Catherine, Princess of Wales in Jenny Packham at the State Banquet in Honor of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

Posted on November 23, 2022

It’s the first big event of the new Caroline (or Carolean) Era, as the senior royals donned their white tie and tiaras for an official state banquet at Buckingham Palace (an occasion we have not covered here since the Before Times) for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. To mark the occasion, Princess Cathy returned to two solid go-tos in her style arsenal: Jenny Packham and the Lover’s Knot Tiara.



If yesterday’s smart little ensemble was the full royal drag, as we like to call it, then this is the equivalent of a season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race; a royal extravaganza with all the trimmings. As  per the uzh, the royal press is maintaining that Kate is wearing the Lover’s Knot as a tribute to Princess Diana (who made it iconic, to be fair), which prompts us once again to point out how that sort of reporting gets the whole point of royal drag wrong. It’s worn to signal her station. It’s worn to show that she either owns it or has access to it. It’s about the lineage it represents and the title it suggests. After all, no one ever suggested that Diana or Elizabeth were paying tribute to its original owner Queen Mary whenever they wore it. State occasions are not royal family dinners. Personal tributes aren’t really what they’re about. Pomp and pageantry and all of the trappings of imperial power are what they’re about. Everyone’s dripping in jewels in order to impress the high-ranking visitors they’re entertaining. She’s also wearing the badge of the Royal Victorian Order and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II; not as tributes or homages, but for the same reason generals wear medals: to show her rank. The earrings belonged to Diana and the pearl bracelet to Queen Elizabeth. We suppose we can’t convince anyone that they’re not personal tributes to each woman, but overall, that’s not how royals view jewelry. It’s about power and status way more than it’s about sentimentality. Her sapphire engagement ring is a different matter entirely, of course. Camilla is wearing the Belgian Sapphire Tiara and accompanying necklace and earrings, which were favorites of the Queen and which now belong to her, for the most part (technically, they’re Charles’).

The Jenny Packham gown is lovely and gives you that perfect blend of traditional royal dress and Disney Princess, which is a line she’s particularly good at straddling.


Style Credits:
Jenny Packham Beaded Gown with Cape


[Photo Credit: PA Images/ Images]

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