Dec 082016

This evening we saw the Duchess wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara for the second time.

© Andrew Parsons / i-Images

© Andrew Parsons / i-Images

The occasion: the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace.

©Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

©Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

The white tie reception is hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. More from The Daily Mail:

It is also the largest reception held at Buckingham Palace, requiring hours of intricate planning by the Master of the Household and the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as the commandeering of almost every member of waiting staff.

More than 1,000 people from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York attend the gathering.

Here you see the monarchy’s ‘Magnificent Six’ in an unusual photo – it is the first time the royals have ever posed for a photo at the event.

©ROTA  / i-Images

© POOL / i-Images

The Queen was in a gown by Angela Kelly, and the Duchess of Cornwall wore a Bruce Oldfield design; both have been worn previously. You can see all three gentlemen are in what is called Alternative Court Dress: sashes, breeches, and Order of the Garter garters. Our thanks to GorgonaJS for her comment about the proper terminology for the men’s attire. A little more about the reception from The Daily Express:

At the white tie reception, the highlight of the annual diplomatic social calendar in London, the monarch meets each of the 160 heads of mission accredited to the Court of St James.

In addition to ambassadors, high commissioners and their partners, around 600 foreign diplomats based in London were among the guests together with around 300 British diplomats and senior figures from commerce, education, broadcasting and the arts.

Another view of Kate in this photo from James Whatling.

This is the second time the Duchess has been seen wearing the iconic tiara.

© Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock, Tim Rooke/REX

© Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock, Tim Rooke/REX

She also selected it for last year’s diplomatic reception, worn with her ice blue Alexander McQueen gown.



From our previous post about the jeweled adornment:

The tiara was made by Garrard, commissioned by Queen Mary in 1914. It is also referred to as Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara. More from the Court Jeweller:

You’ll remember that Mary was a member of the Cambridge family herself…

…the piece is definitely the most famous lover’s knot tiara today, it was originally a copy of another almost-identical sparkler that once belonged to the Cambridge family. The lover’s knot motif was very popular in the nineteenth century; the knots are the pretzel-like elements at the top of the tiara — the part from which the pendant pearls are suspended.

The tiara is most closely associated with the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

From today’s Daily Telegraph’s story:

The dazzling headpiece was a favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was given to her by the Queen as a wedding gift in 1981.

The diamond and pearl-encrusted tiara… has a strong French influence with a neo-classical design of 19 diamond arches, each cradling an oriental pearl drop.

Via The Royal Order of Splendor (click photo to visit site)

Via The Royal Order of Splendor (click photo to visit site)

Back to The Daily Mail:

It was a copy of one owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, who married the first Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III, in 1818.

In her will Queen Mary left the tiara to to the Queen who wore it frequently, including at an evening event in 1955.

Another view.

The Royal Order of Splendor (click photo to visit site)

The Royal Order of Splendor (click photo to visit site)

Another view of Diana wearing the tiara.

From what we can see in the photos, Kate seemed very comfortable and confident tonight.

Kate has worn three different tiaras: the Cartier Halo, the Papyrus/Lotus Flower and the Cambridge Lover’s Knot.


Below, the Duchess in previous tiara appearances: at her 2011 wedding; on her way to 2013′s diplomatic reception; at the 2015 China state dinner, the 2015 diplomatic reception; and in the Lover’s Knot this evening.



UPDATE: We have more background information on the tiara. Ella Kay of The Court Jeweller reports that it is actually the Queen Mary Lover’s Knot tiara, a copy of the original Cambridge Lover’s Knot.

While the piece is definitely the most famous lover’s knot tiara today, it was originally a copy of another almost-identical sparkler that once belonged to the Cambridge family.

Ella tweeted that the “Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara belongs to a German noble family, the Waldburg zu Zeils.” There is more information in this post at The Court Jeweller.  

The tiara wasn’t the only item glittering tonight. The Duchess wore the diamond drop earrings loaned to her by the Queen; they were initially seen at the Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools function in late November, accenting her Preen dress.

©Nunn Syndication/Polaris

©Nunn Syndication/Polaris

HM wore the earrings for the State Opening of Parliament in 2012.

©Nunn Syndication, Polaris / Nunn Syndication, Polaris

©Nunn Syndication, Polaris / Nunn Syndication, Polaris

Here are some closeup shots.

©REX/Shutterstock, Polaris, Polaris

©REX/Shutterstock, Polaris, Polaris

The Duchess wore the shimmering Wedding Gift bracelet loaned to her for the China state dinner, so called because it was a wedding gift to then Princess Elizabeth from the Duke of Edinburgh, made of diamonds taken from his mother’s tiara.  (Her engagement ring was also created with diamonds from the same source.)



Here is a better photo of the bracelet, via Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault. There is more information about the bracelet here.



Kate’s clutch and dress were first seen at the China state banquet last October.

©PA Wire/Splash News/Splash News

©PA Wire/Splash News/Splash News

Like many of her evening gowns, the dress features a fitted bodice that flares into a full skirt. The upper portion of the gown has a lace overlay that is sprinkled with sparkling beads.

©i-Images / REX,Shutterstock

©i-Images / REX,Shutterstock

This struck me as a ‘wow appearance.’  I know some readers believe the Duchess should have been in a new dress. Seeing a repeated gown didn’t bother me, I thought the color worked well for the approaching holiday season.

