13 January 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 13

Programming Note: The blog returns on Tuesday!
The Duchess of Cambridge undertook a couple engagements earlier this week.
So you've got your future Royal Coat Museum, and then you've got your future Royal Blue Museum just up the road. You can visit them both...or just permanently take up residence right between the two, your choice. It's a good blue - as I always say - though I will raise my contrarian hand and say the blue shoes are crossing the matchy line for me. (My matchy line being a lot closer than most matchy lines, you know.)
Dress from Eponine London

12 January 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Danish Ruby Parure, Revisited

The Danish Ruby Parure is, at this point in time, basically guaranteed at least one appearance per year: Crown Princess Mary wears it to the annual New Year’s gala banquet. She’ll wear it in portraits and for select other occasions – jubilee and birthday celebrations for her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe; certain royal weddings – but uses other tiaras for the rest of her gala needs. Having just seen our scheduled 2017 ruby outing, it’s the perfect time to revisit this impressive set of jewelry and the impressive history behind it.

The Danish Ruby Parure Tiara
This tiara tale begins, like many others, at the court of Napoleon Bonaparte. When planning his coronation as Emperor of the French in 1804, he wanted to ensure that it would be the grandest possible event. He went so far as to give money to his marshals so that they could buy their wives the proper amount of jewels for the occasion. One of those men, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, bought a set of ruby and diamond jewelry for his wife, Désirée Clary, and she wore it on that historical day. This couple would later become King Carl XIV Johan and Queen Desideria of Sweden, and the jewels found a new Swedish home.

In the modern history of this parure, it is so well associated with Queen Ingrid of Denmark (who was born a Princess of Sweden, and who wore this set frequently) that many assume it made the trip from Sweden to Denmark along with the rest of Ingrid's wedding gifts. In fact it came over much earlier, with another Swedish princess that became a Danish queen: Queen Louise, who married the future Frederick VIII in 1869. Louise received the parure as a wedding gift from her grandmother, Queen Josephine of Sweden (Désirée's daughter-in-law), because the rubies and diamonds echoed the colors of the Danish flag. Queen Louise gave the headpiece to her son Crown Prince Christian's bride Alexandrine as a wedding gift, and she received the rest when Louise passed away. It was Alexandrine that gave it to Princess Ingrid of Sweden when she married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 1935.

Queen Ingrid, before and after her tiara changes
As with most jewels this old, alterations have been made over the years. The most extensive remodeling has been done to the tiara, which wasn’t even a tiara to begin with. It started as a series of individual floral ornaments; these were later assembled into a slender wreath tiara, as seen on Queen Alexandrine and on Queen Ingrid when she first received the ruby set. Ingrid turned it into something more in 1947 by taking two of the brooches that came with the initial parure and adding them to the tiara, giving it much more substance and turning it into a proper diadem that still had a lovely wreath structure from the random placement of the leaves.

Crown Princess Mary in the tiara before her changes
When Queen Ingrid died in 2000 she left the parure to her beloved grandson, Crown Prince Frederik, thereby ensuring that the future Crown Princess would have a truly grand and historical set of jewels to wear. Mary wore this tiara for two of her pre-wedding events in 2004, making it the first tiara she ever wore.

Mary's changes
Mary followed in Ingrid’s footsteps by wearing the ruby set as it came to her for several years, and then having it altered to suit her own needs. In consultation with Crown Prince Frederik and Queen Margrethe, she had the tiara reconfigured and added extra flexibility to the rest of the set. This work was done by Dulong Fine Jewelry. 

Video: The ruby set under construction
Mary’s version of the tiara sits more upright on her head and feels more symmetrical and compact than Ingrid’s did; the alteration left a few leaves behind, and these extras were turned into a set of hairpins. She first wore the new tiara setting in 2010.

The hairpins, earrings, ring, and necklace
The full Danish Ruby Parure now includes the tiara, the hairpins, a magnificent pair of girandole earrings which can be worn in several formats (as just the ruby and diamond studs, the studs with one of the ruby and diamond pendants, or the studs with a few different pearl drop options), a grand necklace that can be worn with or without its various pendant attachments, a brooch with a detachable pendant (the pendant can be used on a necklace chain; the brooch has been worn in various positions including on a velvet choker and has been worn with a pearl drop), a bracelet, and a ring (a new addition, made by the Dulong firm).

