The novelist Hilary Mantel skipped a gala dinner last night which was being held at the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate a new exhibition to which she had contributed work because Kate Middleton was the guest of honor, and she did not want to embarrass the young royal and once again stir up the controversy surrounding remarks in which she said the media regarded Kate as nothing more than a "jointed doll".
Kate did however meet with the transvestite artist Grayson Perry, who just last week was awarded a CBE from her father-in-law Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, dressed as a woman. His attire was described as, “entirely appropriate”, by the Buckingham Palace press team at the time.
Also at the event was the actor Alan Rickman the photographer David Bailey and the woman who was never a girlfriend of Bill Clinton’s, Elizabeth Hurley.
Kate looked tanned and relaxed after her recent holiday in Mustique, and she wore a long and elegant new gown from Jenny Packham. However, it was the astonishing diamond necklace borrowed from the queen and worn by Kate last night that grabbed most attention.
The necklace is called The Nizam of Hyderabad and was given to the Queen as a wedding present.
During the event, guests had the opportunity to view hand-written Pen Portraits and Mystery Portrait Postcards created by a selection of leading artists, authors, previous sitters and well-known individuals who have been inspired by portraits in the Gallery's Collection, which included Mantel.