31 July 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Princess Charlene at the Red Cross Ball

It's always wise to armor oneself when heading into battle.

The Prince and Princess of Monaco attended the Red Cross Ball on Friday.
Or when heading into a ball, as the case may be. And there's generally no one better to provide the most sparkly of armor than Atelier Versace, as Princess Charlene clearly knows. This is a striking look, no? I think she's finally cracked the code to keeping her look as modern as she likes while still maximizing her impact.

That said, I wouldn't have said no to one of her more fabulous pairs of dangling earrings here. (There's always room for more impact, if you ask me.) But clearly she doesn't want to be encumbered when in her armor.
Not even by a skirt.

P.S.: Don't forget to make your nominations for Readers' Favorite Tiaras, The Rematch! Nominations close Tuesday (tomorrow) at noon Eastern.

26 July 2017

Readers' Favorite Tiaras, The Rematch: Make Your Nominations

Back in 2011, I asked which tiara was your favorite. I compiled the results of our little poll, and we counted down a list of your top tiaras.

Associated Press via Wikimedia Commons

Ever since then, the #1 request I receive from readers has been to do the favorite tiara vote again. We've covered well over 250 tiaras on the site now, and we've enjoyed a great many more tiara events. Affections change! Plus, you know, it's fun.

So let's do it: Readers' Favorite Tiaras, The Rematch! Answer me this, if you please...

What's your favorite tiara?

Here's how this will work:

Make your nominations right here, and tell me which diadem(s) hold the top spot in your affections.
  • You may name up to five tiaras. (Any more than five, I'll just count the first five you list.)
  • Leave your nominations in the comments on this post. You can also get them to me via Twitter (@orderofsplendor) or via email (orderofsplendor at hotmail dot com).
  • Please try to leave your nominations in a new comment, rather than in a reply to an existing comment. That will help ensure they get counted. (But of course, feel free to use the replies to chat about the sparkly goodness!)
  • Nominations are open until noon, Eastern time, on Tuesday, August 1st.
  • You may also lend your support to other nominations by upvoting the comments of others. These won't be weighted as highly as your own comment with nominations, but they will count.
  • Need inspiration? Take a leisurely scroll through the Jewel Central page, where you'll find allllllll the diadems we've covered so far.

Later, we'll hold a final vote from the top nominated tiaras. And then...we'll have a very sparkly countdown.

Okay, so, tops on your agenda today: sparkly daydreams. Can you handle it??

I'll leave you to your pondering and the blog will return on Monday. Enjoy!

Update: Nominations are now closed! Thanks to all for their submissions. Stay tuned for the final round vote...

25 July 2017

Royal Event of the Day: National Day in Belgium

Belgium celebrated National Day last week. There were hats! There were sleeves! There was some seriously vibrant color coordinating!

Belgian Monarchy
Oh yes, those royal interpretations of the giant sleeve trend aren't going anywhere anytime soon. I'd deflate 'em a solid 20%, but they are doing an admirable job of bringing a little bit of trendiness to what is otherwise a firmly standard, non-trendy Queen Mathilde outfit.

Belgian Monarchy
Somewhere out there, Queen Máxima is leaning back with a smile on her face. And then she's dialing her Natan hotline and ordering up one of these for herself. With even bigger sleeves, I'm sure.

L to R: Princess Eléonore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Emmanuel
Queen Mathilde's pink floral dress anchored a family color scheme of pinks, magentas, and purples. The purple sash of the Order of Leopold means not even King Philippe gets left out. It's also sort of a subtly perfect touch that 15-year-old Princess Elisabeth's dress is the closest match to her dad and his sash. (That dress, per ModeKoninginMathilde, is from Esmeralda Ammoun.)

Prince Lorenz, Princess Astrid, and Princess Claire (Prince Laurent was also present, though not shown here)
You know you're serious about the family color thing when the extended fam fits right in. In a year surprisingly lacking in hat interest, I find myself totally in love with Princess Claire's offering. Upside down salad bowls have never looked so good.

