30 March 2018

Royal Jewels of the Day: The Fife Tiaras at Kensington Palace

We updated the status of the Fife Tiara back in January here, after news broke in 2017 that the tiara had been given to the U.K. government in lieu of inheritance tax and was scheduled to be displayed at Kensington Palace. That display - part of the reopened Victoria Revealed exhibition - opens today (March 30) and includes not just the big diamond Fife Tiara but two other Fife family tiaras. And, well:

BE STILL MY HEART. You can check out our entry on the Fife Tiara's history here.

Historic Royal Palaces. Click to enlarge.

Here's what the exhibition press release has to say about it:
"The majestic Fife tiara, given to Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Louise on her wedding day, is today considered one of the finest works produced by celebrated Parisian jeweller Oscar Massin, and represents the very zenith of tiara design. A gift from Louise’s husband the Duke of Fife, it comprises hundreds of diamonds ranging in weight from one to ten carats, and features a spectacular row of pear shaped ‘swing set’ diamonds, which would have dazzled onlookers when worn."
We also now have an opportunity to see those diamonds move:

But wait, there's more! As was also previously announced, the Fife estate has loaned Queen Victoria's Emerald and Diamond Tiara to the Victoria Revealed exhibit - plus its accompanying parure of a necklace, earrings, and brooch!

Historic Royal Palaces. Click to enlarge.
Historic Royal Palaces. Click to enlarge.

You can check out our last entry on the tiara here. And this is what the exhibition has to say:
"Comprising a magnificent diamond and emerald diadem, emerald necklace, earrings and brooch, this parure – or matching suite of jewels – showcases both the exquisite workmanship of nineteenth century goldsmiths, and Prince Albert’s own flair for design. Albert was fascinated by jewellery, and personally designed this dazzling headpiece for his wife. Created by the Queen’s Jeweller, Joseph Kitching, the tiara is set with cushion-shaped diamonds and step-cut emeralds, and surmounted by a graduated row of 19 inverted pear-shaped emeralds, the largest of which weighs an astonishing 15 carats. As a testament to Albert’s own creative talents, the pieces he designed for Victoria now constitute the only known examples of a tiara design by a consort for his Queen. Victoria, clearly delighted with the gift, wrote in her journal of her husband’s ‘wonderful taste’, and her delight at wearing this ‘lovely Diadem of diamonds and emeralds designed by my beloved Albert’.
Presented to Victoria in 1845, the tiara provided both the centrepiece and finishing touch to an existing emerald suite. It was created to complement a necklace formed of 9 oval emerald clusters, each set within a border of cushion-shaped diamonds, its accompanying pendant earrings and an impressive 20ct emerald and diamond brooch, all of which were gifts from Albert, and also go on display at Kensington Palace. Victoria would select these gems for Franz Xavier Winterhalter’s intimate 1846 painting of the royal family, for her son Prince Alfred’s christening (when she paired them with the lace from her wedding dress) and again for a striking Winterhalter portrait of 1859, which depicts the pieces in stunning detail."
A little glimpse of this tiara's sparkle, from The Jewellery Editor:

The way the light shines through those emeralds is absolutely magnificent.

And there's still more!

Historic Royal Palaces. Click to enlarge.

You can also see a classic diamond fringe from the Fife family, another piece that belonged to Princess Louise and was a gift from her parents on her marriage. Here's the press release description:
"Another of Louise’s jewels, a remarkable kokoshnik style tiara with graduated pavé-set rays of diamonds in white and yellow gold, takes inspiration from the cockscomb style headdresses of the Romanov court, and reflects the familial web created by Queen Victoria’s descendants throughout Europe; Louise could count the Emperor and Empress of Russia as cousins, while among her aunts were both the Dowager Empress and a Grand Duchess. A gift from her parents the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), its clever construction means it could be worn as a tiara or converted into a necklace, and it became one of Louise’s favourite pieces of jewellery."
Princess Louise wears the fringe tiara

Both the fringe and the emerald tiara are on long-term loan from the estate of the 3rd Duke of Fife. Victoria Revealed runs at Kensington Palace throughout 2018.

