Why Wasn't Kate Middleton Wearing a Sash at the State Banquet?

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Charles, and the Queen all sported a sash of some kind at the Buckingham Palace event.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Corbis)

At the State Banquet (opens in new tab) to welcome King Felipe and Queen Letizia (opens in new tab) of Spain to the UK this week, the Duchess of Cambridge looked every ounce the important Royal. (opens in new tab)

To accompany her princess-appropriate blush-pink Marchesa gown, the Duchess wore a tiara which belonged to Princess Diana (opens in new tab) and an eye-catching necklace on loan from the Queen.

However, there was one accessory which distinguished her from the other royals in attendance: The sash.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Princess Anne were all seen sporting a sash of some variety. The reason the Duchess of Cambridge was not? Because she is not a member of an Order.

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There are various Orders, one of the most famous being the Order of the Garter: A tradition dating back centuries where the monarch chooses senior members of the royal family and 24 'knights' to join the group. The knights used to be just from aristocracy, but now can be selected for their contribution to public life. For example, former Prime Minister Sir John Major is one.

All of the Queen's children are members of the Garter, and grandson Prince William was appointed too in 2008.

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There is also the Royal Family Order, which sees the Queen bestow the honour onto female members of the Royal Family. Both Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, and Prince Edward's wife, Sophie, have been appointed.

Kate has not yet received the honour but it is worth noting that the Countess of Wessex was appointed in 2004, five years after marrying the Earl of Wessex, and the Duchess of Cornwall was appointed in 2007 – two years after marrying the future King.

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The fact that the Duchess of Cambridge is the Queen's granddaughter-in-law as opposed to daughter-in-law might have something to do with the delayed invitation, People (opens in new tab) reports. Additionally, Kate has only really started getting into the full swing of royal engagements, especially individual ones, in recent years. Camilla and Sophie are much more experienced in this area.

This is by no means is an indication of the relationship between the Queen and Kate - she might just be waiting for her to fulfil more royal duties, People suggests. The two are believed to get on very well, with the Duchess speaking fondly about how The Queen has been a "gentle guidance" (opens in new tab) to her last year.

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Olivia is ELLE's Digital News Editor covering pop culture, royal, lifestyle and women's news and features. Previously a features writer for Hearst's digital brands and lifestyle reporter at The Independent, she's amassed a healthy - and varied - expertise of Meghan Markle, women's and reproductive health issues and all 10 seasons of Friends.