Jul 122017

The Duchess wore a Marchesa evening gown for this evening’s state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

picture Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Pearl Diamond Tiara Princess Diana

©Pete Maclaine/i-Images

We also saw Kate in glittering “new-old jewels,” pieces previously worn by others, with history and emotional significance. Kate-Middleton-Spanish-State-Banquet The elegant occasion at Buckingham Palace was in honor of Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia. From a Hello! story:

The black-tie affair took place in the palace ballroom, with around 170 guests invited to dine there at the horseshoe-shaped table, which was laden with floral decorations, candelabras and six glasses per person – for water, a champagne toast, red and white wines, a dessert wine and port.



A video of people entering the banquet, you will see the Duchess just before the end.

The order of the procession into the banquet via Alastair Bruce.

Alastair Bruce Twitter (@AlastairBruce_)

Alastair Bruce (@AlastairBruce_)

This offers a full-length look at Kate’s dress.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Decor for dinner included red carnations made out of spun sugar; the red carnation is Spain’s national flower.

The Royal Family @RoyalFamily

The Royal Family @RoyalFamily

Prince Philip, the two Queens, and King Felipe.



Prince Harry also attended the dinner, his first official role at a state banquet. Here is a quick video from ITV’s Chris Ship.

He was seated next to Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, and a friend of Kate’s. Some readers will recognize her from last summer’s EACH fundraiser; she is seen below with her husband as they welcomed Kate and William to their home for that event.

©Pool/Splash News

©Pool/Splash News

Other royals in attendance included Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall; Princess Anne & her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence; Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex; Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; and Princess Michael of Kent.

©Dominic Lipinski / WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

©Dominic Lipinski / WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Tiny pictures taken from the wide shot above of Harry (left) and Kate, whom you cannot see at all other than her tiara.



Prince William and Prime Minister Theresa May.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The menu included poached filet of salmon and medallions of Scottish beef. Dessert was a dark chocolate raspberry tart and a selection of fresh fruits. When it comes to what Kate wore for the occasion, we’ll change things up a bit and begin with the shiny, sparkly things, as the Blingometer was peaking in the red zone tonight.

Kate wore the Queen’s Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace. More about the glittering piece from the Queen’s Jewel Vault:

This necklace was one of the Queen’s wedding gifts from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It was part of the Greville bequest, the collection of jewelry left to Queen Elizabeth by the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville when she died. Mrs. Greville purchased the necklace from Boucheron in 1907.

Queen's Jewel Vault/Screen Grab

Queen’s Jewel Vault/Screen Grab

Back to the Queen’s Jewel Vault.

The intricate piece is set in silver and gold and features single rubies between diamond flowers. It’s an interesting bandeau format, a deep v-shape culminating in a diamond pendant. The Queen did shorten it, as she tends to do with necklaces, by removing the two smaller floral pieces (these are the pieces you see in the photograph at the beginning of the entry – to my knowledge, they have not been converted to earrings).

Via Queen's Jewel Vault

Via Queen’s Jewel Vault

Order of Splendor (publisher of the Queen’s Jewel Vault) reports the necklace has not been worn since the 1980s.

©Splash News


Another view, this one via Chris Ship of ITV.

Duchess Cambridge State Banquet Spain Tiara Marchesa Gown

Chris Ship, ITV (@ChrisShipITV)

Kate’s earrings were part of Diana’s private jewelry collection. They are known as the Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings, a gift from Collingwood Jewelers.

Pictures Kate Middleton Princess Diana's Earrings Spain State Banquet

©Pete Maclaine/i-Images

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing the tiara and earrings in November 1985.

This is the sixth time we have seen Kate wearing a tiara.

© Pete Maclaine / i-Images

© Pete Maclaine / i-Images

Previous occasions when the Duchess has worn a tiara.


©as noted

She returned to the Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara (a copy of the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, more info here). Below you see the Duchess wearing the tiara to the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace in 2015 and 2016.

Pictures Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

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

Kate’s gown looks like a combination of elements from multiple Marchesa styles. On the left, the Frilled Lace Peplum Blouse from the Fall 2017 pre-fall collection. In the center, the Guipure Lace Peplum Gown. And on the right, we show a gown from Marchesa Bridal.



Our thanks to Gabi for her comment on today’s earlier post pointing out the top and skirt shown above left. Kate’s gown was described as pink; it looks like a soft blush color.  The piece in the center above is referred to “delicate baby-pink” lace guipure atop beige tulle, so it is possible the material is the same as Kate’s, we just won’t know until we see better photos.  The Duchess’s dress features a deep vee neckline front and back, belled sleeves, and a full skirt.

Kate Middleton State Banquet Marchesa Gown Dress

Screen Grabs

A look at the back of the two Marchesa designs shows their similarity to the back of Kate’s gown.



The Peplum blouse on the left is a silk/cotton blend, while the fabric on the right is 100% polyester if I am reading the product description properly. Kate looked simply beautiful. Her hair, the tiara and earrings, and subtle changes in makeup (it appears she wore a slightly stronger lip color) all combined for a “wow!” factor that was off the charts. But I wasn’t crazy about the necklace with the elaborate lace and scalloped neckline of the gown. It looked ‘heavy’ to me (for lack of a better term), reminiscent of the way I thought the Queen’s Nizam of Hyderabad diamond necklace looked when worn at a National Portrait Gallery event in 2014. Tonight’s necklace is spectacular, to be sure, but it’s possible it is sitting a little higher on Kate than on HM, and that may be emphasizing its elaborate design and sparkling gems in contrast to the dress neckline.


©Polaris / Screen Grab

It will be easier to form an opinion when we (hopefully) have better photos from the evening; seeing the gown’s bell sleeves, the full skirt and other design elements making up the ensemble in a wider shot at a higher resolution would be helpful. Queen Elizabeth wore the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure, a full set of jewels including the tiara, necklace, earrings and bracelet. More about HM’s Aquamarine set may be seen here, at The Court Jeweller.

Pictures Queen Letizia Elizabeth Spain Banquet Royal Jewels Tiaras Diamonds

©Pool/Reuters/Splash News

A closer look.

©Pool/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

©Pool/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

The Queen’s Jewel Vault also has loads of info on the set, including a picture of that extraordinary tiara.

Via The Queen's Jewel Vault

Via The Queen’s Jewel Vault

Queen Letizia wore the Fleur de Lys tiara, a piece dating back to 1906. More via The Court Jeweller:

Queen Letizia did not disappoint tonight, wearing several pieces from the joyas de pasar, the family’s heirloom jewelry collection. (We talked about the entire collection over here this morning!) She wore the tiara from the set, nicknamed “La Buena,” plus the large diamond cluster earrings and one of the matched diamond bracelets.

Spain State Banquet Royal Jewellery pictures Letizia Tiara

©Splash News

The tiara was previously worn by her mother-in-law, Queen Sofía. It is only the second time Queen Letizia has worn the piece.

Via The Royal Order of Splendor

Via The Royal Order of Splendor

Queen Letizia was in Spain’s national color, wearing another design by Felipe Varela. The brand is now headed the UK’s Jonathan Anderson, making the gown work on a dress-as-diplomacy level as well.

UPDATE: It doesn’t look like we’re going to see any hi-res photos of Kate, William, Harry, or other guests. I don’t believe any were taken. My guess is that the Palace only wants “good shots” of royals in keeping with the decorum of the event, no candid pictures.  The nature of the event makes it unlikely they will want to spend time posing different couples/people/groups of people, so they limit things to the principals.

We’ll see you tomorrow for Kate’s engagement at the Natural History Museum. Click here for our post on the day’s earlier engagements with a focus on what Queen Letizia wore. Here is a link to a video of the dinner, I believe you see a full-length view of Kate at about 21:00. Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 10.16.38 AM

UPDATE: The post has been corrected to reflect that Queen Letizia’s dress was by Felipe Varela, *not* Loewe as I initially wrote.

LINKAGE: (One FYI – I am doing my best to avoid the “Fashion Face Off!” and “Style War” types of stories, pieces pitting Kate and Letizia against each other in an imagined competition. Thus, no links to stories of that genre.)

  213 Responses to “The Duchess Shines in Marchesa & Shimmering New Jewels for State Dinner”

  1. I love love LOVE this look! I agree that the necklace is a bit heavy next to the soft lace, but I’m willing to overlook that because of the beautiful way it highlights the gorgeous decolletage of DOC’s dress. Love the sleeves, love the flouncier waistline, love the deep V of the front and back, love the voluminous A-line. Love it all around!

  2. Wow! What a breathtaking look. I’m not a fan of the bell sleeves but everything else is beautiful. I love love love that neckline with the necklace. Her makeup looks great. Overall, a wonderful look!

    As for your comment about the necklace looking heavy, I don’t disagree – I think Kate is still lacking the confidence to pull off such excessive jewellery, especially since she hasn’t had many opportunities to wear it. The Queen, despite being in her 90s, can still wear those enormous jewels well; probably because she’s been doing so for over sixty years. I know I would certainly feel overwhelmed wearing so many precious stones, so I can imagine Kate is too, although her wardrobe is a lot more expensive than mine!

