25 April 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia's Recent Offerings

Queen Letizia's had plenty of recent events. A sampling!

The King and Queen of Spain presented the Miguel de Cervantes Prize last week.
House of HM the King
Flashback to last National Day right here, except I might actually like this dress better with the hair half down. (I know.) I wished for a black shoe back then, or really just something other than the nude. My wishes have been ignored. (Sniff.)

King Felipe and Queen Letizia started a two day visit to the Canary Islands on Monday.
Is this Letizia's new favorite dress? We've seen it four times since the fall, I think. Which, granted, is a totally normal number for your average Jane, but not so much in this case. Pretty good choice for a fave.

Don't we look relaxed and comfy, hmm? I'd be opposed to the whole pie crust epaulette thing, but I gotta acknowledge that that trendy touch is what's keeping this ensemble current.

24 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 24: Marathons and Multitudes of Birthdays

Races of all kinds and a birthday surplus for your Monday:

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry continue to work their Heads Together mental health initiative, cheering everyone on at the London Marathon. [Telegraph]
Kensington Palace

--The date of the Spanish state visit to the U.K. has been pushed back to July 12-14. Update your calendars accordingly. [Reuters]

--New pictures were released of Prince Alexander of Sweden, son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia! The soon-to-be big brother celebrated his first birthday last week. [Hola]
Erika Gerdemark, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Ditto for Princess Isabella of Denmark, daughter of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, who celebrated her 10th birthday. [Hola]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, another birthday celebration: the Queen marked her 91st with a day at the races, and then properly celebrated the following day, when her horse won.

--And finally, Princess Charlene also spent a day at the races during a trip to South Africa, and...I couldn't explain it to you if I tried. [Instagram, Twitter]

Coming up this week: A Letizia catch up, plus festivities for King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

21 April 2017

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: Kate and Victoria Take Requests

Ask, and we shall receive. (Sort of. Sometimes. Okay, practically none of the times.)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry opened The Global Academy yesterday.
If you've ever wished that more royal ladies would dress like characters from The Good Wife (well, I've heard a lot of cries for more suits anyway), has Kate got a treat for you! This Armani Collezioni red skirt suit is very smart, very professional. She suited up when the royal men did not, how's that for a change of pace?

Crown Princess Victoria undertook an official trip to Japan this week.
While we're answering requests, my hope that this generation of Swedish princesses would do a little more digging in Queen Silvia's closet has paid off in a most unexpected fashion. As The Royals and I pointed out, this polka dot dress was originally worn by Silvia in 1980 and could easily pass for a current design on Victoria today (in fact, as Sarah also noted, it's pretty similar this current Gucci design. The 1980s version is a fresher look than the new one, even...). What's old really is new again.

20 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara

Among tiaras that include dangling pendants in their design, pearls are the most popular option for the drop stones. A lucky few tiaras feature articulated diamonds (or, perhaps, a mix). Others, like today's tiara treat, explore the world of colorful pendants.

The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara
The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara takes a diamond framework reminiscent of the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara in Monaco and pairs it with cabochon emerald drops à la the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara for a combination with maximum impact. The piece was seen among a selection of jewels exhibited by the British jeweler Hancock in Paris in 1866.

Margarethe
The tiara was worn by Margarethe Klementine (1870-1955), who was born an Archduchess of Austria and member of the House of Habsburg and married Albert, 8th Prince of Thurn und Taxis, in 1890. Her grand court dress portrait also shows several other emerald and diamond jewels in the Thurn und Taxis collection at the time; the stomacher was also by Hancock. (See Royal Magazin for more.)

The tiara was again showcased by Gloria, wife of Johannes, 10th Prince of Thurn und Taxis. She had a penchant for pairing the magnificent Thurn und Taxis jewels with modern couture and eye-catching hairstyles, creating an over-the-top look that - together with the couple's socialite lifestyle - earned her sobriquets like "Princess TNT" and "the punk princess". When Johannes died in 1990, Gloria buckled down and set about managing the TNT estate and saving it from financial ruin.

