The Prince and Princess of Wales joined the King, the Queen and other members of the Royal family for the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
This year's Commonwealth Day is one of historical importance, being the first presided over by His Majesty and the first time Charles, as monarch and Head of the Commonwealth, addressed guests on Commonwealth Day from the pulpit at Westminster Abbey. It comes amidst continual background planning for the Coronation and the finalising of decisions which will see traditions adapted and in some cases off the agenda altogether to reflect the times we live in. According to the Telegraph, a choice has been made not to organise a gala Commonwealth Banquet (as Queen Elizabeth II and her father King George VI did) under the understanding that "what was appropriate then will not necessarily be appropriate now". Instead the publication understands the King will host a reception for Commonwealth leaders on 5 May, the day before the Coronation, and may host a larger reception that evening for world leaders.
The Commonwealth Day Act of Observance is the UK’s largest multi-faith service and the premier event to celebrate the Commonwealth. It takes place in the presence of some 2,000 participants including high commissioners and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth, in addition to 1,000 young people from schools across the UK. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 2.4 billion people, of whom 60 per cent are under 30 years of age.
The King and Queen arriving. Charles performed a Hongi with performers.
Camilla was in a sapphire blue wool dress by Fiona Clare and a Philip Treacy beret. Like Kate, she opted for a statement sapphire in the form of the Queen's Sapphire and Diamond Brooch.
Other members of the Royal family included the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh (the honour was bestowed on the couple to coincide with Edward's 59th birthday). Edward and Sophie's son James is now Earl of Wessex. The Edinburgh title will remain with Edward for his lifetime and then revert to the Crown. It is being widely reportedly it will one day become Prince Louis's.
The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
At Westminster Abbey, the royals were greeted by the Dean of Westminster before meeting members of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, who performed at the Great West Door ahead of the Commonwealth Service.
Inside, the couple spoke with those participating in the service.
Buckingham Palace said: "The Commonwealth Day theme for 2023 is ‘Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future’, highlighting the active commitment of the family of nations to support the promotion of peace, prosperity and sustainability, especially through climate action, to secure a better future for young people and improve the lives of all Commonwealth citizens. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022, it was decided that this year would be dedicated to youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development."
In her Commonwealth Day Message, Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said: "We stand together now to face the challenges of the moment and seize the opportunities of tomorrow. Where there is violence and conflict, we work for peace. Where there is insecurity, we protect the culture, process and institutions of democracy. Where there is poverty, we tackle it. Where there is injustice, we challenge it. Where our brothers and sisters have their lives threatened and disrupted by the impacts of climate change, we stand with them, working tirelessly for climate action and a more sustainable world. I believe profoundly that our family of 56 nations and 2.5 billion people is stronger, more vibrant, more connected and more purposeful than ever."
Police dogs Joe, Tom and Stan arrived early to help keep everyone safe.
Flags of the 56 Commonwealth nations line Parliament Square.
'God Save the King' was sung.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter, which outlines the shared values and principles that unify the 56 Commonwealth countries. The key components of the charter include democracy, human rights, international peace and security, tolerance, respect and understanding, freedom of expression, sustainable development, protecting the environment, gender equality and the role of civil society.
The service commenced with the Procession of Commonwealth Flags. 2023 is the Commonwealth Year of Peace, and a specially designed Commonwealth Flag for Peace will also be processed this year.
The service featured musical performances from saxophonist Yolanda Brown, West End stars Roshani Abbey and Nuwan Hugh Perera, and the all-female Amalgamation Choir from Cyprus. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson added: "Marking Rwanda’s role as the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, having hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2022, the Rwandan National Ballet, Urukerereza, also performed." Samoan environmental advocate Brianna Fruean, who was the youngest recipient of a Commonwealth Youth Award at age 16, delivered the reflection. Samoa will host CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) next year.
During his address, the King said: "This week marks the 10th anniversary of the charter of the Commonwealth, which gives expression to our defining values: peace and justice; tolerance, respect and solidarity; care for our environment and for the most vulnerable among us. These are not simply ideals. In each lies an imperative to act, and to make a practical difference to the 2.6 billion people who call the Commonwealth home." He hailed the "extraordinary" potential of the Commonwealth.
