30 May 2014

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 30

It's been a while since we checked in with the current goings on of the Belgian royal family, so let's make up for that right quick.
Yesterday, Queen Mathilde participated in the Fight Against Cancer bike ride.
Yeah, we definitely need to keep up to date on our printed trouser happenings. In true Mathilde style, the color of the print matches the color of her top, though the print makes it hard to tell. She paired the outfit with flats, since she was going to do some bike riding herself. Click here for a gallery.

Mathilde's had several other engagements lately, but this one caught my eye more than the rest:
Mathilde visited an art exhibition earlier this week.
Yes, apparently it is Floral Print Week here on the blog, and I'm liking this Dries van Noten floral too.

The rest of the family has news of their own...
Princes Nicolas and Aymeric, twin sons of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire, had their first communion. Looking very smart indeed, the two gentlemen arrived with their mother, who was lovely in vibrant green. The event drew several other royals, so click here for a big gallery or here for a video.

And finally, the palace confirmed the date for another royal wedding: the King's nephew Prince Amedeo, son of Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, will marry Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein on July 5th in Rome. Their engagement was officially announced back in February.

29 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Russian Wave Pattern Tiara

The Russian Wave Pattern Tiara
Dating from the 19th century, this diadem includes more than 500 brilliant diamonds in a stylized interpretation of a wave pattern, the "waves" topped with 18 upright drop pearls. Though some have identified it as Cartier, many sources state that its maker is unknown. Coming from the imperial Russian collection, it is best associated with Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928), the wife of Alexander III; the tsarina was portrayed wearing pieces of the parure on more than one occasion.
Marie Feodorovna, in the tiara (left) and the necklace (right)
Although the clean lines of this design make a stark contrast to some of the more ornate pieces in the imperial collection, it is no less extravagant; not only is the tiara itself quite large and a complete circlet, it was part of a parure which included a brooch and a rather large matching necklace. The necklace is close to a mirror of the tiara, leading many to identify it as the tiara taken off its frame, though they are two separate pieces.
The tiara, necklace, and brooch displayed along with other jewels confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and the necklace and brooch separate
Like so many other imperial jewels, this set was taken by the Bolsheviks at the time of the revolution; it was catalogued and ultimately sold. But unlike others that have survived and resurfaced, this one so far remains lost, perhaps dismantled before or after the initial sale. Which is a shame, I say, because this design has serious potential for translating to today's fashions.

Do you agree?

Photos:  A.E. Fersman/Hermitage/Wikimedia Commons

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 29

Queen Rania and Jordan's royal family welcomed Pope Francis for a visit last week.
I knew I liked Queen Rania's outfit, and it didn't take long to figure out why: it's from Elie Saab, my weakness. Her skirt has a print seen in several runway looks, and she's paired it with a white top with an interesting sleeve detail and a belt (oh, she does love to belt an outfit). Elie Saab or not, it's fresh and light and feminine, and I love it.
The print in one of the runway looks from the Elie Saab Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear collection, right

Photos: Queen Rania Facebook/Style.com

28 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 28


Video: Crown Princess Mary, along with the rest of the Danish royal family plus Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon, attended a gala performance last week in Copenhagen to mark the 200th anniversary of Norway's constitution.
Well, this was a surprise: a new gown for Mary from Erdem! And a very Erdem piece it is too, with a print and color that's loud but still works. The abstract floral is the perfect pair for her Ole Lynggaard diamond floral earrings (and she even has an extra attachment than shown below, for a longer pair). I don't always covet the modern pieces Mary uses, but these. THESE. Oooooooh.

Photos: Lyst/Ole Lynggaard

27 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 27

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima are on a two day visit to Germany.
We ended last week on a big hat, might as well preserve our continuity, right? It's always the simple things that get me the most, and this is hitting all my soft spots: black and white and pure elegance. (And you'd best not disagree - she's got two very dangerous hatpins at the ready to take you down.)

23 May 2014

Royal Hats of the Day: May 23

Wouldn't be a proper royal wedding anniversary commemoration without a nod to massive millinery, would it? Sure, we talked Cristina's headgear, but these next two guests take it up another notch.
(Then-) Princess Máxima and the Prince of Orange attended the Prince and Princess of Asturias' wedding, May 22, 2004.
You knew Máx would be on that list whether you remembered what she wore to this wedding or not, didn't you? And she came through with flying colors, sporting a flared wide-brimmed hat worn atop a matching coat (with family diamond and pearl brooch at the clasp, obviously) and an embellished dress, all in a soft pink color.

