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Kate Stuns in Plunging Marchesa at Spanish State Banquet

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To the delight of all, Kate attended the State Banquet tonight, which was thrown in honor of King Felipe and Queen Letizia's "Spanish State Visit" to the United Kingdom. The Duchess of Cambridge really ramped up the va va voom to meet one of Europe's most glamorous royals, Queen Letizia of Spain.


Everyone loves a State Banquet because of the incredible evening gowns and jaw dropping jewelry, but the drawback for bloggers and fans is the dearth of good photos. Most of our images tonight are screen shots of the video.





When China visited, Kate was seated at the head table, but tonight, she was off at a side table, which means...screen grabs. Something is better than nothing, right? Big thanks to Duchess of Pemberley and @LadyCecilyNevil from whom I borrowed all my screen shots, because this kid is too out of gas to gather them herself. 

via Duchess of Pemberley 
Here the King and Queen of Spain stand with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, but in the background we get our single full-length peek at the Duchess's incredible Marchesa gown.


You need a close-up? Me, too. Here we go:


This gown was inspired by a number of elements from the label's collection--all of which came together to create, in my mind, perfection.


I have gotten very excited about many of Kate's evening gowns over the past six years. Just off the top of my head (because my website Kate's Clothes has very worryingly evaporated into thin air), I got pretty pumped for the recent green Temperley with gold accents:


The Alexander McQueen off-the-shoulder gown at the BAFTAs:


The sheer Jenny Packham for the Bond premiere:


And many others. It would be much easier to list the dresses that I don't love... But, there are a few evening gowns that reach greater heights, that outstrip their companions, and make me downright swoon.  Kate's "Diana McQueen" from the Millies was one of the first. This strapless, form-fitting gown, in a figure-hugging mermaid silhouette definitely set the red carpet on fire, and the diamonds and rubies from Lebanese  jewelry designer Mouawad didn't hurt either.


Her "tricycle" of the ink-blue Jenny P at the Met in New York, pregnant and glowing with Charlotte, was another breathtaking evening ensemble for Kate. Two doesn't make a pattern, but Kate was wearing some drool-worthy diamonds and emeralds that night, too:


If we ever got a clear look at it, I know that the lace McQueen from the Diplomatic Reception would have me waxing lyrical:


Ultimately, the most heart-palpitating gown in Kate's history, sans any kind of help from the jewelry box, remains the divine teal-green Jenny Packham from "Our Greatest Team Rises." Sometimes I think it keeps me royal-watching.


Tonight, this gown is just taking my breath away. Look at this screen grab of the back of the dress!  Could it be more regal?


This dress is in lock step with Kate's recent style and with this season's favorite feature, the bell sleeve. Kate just displayed this whimsical twist on 18th century fashion at Ascot in her Dolce & Gabbana lace dress. With a quasi bustle and little peplum, it evoked the same bygone era of femininity, grace, and elegance that tonight's ball gown did.


This dress also fits neatly in with the lace McQueen Kate has worn to several Diplomatic Receptions (see above). Its sweeping, but structured, skirt is a departure from the usual lace or chiffon fabrics that Jenny Packham usually uses. The chiffon is beautiful, but this skirt is a little more stately.

LadyCecilyNevil
The plunging neckline has everyone talking, but contrary to the Twitter gossip, this is not the lowest Kate has ever gone. Her ISSA sparkle dress was slashed to the naval, even though most photos catch Kate mid-stride with her hand swinging up, hiding the extreme plunge. I love this dress, although I never admit it to my mom. ;)


I know your counter point--Kate hasn't worn a dress this plunging since becoming a princess. Touché...maybe? On January 8, 2011, the then Miss Middleton attended a society wedding wearing an ISSA dress that dropped, again, down to her naval.


And don't forget, she wore that dress to meet the Queen. Oh yes, she did! She wore it to Autumn and Peter's wedding, but she was wearing a jacket over it...


Until the dancing started, then the jacket went by the wayside:


Kate loves the plunging neckline, and even though being a princess has pushed that penchant to the back, we know it is still there, and likely still indulged in, with family and friends. Even in public, Kate has done deep plunges as a royal, but she usually chooses either deep plunge or a broad décolletage; she doesn't do both. Tonight is dramatic, because it is both deep and wide. I think this is borderline. When I first saw it this afternoon I was a little taken aback. Still, this isn't actually any more plunging than the teal Jenny P. (see photo above) which is both deep and wide, but the lace gives the illusion the plunge isn't quite as deep as it is.

via @LadyCecilyNevil

Speaking of Kate's décolletage part of what made this look so exciting was the new jewelry Kate wore. This ruby and diamond necklace is, of course, a loan from Her Majesty. It is a special necklace, a wedding gift from George VI and the Queen Mother to the Queen on her wedding day:


Th verdict is big win. I love the dress, from its sweeping, structured skirt, to its graceful Marie-Antoinette sleeves, and even to its 2017 plunging neckline. We need a recycle of this dress STAT. Preferably somewhere our wonderful royal photographers can get a good angle and great lighting to capture it in all its stunning glory. In other news, there was a beautiful, bejeweled woman who accompanied Prince Harry to dinner. Before you get all riled up on behalf of Meghan Markle, let me dispel the mystery. This woman...


