28 June 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: The Belgium/Australia State Visit

Programming Note: The blog returns Monday!

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde welcomed Australia's Governor-General and his wife for a state visit to Belgium yesterday, thus keeping us in tiara watching fun for a second time this week. (Thanks, Mathilde.)

Belgian Monarchy
Only the very grandest of settings will do for a state banquet! (This is at the Castle of Laeken.) Mathilde did not bring the grandest of tiaras - not a surprise, she tends to adjust her bling based on the guest - but longtime readers will already spot what I love here.

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PURPLE! Purple on top of purple, even. The dress almost looks blue here, it's very much on the cool violet/periwinkle end of things while the sash of the Order of Leopold is much warmer. I shall not let that get in the way of a good purplefest.

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She added in her diamond butterfly brooch, diamond and pearl earrings, and the Wolfers Necklace Tiara from Queen Fabiola.

The fabric shown on the runway, Armani Privé Spring 2016
The dress is custom Armani Privé, seen previously at King Carl Gustaf's 70th birthday banquet in 2016, when she also wore the Wolfers Tiara. Her Laurel Wreath Tiara would have been a good one to try here.

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Going backwards in time, the Queen's new Natan for the welcome ceremony has the delicate floral embroidery I love, and she's pulling her accessory color from those details, another thing I love. So it took me a while to figure out what wasn't clicking here for me: I think it's the forehead placement of the hat. I'd love to see her repeat this dress and pull a different accessory color out of the florals.

Speaking of florals, we'll continue to go back in time to last week, when Mathilde was also in a flower power mood:

Queen Mathilde attended the graduation gala at the Royal Ballet School
Belgian Monarchy
Also BIRDS! More animals in the florals, why not? It's got leaves and it's got ruffles, and if you think you smell an Erdem...

Erdem Florence Dress Agar Bird
...you are absolutely correct. She debuted this during the couple's state visit to Canada earlier this year; the designer is Canadian. I like this one on her, I really do.

27 June 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: The Sussexes and the Queen

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Queen yesterday for the presentation of the Queen's Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace. Prince Harry also attended this event in 2017 and 2016.

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While the Queen went with her usual floral print (and a brooch, which you can check out at the Vault), the Duchess chose a custom Prada outfit. Pink and buttons and belted and asymmetric, sort of a combination of every other outfit she's worn since the wedding. Bless that asymmetric skirt, valiantly pulling those covered buttons into a new century.

Kensington Palace
Yes, I say bless the asymmetric skirt and bless a shoe that's not a plain black pump. Cut outs and a little bow at the back, yesssssss. Accessories on point as always.

Kensington Palace
I did say the Sussexes, so also the Duke was there. He wore a suit.

26 June 2018

Tuesday Tidbits: Beginnings and Endings and Puppies

 Here we go:

--ICYMI, we wrapped up Days 4 and 5 of Royal Ascot over at the Jewel Vault, with appearances by Princess Beatrice, Princess Haya, Autumn Phillips, and Lady Sarah Chatto. (Day 4 here, Day 5 here.) Also, there was polo and the return of the Duke of Edinburgh.

--Sadly, the Danish royal court announced that Princess Elisabeth passed away on June 19 at the age of 83. Princess Elisabeth was the daughter of Hereditary Prince Knud and Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde. Unlike her brothers, who lost their places in the line of succession and their titles when they married without official consent, Elisabeth never married and retained her title and place in the line to the throne. The Princess was often seen at the annual New Year gala banquet and other family events. Her funeral was held yesterday, with first cousins Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte, and Queen Anne-Marie in attendance. She will be laid to rest next to her partner, Danish director Claus Hermansen, with whom she lived for many years until his death in 1997. [Hello, Instagram]
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Princess Elisabeth in 2004, wearing Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara

--Zara and Mike Tindall welcomed their second child on June 18, a baby girl. The new addition joins daughter Mia. [BBC]

--The Cambridges announced a date and time for the christening of Prince Louis: July 9, to be held at the Chapel Royal, St. James' Palace, at 4 pm.