The Order of Service can be read here.
Afterwards, the Prince of Wales joined the King and Queen for the Commonwealth Day reception at Buckingham Palace. The royals welcomed the Commonwealth Secretary-General, high commissioners, foreign affairs ministers and other members of the Commonwealth community. Kate was due to join William there, however Richard Palmer reports the announcement was made in error.
The King and Queen Consort are hosting a Buckingham Palace reception for the Commonwealth Secretary General, high commissioners, and other representatives of the 56-nation association. No Princess of Wales there tonight, though she was billed to be there, wrongly apparently. pic.twitter.com/1h3Cnx0150— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) March 13, 2023
During the event, the King signed the Commonwealth Charter, which outlines the core values of the associations. The charter was signed a decade ago by Queen Elizabeth II at Marlborough House. It marked her first appearance after a period of hospitalisation due to gastroenteritis.
The BBC Livestream video includes the service in its entirety.
Kate received a beautiful bouquet.
The Prince and Princess departing.
For last year's Commonwealth Day service, Kate chose a striking blue Catherine Walker coat, with a Sean Barrett pillbox hat, Rupert Sanderson pumps, a Jimmy Choo clutch, and sapphire and diamonds jewels. It was a fabulous look and I've been looking forward to seeing what Kate might choose for her first Commonwealth service as Princess of Wales.
Today, the Princess selected an unexpected style for the occasion. In a change from her traditional choice of coatdresses, Kate selected a fitted peplum suit by Erdem (with thanks to Laura).
The look is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2023 collection.
The Ottoman Peplum Flared Jacket is a lined, slim fit piece made in the United Kingdom.
The Flared Ottoman Jacquard Skirt features a flared silhouette and midi hem. The look retailed for $4,190 at Moda Operandi.
A closer look at Kate's elegant hat today. As you can tell from the photos, it was a blustery 'hold onto your hat' kind of day :)
Emma correctly noted similarities between the piece and the hat Kate wore at Her late Majesty's funeral. UPDATE: Paul Vale notes both pieces are by Sean Barratt (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style).
Kate sported her Gianvito Rossi 105 navy suede pumps.
And carried her Emmy London Natasha clutch in 'midnight navy'.
Kate's striking accessories included Princess Diana's dazzling sapphire and diamond earrings.
More from the eagle-eyed Court Jeweller:
'The earrings, featuring two sapphire and diamond clusters joined by a small diamond brilliant, come from the collection of Kate’s late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. For several years people have speculated that these earrings were dismantled to create another sapphire pair worn by Kate. I’ve always believed they were two separate pairs of earrings, and I feel particularly vindicated today! Ha!'
Below, Diana wearing them at The Prince of Tides premiere.
Another view of the stunning sapphires.
The Princess wore the striking Princess of Wales Feather Brooch for the second time -- the first was the South African State Visit last year.
The Beaumonde reports:
'The Pendant/Brooch was composed of eighteen Round Cut diamonds with small emeralds that surrounded the traditional symbol of the Prince of Wales, three ostrich feathers surrounded by a crown with the motto ‘Ich Dien’ (I Serve).'
The stunning emerald and diamond piece was created in 1863 as a gift for Queen Alexandra from the Ladies of North Wales. Diana preferred to wear the piece as a necklace.
Today, Kate wore the piece without the emerald drop.
It's been confirmed we'll see William and Kate for St Patrick's Day on Friday.
My most recent post on the Royal Decade has a special connection to the Princess of Wales. Click here to read it.
