Duchess Kate wore Self Portrait for a reception to celebrate ‘Hold Still’


The Duchess of Cambridge disappeared for two months and four days this summer. She only “came back” to work last week, on the 15th. She also knocked out two events on Tuesday and I thought that would be it for the week – the duchess would need to retire to her Botoxologist and hair salon to prepare for her appearance at the No Time To Die premiere next week. But no! She ended up hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace last night. Not only that, it does not appear that any Royal Rota photographers were allowed into the event whatsoever. It doesn’t even look like Chris Jackson (the Keens’ favorite Getty photographer) was allowed to come in and take some special photos. Instead, the Kensington Palace team only posted two pics to Instagram (and not Twitter), neither of them high-quality.

So what was the reception? Kate invited people over to the palace to celebrate the Hold Still book, which she “organized” during lockdown. It was a thank-you event for the subjects of the photos, the photographers, and people with the National Portrait Gallery who (actually) put the whole project together. Kate wore a cream ensemble from Self Portrait – a twirly skirt and a matching blazer. This was what was posted on KP’s Instagram:

Thank you to the brilliant partners who made Hold Still a reality!

It took a long time to bring everyone behind this incredible project together in person but tonight we finally managed it. The idea for #HoldStill2020 came right at the start of the pandemic, and aimed to bring people and communities together, using the amazing power of photography.

It was made possible by so many partners – @nationalportraitgallery @coopuk @bookfairies_uk – to name just a few, and what’s more remarkable is how it was all orchestrated from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms!

The most special thanks must go to the thousands of people across the country who took time to share their experiences of lockdown. Without them, the project really would not have been possible.

[From The Cambridges’ Instagram]

Sure. As I’ve said several times, I actually thought Hold Still was a great project, and I liked the way it came together so quickly. That’s how you know Kate had little to do with organizing it – if it was up to the Kensington Palace team to organize things, there would have been two years of keen promises and the book still wouldn’t be done. The National Portrait Gallery took the lead and Kate took credit, but she’s making sure to thank them. Which wraps up what was kind of a perfect keen project for Kate: she really didn’t have to do much, she got to do more than a dozen “events” for Hold Still and she gets credit for everything.


Photos courtesy of Kensington Palace’s IG, Avalon Red.

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112 Responses to “Duchess Kate wore Self Portrait for a reception to celebrate ‘Hold Still’”

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  1. Hell Nah! says:

    Only two photos released? Bah. What were my chances for seeing the Hands of Emphasis doing their thing in at least one of the photos?
    Damn! I should buy a lottery ticket.

    Day made!

    • Noki says:

      The over the top laughing and head nodding is performative especially when her and TOB want to seem interested. But i think hand gestures are normal when talking to people we dont know in a formal setting.

      • aftershocks says:

        @Noki, I don’t believe Kate Keen Guevara’s ‘Hands of Emphasis’ hand gestures are normal in formal situations. LOL! Not those awkwardly splayed fingers. Kate is all performative, and always looking for good p.r., rather than actually caring about doing good work. She’s petty, selfish, and always self-conscious of being FFKQ.

    • Kaye says:

      Agree! Always with the hands & open mouth smile

    • yinyang says:

      Lol “Hands Of Emphasis”

  2. Aurora says:

    She really knows how to drag out the PR for one initiative.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      No. She doesn’t. Her team does. Kate is requested to work and half the time she actually shows up. She didn’t even participate in the release of one of her events. I believe it was Hold Still, but I’m unsure. The queen had to step in and release a statement because Kate would not.

    • STRIPE says:

      + 1 also what ever happened to the struggle survey? Talk about dragging out a project ha!

      • Lorelei says:

        @Stripe I wonder if we’ll ever hear about the survey and the new “center” in KP ever again, or if they’ll just let them slowly fade away. No need for them now that her competition is gone! 🙄

      • dilettante says:

        Only if Jill Biden asks about them.

