So many of these ladies really turned it out tonight. Let's give out some awards, shall we?
Best in Black
Left to Right: Princess Eugenie of York; Julia Ogilvy; Zara PhillipsBlack may be a safe choice, but it makes it easy to get it dead right, and these three ladies are living proof. I had trouble naming a winner; Julia is purely elegant, and Zara's hair and shoes are fantastic. In the end, if only because I haven't seen a great Zara pic yet, Eugenie wins the day. Not just because of the dress, but because this is Vivienne Westwood. MORE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, please. Talk about a designer that can dress a figure like Eug's and keep it fresh and young. Love.
Best in Back
Crown Princess Pavlos
L to R: Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece (front and back); Tatiana, Princess Nikolaos of Greece & Denmark (front and back)
These two gowns, lovely though they may be, seem as safe as a black gown...until they turn. Surprise! Marie-Chantal's got a ribbon tail that may just be the remainder of a game of pin the tail on the donkey with her five kids, and Tatiana's got sparkles, all the way down. Good thing M-C's gown is amazing enough from the front to still run away with the category.
Best in Fire
Crown Princess Victoria
L to R: Princess Mathilde of Belgium; Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden; Queen Sonja of Norway; Princess Michael of KentSo many ladies feeling the warm colors this evening, like it's Fall and not Spring. Not that I'm complaining: they're looking good. Mathilde always looks good in orange, though I wish she'd quit with the bridesmaid shoes. It's a wedding, darling, but you're not actually in it. Very similar silhouette to Princess Michael, and very flattering for them both. Also in bright construction colors: Sonja, who basically owns this same dress in every traffic light color on the block. And that's fine, but it's a little harlot with the lips and flower, no? Much better is Maria Teresa in her Elie Saab, which is actually giving her a waist and not making her carry a wrap over her arms. But the one I love best is Victoria, who i
Best in Blue and Traditional
L to R: Queen Elizabeth II; the Queen of Brunei; Queen Anne-Marie of Greece; Princess Alexandra of Kent; Princess Anne, the Princess Royal; Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; Queen Sofia of SpainLoads of ladies opted for the print/blue/bronze territory. All the Queens look good: I mean, this is about as typical as you get for all of them. Princess Anne and her fantastic figure are a sight to see, but Princess Alexandra, adorable like a basket of kittens, is here to soothe away all the lesser outfits. She wins.
Best in Easter Egg
L to R: Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia; Autumn Phillips; (top) Katharine, the Duchess of Kent; (bottom) Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of ThailandWe're close enough to Easter to justify dressing like an Easter egg yet, aren't we? If we're not, don't tell these ladies. Though you know I love purple (and a gleeful Duchess of Kent), I'm giving this one to Autumn, simply for working it so soon after having a little one.
Best of the Not Pictured
Lady Gabriella Windsor
L to R: Lady Davina Lewis; Sophie, Lady Frederick Windsor; Lady Gabriella Windsor
I'm still scouting out photos of some of the royals we're missing, but we have a few quick glimpses of these ladies. Davina's quite cute in her fur. I'm really not liking what I've seen so far of Sophie Winkleman (also see here- yeesh, the hair), so I'll give it Lady Gabriella.
Best in Princess
L to R: Charlene Wittstock, Princess Letizia from the front and side, and Princess BeatriceAh, now we're talking, right? Don't you just love it when princesses (and princesses-to-be) actually dress up like, well, princesses? I love Charlene's bit of fluff, she's a tall drink of water and she can wear it. Beatrice, on the other hand, has bitten off a little more than she can chew, but it certainly does show off that body. And you always have to award points for that. It's Letizia, though, that was the star of the show tonight. This is just one giant princess-gasm, no? This Felipe Varela is perfect for black tie toned down as it is tonight, and it'll be even better repeated and iced up for a proper gala. Jumpy claps indeed.
Best of the Worst
The Countess of Wessex
L to R: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Sophie, the Countess of WessexWell, Camilla didn't stay for the whole thing, which probably explains how utterly under dressed she is (though, if you're going to just throw something on from the closet, why not make it a gown?). Really, she's in this category because it felt too mean to Sophie to stick her here all on her own. The Countess is suffering from a broken rib, poor thing, but there's just no excusing this. Not the rat nest hair, not the too-deep plunge, not the too short hem with the heels peeking out, and most of all: not the boob flaps. What the what? WHY? I just can't.
Who makes your best- and worst-dressed of the night?
And hey, if you see better pics (or anyone we're missing), let me know!
UPDATESFirst, royals that we now have better pictures for.
L to R: Lady Frederick Windsor, Lady Gabriella Windsor, the Duchess of Kent, Zara Phillips
Well, now that we can see Lady Frederick in all her bouffant glory, my final verdict is: no. Lady Gabriella’s not too bad, but there’s nothing fetching happening here either. Our new full-length picture of the Duchess of Kent shows sparkly shoes and a bag; I’m not sure I’ve seen so much glitter in combo with a cross necklace since Madonna’s naughty Catholic phase. And Zara’s face front pic proves that the hair and the shoes are the stars of the show; that sash-type sleeve isn’t doing her any favors.
And now, brand new royals!
L to R: the Duchess of Gloucester, the Countess of St. Andrews with Lady Amelia Windsor, and Lady Ameila full length, Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor, Lady Nicholas Windsor, the wife of the King of Swaziland
At long last, the lovely Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, has appeared. Too bad she’s chosen something designed to bring out her gray hair. She’s also suffering from print overload, as is the King of Swaziland’s wife over there on the right. Much simpler, and better, are the Countess of St. Andrews in her basic sheath and her daughters Amelia and Marina-Charlotte. Note Amelia’s pink shoes; note also that she is 15 years old, the exact age to at which to rock this deliciously mismatched outfit. Her 18-year-old sister Marina-Charlotte is looking much more grown up and absolutely stunning, right? Those must be some good genes. And the last of the Kent family to emerge in the late photos is Lady Nicholas Windsor, a.k.a. Paola. A lovely lady in an unfortunately short and overly-ruffled gown with a bird’s nest hairdo (there are braids in there, I think…) and shoes borrowed from Ginger Rogers’ last show. Oh well, the Kents can’t win ‘em all.
Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/Reuters/PacificCoastNews.com/Zimbio/Isopix/Mark Stewart/CameraPress/Pascal Le Segretain