It’s tiara time!
Kate Middleton sparkled in jewels as she headed to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening. Kate and Prince William left Kensington Palace for the dazzling occasion, which was just a short drive away.
Kate, who wore a blue Alexander McQueen gown, was pictured being driven into the palace wearing the Lover’s Knot tiara. Sometimes referred to as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, it is one of the best-known tiaras in the British royal family’s collection, mostly thanks to it being a favorite of the late Princess Diana. Her classic updo showed off her pearl drop earrings, which also belonged to Diana.
A little more than century old, the Lover’s Knot tiara has gotten a lot of use by Kate, who has worn it on several royal occasions. The royal mom of three also wore another glittering piece from the monarch’s collection: Queen Alexandra’s wedding necklace, which was a favorite of the Queen Mother’s. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales – son of Queen Victoria – gave the pearl and diamond stunner to his bride, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, as a gift for their wedding in 1863.
Kate was also wearing the royal family order just below her left shoulder — a personal gift from the Queen to female members of the royal family. She first wore it at the diplomatic reception before Christmas, but it likely wasn’t seen as just car shots were taken publicly. The order takes the form of a picture of the Queen — and in Kate’s case it is on glass. Previously, they have been made with ivory, but in keeping with William and Kate’s shared hope to halt the use of wild animal parts, Kate’s was made with glass.
The royals hosted King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at the end of the first day of their official state visit.
Kate was seated between one of the Dutch King’s aides, Rear-Admiral Ludger Brummelaar and Lord Fowler, the Speaker Of the House of Lords. Six seats to the right of the Queen sat Prince William — whose neighbors at the table were Prime Minister Theresa May and the head of the Dutch royal household Jan Versteeg. Prince Charles sat next to his mother and Queen Maxima.
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In a speech, King Willem-Alexander called Queen Elizabeth the “most fearless Bond girl” who has “great panache.” The Dutch king’s comment was a light-hearted reference to the landmark moment when Elizabeth (and her corgis!) joined Daniel Craig to film a fun opener for the London Olympics in 2012.
“The world looks to you as a trusted beacon in the midst of upheaval,” he said. “Your ability to keep in touch with the times is striking. You even have an adventurous streak, as you showed six years ago at the opening of the Olympic Games. In front of millions of viewers you played the role of the most fearless Bond Girl ever – with great panache!”
“Our countries are North Sea neighbors. The sea has made us natural allies; both outward-looking, both curious as to what lies beyond the horizon.”
William and Kate, who attended her first state banquet alongside the Queen in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to London, are becoming regular fixtures on the list of royals welcoming heads of state.
Last year, Kate and William joined the senior royals at the dinner for the Spanish king and queen. (That night was also Prince Harry’s first official state banquet appearance in support of his grandmother the Queen.)
The Dutch royals were welcomed to London by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall before Queen Elizabeth, 92, joined them at the ceremonial meeting on Horse Guard’s Parade.
The dinner at the palace was for around 170 guests.The extensive planning for a state banquet starts about six months before the big event, with invitations sent out two months ahead.
A special “silver pantry” provides the silver-gilt plates used for the first two courses, fish and meat. (Pudding and seasonal fruit are served on porcelain.) The design on the cutlery that comes with it, collected by George IV “doesn’t always match,” said Anna Reynolds, the curator of the 2015 Buckingham Palace exhibit that focused on state banquets and other royal events.
Each person gets 18 inches of space, with the napkin folded in the shape of a Dutch bonnet.
Six glasses are set: one each for water, champagne, white wine, red wine, sweet wine or another champagne for post-dinner and port. “Each glass is the same distance from the edge of the table in each setting. That uniformity really helps to create the magic, what makes it so special,” Reynolds said.
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