Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Kate in Navy Velvet McQueen & Sparkling Jewels for Diplomatic Reception

It was a night of regal sparkle at Buckingham Palace for the annual Diplomatic Reception.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for the annual white-tie event at Buckingham Palace. Hosted by Her Majesty, the reception is one of the most glittering events on the royal calendar with tiaras, jewels and royal orders on display.


William and Kate were photographed leaving Kensington Palace shortly after 8 pm. Unlike previous years, there was a screen on the window, which meant the quality of images was greatly impaired. Luckily we didn't have to wait long for photos from inside.


Carole Middleton was spotted arriving to look after the children shortly before they left.


For years we only saw arrival photos of the Duchess offering a brief glimpse of the tiara and colour of the gown. Last year heralded a major change in tradition with a pool photographer invited to cover the event and a number of high-resolution images made available afterwards. Unlike previous generations, there are only a handful of occasions on the calendar where we see the royals in full regalia. For William and Kate, it is State banquets and the Diplomatic Reception, so it's wonderful to get a proper look inside the reception now. The decision to share coverage was very much seen as another sign of Her Majesty passing over responsibilities to Prince Charles.


There are over 170 foreign missions accredited to the court of St James's in London (St James's Palace is still the senior palace and official residence of the sovereign). Each year Her Majesty throws a reception in their honour and members of the Royal family in attendance make a point of meeting with each one.


Guests were welcomed to the palace ballroom. At 36.6m long, 18m wide and 13.5m high, the ballroom is the largest multi-purpose room in Buckingham Palace. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. It is used by the Queen for State banquets. Below, William appeared to be having a very interesting conversation with a guest.


Kate was accompanied by private secretary Catherine Quinn.


Her Majesty was regal in a gown by Angela Kelly and the Vladimir tiara with emerald and diamond drop earrings. According to royal jewellery experts the Queen's spectacular emerald necklace is new.


The Duchess of Cornwall wore an elegant cream embroidered Bruce Oldfield gown and the shimmering Boucheron Tiara.


The Duchess of Cambridge looked every inch a future queen in dazzling jewels and an Alexander McQueen navy velvet gown.


The piece features a v neck, structured shoulders and a fitted floor-length silhouette.


Kate's gown appears to be a custom version of the £6,000 Bejeweled Long Sleeve Illusion Gown. Made in Italy, it is described as "a stunning stretch jersey gown with sheer lace panels at the waist and back finished with an opulent jeweled back panel". Kate's piece is navy velvet and doesn't have the sheer panels or back.


It is not the only royal navy velvet gown making headlines today. This morning it was revealed the iconic off-the-shoulder midnight Victor Edelstein evening dress Princess Diana wore when she danced with John Travolta at White House has been purchased by Historic Royal Palaces for £264,000 and will feature in royal exhibitions. It will join a treasure trove of over 10,000 items of historic dress from the 16th century to the present day. Read more about it on the HRP website.


Once again this year Kate selected the Lover's Knot tiara. I know many of you were hoping to see a different one, though I would be surprised if we see Kate's rotation altered from the Lover's Knot and the Lotus Flower tiara until she's Princess of Wales. I've long adored this one, as it was Diana's defining tiara and steeped in royal history. I expect we'll see it throughout Kate's life.


The tiara features elements of the Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Lovers 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.


Readers will recognise Kate's Nizam of Hyderabad necklace which the Duchess was previously loaned for the 2014 Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery.


The dazzling necklace was given to Her Majesty as a wedding gift in 1947 by the Nizam of Hyderabad, then king of a state in India. The Nizam was the owner of one of the most celebrated and largest private jewellery collections in the world. Below we see the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) wearing it for a portrait by Dorothy Wilding in 1952.


More from Artemisia's Royal Jewels:

'The necklace was purchased from Cartier. Actually, in a way it was acquired by Elizabeth herself; the Nizam wasn't in London at the time and left Cartier instructions that the Princess would personally choose her present. It consists of a long chain of 38 diamonds with a diamond-encrusted strap. The centre of the necklace is pave-set with detachable double-drop pendant 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop.'

And dazzling diamond earrings, almost certainly from the royal collection. Emma suggests they are from the Diamond Chandelier Drop Demi-Parure. In recent times, they have been worn by the Countess of Wessex.


Kate also wore a statement ring for the evening.


Kate wore her Royal Family Order, and the riband of a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. It comprises of a blue sash with red and white trim, a cross and star. The Queen bestowed it on Kate to mark her and William's 8th wedding anniversary. It's an enormous honour and awarded in recognition of services to the sovereign.


What do you think of the looks and jewels on display for the night?

A reminder: A Very Berry Christmas airs on BBC One at 8.30 pm Monday night. We'll also see the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon at some point next week, likely Tuesday or Wednesday.

145 comments:

  1. Robbie Milln DESKINS11 December 2019 at 20:35

    Love all those diamonds! Can't wait to see how her hair is done, looks interesting. She is so beautiful!!

