Michelle Obama goes for stunning all-white look to take on Duchess Kate in dazzling fashion face-off at Buckingham Palace
The U.S. First Lady went for a design by American label J Mendel
The look continues the red, white and blue fashion theme she has been maintaining since her arrival in London this morning
The event preceded the Olympics Opening Ceremony, which kicked off across town in East London shortly afterwards
By Tamara Abraham and Rebecca English
PUBLISHED: 14:25 EST, 27 July 2012 | UPDATED: 17:58 EST, 27 July 2012
Michelle Obama remained true to her patriotic fashion theme today in a dazzling white top and skirt for this evening's events in London
The U.S. First Lady, who has stuck to a palette of red, white and blue since she arrived in the city this morning, opted for an ensemble from the resort 2013 collection of American label J Mendel for an early evening reception at Buckingham Palace.
It was a strong choice that saw her hold her own against the UK's reigning fashion princess, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Fashion face-off: Michelle Obama wore silver-and-white J Mendel for this evening's reception at Buckingham Palace, while the Duchess of Cambridge wore pale blue Christopher Kane
Her top, which was almost armour-like in style, was embroidered in shimmering silver. The cap sleeves showed off those toned arms, while the high neckline kept the look demure.
The lightweight fabric of the sharply-pleated skirt made for a soft contrast, while the silver court shoes added polish, and co-ordinated with the look perfectly.
Of course, Catherine did not disappoint. The fitted coat-dress, an unlikely design for young British favourite Christopher Kane, was an understated choice that fitted her like a glove.
Nor, indeed, did the other VIPs at the Opening Ceremony, which took place immediately afterwards.Escort: In the absence of her husband, Mrs Obama arrived at Buckingham Palace with Louis Susman, the U.S. Ambassador, who hosted her Let's Move event earlier today
The British First Lady, Samantha Cameron, proved her own exemplary fashion cred in a look by UK-based designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Ann Romney, meanwhile, echoed Mrs Obama's patriotic palette in navy-and-white zig-zags under a red cardigan.
She completed her polished look with red lipstick and her favourite pearls, her blonde hair tied back off her face.
Mrs Obama arrived at the earlier Buckingham Palace reception with of Louis Susman, the U.S. Ambassador, who hosted her morning Let's Move event at his residence.
The Duchess of Cambridge warmly greeted Mrs Obama, who had been invited in her role as head of her country's Olympic delegation.Patriotic: Like Mrs Obama, Ann Romney also wore red, white and blue as she arrived at the Opening Ceremony with her Republican Presidential candidate husband Mitt
The two women first met just over a year ago when the Obamas flew to the UK on a state visit.
The rest of the Royal Family were also out in force for a full-scale charm offensive on global leaders attending London's Olympic Games.
Led by the Queen and Prince Philip, 19 senior royals were rounded up for a champagne reception - well, English sparkling wine - at Buckingham Palace hours before the official opening ceremony as part of the nation's push to strengthen its diplomatic, political and economic ties.
Other young royals present included Prince Harry and the Duke of York's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.Event to remember: Catherine and William looked thrilled by the Opening Ceremony in London this eveningHigh style: The Queen, who changed into a peach-coloured formal gown for the second of the evening's events, spoke with the Prime Minister ahead of the Opening Ceremony
Harry chatted animatedly to leaders from the Caribbean including Jamaica's republican-leaning Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, whom he met on an official tour of her island earlier this year.
Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Andrew, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent also exchanged pleasantries in the palace ballroom for the hour and a half long event.
More than 190 guests were present - including 95 heads of state and government and their spouses - ranging from Mongolia to the Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific.
Adding glamour to the proceedings were Princess Charlene of Monaco, looking statuesque in a white trouser suit, and her husband, His Serene Highness Prince Albert 11.
The South African-born Princess is a former swimmer who competed for her home country in the 2000 Olympic Games, while Albert was a member of his principality's bobsleigh team.
Queen Sofia of Spain broke every protocol rule in the book when she was almost 20 minutes late, apparently missing the Queen's keynote welcome speech.Royal occasion: The First Lady and Mr Susman were also afforded some time with the Queen
Aides insisted, however, that it was not a deliberate snub - despite the Spanish Queen pulling out of a Diamond Jubilee celebration lunch in May at the last minute in protest over a visit to the disputed territory of Gibraltar by Prince Edward and his wife.
On the menu was a selection of cold canapes including quail's eggs and celery salt, cornet of smoked duck and rosette of smoked salmon.
Hot morsels included langoustines a l'outhier - and miniature vegetarian cornish pasties.
For those with a sweet tooth, there were chocolate cherries, honey pralines and a passion fruit pate.
The dainty nibbles were washed down with English sparkling wine, a 2007 Blanc de Blancs from the Gusbourne Estate in Kent, and an organic South African Running Duck chenin blanc. Glamorous guests: Prince Albert II of Monaco, and his wife Princess Charlene (left) and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway (right) were also among those in attendanceFlying the flag: Princess Beatrice with the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Omurbek Babanov and Rita Birbaeva
Inside the palace ballroom the Queen's arrival was heralded by a fanfare from the state trumpeters before she gave a short - but rousing - speech welcoming her guests to the UK and praising the British sense of 'fair play and fun'.
She told her guests: 'As leaders of the many nations competing in the Games you have come from around the world to witness this global festival of sport. I hope that you will enjoy your time in the United Kingdom and I'm sure you will find a warm reception awaiting you, your athletes and the visiting spectators.
'This will be the third London Olympiad; my great-grandfather opened the 1908 Games at White City; my father opened the 1948 Games at Wembley Stadium, and later this evening I will take pleasure in declaring open the 2012 London Olympic Games at Stratford in the east of London. Quick change: Tonight's ensemble was in keeping with the red, white and blue palette that Mrs Obama had been sporting for events earlier in the dayCasual: Mrs Obama, in a red peplum top, relaxed with U.S. athletes on her first engagement in London today
To me the spirit of togetherness is a most important part of the Olympic ideal, and the British people can be proud of the part they have played in keeping the spirit alive. Many sports played in these Games have their historic roots in this country; and as a nation we have an abiding passion for sport, as well as a tradition of fair play and a good-natured sense of fun.
'In all our national Olympic teams there is so much of which we can be proud; groups of young men and women dedicated to excellence and achievement across numerous sporting disciplines. And these teams are ably supported by thousands of organisers, volunteers and supporters who will be following the action not just at the Olympic venues here in the United Kingdom but throughout the world.
'For all these reasons, I wish you and your countries a successful, enjoyable and memorable Games.'
After her speech the Queen walked forward to meet some of her guests and, in a rare public mishap, dropped her glasses case as she shook hands with Brazil's President, Dilma Rousseff.
Both bent down to pick them up and the Queen carefully popped them away in her handbag.
The reception was due to end at 7pm on the dot as all of those present were due at the hugely-anticipated opening ceremony of the 2012 Games.
Despite being dropped off by a fleet of black limousines, Rolls Royces and luxury diplomatic cars, most were picked up by bus to make the journey into East London - quite a novel experience for many, no doubt.