30 November 2015

Royal Outfit of the Day: November 30

Queen Máxima visited financial support workshops for women in The Hague on Friday.
All of her action shots from this engagement look like she's in a shampoo commercial and I love it. This Claes Iversen dress is a gorgeous color and the skirt's a bit flippy, which is precisely what you  need for those shampoo commercial kind of days.

Also, for the record, I'll applaud any hairstyle that tries its best to cover up those nightmare-inducing spider brooches. GAH.

Photos: via Getty Images

29 November 2015

Sunday Tidbits for November 29: Triple the Tiara Watches

Hello again! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if a Thanksgiving is what you had. Let's do some catching up with three - count 'em, three - tiara watches for you:

--Tiara Watch #1: Princess Christina of Sweden attended an event to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Order of Innocence Society earlier this month wearing the Six Button Tiara. [Svenskdam]

--Tiara Watch #2: Princess Margriet of the Netherlands attended the Stuyvesant Ball in Manhattan, an event which always gets her to bring a tiara stateside. This year it was the Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara. [De Telegraaf]
Telegraaf screencaps

--The royal baby boom strikes again: The Duke and Duchess of Parma are expecting their third child. They have two daughters together. Prince Carlos is the son of Princess Irene of the Netherlands and older brother to Prince Jaime, whose wife is also expecting (and their announcement was in an earlier tidbits edition). [Royalty Online]

--Princess Estelle sends you autumn greetings from Sweden, and gives your new all-purpose approval meme while she's at it. [Kungahuset]
Kate Gabor/Kungahuset.se
--The Philippine government is once again assessing the value of the jewelry collection of former first lady Imelda Marcos, and are apparently considering an auction. (They're also on the hunt for a collection of paintings last known to have been in the Marcos family's possession.) This is not the first time the collection has been appraised and not the first time an auction has been suggested, but it has yet to happen and the Marcos family has disputed the ownership of the treasures in the past. The jewels are those that were seized from the Marcos couple when they fled the country in the 1980s, and they've basically sat in a bank vault ever since. Among the treasures is a rare 25 carat pink diamond, just discovered during the current review, and a handful of tiaras including the Russian Pearl Pendant Kokoshnik (which we have covered here before). [Telegraph]

--King Philippe issued a decree limiting the number of future holders of the title of Prince or Princess of Belgium, a smart move in the face of growing numbers of descendants allowed to use it. To sum it up briefly, use of the prince/ss title will be limited to children and grandchildren of the monarch in future generations. The decree does not remove the title from anyone that has it currently. [Deredactie]

--Also issued by King Philippe, a decree retroactively granting permission for the 2014 marriage of his nephew, Prince Amedeo. Amedeo did not originally ask for permission, but now that it has been granted, he returns to the Belgian line of succession. [Brussels Times]

--And finally, Tiara Watch #3: The British royal family took to Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and they did not disappoint in the jewel department. The Queen brought out the glorious Cambridge Emerald and Delhi Durbar Parure, and the Duchess of Cornwall sported her wonderful pink topaz jewels with the Greville Tiara. Plus, a bunch of brooch business and a lot more, all at the Vault.

24 November 2015

Tiara Thursday (on a Tuesday, with a Programming Note): The Tiaras of Queen Silvia

The blog is taking a break for the rest of the week. Here's a whole bunch of sparkle to tide you over:

Queen Silvia has plenty of tiara variety at her disposal with the extensive Swedish collection, and she has made good use of it throughout her marriage. That said, observing which tiaras she selects for which events quickly shows a loose pattern: the Braganza for the biggest occasions, the Leuchtenberg sapphires and the Nine Prong alternating for important occasions that don't warrant the Braganza, and everything else thrown in here and there for the rest. Excepting special occasions, she tends to be the sole wearer of many of the tiaras she favors.

So, as we approach another Nobel ceremony, a tiara retrospective is needed for our Swedish queen. Stick around to vote for your favorite! (And see previously: Victoria's tiaras, and Madeleine's tiaras.)

We have covered all of these in depth before, so click on the tiara name for details as always.

Kungahuset/Bruno Ehrs
The largest tiara at her disposal, this is a true big gun and she treats it like one, bringing it out only for the most special occasions (state banquets for fellow monarchs, Crown Princess Victoria's wedding, that sort of thing). She's never worn this one to the Nobel ceremony.

