30 April 2013

Royal Fashion Awards: Guests at the Dutch Inauguration

Turns out, the dress code for Willem-Alexander's inauguration was pretty much the same as 1980 where the royal guests were concerned: hats and long dresses for the ladies, uniforms or white tie for the men. Except now we're a little farther removed from the days when that was a standard dress code for formal day events, and, well, not everyone knows how to deal. Let's see how our royal guests did, shall we? (Reminder: King, Queen, and Princesses were covered in the last post.)

Best Dressed
Princess Letizia
Left to Right: Princess Mathilde of Belgium, the Princess of Asturias, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Let's start with the good stuff, shall we? First of all, Mathilde is on the list again, and she's on it while wearing Natan - but it works. Victoria was extra sparkly, sparkly dress and sparkly diamond rivière, which was fabulous. But Letizia's got the real lock on fabulous, with her statement hat and lace (not spiderweb-y this time, good). She's working it.

Most Improved
The Duchess of Cornwall
L to R: The Duchess of Cornwall, Crown Princess Masako of Japan
It's interesting how divided we end up on Camilla - I thought this was much better, and much more her territory, than last night's. Masako's in this category because, well, she showed up! And that's automatically an improvement.

Best in Traditional
Sheikha Mozah and Princess Sarvath
L to R: Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, Princess Sarvath El Hassan of Jordan, Crown Princess Sarah of Brunei, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand
And now for our customary round up of ladies that have other standards to play by for various reasons: this one goes to Mozah, for she is my girl crush, and Sarvath, who was particularly lovely in this take on her usual traditional dress.

Worst in Hats
Princess Stéphanie and Princess Margarita
L to R: Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg, Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma, the Duchess of Parma
Well, I said we were out of practice pairing hats with long gowns. We've got a pair of Ecto Cooler green headphones, a tribute to Queen Beatrix, something from the Little Rascals, maybe, and things growing out of heads that are not hair. Because hats shouldn't need AquaNet and because we shouldn't dress four decades beyond our years, this one is shared by Stéphanie and Margarita.

Best in Dutch Lace
Princess Carolina
L to R: Princess Marilène of Orange-Nassau, Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau, Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Lace and lace sorts of things must have been on the memo today, because the ladies went wild. Irene is elegant, but Carolina's color wins it for me. (Marilène's one step away from being a contender in the previous category, so she's out of the running.)

Best of the Rest - Dutch Division
Princess Aimée
L to R: Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Christina of the Netherlands
Random selection of Dutch leftovers...let's go with...Aimée. Because court dress is hard enough, let alone maternity court dress. (She's expecting her third child.)

Best in Statements
Crown Princess Mary
L to R: Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess Annette of Orange-Nassau, Juliana Guillermo
And finally, the outfits with something to say.Something other than "Oh, don't I look luverly," that is. Mette-Marit clearly wants us to know that she can't be forced to wear a proper hat. Mabel needs you to know that she will never get her fill of bows. Mary seems to be telling us she forgot she had to wear a sash with this. And Annette and Juliana...I don't know, but maybe Annette's got something to prove after you didn't like her wedding gown the other day. Anyway, Mary wins just because that's the only dress of the bunch that I like on its own.

Who was your best dressed inauguration guest?

Photos: Pool/Getty Images/Reuters/PPE/DutchPhotoPress/AFP/NOS

The Dutch Inauguration: The King, Queen, and Princesses

The inauguration ceremony of King Willem-Alexander at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam was the second emotional event of the day, with both Máxima and Beatrix seeming to hold back tears at various points. It was a lovely ceremony, and now we have some lovely clothes (and jewels!) to chat about. We’ll have a look at the royal guests, including the extended Dutch royal family, later on, but for now: let’s discuss the King, the Queen, their kids, and Princess Beatrix.

King Willem-Alexander
Having relinquished his military positions as required prior to becoming king, Willem-Alexander opted for white tie instead of a full uniform. It turned out to be the perfect thing, aesthetically speaking, as it was a blank enough canvas to let the sovereign’s mantle on his shoulders and the riband of the Military William Order shine. A regal king indeed.

