20 September 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: Letizia's Jumpsuit with a Superhero Spin

The King and Queen of Spain attended the opening of the Royal Theater's new season, the opera "Fausto", last night
House of HM the King
'Tis no gown, this ensemble for a night at the theater. 'Tis a jumpsuit! A jumpsuit with a CAPE!

House of HM the King
Sticking a cape on something is one of of the fastest ways to my heart. Get your superhero on at all times, that's my policy. That said, I do think this basic idea has been done a touch better in the past:

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Queen Letizia's jumpsuit immediately called to mind one of my favorite Oscar after party outfits of the past few years, Diane Kruger in a red caped jumpsuit by Donna Karan in 2015. I would steal just one thing from this for Letizia's navy look (which is by Pedro del Hierro): the cropped slim-fit pant.

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The longer pants on Letizia's version can almost trick you into thinking this was a gown. Only an issue here because a gown would be overkill for this particular event, where others are in business suits, shorter dresses, and the like. The rest of this, I'm all on board.

19 September 2018

Royal Event of the Day: Dutch Royals at Prinsjesdag 2018

Get your hats ready, it's Prinsjesdag time! King Willem-Alexander addresses the government every September, reading a speech from the throne detailing plans for the coming session; he's accompanied by Queen Máxima, Prince Constantijn, and Princess Laurentien. For those not familiar, this event features a dress code that was popular for big royal events many years ago but which has become increasingly rare: long dresses, orders, and hats for the ladies. No tiaras because this is a day event.

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Queen Máxima goes all out for Prinsjesdag with a special outfit. This year's outfit is...

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...well, it's impressive, really...

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...because I would not have thought...

Louisa Beccaria Iridescent Multicolor Georgette Long Dress, per ModeKoninginMaxima
...that a candidate for my least favorite Máxima Prinsjesdag outfit ever would be so...bland, honestly?

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It's too much and not enough for me. There's so much happening in the overly vertical hat with unrelated feathers and the fussy neck and sleeves, but underneath it all is a muted pastel color blocking thing that just doesn't do much. Suffice it to say, I won't be remembering this year's edition when it comes time for the bests of 2018.

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Princess Laurentien opted for a tried-and-true combination for this sort of dress code: the long jacket over a matching sleek long dress. Very elegant! And I need hardly tell you that she picks up multiple bonus points for highlighting an accent color from the fabric with her purse and shoes.

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Also, nice beard, Prince Constantijn.

18 September 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Swedish Royals Host the Sweden Dinner

King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Sofia were on hand Friday to host the annual "Sweden Dinner" at the palace. The dinner honors guests making contributions in different areas from all around the country.

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
My hands-down fave here: Victoria. Looooooove this off the shoulder look for her. Sure, I'd ditch the watch and go with some strappy sandals - there's always room for a quibble or two - but it's very pretty. It's a fairly inexpensive choice for her too, $273 from By Malina.

By Malina Othelia dress
I realize some may find this a little too informal when there are men in tuxes. For that, though, you must consider the context of the event:

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
Guests wear business suits, tuxedos, short dresses, long dresses, traditional dresses, and so on. A lot of different walks of life represented here. So it works for me.

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
In that context, then, it appears that Queen Silvia's motto for the evening was simply to be seen. Print on print, texture on texture, color on color. It's...a look, alright.

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
In comparison, Princess Sofia's shimmering pink seems incredibly tame. We previously saw this Stylein dress all tiara'd up; is it missing something without the extra sparkle? I vote yes.

17 September 2018

Monday Tidbits for September 17: Monarchs and Regalia

Let's start with some awwws:

--Remember Princess Madeleine's tea party, where she donned a full tiara getup to entertain kids dealing with serious illness? Last week, it was King Carl Gustaf's turn. Seven-year-old Akram, who has leukemia, was welcomed to the palace with the full ambassador treatment - including meeting a king in uniform with a sword and the whole deal. The visit was also coordinated through Min Stora Dag (My Big Day). The royal court's Instagram has a video and more pics.
Raphael Stecksén/Kungahuset.se

--Another Swedish update: Swedish authorities arrested someone in connection with the theft of royal regalia that happened in August. The stolen goods - two crowns and an orb - have not been recovered. [AP]

--Certainly you want to see some footage of Queen Margrethe in crafty mode, including trying on the hat/mask things she's making. She is a treasure. The Danish royal court released the footage in advance of an exhibition of the scenery and costumes created by the Queen. "Eventyrdronningen" ("Adventure Queen") opens later this month at the Amalienborg Museum. [YouTube]

--And finally, Luxembourg's grand ducal family released a new group family photo! There are also photos of the little kids here. [Twitter]
Cour grand-ducale/Lola Velasco

Coming up this week: A formal dinner in Sweden, and more...

