Buckingham Palace has released a new portrait of the Queen and her family, showing the royals posing in their finery ahead of the annual diplomatic reception. The 90-year-old monarch took pride of place at the centre of the group, wearing a white gown and a blue ceremonial sash, with her husband, Prince Philip, at her side.
Royal watchers were particularly excited to see Kate wearing her tiara; it is only the fourth time she has been pictured wearing one in public. At last year's reception, the mum-of-two chose to don the same Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara, which was a firm favourite of Princess Diana's.
Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, dressed in white like the Queen and wearing a tiara from her collection, stood to the monarch's other side. The gentlemen in the party were all pictured wearing knee breeches with the Garter of the Order of the Garter insignia (which is rarely seen in public) attached just below their left knees.
Releasing an official portrait of the family at the diplomatic reception is a rare move from the palace. The royals are normally pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace in their chauffeur-driven cars, but they have never circulated posed photographs from inside the event.
As in other years, William and his wife arrived in a chauffeur-driven car
The reception, which is the largest held at the palace, is considered the main diplomatic social event of the year in London and reflects the Queen's importance in the country's diplomatic relations. All senior members of the royal family, who do not have prior engagements, usually attend.
Over 1,500 people are invited from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other public figures.