Glamorous photos of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their first public engagement as a married couple resurface

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

Prince William and Kate have marked plenty of special days recently.

In April they celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary and two of their three children have had birthdays during lockdown as well.

And Tuesday is another special day for the couple. It’s nine years since their first public engagement as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

On 9 June, 2011, the couple carried out their first event as a married couple, and the pictures show they were a pair of happy newlyweds.

Back before they had kids, the couple got dressed up and attended the ARK gala dinner in London.

Prince William and Kate at the Ark Gala Dinner in London. (Getty Images)

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Kate, now 38, wore a rose sequinned Jenny Packham dress, which cost £2,685, with LK Bennett sandals and a Prada clutch bag. Her earrings were from Links of London.

William, now 37, looked smart in a black dinner jacket. The pair stepped out of a blue Jaguar as they arrived.

William and Kate attended their first event as a married couple nine years ago. (WireImage)

It wasn’t too long a journey for the couple either - the event was held in Perks Field, Kensington Palace. The couple had moved into Kensington Palace in the same month, having lived in an apartment in Clarence House before their wedding.

On the guest list as well as the duke and duchess was Liz Hurley, Jemima Khan and Colin Firth according to The Daily Telegraph.

Kate wore a floor length rose sequinned Jenny Packham gown. (Getty Images)
Arpad Busson, Prince William, and Kate and Ian Wace attend the 10th Annual ARK gala dinner at Kensington Palace. (Getty Images)

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The event used to raise millions of pounds for the Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) charity every year, starting with attendees paying £5,000-£10,000 for tickets.

One year, the auction alone raised £14m. In 2011, the guests were treated to a champagne reception which featured entertainment from a team of Mexican divers who performed an acrobatic display, forming a giant orange “10” to acknowledge it being the 10th gala dinner.

The three course dinners included Kobe beef and a trio of desserts.

The throwback to the event was noticed by royal photographer Tim Rooke, and royal fans were thrilled to see the old pictures, remarking on them being a “beautiful couple”.

ARK was founded in 2002 by a group of hedge fund financiers, Arpad Busson, Paul Marshall and Ian Wace.

It ended its lavish gala dinners in 2013 as the world continued to grapple with the recession.

Kate had her hair down for the event. (WireImage)
The dinner was the 10th gala for ARK. (Getty Images)

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It was early days in the couple’s marriage and royal work, so the Royal Foundation at this time was still named after Prince William and Prince Harry.

In an address, William said: “My brother, Catherine and I hope to use our philanthropy as a long-term catalyst for meaningful change.”

He also joked about how he would explain the event to his grandmother, saying: "I would like to share with you the conversation I am going to have with my grandmother tomorrow as I try and describe this; the swimming pool outside and the men wearing the most tight speedos I have ever seen in my life.

"Arki (Busson) did mention to me on the way in that if records are broken tonight he would actually don a pair of those speedos for the rest of this evening."

Over the years, ARK raised £100m for schools around the world with its galas.