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  2. I can still remember the similar photo from the first Diplo reception they attended. Both Kate and Wills looked really tense, you could see how Kate was clenching her teeth. Fast forward to this year we have a confident Kate smiling a relaxed way.
    I do hope we will get proper pictures from inside again.

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  3. WOW! Happy Days!!! A tiara just adds to a sense of occasion. Carole Middleton is a amazing grand-mother! XOXOXOOX

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    1. Carole Middleton is only doing what any normal grandmother will do.

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  4. Sheryl from BC Canada11 December 2019 at 21:20

    Ooooooo...I can't wait.

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  5. Reports are the Lovers' Knot tiara, the Queen's diamond drop earrings and the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, with midnight blue gown!! Stunning!

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    1. The earrings, and necklace with the navy velvet gown is exquisite. The look is very gracefully elegant. While part of me had hoped we might see a different tiara, the other part likes that Kate pretty much 'owns' the Lovers' Knot tiara and that it most likely has personal meaning to her. But in truth, any tiara moment is a good one! Kate is stunning! cc

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    2. I also wonder if you wear a tiara regularly if your figure out how to get it adjusted and what hair style works to make it comfortable to wear. That tiara is substantial:):). Or it is just her favorite:).

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    3. Stunning is the word! This look just screams "Queen Catherine" and I love it!!!

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    4. Kate is a beautiful woman she is so well suited to Royal Life William is lucky to have her by his side.

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  6. I hope there's a good look at her RVO medal. Love that she went with a dark blue gown and major bling. Waiting for a group photo.

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  7. Daily Mail states it's the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. :) I hope we will see high-res photographs as well.

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  8. If you click on the Twitter posting, you can see a bit more of the dress and necklace. Very excited at the peek, but the Queen is The Boss in all those emerald jewels--WOWser!!!

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  9. Wow, Kate looks fantastic!! So regal! 👑

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  10. Her hair looks pretty. I love it straight back from her forehead with a tiara. Those look like different earrings than any she has worn before.

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  11. I noticed what appears to be a large diamond ring also. Can't wait to see the identities of all the jewels! She looks spectacular!

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  12. I love it! Can't wait for photos. I was hoping she would not wear a frilly or fussy pastel gown, and she didn't! Especially with the sash, etc, the dark montone looks wonderful. And I love diamonds! Good for her! I would think it's very hard to plan a gown when you wear a sash and ribbons.

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  13. Ok interesting. In the past I think Kate's let the jewels accompany the dress. In this case I think the dress accompanies the jewels. The simple black evening gown seems designed so our eyes go to the tiara, the necklace, the earrings, all of which look spectacular. I like it. I think in past diplomatic receptions Kate has tended to overdo the frill on the gowns so we don't see the jewels. This time she is letting the jewels make the statement.

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    1. This gown is much the best.

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    2. Ivy Lin - the Duchess’ gown is navy, not black.

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  14. Oh my goodness!!!! Kate always looks spectacular, but THIS is what I have been dreaming of: statement necklace-check, statement earrings-check, tiara-check, statement ring-check, wearing her orders-check, and stunning gown--check. She is nothing short of perfection. She not only looks every inch a future queen, but she looks like a queen now. Also, the Queen's necklace looks fabulous!!

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  15. She looks gorgeous. Love that blue velvet fabric and the jewelry is fantastic. I especially like the earrings, can not see enough of the ring to know and would love to see the back of her dress.

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  16. KNOT THE LOVERS KNOT AGAIN!!!

    It's interesting Charlotte that you say she may not rotate others in, until she is Princess of Wales. I had not thought of that and you are probably right. On the ensemble, Kate's version of the dress is conservative but unusually so on the neckline. I would have preferred something a touch more dramatic there given the very plain nature of the dress.

    Typically I would have gone with a smaller earring to balance that massive necklace/tiara but as Ivy Lin states the focus is on the jewels here.

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    1. Rita I also would have preferred a bit more open neckline, not because I think the dress needs it, but because I think the necklace would look better with it:).

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  17. When I read the first sentence about a navy blue velvet dress I was hoping for that sapphire choker Diana wore the night she danced with Travolta. After scrolling down and seeing her dripping in diamonds I wasn't too disappointed. This would have been the perfect dress for that choker if she has access to it. It makes me think that Diana must have left this for Harry. I love velvet and think Kate looks every inch a future queen in this whole ensemble!

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  18. Who can’t love tiaras and diamonds? These are my favourite events and so thrilled they have a pool photographer.

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  19. Anglophile in Ohio12 December 2019 at 00:59

    Spectacular! This is a wonderful look. And we are seeing a woman growing into her role as a future Queen.
    I think the Queen values Catherine, she’s been lending her some amazing jewelry.