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! 

14 September 2018

Royal Trip of the Day: Crown Princess Mary in Finland

Crown Prince Frederik had some surgery recently and had to cancel several planned engagements. One he was no longer able to fulfill was an official visit to Finland, but never fear, Mary's here! Crown Princess Mary stepped into her husband's shoes and began the visit yesterday.

Day 1 in Finland
So instead of me telling you that Frederik wore a suit, I get to tell you that Mary wore a suit. This one's more interesting, though (sorry Fred); it's from Finnish brand Andiata. Mary comes prepared. Looks fabulous in motion. Maybe just a little shapeless when standing still because of the open long jacket - only a tiny bummer since any trip like this is full of posed pictures with officials and whatnot.

For an evening dinner, Mary put one of her favorite strategies for styling midi skirts to work again: a slightly off the shoulder open neckline and a pump with a bit of interest. It's just about the best way to handle this length, no? Especially when the skirt has some fullness.

Billed-Bladet screencap; see video here
Success again! The trip continues today (Friday).

13 September 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Countess of Villagonzalo's Meander Tiara

We've covered tiaras that can be necklaces, tiaras that can be brooches, and tiaras that can be reduced in size...but a tiara that's actually two tiaras stacked on top of each other might be a new one for our Thursday spotlight. It's a double decker diadem!

 The Countess of Villagonzalo's Meander Tiara
Spanish jeweler Ansorena crafted this tiara around 1900, just around the time that jewelers were beginning to master the use of platinum. The lightness and strength of the metal allowed for a delicate and intricate Belle Époque design. (Interestingly, Ansorena's archives note the tiara was conceived as early as 1890, just ahead of the rise of platinum.) The tiara includes approximately 33.5 carats of old brilliant, single, and rose-cut diamonds. The construction features millegrain detailing and knifewire tracery.

Top portion of the tiara
Together, the whole diadem is a lot of look - but it separates into two pieces, both of which can be worn on their own as tiaras. The top tiara has a band of meandering Greek key motifs in the center; forget-me-not flowers and trailing laurel leaves representing true love and the triumph of love fill out the rest of the piece.

Bottom portion of the tiara, as a tiara and as a necklace
The bottom tiara can be removed from its frame and worn as a choker necklace. It features a lacework lattice design with a central handkerchief motif.

Esperanza Chávarri Aldecoa, the Countess of Villagonzalo, wearing the tiara in the fashionable low style circa 1920, with an additional diamond tassel at the center
Although not owned by a royal family, this diadem would have seen plenty of royal events courtesy of its owner, Esperanza Chávarri Aldecoa, the Countess of Villagonzalo (1893-1982). The Countess was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria Eugenia, wife of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Victoria Eugenia was another Ansorena patron; the jewelers created the Fleur de Lys Tiara among other Spanish royal jewels. (And they're still doing so, with the Ansorena Princess Fleur de Lys Tiara as an example.)

The Countess of Villagonzalo's diamond necklace
The Countess' tiara passed down through her family over the years, and is now headed for the auction block. It will be sold at Bonhams London on September 26th. The pre-sale estimate is $100,000 - $160,000. It's not the only Villagonzalo jewel to hit the market this year: Christie's sold a diamond collet necklace - pictured above and worn by the Countess in the portrait above - for around $370,000 in June. A similar necklace was owned by Queen Victoria Eugenia and it is a part of the joyas de pasar, the jewels she left in her will to pass from queen to queen.

A two-for-one tiara: yes or no?

12 September 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Máxima's Double Event Monday

Queen Máxima doubled up on her events on Monday. She also doubled up on her outfits, and doubled up on her experiments in balancing volume.

