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The Duchess in Alexander McQueen and Glittering Jewels for State Dinner (UPDATED)

The Duchess mixed new and old for tonight’s state dinner at Buckingham Palace.

The dinner is in honor of the three-day state visit by the United States.

Below, President Trump, HM, First Lady Melania Trump, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duchess and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as they walk to the dinner.

There were more than 170 guests at the banquet, including many royal family members. Below, Prince William and Prime Minister Theresa May.

Dame Vivien Hunt of McKinsey & Company with Prince Andrew.

Mrs. Hammond, wife of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, and the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Britain’s Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington. 

Britain’s Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Natalie Evans, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. 

Here you see Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline escorted by Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester. 

Also attending, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester and Lord Great Chamberlain, David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley. 

Followed by Ivanka Trump and Britain’s International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox. You can also see the Duke of Kent and Kellyanne Conaway just behind them.  

Below, Princess Michael and British Petroleum Chairman Helge Lund. 

Princess Alexandra (the Queen’s cousin) and former Foreign Minister William Hague. 

A look at the room just before the guests arrived.

Work to transform the ballroom into a banquet-ready scene took more than 24 hours, according to the Royal Family Twitter.

Information on the menu, via Victoria Murphy’s story in Town and Country:

…a menu starting with steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears, and chervil sauce. This was followed by saddle of new season Windsor lamb, with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and port sauce. Dessert was strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream followed by a selection of assorted fresh fruits, then coffee and petit fours. Wine on offer included Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990, wine from the Windsor Great Park vineyard and English quality sparkling wine.

Another view.

A closer look at the stunning floral arrangements created by the royal florists. More about the decor from Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country story:

 The horseshoe-shaped table was decorated with huge bouquets of roses, mixed peonies, sweet peas, larkspur, and mixed foliage in shades of summer pink. Other decor included more than 100 ivory-colored candles and displays of seasonal fruit.

And a view with people at the banquet tables.

In this diagram, I added a few names of the royals at the event, showing where they were seated.

This is the fourth state banquet for the Duchess. Her first was the China dinner in October 2015, when she wore a red Jenny Packham gown and the Lotus Flower tiara.

Her second was the Spain state dinner in July 2017; she was in a Marchesa gown, the Lover’s Knot tiara and the Queen’s Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace.

For her third state dinner, the Netherlands banquet in October 2018, the Duchess opted for an Alexander McQueen gown, the Lover’s Knot tiara, and Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Necklace. This is also when we saw the Royal Family order for the first time. 

Now for our look at what people wore this evening. HM wore an evening gown with crystal-centered daisies by Angela Kelly, a Burmese ruby and diamond tiara, a ruby and diamond necklace, ruby and diamond rings and matching earrings. 

The First Lady wore a Dior Haute Couture ivory silk crepe gown. The Duchess of Cornwall was in a cream embroidered evening gown by Bruce Oldfield and Greville Tiara.

CNN’s Kate Bennett tweeted a side-by-side showing the original runway piece.

Below, Princess Anne and Jared Kushner.

According to The Court Jeweller, Princess Anne was wearing the Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara. (There is more info on the tiara here!) Interestingly, the diamond and aquamarine brooch that you see on her left shoulder, used to secure her sash, was the central element in the tiara at one time. I don’t know who designed Sophie’s dress but did read that she is wearing her wedding tiara, although the Court Jeweller notes it has had a makeover.

Below, the Countess of Wessex and Ivanka Trump.

Ivanka Trump is wearing a Carolina Herrera design, the label’s Tie-Sleeve Sparkle-Embroidered Trench Gown. Thanks to Susan C. of What Meghan Wore for that ID.

Now for our look at what Kate wore. You can just see her in the background of this photo. 

Her dress is by Alexander McQueen. The design features row upon row of ruffled lace (I think it is lace)..

Tonight we saw for the first time the Royal Victorian Order sash and badge associated with the Duchess’s status as a Dame Grand Cross of the (GCVO) Royal Victorian Order. Kate affixed the upper portion of the sash to her dress with her acorn brooch.

The badge is a Maltese cross with a medallion depicting the Royal Cypher of Queen Victoria on a red background, surrounded by a blue ring bearing the motto of the order, with a Tudor crown at the top. 

This offers a little better look at the Insignia, as well as the Royal Family Order on the yellow ribbon, the clutch, 4-strand pearl bracelet, and earring.

As noted, the Duchess wore the Lover’s Knot tiara.

And the Queen Mother’s sapphire and diamond fringe earrings. We first saw them at the 2015 100 Women in Hedge Funds Dinner. Below, second from the left, you see them on the Queen Mother.