24 July 2017

Monday Tidbits for July 24: Birthdays and Memories

It's been a minute since we've had a Tidbits post, so let's get to it:

--The 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, is approaching. ITV and HBO will air the documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy with Princes William and Harry tonight. The princes have also shared some personal photos of their mother and selected items to recreate her desk on display at the summer opening of Buckingham Palace. [Express, Instagram, BBC]

--Prince George isn't the only one with a new portrait for his birthday! Prince Felix of Denmark, who has just turned 15, posed for some new pics with his older brother, Prince Nikolai. The two are the sons of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Countess Alexandra.

--Over at the Jewel Vault: QEII got a new brooch, and it's pretttttttty. Also, in honor of the Duchess of Cornwall's 70th birthday, we're taking a look at some of her most impressive official gifts, starting with one jaw-dropping breastplate necklace.

--The Queen's collecting brooches and corgis. She's reportedly adopted a new corgi called Whisper, who belonged to Sandringham's gamekeeper. When Whisper's owner fell ill and passed away, the Queen pitched in to help take the dog on walks, and is now said to have asked if Whisper can stay with her. [People]

--And finally, really, do you not agree that the Princess Royal should be accompanied by birds of prey on all her engagements?

Coming up this week: National Day in Belgium brings all the sleeves out to play, 
and more...

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

21 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: Back to the Cambridges in Germany

As the tour draws to a close...

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception on Thursday evening during their tour of Germany.
Kate wore a bird print dress from German designer Markus Lupfer, paired with an excellent belt, an excellent clutch, those Prada sandals she loves so much right now, and pearl jewelry. I was prepped and ready with my standard list of accessory quibbles, but then the pearl jewelry made me wonder. If you look a little closer...

...that triple row pearl bracelet comes from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Coming on the heels of Kate's debut of a pair of Diana's pearl earrings at the Spanish state banquet, I can only assume she was eager to show us another new thing. (The interests of jewel watchers being paramount in her concerns, I'm sure.) I hereby rescind my accessory quibbles and fully endorse her use of the Put A Bird On It strategy.

On Friday, the trip's last day, the Duke and Duchess traveled to Hamburg.
A bit of lavender from Emilia Wickstead brings out a stronger accessory combo with that contrasting clutch. That's a well played move. (This color also puts her squarely in line with the theme of the day for another royal family - the Belgians - but that's another story for another post.)

20 July 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Wellington Tiara

From the time of its creation through today, the title of the Duke of Wellington has been one of the most recognizable in the peerage of the United Kingdom. It was just one of several European titles and other decorations gathered by the 1st Duke, Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), in the course of an active political career and a celebrated military career that included the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The Wellington Tiara
The Duchesses of Wellington have, for several generations now, worn a tiara grand enough to suit this prominent family title. The tiara features intricate, large diamond scroll motifs dotted with large single diamonds and interspersed with smaller knotted diamond scroll motifs, again with several large single diamonds included.

Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington
The diadem dates back at least to Elizabeth Wellesley (née Hay, 1820-1904), the wife of the 2nd Duke. She was depicted wearing the tiara in 1859. The couple both held prominent court positions in Queen Victoria's household, with the 2nd Duke serving as Master of the Horse and the Duchess serving as Queen Victoria's Mistress of the Robes for several years.

Kathleen, Duchess of Wellington
Kathleen Wellesley (née Williams, 1848-1927), the wife of the 4th Duke, wore the tiara in a couple of portraits. Above, she's also shown wearing a magnificent diamond necklace that is still with the family. And the tiara, of course, is also still with the family. The current Duchess of Wellington (born Princess Antonia of Prussia) first wore the Wellington Tiara for her 1977 wedding to the Marquess of Douro, as the current Duke was titled at the time. He succeeded to the Wellington title in 2014.

Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (left) wears the tiara at the Duke of Wellington's Waterloo Banquet in 2015
The Wellington name was brought back to the forefront in 2015, for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Hosting a splendid formal Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House, the Duchess wore the Wellington Tiara and the same diamond necklace the 4th Duchess paired with the diadem.