Gloria
Todd Eberle
Those efforts included auctioning some of the landmark pieces of Thurn und Taxis jewelry, including Empress Eugénie's Pearl and Diamond Tiara and some of the other emerald jewels worn by Margarethe above. Even with the sales, a significant collection of jewelry remains with the family and the Emerald Drop Tiara is among the treasures they kept. Both Princess Gloria and her daughter, Elisabeth, wore the tiara in portraits by Todd Eberle for The House of Thurn und Taxis, a stunning book illustrating the family's Schloss St. Emmeram estate. (The book is here at Amazon; you can see Elisabeth in the tiara and some of her mother's vintage couture here along with a gallery of other shots from the book.) It's a stunning tiara, an excellent choice to keep, and - dare I say it?- maybe an even better emerald pendant tiara than the Grand Duchess Vladimir in my eyes.

Does this have a spot on your list of favorite pendant tiaras?

19 April 2017

Royal Jewels of the Day: Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Set

Just about ten years ago, Queen Máxima (then Princess Máxima) debuted one of the most interesting sets of jewelry in her collection.

Princess Máxima debuts her Tutti Frutti set, 2007 
This demi-parure of a necklace and bracelet was sold at an auction at Christie's Amsterdam in March 2007. The bracelet was described as "a diamond set branch with carved ruby, emerald and sapphire buds and flowers" and sold for $34,791 (€26,400); the necklace is "composed of a graduated line of carved emerald, ruby and sapphire flowers and leaves suspended from a meandering diamond set seam to the carved flower and diamond clasp" and sold for $31,628 (€24,000). Acquired either for or by Queen Máxima (many have guessed a gift from her husband), both pieces appeared on her just a few weeks later. She first wore them with a hot pink dress for the celebrations of King Willem-Alexander's 40th birthday in April 2007.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Necklace
Christie's
The pieces are in the Art Deco style popularized by Jacques Cartier in the 1920s and later named 'Tutti Frutti', which was inspired by India and utilized a signature combination of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires - often carved, or using a mix of cabochon and faceted stones - in natural designs. Máxima's demi-parure would be Tutti Frutti style as opposed to the original stuff made by Cartier; while the prices paid for this set are admittedly high, actual Cartier Tutti Frutti creations from its prime period can fetch record prices at auction.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Bracelet
Christie's
Royal jewels in the Tutti Frutti style are a pretty rare sight these days. Queen Sofia has a set and Queen Elizabeth II has a brooch, both almost never worn. Queen Victoria Eugenia owned a Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet made with diamonds, black enamel, and conch pearl, a rare color combination that made this bracelet one of the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war years. It was sold in 2012 for over $3.4 million. We have previously featured the Mountbatten Tutti Frutti Bandeau, a Cartier piece in the signature three gemstone colors, now shown at the V&A Museum.

Of course it's the exuberant Queen Máxima that makes the most of this exuberant jewelry style; the lady certainly does know her way around a statement piece of jewelry. She wears the bracelet most, even sneaking it into the occasional day outfit, and uses the necklace less frequently. Perhaps it's because I'm prone to love a statement jewel in the first place, but I adore seeing these in action.  (And I can't help but hope that she might have something else for us as we approach King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday next week...ah, wishful thinking.)

18 April 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for April 18: Sundays and Sentiments

Others in Easter Sunday appearances, to start our tidbits:

--King Felipe and Queen Letizia led the Spanish party at Easter mass in Palma de Mallorca. I wish Letizia's jacket was a touch less boxy, but overall everything's business as usual here. [Zimbio]
CasaReal

--It was a birthday celebration on Sunday for Queen Margrethe, who marked her 77th by letting her grandkids steal the show at Marselisborg Palace. [news.com.au]
Princess Josephine and Princess Athena enjoying the birthday appearance

--Prince Harry's discussion of his struggle to deal with his mother's death, leading to his seeking counseling in recent years, has been all over the headlines in the past few days. His words are well worth a listen, if you haven't already. [Telegraph]

--Princess Eléonore of Belgium surprised her father, King Philippe, with a mini violin recital for his 57th birthday on April 15th. Eléonore celebrated her ninth birthday the following day.

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, a couple of newer brooches made appearances in the run up to Easter service. Elephants were involved.


Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

17 April 2017

Royal Holiday of the Week: Easter in Windsor

It was the most colorful of times, it was the most blergh of times this weekend for the annual Easter Sunday church parade to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II led her family in vibrant turquoise, which we've covered in full at the Jewel Vault. The blerghs, however, were also represented.

