Kate Middleton's Chic Updo Is A Welcome Break From Her Usual Blown-Out Waves

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Kate Middleton attended the annual Remembrance Sunday service in one of her most elegant updos yet

Like the sound of a running bath or the scent of a favorite candle, the mere sight of Kate Middleton incites a collective sigh of relief. An instantaneous feeling of calm. The duchess has been notably elusive — hidden away in a euphoric corner of Kensington Palace, presumably — during this whirlwind year, but Remembrance Sunday 2020 offered a rare Kate Middleton sighting (and a chic updo to admire as well).

Despite a country-wide lockdown, the royals upheld their annual tradition of gathering at the Cenotaph on the second Sunday in November to honor British war heroes. The Duchess of Cambridge was joined at the ceremony by the Queen and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, all in black and sporting the symbolic poppy flower. Although Middleton's bespoke, military-style coat dress was predictable as ever, it was her hairstyle that surprised.

Instead of her signature blown-out waves, a staple in the few recent Zoom meetings and socially distanced appearances promoted by @KensingtonRoyal, the duchess' chestnut tresses were pinned up in a remarkably elegant, almost vintage-like coiffure. A much more formal style than what Middleton has been sporting of late — proof that she must be reunited with her hairstylist — the updo was impeccably woven together in a complicated series of overlapping layers and decorative swirls.

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It consisted of a subtle bouffant at the top, French twisty-type pieces tucked inward into a tidy, low-hanging chignon adorned with one single ringlet secured with bobby pins, altogether topped with a black fascinator, per usual.

While updos are a Kate Middleton rarity — reserved only for special occasions and usually assisted by a ballgown, tiara, etc. — Remembrance Sunday has historically served as an opportunity for formal hairstyles in her case. 2020's is only slightly different from the updos she's worn nearly every year since 2016, with the exception of 2017's retro, hat-topped mock bob (one of her chicest and most memorable looks to date).

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were absent from the London service but reportedly paid their respects separately at the Los Angeles Cemetery, where, according to People, they laid flowers and a poppy wreath.