The Duchess greets the Duchess of Cornwall
You can see above how the tiara forms a complete circlet around the head - well, you can see it provided that you're not totally blinded by the sparkle on the Duchess of Cornwall at that banquet. (We covered that appearance over at the Jewel Vault; Camilla wore the Greville Tiara and all five strands of the Greville Festoon Necklace.)

The Duke and Duchess were attendees at the recent Spanish state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where the tiara may or may not have had another appearance; regrettably, they were not spotted in the state banquet coverage. (The Duke of Wellington is also the Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Grandee of Spain 1st Class, another title picked up by the 1st Duke, and they have a Spanish estate. The Duke and Duchess' daughter, Lady Charlotte, married Alejandro Santo Domingo in Spain last year with King Juan Carlos and the Duchess of Cornwall in attendance.) There appears to be least one other tiara option at the Duchess' disposal:
Lady Charlotte in a different tiara
Lady Charlotte and her husband were guests at last year's Colombian state banquet, where she wore a different family tiara.

The Wellington Tiara seems to be the main headliner, though. For a grand tiara with so many big stones, it manages to keep a certain lightness to the design. I think it's a success on every level.

How do you rate this big gun tiara?

19 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: The Cambridges Greet Germany

We're picking up right where we left off with the Cambridge Poland/Germany tour: with another case of family and country coordination.

Just like their mix of Poland's flag colors as they started the trip, the Cambridge family left Poland and arrived in Germany in a family palette based on the blue cornflower, one of Germany's national flowers (as is being frequently reported, though several German readers have disagreed with that claim of symbolism. National flowers, even when accurate, are generally a more obscure reference than, say, a flag color).

After arrival, the Duke and Duchess met with the Chancellor.
And also like their arrival in Poland, it was another case of new-but-similar for Kate. She also has this blue Catherine Walker coat in red, a version ordered for another national color nod during the Cambridges' first trip to Canada. We may require an entire display in the Royal Coat Museum, dedicated solely to this coat in every single color of the rainbow. Underneath, there was a matching blue lace dress, and she wore a necklace and earrings from Kiki McDonough to complete the look.

Meanwhile, this little one discovered that there are certain perks to this whole tour thing. Namely, an unlimited supply of fresh posies.

The tour continues in Germany through Friday. Stay tuned...

18 July 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Queen Margrethe and her Raincoat at the Danish Summer Photocall

The Danish royal family holds an annual summer photocall in the gardens at Gråsten Palace, their summer residence. This year's photocall took a little different format, featuring just Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, and their four kids watching the Ringsted Horse Ceremony outside the palace. It was a rainy, dreary day, and any potential sartorial triumphs (oh how I usually love Crown Princess Mary in her boho maxi skirts) were fairly foiled by the need for coats.

This is not a problem, however, when your raincoat is designed to be the star of the show.

Queen Margrethe loooooooves her floral coat with its cheery yellow trim and its matching yellow Sou'wester-style hat. Most raincoats are boring and this Danish sovereign is anything but, so she wears what she calls the "happy" raincoat. It's always an unexpectedly exuberant statement, standing out in a sea of sedate royal rain gear or on a parade field surrounded by military uniforms. It's a true signature Margrethe piece. The raincoat even has a backstory, because you know she didn't just happen upon this creation in a shop somewhere one day.

On display in 2015
Photo courtesy of and with thanks to Scarfie on Twitter
The coat is made from a tablecloth-type wax cloth fabric purchased by the Queen in London at the Peter Jones department store. (She makes at least one London trip a year, for her Christmas shopping. She's said to call in on her friends at Buckingham Palace while she's in town.) (And while we may joke about people wearing curtains or tablecloths sometimes, never forget that when it comes to Queen Margrethe, there's a solid chance it's true.)

She took her festive fabric purchase to Jørgen Bender - the couturier responsible for multiple royal wedding gowns, epic royal gala looks, and...the occasional royal foul weather gear - to have it fashioned into a raincoat, which of course she had a hand in designing. It was made in 1995 and has been a famous part of the Queen's wardrobe ever since. The coat and hat were even included in an exhibition of Margrethe's wardrobe staged in honor of her 75th birthday.

