Why does the Duchess of Cambridge wear so much red?

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The Duchess of Cambridge wearing red
The Duchess of Cambridge often wears the colour red on royal duty. (Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge has an enviable wardrobe with outfits covering all weathers and social occasions, but there is one hue she is particularly fond of: red.

In fact, you’ll find that many of the duchess' iconic fashion moment involves her wearing the vibrant scarlet colour.

As recently as this weekend, Kate, 40, stepped out wearing a vibrant red Eponine London coat during a visit to Cardiff Castle as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations over the four-day weekend.

The duchess has featured the colour red on her roster of public-facing outfits for years, following in the footsteps of a long line of members of the Royal Family who have done so.

The Queen wore red to thank volunteers and key workers from Windsor Castle during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (Getty Images)
The Queen wore red to thank volunteers and key workers from Windsor Castle during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (Getty Images)

The Queen herself has worn red on a number of occasions, often to public appearances with a particular significance. She wore a red coat dress in a moving tribute to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Princess Diana would often opt for the scarlet hue for public appearances, and many of her most iconic outfits are in fact the vibrant red shade.

Perhaps taking inspiration from the Queen herself, who reportedly likes to wear vibrant shades so that she can be seen from the crowd, Diana chose red time and time again, from before she entered into the Royal Family, even until after her divorce from Prince Charles was finalised.

Duchess of Cambridge Princess Diana Red
The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana both have opted for red for public appearances on a number of occasions. (Getty Images)

And it looks like the Duchess of Cambridge has followed in the long line of royals opting for the eye-catching colour over the years, carving out her own personal style in the process.

"While opting for red aligns behaviourally with royal standards the Duchess uses the colour to express character in a way not dissimilar to how Princess Diana used fashion in an iconic way," says colour psychologist Lee Chambers.

Though it is certainly a look she rocks well, red isn't necessarily the easiest of colours to pull off, so why has it become such a wardrobe staple for the royal?

Duchess of Cambridge Princess Diana Red
The Duchess of Cambridge took a leaf out of Princess Diana's book in a red coat dress for a visit to Wales over the Platinum Jubilee weekend in 2022. (Getty Images)

Wearing red can have a large amount of significance, says Chambers. As a colour, red is highly charged and very warm, while at the same time drawing the eye more than any other colour, with the exception of yellow.

"It gives an intense energy and promotes social behaviour, while giving an internal feeling of power, health and courage," he adds.

From pillar-box red winter coats and matching hats, to chic, crimson coloured evening gowns and smart, fire-engine red blazers, here's why Kate can't help but wear red pieces from her royal clothes rail.

Watch: Duchess of Cambridge opts for red coat dress for Jubilee day trip to Wales

Four reasons why red is the Duchess of Cambridge's go-to colour

It is steeped in regal history

There are many historical ties between the colour red and royalty. According to The Secret History of the Color Red, the colour red featured heavily in Chinese royal ceremonies, with many Chinese Emperors wearing red robes, symbolising their royal power.

"Whilst Kings, Popes and people in authority have always used red as a symbol of power and distinction, British royal, Kate Middleton also has a penchant for dresses and coats in a vibrant, 'Riding Hood' red," Potro explains.

It's a way of literal dressing

The duchess is well-known for her diplomatic dressing, and regularly tries to connect her outfit to the event she’s attending, subtly paying tribute to whatever country, or institution, she's visiting with her clothes.

The Duchess of Cambridge's red visited Cardiff Castle in 2022. (Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge's red Eponine coat dress was a subtle tribute to the host nation of Wales when she visited Cardiff Castle in 2022. (Getty Images)

The colour red has a specific significance in Wales, for example. Not only appearing as the central red dragon on the country's flag, the bright scarlet hue shows up in Welsh fabrics throughout history and forms part of the national Welsh dress, making the red hue subtle tribute from Kate to the host nation on a number of occasions.

It makes her stand out from the crowd

The Queen's brightly coloured wardrobe is deliberately chosen, so her royal fans can easily spot her in a crowd, and the Duchess opting for stand-out red could be an attempt to follow suit

"She certainly catches the eye with her liberal use of red," explains Chambers. "But with her demeanour and approach, it doesn't shout 'look at me' but rather whispers 'take notice'.

Personal brand and colour stylist Melanie Potro agrees that red is a powerful colour that people can't help but be drawn to.

Wearing red means the Duchess of Cambridge can be easily spotted in a crowd. (Getty Images)
Wearing red means the Duchess of Cambridge can be easily spotted in a crowd. (Getty Images)

"One thing is clear: if you choose to wear the colour red, even in little doses - for lipstick, a hairband, or shoes - you know you will stand out," she explains.

She just loves the colour red

While it seems that there could be a deeper meaning to the Duchess regularly turning to a crimson hue, Potro believes that one of the reasons she so regularly turns to the colour, is that it looks good on her.

"She just loves the colour red and enjoys the attention that comes with it," she explains. "It goes well with her complexion and brown hair and paired with brown accessories, it’s warm and welcoming.

"Just think of the red dress with the white lace Peter Pan collar she wore after the birth of Prince Louis, adds Potro. "She stepped out, looking proud and healthy with her newborn."

The best Duchess of Cambridge red outfits

June 2022

Duchess of Cambridge visit Cardiff Castle
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a red Eponine London coat dress during a visit to Cardiff Castle over the Platinum Jubilee weekend in 2022. (Getty Images)

October 2021

Duchess of Cambridge wearing red Taking Action on Addiction campaign in 2021
The Duchess of Cambridge wore an all-red ensemble which featured a scarlet-coloured pleated Christopher Kane skirt with a matching fitted polo-neck, to attend a function at the Forward Trust to launch the charity's Taking Action on Addiction campaign in 2021. (Getty Images)

June 2021

Duchess of Cambridge red Zara blazer Euro 2020
The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a red Zara blazer to watch England play Germany in the delayed Euros 2020 tournament which took place in June 2021. (Getty Images)

March 2020

The Duchess of Cambridge  at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020. (Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge chose a red coat and matching hat at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020. (Getty Images)

January 2020

Duchess of Cambridge red dress Buckingham Palace in January 2020
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a stunning sparkling red dress at a reception at Buckingham Palace in January 2020. (Getty Images)

December 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a seasonal red puffer jacket on a visit Peterley Manor Farm in December 2019. (Getty Images)
It's not just formal occasions that the Duchess of Cambridge wears red. She wore a seasonal red puffer jacket on a visit Peterley Manor Farm in December 2019. (Getty Images)

March 2019

Duchess of cambridge Commonwealth Day service 2019
The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a double-breasted coat dress for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in 2019. (Getty Images)

April 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Lindo Wing with her newborn son Prince Louis of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018. (Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a red dress as she left the Lindo Wing with her newborn son Prince Louis of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018. (Getty Images)

July 2017

Duchess of Cambridge wore an off-the-shoulder red dress for the Queen's Birthday Party
The Duchess of Cambridge wore an off-the-shoulder red dress for the Queen's Birthday Party at the British Ambassadorial Residence in Berlin, in July 2017. (Getty Images)

September 2016

Duchess if Cambridge wore a red dress at Government House in Canada on September 27, 2016. (Getty Images)
One of her most recognisable looks, the Duchess if Cambridge wore a red dress and the Queen's maple leaf brooch for a reception at Government House in Canada on September 27, 2016. (Getty Images)

December 2016

Pictured with other members of the royal family at a reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace in December 2016. (Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a stunning red gown for a reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace in December 2016. (Getty Images)
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