29 April 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: April 29

A note to start: I expect we'll be up and running this weekend for the festivities for King Carl Gustaf's birthday in Sweden, so check back in!

Well, I think we have to do it. I think we have to talk about THAT HAT.
Princess Beatrice attended the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, April 29, 2011, wearing a coat by Valentino Couture. Princess Eugenie wore Vivienne Westwood

Pro: There's a part of me that really admires Princess Beatrice for wearing that hat. Somebody had to fly the flag for the nuttiest and most sculptural creations that British millinery had to offer, and bless her heart, she flew it high enough to cover everyone in the family and then some. (I'm not even sure if she knew what was coming; in this ABC video on Philip Treacy ahead of the royal wedding, Beatrice herself says she had no idea what he was making for her. The designer has steadfastly named it as one of his favorites ever since.)
On the Valentino runway
Pro: This coat ranks among the best things Princess Beatrice has ever worn. It is loveliness personified (not that anyone was paying attention, thanks to what was going on north of it) (oops, forgot we were still on the pros, SORRY).

Pro: You can't say she didn't make the best of it. No royal outfit has ever been quite so widely piled upon, which can't have been easy to take. But she chose to have a sense of humor about it, auctioning the hat for $130,000 for charity. Good on you, Bea.
Both Princesses wore hats by Philip Treacy
Con: IT'S BANANAS. Stop it.

{Sidebar: Is that a giant flying bug on Eugenie's hat?? Did we know this?? I am freshly traumatized.}

And a note to finish: If you're in the mood for even more royal wedding nostalgia, head over to the Vault, where we're flashing back to QEII and Camilla - plus, an opportunity to watch the whole wedding again. You know you want to...

28 April 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Tiaras of the Duchess of Cambridge

It's been five years since the Duchess of Cambridge married into the royal family, and in those five years, we've seen four tiara appearances from her. But in those four tiara appearances, we've seen her wear three different tiaras on loan from the Queen. This is a good batting average, folks. In the context of the British royal family, in fact, it is an excellent average. A retrospective (and as always, click the name of the tiara for its full story):

I assumed that her wedding tiara would be her go-to tiara for a few years after the wedding, but I was wrong. (And happy to be wrong, since I'm not a huge fan of this one.) As of this writing, we haven't seen it since. While I do not think that four events is enough evidence to make any conclusions about tiara preferences, I will note that this tiara has a long history of being ditched when better options come along.

When Kate attended the Diplomatic Reception in 2013 (her second-ever tiara appearance), the Cartier Halo Tiara was on loan for an exhibition in Paris. A second tiara was required, and this choice - beyond being a personal favorite of mine - very handily answered for us the question of what happened to the Lotus Flower Tiara after Princess Margaret passed away. This was also the Duchess' pick for her third tiara appearance, the Chinese state banquet.

The fourth tiara appearance (Diplomatic Reception, 2015) was the biggest surprise of all. I'm still holding out for a better look at this iconic tiara, but so far? Well, love. Obviously.

Which is your favorite tiara on Kate?

Royal Celebration of the Day: April 28

Birthday month, Part 87: King Willem-Alexander celebrated his birthday yesterday at Koningsdag, or King's Day, with all kinds of celebrations and markets across the Netherlands and all kinds of shenanigans. The royal family joined the festivities in Zwolle for the day.

The King and Queen with (left to right) Princesses Ariane, Alexia, and Amalia
Photo: RVD
Queen Máxima went playful and a little bit retro in a midi skirt with some swing in a vibrant floral print by Natan, topped by a pink twinset and a wide brim pale pink hat. Paint this in white or gray and I'd swear she stole it from Lady Sarah Chatto's closet - and that's not a comparison I ever thought I'd make.
But this is Máxima, and so the theme is hot pink instead, and all the better for it. Apparently it was rather cold out there, which is a shame, because the black wrap tossed on top kind of ruined the whole proportion thing she had going on. A queen's gotta do what a queen's gotta do, I guess.

They were joined by Willem-Alexander's cousins, the four sons of Princess Margriet with their respective wives. That's Princess Annette over there in the pretty floral coat, with Prince Bernhard, Prince Pieter-Christiaan, and fellow cardigan-lover Princess Anita to the right.

And wait, what's this?
Prince Constantijn, the King's brother, and wife Princess Laurentien
My favorite Missoni coat has found another royal model in Princess Laurentien, following in Crown Princess Mary's footsteps. It looks every bit as excellent here as it did there, just as I suspected it would look excellent on anyone. Let's make this the Sisterhood of the Traveling Coat, see who else we can get to wear it. I volunteer to go next.

27 April 2016

Royal Outfits of the Day: April 27

A sampler platter of recent choices out of Spain, shall we?

Queen Letizia closed a conference on rare diseases last week
House of HM the King
My absolute favorite take on this collar? Nah. But it is flippy, as is her hair, and I like a bit of flip with an otherwise prim neckline.
Magrit shoes
I'm also unreasonably happy that she didn't just go with a plain old nude pump here. It's the little things, you know.

Lunch for the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, with this year's honoree, Fernando del Paso
House of HM the King
This is very monochrome, from her lips to her toes. Verging on too monochrome for me, but saved by the fact the fact that more Letizia in red (red Carolina Herrera, at that) can't be a bad thing.

Presentation of the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world, on Saturday
House of HM the King
I can say only what I said last time around: lose the jacket to this Felipe Varela ensemble. Also, lose the Bulgari aquamarine earrings. (So that you can give them to me. I need them. For reasons.)

26 April 2016

Royal Flashback of the Day: April 26

The poor Countess of Wessex suffered a nasty fall while riding just a few days before the 2011 wedding of William and Kate, complete with a broken rib and several others badly bruised.
In hindsight, I like to think of her dress for the pre-wedding dinner as an aesthetic expression of that suffering. It was an expression of something, anyway. The fabulous necklace and earrings she wore of white and yellow diamonds was the best bit, but alas, they seem to have been a loan for the evening from G. Collins & Sons (here's the necklace on their Instagram, as pointed out by Anna from the Countess of Wessex Blog).

Never fear, she was back on form for the wedding proper.
Looking back at these outfits five years on, some have grown in my esteem, and some have, well, fallen pretty hard. Add this one to that first category. A big royal wedding requires a special outfit; Sophie's Bruce Oldfield couture ensemble interprets that in a luxurious and detailed way but not in an over the top way. It's a crucial distinction, I think.
Or, at least, it is when considering an outfit that one can wear multiple times. Swapping out the hat, she repeated the outfit for Trooping the Colour in 2012 (coincidentally, the Queen repeated her own outfit from the 2011 wedding then too). She did the same thing in 2013 at Sandhurst, using a big brimmed hat. I do not believe we have since seen the red dress repeated, but I am prepared to block it out in case we ever do.