While the daily diary of the Princess of Wales might include a visit to a local camp to roast s’mores with scouts, a journey to the neighborhood Norfolk nursery to admire the latest botanic display or a visit to a care home to practice pancake flipping — there are still a few opulent affairs on her royal agenda.
Since joining the royal ranks upon her marriage to Prince William in 2011, Kate has attended a number of state banquets. These regal feasts combine elements of diplomacy and tradition — they are glamorous and glittering affairs for world leaders to mix and mingle with the Crown’s highest ranking members.
The highlight of any state visit is the banquet — a lavish dinner typically held in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace. A four-course meal prepared by the royal chef is served to guests, dignitaries and other officials. Typically the meal includes a flaky fish like Dover with salmon mousse and leeks as well as dishes like pheasant and truffles accompanied by braised sweet potatoes and crushed root vegetables. A dessert might be praline ice cream, a chocolate pastry or seasonal fruits.
For the grand occasion, the princess is usually outfitted in her most extravagant and exquisite attire — always consisting of a dramatic dress, twinkling tiara and heirloom jewels. Kate frequently pays tribute to the host country — often doing ‘diplomatic dressing’ and honoring the flag or symbolic colors of the visiting Head of State.
The royal family is once again preparing for a banquet — King Charles and Queen Camilla are hosting the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, and his wife, the First Lady, Mrs Kim Keon Hee, during a state visit next week at the palace.
In anticipation of Kate’s next state banquet appearance, we revisit some of her most stunning state banquet style moments.
2015 Chinese State Banquet
Marking a major milestone for the newbie royal, Kate attended her first State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in October 2015. The palace and its principles hosted President Xi Jinping of China and his wife. Ravishing and regal in a red Jenny Packham gown, the princess was one of 170 guests at the lavish and luxe affair.
Kate’s scarlet gown was a showstopper — the ethereal creation included a lace bodice with cap sleeves, a satin waistband and a full tulle skirt. Proving her princess preparedness classes were paying off, Kate looked sensational in enough royal jewels to prompt a small heist.
The former duchess was also clad in the Lotus Flower Tiara (often called the Papyrus tiara) and the Wedding Gift Bracelet.
Kate’s red dress paid homage to Chinese culture as well as the national flag; the color red is considered symbolic and represents good luck, prosperity and good fortune. The hue is even the traditional shade worn by Chinese brides as it’s believed to ward off evil and misfortune.
2017 Spanish State Banquet
For this high-profile affair, Kate played hostess along with the other higher ranking royals to Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia.
For the summer occasion, Kate donned a Renaissance-era soft blush colored lace Marchsea gown. The dress had a plunging neckline, cropped bell sleeves and full lace skirt. With echos of bridal fashion, the feminine dress was a perfect choice for the special event.
Kate paired the look with more crown jewels including Diana’s Lover’s Knot Tiara as well as Lady Diana’s Collingwood pearl earrings and the Queen’s Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace.
2018 Netherlands State Banquet
On this occasion, Princess Kate played co-host to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. Kate wore an icy blue taffeta mermaid gown by Alexander McQueen for the banquet dinner.
Many royal watchers loved the Cinderella color of the princess’ taffeta gown as well as Kate’s sparkling royal accessories including a new badge — the Royal Family Order — a glass portrait of Queen Elizabeth surrounded by diamonds. Queen Elizabeth II personally bestowed the commemorative medal to Kate.
In addition, the princess wore the captivating Lover’s Knot Tiara with 19 diamond arches and 38 drop pearls. British jewelry house Garrad designed the headpiece which was made for Queen Mary in 1913. The sparkler became one of Princess Diana’s favorite tiaras despite the fact that wearing it was so heavy it caused her to have headaches.
For the Dutch banquet, Kate also wore a stunning pearl festoon necklace — Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Necklace.
2019 United States State Banquet
The royal family once again broke out the good crockery for President Trump’s visit in June 2019. For the grand affair, Kate opted to wear a ruffled white ballgown by Alexander McQueen. A bespoke creation, the dress featured a sweetheart neckline, cap sleeves and a full skirt.
Kate once again wore the Lover’s Knot Tiara with its pearls perfectly coordinating with her snowy fairytale dress. She also wore the Queen Mother’s sapphire and diamond fringe earrings.
Kate’s sartorial diplomacy was on full display — her royal blue sash and white dress had the colors of the American flag along with her red and blue Maltese cross pin. The princess finished the glittery look with a four-strand diamond bracelet from the late Princess Diana’s collection as well as an embellished white satin butterfly box clutch from Alexander McQueen.
2022 South Africa State Banquet
In November 2022, Kate dazzled at the first state banquet of King Charles’ reign. Hosting Cyril Ramaphosa, the royal family brought out all the stops to throw a spectacular and splashy affair complete with the finest food and drink.
For the occasion, the princess wore a wintery white gown from Jenny Packham. Clad in the designer’s ‘Elspeth’ bridal dress complete with a rhinestone cape and a keyhole back, the princess was a true royal rockstar.
The newly designated princess also wore a few shiny baubles including her Bentley and Skinner Art Deco Brooch, Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara and the Queen’s pearl bracelet.
Princess Kate completed the look with her white satin box clutch from McQueen — the handbag has a clasp designed of clear stone and embellished with a butterfly motif. Finally, for footwear, the princess wore sparkly Gianvito Rossi ‘Rania’ silver tone pumps adorned with clusters of Swarovski crystals.