Kate Middleton's Best Looks Of 2022

To say that it's been Princess Catherine's year is a bit of an understatement. She's long been a royal favorite, garnering an enviable approval rating and looking glamorous while doing so, but 2022 marked a significant shift in her status within the firm. After Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, Prince Charles immediately became King Charles III, and Prince William took his place as the heir apparent. In his first address as monarch, the king bestowed new titles (Prince and Princess of Wales) to William and Catherine. With these changes, a new royal era is dawning.

The last time the Princess of Wales title was used publicly was when it belonged to Diana Spencer. Although entitled to use the title, Camilla recognized that it was so intricately tied to Diana that she didn't use it out of respect and public opinion.

Catherine has often been referred to as the royal family's secret weapon, as her public persona and worldwide support are relatively unmatched. Given her popularity — and her new title — Catherine's fashion has even gotten an upgrade. These are Catherine's best looks from 2022.

Her appearance at the State Banquet solidified her place as Princess of Wales

In case you're new here, titles are a big deal in the royal family. They designate importance and seniority — and King Charles III's decision to give the Princess of Wales title to Catherine was no mistake. She and Prince William are the future of the monarchy. When Catherine stepped out for her first formal event as the Princess of Wales, she looked every bit the part.

When honoring South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa at the state dinner in November 2022, Catherine dazzled in a Jenny Packham white cape-style gown with jewel detailing along the shoulders (via Vogue). The crisp white bodice was clean and impactful, yet the glimmering details gave the dress just enough sparkle for a princess.

Topping off the look was the Lover's Knot Tiara, a favorite of Catherine's. This choice was rather touching as it honored royal lineage and history. The Lover's Knot Tiara was often worn by Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited it from Queen Mary. Elizabeth loaned it to Diana Spencer on a number of occasions and, given Diana's immense public presence, it became quite synonymous with the then-Princess of Wales, making Catherine's choice that much more meaningful. When William and Catherine got married, the queen gifted the Lover's Knot Tiara to Catherine. It's all very full circle.

Catherine looked regal at the Earthshot Prize Awards

People certainly paid attention when William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales, dropped into the United States. When visiting the city of Boston for the Earthshot Prize Awards in December 2022, the couple dazzled. While William donned a tux, Catherine opted for a rented gown by Solace London. Not only did the princess choose a relatively affordable option, but its color and her jewelry choice were nods to two royals who came before her.

"The green dress was such an eye-popping color, it had so many echoes of the late Queen to me," Bethan Holt, The Daily Telegraph's fashion director, told People of Kate's eye-catching viridescent gown. "To do something so unexpected and carry it off, it was such an amazing fashion moment."

Such a vibrant green was a staple in the late Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe, and the inclusion of the beloved emerald choker — a favorite of Diana Spencer's — caught a ton of attention too. "Everyone had been craving a big jewelry moment since she became the Princess of Wales, wanting to see some amazing new piece of jewelry from the royal vaults, and I think she delivered that at a really impactful moment," Holt assessed.

She stunned in a white pantsuit during a trip to Jamaica

When Catherine, Princess of Wales, first hit the royal scene, she was a fan of what can only be described as the pretty girl look. Lots of skirts, dresses, and reserved silhouettes — she did her part to play by the rules. But you know what they say about rules — once you know how to play by them, it's time to break them. Catherine has certainly embodied a new era of fashion that now involves pantsuits.

One of her best 2022 looks came when she met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica alongside her husband, Prince William. Instead of opting for a dress or gown, Catherine stunned in a bright white pantsuit by Alexander McQueen — perhaps a nod to her wedding dress that was designed by the same iconic fashion house. Catherine paired these suit with a soft orange top from Ridley London, which would set you back about $300. By adding a pop of color, Catherine broke up the very professional look while also maintaining her new aesthetic — she means business.

She paired her suit with a vintage orange clutch purse from Willow Hilson Vintage, a boutique in Cheltenham, and styled her hair in her classic loose curls. Simply put, this look was off the charts.

The Princess of Wales channeled Cinderella while in the Bahamas

When we think of the term "princess," Cinderella probably comes to mind. The iconic Disney character made so many little children's royal dreams come true, and her blue dress was the stuff of fantasy. In her own royal fairytale moment, Catherine, Princess of Wales, stunned in an ice-blue gown at a reception in the Bahamas — proving she is the Cinderella of our modern world.