Máxima didn't just walk away with the big hat crown for the day, though - she had steep competition. Step up to the plate, Marie-Chantal!
The Greek family was also in attendance: Princess Marie-Chantal, Crown Prince Pavlos, Queen Anne-Marie, and King Constantine.
Not content with just a regular large hat, she went and feathered it up. Marie-Chantal, pregnant at the time with her fourth child, paired her exuberant topper with a silver coat over a pale pink dress and pearl accessories. The contrast between the feathery business on Anne-Marie's head and what's happening on Marie-Chantal's just about sums it up.

Flamboyant though they may be, these are actually two of my favorite guest outfits from this wedding. Why? Not only do both of these ladies have the attitude right to carry them off, they've also chosen a soft color palette to work with. Make these same hats in, say, lime green, and you'd have a whole different situation on your hands, but these came out just right: a statement, but maybe stopping just short of being an overstatement.

And that's it for our anniversary focus features! I will leave you with another video from the wedding - this time basically the whole broadcast, more than 4 hours of royal watching delight (this has been posted in the comments this week but I wanted to save it for Friday, because you know I love a good vehicle for end of the week procrastination):

There are obviously many, many guests that we have not discussed, and you can check them out here; the royal guests really start arriving around 12:00 or so. You'll see Máxima and Marie-Chantal fitting right in with the rest of the big hat club (lots of statement hats on these guests, especially outside of the royal parties!), and much more. Who makes your list of favorites?

Also: It is a holiday weekend in my corner of the world, and it's a holiday weekend on the blog too. We'll be back on Tuesday.

22 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Niarchos Rubies

The Niarchos Rubies, in two versions: small bandeau and small necklace
Today's tiara is not really a tiara, strictly speaking, but rather a fantastically flexible set of rubies and diamonds that can be worn in many different ways, including as a bandeau-style tiara of multiple configurations. The set was a gift from billionaire Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos to Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark for her wedding to Juan Carlos of Spain in 1962. Of course, Juan Carlos later became King of Spain, and the rubies came to Spain with Queen Sofia.
Sofia, using the rubies in various necklace configurations and two different tiara configurations
The Niarchos Rubies, made by Van Cleef & Arpels, are chains of ruby and diamond clusters that can be configured in a number of ways. The clusters are cabochon rubies surrounded by diamonds, with every other cluster including an extra row of rubies on the outside, and they are separated by small diamond links. We've seen them used as necklaces both short and long and sometimes doubled up and as a tiara that can be one or two rows; Sofia has even mounted a single row on a velvet band to give it a little substance. Really, you get the impression that these can be worn in just about any way you like. A pair of pendant earrings is also included in the set, and Sofia has a matching bracelet as well.
Audrey Hepburn in Harper's Bazaar with a similar set, 1962
It's not a unique design, nor is it a unique set - Audrey Hepburn above models another set from Van Cleef & Arpels, for example - but it has a unique spot in the Spanish collection, being the only colored stone tiara option used by Queen Sofia. Sofia may prefer using her diamond and pearl tiara options over these rubies, but the flexibility of the set comes in handy and she's used them for occasions such as the black tie dinner held before the wedding of the Prince of Asturias. I hope we'll see the double row tiara option resurrected some time, but since the Spanish royals aren't currently holding tiara events at home, I won't hold my breath.

Does this have a place on your list of favorite ruby tiaras?

Photos: Pool/Casa Real/Pinterest/Reuters/Harper's Bazaar

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 22

Jordan's Queen Rania attended the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, May 22, 2004.
At a wedding filled with female guests wearing their proper royal skirt-n-hat best, Queen Rania's interesting interpretation of the dress code (or non-interpretation, perhaps) made her an instant standout. She swept in wearing a floor length Givenchy skirt in lace and lilac, paired with a simple ivory button down shirt, and she went without a hat. (Princess Muna, her mother-in-law, arrived with her and was also among the guests choosing not to wear a hat.) It seems a surprising choice, but it's really not - at least not when you consider it alongside Rania's other wardrobe choices throughout the years. She puts her own modern spin on what it means to be queen, even when it comes to her outfit choices at a royal wedding.
 The runway version appeared in the Givenchy Spring/Summer 2004 Couture show.