©Andrew Parsons / i-Images / Polaris

©Andrew Parsons / i-Images / Polaris

The dress, combined with the updo, jewelry, and tiara created an elegant look.

Looking at Kate on her way to all three diplomatic receptions one sees a transition from perhaps a somewhat anxious appearance the first time she attended the event, to a demeanor this evening that appeared almost serene.


©Tim Rooke, REX, Shutterstock / Tim Rooke, REX / Jesal, Tanna, Splash News

One more photo.

©Dominic Lipinski / Pool / i-Images

©Dominic Lipinski / Pool / i-Images


Our only other note this evening is a very quick reminder that our 2017 What Kate Wore calendars are now shipping! We are doing a giveaway for one of the wall calendars


As well as one of our desk calendars.


Both feature the gorgeous work of royal photographer Mark Stewart. You can enter the giveaway here.

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from Beth I was reminded that I hadn’t posted the winner of our StyleRocks giveaway, arrggh! With apologies, the winner of the diamond ring is Claire G., *thank you* Beth for the reminder.

We’ll see you next week.


  117 Responses to “Kate Radiant in Red Gown & Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara”

  1. Obviously the tiara and jewelry of the duchess are magnificent.
    What is interesting to me is seeing her in the group photograph.
    I have always preferred 19th century or early 20th century depictions of social gatherings in which all ladies are essentially wearing the same kind of dress / silhouette. It gives the impression of harmony that got a bit lost somewhen in the course of the 20th century.
    For instance: In 1815 all women were in high waisted, straight dresses, in 1865 they were all in hoop skirts,1 885 all in bustles and like the particular silhouette or not, but as a whole it looked beautiful.
    So here the duchess is wearing a rather full skirt, which I like and in this group its fullness is just perfect because it harmonizes with the Queen and Camilla ( whose skirts are only slightly A-line).
    None of the ladies is wearing a revealing neck line and since Kate is the by far the youngest it looks perfectly fine to me that her sleeves are short as opposed to the other two.
    If Kate would have chosen to wear evening gloves, her attire would have been perfect in my eyes. So not wearing them is the only flaw I can see.
    I hope her shoes are red, because at a grand and highly formal occasion like this no other colour would do with a red dress.

  2. Kate’s face looks exceptionally beautiful in these photos. Wow! I did notice until another commenter pointed it out that her hair is styled straight back with some volume on top, rather than swept off to the side. I am thinking this new hairstyle really suits her. Her skin looks amazing also. I can’t think of a time she looked better. One of these photos should definitely be on next year’s calendar.

  3. Well done, great look for her. Love the way the skirt of the dress flows.

    But the knee breeches on the men are (despite the tradition) a fail for me. . . . . Just can’t go there!

    Also, well-written and informative. Thanks.

  4. An absolute joy – this post and all the responses;
    with really fascinating historical background.
    Thank you.

  5. This is such a brilliant look for Kate. The dress is a repeat and the jewellery as well, but for each of those pieces the repeat is more successful than the original outing. While my mind wan’t really made up about the dress last year, I find that I like it a little better. Maybe it has to do with the different photographs, but in the photos from the Chinese State Banquet, the bust and the cap sleeves looked somehow stiff, and seeing the close-ups in the car has definitely altered my perception of the fabric.

    But was it truly stunning in this outfit is the combination of hair, make-up and jewels. Kate has a healthy glow, due to make-up, lighting or tan, I don’t know, and there is less eye-liner than usual, for which I am thankful. It is definitely the best outing of the Lovers Knot Tiara on Kate, due to excellent tiara placement and a nice updo. Her hair is shinier than last year and has more volume in the back (and the fringe is gone, which is always a plus).

    Top marks for the Duchess!

  6. I think Kate looks pretty in red and while the dress is lovely there is something odd about the cap sleeve- it seems to crease or wrinkle. I’m not sure if it’s a bit tight or if the fabric does hold its shape either way it’s distracting.
    What strikes me the most in the family photo is how sharp Prince Phillip looks compared to Prince Charles and William. His pants are smoother and better fitting and his sash sits so neatly on the side rather than pulled to the front. And doesn’t Camilla look fabulous…

  7. Nice post!
    Agree with your comment of the transition, she looks more confident with each yer :)

  8. Kate looks truly regal! The hair, the makeup, the jewelry, the gown! Hopefully, in the next few years we’ll see that Kate has finally received the Royal Family Order, and maybe a sash of some sort. I cannot wait until that day!

    I see I’m one of the few to voice my preference of the tiara on Kate rather than on Diana. I think the pearls stand out much better on Kate’s dark hair and that they got lost against Diana’s blonde locks. That being said, I do think Diana wore this tiara with gowns that really made it pop (if that makes any sense). What I’m trying to say is that Diana made the tiara iconic, but Kate hasn’t had enough time to make it her own.

    Like many I would love to see Kate wear the Lotus/Papyrus Tiara of the Queen Mother’s again. I think it really suits her personality and bone structure. It just might be my favorite tiara that she’s worn thus far.

