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The Princess of Wales in Jenny Packham and a Surprising Tiara at State Dinner

The Princess of Wales in Jenny Packham and a Surprising Tiara at State Dinner

The Princess of Wales surprised royal watchers and fashion followers with her tiara choice for this evening’s state dinner. Below, the Princess as she arrived at Buckingham Palace with the Prince of Wales.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester as they arrived.

The Royal Collection Trust shared a video showing some of the preps involved in a state dinner. 

The Telegraph reports, “The flowers included ferns dug up and repotted repeatedly under the King’s quest for sustainability.”

And here you see the King and Queen giving the preparations a final look late this afternoon.

The dinner honored South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee. Here, you see them with the King and Queen.

More about the dinner from this BBC piece

These are opulent occasions, with diplomacy fuelled by fine dining, using a 19th Century dinner service with more than 4,000 pieces.

The table settings are as precise and symmetrical as the military parade that greeted the president – each guest getting a place setting of 46cms.

Each guest had a nameplate on their place, which probably got smuggled out in a few pockets later as souvenirs, even with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the room.

The Queen and First Lady. 
Below, the Prince and Princess of Wales with the Duchess of Edinburgh. 

The President and King as they walked to the Buckingham Palace Ballroom, where the dinner was held. It is the largest of the state rooms at the palace. 
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The First Lady and Queen. 
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The Prince of Wales and a guest I do not recognize. 
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The Princess of Wales with South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister Choo Kyung-ho.

The Duchess of Edinburgh and South Korea’s Deputy National Security Advisor Cho Taeyong.Embed from Getty Images

In this photo, you see Princess Anne with Bang Moon-kyu, South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy. Her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, is on the far right in the photo.

The Duchess of Gloucester with Ambassador Yoon Yeocheol. Embed from Getty Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.  
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Also attending tonight’s dinner were members of the extremely popular South Korean band Blackpink. 
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The Times has more in Valentine Low’s story

In what is undoubtedly a K-pop first for a white-tie palace dinner, the 171 guests also included all four members of the Korean pop group Blackpink, said to be the biggest girl group in the world. Cho So-hyun, who plays for the South Korean women’s football team and Birmingham City, was also a guest.

Town and Country reports in this piece, “Blackpink is believed to have traveled to the UK specially to attend the state banquet. In July, they made history as the first Korean band to headline a major UK festival when they played at the BST Hyde Park festival.”

Below, a wide shot after guests were seated. 
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We return to the Times of London article. 

The banquet did, however, include telling clues about the transition of reign. The glasses on the top table had been re-engraved with Charles’s cypher CIIIR, while other guests had glasses with the late Queen’s EIIR.

Most — but not all — of the side plates, which were from the 1953 coronation set, had also been updated.

The Princess, President, King, and Queen standing as national anthems were played. 

As always, there were speeches at the dinner. (You can read the full text of the King’s speech here.) 
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More from this People article

King Charles began his address with a welcome in Korean, which was met with applause, and praised the relationship that South Korea and Great Britain share, further commending South Korea’s strides in sustainability — a longtime cause close to heart for sovereign — and BLACKPINK’s impact.

“It is especially inspiring to see Korea’s younger generation embrace the cause,” King Charles said. “I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé, better known collectively as BLACKPINK, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26, and later as advocates for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.”

And there were toasts. Embed from Getty Images
Now for a review of what some of the royal women wore at tonight’s dinner. Her Majesty the Queen was in a velvet evening gown by Fiona Clare, accessorized by magnificent rubies and diamonds.

More from The Court Jeweller’s coverage

…including the late Queen’s Burmese Ruby Tiara and the Crown Ruby Necklace from Queen Victoria’s Heirlooms of the Crown collection. She also added ruby and diamond clip earrings from her own jewelry box—the ones previously worn in 2015, I think, with the lower section removed—plus a diamond bracelet.

Lauren at The Court Jeweller also notes, “…the Burmese Ruby Tiara is a rare piece that Queen Elizabeth II commissioned herself. 
The Telegraph reports the “King wore his white tie with the Garter Star and Thistle Star along with a new Grand Order of the Mugunghwa, presented to him earlier that day by the president.” 

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The Duchess of Edinburgh was in the Susannah London gown she wore for the coronation in May, her aquamarine tiara, an aquamarine pendant, and diamond earrings. 

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The Princess Royal was also in white this evening, wearing her Diamond Festoon tiara and necklace.
The Court Jeweller reports she also wore her diamond ribbon and tassel brooch (second from the left), as well as “her Garter sash and star and her late mother’s Royal Family Order.”
The Duchess of Gloucester wore “diamonds and emeralds from the collection of her late mother-in-law, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Her tiara is Princess Alice’s diamond and emerald bandeau, which was a wedding gift to Alice from her new husband, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in 1935,” per The Court Jeweller’s post. I am still looking for information on the ensemble worn by First Lady Kim Keon-hee.
Now for our look at what Kate wore. 

The Princess was in a customized gown from Jenny Packham’s spring/summer 24 resort collection, with thanks to Katie and Laura for their speedy ID work. The Princess’s dress is most like the Anemone gown ($4834) seen below left, but I included the Dreamland ($3820) on the right so you could see how the gold embellishment looked against the ivory fabric.

The floor-length gown features a slim silhouette, slash neckline, a fitted bodice with a full skirt, concealed back zipper, and wide cape-effect sleeves. The piece also has structured shoulders with shoulder pads. The sleeves are only ‘cape-effect,’ and no cape fully covers the back, as you can see in this pink version of the Anemone ($4834). All of the off-the-rack gowns are described as being made of stretch crepe, and I would guess the Princess’s dress is as well.

