15 August 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Crown Princess Mary's Return

Mary came back to work just to give us some outfits to chat about, wasn't that nice of her?

Crown Princess Mary met with the CEO of Women Deliver last week.
Mary's outfit is a print, not little bits of stuff stuck all over. Yet even that knowledge does not stop me from wanting to take a lint roller to it.

Crown Princess Mary also attended Copenhagen Fashion Week last week.
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Gotta love a windy action shot. Gotta love a belt too, especially one that is single-handedly rescuing a look from nightgown territory. Might also love a different shoe here, something darker? Whatcha think?

Frieda Chiffon Dress from ArtFusion Copenhagen (h/t StyleofMary)

14 August 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for August 14: Engagements and Couture and More

Here we go:

--The engagement of Princess Ayako of Takamado, daughter of Princess Hisako and the late Prince Takamodo (a cousin of Emperor Akihito), with Kei Moriya is moving forward. The traditional official betrothal ceremony, called Nosai no Gi, was recently held. During the ceremony, a representative of the fiancé visited the Takamado residence and presented Ayako with traditional gifts including sea bream fish, sake, and rolls of silk. New photos of the couple were also released. [Japan Times, Imperial Family of Japan Blog]
Imperial Household Agency

--Meanwhile, I feel bad for Princess Mako. The status of the engagement between the Emperor's granddaughter and Kei Komuro is murky at best; after a delay reportedly caused by a financial dispute in his family, he's just left for law school in New York City and there are reports that the prospective groom has been told to present a "life plan" by Mako's parents. [Telegraph, Mainichi]

--Here's some cuteness: Princess Beatrix and wee King Willem-Alexander, pictured 50 years ago in the garden at Drakensteyn Castle.

--Ooh this is right up our alley, and an enjoyable read: "The Countess of Derby shows us her couture - and introduces us to her personal couturier." [Tatler]

--The picture in the article is the cherry on top of this hmm... sundae: "A French-born aristocrat is suing France for €351m (£313m) in damages, claiming it tricked his family out of inheriting the throne of Monaco." [Guardian]

--And finally, I very much dig this Garbo hat on Princess Beatrice, worn to accompany her grandmother to church this weekend. The Queen's brooch has been covered at the Jewel Vault, of course. [Sun]

Coming up this week: Mary gave us a couple things to discuss, at least...

Tidbits is your spot for royal topics we haven't covered separately on the blog, all week long. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy! 

13 August 2018

Royal Dress of the Day: Princess Mabel's Wedding Gown, Revisited

Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, wife of the late Prince Friso, one of King Willem-Alexander's brothers, celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday. Seems like a perfect time to revisit her first big royal sartorial splash: her wedding gown. I can't think of another one that so accurately introduced a royal bride's style, because not only the designers but also the main motif and the general sense of quirkiness all became her signatures. That main motif is, of course, BOWS.

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Mabel Wisse Smit married Prince Johan Friso on April 24, 2004 in a gown by Dutch couturiers Viktor & Rolf. She requested something memorable and was interested in a three-dimensional train detail. They came up with a dress that featured 248 handmade crepe georgette bows, a favorite detail of the design duo: 128 bows on the skirt, 85 on the bodice, and 35 on the train.

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The bows are graduated in size, beginning with tiny bows at the shoulders and growing to massive bows at the end of the 3.15 meter (10'4") train.

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The bateau neckline and belted waist give the dress a flattering shape and it's a true piece of couture art, very cleverly made so that the ribbon lattice pattern behind the bows covers the seams. The gown is crafted from snow white double-faced duchesse satin and took more than 600 hours to make.

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The bride kept her veil short (wouldn't want to cover up any of those bows!), and topped it with a diamond tiara that borrows its larger stones from the top of the Dutch Sapphire Tiara. The tiara has an intriguingly two-dimensional look in a photo, with a lot of sparkle when seen in action. It has remained Mabel's top tiara pick in the years since.

The wedding dress was just the beginning of Princess Mabel's quirky royal sartorial statements, most also by Viktor & Rolf (and often featuring those beloved bows), but there's a lot more behind the fashion. Mabel herself is an accomplished and committed activist and philanthropist who has worked with organizations like The Elders and Girls Not Brides. Her marriage to Prince Friso began with controversy; the marriage was not submitted for the official parliament consent required for Prince Friso to retain his place in line to the throne because the couple were not entirely forthcoming in response to government inquiries about past contact between Mabel and Klaas Bruinsma, a drug lord and organized crime figure. Friso gave up his spot in the line of succession as well as his title as a Prince of the Netherlands when they married. He retained the Orange-Nassau title.