Photos: Getty/TVE1/Vogue.co.uk

21 May 2014

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 21

The Duke and Duchess of Lugo (Infanta Elena and then-husband Jaime de Marichalar) and the Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca (Infanta Cristina and husband Iñaki Urdangarin) attended the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Asturias.
The sisters of the groom were immediate standouts among the guests at the 2004 Spanish royal wedding, both making interesting choices that paid off well.
Infanta Elena underwent a style transformation during her relationship with her now ex-husband, whose own interest in fashion spilled over to her. She was prone to wearing some of the world's best designers, and the outfit she selected for her brother's wedding came from one of her favorites, Christian Lacroix. Lacroix was also behind the tent-like fuchsia coat Elena sported to the Danish wedding one week before this appearance, but this embellished ensemble has a bit more universal appeal. The coral dress and jacket share an old Spanish influence that make them the perfect match for her dramatic mantilla.
Infanta Cristina's outfit was a creation of Spanish design. Jesús del Pozo was a favorite of Cristina's and also created the outfit she wore to the Danish wedding. That ensemble was an interesting combination of red and green and the unique color choices continued with a pearl gray guipure lace coat over a satin dress in a gold, nearly olive, color. She topped it with a dramatic wide-brimmed hat from Mabel Sanz. The whole effect is both striking and understated, thanks to the muted color scheme, not to mention incredibly chic. This would certainly make a list of Cristina's greatest hits in my book, and as much as I love Elena's outfit for its Spanish inspiration, Cristina's is always the one I remember first.

20 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 20

The Prince of Asturias married Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano on May 22, 2004.
Something tells me we'll never get another month like May 2004 again, when the wedding of the Danish heir to the throne was followed just one week later by the wedding of the Spanish heir. Basically a royal watching heaven. And as promised, after paying tribute to the 10th anniversary of Mary and Frederik, this week we're paying tribute to Letizia and Felipe's 10th anniversary.

Video: Highlights of the wedding
Much like Mary's gown, my opinion on Letizia's Manuel Pertegaz gown never really changes: So much to like, but also so overwhelming and heavy for this particular bride. Also notable here is Queen Sofia's outfit. She followed a slightly different dress code for each of her children's weddings, wearing mantilla with a day dress for Elena, hat and day dress for Cristina, and finally a mantilla with long dress for Felipe. An increase in formality and a clear nod to the fact that this was the wedding of the heir. It's obviously elegant - it's pretty much impossible to go wrong with a mantilla, after all - but also fairly understated in color, a nice choice as the mother of the groom.

You can see some of the guests in the video above, and we'll be highlighting a few notable outfits in the days to come. Stay tuned.

Psst: It's a two post day! Keep scrolling.

Photos: Casa de Su Majestad el Rey/Dalda/Hola

Royal Fabric Explosion of the Day: May 20

The Swedish royal family hosted a dinner at the palace. Crown Princess Victoria wore a pink dress by Lanvin for H&M.
Oh dear, it appears Overgrown Shoulder Disease has hit Sweden. Trendy though it may once have been (the collection came out in 2010), it's always just looked to me like they had a little too much fabric and didn't feel like finding the scissors so they just bunched it all in there. Alas.

For more from the dinner, click here.

Here's a palette cleanser for you: Princess Estelle, who is Duchess of Östergötland, made her first visit to her province and had her first little engagement...

Video, above
...which she handled like a boss, as if there was any doubt.

Photos: Sören Andersson/TT via Kungahuset and H&M

19 May 2014

Royal Family Outfits of the Day: May 19

The Norwegian royal family (the King and Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, and Princess Astrid) continued celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the constitution with a visit to the Norwegian Parliament.
And we have another candidate for Mette-Marit's best of the year! This is one well-chosen coat, the detailing calling to mind the trim of the bunad national dress (though it is actually Valentino, from the Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear collection, as seen on the runway above right). And no one does these simple hats better than M-M. Special recognition also goes to Ingrid Alexandra, though. She's wearing a heart pendant which was a gift from her grandmother, Queen Sonja, when she was born. A sweet gesture, a family connection, and a jewel all in one.

Also, the 17th of May has passed - and that means National Day in Norway, and that means the actual bunad outfits come out to play! Doesn't get much better than that.
Oh, but it gets a little bit better: a bonus royal sighting! The Swedish and Danish royal couples joined in for part of the fun, since this was a special event.

