Kate Middleton joins Prince William for the Queen’s Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace

The Duchess of Cambridge looked stunning in the Lover’s Knot Tiara, as she made her way to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night for the Queen’s Diplomatic Reception.

Kate, 37, joined husband Prince William, 37, as they drove to the annual white tie affair, which is one of the highlights of the royal calendar.

They will join the Queen, 93, Prince Charles, 71, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 72, for the Diplomatic Reception, and greet some of the 1,000 guests in attendance for the lavish event. 

The duchess wore a navy velvet Alexander McQueen gown for the occasion, which she paired with sparkling silver drop earrings and one of the Queen’s silver necklaces.

In a sentimental nod to Prince William’s mother Princess Diana, she finished her outfit with the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara – a piece given to the late royal on her wedding day and much beloved by Kate. 

The white tie Diplomatic Reception is the main social event of the year in London for the diplomatic community and reflects the Queen’s importance in terms of the UK’s international relations.

Kate Middleton, 37, joined husband Prince William, 37, as they drove to the annual white tie affair at Buckingham Palace, which is one of the highlights of the royal calendar

Kate Middleton, 37, joined husband Prince William, 37, as they drove to the annual white tie affair at Buckingham Palace, which is one of the highlights of the royal calendar

Kate Middleton, 37, joined husband Prince William, 37, as they drove to the annual white tie affair at Buckingham Palace, which is one of the highlights of the royal calendar

The Duchess of Cambridge paired sparkling silver drop earrings and a lavish necklace with the stunning Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara - a piece that she has worn on a number of previous occasions

The Duchess of Cambridge paired sparkling silver drop earrings and a lavish necklace with the stunning Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara - a piece that she has worn on a number of previous occasions

The Duchess of Cambridge paired sparkling silver drop earrings and a lavish necklace with the stunning Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara – a piece that she has worn on a number of previous occasions

As Kate arrived at the Palace she was dressed in a navy blue velvet Alexander McQueen dress. 

The brand is one of the Duchesses’ favourites, and she regularly chooses the British designer’s gowns for formal occasions, most recently the Royal Variety Performance in November.

The mother-of-three accessorised with the striking Nizam of Hyderabad necklace – a piece loaned to her by the Queen. 

It was given to the Queen as a gift when she married in November 1947. Kate last borrowed the diamond stunner to attend a black tie Portrait Gala in 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The duchess also seemed to be wearing the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on her blue sash, which she wore for the first time in June at The Queen’s State Banquet. The honour was given to her by the Queen in April for her services to the sovereign.  

Prince Charles, 71, and Duchess of Cornwall, 72, also made their way to join The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace

Prince Charles, 71, and Duchess of Cornwall, 72, also made their way to join The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace

Prince Charles, 71, and Duchess of Cornwall, 72, also made their way to join The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace

Prince William appeared relaxed as he and Kate made their way to the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace this evening

Prince William appeared relaxed as he and Kate made their way to the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace this evening

Prince William appeared relaxed as he and Kate made their way to the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace this evening 

The Duchess of Cambridge selected a stunning navy gown for the occasion, which she paired with the Queen's necklace and a pair of glittering diamond earrings

The Duchess of Cambridge selected a stunning navy gown for the occasion, which she paired with the Queen's necklace and a pair of glittering diamond earrings

The Duchess of Cambridge selected a stunning navy gown for the occasion, which she paired with the Queen’s necklace and a pair of glittering diamond earrings 

The Cambridges appeared relaxed ahead of the annual white tie dinner, which is widely considered one of the highlights of the royal calendar

The Cambridges appeared relaxed ahead of the annual white tie dinner, which is widely considered one of the highlights of the royal calendar

The Cambridges appeared relaxed ahead of the annual white tie dinner, which is widely considered one of the highlights of the royal calendar 

KATE’S TIARA TRIBUTE TO HER LATE MOTHER-IN-LAW 

Diana in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara in Hong Kong in 1989

Diana in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara in Hong Kong in 1989

Diana in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara in Hong Kong in 1989

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara is the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge most frequently – and for very sentimental reasons.  

The tiara was made by Royal jewellers Garrard in 1914 to Queen Mary’s personal design, from pearls and diamonds already in her family’s possession.

It was a copy of one owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, who married the first Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III, in 1818.

In her will Queen Mary left the tiara to to the Queen who wore it frequently, including at an evening event in 1955.

In 1981 she gave it as a wedding present to Prince William’s mother, Diana, who wore it for the first time at the state opening of parliament that November.

Diana also wore the tiara in 1985 on an official visit to Washington with Prince Charles. 

And since her death the glistening head piece has been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge who was most recently spotted wearing it at the state dinner during Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI’s visit in 2017. 

 It was also seen on Kate at last year’s Diplomatic Reception. 

