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As every woman knows, packing for a long trip to multiple countries is a real challenge.
You would think visiting the South Pacific would be a breeze: sarongs, loose tunics, swimsuit, shorts, sandals.
But not so for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, on her 9-day Diamond Jubilee tour of the South Pacific. Each island and country expected her to dress in costumes from their similar, but also distinctly disparate, cultures.
She’d been doing great in the early days, getting praise for her colorful Prabal Gurung silk shift in Singapore, the birthplace of the designer. Then she donned a colorful skirt to dance in Tuvala, getting down with the locals by spritzing native dancers with Paul Smith men’s cologne, according to the island’s custom.
But there was one fashion faux pas. Visiting Honiara in the Solomon Islands, on Sept 16, Middleton wore a dress that was actually from the Cook Islands, about 3,000 miles across the ocean.
The fashion agreement with the Solomon Islands was that the Duke and Duchess would attend the event wearing traditional handmade clothing, a shirt for him and a dress for her.
But a member of the welcoming committee, Kethie Sunders, laid out the wrong clothes by accident. So Middleton and Prince William wore the Cook Islands costumes, a bright blue ethnic print shirt for him, a colorful strapless fuchsia dress for her.
Luckily, no great offense was taken by their hosts. But Sunders isn’t so lucky. According to the Daily Mail, a Solomon Islands official said: “We are incredibly frustrated that this situation has come about and see Kethie as entirely to blame. It was completely inappropriate for her to go to Their Royal Highnesses’ room, which she filled with various things, causing confusion.”
Middleton returned home with both dresses. And her spokesperson says: “She still has both dresses, they were a gift, and she also has lovely memories of her wonderful time in the Solomon Islands.”
All’s well that ends well.
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