Tuesday, 22 November 2022

The Princess of Wales Dazzles in Jenny Packham & Lovers Knot Tiara

It was a glittering white-tie affair for the first State Banquet of King Charles III's reign at Buckingham Palace. A night of historical significance saw the new Princess of Wales make her first appearance at an evening occasion in the role.

Since the Queen's passing, the oft used word 'modernization' has filled many column inches across media reports. The ability to change and grow is vital for any organization, and for monarchy it's an incredibly delicate balancing act. The coming years will paint a picture of a streamlined monarchy in action with fewer working members. A judgement on the results cannot be determined for some time. We do know the Royal family needs to focus on cost effectiveness and being seen to move with the times, however it is vital one eye remains firmly on tradition. The pageantry and splendour of the entire day culminating with a spectacular banquet at Buckingham Palace so beautifully sums up the uniqueness of monarchy and its role in Britain. It's vital not to lose this or to forget the impact a sprinkling of such events in the annual calendar has in a very positive way. It's been said on countless occasions "no one does it like the British" and if we simply look to recent months it is indeed undeniable true. From the poignant majesty of the Queen's funeral to the thoughtful and visually commanding Remembrance events, a ceremonial show of force is a way to say goodbye and a way to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Tonight, it expressed a warm and unforgettable welcome.

It's been a packed day, beginning with the Prince and Princess of Wales welcoming President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Corinthia Hotel on behalf of the King. From there, a ceremonial welcome and carriage procession was enjoyed before a private luncheon and viewing of the Royal Collection. This State Visit is slightly shorter than we usually see (possibly due to scheduling conflicts), so it was splendid to have so much included.

Now, dear readers, I know you are all looking forward to discussing Kate's look tonight (as am I), but first a little more on the event...

The King and Queen Consort lead their first State Banquet.

The Princess walking in.

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Also in attendance: the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Lady Susan Hussey, and Her late Majesty's former lady-in-waiting, the Honourable Annabel Whitehead.

When it comes to State Banquets, courtiers ensure the evening is a success thanks to months of meticulous planning.

The national flowers of South Africa, Protea, were recreated out of sugar and painted with edible colouring for the State Banquet, alongside petit fours and coffee.

According to the Royal family's website: "Preparations for a State banquet begin well over a year in advance, but the final build of the State banquet table starts around five days ahead of the arrival of the visiting Head of State. The operational arm of Buckingham Palace, the Master of the Household’s department take the main bulk of the responsibility for ensuring the Banquet runs according to plan."

Royal florists at work.

Foliage was sourced from the gardens of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, with crab apples from Kent.

Tonight's menu.

The completed table featured stunning floral decorations, candelabra and six glasses per person -- water, red and white wines, a dessert wine, port and a champagne toast. Nineteen stations are set up around the table, each manned by four staff -- a page, footman, under butler and a wine butler -- who use a traffic light system to co-ordinate the serving of courses. After the banqueting table is put together, and the decorative display is delivered, unpacked and positioned in place, the final touches are added. Below, the ballroom ahead of the arrival of 170 guests. Below, the King and Queen Consort inspecting the table, as per tradition.

Before the evening, Kate and other royals would have received notes on where they were sitting. In order to avoid uncomfortable situations and to ensure all are included in conversation, one speaks to the person on the left for the first course, changing to the right for the second, and alternating for remaining courses.

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In a rare insight into banquets, the Countess of Wessex recalled during an interview for the ITV documentary Our Queen at Ninety one occasion when she could not find her seat as the Queen was about to make her speech: "I shan't forget the look I got when I couldn't find my chair and she was looking to do her speech, I decided I might study the notes a little more carefully next time."

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Both the King and President Ramaphosa gave speeches. During his speech, the King fondly remembered the affectionate nickname Mandela gave Her late Majesty -- Motlalepula -- meaning ‘to come with rain’. The King said it was a mark of affection "rather than a remark on the British habit of taking our weather with us everywhere". The video below also shares footage of royals and guests arriving.

The King's speech:

"President Ramaphosa,

Avuxeni, Dumela, Sawubona, Molo, Molweny, Ndaa. My wife and I are delighted to welcome you to Buckingham Palace this evening.

South Africa, like the Commonwealth, has always been a part of my life.  My mother often recalled her visit in 1947, the year before I was born, when, from Cape Town on Her twenty-first birthday, she pledged her life to the service of the people of the Commonwealth. 

It is therefore particularly moving and special that you are our guest on this, the first State Visit we have hosted. If I may, I would like to give you our belated but very best wishes for your birthday last week.

The late Queen had the great pleasure of hosting Presidents Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma for State Visits to the United Kingdom, at all of which I was present. On each of those occasions, she expressed her admiration for your country and its people, its vibrancy, natural beauty and diversity.

And she always talked warmly of her return to your country in 1995, as the guest of President Mandela, after the momentous events – driven from within South Africa and supported by so many around the world, including here in the United Kingdom – that brought democracy to your country.

During one of my own visits to South Africa, in 1997, President Mandela told me that he had conferred on my mother a special name – Motlalepula, meaning “to come with rain.”  I have been reassured that this was a mark of the particular affection President Mandela felt for the Queen... rather than a remark on the British habit of taking our weather with us!

