Kate adds velvet touch to night of heroes

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Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at a military awards ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in central London Dec. 19. (Reuters)

Christmas came early for a group of British soldiers on Monday night.

Kate close verticalNot only were they treated to a black-tie awards ceremony at the Imperial War Museum for their heroism, but they also got to rub shoulders with royalty. Figuratively, anyway. In the case of the Duchess of Cambridge, her shoulders were most definitely bare.

Wearing a strapless velvet gown by Alexander McQueen -- reportedly costing about $6,400 -- Kate was definitively the star attraction on the red carpet for the Sun Military Awards, billed as "A Night of Heroes." The awards -- dubbed The Millies -- are in their fourth year and were the brainchild of Prince Charles.

Walking between two princes -- husband William and brother-in-law Harry, both military men themselves -- the lean, 5-foot-10 Kate made the biggest impression with her long black gown that brushed the floor as she walked.

The Military Awards -- honoring the bravery of the servicemen and women in the UK -- brought out plenty of celebrities, capping a day that first saw the group of about 80 soldiers and their partners feted at 10 Downing St. with Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I think the Military Awards is now a really brilliant event in the annual calendar," said Cameron. "It's an opportunity for the whole country to say a very big thank you to people who've shown enormous bravery and courage in our Armed Services.

It was a long day for the Kate and her royal dates. Earlier, they were at Buckingham Palace with many other members of the Royal Family for lunch with the Queen. The meal marked the unofficial start to the royals' Christmas week that will see more than two dozen of them at Sandringham House in Norfolk by Christmas Eve. (More about that here).

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Prince William, Kate and Prince  Harry arrive at the Sun Military Awards. (Reuters)

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William, Kate and Harry make their exit after the Sun Military Awards in London. (Reuters)

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To accessorize her gown, Kate wore jewellery she received as a wedding present - a diamond necklace and matching earrings and bracelet. (Getty Images)

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The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry share a smile at the military awards. (Reuters)

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The Sun Military Awards brought out a wide range of celebrities, among them soccer's David Beckham and his children Romeo, 9, and Brooklyn, 12 (left); and chef Gordon Ramsay with his wife Tana. (Getty Images)


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i love velvet dresses!! :)

How about some pix of the troops and their families?

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