By Rebecca Drew
THIS ROYAL superfan spends up to FIVE-HUNDRED-POUNDS a month copying the Duchess of Cambridge’s flawless style and as a fellow busy mum insists the pair have much in common.
Rowena Penaranda de Obieta, who is in her forties, from Virginia, USA, grew up with a fascination for royalty and reading the Hola or Hello magazines that her mother, who has Spanish heritage, bought.
Rowena admits that she isn’t a natural fashionista but after Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement in 2010, she started to follow the Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion choices and in 2012, her first ‘repli-Kate’ item was Diana’s ring and Kate’s engagement ring, bought for her by her husband.
Since then, Rowena has managed to get her hands on 25 exact clothing items worn by the Duchess and 50 ‘repli-Kate’ items, inspired by the royal mum-of-three’s practical outfit choices.
Incredible images show Rowena channelling her inner Kate in an array of outfits including the & Other Stories dress she wore to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019, the Zara summer dress worn by the Duchess to the polo in June 2018 and the famous blue Issa dress worn to announce the royal couple’s engagement in November 2010.
Whilst she has always admired the Queen, Rowena admits that the head of the royal family’s fashion choices are difficult to follow but as a mum herself says that the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfit choices resonate with her and are practical for everyday life.
Their similarities don’t stop there, Rowena shares a passion for the countryside, keeping fit, Downton Abbey and homemade curries with Kate.
“I grew up with a fascination for royalty. I am not a natural fashionista. Following the style of the Duchess of Cambridge has immensely improved my wardrobe,” said Rowena.
“It’s like having a personal stylist on a royal level. Kate Middleton presents as incredibly natural and genuine. There is nothing over the top or overly done about her- even when she’s royally dressed. Some folks who comment or correspond with me from the UK tell of private encounters with her and how she is as “normal” as any mum.
“I have total and complete admiration for Queen Elizabeth. She is a shining light for the world and the royal family. There is something about maintaining decades if not centuries of tradition and compassion in this world without overselling it.
“She is restrained in the good and bad and the world needs more restraint and discretion to find a healthy balance. Her fashion is a little more difficult to copy. Catherine is close to following her footsteps and her fashion is more reachable.
“I regularly browse eBay, Poshmark and Amazon for fashion pieces. I spend an average of $500-600 a month on items. My usual shopping places are Zara, Banana Republic, Gap and J Crew.
“Usually I go to eBay or Amazon, but when I really want the item I go directly to the brand or retail. I keep about 20 items on my watch list on eBay.
“I have about 25 ‘real-Kates’. The rest of my closet is a ‘repli-Kate,’ about 50 clothing pieces. Jackets not included. I have many of her sneakers, about six pairs, and the timeless LK Bennett wedges. Beige and black.
“Then there’s jewellery, I have real-Kates and repli-Kates. From the engagement ring to the actual Kate Spade red earrings. I also have the Tiffany pieces. I get my pearl and stone repli-Kates from Asia which are much cheaper than the real stuff.”
Rowena learnt how to trade stocks and shares online and this is how she funds her hobby.
It’s not just royal clothing that Rowena is interested in as she also uses skin care brands used by the Duchess and her favourite haircare brand, Kerastase.
Rowena shares her repli-Kate hobby on Instagram under the handle, @ladyrowenaofivanhoe.
“I learnt to trade stocks these last couple of years- and done well. While my husband is incredibly supportive, I fund my own hobby through my earnings from day trading. My current ‘work’ or personal source for spending money is from trading stocks,” said Rowena.
“Reasons why her style resonates with me are; we love the country life, even in home design, and the outdoors, curry is the only dish I can cook and it is also supposedly her favourite homecooked dish, we appreciate a little spice.
“We are fans of Downton Abbey, traditional and classy. We wake up early for the school routine and drop off. When on mummy duty dressing should be efficient.
“We like the fitness lifestyle and fitness wear, we keep moving.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/ladyrowenaofivanhoe