Young debutantes put on a charming display in a sea of white
ballgowns as they attended the annual Queen Charlotte’s ball in
Maidstone.

The affluent young women were joined by their partners and
parents as they made their society debut in the grand setting
of Boughton Monchelsea Place. 

And while today’s venue was  filled with pomp and splendor
the girls’ transport wasn’t quite as luxurious. 

Debutantes drink champagne at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte's Ball on September 9, 2017 in Maidstone, Kent

Debutantes drink champagne at Leeds Castle during the Queen
Charlotte’s Ball on September 9, 2017 in Maidstone, Kent

Debutantes were pictured sitting at tables laid with cakes and
sandwiches on the top deck of a Routemaster bus before leaving
Boughton Monchelsea Place for the Queen Charlotte’s Ball on
Saturday. 

The pinnacle event in the London Season, the ball sees young
women – from aristocratic, wealthy or famous families – gather
together to enjoy a sumptuous feast, the finest champagne, and
dancing – and with tables starting at £2,500, attendance is
strictly for the well-to-do. 

In 1780 the first debutante’s Ball was held by King George III
to celebrate the birthday of his wife Queen Charlotte and
raised money for a maternity hospital. 

Debutante Amira Rayner, 19, from Kent prepares at Boughton Monchelsea Place ahead of the Queen Charlotte's Ball 

Debutante Amira Rayner, 19, from Kent prepares at Boughton
Monchelsea Place ahead of the Queen Charlotte’s Ball 

In 1780 the first debutante's Ball was held by King George III to celebrate the birthday of his wife Queen Charlotte and raised money for a maternity hospital

In 1780 the first debutante’s Ball was held by King George
III to celebrate the birthday of his wife Queen Charlotte and
raised money for a maternity hospital

Debutantes sit at tables laid with cakes and sandwiches on the top deck of a Routemaster bus before leaving Boughton Monchelsea Place for the Queen Charlotte's Ball

Debutantes sit at tables laid with cakes and sandwiches on
the top deck of a Routemaster bus before leaving Boughton
Monchelsea Place for the Queen Charlotte’s Ball

Society girls were presented to the monarch and it became an
annual event and important as a marriage market for the upper
echelons of society. 

The London Season runs for six months of the year including
sporting events, cocktail parties, dances and concerts and the
Ball is the pinnacle of this season. 

After the present Queen terminated the practice of introducing
debutantes at royal garden parties in 1957, Lady Howard de
Walden followed by then editor of Tatler, Peter Townend,
continued the tradition and on his death Peter nominated former
debutantes Jennie Hallam-Peel and Patricia Woodall to take over
running of The London Season. 

It is now focussed on raising money for children in need
worldwide and the Queen Charlotte’s Ball has been held in
Shanghai and Dubai as well as various grand venues in
London.  

This year the debutantes’ gowns have been supplied by Berketex
Brides and the cake, to which the debutantes curtsey, is made
by Pretty Gorgeous Cakes.  

Former debutante Charlotte Wotner, 48, (left) poses with her daughter Eliza Lewis, 17, who was named Debutante of the Year (right) at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte's Ball

Former debutante Charlotte Wotner, 48, (left) poses with her
daughter Eliza Lewis, 17, who was named Debutante of the Year
(right) at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte’s Ball

Eliza Lewis, 17, from Kent, who was named Debutante of the Year cuts the cake with a sword at Leeds Castle

Eliza Lewis, 17, from Kent, who was named Debutante of the
Year cuts the cake with a sword at Leeds Castle

The debutantes prepare ahead of the Queen Charlotte's Ball Boughton Monchelsea Place

The debutantes prepare ahead of the Queen Charlotte’s Ball
Boughton Monchelsea Place

Jiabao Cui, 24, from Bejing, poses at Boughton Monchelsea Place ahead of the debutants ball

Jiabao Cui, 24, from Bejing, poses at Boughton Monchelsea
Place ahead of the debutants ball

Shristi Mishra, 16, from London applies make up in a bedroom at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Shristi Mishra, 16, from London applies make up in a bedroom
at Boughton Monchelsea Place

From left to right: Lauren Evans, 27, Amira Rayner, 19 and Eliza Lewis, 17 prepare for the ball

From left to right: Lauren Evans, 27, Amira Rayner, 19
and Eliza Lewis, 17 prepare for the ball

Debutante Carolina Lanz, 16, (right) adjusts the dress of Shrishti Mishra, 16 (left) at Leeds Castle

Debutante Carolina Lanz, 16, (right) adjusts the dress of
Shrishti Mishra, 16 (left) at Leeds Castle

Cerys Walker, 18 from Cheshire, arrives at Leeds Castle for the ball

Cerys Walker, 18 from Cheshire, arrives at Leeds Castle for
the ball

Proving they're still modern girls, the debutantes take pictures on their smart phones ahead of the ball

Proving they’re still modern girls, the debutantes take
pictures on their smart phones ahead of the ball

Fine dining! The debutantes and their escorts prepare to sit down for dinner at Leeds Castle

Fine dining! The debutantes and their escorts prepare to sit
down for dinner at Leeds Castle

Debutante Eliza Lewis, 17, from Kent, applies make-up in a bedroom at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Debutante Eliza Lewis, 17, from Kent, applies make-up in a
bedroom at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Finishing touches! Debutantes prepare to leave Boughton Monchelsea Place ahead of the ball

Finishing touches! Debutantes prepare to leave Boughton
Monchelsea Place ahead of the ball

Picture perfect! The debutantes stare into the grounds of Leeds Castle as they await the ball

Picture perfect! The debutantes stare into the grounds of
Leeds Castle as they await the ball

Olivia Mott, 20 from Charlottesville, Virginia, makes her way down the stairs at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Olivia Mott, 20 from Charlottesville, Virginia, makes her way
down the stairs at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Arriving on covered golf buggies, the debutantes arrive at Leeds Castle for the Queen Charlottes Ball

Arriving on covered golf buggies, the debutantes arrive at
Leeds Castle for the Queen Charlottes Ball

Guests take pictures and look on as debutantes arrive at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte's Ball

Guests take pictures and look on as debutantes arrive at
Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte’s Ball

A debutante practices her dip curtsy while another girl looks on at Boughton Monchelsea Place

A debutante practices her dip curtsy while another girl looks
on at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Debutante Annie Ding, 20 from Hong Kong, looks at her reflection in a mirror at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Debutante Annie Ding, 20 from Hong Kong, looks at her
reflection in a mirror at Boughton Monchelsea Place

Debutante Fatima Khan, 19, from Buckinghamshire poses by a window at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte's Ball

Debutante Fatima Khan, 19, from Buckinghamshire poses by a
window at Leeds Castle during the Queen Charlotte’s Ball

Debutantes Annie Ding, 20 from Hong Kong (right) and Jiabao Cui, 24, from Beijing (left) apply makeup

Debutantes Annie Ding, 20 from Hong Kong (right) and Jiabao
Cui, 24, from Beijing (left) apply makeup