31 October 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia Also Brought the Jewels

While we were busy in tiaraland, Queen Letizia threw out a notable jewel appearance of her own.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia welcomed the President of Germany to Spain last week.
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This strand of large pearls with a big diamond clasp is another piece from the joyas de pasar; the Russian set of pearls was given by Alfonso XII to his bride, Maria de las Mercedes of Orléans, as a wedding present in 1878. Queen Letizia paired the historic pearls with an outfit from Hugo Boss. (Boss, in addition to being one of Letizia's regulars, is a German company, so a bit of a nod to the guests.)

House of HM the King
Huzzah for Letizia with the big time jewels and all. It's just that I don't really think this works for her. Nothing against a strand of pearls, but this ensemble is a stuffy combination. Doesn't feel very...Letizia.

The King and Queen also attended the Francisco Cerecedo Journalism Awards.
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We need to close out with something back on the sleeker side, like so. This is night and day in every way from the German event above. Note the white heel on the shoes to coordinate with the black and white Carolina Herrera dress, a great styling choice.

30 October 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for October 30: Tiara Follow Ups and Other Stuff

To ease your tiara hangover after last week's splendor, some follow ups and other notes:

--Charlotte Casiraghi and her fiancé, Dimitri Rassam, welcomed a baby boy last week! The official announcement from Princess Caroline's office didn't mention a name, but it's being widely reported the little one is called Balthazar. The birth of Charlotte's second son finishes off the 2018 Casiraghi baby boom, in which Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo welcomed their third child (also a boy) in April, and Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo welcomed their second (another boy!) in May.

--Tiara follow up #1: Rick Evers asked Queen Máxima about the reappearance of the Stuart Tiara at the British state banquet. Among her comments were a note that she'd like to wear it more often in the future, and that it didn't give her a headache. I'm certainly ready to see it more. (Use the subtitles on the video below for a translation.)

--Tiara follow up #2: This link was in the comments on our Danish tiara event post last week, but if you didn't see it, it's a bit of fairy tale worth your time. It's video of Queen Margrethe and her guests dancing Les Lanciers quadrille. [YouTube]

--This is sad: Queen Elizabeth's last corgi, Whisper, has died, according to reports. She still has two dorgis, Candy and Vulcan. [Town & Country]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, we finished out the Dutch/British state visit and also the Duchess of Cornwall had a second MAJOR diamond appearance for the week.
Clarence House

Coming up this week: A tiara and a wedding in Japan, 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!

29 October 2018

Royal Trip of the Day: The Sussexes, Continued

After our lovely tiara-filled break last week, we'll catch up with Harry and Meghan and their ongoing mega tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. Let's just run through the evening highlights:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended a dinner in Fiji.
Kensington Palace
Notable because it was, well, a color ("Fijian blue"), this Safiyaa dress is caped and therefore A-OK with me. I found this appearance notable for another reason:

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The earrings. Per Emily Andrews, the palace said they were borrowed by wouldn't say from whom, which is unusual. When things are borrowed from the Queen (as usual), they say (and they were happy to note the provenance of other pieces, such as a bracelet she was wearing earlier from Prince Charles). That leads me to believe they're from someone else or a jeweler. We shall have to see if they are ever worn again.

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The couple also attended a dinner in Tonga hosted by the King and Queen of Tonga. 
Sleek and white by Theia, this feels squarely in Meghan's wheelhouse. There's some jewel interest here, too; with her Birks diamond earrings, she wore a diamond bracelet that many have pointed out looks to be one from Diana, Princess of Wales' collection.

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Back in Australia, they attended the Australian Geographic Society Awards.
This might be the first thing Meghan's picked that truly surprised me. In a good way. It's a much-needed dash of fairy princess courtesy of Oscar de la Renta. My only quibble? Harry needed to get on his wife's level. It wasn't a tuxedo occasion, but his standard blue suit with suede shoes just isn't cutting it.

On to New Zealand, and a reception with the Governor-General and Prime Minister.
Kensington Palace
Good dress (by Gabriela Hearst), better speech. Watch it below.