    • Forgot to mention that while I’m not as crazy about Letizia’s fashion as many other commenters here, she looked great in a trendy, off-shoulder gown. Props to her for being able to wear the sash too without hiding her exposed shoulders.

  3. Aside from those sleeves, which immediately make me think of Martha Washington, I can’t comment on this look because there just aren’t enough clear photos/video of it. From the neck up, however, the Duchess looked beautiful.

  4. This dress belongs in nineteenth century America somewhere on a prairie. The shot of Kate seated even looking pensive was beautiful. Loved the delicate way it fitted her but then the other shots revealing bell sleeves and swathes of material. No. Letizia was spot on in her choice for the occasion. Regality combined with glamour. She and HM ran off with the style accolades for me

  5. Oh my word. Kate looks gorgeous here. The dress is absolutely beautiful, her hair, makeup, etc.. all perfect. The necklace might be a bit overwhelming but it’s still so gorgeous. The back view is beautiful as well. Just a breathtaking look.

  6. This is a fabulous look in my opinion. Love the dress, amazing jewellery and her hair and makeup. Of course the jewellery is a little OTT. She is a duchess at an important occasion – she needs to stand out a little!
    I think the colour of the dress would be quite lovely in person. Kate would not want to steal the show – the Queen and Queen Letizia are the stars at this event. A very bright or strong coloured dress may have been too attention grabbing – Kate has gone for a more subtle look. I personally think the style of the dress is gorgeous – Kate looks very beautiful. Big win for me.

  7. I don’t care for the bells on the sleeves, but other than that, the look was wonderful!

  8. Magnificent jewelry, gorgeous make up.Kate looks stunning here .

  9. Wow! The dress, the jewels…Kate really brought it. If there is any event where more is better, this certainly was it. Thank you, Kate!

    The dress: I am particularly thrilled that she wore a lower neckline. With her slim figure, she can definitely wear it without being inappropriate. While I’m not normally a fan of bell sleeves, they are perfect for this event. They remind me of paintings of royalty from long ago. Timeless.

    The jewels: It positively warms my heart that she wore Diana’s earrings with the tiara that Diana also wore with them, especially with the anniversary of Diana approaching. Simply wonderful. And the necklace is amazing with that neckline.

  10. The picture of Kate seated, where you can only see her from the waist up (and the sleeves are hidden) is totally gorgeous. But the full length photos where you can see those overdone bell sleeves and the tucks at the back of the waist (which look silly and like a 1980′s prom gown IMO) are not as gorgeous.The V neck was great and the sleeves would have been if they stopped at the elbow before those bells. Yes, I know that bell sleeves are on trend but all trends don’t translate well with all outfits and garments.

    I love that she wore a big blingy necklace in that neckline but not sure this was a great choice–I would have chosen something with diamonds and pearls to go with the earrings and tiara. I disagree that rubies cannot be mixed with other types of stones, but in this case I think that the pearls and diamonds on the other pieces were just too much for the necklace.

    Makeup was lovely but wish she had left the under lid eyeliner off—it looks so much fresher when she does so. I also think her tiara hair from the diplomatic reception in December 2016 was the best tiara hair she has ever worn, so this hairdo is not as good as that one.

    A word if I may about jewelry loaned by HM in general: all of it is going to look a bit dated on such a young lady who wears more minimalist pieces in her day to day life. Whereas the queen and Camilla are a bit older than Kate and they wear heavier pieces during the day (think of Camilla’s huge pearl chokers), that is why jewelry from the vaults doesn’t look so heavy on them. All of the jewelry from the vaults is generations (and sometimes hundreds of years) old. HM did commission a few pieces in the 50′s-70′s but those pieces also have a heavier aesthetic and they were usually commissioned to go with other jewels that were much older (like from queen Mary’s era).

    • At first I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I loved this dress. It’s frilly and pink, and as a whole, kind of has an air of absurdity around it, doesn’t it? But, I had another look at it and I think what I find pleasing is the symmetry of the gown. I love how the sleeve seams line up with the waist seam, and how the gathering of the bell sleeves mimics the gathering at the waist, two mini bells and a big bell. And the fit of the bodice is perfect. I understand why some wouldn’t like it, but I think it’s quite exquisite myself.

  11. I loved this ensemble-a true princess. Rocking those amazing jewels and an on trend yet elegant gown = keeper.

  12. Thank you for the fabulous post! The Duchess looked lovely. Not a dress I would choose, but very much in keeping with the Dutchess’ style and I suspect, personality. So nice to see a new to her necklace! One small note, it looks to me like the dinner was actually a white tie affair, not black tie. Not something we see a lot of these days, but there was a time when black tie was the “casual version” for dinner!

  13. I think I love all the individual elements but somehow the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. I would truly love to see the necklace with a navy or black velvet gown (personally, I’d wear it with a black mock turtleneck and think it would look divine.) I have no problem with rubies with blush/pink/pretty much any color, but I did think the combination of the froo-froo gown and this rather heavy-looking necklace resulted in a look somewhat akin to a little girl putting on everything she finds in her costume trunk all at once. I also love the reappearance of the tiara and earrings but combined with the necklace, it seemed too disjointed. How much better (if we HAD to have the necklace with this particular dress) to wear earrings of rubies and diamonds and the delicate diamond tiara that I think she wore to the Chinese state dinner. Or, ditch the necklace this time around and combine this tiara and earrings with several longer strands of pearls. She would have looked ethereal.

    Not sure why so many people have a problem with her hairnets — if it provides her one scintilla more of confidence that everything will stay in place, I think they are barely noticeable. I agree with those who say no one seems to have a particularly swell time at these dinners; perhaps there’s usually too much on the line, politically-speaking, for them to be enjoyable.

  14. My only complaint is that I wish the dress was a different color!! I love Catherine in richer hues like red, navy, royal blue even white and black! The mauve of this gown just washes her and the rubies out! Love everything else including the deep plunge balanced by the flared sleeves!

    • That is my only quibble too– the pink/mauve. The blush Jenny Packham she wore a few years ago did not wash her out, possibly because it had a peach/champagne cast to it. Also, she had a lighter lip at the state banquet, which was appropriate for the dress, but may have contributed to that washed-out impression. Overall, though, she looked lovely– royal and regal, as she should. The dress fit very well, and it was wonderful to see her in both the Queen’s and Princess Diana’s jewels. The rubies, if worn in honour of the Spanish national flower, were a good touch.

    • I agree. The tiara outing where the Duchess wore red with stronger make-up and a deeper tan is stunning.

  15. I actually really love the look of the dress, from what we can discern. I love that she went with a more daring neckline and the picture from the back makes me think Disney princess. I really enjoyed that she is raiding the jewel vaults more and we are seeing some of these exquisite pieces that haven’t been seen in awhile.

    I’ve found that the “pictures” we’ve seen from the State Dinners and Diplomatic Receptions never really give a good indication of what the dress actually comes across as. I hated the blue McQueen from the 2013 Diplomatic Reception until I saw the whole thing later on with better pictures.

  16. Gorgeous, exquisite jewels!!! Love them all!
    Take off a piece before leaving the house? No way! I would say, “thank you ma’am, may I have another?” ;)

  17. Love the quote from Hello! referring to a ‘black-tie’ event. LOL! How much clearer could it be that it’s white tie?! Er, look at what all the men are wearing!

    I think Kate’s stunning necklace complements the neckline of the Marchesa dress perfectly. The only thing I don’t like is the Queen’s tiara. OK, I should clarify, that’s the Queen of the UK’s tiara! Actually, I’m not mad about the whole parure – something about those huge aquamarines lacks elegance.

  18. It seems that I am in the minority here, but I actually like her gown. I think there are colors that suit her better, but find the overall shape and design appealing. Would this work at any other sort of function? Probably not. For this particular event, it works.

    The jewelry is a bit heavy, but again, considering the function, it works. I don’t like that her particular choice of stone clashes with her dress. The tiara looks lovely.

    My main complaint? The hairnet. Again. Unless she is serving dinner to those in attendance, there is simply no reason for it. Letizia has a lovely updo with no hairnet. Kate has worn her hair up without hairnets many times in the past and looked incredible. Why is her hairstylist so lazy?

    Hairnets are for the elderly (although my grandmother would not be caught dead in one) or for those in food service. If Kate ever volunteers to serve food to the poor, I will keep my mouth shut about the hairnet.

    Overall impression? She looks fine. Many positive aspects, but much room for improvement.

    • I guess you missed the recent Chanel show where all the models wore hairnets!

      • I did, and they were equally as ugly. Many designers have models wear odd things on the runway – things that would certainly look out-of-place in normal life.

        Or maybe I am wrong and Kate would look lovely with rainbow eyeshadow also! ;-)

  19. I’m almost 100% sure Kate reads this blog. Remember how we were all excited the first time Kate wore that Dolce lace dress? The black one? It was a few years ago, and all of us lost our minds when we saw it for the first time. She looked amazing in that lace dress, and everyone ooh’d and ahhh’d over it, and now she’s adopted it as her signature style.

