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Why was everyone wearing white at that Buckingham Palace dinner?

The banquet at Buckingham Palace saw the queen, the first lady and a couple of duchesses wearing gorgeous gowns in different designs but the exact same color.
Women in white at state dinner
Melania Trump, Queen Elizabeth and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, all dressed in the unofficial color of the evening.Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

The dress code was white tie, not white gown, but when Queen Elizabeth celebrated diplomatic ties with the U.S. at Monday night's state dinner, she was far from the only woman in attendance to don a white dress.

In fact, almost all the leading ladies who attended the banquet — including first lady Melania Trump, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — stuck to alabaster designs.

But why?

President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, first lady Melania Trump, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on June 3.Jeff Gilbert / Getty Images

For those who aren't accustomed to attending white-tie events (i.e., the vast majority of us), the fashion rules for the most formal of all dress codes require men to wear a black tailcoat and trousers with white shirt, vest and bow tie.

But for women, there are no limitations when it comes to color, only that they wear floor-length gowns and appropriate accessories.

So was this merely a fashion coincidence?

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin arrive through the East Gallery for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.Victoria Jones / Getty Images


For the royal women, the choice simply makes sense. After all, the queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall had boldly colored and complex items to drape over their otherwise neutral gowns, like bright blue sashes, order insignia, badges and other marks of distinction.

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Perhaps they gave the first lady of the United States a heads up about the coordinating fashions, or, just as likely, she felt that her stark white Dior gown was fitting for both the occasion and the season.

In fact, when former first lady Michelle Obama attended a state dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2011, hosted during the same time of year, she and the queen were also perfectly color matched in pale designs.

Queen Elizabeth II, then-U.S. President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011, in London, England. Getty Images

Of course, the color white has been having a moment in recent years — especially when it comes to political events.

Historically associated as the color the suffragettes wore while fighting for women's right to vote in the early 20th century, democratic congresswomen made a similar sartorial statement in 2017, when the president first addressed Congress.

As for Monday night's banquet, that wasn't the first time the first lady or the Duchess of Cornwall wore the summery shade during the highly anticipated state visit.

First lady Melania Trump is greeted by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019.Getty Images

When Trump first stepped out onto the palace lawn earlier in the day, she did so in a white Dolce & Gabbana dress, and she was greeted by Camilla, also in white.

And it should be noted that not all women who attended the banquet stuck to the unofficial color of the evening.

Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox arrive through the East Gallery for the state banquet at Buckingham Palace.Victoria Jones / Getty Images

First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump wore a cornflower blue gown to the event, while her sister, Tiffany, wore red and Britain's outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, wore black.

Regardless of the colors worn, everyone looked picture-perfect for the royal engagement.