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Kate Wears McQueen for Visit to Bletchley Park

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We certainly have been spoiled this week(end) with a string of public engagements from our favorite princess. Kate arrived at Bletchley Park this morning a little after 11am to tour the newly renovated facility that served as the Government Code and Cypher School during World War II. 

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park has some very cool wartime history:
During the Second World War [Bletchley Park] regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers...Properly used, the German Enigma and Lorentz ciphers should have been virtually unbreakable, but flaws in German cryptographic procedures, and poor discipline among the personnel carrying them out, created vulnerabilities which made Bletchley's attacks just barely feasible. These vulnerabilities, however, could have been remedied by relatively simple improvements in enemy procedures, and such changes would certainly have been implemented had Germany any hint of Bletchley's success. Thus the intelligence Bletchley produced was considered wartime Britain's "Ultra secret" – higher even than the normally highest classification Most Secret – and security was paramount. Few outside Bletchley knew its mission, and even fewer (inside or outside) understood the breadth of that mission and the extent of its success. All staff signed the Official Secrets Act (1939) and a 1942 security warning emphasized the importance of discretion even within Bletchley itself: "Do not talk at meals. Do not talk in the transport. Do not talk travelling. Do not talk in the billet. Do not talk by your own fireside. Be careful even in your Hut..."
If you watch Foyle's War, you probably remember one of the episodes revolved around a secret code breaking house, which was modeled after Bletchley Park. If you don't watch Foyle's should start. 

Kate has a family connection to Bletchley Park--her grandmother (Michael's mother) worked at Bletchley Park during the war. Clarence House tweeted a photo of Valerie Middleton during the morning. I think you can see a resemblance to Kate's dad around the eyes. Victoria Murphy of The Mirror reported that Kate said she asked her grandmother about her time at Bletchley Park, but that her grandmother revealed very little, even so many years later.

Below, former Hut 16, now restored as Hut 6, was the hut where Kate's grandmother worked:

Hut 6 in Disrepair
Hut 6 Restored

While touring the newly renovated site, Kate had the opportunity to visit with a woman who worked with her grandmother in those pivotal years. 

Clarence House Twitter

Clarence House Instagram

It is old home week for Kate's closet. We already saw several recycles from the first year or so of her marriage, including the lace McQueen and the blue Christopher Kane. She really dug into the archives this morning when she recycled the McQueen military-inspired ensemble from her visit to Birmingham in August of 2011.

William and Kate in Birmingham, UK August 2011

Thankfully, I love this, and I am fairly sure it is wildly popular with the rest of you as well! It is certainly a win. I wasn't over the moon about it the first time she wore it, but it grew on me quickly and I am now a fervent fan. Kate really looks fantastic in the pencil skirt, and the slits in the front give it just the edge that the hemline needs. Again, Kate is sticking with the lightly more demure hem-length that she has been favoring since the tour.

Kate at Bletchley Park June 2014
In terms of styling, today's appearance was almost identical to the debut. Kate wore the same shoes, and only changed her earrings and added a clutch. This outfit is so flattering on Kate it should come with a warning for your credit card--you will be heading to the store to stock up on a few more pencils yourself.

It was a fun event and I hope you watch the video from The Telegraph (found above) with raw footage of Kate trying out the morse code machine as well as greeting the veterans of the "Bletchley Front" of WWII. As always, she exuded grace, charm, and warmth.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait until the 5th to see the Duchess again...


  1. It must have been a very emotional visit to her, nicely done.
    I love this outfit it is one of her best she has ever worn at least for me.
    Though I cant go past the heavy eyeliner OMG it is way tooo much. Her parting of hair does not do her any good, she constantly fiddles with it. I do not know when she gonna realise it would suit her better to style it differently. She has great hair but it makes her every move childish for me. I want the confident, stylish Kate back!! A.

    1. So agree, kick the old-looking eyeliner, cut off at least 6-8" of the hair, and style it so you're not playing with it! But I doubt she'll do any of it...

  2. The problem that I feel is here is that there is NO CHANGE. It could be 2011, so hard to tell the difference. I think she should have put her hair up to give it some more fun.