The Duchess of Cambridge, making her first appearance at Windsor Castle Easter, was basically the blerghiest blergh that ever blerghed in cream Catherine Walker and a pillbox hat with the Queen's Silver Jubilee Diamond and Pearl Earrings. But still, her tidy tailored look remains a number of levels above the rest of the ladies on the pale end of the color spectrum. It's a shame, because Princess Eugenie's repeated wrinkled Burberry is such a promising twist on a traditional trench, and Princess Beatrice's overcooked look doesn't give her interesting accessory choices their proper due. (I don't like not liking a purple look. It pains me.)

A simple coat in a flattering color will almost always do the trick, as the Countess of Wessex displays. (With 13-year-old Lady Louise by her side, deftly bridging the gap between kid outfits and adult ones.)

And a simple coat in an even brighter flattering color will also nab you my Easter Best Dressed Award. Autumn Phillips for the win, kids. (For more of the Windsors at Easter, including the Princess Royal and a bunch of dudes in suits, here's a gallery.)

13 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara


Programming Note: The blog will be off tomorrow (Friday). If you're celebrating a holiday this week or weekend, enjoy!

The Swedish royal court announced this week that Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld, husband of King Carl Gustaf's sister Princess Désirée, passed away at the age of 82.
Princess Désirée and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
I've had the tiara featured below on my list to cover for some time. Since it has connections to this couple, it seemed an appropriate choice for this week.


Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara
This petite v-shaped tiara, featuring diamond scrolls rolling away from a diamond central motif, is not among the Swedish tiaras that we regularly see today, but a group of young princesses made great use of it a few decades ago. Its history dates back at least a generation further.

Queen Louise
It belonged to Queen Louise of Sweden (1889-1965), consort of King Gustaf VI Adolf. She wore it across her forehead in the bandeau fashion popular during the 1920s and 1930s, and atop her head later in life. Louise is one of those royal figures who had a dizzying number of connections to other royal families: born a Princess of Battenberg and later titled Lady Louise Mountbatten, she was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, niece of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, sister of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, aunt to the Duke of Edinburgh, and on and on. Her romantic history was interesting, too: Louise declined a proposal from the King of Portugal and had two failed secret engagements before Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden came courting. Gustaf Adolf's first wife, Margaret of Connaught (another of Louise's relatives), had died three years earlier. The new couple married in 1923 at the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace.

Princess Birgitta
As queen consort, Louise had full use of the big pieces in the Swedish tiara collection, so her small tiara got more use as a loaner for the young princesses in the family. Her step-granddaughters, Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée, and Christina, all wore the diamond tiara. These four princesses, nicknamed the Haga Princesses because of their upbringing at Haga Palace, are the elder sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Princess Désirée wears Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara and Princess Margaretha wears the Four Button Tiara on the cover of a book celebrating their respective weddings
Tradera
Queen Louise gave the tiara as a wedding gift to Princess Désirée in 1964 for her marriage to Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. Désirée wore the Cameo Tiara for their wedding, and used Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara at their wedding ball. You can read more about their wedding here. Princess Margaretha was married the same month (hence the dual commemorative book above), and you can read more about her wedding here.

Désirée and Niclas at their wedding ball
Each of the Haga Princesses ended up with at least one tiara of their own through gifts from different people: the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik for Margaretha, a pearl tiara for Birgitta, this tiara for Désirée, and the now-stolen Queen Sophia's Diamond and Pearl Tiara for Christina.

Peter Knutson/Kungahuset.se
Since she no longer participates in the regular activities of the Swedish royal family, Désirée does not have a lot of public occasions on which to wear the tiara. For the most recent big family weddings, she has borrowed larger tiaras from the Swedish family collection: Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara for Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and the Cut Steel Tiara for Prince Carl Philip's and Princess Madeleine's weddings. Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara hasn't gone ignored, though; Princess Désirée wore it to her brother's birthday dinner in 2016. 

Who do you think wore this one best?

12 April 2017

Royal Exhibition of the Day: Princess Lilian's Wedding Dress

Sweden's Royal Palace opened the most fabulous exhibition in October, Royal Wedding Dresses 1976-2015, offering visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the couture creations worn by the Swedish royal women on their wedding days. The exhibition was a hit and has actually been extended through April 23rd, should you happen to be in Stockholm this month.

A few of our fabulous readers were able to visit the palace and have kindly allowed me to share some of their photographs here for all to enjoy. (The original exhibition preview post also includes many more goodies and observations in the comments.) In order to properly luxuriate in the splendor - there is no other way to take in a good royal wedding dress, if you ask me - I'm breaking them up and will be sharing multiple installments with you in the coming months.

