31 October 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for October 31: Royal Gatherings Here and There

Some tidbits for you, while you get started on that Halloween candy:

--A large group of royals were in Thailand last week to pay their respects at the cremation and funeral ceremonies for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last October after a 70-year reign. Among the dignitaries present were royals from Tonga, Bhutan, Lesotho, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Britain, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Liechtenstein, and others. Videos of the services, including royal guests, can be found here and here. [BBC, YouTube]

--Prince Harry went on a trip to Denmark and charmed everyone from the babies to the queen. He and Queen Margrethe will have met previously; she's been a guest of Prince Charles at Highgrove, in addition to the official stuff that brings her to the U.K.

--Happy (belated) sweet sixteen to Belgium's Princess Elisabeth! New pictures were published for the occasion. Elisabeth's parents, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, are heading out for a state visit to India from November 5-11, which was confirmed with another picture release. [Facebook]

--And finally, while The Crown casts their new queen (I'm so glad they're not trying to make one actress play every decade of QEII's reign), the usual Queen was out and about with more horses and soldiers. As she does. [Variety, Jewel Vault]

Coming up this week: Double vision hits Mary, some Erdem on the scene, and more...

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

30 October 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Sparkle at Norway's Parliament Dinner

Three tiaras graced the halls of Norway's Royal Palace last week for the royal family's annual gala dinner for the parliament (the Stortingsmiddag), let's catch up:

A post shared by news about royal family (@newsroyal2) on
Queen Sonja brought her big gun, Norway's emerald parure, which I would say was an interesting color choice, if we didn't already know that she has no trouble pairing it with any given color. Not that green is a far out choice for an aqua skirt in the first place, of course.

VG screencap
I do find myself thinking about how lovely Queen Josephine's Diamond Tiara would have been nice here though. Right? Maybe I'm always thinking that.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit - escorting an aigrette-wearing Princess Astrid; Crown Prince Haakon was in Thailand - opted for a new pink dress, reportedly by Marte Krogh's Norwegian label Koma by Marte. The navy dress Mette-Marit wore during Harald and Sonja's birthday celebrations earlier this year was from the same designer. It's a good look for our fair CP, still in her light colored comfort zone, but blissfully ruffle-free.

VG screencap
M-M's colorful tiara choice was a surprise. I'd have bet on the Diamond Daisy here and I'd thankfully have lost that bet, because she went for the Amethyst Necklace Tiara and its parure and the outfit's all the better for that little bit of contrast. Not that you'd expect me to argue with amethysts in the first place or anything.

27 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Charlene and Letizia's Berry Evenings

We had a berry-licious ensemble from Queen Máxima earlier this week, so let's close it out on a similar fruity (albeit less fuzzy) note. Shades of wine, let's say, because it's Friday and maybe a bit of wine is what we need.

Queen Letizia attended a dinner honoring journalism award winners yesterday evening.
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Letizia's still living her slinkiest jumpsuit life, in case you were wondering. The wavy hair with the center part gives this sleek number a Charlie's Angels vibe for me. Which is perfect, because any combination of royal Angels I can dream up - and rest assured, that is what I'll be doing with my time today - would have to feature Letizia as the MVP.
Angel Schlesser jumpsuit, Cartier bracelet, Yanes earrings, green stone ring
Angel Schlesser/CasaReal

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the Princess Grace Awards Gala on Wednesday evening.
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Also slinky! This Ralph Lauren gown is a classic shape updated with a wash of sparkle, and I can't argue with a bit of it. I was going to say it could handle a bigger earring, but actually these diamond studs are the perfect match to the dramatic smokey eye. Well done, Char.
Ralph Lauren Pre-Fall 2017 dress

26 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Harewood Scroll Tiara

Princess Mary, the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (1897-1965), was the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. In 1922, she married Henry Lascelles, the 6th Earl of Harewood (titled Viscount Lascelles at the time of the wedding). She had a splendid jewel collection, the basis of which came from her haul of bejeweled wedding gifts, with tiaras including Queen Victoria’s Sapphire Coronet and a classic diamond fringe.

