Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Duchess in Sparkling Lover's Knot Tiara & Royal Family Order for State Banquet!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Her Majesty and members of the Royal family for a glittering State banquet in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima's visit.


William and Kate are spending much of this week at their Norfolk country home Anmer Hall as Thomas's Battersea is on half-term until Monday. They took a helicopter to London with Prince Louis today ahead of the event. There's a brief Instagram video here showing them arriving at KP. Kate visited King Willem-Alexander during her first solo visit overseas to the Netherlands in 2016; it seemed fitting for the couple to be involved in some capacity tonight.


The Duke and Duchess arriving.


We do love a tiara event here on the blog and given the rarity of white-tie events on the royal calendar the State banquet offered a wonderful opportunity for the treasures in the royal jewel vault to be showcased. It is William and Kate's third State banquet - their first in honour of China's president took place in 2015, and their second the Spanish State banquet in 2017.


The Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. Maxima can always be relied upon to bring the big guns. Tonight she donned the incredible Stuart tiara. The Queen wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, and Camilla sported the Greville tiara.


Hello reports:

"The Dutch royal's outfit was accessorised with an extra-special headpiece - the Stuart tiara featuring the Stuart diamond - which made its first appearance since Queen Juliana's 1972 State Visit to the UK."

Prince Charles escorted Queen Maxima to dinner.


The Queen has hosted two previous State visits from the Netherlands during her reign. The last State visit from the Netherlands was by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands in November 1982.


A beautifully warm greeting from one Queen to another on Horse Guards parade this morning.


The Mall was appropriately dressed for the occasion.


An enormous amount of planning goes into State banquets, ensuring no detail is overlooked. According to the Royal family's website: "Preparations for a State banquet begin well over a year in advance, but the final build of the State banquet table starts around five days ahead of the arrival of the visiting Head of State. The operational arm of Buckingham Palace, the Master of the Household’s department take the main bulk of the responsibility for ensuring the Banquet runs according to plan." Ahead of the event the Duchess would have received notes on where she was sitting and who she was next to. In order to avoid uncomfortable situations and to ensure all are included in conversation, one speaks to the person on the left for the first course, changing to the right for the second, and alternating for remaining courses.


The Royal chefs have been busily preparing a feast with culinary nods to the Netherlands. They created 280 slices of delicious chocolate orange torte.


Pastry Chef Selwyn Stoby revealed some of the early stages of the torte design. The creme au cafe features different layers of flavours including a thin chocolate base, a chocolate sponge, and a rich filling of orange chocolate mousse. Selwyn and his team then layered a ribbon of vibrant marmalade on top of the mousse. Every part of the torte has been produced in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, by Selwyn and three other Royal Household pastry chefs.  "'I first created a marmalade with the mandarins and gently folded it into the chocolate mousse,' said Selwyn. Selwyn says the infusion of mandarins was a nod to the visiting Dutch Monarchy. The Dutch Royal house is called Oranje-Nassau. This name and association dates back at least to William the Silent (William of Orange) who founded the house in 1544."


The chefs also created a 'parfait aux pommes et mûres.' The design includes 'apple pearl balls', miniature meringue balls and apple stock syrup. Each parfait is carefully cased in white chocolate to contrast to the bitter blackberry sauce.


During a speech King Willem-Alexander described the Queen as the "most fearless Bond girl ever":

'My wife and I are delighted to be able to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom, and above all to find you in good health, as vigorous and engaged as ever. I appreciate how special this occasion is.
My grandparents came here on a State Visit. My parents did too. Today it is our turn. And all within your long reign. Last year you celebrated your Sapphire Jubilee. That is deeply impressive to someone who has yet to reach their Bronze Jubilee. In recent decades, you have seen your country, Europe and the world change enormously. The world looks to you as a trusted beacon in the midst of upheaval.
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 neighbours. The sea has made us natural allies; both outward-looking, both curious as to what lies beyond the horizon. Sir William Temple, the famous English diplomat, who was ambassador in The Hague 350 years ago, called the Dutch 'the most obstinate lovers and defenders of their liberty’. It’s a trait we definitely share with the British. A trait that has sometimes led to conflict between us, as competitors and rivals. But much more often, it has brought us together and united us. The Glorious Revolution of Mary and William is a good example. A peaceful change of government that bolstered the rights of Parliament. Or take the bonds forged between us during the Second World War, and the unimaginable sacrifices British armed forces made for our freedom.'

During the Queen's speech, she said: "Prince Charles and I are delighted to welcome you and Queen Máxima to Buckingham Palace this evening. Through this State visit, we celebrate the enduring friendship which has enabled our two nations to prosper and grow, side by side, as trading partners, and as North Sea neighbours.  This visit also provides the opportunity for great happiness, and to welcome old friends to my home. Through Your Majesty's visits and your acts of friendship, you have formed your own personal connection with the British people.  During your time as a sixth form student at Atlantic College in Wales, you kept our local communities safe by volunteering for the Life Boat service, embodying the true spirit of friends supporting one another. To this day, our close relationship greatly contributes to the economic and cultural life of Britain.  The Netherlands are one of The United Kingdom’s largest European investors."


Hannah Furness reports.


You can view a video from the banquet below.


The Duchess was dazzling in royal jewels and a bespoke kingfisher blue Alexander McQueen mermaid style gown for the evening.


Another view.


Her Majesty wore a similar shade of blue for a State visit to the Netherlands in 1958. It was created by Norman Hartnell.


The Duchess shone in what has become her signature tiara, the Lover's Knot.


The tiara, which is steeped in royal history and is so closely associated with William's mother, looks beautiful on Kate. It's a stunning piece and one I expect we'll see the Duchess wearing throughout her life. The tiara features elements of the Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Lover's Knot is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet, a pillar-like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a round diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature and the size gradually decreases from the centre towards both ends.


Once again, Kate teamed the tiara with Diana's Collingwood pearl earrings.


Below, Diana wearing the tiara and earrings together.

Embed from Getty Images

The regal sparkle didn't end there.


The Duchess wore a beautiful necklace from the Queen's jewel vault. Order of Splendor noted the necklace is from Queen Alexandra's wedding parure.


