Alexander McQueen. Jenny Packham. Erdem. The labels worn by the Duchess of Cambridge consists of a list of designers most women lust after — hefty price tags aside. Let’s not forget that Kate Middleton also favors mainstream brands like Zara, Reiss, and Topshop. One would assume that designers would send endless boxes of clothing to Kensington Palace (and they do!), thanks to the sales spikes she causes once photographed in an item. But the Duchess refuses to accept free garments.
So who foots the bill for Kate’s enviable wardrobe? Her father-in-law, Prince Charles, who will publicly reveal his accounts for the first time since Kate joined the British Royal Family. The Daily Mail estimates that the Duchess’s wardrobe so far this year could cost up to £35,000 ($54,593).
Prince Charles has offered to pay for any work-related dresses the Duchess wears to her public appearances through his official household account, funded by the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate of land and property holdings.
The royal family isn’t hurting for money, of course, but Kate’s wardrobe bill is only $14,000 less than the annual salary of £44,000 ($68,631) that her husband, Prince William, makes as an RAF helicopter pilot.
The Duchess’s fashion choices have made her a sartorial darling and she knows how to mix couture, high-end designers, and mass retail brands. She also makes an effort to wear items more than once, as she did with a pink $2,000 Emilia Wickstead dress she wore in May. $54,593 may sound like a lot, but she is a princess after all — and she does have to attend a lot of black-tie affairs.
But most mortals don’t have make appearances at black-tie events regularly and have to support themselves on a salary that equals Duchess Kate’s clothing allowance, if not less.
Still, in order to keep things in perspective, ARTINFO looked at a May 2011 survey of national occupational employment and wage estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and selected 10 professions where the average annual salary amounts to approximately $54,593. Here’s what we found:
Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisor - $50,500
Real Estate Sales Agents - $51,170
Postal Service Mail Carriers - $51,390
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters - $51,830
Kindergarten School Teachers, Excluding Special Education - $52,350
Food Service Managers - $52,620
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Illustrators, and Sculptors - $53,400
Court Reporters - $53,710
Social Workers - $54,220
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers - $56,260