16 November 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Kate's Repeats

The Duchess of Cambridge's been on a repeat streak lately, have you noticed? Not everything has been a repeat, obvs, but she added two more to the list this week:

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited South Yorkshire.
Embed from Getty Images
She did some shopping in the expansive blue section of her wardrobe first, bringing out this Eponine London number from last year. Serviceable then, serviceable now.

On Thursday, the Duke and Duchess visited BBC Broadcasting House during Anti-Bullying Week.
Embed from Getty Images
Then it was time for the third appearance of this Emilia Wickstead dress. This engagement featured perhaps the strongest speech William's ever given, calling out technology companies for their lack of action on cyberbullying. (You can read it here or watch it here.) Which means that it was a smart choice for Kate to dig out a repeated outfit, because it kept the fashion conversation to a minimum and left more space for coverage of the speech. It wasn't the day for her to debut the head-to-toe neon zebra ensemble she's definitely got sitting in the back of her closet.

I've seen a lot of theorizing on why, since returning from maternity leave, Kate's been in a repeat mood. But most explanations you want to throw at it will work (she's just reviewed the floor plans for the future Royal Coat Museum and it turns out the square footage situation is already a nightmare!), so I have a different question for you: not why but what?

For the purposes of our Friday frivolity, what do you want to see her dust off next? Today I'm feeling like that Armani suit needs another round...

15 November 2018

Royal Jewels of the Day: Marie Antoinette's Jewels at the Bourbon Parma Auction

Looking for the Prince of Wales' birthday party coverage? Click right here to check it out at the Jewel Vault.

Yesterday, Sotheby's auctioned what they called "one of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to come to auction," a collection of jewels belonging to the Bourbon Parma family. The sale offered the tantalizing prospect of owning jewels that belonged to Marie Antoinette - some of which hadn't been seen in public in 200 years. Add in jewels that come from the rest of the family's long and rich royal roots, including Habsburg heritage, and you have a sale chock full of history.

When King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette prepared to flee Paris in 1791, the Queen packed her diamonds, rubies, and pearls into a wooden chest and sent them to the care of her family in Vienna. The King and Queen were captured and later executed in 1793. Their only surviving child, Marie-Thérèse (known as Madame Royale) was released a few years later and made it to Austria. There she was able to collect her mother's jewels from her cousin, the Austrian Emperor.

The Marie Antoinette jewels at this auction went from Marie-Thérèse to her niece and adoptive daughter, Louise Marie Thérèse of Artois, Duchess of Parma. The gems then traveled down Louise's tree of descendants to her son, Robert I, Duke of Parma, and then his son, Elias, and his wife Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria.

The highlight of the auction was this "exceptional and highly important natural pearl and diamond pendant", a natural drop-shaped pearl. As set when owned by Marie Antoinette, it was the pendant on a three row pearl necklace.

The pearl pendant had a pre-sale estimate of $992,810 - $1,975,692. It sold for $36,165,090. Yes, that's right. THIRTY-SIX MILLION DOLLARS. Technically $32 million plus fees. (You could say there was a bit of hype around this auction.) Sotheby's says that's a record price paid for a pearl at auction. The buyer has so far wished to remain anonymous.

This triple strand of pearls was used to hold the pearl pendant above originally; the pearls have been restrung since then and the necklace is now shorter. The necklace brought in the second highest price at the auction: $2,278,499.

Third highest price at the auction went to another piece with  Marie Antoinette history, a double ribbon bow design set with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds dating from the second half of the 18th century. It has a supporting a detachable pear-shaped diamond pendant of yellow tint, probably dating from the early 19th century. Price: $2,099,793.

The highest price for a tiara at the sale went to this very symbolic diadem. The diamond tiara is attributed to Hübner in 1912 and includes fleur de lys motifs millegrain-set with multiple cuts of diamonds. The three largest motifs are detachable and can be worn as brooches. The diamonds were originally set in a plaque of the order of the Saint-Esprit of Charles X, King of France. Price: $967,990.

This "superb diamond demi-parure" went for $848,853. The diamonds come from Charles Ferdinand d’Artois, Duke of Berry, Charles X’s son; Marie-Thérèse of France, Madame Royale, Marie Antoinette’s daughter; and Princess Isabelle of Croÿ, Archduchess Frederich of Austria.

The demi-parure consists of a diamond rivière composed of a graduated row of cushion-shaped diamond collets, with detachable pear-shaped pendants; a brooch set with cushion-shaped diamonds, with three detachable pear-shaped diamond pendants; and a pair of earrings, each set with a cushion-shaped diamond. The brooch can also be worn as a clasp for the diamond rivière.