29 March 2018

Tiara Thursday: Elizabeth Taylor's Cartier Ruby Necklace Tiara

Elizabeth Taylor's Cartier Ruby Necklace Tiara
Elizabeth Taylor called Mike Todd, her third husband, one of the two great loves of her life. Their marriage lasted just 13 months before it was cut tragically short by Todd's death in a plane crash in New Mexico. Those months were filled with the 47-year-old theater and film producer showering his 24-year-old superstar wife with glittering gifts of jewelry, including a tiara (the Mike Todd Tiara).

The necklace
One of his most spectacular “just because” gifts was a suite of diamond and ruby jewelry by Cartier, a set anchored by a spectacular bib necklace made in 1951 of oval-, cushion-, and round-shaped rubies with baguette- and round-cut diamonds. The rubies are set in gold and the diamonds are set in platinum, and the necklace was accompanied by matching earrings and a matching bracelet.

The bracelet
The earrings
Todd gave Taylor her rubies in August 1957, at a villa the couple were renting in the south of France. She described the moment in her book, My Love Affair with Jewelry:
"When Mike gave me the rubies I was pregnant with Liza. We had rented a villa, La Fiorentina, just outside Monte Carlo near St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, about three months into our marriage. The most beautiful house you've ever seen. Actually, I rented it twice - once with Mike and once with Richard. I was in the pool, swimming laps at our home, and Mike came outside to keep me company. I got out of the pool and put my arms around him, and he said, ‘Wait a minute, don't joggle your tiara.’ Because I was wearing my tiara in the pool! He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire. First, Mike put it round my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet. Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was so glorious, ripping red on blue like a painting. I just shrieked with joy, put my arms around Mike’s neck, and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love."
That gleeful moment of jewelry delight was caught on home video (below).

Taylor wore the ruby set for big events during her marriage and afterward. The whole Cartier suite was included in the landmark auction of her jewelry and other treasures in 2011 by Christie’s.

The fevered bidding at the auction brought in astonishing prices for most pieces, well above their estimates. The Cartier ruby suite commanded close to $5.5 million total, with $3,778,500 paid for the necklace alone. The set is now back in the Cartier collection.

Now that the piece is with Cartier, another function of the necklace is highlighted once again: it can also be worn as a tiara!

The necklace as a tiara, modeled by Niki de Saint Phalle
The necklace was originally designed in 1951 and was modified in 1953 to double as a tiara (all occurring before Todd bought it in 1957). As necklace-to-tiara conversions go, the triangular bib shape is perhaps not the most natural fit, but it does make a strong impression – and it’s undeniably ruby, when many other ruby tiaras are light on the red stones. I think it looks like something you’d see in an animated Disney princess movie, which is not necessarily a bad thing in my book.

As a tiara: yes, or sport it as a necklace and leave it be?

You have a chance to see these rubies in person, should you happen to pass by the National Gallery of Australia in the next few months. Cartier: The exhibition runs from March 30 through July 22 and includes this necklace plus a whole lot of other sparklies and tiaras like the Hesketh Aquamarine Tiara, the Cartier Essex Tiara, and the Cartier Halo Tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth II (so if you had that one in your royal wedding tiara pool, you’re going to be out of luck). The Williamson Diamond Brooch is also on loan from the Queen to this exhibition. Check it out if you can!

28 March 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Accessories for Meghan and Máxima

A good statement accessory can make or break an outfit. Two case studies: 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Belfast last week.
Kensington Palace
Meghan's pick of a delicious cinnamon velvet heel for this outfit totally makes the whole thing; it's unexpected without being random. Royal watchers who happen to also be Shoe People (that would be ME) rejoice! In fact, the shoes are really the only thing on this outfit that grabs me. Although I do understand that the Purse People are doing some rejoicing of their own, and I am happy for y'all.