I know that President Mandela was a friend and mentor to you, Mr. President, and that your own brave and skilful negotiations helped to lay the foundations of modern South Africa.

The determination of people in South Africa to continue the legacy of the great men and women who have built your democracy is truly inspiring.  It is our responsibility as leaders, and as partners in the U.N. and G20 as well as the Commonwealth, to create the opportunity, prosperity and security that will allow them to do so.  This is what I know you are seeking to achieve, Mr. President, through your Adopt A School Foundation and what the United Kingdom seeks to support through our Chevening Scholarship programme which enables South African students to further their studies in universities across the United Kingdom. 

It is only by working together across our countries and our generations that we will tackle some of the greatest challenges of our times.  For instance, our collaboration in science and innovation is literally vital in order to protect our people’s health by preparing for future pandemics.  Perhaps, above all, we must find and implement practical solutions to the twin, existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss.  To this end, I am proud that the United Kingdom, along with France, Germany, the United States of America and the European Union, have established a lasting partnership with South Africa by supporting your ambitions for a Just Energy Transition to a sustainable, green, economically vibrant future, and that our countries are committed to ensuring an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal this December.  These are examples of our crucial modern relationship.

Of course, that relationship goes back centuries.  While there are elements of that history which provoke profound sorrow, it is essential that we seek to understand them.  As I said to Commonwealth leaders earlier this year, we must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future. 

Today, the links between our countries run deep, with extensive family, professional and cultural ties.  This month in London, for example, one could visit the Royal Academy where the major exhibition is a tribute to a South African artist, William Kentridge; or one might go, as my wife and I did, to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, to see the Africa Fashion Exhibition which celebrates the daring, innovative style of South African designers; or, this weekend, one might choose to travel to Twickenham where English supporters will hope not to have to relive those extraordinary eighty minutes in 2019 when Siya Kolisi led and inspired your country to victory!

Indeed sport, which has done so much to define South Africa’s modern history, is inescapable in our relationship, and it is forging new paths.  In women’s football, this year, Banyana Banyana brought home the Women’s Africa Cup, while our own Lionesses won the European Championship. 

Mr. President, your Visit offers an opportunity for us to chart a path forward together, investing in each other’s potential, and facing the challenges of our world together, as partners, and as friends, striving for equality, justice and fairness for all.   At the turn of the year the world paid tribute to the life and legacy of a great South African, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Amongst his many memorable teachings, I am often reminded of one saying in particular – “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”  I believe that is a vital lesson for us all, and an important thread in the partnership between our countries. 

Ladies and gentlemen, as we commit to continuing on that journey, I invite you all to rise and drink a toast to President Ramaphosa, and to the people of South Africa.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika'."

A toast between the Princess and the President.

GOV.UK notes:

'His Majesty The King has visited South Africa on a number of occasions. His Majesty’s first visit was to Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town from 31 October to 5 November 1997. The King and The Queen Consort also visited Pretoria and Johannesburg from 2 to 6 November 2011. The King and Queen Consort also attended the funeral of President Nelson Mandela on 15 December 2013.

Her Late Majesty The Queen invited President Nelson Mandela to pay a State Visit to the UK in July 1996. She also invited President Thabo Mbeki to pay a State Visit to the UK in June 2001, and President Jacob Zuma to pay a State Visit to the UK in March 2010'.

A memorable image from the last South African State Visit in 2010. A toast between Her late Majesty and President Jacob Zuma.

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During a speech on that night, the Queen remarked on personal memories, drawing from a lifetime of service: "My first and highly memorable experience of South Africa was in 1947. The extraordinary beauty of the country and the vibrancy and diversity of its culture made a powerful impression upon me then. You can imagine how vivid the contrasts between that visit and my next were, nearly half a century later. When Prince Philip and I visited South Africa in 1995, we could see for ourselves how much the country had changed. Just one year after the momentous elections which had brought President Mandela to power, a new atmosphere of self-confidence and positive hopes for the future was already very apparent."

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Of course, it was during the 1947 South Africa visit the then Princess Elizabeth dedicated her life to service and duty. Perhaps it is fitting to say the last invitation for a State Visit she extended was to the President of South Africa shortly before her passing -- an invitation the new king was determined to see through.

During a Royal Collection viewing earlier today, President Ramaphosa had the opportunity to view a photo and the text of the speech.

It would be remiss, while discussing South African State Visits to the UK, not to include a photo of Her Majesty with President Nelson Mandela in 2000. President Ramaphosa was a close friend of Mr Mandela.

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'God Save the King' plays.

The royal party departing afterwards.

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For Camilla's first white-tie event as Queen Consort, she sparkled in a navy Bruce Oldfield gown she wore earlier this year for CHOGM and debuted a stunning tiara from the royal vaults she hasn't worn before -- the Queen's Belgian Sapphire Tiara and matching necklace and bracelet. Camilla also wore her Royal Family Order and Garter regalia.

The Countess of Wessex wore a teal Suzannah gown (with thanks to UFO No More), Royal Family Order and Garter Regalia. As for her jewels, the Court Jeweller noted Sophie chose the Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara with pear shaped diamond earrings from the royal vault.

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Tonight marks Kate's fifth State Banquet. For her debut in 2015, Kate dazzled in a true 'Princess gown' by Jenny Packham, the Queen Mother's Papyrus Tiara, Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond and Chandelier earrings, and bracelets also on loan from Her late Majesty.