  3. Em says:

    This is the most pointless thing ever, a launch party would have made more sense but not a party months after the book dropped. They just make things up to keep her busy

  4. Noki says:

    She looks so much better with this hairstyle,this is what she should actually wear when she is outdoors doing activities instead of ponytail for receptions and galas.

    • Seraphina says:

      I too think she looks so much better with this styling. Not sure about the all white outfit but she looks way better with her hair pulled back.

    • Fanciful says:

      She spent all her time fiddling with her hair in the outdoor events. And now she puts it up, inside BP?

    • Jan90067 says:

      Her outdoor/sporty style is good. Her “dress up” style misses more than hits. In the pic, she the looks like she’s wearing the hightop tablecloth for a skirt!

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Jan90067, that skirt is ghastly!!! KKKeen couldn’t even put together an appropriately stylish outfight when she is sponsoring an organization at BP! As for her outdoor look, I have to disagree. The jeggings are worn too often and even Harper’s made a snarky comment this week, or last, that KKKeen is still trying to make them a comeback while everyone else has stopped wearing them.

      • Nic919 says:

        All those jeggings serve to show is how thin she’s gotten because her legs look like sticks, which was never the case when she was much younger and very fit. There is a photo of her standing next to the Holocaust survivors and their families and she looks fragile.

  5. Roo says:

    I truly hope that the organizers, the photographers, and the photo subjects all felt appreciated and enjoyed this event. It was a worthy and creative project. I hope Keen made them feel seen and heard. I don’t like what I see of her outfit but at least it’s not some hideous Little House on the Prairie cos play.

    • Pao says:

      Yeah i don’t like the outfit either. I do find it kind of strange that there was no photographers and apparently no press but that it was only handled and shared by KP’s social media team

    • Eurydice says:

      I looked it up – they describe it as a cream tailored boucle and chiffon midi dress, but it looks like a jacket with satin lapels on top. I’m not fond of the sheer skirt with visible liner thing, but the jacket is nice and only buttons on the sleeves. Kind of mother of the bride.

      • Fanciful says:

        Kate regularly does mother of the bride (or grandmother) so it’s her thing. It’s an extremely curious choice for this occasion.

    • BeanieBean says:

      But there is a lacy ruffley thing at the bottom of the skirt, which unfortunately looks all too similar to the tablecloths at the event.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Roo, thank you, I could not believe that monstrosity and that more people here weren’t talking about it (obviously once Meghan is seen, Kate goes waaay down the list of what people want to discuss, lol), but still. It’s up there with one of my least favorite things she’s ever worn.

      How is that all one dress? Who thought that would be a good idea?! It’s hideous! I thought it was bad when I thought it was a blazer over a dress. When I read that it was *all one dress* I was just… 🤯

      • Lady D says:

        As a dress it is most fugly. The winter looking top and the light airy skirt don’t go together. Are we sure it’s a dress?

      • Becks1 says:

        Yes LadyD it’s definitely a dress, but I’m laughing at people who are trying to explain it away by saying it must be two pieces (in a nice way, not a malicious way lol.) It’s like, the outfit is so bad that the ONLY explanation can be that it is separates, but……it’s not. It’s just that bad.

        I did point out to Lorelei on twitter though that her ugly yellow dress from Sweden in 2018 and her outfits from her Ireland tour in 2020 are still worse.

      • Roo says:

        Yes, it’s awful!

    • Kelly says:

      Her outfit screams business up top, polygamist wife skirt on the bottom. When I was ten I loved flowy dresses and skirts …. when I was ten.

  6. hindulovegod says:

    She has such a knack for dressing “off. ” Everyone else looks like they’re dressed for the same event. And then you get to her and she looks out of place (or maybe time?). She matches the table skirts, for heaven’s sake. This must be one of my fears because I always notice it and cringe.

