30 April 2017

Royal Birthday of the Weekend: Máxima and Letizia at Willem-Alexander's 50th Birthday Party

Our special weekend coverage of King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday celebrations continues with the private party held Saturday night. What we've been allowed to see of that party, that is.

After celebrating with the public during the week, Saturday was reserved for private festivities - a sports day on the beach and a party in the evening - with family and friends, including several members of foreign royal families. They did indeed keep things very private, but the royal house released two photographs of the King and his family at the party.
RVD/Jeroen van der Meyde
One, a charming family shot that shows Queen Máxima in a red, possibly a one-shouldered, gown and some grown up looks for the girls - including Amalia wearing one of her mother's old coats. Máxima accessorized with diamond jewels, including diamond and ruby earrings that she's worn often in recent years and which are flexible in length.

RVD/Jeroen van der Meyde
And two, the lovebirds dancing the night away in a snap that very sweetly echoes a photo of the couple taken at their pre-wedding party. We can't see much of Máxima's gown here, but I think there's a lot of promise in it. Judgement shall await its inevitable reappearance.

Máx wasn't the only lady in red on the big night. Most of the guests remained shielded from media view, except for King Felipe and Queen Letizia, who stayed at a nearby hotel and were spotted leaving for the party. Honestly, though? If I was a queen who was looking this good, I'd go running through the streets in search of the nearest group of photographers.
I mean, WHOA. This gown is a red version of a white Stella McCartney gown worn by Karlie Kloss to the 2017 Oscars (really unusual designer selection for Letizia, in that case). She's paired it with fabulous ruby and diamond earrings she's worn before, and the two large bracelets of the "joyas de pasar" stacked on one arm.

WHOA. What else can I say? This gown is so exactly in Letizia's wheelhouse. Red is obviously her color, it gives her the perfect canvas for the major earrings she loves these days, and the modern twist of stacking those two large bracelets on one arm has never worked better (some of you weren't convinced when she did it in Japan; here, they act as a balance for the asymmetrical cape). This might be the epitome of Queen Letizia Style. And it is, without a doubt, a new entry into her own Sartorial Hall of Fame.

28 April 2017

Royal Birthday of the Weekend: Willem-Alexander and Máxima at his 50th Birthday Dinner

On Friday evening, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima continued his 50th birthday celebrations with a special dinner at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The couple dined with 150 people that shared the King's birthday and were celebrating a "jubilee" year themselves (every five years: 40, 45, etc.). Cute idea, right? People certainly agreed; around 11,500 signed up for the lottery to get an invite, when national statistics showed only around 8,000 were actually eligible.

For the hottest ticket in town, one needs a major outfit. Never fear, Máx is here:
Queen Máxima donned another Jan Taminiau couture masterpiece for the dinner, this one in my very favorite color. So, you know... {INSERT JUMPY CLAPS HERE}

For Prinsjesdag in 2015, the Queen wore a Taminiau dress inspired by the Japanese room at Huis ten Bosch Palace. That same setting apparently inspired this dress design as well (see here on Twitter, from ModeKoninginMaxima). It's a work of art, and I can only repeat what I said back then: having a dress made in the theme of a room from one of your many residences should really be the dictionary definition of couture.

NOS screencap. See video/article here.
You know we wouldn't (and she wouldn't) forget the jewels. Big earrings and a pair of bracelets were a must, and while it may not have been a tiara occasion, Máxima still blinged it up by adding a pair of diamond wheat ears to her hair. Jumpy claps on jumpy claps!