More from the Queen's Jewel Vault:

'Albert Edward, Prince of Wales - son of Queen Victoria and the future King Edward VII - purchased a magnificent parure for his bride, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, as a gift for their 1863 wedding. The set from Garrard included a large diamond tiara plus a diamond and pearl necklace, set of earrings, and brooch. Alexandra wore the brooch, necklace, and earrings on their wedding day and she continued to wear the set for important occasions throughout her life. The tiara, popularly known as the "Rundell" Tiara, no longer exists; the rest of the parure was split between royal ladies for a time but is now reunited in The Queen's collection.
The necklace features 8 pearls surrounded by diamonds, each connected with festoons of diamonds, and three detachable diamond and pearl drop pendants. Queen Mary gave the necklace to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and she wore it constantly. The necklace was finally reunited with the brooch and earrings when The Queen inherited it in 2002; we have yet to see her wear it publicly.'

Below, Queen Alexandra wearing it on her wedding day. Fittingly, it was last worn by the Queen Mother during the last State visit from the Netherlands in 1982.


Kate also wore a shimmering bracelet.

Amidst a sea of sparkle, the most significant news of the night is that the Duchess has received the Royal Family Order from Her Majesty. Traditionally the order was made of ivory, but we knew we wouldn't see the Duchess wearing ivory and instead Kate's was created with glass.


It is understood Kate was awarded the RFO late last year. Joe Little reports she first wore it at the Diplomatic Reception last December.


The Order is awarded by the Sovereign of the United Kingdom to female members of the Royal family as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals men do. The order is a personal memento rather than a State decoration. The badge of the order consists of a portrait of the Sovereign set in diamonds, which is suspended from a ribbon. The ribbon of each Royal Family Order changes with each monarch.


Royal Family Orders originated in Britain during George IV's reign. His order was rather ornate in appearance, and the frame that surrounded his portrait was of diamond oak leaves and acorns. The badge was suspended from a white silk bow. Below we see an image of the order which originally belonged to George IV's sister Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg, circa 1820 - 1830. Charlotte willed it to Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria, who left it to the Crown.


After George IV, each succeeding sovereign with the exception of William IV and Edward VIII, has issued their own Royal Family Order. A slight variation came with the reign of Queen Victoria. When Victoria came to the throne the order was not issued until after her marriage. In 1862 she created the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert. It consisted of a cameo portrait of Victoria and Albert; no other Royal Family Order has depicted both the sovereign and their consort since.


More than one Royal Family Order can be worn. In this case, they are worn layered with the most recent on top. For example, the Queen wears the Family Orders of her father King George VI which features a rose pink sash, and her grandfather King George V, a pale blue sash.


When and how does the Queen decide to award the honour? As it is given at Her Majesty's pleasure we will never specifically know the criteria. It would seem it is awarded to senior members of the Royal family who undertake royal engagements. The late Diana, Princess of Wales received hers quite early on - reportedly within a year of her marriage. She wore it several times during the royal tour of Australia in 1983.


The Earl and Countess of Wessex regularly represent the Queen at royal weddings across Europe, meaning we see Sophie wearing hers with some frequency. The Countess received the Order in 2004.


The Duchess of Cornwall was first seen wearing hers in 2007 and has sported it on many State occasions since. Interestingly, the Queen never awarded the honour to Sarah, Duchess of York. None of her granddaughters have been given it either. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie carry out engagements occasionally, however, neither are working royals and Zara Tindall doesn't have a title or carry out engagements on behalf of Her Majesty.


In others news, Kensington Palace confirmed William and Kate will visit Coach Core in Essex on Tuesday, 30 October. They will meet new apprentices, hear from graduates, and learn how the scheme in Essex is engaging a diverse local community with sport.

302 comments:

  1. Rebecca - Sweden23 October 2018 at 20:01

    Yaaay, look forward to see some more of this!! :D Looks like some pearl necklace thingy, probably from the vault!! Exciting!

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  2. There are just not enough tiara moments!!! Can't wait to see more!

    Hope from USA

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  3. Looks possibly like Queen Alexandra's parure necklace? I think the Queen Mother wore it back in the day.

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    1. It absolutely is! ...and if you you'll look around, it looks as though all the royal ladies arriving have brought out the big guns - including the Duchess of Gloucester wearing the Cartier Indian tiara! Gah! I hope Max just BRINGS IT!

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    2. The diamonds in Maxima's tiara are huge!! And her dress is gorgeous!!!

      Hope from USA

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    3. Maxima certainly brings it! So glad Kate brought out that necklace! Game on I'd say!! Also glad to see that Kate has received the Royal Family Order from HM.

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    4. Maxima's maxim: go big or go home! Serious bling from head to waist! Great dress too. Kate's dress is dated to me--very Diana. Too busy with all those folds. It looks like it needs to be ironed which is sad because I want to like the dress. Nice color though and the sleeves and the rosette are nice. How did she not trip over that long hemline anyway?!

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    5. I agree Denise!! I have to say this is the first time ever I have not liked Kate's formal wear. The dress seems better suited to a prom, the color not great on her skin tone, it's wrinkled, too long, and the bodice is fussy. The combination of the tiara, earrings and complex necklace is just too much with that dress. It's overload. Why didn't she take a recommendation from one of the talented stylists on this blog over the summer?? LOL. Of course she is gorgeous and having the RFO is such an honor. Good for her.

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    6. I was wondering the same thing, Denise. I’d be flat on the floor with that hemline!

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    7. I agree Rita in Florida - major prom moment for me. The hrhduchesskate readers styled some spectacular looks over the summer that would have looked amazing on the Duchess tonight.

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    8. Queen Maxima is gorgeous as is Duchess of Cambridge. And the tRoyal Famiky Order!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the history. It’s my favorite part. Love Kate’s look. Very regal. The necklace is outrageous and imbued with such history.

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    9. I agree with you. I do love the bling but overall it just seems to much. Her gown does look like it needs ironed. Looks like some kind of satin. She is gorgeous though!

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  4. Rhonda - Wisconsin23 October 2018 at 20:10

    Oh please, please, please let us see pictures from this of her gown! She looks awesome - and love the bling!!

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    1. I know right!! Should be working, but keep checking post to see what Kate will be wearing, it is very exciting. The necklace is stunning, so glad to see some of the jewels out of the vault!! I can't remember if anybody chose this necklace when styling Kate?? cc

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    2. I feel like we get full length shots of what she wears at state dinners a few weeks after.

