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Kate Middleton dazzles in Princess Diana's tiara for State Banquet with King and Queen of Spain

Mirror logo Mirror 13/07/2017 Victoria Murphy

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The Duchess of Cambridge dazzled in Princess Diana 's signature tiara and a necklace borrowed from The Queen tonight as Britain rolled out the red carpet for the Spanish state visit.

Kate and William joined The Queen and Prince Philip as they host King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain for a glittering State Banquet at Buckingham Palace.

It was just the sixth time Kate has worn a tiara and the third time she has chosen the pearl and diamond Cambridge Lover's Knot, which was given to Diana as a wedding present from The Queen in 1981.

The Duchess teamed the glittering headpiece with a dress by Marchesa and a dazzling necklace belonging to The Queen - the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Bandeau Necklace, a V shaped diamond and ruby collar ending in a diamond drop pendant.

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The Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara was made by royal jewellers Garrard in 1914 for Queen Mary and passed down through royal generations.

It was allegedly so heavy that it gave Diana headaches, however she wore it several times.

After her death it was kept in a safe until it was given to Kate, who has worn it twice before - at the annual Buckingham Palace diplomatic reception in 2015 and 2016.

Kate also wore Princess Diana's Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings.

Credits: WireImage © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: WireImage © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Glamorous Queen Letizia, in her third outfit of the day, was also wearing a tiara and a full-length evening gown.

Letizia also wore an impressive diamond tiara, which was a wedding present from King Alfonso XIII to his wife Princess Victoria Eugenie, who became Queen Ena of Spain - the great-grandmother of Felipe and also an ancestor of Elizabeth II.

Kate is often seen as the more conservative dresser of the two with Letizia's sartorial choices considered more daring.

But the Duchess's Marchesa gown featured flamboyant cuffs and a low lace V-shaped neckline at the front and back.

Known for championing Spanish couturiers such as Felipe Varela and Lorenzo Caprile, Letizia supports high street chains Zara and Mango.

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Kate is a fan of British labels including Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham, as well as high street labels Whistles and LK Bennett.

At 35, the Duchess is nearly a decade younger than 44-year-old Letizia.

Both have two children. Letizia and Felipe have two girls, 11-year-old Leonor and 10-year-old Sofia, while Kate and William have Prince George, nearly four, and two-year-old Princess Charlotte.

Crown Prince Felipe's relationship with former journalist Letizia was conducted in complete secrecy until their surprise engagement was announced in 2003.

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was already a household name - a well-recognised television presenter and award-winning reporter who covered events such as the Iraq War and 9/11.

She had worked at various newspapers, as well at Bloomberg, CNN+ and Spain's state TV company Television Espanola.

The daughter of a journalist and a nurse, and the granddaughter of a taxi driver, she first met the prince at a colleague's dinner party in 2002.

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The fact that she was also a divorcee led to criticism from hardline monarchists - Letizia wed a teacher in a civil ceremony 1998. Their marriage lasted just one year.

But the journalist-turned-royal bride - who became Queen consort at Felipe's side in 2014 - has proved popular with the public for her down-to-earth approach.

During her engagement photocall, she made headlines when she told Felipe in public to shut up. "Let me finish," she said, smiling, in front of the cameras.

Kate worked as a part-time accessories buyer for Jigsaw Junior, run by friends of her family, and then worked at her parents' firm Party Pieces.

She shot to fame because of her relationship with William, whom she met at university and dated for some eight years before they wed in 2011.

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Kate has a mix of middle and working class heritage, descended from a family of solicitors and landed gentry on her father's side and butchers, plasterers, road sweepers and domestic servants on her mother's.

Her parents Carole and Michael Middleton - former air stewardess and flight dispatcher - are self-made millionaires who earned their fortune through their mail order company which sells children's party goods.

Charles and Camilla are also at the State Banquet having welcomed the Spanish couple earlier today.

Camilla looked regal in a cream Bruce Oldfield gown, a sash with the Dame Grand Cross of the Victoria Order and a Queen's Family Order brooch given to her by The Queen on her 60th Birthday.

The royals were all smiles at the grand State Visit, the highest form of diplomatic contact between Sovereign states, which it is hoped will nurture relations between the two countries as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

However, behind the gilded veneer were concerns about simmering tensions over Brexit negotiations and the thorny issue of Gibraltar's sovereignty.

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Spain has been accused of using Brexit talks to help gain control over the Rock after draft guidelines issued by Brussels in March insisted Madrid will be able to block any agreement that applies to Gibraltar.

King Felipe has previously made his views of the subject no secret, telling the UN General Assembly in September 2016: "I invite the U.K., on this first occasion at the UN after Brexit, to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar with an agreed solution between both countries to restore he territorial integrity of Spain."

