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William and Kate in Scotland - Why she wore a tartan scarf

06 July 2012

William and Kate in Scotland -  Why she wore a tartan scarf

The Strathearn tartan worn by Kate Middleton in her first public appearance as Countess of Strathearn has a long history and royal associations.

In her first public appearance as Countess of Strathearn on 5 July 2012, Kate Middleton wore a scarf made from Strathearn tartan, a tartan with a long history and royal associations. The Countess was accompanying her husband Prince William, known in Scotland as the Earl of Strathearn to a ceremony at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where he was invested into the Order of the Thistle, the highest honour possible in Scotland. The Order, which is granted by the Queen without the need for her to seek government approval, is granted to those who have held public office or contributed significantly to national life.

Thousands of well-wishers lined the Royal Mile to watch the royal party, which also included the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne, process to the cathedral from the Signet Library. Kate was wearing a pale yellow Emilia Wickstead dress and a Whiteley hat and was carrying a scarf made from Strathearn tartan - which she also carried at the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant in June 2012.

The Strathearn tartan was first created in 1820 and was worn by the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, who was the Duke of Strathearn and Colonel of the Royal Scots Regiment. The Duke sent a sample of the tartan to Wilson's of Bannockburn for 'dressing the royal corps' and it has since been adopted as the tartan of the Comrie Pipe Band. The Strathearn is one of dozens of tartans with royal associations, including the Royal Stewart, the Rothesay Hunting. The Balmoral tartan, which can only be worn with the permission of the Queen, was designed by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, in 1853 and nowadays, is worn only by members of the royal family and the Queen's personal piper.

To find out more about Scotland and its history, see each issue of History Scotland and Scottish Memories.

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Last Updated: 10th May 2012