Royal Event of the Day: Koningsdag 2017

The celebrations for King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday kicked into high gear yesterday (on his actual birthday) with the annual Koningsdag (King's Day) celebrations, held this year in Tilburg.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima with their daughters, (L to R) the Princess of Orange (Catharina-Amalia), Princess Ariane, and Princess Alexia.
Queen Máxima ordered up an extra special outfit for this extra special birthday occasion, obviously. Jan Taminiau created a striped dress in dark blue and ochre with a cape to keep her cozy on a chilly April day. The shirred ribbon stripes on the dress feature metallic embellishment and crystals; the cape transitions from a matte chenille top to a smooth sateen bottom, the colors blending in an ombré style. Máxima accessorized with a hat echoing the textures of the design and a camel bag, shoes, and gloves to match. She also wore diamond earrings that she has used with multiple pendant options, sapphires this time.

Photos: REINIER RVDA via TextielMuseum
This new ensemble comes with a special treat: it will be immediately shown at the Textile Museum in Tilburg alongside the Queen's magnificent blue caped inaugural gown from the same designer. The design, a regular outfit from afar and a textile experiment come to life up close, is a perfect match for the museum.

Basically, Jan Taminiau + Cape = LOOOOVE in my book of sartorial math. It's as simple as that. I do wish the matching hat didn't look so instantly brain-like, but if you told me Máx's brain included some sparkly metallic embellishment, I'd buy it. So it all fits in the end.

As usual, multiple family members were on hand to keep the party going: Willem-Alexander's brother and sister-in-law, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, plus the four sons of Princess Margriet and their wives. (Top pic above: Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène with Constantijn and Laurentien. Bottom pics above: Prince Floris and Princess Aimeé, Princess Annette and Prince Bernhard, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita.) It all sort of pales in comparison to Laurentien's loud stripes and leather jacket, doesn't it? She's the only one that could pull that off, that's for sure.

27 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: Princess Benedikte's Tiaras

Princess Benedikte of Denmark, sister of Queen Margrethe II, has a tidy little tiara collection to call her own, plus a few others she's tried out over the years. It's a collection that reflects her Danish royal upbringing, her Swedish royal roots, and her German princely marriage. In other words: it's a collection ripe for a tiara retrospective. (As always, click the name of the tiara for the jewel's full story.)

King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid gave each of their three daughters a tiara for her 18th birthday. Benedikte received this classic diamond floral tiara, a piece created from an existing floral brooch and which can be used as brooches and with different center stone options. In addition to serving Princess Benedikte in all the years since, it's been a regular choice for her daughters, Princesses Alexandra and Nathalie.

Princess Benedikte's 18th birthday tiara wasn't actually her first tiara. Call it a perk of growing up royal: Queen Ingrid allowed her daughter to borrow the Danish Ruby Parure for a play Ingrid put together about the life of Queen Desideria, a rare moment when someone else was allowed to wear this enormous set and a memory shared by Benedikte in the documentary De Kongelige Juveler. This was the only occasion Princess Benedikte wore the rubies; they are now worn by Crown Princess Mary. 

Another rare tiara choice for Benedikte, and another loan from her mother. The Baden Palmette Tiara was left to Queen Margrethe when Ingrid died.

Princess Benedikte's wedding look used the family wedding veil, the family wedding lace, and the family's wedding tiara. The tradition of wearing the Khedive of Egypt Tiara started at her sister Anne-Marie's wedding and it continues today for Queen Ingrid's female descendants.

By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
This tiara came to Queen Ingrid through her own Swedish royal heritage, and she left it to Princess Benedikte when she died. In addition to loaning it to both her daughters and to her son's partner, Carina Axelsson, Benedikte wears the tiara regularly. She wore it to the wedding of her goddaughter, Princess Madeleine of Sweden, neatly highlighting the tiara's history.

And finally, one tiara from her marriage to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. The S-W-B family fringe tiara is a classic diamond fringe that, like many other fringe tiaras, can also be used as a necklace. It has been Princess Benedikte's "big gun" tiara; she often wears it to her most important events and to events where her full family is present, allowing her other tiaras to be worn by her daughters. Prince Richard passed away earlier this year and the couple's son, Gustav, assumed the title of Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. The tiara does not necessarily follow, but it will be interesting to see if it ever appears on Carina Axelsson (she and Gustav are not married - it's a whole thing involving his grandfather's will, and we talked more about that when we covered the tiara she usually wears - but she is in all other respects a part of the family). It's incredibly well suited to Princess Benedikte, though, and I hope we see her in it for many more occasions.