The gown worn tonight (shown in the center photo) does not have the level of embellishment seen on the off-the-rack dresses. It lacks the beading and larger sequins used on the Anemone and Dreamland; the pattern itself looks different.

More on the embroidery from Bethan Holt’s column for The Telegraph

…delicate floral embroidery which may have been chosen especially to tie in with the Strathmore Rose tiara. It could also be seen as a tribute to the South Korean national flower, the mugunghwa or South Korean hibiscus which is also referred to as the Korean rose.

The biggest news about tonight’s ensemble, by far, was the Strathmore Rose Tiara. It has not been worn for nearly one hundred years.

We learn more from The Court Jeweller

The Strathmore Rose Tiara became a royal jewel in April 1923, when it was given to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon by her father, the Earl of Strathmore, to celebrate her marriage to the Duke of York. Acquired from Catchpole & Williams, the antique nineteenth-century tiara was described as “a diamond bandeau of five roses, with diamond sprays between, forming separate brooches.”

The Queen Mother wore the tiara on occasion when she was Duchess of York. She placed it low across her forehead, in trendy 1920s fashion, and also later wore it atop her head on a second, more traditional tiara frame. But the Strathmore Rose was largely consigned to a place in the vaults when she became Queen Consort. Most recently, the tiara was photographed for Sir Hugh Roberts’s book on royal diamonds, published in 2012 to coincide with Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

A closer look.

And this from Vogue’s story.

Upon the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, inherited the tiara. Yet it stayed in the royal vault for decades—reportedly, it hasn’t been worn by a royal woman since the 1930s. Rumors arose that perhaps it was too damaged or too fragile to be worn again. Now, however, the rare diamond diadem has been given a new life by the Princess of Wales.

The tiara was a surprise because the Princess primarily wears the Lover’s Knot, and she occasionally wears the Lotus Flower.

We return to The Telegraph piece by Bethan Holt for additional thoughts on the Princess’s jewelry. 

The royal jewellery collection is now under the control of the King so it will have been his decision to allow Catherine to wear this almost-forgotten piece of royal jewellery history. It’s a touching gesture given the close relationship which the King enjoyed with his grandmother and the fondness with which he’s spoken of his daughter-in-law. Earlier this month, he referred to her as ‘beloved’ during a speech in Kenya. 

Lauren at The Court Jeweller offers an interesting theory. 

Kate has often indicated through jewels and photographs that she’d like to emulate the same kind of supporting royal role as the late Queen Mum, and the use of this tiara is just one more sign that she’s aiming to be like a modern-day version of the beloved QEQM. After all, the Strathmore Rose is the third tiara from the Queen Mother’s collection that Kate has worn, after the Cartier Halo Tiara and the Lotus Flower Tiara.

We also saw the late Queen’s Diamond Frame Earrings.

The Princess wore her Queen Elizabeth II Royal Order, as well as her Royal Victorian Order sash, star, and cross. The Princess carried an Anya Hindmarch clutch I don’t recall seeing before. It looks like the Pearls Maud Clutch (£395, about $495 at today’s exchange rates), so-called because of the pearl closure. It may be a bespoke version, as it looks darker than the ivory color shown in this product photo, although that could just be lighting. UPDATE NOV 22: This is not a new clutch. With thanks to Katie for her comment pointing this out, the bag was first carried at a military passing-out parade in Jamaica in March 2022.

UPDATE NOV 24: The Princess was wearing gloves by Irish designer Paula Rowan, per this Irish Independent story.

Dublin glover Paula Rowan is celebrating the latest landmark in her career after Britain’s Princess of Wales wore Paula’s white gloves to a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace this week.

Kate wore Paula’s ‘Monserrat’ elbow-length to the event honouring President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee of South Korea.

For the sake of illustration, this photo shows a 16-button Paula Rowan lambskin glove ($586), not the 12-button style referenced in the Independent story. 

We return to the Independent article

The ‘Montserrat’ 12-button silk-lined gloves have a 12-inch cuff that finishes at the elbow and can be ruched to bring down the length.

The white ones worn by the princess were a special commission and the style in black, red and grey are currently available to buy in her store for €445. They are also available in a longer, 16-button length and a shorter, eight-button style.

The gloves are carried at Selfridge’s and Bergdorf Goodman (in-store only). 

In case you missed today’s earlier post covering the official welcome, you can read it here


Sky News offers coverage of both the King’s and the President’s speeches. 


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Tuesday 5th of December 2023

Beautiful dress but, though I normally love long gloves, somehow they seem wrong here, something about the proportions of the sleeves and gloves together, the gloves seem to detract from the sleeves. I'd be happy to have someone who understands fashion and proportion better than I, explain why I am right or wrong.

First Lady Kim Keon Hee's dress is lovely, as is Queen Camilla's.


Tuesday 28th of November 2023

I squealed with delight when I saw the Strathmore Rose tiara. I have waited so many years for this to make an appearance. I've always loved it and hoped we would see it again. I'm unsure about it's delicate nature with the heavier dress. That said, a heavier tiara with this dress I think would have looked too much. I wish I had occasion to wear a tiara like this, the roses are just exquisite. I also had a huge fondness for thw Queen Mother, so to have that link is just wonderful


Monday 27th of November 2023

Apart from everything else, with respect to Blackpink, I'm wondering if receiving honors and participating in the State Banquet for Korea was more meaningful for Jenny and Rose than Lisa or Jisoo. They both were raised in the Commonwealth. Jenny was born in Korea but raised in New Zealand. Rose was born in Auckland NZ, yet raised in Melbourne Aus. Just wondering.


Saturday 25th of November 2023

Kate looked regal and stole the show. I just love that tiara, and can only say that it is too bad she didn't get to wear it to the coronation.


Saturday 25th of November 2023

All those jewels! Be still my heart!!

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