However he took a more diplomatic stance on the the issue yesterday in a speech at Westminster, saying he hoped that the issue of Gibraltar could be resolved in a way that was "acceptable to all involved".

This State Visit is expected to be 96-year-old Prince Philip's last before he retires from public duties this Autumn.

Credits: Rex Features

Credits: Rex Features
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In a sign of things to come, Prince Harry, 32, has also stepped up to take a prominent role for the first time, attending his first State Banquet tonight and due to accompany the couple to Westminster Abbey tomorrow.

At the lavish banquet he was sat next to former model Rose Hanbury, 33, Marchioness of Cholmondeley - a friend of William and Kate's - and to his right was Mr. Jorge Moragas-Sanchez - the Spanish Prime Minister's chief of staff.

It is the first visit by a Spanish monarch since 1986 and the first ever from the current King who took over when his father Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014.

However the trip was postponed twice, first because of a political crisis in Spain and secondly because of the British snap general election.

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Theresa May missed Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons to officially welcome the Spanish royal couple to Britain at Horse Guards Parade this morning.

She was joined by Home Secretary Amber Rudd who was left red-faced when her hat was swept away by the wind and she was forced to run after it just moments before the royal arrival.

Security was tight as the 1st Battalion Irish Guards formed a guard of honour alongside horses from the Household Cavalry providing a Sovereign's Escort.

The Spanish royal couple arrived by car alongside Prince Charles and Camilla, who had earlier greeted them at their hotel with a slightly awkward series of handshakes.

Letizia, whose fashion is as closely followed as The Duchess of Cambridge, looked chic in a fitted buttercup yellow dress and matching hat.

The Queen chose a magenta Stewart Parvin double wool crepe coat and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, to greet the Spanish couple on the royal pavilion as gun salutes were sounded across London.

She chatted to Letizia while Philip accompanied Felipe on an inspection of the guard of honour before the two parties headed by carriage to Buckingham Palace for lunch.

After lunch the royal couples viewed a display of alcohol from both countries in the Palace picture gallery.

The King of Spain was also given Britain's highest honour and made a Knight of the Garter by the Queen and was given a Garter star.

Tomorrow the Spanish couple will attend a UK-Spain Business forum at Mansion House, make visit to Westminster Abbey and Felipe will hold a meeting with Theresa May.

The Queen's Spanish State Banquet speech in full

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The Duke of Edinburgh and I are delighted to welcome you and Queen Letizia to Buckingham Palace this evening.

This State Visit is an expression of the deep respect and friendship that describes relations between Spain and the United Kingdom.

Just occasionally, a State Visit can provide an opportunity for great personal happiness also.

So it was, more than a century ago, when your great-grandfather, King Alfonso the Thirteenth, met his future wife, Princess Victoria Eugenie, the grand-daughter of our Queen Victoria, in this very ballroom.

The new Queen of Spain cemented strong ties between us, a link honoured by the service in the Royal Navy of your grandfather, Don Juan, Count of Barcelona.

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Prince Philip and I recall with affection the State Visit of 1986 made by your parents, during which King Juan Carlos addressed both Houses of Parliament.

His Majesty was the first foreign monarch ever to do so, which was a tribute to his role in Spain’s transition to democracy and acknowledgment that he was a King for all Spaniards.

Your father spoke proudly about Your Majesty that day. You had just come of age, swearing loyalty in your Parliament to the Spanish Constitution.

These years later, those duties are now yours, supporting Spain’s thriving democracy.

It is therefore altogether fitting that Your Majesty, too, has addressed our Houses of Parliament today.

The relationship between our two nations is dynamic and modern. We are NATO allies, striving together to improve security in Europe and across the globe.

Our armed forces are currently working side by side in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, led last year by Spain and now by the United Kingdom.

We remain deeply committed to the common defence and freedom of our countries.

There are so many facets to our shared experiences and close connections. Indeed, the lives of our peoples themselves are more intertwined than ever before.

Thousands of Spanish students are studying at British universities, and Spanish scientists are working with British colleagues to tackle disease.

We are also significant investors in each other’s economies, with the United Kingdom being the principal European recipient of Spanish overseas investment.

A relationship like ours, founded on such great strengths and common interests, will ensure that both our nations prosper, now and in the future, whatever challenges arise.

With such a remarkable shared history, it is inevitable that there are matters on which we have not always seen eye to eye.

But the strength of our friendship has bred a resilient spirit of cooperation and goodwill.

Your Majesty, our countries are reliable partners and friends. We deeply appreciate the significant contribution that Spain continues to make to this country and assure you of our enduring friendship in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you all to rise and drink a toast to Their Majesties The King and Queen, and the people of Spain

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