    If I can make a little quibble (more of a rant so please ignore me): I love this gown, but here it looks a little informal. I think the sleeves are what’s throwing the look off. A gown with 3/4 or full sleeves would’ve been more appropriate for the season, and maybe a slightly lower neckline to off set the longer sleeve. However this gown is obviously gorgeous and I still like it. Also a gown with a more “solid” fabric such as silk or velvet (and ditch the tulle/chiffon) would really kick the look up another notch. I guess I’m impatient and can’t wait for Kate to play around with her gala fashion!

    • Is it the sleeves or lack of gloves that are causing the impression of informality? White tie dress code generally include gloves, long gloves with a cap sleeve.

      The duchess seems to avoid evening gloves, even at white tie events. I am not sure why this is her preference, as I think the outfit would be improved with their inclusion.

      • All my etiquette sources indicate that gloves for women are optional, regardless of the gown style. Maybe something that varies from country to country or even region to region as to what is customary.:)

    • But velvet, tulle & chiffon are silk, worn by royal!

  9. Lovely look on Kate, hate Williams pants though! Its intriguing that Kate’s dress has sequins up top but still looks balanced because of the soft pleats in the skirt. Camilla always seems to choose a very stiff coat like a Middle Eastern Potentate style, and it doesn’t suit her! But back to Kate, I’m glad she didn’t do a new dress, this looks wonderful & I’d love to see it at the Royal Albert Hall at one of the concerts soon. Kate does look darker in some photos, she’s darker in summer like most of us but here, I think it’s just camera light, I look sophisticated in some lights & like a hedge-sleeper in others!

  10. Of course the only other grandchildren married is Peter and Zara. Peter, Zara and their spouses don’t attend these events so it seems unlikely they will ever get the Order. It does look odd that Kate doesn’t yet have one. Did Diana get hers by her fifth year of marriage? Has Catherine ever repeated her wedding earrings? I can’t remember seeing them other than that event.

    I have t chuckle at William’s bemused expression…..perhaps he feels a bit silly in the attire?

  11. Now Kate looks more like a true future queen in this ensemble. :) Love it. The tiara looked really good on Diana, too. It’s a real gem.

    • I didn’t realize how much taller William is among the 3 princes. I know those pants must have some historic background in them but they look …ridiculous…

  12. This is the best “tiara hair” she has ever had—-the previous times (excluding wedding) her hair stylist left her bangs/fringe on her forehead or swooped around the corner of her face—she looks so much better with all of it pulled back and the added volume at the crown of her head.

    Hair and makeup and accessories were perfect and she seemed so much more confident.

    This gown is not a favorite of mine because I think the top part looks like a t-shirt but I am willing to overlook it because everything else is fantastic.

    • I agree about the top of the dress. For something so fabulous, a lower neckline would have made a big difference. But all in all, it is a great look.

    • T shirt is exactly what the bodice of this recalls for me. I’d kept this to myself on its previous outing (I *think*) as the overwhelming majority love this dress. But now I see I’m not alone… this dress just doesn’t rise to its occasion. Serviceable, yes. But there is so much available (and especially to her) that could have been special and still fitting to the occasion. Though I’ll admit I am somewhat biased toward covered arms for more formal occasions.

      On a more positive note, I’m completely in agreement with how lovely her makeup is here. From the shape of the brows to the palette, there’s a real polish and warmth that agrees with her. Her increased confidence in her role is also more apparent. She seems very much at ease and her smiles genuine which is about the best accessory one can wear.

    • Good point about her hair, that I didn’t initially pick up on. I agree this style is different and very flattering.

  13. Can I ask please why Camilla is wearing her dash over the opposite shoulder to the others, thank you

  14. Love seeing the Wedding Gift bracelet again as the loan of it is such a nice reminder of the Queen’s confidence in Kate. I observed with interest in the pics from last year’s reception that Kate was wearing it then, too, along with Queen Mary’s choker bracelet, though I don’t recall it being noted at that time — ie, before the China state dinner, when she was photographed more extensively wearing them both. The dress is a terrific repeat and her tiara hair looks great.

    I’m also glad that it seems HM has not pressed Kate to don white gloves for these very formal events — it would look so outdated for a woman of her age. I think it’s interesting even that Camilla wears them, though I suppose she is old enough that they were widely in style for formal events in her younger days, making it apropos now. I can’t actually remember whether Sophie Wessex wears them at this type of event or not.

  15. I’m a huge fan of the photo with her hand to her neck – she looks regal and serene – it is worthy of next years calendar! Red is such a good colour on her. I agree with others that while this is a beautiful tiara, it looked better on Diana – I think her colouring just worked better, nothing against Kate. Similarly, those earrings work better on the Queen, I think again it is the colouring – on HM they look white and dazzling, on Kate they look yellowed and more like a costume piece. But that bracelet is just everything!

    I think my favourite thing about this look is just how much she is growing into herself and becoming more confident and at ease, that is such a lovely thing to watch and see. As a society we tend to value youth too highly, IMHO, whereas there is a lot to be said about getting older and more confident in our own sense of self. It shines through and is much more attractive than a wrinkle-free face. And it’s why HM and Camilla both looked great tonight too.

    • Although I think Kate looked elegantly turned out and particularly beautiful in her dress and tiara, I think that both she and William look stressed in almost all these pictures, particularly the one with her hand at her throat, which I interpret as a gesture of self-conscientiousness not confidence. There seems to me to be a stark contrast between their demeanor in these pictures and those at other events.

      • Interesting, she and William did not look at all stressed to me in any of the photos.

