30 September 2011

An Important Question

My friends, I have a terribly important question to ask you today:

What's your favorite tiara?

Yes, one favorite. All right, you can name your desert island 5 if you must. Because I'm benevolent.

But listen: you want to chime in here. Because I'm counting. And it might just have something to do with a little thing I'm cooking up. So make sure you speak up for your favorite(s).

Need ideas? Check out the Jewel Central page for a refresher on the tiaras we've covered so far as well as links to the events that have featured lots of ladies with tiaras blazing.

Leave a comment, tweet at me {@orderofsplendor}, or send me some e-mail {orderofsplendor at hotmail dot com}. And if you don't want to do any of the above, hit the "LIKE" button on a comment if someone's hit your faves already, and I'll count that too.

Now, I suppose you want to know my answer. Fine, I'll tell you.

The truth is, my tiara affections are fickle. I'm liable to flit between favorites in any given 15 minute span. But if I had to settle down into a monogamous sparkly relationship with just tiara only, it would be this baby:
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, a.k.a. The Most Perfect Tiara Ever

Now, your turn: GO!
Photo: Xinhua/Reuters

Flashback Friday: Sash and Gown Combos That Work

After valiantly attempting earlier this week to understand the reasons why royals so often just don't care about the matching their gown to their sash, I thought we should throw some praise at those appearances where things actually did work on that shallow, aesthetically pleasing level you know I operate on. And perhaps, along the way, figure out just what the formula is for a successful gala appearance.

Left to Right: Princess Madeleine, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine, and Crown Princess Mary (times 3)
The most obvious tactic for a well-coordinated gala appearance is just to go the simple route and get a gown in about the same color as your sash. This is a lot like Queen Elizabeth's white gown strategy, only fussier, and in living color. Lucky you if you're one of those Scandinavian princess with a universally flattering pale blue riband to sport; unlucky you if you've got a bolder color - orange or something - to work with.

L to R: Princess Letiza, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Máxima (times 2), Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
Well, you can't match your gown and your sash precisely all the time. It would be impractical, for one, and totally boring for another. Enter coordinating colors. Stay in the same color family, like Letizia or Mary. (Can we have a moment of silence for the amazingness of that gown on Letizia?......Okay, moving on.) The magic of Victoria's famous magenta gown is the slight blue sheen, which picks that sash right up. Máxima's white gown in not just incredibly chic, it's also very cleverly matched to that particular sash (the Order of Leopold, from Belgium). Wouldn't have been nearly as good with a busier one, or something in a brighter color. Now, her orange Valentino gown shows off the complementary color scheme at work: blue and orange go together, and not just in football. And that's very much the same case as Maria Teresa's simple purple dress paired with her orange sash - one of the hardest to deal with, if you ask me.

L to R: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Maxima, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Crown Princess Mary
Here's another sneaky trick that'll get me to like your sash + gown concoction almost every time: incorporate the sash right in. Stick it under the fabric at the neckline, under a belt, within your wrap, or under your top. The colors don't even have to make perfect sense (Mary, hello), but it somehow looks perfectly planned.

And finally, some of my all-time favorite order + gown appearances:
L to R: Crown Princess Mary (twice), Queen Silvia, Princess Mathilde
Mary's medieval red dress (which I've already confessed my love for and will continue to do so) was the perfect foil for the collar of the Order of the Elephant (and for once, a specific match for her ruby tiara), and she made a pretty good match the second time around while in Norway with the Order of St. Olav's red riband. Queen Silvia looked divine at Victoria's wedding in a perfect example of how to wear an intricate dress that is both color-matched to your jewels (all that gorgeous pink topaz) but includes enough of a tip to your sash to make it work. And my absolute favorite might just be Mathilde in her printed gown (not usually something that works when there's an order involved as it just gets cluttered) which is a good color match and includes an incorporated sash. Well played indeed.

Are there any standout sash appearances that you've always loved?