Sadly, tragedy was ahead: Prince Friso was trapped in an avalanche while skiing in Austria in 2012. He remained in a coma until he passed away the following year. Princess Mabel now continues her activist work while raising the couple's two daughters and seems to have a great support system in the Dutch royal family. She appears to be particularly close to her mother-in-law, Princess Beatrix.

Princess Mabel's wedding gown is currently on display in Rotterdam as part of an exhibition celebrating 25 years of Viktor & Rolf. As a premiere client (and a friend; she recently attended Rolf Snoeren's wedding), she opened the exhibition. She shared in her opening speech that Prince Friso, who was an engineer, had been fascinated by the construction of the gown.

On the left, the dress Princess Mabel wore to Prince Friso's memorial
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The wedding dress is poignantly displayed at the exhibition alongside a dress of mourning, first worn by Mabel in a long length to King Willem-Alexander's inauguration and then made shorter for Friso's memorial service. It is another Viktor & Rolf design, the white sleeve and bow echoing the wedding dress that started it all.

Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years is at The Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam through September 30, 2018.

08 August 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia Goes Orange in Mallorca

The official engagements for the Spanish royals during their summer residence in Palma de Mallorca continued with a hefty dose of orange last week.

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, and Queen Sofia hosted a reception for the Balearic Islands.
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Yeah, that's one orange shirt. Kinda taking over the whole outfit. Picking a color from the Carolina Herrera skirt to use for the top was the obvious way to go, although I think this Hugo Boss top wasn't the right choice in color or in shape.

House of HM the King
Not that I don't sympathize, you know, because as glorious as a full skirt can be, figuring out what to pair it with can be the trickiest decision.

The King and Queen hosted the Prime Minister of Spain and his wife for lunch at Marivent Palace.
House of HM the King
Letizia also dipped into the coral side of her floral theme with a new dress from Adolfo Domínguez. Lacking the Letizia sass, I think, but serviceable all the same.

Adolfo Domínguez dress

07 August 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for August 7: Updates from Sweden

Welcome to the summer slow season, where the royal news and appearances slow waaaaaaaay down, and so does the blog. Posts may be a little sporadic until things pick back up, so don't worry if you don't see one every day and enjoy a little summer yourself!

The Swedish royal family kept the royal news mill running last week:

--Princess Madeleine provided the most surprising news, as the Swedish royal court announced that her family will be moving back to the United States! They'll move to Florida in the fall. According to the announcement, it's a good time for the family since the kids are still pre-school age, and Madeleine will be focusing on the World Childhood Foundation's United States work. They released a new family photo to go along with the news.
Anna-Lena Ahlström, Kungahuset.se

--Princess Christina, sister of King Carl Gustaf, also chimed in with some big news: she's retiring! In an interview for her 75th birthday (which was August 3rd), she said the milestone birthday will mark the end of her royal duties. She will be missed, but she deserves the rest. Some new pictures were taken in conjunction with that, too. [Instagram]

--In regular Swedish news, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia shared a picture of their two boys enjoying the summer at Solliden. [Instagram]
prinsparet Instagram

--With the (as yet unsolved) mystery of the stolen Swedish royal regalia still swirling in my brain, I couldn't help but find this story fascinating: A Willem de Kooning painting worth an estimated $160 million was discovered some 30 years after it was stolen from an Arizona museum. The whys and hows of the situation remain an intriguing set of question marks. [Washington Post]

--And finally, a non-Swedish note: QEII has begun her Balmoral holiday (she's been there for a couple weeks), and we have our annual big Balmoral post up at the Jewel Vault, where you'll find all her appearances during her Scottish break.

Coming up this week: It's more of a working holiday in Spain...

Tidbits is your spot for royal topics we haven't covered separately on the blog, all week long. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy! 

06 August 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: Meghan's Wedding Birthday

The Duchess of Sussex celebrated her birthday over the weekend by attending the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks with Prince Harry.

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That'll do! I know some people love to clutch those pearls about a darker color at a wedding, but...meh. This dress seems so lightweight - at least it has great movement through the pleated skirt in all the pictures - it's 100% summer to me. The color blocking does enough to keep the color light. Anyway, any day Harry leaves the butter yellow waistcoat behind is a good day.