Queen Máxima
Máxima opted for Dutch designer Jan Taminiau for her inauguration gown (excuse me while I brush my shoulders off, as that was precisely my prediction). It was royal blue, or sapphire blue if you prefer, because the big jewel of the day was…drum roll required, look at that thing…the Mellerio Sapphire Tiara! In its massive form, which we haven’t seen her wear before. And this isn’t even the full form, as we seem to be missing some bits at the top! What a difference a hairstyle makes – it really is a sapphire tiara, which you couldn’t tell most of the time Beatrix wore it. Stunning, and a big gun way to kick things off.
Taminiau and his creation
As for the crepe and chiffon gown, she compensated for the fact that there is no robe for a queen consort by adding a little cape – as I said on Twitter, very Mozah, very very Gwyneth in Tom Ford. The dress underneath featured richly detailed embroidery, a suggested sleeve, and a small belt which held her Order of the Netherlands Lion beautifully. Brilliant. Dramatic and exactly what you want for a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Princess of Orange and Princesses Alexia and Ariane
First of all, can I just say that Amalia is the most composed 9-year-old I’ve ever seen? Followed closely in the Composed Kids ranking by her two sisters, mind you. The A-Team led the Dutch royal family and they did it with such poise. They were dressed to impress, too, in Natan. The styles were slight variations on the same theme, giving the girls a touch of individuality. And they too were in blue, true members of the team.

Princess Beatrix
You know what I loved? Beatrix was on the Blue Team, too. Such a lovely message they’re sending there. And blue was a wonderful pick, as it brought out the orders and represented the flag. Not that you’re ever going to get much argument out of me when it comes to a canvas for major sapphires, anyway.

As I said, coming later will be the rest of the guests – but let's give the major players their proper due for now.


Who had your favorite outfit?

UPDATE: And here's the happy family at this evening's water pageant. Máx is yet again hitting it out of the park!


Photos: NOS Screencaps/Jan Taminiau Facebook/RVD

The Dutch Inauguration: Queen Beatrix's Abdication

The festivities in Holland have begun! This morning, Queen Beatrix abdicated. It was a simple ceremony, quick and understated, but obviously full of meaning.

First, the actual instrument of abdication was signed. Beatrix plus Willem-Alexander, Máxima, and their three daughters were all present, joined by Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Princess Mabel, Princess Margriet, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Princess Irene, and Princess Christina. (Click here to see video, including the full royal cast.)
Beatrix wore a lovely purple suit as she quietly became Princess Beatrix once again, and King Willem-Alexander was dapper in morning coat.

Máxima was in Natan, which is no surprise, and it included at least one slightly OTT bit - a ginormous bow - which was also no surprise.
It was a soft pink ensemble, the top including puffed sleeves and a large bow at the shoulder. The skirt was also in powder pink with flashes of silver in the sparkling embroidery. The fabric has been reported to have been a gift from Beatrix to Máxima, something she purchased in Turkey. Máx accessorized with neatly coiffed hair (never fear, she does it up when it counts) and pink jewels - kunzite, I think, and diamonds: earrings, brooch at the waist, and major ring.

After the abdication was complete, Princess Beatrix, King Willem-Alexander, and Queen Máxima headed out to the balcony for a few words from the sovereign (past) and the sovereign (present).
Obviously an emotional moment for Bea in particular, bless her heart.

Bea retreated and then the A-team - who were very business-like during the ceremony - came out!
Amalia (now the Princess of Orange), Alexia and Ariane were all Von Trapp-ed out in matching sunshine yellow with flowered headbands for the big event, and it was adorable.

Next up is the inauguration ceremony, but in case you need some sparkle to tide you over until the formality - the first official portrait of the new King and Queen has been released! Willem-Alexander is handsome in white tie, while Máxima repeats a former Prinsjesdag gown and the Mellerio Ruby Tiara.

Stay tuned...