Which of Benedikte's tiaras is your favorite?

26 April 2017

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: Brights for Máxima, Victoria, and Mary

Bright jewel tones and florals abounded at royal engagements yesterday. It's starting to feel like spring around here, kids.

Queen Máxima attended a conference in Germany.
I believe my record on loving simple floral frocks is clear. Lest there be any confusion, this Natan dress is great. Also, scoring a bouquet that matches one's print perfectly is basically peak queenly accessorizing.

Crown Princess Victoria attended the Swedish Patriotic Society's annual event.
I believe my record on fabulous royal blue frocks is also pretty clear. This one's a good match for this event; for these annual white tie events for various societies, the Swedish royal women wear long dresses and orders without tiaras, so this dress is a good dressy-but-not-too-dressy fit. (Plus, serious flashbacks to her 18th birthday.)

Crown Princess Mary opened an extension to Trygfondens Family House.
The shape of this coat is nothing special, but this magenta color should be used for all the things, all the time. Delish. (Unrelated, but the day before: Mary played along at the opening of Research Day, so there's now video of her dangling in the air and lifting a vehicle by herself. Gotta love a good sport.)

25 April 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia's Recent Offerings

Queen Letizia's had plenty of recent events. A sampling!

The King and Queen of Spain presented the Miguel de Cervantes Prize last week.
House of HM the King
Flashback to last National Day right here, except I might actually like this dress better with the hair half down. (I know.) I wished for a black shoe back then, or really just something other than the nude. My wishes have been ignored. (Sniff.)

King Felipe and Queen Letizia started a two day visit to the Canary Islands on Monday.
Is this Letizia's new favorite dress? We've seen it four times since the fall, I think. Which, granted, is a totally normal number for your average Jane, but not so much in this case. Pretty good choice for a fave.

Don't we look relaxed and comfy, hmm? I'd be opposed to the whole pie crust epaulette thing, but I gotta acknowledge that that trendy touch is what's keeping this ensemble current.

24 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 24: Marathons and Multitudes of Birthdays

Races of all kinds and a birthday surplus for your Monday:

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry continue to work their Heads Together mental health initiative, cheering everyone on at the London Marathon. [Telegraph]
Kensington Palace

--The date of the Spanish state visit to the U.K. has been pushed back to July 12-14. Update your calendars accordingly. [Reuters]

--New pictures were released of Prince Alexander of Sweden, son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia! The soon-to-be big brother celebrated his first birthday last week. [Hola]
Erika Gerdemark, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Ditto for Princess Isabella of Denmark, daughter of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, who celebrated her 10th birthday. [Hola]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, another birthday celebration: the Queen marked her 91st with a day at the races, and then properly celebrated the following day, when her horse won.

--And finally, Princess Charlene also spent a day at the races during a trip to South Africa, and...I couldn't explain it to you if I tried. [Instagram, Twitter]

Coming up this week: A Letizia catch up, plus festivities for King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday...

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

21 April 2017

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: Kate and Victoria Take Requests

Ask, and we shall receive. (Sort of. Sometimes. Okay, practically none of the times.)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry opened The Global Academy yesterday.
If you've ever wished that more royal ladies would dress like characters from The Good Wife (well, I've heard a lot of cries for more suits anyway), has Kate got a treat for you! This Armani Collezioni red skirt suit is very smart, very professional. She suited up when the royal men did not, how's that for a change of pace?