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  20. She absolutely looks like a queen. At first I thought the gown seemed almost too structured, but with her height and figure she can carry it very well. She's beautiful tonight and looks confident. I'm quite glad that she wore the Lover's Knot tiara. That gown has a strong silhouette and needs a large, striking tiara. One of the more delicate ones might not have looked as well. (not that they aren't all stunning, they are)

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  21. Ivy Lin, I agree with you and like that the jewels (all diamonds) are allowed to be prominent. I don't like busy gowns with busy jewels. It looks great -- it really looks black to me so if it's navy, it must be very dark. I don't remember her every wearing a loaded-with-diamonds ring, so this must be a special night. I was just thinking that if she ever went to this event, Meghan would probably wear a dark, streamlined dress and be criticized for it, and here Kate wears something like that and it looks spectacular, maybe because of the diamonds! Love it! Also love the zillions of emeralds on the Queen. Will have to look for Camilla now.

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    1. Allison I think I know the shade of blue velvet and it is dark but spectacular in person and in the light. The dark blue appears almost black sometimes to a shimmery vibrant royal blue when the fabric moves and creases and/or the light hits it differently. The diamonds would be set off by that color and fabric beautifully.

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    2. I am just glad that Kate mixed up the streak of white, off-white and icy-blue that she had been going. I already saw lots of people question why she wasn’t wearing white like she was supposed to. Already forgetting that she has worn red to this event before. It is amazing how quickly people forget and assume something is a rule. (The fact that HM and Camilla stick to white dresses does not help) With a lifetime of these events to attend I hope we will see her (and Meghan eventually) in every possible colour.

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  22. Kates gown is fabulous as are all the individual pieces of jewelry. However, for my taste it is all much to much. My eye doesn't know which piece to look at first. Wearing so many ornate pieces takes away from each individually. The tiara speaks for itself if she had not one other piece of jewelry on as do the earrings. We can safely say that Kate has taken ownership of the tiara or shall I say called dibs!!! I love that granny is babysitting tonight.

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  23. Wow !! Seeing her wearing a ribbon and Order gave me the chills, a real future Queen has arrived. This photo is perfect evidence of why women the are told that their best accessory is confidence. I am also drooling over all those diamonds. The emerald jewels on the Queen are stunning.

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  24. I don't like this look at all. Although, I love a velvet dress, this one ages Kate prematurely. Even the fabulous jewelry wasn't enough to distract me from this dress not working well for her. Plus with her usual updo for this event, it looks matronly to me. Her other velvet strapless dress that she owns would have been better, perhaps with a bolero or a shawl for modesty. Or another dress altogether would have been better.

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  25. So beautiful! DIdn't she wear the riband of a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order at the state banquet earlier this year?

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  26. The neckline of the dress was made for THIS necklace. So many diamonds! If I were a princess and had access to the royal vault, I'd be wearing the jewels everywhere. This is the first time she has really jeweled it up -- tiara, necklace, earrings, ring! Keeping the dress very simple just shows them off and looks great with her sash/Order. And William looks dashing too. I hope the screen in the car is not permanent, as the Christmas party is coming and I'm hoping for a look at the little royals!

    I think that Carol babysitting (or helping babysit) even though they have a nanny is fantastic. Having a close relationship with grandparents gives children such a solid foundation. I think Kate seems to be trying to raise her children (to the extent that she can) in the same manner as she would have had she not married into the BRF. This will only benefit George if/when he becomes king.

    Hope from USA

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    1. If I were a princess I would be wearing jewels all the time everywhere too ;)

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  27. It's the cullinan ring

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  28. It's the Queens cullinan ring she's wearing.

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    1. Very interesting, thank you. I'll ask a couple of the royal jewellery experts.

      Thanks to everyone who pointed out Kate wore her sash earlier this year.

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    2. I just asked the lovely ladies from The Court Jeweller and Order of Splendor. They don't think this is the one but likely another from the royal collection. Hopefully we'll get another look at it on Kate :)

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  29. The jewels are fabulous! But what are the photos the Queen is wearing on her breast? Kate's got one also which looks like the current queen.

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    1. They are Royal Family Orders (miniature portraits), given to royal ladies as a mark of favour from the Sovereign. The Queen wears her father's and grandfather's, and Kate's, as you noticed, is from the current Monarch. Each reign has a different coloured ribbon.

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    2. They are the royal family orders. The queen wears Orders from her father and her grandfather. Kate (and most other current royals) were the Orders from the Queen.

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  30. I love this dress!!!!
    It’s not too frilly and suits her height and slimness to perfection.
    Like other commentators I would love another tiara but this seems to be her go to for now.
    I personally think the necklace is a bit much with the neckline however when would you wear all these diamonds otherwise!! Go for it!!

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  31. She really rocks these formal events, but I don’t love this look. It’s fun to see her in all that bling, but the necklace seems to overwhelm her. It’s also fighting with the stately neckline and shoulder pads of the dress. The queen might have had the right idea by pairing it with a black strapless dress. Or leave the dress as is, with the stunning earrings, tiara and ring?