      • So interesting how we all see things differently! I thought when I saw these photos, “How wonderful to see her increasing confidence in her role.”

        I don’t think William photographs all that well — he seems to have the unfortunate gift of having his face in an odd position when photographed quite frequently. As someone with the same affliction, I sympathize!

  16. Kate looks fabulous, love her hair hup like this,love the colour, love the jewelery. I am sure those wry smiles the males have is because of the breeches they are wearing.

  17. “You can see all three gentlemen are wearing their Order of the Garter attire: garters, sashes, and breeches.”

    It’s not Order of the Garter attire. It’s ‘Alternative Court Dress’ with the actual Garter from the Order of the Garter just below the knee.

  18. I love this red dress and I’m so glad to see it again. Kate looks absolutely gorgeous!
    I’m not a fan of this tiara. It looks so heavy. I think it actually detracts a bit from the dress.
    Diana looked beautiful in this tiara. I’m wondering if that’s because her coloring was different and the pearls were flattering to her. I read somewhere thar Diana complained that this tiara gave her headaches.
    I hope Kate will wear other tiaras, such as the one from her wedding day.

    • It may have complemented Diana’s coloring better. I also think it looked better on Diana because of the position Diana used to wear it. She placed it forward more in a way that made it look bigger and more prominent. It doesn’t seem to command the same presence here. I do think this is Kate’s best tiara moment however. Her updo was made for it and the whole effect is very elegant. I like the dress better here too. For some reason, at the state dinner, the cap sleeves and high neck bothered me. It felt either too casual or too sweet but here it is wonderful.

  19. I am sorry to ask such a dense question, but re: the tiara update: so is Kate wearing the same exact one that Diana wore? Or was Diana’s the original and Kate wears the replica? Thanks!

    • Not dense at all! The tiara worn last night, made by Garrard for Queen Mary and subsequently worn by HM, Diana and Kate, is modeled after the original Cambridge Lover’s Knit tiara. Technically this is the “Queen Mary Lover’s Knot tiara.” It has become known as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, and that is how we will refer to it here. (I hope this makes sense, but if not, just let me know. It can be a bit confusing.) :)

  20. Wow – that’s how to make an outfit of repeats produce magic! Kate looks her stunning best.

    I really welcome another look at this dress — second-time around I seem to be able to appreciate it much better. The bold red is superb in the majestic setting, and Kate stands out clearly amid the opulence of State chambers. All that solid colour is effectively relieved by embroidery on the dress bodice and the floating chiffon over its skirt; this is Packham at her best and totally right for Kate

    The sweeping fullness of the skirt is brought out in the group photo and the cap sleeves are truly pretty without being over-fussy. And I love that neat self-belt setting off the immaculate fit and cut of the bodice.

    It’s a treat to see how much more confident Kate is with royal bling, as this has to be a step up for her to have such a full tiara along with glittering chandelier earrings and that fabulous bracelet.

    Her hair is perfect and her make-up looks best ever. She looks radiant and a real credit to the monarchy.

  21. Kate looks impeccable! I will not fault her, however – it makes me feel that Senior Royal Photo was unplanned – because can you imagine her in white? or that pale blue gown… wearing her order of the queen (I think she has one?) and maybe a blue sash too… That photos is somehow unbalance with her in red and all the red carpet.

    • Kate hasn’t received the Royal Family Order yet, which seems pretty crazy. It is especially jarring in this photo.

      • Unlikely that the Queen will award Catherine a Royal Family Order anytime soon. The Queen is notoriously frugal when it comes to handing out orders,especially this one which is given to female members of the royal family at her *personal* discretion.

        Living members of the Britsh Royal family who are known to have received the Queen’s order are the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duchess of Kent, and Princess Alexandra of Kent.

        Diana, Princess of Wales also received the order during her marriage; Sarah, Duchess of York, did not.

        Another royal female passed over to receive the Queen’s order is Princess Michael, wife of the Queen’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, who has been dubbed “Princess Pushy” by many.

        Some postulate Princess Michael has never received the order because she hasn’t taken on full-time royal duties. Others point to the Queen’s comment: “She’s too grand for us” made after the then Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz was introduced to the Royal Family before her marriage, as an apt summation of the Queen’s feelings toward her cousin-in-law which appear to have remained unchanged for four decades.

        Even Sophie, the Duchess of Wessex, rumoured to be a favorite of the Queen, had to wait five years after her marriage before she received the Queen’s order. This was three years after she gave up her career as a PR strategist to take on royal duties full-time, a task she has excelled at doing.

        In contrast, the Duchess of Cornwall received hers after only two years of marriage to Prince Charles, though many have suggested the award was bestowed more quickly because of Camilla’s future role as the consort to the heir-apparent (and possibly at Charles’ insistence).

        Bottom line, though it appears the Queen is fond of her granddaughter-in-law, and even though Catherine has carried out various duties on behalf of the monarchy solo or with William at home and abroad, given the Queen’s usual judicious behavior when it comes to bestowing this distinction, my guess is that until the Duchess takes on full-time royal duties and proves herself to the Queen as someone worthy, the order won’t be forthcoming for a while.

        In the meantime, Catherine doesn’t have to worry about “clashing sashes and brooch droop.” :)

        She’s free to pick out and wear whatever she likes, accessorizing her outfits however lavishly (or not) as she chooses.

