Kate Middleton, Britain’s Princess of Wales, turned heads at a special coronation reception for world leaders and royals on Friday night, bringing “Hollywood” glamour to the ornate setting of Buckingham Palace, according to a leading royal fashion expert.
Kate attended the evening reception at the palace hosted by King Charles to welcome world leaders and other high profile guests who have travelled to Britain for his coronation on Saturday.
Among the invited guests were First Lady Jill Biden, who is representing the U.S. at the celebrations, and Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.
For the occasion Kate created a striking impression in a vintage silhouetted blue evening dress accessorised with diamante embellishments and a pair of royal heirloom diamond and sapphire earrings.
The overall look is notable for its modern twist for the usually conservative princess, celebrity stylist and royal fashion expert, Miranda Holder, told Newsweek.
“Princess Kate’s star shone very brightly last night, as she simply dazzled at the coronation reception,” she said.
“Kate wore a new cobalt blue, fashion-forward dress by contemporary brand Self-Portrait. The figure-hugging shape with ruching at the hip, together with a twisted knot at the neck and 80’s-inspired built-up shoulders was a change of direction from Kate’s usual, more classic aesthetic, which made a refreshing change but an interesting choice for the tone of the evening.”
This is not the first time that Kate has looked to the British ready-to-wear brand Self-Portrait for fashion inspiration. The princess has worn a number of their designs over the course of her marriage, including a mint-green diaphanous day dress worn in the Bahamas during her 2022 tour of the Caribbean with Prince William.
Sister-in-law, Meghan Markle is also a fan of Self-Portrait. During her time as a working royal she wore a number of dresses from the designer, including a striking red example showcased on a visit to the island of Tonga with Prince Harry in 2018.
Kate has increasingly looked to updated takes on 1980s styles and silhouettes for her royal event dressing over the past 12-months. A designer she wore increasingly in 2022 was Alessandra Rich, known for taking inspiration from the style of powerful women from the past—included among them is Kate’s mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana.
Kate elevated her look on Friday with a new twist on her famous free flowing hair-style. According to Holder this showed the princess dressing more for her age rather than for her senior and elevated status as the second most senior female royal.
“Kate styled her hair differently, wearing it in a new way, swept to the side and tumbling down her shoulders in glamorous Hollywood waves,” she said. “The result was nothing short of breathtaking, and most notably – Kate looked considerably younger and more contemporary – dressing for her age, rather than solely for her role as our future queen.”
Kate’s side-swept hairstyle highlighted an important pair of royal heirloom earrings she selected for the occasion, formerly belonging to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The diamond and sapphire drop earrings feature small fringes of diamonds that sparkle as the wearer moves. The style of the earrings and the stones used compliment another of the princess’ inherited jewels, her famous engagement ring which was formerly worn by Princess Diana.
For shoes, Kate opted for her second pair of Aquazzura heels of the day. Previously in the day, the royal debuted a new pair of black “bow tie” style heels which are a favourite of her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle’s.
For the evening reception, Kate selected a pair of the label’s “Love Link” slingback high heels in a royal blue silk with crystal linked embellishment on the heel strap. The princess first wore this pair in 2022 for the annual Garter Day ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Following the event at Buckingham Palace on Friday, Kensington Palace released an official portrait of Kate together with Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska.
Kate and Zelenska have met on a number of occasions before. At the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in 2022, the princess officially welcomed the First Lady to London in a meeting at Buckingham Palace.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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