For the 2017 Spanish State Banquet, Kate looked fabulous in a pink bespoke Marchesa gown, her now signature Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, Princess Diana's pearl and diamond earrings, and the Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau necklace, which was one of Queen Elizabeth II's wedding gifts from her parents.

For the 2018 State Banquet in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima's visit, we saw Kate choose a bespoke kingfisher blue Alexander McQueen mermaid-style gown with the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, Diana's pearl earrings and a dazzling pearl necklace from Queen Alexandra's wedding parure.

In 2019, in honour of the United States visit, Kate once again turned to Sarah Burton at McQueen, this time selecting a white ruffled gown with a V-neckline and short sleeves, along with the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara, the Queen Mother's Sapphire and Diamond earrings, and Diana's triple-strand pearl bracelet.

As I refreshed the page waiting for photos of Kate tonight, I knew you were all especially excited to see her choice of tiara. I scrolled and caught a glimpse of the Lovers' Knot.

The piece is Kate's go-to and as it is so closely associated with Diana, it is perhaps fitting she chose it for her first white-tie outing as Princess of Wales. I don't doubt we'll see additional sparkly delights in Kate's rotation for the future.


A refresher on the history of the tiara: it was commissioned from Garrard in 1913/1914 by Queen Mary, Queen Consort of King George V, using jewels she already had in her possession. Mary wanted to have a tiara created based on the design of her maternal godmother Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Duchess of Cambridge's  'Lover's Knot Tiara', whence comes the name. The original was a striking piece, and back then, lover's knot bows were very popular, so there were several similar ones made.

The tiara features elements of the Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Cambridge Lover's Knot is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet, a pillar like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a round diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature and the size gradually decreases from the centre towards both ends.

In 1981, the day before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, Her late Majesty gave her soon-to-be daughter-in-law a red leather box -- and inside lay the tiara. According to various media outlets, young Diana exclaimed, "I have Brenda's rocks," referring to a nickname the British press had given the Queen. The Cambridge Lovers Knot became her signature, however the Princess found it quite heavy and headache-inducing, reportedly the reason she wore her family's Spencer Tiara quite regularly.

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In addition to the tiara, Kate wore Diana's gorgeous pearl South Sea earrings tonight.

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The Telegraph notes: "The earrings feature a double curve of various cuts of diamonds, with a cluster of marquise-cut stones in the centre, from which hangs a single pearl. Princess Diana wore the earrings with sizeable, silver-toned South Sea pearl drops on several black-tie occasions."

Kate wore a pearl four-strand bracelet which belonged to the Queen. The Princess wore the piece for the funeral.

The Princess shone in a glittering cape gown by Jenny Packham tonight (with thanks to UFO No More and Kate Middleton Style). The Elspeth Gown features a crew neckline, slit cape sleeves, sweeping train, fit and flare skirt and embellished shoulders. Kate's dress is custom made without the keyhole back detail. Packham never disappoints and tonight was certainly no exception.

Amidst sparkle and regalia, the Princess wore the Queen's Royal Family Order. There had been a great deal of speculation on whether we would see King Charles III's Order tonight, though I thought it likely to be next year before that is organized.

The Order is awarded by the Sovereign of the United Kingdom to female members of the Royal family as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals men do. The order is a personal memento rather than a State decoration. The badge of the order consists of a portrait of the Sovereign set in diamonds, which is suspended from a ribbon. The ribbon of each Royal Family Order changes with each monarch. Her Majesty presented Kate with the Order in 2017; it's made of glass.

Royal Family Orders originated in Britain during George IV's reign. His order was rather ornate in appearance, and the frame that surrounded his portrait was of diamond oak leaves and acorns. The badge was suspended from a white silk bow. Below we see an image of the order which originally belonged to George IV's sister Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg, circa 1820 - 1830. Charlotte willed it to Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria, who left it to the Crown.

After George IV, each succeeding sovereign with the exception of William IV and Edward VIII, has issued their own Royal Family Order. A slight variation came with the reign of Queen Victoria. When Victoria came to the throne the order was not issued until after her marriage. In 1862 she created the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert. It consisted of a cameo portrait of Victoria and Albert; no other Royal Family Order has depicted both the sovereign and their consort since.

The late Queen wore the Family Orders of her father King George VI, which features a rose pink sash, and her grandfather King George V, a pale blue sash.

We last saw Kate wearing her Royal Family Order for a banquet in Jamaica in March. It marked the first occasion we saw her donning the order outside of Britain.

The Princess donned her GCVO regalia. In April 2019, to coincide with William and Kate's eighth wedding anniversary, the Queen appointed her granddaughter-in-law Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the Sovereign. The Royal Victorian Order was established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognized personal service to the monarch. Like the Royal Family Order, the blue sash with red and white trim and the star of the order will be worn at white-tie occasions throughout Kate's life.

Kate used her divine diamond Bentley & Skinner brooch (debuted on Remembrance Sunday) to secure the sash. The piece is described as: "An Art Deco diamond set brooch, of rectangular shape with corners cut away, with an openwork pattern comprising of a central, round brilliant-cut diamond with an estimated weight of 0.35 carat, with a baguette-cut diamond to the top and bottom of the rectangle, total estimated diamond weight 4.5 carats, all mounted in platinum, circa 1920."