    Well, Kate. If you’re reading this, it’s time to slow down a bit on the lace. While that dress is GORGEOUS, (who doesn’t love Marchesa??) the lace isn’t doing you any favors. Don’t get me wrong, I think you look beautiful in everything you wear, but I think we’d like to see some new fabrics. Not that it’s our business to tell you what to wear, but we all think you’re great, and we honestly just want you to look your best!

    Also – that jewelry is amazing. I agree with most every comment on here, that necklace looked a teensy bit heavy for the dress, but the tiara and earrings were perfection. (I’m guessing she chose the rubies to honor Spain with the red? Obviously she couldn’t wear red bc the Queen was going to wear it). I would have loved to see a simple pearl drop, or a pearl necklace with this dress, but such is life.

    Does anyone else think that tiara is a bit more “grown-up” than the other one she’s worn? I think it looks amazing on her.

    • If the Duchess followed the comments on the blog, she would never be able to go out.
      There are 100+ Comments for big events. And everyone has a slightly different opinion about what would make her look her best! We all enjoy the blog and getting to express our opinion, but I’m not sure anyone could follow the advice given here. Too diverse.

  20. I wish she would have chosen the Marchessa peplum dress as is. Still very dramatic and occasion appropriate. The jewels are gorgeous. Yes, they are heavy on her, but she is slight, and I can’t help but think anything in that category will look heavy on her. I wouldn’t be able to resist wearing them regardless if I were her ;) I am sure as a previous poster said that there may be an element of the Queen wanting to see Kate wear some of the jewels while alive. And if I were Kate, I’d be happy to oblige!

  21. Now that’s a real princess dress! Pink and frilly! Haha…I do actually love it though, for some strange reason. I think the cut looks beautiful on her and it’s a well made dress. I love that she’s finally wearing some serious bling. It is kind of puzzling to pair rubies with blush, but it’s not that bad. If she had paired it with a multi-string pearl choker though, or a string of large diamonds that would have been exquisite and brought the whole look together.
    Speaking of serious bling though…wow, nothing can compete with the Brasilian Aquamarine Parure! 0_0

  22. OMG – Catherine look stunning.

  23. Without ill-wishing the Queen in any way whatsoever–like most, I expect her to live forever–but still I look forward to seeing the Duchess rock the holy heck out of that aquamarine set someday.

  24. When you look at Catherine behind the two Queens when she is speaking with Harry in one of the galleries, she looks every bit the princess one would imagine graced these halls hundreds of years ago – like she was plucked from a painting and brought to life. In those pictures, I fully appreciate everything together. Even the bell sleeves, they seem fitting, regal, and appropriate. I truly think we haven’t really had an opportunity to see the gown at a perfect angle or at good resolution yet, unfortunately. We also haven’t really had more than a passing second to see it move.

    The more I look at her and the more I look at the photos, the more I truly love what I see.

  25. As an 18th century junkie, I can’t complain about anyone getting their “going to Versailles to see Marie Antoinette” on at all, especially at a quintessential princess event. :) I love it when the Big Jewelz come out, but I can’t help but thinking a pearl necklace might have taken this into a slightly more polished direction. The rubies just look like an awkward step too far

  26. Anyone notice that Catherine is also wearing a bracelet, thanks to the new image? Sorry if this has already been commented and replied.

  27. This dress looks absolutely fabulous from the back. Wow, what a beautiful silhouette in the photo part way through this post!

    It’s interesting that some people have commented on it being “costume-y.” I find all formal gowns a bit that way, frankly, since they are all designed to be worn in situations so different from my own life. With this gown, though, the sense I have is of something ageless rather than something old-fashioned or overly costume-y.

    I suspect people will look back on Kate’s formalwear in years to come and won’t find it particularly easy to date.

    • Very well stated! I think it’s too easy us to be hard Kate and project exactly what we’d like to wear if we were in her place. I completely agree that the silhouette is classic and will always be beautiful.

  28. Kate is a lady. Is this look my favorite? No. Why? For all the reasons that have already been discussed.

    Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for this ensemble. She was being a gracious host to her country’s guests. She dressed in a color and style that is elegant but would not overwhelm her guest’s dress. She wore jewels that were an homage to the guest’s country. IMHO, she is a confident enough woman to know when the spotlight doesn’t need to shine so brightly on herself. Respect.

  29. I love Kate’s dress, except for the sleeves; I love Queen Letizia’s dress utterly.

    Sorry, but the aquamarine tiara makes Queen Elizabeth look like she has horns. Surely there’s some other way to arrange these lovely gems.

  30. TOTALLY agree about the hair net!!!
    She looks so awesome with loads of sparkly jewelery
    No so sure about the dress. Would have preferred one like the red one she wore in December 2015 and 16
    …the neckline is definitely to low for Kate as well!
    Altogether a very very different look
    Keep it up kate!!!

    • I wonder if the hairnets was because extensions were used to create a fuller updo? When she last cut her hair, to roughly around the same length, her updo (was if the diplomatic reception in 2015?) was flat and not as appealing as her others. Perhaps the hairnet was keeping it all together without flyaways from the short hair jutting out. Just a thought. I’m not a hairdresser/stylist, I just play one on the internet.

  31. Really do not like the mixture of rubies, pearls and blush pink- too over the top ! Queen Letizia on the other hand, is spot on !!! How glamorous, perfection.

  32. Long time reader of the site, first time poster.

    I truly don’t understand all the negative comments regarding this outfit. The DoC looks regal, beautiful, and perfectly appropriate for such a grand event. The dress is fashion forward in its silhouette, that v-neck is age appropriate and keeps the gown from looking stuffy, and her jewels are truly stunning. Who cares that the necklace seems “heavy?” She’s British royalty, of course she’s going to wear heavy jewels. No one comments when HM (who is so, so petite) wears her massive jewelry (including this set) because she is THE QUEEN, and she can! Well, the DoC is a future queen, so she can, too!I am sure that had she worn something delicate, the comments would’ve been along the lines of, “Why didn’t she step up her game, she has access to so much beautiful jewelry!” Can this woman ever win?! I’m also sure that those rubies really popped against that blush pink and truly complimented the gown.

    Outfit spot on, makeup is gorgeous, hair is fine (though admittedly I will never, ever understand the whole hair net thing). Kate hit it out of the park!

    • Thank you! I feel much the same way about each element of this outfit. It looks to me like a confident, even assertive Royal Statement, and I felt that the echoes of past centuries in the design were deliberate, as were the quantity of spectacular jewels. I do think the necklace seems too tightly positioned up against her throat, but it did need to ride a bit higher, rather than diving too far into her décolletage. The bell sleeves echoed the peplum that appears in the designer’s shorter red dress shown, and have nothing to echo here, but they do soften the formality just a little, and add a romantic touch, so they were ok with me.

    • Karina, welcome to commenting on the WKW site. I don’t think people critique, or praise the Queen’s clothing/jewellery because this is a site about Kate. And so here people express their thoughts and opinions, their likes and dislikes in what Kate wears. I agree the jewels on Her Majesty are even heavier than ones worn by Kate. Yes, the Queen is petite and does not have Kate’s height. And in reality, I think the Queen’s set of aquamarines are over the top and almost drown HM is their weight. But the Queen has been wearing heavy sets of gems for decades, many of which are gifts from other nations, or passed down through many generations of Royals.

      You ask is Kate can every win, with people’s comments. Do keep in mind nobody is being disrespectful about Kate’s personality, character or values. People are simply saying what they like or dislike about any given ensemble. Opinions vary widely and what is a positive for one person is a negative for someone else. We agree to disagree, but we all think Kate is an amazing and accomplished, young woman.

      • Hi Bonnie! I completely understand that this is a site about Kate, and this is why I’m a big fan. I’ve been a reader for many years and this is the first site I go to whenever I hear that Kate’s attended an event. I generally enjoy all of the comments, especially those from regular posters and those with knowledge of garment design, tailoring, fabrics, etc. If this were a site that attacked Kate’s character, personality, or physical appearance, I definitely would not be a reader.

        When I ask “can’t Kate win,” I mean can’t she win in terms of her fashion choices, not anything else. And while I generally appreciate dissenting opinions in that regard (I certainly don’t love everything she wears), I just didn’t understand the negativity regarding her choices for the State Dinner. The critique that the necklace is “too heavy” is laughable – when else would those heavy, beautiful jewels be worn, if not a glittery State Dinner, and by whom else, if not the wife to the second in line to the British throne? I mean, goodness. I brought up HM only to illustrate that hey, this is what royal women do, they wear heavy jewels, as they should. Kate truly looks sensational in every way so the “too low cut, too pale, too pink, too sleevy, too heavy, too lacy, comments just surprised me very much.

        • I think that we each have our own ideas of what looks best. Kate is usually careful to keep things edited so as not to tire the eye. That being said, it is a state banquet. Kate is a lovely lady, but the combination of everything just didn’t work for me. If the necklace had been omitted, or the dress had cleaner lines, I think it would have worked. Also didn’t care for the blush dress and ruby/diamond necklace. From the back the dress looked amazing, from the front, the neckline looked too low.

