It was a momentous evening for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they attended the white-tie Chinese State Banquet at Buckingham Palace. It was Catherine’s first official State Banquet and only the third time we have seen her in a tiara.
The President of China and his wife were on an official state visit with the Queen. These visits include plenty of pomp and circumstance, which the British do best, including a traditional welcome including a carriage ride processional at the Horse Guards Parade. This evening’s State Banquet was a very formal, white-tie banquet held in honor of the President’s visit. When foreign heads of state and royals are welcomed on a state visit, they can expect a similar banquet in their honor.
Her Majesty the Queen gave a speech to begin the banquet, praising the friendly relationship between Britain and China. The Queen mentioned Prince William’s relationship with China and his continued efforts with conservation and the end of the ivory trade. Her Majesty also mentioned the shared interests of both countries, and the friendship that Queen Elizabeth shares with President Jinping.
This evening’s dinner was a culinary feat. The menu included a filet of turbot, venison, with braised cabbage, celery root, and potato casserole, with a chocolate, mango, and lime dessert. There were also plenty of wines paired with each course.
For tonight’s very formal event, the Duchess of Cambridge enlisted Jenny Packham to create a bespoke gown. The color of the gown seems an obvious nod to China’s flag and their culture, which values the color red. The gown featured lace-trimmed cap sleeves, a tulle skirt and a short train.
Tonight was only the third time we have seen Kate in a tiara – the first being her wedding, and the second being the Diplomatic Reception in 2013. Kate opted for the modest Lotus Flower tiara, sometimes called the Papyrus tiara. Lotus flowers are another symbol in Chinese culture, representing purity of the heart and mind.
For the jewels tonight, Kate truly brought the bling! The Duchess wore diamond chandelier earrings, which were on loan from the Queen. She favors this style as she has worn them a few times before. She also wore two diamond cuff bracelets – one on each arm. The left-hand bracelet was identified by Sarah at The Royals and I as the Queen’s Wedding Gift bracelet – a gift from the Duke of Edinburgh upon their marriage.
Many noted that the Duchess of Cambridge did not wear a Royal Order this evening (a special brooch or sash that other royal women have worn to similar functions). Despite a report from the Mail on Sunday, it would appear that the Duchess has not received any Royal Orders, which are bestowed by the Queen. There really is no rhyme or reason to this, but when Her Majesty sees fit Kate will surely receive her own.
This was truly one of the most exciting events I can remember. Many remarked that Kate truly looked like a princess, and seeing her seated two seats down from the Queen was quite memorable. She’s come a long way since her Bucklebury days!