Photos:NOS screencap/Koninklijk Huis

29 April 2013

Royal Fashion Awards: The Dutch Pre-Inauguration Dinner

As it turns out, the dinner held by Queen Beatrix this evening was indeed black tie as many had suspected – but it was black tie with tiaras! Maybe those royals really do love us magpies after all. Gowns and tiaras, with no further ado…

Best in Surprises
Queen Beatrix
L to R: Princess Máxima, Queen Beatrix, Princess Laurentien
We didn’t get to see the Stuart Tiara, but the ladies threw us a few surprises anyway. At first glance, it seemed Máxima (curiously wearing a repeated Valentino dress, which is ever so Máx but not exactly right for these jewels, methinks) had worn the Stuart Diamond as a pendant. But a better look proved that it is not that pear drop delight after all (still, a treasure from the depths of the vault). Fear not, Stuart lovahs, for Laurentien still has a treat for you: her bow brooch comes from that same mega-parure…so maybe, just maybe, the whole thing has had its shoes polished and its hair trimmed and is ready to roll whenever Queen Máx says so. Since we didn’t get to see the Stuart, though, my best surprise goes to the Queen Bea, because she’s put the additional pearls on the tip top of the Württemberg tiara once again – that’s a big gun farewell for her!

Tiara breakdown, click here for a better look and then on the tiara names for more coverage: Máx in the Rose Cut Diamond Bandeau, Bea in the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, Laurentien in the Dutch Aquamarine Tiara.

Best of the Rest of the Dutch
Princess Margriet
L to R: Princess Mabel, Princess Margriet, Princess Christina, Princess Irene
Just as Máx repeated her swishiest red, so did Mabel. Not exactly my pick for a flattering gown, but she’s there, so there’s that. Princess Margriet and Christina went the understated and lovely route, and Irene went the picnic tablecloth route. Margriet wins because I do like seeing her reunited with her wedding tiara. (They’ve emptied a good chunk of the vault tonight…can we refine our guesses for Máx for tomorrow?)

Tiara watch: Mabel in the all-diamond small version of the Mellerio Sapphire Tiara (her wedding tiara), Margriet in the Pearl Button Tiara, Christina in the Laurel Wreath, and Irene in the Antique Pearl. 

Best in Traditional
Princess Lalla Salma and Princess Sarvath
L to R: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, Princess Sarvath El Hassan of Jordan, Crown Princess Sarah of Brunei
Stepping outside of the Dutch royals, first we have the ladies that stick to traditional types of dress from their home countries. They all look lovely – but look! Lalla Salma is wearing a tiara! Pretty sure that hasn’t happened since her wedding day, so this is a big.jewel.deal. She shares the title with Sarvath, though, because of purple.

Tiara inventory: Lalla Salma’s rocking diamonds with cut outs, like a converted necklace, Sarvath is in diamond floral (the same as Princess Zeina wore on her wedding day, I think), and Sarah is wearing her wedding tiara. 

Best in…Nice Try, Dear
Princess Letizia
L to R: Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess of Asturias, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
I don’t have a Worst title to dish out tonight, but there were a few ladies that get simple pats on the head from me. Nice try…but not quite, my loves. First, we have Sophie and Camilla, who get a meh for the dresses (with an extra eh? for Cams who has chosen to stitch together two different gowns at the strangest place) but a whoop! for the Big Mama Fringe and Big Mama Boucheron tiaras. Then we have Stéphanie, who is wearing Elie Saab. And let this be a lesson to those of you that say I like anyone just because of Saab: this isn’t working. The styling, the hair, the security blanket wrap, nah. There’s Mette-Marit on the edge there, and, well, it’s not quite as nightgown-y as I thought it might be at first glance. (Blah blah damning with faint praise blah blah.) Finally, I know many of you are loving Letizia this evening, and while I’m not quite on board with you there, she has ended a loooong tiara drought and she has done so in perhaps my favorite Spanish tiara, so huzzah and such for that.

Tiara check: Sophie in the Habsburg Fringe, Camilla in the Boucheron Honeycomb, Letizia in the Mellerio Floral, Stéphanie in Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara, Mette-Marit in the Diamond Daisy. 

Best of the Best
Crown Princess Mary
L to R: Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
You know, Mathilde is worth following just for the one or two evening appearances a year where she truly knocks it out of the park – and this is one. The train, the extra jewels (Queen Fabiola’s brooch on her shoulder), delicious. Equally delicious is Victoria, who is pretty much wearing all of my favorite things, but that’s still not enough to take this prize from Mary. This dress, this dress, I’m obsessed with this dress! Enchanting. Enough so that I shall forgive her for the piddly tiara and give her my Best Dressed crown to wear instead.

Tiaras tiaras clicky clicky: Mathilde in her Laurel Wreath, Mary in her Wedding Tiara, Victoria in Queen Josephine’s Amethysts.

