Princess Kate’s Red Manicure Is More Significant Than You Might Think

Light pinks and nudes might take a back seat here on out.

kate middleton red manicure
(Image credit: Getty)

If you’re anything like me, you pay wildly close attention to Princess Kate’s beauty details. If she got a light dusting of a haircut—I know it. If she swaps her typical Bobbi Brown lipstick for something a little more poppy—I know it. So you better believe that I, along with the majority of the royal style watchers, had some thoughts when the Princess of Wales showed up to formal Easter events with a bright ruby red manicure. There’s nothing overtly wild about a crimson-colored polish, but it’s rarely been a big player during official royal business engagements. Well, until now that is. 

kate middleton red manicure

(Image credit: Getty)

“When the Queen was alive, her personal preference was light pinks and nudes. Her personal favorite was Essie Ballet Slippers, so the other women in the family followed that lead for the most part,” explains Marie Claire’s very own royal expert Rachel Burchfield. “Now that the Queen has passed, the doors have opened to experiment more.” Look, this isn’t to say that Princess Kate or Meghan Markle have never worn a dark nail polish shade before—they absolutely have. But, as Burchfield explains, this recent moment is more significant given the bold hue made its appearance during a major event. 

Need convincing? Just take a peek at the comments section on just about any royal fashion-centric Instagram. Take royal expert and author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style Elizabeth Holmes’ recent post, which provides a close up of Kate’s fingers, for example. “Wait what?! What’s happening? Red nail polish? Since when? 😩 I absolutely love it but also…” one follower wrote. 

Another user was clearly shocked by the deviation, saying, “I GASPED AT THE RED NAILS CAUSE HOW? Can’t wait to see what people say about this because ‘loud’ nail polish has been a problem for some in the past.” That comment is in reference to Meghan Markle’s decision to wear dark nail polish during an official appearance at the 2018 Fashion Awards in London. 

Regardless of the reasoning behind the princess’ latest nail look, I for one am in full support of the Spring nail experimentation. 

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.