You've got to admit, Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding was pretty amazing. Walking down the aisle to marry Prince Harry is more than most women can dream of. Doing it in a custom-made Givenchy gown with hand-embroidered lace? Girls (and guys) were losing their minds. While Kate Middleton got her own fairytale wedding in 2011 (and the world hasn't forgotten it), she was back in the spotlight just last week as Meghan Markle became her sister-in-law. The fact that Meghan may actually have to bow to Kate is something everyone is still getting their heads around, but one thing is certain — Kate is a total style icon.
Pulling off the royal wardrobe isn't easy. Kate had to ditch her entire "pre-royal" wardrobe of casual tees, jeans, and short skirts for looks that the Queen approves of. Instead of looking frumpy though, Kate mostly looks amazing. Her style file is being documented by every magazine around, and there hasn't been a day that Kate has stepped out looking a mess.
But there's a pressure behind the royal smile. For all the professional coaching Kate received on how to sip her tea and sit correctly, she's still human. Traveling on official visits with three kids and a hat blowing in the wind is no picnic. This girl must crack– just sometimes, right? You came here for 10 of Kate's best looks, and you're going to get them. What you'll also get though, are the 10 rare occasions when it was all too much for Kate. Here are 10 of Kate's winner looks, plus the 10 ones that screamed, "Help!"
20 FAIRYTALE WEDDINGS DON'T GET FORGOTTEN
When 23 million people are watching you walk down the aisle, you're going to feel the pressure. Most brides do, and it's just their close friends and family watching. In 2011, Kate Middleton married Prince William in a $36 million wedding that made Brits (and the rest of the world) lose their minds. Kate's satin and ivory-paneled gown was hand-cut from Chantilly lace. Lace roses, thistles, daffodils, and shamrocks were individually embellished from pure organza, but the only thing Kate was likely feeling was pure fear.
People reported that $32 million of Kate Middleton's $36 million wedding was spent on security alone. When it comes to overcoming wedding nerves though, it's the one thing money can't buy. Kate looked absolutely flawless, complete with "something old, something borrowed, something new, and something blue."
According to The Mirror, Kate's "something old" was the lace craftsmanship that dated back to the 1800s– yeah, Brits know their tradition. Her "something borrowed" was the diamond and platinum tiara lent to her by the Queen (who herself received it on her 18th birthday). Kate's "something new" was her pear-shaped diamond earrings, and of course, there was "something blue." A blue ribbon was sewn inside her dress. Then again, Kate hasn't always looked so level-headed...
19 SHE IS SO DONE WITH THIS
This look didn't just come with a comment on Kate looking stressed out. It came with a shock headline. "Was the royal baby conceived when Kate was ANGRY with Prince William?" was The Daily Star's caption to this pic of Kate in 2017. The happy couple had just announced they were expecting their third child (baby Louis was born in April 2018). Kate and Will were accompanying the Queen here at a royal tea party in Warsaw, Poland. Looking at Kate's face though, she doesn't seem to be in the party mood.
Glaring at Prince William, according to the report, Kate was solidly pulling her "no" face, although, she did briefly smile for the cameras at the end. Here's the problem when you're a royal. Unlike Hollywood stars who can come up with Twitter statements or excuses for their awkward photos, the royals follow the strictest rule of all: Keep your mouth shut.
It's been reported that Kate isn't even allowed to give an interview without the Queen's permission, and every word she says must be within the confines of what is "appropriate." For a free-spirited girl who just "fell in love" with her college guy, Kate had no idea what she was getting herself into. The face here shows it all. Then again...
18 SHE NAILS IT WHEN IT COMES TO HER DRESSES
And you wonder why Will fell head over heels for her. Kate looked sensational in 2012 here, on one of the rare occasions, she's allowed to properly dress up. Royal galas may sound like one giant party, but even Meghan Markle has learned that "partying" royal style is no Hollywood. The strict etiquette rules that dictate this family's every move are still applicable, although, nowhere is it written that you can't look amazing.