Nobel Prize video screencap
Tiara #1 of her two favorites, and one we see her wear on the regular. She wore it earlier this year for Prince Carl Philip's wedding, completing a run of her three most important tiaras for the weddings of her three children.

Frankie Fouganthin via Wikimedia Commons
And this is #2 of the Silvia favorites. It's said to be pretty rigid and hard to wear if it doesn't naturally fit you, but it must fit Queen Silvia like a dream because she wears it all the time. It was her choice for Princess Madeleine's wedding in 2013.

Though the Connaught has been shared with other family members on occasion (really just family weddings in recent years) and the drops have been worn by her daughters, it's usually worn only by Queen Silvia. She wore it to the gala held the night before her wedding, making it the first tiara she ever wore in public.

There's a double tiara appearance above: the Connaught on the head and the Modern Fringe around the neck. I have a hunch this one is now Princess Madeleine's, and I doubt we'll see it on Queen Silvia again. Time will tell.

And this would be the second tiara she wore, on her wedding day. With the exception of Crown Princess Victoria on her own wedding day, this tiara is also a Silvia-only piece now.

Queen Silvia "created" this tiara by placing a heavy necklace in the family collection on a tiara frame. The amethysts have since been shared with other family members (which you know makes me happy, amethyst lover that I am).

Presidência da República Portuguesa
There's some family controversy behind this tiara that resulted in scarce use for several years, but its gaining speed now. It is an Edwardian piece difficult to wear with modern hairstyles, but luckily Queen Silvia knows a few things about tricky tiaras.

And Others...
Fotocollectie Anefo via Wikimedia Commons
The remainder of Queen Silvia's picks from the Swedish tiara collection are less likely to be seen on her today. Perhaps not coincidentally, all of these are favorites for others in the family:
  • The Baden Fringe Tiara: This is the designated "crown princess" tiara for the family, and Silvia's use of it backed off once Crown Princess Victoria began to wear it.
  • The Cut Steel Tiara: Who can forget the tiara Queen Silvia is said to have discovered in a cabinet in the palace? (Well, someone can, I guess, since it ended up in the cabinet in the first place.) Today it is a favorite of Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Christina and not a frequent choice for Silvia, though she has commented on how pleasantly light it is to wear.
  • The Six Button Tiara: I'm not going to lie, I feel my well-documented dislike of the button tiaras is slightly vindicated by the fact that Queen Silvia avoids them both. She has worn the Six Button once at least; to my knowledge, she's never publicly worn the Four Button Tiara. Perhaps this is simply because she has enough pieces reserved for the queen without dipping into those frequently shared by the princesses, but I think I'll stick to my own theory.

Now the choice is yours: Vote!

The blog will return on Sunday. (We will be up and running over at the Jewel Vault though, where a trip is happening at the end of the week.) Happy Thanksgiving!

23 November 2015

Royal Duo of the Day: November 23

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania were in Spain last week for a working visit with King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. A style showdown is inevitable, isn't it? Particularly between these two queens, who have each brought their own twist on queenly dressing to the job. Rania stuck to her more adventurous (well, adventurous in comparison) combinations of luxury designers, and Letizia stuck to her carefully selected favorite designers and her clean silhouettes. In fact, Letizia played it even safer than usual, adding to the contrast between the two queens consort. The result has something for everyone, and I like a game where everyone wins.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania arrived in Spain on Thursday, and were given an official welcome by King Felipe and Queen Letizia.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore a Fendi coat.
Right off the bat, see? A red dress is peak Letizia, and I can't think of another royal lady that could pull off Rania's coat. But since that's a whole lotta whatever happening on one coat, I'm calling this one for the host country.

Thursday evening, the Spanish royal family hosted a dinner for their guests.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore an Agnona ensemble and Balenciaga shoes.
Everybody should have a good superhero belt at their disposal, don't you think? I think I like it enough to leap it over a standard LBD, Barbie Feet Syndrome and all.

Queen Rania made a solo visit to the Prado Media Lab cultural center.
She wore a Derek Lam blouse, leather skirt, and Christian Louboutin shoes.
On the other hand, I'm not sure my affection for a windowpane print is enough to leap me over the sideways version of Barbie feet.

