Chris Jackson/Getty
Simon Perry
June 10, 2011 08:45 AM

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge‘s dazzling appearance Thursday at a lavish gala in London helped raise an astonishing $28 million for charity.

The evening, benefiting Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), saw the royal couple joined by actors Elizabeth Hurley and Kevin Spacey and filmmaker-designer Tom Ford – all to help children in Africa, Romania, India and the U.K.

And there was no doubt who was the star of the show. Kate, 29, wowed the crowd and commentators alike. The first question on everybody’s mind: What was she wearing?

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A shimmering dusky pink silk tulle with sequin and crystal beading, by British designer Jenny Packham.

Despite this being the Duchess’s first official public outing as a royal, she appeared unfazed as she and William, 28, made their way into the event, while guests clamored around them to take their own snapshots of the newlyweds.

Speedo Display

The guests, who sipped Baron de Rothschild champagne, paid up to $16,000 a head, and the post-dinner auction helped bring in the impressive fundraising total. Among the items on the block: a box of medicine signed by the royal couple, which eventually fetched nearly $200,000.

Before that, William, in black tie, announced a link between the foundation that bears his and his brother’s name and ARK. They plan to work on a program over the next four years that will cost $8 million.

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After the newlyweds had watched a troupe of Mexican divers in tight swimming trunks conduct a display, William said in his speech that he was looking forward to “the conversation I will have with my grandmother about the men in the most tight Speedos I have ever seen.”

William got a further chuckle from the 1,000 guests when he pondered the acronym for the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and The Duchess of Cambridge: F. P. W. P. H. A. T. D. C.

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