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    3. ...looking through the Her Majesty's Jewel Vault site, I note the necklace was last seen worn by QEQM at the last state visit from the Netherlands in 1982! I'm betting they've gone through the old pics and are taking some cues from there!

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    4. BringingUpBaby you are right! There seems to be some significance in that which is doubly nice to see. The necklace, the royal order, the dress....royal duchess overload! She looks lovely and quite regal. cc

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  5. Love that necklace! It makes an exquisite combination with the Cambridge Lovers Knot! I've read lots about both but never thought of the 2 together. Teardrop pearls on both! Perfection!

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  6. While the Sussex's sleep, we can have the Cambridge's.....Hope I spelled their names correctly:)

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    1. Charlotte is not sleeping! She is adroitly covering two state dinners on opposite sides of the globe, and some truly fantastic jewels. Interestingly, Kate is dressed in the same color blue Meghan wore in Fiji.

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    2. Isn't there an award given to bloggers?... My vote goes Charlotte for both her blogs. Rw.

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  7. Our Duchess - ever elegant, regal, and poised; our future Queen!

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    1. You took the words out of my mouth- absolutely sublime. Doesn’t she do us proud😀

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    2. She has the look and demeanor of a Queen. Charlotte deserves a vacation after covering both women.

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  8. Gahhh slayyyyyyying per usual. That's our girl. Slightly embarrassed how happy this makes me haha ;)

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    1. I'm the same way! So proud! AHHH Love her so much!

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  9. WOW!!! The Queen is really lending the good stuff to Catherine!!!

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    1. So agree, Diana never wore such a variety or such historic pieces. I'm a Diana fan, but i think the jewellery loans show the difference in the Queen's relationship with Diana and Kate.

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    2. The Queen, Duchess Camilla and Duchess Katherine are the throne and the direct line; as as such they are the only ones who can access all the jewels!

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    3. I think all the divorces made the Queen cautious with honours and big jewel loans, Kate and Sophie have both had to earn their stripes before they got the RFO. Understandable really, pragmatic, if things (heaven forbid) go south in a Royal marriages these things have to be revoked/returned.

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  10. She looks every inch the future Queen. I love seeing her dip into the vaults for jewelry!

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  11. Yay! The Queen's Royal Family Order at last!

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    1. What does The Queen's Royal Family Order mean?

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    2. I see what the Royal Family Order is...nevermind

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    3. Oh, I agree! I’m delighted!

      Annie,
      NY, USA

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    4. Yes, officially paying her homage as the next Princess of Wales, and future Queen consort!


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    5. That's what I was thinking!

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    6. Caroline in Montana24 October 2018 at 15:48

      I was so excited I was cheering both arms up in the air. that sounds ok, right?? but good thing my boss was out of the office as he sits 4 feet away from me:) lol

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  12. Rebecca - Sweden23 October 2018 at 20:54

    What a wonderful evening!! Love the tiara and that necklace is stunning. The jewels work so well together.

    Nice to see Kate get the family order so that whole debate can be over!!

    Love seeing Kate in a bit of a different dress silouette than her usual :) Always hard to see if I actually really like a dress with just screenshotted video but I like the idea of it at least :) The fabric is not great though... Oh well!

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    1. Rebecca, my first impression is not a good one in terms of the fabric either. But maybe when better pics come in....

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    2. Courtney from NC23 October 2018 at 21:18

      In the background of the shot of Q Max, the Queen, P Charles and D of Cornwall you can see Will standing behind Kate. You can see a little bit of her skirt. The color looks more grey and I like it much more in that shot. I'm holding out hope it's nicer fabric than the one shot shows .

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    3. Rebecca - Sweden23 October 2018 at 22:25

      I like the colour, but the fabric reminds me of my mothers promgown from the 80s.. Oh well, the rest of the evening and all the jewels around and I can't really be bothered about not likeing the dress 100% :)

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    4. Love the color and especially that it appears to be the same shade as the one the Queen wore in 1958. Kate always puts meaning into her choices in some manner. I would agree that not 100% on the material, but there is something complete about the overall look tonight, perhaps the necklace and the royal order. On another note, Sophie looks smashing, really love her dress!! cc

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    5. Rebecca - hahaha!!! A prom dress from the 80’s. That is EXACTLY what I thought when I saw it initially. With better resolution, I was more okay with the top part. It wasn’t quite as shiny as I initially thought. The rouching actually works and adds visual interest. But the weird drop waist/asymmetrical/mermaid style bottom thing! Miss!....but I also appreciate the effort to do something different.

      But the jewelry! Major bling that also has meaning. And Kate wears them so well. I love the color of the dress combo with the diamonds. Both cool tones that work well together.

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  13. Tiara! Necklace! Royal Family Order!
    I’m gonna pass out.

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    1. Yes! Good for her. She certainly has tried to do everything right as a royal.

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  14. That necklace/earrings match the tiara perfectly. Kate looks gorgeous as always---is everyone wearing blue in that photo? I hope they have fun!

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  15. The few women we see are wearing blue, nearly identical shade - is there a possible reason that doesn't come to mind? And what is on Kate's arms? Looks too dark to be shadows. Lovely dress & Duchess, BTW.

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    1. Cobalt blue, one of the traditional colors of the Netherlands and their flag.

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  16. She’s stunning.
    Can’t wait for a better look at the whole outfit!

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  17. LOVE IT! And a Royal Family Order?! Perfection!

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  18. Kate looks wonderful. So happy to see a more modern silhouette. She has upped her game. She wears it well. A great departure from the Disney Fairy Tale Princess look she is normally so fond of. I guess Kate has laid claim to the Lovers Knot Tiara. It appears to be her go to more often then not when given the opportunity to wear a tiara.

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    1. I think it’s fitting with her title that she was loaned the tiara.

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    2. Modern is not the word I would use to describe this look, but that’s not a bad thing! I actually think this dress looks completely Victorian. I love it.

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    3. Definitely Victorian, especially the bodice. So Beautiful. I immediately thought of the "Forsythe Saga" and one of the gorgeous gowns Irini wore. :)

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    4. Penny and Mel, now that you point out the Victorian feel to the gown, I see that also, makes sense with the necklace. Also if I view it with that in mind I like it better and do not think of prom dresses.