On Friday, Queen Letizia and Queen Rania visited Molecular Biology Center 'Severo Ochoa' at Autonoma University.
Queen Letizia: Carolina Herrera suit, Prada shoes. Queen Rania: Alexander McQueen blouse, Azzedine Alaïa belt, Proenza Schouler skirt, Christian Louboutin shoes.
I never say no to Carolina Herrera, but I also never say no to something twirly (and what is Rania's skirt for if not for twirling, eh? Double the swoopy fun with those sleeves). And so we end on a draw, and hearty thanks to Their Majesties for playing along.

22 November 2015

Sunday Tidbits for November 22: Trips, Trips, and Also Trips

Some of our regular cast members have been on the go lately with working trips here and there and everywhere, so let's play catch up around the world:

--Queen Mathilde made sure to pack only her most colorful prints for a visit to Ethiopia in her role as Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium earlier this month, and it was just the right thing. [ParisMatch]
Belgian Monarchy Twitter

--Queen Máxima also brought the color (and the lobsters!) for her visit to Bangladesh as part of her work for the UN in inclusive finance. I love our Dutch queen in this Michael Kors pink and camel number, which I find vibrant in a sophisticated way. [Refdag, Hello]

--Crown Princess Mary traveled to Senegal on a private trip with the Orchid Project as part of her advocacy for reproductive and sexual health and rights, and stopping female genital cutting. [Orchid Project]

--Here is Crown Prince Haakon holding a baby sloth in Brazil, so happy Sunday to you. He traveled with a Norwegian delegation for an official visit/trade mission packed with events on business and the environment: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4. [Konghuset]
Photo: Marianne Hagen, the Royal Court of Norway

--Crown Princess Mette-Marit was at work back home. She and the kids attended a memorial for Paris in Oslo, and I'd love to see this coat at a happier event so that I can properly lavish some praise on it. [Zimbio]

--A Canadian mining firm working in Botswana has found the second largest diamond ever, 1,111 carats and nearly the size of a tennis ball. It's the biggest gem quality stone found since the Cullinan Diamond (and we know where that went). Perhaps the Queen of Canada should discreetly mention how skilled she is at taking care of such treasures... [CBC]

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were out and about again, in North Wales. Shenanigans ensued. [Hello]

--And finally, at the Vault we looked at one of QEII's sparkly wedding gifts, since this week marked the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's 68th wedding anniversary. Sixty-eight! It boggles the mind. The British Monarchy tweeted a video with a letter from King George VI to his daughter after her wedding, and it really is just too sweet. [Twitter]

Coming up this week: double queen style in Spain and more...

20 November 2015

Royal Fashion Awards: National Day in Monaco

That Monaco bunch, they sure know how to give us some stuff to talk about on National Day. It's their big annual day in the sartorial sun, and they make it worth our while. Just a few awards of note from the day events (which includes a cathedral service followed by appearances at the palace):

Best in Time Travel
Princess Charlene in Akris
You know how sometimes you go to your closet in the morning and you find yourself torn between sleekness of your Star Trek uniforms and the flair of your 1920s throwbacks? Happens all the time. Well guess what, kids: PROBLEM SOLVED.
Also: What to do when National Day just can't handle your new pixie cut? HAIR PRISON, that's what. This ensemble is a problem solver all around. And unexpectedly caps lock-y, too.
On the balcony with Jacques and Gabriella, who will celebrate their first birthdays soon.
See a video here.

Most Froof
Princess Caroline in Chanel
And you thought Valentino was the only one with a dust ruffle fetish. The fabric gives this one the gravitas it needs, ruffles and all. (Also, the anti-froof: Princess Stephanie! A surprise front runner in simple but bold red.)

Best Play on My Weaknesses
Beatrice Borromeo
With Pierre Casiraghi, a thrown together Charlotte Casiraghi, and a lovely Princess Alexandra
Granted, I have major weaknesses for Beatrice's style and for recent royal brides and for pink earrings, but I think she wins the day regardless. This is a chic ensemble (which I suspect is Armani, and which amusingly sports a dust ruffle of its own), nicely done without being overly done. It leaves the flash to the Köchert earrings Beatrice wore for her civil wedding, which were reported to have been a gift from Princess Caroline. Magnificent.
The earrings in morganite, diamonds, and white gold, by Köchert. If they were mine, I'd wear them everywhere too...