Even this dress had to be "adjusted," as the runway version was too revealing.
Kate's favorite color is blue. Probably why the British designer, Jenny Packham, chose a refreshing shade of turquoise for Kate's brocade aqua gown. A matching clutch, chignon hair, and Jimmy Choo shoes finished the look, but this girl can't wear off the rack. According to Hollywood Reporter, the gown had to be adjusted from the original design, where the "plunging neckline was too inappropriate."
It was a star-studded event. The Friday night gala dinner at London's Royal Albert Hall was celebrating Great Britain's Olympic athletes, although, the evening was also a funny one. Will gave a speech where he jokingly said, "I was asked to compete for Team GB in every sport," but that "looking like a pigeon" prevented him from doing so. Not all events are as fun, though...
17 CHASTISING LITTLE GEORGE
If you've ever been with a small child, you'll know that getting them to behave is a challenge. You might even remember being a kid yourself– probably an occasion you really didn't want to be a part of (but had to). The royal palace probably wasn't too pleased when Harper's Bazaar leaked this shot of Kate clearly losing her cool. Little Prince George may have wanted to stay home and play with LEGOs, but in May 2017, he had to be a page boy at Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton's wedding.
This 2017 pic of a stressed-out Kate shouting at Prince George went viral. All dressed up as a wedding page boy, it was too much for George, who "broke down in tears." Royal kids can't even finish their dinner before the Queen.
It's well-known that Kate is a strict mother. iPads and phones are banned, according to parents.com. While Will has told British GQ: "I don't want [my son] growing up behind palace walls," the reality is a different story. Royal rules have to be followed no matter how old you are– royal kids can't even FINISH THEIR DINNER before the Queen. According to People, "when the Queen stops chewing, so must they." Kate seems to be handling the pressure fine in the next pic, though...
16 NAILING THE ALL-BLACK LOOK
Did you know that the royal family has to pack an all-black wardrobe whenever they travel? A royal correspondent told The Daily Mail that all-black outfits must accompany royals wherever they go in case of a funeral. Kate isn't spotted in a whole lot of black, although, she had definitely nailed the sober color here. Wearing button-down military style was also totally appropriate for the occasion– Kate and Will were attending the Irish Guard Armed Forces Day.
Looking every inch the stylish military wife – Will did, after all, serve in the British forces – Kate looked a million dollars. She and Will greeted returning soldiers and less-fortunate families who have lost their loved ones in Afghanistan. In an adorable moment, a little girl got super shy before handing Kate a bouquet of flowers.
Kate attended the same event just this year, wearing a far more military khaki green. She was also pregnant, but we'll get to her amazing pregnancy style. "Meet And Greet" is a huge part of Kate's job (as is wave and smile). While she pulls it off most of the time, she hasn't always looked this happy. That's the thing with royals, though. Unlike Ariana Grande or even the great Kim Kardashian, Kate can never say how she feels. Instead, she has to do this...
15 LOOKING AWKWARD MID-CURTSY
If bowing to royalty sounds like a bit of a joke to you, newsflash – it's not. Every single person in the UK has to bow if they meet the Queen, and Brits even have government websites advising them on how to behave "in Royal presence." Look carefully, and you'll see that even Princess Charlotte (Kate's tiny daughter) is attempting it. If Royals aren't waving, they're bowing and curtsying. Often, to each other.
Looking incredibly awkward in her high heels, Kate is likely thinking, "This is so not what I signed up to." Aside from bowing, royals even have to ENTER ROOMS in the order that represents succession to the throne.
All Kate did was fall in love with a guy. Marrying him, though? That turned Kate's world around. Not only did she have to ditch her entire wardrobe, she had to enter this insane world where tradition isn't just sacred, it dates back 1200 years. The royal lineage runs down the bloodline. Order of succession to throne is something that's taken very seriously, according to etiquette expert, Myka Meier. Myka told People: "Royals must enter rooms in the order of succession to the throne. Kate even has to sit a certain way. It's called The Duchess Slant." Kate does get some choice, though...