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  19. That necklace is everything!!!! Gorgeous!

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  20. Anonymous in Colorado23 October 2018 at 21:04

    Yay she has the Royal Family Order!! Looking so regal! Though this dress calls to mind the prom/bridesmaids dresses from the '80s 🤨

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  21. MAX in the Stewart DIAMOND tiara! The BIG MONKEY! AAAAHHHHHH! https://twitter.com/TV2KjellArne

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  22. WOW!

    and
    just
    WOW!

    Bravo Catherine!

    And gown? Gorgeous.

    This tiara and this necklace together!!!!

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  23. Love the colour and pleats on the skirt but I think the ruched bodice drowns Kate's slight figure, perhaps if it had been smooth.

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  24. it's about time she got an order, don't you all think, looking forward to seeing more pix

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  25. wow first in Balmoral sitting next to the queen in the care now the royal family order HM is supporting Kate so much

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  26. It is the whole image with the blue evening gown and the jewels which makes for a complete spectacular look. At last the order of the BRF on DOC is news.

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  27. I can't believe Kate has had 3 babies. Wow! She looks so amazing! Dress looks spectacular.

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  28. A stunning departure in silhouette for Duchess Kate and she looks magnificent! An interesting contrast between two duchesses- one is pregnant in a loose flowing blue gown, and one is not in a figure-hugging blue gown, and both stunningly beautiful women. Was the last time we saw Kate in an evening gown in Scandanavia and the lovely pink and heavily pregnant? On a side note, is William grwoing a beard?

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  29. Love to see new jewels, but really not much of a fan of this dress. Very 1980s to me and I’m old enough to remember them well!

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  30. Rhonda - Wisconsin23 October 2018 at 21:20

    It's a good thing that both of my bosses are out today! Swooning over here! LOVE it - it's very different than her normal style - love the cap sleeves and that dress just was begging for some bling around the neck. She's so beautiful and I have to give it to her - she really works hard to keep in shape. I'm bowing down to the goddess of fitness. Love that she has finally received the Royal Family Order. I am smiling ear to ear here in Wisconsin! Go Kate!!

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  31. LOVE that that Family Order is glass and not Ivory

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  32. Courtney Providence Village23 October 2018 at 21:22

    Hmm from the one photo I see, it looks like a prom dress made of a terrible material...? Hoping I’m wrong once I seemore ;) GORGEOUS tiara with those jewels. They match beautifully! Stunning stunning stunning!

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  33. What about the orange or red/white/blue gowns we chose for her?! lol! The blue is gorgeous and much better in my opinion.

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    1. This is something I wouldn’t have picked for her, but she looks fantastic! It’s a nice shade of blue & she looks very regal.

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  34. Oh my word......Kate looks incredible! Her dress! Those jewels! And an Order! 😍😍😍

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  35. Rhonda - Wisconsin23 October 2018 at 21:24

    OMG - did you see Maxima's bling?? She definitely brought out the big guns. She totally pulls it off too. Her gown is beautiful as well. Sigh....

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    1. Maxima totally stole the style show, in my opinion. That dress is gorgeous and good grief, the crown! My head would fall off if I tried to wear that.

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    2. Becca H, hee hee, I thought about the weight also when I first saw the pictures. Ouch. Plus her earrings! She really can wear those big pieces.

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    3. Yes, Queen Maxima does look superb. Kate looks good but just too thin.

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  36. OMG she is totally the future Queen!
    Wonderful.

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    1. Anon, my exact thoughts! Now that is a future Queen in every sense. One of the most beautiful gowns I've ever seen, and she has the shape for it.

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    2. It definitely suits her figure! Stunning...her waist is so slim & shows off her toned arms. I’ve never seen Kate look so good or more confident! Maybe little Louis has something to do with her looking so happy..:)

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  37. Looks like a dress from the 80s. One of the worst I've seen Catherine wearing.

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  38. Such a positive person! I appreciate you! Lovely as usual! XOXOXOXOXO

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  39. Love this look, it's classic and fun. Shows confidents. It's Kate coming back into her own.

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  40. Oh my glory I'm dying! Just adore her and love seeing her so regal! I love that dress and jewelry/crown! Sheesh! She is just the best. She and Meghan wearing very similar colored dresses on the same night! Adore!

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  41. Omygosh - perfection! And so, so happy to see that the Queen has given her the Royal Family Order! It was hard waiting for photos from this occasion b3cause I was hoping that we’d see the Duchess wearing the Order!

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  42. Hmm now that we have photos, I'm not loving this dress, which is a bummer.

    But I'm SO happy for her finally getting the RFO. And the jewelry is just so good. Perhaps the new Order explains the lightness we've noticed about her lately- her legacy is really solidified and her family is complete. I'm so looking forward to watching her continue to wow us!

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  43. The tiara choice makes perfect sense - The lover’s knot tiara was Diana’s favourite and Duchess Kate is next in line to be Princess of Wales! This gown is gorgeous on the Duchess and it fits her like a glove. The royal family order and the esquisite jewelry set complete her look as the real royal that she is!

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    1. Actually, technically speaking, Camila is already the Princess of Wales, as she is married to Charles, the Prince of Wales. But it was known that the public would not approve of Camila using the PofW title.

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  44. Has the Queen given Kate an "order". I haven't noticed a sash but the photo appears to show Kate wearing the pin. I may be wrong. Photo is not very visible.

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  45. Kate’s dress is a little too 80s prom/bridesmaid for me, but I always love a tiara event and I’m thrilled that she’s wearing Queen Alexandra’s wedding parure necklace. Also thrilled to see the Royal Family Order.
    But far and away, I’m totally stunned by the full Stuart tiara on Máxima. That thing is a whopper!

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    1. I totally think so too--I thought it's very dated & Diana-ish.

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  46. Kate takes your breath away. She is so beautiful.I can't even imagine wearing jewels like those on Kate.

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  47. So exciting she got the RFO! After all the years of speculation - we finally see it in all its glory. I love the silhouette of the dress, not so sure about the fabric, as Rebecca mentioned above. But a solid look from Kate & she looks more matured here. Love the necklace with tiara & earrings. Maxima is stunning! 🤩

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    1. Royal 👑 Watcher23 October 2018 at 22:35

      Fully support you on all of the above, Kiwi Gal!