    • I agree with the unplanned component. Her arms are crossed in front of her whereas the Queen and Camilla have their arms regimentally straight at their sides and the gentlemen all have their arms tightly behind their back. She looks beautiful in her gown, but like the odd woman out–without the order and in such a bold color in comparison. Do you think the Queen will grant her the order for Christmas this year or maybe for her 35th birthday? I am just curious what it takes to receive it at this point.

      I love her updo but with the tiara, it makes her forehead appear too tall/severe. Her makeup is flawless and she looks more relaxed, like she’s enjoying herself this time. To Lindsey’s comment before, it is wonderful to see her graceful transition from young lady to confident woman.

  22. She looks incredible, don’t know what else to say. That bracelet just leaves me speechless.

    Red is her color.

  23. The dress isn’t new, so I don’t think we really need to address it. Instead, I’m going to talk about her makeup. It looks AMAZING!!! For once, I can tell that she’s wearing something on her lips. This is a big, BIG deal to me. I really wish she would try a red lip once; I’ve seen an edited photo to add a red lip and she looked great. This is one of my big “Kate wardrobe dreams” though, so it may not happen. The eye makeup is perfect; that heavily lined bottom lid is gone, and the shadows used here are perfect. I love her glow, too. Her hair looks magnificent. Love the whole thing.

    • Agreed, her makeup was gorgeous! I would love to know what brand & shade of lipstick she was wearing.

      • I wondered if maybe she got someone special in to do the make-up for her on big occasions like this. The wonderful close-ups of Kate also benefit from some lovely lighting. She looks the best she ever had done in a couple of shots.

      • i too love her bolder lip/
        makeup choices. she looks fabulous and confident in every way.

    • Yes, I’ve been waiting for a lipstick “moment” as well and appreciate that she put more on tonight (than normal/as of late). Her coloring would totally work with a brighter color. The only time I was a fan of the nude lip was when she wore the teal Jenny Packham gown and had very smokey eye makeup to create a dramatic effect.

  24. Is this the first time (apart from the Alice band arrangement) that we have seen Kate’s hair pulled entirely back from her forehead?

    I’m not sure if it’s just that, but her hair seems to be gaining in fullness and thickness over the years, especially apparent in the comparison photos from previous years’ arrival at the diplomatic reception. What an enviable quality to possess in one’s tresses!

  25. Wow, wow, wow. Kate looks absolutely flawless – her makeup is perfect and subtle, without the darker eyebrows that she sported when she last wore this dress and the smoky eye is so flattering. Her hair is gorgeous with the tiara (love the plaited bun) and the jewellery combination is wonderful – every piece complements the rest. Lovely to see her so composed and confident. Wish she would wear tiaras more often – they suit her so well.

  26. Regarding the best owa of royal orders, I doubt that Kate,will receive any until Charles becomes king. Prince Andrew has raised quite a row regarding what he considers the treatment his daughters have been accorded as Charles has made it clear that there will be a streamlined monarchy when he assumes the throne. My guess is that the Queen does not want to cause a family row. Kate will be the recipient of many honors. They will be from her father-in-law. There is no doubt that the Queen has great affection for Kate but she is a practical and diplomatic woman who has deep feelings for her grandchildren and would not want to cause bad blood between them which I think conferring honors on Kate would do. Why make unnecessary trouble?

    • Prince Andrew himself put this to rest on Twitter:

    • Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will never receive the Queen’s order. Neither one of them have undertaken full-time royal duties and some would argue they have no interest in doing so given their penchance for jet-setting, socializing, and non-stop holidaying.

      While the two are the Royal Family’s only “Blood Princesses” as their father likes to say, neither one of them will ever be on the throne while the Duchess of Cambridge will be Queen Consort. IF the Queen decides to bestow any more personal family orders before her death, Catherine most certainly get the one and only nod of approval.

  27. I loved this look. This is by far the best tiara appearance so far. Placement of the tiara (not so far back as last time) and perfect hair style combined to make Kate look absolutely regal (and relaxed and comfortable.) I love the dress too, better than I liked it last time.

    I found it interesting that the earrings, lovely as they looked on Kate, looked much better on the Queen. They looked as if they belonged on her, whereas they looked tacked onto Kate’s ear. In general, I find that the Queen carries all her bling just majestically. It nevers looks like too much on her.

    • The placement of a tiara must be an acquired art and it’s interesting how it looks so much more prominent this time. On previous occasions Kate seems to have half hidden it in all that hair. I’m glad to have it so well in view and balanced with such a lovely updo.

  28. Re: this appearance, what a treat. The Duchess looks lovely. This isn’t my favourite dress but she looks beautiful in it and I have no problem with a repeat. The tiara looks wonderful, her hair suits it the best thus far re: this event in my view, and she definitely looks confident and glamorous. I am really glad there was such an unprecedented step of sharing a photo.

  29. I would love to receive the What Kate Wore calendar!

  30. Gorgeous head to toe! So wonderful to see Kate looking so relaxed and happy

  31. HRH looks absolutely stunning, the close up is one of the most stunning photos of her yet. Her makeup is perfection, the makeup and hairdo make this a better outing than the State banquet where she mostly appeared so solemn in photos.

    One question for admin did I miss seeing the style rocks winner announced?