Crown Princess Victoria undertook an official trip to Japan this week.
While we're answering requests, my hope that this generation of Swedish princesses would do a little more digging in Queen Silvia's closet has paid off in a most unexpected fashion. As The Royals and I pointed out, this polka dot dress was originally worn by Silvia in 1980 and could easily pass for a current design on Victoria today (in fact, as Sarah also noted, it's pretty similar this current Gucci design. The 1980s version is a fresher look than the new one, even...). What's old really is new again.

20 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara

Among tiaras that include dangling pendants in their design, pearls are the most popular option for the drop stones. A lucky few tiaras feature articulated diamonds (or, perhaps, a mix). Others, like today's tiara treat, explore the world of colorful pendants.

The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara
The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara takes a diamond framework reminiscent of the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara in Monaco and pairs it with cabochon emerald drops à la the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara for a combination with maximum impact. The piece was seen among a selection of jewels exhibited by the British jeweler Hancock in Paris in 1866.

The tiara was worn by Margarethe Klementine (1870-1955), who was born an Archduchess of Austria and member of the House of Habsburg and married Albert, 8th Prince of Thurn und Taxis, in 1890. Her grand court dress portrait also shows several other emerald and diamond jewels in the Thurn und Taxis collection at the time; the stomacher was also by Hancock. (See Royal Magazin for more.)

The tiara was again showcased by Gloria, wife of Johannes, 10th Prince of Thurn und Taxis. She had a penchant for pairing the magnificent Thurn und Taxis jewels with modern couture and eye-catching hairstyles, creating an over-the-top look that - together with the couple's socialite lifestyle - earned her sobriquets like "Princess TNT" and "the punk princess". When Johannes died in 1990, Gloria buckled down and set about managing the TNT estate and saving it from financial ruin.

Todd Eberle
Those efforts included auctioning some of the landmark pieces of Thurn und Taxis jewelry, including Empress Eugénie's Pearl and Diamond Tiara and some of the other emerald jewels worn by Margarethe above. Even with the sales, a significant collection of jewelry remains with the family and the Emerald Drop Tiara is among the treasures they kept. Both Princess Gloria and her daughter, Elisabeth, wore the tiara in portraits by Todd Eberle for The House of Thurn und Taxis, a stunning book illustrating the family's Schloss St. Emmeram estate. (The book is here at Amazon; you can see Elisabeth in the tiara and some of her mother's vintage couture here along with a gallery of other shots from the book.) It's a stunning tiara, an excellent choice to keep, and - dare I say it?- maybe an even better emerald pendant tiara than the Grand Duchess Vladimir in my eyes.

Does this have a spot on your list of favorite pendant tiaras?

19 April 2017

Royal Jewels of the Day: Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Set

Just about ten years ago, Queen Máxima (then Princess Máxima) debuted one of the most interesting sets of jewelry in her collection.

Princess Máxima debuts her Tutti Frutti set, 2007 
This demi-parure of a necklace and bracelet was sold at an auction at Christie's Amsterdam in March 2007. The bracelet was described as "a diamond set branch with carved ruby, emerald and sapphire buds and flowers" and sold for $34,791 (€26,400); the necklace is "composed of a graduated line of carved emerald, ruby and sapphire flowers and leaves suspended from a meandering diamond set seam to the carved flower and diamond clasp" and sold for $31,628 (€24,000). Acquired either for or by Queen Máxima (many have guessed a gift from her husband), both pieces appeared on her just a few weeks later. She first wore them with a hot pink dress for the celebrations of King Willem-Alexander's 40th birthday in April 2007.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Necklace
The pieces are in the Art Deco style popularized by Jacques Cartier in the 1920s and later named 'Tutti Frutti', which was inspired by India and utilized a signature combination of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires - often carved, or using a mix of cabochon and faceted stones - in natural designs. Máxima's demi-parure would be Tutti Frutti style as opposed to the original stuff made by Cartier; while the prices paid for this set are admittedly high, actual Cartier Tutti Frutti creations from its prime period can fetch record prices at auction.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Bracelet
Royal jewels in the Tutti Frutti style are a pretty rare sight these days. Queen Sofia has a set and Queen Elizabeth II has a brooch, both almost never worn. Queen Victoria Eugenia owned a Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet made with diamonds, black enamel, and conch pearl, a rare color combination that made this bracelet one of the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war years. It was sold in 2012 for over $3.4 million. We have previously featured the Mountbatten Tutti Frutti Bandeau, a Cartier piece in the signature three gemstone colors, now shown at the V&A Museum.