Queen Máxima had an audience with the Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam last week.
A post shared by Queen Maxima (@queen.maxima) on
On the other hand, Máxima has taken a perfectly preppy dress and added this collar/necklace/thingy on top and it is possibly ALIVE, so there's that. (It isn't part of the dress; she's worn both separately in the past.)

27 March 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for March 27: Dynamic Duos and More

I love a royal family team:

--Princess Beatrix joined Princess Mabel for the presentation of the Prince Friso Engineering Prize, sporting an old Prinsjesdag dress, renovated. Clever! She doesn't attend the event since the abdication, might as well get some use out of those special purpose clothes. [ModekoninginMaxima]

--Speaking of mother/daughter-in-law duos, Crown Princess Mary joined Queen Margrethe recently for a visit to the Greve Museum. Love this old coat of Mary's. [SN]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, a mother/son duo tackle a big ceremony for the Duke of York, a badge debut for the Duchess of Cornwall, and a Christmas outfit makes a Spring appearance.

--And finally, this is super interesting: "When a 21st-Century Family Moves Into a 12th-Century Castle," about Alice and Alfred Liechtenstein and the castle they call home. [NYTimes]
Schloss Hollenegg
Von Josef Moser - Selbst fotografiert, CC BY-SA 3.0

Coming up this week: Accessories galore, an exhibition approaches, 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!

26 March 2018

Princely Event of the Day: Monaco's Rose Ball

The Rose Ball in Monaco - theme this year: Manhattan - didn't deliver the costume glory of 2017, but I think a step back into pleasing blacks and pinks was just what the couture doctors ordered.

Princess Caroline, Charlotte Casiraghi, Pierre Casiraghi, Beatrice Borromeo, and Princess Alexandra joined Karl Lagerfeld for the Bal de la Rose this weekend.
It's Chanel as you would expect for Princess Caroline and Princess Alexandra, with a splash of yummy black velvet from Beatrice Borromeo and a literal pouf of fun from Charlotte Casiraghi.

Chanel Couture (left and center), Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition (right) 
h/t to Heaven
Caroline's Chanel looks like one that her old pal Karl had in mind for her from the start. Alexandra's seems like just the kind of thing an 18-year-old with access to haute couture should wear and possibly the kind of thing that only an 18-year-old with access to haute couture should wear. Beatrice's dress is modified from the runway to accommodate the confirmation that she is indeed expecting a second child, as has been reported.

Swipe through for more pics from the evening.
Maybe also on rumor confirmation patrol tonight (because these Casiraghis don't really issue statements about this stuff), Charlotte showed up with beau Dimitri Rassam in tow and a ring parked on her finger, leading many to assume that this is her confirmation of their reported engagement. If you're going to be the center of inquiring attention, might as well do it in a giant feathery pouf!

Saint Laurent
h/t to Heaven
I don't really know what we'd call this - a wrap? a feather duster run amok? a coordinated ostrich attack? - so I'll just call it GLAM. It's playful! Oh, I'm definitely here for this.

23 March 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: The Duchess of Cambridge's Last Two

The last two days of engagements for Kate were her last before maternity leave, Kensington Palace announced. Behold:

The Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation hosted a symposium on early intervention on Wednesday.
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One more bespoke Jenny Packham for the road, in shades of Easter basket stuffing with a bow on top! A divisive bow, it seems, as bows on clothes tend to be.

Kensington Palace
But without the bow, there's not much too it. It adds interest and it's not too twee. A thumbs up from me.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook engagements celebrating the Commonwealth on Thursday, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London next month.
Kensington Palace
And here we have a repeated GOAT coat and a new Hobbs London top paired with a skinny trouser and heels, a perfect basic outfit shape that can work in so many different situations.

Kensington Palace
It's cute!

22 March 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Belgian Scroll Tiara, Revisited

Luxembourg’s doing their best to make up for a tiara-less state banquet earlier this week. They brought along an unexpected number of family members for the return dinner, and they released a glittering new portrait of the Grand Duchess to celebrate her birthday! (Which is today; she is 62. Happy birthday, Maria Teresa!)