I like this look (although if it were my suit I would have given the white stitched lines a miss). Overall though, I think it's great she mixed things up a bit from the usual coat dress (even though I have always liked those classic looks). Pleased to see the broach again.ReplyDelete
I rather like the corset, or basque, effect that the stitching is intended to suggest, in this very fitted jacket. In fact, I've been thinking all afternoon that if I could find something like this in a solid color, instead of the twee little print (charming reversed-color lining notwithstanding), I'd buy it in a heartbeat, price be damned. Someone commented earlier that the suit reminded her of Dior's late-40s New Look designs, and the comparison is very apposite. I've always yearned after the iconic (and tightly-fitted) Bar jacket, and this hat suggests the look as well.Delete
I wanted to mention, too, that I love the Queen Consort's sapphire-blue beret. I think that's one of the best hats I've seen her wear.
I was pleased to read of Prince Edward's elevation to Duke of Edinburgh. He and his wife were already Royal Highnesses, of course, but after a bit of a rocky start, these two have mucked in and quietly worked hard for crown and country. They deserve this gift that the late Queen apparently wanted them to receive. This is, incidentally, yet another instance of the grubby tabloids making it up as they go along and trying hard to foment conflict and controversy. They were claiming -- on the basis of God only knows what, but probably nothing -- that the King was refusing to grant Edward the Edinburgh title. I can't fathom why anyone believes a word they say.
I think this suit is lovely and one upshot of the windy day was that we got to see the contrasting lining of the skirt.ReplyDelete
That inside contrasting fabric really made the look for me! Wow! This style fits her really well. I think I’d prefer to see a contrasting color on the hat (not sure what) but I love the updo and style of the hat. Such a classic outfit. :) thanks Charlotte! sue from ILDelete
I think this suit is lovely. The upshot of the windy weather is that we got to see the clever detail of the skirt's contrasting lining.ReplyDelete
I initially thought the skirt would look better as a pencil. But then I saw the beautiful back and I've completely changed my mind. Such an elegant look!ReplyDelete
I LOVE this outfit! So smart, with a 1950's dior vibe, brought up to date. She looked fabulous and certainly stepped out of her same-old same-old coat/coat dress comfort zone.ReplyDelete
I love the suit, especially the sewn line details! I like the hat too, the shape is very complementary to the suit silhouette. The hat color changed depending on the light (appears much darker in the interior photographs) and even when it appears lighter, it does not clash with the suit color so I think it adds a (good) spark to the look as a whole.ReplyDelete
Border Terrier lover
Absolutely stunning! I love this look from head to toe! Just beautiful. Thanks Charlotte!ReplyDelete
Joanne in CA
All the Royal ladies looked beautiful today. I love the Princess look today. Head to toe perfection. The sapphire earrings always look good on her. Nice to see her wearing The Princess of Wales brooch again today, I would like to see it worn with a pearl drop. The russian sapphire looks amazing on The Queen but I have to say, this is one piece I had hoped would of made its way to The Princess. It would make a stunning bracelet. S.🙂.ReplyDelete
Unusual and elegant! She could have stepped straight out of the 1940s.ReplyDelete
I love it!❤️Delete
For me it’s a miss the jacket looks badly fitting both from the front and back and is accentuated by the white stitching . Shame she didn’t go for a re wear in this economic climateReplyDelete
Anon, agreed about the repeat. I would love to see one, too. There is plenty to choose from. Simply put, this Erdem was not worth the money. It is not strikingly good-looking imho amd the price is high. Re-accessorizing some of her older coats would be better. I hope we will see repeats for some of the following engagements to "make up" for this. To end up on a positive note, it was great to see the RF out and in full force. Good to see strength and (in) unity. EllaDelete
This was the first new head of the Commonwealth in 70 years and Kate’s first time as Princess of Wales so a new outfit is very much in order, especially out of respect to the 56 countries represented by the organisation. Kate consistently wears repeats on low key outings, this was not one of thoseDelete
Ha! I guessed the designer when I saw the first picture of her. I’m guessing some people will say the suit is too busy, too many details, but it’s one of the few Erdems that I like. She looks great but I wish the hat was a better match to the color of the outfit. It’s a little too bright and purple-toned for the very dark midnight shade in her suit.ReplyDelete
I do love it when she wears a dramatic eyebrow.