The Harewood Scroll Tiara
The crown jewel of her tiaras - at least in terms of size - was this diamond diadem. The tiara is a mix of lines of single diamonds and diamond-set scrolls, with a large cluster of diamonds as its centerpiece. While the exact provenance of the diadem is unknown, it may be of Russian origin, perhaps something that formerly belonged to a member of the imperial family.

Princess Mary in both diamond and sapphire versions of the tiara
Princess Mary regularly swapped out the cluster of diamonds at the center of the tiara for a sapphire and diamond brooch, and did the same with smaller pieces on the sides of the tiara. The brooch, a wedding gift from Queen Mary, was an oval sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds. The classic design is instantly reminiscent of Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch, now worn by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a lookalike brooch in the collection of the current Princess Royal, Princess Anne, both of which have 12-diamond borders.

The sapphire necklace, brooch, and necklace/devant de corsage regularly worn with the Harewood Scroll Tiara
The possible sapphire swap was a smart move, because Princess Mary’s jewel collection was particularly rich in sapphire pieces. Both her parents gave sapphires as wedding gifts, as did other members of the royal family: Queen Mary with the aforementioned brooch and King George V with Queen Victoria’s Sapphire Coronet and accompanying jewels. The bridegroom presented an ornate necklace of sapphires and diamond fringes, a Russian piece formally in the collection of the Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna (as explained in this Royal Magazin piece).

Wearing the sapphire combination in 1956 at an army dinner
Princess Mary wore the necklace in swags on the front of her dresses, as a magnificent devant de corsage. Her grandest jewel combination was the sapphire version of the Harewood Scroll Tiara worn with the necklace that matched Queen Victoria’s Sapphire Coronet and the sapphire and diamond fringe necklace pinned to her gown. (It’s hard to imagine this level of splendor worn today, isn’t it? Necklace on the dress and all. Not that I wouldn’t love to see a few candidates try…)

Coronation, 1953
That grand sapphire combo saw two coronations, in 1937 for her brother, King George VI, and in 1953 coronation for her niece, Queen Elizabeth II. The Countess of Harewood attended countless other royal events as a member of the main royal family, regularly wearing her Scroll Tiara in both its sapphire and diamond formats.

The all diamond version
All those sapphires and this tiara are now scattered to the wind. Following Mary’s 1965 death, an auction in 1970 saw the sale of the Harewood Scroll Tiara for £9,500 (in its diamond version), the sapphire and diamond brooch for £10,500, and the sapphire and diamond necklace that matched the coronet for £8,000. The devant de corsage went earlier, in 1960, for £28,000. Most recently, Queen Victoria’s Sapphire Coronet was sold. Except for the coronet, which is tucked safely away with the Victoria & Albert Museum, the rest of these pieces have disappeared.

Who would you like to see try this one out today?

25 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: A Regional Visit for Máxima

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima made a regional visit to Eemnland yesterday.
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Basically a standard Máxima moment, complete with your standard Máxima questions. Like, how much time have I wasted in my life, putting my arms in the sleeves like some kind of peasant? 

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And, I thought we talked about leaving the muppets alone? I'm sure we had this talk. After...you know. That time before. Just your standard Máxima questions, for your standard Máxima moment. Basically.

24 October 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for October 24: Royal Bookworms and More

I have a special affection for the royals that love to read and spread that love whenever they can. Two such ladies, right here:

--Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands took in a bit of the tourist life in the United States last week, visiting the Library of Congress and Mount Vernon, along with their kids. Laurentien's an author herself and promoting literacy is a big cause for her, so I'm not surprised the library was a must-see. [Twitter, Instagram]
Princess Laurentien, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and Prince Constantijn

--In other royal bookworm news, the Duchess of Cornwall presented the Man Booker Prize to George Saunders. I love this annual engagement for her, it's such a perfect match for one of the royal family's most avid readers.  [Zimbio]

