Kate MidletonIt’s another lavish evening at Buckingham Palace as The Queen hosts
Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for a State Banquet in their honour.
Her Majesty also kindly invited along Princess Mabel van Oranje (the widow of Prince Friso, brother of King Willem-Alexander), who lives in London with her daughters.
It is the first time in 36 years that a Dutch royal has paid an official visit to the UK.
State visits are held to strengthen the relationship between the UK and other countries around the world. This particular visit reaffirms the excellent ties between the Netherlands and the UK as “North Sea neighbours”.
Preparations for the royal state banquet begins around a year in advance, with the final build of the state banquet table starting five days prior to the event.
Every dish is handmade from scratch, and every element is inspected and checked by The Queen in great detail.
You will notice the various badges and sashes the royals are wearing. At State Dinners, the royals wear their highest honour of the other country they have received. If they do not have an honour from another country, they wear the highest honour from their own.
The Order of the Garter (Highest British Order of Chivalry) is being worn by Prince William, The Duke of Gloucester and King Willem-Alexander (who received the honour by The Queen today).
Queen Elizabeth II & Queen Máxima are both wearing the Order of the Netherlands Lion (Dutch Order of Chivalry founded by King William I).
Queen Elizabeth II also has on the Royal Family Order of George V (white ribbon) and George VI (pink ribbon).
Prince Charles is wearing the Order of the Crown (Dutch Order of Chivalry).
The Duchess of Cornwall wears the Royal Victorian Order (Order of knighthood established by Queen Victoria).
The Duchess of Cambridge is wearing the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II (yellow ribbon)
The Duchess of Cambridge dazzled in a dusty blue gown with new jewels at tonight’s State Dinner honouring the King & Queen of the Netherlands.
Kate returned to Alexander McQueen for another bespoke gown, featuring a mermaid effect with the fitted bodice down to the lower thigh, followed by a flared skirt and train at the back.
Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara made a appearance. It is often confused with the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which is entirely different . Queen Mary had her’s made in 1913 as a copy of the Cambridge tiara. Mary’s granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II then inherited it, followed by Diana who complained it gave her headaches, and now The Kate has it on loan.
Kate also had on Princess Diana’s Collingwood pearl and diamond earrings again.
As for her new pearl and diamond necklace, it is from Princess Alexandra’s 1863 wedding parure. The Queen Mother wore it in her 75th birthday portraits (pictured). Kate carried a new embellished clutch and borrowed one of The Queen’s diamond bracelets also.
I’m thrilled that The Duchess has been given a Royal Family Order by The Queen!
Kate first wore the Order last year, at the Diplomatic Corps reception in December.
The Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a female member of the Royal family in recognition of their service.
The badge features a young Queen Elizabeth II bordered by diamonds with the Tudor Crown sitting above. It is set on a chartreuse yellow ribbon and worn pinned to the dress of the left shoulder.
While the badge traditionally features ivory, Kate’s is made of glass, perhaps due to Prince William’s stand against the ivory trade.
Princess Anne, The Countess of Wessex and The Duchess of Cornwall all have Family Orders, but they are first division royals, while The Duchess of Cambridge is married to The Queen’s grandson, so that was probably why it took a little longer for her to receive the honour.
The Queen wears the Family Order of her grandfather George V (white) and her father George VI (pink).