Of course it's the exuberant Queen Máxima that makes the most of this exuberant jewelry style; the lady certainly does know her way around a statement piece of jewelry. She wears the bracelet most, even sneaking it into the occasional day outfit, and uses the necklace less frequently. Perhaps it's because I'm prone to love a statement jewel in the first place, but I adore seeing these in action.  (And I can't help but hope that she might have something else for us as we approach King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday next week...ah, wishful thinking.)

18 April 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for April 18: Sundays and Sentiments

Others in Easter Sunday appearances, to start our tidbits:

--King Felipe and Queen Letizia led the Spanish party at Easter mass in Palma de Mallorca. I wish Letizia's jacket was a touch less boxy, but overall everything's business as usual here. [Zimbio]

--It was a birthday celebration on Sunday for Queen Margrethe, who marked her 77th by letting her grandkids steal the show at Marselisborg Palace. [news.com.au]
Princess Josephine and Princess Athena enjoying the birthday appearance

--Prince Harry's discussion of his struggle to deal with his mother's death, leading to his seeking counseling in recent years, has been all over the headlines in the past few days. His words are well worth a listen, if you haven't already. [Telegraph]

--Princess Eléonore of Belgium surprised her father, King Philippe, with a mini violin recital for his 57th birthday on April 15th. Eléonore celebrated her ninth birthday the following day.

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, a couple of newer brooches made appearances in the run up to Easter service. Elephants were involved.

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

17 April 2017

Royal Holiday of the Week: Easter in Windsor

It was the most colorful of times, it was the most blergh of times this weekend for the annual Easter Sunday church parade to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II led her family in vibrant turquoise, which we've covered in full at the Jewel Vault. The blerghs, however, were also represented.

The Duchess of Cambridge, making her first appearance at Windsor Castle Easter, was basically the blerghiest blergh that ever blerghed in cream Catherine Walker and a pillbox hat with the Queen's Silver Jubilee Diamond and Pearl Earrings. But still, her tidy tailored look remains a number of levels above the rest of the ladies on the pale end of the color spectrum. It's a shame, because Princess Eugenie's repeated wrinkled Burberry is such a promising twist on a traditional trench, and Princess Beatrice's overcooked look doesn't give her interesting accessory choices their proper due. (I don't like not liking a purple look. It pains me.)

A simple coat in a flattering color will almost always do the trick, as the Countess of Wessex displays. (With 13-year-old Lady Louise by her side, deftly bridging the gap between kid outfits and adult ones.)

And a simple coat in an even brighter flattering color will also nab you my Easter Best Dressed Award. Autumn Phillips for the win, kids. (For more of the Windsors at Easter, including the Princess Royal and a bunch of dudes in suits, here's a gallery.)

13 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara

The Swedish royal court announced this week that Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld, husband of King Carl Gustaf's sister Princess Désirée, passed away at the age of 82.
Princess Désirée and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
I've had the tiara featured below on my list to cover for some time. Since it has connections to this couple, it seemed an appropriate choice for this week.

Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara
This petite v-shaped tiara, featuring diamond scrolls rolling away from a diamond central motif, is not among the Swedish tiaras that we regularly see today, but a group of young princesses made great use of it a few decades ago. Its history dates back at least a generation further.

