It must have been a sad day in the Windsor household yesterday as the Princess of Wales came to learn that her most favoured designer, Sarah Burton, was to step down from her position as creative director for Alexander McQueen.
Having taken the reigns following McQueen’s death in 2010, Burton has held the role for more than a decade. Widely considered a safe, reliable pair of hands at the brand, her resignation has shocked and saddened many, though no more than Kate — Burton’s biggest fan.
Should you be in any doubt that Kate is a dedicated Burton fan, know that the 40-image gallery at the top of this page shows just a fraction of the times Kate has chosen to wear outfits by the designer.
Burton’s creations at McQueen have followed the Princess of Wales through all the big moments in her royal life — from her own wedding to Prince William, to that of Prince Harry and Meghan, and the sad days following the passing of the Queen, to happier times at Princess Charlotte’s christening.
In fact, Kate has worn McQueen for nearly every single Bafta appearance she’s made since becoming a royal (bar one year when she was pregnant and opted for Jenny Packham instead).
Despite being so early in her tenure, Burton’s work on Kate’s wedding dress, which featured a delicate V neckline, plenty of lace, and a nine-foot train, may go down as her magnum opus. In 2011, when the UK first laid eyes on Kate in her dress, it stunned a whole nation into believing they could pull off lace sleeves. Now, according to Google search data, Kate’s wedding dress still receives an average of 16,480 estimated monthly searches, even in 2023.
Shortly after the royal wedding, Burton reflected upon her decision to become creative director of Alexander McQueen, telling Vogue: “I definitely considered not taking this job. I was at such a loss, he was such a huge part of my life, my every day. I could finish his sentences but I didn’t know that I could begin anything, and that terrified me.” Then, referencing Kate’s dress, she added: “Out of such terrible, tragic times and from under this dark cloud came that dress.”
Kate’s love for McQueen has transcended years, trends, and geographical borders. She is so committed to Burton’s creations for McQueen that she frequently rewears them, like this year, when she reworked a white gown by the brand for the 2023 Bafta awards, jazzing it up with dark opera gloves and a sleek hair-do. Or take Kate’s McQueen tartan coat, which she has reworn on numerous public outings, including the time she played a very chic game of hockey on a visit to her former prep school, St Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire, while still wearing her heels.
Yet, it’s McQueen coats which are the Duchess of Cambridge’s bread and butter — any time you see her in a crisp, impeccably tailored long coat, there’s a high chance it is Sarah Burton for McQueen. A recent highlight came from her trip to Leeds, as Kate emerged resplendent in a deep forest-green coat by McQueen, paired with a cashmere jumper dress, brown boots, and a set of simple gold hoops.
This is Kate at her very best, which is exactly why she’ll find it so hard to hear of Burton’s departure. Bon voyage, Sarah Burton, and good luck, Kate — you’ll get through it.
Click through the gallery above for the Princess of Wales’ sbest Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen looks.