Kate Middleton is well known for her love of a pale manicure. Rarely if ever, do you see the Duchess of Cambridge wearing dark-colored fingernail polish. She keeps her nails a short length with rounded edges and wears polish often so light it appears she does not have a professional manicure. It has become somewhat of a signature look for the 39-year-old, who’s been married to Prince William since 2011.
The reasons for this are twofold. Kate is a busy mother of three children under the age of 8 years old, who likely enjoys wearing lighter colors as they require less maintenance than darker polish. She keeps a busy schedule as a senior working member of the royal family, too, and a pale manicure will match most, if not all, any outfit for either a daytime or nighttime event. What are the nail polish colors Kate can’t live without? Believe it or not, they are easy enough to find in your local drugstore or online.
Looking to recreate Kate's wedding nail color? It's a blend of two shades
Kate Middleton wore a mix of Essie’s pale Ballet Slippers shade and Bourjois So Laque Nail Enamel in Rose Lounge for her wedding to Prince William, said her manicurist Marina Sandoval (via Woman and Home). She kept her nails natural-looking, allowing her gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring gifted to her by Prince William on that memorable day to stand out even more. While Ballet Slippers is still easily available to find, that particular shade of Bourjois is currently unavailable.
The pale manicure looked lovely against Kate’s engagement ring, which was famously gifted to William’s mother Princess Diana by his father, Prince Charles, before their wedding in 1981. Kate pairs the 18-carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds with a plain, thin wedding band made of Welsh gold. Kate appeared to go sans nail color for a series of two 10th anniversary photographs shared with the couple’s Instagram page, Kensington Royal. She was seen snuggling close to her husband, showing off her wedding ring and a natural manicure.
The royals typically do not wear dark colors on their fingernails
Typically, Kate Middleton does not wear dark-colored polish on her fingernails. Her fashion choice is likely out of a precedent set by her grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth, who has famously worn Essie’s pale pink shade Ballet Slippers on her nails since 1989 (per Harper’s Bazaar). Kate favors a hue by the same company named Allure.
“The Royal Family tends to favor sheer, neutral shades on shorter, squoval-shaped nails,” said Sarah Gibson Tuttle, to Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s a super-classic, clean look that looks timeless and royal appropriate. While we’ve all heard rumors of rules, I know royal nails are always pretty, polished, and perfectly manicured.” In fact, throughout the early months of 2020, Kate was seen with no polish on her nails at all. Her choice is most likely a personal preference as Kate enjoys spending time in the country with her children and, to that effect, would not have the time to keep up a manicure.
However, the same rules do not apply to their toes
Kate Middleton is known to wear a dark-colored hue on her toes from time to time. At a 2012 event held at The Thirty Club in London, Kate wore a cream-colored gown with a slit and sparkling platform sandals. On her toes was a brick-red-colored manicure (per Harper’s Bazaar). She wore the same color to a subsequent event held at The Royal Albert Hall, which was paired with a floor-length teal color Jenny Packham gown.
For the most part, Kate keeps her look rather minimalist. Even if she does have some polish on her nails, it generally does not distract from her hands and always looks clean and natural. For her 2010 engagement to Prince William, Kate wore a very pale color on her nails as the paparazzi zoned in on her engagement ring, which was the same hue as her stunning blue wrap dress designed by Issa (per HuffPost).
Is there really a royal protocol about not wearing dark nail polish?
It is not a hard and fast rule in the royal family that women cannot wear darker-colored polish on their nails. “There’s no actual protocol about dark nail polish,” royal correspondent Omid Scobie said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar about the subject. “It’s simply about being appropriate.”
Royal style expert Myka Meier agreed. She said to Glamour, “There is no official royal protocol that says what the royal family must wear or even what products they should use. Each senior royal is trusted to make their style and grooming choices, including products they wish to use. While we have seen the Duchess of Cambridge wearing light-pink-colored or even clear polish in the past, one of her favorite new looks in recent years has been no polish at all! Instead, she has opted for a buffed nail with a naturally squared, low-maintenance shape, which not only goes with everything she wears but looks clean-cut, natural, and gorgeous.”
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