Kate Middleton is Red Haute in Alexander McQueen at The Jubilee Thames River Pageant

Kate Middleton Jubilee hat
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No new clothes for the thrifty Duchess of Cambridge: Kate wore a 2011 McQueen dress and recycled her shoes and hat for the extravagant event.

The Duchess of Cambridge has never been concerned with wearing the latest hot-off-the-runway clothes from designers. She’s far more interested with looking feminine, subdued and appropriate. And can you blame her?

Kate Middleton usually sticks to classics, many of which are somtimes two or even three seasons old. She's even been known to borrows clothes from her mother's closet.

So Kate fans are not surprised that she chose a dress from Alexander McQueen's 2011 collection for her appearance on board the royal barge in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the Thames today. She accessorized the red frock with LK Bennett nude heels, which she frequently wears, and a stunning hat by Lock & Co – which first hit stores in 2011 – that she’s already worn on two previous occasions.

Her bright red gown really brightened what turned out to be a very drizzly and cold day in London. Thank heavens she picked a long-sleeved style, because the temperatures were in the '50s. 

Queen Elizabeth II broke from her tradition of wearing brightly colored suits and dresses. Instead she wore a silver and white coat and hat trimmed with Swarovski crystals.The Queen's ensemble was not as low-priced as Kate's. The coat, matching dress and hat were designed and made over the course of the past year by her in-Palace couturier, Angela Kelly.

God  bless this 83-year-old Queen. She's quite staying the course throughout these demanding Diamond Jubilee public events. We have to wonder if her strong constitution is aided by her favorite drink, Dubonnet, a daily habit she inherited from her mum, the Queen Mother, who drank it every day mixed with gin.

The drink – a wine fortified with herbs and quinine -- was invented in 1846 to encourage French Legionnaires to drink bitter quinine by putting it in sweet wine. At first a cure for Malaria, it swiftly became an upper class tipple-of-choice and has remained so. And thanks to the Jubilee, Dubonnet has come strongly back in vogue in the UK.