    The other thing I noticed is that the way she’s styled her hair - entirely pulled away from her face - really emphasizes the slim shape of her lovely bone structure and she looks sort of tired. She’s worn her hair a bit differently at other tiara events, with a sweep of hair across her forehead (the state dinner for the Chinese premier, maybe?) that I found more youthful looking.

    On the other hand, I was thrilled to see her in something less frou-frou than in previous years for this event.

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  32. She wore the Dame Grand Cross before in June, just FYI.

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  33. Must. Have. Earrings!!

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  34. She looks absolutely stunning! The dress, the color, the diamonds, and then the awards attached! Wow! Simply breathtaking and elegant! 😍❤️

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  35. Lisa from Nebraska12 December 2019 at 04:13

    Didn’t she wear the order/ribbon for the US state dinner? They look the same to me in the pictures so I’m not sure if I’m missing something???

    At any rate, Kate looks so stunning! The whole effect is perfect- such a great way to show off the jewels and look gorgeous!

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  36. I wish we could see the back of the dress! I am hoping some of the original dress’ lace detail remain there...

    The jewellery is beautiful, but something about the necklace and tiara combination really elongated her face for me.

    Overall love the confident Kate look.

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  37. Beautiful, elegant dress on Kate. And the jewellery is magnificient as well. Absolute hit 😊

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  38. I was hoping for a new tiara this year, but my head agrees with Charlotte, the BRF goed for signature tiaras instead of rotating or sharing tiaras (unlike Sweden for example).
    Diana only ever wore her family tiara and the Lover’s Knot. Camilla basically always wear the Boucheron tiara (with I think one exception), Sophie, who attends the most tiara events as they go to the European events, rotates between her wedding tiara, a aquamarine one and I think one more.
    HM of course rotates between more tiaras.
    So I think we will see Kate stick with the Lover’s Knot for the foreseeable future, making it her signature.

    Last time she wore this neckless I did not like it, it felt like the neckless was wearing her, were as this time she is owning the neckless. My only quibble is that I wish the V-neck was slightly more open to allow more breathing room for the neckless. But for the rest it is one of her best looks yet.

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  39. Perhaps these are some of the last pics we will see of Catherine Quinn in her role as Kate's private secretary.

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  40. This is a truly regal look for Kate - wonderful!

    And the Queen - she looks absolutely gorgeous. What stunning jewellery!

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  41. Absolutely stunning. A queen from head to toe. Kate the magnificent.

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  42. Stunning and very regal! This is my favorite look for a formal event so far.

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  43. Just Wow!!.... Remember years back when some would say that Kate looked so Jr. compared to Mary of Denmark etc.... Look at Kate Now!!!..... She's just grown, evolved & owns who she is... herself & her role.... & she hasn't even become Princess of Wales yet... imagine how natural she will be in the role when she becomes Queen Consort!! (I wish I had an emoji for bowing deeply! :) xx

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    1. True, but remember that Mary of Denmark then was about the age Catherine is now. Aging 8 years does "mature" a person that way.

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    2. Sonja from Bavaria12 December 2019 at 21:26

      Exactly my thoughts Becca!

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  44. The most elegant gown she's ever worn!

    The only "but" I have is for the amount of jewelry she's thrown on: she virtually robbed the queen's jewel box :-)

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  45. Lovely dress but for me it would have been better without necklace. Too big for this kind of dress.

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  46. The dress reminds me of Queen Mathilde's velvet Armani prive gown which she wore during her France visit. I agree with a lot of opinions that it is bit too much on the Jewel front.
    The royal family order and royal Victorian order with the tiara looks spendid! love the dress!

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  47. everything the duchess wear is amazing from hair to the tiara she always full of nice smile

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  48. This isn't the first time Kate's worn her RVO sash though. It's appeared previously at a state banquet earlier this year.

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  49. December never disappoints in terms of royal jewellery. I am actually not too fond of the Lovers Knot tiara. I think the piece is highly overrated and needs puffed up hair- that is why it suited Diana so much. Camilla could rock it too but we all knwo she will never touch that piece. It feels like people love it mostly because of Diana.
    The dress is a very edgy choice for her. Maybe she got inspired by CP Mary? I do like it very much but the combination with the jewellery makes her look much much older.
    I am all for bringing out the bling and this dress would have been the most perfect backdrop just not for this pieces.
    The necklace doesn't go well with the neckline of the dress. The two shapes seem to compete each other instead of complimenting. Someone mentioned Diana's pearl choker. This would have been an excellent choice but maybe to much Diana role play. The Queen's Dubai Looped Saphire, City of London Fringe, South African Necklac or (my favourite) George VI. Festoon would have worked much better in my opinion.
    For the tiara I would love to see her bringing back the Halo Cartier or try the Teck Crescent or the Girls of Britian and Ireland. The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace she is wearing came with tiara. This one would have looked fantastic too.
    I have to agree that it might have been a bit much. The tiara is not a delicate one and the earrings, nacklace and ring are pretty solid structured too.
    Still, it's a rare treat to see her decked all out and I take what I get.
    C.

