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Princess Kate Wears Red Jenny Packham at China State Banquet

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Good evening one and all! When is the last time we looked forward to a Kate event with such anticipation? Ok, to be frank, I think we were all pretty stoked for her return after the long summer, but this evening's event held a special sparkle...pun shamelessly intended. Kate has not disappointed, arriving at Buckingham Palace in a bespoke Jenny Packham gown, her Lotus/Papyrus Tiara and some extra bling we will get to later in the post. This was the first glimpse we got of the Duchess arriving in her armored bentley wearing familiar jewelry, but looking entirely fresh and new:



Obviously part of what made this night such a big night was the fact that it mandated a tiara. I do not discount the royal pageantry--the sumptuous surroundings of Buckingham Palace are hard to ignore. The deep reds and golds, the stunning and imposing architecture, and the gravitas of an event with the longest reigning monarch in British history. It is heady stuff, indeed.  The tiara is tied to all of this, of course. As the Queen led the procession into the grand ballroom, Kate rounded the corner, gliding in wearing a flowing red gown and almost dripping in diamonds, she was the picture of what we all expect a princess to be.



Discounting the Diplomat's Reception, for which we only got a small glimpse, Kate hasn't worn a tiara since she was married in the Cartier Halo tiara. Tonight was a biggie, and it did not disappoint. Can you spot anyone in the background of this photo of the Queen, the DoE, and their visitors?



A State Banquet is a real shindig, for lack of a commensurately elegant word. Once upon a time I watched a special TV program about putting on a State Dinner, and it was fabulous. You should Google around for it. I think it was actually one the Queen hosted at Windsor, but the precision remains the same. The British Monarchy Twitter account shared this photo with the caption: "Over 100 candles in silver-gilt candelabra, many from George IV's reign, are lit before tonight's guests arrive."




Buckingham Palace shared the menu that Kate enjoyed this evening, and it was mouth-watering:



Kate recycled the same tiara and earrings that she first wore to the Diplomats' Reception in 2012. I love this tiara. To quote myself from the blog post when she first wore it:
I love the art deco style of the fanning lotus flowers and the pearls accenting at intervals. This is a wonderfully historic piece made right around the height of Britain's fascination with Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian antiquities were very popular in England in the early 1920's. It was the era of excavations, and many Brits travelled to Egypt and brought back artifacts. Lord Carnarvon--i.e. the former owner of Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)--is most famous for finding the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun, which only fanned the excitement and interest in Egyptian history and styling. The Lotus (aka Blue Egyptian Water Lily) was the "official" flower of Upper Egypt, while the similar papyrus flower represented Lower Egypt. Ancient Egyptian art is littered with pictures of the lotus and the papyrus flower. They are essentially water lilies and so were closely associated with the Nile, the source of life for Ancient Egypt. I don't know if Garrard suggested the design because of the popularity and beauty of the Egyptian lotus, or if the Queen Mother suggested it, but in either event, it is not only a royal heirloom, but a window into the time period in which it was made, and from the 20's, even deeper into the past to a whole other fascinating culture lost to the desert sands...
Tonight, Kate was able to highlight an alternate symbolism to pay tribute to her guests, President Xi Jinping and his wife. The lotus is a popular flower in China and symbolizes purity of heart there. I expected she would repeat her tiara, since royal women often repeat the same tiara, and was very happy to see it again, since it didn't really get a fair shake the first time around.



The first thing that will obviously be discussed is...were our predictions right! We have been building up to this for a while now and the anticipation and discussion have been intense. Obviously, our two contenders to design were Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham. I ultimately predicted last night, to food-blogging diva Julia, that Kate would wear McQueen, but it was a liner and I am not shocked Kate went to Jenny Packaham. She really is the Queen of the Night. I was very interested to see that Kate did not go for a heavily structured dress, as had been rumored, but stuck with her personal style and Packham special: soft and fluid. The beading gave the dress some punch, and the skirt is about as full as we have seen on Kate.


Jenny Packham and Kate incorporated a number of features we have seen before. The skirt from her ink-blue gown, the lace along the sleeves and similar beading from her teal "Our Greatest Team Rises" dress, and the gathered structuring of the McQueen bodice:



Kate stuck to her usual formula: simple dress + bling = elegant dazzle. She has done this more than once, and tonight she certainly wore the requisite sparkle. Since the neckline of this dress does not lend itself to a necklace, Kate wore not one, but two, massive, diamond cuff bracelets.  Both are borrowed from Her Majesty and have special significance. I quote from Kate's Clothes:
This bracelet belongs to the Queen. It was one of two pieces commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh as wedding gifts for his bride in 1947. Made of platinum, it is encrusted with diamonds taken from a tiara that had belonged to Philip's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece & Denmark, who had been given the tiara by Czar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra.  The cuff-bracelet has been worn often by Her Majesty the Queen.   