    1. I can tell u the difference in some photos in 2011 she seems skinnier which sounds funny I know. I loved her a bit more weight, now she is thin too thin for me. A.

    2. I think she was skinnier in 2011 right after her marriage.

    3. I would have liked to see a little more change, too. Her hair in an updo would have been perfect. I don't mind recycles, but I do like some variation, I agree.

  3. This has been such an interesting post!! Great event! I'm thrilled by historical events, even more if ancestors are involved. It's so exciting! Thanks for the extra information.

    I like the military look on her. I love contrasting colours. It's one of my favourites and a welcome difference to the coats and A-line dresses.
    I agree with A. 11:05: She looks very thin. It seems she has lost her 'mommy weight' completely (I read somewhere she was proud of it - aha....) I'm jealous and will stop eating any chocolate from tomorrow on.^^ To be honest: I hope she's not overdrawing. She looked nice and healthy with a little more weight.

    1. I think Kate has a weight where she is comfortable and she is very good and getting down to that weight and maintaining it. She certainly has lost her baby-weight, but I don't think she is too thin. Nor, do I think she is as thin as she was for her wedding. Ultimately, there is a wide selection of acceptable weights. As long as she is not suffering physically, I think it is good she finds whatever weight she likes to be at. It will make her happier and more confident.

  4. a great event and place for Kate to visit, but that is one of my least favorite outfits. hated it the 1st time, don't like it any better the 2nd time. the skirt is ok, but that blouse is just awful :/

    1. I didn't particularly like this outfit the first time around, and it hasn't gotten any better. The slits are too high to be appropriate, but -I saw a pic of the outfit with the blouse outside of the skirt, and it was really styling. That might have saved it for me.

    2. I didn't like it at first, either, but wow it has grown on me. Maybe you will love it on the third wear. ;)

  5. Hi Jane,
    IWhen I saw this outfit the first time in 2011 I didn't like it because she wore it to the wrong event. It was about the riots and wearing a very expensive outfit was in my eyes wrong. It's the only faux pas she made as a duchess. But now I love it. It's the pencil skirt and that collar blue!
    She looks so good in blue and white.

    I hope she will show up at wimbledon. And maybe a family picture on George his birthday??? Let's hope so!
    Keep doing what you're doing because I love this blog!
    Alexa , Holland

    1. I am so hoping she will come to wimbledon, but I am afraid after all the negative press about the renovations she will skip it. We shall see.
      Thanks for your comments about the blog. I am so happy you enjoy it and come back often to read it. xoxo, Jane

  6. This would have been a great day for her to go somehere this significant knowing that her grandmother and great aunt had been so involved with it. How very cool!! It would have been so nice to meet women who had worked with her grandmother as well.

    I too dislike this outfit. It has not got any better the second time round. I dislike the buttons on the stomach area and the blouse looks off to me. I agree with some of the other comments about when recycling something must be a bit different. Change the hair or all the accessories - just something to shake it up. In saying that Kate just might really feel good in it as it is, but for me its ho hum, nothin speical.


  7. This is a good opportunity to mention how a nother code breaking effort happened in the USA's war with Japan
    during WWII...The Navaho Indian Codetalkers relayed messages between forces in their native language. The Japanese were never able to translate it. The last surviving
    Codetalker recently passed away.
    We clearly owe so many so much for securing the freedom that we enjoy.

    1. Thank you for this reminder. These men were so instrumental in preserving our freedom. I appreciate all they did for our country. Joan M.

    2. Jo and Joan, I am so happy to have such wonderful fans of this blog. Thank you for bringing this up! We do owe a great deal and I hope we are always ready to stand up and give our part to preserve freedom for the next generation.