Photos: Svenskdam/PPE/Seeger/ANP/Getty Images/Tim Graham/Cour gr ducale/Rex Features

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 18-24 September

Here's what Mathilde wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Visiting East Flanders, 21 September. Yet another dress I like on Mathilde, but probably not on anyone else! 
Photos: Nieuwsblad/gpp

29 September 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Baden Fringe Tiara

By popular demand, our weekly sparkly celebration concentrates on the trademark of one of everybody's favorite royals: Crown Princess Victoria and the Baden Fringe Tiara.
Sometimes also called the Sunray Tiara (and variations of that), it originally belonged to Queen Victoria of Sweden. It was a wedding gift from her parents, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Baden, for her 1881 marriage to Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden.
Left to Right: Queen Victoria wearing the piece as a necklace, a dress ornament, and twice as a tiara
The tiara is composed of 47 diamond rays. Like many of its fringe counterparts, it is a flexible piece that can be removed from the frame and worn as a necklace or other ornament. Or at least it was originally made that way; though Queen Victoria wore it as such, we only see it in tiara form these days. A bit surprising given the talent of the ladies of the Swedish house to do interesting things with their jewels.
 L to R: Queen Louise, Princess Margaretha, Princess Desirée, Princess Christina, Princess Lilian
Queen Victoria left the tiara to a family foundation, which ensured that it would stay in the family. It has been worn by many family members over the years, but since Crown Princess Victoria started wearing it, it has mostly been left to her.
Queen Silvia
This is right in line with Queen Victoria's wishes, as she wanted it to be a piece mainly for Crown Princesses. And appropriately, the Crown Princess has made it her signature piece.
Crown Princess Victoria 
Fringe tiaras were a dime a dozen at one time; most royal and noble families have or have had one at some point in their history. This one is my favorite twist on the classic fringe form. The rays have a diamond shape to them, and they fan out to create a halo around the wearer's head. It also wraps further around the head and has a greater height difference between the tallest and shortest spikes than most fringes do.
Crown Princess Victoria's tiara hair
Tiaras that extend so far back are often harder to wear, so it's a good thing this one belongs to the Swedish royal family. They have the hairdressing prowess to make it work, and even have some fun with it in the process. We need to have an ode to Swedish tiara hair sometime because, man - nobody does it better.

Are you a fan of this sunny fringe?

This tiara was voted #11 on your Top 15 Favorite Tiaras!

Photos: Svenskdam/Newscom/Sjobergbild/Scanpix/Polfoto/ANP

Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 18-24 September

Here's what Victoria wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Attending a memorial in Uppsala, 18 September.
  2. Visiting Turku in Finland, 19 September, a) with and b) without coats. Different shooties are still shooties. Sigh.
  3. Official dinner in Turku, 19 September. Ah! Very thankful for the repeated color and print.
  4. Day 2 of the Turku visit, 20 September.
  5. Attending an emergency simulation exercise, 21 September.
  6. At the opening of "Victoria Square" in Haparanda Tornio, 22 September. Three shootie appearances in one week. I have a headache.
Photos: Lehtikuva/Purepeople/Abaca/Suomen Kuvalehti/Kaleva

28 September 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Louis and Tessy's Wedding

 HRH Prince Louis of Luxembourg and Tessy Antony
September 29, 2006
Gilsdorf, Luxembourg