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    1. And I just thought how well the necklace went with the neckline! And that it seemed that the dress had been made to go with it. Its symmetry is enhanced by the shape of the neckline and the gorgeous velvet makes it shine. I like it much better than on its first outing on Kate. Then it seemed too heavy and intricate for the dress. Here the balance is perfect IMO. And those earrings go also perfectly with the necklace.
      We could speculate about another tiara, but it seems Kate has only access to this one and eventually the Lotus. This one is much better with the necklace. I read somewhere that the matching Nysam of Hyderabad tiara doesn't exist anymore? Too bad, that would have been lovely.

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    2. Sonja from Bavaria12 December 2019 at 21:25

      If I recall correctly, the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara was dismanteled and the necklace Kate is wearing was created from these pieces?

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    3. Anglophile in Ohio13 December 2019 at 01:48

      I believe only the Qieen wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland. It was a wedding gift from her grandmother’s collection and is one of her favorites. She has never lent it to anyone.

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    4. @Natacha: we will have to disagree about the necklace-neckline match. I checked and the Queen did break the tiara up indeed.
      @Sonja from Bavaria: The pieces went into the Burmese Ruby tiara and brooches. The necklace was gifted alongside the tiara (the Queen actually picked them out herself).
      I will say it is a shame she broke the tiara up. I don't think the burmese ruby is a nice tiara. I think ruby is hard stone to work with in a tiara but there are some nice pieces.
      C.

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    5. Too bad she broke it up. I had a look at the Burmese Ruby and don't like it very much, in fact not at all..and looking for it I found a delicious Ruby tiara, that shows it can be done. I wanted to post the link but it is much too long.
      I would love Kate to wear a softer ( for lack of words) diamond tiara and from pictures the Nizam tiara was just lovely, and would have suited her so well.

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  50. Am I the only one who thinks that the structured shoulders do not fit the Kate very well? I will be very happy to see her in very this dark blue velvet but with other shoulders.

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    1. I agree!

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    2. Sonja from Bavaria12 December 2019 at 21:23

      I agree. Maybe it's just because I do not like this style personally, but I think the gown would look better without this kind of structured sleeves (I would prefer figure-hugging all the way along the shouldera and arms)

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  51. Wow!!! OMG!!! Hurray for all the diamonds!
    She is stunning, beautiful I can't find the words just a really future queen.
    Her Majesty necklace is wonderful, what an amazing night!

    Silvia

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  52. Wow stunning as always The dress is elegant and not too fussy The jewels are spectacular Kate looks so regal and as others have already commented she just oozes confidence and so natural Certainly has grown into her role as our future queen consort xx

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  53. Dear all,

    Please find below the origin (maybe) of the diamond ring worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

    https://mb.boardhost.com/historyroyaljewels/msg/1576150351.html

    Very best regards,

    Franck

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    1. Thank you Franck. It's a very strong possibility. Hopefully we'll see it again soon. It's safe to say it's definitely from the royal vault.

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  54. The Duchess of Cambridge also wore a diamond bar brooch.

    See below link.

    https://mb.boardhost.com/historyroyaljewels/msg/1576150810.html

    Franck

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    1. Caroline in Montana12 December 2019 at 19:49

      Can you tell me where you see a brooch? im just not seeing it??

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    2. Anglophile In Ohio12 December 2019 at 23:21

      I believe it is in her top right back shoulder--pinning the sash in place on the dress.

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  55. Thanks for sharing..All of these are history and I'm glad Iam accepted joining the group.. One of a kind. God Bless the QUEEN, Prince's etc..

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  56. Stunning gown, really. It reminds me so much the one Queen Mathilde wore for the French state banquet. But I dont like the pairing of this particular jewelry. The Tiara with more simple diamond and pearl earrings and no necklace would have been adorable, imho

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  57. Lovely post with Kate looking very regal & so confident. Do you think she wore the dark blue velvet as a nod to Diana’s “Travolta dress” coming back to KP?

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  58. Wow, didn’t our Duchess look like a queen? Absolutely stunning choices. Whilst the sash and family order convey great honour, they aren’t the easiest thing to pair with a dress, I wonder if we will see more structured and simple colour gowns now on occasions when Kate needs to wear her sash/brooch? Annie, UK

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    1. The vivid blue with red and white borders sash rather narrows the choices, doesn't it? Add to that the yellow of the bow... There is a reason the Queen and Camila stick to white.
      I really like this navy blue

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    2. If you look at Queen Maxima of the Netherlands there is no need to tone down your dress just because you are wearing orders. But then Maxima is unique. Kate might prefer to have more structured and simple dresses.

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    3. Maxima is unique, her style too. I can't say the same to any other royal ladies, maybe Letizia, but there is only one Maxima.

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  59. I think the dress was created specifically so that the jewelry and honors would be noticed. The dress is the frame for everything else.