A glittering night and a joy to see a white-tie event on the calendar.

111 comments:

  1. Stunning. Now we know the tiara and earrings, I'm hoping for a wow bracelet. Either the wedding bracelet or the late Queens three pearl bracelet. Thanks Charlotte, that was quick. S. ☺

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  2. It looks like the Queen is wearing the late Queens sapphire tiara tonight. S. ☺

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  3. Yay! White. She always looks like a Renaissance angel in white.

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  4. Our beautiful, regal-royal, HRH The Princess of Wales; perfection!

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  5. Wow, wow, wow !!

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  6. The white, sparkling embellishments on the shoulders, pearls, and diamonds go together perfectly! Looking forward to seeing full length photos.

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  7. I am speechless! Perfect princess.

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  8. *A squeal of delight* goes up from here! Wow, this look is utterly stunning. The PoW has truly brought her A-game. This is how you do it!

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  9. It looks like perfection. Even with sashes and ribbons and all the items I don't like. :)

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    1. The sashes & ribbons are not there for style, they are a symbol of high-honor of duty to Crown & Country.

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    2. While yes, they are an honor, They still aren’t that nice looking.

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  10. She looks wonderful and I'll put aside my disappointment that we didn't get a new tiara tonight!

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    1. I too would enjoy seeing a different tiara.I think that most of the tiaras are so closely identified with her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth that tonight would have been the wrong time for the Princess of Wales to wear one of those.For the new Queen I think it was appropriate.Just my opinion,of course.

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    2. If the royal ladies had all raided the vault at the first opportunity it may have looked a bit tacky, which is the only balm for my disappointment! Many fun jewel sightings to come I’m sure.

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    3. I agree was hoping for a new tiara but agree with previous comment about raiding the vault. Hopefully new tiara looks for our gorgeous PoW.

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    4. I agree Anon 22:27, think that Kate made a cautious and respectful decision, both in her deference to HM, as well as to Camilla who is the current Queen.

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    5. I am too hoping for something new. I disagree though that the only option would have been raiding the vault (though I hope that’s very much in the future) or wearing something that is closely associated with HMTQ. I doubt Camilla will show us the Girls of Ireland and Britain, but I hope Kate gives it lots of spotlight when she is Queen for example.
      Same for the State Diadem. Kate could have brought back the Halo or Papyrus, which look just so much more beautiful with her style and sit very elegant on her head. There are also several tiaras that haven’t been seen much or at all in the last decades.
      The Teck Cresecent, the Strathmore Rose? Raiding, to me, implies locking for the big guns. Which, as off know, Kate seems not able to pull off. She continues to wear the wrong hairstyle for the Lover’s Knot so it sits on her head at a weird angle (it’s not a Crown nor a headband) and weighs her down. The Vladimir, the Delhi Durba, the Greyville as well the the bandeaus and Fringes would have the same problem. In general the BRF has an over proportional amount of big tiaras that are complicated to pull off thanks to a strange design. The smaller or more classic options would work better for Kate if she wants to stick to smaller/lower hairstyles.

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    6. Very good point about it being unseemly to rush to the vault immediately after the late queen's death!

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    7. I would have loved to have seen another tiara. There are lots of comments claiming Kate should wear so and so, but I am of the opinion she has no choice. Like Camilla was stuck with the Grenville tiara, like Sophie, she can only wear what she has been loaned. And it seems that she was loaned the halo just for her wedding day and no more, the papyrus until she was loaned the lover's knot. And that's it. Since she became the POW she has been wearing the same earrings in rotation. She doesn't seem to have access to anything new right now, except of course the beautiful POW brooch.

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  11. It’s almost a shame she has to wear the sash and medals, the dress is so pretty on its own.

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    1. It is not a shame, it is a high honor of service & duty to crown & country!

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  12. Absolutely resplendent!!!!

    -FloridaGirl

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  13. Even though I would have liked to see a tiara from the vaults, the white gown, pearls and diamonds go together so spectacularly that she just glows.

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  14. She looks amazing! I wish the gown did not have the embellishments in the shoulder area, but the overall look is perfect.

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  15. I love the cape effect of the dress. The beading, sash, and orders together do look a bit busy -- one quibble I've always had with royal formalwear -- but the silhouette of the dress is sleek and simple enough to offset that problem. It's very sophisticated, which delights me. I wasn't very happy with the Princess's formal dresses for some years. Too many Cinderella-style cap sleeves and full skirts.

    I have to admit that I've never admired that tiara. It always strikes me as a little too heavy in design. However, I know a lot of people love it, so I won't say more.

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    1. To be honest- I think sleek and simple is just as problematic as the PG rated princess aka cap sleeve/full skirt look. Those jewels and honours are designed for a grand entrance. Big hair, beautiful necklines (yes, that means display in a tasteful way. Even the Victorians found a way.), gowns not dresses…It’s a whole composition. Many royals find a way to incorporate enough elements to bring a real royal wow (Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg) but others are too modern corporate in their approach (Denmark, Spain). It’s a nice look for a non royal. The tiara is not the only element that makes it a royal wow moment.
      So, I would love to see her wearing this another time without a tiara. But for this event, it’s a miss.