--Speaking of the Cambridges, Prince William is currently on an official visit to Jordan, Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He was greeted in Jordan by Crown Prince Hussein, acting as regent while his parents are on a trip of their own, and the two hung out and watched England's World Cup match on delay. He is now in Israel, where his activities will include paying his respects at the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice. [ITV]
Kensington Palace

--And finally: PUPPIES! Seven Labrador puppies were born at Villa Eikenhorst, home of King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, and their family. They announced on social media that the family's dog, Nala, had three females and four males. They'll keep one and find homes for the other six when the puppies get a bit older.
HM the King

Coming up this week: The Sussexes will be out and about today so we'll have that, 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! 

25 June 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: National Day in Luxembourg

If you can start your week with tiaras, do. Right? Luxembourg's grand ducal fam provided over the weekend during the festivities for National Day. We'll start with some less shiny toppers, though: hats at the annual Te Deum.

L to R: Prince Sébastien, Princess Alexandra, Prince Louis, the Grand Duchess, the Grand Duke, Princess Claire, Prince Félix, the Hereditary Grand Duchess, the Hereditary Grand Duke
Grand Ducal Court/Claude Piscitelli
Two hats and two flowers, to be more precise. I love Grand Duchess Maria Teresa when she's in sleek and simple mode; I love her doubly so when she decides to do it in purple. She's my Te Deum winner by a country mile.

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It's a liiiiiiitle weird to me that Princess Claire repeated this Vilshenko dress from National Day two years ago? Like...there aren't that many events in Luxembourg you attend, you know? Anyway, I will give her credit for the improvement of a magenta flower over the pale flower she wore in 2016. Maybe she realized she needed a redo.

RTL Screencap
I'd like to give Princess Stéphanie some credit for her hat interest, too, but that dress is making it real hard. She and Guillaume recently announced that they'll be moving to London for some post-graduate studies. I hope she'll carve out some quality shopping time, too.

Stéphanie did bring out the jumpy claps for the evening gala, I will say that. TIARA TIME!

Grand Ducal Court/Claude Piscitelli
Four tiaras! Not a shabby turnout at all. All National Days should have a gala, internationally. Make it so.

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Behold, the aforementioned jumpy claps: Princess Stéphanie didn't just wear the Luxembourg Turquoise Tiara, she added the entire massive necklace from the family collection. A good way to make the small tiara stand out, and also, YUM.

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Princess Claire is once again wearing Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde’s Tiara, which she debuted at the 2016 National Day gala. Her chic white dress is Alexander McQueen (the same style was worn with a tiara by a Danish noblewoman at Crown Prince Frederik's 50th birthday dinner). Stéphanie and Claire, by the way, are both wearing the Order of Civil and Military Merit of Adolph of Nassau. It's Luxembourg's second highest order.

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Princess Alexandra's got a lot going on here, with her Elie Saab of many colors and the sash (the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, like her mother and brothers) and the shawl. She chose to bring out the blue with the Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara.

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The recent break in the Grand Duchess' streak of Belgian Scroll Tiara appearances - at the Danish birthday party - proved to be very short-lived indeed. She's right back to her Scroll antics, complete with what I believe is another Elie Saab gown. My affection for my formerly favorite Lux tiara is waning due to lack of variety and it's concerning. I'm sure Maria Teresa is terribly worried about it, too.

22 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018, Day 3

Update! You can find all the Ascot goodies for the rest of the days at the Jewel Vault:
Day 4 // Day 5

Yesterday was Ladies’ Day, or Gold Cup Day, the halfway point in this annual festival of hats and usually home to some of the best millinery we see throughout Ascot. Did the royal ladies rise to the occasion? Judgment awaits, and you can check out the Queen in pink here.

Best in Ascot Rituals
Countess of Wessex
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Sophie did her duty and fulfilled another crucial Royal Ascot requirement yesterday: the ritual Muppet sacrifice. Minus the very visible base in the close ups, though, this Jane Taylor hat is one former Muppet I can get behind. Love that she leaned into lavender for the accents with this Suzannah dress.
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Yes, you see, Sophie comes to entertain, if not by with her hat then with her animated race watching. (It seems she didn’t back the winner in the Gold Cup race, based on her facial expressions.) She’s here to entertain and to make you jealous of her big aquamarine ring. Mission accomplished on both fronts. (Aquamarines had a moment on Day 3; the Princess Royal was also in the game.)