Sophie and Kate should have switched hats and accessories.ReplyDelete
So lovely to see Kate break away from the plain coat dress look. I love the retro style with a modern twist Kate wears it well where I’d look silly. In some photos the hat looks light and in others it seems a good match to the suit. Stunning earrings so glad they hadn’t been remodelled and the brooch is a lovely addition to her collection I wonder if she will wear it as a necklace too? All the ladies looked lovely today. Looking forward to Fridays green outfit😉 Sue in WAReplyDelete
So excited to see both a new silhouette and pattern…thumbs up to both! I’m neutral on the hat but have to admit that her navy and white hat from the Platinum Jubilee popped into my head as a potentially better match.ReplyDelete
All the ladies are perfection. I love the Duchess of Edinnburgh, Sophie's bag. Wondering if it is this one: https://www.valextra.com/en-ca/iside-top-handle-mini-bag-WBES0036028LOC99WW.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwk7ugBhDIARIsAGuvgPbtYR43JVi9pzwV6umsmZtUMQCdliKdsSxRGJ9o1e1LKwXO1wkH-cUaAlkeEALw_wcB
I really love it.
I think you are correct. This handbag caught my attention more than anything the royal ladies wore or carried. Too pricy for me but definitely one of the best white/pale ivory bags I have seen in fashion. Well spotted, and thanks for the info. I was curious.GADelete
The whole look is just spotless.
No one comes close.
Princess Kate is able to breathe life into whatever she wears and everything just looks so perfect. Her choice has been much appreciated. The piece is elegant, with a tinge of cheery flower prints on a darker shade base, which matches perfectly.
The hat is a lovely match with the dress; the lighter colour gentle nudge the eyes to focus toward the lovely face of the princess. Wonderful effect overall 👍👍👍
Princess Kate has projected herself to be respectful, gentle, kind and considerate in her ways and style. This is the reason why all eyes are in her, as she exudes quiet charm. It’s really calming, and that’s really magical indeed! ❤️❤️❤️
Perfectly worded. Catherine always looks stunning and appropriate in whatever she wears. Most importantly though is her smile , warmth and her ability to make people smile. Love the Commonwealth and great job by our Māori neighbors.Delete
I LOVE Princess Anne’s coat! Her whole look! I just love Princess Anne…of course Catherine too :)ReplyDelete
With the DoE title bestowed for Edward’s lifetime use and the expectation it will eventually be given to Pr Louis, would Sophie be required to relinquish her Duchess title should she survive Edward? Or will she keep it for her lifetime, with the Crown holding back the DoE title until such time as both Edward and Sophie have both passed away?ReplyDelete
When Edward is 90, not impossible with the longevity of his parents, Louis will be 36 years old. So Edinburgh may still be unavailable. I’d have thought Cambridge to be more likely for Louis as William will be King.Delete
Anyway in your scenario, Sophie would be the Dowager Duchess of Edinburgh or if she follows the Duke of Gloucester’s mother’s example -“Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester” to differentiate her from the new Duchess of Gloucester (Birgitte)
So possibly “Princess Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh”.