To start, a dress which might be among the quietest royal wedding dresses, but which represents one of the sweetest royal stories. Today's photos come from the lovely Viola and the lovely Janet, who wrote about her visit here, with big thanks!

Welsh-born Lilian Craig married Prince Bertil of Sweden, King Carl Gustaf's uncle, on December 7, 1976, more than three decades after they fell in love. The laws at the time meant that Bertil would have lost his place in the line of succession for marrying a commoner. This posed a problem because many other males in the family were already out for such marriages (women were also not allowed in the line at this time) and Carl Gustaf was set to potentially inherit the throne at a very young age after his grandfather. Bertil put family and duty first, promising not to wed Lilian until his nephew was married. Just a few months after King Carl Gustaf married Queen Silvia, he gave his consent for Prince Bertil to marry Lilian. She became Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland. (Check out more of their story from my first post on their wedding.)

Courtesy of Viola
Princess Lilian's wedding dress was made by her long-time friend and favorite couturier, Elizabeth Wondrak. It was an icy blue silk shantung dress with a high collar and long sleeves.

Courtesy of Janet
The simple design is reminiscent of Queen Silvia's own dress from earlier that year. Janet pointed out its similarity to another royal wedding dress from another mature second-time bride:

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at their wedding blessing, 2005
Both accessorized with sweeping hairpieces (feathers for Lilian) and bouquets with plenty of lily of the valley, and both absolutely perfect solutions for their respective events.

Lilian's bouquet and hairpiece
Courtesy of Viola
Princess Lilian won a lot of respect over her years with Bertil and with the royal family. She was dignified yet had an undeniable sense of fun, and she was clearly beloved by King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, and their children. She passed away in 2013. Princess Madeleine paid tribute to Lilian in the name of her first child, Leonore Lilian Maria. Princess Lilian also left some jewelry to the royal ladies, and she is remembered each time they wear her pieces, such as the Laurel Wreath Tiara she left to Crown Princess Victoria.

11 April 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Máxima and Letizia's Extra Frills

Because there's always room for a little something extra, right?

For example, why just go with a simple sheath dress when you can throw on a feather duster?
Queen Máxima opened the StudyPortals headquarters on Friday.
Bring one of these with you, and you never worry about discreetly brushing off the chair before you sit again! Handy.

And while we're at it, why go with a plain black velvet ensemble when you could toss a fan on top?
King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan during their state visit last week.
Queen Letizia hasn't reached Queen Silvia levels of tablecloth attachment - yet - though she is approaching placemat territory. This top and skirt is from Armani Privé Fall 2011, which is surprising on a couple levels, and it's obviously from a Japan-inspired collection. She also wore a pair of ruby and diamond earrings she's worn before (for her fabulous pre-princess appearance in Denmark, for one).
Armani Privé Fall 2011
Unnecessary frills? Yes. Are they both pulling them off? Also a YES from me.

10 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 10: Remembrances and Welcomes

Hello hello, let's go...

--Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel made an emotional visit this weekend to the site of last week's terrible Stockholm attack. King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who were on a trip to Brazil at the time and returned home early, will lead the royal family at a service in memory of the victims today. [People]

--The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry joined Canada's Governor General, the Canadian Prime Minister, and the French President in France yesterday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. [BBC]
Kensington Palace

--It was a week full of travel for the Prince of Wales, as he and the Duchess of Cornwall also visited Italy, Vatican City, and Austria. I loved this embellished coat on Cams in Austria. (And wished she'd left her tiered coffee filter ensemble at home.) [Zimbio]
UK in Austria

--We also covered the biggest bling moment of the couple's Italy trip over at the Jewel Vault. Plus: a skull and crossbones for the Queen, and a memorial for Lord Snowdon.

--And finally, Queen Margrethe's spring stay at Fredensborg Palace began with a torchlit welcome from the citizens of Fredensborg, a picturesque annual tradition. [YouTube]

Coming up this week: Extra frills for Máxima and Letizia, and more...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

07 April 2017

Tiara Thursday (on a Friday): Princess Nori's Tiara

The Japanese imperial family puts on a splendid tiara show when the occasion calls for it (as seen just this week), thanks to their abundance of princesses and their practice of providing each with at least one full parure to wear. One of my favorite Japanese tiaras, however, does not appear in the current line up.

