08 February 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Frederik and Mary's Pre-Wedding Gala

As we've just seen with Queen Margrethe's jubilee, when it comes to doing the royal celebration right, Denmark is king (and also queen). Accordingly, the jam-packed roster of celebrations for the 2004 wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and his Aussie love Mary Donaldson included three tiara events. YES. Not one, not two, but three.

First, there was a fancy dinner with the family in attendance. Friends, history in the making here: this is Mary's very first tiara appearance.
Top row, left to right: Queen Margrethe of Denmark in the Danish Emerald Parure, Princess Alexandra of Denmark in the Alexandrine Drop Tiara, Mary Donaldson in the Danish Ruby Parure, Princess Benedikte of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in her floral tiara, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece in the Greek Ruby Tiara, and Princess Elisabeth of Denmark in her sapphire tiara
We know now, thanks to her comments in the documentary De Kongelige Juveler, that Mary felt the enormity of wearing Queen Ingrid's ruby parure, and that's plainly on show at this event. Or maybe she just had a look at Carmen Miranda there and was in the midst of one of those "what have I gotten myself into?" moments. Wouldn't blame her.

The night before the wedding, tiara event #2 was held in the form of a gala performance at the Royal Theatre. And here's where we really get cooking, as all the foreign royal friends began to pour in...

Best in Color
Princess Marie-Chantal
L to R: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, the Duchess of Castro, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Lovely to see such refreshingly spring-y colors for a May wedding, no? I'll even forgive Maria Teresa her strained sleeves in exchange for that lovely print. (Also, I know you can't really see Sonja here, but she seems to be repeating this dress from her daughter's wedding.) Marie-Chantal, pregnant with her fourth and delightfully pistachio flavored, wins it for me.

And, because I know you care, here's the tiara roundup: Märtha Louise is wearing King Olav's Gift Tiara, Astrid has the Savoy Aosta Tiara from her husband's family, Sonja wears Queen Josephine's Diamond Tiara, M-C is in her fringe tiara, Camilla (Duchess of Castro) has her buggy dragonfly ruby tiara, and MT the Pearl and Diamond Choker Tiara.

Best in Blergh
Princess Mathilde
L to R: Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the Countess of Wessex, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia
Gray, beiggggggg....sorry, fell asleep there. Yup, this is the boring category, be it for boring colors or boring shapes. I'll give it to Mathilde, though, since I see some potential underneath that inflatable shoulder thing (she's well prepared should anyone toss her in a pool, though). There are a couple of notable things happening here, gowns aside: this is the first time Sophie was seen in her royal family order and also the one and only appearance of this mystery tiara, and this is the first time Mette-Marit wore the Amethyst Necklace Tiara.

Tiaras: Alexandra in the Alexandrine Drop, Sophie in her mystery, Anne-Marie in the Khedive of Egypt, Mathilde in her Laurel Wreath, M-M in the amethyst, and it's really hard to tell if Katherine has one on or not. Sometimes the halo lighting effect really does work in your favor.

Worst in Guests
Archduchess Francesca
L to R: Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Archduchess Francesca of Austria, Infanta Cristina of Spain
I've never liked that lace-trimmed dress of Marge's, to be honest; it's a little too costumey, even for this costume queen. But it's nothing compared to the unattractive dip in the front of Caroline's gown or the electrical tape number on Cristina, I must say (sometimes, if you're not going to work it like Kate Moss, you should just leave it the runway). And they, in turn, are nothing compared to Francesca. I'll think twice about my entertainment selections now that I know skunk attacks on unsuspecting theatergoers are an ever-present danger.

Tiaras: Margrethe in the Pearl Poire, Caroline in the Hanoverian Floral Tiara from her husband's family, Francesca in a simple bandeau from the Habsburgs, Cristina in the Mellerio Floral Tiara.

Best in Guests
A Tie
L to R: Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran, Letizia Ortiz
On memory alone I was prepared to give Letizia this one, but then I found myself bewitched by Empress Farah and her simply elegant sheath. Just wonderful. And not a tiara in sight for either one! (Letizia wouldn't wear a tiara until her wedding day, just about a week later.)

Best of All
Mary Donaldson
I told you this is one of my favorite royal gala dresses of all time, and this is one of my very favorite appearances. I know some of you are partial to Mary's first outing of this tiara, in ice blue above, but it's this one that gets me. This is a dress designed for exactly this jewelry, and she can carry off the whole parure without looking like she's drowning in gems (not that that wouldn't be a wonderous way to go). It's also one of my favorite appearances of tiaras with hair down, which is a tricky feat indeed. Princess bliss, as far as I'm concerned.

Who's on your best and worst lists here?

Next week: the third and final tiara event, the wedding itself.

Photos: Getty Images/Gammarapho/Hello/Hola/Cover