...is this woman. The Marchioness of Cholmondeley. A member of Kate's inner circle and the hostess of a Taste of Norfolk:


Finally, I can't run off without pointing out that Kate wore new earrings. These gorgeous pearl drops once belonged to the Princess of Wales, and she famously wore them with the same Lovers' Knot tiara Kate wore tonight. 


With just over a month to go before the 20th anniversary of her untimely and tragic death, tonight was the perfect occasion for her beautiful daughter-in-law to debut another piece of her mother-in-law's collection. 


We see Kate tomorrow. Until then...



92 comments:

  1. I am in looooooooove with the gown (Except the sleeves, not my liking, but the rest is perfection)
    I also love Letizia's dress. In my opinion, Letizia looked like a mature Queen, whereas Catherine looked like a sweet princess :D

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    1. Agree! I love the dress minus those bell sleeves! They are very on trend, but that doesn't mean I have to like them :-/
      ~ A

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    2. Agree with everything you said!

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    3. Agree! Those sleeves would be hard to pull off for anyone other than a princess but I think this princess manages it. The plunging neckline balances the skirt and sleeves to save it from being too costumey. And the jewels!

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    4. Loved her look 100%. Luckily Letitia is a Queen. And Kate is pretty much a princess still.
      Great post thank you so much
      Theresa Australia

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    5. Love the colour but think the plunging wide neckline with perky breasts showing is totally inappropriate for a state dinner! I prefer the more elegant understated Kate that has dignity rather than a tacky neckline that places eyes straight to her Clevage, was she trying to gain attention? Doesn't seem like Kate would choose this? Maybe she's breaking out and trying some new styles.....maybe she was trying to showcase the amazing jewels around her neck. For me too much going on and came across tacky. Hope Kate sticks to her own decisions rather than being influenced by others? Similar timing to Pippa wearing an off the shoulder low cut revealing mint dress to the Tennis..... just be you Kate!!!!

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    6. I think that since she has opted for low necklines for many years this neckline choice is Kate just being Kate. And not to put too fine a point on it but when a group of royals and aristocrats gather together in ballrooms wearing elaborate and expensive gowns, massive jewels, tiaras, medals and exclusive orders the overall point is to attract attention. The neckline taken alone may be a departure from some of her most conservative ensembles but the overall effect here is not out of place for a state banquet and is certainly not out of place for a royal (someone shares photos of princess Margaret in a thread below).

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    7. Perky? That alone would motivate me to do a little flaunting. Ha! Instead I must be careful not to trip over my assets.

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  2. Catherine looks fabulous!!!! Gorgeous dress and spectacular jewelry; very regal and elegant. The best part is seeing her wearing Diana's pearl drop earrings, which look lovely with the tiara. I hope we see them again. It's wonderful to see Catherine in full princess mode! The state banquet looks like an extremely formal - and perhaps intimidating - event. I hope she knows how terrific she looked, as she must have been a bundle of nerves inside.

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  3. I love the boldness of this dress - plunging v's and a full skirt! Don't like the bell sleeves.

    Why, oh why, does she not have the family order yet??!!

    Rose, seated next to Harry, is at all the state dinners, I believe, due to her husband's title/position.

    Such a massive change in the monarchy. No more indulgences like the old days. For a birthday Princess Anne was gifted a tiara from her parents. The Queen received such an expensive wedding gift from her parents. Etc We haven't heard of Kate having her own tiara commissioned, etc. It seems like most of the luxe royal jewels these days are all on loan from the Queen (or ones Kate received as wedding gifts from wealthy foreigners) and no new pieces being commissioned.

    ~ A

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    1. Well may be when the Duchess becomes Princess of Wales or Queen consort she'll have a tiara comissioned.Princess Anne is the Queen's daughter,a closer relation to the monarch.

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    2. Well, Anonymous, there are various theories around regarding Kate's lack of the Family Order, including the possibility that until you're working as a full-time royal, you're out of the running, which I don't find convincing. I give some credence to the notion that the Queen has given so many away to her numerous relatives that she has no more, and would prefer to wait until a current holder dies, at which time these fancy miniatures are returned to the monarch, rather than commission a new one.

      I, too, have wondered about it. It still bothers me, but on the other hand, they often detract from the gown itself--especially if the wearer has two or three on her garment.

      JC

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    3. Surprisingly Camilla debuted a pair of $138,000 earrings. I think Charles is the only one giving out $$$ jewelry gifts these days.

