Bring on the crown jewels!
Princess Kate dazzled alongside fellow glam royal mom Queen Letizia of Spain as they joined Queen Elizabeth and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at the state banquet for the visiting Spanish royals on Wednesday.
Kate was stunning in a pale pink lace Marchesa gown (a version of which is still available here), which she also accessorized with a sparkling diamond and ruby necklace that belongs to the Queen. She also wore two pieces that were once favorites of Princess Diana’s: A pair of pearl Collingwood earrings, and the Lover’s Knot tiara.
The Queen wore a long satin white gown by Angela Kelly and the Golden Fleece Order. She also wore the Aquamarine tiara and necklace, a matching set that was created from gifts from Brazil she received early on in her reign.
Queen Letizia was regal in a red off-the-shoulder gown with a diamond tiara.
Camilla wore a Bruce Oldfield cream embroidered gown, a sash with the Dame Grand Cross of the Victorian Order and a Queen’s Family Order brooch gifted to her by the Queen on her 60th birthday.
Also in attendance at the Buckingham Palace dinner: Prince William and Prince Harry. It is Harry’s first official state banquet appearance in support of his grandmother the Queen, 91. The banquet marks another milestone as well: It is likely to be the final public dinner for Prince Philip, 96, whose retirement from public duties will go into effect this fall.
Harry is slated to help again on Thursday, when he escorts the Spanish royal couple to Westminster Abbey.
During the dinner, Queen Letizia sat between Prince Philip and Prince Charles, while Princess Kate sat between His Excellency Carlos Bastarreche-Sagues and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Prince William sat next to Prime Minister Theresa May.
They dined on poached salmon with fennel in a white wine sauce, Scottish beef medallions with bone marrow and truffles, fondant potatoes, yellow and green courgettes and celeriac salad. For dessert, they enjoyed dark chocolate and raspberry tart and a selection of seasonal fruits.
In a speech, Queen Elizabeth said: “This State Visit is an expression of the deep respect and friendship that describes relations between Spain and the United Kingdom.
“Just occasionally, a State Visit can provide an opportunity for great personal happiness also. So it was, more than a century ago, when your great-grandfather, King Alfonso the Thirteenth, met his future wife, Princess Victoria Eugenie, the granddaughter of our Queen Victoria, in this very ballroom.”
King Felipe and Queen Letizia began the formal part of their visit on Wednesday morning, when they were greeted at their hotel by Prince Charles and Camilla. They were then escorted to Horse Guards Parade in London, where the ceremonial welcome took place before they rode by carriage up the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
Kate and William took part in their first dinner for a visiting head of state in October 2015, when they were seated with President Xi Jinping and Madame Pang Liyuan of China.
The extensive planning for a state banquet starts about six months before the big event, with invitations sent out two months ahead.
A special “silver pantry” provides the silver-gilt plates used for the first two courses, fish and meat. (Pudding and seasonal fruit are served on porcelain.) The design on the cutlery that comes with it, collected by George IV “doesn’t always match,” Anna Reynolds, the curator of the 2015 Buckingham Palace exhibit that focused on state banquets and other royal events, told PEOPLE at the time.
Laying out the table for the 170 guests at a banquet takes three days. Each person gets 18 inches of space, with the napkin folded in the shape of a Dutch bonnet.
Six glasses are set: one each for water, champagne, white wine, red wine, sweet wine or another champagne for post-dinner and port. “Each glass is the same distance from the edge of the table in each setting. That uniformity really helps to create the magic, what makes it so special,” Reynolds said.