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The Duchess Dazzles in Iconic Lover’s Knot Tiara for Palace Reception UPDATED with Dress Photos

Those hoping to see the Duchess in a different tiara had their wish granted tonight.

Tim Rooke/REX Shutterstock

Tim Rooke/REX Shutterstock

Kate wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara for this evening’s diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace. It is a glittering white tie affair, the largest function of the year at the Palace. Below you see Kate and William arriving for the event.

More on the function from Hello!:

Tuesday evening’s white-tie Diplomatic Reception is the main ambassadorial social event of the year in London…. all senior members of the royal family, who do not have prior engagements, will attend.

And from Richard Palmer’s story for The Express:

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.

UPDATED March 28 2016: We are able to see more of Kate’s gown via screen grabs from the ITV documentary Our Queen at Ninety that aired March 27 2016. Kate also wore this frock to the 2013 diplomatic reception. The silhouette of the dress is similar to several other pieces Kate owns, including the red Jenny Packham worn for the China state dinner, with a lace overlay on a fitted bodice with cap sleeves, a nipped in waist and belt, and a fuller skirt flowing from the waistline. (If interested in seeing the program a version of it is available on YouTube.) 

ITV/HRHKateMiddletonUK Instagram

ITV/HRHKateMiddletonUK Instagram

The Lover’s Knot is very closely associated with the late Diana, Princess of Wales; it was a wedding gift to her from HM on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.

The tiara was made by Garrard, commissioned by Queen Mary in 1914. The piece 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.

From the Royal Order of Splendor:

After Mary died in 1953, the tiara passed to Queen Elizabeth II. She wore it with some regularity in the early 1950s, but it eventually went back to storage as she narrowed down her favorite tiaras to the ones we see with regularity today.

Diana wearing the piece in Auckland New Zealand in 1983.

Patricia Treble’s piece for Maclean’s Canada notes another aspect of Kate wearing this particular tiara:

Its emotional impact is not to be underestimated, for Kate—like Diana—is wearing it in her role as future queen consort. And as someone very much loved by a son and a husband: Prince William.

There are practical considerations with tiaras; the Royal Order of Splendor has more on an issue associated with this one:

Diana famously found the piece to be too heavy and headache-inducing, and often opted to borrow the lighter-weight Spencer tiara from her family instead.

This is the first time we have seen the Lover’s Knot worn since the Princess of Wales was killed in a car accident in 1997. Rebecca English has more on its current ownership in this Daily Mail story:

Buckingham Palace was unable to confirm last night whether the tiara had reverted to the Queen on Diana’s death and had now been given to Kate, or whether it was just on loan for the night.

We have now seen the Duchess wearing three different tiaras.

Kate Tiarapedia Three Shot Halo Lover's Knot Papyrus Lotus Flower

Do you have a favorite? (I haven’t been able to edit in a photo from tonight, but will do so as soon as one is available.)


Splash/Jesal-Tanna-Splash/Stephen Lock i-Images/Tim Rooke Rex

Kate wore the same earrings seen at the the 2013 diplomatic reception (below left), the diamond drops first noted at the 2011 BAFTA dinner in Los Angeles (center), and worn on several other occasions, including tonight (below right)

/PA Wire

Jesal-Tanna-Splash News/Splash News/PA Wire

Below you see the Duchess arriving at the 2013 reception, she wore a bespoke evening gown by Alexander McQueen.

The Duchess Of Cambridge is seen wearing a Tiara as she attends a diplomatic event at buckingham palace.

She wore the frock again this evening; below you see William and Kate as they headed home after the reception.

Ron Bell/PA Wire

Ron Bell/PA Wire

This most recent batch of photos doesn’t really show us the tiara, but we do have a closer look at the fabric used for the McQueen evening gown. The ‘duck egg blue’ (or icy blue) lace has a floral motif. You can see the sleeves of Kate’s gown are lined, as is a portion of the bodice.