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    4. Kate's a granddaughter-in-law to the Queen remember, she's a bit removed. Do the York girls have them? Autumn or Zara? And she's not full time, she's not next in line, all these constant excuses for her should also be kept in mind for why she doesn't have senior recognitions.
      And the Queen may just think Charles should give orders to his children and their families.

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    5. JC I have heard the theory, too, that there are currently no orders to give out. Still doesn't sit well with me. I heard they are made of ivory and she can't go commission a new one (imagine the uproar from William alone). I wonder what Charles and William will have their family orders made of.

      I know Kate doesn't work full time yet, but she is married to an heir and has provide an heir and a spare (hate that term, but it's true!). Basically, while the Queen is alive I think this should be a priority of hers. I wouldn't expect the Queen to ask a lesser royal to return it so it could be given to Kate, but I feel there must be some workaround.

      HOWEVER, Kate by far wears the most jewelry on loan from the Queen. Pearl earrings Sophie used to wear have now been seen on Kate numerous times. I don't recall ever seeing the York girls in the Queen's jewels. So Kate does have special recognition from the Queen that isn't a family order.

      ~ A

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    6. We can speculate over the FO, but I do believe it speaks volumes to see Kate wearing pieces that are personally significant to the Queen. :-)

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    7. QEII get her Father's order when she was 8-10 years old? How much "work" was she doing then? It is a gift of affection given by the monarch to female family members. It is not a symbol of the succession. It is not a medal given for services rendered. It is not surprising that the Queen's daughter and the wives of her sons would receive it before a grand-daughter, much less the wife of a grandson. She will probably get one from Charles, who could possibly have a few new orders made of porcelain or some other non-ivory material. Meanwhile, the caliber and meaningful family history of the jewels the Queen shares with Kate leave no doubt of HM's affection and respect for Kate.
      The Queen last wore the necklace in the 1980's, not 1960's. However, I believe she has worn those earrings that go with the necklace fairly recently with another ruby necklace.
      I don't think one asks the Queen to borrow her jewels. I think it is up to the Queen who gets what and when. Some items, such as the aquamarine tiara Sophie wears to weddings may have been selected for a special reason-those stones enhance Sophie's eyes. I think it is very likely that Kate has full use of the tiara and earrings Diana wore and could have chosen to wear those. The addition of the necklace could have been a gesture from the Queen. I can't imagine Kate would have requested to wear that necklace.
      I can't wait to see amethysts on Kate.

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    8. I believe William spends $$$ on Kate.

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    9. Louise, London, UKJuly 14, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      The pearl earrings were a wedding gift and some belonged to Diana. It is believed that they were inherited by William or William and Harry and that he/they chose to give them to Kate. I'd imagine that Kate has a number of pieces of Diana's personal jewellery as it would be the practice in any family for daughters or daughters in law go wear jewellery inherited from a mother/mother in law.

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    10. I believe that William and Kate would not want her to wear the FO solely because they are made of ivory.

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  4. These earrings do not belong to the ruby necklace. The right ones have a floral design too.

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    1. I agree the earrings didn't match the necklace, which I would have preferred. It would have been lovely to see her with the necklace's matching earrings. However, the earrings pair nicely with the tiara and are sentimental.
      ~ A

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    2. @ Anon, July 13, at 306 PM and royalfan, July 13, at at 9:45 PM.

      Anon, that theory re ivory doesn't work for me since William, himself, has reportedly stated that he has no objection to antique ivory, harvested when elephants were plentiful, but does object to modern ivory taken from what is now an endangered species. Hence, he would have no objection to the current RFO, even if it was harvested some mere 60 years ago, and besides, it's quite possible that the ivory used was much older. Hence, I have discounted this theory.

      I completely agree that Kate is fully deserving of the RFO. She has fulfilled her main duty to the Crown by providing an heir and a spare, despite suffering through two pregnancies from hell.

      As for the observation made by yourself and royalfan that the Queen has loaned Kate some important family jewels, this simply reinforces my argument, as I see it; ergo, the Queen doesn't want to spend the ready to have a new miniature commissioned and prefers to wait for a relatively distant relative to die. ((Check the diamonds surrounding those minis! And try to imagine the cost of duplicating the same, in this day and age.) So, instead of spending $$$$, the Queen hits on the devise of lending Kate valuable jewels.

      JC

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  5. It's cute that Kate is demurely side-eyeing the elegant Queen Letizia. They would have looked fabulous standing together!

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  6. Carmen, The NetherlandsJuly 13, 2017 at 1:05 AM

    Perfect!

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  7. I enjoyed seeing Kate wearing an gown in a new style, but for me, it wasn't quite a win. The bell sleeves combined with the full skirt made it look a bit like a costume- I'm curious what this gown would look like if it was sleeveless, like the pale pink dress shown above, of which it appears to share some features. I feel that may have made it look less like a costume. I thought the v-neck was a nice change from the high necklines Kate normally wears. Kate's makeup also looked very nice, but I wish she would try a new updo.