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    2. Maxima looks seriously stunning! I think she looks better than Kate. I wish her gown did not have the V cut at the bottom,. It gives the gown a very prom gown look. Instead the gown could've just flowed naturally. XOXO
      Siddhii

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    3. Anon 23:08, agree about the bottom styling. ( I am a no on the gown in general, style and fabric)

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    4. The main problem with the flared skirt of Kate's gown is that it is too long. Compare the other formal gowns in the pictures, all an inch or so off the floor to allow slippers to proceed forward. And of course, Teresa May's purple is a bit shorter, to allow her bright red carpet-matching shoes to show!

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    5. Patricia, I wouldn't object to the PM's gown being a little longer. 😉😊😃

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  48. A little research has told me that this is actually the second time Kate has worn the "order" from HM. The first was in December at the Diplomatic Corps Reception. She has yet to receive the sash. Additionally, Kate's order is made of glass rather then ivory. This is in keeping with Williams animal preservation work I'm sure. A nice compliment from HM and I am sure Kate is proud to have it as a sign of a job well done.

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  49. I love that King Willem-Alexander referred to the Queen as “the most fearless Bond girl ever”! haha

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  50. Catherine looks exquisite. Stunning. Majestic. This is what a royal princess wears to a state dinner!

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    1. Agreed, Mel. It’s a perfect gown for this occasion.

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  51. I see the dress more clearly now. Sublime. Some have said 80's dress, but no. Very up to date fabric, style, cut.....it hugs her body well

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  52. Love the Queen's dress from 1958! I think something similar would've looked fantastic on Kate. =)

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  53. The desserts sound/look amazing! Especially the chocolate orange torte - yummy 😋

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    1. surfer girl, where are you when we need you to talk about food? Lol miss your presence here & hope you are doing well x

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    2. I am absolutely craving a piece of that chocolate orange torte!!

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    3. Where is Surfer Girl in general?!

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    4. Katie, surfer girl is doing ministry work. I don’t know if she’ll be back on the blogs, but I do hope she makes a return.

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  54. Kate looks magnificent, every inch a future queen. Lovely to see the RFO, and especially that it is made of glass. Loved reading the history of that beautiful necklace. Fun reference of the Fearless Bond Girl to The Queen. Quite the night for the royals.

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  55. Is it just me? Comparing the black and white picture with what lovely Kate wears today there is one pearl missing on the necklace. Isn't it?

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    1. Wow good catch, Anon. The third pearl drop is totally missing. I'm sure it must have happened right before the event or that would have been repaired. I hope they noticed and it wasn't lost!

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    2. Sure does look like it’s missing...I thought it might be tucked underneath by mistake & we can’t see it.

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    3. I don’t know thatbthe drop is missing. There’s something below the pearl and diamond circle like a blob of white that makes me think that the drop just got tangled in its chain or something

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    4. Anon23, that is what I see also.

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    5. I saw and thought the same thing!

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    6. It looks as though the pearl is not dangling properly, but I do see it. As if it got snagged for some reason...

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  56. When a blog writer's work outshines and evening like this then maybe SHE needs quite an award too! Charlotte, while reading your posts I think "hmmm, I'll need to google that to read more about it" but nope! I keep scrolling and you invariably answer my question. Your writing and intuition are spot on.

    Yay for our Kate on the Order!! Our girl looks regal this evening.

    And MY GOODNESS Queen Maxima, you sure do have the bling! Beautiful!


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  57. I;m going to say a "nay" on this dress? I like the necklace, tiara, and all but this dress looks very much like the prom fashions we had in high school, down to the Disney princess blue shade and the flower design by the shoulder strap. The business of the fabric texture is also very 90's prom stuff. I want to like it because it's different from the usual Kate look but it just reminds me too much of my high school prom.

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  58. Even though I knkw the Duke of Edinburgh is retired, it seems like the queen misses him on these occassions expecially.

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  59. The dress is not to my taste, love Maxima's gown. Very happy Kate has received royal honors, well-deserved. Always glad for a tiara day and only she could pull off that style. Very Vegas!

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  60. Zora from Prague23 October 2018 at 23:01

    Wow, I love Kate's look! Fantastic, so regal and elegant! Thank you so much for this post, Charlotte!

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  61. I like the top of the dress but hate the ruffled bottom. Love the jewels. So glad she has the RFO!

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    1. The only issue I have with the RFO tonight is that it detracts from the beauty of Kate, her dress and her magnificent jewels. My eyes went right to the yellow ribbon, and Kate looks oh so beautiful. Without the RFO on her dress this appearance tonight would make a beautiful portrait. The ivory dress that Camilla wore is absolutely stunning, as is Maxima's very flattering evening gown. Great writeup Charlotte!

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    2. Elizabeth, I actually think the RFO are very difficult to wear for any of the ladies. They are not terribly attractive and are big! I think you just wear them with pride and know it detracts from your gown:):).

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  62. Queen Maxima came to slay -- that ensemble is regal from head to toe.

    So Kate finally got her RFO! I was wondering when that would happen, not the least since she's been married into the family for awhile, now.

    That crown plus that necklace -- WOW. The dress is not so great. While I love the bodice and straps, the fabric and cut is just awful. It looks like a botched wedding cake. Still, it's always fun to see her experimenting with different styles, especially since she's practically worn the same outfit to the last few engagements (with the exception of the burgundy polka dot dress).

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  63. Kate looks beautiful, I am in the minority here, I do not like this dress nor do I like the necklace. Tiara and earrings are great. Queen Maxima looks fantastic, love her dress and her jewelry (except for the giant diamond brooch at her waist). The desserts...yum. Also loved both speeches.

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    1. Not a fan of the brooch, either. I think it threw the look off a bit. But otherwise - 👌!

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  64. What a night! The tiara, Queen Alexandra's necklace, Royal Family order not made of ivory and beautiful Kate. Absolutely thrilled by everything except the material of the dress and Catherine even just about makes that work. Is the dress vintage? It looks very 80s or 90s.

    Can anyone ID her clutch and diamond bracelet please?