That's just a few of the highlights from the auction. One of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to come to auction sounds about right to me.

14 November 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: Sweden's State Visit from Italy

The Swedish royal family welcomed the President of Italy and his daughter for a state visit yesterday with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance - glittering state banquet included.

Welcome ceremony first, though. This is a loose blue color scheme for the ladies and I like the assortment very much. I don't often have a lot to say about Queen Silvia but there's some frills here and some accent teal and I'm digging the combo. Crown Princess Victoria's blue is nicely detailed; I won't be surprised if some other royal Hugo Boss aficionados pick up Princess Sofia's dress.

By Malina Ginger Dress in Dove Blue for Victoria; Hugo Boss Contoured Business Dress in Blue for Sofia (per Heaven)

For the state banquet, some pretty big jewels came out to play. (Yay!)

Queen Silvia's not about to let the fact that she chose a blue stone (the luscious Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure) stop her from wearing purple. Atta queen. Her sash is the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, same as the other members of the royal family are wearing.

Crown Princess Victoria was the one that really surprised me. The Bernadotte Emerald Demi-Parure is a big set and I love seeing these pieces become a more regular part of her repertoire, combined with a new gown and the Six Button Tiara. This is, like, Nobel-level dressing up. I APPROVE.

Zetterberg Couture for Sofia (also per Heaven)
Princess Sofia's skirt is actually from a wedding collection, yet it doesn't ping overly bridal to me. I'm always game to see how a ball skirt is styled. She left the green gems to her sister-in-law and wore her Wedding Tiara without emeralds.

Is this a warm up for next month's Nobels? Because I'm ready.

13 November 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia and Mathilde

Just a couple of queens, going about their queenly business.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia started a state visit to Peru yesterday.
House of HM the King
Unfortunately for Letizia, that queenly business isn't quite as glam on this state visit as it would be back home; they didn't have a big fancy state banquet. (And when I say unfortunately for Letizia, I mean unfortunately for us.) Letizia has a new Carolina Herrera dress and it is fine. Stripes! What's not to like?

The King and Queen attended the Valencian Economy Night last week.
Embed from Getty Images
I'll get some jewels in here somehow, don't you worry. Letizia's black diamond earrings and the bracelets from the joyas de pasar spiced up her repeated Hugo Boss jumpsuit at this previous event. That's how you do it.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde commemorated the centenary of the armistice with events including a special Last Post ceremony and a concert with the Canadian Governor General as a guest.
Belgian Monarchy
Belgian Monarchy
Queen Mathilde's always going to look sharp when she needs to, she's got this down pat. Her green concert outfit is a repeat, but I'm here for any time she wants to throw in some accent accessories. The blush pink shoes and bag make the look for me.

12 November 2018

Monday Tidbits for November 12: Birthdays and Remembrance

In case you didn't tune in over the weekend:

--A lot of remembrance events are happening since this year marks the centenary of the armistice. We covered the British royal remembrance events in full over at the Vault, so hop over there to get caught up: Festival of Remembrance, Remembrance Sunday, and the Armistice Centenary Service.
MOD Crown copyright 2018

--Additionally, Prince Harry visited the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey again. It's a solemn duty but regimental mascots will always lighten up the mood. That's Watchman VI, the incoming mascot for the Staffordshire Regiment Association, terribly excited to see the royal guest. Watchman V, the outgoing mascot, is over it. Seen plenty of royal guests in his day. [Zimbio]
Embed from Getty Images

--In Japan, the imperial family held their Autumn Garden Party. The great news here is that Crown Princess Masako was able to attend the full party for the first time in 15 years. (Also there were kimonos, which is always great news.) [Imperial Family of Japan Blog, NHK]

--I didn't really care for the documentary on the Queen and the Commonwealth earlier this year, but the BBC did a good job with another one for the Prince of Wales' 70th birthday. Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70 is available here (as of this writing). Here's the best bit:
Chaz is as delighted by turkeys as his mother is by cows, this family loves their livestock.

--That documentary gave us a new photo of Prince Charles bonding with Prince Louis and the Duchess of Cambridge. New stamps released for his birthday give us a new portrait of Charles with Prince William and Prince Harry. [Hello]
Royal Mail

--And finally, also over at the Jewel Vault: The Queen herself says these diamonds are "magnificent ones". 

Coming up this week: Spain is out state visiting, Charles has his birthday, and more...

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