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Royals take a bite out of the big apple with €10k a-head dinner

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wowed New York as they ended their US Tour by attending a glamorous fundraising event in aid of their old university.

William and Kate rubbed shoulders with US elite when they were guests of honour at a lavish €10,000-a-head (€8,000) dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to mark the 600th anniversary of their alma mater, the University of St Andrews.

The Duchess wowed well wishers when she appeared wearing a plunging dark green Jenny Packham dress with a pair of diamond and emerald earrings.

The event, at which wealthy supporters of the university dined beneath an ancient Egyptian temple in one of New York's most spectacular venues, featured a guest appearance by the US comedian and chat show host Seth Meyers, who gave the toast.

He was drafted in at the last moment to replace Tom Hanks, who had to pull out for personal reasons.

Soprano Renee Fleming sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and the Puccini aria O Mio Babbino Caro.

Other guests included Princess Eugenie, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Mary-Kate Olsen, the actress turned fashion designer who is one half of the Olsen twins, and her partner Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of the former French president.

Before the dinner, guests had drinks in the Velez Blanco patio, where they mingled with the Duke and Duchess surrounded by 16th century marble statues.

They dined in the Temple of Dendur, a vast room decorated with statues of Egyptian gods that was built specifically to house an Egyptian temple built just before the birth of Christ.


In his speech the Duke, who is patron of the 600th anniversary fundraising campaign, spoke warmly of the university where he met his wife, its academic traditions - and reputation for hard drinking.

"I don't need to tell all of you just how much St Andrew's University means to me and Catherine," he said.

Turning to the university's principal Louise Richardson, he went on: "It goes without saying to those in this room that the education we received there was first class.


"Louise, you may need to close your ears at this point but it's often said by the undergraduates of St Andrews that you leave the university in either one of two states: either married or an alcoholic.

"Fortunately for Catherine and me we ended up married. But for those of you who are parents of undergraduates right now, I give you one tip: ask your son or daughter over the holidays if they know what Ma Bells is. If they answer yes, perhaps remove their wine glasses out of reach."

The dinner capped off a day in which the royal couple laid flowers yesterday at New York's National September 11 Memorial and Museum.