14 SHE DEFINITELY FOUND HER COLOR
So, basically: wow, wow, and wow. The color red must mean a lot to Kate, since she wore pillar-box red just this month when she and Will first stepped out with their new baby, Louis. From pleated skirts to button-coats and matching hats, this girl knows how to match. To be fair though, that isn't something that's up for negotiation. Have you seen Meghan Markle since the wedding? The 180 that girl has done is mind-blowing. Just this week, Meghan wore matching ivory with a giant hat to her first official event with her new husband, Prince Harry.
This may blow your mind. The palace actually has an "English Manner etiquette consultancy." Probably where both Kate and Meghan were tutored in how to speak, smile, and "chins parallel to the ground." BBC got ahold of one of their senior tutors, Diana Mather for a breakdown on the royal dress code.
"Prince George wears shorts because of a breaching etiquette that dates back to the 16th century," Diana said. For Kate? The Duchess is "allowed" to wear jeans for walking the dogs, but otherwise, her wardrobe must be modest and classy. "Strictly no sweatpants and hats are never worn indoors after 6 p.m." The next one just says: "I can't manage..."
13 NEEDING A HELPING HAND
If you've seen photos of Kate stepping off planes, you'll be used to her looking absolutely perfect. Airport runways are windy places, but this royal seems to have the breeze blowing in the right direction– well, almost always. When Kate and Will landed by seaplane here in Vancouver, the Duchess of Cambridge looked utterly flawless. She accompanied her Prince in a stunning red and white summer dress by the designer, Alexander McQueen. The journey back, though? Definitely, one of those times the pressure was getting to Kate.
By the time Kate was due to board the seaplane to Blachford Lake in Yellowknife, Canada though, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. Exhausted after traveling for days on the go, Kate needed a helping hand to make sure she didn't fall into the water.
The trip itself was surprisingly laid-back for a royal visit, according to NewsWire. Kate and Will went canoeing, and it was even rumored that they hit up a rodeo. Then again, wherever the Royals go, so do the rules they must follow. Shellfish is strictly forbidden due to its food poisoning risk, according to BBC. Steak? The Royals can't even eat rare-cooked meat. Some rodeo...
12 MULTI-TASKING GOALS
Talk about multi-tasking. Most moms can just about manage one kid while pushing the grocery cart. They certainly aren't doing it in suits with matching hats and heels. They're definitely not doing on an airport runway. The best part of grocery shopping with the kids? You can wear whatever you like and no-one's watching. When it comes to Kate, the world is always watching. Fortunately, Kate totally nailed her 2016 Canadian tour arrival.
Here Kate has Princess Charlotte in one arm, Prince George in the other hand, and not a nanny in sight. Kate and Will actually have to fly British Airways as much as possible to support Britain. Kate might have occupied seat 1A on her British Airways flight to The Netherlands, but she was flying commercial.
If you've seen celebrities climbing in and out of jets (or taking selfies in them, like Dwayne Johnson or Kylie Jenner), you're probably thinking that flying by private jet is the ultimate luxury. Kate and Will fly commercial a lot more than you might think. To top it off, Kate is doing it in heels, a hat, and she's with the kids. Why she's trying so hard? You do not want to be in the Queen's bad books.
11 HER ROYAL HIGHNESS IS NOT AMUSED
Which may as well be royal speak for: "THIS PARTY SUCKS!" Kate was photographed with a face like thunder in 2017, as she attended a banquet in honor of the King and Queen of Spain. Hair and wardrobe, wise? Kate definitely looked the part. The Duchess lit up the room in dusty pink, custom-made Marchesa (Kim K might be a fan of the designer, but she's no royal). While Kate's scalloped lace dress made headlines for being "the most daring royal neckline ever," according to The Daily Mail, fans were looking at Kate's face.