Photos: NRK.no/Style.com and Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/Stortinget

16 May 2014

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 16


Video: Arrival of some of the royal guests at Frederik and Mary's wedding.
We have another wedding anniversary to celebrate next week, so we're wrapping up Fred and Mary with two of my favorite guests from outside the Danish family. It's one thing to see outfits standing still (here's one gallery), but another to see them in motion - sometimes they are ruined and sometimes they shine. Mathilde's outfit went up a few notches seeing it move; it was already a favorite, but the amount of motion she gets while still avoiding any possibility of a wardrobe malfunction is fantastic.
 
Another all-time favorite has to be Letizia, the Lady in Red. She was just one week away from marrying Felipe here, but she made a pre-princess splash in Lorenzo Caprile. Unlike Mary, Letizia did not wear a tiara prior to her wedding day, but the waves of her well-chosen hairstyle and the ruby and diamond jewelry she borrowed from Queen Sofia, particularly the clips she used at either side of her neckline, help make up the difference. I'm always a sucker for Letizia in red, but this one is forever a stand out.

Video: Guests waiting for the wedding waltz, because you can never get enough of casual royals and sparkling gems.
 Who were your favorites from the Danish wedding?

Photos: Getty/Semana/DR1

15 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Brunswick Tiara

The Brunswick Tiara
The Brunswick Tiara belongs today to the Hanover family, but it didn't start its life in Germany. It started out in the same place several other storied tiaras did: in Empress Joséphine's jewel collection. Joséphine, the first wife of Napoleon I, wore this scrolling diadem with three particularly large diamonds in the center and a laurel wreath top. But like many of those other jewels, it ultimately left France. It turned up for sale in Germany at just the time that Prince Ernst August of Hanover was preparing to marry Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia (1892-1980), the daughter of German Emperor Wilhelm II.
Princess Victoria Louise
Ernst August would soon become the reigning Duke of Brunswick, and the tiara was purchased as a gift for Ernst August and his bride from the people of Brunswick for their wedding in 1913. Not everyone agreed with the gift selection (you can read the very detailed story here), but it was bought and fixed up by Brunswick's court jeweler (it was missing a couple of diamonds) and the bridal couple were pleased with the gift. I suppose both the tiara and the event it marked could be seen as symbols of the end of an era to a certain extent; their wedding was the last great royal gathering from around Europe before World War I set in and royal life began to change drastically, and just five years later, Ernst August would have to abdicate his position as reigning duke, as did other German title holders.
Princess Caroline
The significance of the title went, but the tiara stayed with the family. Victoria Louise wore it throughout her life, but after she stopped using the tiara (she passed away in 1980), the tiara disappeared from the public eye. It made a surprising and triumphant return in 2004 on the head of the Princess of Hanover, better known on this blog as Caroline of Monaco, at the wedding of Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson. The tiara apparently passed to Caroline's husband, also Prince Ernst August of Hanover, who is Victoria Louise's grandson, but it was not worn by his first wife. Caroline wore two Hanover tiaras during the Danish wedding celebrations, but since then the marriage has soured and she has returned to wearing Monegasque jewels, so it could be a while before we see the Brunswick Tiara worn again.

How do you rate this tiara?

Photos: Getty Images/Wikimedia Commons/DR1

Tiara Watches of the Day: May 15

Tiaras have been out and about in several countries lately, so let's pause for a quick wrap up:

In the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted the annual gala reception for the Corps Diplomatique.

Video: Arrival of the royal family
As you can see, everyone arrived in day clothes to change at the palace, except for Máxima. It's like she just knew we needed a proper look at her in the Mellerio Rubies and her zesty (ZESTY!) red gown from Benito Fernandez. A small glimpse is a treat when it comes to this event, which often remains behind closed doors. Another look came as the family left, all in their finery this time:

Video: Departure of the royal family
Princess Beatrix wore the Pearl Button Tiara, and Princess Margriet wore the family's emerald tiara, in its pearl setting.


Elsewhere!
And that concludes our momentary tiara break. Carry on.

Photos: Swedish Royal Court/Peres YouTube

14 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 14

Mary Donaldson attended a banquet hosted by Queen Margrethe at Christiansborg Palace before her 2004 wedding to the Crown Prince.
We've been covering a few of the guests at Frederik and Mary's wedding (with more to come) since this week marks their tenth wedding anniversary, but today we're stepping back a few days to cover a Great Moment in Tiara History: Mary's first ever tiara appearance. (!) You have to love the Danish royals for sticking to their tiara guns - even before wearing a tiara for her wedding, Mary had worn the Danish Ruby Parure for this event and then for the gala concert. Since she was wearing the rubies twice in just a couple days (!), she took two different approaches: emphasizing the rubies with her red gown for the concert worn with her hair down, and emphasizing the diamonds with this number from Malene Birger, worn with her hair up. The gown is a richly patterned silver fabric, almost the palest of ice blues, with a slim front silhouette and a train at the back, topped by a black ribbon and rosette detail.