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  65. Is missing one pearl in Catherine's necklace, isn't it? Quite strange. :)

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  66. Yes if you look at the close up pictures one of the pearl drops us missing. Oh dear! I hope it fell off in the car or somewhere equally easy to find...

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    1. I thought that, too, but if you look closely you can see that the pearl is tilted upward. Someone should have noticed and pointed it out to Kate.

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  67. OMG Ladies!!! May I cry!??? She is stunning, beautiful, what a necklace! And the RFO!! I'm going to die lol
    Charlotte thank you so very much dear! Doesn't she have a bracelet too?


    Silvia

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  68. I am as well not a big fan of the dress. I don't like the color, the material, it looks really old stye. Sorry, that is my personal opinion.
    I am also surprised how thin she became again.

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    1. Yes, I know Kate is naturally slender but it does seem amazing how quickly she goes back to being so super thin after having a baby. I get that many women if they're in great shape before and during pregnancy, bounce right back. But to get this thin....I really do often wonder what she eats and what her work outs are.

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    2. I, too, am sorry that she got so thin. I thought she looked wonderfully fit and healthy during her Wimbledon appearances, especially in her face. Would have loved to see her maintain that look, but would like to assume she’s happier being slender, and that’s it’s not a sign of underlying issues.

      I’m also not sure the dress is my favorite of our gala looks, but at least she’s branching out from head-to-toe lace in this gown!

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    3. I can see how there will be different opinions on the dress. I like that it's so different for her. Then when I saw the close up of the fabric I thought it was even more beautiful. She does sling quite then. I can tell you from my experience I lost weight easily from nursing. That plus being too tired to eat often. She looks wonderful tonight.

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    4. Pam, my friends laugh when I say that I am not yet back to my pre pregnancy weight…and my youngest is 40 years old. Kate is amazing, hard to believe she's had three little ones and the youngest is still just months old…but there Kate is, as slender as ever.

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  69. Wow!!! This is my favorite look ever on Kate- the dress and tiara ....she really looks like a Queen here!!! Super wowed and impressed!!

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  70. I love the color, but not the dress itself so much.

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  71. Rose from Montreal24 October 2018 at 00:17

    Thanks so very much Charlotte for your fantastic reporting on this State Banquet our Catherine looks fantastic. Tiara, gown, necklace, earrings to die for. I am so very happy she received the Royal Family Order. Words fail me

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  72. I can't imagine wearing jewels like those with such history. The necklace from Queen Alexandra's wedding day. Amazing. And of course getting access to Diana's lovely things. What a thrill for Kate. Her life seems like a dream. I do like the McQueen dress. I often don't get her fixation on McQueen, as I don't think they always do right by Kate, but this is pretty, and certainly appropriate for the occasion. Exciting.

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  73. Charlotte, this is a magnificent post! To think you have been marvelously and sleeplessly covering the Sussexes down under, and then you give us all of this wonderful research about the Dutch State Visit, with beautifully chosen photos. Thank you for covering the jewels in such detail. I had not realized how long it has been since Queen Alexandra's necklace was seen. The Queen Mother was photographed wearing it at home, and that photo was seen frequently; therefore it seemed current. The Stuart diamond has been hidden away even longer. And by the way, the Queen wore "Granny's chips," the third and fourth Cullinan diamonds, which of course were cut in Amsterdam.

    The blue we are seeing seems more Fiji that Netherlands. The Prince of Wales even wore a tie in that color with his morning dress when he greeted the King and Queen. By the way, don't men usually wear uniforms for the formal beginning of a state visit?

    As for the torte, I want some!

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  74. Kate looks amazing but I think this is my least favorite dress she's ever worn-- I couldn't believe it when I saw it! It is super dated, the fabric is sort of cheap looking and I hate the flower on the arm.... But Kate is SO pretty that even with a dress I hate, I can't stop looking at photos of how gorgeous she looks! The jewels are fab!

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    1. Royal 👑 Watcher24 October 2018 at 03:11

      The fabric looks like raw silk if anything, it’s meant to “crush” like that. Definitely not cheap, but similar to some styles Princess Diana used to wear, 80’s inspired designs. I think it’s actually quite daring.

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    2. Royal Watcher, I am also assuming raw silk and probably much more textual and beautiful in person, I am not a fan of the dress, but I bet it is much better in person.

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    3. I think it's daring as well, Royal Watcher... and a success. Agree with you that the material is expensive and meant to look as it looks. I get more of a period feel from the dress than 80's disaster. More than a few of Diana's dresses were inspired by paintings and incorporated style elements from different eras as well.

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  75. I echo that Catherine looks utterly sublime. Yes, there's a possible 80s vibe but what were all the European fall/winter runways showing this year? Tons of 80' influenced silhouettes so as usual our duchess is right en point. And her figure after -- is it just 6 months? -- stunning again.

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    1. I agree with you, and I find this more interesting than her usual Cinderella style!

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    2. This Said, Kate Will need soon a Professional stylist.

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  76. Pardon my ignorance, why wouldn't the duchess wear the order in ivory and wears a glass one ?

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    1. The use of ivory, which is made from elephant tusks, is illegal, to protect elephants. It is okay to possess antiques that contain ivory, but they may not be imported or exported (as far as I know).

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    2. I wonder if it’s because people are trying to make sure they’re not supporting the illegal ivory trade. The last time I looked at buying a new piano, and enquired about the plastic keys, I was informed that a lot of people nowadays prefer that the elephants keep their tusks!

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    3. I'm sure it's because Prince William campaigns against the slaying of elephants for ivory trade.

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    4. They are referring to ivory, the material, not ivory the colour, and the Cambridge’s support the movement to ban elephants being hunted for ivory (tusks).

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    5. Because ivory is from the tusks of elephants. Prince William works to promote wildlife conservation. In fact, he is the Royal Patron of Tusk, which works to prevent the poaching and killing of elephants.

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    6. Anglophile in Ohio24 October 2018 at 12:45

      Because to get ivory people kill elephants

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    7. The Duke and Duchess are against the unlawful and inhumane acts of killing animals.

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    8. Because Prince William is very open about his opposition to hunting elephants for their ivory.

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  77. I hope we see this necklace again and again (and again). I love it! The dress on the other hand is a rare evening gown miss for me.

