This weekend, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, hit the red carpet at the 71st British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards.
His Royal Highness has been the president of the Academy since 2010, so it was not unusual for him and his wife to attend the show, which is the British equivalent of the Oscars.
To one's surprise, in the weeks leading up to the big night, royal watchers began speculating about what Kate, who is seven months pregnant, would wear.
On Sunday, the Duchess showed up in a floor length dark green gown with a black sash right above her bump. Kate paired the Jenny Packham dress with emerald and diamond jewelry, suede Prada heels and a black clutch.
While Kate, as usual, looked beautiful and elegant beside William, who donned a black suit and a bow tie, not everyone was on board with her choice of dress.
Why? She did not wear black.
Just like at the Golden Globes in January, celebrities were encouraged to wear black at the BAFTA Awards in support of Time's Up, a movement and "legal defense fund" that "will provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers."
The world's most famous faces have been wearing black outfits to major events to get the point of the initiative across and start conversations around gender inequality, pay disparity, as well as sexual harassment and abuse.
As you can imagine, many people were disappointed to see that the Duchess did not honor the dress code.
“Disappointed in #KateMiddleton #DuchessofCambridge not wearing black to the #EEBAFTAs It’s not a political thing. It’s a woman thing!” wrote one Twitter user.
Another tweeted: "Can someone please sit me down and explain why Kate Middleton couldn’t wear black for a few hours for an important cause?"
Well, there is actually a very good explanation for why Kate opted for green instead of black, and it's something she really has no control over.
Since marrying into the royal family, Kate has been an outspoken advocate for mental health and women's issues. She has even opened up about her own personal challenges with being a woman and a mother, especially when the whole world is watching.
“Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” she said during a speech at a Heads Together event. “However, at times it has also been a huge challenge. Even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not.”
Still, her hands are tied when it comes to making certain statements, like dressing in black for a somewhat politically-charged movement. Yes, the Time's Up initiative isn't linked to any political party, but it has stirred-up a lot of controversy, making it the type of issue the royals tend to distance themselves from.
As a governing family, the royals try to remain neutral when it comes to political matters.
"Although not prohibited by law, it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election," read a statement on the U.K. government website. "As Head of State, The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters, unable to vote or stand for election."
This unwritten rule isn't just followed by the Queen, but by all members of the family, including Kate and William. They've all relinquished their rights to vote or publicly take a stand on issues that may be considered controversial by some.
Among the sea of backlash, were a number of people who came to Kate's defense by explaining that she indeed did show her support in a subtle and tasteful way. Not only did she wear a dark-colored dress, she also wore a black sash.
"To the people criticizing the Duchess for her decision not to wear #MeToo black, note the ribbon around her waist," tweeted Sarah Burr. "She OBVIOUSLY supports the cause and did so tastefully within her role as a Royal. Stop trying to drag her through the mud."
Others pointed out that by shaming Kate for not wearing black, they're contributing to the problem.
"I support all guests at @BAFTA choosing to wear black in support of #MeToo and #TimesUp . I also support the Duchess of Cambridge in choosing not to do so. Telling a pregnant women how to dress in any other situation would be seen as part of the problem! #BAFTAs," wrote one user.
Frankly, they're right. Women should be allowed to do as they wish, and when that happens, it should be met with support, not scrutiny. Everyone can choose to show support however they please, so it's unfair to judge Kate due to the color of her dress.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!