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    2. As a historian, I have to say that fussy Victorian style isn't to my taste, though rather more pared-down Edwardian fashion had much to recommend it. I am not a fan of "big hair," while décolletage necklines in evening dress need to be handled carefully (they don't lend themselves well to order-wearing, I must point out). And sorry, in my view, the more orders and jewelry, the simpler the dress needs to be. Balance is an important fashion and design principle when you are striving for both tasteful chic and a "wow" factor. An over-the-top look glittering with big hair, a décolletage neckline, and layers of orders and jewelry will definitely not elicit a "wow" from me. That's just bad taste.


      I really haven't seen the Swedish or Benelux royal women dressing in the way you describe. They and the other Scandinavians, and Queen Letizia of Spain, generally display quite good taste. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is rather more experimental than the others, but she strives for fashionable chic in her evening clothes. In fact, she's worn cape-style dresses and tiaras (with sash and orders) herself, and she didn't make any greater impact than the Princess of Wales did with this latest appearance.

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  16. OOH! Someone please have a picture of the back of her head. I want to see her chignon hairstyle. Catherine is perfect in creamy pearl and shinning silver from head to toe.

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  17. Wonderful dress! Perfect with the embroidery and the cape-like sleeves! And the jewellery and haido! Wow! Very elegant! It seems Princess Kate is wearing a Jenny Packham dress from the white collection 2023, the dress "Elspeth".

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  18. Really bummed about the tiara. But the dress is spectacular!

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  19. She looks amazing! Can't wait to see the full post. Thank you Charlotte.
    Does anyone know if the sash is supposed to be worn over the left or right shoulder? Or is it just personal preference? Looking at those in the background of the first photo it looks like everyone else has it on their left shoulder but Catherine is wearing her sash on the right.

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    1. The sash is worn the right way. It's the Victorian order. Sophie is wearing the same. The Queen is wearing the order of the garter sash. S. ☺

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    2. The different order sashes have specific ways in which they must be worn. The RVO sash (Sophie and Kate) goes over the right shoulder, and the Garter sash (Camilla) goes over the left.

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  20. My jaw literally dropped when I saw this first picture!!!

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  21. Is that the art deco diamond brooch that she wore on Remembrance Sunday at the shoulder of the sash?

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  22. Beyond beautiful, just spectacular. Every inch a future Queen.
    Tedi

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  23. The dress is perfection but the sash and ribbon adornments are just so unbecoming to the dress. Is it optional for the princess to wear them or not?

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    1. No, the Royal ladies who have these distinctions always wear them for events like State Banquets or diplomatic receptions. Despite the cluttery appearance, these sashes and brooches are high honors.

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  24. This look is absolutely stellar! The cut, the fit, and the beadwork is beautiful. I love the sashes and the orders on all of the ladies, and think Kate looks quite sleek and elegant. Particularly like that she is using the new art deco brooch to hold her sash in place, it's perfect and somewhat understated as it blends well. Not at all disappointed at the tiara, think that her choice is purposeful and it is lovely with the gown. Agree with Tedi,
    "every inch a future Queen."

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  25. All three royal ladies look marvelous!! Pure dolls all three!! Perfect dresses!! Kate’s beauty will live on for ages, she is such a merit to GB and the commonwealth and a role model for ladies all over the world. It’s such a shame Megan’s not right there beside them, she truly has misplayed her hand. Such a shame.

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  26. Sophie’s outfit and tiara are my favourites of the night, but Kate looks gorgeous as always.

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  27. Charlotte, thank you for the swift report and photos. The cape style is a nice change for her and she looks beautiful. A small correction: it appears that Catherine walked into dinner with the man who sat on her right during dinner, not President Ramaphosa, as you wrote in your description of the photo.

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  28. Now THAT is a dress! Wow. Love it! Like others, I wish she would switch up tiaras though. Maybe next time!

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  29. Beautiful. Catherine looked wonderful, the dress and jewelry worked wonderfully together. So fun to see all the ladies in their dresses and jewels. One comment, she did not walk in with the President, from what I can see. ali

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  30. I agree with a couple of comments above in wishing the dress was worn without the embellishments on the shoulders. With the sashes and regal accessories and the brooch, it’s a very busy look. The styling of the dress is stunning on its own.

    A couple of questions about the GCVO regalia: there are two pieces that are shown on the blue and red ribbon in the inset photo. Tonight, Kate appears to be wearing the larger of the two crosses off the ribbon, on her hip. What is the difference between the two pieces? If the larger one is actually a brooch, does that mean she’s pierced that beautiful dress with the backing of the brooch? Or could there be a different way to fasten it, like a magnet?

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    1. What I have observed, is because all the royals at these types of events in Europe all wear sashes and ribbons and crosses etc, all the ladies just wear the dresses they want and do not worry about co-ordinating with all the other stuff:):) Which is what I would do:)Ali

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  31. WOW. To say Regal would be a understatement. The Princess looks absolutely amazing, head to toe. She is not wearing the South Sea pearls, she changed the pear drops. This is her first time wearing these earrings with that tiara. I think they work very well with it. Charlotte that's the best picture of the bracelet I've seen. Very nice. Queen Elizabeth's sapphires looked beautiful on the Queen. I have to say I'm glad she got these and not the Princess. That "tiara" is a necklace, the necklace definitely needs the sapphires that were removed put back. I would imagine wearing the late Queens jewels in public for the first time as well as her first state banquet as Queen was quite stressful. It's got to be a 10/10 from me for the Princess tonight. S. ☺

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    1. Do you mean Camilla's Tiara is a necklace made into a tiara for this nights event? And that they removed some of the sapphires removed to make it work as a tiara? Ali

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    2. Actually, the Belgian Sapphire Tiara has been a necklace indeed, but it has been Queen Elizabeth who changed it into a tiara. She purchased it in 1963 as a supplement for the sapphire necklace and earrings set she got from her parents as a wedding present. She had it set on a frame and since then wore it only as a tiara, quite frequently until well into the 1990s.