  32. I love seeing this dress again, especially because Kate looks more relaxed and confident than the last time she wore this dress. The last time she wore this dress, she was going to her first state banquet and she looked very tense (which at times reads as bored. She and I have that same reaction that our faces go completely blank but our bodies tighten when nervous.) This time she looks very confident and alive and the dress somehow comes alive because she’s so confident. She is quite confident in this dress; I am sure we will see more of it in big receptions like this.

    I actually prefer the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara with this dress than the Papyrus/Lotus tiara and the earrings she wore today compared to last time. They are both more regal and refined which is more fitting with this dress. I like how she put the tiara more forward on her head this time as well. The pearls line up in their windows nicely.

    I love how this time we get a posed photo of the six family members. The photo is quite awkward, true, but I love seeing what each person is wearing, how they pose and carry themselves without much prompting.

    • I agree with you about everything and obviously she looked stunning, but I REALLY wish she wouldn’t constantly clutch her bag so tightly to her crotch in every photo! I’m sure she was probably nervous but it is very distracting to me.

      • I agree, Sheila. She is so beautiful and is always smiling and friendly, so the way she holds her bag (or clutches her hands) is really the only “sign of nerves” so to speak. Because of that, it draws the eye more than you’d expect, even though it’s a tiny minor detail.

        I really sympathize though, since I get very nervous in crowds. When I was a teenager, I saw picture of myself from the side, unaware of the photographer. It was absolutely mortifying, I had no idea I stood like that! And no one bothered to tell me! If your daughter or friend’s zipper was down, you’d tell them right? Why didn’t they gently inform me I looked like a demented giraffe when I slouched? Oh, well. At least Kate still looks good even if she clutches her bag a little tightly.

      • It’s very difficult to discern where to hold one’s bag. I feel if she held her hands to the side, she would look stiff and unapproachable (look at the Queen and Camilla for example.) Put the bag up into the crook of the upper arm and now it ruins the line of the dress. She could hand it off to someone, but I feel like she uses it so she doesn’t fidget between takes. It could be that I fidget with my jewelry when I’m tense and nervous, but the clutch prevents her from fidgeting. I would rather her be comfortable and confident than be unduly unnerved.

        I get very anxious in crowds. I get so nervous I often meltdown. The fact she’s out there smiling, wearing this heavy tiara and fancy dress, and having nerves makes me say, “GO KATE! GO KATE!”

  33. I can only imagine the feelings Kate must have wearing this incredible and historic jewelry. I would have to pinch myself! And what a proud mother-in-law Diana would be in seeing Kate wear this signature piece of jewelry so well. Beautiful photo.

  34. The Duchess looks beautiful. I think that this type of event makes Kate uncomfortable. I understand why she would choose to ware an old dress as opposed to risk a new one.

  35. Think she looks lovely, did not notice any extra “tan”. The outfits for the men are very dated but that is what makes it fun and special. Love this tiara on her, her hair style works with it better than when worn before. Would love to know where those earrings came from, they are pretty spectacular. That bracelet in my opinion will look fantastic forever! Love it.

  36. The look is perfect. I am glad we got to see the lace on the bodice. The lace makes it more “Kate” to me. I also think it is fitting that the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Tiara. I was initially afraid the connection with Diana would influence against it.
    A few non-Kate comments: William’s smirk makes me smile. Camilla (not my favorite Royal) looks smashing. The beaded over coat is becoming & fitting of her age & status. I think the orders won’t be conveyed on Kate because she is the next generation. I think HM is waiting for Charles to honor her.

  37. I would agree with the “wow” appearance – the Duchess looks serene, confident, and above all, *happy*. I can’t help but think, when I scroll through these photos, what bright lights she and Prince William are. He is obviously so proud of her, and she just glows. I don’t really have any fashion comments tonight – just a tiny observation that her smokey eye looks VERY good (the darker, heavier brows included), and the photo in the car, with her hand to her throat, is just beautiful. I’m wishing them a very happy Christmas season, and each of you as well (and Hanukah too!).

    • Hi Becca, you said it all! I completely agree with your comment on her photo in the car with her hand to her throat AND the fact that her makeup looks really good this time around! ‘Wow’ indeed! I also loved to discover the bottom part of her dress… so airy and beautiful! Happy holidays to you too.

    • I agree with you 100%! The photo of her in the car is breathtaking! I love this dress…she looks so beautiful in it. And I love that we got a photo of the “Magnificent Six”…that was certainly a nice surprise.

  38. Please enter my name in the calendar contest. Thank you.

  39. Kate looks regal, elegant and confident. She has all that it takes to be Queen one day. I think it is just fine that she is repeating a dress. Her jewels are wonderful although the tiara must feel heavy. The Queen and Philip must approve of all that Kate stands for, to allow her to wear the bracelet that Philip gave Elizabeth as a wedding gift, from gems that were his mother’s.

    Although I am sure it is a great honour to wear the Order of the Garter sash, I think Kate is lucky not to have one. These sashes never seem to enhance a dress, in fact they often detract and clash with an outfit. I do wonder why Camilla’s sash goes from right to left, whereas the others go from left to right? The men’s breeches are a hoot and although they are steeped in tradition, it is almost 2017 and it would have been nice for them to dress for this century and wear normal pants/trousers.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to go to one of these events…just once?