Best in Winning Streaks
Princess Beatrice
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The hits just keep rolling in for Beatrice. This striking black and white Jonathan Simkhai dress is great on its own and even better paired with this Sally-Ann Provan hat. She wears this saucer shape so well.
Sally-Ann Provan Greta hat

Most in Need of Day 2 Advice
Princess Eugenie
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Eugenie…could have kept that streak going for herself if she’d consulted the Day 2 outfit of Autumn Phillips for a little advice first. The boater hat from Sally-Ann Provan definitely lives up to the Ladies’ Day expectations in true planetary ring fashion, for sure, but the Erdem dress needs something simpler to work. It’s a competition and nobody wins.
Erdem Bernette dress, Sally-Ann Provan Naeva hat

Most Unexpected Color Combo
The Duchess of Gloucester
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Green hat, loads of emeralds, and a burnt orange dress. Green and orange has to be one of my least favorite color combos. Except that…a) it’s Birgitte! That’s the last person I’d guess would come out with this combination so yay for surprises, and b) that’s a great shirtwaist dress (she knows it, too; she wore one in blue on Day 2), and c) EMERALDS. Big emerald drop earrings and pearl necklaces with emerald beads, part of a wedding present to Princess Alice from Queen Mary. Yum.

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I'm not hitting absolutely everyone here, but BONUS ROYAL ALERT: Hi Serena! The Duke and Duchess shared a carriage with the Earl and Countess of Snowdon. There is, as always, much potential in what we can see of Serena’s outfit.

Who's taking home your prize ribbons for Day 3?

21 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018 Day 2, Plus York Extras

We're sticking with the British royal goings on today, with highlights from Ascot yesterday plus a taste of what the York sisters have been up to in their non-Ascot time this week. (Spoiler alert: it's good.)

Let's begin with the second day of Royal Ascot. Two ladies for day two. (I'm not covering everyone; the Queen and Princess Alexandra have been covered at the Vault, the Duchess of Cornwall repeated her spearmint number from the garden party last month, and there were a few more.)

Best in Busyness
Autumn Phillips
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So we've got ruffles at the collar, ruffles on the sleeves, a tie at the waist, a whole lot of pattern, and a hat with an ornament stolen from an aquarium...and it's a success?! The hat's got just enough solid color space and clean enough lines to balance the print on this Beulah London dress. Autumn always makes it work.

Best in Millinery Distractions
The Countess of Wessex
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At least once an Ascot, Sophie will give us something worthy of a My Fair Lady remake. She's good like that. Her first attempt for 2018 comes from Jane Taylor (of course) and is paired with a new jumpsuit from Emilia Wickstead (of course). Yes, I said jumpsuit. Those are allowed in the strict Ascot dress code and she's taking advantage. For better or for worse. It's hard to tell that it's a jumpsuit, and with that glorious millinery distraction in place, you can just glaze on over that fact, if you like. Like me.

Emilia Wickstead Vida Jumpsuit

Now we'll steer away from Ascot for a sec. When the York sisters left the racecourse on Monday, their day wasn't over. Nor was their streak of sartorial excellence. They hit up the annual Serpentine Summer Party at The Serpentine Gallery and let their hair down (and up) in two outfits perfect for the arty occasion.

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As ever, I recommend abandoning all jackets slung across the shoulders - especially leather jackets, which don't have the drape to do it right anyway - but the rest of this is divine. The dress is feathers but the top makes me think of mermaid scales and I would be entirely here for Princess Beatrice deciding to go into mermaid mode. A+.
Mary Katrantzou Talon feather-jacquard midi dress

Princess Eugenie brought her fiancé, Jack, who frankly could use something more interesting than a business suit to wear when his date is going to be so sassy.

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SASSY. Oh, I like it. This top is gorgeous. I'd scoop one up for myself, had I a spare thousand bucks and a Serpentine party to go to. But do me a favor next time, Eug, and Just Say No to Barbie feet.
Roland Mouret Iris one-shoulder asymmetric fil coupé organza top

But wait, there's more!
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Princess Beatrice is soaking up all the arty summer parties she can - can't blame her for that - by attending the V&A Summer Party last night. GIMME THOSE SHOES. She's wearing a dress too. But gimme. those. shoes.
Kurt Geiger Stratton shoes (h/t to Polka Poppins)

20 June 2018

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2018, Day 1

Ascot has arrived! A five day festival of royal hats and more. Was the royal wedding the best of the Windsor chapeaux for the year, or were they just getting started? We are about to find out. To the awards! (For the Queen and the Princess Royal, hit up the Jewel Vault.)

