Catherine

Catherine Middleton (L) arrives at a military awards ceremony in central London Dec. 19, 2011, in a strapless sheath dress with ruffled neckline, similar to the one designed by designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for Diana (Pictured in right). Photo: REUTERS

Kate Middleton or, if one was to be official - Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge - exuded elegance and style, as she attended a military awards ceremony, The Night of Heroes: The Sun Military Awards at the Imperial War Museum in central London, on Monday. The resemblance to Princess Diana was, in many ways, striking.

The Duchess was dressed in a black strapless sheath dress, with a ruffled neckline; an outfit similar to the one designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, which the late Princess Diana, who was Kate's mother-in-law, wore for her first official engagement as Charles, the Prince of Wales' fiancée, in 1981 at the Royal Opera House.

Kate's dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, was fitted to her thighs before flaring down to the floor. Diana's dress, incidentally, was auctioned by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London.

The ensemble resembled Diana's in terms of accessories as well. Both royal ladies accessorized their gowns with diamonds.

While Diana wore a sleek diamond necklace, bracelet and earrings, her daughter-in-law (who was flanked by her husband, Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry) wore a heavier diamond and ruby necklace along with bracelet and earrings.

Fashion industry experts were a little surprised by Kate's choice of dress. The Duchess is known to prefer sleeved outfits and it is, according to some guesses, the first time since she entered the royal family, she has chosen such an outfit.

Meanwhile, Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997, wore off-shoulder dresses often. She wore, for example, an ink-blue Victor Edelstein gown at a 1985 White House dinner. It could be argued, in either case, the fact that she chose to wear a strapless sheath dress on her very first official appearance as a member of the royal family, 30 years ago, portrays her as someone ahead of her times.

The

The Princess of Wales (R) wearing a sheath dress arrives at the premiere of Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise in central London Oct. 19, 1992. Her daughter-in-law seems to be following her style as she arrives at a military awards ceremony in central London Dec. 19, 2011. REUTERS
Princess

Princess Diana is shown wearing an off-shoulder dress by Victor Edelstein as she dances at a Nov. 9, 1985 White House dinner with actor John Travolta. Kate Middleton, along with Prince William, arrives at a military awards ceremony in central London Dec. 19, 2011, in a long sheath dress. Photo: REUTERS
Princess

Princess Diana of Wales shares a light moment with Portugese President Mario Soares at a banquet at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon Feb. 12, 1986. She is wearing an off-shoulder dress. Photo: REUTERS
Nice

Nice shoulder moves: Princess Diana is shown wearing a Victor Edelstein gown as she dances at a Nov. 9, 1985 White House dinner with actor John Travolta. Photo: REUTERS
Britain's

Britain's Prince William (L) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (R) leave the VIP marquee during a military awards ceremony, A Night of Heroes, at the Imperial War Museum in central London Dec. 19, 2011. REUTERS/Arthur Edwards/Pool

Kate and Diana have always been noted for their unique style statements.

Could Kate’s latest mean she is silently following the footsteps of her late mother-in-law, who was considered quite the great fashion icon?

If yes, we are definitely going to see more similarities, rather than comparisons, between the two.