      • Yes the comments are being disrespectful. Maybe it is not about her personality, character or values but it is still about her style.. You are questioning all those when you make comments about her clothes it is a reflection of her personality. If you are not being disrespectful then please post a photo of yourself on facebook and invite comments about your own appearance…

        Can’t we just all be nice and respectful and take more notice of the event than what the poor girl is wearing. She will never satisfy everyone and personally I think a lot of comments are just plain nasty but you seem to veil them under…it’s her clothes we are discussing, not her personality. Well I am afraid that one goes hand in hand with the other. Please be nice and respectful.

    • Karina
      Agree with your comments. Lets face it any tiara of any size or style is a ridiculous piece of jewelry in todays world:). After sticking one of those on your head everything else is just add ons:):)

      • Sorry should have added, I love seeing all the jewels but most of it is only going to be worn by a very very few people to a very very few events:). I am glad they pull it out for these events as it is fun to see such incredible gems and workmanship and a style that is never produced anymore and rarely worn anymore.

    • We also forget that HM’s jewels are not understated. They’re passed down/purchased when a time where understated jewels did not indicate wealth and royalty. Modern-day royals may get away with being able to wear understated pieces. But the provenance of HM’s jewels date back to a time when bigger meant power. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We are used to seeing Catherine in understated and simple jewelry, so when we see her in sumptuous pieces like we did at the banquet, it is a bit of a shock. It’s really not her style.

      I agree – an eye isn’t batted when HM, Camilla, even Sophie is decked out in the royal jewels. I think the only Royal, aside from Catherine who aschews the big bling (or even much at all) is the Princess Royal. Even her tiaras are small and practical – suitable to her lifestyle and taste. Being the only daughter of the Queen, one would imagine she could easily have her pick.

      We all cry when we don’t see Catherine blinded out at events like this. When we do, it’s a shock. I think in part, as many have noted, is that Catherine is still working out the way to wear the larger pieces to suit her body and her personal style.

      She is taking after Diana, in so many ways. I think subconsciously, but Diana also stuck to dainty pieces or had gifts modified to suit her personality of pared down bling (the emerald bandeau/choker, the sapphire set she had re-designed). I think the largest pieces she wore regularly, aside from the tiaras were her pearls with the large stone clasps. This is all from recollection, but I’d imagine the same reaction would have occurred then if social media existed as it does today, had Diana stepped out in the big bling, which was largely uncharacteristic.

      With time, Catherine will acclimate to wearing the royal jewels and working with them and not against them. I think she’s slowly dipping her toes in the water, and for one of the beginning times, I don’t think she royally messed up.

  33. The joyas de pasar jewels are not owned by Queen Sofia–they are designated to be worn only by consorts and queens of Spain :)

  34. I am in love with this dress and think that as usual, the Duchess just has that extra “IT” factor in her choice of clothing. From the back the dress has a bit of a Victorian look to it, and the front gives it a modern twist. I love her make up, hair, the tiara and earrings, but I also feel that the necklace looks “off” on her and really clashes with the rest of the outfit. I think that perhaps because the Duchess has such a small frame many of these kind of necklaces seem to look awkward and too big on her, or perhaps it’s something else, but even though they’re beautiful pieces, they look out of place on her. Overall though she radiates elegance, style, class, and beauty as always!!!

  35. I gasped at that first close-up of Kate looking stunning with a, IMO, modest-yet-flattering and age appropriate v-neck. But then that dress; simply ‘yuck’ with the matronly lace and awful sleeves. But baby steps with that v-neck!

    That said, she is absolutely beautiful and her make-up, skin, hair were perfection and seeing her in Diana’s jewels warms my heart.

    Thought Letiza was gorgeous in that simple dress with no necklace and a handbag that blended. Did you notice that the hem of her dress had a slightly deeper hue at the very bottom? Unless my eyes deceive me. Wonder if that’s to prevent the hem looking dirty or simply an aesthetic choice? If so, I thought it was subtle and fabulous.

  36. The colour of the dress, the neckline and that necklace! STUNNING!
    Now these belled sleeves look so juvenile and do not belong on that magnificent dress. Her best ensemble at a state dinner so far!

    • Queens and princesses have worn bell sleeves throughout history: Elizabeth I, Queen Charlotte, Marie Antoinette, etc. They are perfect for this occasion.

  37. I think stunning is an appropriate word to describe Kate. She looked beautiful. I thought the color of her dress was quite flattering on her. I loved seeing all of the women in their jewels and finery. I particularly loved the Queen’s jewels. Some have stated that the jewelry was too much. I say bring it on. They are royals. I have been particularly struck how the royal family has really “rolled out the red carpet” for the King and Queen of Spain. I love all the pomp and circumstance!

  38. The ladies really pulled out all the stops tonight with their jewels, and I LOVE it!

  39. I LOVE this look. This is what a princess at a formal event should dress like. I know it, Kate knows it, so there ya go. I get so tired of the “eh but it’s not moooooooodern” argument after a while. Yes actually, this is modern because it was created right now by Marchesa, it’s not as if she wore a vintage piece from the 80′s. I understand it might not be “modern styled” enough for some but that’s the great thing about events like these! This is literally one of the last semblances of old-world royalty. If you can’t wear a bell-sleeved lace ballgown to this, then where can you??? She looked every bit what I would imagine a Duchess would look like. Loved it. Awesome pick lady.

    • I totally agree with everything you say!!

    • I think the comments about this not being modern rather miss the point that these sleeves are the height of fashion right now. Queen Maxima has particularly favoured them and is adept at carrying off bold fashion gestures. The great thing Kate has done here is to tone the style down into true elegance

      • Exactly. Totally agreeing with these comments. Are the sleeves my favorite thing? I’m not leaning toward yes, but they are very on trend.
        I also haven’t seen much of the “royal jewels” that don’t look like they are about to overwhelm the person wearing them. The queen and Camilia both regularly look like they are absolutely drenched in diamonds. That’s just the nature of the jewels, they’re large and show stopping. Her hair up and the deeper neckline keep it from resembling the situation of the Nizam necklace, to my eyes anyway.
        Overall, Kate certainly garnered attention and stood out from the crowd. And in my opinion, looked quite beautiful doing it.

        • Those sleeves are so on trend . Saw them this morning at our very chi-chi South Coast Plaza which has every high end designer from Chanel to Dior and Tadashi and Versace. Sometimes I think we don’t realize how early on the Duchess is making these decisions. We don’t even know some of these trends yet as they haven’t gotten to our level.
          I am sure the Queen’s folk and her folk all talk and Kate is so clever at being current and paying homage to the guest, the Queen and Diana- a woman she only knew as the rest of us did. Could be the Queen offered those jewels as a gentle homage to Spain- where red is so important. She looked stunning and every inch a regal young woman..

      • ElizaMo – YES! YES! YES!! And thank you!!!

      • I fully agree. This is a gorgeous dress that is referential to past fashion at court while also incorporating current trends. The v-neck is drop dead gorgeous and could not be more perfectly fitted, which is a nice break from some of the high-end labels we see with ill fitting aspects. Does she look over the top? Yes. Is one supposed to look over the top when they’re attending a state banquet with two European royals and are also themselves a future Queen? Um yes. This is a huge win to me, much more modern and beautiful than the red dress from the Chinese visit, which looked like a tween could comfortably wear it to homecoming.

        • These comments are spot on. I absolutely agree. The jewels are big and bold. And so they should be.

  40. I love the color of the gown :the V neck and train.The sleeves seems off somehow. Her necklace while gorgeous overwhelms the lace on the gown. She has also (apparently) changed her eyebrows! I too would like to see more hi -res. photos.

  41. I agree, I am not a necklace person myself, and I think that the massive size of this one is distracting from the lovely dress and tiara. It reminds me a bit of a mayor’s chain… Also, I would personely not combine jewellery with pearls and rubies (or other coloured stones). I would have preferred the Hyderabad necklace (preferably without the pendants that hang from it)
    Otherwise, fab look, great makeup.

    On a different note, I really like that you don’t link to pieces referring to Kate and Latizia’s ”style war” and such nonsense headlines, I think it’s really derogatory of the media to reduce women to being nothing more than mannequins that wear clothes/accessories and fight with each other about who is best dressed. Even British Vogue did it today, talking about their ”Sartorial Standoff” and ”Bring it on”. Really tired of it, let’s keep it positive :)

    • I really disappointed to see the British Vogue piece this morning. And surprised, as I think they recently ran an item about Kate/women being more than just mannequins (my phrase, can’t remember specifics of their piece) Not that all columnists will agree on all topics or issues, but it was a fairly pointed piece and referenced the publication as a whole. :(

      • I join Lisa in thanking you for avoiding the “style wars.” I think both Kate AND Latizia looked beautiful and I enjoyed seeing them both. I agree that women are more than fashion objects! And I think we limit and diminish ourselves by creating competition like that between us. This blog is really classy, and I thank you for keeping it that way!

