The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and Princess Kate, attended the Annual White Tie Diplomatic Reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace on December 8, 2016. They were accompanied by the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The glamorous and regal white tie affair, also known as the ‘full evening dress,’ is one of the most formal dress codes in the western world. Generally, in such events, women wear full-length evening or ball gown and, optionally, jewelry, tiaras, a small bag and evening gloves.
Likewise, gentlemen are attired as formally as the ladies in attendance, in white starched shirts, Marcella waistcoats, and the iconic white bow tie worn around a detachable collar. High-waisted black trousers and patent leather shoes complete the outfit. The odd top hat and white scarf are acceptable accessories.
This year, the Duchess of Cambridge, now Princess Kate since her marriage to Prince William, looked stunning and regal in a red dress by designer Jenny Packham, the same she chose for her first state dinner with the Chinese President.
The headpiece she wore, again not for the first time, the famous pearl-and-diamond-clad Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, given to the late Princess Diana by the Queen in 1981, along with her diamond chandelier earrings, just added to the glamor.
The Queen looked very much the part (Queen and host) in a white dress designed by Angela Kelly and her diamond and sapphire tiara, while the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, looked no less elegant clad in a white beaded gown by Bruce Oldfield and Boucheron tiara, a pearl choker and diamond earrings.
This year’s December white-tie diplomatic reception witnessed Prince Philip – the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles – the Prince of Wales, and Prince William – the Duke of Cambridge in white ties with the Order of the Garter. Unlike State Banquets, as this is the grandest event, the Royal gentlemen wear knee-britches and the actual Garter with the sash over their white tie.
The diplomatic reception, hosted annually by the Queen, is a white-tie affair attended by the Royal Family members and guests including diplomats and royalties from other nations.
This year was no different – in attendance, among the senior members of the Royal Family, were Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Phillip, Princess Kate, and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla along with over one thousand guests from 130 nations.
In addition to ambassadors, high commissioners, and their partners, about six hundred foreign diplomats, based in London, were among the guests together with around three hundred British diplomats and senior figures from commerce, education, broadcasting and the arts.
It has been a private event for many years and usually pictures of the event are not released. However, this year the Royal Family account on Twitter, much to the delight of those interested in such events, did release a group photo prior to the reception.