Newcomers to the royal family can’t so much as take a breath without being accused of breaking with tradition—just ask Meghan Markle. But this week, it was the usually uber-proper Kate Middleton who sent shock waves through the British press by boldly going where few royals have gone before. In other words, on Thursday, Middleton wore a pair of shorts.
Middleton’s husband, Prince William, reportedly wore shorts exclusively until he was eight or nine years old. So, what’s the big deal with Middleton taking a page from his style book? Apparently, because it’s the first time she’s been photographed wearing shorts since she officially became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. And because… well, actually, that’s it.
At first, Middleton’s appearance on Thursday seemed to be perfectly ordinary; she arrived to a sailing race for the King’s Cup Regatta charity wearing a striped shirt and a nautical pair of navy trousers.
But Middleton soon proved she wasn’t messing around. When it came time to venture offshore, she changed into a white polo, an athletic jacket, a baseball cap, a pair of New Balances, and—most important—some navy shorts, the better to show off her muscles as she took on the role of skipper for the regatta.
Alas, they didn’t seem to make much of a difference, seeing as she ended up losing the race to six others, including none other than Bear Grylls. Still, you might be seeing more of Middleton in shorts soon, given how much fun she appeared to have over the course of the several hours that she rocked the look.
In case you were wondering, the last time Middleton was photographed wearing a pair of shorts was all the way back in 2008, a full three years before her royal wedding. And in a true testament to how much her life has changed over the past decade, that pair was bright yellow and only an inch or two long. In the spirit of the occasion, a Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco in London, she completed the look with a sequined top, knee-high boots, pink socks, and a handful of giant glow sticks. That probably wouldn’t fly at Ascot…