The second bracelet is the Queen Mary Chain-Link bracelet. Originally, it was a choker that belonged to the imposing Queen Consort of George V. It is a piece, like Kate's tiara, that was then worn by the Queen Mother, pictured below in bracelet form. Special note to Her Majesty's Jewel Vault(a blog by our long-time blogging friend The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor) which supplied the bulk of the information on both these pieces!



Verdict: Big win. I have some reservations about the beading, but as I mentioned, I think that the better quality images will reveal more of the delicate lace onto which the beads are sewn and I will love this dress more and more. I already am pleased with the lace on the bodice, echoing as mentioned, the teal Jenny P which is still such a hit with me, and I also really like the demure neckline on this dress. Kate really hit the right tone for a State Dinner. She looks elegant and occasion-appropriate, but still young and true to her own style. The extra diamonds just made my night.


A brief thought on the Royal Family Order: I know a lot of people were sure Kate was going to debut it, and I know some are upset. I don't think this is a huge deal. Kate has plenty of time and honestly, someone on Twitter made the perhaps unpopular, but valid point, it would have kind of ruined the look of the outfit. Let's be real. :) In all seriousness, Kate attending a State Dinner is already a pretty big deal. We live in an instant-gratification culture, but Kate and William have really been trying to slow the train down when it comes to becoming "fully-vested" senior royals. (I think I just reminded myself that I have Property homework for tomorrow...Sorry guys, the corny law jokes will likely increase over time, not decrease.) We got a tiara, a new dress, TWO new bracelets, and we don't even know what shoes or clutch she was carrying. That's a lot of fun for one night. Am I crazy in wondering if Kate will not get the Order from HM at all, but will wait for Charles to bestow it on "His Darling Daughter"?  Something to think about...



I have had Downton Abbey on my mind recently, but Kate looks a lot like Lady Mary with her hair swept up, wearing a tiara, and seated at this ornate and beautifully spread table.



Speaking of...I have to run and do just that. It's a scrambled eggs and red wine night as I toast Kate's perfect performance at the State Banquet and get back to studying tortuous Torts. I will see you tomorrow as William and Kate have an event at Lancaster House.



P.S. I will be back later tonight to update some of the images. I am waiting on a few more. Also, this really, really makes me want to see pictures from the Diplomats' Reception. can you imagine? that white McQueen and that tiara against the plush, red surroundings of BP? I think we will see photos, but...we might be in our eighties before we do.

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95 comments:

  1. Sonja from BavariaOctober 20, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    I love it! I know I say that about a lot of Kate's looks, but today I really mean it.

    I think everyone will agree when I say that Kate looked like a princess. I know she is a Princess of the UK, and when visiting charities, she's really lady like, but tonight she really looks like the princess she is.

    Her hairstyle is perfect, it's great to see her wair her hair up with the Lotus Flower tiara (I had hoped for that one!).
    And the dress: It's stunning, I love she cut, the waist, the skirt, the details (lace),... Jenny Packham is brilliant. Also a nice nod to China (wearing red).

    She looks so lady like, glamorous and regal. (And does anyone else think she looks a bit like a mixture between Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Lady Mary Crawley?)

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    1. Sonja, YES, Kate does look like a mixture between the two ladies, but more Lady Mary... :)

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    2. She does look a lot like Lady Mary but Lady Mary has the better dress and tiara :)

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  2. She looks beautiful---hair gorgeous Seems to have a bracelet on each wrist. Lovely dress---but no honour,. Rumours obviously not true.
    Good TV coverage tonight--maybe that is because Catherine is there.
    Madam China looks elegant too---such a change from the last time there was a state visit from China.

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  3. Wow wow wow! I am so excited to see the rest of her ensemble!

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  4. I much prefer the Lotus Tiara to the Halo. I'm happy she chose this. From what I've seen of the dress, it looks beautiful! She looks great and it was nice to see her not repeating an outfit.

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  5. Jane, a delightful tease of things to come... :)

    And I love what I see so far!

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    1. The details of the top of that dress keep me in great anticipation!! I hope this dress makes a repeat because it is fabulous!

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  6. Her hair and makeup are gorgeous, as well as the touch of color in the lipstick. She looks mature and regal, very lovely.

