The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge raise money for the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal at St. James's Palace

By Simon Perry
Updated November 10, 2011 06:30 PM
Lefteris Pitarakis/ WPA Pool/Getty

Dinner with the royals?

The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge played host Thursday evening at a party at St. James’s Palace.

Around 120 guests joined the couple for a black tie reception and three-course meal marking a cause close to William’s heart – the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) Appeal.

Kate was stunning in a satin and chiffon asymmetric bespoke gown by Jenny Packham.

The event hopes to aid in raising $18 million to turn the Armed Forces Memorial into a centre for remembrance of those who have died in conflict while on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War.

The appeal is something William, 29, has championed since he became the organization’s patron more than two years ago.

Thursday evening’s event had added poignancy as it took place shortly after the announcement that the couple are facing a period of separation early next year when William is posted to the Falkland Islands for six weeks.