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    3. No. The late Queen bought a sapphire necklace and turned it into this sapphire tiara. It's never been worn as a necklace since the conversion.

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    4. Ali, when the late Queen needed a sapphire tiara. She bought a necklace in 1963 and had it converted into that tiara. Necklace belonged to a Belgium Princess.. She also added the bracelet around this time. The sapphire necklace worn last night, the Queen had 4 links removed to make it shorter. S. ☺

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    5. Thank you everyone. Just never occurred to me that someone would convert a necklace into a tiara:):), makes sense, but clearly my knowledge of jewelry and tiaras is limited. But all the jewelry on the Royal ladies including their tiaras was gorgeous.

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  32. Absolutely stunning…she did not disappoint. I love the whole look! Thank you Charlotte for a lovely post…it is amazing all the preparations that go into this. I find it quite fascinating. Everything was just lovely.
    Joanne in CA

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  33. WOW! I love this whole look! WOW! Thanks Charlotte, Sue

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  34. Absolutely stunning. I would love to know the backstory on the new brooch. A gift from William perhaps to his new Princess?

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    1. Whoever gave it to her, it was a thoughtfull present, she really needed a good brooch, it has been put to good use.

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  35. Oh, this look is dazzling!!! I don't think the shoulder embellishment is to much otherwise it would be awfully plain. I know there's a lot of traditional things needing worn on her dresses but yay for her dress style. I do think the dress would be nice if it had the seams like the model. The model's dress had more flair at the bottom also. She must have had a reason & this rendition is wonderful! One thing about her hair it seems very severely rounded back. I think it's nicer when it's done up but a little looser. We'll see if this is published. Sometimes even though I've just given my opinion on style ie; "Kate look amazing but I think that's not the best colour on her" it's never gets published.

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  36. Stunning! What a win tonight. Wow.

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  37. What a great banquet to welcome the President. As for the Princess... just stunning. Wow. I'm a HUGE fan of this look.

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  38. As soon as I saw your 1st post, I gasped..... She literally took my breath away! This truly was such an historic evening on so many levels. Thank you Charlotte for your spectacular & detailed coverage!

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  39. Also, I was struck by how her whole look & carriage reminded me of the Scandinavian Royal Women..... Absolutely Striking & I do love her tiara with her sleek updo.

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  40. I guess I’m in the minority here but I hate cape dresses, one in a lifetime is more than enough for drama. I agree that all the royal regalia makes this look far too busy. Lose the cape and go for a simple understated look that the regalia will enhance instead.

    - celticgirl

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    1. I agree about cape dresses. They look weird to me, not one thing and not another. Otherwise, Kate looks great in the white and sparkles. I happen to love her tiara, too. Thought Sophie’s dress was a miss. Too plain and dreary next to Kate and Camilla. Wonderful post, Charlotte! So full of details. Thank you!

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  41. Tammy from California23 November 2022 at 03:52

    At first I was underwhelmed by the dress and tiara, but the picture of her toasting the President gave me feelings of My Fair Lady when she comes down the stairs as a "lady" and suddenly, I really liked the look. She definitely looks every bit a princess and is absolutely impeccable whether I was at first underwhelmed or not. I am so glad Camilla's tiara was included-I think I have only ever seen her in the Honeycomb tiara (which is one of my favorites). I think Camilla has the most beautiful shade of white hair.

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  42. Absolutely stunning Jenny Packham doesn’t disappoint! So glad to see Kate in the cape dress style again. I agree the ribbons and orders mixed with the shoulder beading does make the overall look OTT but I think as it’s necessary for the occasion it all works. I think it was appropriate to wear this tiara on this occasion but looking forward to when she has some new tiaras to show us. Sue in WA

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  43. What a grand event! You can see King Charles is putting his touch on the monarchy, the flowers were absolutely beautiful, loved the speech, the royal ladies were lovely, and then there was Kate.....who was completely stunning. More please!

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  44. I like the dress, but it looks to bland and boxy for the event. If anything tonight was the time to dazzle. A more intricate neckline might have helped. It looks ok if you just see the upper part, but as a whole it’s to much like a plain white box.
    And she needs to retire the Lover’s Knot. ASAP It doesn’t suit her style at all. If she likes the all white or Pearl look there are other options. Kate is now making the POW title her own- the constant comments and comparisons to Diana are way past annoying. When will it stop? When she finally is Queen? Maybe she could help this by refraining from wearing some of the pieces associated with Diana? I don’t envy Kate at all, that people still find the need to bring her up at every possible turn. Even when it’s a positive comment.

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    1. And you just brought it up too. It's obvious the focus on tiaras was expected to be on Camilla, as it should be. Kate will wear different tiaras whenever she and the owner of those tiaras want to.

