmy Choos
One of her fashion secrets is a small boutique called Moda Rosa, in the market town of Alresford, Hampshire, close to her parents’ Berkshire home.
Owner Rosie Wild stocks a number of her favourite designers including Libelula and has become such a good friend that she was invited to Kate’s wedding.
‘The Duchess has barely put a foot wrong since she got married so why does she need anyone to do it for her’ said an impeccably-placed source.
‘Catherine has an innate sense of style and, almost as importantly, knows what is appropriate for the occasion.
‘She might not choose the most cutting edge designers, but she know what looks good on her and that’s what counts.
Smart: This 290 Rebecca Taylor jacket was worn in April while the teal peplum suit by L.K. Bennett, right, consisted of the 395 'Jude' jacket and 225 'Davina' dress
‘Plus she is acutely conscious that she is not yet a full-time working royal and feels it is pretty pointless, as well as extravagant, to have her own dresser.’
Her faultless metamorphosis from
Chelsea show pony to a royal thoroughbred has, unusually, been greeted
with almost universal praise by the notoriously back-stabbing fashion
Rebecca Taylor, a
New-Zealand born designer, was so delighted that Kate chose to wear her
600 indigo blue tweed suit to an event at Goldsmiths Hall recently that
she refused to bank the cheque the palace sent her – instead pinning it
up pride of place on her wall.
Stewart Parvin, the Queen’s favourite couturier has welcomed Kate’s transformation from High Street Queen to Designer Duchess.
believes that whatever is spent on her wardrobe is a mere drop in the
ocean compared to the business she brings in to the fashion industry.
‘I think she is looking fabulous,’ he said.
High Street bargains: These dresses, both from Zara, cost 49.99, left, and 69, and sold out thanks to the 'Kate effect'
understand with the way the economy is at the moment that she feels a
needs to be seen in High Street clothes [but] I think people also want
to see her in things that are slightly more unattainable.
can’t go walking into a function and bump into a woman wearing exactly
the thing. People want the Royal Family to be slightly unreachable, it’s
part of the magic they have.
‘Princess Diana always wore couture clothes and it will become the norm for Kate as time goes on.
‘The reaction that she has already received should give her the confidence to wear more.
‘Especially in this day and age, people just want to be dazzled.’
LIZ JONES: 35,000 I wish Kate would spend MORE on her wardrobe
Worth it: Liz Jones thinks Kate should wear more designer dresses like this one by Temperley, which costs around 1,000
Our style guru reveals why the Duchess deserves to dress well…
So, the Duchess of Cambridge (or, more accurately, her father in law) has spent 35,000 so far this year on clothes. While this is encouraging, as she has pretty much abandoned dresses along the lines of the blue Zara she wore the day after her wedding, I wish Kate would spend more.
Never mind quantitative easing, injecting Kate into the economy is far more of
a boost. Every time she steps out in an outfit, it sells out, and spawns a
million high street copycats.
Kate will have her detractors. ‘How can she possibly justify spending over a
1000 on a dress by McQueen or Emilia Wickstead during a recession’
this argument both sexist (men are never lambasted for their cars, houses or
football season ticket) and short sighted.
The fashion industry is THE most
important industry in this country because it not only employs the largest
number of women, but because it cheers us up.
Kate is a princess, and it is her
job to look a certain way, just as it is President Obama’s job to appear at a lectern in an impeccable
black suit by Ralph Lauren or Giorgio Armani.
of inverse snobbism is never placed at the (large) feet of Michelle Obama
because Americans, unlike we British, know that dressing for the job you wish
you had, not the one you are in, is all about living the dream, and achieving
what you want.
Kate dresses impeccably not because she is vain and shallow, but
because she believes to do so is respectful to US, the people who look up to
She has already had an effect not just on sales, but on the WAY young
women dress: there is a shift towards looking smart and elegant, not looking
like a prostitute.
I wish Kate
would spend MORE on her wardrobe. She needs dedicated couturiers who will
create gowns for every occasion.
She is creating history, and what a poor
result it will be if, in a hundred years’ time, the V&A is full not of
incredible craftsmanship, beading, imagination and one of couture creations,
but a creased dress from Next and that well worn pair of LK Bennett nude courts.
royal sources insist, however, that the Duchess choses her outfits ‘to
fit the occasion’ and says she will continue to wear more affordable
frocks as well as ones that she already owns.
Duke and Duchess have attended several keynote and black tie event
recently but there will continue to be more daytime and low-key
engagements in future which will involve her wearing appropriate
clothing,’ said one.
also confirmed that although Charles is able to write-off much of his
official expenditure against tax, the cost of Kate’s outfits is not
But at least she wears outfits more than once…
Recycling: Kate has worn this 1,200 Emilia Wickstead dress twice this year, at a reception at Windsor Castle, left, and a Buckingham Palace garden party
Thrifty: Kate wore her blue M Missoni coat dress, which originally costs 650 but she bought second hand, to Harrods earlier this year and then in Nottingham last month
Favourite shoes: She's also worn her 185 LK Bennett heels on numerous occasions