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    1. I agree and I think that they review many style gowns from Kate's go to Designers and the Alexander McQueen gown was the one that had a neckline to wear that beautiful necklace, ribbons, brooch etc. You can see from the original gown, they change the panels & material. The designer without a doughy had the measures of the necklace and where it falls and ends, so it fits perfectly. We still have not seen the back to see if there was a small V in the back, the shoulder pads give the dress more structure to display all the items Kate is wearing from jewelry and on. This same event previously she wore diamond bracelets. With this dress she wore instead a cocktail ring with the beautiful midnight blue velvet long sleeves that show off the ring and ear rings beautifully. This gown flows and fit her perfectly even in length, I think she had at least one fitting this time with the shoes she was going to wear. My feeling we are going to see a pair of midnight navy velvet pumps with another outfit some day 💙. The Queen dripping in emeralds & diamonds look terrific.

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  60. i love the neckline of the dress, but not sure about the sleeves.

    I actually wish she would use a different tiara - there are so many in the vault, and I'm getting "bored" with the lover's knot! ;)

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  61. I think I would have preferred the necklace that went with the earrings. LOVE the earrings!

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  62. I love that she now exclusively wears the Lover's Knot. That tiara will go down as being Diana and Kate's and someday Charlotte. Diana only ever wore the Lover's Knot or the Spencer Family tiara even though she was Princess of Wales.

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    1. I don’t think Charlotte will wear the Lover’s Knot, it would most likely be passed on the George’s wife.
      (and yes, it feels very weird to refer to the future wife of a five year old boy.)

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    2. Caroline in Montana13 December 2019 at 16:22

      RachelZA - I hadn't thought of that! I think you are right though, charlotte will get something else and indeed the lovers knot will be rightfully for George's wife!
      lol future wife of a 5 year old:)

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  63. I was happy to see from the first car photo that the dress looked like it was velvet. Although typical, I do love a velvet dress during the holidays. However, I don't care for this one much. The lace panels on the original version serve to lighten up the heaviness that velvet has. Without them, along with the big structured shoulders, the dress just seems too heavy (visually). But I do love the Navy color, which keeps the dress from being too Christmas-ey.

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    1. I agree with your assessment of the dress, Pam.

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    2. My thoughts exactly. Very heavy.

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  64. Here are some additional info on the statement ring she wore:

    https://mb.boardhost.com/historyroyaljewels/msg/1576150351.html

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  65. Have a question, is it my imagination, or are the pictures more grainy and less crisp than in the past? There seem to be only a few really clear pictures of Kate. The one of the Queen is fantastic and quite sharply in focus, but the rest seem hazy. Especially the close up of her face where, if it were sharper, you could see her in the jewels in full detail. Even the one with the ring is very grainy. As beautiful as she is, its a lost opportunity that the pictures weren't better. Just curious. cc

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    1. CeCe, it's not just your imagination. Some of the pictures are quite grainy. I've no idea why. Better grainy than nothing though 😉!

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    2. So true Zora!! cc

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  66. Can someone explain the reason for some of the Sash to be worn across the right shoulder while others are worn across the left. Am curious. Thanks

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    1. It is two different orders and each order determine the way it is worn. Kate and Camilla wears the Royal Victorian Order, while HM and Charles wears the Order of the Garter which is worn the other way.

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  67. So I think Kate looks spectacular. But, after letting this sit for a bit, I think she should have subscribed to the "take one accessory off" idea- the Tiara, necklace, earrings, and two substantial rings (obviously she shouldn't take off her engagement ring) is one accessory too much. As the evening required a tiara, I think it should have been necklace OR earrings.

    That said, she has a growing confidence and very much looks more Queenly of late. The fit of this gown is exquisite and her demeanor and confidence outshine the dress and maybe even the jewels. She owns the role that she plays right now and it shows.

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    1. Maybe she decided to follow the "Queen Mary Rule" for this occasion. "If one piece of jewelry is good, ten more are better!" Nobody in royal history got decked out like Mary.

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    2. @RM in PA: no I imagine a boat neck for this dress and some serious Queen Mary pearl necklace action. Would have been a phenomenal look!
      C.

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  68. Tammy from California12 December 2019 at 17:15

    Sadly, I was underwhelmed by Kate's outfit tonight. I think white or cream would have really set off the diamonds well. I have never been a fan of this style of dress, then add in the sash and family order brooch, it all takes away from the diamonds. She still looked wonderful for the occasion, just not my style.

    Kate wearing the Cambridge Lover's Knot is something I think she will always go to. She seems very traditional and family is her thing, so that crown makes sense. It isn't my favorite either, but when I think about WHY she wears it, I think it is actually perfection. She loves her husband, she loves her kids and they are the Cambridges. Good enough!