  42. The silhouette of the dress reminded me of Diana’s early ballgowns, the Rococo-Georgian look, having longer hair makes her suit the style more too. It does look a tad costumey but so does the Queen overwhelmed in huge heavy jewellery, she’s a tiny old lady but that tiara & necklace… Camilla always looks over-embellished too. I imagine both ladies are doing as older folk do & that is, dressing in the styles of their youth – which is why I don’t like that heavy clunky necklace on Catherine, it’s aging, dated & not right with such a delicate lace gown. It needs something like Diana’s Ruby satin gown that she wore whilst pregnant with William. Most of the Queen’s ‘office’ jewellery just isn’t for today’s fashions, the necklace looked just as much a ‘costume’ as her dress.
    In the past 2 days, I have seen those sleeves adorning the arms of half the under 35′s as beach cover-ups, T-shirts & day/evening dresses/blouses, I know she wore them in France (the Chanel outfit) but I seem to think she has black bell-sleeves too. I would have preferred a full sleeve & layers of lace to the wrist, but that really would have been Georgian, the tight upper arm with a bell over the elbow is the current trend! I like the dress a lot, especially the colour, I’d love to wear it, but not with that neckline. I agree with the commenter who said it cheapens the look. I am bemused that after having just gone to court over the publication of topless photographs (taken from a public road) that she would choose a half-topless dress. The rest of it, wonderful, the colour too. Actually, lots of photographs of the Buckingham Palace rooms I’ve seen show furniture, fabrics & art in the late 18th century style (up to the French revolution), Catherine’s dress certainly fits in there.

  43. Sometimes I wish the duchess would leave the design to the designer – the sleeveless lace gown would have been lovely- while this dress looked heavy and slightly aging.
    Love that she wore Dianas tiara and earring and thought the necklace was gorg. But seemed off somehow.
    Really loved the beautiful embroidery on QEs gown

  44. I absolutely LOVE the whole look! Big, extravagant and fanciful! If you can’t do this on a state dinner, you can not do it period. This is a chance to go all out.

    I think the combination of heavy jewellery works with the delicate lace in blush. The sleeves reminds me flamenco dancers’ dresses. The whole style is loud indeed but why waste the opportunity to go loud and be normal? A state dinner is essentially a very posh costume party.

    On the lips, I don’t think the color is deeper, but the finish might be a glaze, which reflects light more. She seems to be doing a blue smokey eye look and that is major.

  45. On Princess Diana the lovers knot tiara and Collingwood earrings look larger and more spectacular, they seem delicate and smaller on Catherine and I can’t make out why.

  46. Her hair and make up look beautiful. I overall like the dress apart from the sleeves which I can’t get on board with. The tiara and earrings are amazing and go really well with the dress. I’m not sure about the rubies in the necklace when the other pieces feature pearls and her dress is pale pink. By itself it’s a stunning piece of jewellery though.

  47. I don’t think this dress style would work at a charity event or London premier – but – I think it is a FABULOUS look for a Buckingham Palace State Dinner. So princessy! completely appropriate with those sleeves and jewels. I love the look for this Palace setting.

    I wonder how it works for borrowing jewels – do they send a big catalog over to Kensington Palace for Catherine to peruse at her leisure? or does she visit the jewel vault at Buckingham Palace and look over all the choices.

    I think it is interesting that she chose this herself to wear – given all the choices available. My dream is to see Catherine in the Queen Mary Emerald Choker that Diana wore quite often.

  48. I have a theory that the girl who studied art history likes a bit of a costume that fits the occasion. For instance, that cream sweater and skirt combo with a sailor collar and navy stripes on the collar and bottom of the skirt when she did a visit to something to do with the navy or sailing, I can’t remember exactly, forgive me. And how she has that gorgeous long blue coat with the military pockets that she’s worn to a couple of things honoring the military service men. I think tonight, she played up the visit. She looks like what I think of when I think of a traditional (okay, Tudor/Elizabethan era) Spanish princess; the only thing missing is a veil on her head. The jewels were a HUGE power play. Did it look like a costume a little bit, like you’d see Elizabeth Swan wear in Pirates of the Caribbean? Yes, but she looked SO good and it work for her. But I would looooove a break from lace and pastels.

  49. I cant tell if i like the dress , until we hopefully get better photos. I love love love the way she wore the tiara this time. The necklace is quite a piece, and i sort of wonder if it was a desperate afterthought when she realized how much that neckline was showing off.

    Now, i was wondering why queen elizabeth wasnt wearing a sash ? Doesnt she usually to these banquets?

    Lastly, i wish we could see Sophie. Shes been pulling off some fantastic gowns this year.

    • yes! I want to see Sophie too, she has impeccable taste… would love to see her gown at the State Dinner

    • The queen is wearing the order of the Golden Fleece as a bow on her shoulder. Not sure why she isn’t wearing the sash…sometimes she doesn’t.

  50. For those who might be interested here is a site with details about the Queen’s aquamarine set of jewellery. Apparently the original pieces of a necklace and earrings were a coronation gift to HM, from the people of Brazil. They later gave her the bracelet. The Queen had the tiara made and apparently the main aquamarine in the tiara can be a brooch. If nothing else, this set of gems is versatile.


  51. I really like this look. It was a nice surprise that she went for a pale color instead of something more bolder…I really liked it. I was a little surprised at how low the neckline was. She can never go wrong with wearing the Cambridge Lovers tiara. I love those pearl earrings too. At first I thought the necklace went well with the dress but looking at again I agree with others that it was a little too much. I’m really hoping they release an official picture from the night like they did one previous time….that way we can really see Kate’s dress.

  52. Hi, I’ve followed this website for a few years now and have never commented, but this outfit really made me want to say something!

    Like many other commenters, I find myself wondering why the Duchess doesn’t have a true stylist. She could really benefit from one. Obviously the Marchesa team didn’t want to point out to her that on a midi dress, bell sleeves are fun; on a floor length gown, they send it in the fancy dress/Outlander costume direction. She is an important client who can cherry pick design elements as she pleases, but that means she needs an honest opinion on what will work.

    This combination just isn’t working for me. That necklace is a stunner but it begs for different tiara and earrings – demure pearls seem like the wrong stone, and the overall jewelry effect is very heavy. Also, lace? I’m imagining the necklace with a shantung silk gown, something with a sweetheart or off the shoulder neckline, fitted bodice and a full skirt, perhaps in a pale gold color, or a much deeper rose than this blush pink… the effect would have been breathtaking!

    I appreciate that we don’t want to play the style wars, but Kate does have the example of Letizia to look to – someone who has successfully struck a balance between looking professional, royal, and youthful. It can be done!

    • You said all the things that I was thinking!

    • But costumes are fun! It is the only occassion where you get to wear a pirates of the carribean get up and be normal – why waste the opportunity to wear what you can wear at other times, e.g. red carpets and other events. This is THE occassion for elaborate costumes – go big, bold, extravagant and fanciful, or go home!

      • @TravelingBlush, I love any excuse to dress up in clothes from other eras! However, I respectfully disagree. To me, the costume aspect of this dress makes it a bit unsuitable. As a representative of the monarchy, she is basically at the year’s most important industry event… I wouldn’t show up to a conference in a costume! I’d imagine that in her social circle there’s a fancy dress ball every now and then, this dress would be perfect for that.

    • I agree.

    • Hi, Helen, we’re glad you commented! :)

    • I commented below, but I do not think Kate drove this design:).

    • I agree about the stylist. They have so many people on staff that paying a stylist really isn’t that much of an extravagance, and frankly, with the amount of money she spends on clothing, she ought to look a lot more pulled together than she does. It is fine if fashion is not her thing, but she is one of the most prominent faces of the monarchy, so why not invest some money in a person who is a real stylist who can make sure her fashion dollars are well spent? (and maybe talk her out of her unflattering “customizations” of designer pieces).

    • I totally agree with all of your comments.

  53. Oh! Kate, Kate, Kate. The Duchess looked so beautiful, her hair and make-up beautiful! Yet, I think we are all a little weary of the endless lace gowns and dresses. The jewelry is so very heavy with the delicate light lace. The style, not my favorite, the bodice looks like a piece of negligee, and the bell sleeves, reminiscent of bell bottoms, and bell sleeves. I absolutely love Kate, and her personality, she has a beautiful body, and deserves a stylist who understands how to dress a princess. Sorry, I just find it so frustrating!

    Queen Letizia, absolutely stunning!

  54. On a total aside, yesterday at wimbelton Carole used a clutch Catherine used previously

  55. What a gorgeous dress! So feminine and I just loved the softly flowing sleeves. To me, it had an 18th century feel to it and the colour was so pretty. The tiara and earrings were also divine on Kate and the updo was perfect. I loved the necklace but to me the rubies clash with the pearls in the tiara and earrings. I would have liked the necklace paired with the Papyrus tiara. Kate looked exquisite however. Queen Letizia looked amazing as well in red with the dramatic tiara and I really loved her yellow outfit on arrival in Britain. Really going to enjoy this tour!

  56. I also thnk Kate looks a little nervous?

    • I honestly think this outfit is over-the-top, with too much going on. She isn’t one for flashy or statement dressing (unlike Diana). Kate’s realised this too late, feels overdressed, and can’t relax. Just my opinion however…

  57. I thnk Marchesa stole that dress from the BBC drama wardrobe or Disney. The Duchess looks fine but it is just so much of everything – lace, sleeves, big skirt, big jewels. I think sometimes a good solid non-lace monotone fabric would look better. She really looks very princessy. I suppose if you are going to a state dinner you can never have too much bling!