Stony-faced and furious looking, Kate's body language was saying one word: Pressure. The newspaper's report said that Kate spent most of the evening avoiding the cameras. As it emerged that Kate's fashion rival, Queen Letizia of Spain was also attending the event, speculation rose as to whether Kate was feeling judged. Fashion wars might be a giant deal in Hollywood, but they take on a whole other level for royalty.
Meghan has barely been married a week, and she's already being pitted against Kate in fashion wars. Poor Kate is still being compared to the biggest royal of all, though– Will's late mother, Princess Diana. Will did, however, say that he thought Kate and his mother would have been "best friends." Speaking of Kate and Will...
10 WHAT UP, TEXAS?
You can count yourself lucky we found this one. Kate is rarely seen outside of her formal royal wardrobe. Full-on cowgirl gear? That's a once in a lifetime look for this royal. It was "Calamity Kate" and "Wild Will Hickock" as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got into the cowboy spirit back in 2011. These newlyweds were already at work touring the world, but who said young love can't be fun? Calgary residents definitely gave the couple a royal welcome, here. 10-gallon hats and a bucking sheep bareback rodeo awaited these two, and Kate even said: "We should get a pair of these!"
Kate proved that she can hit the rodeo in 2011 here. Royal Rodeo? "Country Kate" and her "good old country guy" rolled into town in a wild west stagecoach in Calgary, where they hit up a real rodeo and an actual stampede. (Kate wore her own cowboy boots, according to OK!)
Considering most royal occasions are one giant yawn of handshakes with various heads of state, it was really nice to see Kate actually enjoy herself here. Kate and Will met Canadian Indians in full traditional costume and watched "mutton busting," performed by local kids. Then again, the good times are few and far between...
9 UGH, YES, YOUR MAJESTY
If you see Kate Middleton and the Queen smiling like they are total BFFs, that's because it's their job. Projecting a public image of family unity as a Royal is one of the biggest requirements, but the reality is different. Kate is entering her seventh year as a Royal, and this girl has broken a lot of rules. Kate and Will's whole marriage was one giant love story, so you could say that they've been breaking rules since day one.
Kate and Will have broken a ton of royal rules. Backlashing traditions like spending Christmas at Sandringham House with the Queen and marrying "out of love" are just for starters. Kate's short skirts? The Queen is reportedly "furious."
In 2017, Woman's Own published a long list of the rules Kate has broken. Royals traditionally celebrate Christmas at the Queen's Sandringham estate. In a giant swipe at the Queen, Kate invited the family to spend 2016 Christmas at Anmer Hall– the non-London home she already isn't supposed to be living in. The Queen is apparently also "not a fan" of Kate's wedges. From her commoner roots to being "the family photographer," Kate's life is one giant rule-breaker. Kate clearly wasn't a huge fan of her life here. Then again...
8 HAVING A BLAST WITH THE QUEEN
Here's something you might not know about the 92-year-old Queen, she's absolutely hilarious. Behind the formal coats and hats, there's a giant personality. The Queen may have ordered divorces and criticized the TV show, Downton Abbey, according to Hello, but this royal knows how to make you laugh. That giant crown she wears for official occasions? Just this year, BBC actually tweeted: "The Queen man-handling the crown. #TheCoronation." As Her Majesty was interviewed about the priceless Crown Jewels, she just poked the crown, saying: "It's very solid, isn't it?"
The Queen is hilarious. "It's so heavy, I can't lift my head," she said about her crown. Her thoughts on Niagara Falls in Canada? "It looks very damp," she remarked.
Seriously, this woman's one-liners are giving Ellen DeGeneres a run for her money. When former James Bond actor, Roger Moore, asked the Queen why she carries her purse around Buckingham Palace, she replied: "This house is very big, you know." Whatever Kate is laughing at here, it's likely one of the Queen's epic jokes. Like the time a brick fell on the Queen's car in Ireland, and she just shrugged, saying: "It's a strong car." Kate may look happy here, but it isn't all jokes and giggles...