    I will say, Camillla's crown is my all time favorite. I love everything about it. Her white hair with a light dress, the crown and the earrings: perfection! The necklace is one I see her wear all the time and I never think it matches. What WILL look good with that tiara some day is the necklace the queen wears that is 2 or 3 strands of GIANT diamonds. That will be a show stopper.

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  69. Orange County Grandma12 December 2019 at 19:05

    Hello Charlotte. I have two questions for you. First one, I just read that Kate and Williams nanny is no longer with them. Is that true. Second that beautiful ring Kate was wearing last night, could it be a gift from William? I would not think it was from the royal vault because of it needing to be sized by everyone wearing it.

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    1. Hello,

      Maria Teresa is still with the Cambridges, I haven't heard anything suggesting otherwise. It's certainly possible the ring was a gift from William, though I'm inclined to think it's from the royal vault. I expect it was sized for Kate and will be available for her for white-tie events. Hopefully we'll see it again and can definitively ID it. I spoke to two jewellery experts who believe it's on loan from the Queen.

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    2. Carole actually left around the same time that kate and william headed over to BP for the reception.

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    3. Orange County Grandma14 December 2019 at 04:59

      Thank you Charlotte.

      Anon. Maybe Carole came over to help Kate get dressed and to see the finished package. Kate was so stunning.

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    4. I'm almost certain Carole was pictured arriving. The arrival/departure photos are from the same photographer and from the angle it looks like Carole was arriving at KP.

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  70. Gone are the days when Kate was a young and shy girl. She's so lovely on this 2014 photo. Now, she is a grown up lady, more confident of course. Why do I feel slightly sad?

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  71. I am not a fan on this dress at all. It looks so heavy on her. With the weird shoulders, the long sleeves, the dark velvet, it just drags her down in my opinion. However I love all events where the tiaras come out, so it's lovely to see her, as always. This dress just isn't doing it for me. But she looks very happy and regal, so that's nice.

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  72. Charlotte,

    There is a heartwarming, and festive, story about a donation to EACH that overseas readers might like to see:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-50754865

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    1. That is fantastic, thank you very much for posting Louise.

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    2. I enjoyed reading this! Thanks, Louise. Nice to hear good news - I think the company owner was very generous.

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  73. Caroline in Montana12 December 2019 at 20:05

    I like the look as a whole, very classy. Would love to see this dress in motion, I bet it is even prettier. went back and forth on the neckline if it was open enough for such a necklace and I think I like it best just the way it is. that is one heck of a necklace!! love those earing's, some of my favorites. I figured lovers knot (though I have dreams of the Strathmore:) good point charlotte that she will have more tiara choices when she becomes POW.

    Question's, why was it Diana only wore the 2 tiara's, the spencer and lovers knot?? were the others never offered to her? We have seen 3 on Kate, correct? the lotus, lovers knot and the Halo but only seen one time at her wedding? is that right? and sophie has worn only 3 herself, her wedding tiara (which im not a big fan of) the aquamarine lolly pops?lol (which I think looks great on her) and another that I don't know the name of.

    can not wait to hopefully see the girls of great Britain and Ireland tiara on Kates head someday:)

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    1. Caroline, I too dream about the Strathmore rose on Kate. Or Meghan, or Beatrice at her wedding. I would be thrilled to see the Strathmore on any outing in fact.
      I wonder if it is not used these days because it is considered very "girly" and both Meghan and Eugenie went for a bolder, more grown-up look with more elegant and "adult" tiaras. And Kate sticks to Lover's Knot because it suits her, she looks perfect in it and she likes it (and maybe because of Diana).
      Ella

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  74. Sonja from Bavaria12 December 2019 at 21:19

    Wow, Kate looked so regal! The combination of the velvet gown, the sash and orders, and the many sparkling jewels still has me swooning

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  75. Gorgeous. So regal and one gets a sense of the history surrounding these state events.

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  76. Love the dress! The Duchess looked beautiful!

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  77. I have some mixed feelings about Kate's look tonight. On the one hand, her jewels are gorgeous...with the exception of the earrings (which on their own are beautiful) but just too much with the heavy necklace and the prominent tiara. I think a beautiful stud diamond would have looked elegant. The dress was heavy and the unusual shoulders and neckline seemed to over-power her tiny frame. I thought the color was not flattering to her, at least in pictures. I just love when she wears flowy fabrics that have great movement and reflect light well. I know the sashes and orders are gems in her crown, so to speak, but I think they don't always style well.

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  78. Deliciously chic and elegant. A Queen in waiting. Too bad navy photographs as black. It must be a marvel in person. It's also a wonderful backdrop for the sash, etc. -- not to mention all that amazing jewellery and the tiara. Only at this kind of function is it okay -- in fact required -- to be dripping with jewels. And HM's necklace. Words ...

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  79. I feel the Cut, both for shoulder and décolletage Is slightly awkward. I am unconvinced it was meant to be worn this way. It may be more of an off-the-shoulder dress. The black Armani gown Queen Mathilde wore for the state dinner with the Macrons looked much better in my opinion. Also her choice of jewellery was much more inspired. I wonder if this McQueen piece wasn’t meant to be worn similarly. I am inclined to believe it was.

