Kate Middleton's Closet: Clothing Could Cost 3 Times the Amount Released By Prince Charles' Estate

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The Prince of Wales pays $54,000 out of his pocket for his new daughter-in-law's garb for royal and charitable events, according to newly leaked documents, but her real fashion expenditures may be much more.

The British press is buzzing over the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s $54,000 clothing expenditure for the first half of 2012, just one of the first expenditures leaked from the 2011-2012 royal finances, which will be revealed in full to the British public this week.

And that money comes out of her father-in-law, Prince Charles' pockets. According to The Prince of Wales' annual report, he "chooses to use the majority of his income… to meet the cost of his, The Duchess of Cornwall’s, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s and Prince Harry’s public and charitable work.”

Since Kate joined the family after her April 2011 nuptials, her official wardrobe is now one of Prince Charles' fashionable financial obligations.

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Considering the income from his Duchy of Cornwall estate (over $29 million last year), Kate's wardrobe costs are just a drop in the bucket. His total public appearance and charitable expenditures of his family totaled $17 million.

Kate has been lauded for her off-the-rack frugal shopping, with frocks (bags and shoes) often worn several times. But the Daily Mail is now reporting that the $54,000 price tag paid by Prince Charles may not be the whole fashion story, since that only covers outfits worn to official functions and charity events. Their report estimates that Kate probably spent three times that to cover her ensembles, making the amount an estimated $163,000. 

Now seems like a good time bring up the fact that Sarah Palin's wardrobe for her three-month vice presidential run was $150,000, as documented by Politico in 2008.

The Daily Mail has a pretty thorough rundown of almost everything Kate’s worn with price tags in British pounds. It may add up to a princely sum, but let’s give the girl some credit for not accepting freebies the way most Hollywood actresses do.

“She never accepts discounts or freebies, and nor should she,” writes Mail reporter Liz Jones. “Kate has to remain above such bribery.”

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Jones also maintains that Kate’s position as an ambassador for Britain includes all her public appearances, so her clothing should be considered part of her royal duties.

“She is now — like it or not — an ambassador for Britain. What she wears is not about being attainable on the High Street (the high-low shopping street in London) ; it is about being breathtaking. She needs to have the ‘wow’ factor,” she states.

Jones notes that not only does Kate raise the country's morale, she also promotes Britain’s retail industry, the largest employer of women in this country. She's got a point, but we still can't wait to find out just how much that royal wedding set Prince Charlie back.

Tell us: What do you think about Kate’s clothing allowance? Too much or not enough?