Inside Queen Charlotte’s Ball, the glamorous, Champagne-filled event for affluent debutantes from around the world

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The “Debutante of the Year” had the honour of cutting the cake.
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Jack Taylor / Getty

Spring and summer in the UK means a season of high-society events packed with tradition.

From Royal Ascot to the Chelsea Flower Show, there are plenty of opportunities to be seen mingling with the right crowd.

This is also the case for Britain’s youngsters, for whom the Season involves sporting events, cocktail parties, dances, and concerts.

Its highlight is Queen Charlotte’s Ball.

The ball was originally held by King George III in 1780 to celebrate the birthday of his wife Queen Charlotte, and to raise money for a maternity hospital.

The event is centred on debutantes: young women making their first official appearance in British upper-class society. It originally involved presenting “society girls” to the monarch, and providing a forum for matching affluent young women and potential marriage partners.

In 2017, the tradition lives on. While nowadays it is more focused on raising money for children’s charities than finding partners for young ladies, the white ball gowns, incredible feast, towering cakes, Champagne, and carriages make it as glamorous as ever. To top it off, tables start at £2,500, according to MailOnline.

The event has been held in Shanghai, Dubai, and London. This year, the event was held at Leeds Castle, in Maidstone, Kent, on September 9 – and it even involved afternoon tea on board a red Routemaster bus.

Scroll down for a look inside the decadent Queen Charlotte’s Ball, which attracts young, eligible women from wealthy and famous families around the world.


This year’s Queen Charlotte Ball, a traditional debutante affair which began in 1780, was held at Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent.

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Jack Taylor / Getty

Young, eligible women from wealthy and famous families gathered at Boughton Monchelsea Place, a nearby stately home, in white ball gowns to prepare for the day.

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Jack Taylor / Getty

The intricate gowns were supplied by Berketex Brides this year.

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They’re certainly stunning.

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Here debutante Olivia Mott, 20, from Charlottesville, Virginia, practices her curtsy.

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There was also the “dip curtsy” to perfect.

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Over the years, the event has been held in Shanghai, Dubai, and London. Here, debutante Amira Rayner, 19 from Kent, prepares for the event while escorts look on.

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Below, 20-year-old debutante Annie Ding from Hong Kong admires her reflection in a mirror at Boughton Monchelsea Place.

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One last touch-up, and Ding and 24-year-old Jiabao Cui from Beijing are ready to go.

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Before heading downstairs, Mott passed 20-year-old Callan Foran from Ohio a pair of white gloves.

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The debutantes made sure to get plenty of pictures before heading out.

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Below, 27-year-old debutante Lauren Evans makes her way down the stairs at Boughton Monchelsea Place ahead of the ball…

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…Before spotting a Routemaster bus parked outside.

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The debutantes were treated to an afternoon tea on board the bus on their way to the ball.

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Jack Taylor / Getty

They arrived at the ball in style.

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The venue — Leeds Castle — is pretty breathtaking.

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JPort / Shutterstock

17-year-old debutante Eliza Lewis from Kent was named Debutante of the Year. She cut the cake with a sword.

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The cake, to which the debutantes are meant to curtsy, was made by Pretty Gorgeous Cakes.

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The ladies mingled and drank Champagne…

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Getty / Jack Taylor

…Before being treated to a feast with their escorts. Tables started at £2,500, according to MailOnline.

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Jack Taylor / Getty

While the tradition may live on, the ball had its modern moments, of course — and the night didn’t end without one debutante having to check her phone.

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Jack Taylor / Getty