Queen Máxima opened the Theater De Blauwe Kei during a visit to CHV Noordkade.
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This dress has a little bit of interest on the one side, sort of a built-in shawl turning into a flowy ruffly thing (please try to keep up with my technical terminology). It's not a particularly voluminous dress, so it's well-matched to a bigger brimmed hat. There's balance here. Throw in a pair of swinging aquamarine earrings and you've got a winner.

She also attended the G20 Workshop of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.
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On the other hand, pairing a voluminous floral blouse with a voluminous pair of culottes is...well. This one fell right off the balance beam, didn't it.

11 September 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: The Spanish Royal Family in Asturias

Last week the Spanish royal family visited Asturias to mark the 13th centenary of the Kingdom of Asturias, the centenary of the Catholic Coronation of the Virgin of Covadonga, and the centenary of the creation of the National Park of Covadonga Mountain. Phew! That's a lot of centenaries all at once.

House of HM the King
It was an historic day for one more reason, too: this marked the first official trip to Asturias for the Princess of Asturias, a big step in Leonor's official life. She was supported by her parents, King Felipe and Queen Letizia, and her sister, Infanta Sofia. Leonor's blue outfit went with her dad's tie; Sofia's pink with red accents went with her mom's red dress. Family coordination: check.

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And it's all very appropriate and very good, precisely as we have come to expect from them! Letizia's red dress is custom Carolina Herrera. She can never go too wrong in her best color.

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Leonor's light blue dress was a great background for some of the official gifts she received on her big trip. Leonor and Sofia received necklaces with medallions of the Virgin of Covadonga, which they both put on (Leonor's wearing hers above). Both girls received chain necklaces from Asturias with Asturian gold and sapphires (see here). As Princess of Asturias, Leonor received a beautiful bejeweled handmade badge, which you can read about and see here. She wore that during the day as well.

House of HM the King
They rounded things out with some hiking for that aforementioned national park centenary. If this picture's not a tourism advertisement for that park, I don't know what is. What a view! And what a well played day for the whole family.

10 September 2018

Monday Tidbits for September 10: Current and Future Gatherings

Birthday festivities are ahead:

--Reports are Queen Elizabeth II is planning on throwing a big private birthday party for the Prince of Wales in November, when he celebrates his 70th birthday. This sounds like the party thrown for his 60th, which was black tie (no, for those already asking, not a tiara event; that's really not the Windsor style). There were European royals in attendance as well as extended family members, but guest photos were mostly limited to pics in cars and just a couple of photos of the main family members were released from inside. (Here's a gallery of guests arriving.) I expect much the same this time around. [Hello, Zimbio]

--Speaking of Chaz, he and the Duchess of Cornwall teamed up last week with Princess Haya for a visit to the "Maiden" yacht, which originally featured the first all-female crew to sail the Whitbread Round the World Race and has now been refurbished to set sail on another around the world voyage for charity. Princess Haya's father, the late King Hussein, sponsored the yacht's original voyage, and she's helped with the refurbishment. This is a sharp dress on Camilla. [YouTube]
Clarence House

--Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit took a trip to Vestfold county. She got to wear a cute pink coat and pet a dog, what's not to enjoy? [ParisMatch]

--The Belgian royal family - and extended family, including Grand Duke Henri - gathered to mark 25 years since the passing of King Baudouin with a memorial mass. Luxarazzi has an on the scene report. 
Belgian Royal Palace

Coming up this week: Checking in with Spain, and more...

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!

07 September 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: The Duchess of Sussex Tries on Blue

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the 100 Days of Peace concert to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I last night.
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An LBD where the B is actually bright blue for a change? Yes please. Hot, sparkly shoes? Yessssssss pleaasssssse. These are Good Things. So if a few angles make me feel the need to preemptively remind everyone of a certain bullet point in our comment policy, I can deal with that. (I'll save you a click: we don't play any level of the pregnancy speculation game here.)

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P.S.: Harry, not every tie goes well with your soulmate. And by soulmate I mean your trusty blue suit.

