21 November 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Monaco National Day & Sussex Royal Variety Round Up

Time to clear the decks from Monday's big events, because there's another state visit happening and a holiday coming up. Let's do this snap judgement style. (Psst: Tomorrow is a US holiday but we will likely have a state visit post up, so do check in.)

Monaco's princely family celebrated National Day, starting with a Te Deum, review at the palace, and some window balcony appearances.
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Princess Charlene, in Akris: The hat can stay. So, that's something.

Princess Caroline, in Chanel: This hat can go. Or at least the lace band can go.

Princess Stephanie: Red! Color suits her.

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Tatiana Santo Domingo: She could nearly pass for a Windsor with her solid navy coat and Philip Treacy headpiece. It's the interesting shoes that give her away.

Princess Alexandra: Her mother's daughter in that suit, that's for sure.

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Beatrice Borromeo, in Armani Privé: Chocolate velvet accents? YES PLEASE. Winter neutrals done right.

Monaco Info
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The Babies: Grandma Caroline quite literally has her hands full these days. Two out of three 2018 family additions made their debuts: Francesco (son of Pierre and Beatrice) and Maximilian (son of Andrea and Tatiana).

The family also attended the evening gala.
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Princess Charlene, in Akris: To be impressed by her commitment to lining up her Order of St. Charles sash with the color division in her gown, or to be confused that it now looks like a racing stripe...that is the question.

Princess Caroline, in Stella McCartney: Queen Letizia's sublime appearance in a version of this dress is a hard act to follow. Not really advisable to try, honestly.

Beatrice Borromeo, in Armani Privé: Once again taking the prize. 

Elsewhere, on Monday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the Royal Variety Performance.
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Duchess of Sussex, in Safiyaa: Nope. To all of it. Sorry. Blame it on that added halter strap (which is tacked on there like it was a hasty decision, which it probably wasn't, which makes it worse).

20 November 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: The Belgian/French State Visit

Lots of royal events yesterday. I'm going to start with a woman that I think really hit it out of the park all day: Queen Mathilde.

The Belgians welcomed France for a state visit, and as you might expect when an important neighbor comes to visit, it warranted something a little special. Queen Mathilde went full couture and turned to custom designs from the two labels that dress her best: Dior and Armani.

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For the day, Mathilde wore Christian Dior. She started wearing couture pieces from the legendary maison when Belgian designer Raf Simons was at the helm. I think this is her first Dior since he left, and it maintains the same high level. Beautifully cut and crafted. This is one of her best outfits of the year.

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I might have called her day outfit the best of the year - but then the state banquet happened. And just look...

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Armani, man. Recalling the magnificent off the shoulder black velvet gown from a few years back, this burgundy velvet is classic glam at its very best. The only problem here is not Mathilde's problem, really; had she been wearing a thinner sash, she could have gotten away with this placement. The wider version that belongs to France's Legion of Honor, however, doesn't make the turn at the shoulder as well. (Not all orders offer a thinner sash for women.) It's the only mark against what is otherwise perfection.

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Don't miss the sparkle on the sleeves. Oh, and the tiara: the bandeau portion of the Nine Provinces Tiara. Fits right in with how Mathilde has been using the tiaras at her disposal since becoming queen: an important tiara for an important state visit, but not the full thing as a big European monarchy-to-monarchy visit might warrant.

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Squint through this slightly awkward double row group pose, and you'll find Prince Lorenz, Princess Astrid, Prince Laurent, and Princess Claire. Princess Astrid wore the Savoy-Aosta Tiara; Princess Claire wore her Pearl and Diamond Tiara. We do always appreciate a couple bonus diadems.

19 November 2018

Monday Tidbits for November 19: Weddings and Tiaras Ahoy

Tiara sightings right now and (hopefully) in the wedding-related future:

--The Greek royal family announced the engagement of Princess Theodora, daughter of King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie, and Matthew Kumar. The Princess is an actress (as Theodora Greece) on The Bold and the Beautiful and her fiancé is a lawyer in Los Angeles. Theodora will be the last of Queen Ingrid of Denmark's granddaughters to marry; all the rest have continued the family tradition of wearing the Khedive of Egypt Tiara with the family's antique wedding veil on their wedding days.
Greek Royal Family

--Zac Posen posted a few more pictures of the custom gown he made for Princess Eugenie at her evening wedding reception: the back before the York rose/wheat ear embroidery was added, and the waistline. [Instagram]
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--The Belgian royal household posted a new set of portraits of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. Queen Mathilde is wearing a repeated Armani Privé gown and the full Nine Provinces Tiara. [Photos: Royal Palace]

--Over at the Jewel Vault: We covered Charles' birthday party, of course, and you can scan the comments for pictures of guests that have been added since the day. And then QEII teamed up with King Harald for an engagement since he was in town and all.

--A tiara sighting last week in the United States! Princess Margriet continued her tradition of bringing something sparkly from the Dutch family vaults with her to attend the annual Peter Stuyvesant Ball in New York City. She wore the diamond base of the Antique Pearl Tiara, without the pearls on top. [Telegraaf]
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--And finally, there's a new picture special for Prince Charles' birthday with photos by Chris Jackson, including this precious moment with Prince Louis.

Coming up this week: Um, a whole lot. Monaco's National Day, a state visit in Belgium, and the Sussexes at the Royal Variety Performance - that's all happening today - plus a state visit to the Netherlands later in the week. We'll do our best to get to it all...

 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!

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.
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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.
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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.