It's been five years since Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg were married, which means it's as good a time as any to look back to their wedding. And in this case, also the special circumstances surrounding it. For those that don't follow Luxembourg's grand ducal family, Louis is the third of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa's five children.
Louis and Tessy after their civil wedding
In September 2005, the Grand Ducal Palace issued a surprise announcement: Prince Louis was expecting a child with his girlfriend of about a year, Tessy Antony. Louis was 19 years old; Tessy was 20. Apparently they met while Tessy was a soldier in Luxembourg's army serving in Kosovo. When I say this was a surprise, I mean it: this is a very discreet family. Many didn't even know Louis had a girlfriend; if anything, sketchy rumors had pointed towards Prince Félix (Louis' older brother) as the one on the verge of young parenthood. On March 12, 2006, their son Gabriel was born. In June of that year, they announced they were getting married.
Tessy with her father entering the church, and during the ceremony
About a month before the ceremony, Louis renounced his own rights to the throne as well as those of all his descendants. (Gabriel was already excluded has he was born illegitimately.) He wasn't required to do so by law, but he was following a precedent set by his uncle, Prince Jean, who gave up his succession rights when he had a daughter out of wedlock. (Jean would later go on to marry the mother of his illegitimate child, Hélène Vestur, and have three additional children before divorcing. He is now remarried.)
The gown from Pronovias
Louis and Tessy married on September 29, 2006. As seems appropriate, theirs was less a royal wedding and more a simple family affair. They married first in a civil ceremony at the Grand Ducal Palace, and then in a religious ceremony at a church in Gilsdorf. Tessy wore an off-the-rack dress from Pronovias with gloves that she removed during the ceremony.
With Gabriel after the service
This has never struck me as a princess's dress, but she wasn't a princess. After her wedding, she was simply Tessy de Nassau (and their son was Gabriel de Nassau). And while I can't say I'd give it a second glance on the rack myself, I've always liked it for one main reason: it seems like what she would have worn whether or not the man waiting at the end of the aisle was a prince.
With the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess
A year after they married, the couple welcomed their second son, Noah. On National Day in 2009, the Palace announced that Grand Duke Henri had granted his daughter-in-law the styling of Princess of Luxembourg, and his grandsons the titles of Princes of Nassau; also, everybody was to be styled with an HRH. (This is the same styling as the wife and children of any other Prince of Luxembourg would use.) Once again, this wasn't new territory for the family: the aforementioned Prince Jean's children and wife were granted titles after the fact.
Louis' siblings at the wedding (left to right): Prince Félix, Prince Sébastien, Prince Guillaume (the Hereditary Grand Duke), Princess Alexandra
These days, the Prince and Princess (along with their sons, of course) live in London, where they are both students. They join the family for major events.
The family this summer

Did you like Tessy's wedding gown?

Photos: PPE/Nieboer/Wort/Pronovias/RTL

Week in Review: Princess Máxima, 18-24 September

Here's what Máxima wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Attending the baptism of Princess Margarita's daughter Paola, 18 September (Margarita is Willem-Alexander's cousin).
  2. a) Prinsjesdag, 20 September, with b) a close up on the beadwork.
  3. Receiving a book of poetry and attending the premiere of a musical, 21 September.
  4. Opening the World Music Contest, 22 September. A sparkly delight repeated from the Qatar state visit.
  5. In Washington, D.C. attending the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings, 23 September. Well, I suppose if anyone can pull off the double animal print, it's Máx...
You really can't see what she wore for outfit 1 but it doesn't matter because Holland's next top models were in the house:

Photos: Profimedia/Dutch Photo Press/PPE/Nieboer/Getty Images/Daylife

27 September 2011

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mary, 18-24 September

Here's what Mary wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Naming a Naval Home Guard vessel, 18 September....hmmmm....so, I don't know about this. I'm not sure Mary can pull off the cloche hat. Seems like a skirt event, but it also seems like the weather was wretched, so she might have been tied to an outfit like this.
  2. Launching an anti-bullying campaign, 21 September. Much better. Short trousers are tricky to pull off, but I think this is working. What do you think?
Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Lehtikuva

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 18-24 September

Here's what Letizia wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Holding audiences at Zarzuela Palace, 19 September. You add a pencil skirt and some non-platform heels, and Letizia's regular thing suddenly looks a whole lot more elegant.
  2. Attending the presentation of the Luis Carandell journalism prize, 22 September.
  3. Visiting a Red Cross center, 23 September.
I don't know what it is about this week - I mean, it's still the same grays - but it seems a little bit more polished. A little bit like the old Letizia, maybe.

Also, this happened:

How much do you love that all the little ones are paying attention to the camera only? "Forget the tall guy and that other lady, somebody wants to take our picture!"

Photos: Hoymujer/Casareal

26 September 2011

Royal Splendor 101: Sashes and Stuff, Part 2

Previously, in my quest to fill the interwebs with even more useless information, we went over some of the basics of the insignia associated with orders of chivalry, and how they work in a royal's own country. Now we're adding another layer of complexity to the game: what happens when countries get together and different sashes start flying around. How does it all work? And most importantly: how are you supposed to know what to wear?

