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Dazzling Duchess of Cambridge Repeats Jenny Packham For St. Andrews 600th Gala at the Met in New York

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tonight was the finale of the Cambridges' visit to the United States. From the moment the events were announced, the St. Andrews 600th Anniversary Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the subject of the greatest excitement and the highest expectation. The evening was slated to be the most formal of the planned events and with tables selling for over 100,000 toward the end, it was sure to be a royally glitzy affair. Of course, how can we discount the romance of the charity's connections? William and Kate met at St. Andrews University and fell in love there over the course of their four academic years. 

What Kate would wear was the question that hung over the entire trip. Would she wear American? A favorite Yank label, such as Ralph Lauren? Would it be Oscar de la Renta to pay tribute to the late creative genius? We knew that whatever Kate chose, it would be a dazzling appearance. But, did anyone guess HRH the Duchess of Cambridge would recycle? Stepping out of the car this evening, in a Jenny Packham she has already worn twice, Kate drew gasps from royal watchers around the world. Not, however, from disappointment, or boredom, but admiration. She looked magnificent!

The Duchess has recycled evening gowns only several other times. One gown twice, and one thrice. .. The three-peat we have seen is, bien sûr, the Temperley London Amoret. That dress debuted in 2011 at the War Horse premiere... saw its first recycle, interestingly, for a St. Andrews 600th dinner in London...

...and Kate really made jaws drop by wearing it a third time last December to the Natural History Museum for the 3D Alive gala. 

Each was a lovely appearance, but other than the red accessories Kate added for the first recycle, nothing significantly changed to mark one wear from another.  

The other evening gown that Kate has given a second moment in the spotlight was the the white sheath from French designer Roland Mouret. That was an example of a fantastic recycle. By changing her hair and accessories, Kate made a very clear distinction between the two events, and I frankly still prefer the second wear. A stunning, stunning appearance:

Tonight's Jenny Packham has already had opportunities to dazzle. Kate debuted this in October of 2013, just after giving birth to George. She wore it to a Kensington Palace reception for a 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala. 

We saw it again just this February when she wore it to the Portrait Gala at the NPG. While I wished at the time she had changed her hair more, adding a priceless and huge diamond necklace from the royal family vaults, definitely made it easy to distinguish the two wears. 

This dress seems to be lucky in jewelry, because the only accessories Kate chose to add to the ensemble tonight were these huge, and massively expensive looking earrings, and a matching bracelet. Apparently, they are a private gift. (I need this woman's friends...) They are so big, that in the first grainy pictures, I was horrified that she was wearing anything so dangling and huge. All was forgiven, of course, when I saw that instead of garish chunks of common silver, they were stunning jewels.

A better look:

This was the dress's finest appearance. Pregnancy seems to be its making. Of every evening gown Kate has, this one and the lilac McQueen from the BAFTAs, would be most beautiful as maternity-wear. I don't think this dress has ever had a great chance to really shine, and tonight it certainly did. With her hair in a side-chignon, the graceful bodice finally uninhibited by her long locks, the flowing layers of the skirt....magnificent. Really, she looked so glamorous. Only Kate would have known a recycle would hit the spot.

St. Andrews knows how to celebrate, that is certain. When William and Kate first announced their engagement, they undertook a tour of the United Kingdom: Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland all got a visit from the glowing couple and a chance to more personally share in their joy. Certainly, the most evocative visit, was their appearance at their alma mater, St. Andrews. 

Having left St. Andrews barely out of her teens, in love with a headstrong prince, and years of uncertainty in her future, to come back at last with a sapphire ring on her finger and her prince by her side, must have been quite a powerful experience for Kate. It was for fans. St. Andrews was celebrating their 600th then!! Their website says that the 600th celebrations span between 2011 and 2013, but since William and Kate attended their first celebration in 2010, and this evening's event is knocking on 2015's door, I think they take boundaries loosely. Which is fine; 600 years merits plenty of partying.

My first thought when reviewing the schedule for the royal visit was: no Metropolitan Opera component? It seemed a small crime. Sting had been scheduled to perform this evening, but withdrew. The marvelous Renée Fleming took his place. Could the elegance factor be raised anymore? The soprano sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."


Kate's cousin-in-law Princess Eugenie was at the party, as she currently lives and works in New York...I think she still does. I only follow one princess super closely...

I love a good continental greeting...

The venue, as mentioned, is relatively legendary, and it didn't disappoint up for this evening's Scottish shindig:

William and Kate are now heading back home to baby George, who has been staying with Granda Carole and Grandpa Mike in Bucklebury. When are we going to get a photo of those two playing with him, by the way?

What a whirlwind trip!  A mini-tour...anyone miss April? A big thank-you to the London press pack and royal photographers, all of whom kept us updated, and flush with fabulous photos. As always, you are all invaluable. It has been America's pleasure to host you; a safe and restful flight home to the UK!

 If you are not familiar with Ms. Fleming, I leave you with a melodious and magnificent rendition of  the farewell from Taïs. I have been ODing on this for over four months now, and I am still not tired of it. Goodnight!


  1. That hairstyle is so pretty on her. :) Lovely recycle.

  2. I was there in the crowd outside to watch them arrive/leave! It was magical!

  3. The emerald set is interesting - not very Kate who tends to be much more subdued with her jewelry choices. I wonder if the emeralds are part of/related to the "Cambridge emeralds" which have an interesting royal history.... Certainly it is no coincidence she is wearing emeralds.


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