The Princess of Wales is very cost conscientious when it comes to her wardrobe — often wearing budget fashion brands and high street styles, her day to day royal wardrobe includes discount dresses, affordable accessories and budget blazers. She often mixes high and low priced pieces together and frequently recycles items from her closet (even sometimes wearing clothing from college).
Still, as a senior member of the royal family, the princess is required to regularly attend glamorous galas and big banquets. Kate’s busy calendar of events means that she will need plenty of fairy tale fashions that are royally ready to wear.
In 2023, the Princess of Wales debuted 135 new clothing pieces totaling $121,058. While it may seem like a exorbitant amount, the mom of three required multiple outfits and numerous pieces of regal attire for King Charles’ coronation, a wedding in Jordan as well as the South Korean state banquet.
In addition, she participated in special Shaping Us symposiums and attended her usual Crown circuit of ceremonial events including the Order of the Garter, Trooping the Colour, Royal Ascot and the National Service of Remembrance. Many of these glitzy affairs mandate pomp and pageantry, thus, they require custom couture.
And despite her fashion frugality and commitment to shop the sales rack, the princess has worn many extravagant gowns over the years and owns a plethora of pricey baubles. Many of Kate’s most decadent dresses appear on the red carpet at special film premieres, black tie dinners and opulent palace parties.
Kate often dresses to the nines when she’s on royal duty while abroad in places like France, Norway and the Bahamas. She loves to practice diplomatic dressing when visiting foreign countries and Commonwealth outposts. The other times she will max out the Crown credit card? For special occasions like weddings and christenings as well as for awards ceremonies and museum galas.
Here are 9 of Kate Middleton’s Most Expensive Dresses of All Time:
1. Sequin Stunner
Many of Kate’s Jenny Packham designer dresses cost right around $5000 — even her most intricate lace and tulle dresses ring up around the same (including her red Elodie beaded dress, green tulle off-the-shoulder Wonder gown and new Anemone ivory cape sleeve dress). Yet, Kate’s pale allover gold sequin sleeveless dress from the bridal maker’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection set the princess back an additional grand making it one of her most pricey Packham styles. Shop the look at Saks Fifth Avenue
2. Blushing Beauty
This soft pale pink Alexander McQueen dress was a bespoke ‘maternity’ style created for the princess for her overseas visit to Norway. Donning the Italian made cape constructed from airy silk, the princess looked flawless at a dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo. Kate’s floor length tulle dress with an embellished silver sequin leaf motif was a showstopper but came with a steep price tag. Shop the look at Neiman Marcus
3. Bond Babe
The Princess of Wales broke the internet wearing one of her most iconic and celebrated dresses to date. Radiant and resplendent, Kate looked like a spellbinding superhero in Packham’s glittery gold gown which was designed with a trail of sequins meant to replicate the look of erupting fireworks. The dress hailed from the designer’s capsule collection in honor of the James Bond franchise. Shop the look at FarFetch
4. Chic in Chanel
Before it was Emily was in Paris, it was Catherine in the City of Love. Playing French fashionista, Kate exuded elegance and charm in this belted tweed dress from the House of Chanel. The princess paired the stylish multi-colored dress from the designer’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection with a black Chanel interlocked CC logo belt and Chanel quilted burgundy bag. Shop the look on Ebay
5. Gothic Glam
Playing with a Victorian era silhouette, this dusty pink embroidered dress with billowed sleeves was both modest and majestic. Kate donned the romantic Elie Saab creation for a royal wedding in Jordan in early June 2023. Shop the look on MyTheresa
6. Red Carpet Royalty
One of Princess Kate’s most talked about dresses was the style she wore for the BAFTA Awards in 2017. The princess donned a delicate floral print black Alexander McQueen gown with a long tiered skirt and satin bands. Kate’s floor length off-the-shoulder design was later modified with cap sleeves. Shop the look on Nordstrom
7. Blue Crush
Capturing her oceanic surroundings in dress form, the princess looked magnificent in a lagoon blue Phillipa Lepley dress. Clad in the silky satin dress for a reception at the Baha Mar Resort, Kate evoked the feel of the Caribbean islands and their crystal clear blue waters.
8. Princess Bride
A dress for the ages, Kate married into the royal family and said ‘I do’ to her Prince Charming in a stunning Alexander McQueen white wedding dress. Featuring a lacy bodice inspired by Victorian corsets as well as a satin skirt in ivory with an eight-foot train that trailed down the Abbey, this captivating creation was one for the history books.
9. Pearlescent Packham
Though many of Kate’s Packham dresses do not exceed $5000, this twinkling tulle and sparkly sequin number was an exception. Kate’s embellished gown with powder pink crystals and a beaded silvery waist set the royal back a pretty penny. Luckily, she’s worn the nearly $10,000 dress on multiple occasions. Shop the look at FarFetch
Bonus: Crowning Glory
Though not technically a dress, Kate’s coronation crown deserves a mention for its posh price tag. The custom coronation headpiece designed by Jess Collett and Alexander McQueen was reportedly worth a King’s ransom. The hefty sum can be attributed to the intricate design and its silver bullion, crystals and silver threadwork. Shop the look on Etsy