Queen Louise
It belonged to Queen Louise of Sweden (1889-1965), consort of King Gustaf VI Adolf. She wore it across her forehead in the bandeau fashion popular during the 1920s and 1930s, and atop her head later in life. Louise is one of those royal figures who had a dizzying number of connections to other royal families: born a Princess of Battenberg and later titled Lady Louise Mountbatten, she was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, niece of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, sister of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, aunt to the Duke of Edinburgh, and on and on. Her romantic history was interesting, too: Louise declined a proposal from the King of Portugal and had two failed secret engagements before Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden came courting. Gustaf Adolf's first wife, Margaret of Connaught (another of Louise's relatives), had died three years earlier. The new couple married in 1923 at the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace.

Princess Birgitta
As queen consort, Louise had full use of the big pieces in the Swedish tiara collection, so her small tiara got more use as a loaner for the young princesses in the family. Her step-granddaughters, Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée, and Christina, all wore the diamond tiara. These four princesses, nicknamed the Haga Princesses because of their upbringing at Haga Palace, are the elder sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Princess Désirée wears Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara and Princess Margaretha wears the Four Button Tiara on the cover of a book celebrating their respective weddings
Queen Louise gave the tiara as a wedding gift to Princess Désirée in 1964 for her marriage to Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. Désirée wore the Cameo Tiara for their wedding, and used Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara at their wedding ball. You can read more about their wedding here. Princess Margaretha was married the same month (hence the dual commemorative book above), and you can read more about her wedding here.

Désirée and Niclas at their wedding ball
Each of the Haga Princesses ended up with at least one tiara of their own through gifts from different people: the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik for Margaretha, a pearl tiara for Birgitta, this tiara for Désirée, and the now-stolen Queen Sophia's Diamond and Pearl Tiara for Christina.

Peter Knutson/Kungahuset.se
Since she no longer participates in the regular activities of the Swedish royal family, Désirée does not have a lot of public occasions on which to wear the tiara. For the most recent big family weddings, she has borrowed larger tiaras from the Swedish family collection: Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara for Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and the Cut Steel Tiara for Prince Carl Philip's and Princess Madeleine's weddings. Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara hasn't gone ignored, though; Princess Désirée wore it to her brother's birthday dinner in 2016. 

Who do you think wore this one best?

12 April 2017

Royal Exhibition of the Day: Princess Lilian's Wedding Dress

Sweden's Royal Palace opened the most fabulous exhibition in October, Royal Wedding Dresses 1976-2015, offering visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the couture creations worn by the Swedish royal women on their wedding days. The exhibition was a hit and has actually been extended through April 23rd, should you happen to be in Stockholm this month.

A few of our fabulous readers were able to visit the palace and have kindly allowed me to share some of their photographs here for all to enjoy. (The original exhibition preview post also includes many more goodies and observations in the comments.) In order to properly luxuriate in the splendor - there is no other way to take in a good royal wedding dress, if you ask me - I'm breaking them up and will be sharing multiple installments with you in the coming months.

To start, a dress which might be among the quietest royal wedding dresses, but which represents one of the sweetest royal stories. Today's photos come from the lovely Viola and the lovely Janet, who wrote about her visit here, with big thanks!

Welsh-born Lilian Craig married Prince Bertil of Sweden, King Carl Gustaf's uncle, on December 7, 1976, more than three decades after they fell in love. The laws at the time meant that Bertil would have lost his place in the line of succession for marrying a commoner. This posed a problem because many other males in the family were already out for such marriages (women were also not allowed in the line at this time) and Carl Gustaf was set to potentially inherit the throne at a very young age after his grandfather. Bertil put family and duty first, promising not to wed Lilian until his nephew was married. Just a few months after King Carl Gustaf married Queen Silvia, he gave his consent for Prince Bertil to marry Lilian. She became Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland. (Check out more of their story from my first post on their wedding.)

Courtesy of Viola
Princess Lilian's wedding dress was made by her long-time friend and favorite couturier, Elizabeth Wondrak. It was an icy blue silk shantung dress with a high collar and long sleeves.

