10 times royals had clothes altered to give their outfits a new look

Mark Large/Samir Hussein/Getty ImagesThe Duchess of Cambridge has been known to make subtle alterations to her outfits.
  • When it comes to fashion, members of the royal family adhere to certain modesty rules.
  • Some royals have added weights to their skirts to avoid any mishaps in windy weather.
  • Others have added sleeves to strapless gowns and lining to otherwise sheer dresses.
  • From Princess Diana to Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, here are some ways the royals have altered their outfits to create new styles.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Princess Diana altered a Catherine Walker dress to make it less conservative, giving it a heart-shaped, sleeveless neckline.

Julian Barker/Princess Diana Archive/Getty ImagesPrincess Diana first wore the gown during an official visit to Portugal in 1987 and then again two years later in 1989.

For an official visit to Lisbon, Portugal, in 1987, Princess Diana wore a light-blue Catherine Walker gown in its traditional form.

Two years later, she rewore it, but with the alterations, it looked like a completely different dress.


Princess Diana rewore a Catherine Walker gown that was changed to include a fitted skirt.

Tim Graham/Princess Diana Archive/Getty ImagesPrincess Diana wore the original gown in 1989 and the altered version in 1992.

Princess Diana wore the dazzling floral gown to meet the president of Nigeria in 1989. She debuted the remixed version of the dress at a banquet in Seoul, South Korea, in 1992.


The Duchess of Cambridge wore an altered Saloni dress that originally featured sheer paneling and an open back.

Moda Operandi/Warren Allott/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesKate Middleton had the sheer design altered to include a panel of fabric that matched her complexion.

For a reception at Kensington Palace in 2016, Middleton wore a high-collared Mary Illusion Dot Dress by the Indian designer Saloni.

The duchess later had a skin-coloured panel of fabric added to the sheer bodice and closed the gown’s previously open back for a more reserved look.


Middleton altered the sleeves on this Alexander McQueen dress.

Samir Hussein/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesThe duchess wore the Alexander McQueen dress in 2017 and 2019.

The Duchess of Cambridge turned heads when she arrived at the 2017 BAFTAs in a tiered, off-the-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown.

Two years later, Middleton attended the 2019 Portrait Gala wearing the same dress. However, she added cap sleeves to the gown to make it look brand-new.


Middleton made a subtle change to this long-sleeved Beulah London dress.

Orchard Mile/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesKate Middleton had the fluted sleeves removed from a Beulah London dress.

For a visit to the Family Action Charity in January 2019, Middleton wore an olive-green Beulah London midi dress that originally had fluted sleeves. She had the sleeves removed and added a belt, which elevated the look.

“It looks as though she’s taken off all the frills and made it a lot more conservative and a lot more modest,” Susie Hasler, a stylist based in the UK, previously told Insider.


The duchess once swapped out the sheer sleeves of an Emilia Wickstead dress in favour of a solid design.

Farfetch/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesThe duchess wore the altered tartan dress in December 2019.

While arriving for Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace in 2019, the duchess was photographed wearing this tartan dress. She put her own twist on it by having the sheer sleeves removed and replaced with solid fabric to match the rest of the design.

“In this picture, she’s out with her family for the day, so she’s chosen something very conservative,” stylist Susie Hasler said. “She always seems to favour those high necklines, which really work for her.”


The Duchess of Cambridge made a few subtle changes to this Alexander McQueen dress.

Mark Large/Samir Hussein/Getty ImagesKate Middleton wore the Alexander McQueen gown in 2012 and again in 2020.

Middleton wore the original design in 2012 to an official dinner hosted by Malaysia’s Head of State.

The duchess pulled it out of her closet again for the 2020 BAFTAs but had it changed to include a layer of fabric on the sleeves so that they would no longer be sheer.

“With this particular dress, it appears she adapted the sleeves to flatter her figure, adding a lining and shoulder pads to create a more structured look,” Anthony McGrath, leading fashion journalist and senior lecturer at the Fashion Retail Academy, previously told Insider.This means the dress frames her face better and enhances her posture.”


The Duchess of Sussex reportedly had skin-coloured paneling added to the $US75,000 Ralph & Russo gown she wore in her official engagement photos.

Estrop/Getty Images/Alexi Lubomirski / Kensington PalaceThe original Ralph & Russo design was completely sheer.

The gown Markle wore in her official engagement photos was originally designed without a nude panel, giving the top a sheer look.

For Markle and Prince Harry’s official engagement photo shoot, according to Harper’s Bazaar, the duchess appeared to wear the dress with an added lining to make it more modest.


Markle had a Veronica Beard dress altered to make the thigh-high slit less revealing.

Veronica Beard/Samir Hussein/WireImageMeghan Markle wore the dress in South Africa while on her royal tour with Harry in 2018.

Markle’s blue Veronica Beard dress – which she wore with Harry on their royal tour in South Africa in 2019 – appeared to be adjusted so that the thigh-high slit ended just above her knee.


The former royal also had the sleeves removed from this Maggie Marilyn white blazer dress during her tour of New Zealand in 2018.

Net-A-Porter/Samir Hussein/WireImageMeghan Markle wore the local designer during a visit to Courtenay Creative in Wellington, New Zealand.

Instead of keeping the sleeves for a more conservative look, according to Harper’s Bazaar, Markle had them removed completely and paired the dress with blue suede Manolo Blahnik heels.

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