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  7. Aha - red in compliment to the guestt, the lotus tiara and earrings we've seen before looking good and what appears to be some serious bangle bling. Happy days :) Can't see the family order though - that's a relief. Very historic blah blah but awkward colour and ruins a good gown (imo) :)

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    1. LOL. I agree on the family order....I know it is huge honour but really a very awkward pin to wear on an otherwise drop dead gorgeous dress!!

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    2. I read somewhere that the family orders are basically ivory. Impossible for her to wear that, following the excellent speech from Prince William on the previous day.

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    3. I knew there had to be an explanation. Thank-you, Jean.....mk

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  8. .dOMG!!! she's amazing, elegant, i love her... :D

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  9. Kate looked amazing! Red really suits her. The tiara is really lovely - I think it suits her face and is nicely delicate, great for someone like Kate who doesn't wear big pieces of jewellery.

    Although I wish she'd wear her hair up more often, it does make an occasion extra special when she does! Great hair tonight!

    I was surprised not to see Kate in McQueen, but then she does seem to like floaty formal dresses, which is more a Jenny P style. I was also a bit said not to see a family order. I'm sure there are lots of protocols I'm unaware of, but she was the second most senior royal woman tonight and I thought it was a little odd that she was without an order.

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  10. I have to say it, I am choked and disappointed that she doesn't have a Royal Order. Almost 5 years of marriage to the heir and has birthed 2 children who are directly in line to the throne. Plus bringing stability and good press. Such disappointment towards Queen E.

    But, WOW!! Beautiful. Beyond Duchess, she is epitomizing Princess! Perfection.

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  11. Kate looks fantastic but from a grainy full length picture on the Daily Mail, it looks like she didn't wear evening gloves - I hope I'm wrong because it would really be sad if she's dispensed with that tradition.

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  12. Beautiful beautiful and beautiful. Great choices

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  13. I know Kate isn't most people, but so most people wear two statement bracelets that don't match? Everything is gorgeous and sparkly, but personally I wouldn't have put those bracelets together, one on each wrist at the same time. Is symmetry unreasonable with such bold jewelry? I know we can say "who cares those are diamond bracelets!", but I still care :-)

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    1. It is my only critique of her look this evening. I LOVED it, but one bracelet seemed plenty to me. Alas, I shall never have to decide between two antique royal jewels.

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    2. I actually love that they do not match.:) Really works for me. ali

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    3. I love that they don't match too. If wishes were fishes I would have one of them be thinner than the other for ascetic reasons but, heck, who am I to judge between one huge diamond bracelet from another!

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    4. I totally agree...the fact that they don't match is the saving grace for me. If they had matched it would have been too much. I too would have gone with only one (huh!! If only I was so lucky!!). But if you have to have two...better they don't match.

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    5. I am also not a fan of the 2 bracelets. I think one would have been beautiful (especially if she had on gloves). I loved the color and flow of the dress but felt the top fell a bit flat (since there was no Family Order to wear). Sadly I wasn't in love with the sleeve length or the detailing. Lets face it though, the Duchess would probably look stunning in jogging suit ;) .

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  14. She looked very elegant - understated and regal IMO.

    The RFO will come when she is full time. there is no rush. And there is no formula or logic as to when any member of the family receives it. But it is a painting of the Queen on Ivory. just saying

    The people in the background of the official picture are (L-R) PRincess Michael of Kent; the back of the Duchess of Gloucester; Catherine and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence, husband of Princess Royal.

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  15. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. She did not disappoint!
    I was a bit fussed by the non-sash/order, but she certainly made a splash without it;) I wonder which shoes... Sparkly Choos?

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  16. Today is a mix.
    The dress, i like it very much. The colour looks pretty on DoC, the details on bodice are very elegant, the sleeves. A winner!
    This das tyhe tiara i expectd; o see. It's lovely, simple but dazzling.
    What i dom't like: the bracelets. Separated are amazing, but one in each wrist is too much. I don't like it at all.
    Al last, she looks diferent to me. It's something about her face, her expression. Maybe the make up? There is at least one picture where her eyes look very sad. Thje one with the close up of her face. :(

    MB

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    1. I understand what you mean by her expression, but I have no doubt there was no sadness to it at all. Probably just sheer fear that she would do something inappropriate. She was sitting next to the President and the Queen. She was full on in every shot of the head table. This was a serious occasion (especially when the speeches were being given) so looking serious was appropriate. What a beautifully elegant figure she was. So proud of our Duchess tonight. I'm sure William was proud of her too. Way to go Kate.