Video: The banquet
(You should watch that video. If not for Mary, then for this:
Oh Daisy, you glorious creature.)

It's hard to imagine the thoughts that must have been swirling through Mary's head here. (Primarily: How can my sleeves ever possibly measure up?) In her own words:
"That first evening when I wore the ruby set, there was so much new, there was so much overwhelming for me. It wasn't just the jewelry, it was the significance of the whole event, of the whole period, of the whole time which I was going through. So I don't really think I thought so much about what I had on in terms of jewelry except that it felt new and somewhat unusual to have such a significant piece of jewelry on. Everything that was going on at that time was part of a very new and overwhelming time. I mean it wasn't just the jewelry, it was also the dress, I mean I had never worn a dress like this before...the whole thing was overwhelming." - Crown Princess Mary, speaking in the documentary De Kongelige Juveler
Needless to say, she handles it like proper royal champ. Me, I would be doing cartwheels. Mental cartwheels, actually, but only because I'd fall over if I tried the real thing.

Photos: Polfoto/DR1

13 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 13

Alexandra (then Princess Alexandra and the wife of Prince Joachim of Denmark, the Crown Prince's younger brother; now the Countess of Frederiksborg) attended Frederik and Mary's 2004 wedding.
I adore Alexandra's style - during her marriage, she was the epitome of princess style, never afraid to go big. But this...is an exception to my love. The pink silk duchess satin gown from Henrik Hviid is maybe just a touch too Barbie for my taste, between the particular color of pink and the embellishments (what are those supposed to be, anyway? Close up above) on the bodice. She used a matching bolero-style capelet to cover her shoulders for the ceremony, but as you can see in the video below, it seemed to be a bit of a hassle on the way in.

Video: Arrivals at the church, including Alexandra at 2:10.
On the other hand, her jewelry game is basically flawless: the amazing Alexandrine Drop Tiara is on full display, and she wore a massive necklace with matching earrings. (If I recall correctly, the necklace and earrings may have been a loan for the day, since it wasn't a set seen again and wasn't a known royal heirloom.) And you know I'll award all sorts of bonus points for that.

What say you: too Barbie? Just right?

Photos: Getty/DR1

12 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 12

Queen Margrethe attended the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson, May 14, 2004.
I'm sure there are all sorts of "rules" you can come up with for how the mother of the groom is supposed to dress for a wedding. And I'm guessing precious few of those so-called guidelines include bright pink and giant diamonds. But Margrethe happens to be both the mother of the groom and the reigning queen, and she does what she wants.

Video, above: The gown underneath in action, entering the banquet
After helping Mary select a series of pinks for her bridesmaids, she went along with the group in a pink coat with voluminous sleeves and leaves scattered over the bottom of the sleeves and coat. The silk coat covered a silk faille floral gown with three-quarter sleeves with bows, and a train. Her handbag and her shoes were made from the same floral fabric, and the outfit was made by Mogens Eriksen. When it comes to Margrethe ensembles, this is one of my favorites: the coat is a unique way to cover up for the church, and the dress underneath was tremendously flattering. The whole thing is just so Margrethe. It would look ridiculous on just about anyone else, but it's perfect for Daisy.
Diamonds worn by Margrethe to the wedding: the Crown brilliant set (center) and the Floral Aigrette Tiara (right)
Her choice of accessories - GIANT DIAMONDS - absolutely can't be beat. She selected a brilliant-cut set of diamonds from the Danish crown jewels, which belong to the state and can be viewed at Rosenborg Castle when not in use. It has been said to be the most valuable set at the Queen's disposal, with diamonds that are both large and historically significant (the setting was created by C.M. Weisshaupt in 1840, with stones that had been the family prior to that, used in other pieces of jewelry since the 1700s). The brilliant set consists of an enormous floral brooch set en tremblant with earrings and a necklace containing floral elements; the earrings include pear-drop diamond pendants and the necklace has seven similar pendants. She also wore the Floral Aigrette Tiara, which is a part of her personal collection but coordinates perfectly with the crown brilliants. The Floral Aigrette was bought for Margrethe's mother, Queen Ingrid, and Ingrid first wore it at Margrethe's own wedding. The brilliant set was also worn by Ingrid at Margrethe and Henrik's 1967 wedding, so the selections here have significance beyond wearing important things for an important event.
The coat in its current dress form
Queen Margrethe did repeat this outfit as it was worn in 2004 after the wedding, but eventually she changed it up. Never one to let a good outfit go to waste, she had the pink coat re-engineered into a dress of its own, and she's worn it many times since (including for the official portrait seen above). I'm not so sure that was a successful change, since the volume on the sleeves in their new shorter length is a bit much, but then I probably just miss the glory of the original ensemble. Ah, well. It was perfect while it lasted. 