--Here's a smile from the always lovely Princess Alexandra, who recently attended a service at Westminster Abbey for the centenary of Lady Margaret School in London. [Twitter]
Royal Family

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, QEII has been hanging out with uniforms and horses (for work and for fun), per usual. In other queenly news, while the Queen and the Duke approach their 70th wedding anniversary, reports are that celebrations will be more private than previous landmark anniversaries. Which is a bummer, but also not surprising. [Express]

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

23 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Letizia at the Princess of Asturias Awards

Between the swishy skirt at the pre-Princess of Asturias Awards concert and what she busted out for the awards ceremony itself, I think there's only one conclusion to be drawn: Queen Letizia's in a twirly mood.

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, and Queen Sofia attended the Princess of Asturias Awards ceremony in Oviedo on Friday evening.
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The twirliest, amirite? Since I am always in a twirly mood, I'm allllllll in with this.

House of HM the King
The dress is silk georgette with embroidery and Swarovski crystal embellishment. As usual for this annual event, the outfit comes from Felipe Varela. The designer's description of the frock cited Chinese inspiration, from the collar to the symbols of longevity and the Chinese herons included in the embroidery.

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Her jewelry went black and white as well, with a white diamond Cartier bar bracelet and her black diamond De Grisogono earrings. She also wore a ring she's worn recently, which appears to have some green stones.

House of HM the King
There's a lot of symbolism here, for those that like to search for the *~meaning~* behind the outfit. But even if you don't, this one's still a work of art, plain and simple. Fabulously intricate, fabulously flattering. And surely another fabulous addition to Letizia's Best of 2017 list.

20 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia, Victoria, and Rania Get the Blues

A color-coordinated grab bag to wrap up our week:

King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended a concert for the Princess of Asturias awards yesterday.
Letizia clearly heard some of you wondering how her joyas de pasar bracelets would've looked on Máxima with that bold Jan Taminiau dress last week, and she would like you to know that they are TAKEN, thankyouverymuch. Hands off her preciouses. (This Felipe Varela-clad event leads up the annual Princess of Asturias Awards, and we'll be covering that later as always.)

Crown Princess Victoria attended a seminar in connection with the centenary of Finnish independence this week.
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Of all the concerning things about this outfit (and it bears a striking resemblance to my local car wash, so there are a few), the blue tone of the stockings might just be the most alarming. I think, in general, it's wise to avoid the Violet Beauregarde look.

Queen Rania attended a King's Academy event recently.
This might be the most luxe take on a mural dress I've seen, and I might be into it. Yeah. Chalk up another win for Stella McCartney (surprisingly enough).
Stella McCartney V-Neck Cape Dress with sequin embellishment (h/t to Heaven)

19 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara

The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara
This tiara puts an Art Deco twist on motifs frequently represented in tiaras: palmettes, acanthus leaves, and floral clusters. The nine openwork plaques of graduated size are pierced and millegrain-set with single-cut, circular-cut, and rose diamonds.

The tiara, removed from the frame
The tiara can be removed completely from its frame and laid flat. It’s likely that this jewel was designed also to be a choker-style necklace, though the tiara frame is the only fitting it has today. Regularly attributed to Chaumet, the tiara dates from the 1920s and has French assay marks.

As worn by a Duchess of Medinaceli
The Spanish ducal house of Medinaceli – a title dating back to 1479 that has been held by dukes as well as duchesses in their own right – owned this unusual tiara. It was worn by Ana Fernandez de Henestrosa Gayoso de los Cobos, wife of the 17th Duke, for a painting in 1926 (above), probably not long after the tiara’s creation. It was also used as a bridal tiara in later generations.

As a bridal tiara
The tiara was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2011 for $442,020. It was marked as the property of a ducal house. In the auction notes from the sale, the tiara was likened to the Lotus Flower Tiara and the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara, both using similar motifs and both belonging to members of the British royal family. In terms of the overall impression of the piece, I see a likeness to another tiara, one also hailing from a Spanish noble house: the Alba Russian Tiara, which puts a geometric spin on a similar sort of layered design effect.