Lola Velasco/Cour grand-ducale
Splendid, right? She’s wearing the tremendously flattering Yves Dooms evening gown she wore for the 2017 National Day gala. She’s also repeating the Belgian Scroll Tiara, and it’s about time we refreshed our thoughts on this gem. Especially since, for the past few years, it has been Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s unequivocal favorite.

The Belgian Scroll Tiara
The Belgian Scroll Tiara is a diamond tiara of palmette, crescent, and scroll motifs made by Henry Coosemans in 1953. There are 854 diamonds here, all set in platinum, with a total weight of 46.42 carats. The center stone is an 8.1 carat diamond that can be removed and worn as a ring, and the central element can be worn as a brooch. It was a gift from the Sociéte Générale to Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium when she married Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg that same year.

Princess Joséphine-Charlotte on her wedding day
Joséphine-Charlotte wore this for her wedding portrait, having already worn the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara for the ceremony. (If you can’t pull a two tiara day on your wedding day, when can you?) She continued to wear the tiara throughout her years as the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, even after her husband had abdicated in favor of their son, Henri. She did allow her daughter-in-law, Princess Sibilla, to borrow it.

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte
Several years ago, the Belgian Scroll Tiara came terribly close to losing its place in the family collection. The diadem was Joséphine-Charlotte’s personal property; when she died in 2005, her five children seemed to have had some difficulty dividing up her assets. In 2006, an auction through Sotheby’s was announced. A large quantity of her personal jewels and other valuable possessions were to be sold by the family. Among the loot: this tiara, her other wedding tiara, and jewels from her parents, King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians.

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Princess Sibilla borrows the tiara in 2002
The jewels were private property, so it was completely within the family’s rights to do as they pleased with them. Nevertheless, the auction caused a public outcry. Rumors of tension among siblings and in-laws popped up, as well as all the old talk of the damaged relationship between Joséphine-Charlotte and her daughter-in-law Maria Teresa. Not only that, but the family’s finances and judgment were called into question by some. In other words: all the things that a royal house does not want questioned were suddenly a point of discussion. In light of this, the auction was cancelled.

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Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, also wearing the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara around her neck
The Belgian Scroll Tiara was thus salvaged, along with several other major pieces of jewelry. (The family still sold off some more minor pieces; they just did it in a quieter fashion.) The tiara is now a firm favorite with Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. She’s worn it for the past two National Day galas, plus a state visit and the Norwegian birthday gala in 2017, among other occasions. I’d love to see it on Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (who is Belgian), should MT decide to release her grip.

Does this rank among your favorite Luxembourg tiaras?

21 March 2018

Royal Visit of the Day: Máxima and Rania Collide in the Netherlands

A state visit from Jordan to the Netherlands was scheduled for 2017, then it was cancelled/postponed, and then it was rescheduled for this week - but downgraded to an official visit. Still, at long last, the fashion forces of Queen Máxima and Queen Rania have collided as promised!

The official welcome ended up being a pretty tidy summation of both ladies' styles: one with all the cape and hat action you can stand, the other sleek and simple with a twist (that twist, in this instance, being a button configuration that leaves me permanently searching for the fictional missing pair). Obviously I love the cape on Máxima's Claes Iversen coat, although I can't help but feel like the whole thing smothers her in tan. Rania's fresh light blue is a welcome relief for the first day of Spring.

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At the official dinner: Prince Constantijn, Princess Margriet, Queen Rania, King Abdullah, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Princess Beatrix
We have another textbook definition of her personal style from Queen Máxima in the evening, because oh YES, this is a ruffled formal banana frock and I kinda love it and that's Máx Magic for you.

Rania, on the other hand, is pretty tame compared to her usual and actually went with a traditional choice. She thanked the women of the Basmet Al-Khair Charitable Society for her traditional Jordanian dress on her Instagram. I love the sleeve details.

