After Prince Louis was born in April 2018, the first official photographs of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby were hotly anticipated. Then, when the snaps of the newborn arrived, fans of the British royal family took to scrutinizing the pictures. And one detail of the images turned out to be particularly revealing.
Since they first met back in 2001 at the University of St. Andrews, William and Kate’s relationship has captivated the world. Their breathtaking wedding in April 2011 was watched by around two billion people worldwide, and the births of their three children – George, Charlotte and Louis – have each been widely celebrated too.
Furthermore, one of the aspects of the young family’s life in which people seem most interested is their fashion sense. This is nothing new, however, as William’s mom Diana was carefully watched for her outfits as well. And just like her late mother-in-law, it’s fair to say that Kate has become somewhat of a style icon.
During her time in the spotlight, Kate has become known for championing British fashion designers such as Catherine Walker – who also designed for Diana. And the Duchess of Cambridge has such impact that she can cause an item of clothing to sell out after having worn the style just once.
For example, U.K.-based brand Reiss sold a “Nannette” dress every minute when Kate wore the gown for her engagement photos; the item ultimately went out of stock. It’s a phenomenon that has become known as “The Kate Middleton Effect” – and one that apparently earns a massive $1.3 billion for the British fashion trade.
But the royals’ influence on retail isn’t restricted to Kate. Since they were born, George and Charlotte have also sparked regular fashion frenzies, inspiring the sales of everything from hair barrettes and socks to cardigans and shoes.
As a result, after Kate and William’s third child Louis arrived in April 2018, many royal fans may have been keen to see if the infant would be as stylish as his siblings. And when Kensington Palace issued the first official portraits of the little prince, the snaps caused quite the stir.
Alongside the images, which were posted on Twitter, there was a caption. It read, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share two photographs of Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, taken by The Duchess at Kensington Palace.”
The first picture shows the young princess placing a gentle kiss on her little brother’s head as she cradles him in her arms. According to the caption, it “was taken on May 2, on Princess Charlotte’s third birthday.”
As usual, the photograph was closely scrutinized by royal commentators, who were able to shed some light on the clothing that both Cambridge children were wearing. However, those hoping to purchase one particular item for their own kids may have been left disappointed.
That’s because the distinctive blue-and-white cardigan Charlotte sported in the snap had in fact originally belonged to her older brother. George had previously worn the cardigan in an official portrait taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz in 2016 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
So while the gender-neutral cardigan looked just as fetching on Charlotte as it had done on George two years prior, this time it would not spark a new trend. Given that the garment had first hit shelves years previously, it was no longer available to buy.
Nevertheless, Spanish brand Fina Ejerique celebrated the fact that both Charlotte and George have been pictured in one of its creations. Speaking to People in May 2018, designer Ana Pérez said, “We couldn’t be happier to see little Princess Charlotte wearing the same cardigan Prince George once wore. It is a huge pleasure to be among the brands in their wardrobe.”
And it seems that Louis can’t escape his siblings’ hand-me-downs, either. In the second photograph shared by Kensington Palace, the newborn is seen in a white-sweater-and-leggings ensemble as he sits propped up by a cushion.
The sweater in question had previously belonged to Princess Charlotte, who had worn it in her first official portraits too. The item of clothing was made by another Spanish brand – Irulea – and was bought by the mother of the royal children’s nanny from the brand’s San Sebastián store.
Following the release of the images, then, some people praised the royals for their thrifty approach to dressing their children. “I love that Charlotte is in one of George’s old sweaters and Louis [is] in one of Charlotte’s,” a royal-watcher tweeted. “Hand-me-downs! As a third child, I love this. Royals – they’re just like us.”
However, these pictures of Louis don’t mark the first occasion on which the royals have recycled items of clothing. Indeed, despite money being no object, Kate herself has been known to wear her favorite outfits on more than one occasion. And clearly she sees no reason why her children shouldn’t do the same.
In the past, for instance, George has worn outfits that once belonged to his father. At a Trooping of the Colour ceremony in 2016, the youngster sported a Peter Pan collar shirt with shorts; and these garments had originally been donned by William at Prince Harry’s christening way back in 1984.
Similarly, during a royal visit to Poland in 2017, Princess Charlotte was spotted in a familiar-looking pair of red shoes. They had originally belonged to the young royal’s uncle Harry, who was first snapped wearing them back in 1986.
So, given Kate’s track record, the adorable images of Charlotte and Louis will likely not be the last time that we see them in recycled clothes. Hand-me-downs, it appears, are just another royal tradition that people can’t seem to get enough of.