    • Interestingly, the Swedish royals wear a lot more sashes and they somehow make them work beautifully with dresses. The British ladies may need to take a nod toward the Swedes to learn how to do it!

    • Is Kate the only one repeating her dress? I saw a comment somewhere saying that the Queen and Camilla had done likewise. Presumably if Her Maj is on a repeat outfit everyone else would have to follow!

      • I believe HM is in the same gown worn to the China state dinner, and Camilla’s was worn to this May’s state opening of Parliament. I can’t recall who Tweeted or Facebooked the information about the Duchess of Cornwall’s dress, I would love to give proper attribution. :)

    • Highly doubtful Catherine will ever wear the Order of the Garter sash.

      The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest and most exclusive order of chivalry and the third most prestigious honour (inferior only to the Victoria Cross and George Cross) in England and the United Kingdom.

      While female sovereigns in their own right can be chosen by the Queen to be inducted, and since 1987 there is a provision to recognize “Ladies Companion of the Order” (female consorts of a male sovereign) it’s rare for female non-sovereigns to be included.

      Primary reason is that membership of the Order is limited to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 members, or Companions at any one time. The order also includes supernumerary knights and ladies (e.g. members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs).

      While the Prince of Wales is automatically a member, the Queen’s three youngest children were in their 40s before they were inducted.

      QE II never awarded the Garter to her sister, Princess Margaret, and she’s never given it to anyone who has married into the family. Always a first time I suppose, but the odds of historically slim.

      The sash and regalia the Duchess of Cornwall is wearing in the photo is not for the Order of the Garter. Look closely and you’ll see that her sash is of a different color/design than the others. She’s wearing regalia associated with the Royal Victorian Order — a lesser order than the Order of the Garter which Camilla was given by the Queen on the seventh anniversary of her marriage to Charles in 2012.

      Sophie, Countess of Wessex, received the same (lesser) order after 10 years of marriage to Prince Edward, and several years of solid and dedicated service to the Queen.

      Each order has its own design/colors/protocols. Like most lesser orders, the Victorian Order sash is worn over the right shoulder and crosses the body to the left hip. Usually, the highest orders in each country drape in the opposite direction.

      As far as sashes/ribbons clashing with a lady’s gown, author Suzy Menkes relayed a story in her book “The Royal Jewels” about Princess Diana who had chosen to wear a sugar pink gown and sapphires at a 1982 state visit from the Netherlands UNTIL Queen Beatrix unexpectedly bestowed upon her one of the Dutch orders which consists of an orange sash and respective medallion.

      In a panic, Diana hastily found a different, light blue gown and asked Buckingham Palace to send over a different necklace which she wore at that evening’s dinner along with her new order complete with its resplendent House of Orange-Nassau sash.

      Many of today’s younger royals don’t seem to care/mind about whether order sashes clash or complement their gowns. Mette-Merit of Norway is a well-known example.

      In earlier days, QE II seemed to have made a bigger effort to coordinate her outfits with any regalia the occasion demanded though during the last few decades she most often wears white or cream to gala events. Many have speculated the reason is such colors provide a neutral palette against which regalia and/or jewels of any color or combination can be worn. IOW, it’s one less detail to be concerned about.

      As far as the men’s attire, the chance they would ever attend such an event in modern/street clothes is about the same as the Pope reciting Christmas Eve mass in cut-off jeans and a t-shirt. It has nothing to do with “being current” it’s tradition. And, if the British Royal Family stands for anything, it’s upholding the traditions that have become an integral part of British history for centuries.

      • Catherine will receive the Order of the Garter most probably from her husband when he is king.

        Charles will grant it to Camilla. Its how they do it.

  40. The Duchess looked radiant and glowing tonight. The Jenny Packham dress is wonderful; overall the styling was excellent. Really loved the deeply smoked eyes drama. Overall flawless.

  41. Is it just the lighting, or does Kate look tan? A secret getaway, perhaps?

    This is exactly how she should be decked out. She’s almost 35, and it is time to wear serious jewelry on big occasions and leave the little semi-precious pieces behind, except for casual attire. Very few people have access to these gems, and Kate aptly should take advantage of the opp opportunity.

    I believe Camilla is wearing her sash as a Dame of the Royal Victorian Order. Kate will most likely be up for an RVO soon, since Sophie has gotten an award.

    • Agree re: the serious jewelry. I love seeing her in significant pieces. She’s a duchess, she’s married to a future king, and I think she should dress the part with her jewelry. I have enjoyed seeing her step up her jewelry game over the past year or so.

  42. I agree with Susan–the Duchess definitely looks the most confidant and relaxed in the photos from this year’s reception. Her hair, makeup, and the tiara are quite stunning!

  43. Kate looked wonderful! I don’t, however, understand why is doesn’t wear a blue sash like other royals. Why is that?

  44. Love the pictures of Diana – she was such a trendsetter. The Dutchess looks nice. Her eye makeup is miles better than the last time she wore this dress, or she’s much less tired this time out. Nice look overall.

    • I do, too. Sorry, I just think Diana rocked this tiara and it looked spectacular on her. Kate does (as usual) look beautiful, and I know she will continue to wear this specific tiara (“Cambridge”, an heirloom of Diana’s, honoring William’s mother, preference, etc.), but I do not think it suits her like the Halo or Lotus tiaras do. I hope that the Lotus will be her “go-to”, because it looks perfect on her. I simply cannot help but think of Diana whenever I see the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara. It’s inevitable since she wore it so often. I simply think it suited her hair and features better, and she made it iconic. I’m not comparing the two, since they are individuals; however, out of the three tiaras we have seen, this suits Kate the least.

