The last time the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing shorts was at a roller disco in 2008

By Erin Hill
August 09, 2019 10:49 AM

Kate Middleton’s impeccable style is always making headlines, but it’s a simple pair of navy shorts that has people talking now.

The royal mom, 37, arrived at a charity sailing race with Prince William on Thursday in a colorful striped peplum top by Sandro and her L.K. Bennett trousers. But she immediately changed into a more sea-friendly outfit: a white polo and jacket by Gill Marine, a navy baseball cap, New Balance sneakers and navy shorts.

The outing marked the first time that Kate has been spotted in public wearing shorts since she became a royal. The last time she was photographed in shorts was in September 2008 at a Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco Party in London. The future royal wore neon yellow shorts and a sparkly green top for the festive event.

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Kate Middleton
Chris Jackson/Getty
Kate Middleton in 2008
Antony Jones/UK Press/Getty

Since joining the royal family in 2011, Kate has stuck to more formal looks on outings. When an event does call for a more casual look, she typically wears jeans or trousers.

But on Thursday, she broke out a pair of shorts for the first time — and for good reason. Kate took to the sea as skipper of one of the eight boats racing in the regatta. And her athletic legs were on display as she expertly took on the role.

Kate Middleton
Chris Jackson/Getty
Kate Middleton
Chris Jackson/Getty
Kate Middleton
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Kate isn’t the only royal who has made headlines for her shorts. Prince George typically only wears shorts. He’s only been spotted wearing pants a couple of times — for the royal family’s official 2018 Christmas card and as part of his wedding party outfit for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding.

In Britain, it’s considered tradition for upper-class boys to wear shorts in their younger years. “Boys wear short trousers until they are 8,” Editor-in-Chief of Majestymagazine Ingrid Seward told PEOPLE. “It is very English.”

Prince George
Antony Jones/Getty

Added Seward: “It is considered very suburban for a little boy to be in long trousers when he is just a little boy.”

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Graduating to long pants is a notable moment for young kids. “It is shorts until you’re 8 and then ‘woo, you’re in long trousers,’ ” said Seward. “They suddenly feel very grown up.”

The same was true for George’s father. “Prince William didn’t wear long trousers until he went to school at Ludgrove at the age of 8 or 9,” said Seward.

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