    Whilst everyone is elegant, I feel slightly underwhelmed. The Queen’s new jewelry is impressive however on top of that delicately embroiled dress looks out of place. Maybe Camilla was fine, but even she did better on other similar occasions.
    Lily

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    1. I agree. The neckline and shoulders seem like they were adapted and it just didn't work. I do appreciate her trying to look conservative though but it seems, at least in these pictures that the dress doesn't quite fit right in that area. The jewels ate way too much for me and for the proximity to the neckline-- but I'm not even close to becoming a queen so my perspective is not too relevant 😆.
      IMO Camilla wins for best dressed. Her jewelry goes perfectly with her embellished dress.

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  80. She looks gorgeous! But I am also wondering how the halo cartier tiara would like with this outfit :D

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  81. Wouldn't Kate look beautiful in that dress Dana was wearing??!! Now that would look regal, flattering and youthful!

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  82. I'm dont comment a lot on this blog, but I do follow it very closely. I'm usually a fan of how the Duchess dresses and of course love it when she wears a tiara. But exactly this tiara, I have an issue with. Catherine is tall and the way the Lovers Knot is high in the front accents that. I always cringe a bit when I see it and wonder what I would do different if it was me. I compare it with how Diana wore it and for some reason it looks more balanced. I always wear my hair up and I prefer if the bulk of hair is higher on my head rather than drooping towards my neck. Eg. Megan's updo a month or two ago. A beehive or whatever people called it. I've wondered if this is the problem. Too much hair on the neck or else go with a smaller tiara. Or else the front hair should be styled differently. I've pondered this for a long time. I loved her hair on her wedding.

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  83. This gown is a rare miss for me. Navy can be a tricky colour to wear, can be seen as black, this is heavy looking. It looks so dark, shading of makeup the overall look is matronly and aging. The necklace and neckline don't go together, a more refined piece would have suited. Pearl tiara and diamond earrings and necklace out of place, either one or the other. I much preferred the 2018 gown with pearl earrings and tiara. More age appropriate and light, she looked beautiful.

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  84. I have enjoyed reading this blog the past few years. It has been fun to witness Kate's evolution as a Royal, although as an American I know very little about Royal Watching.

    I have only left a few comments, but earlier this year I shared how I felt Kate has found her fashion sweet spot for Trooping and Military events... but was still finding her fashion sweet spot for formal events involving gowns, tiaras, jewels and orders on display.

    After this Reception I still feel she's searching. Kate is lovely but almost appears to be a caricature of herself. The porportions of everything feel "off". Everything accentuates vertical lines (tiara, hair away from face, earrings, necklace, neckline, long sleeves, sash, floor length hem) and it's too much for her long stature. The weight of everything (velvet, dense jewelry, dark color) overwhelms the weight of her own stunning features (delicate facial features, willowy stature).

    I wanted to like this look but other than her kind lovely expressions, I don't. For me, Kate's Wedding Day and China State Dinner looks remain her best formal tiara moments. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts!

    Carla

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  85. This gown is a work of art. Indeed I am in awe of Sarah Burton, she has created over the years fabulous dresses for Kate, very different from each other, absolutely museum worthy. I hope there is an exhibition one day.
    Also I think we talk a lot about Kate's fashion but for me the core of it is that she has very good taste. Simply that. IMO it is slightly different than fashion sense or style, it is more of a deep down quality and goes further than how she dresses. There is harmony

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    1. I agree, Natacha. Kate is not a model or a fashionista but she has what I'd call natural elegance.

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    2. How well put and heartfelt this statement is. Thank you. I always see her sense of art history and the depth of her love for it in her wear. There is harmony coming from within

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    3. Well said Natacha, lovely statement and completely agree Kate really does possess an innate quality. cc

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    4. Oh Natacha, you've captured her exactly! Thank you for finding the words so many of us have searched for. I think it speaks volumes that Vogue's Anna Wintour spoke recently, of Kate being an example of classic elegance.... or words to that effect! Her style is timeless & as some have said... has a sense of history woven in. Someone one said that "Fashion is not just about forward motion, it is also rooted in history" - unknown -

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  86. Does anybody know how the men actually fasten the order sash? If you look at the picture of William hos sash is definitely not going over his shoulder. It looks like it is going under his arm. But for the life of me I can’t think how that would work or why you would wear it that way.
    Any ideas?

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    1. There are buttons that hold the sash in place. You can see it in this photo:
      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3f/d8/87/3fd887c75c8ad89306ab476f17ca75c6.jpg

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    2. Nice picture of the "Black Sheep" there, looking quite dejected. I wonder, is that a recent picture? ;-)

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    3. The photos is from 2015 Chinese state visit to the UK, it’s the first one I could find showing the buttons.

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  87. she looks so regal and gorgeous i love her hair up like this

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