Queen's white silk dress adorned with 2,091 hand-sewn embroidered shamrocks


Twinkling white and electric blue were the stand-out outfits of the evening, writes MARY MINIHAN

THE RED carpet leading to Dublin Castle was hastily hoovered ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II in twinkling white and President Mary McAleese in electric blue.

The Union flag fluttered over Dublin Castle where the State Dinner took place. Shortly before the arrival of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala, who greeted British prime minister David Cameron at the door, a vacuum cleaner was brought out to freshen-up the carpet.

Trumpeters in military dress uniforms appeared on a balcony under the clock tower opposite the main entrance to announce the arrival of the most distinguished guests. Mrs McAleese wore an electric blue silk column evening dress with long bell sleeves by Irish designer Deborah Veale. She wore matching stilettos. The dress was teamed with an electric blue silk organza evening coat with black lace and beading on the cuffs and on a panel at the back of the coat.

The bodice and sleeves of the Queen’s white silk dress were adorned with 2,091 hand-sewn embroidered shamrocks, while a Swarovski-embellished Irish harp was pinned to the left shoulder.

Her jewellery included the Queen Mary tiara, described as a gift to that Queen from the girls of Great Britain and Ireland, and a diamond necklace. Long white gloves, a silver handbag and silver heels completed the outfit. Her ladies in waiting followed in various shades of green.

Other stand-out outfits included former president Mary Robinson in a blue jacket with sparkling embellishment which was cinched at the waist and black trousers with black stilettos. Iris Robinson, wife of DUP First Minister Peter Robinson, wore a green gown. Actor Amy Huberman, wife of Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll, was dressed in pink and wore her hair in a bouffant style. Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton wore a deep red dress with a matching bolero.

It was the third outfit change of the day for both the Queen and Mrs McAleese. The Queen’s first outfit was a turquoise and white coat and day dress in Swiss wool, with a fawn fleck through the material. The buttons were hand-covered in silk. This was teamed with a turquoise hat and black gloves and shoes. The outfit was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, a Liverpudlian of Irish descent, and her team at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen then changed into a Karl Ludwig wool crepe dress coat in primrose yellow with a v-neckline, pockets and rouched frill detail.

Her floral silk dress was printed in shades of olive green, cream and featured hot pink leaf details, while her cream and olive green Angela Kelly hat had a double brim and feathers.

Accompanying the Queen on earlier engagements, Mrs McAleese wore a black lace coat by Irish designer Louise Kennedy over a black Deborah Veale dress. Mrs McAleese then changed into a Deborah Veale sand-coloured, duchess-style silk and satin mix coat with a hand-painted silver design detail which matched her dress.