06 September 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Nuits Claires Tiara

Our post from last week's French state banquet in Denmark was updated, but for those who didn't hear the news: Princess Marie's new tiara is a mystery no more! The details on this new diadem were uncovered thanks to the hard work of Heaven, who runs the Princess Marie's Closet blog (here's her post on it, and you can follow her on Twitter here; the blog is really the best resource for full coverage of Marie's events). She received information on this exciting tiara development from the Danish royal court and the jeweler, who also posted pictures and details on their social media. Naturally, we must give this piece our traditional Thursday treatment.

The Nuits Claires Tiara
Called the Nuits Claires Tiara (or Lyse Nœtter Diademet), it is a new piece made by Mauboussin, designed in cooperation with Princess Marie, and loaned to her for use. The tiara is made of white gold in a vine-like design of leaves and flowers set with 13.35 carats of diamonds and 13.58 carats of sapphires. The sapphires color some of the flowers and are studded around the rest of the floral design, which wasn't immediately evident when the tiara was in use. The central stone is a pear-shaped Ceylon sapphire of 6.82 carats.

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When French jeweler Mauboussin decided to make a royal tiara, French-born Princess Marie was a natural choice with which to collaborate. Marie was involved in the full design process, and the tiara is meant to be a tribute to her adopted country. She also picked the tiara's name, which translates to "bright nights" or "clear nights".

Since the tiara itself is a connection between Denmark and France, it was only fitting that Princess Marie debuted it at the state banquet during the French state visit to Denmark. The sapphires and diamonds worn with her red dress combined to create a sartorial tribute to the French flag.

Tellement Sublime Mon Amour Ring
For the French state banquet, Marie also borrowed a matching ring from the jeweler. The ring is a part of their existing Tellement Sublime Mon Amour collection. Many people wondered if the earrings she wore were also part of the set; they are not. She's worn those earrings for a few years.

Mauboussin owns the Nuits Claires Tiara and Princess Marie is able to loan it for use. This is an interesting arrangement that wouldn't work in many other monarchies, but has been embraced by the Danish royal family; Crown Princess Mary has exclusive use of the Midnight Tiara owned by the Ole Lynggaard firm, while Princess Marie has previously worn the Flora Danica Tiara under similar conditions. There's benefit here for the jewelers in publicity, plus potential other sales - the Midnight Tiara, for example, has been included in exhibitions and has a related collection for retail sale - while allowing a princess to wear a new jewel without public scrutiny of the cost.

I'm glad to see a blue stone tiara in the Danish royal family, which is something they don't really have. (Apart from Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara, which belonged to the late Princess Elisabeth.) I'd love to see Princess Marie wear the Nuits Claires Tiara with Queen Alexandrine's Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Brooch. And, really, anything that brings Princess Marie a little more tiara variety is good news in my book.

Does this modern tiara win your stamp of approval?

05 September 2018

Wednesday Tidbits for September 5: Anniversaries and More

Here we go again:

--As noted last week, King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a church service, plus a later private dinner. Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore an Emilia Wickstead dress also owned by the Countess of Wessex; Queen Sonja wore her gift from the King, a gold rose brooch. The royal ladies wore commemorative bow medallions designed by Sonja. [NRK]
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--From an earlier Mette-Marit engagement, this made me laugh: How do those royal ladies cope with high heels on duty? By throwing a pair of UGG slides in the car for immediate relief. [Twitter]

--Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia released a new picture of little nugget Prince Gabriel for his first birthday!
Erika Gerdemark, Kungahuset.se

--This is devastating: Brazil's National Museum, one of the largest museums of natural history in the Americas, was gutted in a major fire on Sunday night. Officials say almost 90% of their priceless collection has been destroyed. The building itself is another big loss; its rich history includes use as a residence for the Portuguese royal family and later for the Brazilian imperial family. [Guardian, BBC]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, QEII enjoyed a giggly day out with Anne and Chaz, and brought one of her famous diamonds along for the summer holiday.

--And finally, a little respect for another kind of queen: The Band of the Welsh Guards played "Respect" during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace on Friday, the day of Aretha Franklin's funeral.

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!

04 September 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: The Return of Queen Máxima

Queen Máxima's back from her summer vacation, and she has a big announcement for us:

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King Willem-Alexander presented the Military William Order on Friday, with Queen Máxima present.
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Her sleeves had a summer growth spurt! Bless. Welcome back, Máx.