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    2. I agree with Jane's comment. If the camera caught a smile at the "wrong" time (i.e. ... not speaking with someone), she could be accused of not understanding the importance of the occasion.

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    3. I agree what could be interpreted as "sadness" is just a reflection of the seriousness of the occasion. While I am sure she needed to be warm and engaging this was not an occasion for "knock knock" jokes. The conversation would have been pleasant but composed and in some ways scripted. Very different from when she is out visiting and supporting her causes where she can relax and let her personality shine.

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    4. At least she doesn't have resting B----ch face....

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  17. Long time reader, first time commenter... I think HRH will eventually get a Queen Elizabeth II family honor, if for no other reason than the years of service she has ahead of her. One day, when she is queen, she will wear the orders of three monarchs: QEII, King Charles, and her own husband. Time will tell which one gives her the Royal Victorian Order and if she has to wait until she is queen for other honors.

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  18. Kate looks beautiful and dainty and oh-so-comfortable. I think the high (jewel??) neckline and beaded bodice look fancily athletic - perfectly suiting our sporty princess. And I HOPE Kate found a few staircases to sweep down, with the lovely full skirt billowing out prettily behind her. That might compensate a bit for having to sit so-near-yet-so-far from William all dinner. I agree about the unmatched wide bracelets as being a jarring, but I hear that's the downside of wearing historically significant jewelry. On a side note, I want to change the beautiful Mrs Peng Liyuan's little white belt for her!

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  19. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I think overall Kate looks a bit boring! Not that she doesn't look beautiful and appropriate. She does! But the neckline of that dress is so boring (looks like a t-shirt!), even the Queen has some cleavage going on. The dress color, lace and sparkles are beautiful, but the overall look is a bit dull, especially if you are seeing from some distance.

    The jewels are the part I liked, all very beautiful, I love that Tiara. The makeup though looks a bit too heavy in the eyes.

    But I wish Kate would dare a bit more, like Queen Letizia and Princess Mary do. It would be good for her.

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    1. A red gown for her first banquet was not a shy choice. :) I love it, but I would not have bet on this choice.

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    2. I agree, royalfan (who knew?), that the red was definitely not a shy choice. This is the look I was hoping for from her. Any cleavage at all and she would have been called inappropriate. I think she chose very well - daring color, modest style. Perfect.

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    3. Sandra
      She is not Queen Letizia or Princess Mary--nor is she in the same position as either of them, so why should she copy them?

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    4. Not copy, but I mean when Queen Letizia/Princess Mary/Princess Victoria have occasions like this they REALLY go for, they wear real princess dresses (I mean big/dramatic), Kate wore a dress that, although beautiful, is a dress that any woman can wear to any evening occasion. What I mean is that when I go to a wedding in my city I see random woman wearing better dresses (not from famous designers of course, but still).

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    5. Kate just does not seem like an "over-the-top" kind of person. She has plenty of time to "go grand" when she has more state duties and a higher title. Stealing focus from The Queen would have been a great big faux pas and, let's face it, if she had shown up in a huge ball gown, dripping in even more jewelry than she had on, nobody would have even glanced at Her Majesty. As it is, some of the headlines read "The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at State Banquet."

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    6. I understand your point Robin, I really do, but I think that 'going big" would only make headlines because Kate never does, which is why she should do more often.

      Having said that, I also know that maybe this is not her fault, maybe the Queen and Prince Charles don't want Kate to get too famous (like Diana) to don't upstage Camilla who, after all, is the next Queen. This is the only explanation I see for Kate to be wearing a tiara only for the third time in 5 years.

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    7. I totally agree with Sandra. Queen Letizia is elegant and was so before she became Queen.

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  20. Wow, she's gorgeous! This dress isn't breaking into my Top 5 Evening Gowns (a list that I know each of us maintains!) but I love the sleeves and neckline and it's a beautiful color. AND THOSE DIAMONDS. I love this tiara - same one I would have chosen to be my go-to I think - and I love those bracelets. The mismatch of them doesn't bother me at all. It feels young and modern to mix up your shapes and I think it was a smart move to skip the necklace in favor of the two.

    Who knew we'd wait FIVE YEARS for a state banquet appearance?? Yeeeeeesh took long enough, didn't disappoint!!

