The Duchess of Cambridge has ignited a debate on social media about whether or not she was right not to wear black at last night’s BAFTA awards.
Before the event, speculation had been mounting about whether the Duchess would show her sartorial support to the Time’s Up movement by choosing to wear all black.
But on the night, Kate opted to side-step the issue by wearing a deep khaki-hued dress by designer Jenny Packham.
Tradition dictates that the Royal Family avoid anything that could be construed as a political statement, and donning black could have been perceived as a breach of protocol.
But in the lead up to the event fans had been wondering if the Duchess might wear a patterned black gown which could demonstrate she backed the Time’s Up movement, while at the same time respecting the royal rules.
Instead the 36-year-old, who is pregnant with her third child, chose to wear the green empire line dress. But possibly in a subtle nod to the movement the Duchess opted to accessorise her floor-skimming frock with a black bow above her bump, with matching black shoes and clutch handbag.
The fact that Kate hadn’t worn black was accentuated by the fact that nearly the entire audience had opted to shun colour to throw their weight behind the movement.
Some fans immediately took to Twitter to voice their disappointment in the fact that the Duchess hadn’t stuck to the unofficial dress code.
“Disappointed in #KateMiddleton #DuchessofCambridge not wearing black to the #EEBAFTAs,” one women wrote. “It’s not a political thing. Its a woman thing! #TimesUp #StandTogether”
— Nikki Long (@Nikki_L87) February 18, 2018
“I know the Royals aren’t supposed to get involved with “protests” or anything… but would it really have been THAT bad for Kate Middleton to wear black???” another tweeted.
I know the Royals aren’t supposed to get involved with “protests” or anything… but would it really have been THAT bad for Kate Middleton to wear black??? #BAFTAs2018
— Rachel McGrath (@RachelMcGrath) February 18, 2018
She is, however, wearing a black ribbon under her bust. Maybe a small concession?
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) February 18, 2018
“There is nothing political about standing up to sexual assault. This should’ve been an easy choice for them to make, and they failed.”
There is nothing political about standing up to sexual assault. This should’ve been an easy choice for them to make, and they failed.
— diane alston (@dianelyssa) February 18, 2018
But others understood why the Duchess hadn’t worn black.
“I think the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress is a smart move. Not black, so in line with protocol, but dark enough to be a nod of support,” one woman wrote.
Others believed it was unfair to target the Duchess and assume her sartorial decision meant a lack of support. “Feminists show their true colours by bullying the Duchess of Cambridge because she chose not to get into politics and not wear black. This has gone too far,” one user wrote.
— Biankaguzzyb (@infomother) February 18, 2018
That was a view echoed by Piers Morgan.
“Duchess of Cambridge being abused by ‘feminists’ on Twitter for not wearing a black dress at tonight’s #BAFTAS. Apparently, she’s not allowed to exercise HER feminist right to wear whatever colour dress she chooses,” the ‘Good Morning Britain presenter’ wrote.
Duchess of Cambridge being abused by ‘feminists’ on Twitter for not wearing a black dress at tonight’s #BAFTAS.
Apparently, she’s not allowed to exercise HER feminist right to wear whatever colour dress she chooses. pic.twitter.com/dJrldJpBph
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 18, 2018
Personally, i think the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress was a classy choice for the #BAFTA2018 . Bullying, yes, bullying people to toe the line with a movement is the first step to fascism, whatever the cause. In the words of Mrs Pankhurst: pic.twitter.com/dk0AREMv6x
— Russell Sansom (@bistoboy1) February 19, 2018
“Personally, i think the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress was a classy choice for the
#BAFTA2018,” another user agreed. “Bullying, yes, bullying people to toe the line with a movement is the first step to fascism, whatever the cause.”
Prior to the event, which turned out to be one of the most politically minded British awards ceremonies in recent years, an open letter was published which received the backing of almost 200 British and Irish stars pledging their support for a new fund to help women facing sexual harassment and abuse at work.
Several actresses also brought feminist activists along to the event and a group of female protesters wearing ‘Time’s Up Theresa’ T-shirts took to the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Male attendees also showed their support by wearing black, like Prince William, with many also opting to wear ‘Time’s Up’ badges in their lapels.
Meanwhile host Joanna Lumley, the awards first female host since 2001, threw her own weight behind the cause by hailing the Time’s Up movement as a continuation of the ‘dogged determination’ of the suffragettes 100 years earlier.
The Duchess wasn’t the only one not to wear black to the event, however.
Frances McDormand, who won the Best Actress award for Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri, wore a patterned red frock to last night’s awards, explaining during her acceptance speech: “I have a little trouble with compliance.”
“I want you to know that I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black. I appreciate a well-organised act of civil disobedience,” she said to huge applause.
So was the Duchess right not to comply with the unofficial dress code?
Both choices carried consequences, which means Kate was in something of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
By choosing the dark forest green Packham gown she opted to wear, she managed to find some sort of middle ground. It was dark enough that she didn’t stand out in a sea of black, but it also respected the monarchy’s non-political policy.
But then again diplomatic dressing is her forte.
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