When she attended church at the weekend, her grey furry hat was much admired. Now, it has emerged, it was made from ethically sourced fur, from baby alpacas which died from natural causes in freezing conditions.
The hat, which Kate wore along with her military green Sportmax coat, was made in Peru under a Fairtrade label, gaining the Duchess of Cambridge praise for wearing ethical fashion. Kate, who is celebrating her 35th birthday purchased the hat, which cost £320, from Lock & Co. The milliners is a favourite of Ms Middleton, who already has more than a dozen hats bought from the firm.
While most of her hats have been designed by milliner Sylvia Fletcher, the grey number was actually the brainchild of Antonia Valentin Jacob, from Peru. The designer grew up in a very poor area in the country’s capital, Lima. She says that she only uses alpacas which have died from natural causes, and that no animals are killed for their pelts to make the hats.
Alpacas are popular for their wool because it is so warm. They tend to be sheered once a year and the wool is used to make cosy blankets, jumpers, scarves, hats and gloves to keep the winter chill at bay.
Alpacas live in the wild in southern Peru but baby animals can find it difficult to cope with temperatures hich can dip to minus 20. Fifty two year old Antonia searches for animals which have died from natural causes so she can use their fur in her designs. After the Duchess wore the hat, the designer has found herself innundated with orders for the hats.
She said that the firm had been adversely affected by the struggling pound as a result of the Brexit vote. However, she said that the Duchess endorsing her designs had been the perfect start to the New Year. The Lacorine hat was first worn by Kate, and her sister Pippa, five years ago and they have hats from the firm in a number of different colours.