  58. I agree another lace dress…I wish she would switch it up. That being said I loved the tiara and the earrings but I felt the necklace really didn’t go with the dress or other jewlery pieces.

    The dress was ok. The bell sleeves reminded me of Diana’s wedding dress.

  59. Oh wow, I love Kate’s makeup, and her skin looks fantastic too.

    Overall, I don’t love this look, there are elements that are nice, but I feel this has simply just had too much thrown at it (including the kitchen sink!). The lace, exposed back, exposed front, bell sleeves, full skirt, and all that jewellery – there is far too much going on. I guess the only redeeming quality is that a muted colour was selected.

    I agree with previous comments that you can’t pick and choose from different designs, and expect to come up with a great finished result. I also don’t understand mixing the pearl and ruby jewellery pieces, it doesn’t work. If you want to wear that necklace, go simple on the dress and other accessories. I like all the individual elements, but not altogether!

    Letizia definitely looks better here, she doesn’t seem to have ‘tried’ so hard, and the overall ‘less is more’ approach seems to have worked, even though she still has fabulous jewels on! This is not Kate vs. Letizia, I simply prefer Letizia’s ensemble.

    The Queens tiara is beautiful! Kate should borrow that one sometime soon :-)

    • I could be wrong but I suspect the design is from the “designer”:). Not Kate picking and choosing elements. Typically she would contact the designer about needing a gown, he/she would then send Kate pictures of some of his/her designs and ask her to comment, then he/she would draw up several ideas, the two of them would go back and forth a bit and then settle on an idea. The designers of this caliber would not leave it up to Kate, they have too much riding on it. I would guess that 95 percent of this dress is from the designer. The lace and not wanting it to be sleeveless may have been Kate’s only real input. A good designer of course knows how to accomplish this while still allowing the client to feel involved.

      • Agree 100% with this comment, particularly since it has been mentioned before that Kate is not terribly “into” fashion, and state banquets surely are the deep end of the pool for her in terms of intimidation. I think it’s an active imagination that pictures her dictating to designers what she thinks would look best for this event, or many others.

        Do I think she asks for less embellishment? Yes – the D&G green dress sans the clock adornment comes to mind. Requests for adjustments to align with protocol/decorum? Sure. But major overhauls? I’m with you that they would be suggested/initiated by the designer either proactively or in response to a need/wish expressed by the DoC.

  60. it was white-tie event, not black-tie.

  61. My favorite was Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine Parure set!

    I love these royal events with the formal gowns and glittering tiaras.

  62. When she isn’t wearing stuffy necklines, she has a better opportunity to be loaned gorgeous jewels befitting events like tonight. I agree with a post above that perhaps the heavy jewelry is not often worn because it’s a far cry from her usual taste. She tends to be understated when it comes to jewels – perhaps that is a confidence thing as she is still new to the life of a royal, or she simply prefers delicate jewelry. She looked absolutely stunning and confident in the more delicate ruby necklace she wore to the military awards early in her marriage.

    As for the dress, I’m deferring further comment until we can see some higher resolution pictures. I absolutely got the feel of dresses of Victorian/Georgian age with an appearance of a hidden bustle under the dress (it seems puffier in the back and sides) – with the exception of the neckline. I think regardless of the final images, I would prefer the dress without the sleeves. Everything else is sitting well. I honestly think the poofy sleeves are distracting from what would, otherwise, be a stunning dress – even if it is, yet again, lace.

  63. The confidence Kate has shown in this outfit – vavoom neckline, statement sleeves and major royal bling – demonstrate how her gentle approach to progress in style has paid off. This is one of her all-time best.

    With her hair up above the fabulous necklace she has been able to avoid the sense of overload that came with the outing of the Nizam of Hyderabad diamonds. Great courage would be needed to wear both Diana’s tiara and earrings as few could compete with that lady’s high-voltage glamour. Kate made them her own tonight.

    The current craze for gathered bell sleeves is one I view as something of a curse. They are frequently ugly and border on disastrous when coupled with further ruffles such as at the hem. Kate’s natural restraint has kept hers in proportion and produced something that complements a grandiose setting while balanced by extra fullness in the skirt.

    TheMarchesa lace is beautiful, the blush pink flattering to skin-tone, her make-up is fabulous. She looked wonderful tonight.

  64. Wow she looks a real fairytale princess with all the bling. Also love that she is wearing Diana’s earrings, very special. Separately (not in comparison) Letzia looks absolutely amazing

  65. I think Kate looked beautiful. While I’m not 100% keen on the sleeves, somehow they just worked for the outfit and the setting. Do I think we’ll be seeing this dress again? Probably not, unless it’s at a similar event at the palace. The view of her in the background behind the Queens? Perfect…she looks as though she’s part of a Downton Abbey era in that dress and the fancy room!

    In the videos from such receptions, Kate always strikes me as being uncomfortable and forced with her emotions. Anyone else? Perhaps it’s just the snippets we get video wise, combined with the serious nature of the event – even Harry appeared quite stoic this evening. No doubt it’s uncomfortable trying to remember all the protocol for such events.

    I absolutely loved that she wore Diana’s earrings along with the Lovers Knot tiara. I often wonder about W+H’s reaction to seeing their mother’s jewels again…I am sure it is bittersweet.

  66. Oh boy! This dress is a total miss for me. Kate also needs to learn the rule to take off a piece of jewelry before leaving the house. With such a stunning necklace and tiara, she should have worn simple earrings and no bracelet. It was too much. Tonight Kate looked like she was trying too hard. Letizia looked effortlessly stunning.

    • Ah, but that rule does not apply to state banquets, haha! Her Majesty herself proves that with her jewelry choices for the evening.

  67. I absolutely loved this dress! So Beautiful. Very old world princess. I know a lot of people do not like the sleeves, but it gives a very regal look to the gown and adds a sense of drama and bigger proportion, no doubt needed not only at State Banquet but in a room like that, so you can stand out. A sense of occasion dress.
    I have to say The Queen’s jewellery was my favourite of the night. The Tiara is exquisite.
    Just wondering if anyone knows how they decide which Royals to invite to a State Banquet? For example this is only Prince Harry’s first? Would Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie ever be invited? They are blood princess of the Royal Family and it would be nice to see them all dressed up and with Tiaras as well. Lady Gabriella Windsor was part of the procession but Beatrice and Eugenie would surely be more senior to her?

  68. I want to like Kate’s outfit, but it misses the mark on a few levels. More lace, ho hum, but this could be okay without the ruffled sleeves, that make it look like a costume from another century. In fact sleeveless might have been a better look on this gown.

    Many of us have wanted to see Kate wear more “real” jewels, but I am not in favour of the ones she wore for this occasion. The tiara is beautiful, the earrings compliment it nicely, both being diamonds and pearls. Then the necklace looks mismatched with rubies in the mix. While the necklace is quite spectacular in its own right, it is much too heavy and fights with the neckline edged in delicate lace.

    Letizia never disappoints. What a stylish and beautiful lady she is. Her tiara and matching gems are breathtaking.

    • I must agree with you. Those sleeves – ugh!
      The tiara and earrings look great together, but the necklace simply doesn’t go. I suppose the rubies might have been selected as a nod to red, Spain’s national colour, without Kate having to wear a red dress which might be inappropriate. Kate may very well have been nervous, knowing that a lot of people might make comparisons of her with Letizia. I’m not going there. Letizia has been in the public eye and doing this for a long time. She has a natural elegance and grace about her as a result. The way she carries herself is a joy to watch. Both Letizia and Kate are beautiful women. Kate looked beautiful from the neck up – her hair and her makeup were great, and the tiara suits her. The necklace and the dress were not her best look.

      Maybe another jewel colour would have been better for the dress? As to the dress itself, I agree with other posts – more lace – but obviously Kate loves lace. The neckline is flattering and the lace itself is obviously beautiful, but the dress as a whole is a mess. It is obviously Marchesa – to me, Marchesa simply doesn’t put elements together in a cohesive way. The sleeves and the dress from the waist down are a mess. IMHO, Marchesa gowns are generally the sartorial equivalent of putting the back half of a pickup truck on the front of a Porsche Boxter – they just don’t work together! Sometimes Marchesa gets it right, but on the rare occasion they do, it is always a surprise to me – usually they are a miss.

      The dress is not my taste, obviously, but Kate, as always looks beautiful.

  69. I am a little obsessed with how Queen Letizia walks in that video of them going into the banquet – she GLIDES and makes ALL the British Royals look so dumpy!

  70. I believe she is carrying her pink Prada hard clutch from years past.

  71. From the view, the gown has a Georgian-era feel. It seems a bit old fashioned to me. The necklace looks better with the gown in the full-length shots but in the closer shots, the necklace seems to overwhelm the delicacy of the neckline. I’m very torn about the necklace. Not sure she can carry off the weight and being up close to her neck.

    • From the REAR view. . .

      • I agree. the necklace has far too much detail to be paired with this dress., It competes with the edge of lace on the gown , If anything she should have worn just diamonds, because the blush color of the gown just lots odd. Also I don’t know why the Queen wore the Aquamarine set. She has so much to choose from. That set was from Brazil, so no reference to Spain. I know a lot of thought goes into her majesty incorporating any jewels that connect to her visitors.