The centerpiece
The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara is a large and imposing jewel in use. It was probably best suited to use as a wedding tiara, with a veil as a background to balance things out. As used by one of the brides pictured above, it even takes on a bit of the feel of a peineta and mantilla. And yet, again like the Alba Russian Tiara, it’s not hard to see how it came to sale.

How do you rate this unusual piece?

18 October 2017

Royal Dress of the Day: Máxima Brings the Drama (Again) in Portugal

Hit the rewind button, we gotta wrap up King W-A and Queen Máx's Portuguese adventures. One of their remaining adventures, at least. Because while there were some outfits that were just...*stares directly at camera* *shrugs*...her evening follow up to the state banquet's emerald festival was filled with even more drama.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a concert on the second day of their state visit to Portugal last week.
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Half cape, half caftan, all drama! This Jan Taminiau gown comes with an all-you-can-handle serving of rubies and diamonds, and its own creatively placed censor bar, free with purchase. Husbands that understand the art of escorting a dramatic gown are sold separately.

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About those jewels, though, seriously. Many people would have seen the bold, clean lines of the dress and gone for a minimalist, modern jewel approach. Many people are not our Máxima. She's experimenting again, using a piece of the stomacher from the Mellerio Ruby set as a pendant on her diamond rivière. She previously used it as a brooch pendant; this is even better. What combo will she dream up next??

17 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Kate Takes a Spin with Paddington

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended an event for children from charities they support, where they met cast members from Paddington 2.
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Well, this is cute. Probably my favorite Orla Kiely she's worn. Which, come to think of it, isn't saying much, but still! I mean it about the cuteness.

Orla Kiely/Kensington Palace
It definitely benefits from a dash of retro styling, so the chunky heel shoes were a good start.

Wait, what's that? You don't care even a little bit, you just want to see her twirl with Paddington Bear again? Fine, fine.

16 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 16: Birthdays and Norways

Here we go again:

--Prince Christian of Denmark turned 12 on Sunday and the traditional birthday photo (taken by mom) was released. This one made me smile; the casual twist on the usual posed picture feels perfect for this age.
Photo: HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark

--It was Norway's turn for a parliament opening last week, including King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon in full uniformed splendor and Queen Sonja in black and white.
Photo: Stortinget

--Norway's princess crew doesn't attend the parliament opening, but Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise both joined Queen Sonja later in the week for the opening of a new exhibition at the Queen Sonja Art Stable. And shortly thereafter, Märtha Louise's return to competitive showjumping landed her in a cast, yikes. [ParisMatch, Instagram]

--Looks like Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg's divorce might be getting messy. Yikes indeed. [Telegraph]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: QEII is getting back to business (with an assist from Princess Anne) - and she's making one big change for the upcoming Remembrance Sunday ceremony, a change I'm honestly glad to see.

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

13 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Queen Letizia at National Day

I was expecting something low key from Queen Letizia for Spain's National Day, but when she stepped out with the fam for yesterday's events, she managed to pull off a most surprising addition to her wardrobe: a brooch. A brooch! On Letizia! Mark this day on the calendar.

Infanta Sofia (in Pili Carrera), the Princess of Asturias (in Carolina Herrera), King Felipe, and Queen Letizia on National Day.
House of HM the King
It's not just that Letizia wore a brooch; it's that she wore just about the most classic brooch you can get and she wore it in the most standard way. Knowing how she loves to put her own spin on things, I found the traditional look to be the most surprising thing of all.

House of HM the King
The brooch is a Spanish royal heirloom last worn by Queen Sofia. This type of design - a large pearl surrounded by diamonds with a pearl pendant - can be found in strikingly similar models in multiple royal vaults, including the British collection. Again, classic and traditional as can be. The diamond and Australian pearl earrings she paired with it have been worn many times.

