Stephanie Hallett
Updated Aug 03, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

Shorter hair isn’t the only change we’ve seen Kate Middleton make recently. The royal wore a color so bright on a recent visit to Germany, we had to do a double a take — was this really our Duchess of Cambridge, who so prefers neutral, subdued, or darker shades? But indeed! Our eyes had not betrayed us.

The royal donned a lilac frock with long sleeves and her preferred A-line silhouette on a visit to the Maritime Museum in Hamburg last month, where she and her husband, Prince William, celebrated the U.K. and Germany’s joint year-of-science partnership.

Middleton paired her bold purple dress, by designer Emilia Wickstead, with nude pumps from Gianvito Rossi and a pink lizard clutch by Anya Hindmarch for a polished yet summery look.

Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Don’t you just want to paint this on your nails, walls, eyelids, and fill your closet with tons of clothes in exactly this shade? Yeah. We do, too.

William, being the adorable human that he is, subtly coordinated with his wife by wearing a deep eggplant tie.

Credit: Franziska Krug/Getty Images


The color of Middleton’s dress is reminiscent of a shade beloved by her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Princess Di wore the suit above on a visit to Washington, D.C. in the 1990s.

She sometimes accessorized with the color, as seen in the 1981 photo below.

Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

She even donned a straight-out-of-the-’80s lilac gown, by Donald Campbell, to a theater performance in 1983.

Credit: Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

While Middleton is often seen in primary colors, the color purple has long been associated with British royalty. Indeed, “royal purple” is a rich, deeply hued color identified by Pantone, and once the exclusive domain of Britain’s royal family. In the Elizabethan era — 1558 to 1603 — Queen Elizabeth I forbade non-royals from wearing the shade, which was not such a huge problem for the lower classes since purple dye was expensive to purchase.

But even though the color has classist and unsavory roots, it does look great on Kate Middleton — and thanks to an accident of science, we can now all wear as much purple as we want to without going broke. Cheers to that.