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Kate is Image of Elegance for Buckingham Palace Birthday Gala

The Duchess was the picture of glamor this evening at Prince Charles’s 70th birthday party.

Here you see Kate and William as they left Kensington Palace. They were on their way to Buckingham Palace, where the party was held.

Lady Helen Taylor (the Duke of Kent’s daughter) and husband Timothy Taylor.

Prince Philip was at the party, and many other BRF members: Princess Anne and her husband, Timothy Laurence; Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex; Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice; the Duke of Kent.

It was the hottest ticket in town (in a manner of speaking), and there was no shortage of European royalty.  Below, Grand Duchess Maria Theresa and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.   

The Royal Family recently revealed that Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been diagnosed with chronic pulmonary fibrosis, a life-limiting condition.  You’ll recall the Duke and Duchess’s time with both couples when in Norway this February (seen below); Kate and William are sure to enjoy seeing the family again. 

Royal photographer Mark Stewart shared a photo of Kate and some of the other European royals at the party.

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary as they are leaving Buckingham Palace.

Heaven reports Crown Princess Mary was in a new Jesper Hovring velvet gown. Other European royals that were reportedly at the event include Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde; Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands; Prince Albert of Monaco. Here is the guest of honor.  

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are shown in a photo taken at Clarence House this evening just before the party. The Duchess is wearing a rich navy gown by Bruce Oldfield.

The birthday bash was hosted by The Queen; during the festivities she delivered a toast to her son. More from The Telegraph:

She spoke as monarch, host and, most importantly, mother. And in some of her warmest words about the Prince of Wales on record, she could clearly not have been prouder.

In a toast to celebrate the Prince’s 70th birthday, the Queen has delivered a fond, heartfelt tribute to her son: an “heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history” and, she joked, a true “Duchy Original”.

Her words, in a family not known for their gushing sentiments in public, were remarkable, coming at a dinner in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace thrown in the Prince’s honour.

“It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday,” the Queen said in a toast. “It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like – to use an analogy I am certain will find favour – planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.

You can read the entire toast by clicking here.

Earlier today the couple carried out engagements. Here you see them arriving at Spencer House for a function; HRH is carrying a balloon and birthday gift from Rebecca English (The Daily Mail), Hannah Furness (The Daily Telegraph) and Valentine Low (The Times of London).

From Rebecca’s Daily Mail story:

Charles was handed the balloon and a £5.99 bottle of ‘Hot Nuts’ grey squirrel repellent in a bag by the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English, along with her fellow royal correspondents Hannah Furness and Valentine Low. The Prince of Wales laughed and joked: ‘Where do you find these terrible things?!’

This People story includes thoughts from HRH on the milestone birthday:

Ahead of the royal bash, Prince Charles opened up to reporters about what it feels like to be 70 years old. “I’m not sure. It’s rather like indigestion. ‘Many Happy returns’ are not quite the same as you get older,” he said.

Now for a closer look at what Kate wore this evening.

She was in a pink one-shouldered gown.

It featured softly layered petals of fabric, in what looks something like a silk chiffon.

Another view as the Duke and Duchess leave Buckingham Palace. In this closeup, we see that the material at the shoulder is not what is used for the full gown; it changes to a different material at the bodice.

You can see a touch of tulle on the bodice in Mark Stewart’s photo above, as well as these close-ups.

Knowing the Duchess generally turns to a handful of designers for events like this, many of us are leaning toward the possibility of a bespoke design from Jenny Packham. Laura noted the S/S 2019 collection includes a number of pieces featuring ruffles. There are several other good possibilities, like Alexander McQueen and Temperley London. We will continue hunting for pieces with similar design elements to the few we have seen of Kate’s dress.

Many recognized the earrings worn by the Duchess. Most recently they were seen at the 2018 BAFTA Awards.

Below, another view from the BAFTAs and a look at them when first worn to the 100 Women in Hedge Funds dinner in 2011, although they are barely visible in the photos from that night.

It’s been suggested the earrings are quartz or perhaps morganite. They are not pieces on loan from HM; it’s possible they were a wedding gift.

Kate’s hair was in an elegant updo that looked terrific.


  • Thursday, Nov 15: The gown is *not* a Jenny Packham creation; HeavenQRF received confirmation of that information today.

We don’t know about shoes or other accessories because of the lack of photos. We’ll update the post if we learn anything new about the dress or jewelry. We’ll leave you with this montage of images of Prince Charles through the years.


  • The Daily Mail‘s story about Kate and Meghan is here; The Express piece on the Duchesses is here; People’s coverage is hereHello!’s story on the Queen’s toast is here
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Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Coming back to this 5 years later because I was looking for pictures of the green dress Kate wore to King Charles’ 75th birthday and this came up in my Google search. With the benefit of hindsight, I think this dress is a pink version of the white McQueen BAFTA dress. It was first worn only a few months after this and there seem to be stylistic similarities.

Kirsten Meredith

Sunday 6th of January 2019

Could this pink dress be a bespoke version of this dress from Catherine Walker?


Sunday 6th of January 2019

Now, that is something that never occurred to me! I will take a look when I am back at the desktop where the hi-res pics are stored. :)


Wednesday 21st of November 2018

I'm still DYING to see this dress! so impatient :( I wonder why the designer hasn't tweeted or something that they were behind this beauty.


Monday 19th of November 2018

A most intriguing glimpse of Kate’s evening wear tonight and I can’t believe there have been ID possibilities from just the one scrap of shoulder fabric. Kudos to the sleuths! Thanks for the brilliant close-ups to show the change in bodice fabric. This has to be the most knockout updo Kate has done, she’s definitely developed a strong regal look these days. Magic to see those luscious earrings again.


Monday 19th of November 2018

Do they look like Roxanne Assoulin's Over The Top Mismatched Earrings to you?


Monday 19th of November 2018

What a great suggestion, that’s one that didn’t occur to us.) A number of us have continued the search and conversation!) The gold pair without stones is similar, but the size and proportion seem off. That is a great collection. I’m thrilled to have learned about it, thank you! ?

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