Kate Middleton's been in the public eye for over a decade, which has translated to her every style and beauty choice getting analyzed by royals watchers and the press. Even before her engagement to Prince William was announced in 2010 (and their royal wedding in 2011), she was a fixture in the British tabloids. Now she is one of the most photographed women in the world.
But there's one beauty detail most of us may have missed over the past few months. The Duchess of Cambridge is currently on a three-day tour of Ireland with her husband, and as royal-style commentator Elizabeth Holmes (@eholmes) brought to our attention in one of her "So Many Thoughts" Instagram Stories, there's a noticeable lack of colored polish in all the close-up photos of her hands (well, close-up photos of her holding a bag, but same thing). Holmes noted that she thought this was a recent change, which prompted us to deep-dive into the Middleton photo archives—one of our favorite kinds of research.
Turns out the future queen consort has been opting out of color on her nails for months, even years, from the looks of it. In fact, there are more examples of no (or clear) polish than anything else—although her nails are, of course, always impeccably manicured and groomed.
And she opted for a similar shade months earlier, when she and William publicly announced their engagement, when she first showed off that amazing ring that once belonged to the late Princess Diana.
But since then, she is rarely spotted publicly with anything other than a clear manicure. Just check out all of this evidence.
The likely reason is that it's simply a personal preference. Middleton talks often about how much she values her time outside in the country with her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—and when you're a busy mom, it's much easier to rebuff a nail than it is to repolish. Not that we'd expect her to show up in neon or nail art, but the queen reportedly prefers pale shades to adorn female royals' nails.
So we turned our question over to royal-style expert Myka Meier: Could there be any deeper meaning behind the change? "There is no official royal protocol that says what the royal family must wear or even what products they should use," she tells Glamour. "Each senior royal is trusted to make their style and grooming choices, including products they wish to use. While we have seen the Duchess of Cambridge wearing light-pink-colored or even clear polish in the past, one of her favorite new looks in recent years has actually been no polish at all! Instead she has simply opted for a buffed nail with a naturally squared, low-maintenance shape, which not only goes with everything she wears but looks clean-cut, natural, and gorgeous."
Another thought? You can't be publicly criticized for a shade you're not wearing. We certainly loved when Meghan Markle wore a dark polish shade for the British Fashion Awards in 2018, but there were many who did not—and used it as yet another reason to show their dislike for the Duchess of Sussex online.
So are bare nails about to be the big new trend for spring 2020 thanks to a royal nod of approval? We shall see.
Originally Appeared on Glamour