Click here for a gallery of the day's events, including the Duchess of Castro solving the age-old problem of which black and white pattern is best by opting for all of them. 

Photos: via Getty Images, Bunte video, Köchert

19 November 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Alba Russian Tiara

This is a tiara that goes by many names but is perhaps best known as La Rusa, or The Russian. Such a name is fitting for such a diadem, and such a diadem is fitting for such a lady: La Rusa belonged to Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba (1926-2014).
The Alba Russian Tiara, "La Rusa"
Made of diamonds and platinum in a striking geometric motif, the tiara was inherited by the Duchess of Alba from her maternal grandmother, María del Rosario de Silva, Duchess of Híjar, Duchess of Aliaga (and a whole bunch of other titles). The “La Rusa" moniker came from its kokoshnik shape, kokoshniks having been a traditional form of Russian headdress popularly adapted as tiaras at the Russian imperial court. Apparently Cayetana was known to attach a further Russian connection to the tiara, saying it came from Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928). But with no records to tie this piece to the Dowager Empress, that’s a tale easier to doubt than to prove.
Left to Right: Cayetana, María, Matilde
The Duchess of Alba considered the tiara to be an important piece for the family and one with sentimental value, and as such, she felt it would be a fitting bridal tiara. The trouble was, not everyone agreed: her offer of the tiara was initially refused when her second son, Alfonso, married Princess María of Hohenlohe-Langenburg in 1977. The bride eventually (and reluctantly) accepted her offer and wore the tiara at the wedding, but the incident had already caused family friction. As Cayetana wrote in her memoirs, she finally found a bride happy to wear the tiara when Matilde Solís married her eldest son, Carlos, in 1988.
The publication of her memoirs also brought to light the tiara’s surprising fate. Despite considering it such an important piece, the Duchess of Alba said that she sold the diadem to buy a horse for her son Cayetano, an equestrian competitor. Details of the sale remained private, but the tiara recently resurfaced at New York jeweler Joseph Saidian & Sons. Earlier this year, the jewelers told Spanish outlet ABC that the Alba family had not made inquiries to reacquire La Rusa, which doesn't surprise me at all. With a new price tag and few reasons for tiara use at hand, I can't say I blame them.

La Rusa as a wedding tiara: yay or nay?

Photos: Hola/Juan Gyenes/ABC

Royal Outfits of the Day: November 19

Time for another update from Maternity Land...
The King and Crown Princess Victoria held a meeting of the Advisory Council and met with the Minister for Justice and Migration on Tuesday.
Photos: Kungahuset.se
I still like these check prints, and in other news, the sky is blue. We saw this last time with a white jacket, which I think I prefer to the black. Still, a can't-go-wrong outfit.

She's building a closet of can't-go-wrong maternity dresses this time around, and yesterday she debuted another:
Yesterday, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited Värmland.
As long-time readers will know, SHOOTIES will never flip my skirt, but clearly both Victoria and the model below disagree. She paired this with a light blue coat from pre-maternity times (here's a gallery), but the outfit was better without.
Oh, and when Victoria was asked whether Estelle wants a little sister or a little brother: "What she really wants is a hamster!" Don't we all, kid.

18 November 2015

Royal Outfits of the Day: November 18

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, King Juan Carlos, and Queen Sofia presented the National Sports Awards at El Pardo Palace yesterday.
Look at this family of blues and grays. Harmonious, but in a coincidental way, not a Von Trappian way. They even go well with the carpet. Well played, Spains.
Click here for a video.
I'm quite partial to Queen Sofia and her sophisticated gray suit, but Letizia's dress is growing on me. It's still a whole Magic Eye thing, don't get me wrong, but every time she wears it, I feel like I get that much closer to seeing the image within. Oh, puzzles.

Speaking of blues...
The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Fostering Excellence Awards yesterday.
No one loves a blue dress like Kate loves a blue dress, man.
Saloni, via Matches
This is from a new label for her, Saloni, whose designer (Saloni Lodha) is of Indian heritage. You'll recall, of course, that the Cambridges have just announced their upcoming spring tour of India. Did somebody say...designer tryouts?

