Kate Middleton put her foot in it this week – literally, by plunging her black stiletto into a grate – but now faces an even trickier wardrobe dilemma.
Dressing a third trimester baby bump for a glamorous black-tie occasion is the least of the duchess’s fashion problems ahead of the BAFTA Film Awards, which she will attend with husband Prince William.
A letter sent to female nominees including Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Frances McDormand requests they mimic the example of the Golden Globes by wearing black at the February 18 event.
The aim is to make a “strong, unifying and simple statement” in support of the Time’s Up movement.
As The Telegraph put it, the call to the dark side leaves Kate, 36, “in a diplomatic minefield.”
The duchess has to choose whether to make a political statement by wearing black or perhaps be the only woman in the room in colour.
The royal family has a policy of steering clear of anything which could be interpreted as a political statement.
They are not allowed to vote or speak publicly on political matters. As the BBC put it in 2014, “It is an unwritten rule that they cannot speak out on party politics.”
Ironically, last year Kate, making her showbiz red carpet debut with BAFTA president William, turned heads in a black Alexander McQueen off-the-shoulder dress.
Kensington Palace has declined to comment on how the duchess, due to give birth to her third child in May, might play it.
Actress Emma Watson seemingly has made up her mind: while other stars are yet to promise publicly to wear black, the Harry Potter star tweeted a link to a news story about the campaign with the caption, “Get ready BAFTA #TimesUp.”
Only two or three women chose not to wear black to the Golden Globes and critics argued they stood out for the wrong reasons.
As published by The Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA guests received a letter detailing plans for a “physical and visual representation of our solidarity” with those who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse.
The organisers said they wanted to “let you “ and promised to be in touch again with more details, “ including talking points on why we’re wearing black.”
According to Deadline, the letter also asked that men wear “special pins”.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) February 1, 2018
Whatever Kate decides, William will have his own job to do on the night, which will be hosted by Joanna Lumley.
He will take to the stage and microphone at the Royal Albert Hall to present the Fellowship Award – the highest BAFTA accolade – to British filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott.
Fashion will be on Kate’s mind again the next day when she co-hosts a Buckingham Palace style extravaganza on behalf of the Queen.
With the Duchess of Wessex as her offsider, Kate will be the face of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception where designers including Stella McCartney will showcase their wares.