Justify FullKate Middleton Temperley Grecian dresss charity dinner Wills gets Falklands posting

Justify FullI'm all white with it: Kate dazzles in Grecian gown at St James's Palace dinner after Wills gets six-week Falklands posting
By Rebecca English

If she felt down at just hearing her husband is to undertake a six-week posting to the Falkland Islands, she was not letting on.

Instead the Duchess of Cambridge looked every inch the glamorous hostess as she and Prince William hosted a charity dinner last night.

Wearing a silver Grecian-style gown, believed to be by designer Alice Temperley, draped over one shoulder and gently gathered in at the waist and featuring a bright red poppy, Kate dazzled as they entertained 120 guests in the Picture Gallery at St James’s Palace.

Putting on a brave face: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appear relaxed as they attend an event with the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal

The couple were holding a dinner at St James’s Palace for the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal, of which the Duke is patron.

The fund hopes to raise £12 million to turn the Arboretum, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, which honours all those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, into a world-renowned centre for Remembrance.

More than 300,000 families, servicemen, veterans and members of the public visit the 150-acre site each year.

In 2006 the Daily Mail was instrumental in helping to raise funds to build the breathtaking Armed Forces Memorial, which stands at the centre of the site and pays tribute to the 16,000 British servicemen and women who have died since the Second World War, after the British Legion was refused lottery funding.


The Duchess wore a Temperley creation which skimmed over one shoulder and tied around the waist. Her height and slim figure carried off the Grecian style dress which were coupled with shoes of the same colour

The monument has been designed so that at exactly 11am on November 11 – Armistice Day – a slit in one wall will let a ray of sunshine light the central plaque.

Shortly before last night’s dinner, the Duke – who has himself lost two close friends in Iraq and Afghanistan - gave a short speech.

In it he described how in just a few years the Arboretum had become an ‘iconic focal point’ for the nation’s remembrance of ‘British heroes’.

All smiles: Kate Middleton showed now signs of sadness at the
news of William's posting to the Falklands

The Duchess looks glamorous in her Grecian style dress, coupled with the all important poppy. She also added some sparkle with some bold earrings

William continued: ‘For Britons today, and for generations of Britons to come, the example of dedicating one’s life to helping and protecting others and to the service of our Country remains core to our values as a Nation. Nowhere is this lesson better taught than through contemplation of the names inscribed on the memorials in Staffordshire.‪‪

‘It is a place of sanctuary for those who come to remember and a place of quiet pride in the selflessness and sacrifice of those who have gone before. It is also a place of education. ‪’‪

The guests, which included actresses Penelope Keith and Susan Hampshire, then heard from Jacqui Thompson, the widow of Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson of 3 Squadron RAF Regiment, who was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in April 2008.

At 51, Mr Thompson is the oldest member of the UK Armed Forces to have been killed during the 10 year conflict.

All eyes on Kate: The couple were holding a dinner at St James's Palace for the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal, of which the Duke is patron

His wife, an inspiring mother of five daughters, explained to guests the personal significance the Arboretum has for her family.

Afterwards she said: ‘It was fab to meet them. They said they were sorry to hear about Gary and they were so sincere and interested. I felt they could have been my son and daughter.

‘The arboretum is such an incredible place and William's interest in the appeal means such a lot. The older generation will always have respect for the armed forces and what it means to put your life on the line but some of the younger generation who haven't experienced war might not appreciate this.

‘Through his interest he is making sure the younger generation are kept aware.

‘When I heard he was going to the Falklands I felt for his wife and the worry she must have. When you love someone you're going to miss them terribly.’

Kate also bumped into old acquaintance Georgina Wessels at the reception who she recognised from her days at St Andrews University.

The Duke of Cambridge and his wife entertained 120 guests in the Picture Gallery at St James's Palace

Georgina, who is pregnant with a baby due in March, said: ‘We used to live on the same street at university.

‘We've bumped into each other a few times over the years but it's all a bit more formal now.

‘She was very excited for us about the baby. She's just very lovely and genuine and sweet.’

Kate, who has been plagued by rumours she is pregnant herself, gave no indication as to whether the growing baby talk is true.

The guests then assembled for a three course dinner, sitting at tables decorated with tiny trees which will be planted in the 150-acre Staffordshire arboretum.