As TV and film royalty met members of the real royal family at Buckingham Palace this evening, the Duchess of Cambridge ensured she stood out at the star-studded event in a vibrant red Alexander McQueen dress. Kate, 32, has worn the designer pleated skirt dress on previous occasions, most famously on the royal barge during the Diamond Jubilee river pageant of 2012.
On that day she accessorised with her trusty LK Bennett nude heels and a Lock & Co hat. For today’s event, hosted by the Queen to celebrate the dramatic arts, she went for a less formal look. She ditched the hat to let her glossy brown locks fall around her shoulders and substituted a patriotic tartan clutch she carried for the Jubliee event for a plainer black purse and matching black heels. She added an additional new touch to her look with long, gold earrings.
The red dress has been worn by a number of celebrities since it made its debut on the spring/summer 2011 catwalk back in February 2010. The former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos wore a sleeveless version of it for the reality show’s auditions in July 2011. She wore the piece, with its flattering pleated skirt and neat peplum, with minimal accessories – just black stilettos and a slick of red lipstick finished off the look for Tulisa.
Reality TV queen Kim Kardashian has also been pictured in the dress when out in New York, adding some bling with a jeweled necklace and metallic clutch. But thankfully none of the Hollywood stars and the giants of British film and theatre who joined the Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace this evening made the fashion faux pas of wearing the same outfit as style queen Kate.
Actresses Uma Thurman, Joely Richardson, Joan Collins, Gemma Arterton and Dame Angela Lansbury were all present at the glittering Buckingham Palace reception, as well as Sir Roger Moore, Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes. Elegant Dame Helen Mirren, whose uncanny portrayal of the monarch over the years even prompted Prince William to joke on Sunday that he should call her granny, was also in attendance.
The award-winning actress was introduced to the Queen personally, although it is not known whether the pair discussed Dame Helen’s regal role. The Duchess was also introduced to many of the 250 stars present on a night celebrating the Queen’s 60 years as patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the wider contribution that the dramatic arts make to national life.
Inside the White Drawing Room, the Queen greeted a line-up of ten hand-picked celebrities, including Alan Rickman, Sir David Attenborough – representing his brother Richard, Lord Attenborough who was too ill to attend – Miss Marple star Dame Angela Lansbury, actress Jane Horrocks, British film director of 12 Years A Slave Steve McQueen.
Also present was comedian Lenny Henry, who made a joke about Helen Mirren’s film performance as the Queen. Pointing to the 87-year-old monarch and joking with McQueen, he said: ‘This is Helen Mirren. She’s brilliant.’ After meeting and greeting their guests, the Queen and Kate, who were also joined by Prince Michael of Kent, were treated to a 12 minute performance which included excerpts from Pygmallion and Oh What a Lovely War.