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  21. I thought she was seated next to a priest at first.ha! Worried me a little bit.
    Perfection. She was absolutely beaming in the car on the way.
    I think she has the FO, but modestly chose not to wear it.
    Otherwise, it doesn't make sense.......
    William was wearing his Garter Order it looks like..
    mk

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    1. mk, I hope you're correct about the RFO. :)

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    2. I don't think "modesty" comes into it. If she had been given it, she would have worn it - the same way as Princess Anne, the Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra wore tonight. Lots of time to receive it.

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    3. A girl can dream, royalfan.....mk

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    4. I would imagine that it would be quilt the slight to have the RFO and not wear it! I really doubt there would be an issue of having the RFO ribbon clash with an outfit. It is quite a significant honor. I believe it is too early to have received the RFO, at this point it would be given for having given birth to a future monarch and a spare. Catherine will be bestowed with Elizabeth II's RFO - in due time. Catherine will also earn Charles RFO, her husband's RFO, and potentially her son's RFO. The really significant detail of the evening is Elizabeth II loaning Catherine the bracelet given to the Queen by the DOE for a wedding present.

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    5. I don't believe that Catherine had Queen Elizabeth II's RFO yet. It would be a huge slight to be given the honor and not wear it. The color of the ribbon doesn't determine whether or not to wear it either. Queen Elizabeth II's ribbon color clashing with an outfit is not an acceptable reason to not wear the honor. I do believe Catherine will be bestowed with the honor, just not yet. At this point, the RFO would be given for birthing a future monarch and a spare. My belief that Catherine will be one of the few women who will wear Queen Elizabeth II's RFO, Charles's RFO, her husband's RFO, and her son's RFO. The biggest sign of acceptance and prominence is Catherine wearing significant pieces of jewelry. Catherine wearing the wedding present the DOE gave to the Queen is a huge sign of acceptance and importance. She also loaned a tiara worn by her mother and sister, VIPs to QEII. Sophie is said to be a favorite of QEII, but she has not worn such significant jewelry and was married 5 years before being bestowed the RFO.

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    6. A couple of other posters made the very good point that, as the RFO is painted on ivory, it would be quite hypocritical for Catherine to wear it for the first time to a banquet given the same day as William's speech pleading to stop the ivory trade. Hopefully the BRF has antique ivory laid aside and doesn't need to get any new, but either way the scrutiny given to HRH's outfit would surely have revealed this oddity. It makes good sense to wait for her to receive it if for no other reason than to avoid a "do as we say, not as we do" moment with the Chinese president. And I agree that the very special jewelry loaned by HM shows that she holds Kate in high esteem. :-)

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    7. mypiecedlife, are you a quilter? Love your handle!

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  22. I loved everything about her look tonight. Seeing the Papyrus/Lotus tiara fully made me realize just how exquisite it is, and her "fringe" looked fantastic with it. The asymmetry of her bracelets didn't bother me at all, and I actually thought it added a nice touch - with so many parts of her ensemble dictated by the formality of the event, it was one way she could sneak in a little bit of her own personality. I love that she seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the seriously regal bling!

    I agree with Jane that the absence of the RFO isn't the end of the world (even if it would have been nice to see). It took 5 years before The Countess of Wessex got hers, and nobody in William/Kate's generation has been granted it yet. Even without the RFO, the Queen's fondness for Kate is clear through the jewels she loaned her (a tiara associated with her own mother and a bracelet she herself wore for her official Diamond Jubilee portrait).

    The whole thing just made me wonder when is the next tiara event going to be?!

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    1. The Diplomatic REception at the end of Nov/beginning of December. But last Catherine attended, there was just the car picture.

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  23. Just wondering, why is the menu all in French? Seems confusing for guest of honor from China at a state dinner in the UK, right? Anyway, loved this whole post. Thank you Jane!!

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    1. I totally agree with you on the French menu. It made no sense to me at all. Maybe Jane can tell us what they were eating!

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    2. Found the menu translation!

      Fillet of West Coast turbot with lobster mousse

      Roasted loin of Balmoral venison in a Madeira and truffle sauce
      Braised red cabbage
      Cocotte potatoes
      Timbale of celeriac and butternut squash

      Delice of dark chocolate mango and lime
      Fruits de dessert

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    3. British Monarchy State banquets menus are traditionally always in French.

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    4. I wonder why. Anybody know why?

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    5. Robin, I wish the group here could debate your last question over the menu you translated earlier. :))

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    6. West Coast turbot? Wales? California?.....mk

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    7. I hope someone has an answer. It just seems odd - especially given the sometimes "strained" relationship between England and France. Maybe it just sounds more fancy to say "Longe de Venaison d'Ecosse Rotie Sauce Périgueux" than "Roasted loin of Balmoral venison in a Madeira and Truffle Sauce." Yep, I can concede that point.

