The royal mom joined Queen Elizabeth for the annual Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace

By Stephanie Petit
December 11, 2019 05:59 PM
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Kate Middleton‘s tiara usually dominates headlines, but what do her other royal accessories mean?

The mom of three joined Queen Elizabeth and fellow members of the royal family on Wednesday evening for the annual Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace. In addition to her sparkling tiara and stunning evening gown, Kate sported a blue, red, and white sash over her dress.

The sash signifies her position as a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, the highest ranking of chivalry personally awarded by the Queen for being in her service. Kate, 37, was bestowed the honor on April 29 — which happened to be Kate and Prince William‘s eighth wedding anniversary.

Kate debuted the sash earlier this year during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace marking President Donald Trump’s official state visit to the U.K. She completed her white Alexander McQueen gown with her go-to Lover’s Knot tiara paired with the Queen Mother’s sapphire and diamond fringe earrings for the event in June.

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Kate Middleton at state banquet in June
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The order is also represented by a Maltese cross, which Kate wore near the bottom of the sash.

The Royal Victorian Order was created by Queen Victoria in 1896 to allow her to recognize people who helped her or represented her. The ruling monarch personally selects who is given the honor.

Kate Middleton
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Kate Middleton
Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Kate is in great company. Fellow Knights and Dames Grand Cross include the Queen’s sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as well as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The position of Grand Master of the Order was created in 1937 and was occupied by the Queen Mother until her death in 2002. Queen Elizabeth then appointed her daughter, Princess Anne, to the spot in 2007.

Camilla, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, have also been seen in their blue sashes.

Queen Elizabeth
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Queen Elizabeth
Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Royal wives are typically given the Royal Victorian Order or the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth, and they can collect additional orders as time goes on, and they have done more work for the family. (For his part, Prince William is a Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, while Prince Charles has seven orders.)

Each order is represented with a different sash, varying in color and width. They aren’t worn often, but are broken out for formal occasions.

Prince William
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In a change from her usual white or light-colored gowns, she chose a navy velvet gown with long sleeves by Alexander McQueen (her wedding dress designer!) for the annual gathering.

For a state banquet honoring King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in October 2018, Kate sported a yellow badge with a brooch featuring a portrait of the Queen, which she wore on her shoulder, indicating that she had been given the Royal Family Order. She wore the yellow badge for Wednesday’s event as well.