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Why Princess Kate Chose to Wear Red for Her First State Banquet

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Princess Kate was in full regal splendor when she arrived at her first state banquet Tuesday evening.


Dressed in a sparkling red Jenny Packham gown with capped sleeves and a belted waist, the picture-perfect princess wore her long, dark locks in a classic updo, which was accessorized by diamond drop earrings and a stunning diamond tiara.

Known as the Lotus Flower, the beautiful pearl and diamond tiara headpiece dates back to Queen Elizabeth’s mother in the 1920s.

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“It is a very pretty, lightweight tiara,” expert Leslie Field, author of The Queen’s Jewels, tells PEOPLE about the Egyptian-style tiara, which was also previously owned and worn by the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret.

“It’s one of the only two she has worn,” Field continues. “She wore it for the diplomatic reception, which is a state occasion. It was worn by Princess Margaret when she was young and it has a youthful image. And it was originally the Queen Mother’s and she wore it as a young married woman as well.”

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And the delicate tiara is a royal rewear! Royal fans first got a glimpse of Kate in the crown jewel at a white-tie reception in December 2013. And of course first wore the sparkling headpiece to her 2011 wedding to Prince William.

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“This was not an occasion where Catherine should be the center of attention,” Field adds. “If she had worn a tiara she had never worn before the press would all want to know about that. Her role is secondary — this is Her Majesty and the president of China at an extremely important state visit. It was tactful of everyone to not try and take the spotlight.”

As for her stunning dress, Kate’s decision to wear red was no accident.

According to Elizabeth Emanuel, who co-designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress and currently designs under the Art of Being label, “red is very important as a statement in itself as it matches the color of the Chinese flag and it means good fortune.”

She adds, “It’s elegant and graceful, which shows off her figure as well. Even after her second child, you can see she has the most beautiful figure.”

From head to toe, Emanuel says Kate achieved the perfect style for the event.

“She’s a young woman and the capped sleeves are perfectly appropriate and scooped neckline is elegant,” she shares. “Her hair in a chignon is beautiful as well. She just looks absolutely right for the occasion — glamorous but not over the top.”

What do you think of Princess Kate’s latest style moment? Sound off below!
RELATED VIDEO: The Princess Kate Tiara Debate: How She’ll Choose Her Jewels for Her First State Banquet

— Erin Hill, with reporting by Simon Perry