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  78. I forgot to praise my crush Queen Maxima. She's sparkling in every way. Loved all her looks today and no current Royal does jewels quite like her!

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  79. Hmm really. Love queen maxima really stand out and she slaying and she really knocking in out hmm and i love the queen alexandra necklace and tiara hmm thet queen looks regal hmm im so happy too sees the duchess of cambridge receive the royal family order and she looks stunning I have to say she the young queen

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  80. Joanne in California24 October 2018 at 02:00

    Wow! Beautiful! I really love this look. Love the color of the dress, and love the updo to show the lovely jewels. 👍🏻

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  81. Kate, Texas, USA24 October 2018 at 02:42

    Kate is absolutely stunning! Wow! From head to toe is perfection. She is so regal and sophisticated and every inch the future queen. I think state banquet posts are my favorite. I love tiaras and jewels! All the ladies are gorgeous! What a lovely evening!

    I never comment on Kate’s figure, but I just have too tonight. Prince Louis is 6 months old today and Kate looks AMAZING. So incredible!

    Dear Charlotte are you sleeping at all with all the engagements and posts? Your coverage has been FABULOUS as usual! YOU are a rock star!

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  82. Love the jewels the RFO. Love the dress color and dress waist up but hate the skirt, would have loved a big ball gown skirt to give some volume.

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  83. Oh my I am not a fan. Eeekk. Love Kate but this was a fashion miss by about 35 years. The fabric is a mess. The shape. Just a miss for me.

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  84. I am delighted to see Kate wearing the RFO. Amen...about time. :-) Me thinks the Queen's timing was on the money. The gown does have a Victorian vibe to it so it isn't shocking to see Kate wearing it. And the necklace!? Oh, my. Absolutely perfect with the tiara and earrings.

    Maxima … very elegant and stunning daytime and evening looks. I like her gown very much and
    it's something I would choose for Kate!

    Finally, what a warm greeting between Maxima and HM. Just look at the smile on the Queen's face!

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  85. Such a lovely color but the fabric look like it belongs in a casket!!

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  86. I’m not wild about this gown- the style or the color. I’d like to see it shortened by a few inches.

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  87. I noted the length but I have also noted that many high end gowns are made at that length, I think it is very much the current style.

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  88. Glad to see the Duchess get the family order. “Bling” night out, I see. Everyone looks lovely. Thanks, Charlotte. I don’t have time to read everything so I’ll catch up later. Thanks.

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  89. This is the first time I feel that Kate ‘wore’ a vault necklace rather than the necklace wearing her! Absolutely beautiful jewelry ensemble.
    The dress wasn’t my favorite, but her overall look was beautiful and it really ‘worked’ with her bling!

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  90. What splendor and magnificant grandeur!! Love Kate's jewels!!

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  91. Love Kate and most of her choices, but my first thought tonight was "omg,she wore the drapes!" This is in reference to a scene in Gone With The Wind, or the Carol Burnett show if you are old enough to remember. Loved all the jewels!

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  92. I love this dress Kate is in. It makes me think of Diana in its cut and fabric, while the color nods to the guest country's flag, the earlier "Prince's Flag" with a lighter blue shade than today's tricolor. I remember that the mermaid silhouette was fashionable around 1960. My Barbie doll had a black mermaid-style gown that year (with dark pink elbow-length gloves). Kate looks terrific, and I love seeing the tiara with this necklace. Very satisfying that she has the F.O. and in glass, not ivory. How elegant. Her hair is really beautiful.

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  93. I ADORE the dress! Many people are saying 80s but I think it’s got a great glamorous retro vibe from the 50s. I,m picturing the retro footage of women modelling the latest season looks on the runways of department stores - with the satin fabrics with gorgeous sheen. I bet the material is sublime to touch. Fishtails were originally 50s before they made an 80s revival! I think she looks smashing from head to toe.

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  94. Silvia from Tuscany24 October 2018 at 08:34

    Kate looks fabulous! Love all this! The gown, the jewels, the tiara, all the sparkling around! What makes royal stuff so charming!

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  95. Charlotte: Here, here on your offerings for us! Awesome coverage of Meghan's great speech on women and higher education, which was and very well done. And, then the details for Kate's night. Wow. Dress does seem dated, but neckline is excellent. Love learning the necklace was last worn by QEQM during a Netherlands visit and not since worn by anyone until tonight. Love info on Maxima's jewels. Oh, yes, big to match her big personality, which I love! From tiara with a 40 carat diamond to the earrings to the piece at her waist. Gorgeous dress. She's a beautiful Queen. Thank you for such informative, interesting, and enlightening work---24/7 right now. I've so enjoyed it all! Katherine USA

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  96. The Duchess knocked it out of the park! Bang on! Perfect. Love the colour, the style and the fabric. Perfection- the jewels - perfection - quite OTT - as well the event called for. Pleased to see she's finally gotten the RFO. about time. Charlotte- you are too much. Between this and the Sussexes overseas, I doubt you are sleeping - at all. You're the tops. Where's YOUR RFO!? Incredible coverage- as always.

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  97. Kate's dress is just a big no. It looks as if she just pulled it out from the washing machine and put it on without ironing. Also, it is way too long. I can't imagine how she managed not to trip over in it. I agree with everyone who says this dress is rather Diana...a couple of decades earlier.
    Maxima and Sophie on the other hand look beautiful.

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  98. I really like this gown on Kate. The multiple folds and details of it make for a very texturized appearance that works well on her very svelte figure. As a matter of fact, I think that is the only figure it would look nice on and I basically think Kate looks fabulous in any and every shade of blue. The jewels were beyond magnificent tonight! I can't even fathom wearing something with that kind of history.

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  99. My thoughts:
    I'm very glad the queen listened to Julia - would that she would do so in all matters! I said that it was time Kate had the order - first of all because I believed she had reached the point where she had 'earned' it - if that is the standard being used today - second because the endless speculation was getting very tiresome - more destructive than helpful. I said they needed to solve the ivory issue by making the b... thing out of something else - excuse my French - and am so pleased they did - I would have preferred enamel perhaps or porcelain from what is left of the potteries - but glass is a good substitute - I would be interested to know who did it.

