Kate Middleton's Outfit For Prince Philip's Funeral Has A Deeper Meaning Than You Think

Kate Middleton is one of 30 guests in attendance at Prince Philip's funeral, and appropriately, she donned an all-black outfit, designed by Roland Mouret, to mourn the royal family patriarch (via Hello!). Upon leaving for St. George's Chapel in Windsor, the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing a black hat — complete with black netting — and face mask as well (via Daily Mail and Harper's Bazaar). Meanwhile, eagle-eyed royal watchers may have noticed Kate is also adorned in some familiar jewelry, which has a deep meaning for the family.

Indeed, Prince William's wife was seen wearing the Queen's pearl necklace — which is said to be from her personal collection. This is not the first time Kate has worn the elegant piece, having also accessorized with the choker in 2017 at a birthday celebration for Margaret Thatcher, according to Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, someone else very special to both Kate and the royal family has also worn the pearl necklace in the past. But just who it is may surprise those who have followed the drama that has plagued the British royals for several decades.

Kate Middleton's jewelry for the funeral has been worn on many meaningful occasions

Princess Diana, who was greatly at odds with the royal family almost from the start by all accounts, also wore Queen Elizabeth's Japanese pearl choker for a banquet in 1982, shortly after she married Prince Charles according to Daily Mail. Of course, her mother-in-law at the time lent it to her for the occasion.

Now, Kate wearing the storied pearls is a show of solidarity with Queen Elizabeth, according to Express. The Duchess of Cambridge put her own spin on the look, pairing the meaningful piece with diamond and pearl drop earrings, which according to Hello! are also from the monarch's personal collection.

Kate's outfit for the funeral ties her to Diana, and to the sovereign, on a solemn day commemorating the life of the longest serving consort in British history, Prince Philip (via NPR) but it also makes a statement about health and family.

Princess Kate's outfit acknowledges Britain's health situation

Princess Kate's outfit additionally acknowledges the current status of Britain's public health. The United Kingdom was hit early on by the coronavirus pandemic, dropping Gross Domestic Product by 24% in April of 2020 over a two month period (via House of Commons Library). The British government then dealt with subsequent shorter lockdowns as well as the emergence of a new and more contagious virus variant. The U.K. is expected to spend $250 billion pounds over 2020-2021 and another $90 billion from 2021-2022 to mitigate this unprecedented crisis.

For these reasons, it makes sense that public compliance with health measures remains both high and popular. Over 85% of surveyed citizens report always or most often wearing a mask in public and keeping a physical distance from other in the last 2 weeks along (via Office for National Statistics). Kate's willingness to wear a mask and maintain a six foot social distance as needed (via New York Times) helps indicate her strong support for the continued health of her constituents.

And while her outfit accepts modern times, the entire ensemble is driven by a strict tradition that acknowledges her as one of the 30 core family members in attendance at the personal ceremony.

The royal family follows a stringent dress code

The royal family follows a highly stringent dress code, and adherence to this code itself is almost a badge of "royalness." Women are expected to wear black knee-length day dresses and formal hats at funerals (via CNN). Men are expected to black morning coats with medals, a departure from traditional military uniform in a nod to Prince Harry's recently changed royal status. Family members' adherence to this strict dress code helps mark Princess Kate as a true royal, whether she was born a princess or made one. It is a mark of family and belonging, as well as respect.

And while the strictness of a mourning wardrobe for royals is highly traditional, the expression of the wardrobe has changed over time. Simple and stately jewelry such as the pearl necklace can change over time for new adornments. Masks have been added to accommodate public health. Veil length has changed between the Queen's father's passing and her husbands, and even colors have adapted. What remains the same is the sign of honor and respect as loved ones salute the departed at their funeral.