Psst: It's a two post day! Keep scrolling. 

Photos: Steen Evald/Kongehuset.dk/DR1/Getty Images/DKKS, Rosenborg Slot

Royal Headbands of the Day: May 12

 
Crown Princess Mary traveled to Norway on Friday, where she joined Crown Princess Mette-Marit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Heligoland.
This is that outfit that I liked before on Mary, but I liked it better without the hat, but I still prefer Mary's hat to M-M's "hat", which is not a hat but a headband with some stuff on it, if you see what I mean. Anyway: M&M-M's DAY OUT! It's like a Girls' Night Out, but with more pantyhose. (And yes, Mette-Marit is wearing the By Ti Mo dress we saw before, just in a different color. She must have liked it just as much as I did.)

In other fancy headband news...
Also last week, Princess Letizia held audiences at Zarzuela Palace, wearing a Hugo Boss skirt and a headband from children's brand Nanos with stars on the side.
What's this? My stars (see what I did there), what do we have here?! Well, well, well. Is Letizia having a little fun with her outfit for a change, or are her daughters dressing her now? You know what, I think I'm good with either answer.

Photos: Billed-Bladet/By Ti Mo/@Casa_Real_/Getty/Hugo Boss/Nanos

09 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 9

Mary Donaldson married Crown Prince Frederik on May 14, 2004.
You knew this was coming, didn't you. (You did, no question mark required.) Yes, if you pay attention to your royal dates, you were probably expecting that we would have something here to mark Mary and Frederik's 10th wedding anniversary, and so we will - a week of celebrations! Yippee. Next week, we're focusing on some of the outfits worn by the guests at this memorable event. (We won't be ignoring current events though, not to worry.)

To get us in the mood, here's Mary's divisive wedding gown. Is it a milk maid, or is it the best ever? These seem to be the two schools of thought. My opinions on royal wedding gowns often change over time, but when it comes to Mary, I'm consistent: Yes to the bodice, Meh to the skirt, NO to the hair. Oh, and fun fact: the dress was designed by Uffe Frank, but the one in charge of making it was Birgit Hallstein, who has made other bespoke dresses for Mary since (including some of my favorites, like the burgundy velvet gown, or my pick for Mary's best from last year).

Video: Part 1, Frederik's arrival. For more: Part 2, Part 3 (Mary walks down the aisle), Part 4, Part 5
Click here for my full post on the dress. And above, video of the ceremony in multiple parts, if you're in the mood. (I never miss a chance to see Mary's entrance to Zadok the Priest, myself. Chills, every time.)

Photos: Steen Evald/Kongehuset.dk

08 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Bavarian Sunburst Tiara

The Bavarian Sunburst Tiara
Containing a tall central motif with a spiky look, giving it the 'sunburst' name, the Bavarian Sunburst Tiara was one of the wedding gifts given to Infanta María de la Paz (1862-1946) for her 1883 wedding to Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria. It was a present from the bride's mother, Queen Isabella II of Spain, and that heritage is reflected in the central fleur de lys motif, which is part of the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon. The fleur de lys motif is set en tremblant, meaning it trembles with the wearer's movements for maximum sparkle. The whole tiara is composed of diamonds, both circular-cut and rose, and the frame is detachable.
Left to Right: The center of the tiara, Princesses Ursula, Anna, and Felipa
The tiara remained with the Bavarian family for more than a century. In recent years, it was worn by the family of Prince Leopold of Bavaria, who is a great-grandson of Ludwig Ferdinand and María de la Paz. The tiara has been worn to various royal events by Princess Ursula, wife of Prince Leopold, as well as their daughter Princess Felipa and daughter-in-law Princess Anna. But the tiara was sold in May 2013 at Sotheby's, marked as the "Property of a Member of a European Family". It sold for $181,050, over its original estimate of $104,653-$156,980.
Also at that auction was an amethyst and diamond demi-parure (above) consisting of a necklace and earrings which date back to Queen Therese of Bavaria (1792-1854). That set sold for $143,375. The Bavarian jewels went to unknown buyers, but the family is not without jewels for big occasions; at Princess Madeleine's wedding this past summer, both Princess Ursula and Princess Anna wore other tiaras.