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The jacket and skirt are from Felipe Varela. They're also right along those classic/traditional lines. In fact, I'm getting strong flashbacks to Queen Elizabeth II in the 1940s and 50s. Letizia would fit right in on the set of The Crown in this ensemble. And that's not a bad thing, because there's no better choice for a brooch showcase than an outfit with a little QEII vibe. She's chosen well. A+!

12 October 2017

Royal Dresses of the Day: Mary and Kate Try Temperley Lace

Psst: No Tiara Thursday today. (I know, I know.) (I did update yesterday's post with a second tiara at the state banquet, if you didn't catch that.)

This week has given us double the lace and double the Temperley London. Which is either an extremely unfortunate coincidence or the greatest thing ever, but you'll be the judge of that:

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The Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception at Buckingham Palace for World Mental Health Day on Tuesday.
Oh, did you think Mette-Marit was the only one out there having some old-timey fun?! No, no. Kate can party like it's 1899, too.
Temperley London Eclipse corded lace midi dress
Actually, I kinda like this. Not so much in love with the dark tie details, is the thing.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary visited a contemporary art museum during their official visit to Japan.
Temperley lace with a neck tie, take two! The unexpected choice of a light blue shoe - they're properly light blue, not just looking that way because of this blue pic - makes the whole thing for me. So much more interesting than another nude pump, or black or whatever. Down With Default Neutrals: it's my new favorite crusade.
Temperley London Berry Lace Dress

11 October 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Queen Máxima in Portugal

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima began their state visit to Portugal yesterday, including a state banquet in the evening.
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Straight off of her latest production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, it's Máxima in all out MAX mode! This is some dress, huh? If anyone ever invites her to an enchanted woodland state banquet, she's all set. The gown is Jan Taminiau (of course) and while she has worn it for a previous private event, this is its big public debut. Balancing out that egg-sized gemstone around her neck, she chose the Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara, a relatively small diadem from the Dutch collection.

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I love this ensemble more than I thought it was possible to love a shiny jade thing, but I will say this: that delicate top is not at all up to the task of managing the weight of the large golden collar and sash. She's falling down on one side.

presidencia.pt screencap
Speaking of sashes and collars (pause for a brief Sash Nerd moment), both Wax and Máx received the Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. The President received the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Most of the orders in regular use don't have you wear the collar AND the sash at the same time, but they all have their own rules. It's just a lot of stuff, both worn at once.

presidencia.pt screencap
Prior to the state banquet, they held the official welcome ceremony. This is a new Natan dress for Máxima, but you could've fooled me. All these blush/beige outfits with the big hats are starting to blend together, in spite of my usual affection for a soft pink.

And prior to the prior to, the couple arrived the evening before in Lisbon. Máxima was wearing some kind of giant bug thing, which frankly feels like a personal insult. If you require a visual for this world of NOPE, you can click here. I'll remain here, choosing to think about absolutely anything else instead.

UPDATE: A bonus tiara! As often happens when royals come to visit, the Duke and Duchess of Braganza were invited to the banquet. (The Duke is the head of the House of Braganza and claimant to the Portuguese throne.) The Duchess really went for it, wearing Queen Amélie's Diamond Tiara, also known as the Dom Luís Diadem. That's her big gun, very rarely used. Her diamond choker, another Braganza heirloom, can also be worn as a tiara.
The Duchess of Braganza at the state banquet.
NOS screencap

10 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: An Instagram Grab Bag

Here comes a grab bag straight from the world of royal Instagram, an assortment of outfits ranging from interesting!, to uh..."interesting":

Queen Rania attended Amman fashion week.
Did she miss my rants about SHOOTIES? Is that what this is about? Otherwise, it's fashion week, and Queen Rania's gonna Queen Rania. (My caps lock-required term encompasses shooties, booties, or whatever you want to call them, by the way - as long as they're worn with a shorter skirt or pant in the stumpiest of ways.)