Things like this really show how much fun Queen Margrethe has with her often over-the-top wardrobe. There's a sense of humor here, too. You get the feeling that she actually does a little bounce of joy when she sees the rain begin to fall, for she'll have another chance to sport the jolliest raincoat in all the land. It's just so perfectly Daisy, no?

17 July 2017

The Cambridges in Poland and Germany: Your Open Post

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are heading out and about again, spending this week in Poland and Germany with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in tow. And the visit begins...

...with something we've seen before. Both in terms of tight family coordination, as seen when the whole Cambridge family arrived in Poland for the first leg of the trip...

...and in terms of a favorite silhouette, shown here when the couple met the President and first lady at the Presidential Palace. For the Duchess, this is another outfit that is technically new but which also happens to be so similar to others in her wardrobe that mistaking it for a repeat would be entirely understandable. (It's from Alexander McQueen.) A crisp white suit is never really a bad choice, even though it can be one big *shrug* of a choice.

The outfit did provide some new jewels, a pendant with a red/pink stone surrounded by diamonds, plus a pair of earrings and a ring also in red/pink stones. (Many have guessed rubies, of course, though I note that they're pretty large if so.) Hopefully higher highlights - and more new gems, eh? - are yet to come.

We'll be checking in with tour periodically on the blog. As we've done in the past, we'll also have an open post right here for those of you that want to discuss the whole tour as it happens. You're welcome to use this post throughout; as always, please mind the comment policy and enjoy!

15 July 2017

A Royal Birthday for the Weekend: Crown Princess Victoria Turns 40

Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday is a proper celebration each and every year. It’s Victoriadagen! So a big birthday calls for even more: a Te Deum and carriage ride around Stockholm on Friday, plus the annual events held on the island of Öland, where the family has their summer residence, Solliden Palace.

L to R: Princess Madeleine, Chris O’Neill, Queen Silvia, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle, Prince Oscar, Crown Princess Victoria, King Carl Gustaf, Princess Sofia, Prince Alexander, Prince Carl Philip.
Victoria celebrated her 40th surrounded by the entire Swedish royal family, and I have never been more convinced that a family coordination memo went out in advance. Dress code: Please resemble a summer garden of pastels. DONE.

In an embellished dress with a small matching hair ornament from Pär Engsheden, Victoria was the garden-iest of them all. Butterflies everywhere, with enough left over for Princess Estelle to get a few butterflies for her hair. Awwww.
If you can't get a frilly couture dress from your wedding gown designer for your birthday, when can you? (A question we all debate on a daily basis, I'm sure.) This is doing your birthday up right.

Erdem has fast become Princess Madeleine’s go-to label for daytime royal events, and Philip Treacy’s a hat favorite. (This is also a royal twin moment: Princess Marie has also worn this dress.) Props to Madeleine for picking a layered choice that still managed not to look disheveled while corralling energetic toddlers.

Princess Sofia amped up the floral print with her custom Ida Lanto dress. Did I mention how DELIGHTFUL it is to see some actual hats on the Swedish royal ladies? Dress code #2: Leave the not-a-hat hat stuff to me, ladies. XO, Vic. I feel like I’ve waited sooooo long to see Princess Sofia bust out a proper hat and bless her heart, she went entirely Eliza Doolittle with it.

After the Stockholm celebrations, the family hopped over to Öland to commence the annual celebrations for Victoria’s birthday, starting with a Friday evening concert. Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria always wear the traditional dress of Öland for this event.

It’s only Silvia and Victoria that go traditional, so that frees up Madeleine and Sofia continue interpreting the morning’s summer garden memo in a more casual mode. And, wisely, to go the wedge route on the grass. There's a certain sort of genius to what Madeleine's doing here. This is admittedly not that great standing up. But seated? It's way better. And seated is the entire game here.