Is there a page/blog similar to Chronicling Kate that follows the new Duchess of Edinburgh fashion? Would love to know..Delete
Princess Alice was given special permission by the late Queen to use the "princess" title before her own given name. (She reportedly disliked the "dowager" label.) Technically speaking, she was "The Princess Henry" as well as Dowager Duchess of Gloucester after her husband died, because the usual rule is that only women born princesses can be called "Princess FirstName". All others must use a form that makes it clear they derive their titles from their marriages. So, Sophie, who is currently The Princess Edward as well as Duchess of Edinburgh, would have to get the permission of the King to be called "Princess Sophie".Delete
at first glance, I really like this look, like when she wears hats in this shape, a bit bigger not beret style. I like the pattern and thought it looked wonderful. the more pictures i saw i was still loving it until there was a backside photo. this outfit looks like it is chopped in 5 places/areas and her tush is one of them. very busy in the back, seems unnecessary and unflattering. but the front is all good! love the earings and wondered myself if the 2 pairs were indeed the same but glad to find out they are not. love the broach without the jewels attached, seems more conservative in these times. can not wait to see what she wears on friday!!ReplyDelete
Same thing here. From the front I found the outfit stunning, but the picture from the back does not work. It does not seem to fit too well.Delete
So funny, but I had the opposite impression at first look. I didn't like the look, maybe it was the print, which I liked, but the styling with the print just caught me off guard. Guess I am so use to Catherine wearing solid coat dresses for these occasions it threw me a little and all the seams felt a little busy. However, the more I saw it in photos, I appreciated the fit and cut and even the back as it was new and bold and she looked lovely. Agree that the brooch was better without the jewels attached, particularly with the print. The back of the dress reminded me of Karen Alexander dresses back in the day where there were many seams, peplums, and gathered detail on the backside. Like that she is experimenting.Delete
Exactly. The skirt seems to cup her behind - not a good look.Delete
It's supposed to cup her behind; it's designed to be a perfectly close fit that way.Delete
I own an Edeline Lee skirt with identical lines, fitting closely around the rear and flaring out below in exactly that way. Such a close fit is a measure of good tailoring, though it wouldn't work on a larger physique. A good designer would loosen the fit on some someone less slender.
I just didn’t love this. I’m beginning to think that my main aversion to it could be remedied with a shorter skirt. The length of the skirt just ages her and makes it look matronly and rather (should I say it) slightly dowdy.ReplyDelete
I do not care for this style. Also, the hat looks severe with her delicate facial features. It appears I am in the minority. Perhaps my sense of style/fashion is off the mark. GADelete
I noticed Emma mentioned the hat is similar to the hat Kate wore to the funeral in September. Somehow, between the veil and the angle of the hat, I liked it in 2022. GADelete
I'm with you on the length.Delete
I always love this occasion. All the Royal Family looked wonderful. Catherine looks fabulous, what a great outfit, hat and jewelry choice, also love Annes and Sophies outfits. Anne's is fun as it is a bit of a throwback, but gorgeous.ALiReplyDelete
Absolutely stunning! I love this look from head to toe she presented herself with simply and glanceReplyDelete
Fabulous outing for all the royal ladies. I love it when the PoW wears a beautiful large hat and a broach. Lovely silhouette. Withe hat so striking. Thank you for all of the information!ReplyDelete
I think this is one outfit that probably looked better in person. Loved her look last year.ReplyDelete
I get the same Dior vibes too. I like this look too. Erdem is one of Kate's favorites even though some of us don't like a majority of his designs. I think his fabrics are amazing and Kate's artistic side might love them too. I also get a very structured Kimono style too but that could be the power of suggestion from the model picture. There's a lot going on from the back but Kate is tall enough to carry it off.ReplyDelete
HoosierLori, agree she has the build for it, it would completely swamp and overwhelm my 5'4 petite frame. I think the hat helps balance it a bit also as well as the hair style.AliDelete
The Princess looked stunning, beautiful outfit, very chic and elegant. The Sapphire and diamond earrings were the perfect choice, beautiful earrings.ReplyDelete
Although I'm not a fan of Erdem, I'm a fan of trying something bold and new.ReplyDelete
In my opinion, this suit needs different shoes and a bag with a handle. Pumps will probably forever be her preferred choice, but with a statement suit like this - with 40ies vibes - you need to complete the look. The styling is too ladylike, and fails to complement the heavy fabric.
But, again, I like that she tries out something new.
