Kate Dons Belizean Maya Brand for Governor General’s Reception on Final Night in Belize

by Carolee Chanona

On their final night in Belize, the Duchess of Cambridge stunned in a formal hot pink gown, but look a little closer, and you’ll notice Kate donned a traditional Maya embroidered handbag by a local Belizean brand! The cultural clutch is none other than woman-owned and operated Xe’il Belize, compromising of the Ixk’äntz’iit women’s cooperative from San Antonio Village in Toledo and local designed Ronelli Requena. Kate premiered the fuschia gown on March 21, 2022, at the Cahal Pech Archeological Site as the first glamorous formal look of their official Caribbean visit, which Queen Elizabeth II coincidentally visited during her 1994 Belize visit.

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Kate dons locally embroidered Mayan clutch on final night in Belize. POOL/SAMIR HUSSEINGETTY IMAGES

Xe’il, which means ‘true to our roots’, is a meaningful brand designed and developed to provide a source of economic empowerment to Mopan Maya women while showcasing the dawn of a fashion era emerging from Southern Belize. Together, the Xe’il Belize brand directly benefits the indigenous community in Toledo while encouraging the generational wealth of this priceless practice of embroidery as modern-day slow fashion.

The Xe’il Belize embroidered bag was elevated alongside the British label Vampire’s Wife hot pink gown by the Duchess. POOL/SAMIR HUSSEINGETTY IMAGES

The evening reception, hosted by the Governor-General of Belize H.E. Froyla Tzalam, was in honor of the Queen’s Jubilee this year, celebrating Her Majesty’s 70-year reign. Kate opted for a vibrant metallic pink full-length dress from British label Vampire’s Wife, featuring a high-neck, a cinched-in tie waist, and a floor-length straight skirt. After all, the Sunday of their visit marked the first day of Spring, and we like to think started the season with a bang.

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Prince William and Kate arrive to Cahal Pech Archeological Site for an evening reception by Belize’s Governor-General. POOL/SAMIR HUSSEINGETTY IMAGES

True to its name, the patterns of Xe’il are sewn using a complex counting system transmitted from mother to daughter for hundreds of years and depicted on her gifted clutch.

The outfit was paired off with metallic silver Jimmy Choo Mimi Sandals and the shimmering discs of O’Nitaa Earrings complete with pearl drops and diamond detailing.

According to People, bright pink is somewhat of an unusual color choice for the Duchess, who often opts for gold, silver, or darker jewel tones. But then again, the Duchess has never visited Belize before this first official tour of the Caribbean, so the bright summery color is only fitting.

Xe’il Belize’s head embroiderer Elvia Bo had the pleasure of embroidering the Xokbil’chuy for the purse gifted to the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine.

Kate was joined by Prince William, who dressed classic in a pair of navy blue trousers, a fitted blue blazer, and a powder blue button-down shirt. That evening, Prince William delivered a speech.

Kate Middleton and Prince William are currently celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with an 8-day Caribbean tour to Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.

The couple left Belize on their fourth day of the tour on March 22, 2022.

Header image courtesy Pool, Getty. All other images not captioned, credit Caribbean Culture & Lifestyle.

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