Who was your best dressed tonight?

Photos: Getty Images/Pool/PPE/BT/AFP

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: April 22-27

Best in Events
The Duchess of Cambridge

Video: At the inauguration of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden
What does it take for an event to overshadow the clothes? Well, Harry.Potter.OMG for one. Lucky royals. (But okay, for the record, my sartorial thoughts on the Week in Kate - polka dots: super cute, Erdem: fabulous, Emilia Wickstead: needs a little something, and Topshop in video: cute.) Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that some of the blogs following Kate have joined forces for the Baby Cambridge Fundraiser (click here for their Facebook page). A brilliant idea to raise funds for EACH, and I suggest you check it out!

Best in Fancy, Part 2
Princess Letizia
A lunch at the palace for the Cervantes Award and at the ceremony
Hey, we've got a little streak going. I like it!

Best in Mix and Match
Crown Princess Mary
Opening the Finn Juhl Hall at the United Nations in New York. Click here for video from TV 2, click here for pictures.
This is a nice combo of pieces we've seen before, the skirt multiple times and the top from the Luxembourg wedding. Now I'm wishing she'd worn the top with the printed skirt from the start.

Best in Almost Queens
Princess Máxima
Visiting Show Band (with and without coat); attending a concert; opening the King's Games in celebration of the inauguration; launching national Girlsday
The last review before she becomes the only queen on our weekly list! {Pause for nostalgia.} After this post...it's inauguration festivities time!

Best in Estelle
Crown Princess Victoria
Let's be real: the other thing that overshadows the clothes is an Estelle sighting. Other engagements, schmother engagements.

Who was your best dressed last week?

Photos: Getty Images/PacificCoastNews/TV2/DutchPhotoPress/ANP/PPE/Kate Gabor/Kungahuset

27 April 2013

Inauguration Special: Máxima's Tiaras, Revisited

I did a post covering the tiaras worn by Máxima a long time ago, but I think it's worth a revisit on this special Saturday. One last look at the princess years of my favorite magpie and the wealth of tiaras she's touched (by far - by far - the most out of her crown princess-level colleagues) before she truly runs the collection as queen...

The Antique Pearl Tiara, with and without Pearls 
and The Pearl Button Tiara, with Stars and Buttons
Máxima's tiara journey started early, during her engagement. The Antique Pearl was the very first one, worn to the wedding of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, when she sported it without the upright pearls. She's since added the pearls back in (a great improvement, in my humble opinion). She's also worn the Pearl Button in two versions: her wedding tiara was of course a special version with stars, and we only recently saw her wear the original.

The Dutch Emerald Tiara, with Emeralds and Pearls and The Dutch Aquamarine Tiara 
Another convertible tiara (not a favorite of mine, that emerald one) and another one worn before the wedding - the aquamarines!

The Mellerio Sapphire Tiara (Diamond Setting Only) and The Diamond Festoon Necklace Tiara
These both look somewhat like children's drawings of a tiara. Except only one of them could double as a mountain range.


Both of these were surprising to see on Máx: the Mellerio because it had been reserved for queens and so on previously, and the Peacock because it hadn't been seen in many years.

In her princess-hood, both of these have been worn just once. I'm particularly keen to see that sapphire necklace tiara worn again - though I wonder if she'll swap to the big Mellerio Sapphire...hmm. We shall see.

Máxima's favorite to date, and with good reason. I mean, yum.

Wilhelmina's Haircomb and a Diamond Aigrette
And finally, two pieces Máxima brought out from long sleeps in the vault: a diamond haircomb and an aigrette. What more will she find? This is why she's my sparkly fave.

Things we haven't seen Máxima wear include the Laurel Wreath and Ears of Wheat Tiaras, both of which have been worn by other princesses, and the Mellerio Sapphire (full version) and Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiaras, both of which have been reserved for Queen Beatrix. And then of course there is the big gun to put the other big guns to shame: the Stuart Tiara, which has been napping since Queen Juliana's reign. What's next???

UPDATE: Here's what's next...

The Mellerio Sapphire Tiara in its full version (with a modified top) was her pick for the inauguration, and our first glimpse of her in one of the family whoppers.