The switch to an official visit meant a formal, white tie state banquet was replaced with an official dinner. So no tiaras this time around. But Máxima wouldn't let a visit from fellow monarchs go entirely un-bedazzled, now would she?
Embed from Getty Images
Of course she wouldn't. She adorned her Claes Iversen dress with the Stuart (House Diamond) Necklace with the pendants removed. It's the second time she's worn it; it's been shortened by a few links or worn back a bit so that it matches up with the neckline of the dress and as a result, these two things work together against all odds. Bless her, trying to soothe our tiara loss by wearing a serious royal necklace with her ruffled formal banana frock.

20 March 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for March 20: A State Banquet and More

Let's see what we've got here...

--ICMYI, we covered the wedding of Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma (and the big ol' tiara that came out to play) over the weekend.

--The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg embarked on a state visit to France yesterday. I am sorry to report that the French president is still keeping the dress code for state banquets below the point at which tiaras are worn, so boo. Luxarazzi has all from the banquet and from the arrival.
Cour grand-ducale / Bertrand Rindoff / Getty Images

--Over at the Jewel Vault, a delighted QEII brought back her favorite aquamarine brooches.

--The Belgian royal palace announced that Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, will begin studies at UWC Atlantic College in Wales this summer. King Willem-Alexander also attended the school. [Twitter]
Belgian Monarchy

--Queen Margrethe has returned to work after the end of the official period of court mourning for Prince Henrik. [Instagram]

--And finally, let's keep that theme of Very Good Dogs running for one more day: Here's the Prince of Wales meeting Ned, a 9-week-old puppy and future sniffer dog, while visiting Heathrow's Terminal 5 last week.

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!

19 March 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: St. Patrick's Day with the Cambridges

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Irish Guards on St. Patrick's Day, where the Duke, Colonel of the regiment, took the salute at the parade and the Duchess handed out the traditional shamrocks.
Embed from Getty Images
Another year, another root through the green section of the Royal Coat Museum! No need to search far back into the archives for this one; she just reused the Catherine Walker coat debuted a few weeks ago in Sweden with its faux fur collar and cuffs. Safe guess that was the plan behind commissioning another green coat in the first place, I'm thinking.

Army in London
The Gina Foster hat is a repeat as well and a veteran of this ceremony. The color match between the hat and coat is good, something that can get dicey when combining repeats.

But enough about that, let's say hi to the real star of the day:

Army in London
There's Domhnall the Irish Wolfhound, Irish Guards mascot and Very Good Dog, receiving his shamrock from the Duchess. Domhnall led the parade and, as the Irish Guards hilariously shared later, was tuckered out from his big day.

Irish Guards Facebook
Same, buddy, same.

16 March 2018

A Royal Wedding for the Weekend: Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma Tie the Knot

Big wedding gowns and big tiaras call for special weekend posts! Prince Christian of Hanover, the second son of Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, married Alessandra de Osma in a civil ceremony in London in November 2017. They married in a religious ceremony today in the bride's home country of Peru.

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Alessandra's gown is from designer Jorge Vázquez. If you made a royal wedding gown checklist, this one would manage to tick pretty much every single box: loads of lace, long sleeves, big train, big veil, big tiara. It's a proper princess dress and I think this bride, who is known as Sassa and who is described by Wikipedia as a "lawyer ex model", is pulling it off with aplomb.

Embed from Getty Images
About that big tiara: the Hanover Floral Tiara is back! We just saw it last year, when Prince Christian's older brother, Prince Ernst August, married Ekaterina Malysheva; prior to that, it was worn by their stepmother, Princess Caroline, and their mother, Chantal Hochuli. Alessandra is wearing the tiara in a more upright fashion than her sister-in-law did, so it looks a lot bigger, and the height is helping to anchor that big dress.

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Princess Alexandra of Hanover, the groom's younger half-sister, attended the bride wearing Giambattista Valli Couture (above). The groom's father was also in attendance, after family tensions resulted in him missing his older son's wedding last year. Other guests included Pierre Casiraghi, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, the York sisters, and Kate Moss.