When are foreign orders received? While royals may receive membership in another country's order as part of a special event or an official visit, state visits are where the real collecting happens. Gifts are always traded during a state visit, and orders are commonly included.
Orders given as gifts from Luxembourg (left) and Norway (right) during the 2011 state visit from Luxembourg to Norway

How many foreign orders do royals have? That's completely dependent on the number of occasions they've been involved in. Prince William has no foreign orders yet, as he has never played an official part in a state visit. On the other hand, Crown Princess Victoria (only 5 years older than William) has quite the collection, because she's been supporting her parents on incoming and outgoing state visits for years.
 Victoria's foreign orders to date, per Wikipedia (all relevant Wiki disclaimers apply...). Click to enlarge.

Who gets which orders? Just as different countries have different policies regarding how they hand these out at home, they all handle gifts of orders differently. Let's revisit the example from above, the 2010 state visit from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to Norway. Beatrix is wearing the distinctive red sash of Norway's Order of St.Olav, which is the order King Harald awards to fellow royals. He often gives the order to sovereigns, heirs, and consorts of both and sometimes more minor family members as well. Beatrix is very generous with her orders, but she gives out different ones depending on a person's position.
King Harald and Queen Sonja are wearing the highest Dutch order available to them, the Order of the Netherlands Lion; Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are wearing the next order down, the Order of Orange-Nassau; Princess Märtha Louise and Princess Astrid are wearing a lower house order, the Order of the House of Orange.

Sovereigns attending Garter Day in 2002 for the Jubilee
Other countries don't give out orders so easily. If you're thinking that sounds like Britain, you're spot on. Reigning European sovereigns usually receive the Order of the Garter, as does the Japanese Emperor. Sovereigns from other parts of the world might get a lesser order, or nothing at all. Sovereign consorts and heirs may receive a lesser order...or not. (A look at the orders on the men at William and Kate's wedding will give you an idea what we're talking about.) Royal families might alter their order-giving policies to match another house for diplomatic reasons too, just to add more confusion to the mix.

How do you know which order to wear? Sadly, you can't just pick whichever sash goes best with your dress. When you are visiting another country or another country is visiting you, you want to honor that country by wearing the highest order that country has given you. If you don't have any orders from that country, you proceed with the rules from part 1, and wear the highest honor you have from your own country. Shall we have an example? Yes, we shall:
Left to Right: Queen Paola and King Albert of the Belgians, Princess Máxima and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Princess Letizia and Prince Felipe of Spain, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg
All of these kids are shown attending Crown Princess Victoria's wedding. The Swedes give their highest honor, the Order of the Seraphim, to sovereigns (Albert, who is wearing the collar rather than the sash), sovereign consorts (Paola), and heirs (Willem-Alexander, Frederik, Felipe). They give their second highest honor, the Order of the Polar Star, to others (Máxima, Mary, Mette-Marit). Those that don't have any Swedish orders (Letizia, Guillaume) wore their own.

But why wouldn't you have the right country's order at an event? Why don't Letizia and Guillaume have Swedish orders? See above: if a royal hasn't participated in a state visit with said country, then they likely have no orders to show. Though it may be entertaining to imagine that snubbing is involved somehow, the likely explanation is that they just haven't had a chance to collect that certain order yet, or they're restricted by order-giving policies and won't get an order in their current positions.

What about multiple orders? Yes, here too you can wear more than one order. Royals often wear the order of the country they're honoring and their own country's order(s) at the same time.

The foreign orders take precedence, as you can see on King Harald on the left there. At Victoria's wedding, he wore the collar of the Order of the Seraphim, which freed him up to wear the riband of the Order of St. Olav from Norway. (When you wear a collar, you either go without a sash - as King Albert did - or you wear a sash from a different order.) He wore stars at his waist from both orders.

What happens if you get it wrong? People will point and laugh at you. People around you might ponder if they have the authority to tell you about your faux pas, while the rest might be busy spinning your mistake into an international snub. And then life will go on just as before, because hey, it's just a little bit of insignia.
Prince Philip showed up for the funeral of King Baudouin I of the Belgians wearing the Order of the Leopard from Zaire instead of the Belgian Order of Leopold. Whoops.