Saturday finished up the annual events as Victoria and her family, with the King and Queen, greeted well-wishers at Solliden Palace.

Dress code #3: On Saturdays, we wear light blue. Going out on the most coordinated note of all. Even the gents this time! Between these two blazers and Carl Philip's suit from the concert, this is as close as we get to summer dressing from the Blue Suit Club. I'll take what I can get.

Photos: SVT screencaps and Getty Images as indicated

14 July 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Kate at the Natural History Museum

ICYMI: We did a late post yesterday with the second tiara event of the Spanish state visit, see here.

The busiest royal July in recent history rolls on, so check back in with us this weekend as we cover Crown Princess Victoria's 40th birthday! Before we get to that, though...

You know, sometimes I'll see an outfit for sale and think to myself, one of those royals should really get on that. (This inevitably occurs when said outfit is waaaaaaay out of my price range, and I thus need someone else to wear it so I can enjoy it anyway.) Every once and a while...one of those royals actually does get on that.

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the reopening of Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum yesterday.
I eyed this Preen for royal use a while ago, and here it is! She even wore it with a purple bag and sassy purple heels, bless. (This event was in the evening, and you can tell it was later in the day because she allowed herself to go *~cRazY~* and wore...open toe shoes. Thank goodness.)

Everly dress in stretch-crepe from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
Kensington Palace
Yes...the Liesl is strong with this one. (The Fug Girls beat me to my favorite reference, which only makes it more true!)

13 July 2017

Tiara Watch: The Spanish State Visit Strikes Again

More tiaras were promised; more tiaras were delivered.

House of HM the King
The second day of a British state visit usually involves a gala banquet for the visiting head of state hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London at the Guildhall. This is not the flood of royal tiaras that last night's state banquet was; unlike the state banquet, this is not an event hosted by the royal family. The Queen does, however, send a royal rep to the event.

So the Princess Royal came armed with her most dashing escort (Tim Laurence, of course!), her deepest curtseys, her daintiest diamonds, and the most fairy tale dress in her wardrobe. Doesn't this seem like an uncommonly frilly gown for her? It's just that I always think of her as a no-nonsense type of dresser. It's probably forty years old, knowing Anne. And it.still.works.

The embellished gown really does work well with one of her favorite assembled parures, pieces that weren't made together but they work as a set anyway: her Festoon Tiara, her diamond demi-parure (earrings and necklace) from her parents, and her diamond bow brooch from her brother (all covered here). The diamond brooch took the place of her Royal Family Order for the night; you can see the holes on her sash where the RFO usually goes. She also wore the sash and star of the Order of the Garter, plus the star of her new Spanish order, the Order of Isabella the Catholic.

House of HM the King
(Sidebar on Spanish orders awarded by King Felipe during this visit, for my fellow sash nerds: Here's confirmation that Andrew, Anne, and Harry were all given a grade of the Order of Isabella the Catholic; since they weren't wearing the sashes and only wore the stars, I assume it wasn't the top grade. Only those three because they were the ones that accompanied the royal couple on events outside of the palace. Charles, Philip, and Elizabeth also have Spanish orders, but they were given by Juan Carlos. End sash nerd sidebar.)

Queen Letizia stepped back to her current favorite tiara, the Spanish Floral Tiara. The real story is THOSE EARRINGS. Sapphires and diamonds, and - based on the style - almost certainly a Middle Eastern gift, I'd guess Saudi. They are HEFTY. They are also an entirely wrong match for the natural style of the Floral Tiara, and would have been better off with a different diadem.

House of HM the King
This navy one shoulder gown is, as far as I'm concerned, mainly another device to enable the wearing of the double bracelets of the joyas de pasar on one wrist. See, you have to double up on the bling. Because of balance. A brilliant scheme. Anyway, it's not as in-your-face fabulous as last night's was, but why compete with something that can't be beat? Of course she took a step back tonight. It's still a lovely appearance.