Royal Hats of the Day: Zara Takes Cheltenham

Given that it includes two royal weddings in addition to Ascot and the usual things, 2018 will offer the British royals plentiful opportunities to flex every bit of their powerful millinery-wearing prowess.

Zara Tindall's getting the fun side of this hat-filled year off to a running start at the Cheltenham Festival this week. Always a staple in her calendar, she likes to pair fresh and fun hats with pieces that aren't too carefully put together, which I like as a bit of a change from all the overly coordinated stuff.

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Day 1, with the Princess Royal
And there are appearances from a couple other royals, too. (The Duchess of Cornwall made her yearly appearance on Ladies Day.) These two look like they're ready to pull off a mother and daughter heist.

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Day 2
So Zara's prepping for the Royal Baby Boom of 2018 as well, just in case you - like me - forgot. (She keeps a low profile!) It may be a serious forehead-bolter, this hat, but it's a great bit of warm up flair for the great hat occasions to come. I am very interested in this coat, which is bespoke Claire Mischevani; we saw a great dress from this designer at Ascot last year on Princess Beatrice, and I'd love to see more royals try the label out.

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Day 3
This is the kind of non-matchy coordination that makes me look forward to her looks from Cheltenham. It all works without trying too hard. The color on that hat is A+. She's also rocking those shades and she knows it, and I love it.

15 March 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: The Belgian State Visit to Canada

This Thursday brings us a tiara in the wild! Oh, it's been too long. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are in Canada for a state visit, bringing along one tiara and one pair of...Ugg boots?

Official welcome with the Governor General
Belgian Monarchy/Rideau Hall
Carmen Sandiego up here arrived in a tidy pair of pumps, then when the fun moved outside, she swapped them for something more comfy: formal state visit Uggs. So that is a thing that happened.

Embed from Getty Images
Underneath her cape, Queen Mathilde revealed a golden maple leaf brooch. Combined with the red color, this is a level of "O Canada" dressing that I'm not accustomed to seeing outside of, well, the actual Queen of Canada and her family.

State dinner time!
Belgian Monarchy
Worn this time with the Laurel Wreath Tiara and earrings from Queen Fabiola, the original appearance of Mathilde's Jan Taminiau gown was my choice for her best appearance of 2016. Here's what it looked like back then...

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Worn in 2016, during the Dutch state visit
So I'm pretty sure that the addition of an intense faux-necklace on illusion mesh ensures that it shall not repeat in 2018. Still very pleasingly sparkly, though.

Belgian Monarchy/Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
And most of the rest, so far! Some high water funny business at a sugar shack, more maple leaf loving in the hat on her orange number, more repeated sparkle for the return concert, and some elegant blue as the trip moved on to Toronto. This is a lengthy state visit; it goes until the weekend, so who knows what sartorial adventures await...

14 March 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: The Swedish Royals & Baby Festivities

As Crown Princess Victoria joined her father for the cabinet meeting to announce the name and titles of Sweden's newest princess, I found myself facing a difficult question: Is it possible that she overdosed on the purple?

Svenskdam screencap
This repeated purple suit is all sharp lines and belted goodness. Then you add the blouse with the fussy neck bow and...dilemma. As much as my purple heart hates to admit it, I think she's crossed into Too Much Territory.

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
All that purpley purpleness became a welcome bright spot when the family moved on to their Te Deum service to celebrate Princess Adrienne's birth, where Queen Silvia was in one of her usual sensible skirt suits...

...and Princess Sofia was in the most sensible of all the skirt suits. Svensk Damtidning notes that Sofia owns this Veronica Virta suit in two different colors, which is I suppose exactly the purpose of these basic suit pieces.

Monday was a busy day in Sweden; it was also Crown Princess Victoria's name day, so Victoria, Daniel, and Estelle headed out to greet the crowds after finishing up with the new baby festivities.

Henrik Garlöv/Kungahuset.se
And once again, a purple bow foils some otherwise sharp detailing on this coat.

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Princess Estelle turned up looking like a life size version of Samantha, the Victorian American Girl Doll, in her super coordinated winter outfit and she totally stole the show and I no longer care so much about the neck bow situation. Magic!

