Today we are going to speak about a very, very special person. A remarkable woman for whom I have so much admiration and respect. This could describe Kate, but it is Carole were are focusing on this morning. She is a woman with "true grit" but beautifully packaged in style and grace, and powered by a calm, quiet, and powerful presence. Carole Middleotn, perhaps even more than her often maligned daughter Kate, has patiently endured some pretty nasty slights from press and public alike over the years. Despite it all, she is a massively impressive success story.
One of the most delightful and through accounts of Carole Middleton is the comprehensive piece written by Julia Llewellyn Smith for The Telegraph on the occasion of George's birth. While I may seem biased because Ms. Llewellyn Smith interviewed me for the piece, all JB quotes aside, it is truly a great overview of the Middleton matriarch and gives a very thorough overview of the woman who went from an airline stewardess to the grandmother of the future king of England, laughing familiarly with the Duke of Edinburgh at Ascot, and taking tea and birthday cake with Elizabeth II herself. I highly recommend you read it if you have not already. In so far as Carole raised Kate, instilled in her many of the principles and standards by which our favorite princess operates, and supported and advised her daughter throughout her stressful and at times touch-and-go relationship, it is fair to say that this woman played a major role in the success of her daughter, and by extension her family. She has much to be proud of. Since our focus here is style, let's pause and take a moment to admire Carole's equally impressive sartorial touch.
Needless to say, dressing for your daughter's wedding is always an event (I imagine) but, when your daughter is marrying the most popular heir to the throne of the most powerful and prestigious monarchy left in existence...well, that ups the style stakes. Significantly. Carole rose to this challenge and was absolute perfection in this soft blue coat-dress ensemble by Catherine Walker when her family took center stage on April 29th.
As any fan of her daughter the Duchess knows, Catherine Walker was a French-born designer, whom Kate has worn on a number of occasions.
|Kate Cambridge Wearing Catherine Walker (Not and exhaustive example.)|
Both Middleton ladies, however, tip their hat to a previous princess when wearing Ms. Walker. Diana made Catherine Walker a (fashion)household name when she continuously patronized the label during her lifetime.
It was a smart move to wear designer royalty, but also perhaps a tribute to her daughter's mother-in-law...even if that mother-in-law was in-absentia. Carole accessorized with very elegant neutrals and a beautiful Jane Corbett hat. She easily held her own with the two most senior ladies of the realm:
The stylish mother-of-the-bride did not miss a beat when it came time to choose her evening attire. Carole turned to a Middleton favorite for this event. Temperley London got the nod from both Carole and Pippa for an evening that included cocktails, dinner, and dancing at Buckingham Palace...closing the night in the early hours of the morning with a fireworks display.
Both Pippa and Kate wear Temperley often, and Kate has worn various pieces from the label, turning to them for everything from evening-wear to stampede attire, albeit western-wear fit for a princess:
Perhaps Kate got her thrifty side from her mom, because Carole recycled the Temperley dress for the Red Cross Gala in November of 2013:
It isn't just when an estimated 2 billion people around the globe will be watching, however, that Mama Middleton gets it right. She is pretty much as consistent as Kate choosing winners again, and again. She also resembles her daughter in returning to certain labels for certain genres...or perhaps whenever it is a royal event. Carole again wore Catherine Walker and Jane Corbett for her grandson's christening in October of 2013. Although this coat did get mixed reviews, I liked it very much and found both the colors and the paneling to be very flattering:
While Carole had been attending Ascot before 2011's Royal Wedding, once her daughter was raised from Miss Middleton to HRH Princess William of Wales, the Queen issued the couple an invitation requesting they join her at Royal Ascot. The carriage procession entrance and the royal box are certainly a step-up from the normal milieu, and the Middletons arrived in the 4th coach from the front. Carole was wearing a beautiful neutral ensemble with lace detailing and a sweeping, wide-brimmed hat:
I have to say, I take a rather delicious, albeit uncharitable, delight in the anguish and gnashing of teeth that no doubt ensues from those individuals who throughout the years have taken swipes at Carole Middleton. Which is one of the reasons why I love moments like this. Carole, enjoying an afternoon at Ascot in 2012, giggling away with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. (I guess we see where Harry gets it...)
Closing off this installment with one final horse sporting event, I could not leave out her summery and winsome appearance at the Epsom Derby. I really loved this ensemble. Carole favors structured for these more formal events, but in this case she added this soft chiffon and it was a lovely success. Brown and delicate pink, and the light jacket were the perfect combo for a more relaxed afternoon at Epsom:
Not all Carole's clothes are identified. If you can identify any piece that I have not, please pop into the comments share your wealth of knowledge !
Part II on Carole Middleton and her style coming soon...