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    8. mk, lol...we can flip a coin on that one. :)

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  24. I'm in the camp of loving the two historic diamond bracelets. I think they took a lovely but demure dress to the next level. They compliment each other nicely where a matched pair would have appeared dated. They really are breathtakingly gorgeous pieces. I know I'm in the minority but I was looking forward to seeing long gloves. Yes, they are antiquated and difficult but I hate to see tradition get lost as time goes on, and they would have rocked that dress.

    I loved seeing Kate at this event. It was a true duchess moment and we don't get too many of those.

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  25. hmm I red gown was so perfect for her first state dinner banquet I just love her more than ever the dazzling duchess really rocks cheers to jane

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  26. I haven't read any other comments yet but I just love the way she looked at this event! I was voting for Jenny P. throughout so I'm thrilled! She followed absolute protocol for a state banquet with the modest, full, and full length dress. The usual call for a dress lighter in color is the perfect exception as red is the color of celebration in the Chinese culture. The jewelry was stunning and perfect for the gown and the choice of the Lotus tiara was another appropriate nod. Home run!

    I was a little disappointed not to see the family order and wonder if it's been awarded yet. I think waiting until Charles is king would be unfortunate. The Queen wears more than one and, as Kate is the future Princess of Wales and Queen, it would be nice to have one from the longest reigning monarch. She can still wear one from Charles.

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  27. Love the Duchess in red! She looks really lovely- can't wait to see her again tomorrow! Great post as always, Jane.
    I love the extra bling with the bracelets- a bit of a surprise- maybe Kate is getting used to looking into Her Maj's vault!
    She looked appropriate, regal and comfortable! Now let's talk about seeing William in white tie- so glad to see him out of his boring blue suit or blue sweater....

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  28. I love her look: Classic, elegant, sparkly... the perfect amount of bling for me. I’m so glad she had an up-do and gorgeous (and so appropriate) tiara.

    It really brought home her status for me seeing her seated next to the President of China at the head table, near the Queen.

    Ok, now to my nerdy comment. I love to imagine being there at the State Banquet– the atmosphere, music, food, etiquette, etc. I don’t know French and was curious what was on the menu. So, for anyone else who was wondering, this is what I came up with through Google Translate and some searching: (Please correct any mistakes you see ☺.)

    Turbot (highly prized flat fish caught in England’s waters) Filet

    Loin of Scotland Venison

    Sauce Perigueux: Rich, dark sauce usually made from beef stock, onions, butter, truffles, and Madeira wine

    Braised red cabbage
    Celery root (cooked in a fancy mold)
    Creamy potato casserole
    Salad


    Chocolate, Mango, and Lime Dessert

    Dessert Fruit

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  29. Carmen, The NetherlandsOctober 21, 2015 at 1:36 AM

    She looks perfect and the dress is gorgeous!

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  30. Hah...it was my first thought "she looks so Lady Mary like" :)

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  31. Kate looked effortlessy elegeant and I loved the dress... But I thought something was "off". I hink it is the upper part of the dress: the t.shirt shape is wrong IMO. I don't know why, but I thought her hair up would do wonders for her, but she looked older...

    About the RFO: let's be honest, she doesn't deserve it...

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    1. A complimentary opening with a slap in the face closing. Another hit and run post, Jane.

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    2. While I agree with you about the upper part of her gown not being terribly flattering, I thought her hair, makeup and overall appearance was beautiful. She has a quiet elegance about her that is to be admired.

      In regards to the RFO, while it seems unlikely that she has yet received it, it also seems unlikely that she would be 100% in favor of wearing something made of ivory. She and her husband are quite outspoken about their beliefs in animal rights. It will indeed be a conflict to be seen wearing such a choice, regardless of it's historical value.

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    3. The truth hurts I see... I'm entitled to my opinion as well as you.

      Jane, your post of yesterday's banquet is informative. May I point out a little mistake? Kate attended the diplomatic reception in december 2013, not 2012 :)

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    4. Jane, not sure why anon's comments @ 0625 and 0801 have been approved. I find them offensive, slighting Kate and the work she does, while trying to cause a disturbance behind the wall of the internet.
      Hannah

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    5. I agree, Hannah. And I will add an observation...

      "About the RFO:" has appeared twice in this post. Whether it's a game or pure coincidence is Jane's call to make.