Club Monaco

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were also there.

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And...that'll also do, I guess! Pretty basic there. I see we've got plenty of members of #TeamShades, that's always a plus. Even #TeamFunkyShades for Eugenie. (Funky only on a royal scale, mind you.)

02 August 2018

Tiara Thursday: Queen Margrethe’s Tiaras

Programming Note: As summer slows down, so does the blog. We'll be back on Monday.

As demonstrated in this week’s Tidbits post, Queen Margrethe is one of the most creative royals around. She selects and wears her jewels in creative ways, too, and she has a host of tiaras to play with. (As always, click the tiara name for more.)

Part of the Danish crown jewels, this tiara (and parure) is borrowed from public display at Rosenborg Castle when Queen Margrethe wants to use it. It’s only for use in Denmark and Margrethe has mainly stuck to using it for special events such as the New Year’s Court gala or big jubilee and birthday celebrations.

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I group the Danish emeralds and this tiara of dangling pearls and a diamond frame as Margrethe’s two “big gun” tiaras, based on how she uses them. This one appears at the aforementioned extra special occasions and also at events like state banquets with other monarchies.

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Because it comes apart in three pieces, the Floral Aigrette Tiara offers Queen Margrethe (and her hairdresser) ample opportunities for creativity. She usually wears the top piece in a more upright position and the two side pieces flat against her hair; at other times, she'll use just one or two pieces to adjust to the appropriate level of formality.

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The Baden Palmette's heart shapes have made it a natural choice for Queen Margrethe at a couple of royal weddings in addition to some state banquets and black tie tiara occasions.

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Margrethe has an eclectic mix of turquoise jewelry at her disposal, both older pieces that go with this petite bandeau and newer pieces she received as gifts from her late husband (the brooch, necklace, and earrings above are these gifts). This small tiara has come in handy for some of her less formal state banquet occasions.

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You can debate whether or not this falls in the tiara category, but no review of Queen Margrethe's headpieces would be complete without a mention of this...unique...item. It's perhaps the most Margrethe of all these pieces, since the Queen herself commissioned it from Danish artist Arje Griegst. The flowers can be worn individually as well.

Keld Navntoft/Kongehuset
This jubilee gift from Greenland, the newest tiara in the Queen's collection, is so perfectly suited to Margrethe's creative ways (see also: the Poppies above) that it's hard to imagine it worn by anyone else. It's still only been worn a few times.

New Zealand Governor-General Office
Before Princess Marie's Floral Tiara was, well, Princess Marie's, it was in Margrethe's jewel box (and before that, in Princess Dagmar's). It's hard to tell apart from the Floral Aigrette. Perhaps that's why it was chosen as the perfect piece to loan to her new daughter-in-law in 2008.

A former daughter-in-law was gifted Margrethe's 18th birthday tiara, and we still see it on Countess Alexandra when she attends big royal events.

One final tiara is also not in Margrethe's collection, yet it played a crucial part in her tiara-wearing history: the Khedive, worn on her wedding day, as has become the tradition for Queen Ingrid's female descendants. It now belongs to Queen Anne-Marie.

Which one do you like most on Queen Margrethe?

01 August 2018

Wednesday Tidbits for August 1: Stolen Crown Jewels and More

Interesting but sad news to start us off:

--A jewel heist! Unfortunately not for fun in a movie this time: Sweden is missing two crowns and an orb from their royal regalia after thieves stole them from a church yesterday. The funeral crowns of Karl IV and his wife Queen Kristina date from 1611 and were originally buried with the couple, before being exhumed for display. Those two crowns and an orb were on display at Strängnäs Cathedral when they were stolen from their glass case while the church was open to the public. The thieves are thought to have fled on motorboat. The search for these priceless items is ongoing as of this writing. [Sydney Morning Herald]
The stolen crowns at the top of the picture, the orb in the center
Police Handout

--Were it anyone else, I'd have to say the matching band around the hat was overkill. But it's Princess Alexandra (opening a new supported living service last week), so it just makes me smile.
Royal Family

--The Duchess of Cornwall continued to live her best life last week, eating ice cream and hanging with Dame Judi Dench on the Isle of Wight. [ITV]

--And finally, Queen Margrethe continues to live her best creative life, showing off the new antependium she embroidered for the Gråsten Palace church.

Tidbits is your spot for royal topics we haven't covered separately on the blog, all week long. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!