Kate Middleton dazzles in Queen's diamond necklace

In a statement diamond necklace loaned from the Queen and a floor-length Jenny Packham gown, the Duchess of Cambridge looked dazzling at her first official engagement of the year.

Duchess of Cambridge in Queen's diamond necklace

In a stunning statement diamond necklace on loan from her grandmother-in-law the Queen and a floor-length Jenny Packham gown, the Duchess of Cambridge looked dazzling at her first official engagement of the year.

The dress – a favourite of Kate's first worn last year – featured a sweetheart neckline, fitted short sleeves and bodice and a flowing skirt with layers of diaphanous voile in a midnight bluey-green, accentuating Kate's very slim figure.

There were no nerves for the Duchess on this solo event at London's National Portrait Gallery, possibly because she's become something of a regular to the art house, of which she's Patron.

Smiling and laughing, she climbed the Gallery steps which had been decked out in gold glitter runners for the occasion, to meet a line-up of celebrity guests at the black tie gala fundraiser.The necklace was a wedding gift to the Queen from the Nizam of Hyderabad and looked dazzling around Kate's elegant neck.

Despite the blustery weather, crowds gathered outside the Gallery to catch a glimpse of the Duchess and paparazzi set up their ladders eager for that money shot.Inside, the celebrity guests included David Bailey and his model wife Catherine, actress Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman and cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry, who also looked elegant in a black smock-style gown with a cream shawl collar topped off with silver glitter eye make-up.

In a short speech the Duchess praised the gallery's achievements saying "I simply could not be more proud to be its Patron".It was an impressive display from Prince William's wife who is proving something of a natural as a royal ambassador. Also the perfect warm-up for the couple's upcoming tour of Australia.

read more from