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  45. I think it’s time Kate takes a close look at Sweden and the Netherlands. Her look is beautiful (apart from the tiara) but still finds me missing something. It’s too much and too little at the same time. The above mentioned have a way of really knocking it out if the park if they go full royal.

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    1. Please no Catherine, do not emulate Queen Maxima. Her look is so not Catherine’s style.

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  46. She looks very elegant and magnificent. But what is striking is the change in the seating plan. We used to have a blurry picture somewhere at the side of the table, now she is front and center, lots of perfect pictures.
    The Queen's sapphire tiara looks completely different on Camilla, I hope someday Kate will be allowed to wear a different tiara...

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  47. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m surprised no one else has remarked: cape dresses are such a signature look for Duchess Meghan, it’s fun to see Kate not shying away from that style. A beautiful look on both women.

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    1. i was thinking about Meghan when I saw the cape style but later saw a photo of Diana in a red cape dress that looked a bit like one Meghan wore, so they seem to have been around for some time. I did not realize that.

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  48. At first, I thought she looked striking and dazzling ... the lot. On second thought, she's not necessarily less impressing, but it's a bit stiff and costume-ish. A bit too much at the same time; a tight hairdo, glittering dress and plenty of pearls and diamonds.

    Camilla looks beautiful. That colour is really lovely on her.

    Heidi

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  49. Many have complained about Catherine's choice of tiara. They wanted to see a different one. Perhaps Catherine wears this one because it is her favorite?

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  50. Absolutely amazing. Regal, polished, simple and fresh yet stunning and elegant. What I love the most about this look is that nothing clashes here, it looks as a whole. The pieces just complement each other. With some of the previous looks for state visits I felt as if there was too much going on, either too much accessories, too many details on the gown, too "busy" fabric or shape of the dress. Here everything feels very much in balance and just in harmony with the rest of the look. 100% in my books.
    Ella

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  51. I agree with everything, Kate was just splendid. But the flower arrangements were the best of all. Truly fabulous.

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  52. Can somebody please explain banquet etiquette to me. Of everybody speaks to the person on their left during the first course I will be speaking to the back of the person on my left’s head, because they would be speaking to the person on their left. Surely that can’t be right? If I am talking to the person on my left, it implies they are talking to the person on their right? Or am I missing something?

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    1. I have to admit I’ve wondered the same thing! My assumption is that those guidelines apply to the “hosting” party—those representing the UK— and the guests speak to whichever member of the host party is engaging them.
      TK

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    2. Excellent question. Have wondered that myself!

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    3. Jennifer in Canada23 November 2022 at 15:42

      Good question

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    4. You take your lead from the principal, who in this case is the monarch.

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    5. You are correct

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  53. Excellent coverage, Charlotte! I always enjoy your details, especially the historic ones. I would love to see a blog post on the jewels associated with the Princess of Wales-- (such as the feather brooch Kate wore upon the welcome). I'd be interested to see the collection that belongs to the 'role' more so than those that belonged to Diana. I've appreciated the line Kate has had to walk these past 10 years honoring Diana as William's mother, but I would really like to see her embrace herself as PoW in her own right by wearing jewels that belong to the role rather than those that solely belonged to Diana. I don't mean to be disrespectful in any way, but Kate will be PoW for much longer than Diana was, and I assume there are jewels for the role that maybe Diana never wore?

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    1. Ms. Cuppa, Diana was married to Charles from 1981--1996. So technically she was the Princess of Wales for 15 years. Charles is now 74. Let's hope he has a long life, but Kate may not, as you state, be Princess of Wales for much longer than Diana.

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    2. Ms Cuppa, She did start to build up a nice collection of jewels while Duchess of Cambridge. The late Queen has lent her beautiful jewellery that had no connection to Diana. S. ☺

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  54. It seems to me that the GVCO order really limits what dresses she can wear in the future. With that blue and red, it would really ruin a lot of outfits. Obviously, the outfits don't have to be co-ordinated to the sash but there's a difference between not actively co-ordinating and allowing a truly awful clash to occur surely? She'll be in white for every event to come at this rate.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing about the sash colors, especially after Sophie's teal colored gown with the sash. Of course, black, red and blue could also be good choices since the black and white are neutrals and blue and red would coordinate.

      Border Terrier lover

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  55. Gorgeous! And I don't really like cape dresses, but this worked. One tiny correction: the King entered with the President, not Kate. Am not sure who she entered with (presumably a South African minister); she sat next to the President, which I guess will be her place as the King and Queen sat (and will presumably continue to) sit next to each other. A really prominent placing!

    I think Camilla being the first to dip into the vaults was appropriate. I think by the Coronation the PofW will be wearing a different tiara.

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  56. So I’m back to comment today. Yesterday all I could say was, “WOW!” :) before the banquet I was thinking it would be a great look to see a white Roland Mouret column dress with the Oriental Circlet with her hair down. Kind of a modern princess. This dress does that plus the glamour! Love the sleek fit and less poofy bottom Like she often wears. This is a gorgeous ensemble! Sue

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  57. I agree with you, MG. I think it was appropriate for the new queen consort to be the first royal lady to debut a new tiara. I imagine these things are carefully coordinated, so it made sense to see Camilla in a recycled dress and a new tiara and Kate in a new dress and her go-to tiara.