    • Colleen says:

      I just HATE this whole look. Not only does she look out of place but the outfit is silly

    • BeanieBean says:

      Ha! Just wrote the same thing above. I was scrolling up from the bottom & I thought ah, at least one other woman wore a similar skirt then realized, it’s the table cloth!

  7. Red Weather Tiger says:

    She’s wearing white (or cream). Are we sure she wasn’t attending someone else’s wedding?

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      Yes, we’re quite sure this isn’t an example of her inappropriate dressing, but one of her somewhat bizarre theme dressing. A party to thank/celebrate everyone involved in “Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020”…. Hmmm, an outfit from Self Portrait ought to do the trick!

      • Lorelei says:

        @VaVa omfg you really might be right. She’s always taken theme dressing to such a ridiculous, literal degree that I’d totally believe that she heard “portrait” and thought “I’ll wear that to my event about photography!” Lmfao

    • Christine says:

      All I can think is she got one look at Meghan’s Time cover, and her brain seized on the batsh*t notion that she absolutely MUST WEAR WHITE, immediately. And this is the result.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Christine I think she even has another white Self Portrait dress that’s better than this one. Idk if it would have been appropriate for this particular event, but ffs she has other white things she could have worn. Or bought! She has an unlimited budget and could have bought absolutely anything she wanted. But she saw this heinous thing online, saw that it was *all one dress* (!), and her response was “Add to Cart.”

  8. Amy Bee says:

    They could have posted a short clip of Kate giving her speech. All the reports on this are going to be that she wore a cream dress. I guess this is the end of the road for Hold Still. It was a good project for Kate to be involved in.

    • SarahCS says:

      Who wants to hear her speak though?

      • Amy Bee says:

        @Sarah: It’s not about who wants to hear her speak but she has to give people something to report on. The reason why her engagements get reported as what is she wearing because there’s nothing else for the press to focus on.

      • Marivic says:

        She probably stumbled on her speech again. They’d rather not show it as she is too painful to look at.

    • Nic919 says:

      I don’t think the cue cards were a full on speech. It was probably just to show her how to thank people. She’s had cue cards for basic things like that in the past.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Nic what was it that she needed a card to read from recently that was so funny…I cannot remember and now it’s driving me crazy. Maybe it was during the Choo Choo Pandemic Express fiasco? But she was writing something on a wall or big poster or whatever, and she had an index card in her hand that literally had like three words on it.

        Do you remember what I’m talking about? It was hilarious but I’m blanking on where it was. Honestly even Donald Trump wouldn’t have needed a cue card for this one. I hope someone knows what I’m talking about because it was so, so funny. (Actually, it’s not funny at all, it’s very sad.)

      • Becks1 says:

        @Lorelei I think it was from the pandemic express, but i’m not positive.

        I know there was one time in the past year or so where she gave a speech and had to completely stop while she flipped each index card, and so there would be this awkward pause when she flipped the card but it would be something like:

        “Good evening. Thank you for having me tonight. I”
        *flips card, awkward silence*
        “am pleased to be here. I hope everyone is having”
        *card flip, silence”
        “a nice night.”

        Like if she had read the speech at all before hand or had any idea what was said, she would have been able to keep talking while switching between the cards, which are meant to be more of cue cards than for someone to read directly from them the whole time.

  9. Layla says:

    She tried…again.

  10. SarahCS says:

    Did she get dressed in the dark? That’s all I have for putting these two pieces together.

  11. Sofia says:

    They just had Chris Jackson? Isn’t this like the 3rd time they’ve done it? I think at the RAF base and the Holocaust survivors engagement, they just had Chris Jackson as well (and I think ITV too for video). Wonder what’s up with that.

    And yeah I don’t like the outfit either. It seems out of place here and I don’t like them together. This would have been the event for Kate to wear a granny print dress.

  12. Matthew says:

    how does she make even trendy clothes look dated

  13. Chaine says:

    Blazer is fine, although with a white top I would just be in terror if there was any food or drink involved that it would instantly smear onto it! The skirt is way too foofy for the event, though, based on what the attendees are wearing.