As noted by Harper's Bazaar, the event in question was hosted by the Bahamas' Governor General and was quite the affair. Prince William looked lovely as ever in his velvet tuxedo, but it was Catherine who stole the show in her Phillipa Lepley gown. The satin dress, which consisted of an intricate bodice and draped neckline, was elevated by the shoulder tie details. The skirt billowed into a full train, and Catherine's poise made the dress much more ethereal.

As for accessories, Catherine opted for a clutch by Lulu Guinness and incredible pumps by Gianvito Rossi. If she didn't already look like Cinderella, the Swarovski crystals adorning her heels essentially turned them into glass slippers. No pumpkins here — Catherine was simply stunning.

Catherine looked sleek and stylish at the Top Gun premiere

Raise your hand if "Top Gun: Maverick" was a standout experience for you in 2022. While the film was exceptional, it was Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge at the time, who stole the show when the film premiered in London.

Catherine simply stunned as she and Prince William hit the red carpet in Leicester Square to catch all the action. She wore a black gown with a bold white Bardot neckline by Roland Mouret, as noted by Vogue. Her sleek hair and dazzling makeup brought the entire look together. Though we've seen Catherine in bright colors, voluptuous curls, and delicate ensembles, there's just something about the royal in classic formal wear — and this Mouret dress really hit the mark.

Prince William and Catherine were joined by Maverick himself, Tom Cruise, at the premiere event in London. He and Catherine even made the headlines. As noted by Hello! Magazine, the "Top Gun" star broke royal protocol when he took Catherine's hand to help her up the stars of the theater. As royal aficionados know, protocol dictates that a member of the royal family should not be touched unless they initiate contact.

Catherine wowed in cobalt blue on Commonwealth Day

Though we think of Great Britain as quite a small island, it's actually the central hub of a 54-country-wide realm known as the Commonwealth. The monarchy stands as the ruling family over all these countries — including Canada and Australia. Although they hold little to no political power, the royals stand as figureheads in an important capacity. Commonwealth Day, the celebration of the lands that make up the ruled territory as a whole, is a notable event for the royals. As noted by Harper's Bazaar, it was a day the late queen held dear. The event had been canceled in years past due to the pandemic, but when the 2022 event rolled around, the royals came out in style — Princess Catherine included.

When Catherine attended Commonwealth Day on March 14, she looked positively regal. Opting for a stunning blue coat dress from designer Catherine Walker, she paired the look with a hat from Lock & Co and pumps from Rupert Sanderson. Not only was the royal blue a nod to the Commonwealth flag, but it was a subtle tribute to the people of Ukraine, who have been locked in warfare with Russia for the majority of the year. Catherine also donned a sapphire necklace and earring set formerly owned by Diana Spencer — which Catherine also wore when she met Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, back in 2020.

Joining her on Commonwealth Day was Prince William, of course, as well as the couple's two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who were dressed in blue.

Catherine paid tribute to Princess Diana at the Royal Ascot

Princess Catherine's wardrobe often pays tribute to other royals. It can be as subtle as her choice of jewelry or as apparent as an outfit replication. At the 2022 Royal Ascot rolled around, it was clear to every royal watcher that the then-Duchess of Cambridge sourced inspiration from her late mother-in-law, Diana Spencer.

As noted by Vogue, Catherine opted for a gorgeous Alessandra Rich polka dot dress featuring a high neckline, tapered sleeves, and a fitted skirt. She topped off the look with a hat from Sally-Ann Provan and was the picture of elegance. Not only did the ensemble give "Pretty Woman" vibes, but it was nearly a carbon copy of Diana's outfit that she wore to a horseracing event all the way back in 1986.

As detailed by People, the late princess wore a Victor Edelstein polka dot dress, featuring classic 1980s shoulders and a fitted bodice, to the Epsom Derby. She paired her look with a coordinating hat from Frederick Fox. She also wore her classic pearl drop-down earrings, which Catherine has also been known to wear. Not only did Catherine get the polka dot memo, but the hat she chose for the 2022 Royal Ascot was of the exact same shape — slightly diagonal, and just gracing the top of the head.