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  8. Well this was one fabulous night. Everyone looked wonderful, but our Duchess knocked it out of the ballpark. What a stunning head to toe outfit. That necklace is beyond belief. Kate looks simply gorgeous.
    Letizia is one beautiful lady also, and I thought she looked magnificent. She and Felipe make one beautiful couple. What a joy to see. Thanks Jane.

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  9. Wow! Beautiful Catherine! I've always thought when people have commented on her seeming reluctance to wear a tiara, such as at overseas banquets, and more real diamond/pearl jewels etc. that Catherine was giving herself time to mature and grow into her role as a fully fledged royal. Of late we are seeing that transition come to fruition in her sartorial choices. The only thing I don't like is the necklace. It's a bit too fussy for my taste, but I enjoy the hint of red as a nod to Spain. And although my personal preference does not lend itself to this necklace, it does work very well with the low cut bodice of this dress.

    To be truthful I expected Letizia to outshine Catherine on this occasion as her sartorial choices are usually more bold and fashion forward. And although she looks lovely and elegant Catherine won the day! I can't agree with you Alejandra, as I think Catherine looks very much a Queen in this ensemble, not just a sweet princess.
    ~Mo

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    1. @ Mo
      I'm Mo too! But I respectfully disagree about Kate outshining Letizia. Letizia has a presence & gravitas that Kate doesn't possess yet. Your eyes are drawn to her & what she's wearing is secondary in any situation, not just this state dinner.

      Kate will evolve & find a style that works for her much as Letizia did - over time.

      That being said, I just can't with Kate's whole ensemble. There's so much going on at once that each element is diminished as others have pointed out previously.


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  10. Perfection! Loved it all.

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  11. I don't like the dress, the neckline - front and back - is really beautiful but the bell sleeves and the skirt are too much 18th century, it looks like a dress for a costume party. Letizia looks great, perfect for a queen and a state banquet. She is always very stylish, you have never seen her in matronly midi dresses.

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    1. My thoughts exactly. The first pics I saw were from the waist up and I thought the gown was going to be an absolute stunner. When I saw the full skirt and sleeves I lost all interest. The dress was not a winner for me. Had it been a sleeker body fitting skirt I could have perhaps liked the sleeves, but all the puffiness of skirt and sleeves together was just too much. Kate's make-up, hair, and oh-my-goodness, the jewels, were perfection.

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  12. The Duchess is just simply stunning! I also thought the sleeves and structure of this gown evoked an 18th century silouhette!! What a perfect setting for this gown. The backdrop of beautiful antiques and paintings just added to the overall look of the evening!

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    1. I absolutely agree with you! I love how the Duchess nods to times gone by with her fashion choices. It is that timeless elegance that sets her apart and helps to bring forward new fashion trends. The bell like sleeve is a very on point trend with many designers. The neckline was daring but beautifully covered by the heavier necklace. An absolute win!

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  13. Loved your post, Jane! It's interesting to see how low Kate has gone with her necklines in the past. In this instance, the plunging neckline doesn't bother me - it just highlights that gorgeous necklace. The dress was a surprise for me, I like how it's a departure from her usual gowns (bar the lace). She looked very regal & beautiful. The CLK tiara & Diana's pearl drops should never be parted, IMO. Queen Letizia looked magnificent & HM in those aquamarines is always a treat. The Marchioness of Cholmondeley's tiara was lovely, nice to see her seated next to Harry at his first state banquet.

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  14. Those sleeves ruin an otherwise gorgeously elegant dress accessorized to perfection. The sleeves make the gown look like one of the Schuyler sisters from Hamilton could be wearing it.

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  15. Love, love, love this dress and spectacular jewels. Obviously the neckline was perfect for the borrowed necklace...I've always wondered how that works: does her Maj offer up a piece months before so Kate can plan a dress around it? Does the vault send over a flip book with a few options so Kate can choose what goes best with the dress she planned? Most importantly, do Pippa and Carole stop by while she's getting dressed so they can get a good look at these priceless things!!?? I sure would.

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    1. LOVE. This dress is easily in my top 3 of Kate's dresses. Looks so fun to wear and I imagine Kate didn't want to take it off. The bell sleeves and full skirt take it over the top in glamour I think. Wouldn't be surprised if a new trend pops up...I read a post about a tiara for Kate, I totally agree! Fingers crossed. Thanks Jane for this blog, been following for a few years, love it.

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  16. I absolutely love all the jewellery and am so excited that Kate is increasingly dipping into the royal collection :) I also thought her make-up looked fabulous.

    While I love that Kate veered off from the style of dress she has worn to other State dinners, I have to say, I don't love this one...While I'm partial to a bell sleeve and a full skirt I somehow just didn't think they worked here. This looked to me like an attempt at creating an 18th century dress and I just didn't like it but perhaps the pictures aren't doing it justice so I'm also hoping for a re-wear :)

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  17. What has happened to Kates Clothes?