17 November 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: November 17

Let's add some glamour to our Tuesday with another Nobel flashback, okay? This one's a classic.
Queen Silvia at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony, 2005
Or, at least, it's what I consider classic when it comes to Queen Silvia in her recent years. It's a big gown with a big train and big fabric (brocade embellished with crystals to give it a little something extra under the lights), but she wears it with such ease. Designed by Jacques Zehnder, Paris, it was already a repeat when she wore it to the December ceremony in 2005.

What I love about this particular appearance is her choice of jewels. The Cameo Parure would not have been my first guess for a blue dress, but it worked perfectly with this cornflower shade. Nestling the tiara in one of her signature elaborate updos (works of art she seems to be phasing out these days, alas) makes for one of the best Cameo Tiara ensembles I've seen.
A peek at her hairstyle, with Crown Princess Victoria in the Baden Fringe Tiara and Processional Necklace
I know the Cameo Tiara is not universally adored, but my appreciation for the unusual and - to use the technical term - the mega-historical has only grown over the years, which means I've fallen hard for the Cameo. Is it too much to ask for this tiara to appear again, hmm? This is forever my Nobel hope. (Maybe on Victoria, hmm? Not to be too picky or anything.)

My enjoyment of this gown is also swayed by one of its later appearances, at Queen Margrethe's Jubilee banquet in 2012. This time around, Queen Silvia went for the more conventional blue choice of the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure.
Video: The Swedish royal couple enters around 13:38
What stands out here is how she wore the gold collar of Denmark's Order of the Elephant. Those collars are regal but also big and clunky, and can look messy if you're not careful. But Silvia, with what must have been a few sneaky stitches here and there, tamed it easily. A dress that can do justice to those special collars is a royal dress indeed.

Photos: via Getty Images

16 November 2015

Royal Hats of the Day: November 16

This shade of pink is wonderful on Queen Máxima (and on just about anyone, I think - it's one of those magical things).
Queen Máxima visited Radboud University Medical Centre last week.
Click here for a gallery.
Replacing one's hair with one's favorite indoor/outdoor rug, however, is less of a sure bet.

Fuzzy hats are not a sure thing, but they do go hand in hand with Royal Coat Season. Another example from last week:
The Princess Royal opened the Princess Royal Stand at Cheltenham Racecourse last week.
Does the slight tilt on this furry chapeau make it rakish or just lopsided? The choice is yours.

Photos: via Getty Images

15 November 2015

Sunday Tidbits for November 15: Here, Have Some Good News

I think what we need now is some good news, and I have a bunch for you. But we must begin with a moment for France. Following the horrific attacks in Paris on Friday night, messages of condolence and support have come from around the world, and I'm going to let the royal families do the talking for me:
House of HM the King

Ready for the good news? Okay. Allons-y:

--The royal baby boom delivers another round of happiness: The King and Queen of Bhutan announced that they are expecting their first child, a boy, next year. The Dragon King married Jetsun Pema in a colorful ceremony in 2011. [Straits Times]

--Also this week, Prince Jaime and Princess Viktória of Bourbon-Parma announced they are expecting their second child. Prince Jaime is the son of Princess Irene of the Netherlands and the late Duke of Parma, and is cousin to King Willem-Alexander. The couple married in 2013 and had a daughter, Princess Zita, in 2014. [NOS]

--And while we're at it, Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen of Austria are expecting a second child to join their daughter, Archduchess Maria Stella. Archduke Imre is the son of Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg and Archduke Carl Christian of Austria, and is a nephew of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. [Aleteia]

--Prince Harry (don't worry, we've moved on from baby news now) in a tux is always a tonic, isn't it? Can't hurt, anyway. He was the lucky royal on tap for this year's Royal Variety Performance. [Mirror] 

--The Countess of Wessex has been on a trip to the United States and Canada, and I think the important detail here is that she made friends with Turbo the Goat. [Countess of Wessex Blog]

--Auction updates, because sparkles are their own sort of soothing: Many of you saw my tweet a while back about a tiara with an extraordinary story for sale at Sotheby's. The pearl and diamond tiara that survived the sinking of the RMS Lusitania sold for $799,265, and the auction notes are worth a read if you haven't already. Also, Christie's just sold a record-breaking pink diamond at their Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale. We talked about the royal gems at that sale previously, and that post has been updated with realized prices; the Chaumet Westminster Tiara went for $676,104. And nobody bought any of these for me. Hang on, this is terrible news (for me). Moving on... [Sotheby's, Christie's]