Crown Princess Mette-Marit with medalists from Eurosurf 2017.
Are we sure that Mette-Marit isn't pulling off the world's most elaborate Little House on the Prairie cosplay? You can't really be sure, can you.
Bijou heart-print dress with Victorian-inspired details, from Ganni (per Heaven)

Go ahead and yell at me that it's NOT a "prairie dress", and I just don't understand TRENDS (as some of you always do when this topic arises), but listen, it's definitely also a long cosplay con.

Greece's Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana attended the One Greece 2017 Sydney Gala Dinner in Australia.
Let's end this with a reason to use your caps lock powers for good, because GASP and OOHHHHHH! Tatiana's relationship with Greek designer Celia Kritharioti just keeps going from strength to strength, and those strengths now include capes and I LOVE.

09 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 9: A Wedding Watch, a Tiara Watch

Weddings and tiaras, great way to start the week:

--Wedding Watch: Prince Philip of Serbia married Danica Marinkovic in Belgrade this weekend. Philip is the son of Crown Prince Alexander and the grandson of Peter II, the last King of Yugoslavia. The bride wore a wedding gown from Serbian designer (and regular royal favorite) Roksanda Ilincic. Guests at the wedding included Queen Sofia, Crown Princess Victoria, and Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg. More photos can be found here and here; a video of guest arrivals is here. [Metro, Gala, YouTube]
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--Tiara Watch: The Sultan of Brunei has been celebrating his Golden Jubilee with a series of lavish celebrations. His 50 years on the throne put him second only to Elizabeth II on the list of longest-reigning current monarchs. The Earl and Countess of Wessex were sent to represent QEII at the festivities, and they've packed in a full working visit while they're on location. I wish I could bring you more - there was a banquet with tiaras - but some links will have to suffice: the Countess of Wessex Blog has full coverage (state banquet here), Go Fug Yourself also had some nice shots of Sophie this week, and there are some general looks around the big banquet here. Sophie wore the Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara to the banquet.
The Wessex couple at the banquet. See full video here.

--Princess Benedikte wore a berry brooch good enough to eat as she opened an exhibition on Danish tailor Holger Blom. The designer did a lot of work for Queen Ingrid, and one of her gowns is on display. [Billed-Bladet, TV2]
Queen Ingrid's Holger Blom dress on display.
TV2 Østjylland screencap

--And finally, I chimed in over at Luxarazzi with a little wish list of grand ducal outfits I'd like to see the Luxembourg ladies trade - because they love to swap clothes so often, Luxarazzi's on volume 10 of their clothes-trading catalog.

Coming up this week: Bits and bobs from Norway, Greece, Denmark, and others...

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

06 October 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: A Swedish Catch Up

We have some recent stuff from the Swedish royal ladies, but first, one that I meant to post about some time ago, and then my attention got predictably dragged elsewhere...

The Swedish royal family attended their annual Sweden Dinner in September.
I think evidence of a bright purple choir robe in action should be documented here, don't you? Queen Silvia's dress is a repeat from Yuki (designer Gnyuki Torimaru). He's known for cutting in a circle and creating sculptural designs with draping from there, which can either end up as a wonder of construction or as...well, as a bright purple choir robe. Or both. Take your pick.

This appearance also needs to be documented here because Queen Silvia wore a new (I believe) pearl necklace with an amethyst centerpiece, and anything involving new amethysts needs its day in the sun. I don't really know what's going on with the shape of that centerpiece, okay, but there it is.

And now to the week at hand:

Crown Princess Victoria attended the opening of the Swedish Church meetings at Uppsala Cathedral on Tuesday.
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This feels like a refreshing color change, no? Very professional. And even a hat (mmm...hat-ish object) to finish out our hat-tastic week. (No fan am I of these not-hat hats, but in this case, it fits the occasion just right.)

Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine were in New York for the World Childhood Foundation, including a gala on Monday.
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Is that a ruffle on the edge of Princess Madeleine's sleeves, or is she being followed around by a vaguely sinister aura? Better award some pre-Halloween bonus points, just in case.