©Ron Bell/PA Wire

©Ron Bell/PA Wire

Seeing the Lover’s Knot tiara was quite a surprise, I was very much mistaken in thinking the Duchess would forego wearing this particular tiara for some time. One more look at Kate; I will update with new photos when they become available.


Today another engagement was added to Kate’s Calendar

  • Tuesday, December 15: The Duchess returns to the Anna Freud Centre for the annual Christmas party. The Centre has a variety of programs helping young people coping with mental health issues. Kate’s first solo engagement after Charlotte’s birth was at the Centre in September.

That is probably the last public function for her until Christmas.

Additionally, Kate attended a board meeting of the 1851 Trust this morning according to the Court Circular; our thanks to Cepe Smith on Twitter for the update.

Cepe Smith Twitter (@CepeSmith)

Cepe Smith Twitter (@CepeSmith)

We also have a celebratory note for the three winners of our giveaway for a 2016 What Kate Wore Calendar, featuring Mark Stewart’s terrific photographs. Congratulations to Corina, Ken and Brooke, their calendars will be shipped within the next day or two.

2016 Calendar June and October Montage with Dates

Thank you to everyone who entered, it really was a delight to read the comments about your favorite elements of Kate’s fashion and style.

We will see you tomorrow as William and Kate take part in the annual ICAP Charity Day.


  • The Court Jeweller’s piece on the Lover’s Knot Tiara is here; the post about today’s event is here
  • The Royal Order of Splendor’s post about the tiara is here
  • Richard Palmer’s story in The Express may be seen here; Rebecca English’s story in The Daily Mail is here; Victoria Murphy’s Daily Mirror story is here 
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Saturday 19th of March 2016

There is a new photo of the Duchess showing details of the evening dress, her bracelets and her glittering clutch bag in the following article:


Saturday 12th of December 2015

I also don't understand Kate wearing the same gown to the diplomatic reception. I have read that her father in law, the Prince of Wales, funds her clothing expenditures. But didn't Prince William and Prince Harry inherit Princess Diana's estate? Aren't they wealthy in their own right? Certainly Kate could afford to purchase any number of ball gowns on her own if she chose to.


Wednesday 9th of December 2015

Must be amazing for William to see his wife in the same tiara in which his mother was so often photographed. A milestone!


Wednesday 9th of December 2015

Love seeing her in the new tiara. Maybe over the next several years, we may say it is more closely associated with Kate than Diana. It is a grown up piece of jewelry, and Diana wore it for important state occasions (like the opening of Parliament and state dinners). Maybe one day, Princess Charlotte might wear it on her wedding day. Wouldn't that be a fitting tribute to her grandmother? The dress is appropriate for the occasion (at least what we can see of it). Not too revealing or immodest. I am hoping she recycles the gray, one shouldered Jenny Packham gown she wore in November 2011 with a tiara. That would be swell!

Kate & Zena

Wednesday 9th of December 2015

From what I can see, the tiara looks beautiful on her (I don't think there is a tiara that wouldn't be beautiful on her though.) However, and this is probably just my being detail oriented, I don't like the tiara being so far back on her head. Let me explain why: each tiara was made to be worn a certain way and this one was clearly made to be worn further forward on the head. You can tell this because the pearls are not centered in their windows/frames. It's not a function of whether Catherine is sitting straight or not (she is actually sitting properly); it's a case of the tiara being placed in the incorrect position for the pearls to hang properly so the pearls drop. It drives me a bit batty. Is it just me who is a little picky about this? Am I the only one being driven insane by the pearls not being centered?

Catherine really seems to love those diamond chandelier earrings. They are extremely beautiful and I bet they are much lighter than some of the other pieces the queen or even she herself has for formal events.


Thursday 10th of December 2015

Oh my goodness! You are absolutely right!! Now that I've seen this, I can't unsee it and it's making me crazy.

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