2010: Mary in the remodeled tiara and the ruby and diamond studs from the earrings worn with pearls
Queen Ingrid tended to wear the whole ruby set at once, which is a grand but imposing amount of bling to add to an outfit. Crown Princess Mary started out wearing all the pieces at once, but she hasn’t worn it that way since she altered the tiara, preferring these days to pick and choose among the various pieces. I may miss the more natural feel of Ingrid’s tiara format and I may miss seeing the whole parure worn at once, but I can’t deny that Mary's changes have led to her using the set more creatively and to her using parts of the set without the tiara more frequently. She seems more comfortable with it, and this is all good stuff. Like I’ve said before: a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Of all the ways this set has been worn, which is your favorite?

11 January 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 11

Yesterday, Crown Princess Mary was awarded the Berlingske Foundation Prize in recognition of the work she has done for Danish society.
So, basically, in a sea of Etro outfits that range from boho to boho-ier (that's not right), Mary manages to find the one that makes her look like she's just tastefully adorned herself in some spare crown moulding. From her tasteful palace. Where she tastefully lives. Yup, seems about right.
Dress from Etro (h/t to Heaven)
And is it just me or did she put a little extra bounce in her hair for the big day? (It was a big day, too; this is an important Danish newspaper honoring her for the great job she does.) The whole thing's working for her.

10 January 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 10

On Friday, Queen Letizia closed out what I like to call Court Dress Week by attending Pascua Militar, a military ceremony. Similar to the two days of Danish New Year receptions, this event calls for a long skirt worn in the daytime.

I think she might be in a bit of a slump with this dress code, honestly. She debuted this Felipe Varela dress in 2014 at a reception for foreign ambassadors, and then wore it again to this event in 2015. (And the outfit we saw in between - last year - was pretty meh.) I'll be the first to admit that outfits for these events are a specialized category these days, and repeating just makes sense. But there are still ways to mix it up within the land of repeats, you know?

House of HM the King
(On the other hand, I will never object to classing things even further up with a good updo.)

09 January 2017

Monday Tidbits for January 9: Family Photos & More

Happily returning to some good news from the royal sphere, here we are:

--A happy sixth birthday to Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine! Beautiful new photos were released for the occasion.
Pernille Rohde, PR PHOTO/Kongehuset

--Over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen is back and all is well. Also, The Crown did well at the Golden Globes last night, so if you're just catching up on Netflix's royal drama, don't miss our jewel recaps of each episode.

--Here's a lovely photo of the Swedish royal family, taken last summer:
Photo Anna-Lena Ahlström, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Several of you sent this to me, and it's fascinating: Queen Elizabeth I’s long-lost skirt to go on display after being found on a church altar in Herefordshire. [Telegraph]

--And finally, Crown Princess Mette-Marit is a purple velvet dream, and it's everything. [Minmote]

Coming up this week: Spain takes its turn on the court dress stage.

06 January 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 6

OHHHH, so that's what that cape was for.

Wednesday: Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, and Crown Princess Mary attended the third day of the New Year's Court receptions.
The cape worn by Crown Princess Mary to the New Year gala banquet - which looked out of place atop her regal gold Jesper Høvring gown - is much more at home atop its matching dress, giving a simple dress that extra something special to make it suit this daytime court event. It's a plum dream by Lasse Spangenberg (h/t to Heaven). Well. Turns out all you need to do to restore my cape love is to put that cape back where it belongs.

Might even be my favorite ensemble from her this week...

05 January 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Tiaras of Princess Alexandra of Kent

Princess Alexandra of Kent celebrated her 80th birthday on Christmas Day! Queen Elizabeth II honored her cousin back in November at a Buckingham Palace reception for Princess Alexandra's patronages and other areas of work. We have a more sparkly way to celebrate here (obviously), because such a lengthy history of royal engagements is bound to include several tiaras. A tiara retrospective, coming right up:

Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau
In 1955 with her mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. See video here.
British Pathé
Princess Alexandra started attending royal events early on. She used a couple of smaller tiaras first, like this diamond bandeau that came from Queen Mary. The bandeau ended up with the Duke and Duchess of Kent (Alexandra's older brother and sister-in-law), and it was most likely redesigned into the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara.

The Diamond and Pearl Swirl Bandeau
This piece dates back to Grand Duchess Vladimir (yes, that Grand Duchess Vladimir), who was Princess Marina's grandmother. It served as a smaller tiara option for both Princess Marina and her daughter, but has since been sold.

The Kent Festoon Tiara
AP. See video here.
Princess Alexandra's royal tours started in her early 20s. Here, marking independence in Nigeria, she borrows her mother's pearl and diamond festoon tiara; this tiara is now with Prince and Princess Michael (Alexandra's younger brother and sister-in-law).

