I must admit, this event was not on my radar with everything else going on with our favorite family, so these pictures caught me by surprise when they popped up late today. Nevertheless, here we are! It’s tiara time. Tonight was the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace, a marquee event for the Royal Family and the largest reception held at the Palace each year (1,500 people from roughly 130 countries). The event is private, though, and we are usually only privy to arrival photos of members of the RF entering BP gates.
What we lack in good photos, though, we make up for in sightings of tiaras and statement jewels, which is exciting for some. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended four times since their marriage – 2013, 2015, 2016 and now 2017. Unfortunately, we’ve only gotten a good glimpse of what Kate has worn twice. A brief shot of her full gown in 2015 was released months later in a documentary celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday and then last year a formal photo of the Cambridges, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was released for unknown reasons. Presumably it was mark the Queen’s birthday year with a historical photos of three generations of monarchs and their consorts, but to my knowledge that was never explicitly articulated.
Anyway, back to Kate for a moment. She opted to wear the same pale blue gown in 2013 and 2015 featuring scalloped lace – it has subsequently been ID’d as bespoke Alexander McQueen. Last year she recycled a red Jenny Packham gown that she debuted the year before during the Chinese state visit and, between that event and the formal photo released, we’ve gotten a much better look at it.
And in regards to the evening’s pièce de résistance, our Duchess has opted to wear the Queen Mary Lover’s Knot tiara, often misidentified as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara. It was a favorite of the late Princess of Wales, who borrowed it often, and the pearl drop earrings Kate is wearing also appear to have been Diana’s. I am certainly not a history in royal jewelry, but for those interested I highly recommend following @courtjeweller on Twitter, who shared the below explanation of the two (very similar!) tiaras:
As for her dress, it has yet to be ID’d definitely, but it appears to be new. At first blush I thought it looked pale blue and for a brief moment thought she had recycled the glitzy Jenny Packham from the Royal Variety Show, but once getting a good look it is in fact white, the neckline is different and it appears to be a new gown that we’ve never seen before. I’ve seen some speculation online, but nothing definitive – if that changes I’ll make an update here.
Needless to say, the dress code for this event is white tie and members of the RF dust off the various honors they’ve received from the Queen, including the Order of the Garter and the Royal Family Order. The latter is an honor bestowed upon female royals and Camilla can be seen wearing it. To-date Kate hasn’t received it, which is notable given how long she and William have been married, but it’s worth noting she hasn’t been “full time” until this year and there’s speculation that they may wait for Charles to bestow it once he’s ascended the throne.
And while all of this was going on, another event was happening in London this evening: Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund carol concert. The organization behind it is a charity fund set up in memory of a young man killed in a car crash in 2002, however the man in question was a close school friend of William and Harry, both of whom are close to his family. It is regularly attended by both princes, as well members of the Middleton clan. Kate used to be a regular, but the last time she’s gone was in December 2010 shortly after her engagement was announced. Since then William has attended with Carole and Pippa Middleton some years, while others Harry has flown the flag for the Windsors.
Tonight we saw both Carole and Pippa arriving. Random aside, but I’ve noticed a few newspapers referring to Pippa as “Pippa Matthews” – I’ve always hesitated to call her that because I haven’t seen official confirmation that she changed her name. Something to investigate further! Harry was spotted dashing into the church directly while trying to avoid photographers. Meghan Markle did not join him.
Also there was Harry’s ex-girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, who dated Harry between 2012 and 2014 – in other words, the last serious relationship (publicly at least) before Meghan. You can see more photos here.
And that, my friends, is that. What did you think of Kate’s showing this year? Anything to add for the good of the order? Tomorrow we’re due to see William and Kate at the Children’s Global Media Summit, so I’ll see you back here then!