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  18. While the sleeves are "on trend" I agree with those who say the dress looks like a costume from Colonial times (minus the typical 1700s hoop skirt.) Perhaps I just like more classic, less "fussy" designs (admit I also have lace fatigue) but I would have liked the dress better if it had been simplified-- the low-cut front and back as the main features instead of having those details compete with bell sleeves. Skip the train. A less ornate but still blingy necklace as to me this one--as lovely as it is--doesn't compliment the delicate lace framing the plunging neckline or the pearl tiara and earrings. I also don't think the dusky pink color is as flattering to Kate as stronger colors are (including other shades of pink.) I guess I'm in the minority but I can't imagine in 5 yrs most people will look back on this dress fondly and hope for a rewear nearly as much as with some of the other dresses featured in the article (like the teal, my personal favorite.) People sometimes make fun of the "poufy" clothes worn by Diana during her early years as a royal. But people forget those were "on trend" at the time too! And like many trendy clothes they didn't stand the test of time as her later more classic choices did.

    I think Leti looks great. Her gown is quite elegant. And I like the blue embroidery on HM's gown. 

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  19. What a splendid evening: everything seemed so perfect: even before the gusts came in, the tables looked so lovely, with beautiful floral arrangements and the exquisite carnations crafted from sugar.
    Loved Catherine's gown---it moved so beautiful as she walked in. From the back it looked so graceful and lived the little train---so regal. The sleeves gave a nod to times past, but they are certainly fashionable just now, as is the plunging V neck, which if the dress had not been so well fitted might have been somewhat immodest, but was great with the splendid necklace.
    The Lover's knot tiara seems to be her tiara of choice and had the matching earrings. As all the jewellery was basically diamonds, I thought they looked perfect together.
    The two Queens looked sparkling and queen-like and the gentlemen looked like gentlemen.
    Prince Philip seems to have aged so much in the last few months and even the king of Spain is showing his age---his beard is almost white.
    What a pity we do not get more photos from state banquets.

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  20. Loved it all! So beautiful and elegant. I thought the sleeves were unique and interesting.

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  21. Really like this dress! Everything about it, including the bell sleeves and the plunging neckline, but I don't care for the heavy necklace. I think I might've preferred a single strand of diamonds or one of pearls, instead of this whopper. Apparently, the Queen no longer favours it, herself, since she hasn't worn it since the 60's.

    It's nice to see Kate wear a pair of Diana's earrings; perhaps they're a gift from William since I gather that they form part of his mother's private jewelry collection--as opposed to belonging to either Queen or State.

    I would love to see better shots of this dress, which strikes me as a true ball gown, not simply an evening gown.

    JC

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  22. It is quite interesting how opinions vary.My personal verdict is that its a miss.I dislike plunging necklines,deep back cuts and peplum.The sleeves were the only feature of the gown that I liked.Overall unattractive silhouette.For me her best gowns have been the black McQueen that she wore at the Millies and the pearlescent rose sequin Jenny Packham.
    The jewellery looked beautiful though.The Duchess herself looked serious and regal.

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    1. I am really crossing my fingers she brings back that black velvet Millie dress at some point. It was gorgeous!

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  23. So happy to see Harry at the grown up's table! Doesn't it look like he's wearing the Garter star and the Thistle? If so, when did that happen?

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  24. Everyone looks solemn in the pictures, I'm kinda guessing that this is one event, Kate isn't overly enamoured with attending - small talk with archbishops and foreign dignitaries and the like. In alot of the pictures, she looks a little lost and unsure of herself. That said, she looks absolutely beautiful - this is such a classic silhouette, very Mary Antoinette/early Georgian in style - normally I wouldn't like something so costume like in overall effect, but I think it is absolutely breathtaking.

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    1. I agree. Kate usually looks extremely serious and uncomfortable during these dinners...poor thing. I bet she would much rather be rolling around on the floor with G&C at home! ;-)

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    2. The photos are all taken during the speeches, so of course they cannot be chatting to their neighbours.
      I think Catherine's strong point is when talking one to one and to her right is the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom she must know very well--he conducted the service for Princess Diana only a week or so ago,

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  25. Alexandra from CanadaJuly 13, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    Great post Jane!

    Question: I know we have seen the (beautiful and elegant!!) Marchioness Cholmondeley at the China state visit but why does she attend them? Does it have to do with some kind of peerage thing or is it because she and her husband are part of Will & Kate's inner circle? I think she is absolutely an incredible style icon in the making and hope we keep seeing her with Kate!!