Best in Hats
The Duchess of Sussex
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The Givenchy dress may not be much more than a shrug for me, but the hat's a strong YES. Ascot is precisely the place to go to get your Dynasty on, so this sculptural number from Philip Treacy is *chef's kiss*. My favorite from the royal crew on Day 1.
Philip Treacy hat

Best in Brooch
The Countess of Wessex
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Sophie's outfit gets a meh-but-YES from me, too. The dress, a new one from Emilia Wickstead, is okay; I think the variation between the heavy black trim on the dress and the light trim on the Jane Taylor hat is what's giving me the mehs. (Two days in a row I want her to go all black with the accessories, maybe? At least I'm consistent.) (Until tomorrow, probably.) Her brooch, on the other hand, is a debut and it is a delicate diamond rose and it is soooo lovely. It's similar to a few in the Queen's collection, although I don't recognize it as one we've seen on Her Maj. Get a lot of use out of that one, Sophie. Pretty please.
Emilia Wickstead Pink Dionne Macramé-trimmed Crepe Dress

Best in Monochrome
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
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I do so love it when the York sisters turn up in a pair of winning outfits. Both taking the monochrome approach to hats n' dresses (plus neutrals for the accessories) paid off here. Beatrice's Claire Mischevani dress is a rich jacquard, paired with a matching hat from Juliette Botterill. Eugenie brought a modern feel to the racecourse in a coat from Osman and hat by Emily London. Somehow even the rogue graduation tassel on Eugenie's hat works, this is some kind of sorcery.
Claire Mischevani pale blue jacquard pleat dress, Osman Fleur tie-waist cotton-blend coat, Emily London Alcor hat

Best in Basics
The Duchess of Cornwall
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Am I a big fan of this pale gold on Camilla? I am not. I don't think it's her best shade. Would the shape and details of this dress and hat be divine in another color? They surely would. (The dress is by Dior.) She also could have taken a bigger version of her trademark pearl choker here, I think; she's opted for a standard pick, her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Small Diamond Clasp and her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings.

Runner Up in Hats
Princess Haya
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Princess Haya, here with husband Sheikh Mohammed and kids Sheikh Zayed and Sheikha Jalila, combined the York color strategies. The Philip Treacy hat's the standout here, with a large flower on top and flowers underneath in the back. Interesting enough for Ascot without going overboard. My second fave chapeau for Day 1.
Roland Mouret Blue Etty Square-neck Crepe Dress

Most in Danger of a Millinery Escape
Princess Michael of Kent
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Speaking of going overboard, this hat seems ready to jump right out of the carriage at any time. I feel like she needs a chinstrap just to be safe. Well, Ascot is as much a place for hats with a mind of their own as it is for Dynasty throwbacks.

Who's taking home your awards for Day 1?

We'll be following Ascot throughout the week here and at the Vault, so stay tuned for Days 2 through 5...

19 June 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: British Royals at Garter Day

Ah, Garter Day, the one day in the royal year when a dramatic velvet cape and a jaunty feather in your cap isn't just desirable, it's mandatory.

On Garter Day, the Queen gathers the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior order of chivalry in Britain. Appointment to the Order is the Queen's gift and up to 24 Knights Companion can be members at any time. Two new members were installed yesterday, Dame Mary Fagan and Viscount Brookeborough.

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Then of course you have the Royal Knights and Ladies, those members of the royal family that have the Order of the Garter: the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra. Absent this year was the retired Duke of Edinburgh. (Incidentally, Royal Knights and Ladies do not count towards that 24 member maximum. Stranger Knights and Ladies, the foreign monarchs the Queen has honored with the Garter, also do not count towards that max.)

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The members wear their Mantle (robe) and Bonnet (hat), along with the Collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter. (See the links for more details.) No one's mantle is more impressive than Her Maj's own, which requires two pages to manage. It's no surprise that she chose to ride in her car rather than walking to St. George's Chapel with the rest of her crew yesterday. As always, she and her enormous earrings - Queen Mary's Floret Earrings - have already been covered at the Jewel Vault.