P.S.: Several of you have asked how the family is pronouncing Adrienne. You can watch King Carl Gustaf announce the name here and hear it for yourself

13 March 2018

Royal Color Scheme of the Day: British Royals on Commonwealth Day

So many of you were hoping Meghan Markle would use her appearance at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey yesterday as a chance to inject some vibrant color into her wardrobe...but as it turns out, basically the entire Windsor family united against your cause. I had to laugh.

ITV screencap
Navy blue for you and you and you! The Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, the Countess of Wessex, and the Duchess of Gloucester all showed up to create a sea of blues. Navy with the classic cream combo by a few, with just a couple light blues stuck in there for relief.

BBC screencap
All except for the Queen, who was classy in mulberry and rubies - repping Australia with that brooch - and was covered in full yesterday at the Vault.

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Meghan's contribution to the navy theme came in the form of a navy Amanda Wakeley dress, a cream Amanda Wakeley coat, and a Stephen Jones hat. A sophisticated look, methinks. Kate went all in on the navy with a Beulah London ensemble, itself a veteran of church service occasions, and a Lock & Co. hat.

Westminster Abbey
The Duchess gave this coat the touch it needed by adding a brooch, always a delightful surprise from her. It's a delicate multi-colored floral bouquet, and I don't recognize it as anything the Queen has worn. She wore it with the earrings she debuted recently, earrings I speculated might match the Queen's Sapphire and Ruby Flower Spray Brooch. However, I now think they're probably a pair with this brooch instead. (What Kate Wore has shared some close ups.)

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Full navy for Sophie, too, in a repeated hat - another piece that's a veteran from many a special occasion - and Stella McCartney coat (per the Countess of Wessex Blog). I'm actually glad for the beige accessories here, they pull in the hat ornamentation and give some relief to all the blue.

Westminster Abbey
 Joining Meghan on the navy and cream theme were Camilla and Anne. Every outfit Camilla has in this color combo - and there are plenty of them - is sharp as can be, and I love the detail on this jacket. (She's wearing her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Small Diamond Clasp.) Anne's been rocking this coat since 1980, because of course she has, but she's kindly brought it into the current century with a fresh hat. (I mean, it's still a repeated hat, let's not get crazy.)

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Lightening up the blue side of this family color scheme, we have Princess Alexandra, as always looking like an elegant picture from really any decade in the past century...

Westminster Abbey/BBC screencaps
...and the Duchess of Gloucester, unfortunately laying low in most coverage. This is also a faultless color for Birgitte, though the apparent tall black boots will certainly get the hmm... treatment from me.

12 March 2018

Monday Tidbits for March 12: Baby Name News and More

The royal baby boom of 2018 rolls on:

--Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill welcomed a baby girl on Friday! Grandpa King Carl Gustaf announced her name and title in a cabinet meeting this morning: HRH Princess Adrienne Josephine Alice, Duchess of Blekinge. The family are also attending a Te Deum today to celebrate the birth as they usually do; we'll cover that later. Princess Madeleine started an official Instagram account and shared a picture of Princess Leonore and Prince Nicolas welcoming their new baby sister home. [Instagram]
Mr. Christopher O'Neill/Kungahuset.se

--Princess Eugenie has also started an official Instagram account. A new shot from her engagement photoshoot is among the first things she shared. [Instagram]

--The Danish royal family made their first public appearance since the funeral of Prince Henrik, attending a dinner for the military. Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were present. Court mourning for Prince Henrik goes until the 14th, so it was dark clothing for the ladies.
Det Danske Kongehus screencaps

--Upcoming opportunity to see some sparkle up close and personal: "The Splendour of Power" exhibition at the museum at Koldinghus in Denmark will feature a number of pieces loaned from royal collections. The Naasut Tiara, Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara, and the Khedive of Egypt Tiara will be on display; in addition to pieces from multiple members of the Danish royal family, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Elizabeth II will loan items. The exhibition opens May 6 and runs until September 30. [Koldinghus]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: Double purple for QEII, including the reveal of what is apparently two not-entirely-identical brooches in her collection. Can't get enough, I guess.