Courtesy of Janet
The simple design is reminiscent of Queen Silvia's own dress from earlier that year. Janet pointed out its similarity to another royal wedding dress from another mature second-time bride:

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at their wedding blessing, 2005
Both accessorized with sweeping hairpieces (feathers for Lilian) and bouquets with plenty of lily of the valley, and both absolutely perfect solutions for their respective events.

Lilian's bouquet and hairpiece
Courtesy of Viola
Princess Lilian won a lot of respect over her years with Bertil and with the royal family. She was dignified yet had an undeniable sense of fun, and she was clearly beloved by King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, and their children. She passed away in 2013. Princess Madeleine paid tribute to Lilian in the name of her first child, Leonore Lilian Maria. Princess Lilian also left some jewelry to the royal ladies, and she is remembered each time they wear her pieces, such as the Laurel Wreath Tiara she left to Crown Princess Victoria.

11 April 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Máxima and Letizia's Extra Frills

Because there's always room for a little something extra, right?

For example, why just go with a simple sheath dress when you can throw on a feather duster?
Queen Máxima opened the StudyPortals headquarters on Friday.
Bring one of these with you, and you never worry about discreetly brushing off the chair before you sit again! Handy.

And while we're at it, why go with a plain black velvet ensemble when you could toss a fan on top?
King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan during their state visit last week.
Queen Letizia hasn't reached Queen Silvia levels of tablecloth attachment - yet - though she is approaching placemat territory. This top and skirt is from Armani Privé Fall 2011, which is surprising on a couple levels, and it's obviously from a Japan-inspired collection. She also wore a pair of ruby and diamond earrings she's worn before (for her fabulous pre-princess appearance in Denmark, for one).
Armani Privé Fall 2011
Unnecessary frills? Yes. Are they both pulling them off? Also a YES from me.

10 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 10: Remembrances and Welcomes

Hello hello, let's go...

--Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel made an emotional visit this weekend to the site of last week's terrible Stockholm attack. King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who were on a trip to Brazil at the time and returned home early, will lead the royal family at a service in memory of the victims today. [People]

--The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry joined Canada's Governor General, the Canadian Prime Minister, and the French President in France yesterday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. [BBC]
Kensington Palace

--It was a week full of travel for the Prince of Wales, as he and the Duchess of Cornwall also visited Italy, Vatican City, and Austria. I loved this embellished coat on Cams in Austria. (And wished she'd left her tiered coffee filter ensemble at home.) [Zimbio]
UK in Austria

--We also covered the biggest bling moment of the couple's Italy trip over at the Jewel Vault. Plus: a skull and crossbones for the Queen, and a memorial for Lord Snowdon.

--And finally, Queen Margrethe's spring stay at Fredensborg Palace began with a torchlit welcome from the citizens of Fredensborg, a picturesque annual tradition. [YouTube]

Coming up this week: Extra frills for Máxima and Letizia, and more...

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

07 April 2017

Tiara Thursday (on a Friday): Princess Nori's Tiara

The Japanese imperial family puts on a splendid tiara show when the occasion calls for it (as seen just this week), thanks to their abundance of princesses and their practice of providing each with at least one full parure to wear. One of my favorite Japanese tiaras, however, does not appear in the current line up.

Princess Nori's Tiara
This graceful tiara by Mikimoto dates from 1923/24 and features layered diamond scrolls of graduated heights topped with single round diamonds. The largest single stone is a 3 carat diamond positioned in the middle of the tiara, which can be removed for use in a ring or brooch. The tiara was worn by Princess Nori (Sayako Kuroda), the youngest child and only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Bangja, Crown Princess Euimin of Korea
It is thought to be a reworking of a tiara that belonged to Bangja, Crown Princess Euimin of Korea (1901-1989). She was a Japanese woman, born Princess Masako of Nashimoto, who married Crown Prince Euimin of Korea in 1920. Korea was under Japan's rule at this time, following annexation in 1910; the Korean monarchy had been stripped of its rule and the prince was under Japanese control.