So why can't they just match their dresses and sashes properly? There's a story about Diana in Suzy Menkes' The Royal Jewels, which I've mentioned before: Diana was all prepped for a 1982 state visit from the Netherlands with a sugar pink gown and sapphires, until Queen Beatrix unexpectedly gave her an orange order to wear. In a panic, she found a new gown and sent to Buckingham Palace for a different necklace to wear. (The outcome is at right, where you can also see her wearing the giant sapphire brooch she would later turn into her signature choker, and her royal family order.) I have to tell you, though, that surprises like that are probably few and far between. State visits are planned to the tiniest detail. I suspect that - if this story is true in the first place - it was assumed she'd know there might be a sash coming her way.

Or perhaps a more likely story: no one figured she'd care. Attempting to find a perfect match to each and every order? Time consuming. Expensive. Probably gets more and more annoying as time rolls on. Though she used to wear colorful dresses, Queen Elizabeth now sticks to mostly white gowns at gala occasions. I suppose at some point, after decades of attempting to match, you just throw in the towel.
A rainbow of sashes, from (L to R): Jordan, France, Norway, Thailand, South Africa, the United Kingdom (of course), Poland, and Denmark

And that, friends, ends my digression on orders (unless there's something else about them you'd like to see a post on, of course, you can always let me know). Hopefully that will answer some of the questions; as always, there are many more levels of detail you can dig into with each and every specific order and country. Next time: new topic.
Photos: Aftenposten/vg.no/ANP/Scanpix/Getty Images/Daylife/Zimbio/Corbis

Week in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge, 18-24 September

Here's what Catherine wore from 18-24 September:

  1. Attending a friend's wedding, 24 September, in Collette Dinnigan lace and Prada heels. Is it odd that the thing that excites me the most here is that she wore her diamond earrings and diamond bracelet? (Answer: Yes. But you aren't surprised.) Anyway, I love the dress - it's a COLOR! Huzzah. Not sure it's a hatty sort of dress, if you know what I mean (or maybe I just don't like those kind of hats), but it's a color, so I'll shut up. She also sported some major heels. All the better to see the bride over the crowd, I guess.
UPDATE: She was also spotted at the hair salon on 23 September.
Photos: Daily Mail/Ikon Pictures/Daily Mail/Tanna/Stewart/Sunday Express/XposurePhotos/USWeekly

25 September 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: Märtha Louise's 40th Birthday

As promised, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway turned 40 in style with a bash this weekend. I have to say, I'm a little sad there was no bedazzling of the number 40 involved. How will we remember what occasion she was celebrating as the years pass?
Here's what I think happened: the dress Märta Louise ordered for the party came in just a little too lovely and normal, so she had Ari toss her the scissors...and here we are. And also she put her hair on backwards.

There was a private dinner at the palace on Saturday, and it drew a very interesting royal turnout. Mette-Marit is traveling, so she was a no-show, and there were no Swedes to be found either (Princess Christina's son was married in France this weekend, so that could be why). Also, a surprisingly large Dutch contingent was in attendance.

Sad faces all around because we got nary a glimpse of the royal guests coming or going, but we did get one group photo. So we'll forge on with a slightly modified version of our regular fashion awards. Stand outs only!
Back row, left to right: Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, Crown Prince Haakon, Christian Udnæs, Anja Bjørshol, Espen Bjørshol, Catherine Ullens de Schooten, Tjalling Siebe ten Cate, Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma, Jean Charles Ullens de Schooten, Princess Annemarie and Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma. 
Front row, left to right: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Princess Astrid, Queen Sonja, King Harald, Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn, Marianne Behn, Olav Bjørshol, the Countess of Wessex, the Earl of Wessex, Princess Sumaya of Jordan and Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

Worst Burgeoning Rut: Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg, in the same thing she wore for her sister's wedding earlier this summer. Not a bad dress at all, it's just washing her out like nobody's business.

Most Improved: Queen Sonja. I like what I see here, that little fuchsia number. Seems she's toned down her usual unique sense of style to allow her daughter's to take center stage. This should happen more often.

Most Entertaining: Princess Astrid, in her flippy ankle length garden skirt. She came dressed for a skip through a spring meadow! Gotta love that.

Best Girl Crush: The Countess of Wessex. I told you I'm developing a girl crush on Sophie, and her feeding my full skirt obsession isn't helping! (So nice to see the Wessexes there, by the way!)