  8. Hi Jane!
    Today I like her outfit very much. I've always loved this one but I find it suitable for this engagement much more than last time. I adore the white and blue together, the fit and the elegance of the ensemble..very professional! The skirt is long but the slits, probably not so comfy to sit down, and the blouse put into the skirt help to minimize this impression! I was sure it would have been a win for everyone today but it seems to meet different opinions. Anyway I agree with those who said that she could change something this time..probably about the hair, an half up half down would have been perfect! I see her as the exact copy of the other time but without William and with a bag! It's not a bad thing, she was beautiful last time and now, but I think it's better if you can link an outfit with an engagement!
    So interesting to read about her grandmother..I red Kate's biographies and not so many informations were written about her paternal side (or maybe I don't remember much about them!)..I remember more about her mother's family.
    Great to learn how helpful this place was during the war! It's possible to learn a lot following these engagements and with the help of your explanations! Thank you!
    Lovely videos from today! There are two long videos on ITN one of these she went up on a small stage in the garden where a man was giving a speech and she seemed to wait her moment to talk, standing next..moreover on the Daily Mirror's live coverage they wrote she would have said a few words in the next few minutes..but after nothing! I was wondering if she gave this short speech at the end or not, because there is nowhere!

  9. Love a bit of family history. But Kate needs to eat a burger. Or 10

    1. Haha, well, she seems to like her weight. As long as she doesn't drop down to an unhealthy weight she should do what feels good. :)

  10. I don't like this look for her. Too many buttons and just too fussy overall. To me, it doesn't see like something Kate would like, but obviously I'm wrong!
    I think the blouse would look so much better without the buttons and the horizontal blue strips/lines. I like the slits on the skirt, but the buttons ruin it. I like the longer skirt lengths for her and hope she will start wearing her hair up more often.

  11. Wow, what a small world. If only Ms. Valerie Middleton could have known that her grand daughter would one day be part of the Royal family! I like today's outfit but Kate is too thin. I wondered why she look so old and it may be because she looks gaunt and swallow. The heavy eye liner does not help either. She looked so beautiful with a fuller face, much more youthful.

  12. Hi Jane, thanks for such an interesting post. How special for Kate to be able to speak with a woman who worked with her grandmother and learn about the work she did during the war.

    I am of two minds about this dress. I wasn't sure it was an appropriate outfit the first time she wore it. A military look while visiting victims of a riot? I just didn't understand that. Secondly, it's a little Michael Jackson-ish to me, with all the buttons. I think either have the buttons on the blouse or on the skirt but not both. However, I thought she looked very happy during this visit, I'm sure learning about her grandmother played a large part in that.

    Lastly, I saw pictures of this visit on Popsugar and did you know that she has such long bottom eyelashes, really quite amazing!

    I hope that we don't have to wait until the 5th to see Kate again, maybe she'll surprise us with a trip to the park with George :):)

  13. What a meaningful, personal visit for Kate. Neat to see the picture of her grandmother!

    I really like her outfit. I read that Richard Palmer, the royal correspondent, mentioned the "dots and dashes" on her dress (in reference to Morse Code). She does look taller than I even thought. I thought she was more like 5' 8", but she must be taller than that if she towers over all the men while wearing not-too-high heels.

    It's great that you mentioned Foyle's War... love that series! I also love the Inspector Lewis series. The beautiful Oxford surroundings got me hooked on England, and eventually Duchess Kate!

    1. Richard's interpretation of dots and dashes for morse code is awesome! I honestly don't think she is much more than 5'8", given that we know how tall William is and we see her in heels with him, etc. She is tall, but she isn't 5'10" tall. :)

      I LOVE Foyle's War, but now will look into Inspector Lewis. That sounds great!

  14. Very Interesting post as usual Jane! Thanks for all the information and the photos. I was waiting to see Kate wearing this outfit again :)
    Well suited for the occasion :)

    Btw I put a comment to the post Kate and George at the Polo matches.(one of the last comments)
    I wanted to point out that Kate has two similar but little different stripped tops

    Most recently worn one has 3/4 sleeves with stripes up to neckline. This one only came out in Aussie -NewZealand tour.
    The other one which was worn more frequently has full sleeves and topmost part near neckline has no stripes
    check it here


    1. Hi PinkSL. I am sorry I have been slow getting back to comments. I have just been super swamped over here. Yes, she has various Breton tops. The first link when shopping is a Ralph Lauren and the one she wore in NZ was a Me + Em. She does love her stripes!!

      I thought it was a very cute outfit to visit a military installation.

  15. Agree with those who commented that she's too thin. In the instagram attributed to Clarence House, she looks like Karen Carpenter (side view)--a bit alarming.

    1. Well, she is tall and thin. She is nowhere near unhealthy yet, so...


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