Were these on your wish list?
(You know I'd give a limb or two for those amethysts, but I have to say I'd do without the tiara. Oddly tall in the center, I've always thought.)

In newer auction news, the Rosenborg Kokoshnik Tiara is up for sale again - I tweeted about this a while back, but I'm getting a lot of emails, so we'll mention it here. You may recall that it was first offered for sale by a Scandinavian auction house in 2012; now the owners are trying a higher profile Sotheby's auction to be held on May 13. And the price has been drastically reduced, from more than $200,000 to an estimate of $62,143 - $101,688, so apparently they are really hoping to get rid of it. Get your pennies together...

Photos: Sothebys/dpa/Scanpix/Getty/Sothebys

Royal Outfits of the Day: May 8

This week, the Swedish royal family welcomed Crown Prince Haakon to mark the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. Also, Crown Princess Victoria attended a meeting of the Friends of Nordiska Museet and Skansen.
It's been a while since we caught up with Victoria's daily happenings, so let's have a double shot. First up, an Oscar de la Renta printed navy and white dress that is heaven except for that jacket selection - just a little too much going on with those buttons and lapels plus the print of the dress. And then there was PURPLE, which you know I love. The color freshens up a traditional shape, and she emphasizes it with her Charlotte Bonde amethyst earrings. She also carried her Stella McCartney clutch.
The Oscar de la Renta dress on the Spring 2009 runway; the Charlotte Bonde amethyst earrings
Svensk Damtidning offers more visuals from the Haakon event, and from the purple delight.

Photos: Kungahuset.se/Style.com/Charlotte Bonde

07 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 7


Video: Sheikha Mozah made an official visit to Japan last month.
We haven't had a chance to touch on the glam Sheikha's trip to Japan, so let's use my favorite of that couture parade as a little elegant pick-me-up to get you through the middle of the week. A windowpane print, gloriously modified from the runway to meet modesty requirements. The fullness of the skirt looks so fabulous when seated, I was surprised to discover in the above video that it's actually ankle length. Usually not a length I love, but here it works.
The dress, by the way, is modified from the Christian Dior Spring 2012 Couture runway, a wonderfully feminine collection that also included a couple pieces you may recall seeing on Princess Haya.

Photos: Qatar News Agency/Style.com

06 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 6

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, and Princess Beatrix attended the Liberation Day concert.
I saw this seated first, and I thought to myself that using the lawn as your skirt blanket is just ever so resourceful. But then I thought, hang on, this feels familiar...and YUP. As noted by ModekoninginMaxima, this is a repeat - from Queen Beatrix in 1981, of all things.
Now, I have often been accused of being something of a Máx apologist. And I am, as I often find that I like the spirit with which she pulls off her wacky ensembles enough to make all kinds of excuses for their failures. Who else would go into Beatrix's closet - can you imagine the wealth of bespoke gowns that must be stored there? - and pick the one that requires mowing?! Máxima is always good for a giggle, and that goes a long way towards winning my affection. But I promise you this: I will never have Máx blinders big enough to excuse those shoes.

Click here for a gallery.

You know, of course, that these super-repeats are nothing new. Princess Mabel wore Beatrix's engagement dress and Máxima loaned a gown to Princess Aimée for the inauguration, to name a couple Dutch examples. The Swedish royal family does the sharing thing all the time, and Princess Madeleine even chose an old gown of her mother's to wear to her wedding reception. Over in Luxembourg there's so much sharing going on it requires an entire series of posts at Luxarazzi. Is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Royal Wardrobe always a good idea? Nope. But it is always just a little bit sweet.

Photos: NOS/Getty Images/@RTLNieuwsNL

05 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 5

Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, married Daniel Chatto on July 14, 1994, in a gown by Jasper Conran.
Four reasons for featuring this gown today:

1. Lady Sarah just celebrated her 50th birthday, so happy (belated) birthday to her! She was part of the royal baby boom of 1964, when Princess Alexandra gave birth to James Ogilvy (February 29), the Queen gave birth to Prince Edward (March 10), the Duchess of Kent gave birth to Lady Helen Windsor (now Taylor; April 28) and Princess Margaret gave birth to Lady Sarah (May 1). That makes this the perfect time to revisit the most elegant of her elegant turns, her wedding dress. It came in ninth on your list of best royal wedding gowns!