        • True enough, but it’s not a given that Spain has ever presented the Queen/Royal Family with jewels – I peeked back at the last state visit with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, and Queen Elizabeth wasn’t wearing jewels connected to Spain at that banquet either.

    • I’d have said a Georgian era vibe would be spot on in the context of Buckingham Palace, that’s pretty much when it was built :-)

  72. A small quibble. I could see a hair net. I understand and applaud the use in daytime activities or when win will be involved but ANY good hair dresser should be able to do an updo for a seated event without a net.

    • I saw the hair net on the picture where she is in the car. I agree with you. No need for it that night.

    • There is absolutely no need for a hairnet. Letizia did not use one, and her hair looks beautiful and soft. Kate has worn her hair in many lovely updos in the past without the use of a hairnet. I cannot understand why she continues to use them, especially for a seated dinner.

  73. Gah. ANOTHER lace dress????? I like lace, too, but I don’t wear it every time I leave the house. And another outfit in blush. It is not a flattering color on her at all…makes her look washed out. I wonder why she is so committed to these pale, wan colors that do nothing for her. The bell sleeves are awful…I know they are trendy now but with lace fabric, they just look floppy and silly. I think Kate should lay off the custom ordering…when she changes a design beyond something like say, adjusting the length, it is usually to the detriment of the design. She is not a designer so picking various elements off outfits and putting them together usually is not successful.

    On a positive note, I LOVE that she took a risk with the neckline because she looks better in V-necks than the constricting necklines she usually wears, plus it shows off the necklace. I disagree about the necklace not matching…the fashion mags frequently suggest red with blush as a pairing. I am not super keen on mixing the diamond and pearl tiara and earrings with the ruby necklace though. I think if she didn’t have rubies that plain diamonds would have complemented the necklace more.

    Queen Letizia looks smashing. I was sad to see so many beige shoes in the other post because she is usually more adventurous in her footwear, but this dress is stunning on her.

    • I’ve always thought that Kate chooses these lace gowns/dresses for these occasions and Royal Ascot on purpose, due to sitting before arriving at the function. Being driven in a car and a carriage the lace doesn’t crush. If you look at photos of other Royal Ladies especially at Royal Ascot (see Princess Mary last year and Countess of Wessex this year in green) the backs of their dresses appear creased after sitting in the carriage, however Kate’s dress never is, she looks fresh. I guess this would help when you have a 1000 photos taken of you from every angle. The lace is just more a practical thing?

    • You took the words out of my mouth :) I completely agree across the board!

      • Agreed! I think it’s very easy to criticize her for her continued choice of lace, but I believe that there are cultural, logistical, and pragmatic reasons why she continues to choose it as a staple for her wardrobe. You pointed out a reason that hasn’t yet occurred to me, but (I believe) is spot on.

  74. I absolutely adore Kate’s tiara/earrings combo, and the color of the gown is gorgeous on her. The necklace is a bit heavy and ornate for my taste, and I find the rubies with the pink dress inexplicable, but overall I think she looks wonderful! (And a million thanks for not getting into the Kate vs. Letizia cattiness…they’re both lovely ladies of completely different ages, roles, and styles and it’s so ugly to compare them unfavorably with each other.)

  75. Queen Letizia looks amazing! Simply gorgeous!

    Kate looks lovely in pink, make up is fantastic. However, I’m not a huge fan of the dress, particularly the bell sleeves.. Jewels do look heavy in her.

  76. I think Kate looks gorgeous and am always a fan BUT the one thing that I think could’ve taken this gown from milkmaid-adjacent to couture princess is … posture. Kate always lets her shoulders round forward a bit and it edges a gown with sleeves like that towards dowdyness rather than high fashion. Videos show Letizia walking to her seat with her shoulders back, neck long, head held high–so regal. Kate just needed to give the gown that little bit of confidence, ownership, dancer posture, and t would’ve been perfect.

    • I’ve noticed this at other functions too. Usually when she’s lacking a bit of confidence and/or is towering above others. It will come. She hits it (posture) 90% of the time. So much better than the early days and infinitely much more consistent than I could ever do and I’m not being photographed every second and meeting heads of state.

      • If her poor posture is due to her height, as you suggest, perhaps she could choose a shoe with less than a 4″ heel? As a physiotherapist, I find her posture atrocious and wish I could help with correction!

    • Totally agree! Confidence is key and Queen Letizia clearly epitomize that in her appearance. I’m not sure if I’m entirely right but Kate seem to look a little nervous in some photos. But nevertheless, am always a big fan of Kate, love her style.

    • I’d like to see a happy medium between Kate’s and Letizia’s postures. Letizia is often so ramrod straight that it seems she has a literal rod in her spine.

    • I’ve already replied to this perennial criticism of Kate’s posture on another thread but I’m going to do it again here. It astonishes me that some people have never realized that some people have rounded shoulders; that it is not physically possible for them to put their shoulders back because they just…won’t…go. I know because I have the same problem. My shoulders are slightly rounded forward and my scapulae stick out from the plane of my back. No amount of “trying” will correct this “problem”.

  77. Finally! She looks like a princess. Like a queen. Love it.

  78. My likes: the dress from the waist up, the dress color (I know folks love her in jewel tones, I like her in these blush-y colors) the daring neckline (looks great with the necklace), her skin (less tanned than often), the strong but not overwhelming makeup.

    My dislikes: the bottom of the dress – voluminous lace that’s a bit too long; the sleeves unfortunately make the dress look like it was pulled off the costume rack for Little House on the Prairie.

    I’ve really like Letizia’s outfits this tour, per usual.

    Is that the actual order of the procession into the banquet? The misaligned columns and fonts are killing me.

  79. Well it is a nice dress. But that necklace was waaaaay too overpowering. Should’ve gone with pearls or smaller diamonds.

    NOTE: Quick admin edit

  80. If the gown was a different color the whole look would’ve been better. I get that she wasn’t going to overshadow anyone by wearing red or white but the pink doesn’t work with the necklace. Green could’ve been beautiful (yet Christmassy) or perhaps blue? The style of the dress seems costumy as well.

    I loved that she was decked out in jewels though. Either she getting more confident in wearing some or Camillla and the Queen are getting more generous with loans. It must be hard for her to wear the Diana pieces, I expect it hard for William and Harry too.

    Leticia looked amazing, gorgeous dress.

    My fave of the night was the Queen in that amazing tiara, wow!

    • I like the color and love it with the rubies:), however I suspect the dress color is a bit different in real life. Plus with the lace in person it would look quite different. I also wonder if the Queen ever says things like oh I wish you could wear this gorgeous necklace/earrings/bracelet I have, while showing Kate photos, and Kate attempts to do just that while the Queen is still alive.Or if Kate shows the Queen what she will be wearing and the Queen then presents her with a few jewelry items to chose from, Kate may not have a huge say in the matter. Most of the Royal and Diana’s jewels appear to be a far cry from Kate’s personal taste in jewelry.

      • Ali, I wonder the same! Any intel on this, Susan? Coordination needed to be done far in advance given the length of this piece and the neckline, but how does it start? And must wonder whether Pippa and Carole pop by while she’s getting dressed to see the jewels up close. I know I would!!

  81. Fabulous post, gorgeous clothes! Both Queens looking flawless! I want to see high-res photos of Kate’s dress. I don’t know if I love what we can see, but the little video and the amazing picture of her seated makes me want to see more!

    • I’m sad about how few hi-res pics have emerged. It’s unusual to have so few views of what Kate is wearing, with an outfit like this we are accustomed to overload.

      • I know…I am as well. :(

      • I suspect if Charles and Camilla weren’t in attendance, we would have had good photos. William and Kate were at the head table for the state dinner for China’s president, much easier to photograph. As third generation in the room, it’s certainly possible that the powers that be felt that full-length, hi-res photos would only fuel the “fashion faceoff” talk. Instead, we get a few of the Duchess of Cornwall, with a lovely tiara, odd makeup, and another white dress. :(

  82. I love her whole look. Gorgeous sophisticated dress, tailored for her beautifully. Love the jewels she chose. Hair and make up lovely. An A plus in my book. All the men and women I saw in the photos looked really great.

  83. I was wondering what happened to those earrings of Diana’s. They are my favorite! Glad to see them out of the safe!! The rest of it all is terrific! Well done Duchess… the dress is to die for!

  84. I’d prefer the dress if it had a peplum waist instead of bell sleeves. The Guipure gown is just gorgeous. The necklace is beautiful, but I agree that something lighter would have worked better.

  85. When I first saw the pictures of Kate behind the flower arrangement I thought it was a filter, similar to the ones on Instagram or Snapchat. With her flawless complexion, the tiara and the flowers, I had to do a double take and now it’s all that I can see he he he. Anyone else????
    Love the jewels, of course, and the blush pink lace and necklines. Not sure about those sleeves….

  86. I don’t love this dress. I wanted to, bc the neckline is different for her and the jewelry is amazing, but no. First, it’s lace. ITS ALWAYS LACE. look at the other pics of her in the lovers knot tiara. Lace dresses! Let’s step out a bit Kate.