Catherine glittered at the South Africa State Banquet

After Catherine, Princess of Wales, stepped out for the South Africa State Banquet, royal watchers knew that they were in for a sartorial treat. Catherine's looks have always been great, but there's something about her wardrobe as the Princess of Wales that has captivated audiences far and wide — she is the modern royal, equally timeless and trendy.

When the annual Diplomatic Corps reception arrived on the calendar, the Princess of Wales stepped out in a Jenny Packham gown of a rich red hue, dazzling the crowds and the cameras alike. As noted by the Daily Mail, Catherine's gown featured gems throughout the entire bodice. The royal paired the look with the royal family's Lotus Flower Tiara. This tiara, in particular, is both delicate and stately (and was a favorite of Princess Margaret's, the previous owner). The Princess of Wales also wore diamond earrings that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, and she completed her gorgeous ensembles with the Royal Victorian Order sash and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, which was pinned to her left shoulder as is customary.

Not only did Catherine make a statement with her gown for the evening, but it was the first time in three years that diplomats and ambassadors from other countries were welcomed back to the palace due to the pandemic. If she wanted to make herself known as the Princess of Wales at this very moment, Catherine did not disappoint.

The princess wore polka dots to pay respect to Prince Philip

When Prince Philip sadly died in April 2021, the pandemic prevented memorials and tributes from operating at full capacity. As such, when the anniversary of his death arrived on the 2022 calendar, a memorial event was arranged to finally pay full tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.

As noted by Harper's Bazaar, many members of the royal family were in attendance, and Catherine, then the Duchess of Cambridge, stepped out in an appropriate yet dazzling outfit. She chose a well-fitted black Alessandra Rich dress featuring small white polka dots. Black was a mindful touch given the sadness of the event, but as it was not a funeral, per se, the touch of white added some lightness to the look. She finished her ensemble with a Lock & Co hat, a pair of black pumps, black gloves, and her beloved pearl drop-down earrings that she inherited from her late mother-in-law.

The event marked one of the last occasions in which the queen played an active role in planning, as Harper's Bazaar noted, as she was unable to provide the stately funeral service her husband deserved at the time of his passing. Joining Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine was Prince William and the couple's two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The crowd-pleasing and notoriously cheeky Prince Louis remained at home during the more solemn occasion.

She looked elegant and professional during a visit to Boston

As a senior member of the royal family, Catherine, Princess of Wales, is a patron to a number of charities. She has spearheaded one in particular as her champion cause — childhood education. She has made a number of visits to children-based organizations in the United Kingdom, and when she and Prince William visited Boston in 2022, she brought her dedication to the cause with her.

As noted by the Daily Mail, Catherine visited Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child during her trip — and looked stunning while doing so. Wearing a custom collared dress from designer Emilia Wickstead, Catherine was the picture of professional elegance — approachable, appropriate, yet perfectly tailored and poised.

The Emilia Wickstead dress was altered to include long sleeves and features a subtle black and blue pattern and a belted waist. It fit the princess to a T.  Catherine completed her outfit with a leather bag in a gorgeous blue from Mulberry and kept her hair down and in subtle waves. She opted for a pair of gold hoop earrings, which were a bold choice for the princess, and a pair of classic black pumps.

Catherine dazzled in a Mouret pantsuit

Some commotion for the suit, please. While we certainly have a lot of favorite looks from 2022, the Princess of Wales looked absolutely ravishing in this one. As part of her Boston trip (where she really pulled out the fashion stops), Catherine visited the clean-tech incubator Greentown Labs. There, she stunned in a plum-colored pantsuit and a lavallière-collared pink blouse, channeling Michelle Obama at the inauguration vibes. Simply put, we love to see it.

As detailed by People, the suit in question was from designer Roland Mouret — clearly a favorite of the princess'. Bethan Holt, The Daily Telegraph's fashion director, told People that not only was the outfit a perfect fit for Catherine, but it evoked a new era of her fashion choices.

"Her new penchant for trouser suits is great because I think it puts her on a more equal footing with William," Holt explained. "Visually when you see them getting off the plane together, both in tailoring, both ready to get to work, there's no decorative duchess anymore — it's the power princess." Holt continued, saying, "She's a decade or more into her royal life, she's really found her feet and she's going for it. She's embracing the power of royal fashion!"