She echoed her mother's wedding look by borrowing this diamond fringe tiara to wear on her wedding day. The spiky diamond piece was the perfect counterpoint to the yards of lace in her dress and veil.

Finally, we arrive at the only tiara we see Princess Alexandra wear today. She gets three tiaras out of that one: the center of the flowers can be changed from pearls to sapphires or turquoise stones. (Bonus tiara, sort of: Alexandra wore these flowers in her hair in tiara fashion before the rest of the tiara.) She's still a regular attendee at state banquets, always wearing this tiara, though sadly we don't often get to see her at those events.
Video: A great look at the Ogilvy Tiara in action, 1965. Princess Alexandra arrives at 1:18.

Which is your favorite tiara on Princess Alexandra?

04 January 2017

Royal Redo of the Day: January 4

Well, well, well. Just last year, I was singing the praises of one of my favorite Crown Princess Mary ensembles; this year, we discover she's been up to her old dress renovation antics.

There are two days of New Year receptions for various groups in Denmark, and the formal dress code means that Crown Princess Mary has several outfits in her closet tailored to this event. (It's a modern court dress, really, where a long skirt is needed - but because these are daytime events, there are no tiaras and many evening gowns don't fit the bill.) One of my favorites was this silvery blue number with a short jacket from Heartmade, first worn in 2008 and repeated again in 2010, 2012, and 2013.

I guess she reached the repeat limit, because yesterday...
...she revealed a remodeled version with the top swapped out for a soft blue blouse and no jacket. I'm not gonna lie, I have some mixed feelings about seeing a personal favorite subjected to the scissors, but it does look excellent this way too. I'm just also hoping that it can still be worn the other way, or at least with a different top and the three-quarter sleeve jacket again.
See video from Billed-Bladet here. The Danish royal court has also put a couple videos on their Facebook page.

01 January 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: New Year Receptions, 2017

Happy New Year! We're here to start things off as we always do: with tiaras, courtesy of glittering New Year events in Denmark and Japan. A gala banquet in Denmark is one of the most formal events of the year for the Danish royal family, where they wear the golden collars of the Order of the Elephant. In Japan, the imperial family gathers for a formal reception, and it's tiaras all around for everyone. We'll start our awards in Denmark:

Most Heavily Adorned
Queen Margrethe
Queen Margrethe always arrives to the New Year banquet in a flurry of fabric and jewels, with her trademark Yeti pelt fur wrap swinging. This year was all of that times ten, because her gown - a repeat from her 70th birthday celebrations - ended up looking like she was wearing two gowns at once under that wrap.
DR screencaps
She's also wearing the stomacher from the Danish crown pearl, ruby, and diamond set as a necklace. That's a lotta look by itself, let alone with the gold chain and the Pearl Poire Tiara and all the rest. Luckily, she's a woman with enough gravitas to pull it all off.

Biggest Test in Capes
Crown Princess Mary
Crown Princess Mary opted to start the new year by testing my love of capes. This is the first time we've seen her Jesper Høvring gown in action (she wore it in a portrait last year), and it is a golden dream, very swoopy and grand in motion. (Check out video of the royal family's arrival here or here.) I'm just afraid it's being let down by the cape, which doesn't feel magnificent enough to go with this gown.
I'm with her on the rest of it, though: the Danish Ruby Parure with the full version of the earrings, the hair pins in back, and the brooch used at her neckline. Fabulous.

Most Slinky in Metallics
Princess Marie
I couldn't believe it when Princess Marie got out of the car: could she really be wearing a simple, slinky metallic sheath? She usually adds some froof to the equation. And so she had and I just didn't see it right away, in the form of a ruffle at the side of this new Ole Yde gown.
The ruffle is subtle, and the bronze color makes an excellent showcase for her golden collar. Her Diamond Floral Tiara is never a bad idea. I think this might be her best New Year outing in quite some time.

Most Impressive in Group Sparkle
The Japanese Imperial Family
ANN screencaps. See video here.
An impressive amount of sparkle here even with fewer tiaras than usual, because some family members are still observing mourning for Prince Mikasa. Empress Michiko no longer wears tiaras, but was elegant in pearls; the ladies of the Akishino family came with the full force of their diamond parures (Princess Kiko in the Akishino Tiara, plus Princess Mako in her tiara and Princess Kako in her tiara.) Crown Princess Masako arrived in the Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara.

Who's your best dressed to kick off the new year?