While we're Sussexing, let's note that their wedding exhibition at Windsor Castle has opened. It will be on display until January 6, 2019, then move to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from June 13, 2019 to October 6, 2019. The display includes Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau Tiara, plus the outfits worn by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Royal Collection Trust
The couple provided commentary for the exhibition. In their comments, they revealed a bit about something countless people have wondered: how exactly are the tiaras chosen? Meghan said:
"When it came to the tiara on the day I was very fortunate to be able to choose this very gorgeous Art Deco-style bandeau tiara. Harry and I had gone to Buckingham Palace to meet with Her Majesty the Queen to select one of the options that were there, which was an incredibly surreal day, as you can imagine. That was the one that I think, as we tried them on, stood out. I think it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple, and I think also at that point an extension to what Clare and I had been trying to do with the dress, which was have something that could be so incredibly timeless but still feel modern."
Harry added that it was "every girl's dream to be able to try on a tiara and funnily enough the one that suited the best, the one that looked the best on you without question. I shouldn’t have really been there; it was such an incredible loan by my grandmother."

I think they're really the first that have commented on how that choice is made - apart from many articles dealing in speculation. How many tiaras and what else she might have been picking from...well, that remains a mystery.

26 October 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: And Now for Norway

Tiara Week continues! The Norwegian royal family hosted their annual gala dinner for parliament last night, and it might actually be the best showing of Norwegian tiaras in quite some time?! I mean, when it comes to my personal favorites for each lady, at least.

Queen Josephine's Diamond Tiara is my favorite of the tiaras worn by Queen Sonja, and she delivered it with a whole bunch of extra diamonds for good measure. (Even a piece out of another tiara: the brooch I believe is one of the crosses from the Malteser Tiara.) With a soft and swishy pink skirt, this look's a winner.

Princess Astrid wore the Vasa Tiara, an absolute classic that's maybe my fave from her eclectic collection. (I do have a certain affection for Queen Maud's Turquoise Tiara, though.) After many years of what felt like nothin' but the Diamond Daisy Tiara, I'm really enjoying Crown Princess Mette-Marit's newfound affection for the Amethyst Necklace Tiara and its parure. This dress is her best gala one in a while, too - a sophisticated spin on her beloved ruffles.

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It is also just nice to see her, plain and simple, after the news the Crown Princess shared this week. After years of health issues, she and Crown Prince Haakon went public with her diagnosis of chronic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease. They chose to share because it will sometimes affect her workload. Haakon, Mette-Marit, and Mette-Marit's doctor discussed her condition; they said that the cause is unknown, that she was diagnosed early, and that they're optimistic about her prognosis. We definitely wish her all the best.

25 October 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: It's Denmark's Turn to Sparkle

Tiaras were out on Monday (Belgian state visit to Portugal); tiaras were out on Tuesday (Dutch state visit to Britain); tiaras were out on Wednesday (we're going to talk about them in two seconds); tiaras will even be out on Thursday (Norway has a banquet tonight, which of course we'll do our best to cover). That might be some kind of record?! We're just trying to keep up:

The Danish royal family hosted a gala banquet for members of the government, parliament, and the European parliament on Wednesday night.
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Yes, Queen Margrethe definitely had to get in on this week o' sparkle. She wore her Floral Aigrette Tiara and her trusty Yeti pelt. This is the dress she wore for Crown Prince Frederik's 50th birthday gala. You can always tell when she's loving a new look, because she'll wear it a whole bunch. (I kinda love that about her.)

Keld Navntoft/Kongehuset
All of the princesses went dark and sparkly, starting with Princess Benedikte in her Floral Tiara. The extra band of bling around the waist on this dress helps make it something special, I think.

Princess Marie repeated a dress and used her Diamond Floral Tiara too. A solo Crown Princess Mary - Crown Prince Frederik is in Australia for the Invictus Games - wore her Wedding Tiara. We haven't seen that one in a while, since she's been using her Diamond, Ruby, and Spinel Necklace Tiara. But it's not the return that delights me most: the Bambi dress is back!

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The original appearance, 2014
This Jesper Høvring ensemble became an instant favorite when Mary was presented with a BAMBI Award in 2014. It's not a dress, actually; it's designed as a top and skirt. The skirt was worn with a blue velvet top for the New Year's Court gala in 2016. It's always good to see the classics back in rotation.

Keld Navntoft/Kongehuset
A coral headliner and her navy back up singers, fabulous. (You can see here how Margrethe has wrapped the Floral Aigrette pieces around her 'do and how interesting her necklace is - it's a bracelet that she likes to use as a choker. Lest you think Máxima is the only one getting creative in the jewel department...)

