Duchess of Cambridge 2015 Diplomatic Reception

A few months ago when Kate was seen driving in the back of a car with William to Buckingham Palace for the annual Diplomatic Reception hosted by the Queen the press were quick to point out that this was the first time that Kate was seen wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, also known as Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara. However, since we only got a couple of pictures of Kate in the back of the car, we didn’t really get a chance to see what her dress looked like.


At the time that these pictures came out the press was quick to point out how similar Kate’s gown was to one that Diana wore as if she was trying to look like Diana on purpose. They called her a “copycat” and said she was trying too hard to be like Diana. Here is a side by side comparison from the Telegraph to show you what I mean:

It turns out that there were documentary filmmakers at the reception who captured footage of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and William and Kate for a documentary film called “Our Queen at 90” that will premiere on Easter Sunday, March 27th. Thanks to the Daily Mail, we now have one screen grab (as of the writing of this post on March 18th, 2016) of most of Kate’s dress the full view of her tiara. Here it is!

Kate Royal Banquet
STRICTLY EMBARGOED: FOR PUBLICATION FROM SATURDAY 19TH MARCH 2016 From Oxford Film and Television OUR QUEEN AT 90 Sunday 27th March 2016 on ITV Screen grabs shows: Her Royal Highness The Duchess Of Cambridge and His Royal Highness The Duke Of Cambridge Prince William attending the Diplomatic Reception hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace November 2015 She has broken almost every royal record in the book. And now Her Majesty The Queen is approaching a new landmark. To celebrate her 90th birthday, this historic documentary has enjoyed privileged access to the Queen and to those who know her best during the year in which she has become our longest-reigning monarch. We hear from the Prince of Wales and his sons, about the way she has inspired them. We hear from those whom she has warmly welcomed in to the Royal Family, including the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge – giving her first interview since her marriage. We meet leaders, celebrities and ordinary people all over the world whose lives have been touched by the most famous woman on Earth. Meanwhile, back at the Palace, it’s just business as usual…. © ITV For further information please contact Peter Gray peter.gray@itv.com This photograph is © ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme OUR QUEEN AT 90 or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website http://www.itvpictures.com

Now that we have a clearer picture of Kate’s gown we can make a better comparison with Diana’s gown. Besides the fact that they both have some lace I think they are pretty different. Kate’s is blue with lace paneling on the bodice and lace short sleeves while Diana’s is white and totally made of lace with long sleeves.


Kate’s gown for the reception is a bespoke piece from Jenny Packham, one of Kate’s favorite designers. I also recognize Kate’s bag. It’s the same one she wore when she went to a James Bond film premiere with William and Harry in October and is also made by Jenny Packham.

Since Kate’s gown was bespoke it cannot be purchased and it appears that her bag has also sold out. But here are some looklikes.

Edie Parker bag from Saks Fifth Avenue would be a nice splurge.

See it here:


This cute beaded and embroidered bag by Santi from ShopBop is also a nice option and is considerably less expensive. I like that there are beads of various sizing because it gives the bag a mosaic look.

Get it here:


Or this bag is a steal at just $35 from Charming Charlie. It has the same boxy structure and metallic, sparkly embellishment that Kate’s bag has (but WAY less expensive).

Find it here:


As for the dress, Kate tends to gravitate towards light blue in everything from dresses to coats to aquamarine jewelry. The Queen Mother is also known to have favored this color. This gown by Adrianna Papell is $200 dollars and looks like Kate’s style. This gown is available in sizes 0-12 and comes in this “seafoam” color or a blush-y pink.

Find it here:


Or if you want to splurge I think that the lace paneling, short sleeves, and A-line silhouette make this Burberry gown from Saks Fifth Avenue look very similar to Kate’s reception gown. This gown is available in limited sizes.

Find it here:


Kate and Diana both wore lace gowns that had scalloped necklines and I think that this dress by Tahari is similar. It is also reasonable being only $280. This gown goes up to a size 16, which is really nice.

See it here:


I can’t wait to see this documentary when it premieres on Easter. The Queen deserves to have a fabulous 90th birthday celebration and it is great to see her children and grandchildren being interviewed about her.


The Frugal Lady

Kate’s Chinese Banquet Jenny Packham Dress

For her much anticipated state banquet debut Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore a bespoke red Jenny Packham gown. Here are some of the clearest pictures available so far as of Tuesday night, October 20.

Kate chinese banquet

Xi Jinping state banquet

Kate Middleton attends state banquet full length

You can see in the full length picture that the gown has a cinched waist and what looks like a flow-y chiffon skirt. As an added bonus Kate wore some great diamond bangle bracelets.

A Jenny Packham gown can easily cost $8,000-$10,000. But I found some similar gowns for under $100 in case you would like to look like a duchess for the holidays!

This first dress has beading and lace applique detailing on the bodice plus a nice belted-cinched waist that is very figure flattering, a trademark of Jenny Packham’s. And while this isn’t a Packham gown it is a beautiful formal dress and since it is currently on sale for $70 I’d say it’s a steal! It’s available in sizes 2-18 but runs a little small.

This is another pretty prom dress with lace/beading on cap sleeves similar to the style that Kate wore. It also has the flow-y chiffon skirt and costs about $70 depending on what size you get (4-16). It comes in red, too!

This sleeveless, round neck evening dress has a similar structure to what Kate wore, especially with the cinched waist and chiffon skirt. The lace bodice is a little different but it is in keeping with Kate’s style in general since she loves lace. It comes in red and is $70.

It looks like Kate is also using a red clutch bag that matches her dress although I can’t get a good picture of it yet. Red is a culturally significant color in China in addition to being the primary color on the Chinese flag. It would be a little difficult to match the red gown with a red clutch exactly but here are some reasonably priced clutch bags I like. (All clutches come in red, so you can’t appreciate the full look unless you click on the links and see the bags in bright red! 🙂 ) Even though Kate’s bag looks like it is so simple it almost blends in with her dress I like bags with a little more ‘bling’ or embellishment.

I hope we start to see Kate at events like this more often. She has not been given the Royal Family Order by the Queen yet and I think that may have to do with the fact that she is not a full-time working royal yet.


The Frugal Lady

Kate’s Jenny Packham Evening Gown

As I was searching around online I noticed that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, really loves this off the shoulder Jenny Packham gown. She has worn it on three separate occasions. The first time was in October of 2013 at a gala to benefit Action on Addiction.

Embed from Getty Images

Then the second time she wore it in February of 2014 she borrowed a gorgeous diamond necklace from the Queen at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Embed from Getty Images

And finally, she wore the gown again in December of 2014 with her hair pulled back and a pair of gorgeous diamond and emerald earrings.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Three different looks with the same simple but elegant gown.

Catherine Jenny Packham

The original Jenny Packham gown most likely cost a few thousand dollars when Kate first purchased it but it has since sold out. So imagine my surprise when I found this stunning lookalike dress for $65 by Shymay Women online. It comes in the same color that Kate wore (click on the link below to see it) but you can also get it in a pretty fire engine red or periwinkle blue if you want to do something a little bit different.


Last month I also wrote a similar blog post about a dress Catherine wore by Alice Temperley and where you can find a lookalike dress for under $100. You can find it under the tag “Duchess of Cambridge.”


The Frugal Lady