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    1. Rose, the Marchioness, is mostly a socialite (with some royal connection as her grandma was a bridesmaid for the Queen's wedding) who married the Marquess of Cholmondeley. He has a very important title/position. He gets all dressed up and carries a wand, walking in front of the Queen, to open parliament every year. Their twin boys, which were born via c-section, have an interesting story as to how their dad had to decide which son would be considered his heir. For more info:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/05/photos-houghton-hall-guest-book

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Cholmondeley,_7th_Marquess_of_Cholmondeley

      http://ca.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2016062432083/rose-hanbury-marchioness-cholmondeley-kate-middleton/

      ~ A

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    2. Her husband is the Lord Gt. Chamberlain with many hereditary duties at things like the State opening of Parliament.

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  26. Thought it was costume-y, as others noted.

    The plunge was also an inch too low for me. There's a fine line for someone her age between classy and "read too many newspaper articles about her mum-sy style and took drastic action".

    She's just trying too hard, and missing the mark. Again. Style just doesn't seem to be effortless for her.

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  27. The dress is beautiful but I don't think this necklace should be paired with the tiara and earrings. It's not in the same style. It just looks off. Some of those photos show some interesting faxial expressions from Kate. Wonder what she was thinking.
    Letizia looks fabulous, as always.

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  28. Kate looks blooming lovely. If I had to pick, I prefer the sparkly pink Jenny Packham over this Marchesa gown, but it definitely is a princess dress. The jewels and the neckline are sublime, the rest of the dress is a yawn for me. Definitely prefer a sleek, sophisticated Kate to the bohemian, lacy romantic Kate. She swings in different directions sometimes. Definitely unexpected choice. I have the same reaction to this dress as I did to the Bafta dress, and it's definitely growing on me. In 24 hours, I'll probably love it.

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  29. The plunging neckline, definitely not in that setting. The sleeves are too 18th century. I wonder if her stylist pushed this one. I think nothing more than the plunge on her wedding dress. When you can see boob, that's not royal, that's celebrity preening for the tabloids. Hope we don't see more of this.

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    1. Agree and I found it bizarre. She's so mumsy one minute then steps out in such a formal state banquet like this. I will never get her choices. Wrong place for this.

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    2. I think the plunging neckline works fine here because of the necklace. If she is going to wear incredibly heavy jeweled necklaces while avoiding plunging necklines to give the piece adequate room then she is going to look stodgy and frumpy

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    3. MK, you may want to take a good look at Princess Anne's gown at the mayor's dinner and the dress of the woman who Prince Charles escorted before you make judgements about Kate's necklines. Anne not royal? Preening for the tabloids? If you don't like décolletage, you probably should give up royal watching.

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    4. Right?! It'd be fine in a non-royal and definitely non-State-Visit setting. Here, it just looks in poor taste.

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    5. Louise, London, UKJuly 14, 2017 at 11:49 AM

      Good grief, she's not a nun. Here are a few examples of gowns the queen wore in the 1950s. http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-23/ball-gowns-worn-by-queen-elizabeth-during-the-1950s-and-1960s/7654618?pfmredir=sm and a corker from Margaret https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=princess+margaret+1950s+ball+gowns&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLwYX_nInVAhXCKcAKHVyuAFMQ_AUICSgB&biw=360&bih=512#imgrc=yc-bvYXdBiHQjM:

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    6. Couldn't agree more, Louise!

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  30. Catherine looked beautiful at this event, truly royal and stunning. I love this dress on her - the movement of the skirt is so elegant. I love the bodice, I don't think the V is too deep - she has the figure for it, it fit her perfectly, and it set the necklace off as befitting such a fine piece. I loved it.

    Letizia looked nice and certainly royal. I also think she looked her age - so often she dresses much younger than her age.

    A big win for Catherine in my opinion. This dress and look will pass the test of time and will be sighed over years from now when Catherine has a different role in the family.

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  31. The top of the dress when she's seated looks divine. That's really the only good pic so far.
    As far as everything else, it's a usual Kate problem. She puts things on but doesn't really style her look. The polish is missing IMO especially when you compare to Letizia, tough comparison for anyone I know, but Kate's ensemble "appears" to overwhelm her. (I say appears since no full good pics)

    I think the more delicate tiaras suit her better for starters. The earrings the necklace the sleeves, full skirt, it's all too much. It's too dress up. There's simply no comparison to Letizia's sophistication. And Kate is no teen she should look like a polished put together woman at this point.

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    1. EXACTLY! It just looks like she's wearing designer clothes, she doesn't really make them "hers". Think of Princess Mary, Queen Maxima (my FAVE!), or even Queen Letizia as you said. They make it look way more effortless than she does. I don't know why.

      Yes, Queen Maxima wears some crazy stuff, but you can tell she's having fun with it. I never get that sense from Kate. I really wish she'd experiment with some artsy, kind of A-Line dresses. Think Watson in the Elementary tv show (not the PBS one, the CBS one). She had some fabulous dresses. Kate's supposedly "art-y", according to William, but you'd never know it!