      It’s too bad Kate won’t get to wear (from what I have read, at least) the Spencer tiara, which was also one of Diana’s favorites, because I think that would look gorgeous on her. It’s such a sparkly, beautiful piece! I do love this Jenny Packham gown – such a stunning color on Kate!

      • I agree. I think it’s Diana’s blond hair (and charisma) that really elevated this tiara. The blond helped the pearls glow. Agree re: the Spencer tiara – it’s so scrolled and pretty, I think it would look amazing against her dark hair.

        • Totally. Plus, the position in which it was placed looked perfect on Diana. She certainly had a magical “it” factor. A light went out when she died. It would be cool to see Kate’s gorgeous hair down in her signature style with a tiara.

          Perhaps the Spencer family will loan the tiara to Kate one day. It’s so incredibly beautiful with the sweeping scrolls, as you said, and I love the stars.

  45. I’m wondering about how the tiara was a wedding gift to Diana from the Queen. Do you think there was an equivalent gift given by the Queen to Catherine for her wedding? Do you think we have seen it yet?

    • Who knows? Diana might have been given such an important tiara, as she was to be the next Queen, married to the Crown Prince. Kate is two away from the important role, so she might have been given a “lesser” gift…although something way more substantial than any of us got for wedding gifts.

    • That’s a good question. My guess is that any gift may not have been quite at the level seen with the Diana & Charles wedding, if only because that was HM’s daughter-in-law, whereas Kate is a granddaughter-in-law. But I honestly don’t know, this isn’t something I’m really very knowledgeable about.

      • Yes, I think Kate being just one more step away from the throne may have been the reason. Upon marriage, Diana was becoming the Princess of Wales, a position more warranting of a gift like that than the role of a Duchess which Kate was becoming. Just a guess.

        • I believe that the tradition in the royal family is that the royal parents in law give the bride a gift – the queen gave Diana a tiara, and when Sophie married Edward and Sarah married Andrew I think they also got tiaras. So when Kate married William I think Charles gave her a set of jewellery.

  46. The look is very elegant. This seems to be the tiara appearance so far, I believe, because of the hair styling. Tiara hair-always tricky. This let’s both hair and tiara shine.

  47. This is the best tiara/hair styling for me. And I’m glad she wore this gown again because we got to see it full length and the bodice detailing so much clearer!!

  48. lovely, but it seems Kate has not yet received any of the “orders” (is that what they are called?) given to members of the family. it seems conspicuously absent from her since the other 5 have them on.

    • You’re correct, that is what they are called. I imagine we’ll see one before too long, it’s possible HM is just being a little more conservative in terms of awarding them. There are probably others with much better info/instincts about why it’s not yet happened, I will keep an eye out for more extensive coverage from a knowledgeable source. :)

      • HM has always been good at holding high the value of these things and not bestowing them willy-nilly. It will have a lot more meaning when bestowed, a true honor, because it will seem as if Kate has “earned” it. Also, Kate is young. You sort of can’t get all these badges right away … need to work up to them.

        • The family honour is a portrait on ivory: I suspect that might be a problem for Catherine whilst her husband is so against any use of ivory.

          • The Royal Family Orders have been painted on ivory in the past this is true. However there has been a debate as to whether the Family Orders will be painted on porcelain or on vegetable ivory in the future (if they aren’t already!). There are also quite a few Family Orders that used to belong to deceased members of the family (and have been returned) that aren’t being used right now, so Kate could potentially receive one that was made back in the 50s/60s. The real reason Kate hasn’t received it is because it is only given once the person it is given to has been a full time working Royal (usually for at least a year). Hopefully we’ll see it on her soon with William’s helicopter contract ending next year!

            • Since royal family orders in the British royal family have been restricted to full-time working royals, it is consistent that Kate does not have one yet. I think it’s clear that the Queen is fine with Kate’s part-time working status. I mean she is wearing the Queen’s fabulous wedding gift from a husband that she clearly adores! That’s a pretty high honor all by itself.

  49. She’s so elegant and looks tan too! I adore her in tiaras, but am wondering when she will receive her first sash/order? When did Diana first receive one?

    • I was wondering the same. I’d have thought that five years of marriage would suffice to make Kate a member of the family, but maybe the Queen is not ready to start bestowing the pins on the next generation? So far it’s only the Queen’s own generation and her daughter/daughters in law who have it.

    • Sashes and Family Orders are normally given once the person becomes a full time working Royal (at least that’s how it is with the British Royals). Maybe she’ll receive them next year once William’s contract ends!

    • Diana only received one royal order from the British Royal Family — The Queen’s Royal Family Order which she received in 1981 upon her marriage to Prince Charles.

      She was bestowed with two foreign orders during her lifetime. The Grand Cordon of the Order of The Virtues (Egypt) in 1981 and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of the House of Orange (The Netherlands) in 1982.

  50. I adore the Lovers’ Knot Tiara and earrings on her! It’s a perfect look, especially with that red dress. Jewel tones work so well on Kate.

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