Royal wedding: Queens, princes and princesses dazzle at glittering evening gala

28 APRIL 2011

It had all the trappings of a splendid royal occasion, complete with a fabulous guest list.

Yet this was just a pre-wedding reception, held in the presence of the Queen, to welcome foreign VIPs to London ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials.

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Some 40 royals and dignitaries from around the world turned out for the dinner at London's Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Invitees included Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden who looked beautiful in a red Escada affair and was escorted by her husband Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland.

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe also attended, accompanied by his elegant wife Letizia and his mother Queen Sofia.

Also adding to the glamour quotient was Marie Chantal of Greece, stunning in pale pink.

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The pre-wedding party was officially being hosted by Lady Elizabeth Anson, the Queen's cousin. But the British monarch took an active role at the event, greeting guests as they arrived at the exclusive hotel for the festivities.

Of course, neither the bride nor the groom were in attendance at the party.

William - who earlier in the evening went on an impromptu walkabout amongst the public - was at Clarence House with his father, who left the party early to be with him, while Kate spent the evening at London's Goring Hotel, quietly preparing for the biggest day of her life with her family.

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