Royal guests arriving for a gala banquet to celebrate the imminent wedding of Crown Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz drew gasps of admiration with their designer creations on Friday night.
The gala, hosted by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, took place at the El Pardo palace just outside Madrid, and was remarkable for the extreme elegance of the gowns worn by some of the 300 guests.
Princess Caroline of Monaco was outstanding in a Chanel haute couture design, while the richly-hued dresses chosen by Spain's Infantas made a fabulous showcase for Spanish designers Jesus del Pozo and Lorenzo Caprile.
Letizia herself looked stunning in a platinum-coloured shantung silk gown by Caprile, who has already leapt into the spotlight after dressing the future queen in spectacular style for last week's royal wedding in Denmark. The gown was specially designed to be worn with the platinum, sapphire, pearl and diamond suite – a family heirloom - presented to Letizia by the king and queen on her betrothal to their son.
Though there were some vivid colours to be seen, several royal ladies opted for platinum and other soft metallic hues, including Queen Rania of Jordan and Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who wore the same gown as at her son's pre-wedding banquet last week.
This was the only pre-wedding celebration for the Spanish couple: other festivities planned for the run-up to the ceremony itself were cancelled after the March 11 bombings in Madrid as a mark of respect and solidarity.
Felipe and Letizia were due to make their vows on Saturday morning at Madrid's Almudena cathedral in a ceremony beginning at 11am and attended by dozens of heads of state and royals.