Prince William and Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton selected Indian designer Saloni to kick off the pre-royal tour eventsAFP/Getty

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's royal visit to India and Bhutan does not officially begin until Sunday but Kate Middleton gave a nod to the host countries last night (6 April), meeting natives from India and Bhutan at Kensington Palace dressed in a stunning floor-length polka dot gown by Indian designer Saloni Lodha.

The dress, named the Mary Illusion Dot Dress is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2016 collection, and retails at £498, although it is currently out of stock.

The royal-blue gown had long sleeves in sheer silk with a dominating polka dot design finished off with a demure ruffled collar. It was satin-trimmed and cinched at the waist. The sheer front panel gives the illusion of a daring lunging neckline. The Duchess accessorised sparingly with diamond and sapphire earrings and her engagement ring was made from the same precious stones.

The Duke wore a complementary navy suit with a contrasting sky blue tie to the event ahead of their royal tour.

Founded in London in 2007 by Lodha, the Saloni brand draws on the designer's Indian heritage, as she notes on her website: "I always keep in mind my Indian heritage while designing but don't translate it literally into our clothes. I think the way we as a brand celebrate bold colours and patterns is our way of bringing the spirit of India into the collections".

This is not the first time the 34-year-old Duchess has stepped out in the designer's clothes, selecting another electric-blue design, the Martine matelassé midi-dress, from the Saloni Pre-Fall 2015 range to attend the Fostering Excellence Awards a few days after their Indian tour plans were announced.

Having already selected two of this range within a short space of time, it may be that Middleton will be packing a few more of the Saloni range into her Royal Tour suitcase as it was announced she would be wearing a mix of Indian and British designers on the tour.

kate middleton indian tour
The Duchess has previously stepped out in Saloni, wearing an electric-blue skater dress style from the brand's Pre-Fall 2015 collection in London last NovemberGetty