7 LOOKING LIKE MARSHMALLOWS
Name one woman in their 30's who wants to look like this. The royal family's annual balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace is one of the most official events on the royal calendar. Blush pink may have been what Kate was wearing in 2017 here, but look at that face. The color has carried over, and it's saying one thing: "Get me out of here." The occasion in question? Why, the Queen's official birthday– she actually has two (one "official," and one is her actual birthday).
As the Queen turned 91 in April 2017, the annual Trooping of the Colour festivities were in full swing. Colorful as that name may be, it's no Coachella. Kate, Will, and the kids had to stand and wave on the palace balcony in blistering heat, and that outfit isn't exactly "summer-friendly." After hours of waving to the public, Kate had to stand and watch the Royal Air Force Airshow– and make sure that hat didn't fall off as her head looked upwards.
As Today compared a bored-looking Prince George to a throwback pic of Will attending the exact same event decades earlier, they captioned it: "Like father, like son." Kate's awkward wardrobe and heavy diamond earrings may be "royal-appropriate," but her reddened face says it all, here. Will looks pretty stressed, too.
6 COOL AS A CUCUMBER
Hey! When you're in Singapore, you get to carry a real cocktail umbrella. Sticking to her official favorite color in 2012 here, a newly-married Kate looked gorgeous in duck egg blue. Kate and Will were on the Singapore leg of their Jubilee world tour. The event celebrated the Queen's 60th anniversary as a royal, making her the longest-serving monarch in British royal history. In 2015, the Queen knocked Queen Victoria off her first-place slot as the longest-serving Queen, and in 2017, she celebrated a staggering 65 years on the throne with her Sapphire Jubilee.
Maybe Kate wasn't showing any of the pressure here because it was just too early. By this point, Kate and Will were just shy of one year as a married couple, and they didn't have any kids yet. The style? Why, of course, it was the same Jenny Packham designer that you saw earlier up on the list– that gorgeous floor-length gown.
Kate isn't allowed to give interviews about her favorite designers, but People got ahold of the designer herself for some thoughts. Jenny said that she usually "refrains from discussing her celebrity clients," but that her style work with Kate is "always a collaboration." Then again, collaborating isn't always so easy in the royal family...
5 SHE COULD NOT LOOK MORE BORED
If you're going to marry into the royal family, prepare for one thing: Being bored. While Will gave this 2012 Jubilee ceremony a major side-eye, Kate has her boredom written all over face. Kate, Will, and Harry had to sit through a long speech at St. Paul's Cathedral here– likely a lot of praise about the Queen (it was, after all, celebrating her 60 years on the throne). This isn't the first time Kate has looked like she was bored out of her mind.
"Kate has actually trained herself to sleep with her eyes open," was a joking tweet from one fan in 2017. Kate's own opinion? In an official documentary, Kate said that the Queen has "provided guidance." Kate then admitted that she is teased for "chatting too much."
In a documentary entitled: Our Queen at 90, Kate was very careful to use positive words about the Queen. "She has been very generous, and not, sort of... forceful at all." Wow. Talk about saying it how it is. Catching herself up quickly, Kate added that the Queen had been a "gentle guidance," but that being teased for "spending far too long chatting," was getting to her. A bored royal who chats to "get away from it all," only to find that she's yelled at for talking. Lovely.
4 FLAWLESS PREGNANCY STYLE
Let's just compare this to Hollywood pregnancy, for a minute. If you need a reminder, that's a solid wardrobe of loose sweats, hoodies, leggings, and Ugg boots. Cameron Diaz is currently expecting her child in a thrift store wardrobe of floral harem pants and grandma sandals. When Natalie Portman was pregnant, she wore cut-off denim and hand-me-down tees. Being pregnant when you're a celeb is basically the only excuse you're ever going to have to wear whatever you want, gain a ton of weight, and relax. Welcome to royal pregnancy.