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    6. Ai approved the comment because I try to take into account the possibility of language barriers. When the majority of a comment is reasonable and the final point is also reasonable, but perhaps not presented as politely as I would like, I assume a language deficiency. I assume that anon 625 was simply trying to say it is too early for Kate to receive it. I frankly think Kate would agree. I guess the first question we should ask is, what is the significance of the RFO? Is it just a little bling the Queen gives you when you join the family, or are there implied elements that lead up to it? There is a reason Kate hasn't gotten it yet, and one is probably that she feels she is not active enough publicly to have it yet. I don't think that is offensive. She has made that choice, I think it is the right choice. I am sure there are other reasons, too. She will get it at some point and it will probably be better press when she does.

      Delete
    7. I think your point about the press coverage when Kate debuts the RFO make a lot of sense. There were already enough eyes on Kate last night, and I am sure she was conscious of the fact that the focus of the occasion was on the diplomatic relationship between the UK and China. If she had worn the RFO last night I am sure there would have been tongues wagging about her taking the attention off the guests of honor more than was already inevitable. She will get it when the timing is right.

      Delete
    8. Anon 8:01! Ahh, you are correct. I really need to limit myself to _____ rather than guessing. As I write I don't like to break my own flow, so if I toss a close number out even if I don't remember and think I will come back to it. Sometimes, I forget to circle back. I will amend the date, thank you for pointing that out!

      Delete
  32. Wow, I was suprised at the colour of the dress first, but it turned out to be a very very pretty gown.
    I feared to be completely lace too,but God no, we have seen her wearing a lot of them.
    I loved the blings too. Huge wow factor again. I think it must have been a really tiresome but exciting SB for her. Hope to see her attend more in the future.

    About the RFO: I trust the Queen on this one, she knows best, when, why, who and how.:-) By the way she stole the show with her gorgeous dress.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is my new favourite Kate look! The t-shirt shape of the top paired with those gorgeous jewels is unexpected and perfect, It's exactly what I would want if I ever was in that position. I think a top like that enables a lot of freedom of movement, no worries about being accused of showing too much.The red is so pretty on her, even if it did get lost in the room a bit.
    I agree with Katie, the Queen knows best about when Kate should get the RFO. Truthfully, I'd be kind of irked if I got it just for having my kids! She has many years of good work ahead of her in which to earn the Order

    Oh, and her sad expression might be a bit of boredom. Listening to speeches is a drag, no matter how important they are

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is my understanding that the RFO is a gift from the monarch. It is not meant to be earned. I don't ask myself if
      someone has earned it before giving a gift. I think Jean is probably correct:she has been given the order and
      chose not to wear it, at least on this occasion Either that, or the fact that she is the wife of a grandchild, not her own child. I think family place is more important than order of succession to her, judging by other events.. I'm sure the Queen would understand the conflict, if the order
      were made of ivory.
      She took Camilla's customary place at the head table. There's that to consider, also.
      Insult to injury.....mk

      Delete
    2. Ah I didn't realize it was a gift and not presented as an earned honour! Always something new to learn

      Delete
  34. I tried to imagine how this dress would have played in person. Photographs so rarely tell the whole story! I imagine the sparkly sequins on the bodice picked up the light and shone just as the diamonds did. Brilliant!! A simple, graceful dress adorned with sequins and Kate's jewels, there would have been a halo of light around her, the effect must have been utterly dazzling.

    Possibly not on purpose, however in addition to honoring China with the color red Kate also happened to be wearing the colors of England: Red (dress), white (diamonds), blue (sapphire). I loved it!!!

    Regarding the RFO, I see the Queen as giving Kate ultimate honor. She is respecting her process as a person fitting into a demanding and highly visible role, not to mention dealing with the undercurrents of being a "next Diana". The Queen is allowing her time to move into a very big job. Kate is moving into this very big job at the same time she is in private life still in a young marriage and is a new mother of young children. That alone is enough for most women! The Queen sat Kate at the highest spot available to a Royal, other then her own. Clearly any jewel Kate wanted that was not in use by the Queen was made available to Kate. Sometimes Elizabeth is subtle. She is giving Kate full honor, including the honor of not pushing her. The RFO will come, and it will come to a Kate who has been given the time and support she needed in order to succeed.

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  35. Is it OK that I point out one little fashion item? This beautiful red dress has a "jewel" neckline. It's not a t-shirt neckline or t-shirt look. The dress features a jewel neckline with cap sleeves and has absolutely no resemblance to a t-shirt whatsoever. This is the ultimate classic neckline and was regularly worn by style icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Kate's choice of this dress is so timeless I can see either Audrey or Grace wearing the same dress in their era. Again I have to say that, IMO, she made an absolutely perfect choice for her first state banquet. I wish she went to these things at least once a month - although she would probably be bored to tears if she did.