    • Amy Bee says:

      @Chaine: It’s actually a wrap dress.

      • Lorelei says:

        I still cannot get over that it’s all one dress. I thought it was ugly when I thought it was a blazer over a skirt or dress, but when I saw that it was *all one dress* I died. There’s a sleeveless version too and somehow it manages to be even worse than this one.

        Also, I feel really sorry for the lady whose back is facing the camera in that one picture…she’s front and center, and this photo makes her look huge even though I’m sure she’s not, it’s just the angle of the camera and she’s the one closest to it.

        But HOW could whoever on Kate’s staff took and posted the photos not realize that it was extremely rude (imo) to release that one? I’d be so annoyed if I was that poor woman. I’m sure they could have gotten *one* other, more flattering photo in order to avoid posting that one online, fgs.

  14. Jais says:

    I like the white suit jacket and think I would like it with skirt that you can kind of see underneath the sheer overlay. But I don’t like the sheer overlay part.

  15. Becks1 says:

    Why was this reception at BP and not Kensington? They have event space there. Just for the prestige of Buckingham Palace?

    Hold Still was really the perfect project for Kate – she gets a lot of credit for it, she helps to promote it, another entity does the majority of the work, and she gets to attend a party at the end. And honestly, that’s fine. Promoting projects like this is part of being a royal – using your platform and popularity to get the project more publicity.

    I don’t like this dress. I just think its the kind of thing that you need to style really well so that you don’t look like you’re in a tablecloth and she cannot do that.

    She’s in a lot of new dresses/outfits recently, isnt she? Someone was shopping over their vacation.

    • Eurydice says:

      I don’t think there’s any way to make it look less like a tablecloth. It seems to be one of this season’s themes for Self Portrait – multiple iterations of the same look.

      • Becks1 says:

        No, and she does love a good tablecloth dress.

        But remember that other self portrait dress she wore once – the long white one with the big slit up the leg? It also looked a lot like a tablecloth lol. Paris Hilton had worn the same dress around the same time and she just styled it SO much better – it still had the tablecloth vibe, but it was just better.

      • Eurydice says:

        That’s right! Kate wore dark shoes with a dark clutch and her hair down – and Paris kept it light with pale shoes and her hair up.

    • Layla says:

      I think it’s because the jacket is boucle and the sleeves that’s throwing this dress off the mark. The sleeveless version looks far better.

    • Nic919 says:

      Part of the issue is that she is so thin that she needs more than the outfit itself to bulk up. It lays flat and looks like a tablecloth because that’s how thin she is. Even the jacket details can’t really hide it that much. I didn’t realize there was a sleeveless version of it, but she would look more emaciated in that version of the dress.

  16. La says:

    With her known love for theme dressing i can’t help but laugh that she wore a label called Self Portrait for a photography event

  17. Lady Esther says:

    She looks fine…which is to say, if she’s not out to dazzle or it’s not a major event, a re-wear would have been the better choice. More interesting is the royal rota blackout, I wonder why that’s happening all of a sudden?

    • Lizzie says:

      Wondering if it actually happened awhile ago and they just released the info and pic’s when another duchess made the news?

      • JT says:

        @Lizzie This seems to be the case. It wasn’t on anyone’s radar and there aren’t any official pics. The rota wasn’t even invited even though it’s their job to cover Kate. There wasn’t even an official photographer there and it looks like the pics could’ve been taken by an iPhone or something.

      • Nic919 says:

        Based on the hair if it didn’t happen last night then it was around that time.

      • Lorelei says:

        @JT I can’t remember where I saw this, but I read there were no photographers (which is weird in and of itself?) and a member of Kate’s staff took the picture on an iPhone. But even my child could have done a better job than this with an iPhone.

  18. Watson says:

    The problem with this dress is the fact that they’ve tailored the jacket portion tight. The original is more of a longer, looser, 80’s influenced blazer, styled with looser hair, cooler shoes. They ruined the vibe of the dress by tailoring it.