23 October 2018

Breaking Jewel News: Máxima Wears the Full Stuart Tiara, Kate in a New Loan and an Order, and More British/Dutch State Banquet Surprises

Máxima makes breaking news with the same tiara twice in one year and THAT’S NOT EVEN ALL. What an event. (As ever, click the individual jewel names for more info!)

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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima started their state visit to the United Kingdom today; you can find the day events covered in full at the Vault. Part of the Dutch couple’s day agenda included a stop at Westminster Abbey, where they paid their respects at the graves of King William III and Queen Mary II. William and Mary were owners of the Stuart Diamond, the magnificent 40-carat pear-shaped rose-cut diamond that features in the center of the Stuart Tiara.

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So what else was Queen Máxima going to wear for the evening’s state banquet?! Of course she had to debut that big blue-gray stone. The complete Stuart Tiara hasn’t been worn since the reign of Queen Juliana. Máxima debuted a smaller setting of the tiara, without the showpiece Stuart stone, earlier this year in Luxembourg. She also wore the large “House Diamond” stomacher/brooch and the diamond earrings that belong with the set of jewels Juliana regularly wore with the Stuart. Her dress is Jan Taminiau. This might be the first time I'm saying this, but: I want her to lose the cape.

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Other surprises abounded! For Queen Elizabeth II, a favorite set of jewels – the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara with the George VI Festoon Necklace – was joined by a rarer pick: the Cullinan III and IV Brooch. The Cullinan Diamond was cut by Asscher in Amsterdam, so that’s no random choice. (You can find a deeper dive on the Queen's jewels at the Vault, here.) The Duchess of Cornwall was in her usual Greville Tiara, though she did pep up her entirely white ensemble with the Pink Topaz Choker.

(Order check: King Willem-Alexander wore the Order of the Garter, given to him today by QEII. QEII wore the Order of the Netherlands Lion. The Prince of Wales wore the Dutch Order of the Crown. Orders weren't exchanged for Máxima or Camilla, so they wore their usuals: Netherlands Lion and the Royal Victorian Order.)

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The Duchess of Cambridge loaded up on the surprises. With the Lover’s Knot Tiara and Diana’s Collingwood Pearl and Diamond Earrings, she wore a new necklace loan from the Queen: Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Necklace. It was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and hasn’t been seen since the Queen inherited it. Makes a gorgeous assembled parure all together, no?

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Kate also wore something many of you have been seeking for years: the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II. We only know when this order has been awarded after we see it in use, as we are seeing here on her blue Alexander McQueen gown. Apparently, it is in fact the second time she’s wearing it, after debuting it at December’s Diplomatic Reception. Whereas other examples of this brooch include ivory, the Duchess of Cambridge’s uses glass. (William is against ivory.)

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Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, sister-in-law of King Willem-Alexander, was invited to the banquet; she is London-based. She is wearing the Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara, which is a first for her.

Captured on their way to the banquet, it's the Cartier Indian Tiara for the Duchess of Gloucester and the Kent Festoon Tiara for Princess Michael of Kent, who was also wearing quite a collection of aquamarines:
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The Countess of Wessex was in aquamarines as well, with an Emilia Wickstead dress and the Five Aquamarine Tiara. The Princess Royal attended in a light blue dress.

Tiara Watch of the Day: Queen Mathilde in Portugal

It's a multi-tiara event week, buckle your seat belts. (Speaking of which, don't forget that you can find our quickest coverage of the British/Dutch state visit over at the Jewel Vault, before it is covered here.)

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde began a state visit to Portugal yesterday.
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First up in this week's state visits are the Belgians in Portugal. Queen Mathilde arrived in a repeated Armani outfit with a delicate lace coat and satiny dress, topped by a Philip Treacy hat. This outfit was debuted last year during events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

With the President of the Portuguese Republic
Belgian Royal Palace
Mathilde originally wore this for the Last Post ceremony, an event that went into evening. I think maybe that suited it better - although it's certainly easy to see why she categorized it as an outfit special enough for a state visit. That lace is like gossamer. (Also, she should wear more Philip Treacy hats.)

Belgian Royal Palace
The Queen rolled that gossamer feel right into the state banquet, wearing a new gown in a soft shade of sparkle blergh. The sash situation here is tricky. Making both the Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator and a sash look neat and tidy is a feat that's eluded two queens in a row now.