Princess Nori's Tiara
This graceful tiara by Mikimoto dates from 1923/24 and features layered diamond scrolls of graduated heights topped with single round diamonds. The largest single stone is a 3 carat diamond positioned in the middle of the tiara, which can be removed for use in a ring or brooch. The tiara was worn by Princess Nori (Sayako Kuroda), the youngest child and only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Bangja, Crown Princess Euimin of Korea
It is thought to be a reworking of a tiara that belonged to Bangja, Crown Princess Euimin of Korea (1901-1989). She was a Japanese woman, born Princess Masako of Nashimoto, who married Crown Prince Euimin of Korea in 1920. Korea was under Japan's rule at this time, following annexation in 1910; the Korean monarchy had been stripped of its rule and the prince was under Japanese control.


Princess Nori
(via)
The resemblance between the two tiaras suggests that Crown Princess Bangja's tiara was used to create the tiara given to Princess Nori when she came of age. Like other Japanese tiaras, it came with an accompanying set of jewelry; unlike several of the newly made tiaras given to Japanese princesses in recent years (and even a few older ones), the set's necklace is not a mirror image of the tiara.

See video of the last time this tiara was worn here.
Princess Nori wore the tiara for regular imperial events up until 2005, when she married Yoshiki Kuroda. In accordance with imperial household law, her marriage to a commoner meant that she had to give up her title, her official place in the imperial family, and her state allowance. Princess Nori is now known as Sayako Kuroda. She still attends some imperial events, just not in the same capacity as she did before and with no use for a tiara. Tiaras are provided by the imperial household and are returned when no longer needed; they might appear again as additional options for other family members, or - as is thought to have been the case with this tiara - they could be remade in the future. I hope this one returns in its current state, because it is lovely.

Do you find this one a standout from the Japanese tiara crowd?

06 April 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Spain's State Visit to Japan

We have some tiaras in action for our review on this Thursday: King Felipe and Queen Letizia kicked off their state visit to Japan with both tiara glitter and earring glitter.

Letizia's Felipe Varela outfit for the official welcome ceremony was a deep red velvet dress with a whole lot of buttons and a neck bow worn under a red coat with waist detailing and a double tie closure. That's an awful lot of fastening methods for one outfit. Doesn't really matter, though, because her earrings drew all the attention anyway.

House of HM the King
That's right, our resident Earring Queen delivered in a major way. In addition to a potentially interesting pair from Bounkit in green jade and rose quartz worn for a later reception (which you can spy in this gallery), Letizia's red outfit included a pair of diamond and ruby earrings belonging to a set of jewelry previously worn by Queen Sofia. Not only do I love a little extra dazzle on a special state visit outfit, I love Letizia wearing gems from Sofia's collection.

The Sofia earring trend continued at the evening's state banquet.
House of HM the King
Returning to her recent favorite tiara, the Spanish Floral Tiara, Letizia wore the two large bracelets from the "joyas de pasar" (recently debuted when she wore the Fleur de Lys Tiara) and borrowed diamond and sapphire earrings once again previously worn by Queen Sofia. This dress could take the necklace, too, not to scare her off the jewel path or anything. Empress Michiko got her carats in with a large diamond collet necklace and pendant, having stopped wearing tiaras a few years ago.

Lest you were in any doubt from the above picture, yes, this is THE Princess Dress (queen dress, but whatever) from the 2015 Peru state banquet. And lest you should be in any doubt in any situation, yes, Empress Michiko has worked a little bit of cape action into her look.

Observe that Princess Skirt in motion:
Shall we do a Sash Check? For the curious: King Felipe wore the collar of Japan's Order of the Chrysanthemum, while Emperor Akihito wore the collar of Spain's Order of the Golden Fleece. Both displaying peak methods of combining orders from another country plus one's own country, Felipe also wore the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck and the sash of the Order of Charles III (with double breast stars on his jacket); Akihito also wore the sash of the Order of the Chrysanthemum. Queen Letizia was given Japan's Order of the Precious Crown. (Fun fact: she was also gifted silk from Empress Michiko's own silkworms, enough to make a dress.) The Empress chose to wear the small bow brooch of the Order of Charles III on her bodice instead of the sash, which she has worn in the past.

