For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Kate Middleton attended an event and was photographed wearing a mask. Today, Kensington Palace released a gallery of photos showing Middleton volunteering with Baby Basics UK and speaking to families about how baby banks can help anyone struggling to get supplies during COVID-19.
Middleton wore an ivory shirtdress, pairing the simple, straightforward outfit with a whimsical floral face mask and gloves as she spoke with other attendees. While it may have been unintentional, Kate's dress could have been a subtle tribute to her grandmother, who the palace highlighted in a separate Instagram post. Kate removed the mask for a video call, but the photos show that she was alone during the recording, so it's safe to assume that she was adhering to social distancing guidelines. The mask made another appearance in the final photo, which showed Kate speaking with other mask-wearers and giving fans a full head-to-toe glimpse at her dress and pointy, printed heels.
"To help support the most vulnerable families in the UK, The Duchess of Cambridge has brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK," the caption reads. "The Duchess helped unpack donations at Baby Basics UK in Sheffield before talking to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most. Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk where The Duchess heard more about the baby bank’s need for donations, she spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers."
The palace went on to explain that the initiative brought together nearly 20 brands to help out with donations.
"In total, nineteen brands have donated items to @Baby_Basics, @littlevillageHQ and @abernecessities_scio, who operate baby banks across the UK," the caption finished.
Kate's shirtdress looks very similar to a uniform that grandmother wore when she was helping out — clearly, helping other people is something that goes way back for the Middletons. In addition to photos of Kate volunteering, Kensington Palace shared a throwback image of Valerie Middleton, Kate's grandmother, who volunteered with the British Red Cross during WWII. Although Valerie doesn't have a mask on, Kate's dress shares the cuff details sleeve and the simple, utilitarian design of her grandmother's uniform.
"Valerie Middleton (centre), The Duchess of Cambridge’s grandmother, served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the @britishredcross during the Second World War," the palace wrote. "Over 75 years on, as we mark the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross, The Duchess of Cambridge has written a special letter thanking 150 nominated Red Cross staff and volunteers."
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