03 June 2011

Flashback Friday: Willem-Alexander's 40th Birthday

Princess Máxima celebrated her 40th birthday with a shindig last week, and her husband did the same (with a slightly heftier royal turnout) a few years ago. Prince Willem-Alexander actually turned 40 in April of 2007, but the celebrations were delayed until late summer (August 31 and September 1) due to the birth of Princess Ariane, the couple's youngest daughter, that same month. Let's flashback and give out some retroactive Royal Fashion Awards, shall we?

Best in Pregnant
Princess Aimée
Left to Right: the Countess of Wessex, Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau, Princess Annette of Orange-Nassau
There's no way I could remember who was and wasn't pregnant all the way back in 2007, so I lumped several ladies from this event into one Pregnant? category initially. Turns out, only a few of them were actually with child at the time (a fact which we will get to in a mere moment). So we have Sophie in sort of a Jane of the Jungle and/or Overgrown Garden turn while expecting her son James, and Annette just barely pregnant (son Benjamin was born in March of 2008) in a sort of a shotgun wedding turn. But the lovely Aimée is my favorite: this dress is a little old for her, but hey, she was really pregnant, so we'll cut her a break. (She gave birth to daughter Magali just a little over a month after the festivities).

Best in Neutrals
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
L to R: the Princess of Asturias, Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau
"Pale" must have been something of an unspoken dress code for several of the birthday guests. I very much like Letizia's dress here, but because it forced me to lump her in the Pregnant? pile at first, I can't be awarding anything there. (For the record, daughter Sofia was born in April of 2007, meaning this is a fine after-baby outing indeed. But...still.) I also very much like Rosario's dress, but that Victoria-Beckham-No-I-Will-NOT-Smile thing she always does scares me just enough I can't be awarding anything there either. Which leaves me with Mette-Marit, since Marie Astrid has brought something from the 1980s section of her closet and Anita's just...unfortunate. (And yes, also a former member of the Pregnant? pile. Slip dresses are hazardous to even the best of figures.) This is actually one of Mette-Marit's sweeter turns, I think.

Best in Color
Princess Sarvath
L to R: Princess Marilène of Orange-Nassau, Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Princess Badiya of Jordan, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Thank heavens the "pale" dress code memo didn't get out to everybody! All these ladies are commendable for bringing a dose of the rainbow to the affair, even if they are like something out of a badly costumed Western (Marilène) or in a navy sack (Sophie) or a prom dress (Badiya and Mabel). I'll stick with Sarvath: can't go wrong with what you know best!

Best of the Best
Princess Mathilde
L to R: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Miriam of Bulgaria
On their own, the gowns on Victoria and Miriam are simple and flattering. It's sort of a shame that I've chosen to use them to bookend the most vibrant of our Rainbow Ladies, because now they just look dull. (My bad. Still good dresses, though.) I love Máxima's hot pink number - I mean, who else could pull this off? And just months after having a baby? Come on. - but it sort of hurts my eyes to look at it. So I'm giving my prize to Mathilde. She might have an unnatural obsession with wearing orange (for a non-Dutch princess, that is), but with gowns like this, I can see why.

Best of the Worst
Queen Beatrix
L to R: Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma
Oh, so many options to pick from here. We've got Laurentien, fresh out of the shower (or possibly fresh from a sweaty flamenco class?). There's Cristina, wearing a gown that earned her a prime spot on the Pregnant? list. Carolina almost won this one in her pea green mullet gown, but she had tough competition from Margriet (who usually gets it so right! What is up with this overly fouffy jacket thing?) and her sister Margarita - which, that's just not flattering...at all. But the Queen takes the cake, debuting the gem she dusted off last year for Victoria's wedding, and will surely bust out again after she's abdicated and moved on to her touring Las Vegas cabaret act.

Oh, and something else Willem-Alexander's birthday celebration had that Máx's lacked: wee ones!
The world famous A-Team (Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane) - my, how they've grown! Don't you just love little Amalia with that purse?

Who makes your best- and worst-dressed for this party?

Photos: PPE/Nieboer/v.d.Werf