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  32. I really like the plunging neckline. With Kate’s slim physique, I don’t think it’s not too risqué. I also like the back of the dress and the pale pink color. But I don’t care for the sleeves at all or the Marie Antoinette silhouette. This style really looks like something that might have been worn during the American or French Revolutions! As someone else commented, a sleeveless design would have been better. I think the dress would have looked more elegant and less costumey sans sleeves.

    It was interesting reading about some of Kate’s daring neckline choices in the past. Thanks, Jane, for the background info.

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  33. Random yet related tangents:
    (1) The rules on curtsying were said to be redone a few years ago, because Anne refused to curtsy to Camilla. I think this is a very likely theory. However, Anne is very gracious and did these dramatic curtsies for the King & Queen of Spain. Also, she has a lovely figure when it isn't covered up in her 30+ year old outfits ;-)
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4694136/Princess-Anne-dazzles-diamonds.html

    (2) I've seen photos from the gala tonight...um...how did she go from stunning last night to this??

    ~ A

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  34. I want to like it so badly...but I don't 100%. I know they are on trend, but I'm not a fan of the bell sleeves. I also don't like the jewelry selection. I guess I'm not a big rubies with a pink gown person, plus I don't like the mixing of the pearls and diamonds. It just doesn't look like it all meshes. Granted, she does look gorgeous but it just misses it a bit for me.

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  35. I had to laugh at the one or two comments chastising Kate for the low neck line. Have you seen pics of the Queen in younger days? Or portraits of the royals from hundreds of years ago? The female chest is not a new thing for the modern ages. And the person who said for a women Kate's "age", this is too low. Ha! Kate is plenty young.

    Kate looks silly in frumpy gowns. The neckline was the most beautiful part of this gown. And very royal too.

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  36. Jane, I LOVE your picture/outfit research! By the way, I don't know if this has been already mentioned, but Kate gave an interview during the 'Our Wimbledon' programme on BBC1 on 2.7.17 (UK). I feel the neckline of the gown is a little risque for this occasion: not entirely comfortable with a royal of Kate's seniority wearing this. Sorry if you don't agree with me!

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  37. When I wrote the previous comment, I had only looked at the photo of Kate seated. Now I have seen more of the dress thanks to the photos here: my goodness, the sleeves are truly bizarre! What an awkward mis-mash of styles in this dress!

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  38. I love the make up, hair and jewellery and I find the neckline to be very feminine and elegant, but I am not a fan of the rest of the dress. The sleeves and the skirt are just too much for me. It's got a very 70's meets 1800's vibe to me and is very costumey. I would rate this alongside the Erdem dust ruffle dress as one of the worst evening dresses she has worn unfortunately :(.

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  39. I liked Kate's silvery LA gown with the silver belt, more than the teal gown.

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  40. One feels that Kate 'upped her game' in the sartorial stakes as she didn't want to be 'outshone' by Quuen Letizia.

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  41. The sleeves are a huge miss for me even if they are currently trendy. The fullness of the dress wouldn't look so costume-like if it weren't for those sleeves. Love the tiara, The Princess of Wales's earrings, the hair, and make-up. I would much rather have seen Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee necklace or the necklace that goes with Queen Alexandra's Wedding Parure. They would have suited the tiara and earrings much better. Hopefully the Family Order will be given soon. The Duchess has waited longer than any of the other royal wives. I think the win for the night goes go Queen Letizia. She is classic and very sure of herself. The Duchess appears to be trying too hard on this occasion. Very happy to see Prince Harry at the banquet - in spite of the glaring tabloid headline that he is going to "give up his title and $150 million fortune" because "the Queen won't let him marry Meghan." (eye roll) The King's parents were friends of Princess Diana so the relationship between her boys and the Spanish Royal Family are probably filled with fond memories.

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  42. As individual pieces, I like the dress (even the deep neckline and the sleeves!), the tiara, earrings, and necklace. Worn together, something seems off. I think the necklace is too heavy-looking for the dress. The dress looks very delicate and pretty and the pink shade adds to the effect. Perhaps the same dress in another shade would work better with the necklace.

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    1. I like how the scalloped-effect of the necklace mirrors the scalloped neckline of the gown.

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    2. I love the neckline - the cut and lace. Really stunning. Didn't notice how the necklace's scalloped edge complimented this until you mentioned it. Good eye!

      9:41, BFF (hehe)

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    3. Hello BFF! The neckline looks a little like that of the Temperely Amoret gown, but I like this better.

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  43. Such an awful combination between the fussy dress, unmatched jewelry and terribly competing details (not to mention that the rubies with the pale pink are another uninspired choice). Total disaster. Getting headache just by looking at this ungodly mash of stuff thrown on her. What happened to classy and regal?

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  44. Wow, love the dress. To me something is just a bit off. Though I'm glad she's wearing real jewels, I think it might be the necklace. It's too overpowering for the delicate dress and doesn't really blend with the tiara and earrings. I agree with the person that said she looks beautiful but not polished. -J

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  45. Simply stunning. A very elegant and graceful look.