--More good news in Japan, where Crown Princess Masako continued inching back to public life by attending her first imperial garden party in 12 years. She was only scheduled for the opening ceremony, but opted to stay longer and chat with some guests. [Japan Times, ParisMatch]
Click here for video

--While QEII met with the Prime Minister of India during his visit to the United Kingdom, the palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will tour India in the spring. I classify this as future good news on the sartorial front. [Express]

--And finally, the trip of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to New Zealand and Australia has been a delight. It's impossible to pick a favorite moment: the ample opportunities for #TeamShades (with guest appearances from #TeamParasol), or Chaz's Shovel of Victory pose, or Cams and her culinary weapon, or actual proof that wearing a tiara is always the right way to go...so much goodness when these two go a-traveling. [Storify, Zimbio, Telegraph]

Coming up this week: Furry hats and more...

13 November 2015

Royal Jewels of the Day: November 13

One of the things that fascinates me most about the Swedish royal jewel collection is that it is not only large, but it contains a large number of pieces with some serious royal history behind them. Even the buttons from the much-maligned Button Tiaras are centuries old, and they're among the most frequently shared tiaras. As we approach the annual outing which (hopefully) will bring many of those illustrious jewels out to play - the Nobel Prize festivities in December - here's another long-standing member of the collection:

The family's best set of emeralds can trace its roots back to the first Bernadotte king, Carl XIV Johan (1763-1844). It started out, believe it or not, as a belt - a very fancy belt for a very fancy military uniform. The emeralds are mentioned in the first inventory of the Bernadotte Family Foundation completed in 1844. Today, most of the belt is used as a necklace made of plaques of different shaped emeralds surrounded by delicate diamond designs. To go with the necklace, the set includes two brooches, one large (the former belt buckle) and one small.

With just the necklace and brooches in the set, the emeralds are usually paired with diamond earrings and a diamond tiara (Princess Sofia's Emerald and Diamond Tiara is the only emerald tiara in the family at this time). Carl Gustaf's mother, Princess Sibylla, was fond of wearing them with the Connaught Tiara; pictured above, Princess Lilian (far right) paired them with the Baden Fringe Tiara at the Nobel Prize ceremony in 1976.

At Nobel time, Crown Princess Victoria has been slowly debuting new-to-her pieces from the jewels usually reserved for Queen Silvia for the past few years. In 2012, she wore the emeralds for the first time with the Four Button Tiara (and a green sequined Elie Saab gown, for the complete Kermit effect). She also got creative with the large brooch by attaching it to the back of her elaborate updo.

The Bernadotte emeralds are mostly worn by Queen Silvia these days, who has had the necklace shortened. Silvia has a couple smaller modern sets of emerald and diamond jewelry that she uses for most of her emerald needs, so we don't see the grand green stones used too often. But it is a treat whenever we do, because this is one of the most important royal emerald sets out there.

Photos: SVT/Nobel Prize screencaps/Swedish royal house/via Getty Images

12 November 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Downton Abbey Wedding Tiara

Many of the tiaras seen on popular period drama Downton Abbey are finely made costume pieces, still just as delightful to see sparkling away on the screen with those signature elaborate costumes. But for one of the most important tiaras to feature in the show, they went for the real deal. And as the fictional world of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their Crawley family draws to a close, we're looking at that important diadem.
The Downton Abbey Wedding Tiara
A garland of pavé-set old-cut diamond leaves runs across this Georgian tiara, a dainty diamond floral cluster separating each leaf. The basic version of the ever-popular floral or wreath tiara can also be removed from its frame and worn as two brooches. It dates from around 1800 and contains approximately 45 carats of diamonds in silver with a gold mount. The tiara is owned by London jeweler Bentley & Skinner, who hold Royal Warrants from the Queen and the Prince of Wales, and is currently offered for sale at a price of £145,000.
Princess Louise
The origins of this tiara may have a British royal connection. A Daily Mail article stated the tiara was a wedding gift to Princess Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife (1867-1931), who was the eldest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. She married the 6th Earl Fife in 1889 and she did indeed have a floral tiara featuring a garland with a large center bloom; Royal Magazin identifies that tiara as a combination of brooches and flower sprays given as wedding presents from the Earl Fife's best man and the Sassoon family. (Bentley & Skinner's site doesn't mention this provenance, though.)
Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael)
Royal connection or not, the tiara's claim to fame today comes from television, because Downton Abbey borrowed the tiara from Bentley & Skinner to play the role of a family wedding tiara. It was worn by two of the three fictional Crawley daughters, Lady Mary and Lady Edith, as the perfect accompaniment to their 1920s wedding looks.
The tiara in its case and as brooches. Click here for a video on the jeweler that features this tiara.
You could wear it the same way for your wedding, if you have the cash: Bentley & Skinner still offer the tiara for sale, and have also offered it for hire (though it will cost you upwards of $2,000 a day plus a deposit in the price of the tiara). You can see the tiara and many other goodies from Bentley & Skinner - beware your wallet - here.