Anyway, this state banquet managed to provide multiple tiaras for us. Firstly, the Queen wore her Laurel Wreath Tiara. It was a wedding gift and her primary tiara for years and years; it's now one she's used for other visits like this one, to a republic.

The Duke and Duchess of Braganza are also regulars at these banquets. (The Duke is a claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne.) The pink-clad Duchess still has a few tiara options at her disposal; this one is a lovely necklace piece.

Also present (and kindly sharing on her Instagram) was Princess Diana d'Orléans, Duchess of Cadaval, with her husband Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orléans. The Portuguese noblewoman wore the Cadaval Tiara, a tiara of diamonds and pearls she wore on her wedding day.

Qualifies as an A+ tiara turnout, I'd say! That's a good start to the week.

22 October 2018

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

For Queen Letizia's dress at year's Princess of Asturias Awards, Felipe Varela took last year's theme of intricate embroidery and turned it up to 11.

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, and Queen Sofia attended the Princess of Asturias Awards on Friday.
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Letizia wore a brocade patchwork midi length dress featuring hand embroidery completed in thread with crystal and metal, using shades of dark blue, cerulean, slate, and nude.

House of HM the King
It almost has the look of embellished boiled leather, a dress of armor to give the fanciest costumes from Game of Thrones a run for their money. (It is not, however, a terribly stiff thing. You can see it in movement here; the skirt sways nicely.)

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There's not a single simple thing about this. Not even the hair, which is deceptively more complicated than a plain tucked behind the ears look; not even the earrings, nicely loaded with history as part of the joyas de pasar. One thing's undeniable, though: this is ART. Hundreds of hours of hand embroidery! She's wearing a museum piece.

Letizia also usually wears Varela to the concert that's held before the awards. She broke with that tradition this year, opting for an Emporio Armani dress.
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 It is black; it has a ruffle; it will not be remembered. (By me.) No matter, though.

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Because when you're rocking not only the big earrings from the joyas de pasar but the twin diamond bracelets, I'm not going to focus on much else anyway.

19 October 2018

Royal Trip of the Day: Back to the Sussexes in Australia

Jumping right back into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's tour of Australia with some of the latest: 

The couple visited Bondi Beach and met with a local surfing community group raising awareness for mental health and wellbeing.
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So this is what variety looks like in the land of neutrals: stripes of neutrals in a Martin Grant maxi dress. Chop it from a maxi to a midi and you'd have my very favorite look of the trip thus far.

They next visited a high school in Sydney.
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But currently the stripes won't compete with this number for my reigning trip fave. (So much more trip to go, though.) Roksanda is an interesting designer for the Duchess; modern, clean lines - which Meghan seems to love - but much more playful use of strong design features and color. This particular dress is basically just dipping a single toe into the Roksanda pool. A promising dip.

18 October 2018

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: Máxima, Victoria, Rania, Charlene

Checking in with a few other leading ladies before we head back to Sussexland...

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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited Zeeland this week.
Shockingly enough, Máxima has been up to a bunch of hats and bright colors. (Warming up for her state visit to the UK next week, I hope.) This skirt reminds me of aerial photos of tulip fields. Claes Iversen shared a little Instagram look at these skirts from his Spring/Summer 2017 collection and how they're made. Very delicate and detailed.

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited Jordan, where they were received by King Abdullah and Queen Rania. The Swedish couple are also visiting Lebanon.
Royal Hashemite Court
Is it possible to avoid overdoing the design details on a dress by simply overloading it so much that your eyes have no choice but to gloss over some of the fussier bits? Victoria's dress is an experiment seeking an answer. (Mermaid scales. That's all I can get from this whole thing.) She does end up sort of pleasingly color-coordinated with Queen Rania's Ralph & Russo ensemble, though.

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Princess Charlene attended the 2018 Princess Grace Awards Gala.
Charlene doesn't do the big toothy grin thing in posed photos (which is her prerogative! I'm over people demanding smiles at all times) - and you don't even need one here to tell that she's quite pleased with her sassy Ralph Lauren evening suit. Blazers slung over the shoulders remain on my pet peeves list, but if there's someone who can pull this look off, it's Char.