Princess Nori
The resemblance between the two tiaras suggests that Crown Princess Bangja's tiara was used to create the tiara given to Princess Nori when she came of age. Like other Japanese tiaras, it came with an accompanying set of jewelry; unlike several of the newly made tiaras given to Japanese princesses in recent years (and even a few older ones), the set's necklace is not a mirror image of the tiara.

See video of the last time this tiara was worn here.
Princess Nori wore the tiara for regular imperial events up until 2005, when she married Yoshiki Kuroda. In accordance with imperial household law, her marriage to a commoner meant that she had to give up her title, her official place in the imperial family, and her state allowance. Princess Nori is now known as Sayako Kuroda. She still attends some imperial events, just not in the same capacity as she did before and with no use for a tiara. Tiaras are provided by the imperial household and are returned when no longer needed; they might appear again as additional options for other family members, or - as is thought to have been the case with this tiara - they could be remade in the future. I hope this one returns in its current state, because it is lovely.

Do you find this one a standout from the Japanese tiara crowd?

06 April 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Spain's State Visit to Japan

We have some tiaras in action for our review on this Thursday: King Felipe and Queen Letizia kicked off their state visit to Japan with both tiara glitter and earring glitter.

Letizia's Felipe Varela outfit for the official welcome ceremony was a deep red velvet dress with a whole lot of buttons and a neck bow worn under a red coat with waist detailing and a double tie closure. That's an awful lot of fastening methods for one outfit. Doesn't really matter, though, because her earrings drew all the attention anyway.

House of HM the King
That's right, our resident Earring Queen delivered in a major way. In addition to a potentially interesting pair from Bounkit in green jade and rose quartz worn for a later reception (which you can spy in this gallery), Letizia's red outfit included a pair of diamond and ruby earrings belonging to a set of jewelry previously worn by Queen Sofia. Not only do I love a little extra dazzle on a special state visit outfit, I love Letizia wearing gems from Sofia's collection.

The Sofia earring trend continued at the evening's state banquet.
House of HM the King
Returning to her recent favorite tiara, the Spanish Floral Tiara, Letizia wore the two large bracelets from the "joyas de pasar" (recently debuted when she wore the Fleur de Lys Tiara) and borrowed diamond and sapphire earrings once again previously worn by Queen Sofia. This dress could take the necklace, too, not to scare her off the jewel path or anything. Empress Michiko got her carats in with a large diamond collet necklace and pendant, having stopped wearing tiaras a few years ago.

Lest you were in any doubt from the above picture, yes, this is THE Princess Dress (queen dress, but whatever) from the 2015 Peru state banquet. And lest you should be in any doubt in any situation, yes, Empress Michiko has worked a little bit of cape action into her look.

Observe that Princess Skirt in motion:
Shall we do a Sash Check? For the curious: King Felipe wore the collar of Japan's Order of the Chrysanthemum, while Emperor Akihito wore the collar of Spain's Order of the Golden Fleece. Both displaying peak methods of combining orders from another country plus one's own country, Felipe also wore the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck and the sash of the Order of Charles III (with double breast stars on his jacket); Akihito also wore the sash of the Order of the Chrysanthemum. Queen Letizia was given Japan's Order of the Precious Crown. (Fun fact: she was also gifted silk from Empress Michiko's own silkworms, enough to make a dress.) The Empress chose to wear the small bow brooch of the Order of Charles III on her bodice instead of the sash, which she has worn in the past.

House of HM the King
There are always more tiaras when Japan is involved, it's often just a little harder to see them. Above (click to enlarge) we have Princess Mako in her tiara, Crown Princess Masako with an interesting sleeve detail and the Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara, Princess Kiko in the Akishino Tiara, and Princess Kako in her tiara. (There are a couple better views of some of the Japanese princesses in this gallery, and you can see more walking behind the main table in this video.) A most satisfying sparkly show, no?