The First Photos of Kate Middleton Wearing a Royal Family Order Are Breathtaking

The Duchess literally had on a huge stamp of approval.

State Visit Of The King And Queen Of The Netherlands - Day One
Getty ImagesWPA Pool

looked like the definition of a princess tonight wearing an Alexander McQueen gown and tons of diamonds to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the with and a dazzling neckline that once belonged to the Queen Mother, according to royal jewelry expert .

Princess Diana had previously numerous times before Kate did, but the connection to Duchess's late mother-in-law wasn't what had royal watchers particularly excited about this ensemble.

State Visit Of The King And Queen Of The Netherlands - Day One
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks with Rear Admiral Ludger Brummelaar during a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on October 23, 2018 in London. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands accompanied by Queen Maxima are staying at Buckingham Palace during their two-day stay in England.
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Twitter couldn't get over the (somewhat plain in comparison) brooch Kate had pinned to her dress. For the first time ever, the Duchess was photographed wearing a royal family order.

Waouh ! Kate looks absolutely divine tonight 💙
So happy that The Queen gave her the Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II 😍😭👸🏽

— Mélanie (@melcambridges)

With her McQueen gown tonight, the Duchess of Cambridge appears to have new bling: the royal family order of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s a miniature portrait of the queen, surrounded by diamonds, on yellow silk.

— Autumn Brewington (@Autumnsan1)

For those who need a little refresher, royal family orders aren't special commands, but in fact a prestigious honor symbolized with a badge. Multiple countries use them within their own royal families, but Queen Elizabeth II's has its own particular design and meaning.

The pin includes a small painted portrait of the Queen surrounded with diamonds. The miniature is set on a yellow silk ribbon and worn pinned to the left shoulder of the recipient's dress. We specify "dress" because this honor is only bestowed upon female family members as a thank you for their service.

Diana Jewels
Princess Diana wearing the royal family order to a banquet in Australia on April 11, 1983. She received the honor the same year she married Prince Charles.
Getty ImagesTim Graham

Besides that restriction, however, the Queen can award it however she wishes, previously reported. In fact, she usually takes her sweet time in giving it out to her relatives, considering facts like how many engagements they've performed. Besides her mother, grandmother, aunts, and sister (who all received it in the first year of her reign), new in-laws typically wait years before receiving it themselves.

For example, married the Queen's youngest son Prince Edward in 1999 and got her order in 2004. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, got it in just two years after joining the family, in 2007. That's partially due to the status attributed to the wife of the next king, however. Now, Kate appears to have just received it herself — six or seven years after she married Prince William.

While this is the first time the general public has seen the order on Kate, of Majesty Magazine and People correspondent report the Duchess of Cambridge received it last year when she wore it at the Diplomatic Corps reception in December. Unfortunately no photos showed the pin on her dress then, which makes tonight's dozens of diamonds and royal order especially exciting.

The Duchess of Cambridge is wearing the family order for the second time. It’s first outing was at the Diplomatic Corps reception in December.

— Majesty/Joe Little (@MajestyMagazine)

They both also added that while the orders previously featured portraits painted on ivory, the Duchess's uses glass instead — a welcome change given what we know today about elephant conservation.

The substantial period of time it takes to receive the royal family order only adds to its special meaning. Hopefully that means we can look forward to Meghan Markle earning her own in a few years time.

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