Crown Princess Victoria in Rodebjer, Queen Silvia in Alexis, Princess Madeleine in Self-Portrait (per UFO No More)

05 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Bedford/Tavistock Amethyst Tiara

The Bedford/Tavistock Amethyst Tiara
This tiara tends to be referred to by either the Bedford or Tavistock names; the Marquess of Tavistock is the courtesy title for the heir to the Duke of Bedford, so both ultimately refer to the same family, the Russells. The tiara's largest oval Siberian amethyst was set into a diamond honeysuckle motif surround around 1810. That piece later became the center of this tiara, which adds six more oval amethyst stones of graduated size and diamond vine leaves to either side. In his book Tiaras: Past and Present, Geoffrey Munn highlights the cleverness of adding vine leaves to the grape stones, noting that "the word 'amethyst' derives from the Greek amethustos, literally meaning 'not drunken', referring to the belief that an amethyst placed in a glass of wine would allow one to drink without fear of intoxication." (You gotta love a tiara that comes with a built-in wink.)

Lydia, Duchess of Bedford, wearing the tiara and necklace in the 1950s
The tiara has an accompanying amethyst necklace featuring large amethyst stones in diamond surrounds and an amethyst pendant. This type of simple necklace design is a favorite in parures of colored stones. (The Bavarian royal family had a similar amethyst necklace and earrings, a set they auctioned in 2013.)

The amethyst bracelet
There was also an amethyst bracelet, a hinged bangle with three large oval amethysts and approximately 10 carats of diamonds in a leaf and flower design, set in silver and gold and made around 1890. This piece came up for sale in 2009. The bracelet belonged to Mary Russell, Duchess of Bedford (1865-1937), the wife of the 11th Duke. She was a fascinating figure, a vocal suffragette and noted ornithologist who founded four hospitals and decided to take up flying at the age of 63. That passion for aviation ultimately led to her death in a plane crash at sea in 1937.

The tiara is still with the family. It was displayed earlier this year alongside their larger tiara, the Bedford Floral Tiara, in an exhibition for Chaumet in Beijing. The Bedford Floral Tiara is a Fossin design commissioned in 1830 from Chaumet. Both can be seen glittering away at the exhibition in the Instagram video above.

Nicole, Duchess of Bedford at the State Opening of Parliament in 1969 (left, just behind the row of entering ladies of the royal family)
Good amethyst tiaras seem hard to come by (unfortunately, says this ardent fan), but I think this one cracks the code of a great amethyst tiara design. The purple stones are large, they look good enough to eat, and they're nicely complemented by the floral diamond motifs. As a matter of fact, it may just be my current amethyst favorite. 

Is this an amethyst fave for you, too?

04 October 2017

Royal Hats of the Day: Danish Royals at the Opening of Parliament

A continuation of our hat-tastic royal week, right this way...

Yesterday was Denmark's turn on the merry-go-round of parliament openings. Members of the royal family - Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim, Princess Mary, and Princess Benedikte - were present to observe the proceedings (no speech from the throne here, nope). Hats in place and ready to be evaluated:

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
I am so interested in Crown Princess Mary's selection of purple accessories - a repeated purple Jane Taylor pillbox with a purple purse - to go with this blue-ish Claes Iverson coat. (The coat's a repeat from the Belgian state visit.) I find am now very personally invested in purple as the new neutral go-to.

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
Princess Benedikte sported a towering pile of plain hat bases, and she made it work because she is Benedikte and this is her superpower.

Det Danske Kongehus/Billed-Bladet screencaps
Look at that tilting topper and then look at Princess Marie, because do you think that her hat should've chosen either the net or the flower? I do, but I don't know which one I'd pick. I love her in a brimmed hat anyway, and I extra-approve of a hat that can cover the eyes at an event like this. You know catching a shot of the royal guests mid-blink and calling it a nap is a tradition.

For the pièce de résistance...Queen Margrethe wearing her trademark Teletubby hat! This hat gets a little sillier every time she wears it, which is how I've come to grow rather fond of this strange little chapeau. Keep on keeping on, Your Maj.

See videos of the royal arrival here and here.