House of HM the King
There are always more tiaras when Japan is involved, it's often just a little harder to see them. Above (click to enlarge) we have Princess Mako in her tiara, Crown Princess Masako with an interesting sleeve detail and the Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara, Princess Kiko in the Akishino Tiara, and Princess Kako in her tiara. (There are a couple better views of some of the Japanese princesses in this gallery, and you can see more walking behind the main table in this video.) A most satisfying sparkly show, no?

05 April 2017

Royal Dress of the Day: Kate's 42nd Street Opening Night

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the opening night of the musical revival 42nd Street in the West End supporting East Anglia Children's Hospices yesterday.
A red embellished tulle tea-length dress? Reaaaaaaally? Well, be still my swishy skirt-loving heart.

Actually, I don't know why this selection surprised me, given her bulk buy of midi Preen dresses from last year. I am predictably glad this Marchesa Notte is not lace (it's...lace-adjacent) and I am feeling predictably quibbly about the overall styling. I am also choosing to ignore said quibbles right now, because this is a really good dress. And that's that.

04 April 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Prince Felix's Confirmation

The Danish royal family and their fascinators gathered this weekend to celebrate the confirmation of Prince Felix, the second son of Prince Joachim and first wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. I think what we have here is the rare royal event where it might just be possible that the gentlemen are the more interesting sartorial story. And I pretty much never say that.

Prince Nikolai, Countess Alexandra, Prince Henrik, Prince Felix, Princess Athena, Prince Joachim, and Princess Marie
Steen Brogaard, Kongehuset
Seriously, we've got wee suits for the littlest ones, a three piece suit for Crown Prince Frederik, purple buttons to match a purple tie for Prince Henrik, and proof that the family flair for suit style will continue into the next generation with Prince Nikolai and his windowpane suit. Not bad, gents, not bad. Prince Joachim must have felt like he missed the family memo.

Prince Vincent, Princess Isabella, Princess Josephine, Prince Christian, Crown Prince Frederik, and Crown Princess Mary 
Not that the ladies didn't put on an elegant show of their own, mind you. It was just a quieter one. Crown Princess Mary, for example, pulled colors out of her YDE Copenhagen floral dress to make up this outfit of repeated pieces. Classic Mary in a nutshell.

The family with Alexandra's mother, the Queen, and Prince Henrik
Steen Brogaard, Kongehuset
Countess Alexandra, continuing to defy the passage of time, was my favorite in her mauve ensemble. Princess Marie went for a family brooch, Queen Alexandrine's Diamond and Sapphire Pendant Brooch, and allowed that to take center stage on a light dress. Queen Margrethe also opted for a family brooch; this diamond daisy brooch was made for Queen Ingrid from diamonds belonging to her mother, Crown Princess Margaret, who died when Ingrid was a child. Queen Ingrid gave the brooch to Margrethe, who shares a name and a nickname (Daisy) with her grandmother. Sentimental jewels for a family occasion win all the points.
Marie's dress from Huishan Zhang, via Princess Marie's Closet

03 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 3: Patterns and Snowy Delights

Let's kick this week off right:

--Here's a precious snowy moment from three generations of Bhutan's monarchy: "Our April calendar features this photograph of His Majesty The King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, enjoying a special moment in the unexpected March snow with His Royal Highness The Gyalsey." [Yellow.bt]

--More developments last week in the messy case of Delphine Boël, who claims that she is the illegitimate daughter of Belgium's King Albert II. She's been seeking legal recognition of her paternity claims, but her case was rejected. Her lawyers say she will appeal. [Flanders News]

--Princess Beatrix doesn't often wear trousers on official duty, but when she does, they're kicky and patterned and 100% matching.

--Over at the Jewel Vault, a look back at the 1986 state visit between the U.K. and Spain, and a pair of diamond earrings I would so very much like to see more often.

--And finally, some earrings I'd rather not see more often (which, as you know, is a very strange thing for me to say). The problem with green amethyst, I decided last week when the Duchess of Cambridge visited the National Portrait Gallery in a pair of Kiki McDonough earrings of green amethyst and pink tourmaline, is that it turns a dull shade of army green when backed by a curtain of dark hair. [Hello]


Coming up this week: Family style at a confirmation in Denmark, and another state visit for our delight when Spain hits Japan.


Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

31 March 2017

Royal State Visits of the Day: March 31

What a delightful state visit-y week it's been. Let's keep it going one more day and catch up with the Day 2 outfits from this week's visits. Spoiler alert, at least two of these ladies saved their category bests for last.

Netherlands/Argentina up first! A day of engagements followed by a ballet hosted by the President and First Lady of Argentina.
See this? By far the better of the day outfits Queen Máxima wore for the state visit. It's a Claes Iversen magenta coat with bedazzled starbursts, which is basically as Máx-tastic as a coat can get. (Banner week for this designer: Crown Princess Mary also wore his designs on this same day.)

Pardon me while I cut straight to the jewels in the evening. The Dutch collection is lucky enough to include more than one huge sapphire bow brooch; this version, which dates back to Queen Emma, has recently been used with an alternate citrine brooch in the center. The earrings are equally luscious and equally flexible, able to be worn in different settings. They were created using stones from Queen Wilhelmina's broken up Wedding Gift Parure.


Now over to you, Belgium/Denmark. A day of engagements - and a quick jog - followed by a concert hosted by the Belgian couple at the Black Diamond library in Copenhagen. (Sidebar: Black Diamond! All libraries should be named like James Bond movies.)
Belgian Monarchy
Hmm. As much as I love a cape sleeve and a little mixing and matching, Queen Mathilde's Esmeralda Ammoun jacket has me thinking some things are best left to Empress Michiko, and Crown Princess Mary's burgundy skirt leaves me craving the original pencil skirt that went with this top.

On the other hand, I have no hmms to share about this. LOVE IT ALL. Just as she did in the Netherlands last year, Mathilde waited to bring her best evening gown game until night 2 with this sparkly red Natan number. I'm feeling Mary's Jesper Høvring gown too. That color! Give me more, please.
Belgian Monarchy
Others were there too! It's the last day of state visit week, I cut to my faves. {shrug}

30 March 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Dutch Diamond Bandeau, Revisited

Máxima wears the Dutch Diamond Bandeau, 2017
Queen Máxima delivered a fabulous surprise earlier this week with her debut of the Historical Stuart/House Diamond Necklace. While drooling over the astounding level of diamond carat wattage in that necklace, you also can’t sleep on the diamond power on display in her tiara. This piece has the distinction of being the first Dutch tiara to ever appear on Tiara Thursdays, and it is high time we revisited it.

The Dutch Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Thai Monarchy
The Dutch Diamond Bandeau is really the simplest of pieces, nothing but giant diamonds in a row on a thin platinum frame. It looks like a necklace worn in the hair, and that’s essentially what it is. The tiara originates with a diamond collet necklace which was a wedding gift to Queen Emma, née Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, who married King Willem III in 1879; the diamonds themselves date back even further. The strand of diamonds was used as both a necklace and a dress ornament before it was converted into a tiara.

Queen Wilhelmina, 1948
ANP Archief
The tiara was seen as early as 1937 on the future Queen Juliana, who was Queen Emma’s granddaughter. Juliana’s mother, Queen Wilhelmina, also wore it. The tiara has since made the rounds of the Dutch royal family thoroughly. Princess (formerly Queen) Beatrix has worn it on several occasions; her sisters, Princesses Margriet and Christina, have also used the tiara.

Queen Juliana, 1974, also wearing the necklace later used as the Sapphire Necklace Tiara
ANP Archief
Judging from how often she’s worn the Dutch Diamond Bandeau, Queen Máxima considers it a favorite. This is fortunate, because she is also the one that wears it best. Whereas on Princess Beatrix many of the diamonds disappear behind a curtain of hair, Queen Máxima usually displays the swooping sides of the tiara, allowing one to fully appreciate the extent of the diamonds on hand.

Queen Beatrix, 2003
And appreciating the extent of the diamonds at hand is really part of the magic of this diadem. It’s not the shape of the tiara that makes it notable, it’s the size and history of the stones. Several of you laughed when I referred to this as a low-key tiara choice at the Argentinian state banquet, because the carats on hand could blow many other tiaras out of the water. It doesn't make the same loud statement as some of the taller tiaras around, but it makes a statement nevertheless.

Princess Máxima, 2006
Thai Monarchy
The fact that this tiara allows so many carats and so much history to be worn with such casual elegance, and not in a way that overpowers a whole look, makes it one of the most royal diadems around, in my mind. It also makes it one of my favorites, a true must on any desert island list.

Does this one make your desert island tiara list?