Best Dressed: Princess Irene. She's not a common attendee at royal events (Irene is one of Queen Beatrix's sisters, who lost her place in the line of succession when she married Prince Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma - they divorced in 1981). But she should be, because look how elegant she is in her green dress. Bonus points for bringing all four of her children and associated spouses.

What did you think of the birthday girl's outfit, and which guest was your best dressed?

Photos: aftenposten/Scanpix

23 September 2011

Flashback Friday: Laurentien at Prinsjesdag

As promised, today's flashback is more Prinsjesdag fun. But first, I've gotten several questions about the dress code, so I thought I'd address those first (there are some answers in the comments on the Prinsjesdag post too). The Prinsjesdag dress code is as follows: military uniforms or morning coats for the men, with long day dresses plus orders and hats for the ladies. Tiaras aren't worn because this is a day event, and tiaras are reserved for evening events (usually). It might seem strange because we're used to seeing ladies with long dresses and tiaras these days, but it's actually not strange - it was a very common dress code up until a few decades ago. Look back to the major royal events of years gone by, and this is precisely what royal ladies will be wearing. Favor switched to shorter, more casual outfits for the women over time, but Prinsjesdag never changed. And though the jewel fiend in me wouldn't mind them going full out like their British counterparts and throwing on tiaras, this is a nice throwback.

Daily sidebar over, my original intent for today's post was to talk about Máxima's Prinsjesdag outfits over the years. But then this year's event happened, and, well, it was a teensy bit boring. We need some entertainment, and for that, we need to call on one person: Princess Laurentien. Hit it, L.:

In the beginning were the dull outfits. Laurentien's first Prinsjesdag was in 2001, and she started out as I suppose any new in-law would: playing it safe, testing the waters. As the years went on, her unique sense of style truly started to emerge. First, a little bit of lopsided orange velvet; then an exploration in to the wonders of leather (or pleather? or vinyl? Please don't let it be vinyl.); and finally a print explosion on a most curious silhouette. (Speaking of that silhouette, somebody needs to confirm for me that that is a skirt and not a pair of righteous bell bottoms. Because I can't really tell, and it's bothering me.)(UPDATE: Yes, they are bell bottoms. OH LAURENTIEN.)

A-HA! This is what I'm talking about. Four years in, and she lets her true sartorial flag fly. This is like some sort of evil mermaid Queen costume, and it is awesome.

The prints may be gone, but the nuttiness lives on! I have no problem with corsets, really. This, however, looks like one of those belts that you wear for safety while lifting, custom-dyed for outfit cohesion. And though I'm sure Prinsjesdag presents its own challenges in the form of keeping one's eyes open through an entire governmental speech, I really don't think it involves any heavy lifting.

On the one hand, this is lovely; on the other, it's half lingerie. So, there's that.

Hee! Here we have some another nightie, but this time from Pioneer days...in Hawaii. And thermal underwear underneath! And a stack of tissue paper crepes on top! This is why I count on Laurentien to bring the giggles.

See, even when she takes the elegant route (crazy good, that coat and dress), she has to funk it up with the headpiece of a windblown dinosaur bird. (Obligatory points awarded for the major sapphires on display, of course.)

You can't expect a person to dress one way all the time, I know that. Laurentien has plenty of sane moments (there's her gold star, of course, plus these recent appearances sent in by reader Heleen). But you come to expect certain things; and from Laurentien on Prinjesdag I expect some interest. Even if it is just a crazy bright color. So it's not so much that her 2011 outfit is bad...it's just a bit of an entertainment let down. Ya know?

Which is your favorite year?

Photos: ANP/Seeger/PPE/Getty Images/Daylife/Dutch Photo Press

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 11-17 September

Here's what Mathilde wore from 11-17 September:

  1. a) and b) Attending a memorial for the 9/11 attacks, 11 September.
  2. a) and b) Visiting the 'Infirmieres de Rue' association, 13 September, in an oft-repeated dress.
  3. At a gala evening for the King Baudouin Foundation, 14 September, in a homemade aluminum foil concoction!
Photos: Nieuwsblad/Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck/Svenskdam