When RSVP Live posted the royal pregnancy rules list, the world was shocked. "The Queen must be the first to know," was the first one. When Kate and Will announced their "expecting" status on Twitter, that directly went against the tradition of having the "town crier announce the news." While the Queen had all of her kids at Buckingham Palace in home births, Kate went against the tradition and hit up the hospital.
When it came to Kate's pregnancy wardrobe (and she's done it three times), there was no wiggle room. High heels, fitted jackets, and hats are the last thing a pregnant woman wants to be wearing. Especially when she's about to pop. Then again, there have been moments when Kate literally popped...
3 THEY SAID IT WOULD BE A FAIRYTALE...
Talk about the honeymoon period being over. Kate's whirlwind romance with Will definitely gave her a fairytale wedding in 2011. The rest? These facial expressions kind of say it all. Kate had no idea what she was getting herself into. Seven years in, there's no hiding it– the pressure is showing. Unlike Hollywood celebs who can feud it out on Instagram, Kate will never truly be able to voice any disregard for the Queen.
The amount of control the Queen has over the family is unreal. When she stands, so must everyone else. "Your Majesty" followed by "Ma'am" is how you address her– and it MUST rhyme with "jam." Even Monopoly is banned.
The Daily Mail published the bizarre list of royal rules that Kate has had to follow since day one. They are no fairytale. Take, for instance, the rules about holding tea and coffee cups. Etiquette specialist, Myka Meier told People: "They use their thumb and index finger to hold the top of the handle, while the middle finger supports the bottom. They also sip from the same spot, so the entire rim doesn't have lipstick stains." For coffee, the protocol is to "loop your index finger through the handle." Then again, when there's a loophole, Kate will take it...
2 LOOKING GENUINELY HAPPY
Being a Royal has its perks. While lounging in tiny swimsuits in Mexico is strictly forbidden, Royals are allowed the odd break. It's no secret that Will and Harry are huge ski fans. For his bachelor party, Harry chose the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, according to Harper's Bazaar. With chalets for hire at $50,000 a night and celeb-filled clubs, the resort isn't just slopes– it's a bit of a party zone. Celeb sightings there have included Victoria and David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jude Law.
Kate and Will looked the picture of love in this skiing snap, where they later returned with their kids, according to The Telegraph. That said, even the royal world has its controversy. In 2017, Vanity Fair reported that Kate was "less than happy" with Will's solo ski trip to the notorious ski resort of Verbier. Papped with his "arm around a mystery brunette" likely wasn't the outcome that Will was expecting, although, there has been zero suggestion that Will was in any way unfaithful.
Verbier's Farinet nightclub is where Will's embarrassing snap was taken, although, Will was probably most embarrassed about the "dad dancing" that Vanity Fair reported he was filmed indulging in. Here though, they just look all loved-up in the snow. Skiing one day, back to the grind the next, though...
1 THIS IS LOOKS LIKE ONE FUN FAMILY
That's the thing about facial expressions– they never lie. Remembrance Sunday in England is a somber affair. The annual occasion held at London's Cenotaph statue commemorates brave British soldiers who have lost their lives for their country. Telling you from the horse's mouth– the writer of this article lives in London, Remembrance Sunday is a giant deal. A two-minute silence around the country is marked by church bells. There's also a weekday event when schools around the country stop what they're doing at 11 a.m., and everybody stands in silence to commemorate those soldiers.
No one was expecting Kate to be smiling here. That would have been completely inappropriate. But it's the strain in her face that shows, here. Something about it says "years of standing around have broken me." Kate is a tough girl, though. She's out-shone all her royal rivals from other countries in one glam sweep, but as you can see, the pressure does show.
You clicked on this because something about Kate speaks to you. Maybe you love her style. Maybe her life sounds like a dream come true. Well, you've got proof of one, but the "dream come true" part may have you changing your mind. Now, it's over to you (and those Facebook friends you know live for this royal's ever move). Hit share on Facebook so they can see for themselves– Kate doesn't always look perfect. Leave us a comment on how you think Meghan will manage, now that you've seen how Kate has ended up!