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Why Kate Middleton would be breaking royal rules if she wore black to the BAFTAs

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Emily Reynolds
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This year’s BAFTAs red carpet will be full of black dresses – a continuation of the protest that started at the Golden Globes. But one star may not be wearing the colour – here’s why.

Kate Middleton may be facing a fashion dilemma ahead of this month’s BAFTAs – and it’s not just down to which designer she should wear. 

Instead, her decision is more political than you might expect: whether to wear black or not. 

Wearing black on the red carpet has fast become an act of protest, with Hollywood stars starting the trend during the Golden Globes earlier this year. Actresses including Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Jessica Chastain and more donned the colour in support of the #TimesUp movement. 

Reports now suggest that a similar protest will be taking place at this month’s BAFTAs, with actresses including Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Daisy Ridley, Keira Knightley, Jodie Whittaker and more all expected to take part. 

A letter has apparently been sent around those attending the ceremony, asking them to “wear black to the awards ceremony, to follow suit from our sisters who attended the Golden Globes”; men have been invited to “wear special pins and/or a button hole”. 

But for Middleton, the decision whether or not to wear black may be a slightly more complex one. 

Actresses and activists alike wore black to the Golden Globes - and BAFTA attendees may follow suit. 

As a member of the Royal Family, Middleton has to abide by a number of sometimes restrictively strict rules. Royal women are instructed not to take their coats off in public, for example, as it’s deemed “unladylike”; they’re also unable to wear coloured nail varnish, and have to wear hats during any formal events. 

Royals are also barred from making explicit political statements – which is where the #TimesUp difficulty arises. If Middleton wears black in support of the movement, she may be breaking this rule – if she doesn’t, she may face public scrutiny and criticism, as many of the women who failed to wear black to the Golden Globes did.   

Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Meher Tatna, who was born in India, explained that her wearing red was a “cultural thing”.

“When you have a celebration, you don’t wear black,” she said at the time. “I do have my Time’s Up button, so I’m standing in solidarity with all these other women. The HFPA is 60% women, we’ll have our stories. We are also journalists, so anybody who expresses themselves, especially on this topic, we are in solidarity with.”

Even still, she faced criticism, with one Twitter user claiming her choice showed she didn’t “give a f**k about sexual assault”.

Kate Middleton has a complex set of rules to abide by – even down to whether she can take off her coat. 

It could be argued that standing up against harassment is inherently apolitical – in which case Middleton would be able to support the cause.

And, though many do consider #MeToo and #TimesUp to be political movements, Middleton is also a vocal supporter of several mental health charities – another cause that can definitely be considered political. 

But Royal rules, as archaic as they may seem, are part of the institution of the monarchy, and Middleton tends to abide by them – so we’ll have to wait and see whether, this time, she decides to rebel. 

Images: Rex Features