The Queen Hosts the 2018 Diplomatic Reception at BP

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It’s that time of year again – the Queen hosted the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace, and so we are gifted white tie and tiaras. This is to be expected – what’s not is that the Palace let in photographers and so we also have great images from the evening.

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This is quite an interesting shift, actually, and the fact that so many of the photos highlight the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge – the same three women lined up on one balcony during the Remembrance ceremony last month – indicates how the Palace is pushing and placing its royals. I do think this is (at least tangentially) related to the rumored Kensington Palace household shift next year, and it’s certainly a good indication of Kate’s path forward amidst the BRF.

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More on this later this month when I pull together the year’s retrospectives on Kate, Meghan and the family. In the meantime, let’s admire what appears to be a new gown by Jenny Packham, Kate’s go-to label for big, formal events alongside Alexander McQueen. I like this gown, but do you remember the blue, sparkly number she debuted at the Royal Variety Performance last year and how everyone said it reminded them of Elsa? Well, tonight reminded me a bit of Cinderella.

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The Queen and Camilla both looked resplendent in jewels and white satin, and really, that’s the dream, isn’t it?

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Tonight’s event is the largest reception held at Buckingham Palace each year (nearly 2,000 people from some 130 countries). But as it was going on, another event was taking place in London, one which used to boast William and Kate regularly pre-children: the holiday service and concert hosted by the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund. Photos can be viewed here.

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Henry van Straubenzee was a family friend of both William and Harry. He died in a car crash in 2002 at the age of 18. Though he missed the event, William did pen a forward letter:

“My brother and I are proud to have been patrons of the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund since it was established in 2007. Back in 2009, it was suggested that a Christmas carol service could be held to boost funds for projects in Uganda. This year marks the tenth annual carol service and, thanks to the support is given each year by many of you here tonight, the tickets have sold out everywhere within two weeks of going on sale. Since it’s inception, the mission of the charity has remained the same to improve the quality of schools in impoverished rural Uganda by investing in buildings and resources.”

This year, Meghan offered her support by delivering a speech. I believe this is her first year attending as she is not believed to have joined Harry in December 2017, just a few days after their engagement was announced. (What a year! That feels like ages ago now.) Also in attendance was Kate’s younger sister, Pippa, and her husband, James Matthews.

With that, goodnight! See you tomorrow in Cyprus.

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