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The royal ladies supporting their Royal Knight husbands were the Duchess of Cornwall, the Countess of Wessex, and the Duchess of Gloucester. While Camilla's sharp black and white outfit is new, the hat has been worn with a navy and white outfit in the past. I don't see a huge color difference and yet I don't like the crossing of the navy/black streams even in theory.

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Sophie's remixing her repeats again, including another hat redo. She added some festive frippery of her own to this chapeau and tied in the black from the dress. The dress is an Emilia Wickstead landscape print with horses galloping through it and I gather the print is even supposed to show an abstract Windsor Castle view. A frock with a built-in wink, of course I love it.

Emilia Wickstead Fall 2012 RTW
The Countess was my favorite royal wedding guest when she debuted this dress in Luxembourg in 2012, with a black belt and black accessories. Much as I adore her remixing, I'm thinking we need to bring back the black. No?

18 June 2018

Monday Tidbits for June 18: A Tiara Return and More

Another busy royal week ahead, but first:

--It's the return of the Spencer Tiara! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the wedding of Harry's cousin, Celia McCorquodale, over the weekend. I am more interested in the tiara than anything else here, it's nice to see it in action again. [The Sun]
A post shared by DNARoyals (@dnaroyals) on

--The Duke and Duchess of Kent attended a memorial last week for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, which prompted Buckingham Palace to reveal that the Duchess has returned to teaching music part-time at a school attended by children who lived in the building and area. [Instagram, Express]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, we covered the Queen's day out with the Duchess of Sussex, as well as a weekend outing with - shock! - no brooch.

--Prince Nicolas turned 3 on June 15, so of course we have a new picture of the birthday boy.
Erika Gerdemark/Kungahuset.se

--And finally, Sotheby's is auctioning a selection of important royal jewels from the Bourbon Parma family, including some that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette. I think we'll be talking about this more in depth later. [Forbes]

Coming up this week: It'll be a busy one, with Garter Day, Royal Ascot, the Spains in the US, 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!

15 June 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Swedish Royals at the Polar Music Prize

Psst: Looking for coverage of the Duchess of Sussex's big day out with the Queen? Click right here.

The Polar Music Prize was awarded yesterday, to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and Metallica, with the Swedish royal family in attendance.

Crown Princess Victoria is usually the one to watch at this event, according to me, because she often uses it as an opportunity for some "edgier" garb. Sometimes that strategy works for her; sometimes it doesn't; sometimes it just proves that even the "edgy" side of a royal wardrobe is, in fact, not very edgy at all.

Let 2018 go down as a year where that strategy netted her both the first and the third results: this red toga-style Stylein dress may not be too much of a stretch, but it really works for her. That's a stunning look! I did want to find a picture to share where she wasn't holding the bouquet, though, because tucking her clutch under her arm messed with the sleek lines. That's my caveat #1. Caveat #2 is her black strappy shoes, a clunky end to an outfit with otherwise gold accessories.

Polar Music Prize Instagram/Maria Nilsdotter
Those gold accessories included jewelry from Maria Nilsdotter. The Cherry Valley earrings have one longer earring and one shorter one, a great play to balance the one shoulder on the gown. Victoria also wore the Spike headband, which at first made me wonder from far away if she'd worn her 18th Birthday Tiara for some unknown reason. (That was enlightening, because I learned that there is one occasion on which I wouldn't mind seeing that thing, and that occasion would be a non-tiara occasion.) The gold, of course, was a better match.

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Meanwhile, Princess Madeleine's Giambattista Valli dress is stepping all over Crown Princess Mette-Marit's signature territory (M-M, I can only imagine, either has this one in her closet already or will be swiftly making some calls), and Princess Sofia is knocking it out of the park.

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Knocking it out of the park, I say! She's really proving this week that green is her color. And that a halter neck is her neckline. And that statement jewelry is her best accessory. I'm surprised at how much I love this whole thing. I might be making a note for the best of 2018.

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Let's not forget about Queen Silvia, of course, who wore a tidy black skirt, evening jacket, and pearls. We can always count on her to add a final stately note to the family group.