House of HM the King
Also, hey, another tiara! The Lady Mayoress always wears one, and a couple other ladies did as well, which you can see in the group shot above. I have no information to provide here, I am just passing along the bling. As is my duty. *salutes*

Update: The couple's farewell from Buckingham Palace has been covered at the Vault!

12 July 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: The Spain/United Kingdom State Banquet

I am delighted to report that tonight’s state banquet at Buckingham Palace for the visiting Spanish royals DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Loads of royals, jewel surprises, and gowns galore, pick me up from this floor! (Click here for our open post from earlier in the day, or keep scrolling. A more detailed jewel look for QEII and Camilla can be found here at the Vault.)

Best Cause of My Death
Queen Letizia
House of HM the King
I am DEAD, and all the jumpy claps in the world are not enough to revive me. La Reina was on fiiiiine form this evening. She delivered on every front: a stunning and sparkly red gown from Felipe Varela which will surely enter my royal sartorial hall of fame, plus a selection of serious jewels.
The gown was absolutely magnificent in motion, the caped skirt dramatically flowing and the embroidery sparkling like magic. The width of the skirt is a nice balance, volume-wise, for the Fleur de Lys Tiara. She also wore the earrings and one of the bracelets from the joyas de pasar.
CasaReal screencap
Sash check: Spain’s Order of Charles III for Letizia as well as for Philip and Charles. It’s not surprising that Letizia did not receive a British order; it’s rare that a consort receives one, and Queen Sofia never did. She’s wearing it tucked into her dress, which is not unusual – it’s been done by other Spanish royal ladies, and by other royals too. Some etiquette guides say you shouldn’t have the sash touch your bare shoulder (though there are many many examples of queens wearing sashes with strapless gowns, so it varies). I also imagine it’s just more secure in place like this.

Best in New Orders
King Felipe VI
CasaReal screencap
Our biggest sash check comes for Felipe, because he was awarded the Order of the Garter, the highest honor QEII gives to other monarchs. Juan Carlos did not receive this until a return state visit and father and son both now have it, so this is special. Felipe also wears Spain’s Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck.

Best in New Jewels
The Duchess of Cambridge
CasaReal screencap
Kate sported a blush pink Marchesa gown with a sleeve that would make Queen Máxima proud. It is…okay. But I don’t have time for the gown, because THE JEWELS. She wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, as she has done in the past, with two new additions to her gem repertoire: the Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace on loan from the Queen and the Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings.
CasaReal screencap
The necklace (referred to today as King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Bandeau Necklace by the palace) was a part of the Greville Bequest and was among the Queen’s wedding gifts; I've written about it here. The Queen hasn’t worn it since the 1980s and it’s too long for her current necklines, so this is fabulous to see in use again. The earrings may be even more significant. These earrings were a wedding gift to Diana, Princess of Wales, from Collingwood Jewellers; she wore them often with this tiara. I hope this is the first step to seeing more of Diana’s private collection emerge. Plus, these are a MUCH better fit with that tiara! A match made in heaven.
CasaReal screencap
Sash check (well, order check): Nope, she does not have the Queen’s Royal Family Order yet. I know that people like to draw conclusions about her relationship with the Queen from that fact, and I reserve the deepest of eye rolls for that kind of thing. The Queen doesn’t award things lightly and all the rest of the ladies that have it are “full time royals”, basically. I consider it as simple as that.

Most United Jewel Front
Queen Elizabeth II, The Princess Royal, The Countess of Wessex
Did anyone guess the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure would be QEII’s pick for the night? Not me! It was just an aquamarine night, I guess, because Anne joined in with her Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara and Sophie wore her Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara. And, sadly, a few quick glimpses of them during the speeches is about all we’ll get.
CasaReal Screencaps
Sash check: The Queen wears Spain’s Order of the Golden Fleece on the bow on her shoulder. It was given to her by King Juan Carlos. British orders for the rest, the Order of the Garter for Anne and the Royal Victorian Order for Sophie and the Royal Family Order brooch for them both.

