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The special meaning behind the blue sash Duchess Kate wore to the Diplomatic Corps reception

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Meaghan Wray

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There were so many elements to admire about Duchess Kate’s outfit at the Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday evening, from the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara to her new diamond ring to the Queen’s Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. But not even all the dazzling jewels could distract from the blue, red and white sash she wore across her regal Alexander McQueen gown.

It’s more than an eye-catching accessory. It represents the Royal Victorian Order of Queen Elizabeth II. The Duchess of Cambridge was appointed as a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) on April 29, which marked her eighth wedding anniversary with Prince William. The Dame Grand Cross (or Knight Grand Cross) is the highest ranking in the order, according to royal reporter Chris Ship.

Duchess Kate wearing the Royal Victorian Order of Queen Elizabeth II, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara and the Queen's Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. Photo: © Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Maltese cross is also featured on the order. The cross is something all members of the order receive, but the details and placement vary by rank. The cross was created by Queen Victoria in 1896. It was meant to recognize those who have dedicated their lives to representing her.

According to the royal website, awards in the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by the Queen, for the recipient’s services to the Sovereign. In her almost-decade as a royal, Kate has been involved in numerous charitable endeavours and royal patronages. One of her latest patronages is Family Action, which is committed to building stronger families. The Duchess of Cambridge recently helped children pick out Christmas trees as part of her duties as royal patron.

MORE: Duchess Kate sparkles in Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara at the Queen’s Diplomatic Corps reception

Kate donned her Royal Victorian Order sash for the first time for the the state banquet the Queen threw for US President Donald Trump during his visit in June 2019. Like the Diplomatic Corps reception, she also wore an Alexander McQueen gown and the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara.

Kate wore her order for the first time with US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin at the state banquet at Buckingham Palace on June 3. Photo: © Victoria Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The yellow ribbon and badge Kate also wore to the Diplomatic Corps reception are a separate Royal Family Order, which are awarded to members of the Royal Family. It is actually a small portrait of the Sovereign attached to ribbon. The mother of three debuted hers at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2018.

At the state banquet held in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at Buckingham Palace on Oct. 23, 2018. Photo: © John Stillwell/AFP via Getty Images

Kate isn’t the only one who has been bestowed the Royal Victorian Order. On Jan. 20, 2010, Sophie, Countess of Wessex was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order for her services. Other British royals to receive the honour include Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla and Sophie’s husband Prince Edward. Prince Philip received his honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 2017.

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