2. I recently stumbled on a clip from the news coverage of this wedding. It's short - it was a private wedding - but it renewed my appreciation for the fit of this bodice and the flow of the material. Click here to see.

3. You have an opportunity to see this gown in person! Yes, it's not only the Duchess of Cornwall that has loaned her dress to the V&A for their new exhibit on wedding dresses. Sarah's Jasper Conran gown is on display as well, and a peek can be seen on the V&A's Instagram (center below, and thanks to Suzanna for pointing this glimpse out).

It looks like her tiara (the Snowdon Floral Tiara) might also be on display there, hard to tell. Yet another reason I need to see this exhibit, sigh.

And finally... 4. It's Monday, have some pretty to start your week.

Photos: Royal Household/ITN

02 May 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 2


Video: King Willem-Alexander's inauguration was held on April 30, 2013. Queen Máxima wore a blue caped Jan Taminiau gown for the ceremony with the Dutch Sapphire Tiara.
This week has been a time to remember a certain British royal wedding for many of you, I know. But for me? This event right here is where I'm devoting my weekly memories. It's been a year since we said farewell to Queen Beatrix and welcomed King Willem-Alexander, and the two day festival of tiaras and capes and court dress has made it on to my list of all-time favorite royal events. Click here for full coverage, in case you were looking for a way to waste some time this Friday.

Photo: NOS

01 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: Queen Sophia's Star and Pearl Tiara

Princess Benedikte turns 70 this week! In celebration, we're covering the last of the three tiaras she uses regularly (previously: her floral, and her fringe):
Queen Sophia's Star and Pearl Tiara
So many of the tiaras worn in Denmark today have a Swedish past, and today's tiara is another for the club. Made of a diamond base surmounted by twelve-pointed stars alternating with upright drop pearl spikes, this tiara was originally a wedding gift to Sophia of Nassau (1836-1913) from her half brother Adolphe, who later became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Sophia married the future King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway in 1857, and the tiara came with her to Sweden. It stayed in Sweden for a while, passing to Queen Victoria of Sweden (1862-1930), wife of Sophia and Oscar's son Gustaf V.
Left to Right: Queen Sophia, Queen Ingrid, a young Princess Benedikte, Queen Anne-Marie
The tiara left Sweden for a home with a Swedish princess in Denmark: Princess Ingrid (1910-2000), daughter of King Gustaf VI Adolf and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Ingrid married the future King Frederik IX of Denmark, and eventually became Queen Ingrid. As Queen, she had more grand pieces at her disposal to use, but she did loan this tiara to her daughters. When she passed away, Queen Ingrid left the tiara to her middle daughter, Princess Benedikte.
L to R: Princess Alexandra, Princess Nathalie, Carina Axelsson
Benedikte married a German prince - Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg - but is still a working Danish royal, and she wears the Star and Pearl Tiara for plenty of tiara events. And just as her mother once did for her, Princess Benedikte now loans the tiara to her own daughters, Princesses Alexandra and Nathalie. She has also once loaned it to Carina Axelsson, the partner of her son Gustav.
Princess Benedikte
Star tiaras are a class of their own in tiara design, and there are others out there in this basic design, including a lookalike worn by the Marchioness of Cambridge. This one works particularly well on Benedikte; she has a separate set of diamond stars (as you see on her sash above) that she can wear with it for a coordinated look. You can see it in action and hear Princess Benedikte talk about it in Part 1 of the documentary De Kongelige Juveler.

Is this your favorite star tiara?

Photos: De Kongelige Juveler/DR1/Corbis/Getty/Scanpix/AllOverPress/Wikimedia Commons, Frankie Fouganthin

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 1

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visited Norway and the Norwegian royal family as part of their introductory visits.
Can it be? Has Mathilde run out of introductory steam?! This is...a repeat. GASP. I believe this is the first time during these little visits she hasn't opted for something new, picked out just for the trip. It is one of her special occasion repeats, an Armani Privé originally worn to Albert and Charlene's wedding in Monaco in 2011, but it's not feeling super special right here. Perhaps she has run out of introductory budget, at least. The winner among the ladies has to be Queen Sonja, since I don't quite understand Mette-Marit's combination. Simple white will get the job done every time.
The dress is a version of the capelets seen on the Spring 2011 Couture runway for Armani Privé, right
Click here for a gallery.

Photos: ANB/rb.no/knack.be/Style.com