    Anon. 2:36 - I love your keen eye to recognize the red, white, and blue aspect of her ensemble!

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  36. Kate looked absolutely gorgeous!!! I thought she would wear red. It's one of Kate’s best colors and was appropriate for the occasion. Some people can nitpick all they want, but I really don't have much to add to the conversation. The word "stunning" pretty much sums it all up for me. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite looks.

    And I agree with RobinfromCA... the neckline does not resemble a t-shirt in any way, shape or form.

    ReplyDelete
  37. At least they didn't call it retro, Robin. Appreciate your explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi, can I please point out that there is an error in the title of this post? Kate isn't Princess Kate, she can call herself Princess William of Wales if she wanted but that would be a lesser title than Duchess of Cambridge as a Royal Duke ranks higher than a Prince, that is why William was given a dukedom when he married. Kate would only be able to be called Princess Kate if she was born a Princess. And if you are wondering, it's incorrect to have called Diana by the name Princess Diana even though the media did so. Diana's correct title was Diana, Princess of Wales. There are strict rules about titles in the UK and even though the press may try and call Kate Princess Kate, it's wrong. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct and I agree: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/09/is-kate-prince-should-kate-be-called.html
      But, because Kate is a princess in fact, even though we can quibble about how she is styled, I often call her Princess Kate. Bad protocol, but still true. :)

      Delete
  39. Hi Jane!
    Great post as usual. I don't know how you can be so informative and funny at the same time. You make me smile!

    Kate looked lovely, but I don't think she looked stunning: The tiara did nothing for her IMO and I guess it's the hair to blame. Very "ancient" updo. The dress was beuatiful, but upper part looked like a t-shirt and I couldn't admire the sparkling beads laced on her corset.

    I have to say that I didn't expect Kate to wear the family order. I think she doesn't deserve it YET. The reasons why Her Majesty bestow the RFO are unknown and I can do nothing but speculate. IMO Kate has yet to prove a lot tho the queen. Maybe she will obtain it after a solo tour abroad (Like it was to be for Malta) , or by adidng more personality to her public appeareances, I don't know. I think she has to do somthing remarkable for the queen and then she will have her order.

    ReplyDelete
  40. According to the Court circular Catherine had two engagements yesterday. As patron of the National portrait galley, she received the new Director and then as Patron of Action on Addiction she received the outgoing Chief Executive and his successor.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jean, don't break my heart! I was just in the National Portrait Gallery about 10 days ago to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibit. Why didn't Kate go then? As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by *that* much." The Audrey exhibit was thoroughly lovely though and it left on Oct. 18. So glad my trip across the pond happened in time to see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, don't beat yourself up... :) I understood Jean's comment to mean that they went to KP.

      Delete
  42. I think Kate look stunning! This gown is simple and elegant, and I think it's a perfect nod to the Chinese guests of honor, especially capped with the tiara. The hair is excellent, the bracelets are amazing-- basically, she knocked it out of the park! I really think this one of my favorite looks of hers, ever-- though that teal Jenny Packham remains all-time #1.

    I'm not upset about Kate not receiving the RFO yet. She is easing into being a full time royal and has a lifetime of service ahead her. I have no doubt that Kate will eventually receive an order from Her Majesty as her duties and responsibilities increase. Personally, I am glad she hasn't received the order for being William's wife and having given birth to two children as some have suggested-- I feel that a woman's worth shouldn't be measure by who she is married to and her ability to bear children. Kate can and will do so much more! Additionally, I feel that the fact that Her Majesty loaned Kate some jewelry pieces with heavy personal significance is clearly an indication that HM holds Kate in high regard; an order will come with time!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great to see more photos of Kate. She is lovely but that red dress is boring. It looks like a shirt-waist dress with those little cap sleeves. Her hair, jewels were perfect but she might want to reconsider her eye make-up.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I thought Kate looked very nice. The dress was pretty, but not amazing. The skirt looked beautiful. She may have wanted to be a bit low key. Long gloves would have been great, but she may consider them old fashioned. I am sure if she had the RFO, she would wear it. It is not worn only when it matches a dress. The queen's granddaughters have not yet received it--no females from this generation have received it. It will come at the right time. Menus in French have long been the standard of excellence.

    ReplyDelete

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