Coming up this week: Commonwealth Day coverage, Te Deum coverage, 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!

09 March 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: A Windsor/Soon-to-be Windsor Grab Bag

A whole slew of Windsors and one soon-to-be Windsor will be out next week for the Commonwealth Day service - which we'll obviously be covering - so let's first get caught up with what a few of them have been up to this week. (There were even some Windsor diamonds out and about yesterday, check out the Jewel Vault for those.)

The Duchess of Cambridge visited a school in Oxford and opened the new Place2Be headquarters this week.
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Kensington Palace
These are both repeats (a cream JoJo Maman Bebe coat from 2015 and a blue Séraphine dress from the recent Norway trip) and both a wee bit snooze-worthy, but she was due for a few repeats after a run of new stuff, so really everything's all in order here.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Birmingham yesterday.
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Noted admirer of blue coats with white trim and of the cropped pant + high heel look that I am, I am totally into this. There are pieces here that fall into the category of Stuff I Might Actually Wear, which is - to tell you the truth - rather a rare category around these parts and basically judged on a totally different scale by moi.

The Countess of Wessex has been on a visit to Malta as part of her role as Global Ambassador for 100 Women in Finance.
It's been a good while since we checked in with Sophie, and she's bringing us the color we so need with this lovely Roksanda dress. The leather jacket pairing is a trendy nod; I'm not sure it's 100% successful but when one is hunting for some non-blue color from the Windsors, maybe beggars can't be choosers.

08 March 2018

Tiara Thursday: Lady Delia Spencer’s Tiara

Lady Delia Spencer’s Tiara
This geometric tiara includes 800 old-cut diamonds with an estimated total carat weight of 48 carats. It is a flexible piece; held on the frame by small wing-topped screws, it can be removed and separated into three sections, creating a choker necklace from the center section and a bracelet by joining the two outer sections.

Lady Delia Spencer and the Hon. Sidney Peel on their wedding day
The tiara came into the family that makes it well known in 1914, when it was gifted to Lady Delia Spencer (1889-1981) by her father, the 6th Earl Spencer, when she married the Hon. Sidney Peel. (Accordingly, you will also see the Peel family name associated with this piece.) The tiara is mentioned in the Times report on the wedding, which also notes gifts of jewelry to the bride from Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria.

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The wedding of Robin Douglas-Home and Sandra Paul
Lady Delia’s tiara was worn by Sandra Paul for her wedding to Robin Douglas-Home in 1959. Douglas-Home was Lady Delia’s nephew, a grandson of the 6th Earl Spencer. (Sliding Doors but with tiaras, maybe: Robin Douglas-Home romanced and reportedly proposed to Princess Margaretha of Sweden, but he was turned down. Later he had a relationship with Princess Margaret.)

The Spencer name gives this tiara a tenuous royal connection, because Lady Delia Spencer was the great-aunt of Lady Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales. And even though there’s no actual connection between Diana and this specific tiara, the Spencer name was all it took to turn the sale of this jewel into a headline-worthy event.

The Spencer name also increased the tiara’s price considerably. It was first sold in 2016 at Cheffins Fine Art Auctioneers, where it had an original estimate of £30,000 to £40,000 and sold for £70,000, or just around $100,000. It made a few headlines as a “Spencer tiara” at that time. In 2017, it was up for sale again, this time offered at TEFAF, a prestigious art fair in the Netherlands, by Hancock’s of London. Many articles on the sale referenced Diana and this time around, the tiara's value was widely reported at $225,000 - quite a jump from original estimates. It sold on the first day of the fair, to an unknown buyer for an unknown price.

I love this piece, and its symmetrical design that keeps an antique feeling fresh and modern. With its flexibility, it would be a welcome addition to any collection – though maybe not, I think, at its highest price.

Who would you like to see try this one out?