The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, attended their first ever State Banquet this evening, October 20, at Buckingham Palace in honor of the President of China. The Cambridges joined Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in honoring President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan. *Updated with more photos*
Kate wore a bespoke red embroidered tulle gown by Jenny Packham and the Lotus Flower Tiara, on loan from the Queen, that she previously wore to the diplomatic reception in 2013. Kate also wore the Queen’s diamond chandelier earrings that she’s worn on a number of occasions. Kate carried a red clutch.
Kate wore two diamond bracelets, one on each wrist, that belong to the Queen. On her left wrist Kate wore a diamond bracelet that was a wedding gift to HM from Prince Philip made from diamonds from a tiara once belonging to Philip’s mother. On her right wrist, Kate wore what looks like a diamond choker previously belonging to Queen Mary which was converted to a bracelet by the Queen Mother (thanks to Order of Splendor for the id).
Kate was given pride of place behind the Queen as second most senior royal present (after the Queen, Philip, and William) and sat next to President Xi. Oh yeah, Kate also wore her hair up.
Though it had been endlessly reported that Kate had received the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, Kate showed up Order-less, apparently not having received that honor yet. I’m kind of glad because the rumor started in a Daily Mail article meant to sell a book and the thought that Kate would get the Order came as pure speculation from that book’s author. Then everyone ran with the idea that Kate got the Order. Personally, I don’t think Kate should receive the Order until she becomes a full time working royal.
The Queen wore a white tulle banquet dress with a harlequin design, embroidered with white and silver beads and diamante sequins by Angela Kelly. HM wore the Modern Sapphire Tiara with the a sapphire and diamond set of necklace and earrings that were given to her as a wedding gift from her father. HM wore the sash and star of the Order of the Garter (Britain), and the Royal Family Orders of George V and George VI. HM also wore a brooch on the back of her sash to keep it in place.
The Queen gave a speech saying in part:
“The United Kingdom and China have a warm and longstanding friendship. Prince Philip and I recall with great fondness our visit to China almost thirty years ago, where we were privileged to experience your country’s rich history and culture, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors: all unforgettable memories of China’s ancient civilisation. […]
“I was delighted that my grandson Prince William was able to witness these changes during his first visit to China earlier this year. Like myself and Prince Philip, he visited not only your great cities of Beijing and Shanghai but also the beautiful province of Yunnan, and saw at first-hand the strong connections which bind our two countries together, be they in culture, education or business.”
Here is a video of the banquet including the arrivals and the speeches.
Prince William and Prince Edward were there. William sat next to Madame Peng Liyuan, and Edward sat next to Samantha Cameron. Other royals in attendance not pictured were Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, and Princess Alexandra.
Because I know we love hearing about the food at these types of event, the menu for the dinner consisted of: A fillet of west coast turbot with lobster mousse; roasted loin of Balmoral venison in a madeira and truffle sauce with braised red cabbage, cocotte potatoes, and timbale of celeriac and butternut squash; and for dessert, a délice of dark chocolate mango and lime; and fruit.
Here are some other ladies (including The Duchess of Gloucester, 3rd from the right) in tiaras for the State Banquet.
I must say, it was fantastic to get to see the arrivals and speeches and everything. We don’t normally get this much coverage of these types of events.
UPDATE: more photos.
Photos: Getty / Twitter / Telegraph livefeed screengrab / The Royal Collection / British Monarchy @BritishMonarchy