Photos: Rex/RVD/DutchPhotoPress/PPE/Thai Monarchy/Abaca/Getty Images

26 April 2013

Inauguration Special: What's Coming Up

We've been waiting since January, and the big day of the Dutch abdication and inauguration is almost here! Today, just a few details on what's ahead - there are some officially released facts, and a whole lot of speculation. You're welcome to add more in the comments.

The schedule of events: I'll give a brief rundown below, but there's no better resource (for accuracy and details including times) than the Royal House itself, click here for their news page. For translating local times, do click here for a handy time zone converter.
  • April 29: Queen Beatrix will host a dinner (including foreign royals).
  • April 30, morning: The formal abdication, followed by a balcony appearance.
  • April 30, afternoon: The inauguration, or investiture.
  • April 30, late afternoon/evening: Celebrations, including a reception and a water pageant.
Where to watch: You'll be able to watch the festivities no matter where you're located - there's always a way and there are always options for streaming online if none of the television stations in your country are broadcasting live. Dutch station NOS seems to be planning the most extensive coverage, starting their broadcast at 9 a.m. Click here for their site, and click here for their YouTube page which should be available to all. I know multiple stations in other countries will be covering the festivities live as well, and you're welcome to add additional links in the comments.

Foreign royal guests: The tradition with these sorts of coronation/etc. events is that fellow heads of state typically stay home and are represented by other family members, and that is what will happen here. Until the official guest list is released (soon, I hope), the following members of foreign royal families have independently confirmed their attendance:
  • Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway
  • Crown Princess and Prince Daniel of Sweden
  • Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark
  • Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
  • Duke and Duchess of Brabant
  • Prince and Princess of Asturias
  • Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall
  • Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan 
  • Crown Prince and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand 
  • Crown Prince of Brunei 
Update: the guest list is now on the Royal House's site.
Title changes: Willem-Alexander and Máxima will become King and Queen, Beatrix will once again be Princess Beatrix (which probably sounds like a demotion of you're used to Queen Mother and titles like that, but it's just the law and no surprise), and Catharina-Amalia will become the Princess of Orange.

What to expect: The past is always a good place to start if you want to make predictions for the future (including dress code, which is what I know many of you are curious about), so let's look back at what we've seen before...

The Abdication: This happens in the morning, so expect day wear - suits and the like. Juliana wore a hat when she became queen, Beatrix did not. This is also an event for the Dutch royals and their government, so don't look for all those foreign royal guests.
Queen Juliana and Princess Wilhelmina on the balcony following Wilhelmina's abdication, left; during Queen Juliana's abdication proceedings, right

The Inauguration: We know that Willem-Alexander will be wearing white tie and the ermine-lined mantle (robe). Máxima has stayed pretty quiet on her outfit. It's been only queens regnant since 1890, so a king with a queen consort will be a change of pace, and it will be interesting to see if the outfits reflect the switch in any way.
L to R: Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix
Wilhelmina wore white and a tiara; Juliana was in blue from Swiss designer Erwin Dolder with ruby jewels (like the Dutch flag, when you throw in the white ermine) and a jeweled cap on her head; Beatrix returned to white with a tiara. (For what it's worth, my guess is the Rose Cut Diamond Bandeau for Máxima, or possibly the Pearl Button back in its star format.)

Video: Beatrix's inauguration
As we can see in the video above, the dress code for royal guests back in 1980 was similar to what we see on Prinsjesdag, with the ladies in hats and long day dresses.

Evening events: Many have guessed the dinner held by Beatrix will be a tiara event, but many have also pointed out that a straight black tie event would be more like what we've seen her pick for similar events throughout her reign.
Evening event for Beatrix's inauguration
In 1980, there were no tiaras (save the one on Beatrix's head during her inauguration, of course); there was a black tie shindig the evening of the inauguration. In 1948, however, the gala concert associated with Juliana's inauguration was full-out sparkle.
Evening event for Juliana's inauguration
New information continues to be released (this might already be out of date as you're reading it, who knows), but we'll have our answers soon enough.