    For some reason it also seemed wise to me that Camilla chose a smaller, though eye-catching, tiara for this event. There was some modesty to it that I liked (as much as I love the Greville on her). In sum, Camilla and Kate looked lovely. I'm very happy with this appearance, while looking forward to new things in the near future.

    Side note: I hope we get a better photo of the Duchess of Gloucester's Cartier Indian tiara.
    --Sabrina

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  58. Is it dumb question to ask why the menu is in French first?
    Also, have you noticed Camilla doesn't wear any jewels associated with Diana, yet Kate does regularly? The royals are so careful, they think of everything!

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    1. That’s not entirely accurate. In Charlotte’s post of the day’s first event, she noted that Camilla had worn the Princess of Wales feather brooch. (Camilla of course was the holder of the PoW title before Catherine, but she didn’t use it, out of respect (or maybe fear).

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    2. The late Queen was fluent in French and all her menus, to incudes her daily ones, were in French.

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    3. It is tradition to write the menus in French. A relic of the time when French was the language of diplomacy and fine cooking

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  59. I enjoyed very much seeing those sugar flowers! And I thought Sophie's tiara is beautiful. It looks like Kate had extra sparkles added to the shoulders.

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  60. Lovely cape dress. I do have a curious question on attire. Camilla is re-wearing a dress first worn earlier this year but Kate’s dress is new. Do you think Charles will encourage re-wears due to the economy? Kate certainly has a closet full of gowns that would be suitable.

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  61. She looks very composed, as always. Does the tiara seem a bit "off" to anyone? Seems like it isn't set straight, or maybe just a bad camera angle? Also, is she wearing the earrings backwards, with the curve facing in instead of out? I feel like the "out" way looks better, but just my opinion.

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  62. I think the Princess looks gorgeous! Her dress is perfection. I am not a fan of JP's "fairy-tale" dresses such as the one Kate once wore in Paris; however, this time I love it, I think it strikes the right balance between simple-elegant and occasion-related sumptuous, if that makes sense. The tiara, earrings, bracelet and brooch complement the dress and I don't think they are too much: this is the time for such splendour. The order and sash somehow bring Her Late Majesty's touch and presence.
    Thank you for the lovely and informative post, Charlotte! Zora

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  63. I love cape gowns, and this works beautifully. The Princess has the height, it works well. On movement, it looked so elegant. The embellishments are a wonderful highlight of the gown. The small white evening clutch was the perfect choice. The jewel choices are interesting. I was disappointed of tiara choice, but regardless of it looked magnificent. The diamond and pearl earrings, perfect choice. The pearl bracelet, I love.

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  64. wishiwereinlondon24 November 2022 at 00:07

    I think the difference in Catherine during this State visit and Catherine attending similar events pre-pandemic is striking. She seems much more confident and seems to be embracing her role and the occasions that call for Royal Style.

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  65. Kate looks very beautiful. I like this dress a lot more than her last choices for occasions like this. White is often a great choice for her. The Tiara looked great on Diana with her blond curls. The pearls and the wavy hair were a special match airing something beautiful, light and playful. On Kate the Tiara looks a bit overwhelming and is hardening her face. I loved her wedding Tiara and the Lotus Flower Tiara on her with her beautiful chignons. Also- but this is just my personal dislike. I do not like the ribbons and brooches at all. Why would anyone want to wear this stuff with these beautiful gowns and jewellry? But I do understand this of course is very traditional and important to a lot of people……

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    1. Dear Anonymous- “the why would anyone want to wear this stuff - the ribbons & brooches”, has a very simple answer. It’s because they are a personal gift from the Monarch, and are the highest honours In Britain. You will see all of the European Royal Houses also have orders from their Sovereign that are worn at white tie & state occasions. They will be worn by all of these Royal women for their whole lives, and the next one that will be awarded to Catherine will be her order from King Charles, and will be worn underneath her order from Queen Elizabeth. These are personal orders from the Sovereign and would be incredibly cherished by Catherine. Her sash & cross has also been bestowed by Queen Elizabeth, when she made Catherine a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the Sovereign. This “stuff” with its ribbons, bows, & crosses is amongst the highest orders she can be bestowed. They would be deeply cherished & worn with the greatest pride.

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    2. Anyone who has been given honors and medals are expected to wear them at certain occasions.

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  66. Kate looks beautiful as always. I like the gown but it is wearing her a bit and felt heavy. It looks better on the model which is not usually the case with the princess.

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  67. Kate looks beautiful as always. I like the gown but it is wearing her a bit and felt heavy. It looks better on the model which is not usually the case with the princess.

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  68. i love the cape gowns the princess of wales have a great figure amything she wears are munificent love the when Camilla queen the queem choice simple and outstanding she wearing the late queen tiara

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  69. Thank you Charlotte for this post . I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories of how BP prepares for banquets. After setting my own Thanksgiving table with thought and care , I can’t imagine the multiple glasses , so many fresh flowers to keep after and how each time is placed ! I do love the Queen in blue, the sapphires and blue dress looked beautiful. I think the PoW looked gorgeous. A cape dress in real life is very high-fashion, it photographs so differently. I liked the shoulder detail on this dress. I’d like to see the Princess lighten up all shades of her eye make-up.

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  70. She was so beautiful in 2017 in marchesa gown…

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