14 June 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Henckel Von Donnersmarck Emerald Tiara

When Sotheby’s sold this tiara in 2011, they called it one of the most important jewels they’d handled in the previous 30 years. The most important they’d seen since, well, the last time they auctioned the very same tiara. And it ended up setting a record as the most expensive tiara ever sold.

The Henckel Von Donnersmarck Emerald Tiara
The tiara was commissioned by German prince Guido Henckel Von Donnersmarck (1830-1916) for his second wife, Russian aristocrat Katharina Slepzow. Guido Henckel Von Donnersmarck was perhaps the richest man in Germany and one of the richest in Europe at the time, and the family jewel collection was known to be impressive.

The diamond base of the tiara showcases 11 large cushion-shaped diamonds with a hint of yellow to their color. These stones are surrounded by pierced and millegrain-set rose and brilliant-cut diamonds, with lily of the valley motifs between the cushion stones, a line of laurel leaves below, and swags above.

The base of the tiara is a showstopper on its own, yet it merely plays second fiddle here to a top row of truly exceptional emeralds. These 11 polished, pear-shaped emeralds are graduated in size and add up to approximately 500 carats all together. Colombian in origin, they are perfectly matched and perfectly colored.

They are also drilled all the way through the stone, a technique which can be a bit jarring to an eye accustomed to more modern settings, but which speaks to the long and illustrious history of the emeralds. Both the shape and the drilling method are typical of stones shaped in India around the 17th century, and these were likely a feature in the collection of a Maharaja or some other such figure. The emeralds then made their way to France around the 18th century.

Video: David Bennett of Sotheby's discusses the tiara
When the tiara was first sold at Sotheby’s in 1979, it was noted that by family tradition, the emeralds had belonged to the French crown jewels. The 1887 sale by the French government of the crown jewels did not, however, include many emeralds; it’s more likely that they may have been part of the personal collection of Empress Eugénie (1826-1920). A set of polished emerald drops were among the offerings when her personal jewels were sold in 1872. It is also known that Guido Henckel Von Donnersmarck purchased pearls from Empress Eugénie’s collection for his first wife.

Katharina Henckel Von Donnersmarck
Public Domain
The emeralds found their home in the Henckel Von Donnersmarck Emerald Tiara around 1900. The Belle Époque design isn’t signed by a jeweler but it is of the quality of the greatest French maisons; Chaumet is a likely candidate for maker. The family were patrons of both Chaumet and Boucheron.

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In 1979, the tiara was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Zurich. It came for sale again, from a private collection, in May 2011 at Sotheby’s in Geneva. The bidding soared past its lot estimate and ended up at $12,736,927, going again to a private collection. The price of well over $12 million set a record for the most expensive tiara ever sold. A fitting update to the history of the tiara Sotheby’s called “probably the grandest tiara to exist outside Royal, State and museum collections.”

 Do you agree that this one is grand enough to compete with the best collections?

13 June 2018

Royal Flashback of the Day: Princess Madeleine's Christening Looks

Swedish royal christenings have been very good to Princess Madeleine, sartorially. Or, I should say, she's made them very good. A flashback of her looks during the recent run of Swedish christening fun - and in case you weren't keeping count, that's been a serious run; they've had seven of them in the last six years! - reveals two of my all-time favorite Madeleine outfits and only one I'd say was a disaster. That's not a bad record. Not bad at all. (Click the kids' names to return to the individual christening posts.)

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The first one turns out to be the most forgettable, this lavender belted coat with veil headpiece. I remember it mostly because she made the delicious choice to use diamond drops from the Connaught Tiara as earrings.

Anna-Lena Ahlström/Kungahuset.se
Two years later and it's Madeleine's turn to hold the baby. The first of her three was marked in a lace dress by Valentino which was very sweet and very short and very pink and very veiled. (I still think the veil with nothing much else to it looks silly.)

Oh, but the second time was the charm, for this is one of those all-time faves. A Valentino so rich for the October season - and such a welcome break from all the pastels these christenings tend to produce - and so perfectly coordinated by bringing the color from the bottom of the skirt up to the fascinator. LOVE.

Anna-Lena Ahlström, Kungahuset.se
She followed that all-time fave with the other all-time fave: the very best royal interpretation of the SLEEVES trend (sorry, Máxima), in a pink Roksanda Ilincic dress. Another fascinator is well deployed here. Best to leave all the volume to the SLEEVES.