    If the queen wants to continue to take my advice - I would suggest family photos of the diplomatic reception - and indeed of the coming birthday celebrations - be allowed - to get rid of the also very tiresome car shots which are neither flattering to the royals nor helpful to the public - pointing out we all are excluded - we aren't even allowed to see the pretty dresses. This needs to change. The European monarchies balance this sort of thing far better. The positive reaction to Beatrice's wedding shows allowing vicarious enjoyment by the public is not a bad thing. It seems like better photos were allowed here - so I hoping I'm being heeded.
    As to the dress Kate wore, it was never going to live up to the truly extraordinary creations our stylists here came up with - if I may say so, we excelled - with symbolism, beauty and originality - and bravo to the stylist who had faith the Greville emerald tiara still existed.

    But Kate's dress is very pretty and at least I don't feel like we're back in the time of Marie Antoinette like I did last time. It is a lovely colour, shows off her beautiful figure and is more sophisticated than she has worn before. I'm absolutely thrilled to see the appearance of the Alexandra necklace - first of all because it is one of my favourite pieces and hasn't been seen for ages. Second, because it's the first time I think one of these historic necklaces was the right length for Kate. I would have loved to see the gown worthy of it - I'm still think Catherine Walker who does regal so well - but it was originally worn as a wedding necklace and this gown is youthful and fresh in that spirit.
    The gown perhaps because of the shiny taffeta as well as the style reminds me of the eighties and the gowns the women performers of St. Martins in the Field used to wear - glowing like jewels amongst the men's suits as they played - I always thought it lovely.

    I will say without too much comment that I think in this last year Kate is trying to dress in a very 'British' way - the Christening outfit with the retro hat, the used of country clothes and the choice of a repeat for her first appearance all say that. It's not the most innovative looks but I believe she is speaking to traditional royalists who don't like too much change too quickly - the royal family's purpose is to be a constant in troubled times - and who have been feeling a trifle beleaguered of late. So I think Kate's choice is wise, if cautious - very much in the princess mode.
    Maxima looks lovely - Taminiau is a brilliant designer and he was wise to let the Stuart tiara shine without too much competing glitz - it is magnificence defined. I'm not a great fan of Maxima's fashion eccentricities but she did well here - the colour is wonderful on her and her hair looks nice. The other ladies all looked very beautiful as well.

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  100. After looking forward to seeing what Kate would dazzle us in tonight,I found myself wishing for a few things :-
    1) I wish she'd opted for a darker colour (reflecting the season)
    2) I wish she'd chosen a modern fabric (taffeta belongs in the 80's)
    3) I wish the designer had worked to Kate's strengths and not gone for a 'fit and flare', it looks like the bottom part of the gown is being dragged along.
    4) I wish Kate's hair stylist would up her game. Kate has been blessed with gorgeous locks, and to see it styled tight against her head, in the same style updo at the back I find ages her. A softer look, like Maxima would have been perfect for Kate.
    5) I hope Kate, moving forward looks to expand her choice of 'go-to' designers, and throws a few 'new's into the mix.
    Overall tonight was a disappointment for me ! However, it was good to see Kate has at last been bestowed the family order.
    Charlotte what an immensely busy time it is for you, with both blogs ! Thank you for all you do ! Such a treat popping in and seeing so many updates. x

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  101. Nicole from France24 October 2018 at 10:25

    Not very fond’ of this colour on Catherine , she looks much better in dark rich colours, such as dark red or deep green ...besides, this shade does not enhance the jewels, so sad for such a lot of blings ! . I shall not comment on the old fashioned design .... however I do like the crinkled look of the material , a sort of satin which we call « faille » in French (sorry could’ not find the English for it ) , it is purposely looking like this and makes the light shine on it !
    I found an interesting information regarding the tiara , lovers knot tiata vs Cambridge lovers tiara , as it seems’ lots of journalists quite often make the confusion between which is what !
    http://www.thecourtjeweller.com/2017/07/lovers-knot-tiaras-cambridge-vs-queen.html

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  102. Courtney from NC24 October 2018 at 10:44

    I adore this look. Why? I adore it because it is utterly regal and so princessy! Would I have designed or worn this dress? No but it works. I would have loved the dress if ot had an a-line or ball skirt but she totally pulls this off.

    That necklace is so Kate. It works perfectly on her and with this dress. She has made a parure out of three non matched items and done a bang up job. Well done Kate!

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  103. I love the tiara & earrings & necklace combo. I do not particularly enjoy the dress. Also, I admire Kate's shape just 6 months after having Louis, but I have to say that on the pictures here she looks a tad too thin, almost fragile.
    Ella

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  104. Future Queen, indeed! I know people are calling it 80s bridesmaids dress, but she is slaying it here. Confident, regal, and she looks AMAZING in this cut of dress. It is a teensy bit too long, but meh. Tiara and jewels and Family Order. Go Kate!

    And Máxima is just divine. I love her!!

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  105. The bracelet looks like it could be the big diamond bracelet Prince Charles gave Kate on their wedding.

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  106. I think this dress is gorgeous and Kate looks gorgeous in it. I wonder if she had her eye on the necklace and chose the dress to go with it. Or maybe worked with Alexander McQueen on the design. Because the dress is very Alexandra/Princess Maryish. It was risky because it could easily have come off looking costumey. I think though she achieved the look beautifully. And the material IMO is fabulous but maybe that is because I have always loved that material.

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  107. The color fits her and her figure is great in this dress! Otherwise it just looks cheap to me... The dress. The jewels are spectacular! ☺️

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  108. Kate looked tired, and anxious in the car pictures. Her expression was similar to the way she looked before her first diplomatic reception. But on the walk into dinner, she appeared to enjoy the company of the Dutch foreign minister. By now Kate has had experience of these state occasions, and one can only wonder whether for some reason she was nervous about this one.

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  109. I love everything about Kate's look tonight. Such grace and beauty.

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  110. I am seriously always a fan of what Kate wears but this dress is a huge miss for me. Her jewelry is nice and love that the last time the necklace was worn was during a previous state visit from the Neatherlands.

    Queen Maxima is stunning, her entire look is on point and amazing.

    I am excited to see Kate wearing the RFO! I feel like the blue dress is something Diana would have worn in the 80s, so perhaps that was taken into account...? I'm just having a hard time finding anything about it that I like. Kate does look fantastic after giving birth only 6 months ago!

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