    From the various photos here, you can see how Kate's style has evolved. She looks more and more confident and regal, IMO.

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  46. I love the Bodice of this dress, front and back. Catherine has a lovely chest. As for the sleeves, I wish she would try to stay ahead of trends instead of embrace them, because they do change, and those sleeves are just too much--especially with the full, over-long skirt.

    I love the Tiara and especially the matching Earrings on her, but I wish she had stopped there with the jewelry. That necklace is quite gaudy. Most of the Queen's Jewelry was made in a time when it was acceptable (and designed) to show off your wealth by flashing big bulky pieces packed full of huge precious stones. In pictures it all looks like outdated costume jewelry to me. Perhaps if I ever saw them with my own eyes my opinion might change.

    There will come a day when Catherine will have a professional stylist at her beck and call, and a bigger budget too. In spite of it all she did look lovely in the pictures and videos of this majestic setting.

    Belle

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  47. Long time listener, first time caller. Jane, I love how your blog posts are so elegantly written. Thank you for that.

    I could not wait for these photos to come out and, as excited as I was, when I saw Catherine's dress I was just....meh. Like others have mentioned, something just doesn't sit right with me. Love the lace, love the neckline and back, love the train. Confused about the sleeves, not sure why one would wear rubies with dusty pink and not sure why one would wear dusty pink in a setting such as Buck House with the overwhelming color palette of red and (literal) gold. The dress seems to alternate between clashing and washing out. Her Majesty looks amazing in white with the blue accents, Letiza killed it in red (her ensemble was the equivalent of a football - American football - player going down on one knee and spiking the football in the end zone, popping back up, crossing his arms across his chest, tilting his head to one side and mouthing “How do you like me NOW?”, and the Marchioness Cholmondeley was stunning in white as well. One certainly considers the setting when one is choosing a gown – why go with dusty pink? I mean, the color looks lovely on her certainly. It reminded me of the color of her (unofficial) ‘matron of honor’ dress and THEN I got to thinking…..what if this wasn’t the first time Catherine has worn this gown? What if, and walk with me here on this one, what if this is the gown she wore to Pippa’s reception? The neckline and back say “I came to party” (much like vintage Kate’s prior wedding guest attire as Jane has pointed out) and the sleeves say, “party at a country wedding in Days of Yore” and the color is the same as Pippa’s wedding colors. And rumor has it that Marchesa did Pippa’s reception dress……so…maybe?

    Amy

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    1. Hi Amy! :) Thanks for taking the time to post. It's always fun to see new faces in the comment section.
      Kate likes this dusty pink. This is a little "dustier" than most, but all of her super light pinks are in this category, to my mind. You make a great point about Pippa's wedding. The reason I think it isn't the dress is because of the skirt. It's very formal and stately and would be a little hard to dance in, I think. I suspect that Kate and company really let their hair down at Pippa's reception, and if I had to guess, I think Kate probably went for something a little on the slinky and sexy side. Something reminiscent of the Issa days before she married William. But, I agree on the neckline--her reception dress probably showed some skin. :)

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  48. The black dress is my all time favorite of Kate's.

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  49. Hi, Jane. I love this dress at first sight but, and just like you, my favorite still is teal-green Jenny Packham. When I fist saw the pictures, I was amazed because of the neckline (I think it's amazing she's wearing a dress like that again, super sexy) and because of the jewels (I'm mean, WOW!). Despite the fact that in the first time I did not notice that detail, look at the second picture of her, the first one after the video, where we got a side look. Look at the neckline and tell me if it's right or it's just me, but looks like there is some kind of tape (I don't konw the exact word fot this) in skin color. I ask you because I only notice this is the side picture, in the others when we have a front view of the dress I don't see that. I just wanna know if it's my vision or not. Thanks for the post, as always, very good :)

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    1. I think you're right, Natallie. A modesty fringe or netting. It is visible in all side photos. Remember in Jane Austen era films one of the characters speaks of her "lace." The Empire necklines were cut quite deep and a lace fichu? piece would drape the chest area. It seems to become popular again. Neutral or skin-tone fabric to prevent exposure but still give the appearance of bareness.

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    2. Hi Natallie, I just looked closer at the 2nd photo and I can make out a nude fabric inserted into the neckline as well. It's amazing how invisible this is in any other photos. It would make sense to me that Kate has used this 'modesty' fabric as she has previously worn dresses with elements that appeared sheer - such as the blue dress she wore prior to the trip to India. I think the neckline is sexy and classy.

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  50. My all time favorite dress that rarely gets a mention is the high low baby blue Jenny P she wore on her first appearance after announcing Princess Charlotte pregnancy... It is still my favorite as far as evening wear goes!! I wish it would get a re-wear!!! But this is a major vavava voom step for Kate! I love it!!

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