20 October 2015

State Visit from China, State Banquet

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, with other members of the Royal Family present, gave a State Banquet in honor of the President of The People’s Republic of China at Buckingham Palace. 

Many guessed The Queen would wear rubies this evening as a nod to her Chinese guests, but she went for a different colored stone surprise: sapphires! All the better to coordinate with her Order of the Garter sash.

It's been quite a while since she wore her Modern Sapphire Tiara, and I'm glad to see her in any colored stone tiara at all. She paired it with the suite of sapphires given to her by her father. She was also wearing a bracelet and presumably a diamond watch as usual, but these items were worn under her gloves.

Video: Don't miss a chance to see other guests in tiaras milling around before the banquet!

And now for the other members of the family:

The Duchess of Cambridge made her State Banquet debut wearing a tomato red Jenny Packham gown with a gorgeous flowing skirt and a sequined top, plus the Lotus Flower Tiara (from The Queen Mother, via Princess Margaret). This is the second time she's worn this pearl and diamond tiara. She also wore diamond pendant earrings on loan from The Queen, which she has worn in the past, and a sparkly bracelet on each wrist.
One of her bracelets appears to be The Queen's Wedding Gift Bracelet - this would be quite a surprising loan, as The Queen still uses it, but the shape is distinctive.The other looks to me like a bracelet worn by The Queen Mother, which started out as a choker for Queen Mary, Queen Mary's Diamond Bar Choker Bracelet (see here for more). To my knowledge, we haven't seen this piece since The Queen Mother's passing.
What she didn't wear was The Queen's Royal Family Order. It may have been widely reported that she was given the honor, but personally, I didn't think we'd see her in it yet for one very simple reason: the other royal women that currently have the order are all full-time working royals, and The Duchess is not (yet). She'll have plenty of time for order-wearing later on.

We got just a peek at The Duchess of Gloucester, in the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara in its diamond setting, and Princess Alexandra of Kent, in the pearl setting of the Ogilvy Tiara. (For everyone asking why Princess Alexandra wore her Royal Family Orders on the opposite side, no, we don't know why. She's worn them on top of her Garter sash in the past.)
The Princess Royal was also present (unpictured here, but wearing the Festoon Tiara), as was (I believe) Princess Michael of Kent; The Duchess of Cornwall was absent along with her husband, and The Countess of Wessex had an engagement elsewhere for the evening.

And last but not least, a couple gents, for good measure. Others such as The Duke of York were also present and are unpictured.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated / Telegraph and BBC video screencaps