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Inside Kate Middleton's carefully curated royal tour wardrobe

Duchess Kate's bold outfit choices - what did they mean?

There's no doubt about it, the Duchess of Cambridge's plethora of outfits she sported during the Caribbean royal tour with Prince William last week were totally outstanding. The mother-of-three wore everything from vintage frocks to dazzling designer ensembles in so many different colours. Kate often wears primary shades, so observing her in pink, yellow and green was wonderful. But what did it all mean?

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We spoke to Caroline Young, the author of The Colour of Fashion: The Story of Clothes in Ten Colours. The talented writer gave us the lowdown behind the special meanings behind these colourful choices.

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Caroline explained: "On their eight-day royal visit, the Duchess of Cambridge's uplifting, block-coloured wardrobe was carefully planned to pay tribute to the traditions of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, by picking out the colours of their flags, and by choosing bright shades that blended with the natural beauty of the Caribbean.

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There's a long history of colour in clothing being used by politicians, royals and heads of state to make powerful statements and to deliver coded messages, and Kate’s clothing was no exception.

Read on to find out the meaning behind Kate's colourful wardrobe...

Blue beauty

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Kate wearing a Jenny Packham two-piece

When she arrived in Belize, Kate was dressed in a cerulean blue Jenny Packham skirt and jacket, in a shade that matches the Belize flag. Cerulean is also symbolic of new horizons, as it’s the colour of the infinite sea and sky. Nominated by Pantone as the colour of the millennium in 1999 for its peaceful, tranquil qualities, cerulean is believed to have derived from the Latin “caelulum”, meaning “heaven” or “sky”, and perhaps she’s indicating her hope that she and William can be a more progressive generation for the Royal Family.

Pretty in pink 

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Kate wore a pink dress by The Vampire's Wife

The dazzling pink gown worn to the Belize Governor General’s reception at the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech, was quite an unusual choice. Not only is it a stimulating, fresh shade of pink, but the colour is reminiscent of the pink bougainvillea found in Belize, and vibrant pink is also connected to the traditional Mayan clothing of the region.

Red and Blue-ti-ful

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Kate looked stunning in her poplin dress

Kate’s blue and red floral poplin dress, when meeting locals at a chocolate factory, also seems like a deliberate choice, as the blue and red are the colours of the Belize flag, and the floral print is similar to the intricate embroidered designs and prints of their traditional dress.

Mellow yellow

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Kate glammed up in Roksanda

The Duchess of Cambridge was careful to pay tribute to the Jamaican flag by wearing yellow and green for her arrival to and departure from the island. She touched down in a yellow gown designed by Roksanda. Not only does the marigold shade represent the gold of the flag, which stands for prosperity and the strength of the sun, but yellow represents optimism and joy. It’s a colour that grabs attention, ensuring all eyes are on the wearer, but instantly conveys happiness and a warm impression. So it’s the perfect colour for making a bold and welcoming impression on arrival.

Forest green and fabulous

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Fairytale chic in Jenny Packham

In the Jamaican flag, green is said to represent hope and agricultural resources, and Kate embraced the colour with both an emerald Jenny Packham gown for the Governor’s dinner, and an Emilia Wickstead dress when boarding the plane to depart. As well as acknowledging the country’s legacy, green has been a really popular colour for clothing over the past few years. It’s a soothing shade that offers a respite from the chaos of modern life, and an escape into a place of nature and beauty, and it also symbolises hope for the future.

Multicolured mayhem

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Kate wowed in a vintage dress

 Kate’s colourful sundress worn for a visit to Trench Town was vibrant in its combination of red, yellow and blue, and seemed more relaxed and carefree than other dresses she wore on the trip. It was similar to traditional Jamaican cotton folk dresses, known as quadrilles, and which often feature red and yellow. By wearing this dress she was definitely mindful of appearing more down-to-earth and embracing of the country’s culture.

All white!

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What a suit!

For her meeting with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, she wore an Alexander McQueen white suit worn with an orange blouse. White tends to be a high-maintenance colour, as it needs to be kept absolutely pristine, and so it projects an image of wealth and luxury. A white suit also has a tropical flavour, as it’s cooling in hot weather, and the vibrant orange really makes the outfit pop.

Turquoise time

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Kate's Emilia Wickstead frock turned heads

When she arrived in the Bahamas, her turquoise Emilia Wickstead dress seemed like a perfect choice in terms of colour. It’s reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea, and it is also a deliberate reference to the blue of the Bahamian flag. By wearing this dress, she is again acknowledging her appreciation of their status in the Commonwealth. 

MORE: Kate Middleton's top 30 royal tour style moments

Mixed yellow

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Kate said goodbye wearing Alessandra Rich

Kate finished the tour by flying out of the Bahamas in a yellow print Alessandra Rich dress, which is the other colour in the country’s flag. By bookending her visit to the island in the yellow and blue of the flag, she is very much appealing to the patriotism of the locals.

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