    Mind you it’s not like she is hideous here. She looks fine. It’s just disappointing knowing the potential of a dress, her access to clothing and choosing this direction.

    • Nic919 says:

      It’s not the first time that she’s ruined the look of a dress with half ass tailoring. The original does look much better and had she kept that look it would have worked.

    • Cee says:

      Of course she had it tightened. She dresses like a teenager thinks an woman has to dress – frilly but TIGHT.

    • Harper says:

      I see the appeal of the look on the model. The cinched waist and the flare below the belt gives it a waifish look that some aristos like Rose are good at pulling off. And this is more of an artsy event seeing as it’s the National Portrait Gallery crowd.

      Plus, the sheer on the bottom probably triggers a subliminal reaction in Kate, knowing what one sheer skirt worn as a dress did for her life’s trajectory. However, the cinch/flair look doesn’t transfer to Kate’s body in this instance and instead of dressy/waify it reads like 80s power dressing. And I think this would look better worn for an outdoor summer gathering and not indoors at night on the brink of autumn.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Harper, OMG, “what one sheer skirt worn as a dress did for her life’s trajectory.” 😭
        That just took me out. I mean, when you’re right, you’re right!

  19. Molly says:

    To quote Regina George: That’s the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.

    (Hair looks good though!)

  20. Monica says:

    The people around Kate so often have these polite, humoring expressions. No one ever seems terribly excited to see her.

    • OriginalLala says:

      I think they are just responding to the vibes she put outs – she’s been described in the past as being dull and cold.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Monica you’re right and it’s been that way for so many years that I honestly think it must be because she’s always saying something completely inane? The few times we’ve heard her speak off the cuff were travesties (“how interesting”).

      But even when she prepared for an event, like the one with Jill Biden, with notes right in front of her (!!), she still sort of rambled on aimlessly. (And she’s hard to understand in the first place.) Someone posted a transcript here of her closing remarks to Dr. Biden, and I am not exaggerating when I say that they were absolutely nonsensical.

      I think people must just not know what else to do except sort of nod and smile? Like when a child is really excited about something and you have to fake at least a shred of enthusiasm because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

  21. Seraphina says:

    While I like the hair, her outfit makes her stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe she thought it was a Wimbledon event and wore all white and thus pulled her hair back.

  22. Stacy Dresden says:


  23. MangoAngelesque says:

    And there it is, one of the photos is her Emphatically Engaged Hands. Mark your bingo cards, everyone!

  24. Red Weather Tiger says:

    All the women in the photo with her “dramatically-engaged hands” (love that) have that “oh, honey” look. Like they see she’s struggling and want to help, but they are powerless to do so.

    • Lorelei says:

      I swear to god whenever I see her now, I just sort of think to myself, “oh, Kate. You sweet, beautiful idiot.”
      It’s as if no matter how hard she tries or how many people try to help her, she really just is not good at a single thing. Except maybe sailing.

  25. Mina_Esq says:

    I wonder if Kate has enough self-awareness to ever feel embarrassed. Surely she knows that she is lazy and undeserving of praise.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Mina I’ve wondered that too. And I wonder how much coverage of herself she reads, and what sources. (And if she ever reads comment sections! I don’t think I’d be able to resist if I was her.) If she’s only reading the Fail, then she probably genuinely thinks she’s knocking it out of the park. But I’m not even a public figure, and would be __mortified__ if I behaved or was photographed the way she is sometimes.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      I think she has enough self-awareness to know that she’s awful and that’s about it. She definitely doesn’t feel embarrassed enough to actually do anything to improve. Look at what finally got her off her ass after years of coasting: competition in the form of Meghan. And even that hasn’t been enough for Kate to truly make any meaningful changes. She still barely works, still can’t hold a thoughtful conversation or make a decent speech, and still skates by on the bare minimum. At the end of the day, she doesn’t feel enough shame to address her laundry list of shortcomings because she’s been propped up as the FFQC. She and her husband are so coddled that it’s only fueled their innate arrogance and entitlement.