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Madeleine has a knack for picking the best from the Erdem pile. (Another example made your Best of 2017 list.) This one was practical, too; left all the froof at home and out of the way for the kid wrangling.

One disaster, I said. Here it is. (She was pregnant with Princess Adrienne at the time.) The Valentino dress is kind of juvenile and it doesn't work with the coat, which she left on throughout the service. The whole thing feels more haphazard than we've come to expect from her.

Erika Gerdemark, Kungahuset.se
The latest addition to the christening outfit collection is, if nothing else, a return to a totally pulled together look. The Giambattista Valli dress, the flower crown, and the pieces of the Cameo parure make a pretty and carefully coordinated picture. My third favorite of the pack.

How do you rank Madeleine's christening looks?

12 June 2018

Royal Dresses of the Day: Sofia and Mathilde go Retro

Princess Sofia attended the Sophiahemmet University's graduation ceremony yesterday.
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I daresay Sofia's come up with one of her best outfits for the year. It's described as a "modern take on a Forties tea dress," and I'm loving that little bit of retro flair on her. Plus, of course, the vibrant green. So bright and fresh.
Dress by L.K.Bennett
That's a winner. I won't be shocked if it turns up in another royal closet or two later on, plenty of them wear L.K.Bennett.

Some have likened Sofia's dress to the green Dolce & Gabbana worn in Canada in 2016 by the Duchess of Cambridge. It reminded me of another dress we saw just last week on another royal:

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attended a concert for the Queen Elisabeth Competition on June 4.
Belgian Monarchy
This repeated Dries Van Noten dress from Mathilde definitely shares the same sleeve feel and a similar hint of retro, no? I can't help but love this on her. Even though it stole its color scheme from a bee. And even though that floral print is definitely trying to Rorschach test us all.

11 June 2018

Monday Tidbits for June 11: Birthdays and Anniversaries

ICYMI, on Saturday we covered Trooping the Colour and on Friday we covered Princess Adrienne's christening. This weekend was also packed with some big birthdays and anniversaries, but first, some sad news:

--I expect you have already heard this tragic news: Inés Zorreguieta, younger sister of Queen Máxima, passed away at the age of 33. A spokesperson for the Dutch government information service said it was likely a suicide. Inés Zorreguieta was one of her sister's bridesmaids and was godmother to Princess Ariane. Arriving last night for the Dutch royal couple's planned state visit to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - which he will now undertake alone - King Willem-Alexander said: "The death has been a big shock to us and has very much taken us in. Inés was unique and deeply dear to us, so the grief is great." I hope the family gets the privacy they need at this sad time. [BBC, NOS]

--We're going to make a hard pivot now to a much happier subject: BOOKS. Crown Princess Mette-Marit was in her happy place last week on her annual literature train tour, riding through scenic Norway and talking about books. (So, living the dream.) She shared this lovely photo as she was getting ready. [Instagram]
Christian Lagaard, Det kongelige hoff

--One more Norway thing: Queen Sonja's next exhibit at the Queen Sonja Art Stable will include some of the royal family's bunads! The exhibition is called Tradition and Inspiration and includes traditional dress and other artworks. It opens June 20. [Kongehuset]

--As noted, there were a bunch of wedding anniversaries and birthdays marked this weekend. The Duke of Edinburgh, whose presence was truly missed at Trooping the Colour, celebrated his 97th birthday on Sunday. [Express]

--Princess Madeleine celebrated her 36th birthday on Sunday. The royal court released a beautiful new picture taken at Friday's christening. (A teaser for the official christening photos, which have now been added to the christening post.)
Erika Gerdemark, Kungahuset.se

--King Abdullah and Queen Rania celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on Sunday. Rania married in a Bruce Oldfield gown back in 1993, and it's quite a difference from her current style.

--Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako also celebrated their silver wedding anniversary this weekend, answering some questions from the press and releasing some new photos with their dog. The couple are set to become Emperor and Empress next year, following Emperor Akihito's abdication on April 30, 2019. [Mainichi]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: A day out with Camilla and some doggos, another opportunity to snoop around the pictures in QEII's audience room, and a day out with Charles to see a cool new gallery.

Coming up this week: We'll cover Meghan's day with the Queen, and more...

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