Queen hosted formal Diplomatic Reception – but the dinner set-up may surprise you

The Queen welcomed approximately 1,000 guests into her London palace yesterday evening. Among them, there were ambassadors, high commissioners and Government officials, who were entertained by senior royals and the monarch herself. 

Guests had to abide by a strict “white tie and decorations” dress code – consisting in tailcoats for the gentlemen and full-length gowns for the ladies in attendance.

Female royals had to complete their looks with tiaras and display their Royal Orders.

But, contrary to what happens during State Banquets, where the formality of the dress code matches the one of the dinner, guests had quite a relaxed set-up, as they were offered more informal supper rather than a sit-down four-course meal.

This choice could be due to the number of guests. 

State Banquets usually see no more than 150 guests, the Diplomatic Receptions had hundreds – and it would be quite an impossible task to set a table for all the guests, even for the Queen’s trained staff.

While this year’s reception timing hasn’t been shared, one royal fan, Gerts’s Royals, published on Twitter the schedule of the Reception from 2017, giving an idea of how guests and royals spent their evening yesterday.

Two years ago, guests were served their buffet supper in two sittings. 

The first one was hosted between 7pm and 8pm across the Stat Dining Room,

the Blue Drawing Room, the Music Room and the White Drawing Room.

At 8.30pm, guests stopped to welcome the Queen and other members of the Royal Family entering the palace’s state rooms.

The second sitting was then served between 9pm and 10pm across the Picture Gallery, Green Drawing Room and Ball Supper Room.

Guests were invited to dance in the Ball Supper Room from 9.30pm.

The reception ended at 11pm, after guests gathered to hear the National Anthem.

But their hosts, senior members of the Royal Family, actually left at 9.50pm.

The senior royals in attendance yesterday were Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and the monarch. 

The Duchess of Cambridge stunned in a navy velvet ballgown by one of her favourite designers, Alexander McQueen.

She paired her full-length gown with a statement diamond necklace, matching earrings, and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II badge pinned to the front.

She topped off the look with her favourite Lover’s Knot tiara, previously worn by Princess Diana.

Camilla and the Queen looked regal as they wore two similar outfits, as they both donned white dresses with embroiled decorations. 

The Duchess of Cornwall added on her lapel the badge of the Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II, while the Queen had pinned above her heart the badges of the Royal Family Order of George V and of George VI.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were not expected to attend the reception as they are on an announced six-week break from royal duties.

Prince Philip was also not in attendance, as he retired from royal duties in August 2017.

The Duke of Edinburgh is believed to be spending this autumn at a five-bedroom cottage on the grounds of the Sandringham estate.      

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