17 October 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia and National Day

While we were tending to royal wedding business, the Spanish royal family was out and about for National Day. Queen Letizia left the color to her daughters, including the Princess of Asturias, who was wearing the brooch of the Order of the Golden Fleece she received earlier this year.

House of HM the King
Letizia remains exclusive to Felipe Varela for this annual event, and this offers exactly what you expect from Varela in terms of excellent fit and construction. It doesn't come without its quibbles, though; I'm not loving the length and froof of the skirt mixed with the structure of the jacket, plus this is one of those colors of blergh that kind of actively sucks up all the color around it. Not a bright outfit, not a bright day. (On multiple fronts, since the King and Queen ended the day visiting flooded areas in Mallorca.)

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But my outfit quibbles were much reduced once Letizia headed inside the palace for the reception, ditching the coat and allowing the delicate Chantilly lace skirt to be its best ballerina self.

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Color has already made its return - Letizia's best color, in fact. She visited Rome for World Food Day, repeating the Carolina Herrera dress she wore in Asturias last month. Definitely worthy of a speedy rewear. That said, this might be the first time I'm actively distracted by her Steve Madden heels with transparent straps. Man, I hate that I sorta want to advocate for a plainer nude shoe.

16 October 2018

Royal Trip of the Day: The Sussexes Kick Things Off in Australia

The Duke and Duchess are off and running on their tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand! We're off and running too:

The couple are given baby gifts by the Governor-General of Australia and Lady Cosgrove
Governor-General Facebook
The couple checked off multiple Australia tour musts on Day 1, from scenic views to koalas to collecting the first of what will surely be many swiftly procured baby gifts.

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Meghan checked off another tour must, wearing an Australian designer right off the bat. The dress is simple but LWDs (little white dresses) are just as essential as LBDs, if you ask me. It's by designer Karen Gee. The brand's message is one of inclusivity and positive body image and confidence - in other words, it sounds like it's right up Meghan's alley. Someone's clearly done their homework beyond just googling "Australian fashion designers".

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She also brought some jewel surprises with a special side of awww: the blue stone and diamond butterfly earrings and the gold bracelet with blue stones are pieces from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

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Diana wears the earrings and a matching necklace in 1986
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Diana wears the bracelet in 1990
I'm impressed with the pieces she picked. A lot of Diana's everyday jewels - not the fanciest stuff, just the smaller things - honestly look pretty dated to me. These don't. Job well done.

15 October 2018

Monday Tidbits for October 15: Babies & Weddings & Tours, Oh My

The busy royal month continues:

--If you missed any of our coverage from Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding this weekend, you can find it all here. For those that missed the wedding or want to rewatch, the royal family has now uploaded the whole thing here. [YouTube]

--The Duke and Duchess of Sussex landed in Australia ahead of their tour and the Invictus Games. Obviously the tour is something you'll be seeing around here, mixed in with everything else. Also there's this tiny bit of news:
Congrats to the couple! (For those wondering about the upcoming tour portions in Fiji and Tonga - where the Zika virus is a risk - they've taken medical advice and decided to go ahead as planned. Please do not second guess their medical decisions here.) [YouTube, Telegraph]

--The Court Circular revealed a new honor for Harry: "The Queen has been pleased to appoint The Duke of Sussex as a Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty with effect from 13th October, 2018." The Queen has bestowed this honorary designation on several senior royal men (Philip, Charles, William, Andrew, Edward, Tim). It doesn't come with a bunch of extra duties, really, but it does mean that Harry will add an aiguillette (ornamental gold braids at the shoulder) to his uniform, like the Duke of Cambridge has below.
The aiguillette (gold braids) on William's shoulder marks him as a Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen. We'll now see Harry with the same.
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--The Danish crown princely family showed their support for the Invictus Games on social media last week. Crown Prince Frederik's making the trip to Australia to attend.

--Frederik and Mary and the kids also paid a visit to the Amalienborg Museum exhibition showcasing Queen Margrethe's design, sharing a video of the kids following in their crafty grandma's footsteps. [Instagram, YouTube]
HRH The Crown Princess

--The Swedes got in on the quality family museum time last week, too. King Carl Gustaf, Crown Princess Victoria, and Princess Estelle made a special visit to the National Museum before the King officially reopened it after a lengthy renovation. [Instagram]
Sara Friberg/Kungl. Hovstaterna

Coming up this week: Some Sussex, some Spain, some Netherlands probably, etc...

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!