  26. Lizzie says:

    It’s hard to tell since the pic’s all focus on Kate, but she seems overdressed. Standard Chris Jackson posing, semi circle around Kate appearing as if she is leading a discussion.

  27. Crowned Huntress says:

    Kate’s styling always misses the mark by an inch and it’s painful. I can deal with the blazer but the layered chiffon skirt looks silly, why not make the length uniform instead of that sheer overlay dragging down the entire look?

  28. tamsin says:

    I think Kate looks good from the front, but the hem of the peplum does not lie flat in the back, and ruins the look. I love the idea of chiffony skirts and they seem to be a look for the fall.

  29. Marivic says:

    She looks like granny Kate in a Sunday dress.

  30. Cathy says:

    There I was thinking “another new expensive outfit that we’ll never see again, and we don’t even see it properly” when my inner snark jumped in with “don’t be mean, this could be the very very very very very light green outfit she wore to her brother’s wedding?”

    #rewear #recycle #reuse

  31. Gina says:

    She looks like headmistress in the upper photo, IMO. I don’t know what gives me this impression. Hairstyle? Heavy chin?
    Not that she will ever know how to work as such, lol.

  32. Isabella says:

    I notice that the DM didn’t rip into Kate for wearing, gasp, jewelry or call her the Duchess of Diamonds, as they did to Meghan today. Nor do they ever pretend that her diamonds are “from a Middle Eastern gift.” The funniest thing is the DM claims Meghan “chose” to wear her engagement ring, as if every married woman doesn’t do that. Kind of the point of the ring, just like the wedding band. Finally, they weren’t able to spot any new purchases but they keep pretending that she’s constantly spending money on jewelry. Even gifts or inherited gems are wrong if Meghan wears them. Because she’s not supposed to have nice things.

    • Lorelei says:

      Seriously, Meghan was called the “Duchess of Diamonds?”

      She wore her own engagement ring? The audacity! Who does she think she is, wearing her engagement ring?!

      Doesn’t whoever is writing this realize how insane this comes across?

      I think it’s less about them pretending that Meghan’s were gifts from known shady sources, it’s that they actively cover up the fact that Kate’s are, too. (And Camilla’s, the Queen’s, all of them have worn something “problematic” at one time or another.) But they only write about Meghan, because of course.

  33. Lucky Charm says:

    Her posture is so horrible it kills me.

  34. Jaded says:

    Man that’s not a good look. An event like that requires something professional, not something that looks like a Victorian nightie on the bottom and a waiter’s jacket on top. Ever since Meghan left Salty Isle Kate’s fashion choices have really deteriorated.

  35. TheOriginalMia says:

    I’m sorry…what is she wearing? What do you mean it’s one-piece dress? I’m like stupefied by this monstrosity she probably spent thousands on. That’s something you can find at Rainbow.

    ETA: I just saw it on the model and wtf did Kate & her “stylist” do to make that thing look even more budget than it already was.

  36. Athena says:

    I thought it was two pieces that didn’t match well together. I like the jacket but the skirt makes no sense to me. I think something was said to Kate about the short dresses she used to wear and now she’s gone overboard with the long skirts. Princess Anne shows more knee than Kate.

  37. RoyalBlue says:

    If she were 20 years older that would look suitable. the fugly dress ages her.

  38. VitaBANItaBONnita says:

    What’s wrong with her face? It looks very tight. She doesn’t look herself in that profile pic.

  39. Tessa says:

    Kate just wrote the preface,the photographers and National Gallery did most of the work. And it then becomes about ‘what she wore” anyway.

  40. Likeyoucare says:

    She is cosplaying camilla. She is running for the future queen title.
    Camilla should watch her back.

    Is this party to thank them for doing a good job?
    or to thank them for helping her writing the book for kate?