I am just glad it wasn't another coat dress. Those things make her look matronly. Kate have gorgeous legs and I wish she would raise her hemlines just a little.ReplyDelete
Hello Charlotte. Any idea why Catherine missed to get together after the service at the church yesterday. She was scheduled to be there with William and the rest of the family. Hope she is okReplyDelete
Hello, Kate's attendance was announced in error. According to several reports, she was never due to attend. If I'm not mistaken, it's the first time William attended the Commonwealth Day reception.Delete
I'm not sure why but somehow, this outfit reminded me of the McQueen gown Kate wore for BAFTAs in 2017. Perhaps because of the print...? I think she looks great and all the ladies look grat. Zora from PragueReplyDelete
I think all the ladies look lovely. I would never wear, peplum, personally, but Kate carries it off so well! Sophie looks absolutely perfect! What a great moment for her and the Duke! Anne also looks fantastic, if not a little sad in the eyes. I hope she is ok. Perhaps she was missing her mum a bit extra at this event, as i'm sure they were all thinking about Her Majesty. It really hasn't been that long, after all, and grief is a tricky thing.ReplyDelete
I do like the vintage sillouhette a lot. Not too sure of the print and it is a definite NO to the white seam details. Sadly, the blue of the accessoires clash in a unfortunate way. I think this might be the only time I would have liked one of those micro handle bag (that I detest normally).ReplyDelete
I wish the system allows one to LIKE the posts and comments. So many participants make valuable and interesting comments, and it would be great to acknowledge them as such.ReplyDelete
Hi, yes just reply to their comments like I just did. S.🙂.Delete
She looks stunning. This will be a look to remember, elegance and lightness at the same time. The skirt moves so well.ReplyDelete
Just a note, so happy we are able as a world to be doing "things" after the last 3 years. I am enjoying reading about and seeing traditional and new events for Catherine and William and the fun to be able to enjoy discussing both important causes but also fashion choices. We need both lighter moments and the more serious. AliReplyDelete
Thank you for this post and your amazing work. I too watched the service live on YouTube. It was especially special for me as it highlighted my home country, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 I was pleasantly surprised.ReplyDelete
I too think the PoW looks amazing. I loved the colour, the pop of white on the fabric, the reverse lining/thread on the skirt, the hat, jewelry, shoes, makeup…. I think they all went well together and the overall look was great.
However, if I was to point out the nitty-gritty, yes, I too thought the white stitching was unnecessary, the peplum was too high, and the stitch on the skirt was a tad too high and tight too.
Love how this family is pushing forward in spite of all the pushbacks they face.
I absolutely love her suit, she keeps it super interesting, all the small detailing make the whole outfit memorable, it’s more than just a peplum suit, it’s romantic, dainty lady like just marvelous!!ReplyDelete
When will you post pictures from the St Patrick's parade.ReplyDelete
Hi Charlotte, I've checked in a few times today for St Patrick's Day post and nothing. I hope all is well with you and your family. S.🙂.ReplyDelete
I hope you are well. I’ve been coming to your blog for years, and I think this is the first public appearance for Kate that I’ve known about, for which you haven’t published a post (referencing Friday’s St Patrick’s Day event). It makes me worry about you! I hope you’ve just taken a well-deserved day off and not that something is amiss. Best wishes.ReplyDelete
My sincerest apologies to all who visited since yesterday for the latest engagement. I've had persistent technical issues which meant my post was wiped. I'm now back in action and starting work on a fresh one :) Thank you all for your patience.ReplyDelete
You are greatly appreciated!Delete
Thank you for posting, concerned that you were unwell!Delete
Many thanks Charlotte, good news you had only technical problems. I was really affraid something happened to you or your family. Looking forward to your new post. ❤️ E.J.Delete
I am so glad it was a frustrating, time consuming tech issue and not an emergency. You are very fast with your blog and I am sure many of us were concerned for you. GADelete
Thanks Charlotte and glad you are okay. We were just concerned since you are always so speedy with your posts! Take your time, glad you’re okay.Delete
Joanne in CA
Thank you for your note Charlotte. Over the years, you have been the fastest to update us on any engagement, and so I too popped in several times to check it out. I didn’t want to ask because I realized how spoilt I was expecting you to post one fast 😉 But I was also worried thinking all may not be well. So glad it is a technical issue only. Sorry about the double work, and looking forward to reading your post.Delete
Glad to hear all is well with you.Delete
Thank God you're okay.I was really worried.ReplyDelete
Thank you for letting us know. I was worried about you as well. Thank you for ALL you do!ReplyDelete
Glad to hear all is well and there will be a St. Patrick's posting. Great job on this blog by the way.ReplyDelete