LODGE A WIN FOR LO­CAL COM­MU­NITY

The Duchess of Cam­bridge has weaponised the head­band. Hers is send­ing a mes­sage… can you hear it?

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Oh, you’re go­ing to love this. Kate Mid­dle­ton is bring­ing back the head­band!

I say head­band, but this im­plies sub­tlety. The Duchess of Cam­bridge has weaponised hers, which are more the size of small, sov­er­eign coun­tries. Se­ri­ously, you can see these suck­ers from space.

In­stead of a dec­o­ra­tive strip lined with lit­tle teeth to sub­due hair into place, a Kate Mid­dle­ton head­band is more of an enor­mous half-dough­nut strapped onto the skull with ca­ble ties, or maybe a glue gun, form­ing a squishy fab­ric cres­cent around the face.

It’s ei­ther a fas­ci­na­tor that’s bulked up on pro­tein shakes or a hat that can’t be ar­sed. Ei­ther way, it couldn’t care less about keep­ing your fringe out of your eyes. A bit like the duchess her­self, this head­band may be at­trac­tive but doesn’t have an ac­tual job to do. The sym­me­try of this is rather pleas­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to breath­less in­ter­na­tional royal watch­ers, Kate has now worn three vari­a­tions of this head­band in the past few months. She wore a cream dough­nut to her son’s chris­ten­ing. She wore a blue one with fake roses to a wed­ding. She wore a black vel­vet dough­nut at West­min­ster Abbey on Re­mem­brance Sun­day. And even though no com­mon woman in full posses­sion of her fac­ul­ties ei­ther needs or wants one, we must all agree that it’s a mat­ter of time be­fore Kate Mid­dle­ton’s head­band catches on to be­come An Ac­tual Thing.

It’s in­evitable, ap­par­ently. Ev­ery­one in re­tail in­sists there’s a “Kate ef­fect”, where looka­like gowns, shoes and dresses sell out within min­utes of her wear­ing them. It’s true of her chil­dren’s clothes, too. Ev­ery time Prince Ge­orge ap­pears in leder­ho­sen, there’s a rush on at Har­rods. I bet you can’t move in Chelsea for 5-year-olds in bow ties, wingtips and knicker­bock­ers: such is the se­duc­tive power of her taste.

Still, it’s hard to at­tribute the en­dur­ing suc­cess of the nude heel, say, or the cork wedge, to Kate alone. I mean, most women at some point dur­ing their sum­mer will over­ride their mis­giv­ings and give the cork wedge a chance. They’ll go on to dis­cover the cork wedge is, in fact, an empty promise – nei­ther wholly prac­ti­cal nor vampily sexy, not very good in the wet, crummy on sand, and a bug­ger to drive in. (Kate Mid­dle­ton, you may have no­ticed, does not drive.)

Cork wedges are the cock­roaches of the shoe in­dus­try. Sea­son af­ter sea­son, they re­turn to plague us. We can’t blame Kate Mid­dle­ton for their ex­is­tence: they would have hap­pened any­way.

But why the head­band, and why now? I’m sure she’d ex­plain it if she had a speak­ing en­gage­ment lined up, but I don’t even need to look at the royal di­ary to tell you she hasn’t. In­stead, royal women com­mu­ni­cate to us through the medium of their clothes, in the same way that ground-crew com­mu­ni­cate to flight-crew through the medium of ping-pong pad­dles.

Ac­cord­ing to the Daily Mail’s “royal ex­pert” who may or may not have had a cou­ple of Pimm’s Cups with lunch, the head­band is Kate’s bold new way of dis­tin­guish­ing her style from Meghan Markle, whose dress sense is in­creas­ingly re­gal.

I can un­der­stand the ap­peal of this ex­pla­na­tion. I mean, lately it’s get­ting in­cred­i­bly easy to mis­take one duchess for the other, es­pe­cially when­ever Meghan wears green, or a dress coat, or a poppy on her lapel, just like Kate. When­ever Kate puts on the head­band, it helps us dis­tin­guish which one of them is Meghan: the one with­out the halo around her head.

The Daily Mail should re­ally have called me. I could have told them the head­band has noth­ing to do with Meghan Markle, and ev­ery­thing to do with Charles as re­gent.

While the rest of Kate may be har­nessed to the thank­less task of duchess­ing around Cam­bridge, her head, at least, is pre­par­ing for his­tory. Charles just turned 70. His PR lack­eys at Clarence House are in over­drive, pol­ish­ing his im­age as a dot­ing grand­fa­ther, a reader of im­por­tant royal doc­u­ments, a lover of gar­dens, and a feeder of chooks.

The Queen’s wear­ing the jew­els, but the palace is pre­par­ing Camilla. This means Kate switch­ing from lit­tle league to big­ger league, but she can’t glit­ter too much. Plus, with Meghan on board, de­liv­er­ing glam­our is no longer her ex­clu­sive job. She must of­fer a dull, ma­ture so­lid­ity in­stead.

What bet­ter way to do it than re­vive a cen­turies-old style of head­wear, beloved of no­ble Tu­dors? This isn’t a head­band, it’s a French hood. Mar­ried, courtly women rocked these 500 years ago, un­til El­iz­a­beth

I as­sumed the throne, pushed it fur­ther back on her head and stud­ded it with jew­els.

The ul­ti­mate English queen, El­iz­a­beth I also liked clothes, but em­ployed her brain to do the talk­ing.

Photo: Vic­to­ria Birkin­shaw

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