The Duchess of Cambridge most recently wore the Lover's Knot Tiara to the state banquet held in honour of Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in October

The Duchess of Cambridge most recently wore the Lover's Knot Tiara to the state banquet held in honour of Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in October

Kate with Rear Admiral Ludger Brummelaar

Kate with Rear Admiral Ludger Brummelaar

The Duchess of Cambridge most recently wore the Lover’s Knot Tiara to the state banquet held in honour of Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in October 2018, pictured. Right, Kate with Rear Admiral Ludger Brummelaar

The Duchess of Cambridge wore the tiara for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace in December 2016, pictured

The Duchess of Cambridge wore the tiara for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace in December 2016, pictured

The Duchess of Cambridge at the annual gala in 2015

The Duchess of Cambridge at the annual gala in 2015

Kate wore the tiara for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace in December 2016, left, and in 2015, right

William looked relaxed as he sat next to his wife, dressed for the occasion in a black blazer and white shirt – pairing it with a white bow tie. 

Later on Prince Charles and Camilla were pictured arriving at the event, dressed formally for the occasion too. Camilla was wearing a gold Bruce Oldfield gown, pairing it with elegant silver earring.

She selected one of her own favourite tiaras, the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara for the event, which had belonged to Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother).

Queen Elizabeth took the piece to Cartier, and in 1953 had it made even bigger by adding to the top line and finishing it off with a marquis-shaped diamond in the centre. 

As Kate arrived at the Palace, with William, she was dressed in a dark blue number, which she teamed with the striking Nizam of Hyderabad necklace - a piece of jewellery owned by the Queen

As Kate arrived at the Palace, with William, she was dressed in a dark blue number, which she teamed with the striking Nizam of Hyderabad necklace - a piece of jewellery owned by the Queen

As Kate arrived at the Palace, with William, she was dressed in a dark blue number, which she teamed with the striking Nizam of Hyderabad necklace – a piece of jewellery owned by the Queen

They will join the Queen, 93 ,and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall for the Diplomatic Reception, and greet some of the 1,000 guests in attendance for the lavish event

They will join the Queen, 93 ,and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall for the Diplomatic Reception, and greet some of the 1,000 guests in attendance for the lavish event

They will join the Queen, 93 ,and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall for the Diplomatic Reception, and greet some of the 1,000 guests in attendance for the lavish event

The Boucheron soon became one of her favourites and when she died it was passed along with the rest of her collection to her daughter, the present Queen. 

Charles will no doubt be particularly touched at the significance: he adored his late grandmother and loves to see his wife in her jewellery. 

The royal event is the largest reception held at Buckingham Palace, requiring hours of intricate planning by the Master of the Household and the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as the commandeering of almost every member of waiting staff.

More than 1,000 people from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York attend the gathering.

Most notable, however, are the many hundreds of ambassadors and embassy staff officially accredited to the Court of St James, often in brilliantly coloured and eye-catching national dress.   

What is the Royal Victorian Order?

The order was started by Queen Victoria in 1896 so that she could personally reward people who had helped her as a monarch.

During the reign of Edward VIII, in 1936, the order was amended to admit women.

The Duchess of Cambridge was first seen wearing the Dame Grand Cross at a state banquet in June earlier this year

The Duchess of Cambridge was first seen wearing the Dame Grand Cross at a state banquet in June earlier this year

The Duchess of Cambridge was first seen wearing the Dame Grand Cross at a state banquet in June earlier this year 

The highest class of the order is to be a Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GCVO), which is what Kate Middleton has now been awarded.

The Duchess of Cambridge was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on her eighth wedding anniversary in April of this year. 

Awards under the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by the Queen, for services to the sovereign.  

In becoming a Grand Dame, Kate – who will now have the letters GCVO after her name – will join other senior female royals including the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester.

The Queen gifted her daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall the same personal wedding anniversary honour back in April 2012.

Camilla became a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the seventh anniversary of her wedding to Prince Charles.

The Royal Victorian Order, one pictured, is a Maltese cross surrounded by a blue ring

The Royal Victorian Order, one pictured, is a Maltese cross surrounded by a blue ring

The Royal Victorian Order, one pictured, is a Maltese cross surrounded by a blue ring

The couple married on April 9, 2005, in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor after a controversial relationship spanning several decades.

Other classes include Knight or Dame Commander (KCVO or DCVO), Commander (CVO), Lieutenant (LVO), and Member (MVO).

The two highest classes come with admission into knighthood if the awardee is not already a knight or a dame. This means they can be called sir or dame.

Once part of the Order, members are given a badge which is a Maltese cross surrounded by a blue ring and featuring a Tudor crown.

There are variations on the badge for each grade of the order. For example Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a sash passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.

Their badge also has white enamel with gold edging, setting it apart from the other ranks.

Foreigners can also be part of the Royal Victorian Order, however their ribbon will differ from others and have an additional central white stripe.

The Order’s motto is ‘Victoria,’ in reference to the founder and its chapel is the Savoy Chapel in London.