We'll obviously be covering all the fashion and whatnot here as the week goes on. In the mean time, tune in tomorrow for a special Saturday post...
    Photos: ANP/GahetNA/Geheugenvannederland

    25 April 2013

    Tiara Thursday: The Mellerio Ruby Tiara

    The Mellerio Ruby Tiara
    Today’s tiara is yet another example of the depth and breadth of the Dutch collection. It comes from the workshops of famed Paris jeweler Mellerio dits Meller, whose skilled creations populate the collections of several royal and noble houses – and the massive Dutch vault has two, this Mellerio Ruby Tiara and the Mellerio Sapphire Tiara (interestingly, this one was also initially proposed to use sapphires). And it’s not the only ruby tiara in the collection, not even the only ruby parure, in fact, as it joins the Ruby Peacock Parure plus the ruby setting of Queen Emma’s Diamond Tiara and other smaller ruby jewels.
    Left to Right: Queens Emma, Wilhelmina, and Juliana
    Like Emma’s Diamond Tiara, this was ordered by King Willem III for his young wife, Queen Emma. It was made in 1889. The tiara includes three large scroll motifs in rubies and diamonds with two smaller motifs at the sides, all connected by three levels of trembling diamond strings.
    Queen Beatrix
    The scrolls and strings of diamonds are echoed throughout the parure, which today also has a necklace, bracelet, stomacher, brooch, earrings, and fan. But we rarely see full parures in use on the Dutch royal ladies today – they often take advantage of the extent of their collection and mix and match pieces from different sets.
    Princess Máxima
    The tiara passed from Queen Emma to her daughter Queen Wilhelmina and then to Emma’s granddaughter Queen Juliana. Juliana placed it in the family foundation, and we now see pieces of the parure used by multiple royal ladies. The tiara, however, seems to be reserved for queens – future, present, and past.

    Video: Starting around 16:00, the dueling ruby tiaras both in use - Beatrix in the Mellerio, Máxima in the Peacock.
    This tiara can suffer from, as many of you have termed it, the "cat ear" problem, thanks to the positioning of those scrolled clusters. For that reason, I think I actually like it better on Beatrix with her substantial nest of hair. But there's no doubt that it has plenty of sparkle factor, thanks to those diamond strings, and an impressive collection of pieces to go with it.

    Where does this rank on your list of favorite ruby tiaras?

    Photos: Getty Images/gahetNA/ANP/PPE

    24 April 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: Princess Annette's Gown

    HH Prince Bernhard of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Annette Sekrève
    July 6 & 8, 2000
    Utrecht, Netherlands

    The second of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven's sons was the second to marry. Bernhard, named after his grandfather, and Annette married in Utrecht, first in a civil ceremony and then two days later in a religious ceremony.
    The bride's outfit for the civil wedding came from Frans Molenaar, a Dutch designer whose clients included Annette's new mother-in-law. It was a light blue taffeta coat with a wide lapel and plenty of tiny buttons closing it over the matching dress beneath. Bernhard wore a matching light blue tie, but Annette's wide striped hat in blue and pink was by far the memorable accessory of the day.
    Her wedding gown was also from Frans Molenaar, and also of taffeta, this time in an ivory shade. It was a coat dress, with a wide lapel, flared sleeves, and small buttons down the front. The coat cut away at the waist and formed a wide but fairly short train at the back. The dress underneath had just a small train of its own.
    There are some similarities here with Princess Marilène's gown from two years earlier, including the large collar and button detail at the front. She also followed Marilène's lead in the tiara department, using the Ears of Wheat Tiara and helping to establish a family tradition. In this case, just the front wheat ears can be seen beneath her poufy veil.
    Unfortunately, I have to say this is an instance where the gown wore the bride, and not the other way around. The fabric ended up all wrinkled, which adds to the feeling that the fit just isn't right. Princess Annette is gorgeous and she was beaming on her big day, but in this case the dress wasn't up to the task.
    Bernhard, an entrepreneur, and Annette, who has a degree in psychology and has worked with the disabled, have three children: Isabella, Samuel, and Benjamin. The family leads a fairly quiet life, making the occasionally royal appearance. Bernhard and his older brother Maurits both obtained governmental approval for their marriages and remained in the line of succession and members of the Royal House. The law dictates that this will change when their cousin Willem-Alexander becomes king. But they will still be members of the royal family, and their titles will not change. (Knowing that this would happen in the future, and likely knowing that it would not change much in terms of their daily lives, the two younger sons of Margriet and Pieter didn't request government approval for their weddings and are already not a part of the Royal House.)

    Do you think Annette's gown was a success?

    Photos: RVD/ANP/Corbis