    The sleeves are a no. The ensemble just looks…..like something from the late 1800//early 1900s minus the neckline and it’s not good.

    NOW. The jewelry is incredible. Love the necklace, love the tiara, love the earrings. So that was a win. And when she is seated and you just see the neckline and the jewelry she looks wonderful.

    • I sadly agree. Wanted to love this look / and the jewelry is divine – but those sleeves and that skirt. Marchesa tends to miss the mark in this manner frequently I’m afraid.

    • I agree. Love the jewels but the dress looks from the 1800 and her face…she always seems sad when she goes for banquets at the B. palace.

  87. I was so THRILLED to se the Duchess in bold jewelry and the lower cut neckline! How refreshing it was to see her not all covered up. I was so tired of her in the choking necklines when she is so young and beautiful. This dress was sophisticated and elegant. I thought she looked like a true princess! Her skin, hair, jewels dress and I am sure the shoes were beautiful too. What a delight and a wonderful post.

  88. The color is beautiful but the necklace, as amazing as it is, doesn’t seem to go.

  89. Please be more careful with comments like it working on a diplomatic level because the designer is Irish-born. The Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom and fought very hard to not be. This designer is, in fact, born in Northern Ireland.

  90. Would this be an occasion to wear an order pin? Does Kate still not have one?

    • The Queen has not awarded one to her.

    • While it would be an honour for Kate to have an order pin/sash, I always think they clutter up a dress and detract from the ensemble. If I were Royal, I’d prefer not to wear one.

      • Agree! I was also struck how nifty Letizia managed to tuck her sash into her dress bodice preventing it from wrecking her neckline.

      • If Kate had one, she’d be required to wear it to this event. It’s part of the dress code. She may have chosen another dress in that event.

  91. I love the dress (except the bell sleeves), and the rubies look fabulous with it. Also, I feel bad for Kate because people will probably overanalyze her facial expressions and talk about how she’s unhappy, blah, blah, blah.

    BUT Letizia. Red is 100000% her color, and I love that she has balanced out La Buena with a gorgeous gown.

  92. No words. The Duchess WENT for it. Is every item my absolute favorite, and exactly what I’d choose myself? No. But the overall effect is jaw-dropping. Way to REPRESENT for a state dinner.

    Queen Letizia looks gorgeous, as always.

  93. Thank you for not getting into the “Style War” game. Two lovely women who represent their respective countries very well, on many levels. I enjoy What Kate Wore, thanks for a great blog.

  94. I usually think Kate is spot on in her sartorial choices, but I don’t think either this dress or this necklace were right for a state banquet. I think the dress is far too low cut in front for the occasion, and the necklace only emphasizes this. Also, the necklace with red stones is too “heavy” for this dress – she would have looked better in one of the all diamond “fringe” necklaces in the Queen’s collection – either the King Khalid or King Faisal necklaces would be better.

    • I agree. The dress is well suited to an 18th century themed costume party. The tiara and necklace are beautiful, but not a great match for the dress.

      • Agree- it looked like a costume with the bell sleeves and full skirt. The other ladies looked “modern”, whereas Kate looked like she was from a different century. I did like that the dress had a v-neck instead of a high neckline. While I thought all the jewelry was amazing, it felt a bit like it was too much to wear all at the same time.

    • I agree as well. With the glimpse of Kate in the video, my intial thought was that it looked like a costume dress. I do not like the sleeves and the deep v in front is too low cut. I think it cheapens Kate’s appearance.
      And the jewels don’t go with the color or with the lace either. I guess not every appearance can be spot on! What a shame though, this is an important dinner.

  95. Thanks for not using stories that pit the women against one another! They all look wonderful in their own ways! :-)

  96. I can’t be sure, but it’s also possible that Catherine is wearing a bracelet on her left hand, suggested in the photo taken from behind where she’s standing at the table. She looks lovely, always does IMO, very soft and feminine silhouette this evening. I anticipate more teeth-grinding over the hairnet, but it’s never bothered me – hair looks gorgeous. BTW, it was amusing to read that Chanel used hairnets in their most recent show… :)

  97. Kate is stunning! There is a silouhette to her gown that reminds me of historical fashions of perhaps the 1700′s yet modern and fashion forward simultaneously. Against the backdrop of antique furnishings and artwork, the overall look is just sublime!!

    • Agree with you about the antique backdrop. An interesting example of a current fashion happily blending with ornate palace décor.

  98. It’s all very exciting and Kate looks RADIANT! I love the dress, the bell sleeves are a bit different for her and on this occasion I love the choice. Her make up and skin are unbelievable. Great photos!
    My FAVORITE look though is– Queen Elizabeth! I love her dress and her jewels. The blue is so pretty! I’m wow’d all around.
    Does anyone know if Queen L. is wearing her order sash like that as a new thing? I don’t know that Ive seen that before (how it tucks into her dress instead of over her shoulder).

    • Queen Elizabeth’s gown really is quite gorgeous.

    • Emily, like you, I’ve never seen a sash worn the way Letizia is wearing it. I think it has to be her own innovation. Those sashes always clash IMHO with a gown. What Letizia did is a bit of an improvement and doesn’t detract from the exposed shoulders look.

      • I simply have to comment on this sash issue! Unfortunately I don’t know about royal etiquette that much… However, the way Queen Letizia is wearing her sash is the same way academic sashes are instructed to be worn with dresses like this in Finland – so that they are not on bare skin. So probably not her own innovation…

  99. It’s lovely to see the Collingwood earrings on Kate. I once read an article about Diana leaving her jewelry to her sons’ future wives, so I was waiting to find out what else Kate would wear from her late mother-in-law’s collection.

  100. It’s surprising how much shorter the necklace appears on Kate than the Queen. And also how a younger person doesn’t match jewelry as carefully as an older person does. Both queens are wearing suites of jewelry. Everyone looks lovely. I am intrigued by Camilla’s dress with such a long train.

  101. ::sigh:: My most favorite tiara. I couldn’t wait to see it on Kate and the first 2 were only okay :-( She’s got such gorgeous hair to poof up and style around the tiara, but it’s like the hair is styled and then it’s placed on her head and then pin it whether it sits or not. But this time, if I squint, it looks like third time might be the charm!

    Not feeling the sleeves, wish they were just straight lace 3/4 or all the way but the color, the bodice, very beautiful and elegant.

  102. Not really feeling any of it. That dress screams bonnet, not tiara.

    Letizia on the other hand… thats a dress for a tiara.

  103. Not 100% sure about the sleeves on the gown, although I will have to wait for better pictures to pass definite judgment. I am glad she brought out some major jewels!
    Just a note– I believe Jonathan Anderson designs for Loewe, not Jonathan Saunders (who currently designs for DVF). Jonathan Anderson also designs for his eponymous line, JW Anderson.

  104. This is a lovely dress and it was great to see a daring neckline. I love that she filled the, uhm, negative space at the neckline with such a large necklace (and a gorgeous one). It made the look fashion forward yet respectful. And, anticipating all the lace haters’ comments, I don’t care that it was lace. It provides texture without a bold pattern. Finally (!) is all I can say for the tiara/earring combo. These earrings are simply the most dazzling match for this tiara.

    So, all that loveliness recognized, I must admit I would have preferred a necklace with just diamonds* or something with pearls to complement the tiara and the fabric color of the dress. The rubies clashed although I appreciate it’s a nod to the Spainish flower (but just wear a red dress). Add the sapphire in her engagement ring and it was just too many stones for the sake of dazzle.

    * And I say “just diamonds” tongue in cheek because we all know such a necklace would never be sitting in our own jewel boxes. So, anytime she borrows HM’s jewels I’ll be happy. Just a little happier when there’s more continuity. Not necessarily a parure but at least continuity.

  105. The Duchess looks lovely overall. I don’t care for the foof on the sleeves nor for the necklace (it is on the gaudy side and the red doesn’t go with the color of the drsss).

    Hair, tiara, earrings: well done.

  106. Wow! So excited over this ensemble, even if it’s missing a certain cohesion. It’s just tremendous to see her wearing all these jewels and looking as princessy as I think she’s ever looked.

    I love antique jewels, but the the necklace design is awkward, and it doesn’t surprise me it hasn’t been seen in decades. Love that Kate was game for that deep v-neck, but I wonder if the necklace mightn’t work better if it could be reconfigured to go backwards leaving the tail to dangle between the shoulders. As is it feels like it’s competing with the gown in the seated pics. Anyway, I’m reminded again of how often Queen Elizabeth the QM had jewelry gifts from her husband re-designed.

    Not sure it was the best tiara-necklace pairing either, but what a delight to see those pearl drops together with the Lover’s Knot again.

    The gown is hard to judge as a whole from what we’ve seen, but I can’t argue with the old school pink lace ruffle-y princess vibe. It all be too much, but it also feels like a good choice for such a grand occasion!

  107. Loved the look until the full length picture. Jewels – unbelievable, royalty at its best. Hair and makeup- fantastic. Colour of dress – so pretty. The cut of the dress – ugh, matronly? I could be wrong…hoping more pictures change my mind

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