Most Typical in Sparkle
The Duchess of Cornwall
CasaReal Screencap
A repeated white dress + a pearl choker + the Greville Tiara = Camilla’s uniform. She’s saved from boredom here (you know, as much as one can be “bored” with this many diamonds) by a serious pair of sparkly earrings which are new! They are pricey little numbers from Van Cleef & Arpels, here's more information. Sash check: No Spanish order for Camilla (again, not surprising; Diana didn’t get one in the 1980s either), so it’s her Royal Victorian Order with the Royal Family Order brooch.

Best State Banquet Newcomer
Prince Harry
CasaReal Screencap
Making his state banquet debut…hi, Harry! His order check shows us his Royal Victorian Order around the neck (he’s a lower grade than Sophie and Camilla, so he doesn’t have the sash). He also appears to be wearing two breast stars on his jacket, one for the RVO and one for...something else, hard to see. And his tiara-wearing seatmate is the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, because I know that gem will catch some eyes.

Update: One more!
Princess Michael of Kent
Princess Michael is one of those royals that attends plenty of state banquets but isn't often seen. I'm so glad she was on this occasion, because I always need to see the Kent Festoon Tiara. This state banquet was also a first for Princess Michael's daughter, Lady Gabriella Windsor, who I believe is just out of this picture.

What makes your best list from tonight’s banquet?

Phew! What a delight! And guess what...there's still a Guildhall banquet with a second tiara opportunity for Letizia tomorrow night.

Royal State Visit of the Week: Spain in the U.K.

Letizia...*puts on sunglasses*...has arrived.

The long-awaited state visit from Spain to the United Kingdom has begun! King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia arrived on Tuesday, a day ahead of the visit's official start. Letizia traveled in this repeated Hugo Boss white outfit, which is totally what I wear to travel, you know, just minus the heels and the skirt and the crisp white color and...oh, never mind.

Official Welcome Ceremony
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall met the Spanish royal couple at the hotel on Wednesday and escorted them to Horse Guards Parade, where they were officially welcomed with full pomp and circumstance by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Spanish royal family doesn’t do the hat-n’-gloves thing in their regular business, but Queen Letizia is always game to pop on a chapeau when the occasion calls for it. Like her mother-in-law in 1986, Letizia recognized that a British state visit is the very definition of a hat occasion.

CasaReal screencaps
She’ll never meet Camilla’s levels of hat froof (NO ONE POSSIBLY COULD), but she was admirably game to try in the Maria Nieto hat she wore to match her Felipe Varela outfit.

House of HM the King
The yellow was an interesting selection – feels an unusual choice for her, right? – and ended up coordinating her nicely with the yellow flowers on Queen Elizabeth’s hat. South of the hat, though, things started to get a bit awkward. And by the hem, it started to get regrettable. The lower hem detail is a play on two yellows gone too far.

Buckingham Palace Luncheon
Royal Family
Once inside Buckingham Palace, the royal party enjoyed a luncheon and then reviewed a special exhibition of items from the Royal Collection related to Spain. And at this point, more members of the Windsor clan begin to show up...

Royal Family
Hello, Countess of Wessex! You know, Sophie's really mastered the "oooh, look how interesting!" pose.

Royal Family
Multiple dukes have also joined the party: Cambridge! York! Gloucester (even though he's not in this shot)! Swimming with royals, this place is - and we actually get to see it, for a change. I'm already loving this increased coverage.

Clarence House Visit
Clarence House
OUTFIT CHANGE! Felipe and Letizia headed next to Clarence House for some quality time with Charles and Camilla. We've got red...

House of HM the King
...we've got a saucy belted coat...we've got ruby earrings. She's also doing a bit of "diplomatic dressing" here, because this coat is Burberry. Sign. Me. Up.

State Banquet
Oh boy oh boy oh boy - I'm working on a new post for the state banquet because it deserves one! In the mean time, just a few quick screengrabs...


Because this visit has been so hotly anticipated, we're going to do this open post-style. You may want to stay in touch, because because this post will continue to be updated.

And over at the Jewel Vault:
  • Detailed look at the jewels of the Welcome Ceremony for the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall is right here.

Stay tuned...