Does this have a place on your list of favorite floral tiaras?

Psst: While the finale has just aired in the UK (with only the Christmas special to go), the final season has yet to air in the US. Do be kind and avoid any spoilers for those still waiting for their last Downton fix!

And psst: As usual, we are back to two post days on Thursdays.

Photos: Bentley & Skinner / Carnival Films and Television Limited for Masterpiece / Snapshot Cafe screencap

Royal Texture of the Day: November 12

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel attended the "Playing for Life" aid concert for refugees in Europe by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and others on Saturday
Photo: Arne Hyckenberg/Berwaldhallen/Sveriges Radio
Crown Princess Victoria has worn this black ensemble with embossed texture before, but now that we have a better look at it, I'm liking it a good deal more. It's a polished way to add interest to what would otherwise be quite plain, no?

Crown Princess Mary must have been on the same wavelength, because she debuted this lovely gold dress. And once again, what would be very plain is turned right into golden perfection. This is a texture trend I can get behind.

11 November 2015

Royal Color Scheme of the Day: November 11

Two leather looks, both alike in color...

Queen Letizia held audiences on October 30.
In the Spanish corner: a BOSS Hugo Boss leather sheath, worn previously with a blazer but allowed to run the show on its own this time around.
Hugo Boss, via Nordstrom

Crown Princess Mette-Marit, with Crown Prince Haakon, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Norwegian Red Cross on November 4.
In the Norwegian corner: a burgundy leather skirt and top from Norwegian label Mariette. She's separated these separates in the past, but she's most fond of wearing them together.

So: Spain or Norway? The choice is yours. (And mine, and I say...well, I'm more of a leave-the-leather-to-the-accessories kinda gal. On the other hand...
Queen Letizia delivers the Spanish flag to the National Police yesterday.
Photo: House of HM the King
...I'd take this Felipe Varela every day of the week and twice on Sundays. But I have rhapsodized about that in the past.)

10 November 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: November 10

I detect a growing sense of anticipation for the upcoming Nobel Prize festivities, which are just a month away. If you're not already anticipating it, you should get on that, because it's always one of the glitziest and best dressed occasions in the Swedish royal year. I have a couple posts to help you out with all your related anticipatory needs, and there's no time like the present to get started.

Crown Princess Victoria at the 2011 Nobel Prize Ceremony
Maternity Nobel style been more relevant than it is right now, thanks to the current Swedish royal baby boom. Back in 2011, Crown Princess Victoria piled on the sparkles in a Pär Engsheden gown while expecting Princess Estelle. Her deep blue sequined waterfall of a dress was an undoubted sartorial highlight of her first pregnancy.

It was also a highlight of her growing use of the family jewel collection. Her blue gown was made to complement pieces of the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure, one of the sets of jewels that Queen Silvia usually keeps reserved for her own use. Victoria did not wear the tiara, but she started slow with the earrings, brooch, and hairpins, and paired them with the Six Button Tiara.

Each year since the sapphires, the Nobel celebrations have seen Victoria wear something new to her from the Swedish vaults. No new tiaras so far, but other stuff aplenty: emeralds in 2012, additional pieces of the Cameo parure at the King's Dinner in 2013, and the large diamond cross necklace in 2014. Obviously my fingers and toes are crossed that this continues, because new things on new people is always my biggest wish for everything, always.

Stay tuned in the month to come, we may just have a tiny bit of Nobel flashback and jewel feature fun tucked in there somewhere...

Photos: via Getty Images and Nobel Prize screencaps