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Why Prince Edward missed state banquet as Duchess Sophie makes solo appearance

The Duchess of Edinburgh looked beautiful at Buckingham Palace – but her husband wasn't with her

Edward and Sophie on their royal tour of the Caribbean
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The royals turned out for the South Korea state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening.

The King and Queen were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

But there was one senior member of the family missing from the glittering white-tie dinner.

The Duke of Edinburgh did not join his wife, Sophie, at the banquet – but there was a logical reason as to why.

Prince Edward is currently on an official visit to the Asia Pacific. The King's youngest sibling missed Charles's 75th birthday bash at Clarence House last week as he arrived in Singapore.

This week, the Duke has continued his travels, visiting New Zealand and Australia.

According to the Court Circular, on Tuesday, Edward visited City of Sydney Police Citizens Youth Club in Woolloomooloo, a suburb in Sydney.

He later attended a Luncheon at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club and launched the Australian Award’s new online platform for assessors at Scots College.

The Duke also attended a dinner for award supporters at the Parliament of New South Wales.

Meanwhile, Duchess Sophie looked beautiful for her appearance at the state banquet.

The Duchess of Edinburgh at South Korea state banquet© Getty
The Duchess of Edinburgh rewore the gown from the King's coronation

She rewore her white Suzannah gown from the King's coronation with her go-to Aquamarine tiara with a matching pendant and diamond earrings.

Sophie debuted the diamond scroll tiara with its large central aquamarine in 2005 for the enthronement dinner ceremony of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

As it's never been seen before on another member of the royal family, it's assumed that the piece is part of Sophie's private collection.

Duchess Sophie wearing the Aquamarine tiara in 2005© Getty
Sophie wore the Aquamarine tiara for the first time in 2005

The jewel can also be converted to a necklace, as seen on Sophie at a gala dinner in 2006.

It's assumed to be part of the Duchess' private personal collection as it hasn't been seen on any other royal.

As well as attending the state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Sophie joined South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol at the Royal Society for a roundtable discussion on the role of basic science to advance humanity.

Sophie joined President Yoon for an engagement at the Royal Society© Getty
Sophie joined President Yoon for an engagement at the Royal Society

The Korean leader then gave a keynote speech where he praised the 'transformative power of science' and praised Britain's world-leading contributions to the field. 

He said: "The UK has led the Industrial Revolution, made possible by the scientific revolution, that led in turn to the modern technological revolution."

The President added that the Republic of Korea will "forge a relationship with the UK as strong science and technology partners" and ended the speech by quoting Newton’s famous line: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Take a look at their engagement in the clip below…

WATCH: Duchess Sophie joins Korea President at the Royal Society

Edward and Sophie, who married in 1999, were previously known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The King conferred the Dukedom of Edinburgh on the pair on Edward's 59th birthday in March.

The Duchess of Edinburgh at the Royal Society© Getty
The Duchess joined a roundtable discussion

The title previously belonged to Charles and Edward's late father, Prince Philip, who passed away in April 2021.

Edward's 15-year-old son, James, has taken over his father's former title and is now James, Earl of Wessex.

The Duke and Duchess are also parents to Lady Louise Windsor, who turned 20 on 8 November.

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