These past two weeks have been all about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s news that they are stepping back from royal life—and in a big way. Harry’s older brother, Prince William, managed to take over the spotlight on Monday night, when he hosted his first-ever solo reception at Buckingham Palace.
His wife, Kate Middleton, joined William at the reception for the U.K.-Africa investment royal summit, and she chose an elegant red dress that pretty easily pulled focus away from William (sorry, Wills). The lacy, sparkly Needle and Thread mini dress with tulle. The dress retails on Net-a-Porter for $519, and Kate paired it with Gianvito Rossi red suede pumps that sell for $695.
Kate wasn’t the only one stunning in red on Monday night. Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, also joined her in a red lacy Alaïa Jacquard knit midi dress and red heels. The Daily Mail‘s Rebecca English captured the two chatting as they entered the event. The Mail also noted that Monday is Sophie’s 55th birthday.
Sophie is married to Prince Edward, Prince Charles’s younger brother and William’s uncle. Veteran royal reporter Phil Dampier told the Mail‘s fashion section that Sophie might be a good choice to take over some public royal duties now that Meghan and Harry are not working in an official capacity for the family. Her and Edward’s children, Lady Louise, 16, and James, Viscount Severen, 12, are growing up, he said, and this will allow her more flexibility to carve her own path.
“She is very close to Her Majesty and is a favorite of hers. Recently she has been on several overseas trips and done fantastically well,” he said. “Now that her children are a bit older I think there could be a great role for her to play. She is 55 today and she is very fit and full of energy. I think she wants to do more and would happily step up to the plate and take over more duties if asked.”