More from Her Majesty’s Jewel Chest, referencing The Queen Mother:

…when it came to earrings, she had her favorites and didn’t do much branching out. She did, however, have these earrings, which were rarely worn. They include sapphires surrounded by diamonds with a fringe of diamonds and small sapphires suspended below. Like many pieces in her collection, their history is unknown.

Along with the rest of The Queen Mother’s jewels, we can assume these earrings were inherited by The Queen in 2002. The Queen, who has plenty of sapphire options in her own vault, has never worn them publicly.

The Duchess wore a 4-strand pearl bracelet and carried a white evening bag. Below, another look. 

Kate’s bag seems to be the same one carried for this year’s BAFTA Awards, believed to a custom piece by Alexander McQueen.

UPDATE Tuesday AM: With thanks to Avillaneda for their comment linking to this discussion board post about the jewelry, it looks like Kate could have been wearing a different bracelet of Diana’s. The late Princess of Wales is seen wearing the bracelet in a photo from a November 1982 state dinner with the Netherlands, and Diana is wearing a necklace we saw Kate wear in 2017 for the party celebrating the 70th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip. 

The Order of Splendor notes the necklace belongs to the Queen. It was on loan to Diana in 1982, as it was also loaned to the Duchess.

Thank you again to Avillaneda for the comment with info on possible provenance for the bracelet!

Earlier today the President and First Lady were officially welcomed on the west terrace of Buckingham Palace by HM, accompanied by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. HM has met 12 American Presidents, going back to her days as a Princess when she met President Harry S. Truman.

Royal Gun Salutes were fired at Green Park and the Tower of London as part of the day’s ceremonies.

Next, a private lunch at BP, followed by viewing an exhibition in the Picture Gallery featuring items from the Royal Collection that are considered to be of historical significance to the United States. 

Prince Harry and Ivanka Trump as they viewed the exhibit. 

The President and Mrs. Trump, accompanied by Prince Andrew, visited Westminster Abbey. The President laid a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, and there was a tour of the Abbey. Here you see the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, on the far right. 

Later in the afternoon, there was a tea hosted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.  

Many thanks to those who shared screen grabs, including Christin, Patricia Treble, and Replicate Royals.

UPDATE: Many have commented here and on Facebook about the women wearing white: the Queen, Melania Trump, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge. I do not know why this is the case, although Natalie commented that she went back and looked at the Obama state dinner and the key players also wore white to that event. It could be as simple as it just shooting better than other colors in that particular room. Others commenting note that the jewels and royal orders photograph well against a light or white background, a good point.

UPDATE 2: This tweet from Majesty magazine’s Joe Little underscores what many have said about the dress colors this evening.

One more photo. 

One note: please refrain from any comments with political statements; they will not be published.


This is the Telegraph’s live coverage of the State Dinner.

The Royal Family Channel has a 3-minute+ video from the dinner.

USA Today has roughly 14 minutes of raw video from the dinner.


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Thursday 2nd of April 2020

I love Kate, she is so beautiful and her dress is so pretty. I can't imagine having to pick out a dress that would look great with a sash !


Friday 14th of June 2019

Fabulous coverage! Thank you for the details. I think I will dream of ruby tiaras tonight. I agree with another American commenter about the tiaras. If an American official ever shows up with a tiara, I will fall out laughing. I love Kate’s dress and think she looks amazing. I’m glad some moms of multiples can look so glamorous post babies.


Wednesday 12th of June 2019

I don't love this dress though looking at picture of it it has grown on me a bit. It's waaaay better than that awful 80s prom inspired dress she wore to the last State Dinner when the Netherlands royals visited. I shall refer to this as her Swan Lake dress because it really does look like something Princess Odette would wear but in tutu form with all the ruffles.

And while the Lover's Knot tiara does look good on her, it does look very heavy and cumbersome on her head. I prefer the Lotus Flower tiara she wore to the Chinese state dinner for some reason.


Sunday 9th of June 2019

I'm not blown away with kate's dress it's pretty but the white bafta dress at this occasion would have floored me!Melania looked stunning and didn't put a fashion foot wrong on this state visit,Ivanka has looked better then tonight and sophie looked beautiful i think theresa may's dress is slightly too low cut for me.


Friday 7th of June 2019

While Kate's earrings are divine, I do not like them with the tiara and bracelet. I like her dress well enough (a bit froufy for my taste), but I loved the ice blue Netherlands dress (although I wish it had been straight all the way down) and that jewelry with the exquisite necklace. HM's rubies are fantastic. Wowsa to the giant stone in Camilla's choker. I thought the FLOTUS and Ivanka looked beautiful and classy. I also quite like the red dress on the GlaxoSmithKline CEO, although seemed like it needed a good "hoik" up. The flowers were just gorgeous!

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