Kate Middleton's Fashion Faux-Pas That Garnered A Complaint From An Entire Country

Fashion diplomacy is the idea that what a political or royal figure wears can send subtle messages of support and recognition. Queen Elizabeth was, well, the queen of fashion diplomacy. Her coronation dress was embroidered with symbols from Commonwealth countries as well as the United Kingdom, and when she was out and about on tours of the Commonwealth, her clothing and jewelry would often pay homage to the host country.

Her granddaughter-in-law Catherine, Princess of Wales has taken a cue from the late monarch. Kate's outfits and jewelry are always specifically chosen for the occasion, and they often have a deeper meaning. For her 2022 visit to Jamaica, she wore a hummingbird brooch that had been a gift to the queen when she visited the country in 2002, per Town & Country. Additionally, Kate's glittering gown was one of her most glamorous looks on the trip, and the green frock paid homage to the Jamaican flag. But as fantastic as Kate so often looks when she's out and about, she has had some mishaps over the years with inappropriate outfits. There was one fashion incident, in particular, that led to an entire nation becoming upset, as the dress was from another country.

Kate Middleton wore a dress from a country she wasn't visiting

While the 2022 Caribbean royal tour was the most recent one for Prince William and Kate Middleton, it was hardly their first. In 2012, they spent nine days on the Diamond Jubilee tour, visiting Borneo, Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Australia. It was in the Solomon Islands that Kate's fashion faux-pas took place.

Kate wore a brightly colored summer frock for an outing, but it turns out the beautiful dress didn't represent the Solomon Islands. Rather, it was from a designer in the Cook Islands, which are nearly 3,000 miles away, per Daily Mail. People in the government quickly noticed, and a statement from a Solomon Islands government official expressed their frustration at the situation. Their understanding had been that Kate would be wearing something that represented the Solomon Islands. Kate and her team had to respond to the mix-up.

Kate Middleton wasn't to blame for the dress mix-up

Clarence House released a statement about the mixup, stating, "The Duchess wore the dress because she believed it to be from the Solomon Islands government and thought it would be an appropriate gesture. Had she known it were from the Cook Islands it would not have been worn and she feels bad about the confusion," as noted by the Daily Mail. It turns out that it doesn't seem like it was really Kate's fault.

The dress, as well as the patterned shirt that Prince William was wearing, had been laid out on their beds. As such, Kate thought that the dress was intended for her to wear for the evening event. But it was Kethie Sunders, a member of the welcoming committee in the Solomon Islands, who left the clothing out for the royal couple, as well as some additional gifts. Prince William was supposed to be wearing a locally provided green shirt instead of the blue one that he wore to the event, according to the Daily Mail. 

The Government House in the Solomon Islands included in a statement that Sunders was to blame for the incident, stating, "It was completely inappropriate for her to go to Their Royal Highnesses' room, which she filled with various things, causing confusion," per The Independent. Thankfully, it sounds like there were no lingering bad feelings toward Kate. Clarence House's official statement went on to note, "it was understood that the Duke and Duchess intended to wear traditional Solomon Island clothes and this was appreciated. No offence was caused," per Vogue UK