25 May 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: May 25

Take a tiara break on your holiday Monday (or your regular Monday - tiara breaks are always advisable) and stroll with me through a flashback from some Scandinavian weddings past as we get ready for the next one. It's Grand Duchess Maria Teresa's turn, and we have three of the crown princely (and princessly) weddings to which she's brought her Luxembourg charm:

Wedding of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, 2001
Three cheers for long evening coats! Enough cheering to drown out the bedazzled buttons and wide belt on the dress underneath! I like pink paired with the red Order of St. Olav, and are you seeing the size of the stones she's wearing? The necklace and the earrings are heavenly. (She's also sporting a tiara we have not covered here, a Chaumet diamond number which is also convertible to a choker and is topped here by pearls.)
Pre-Wedding Gala for Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson, 2004
Floaty and flowery and froofy, oh my! (Same Chaumet tiara here, by the way.)

Wedding of Frederik and Mary
We're in the early days of Maria Teresa's love affair with Elie Saab, and this one looks like she's tattooed herself in sparkling pastels. (Which, if you're going for the full body tattoo, is definitely the way to go.)

Wedding of Frederik and Mary
But it does make a perfect pairing with the light blue of the Order of the Elephant and the Luxembourg Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara and earrings. And you can never go wrong with one of the family's gorgeous diamond rose brooches.

Pre-Wedding Dinner for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling, 2010
Did she get tired of carrying her shawl, or did she give up on finding a dress and just toss a bolt of chiffon over her shoulder? Unclear. The only saving grace here are those aquamarines, back in action for another royal wedding.

Wedding of Victoria and Daniel
Hang on, there's one more saving grace: THIS WHOLE THING RIGHT HERE. She saved up allllll her good stuff for the wedding itself. The draping on this Elie Saab is perfection, and I love the way the Order of the Seraphim sash is tucked into it all. And props must, must, be given for breaking out her biggest big gun in the form of the massive Luxembourg Empire Tiara. Even if you don't care for the selection (say what??), give her the nod for volunteering to wear this beast for one very long day. That's dedication to the sparkly cause.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

24 May 2015

Sunday Tidbits for May 24: Jewelry Debuts and See-Through Shoes

No less than three royal ladies debuted new jewels this week, and I'm always here for that. Sparkly tidbits await you:

--Queen Máxima was out and about with a napkin on her head, but check out those earrings. HELLO LOVER. These are new pieces for her, and she continues to have one of the best collections of pink gems on the royal block. [Zimbio]

--Speaking of Máx, she and King Willem-Alexander are heading out for a state visit to Canada beginning Wednesday (they'll be in Ottawa, University of Waterloo, Beamsville, and Toronto), and an official visit to the United States the following week (Washington, D.C., Grand Rapids, Chicago). Those links will take you to the official agendas, in Dutch. [Het Koninklijk Huis]

--The Countess of Wessex visited Prague and got a new brooch! [Countess of Wessex Blog]

--The Duchess of Cornwall visited Ireland and got a new brooch! [Jewel Vault]

--That brooch came during an historic and well-received trip with the Prince of Wales to Ireland and Northern Ireland this week. One particularly emotional moment came during a trip to the place where Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb, and Charles' speech there is embedded below. [Storify, YouTube]

--There seems to be an epidemic of sculpture openings in the Netherlands this week. Throw some orange in the mix for Princess Beatrix's opening, and she could have played along with the M&M twin show. [Royal Hats Blog]

--We have a confirmed international royal guest for the upcoming Swedish royal wedding: Princess Hisako of Takamado, who also attended Princess Madeleine's wedding. The official guest list has not been released yet, but more royal courts will eventually publish their agendas independently, as the Japanese imperial household has done. [Imperial Family of Japan Blog]

--Cutie pie Princess Leonor had her first communion this week, with the royal family in attendance. Queen Letizia sported see-through shoes from Magrit with her Felipe Varela ensemble and a matching transparent vinyl clutch with silver lining. Worked well enough for Cinderella, I suppose. (Transparent vinyl peep toes are the new glass slippers, did you not get that memo?) [Hola]

Tomorrow's a holiday, but I'll be here to bring you some ~*gLamOur*~ anyway, so stay tuned...

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, YouTube

22 May 2015

Royal Style Twins of the Day: May 22

Okay, so here's what I think happened:
Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde took one look at what was going on with the sculpture exhibition they were opening in The Hague this week...
...and their mission was clear: TIME TO SEUSS IT UP. And did they succeed? Yes they did indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
I think we can guess which of these brains decided they should be rhyming technicolor cartoons for the day. Sporting a millinery party platter of Seussical costume trimmings, Máxima was outfitted in a coral-y orange Natan coat dress with extra volume in the skirt and sleeves and coral pendant earrings. Obviously keen to live up to their Natan Twins moniker, Mathilde also sported the Belgian brand in an orange and blue print belted frock with a Fabienne Delvigne blue turban and pearl earrings.
I'm telling you, I LOVE this appearance and every bit of ridiculous contained within. Seriously! They made me laugh, they made themselves laugh, and - here's the important part - they did their best to be highly visible for all the onlookers hoping to catch the double queen show at an outdoor engagement. That's a job well done. They can bathe themselves in beige another day.

And in case you have any doubt that this was a plan and not a coincidence, note that Mathilde made an outfit switch just for her jaunt with Máx.
Earlier that day, she was sporting the same hat but with a repeated blue floral Dries Van Noten dress for a pit stop at the residence of the Belgian ambassador in The Hague. Definitely a color scheme designed for an easy flip into twin mode. Also, this:
A joint appearance in 2007
Classic. Oh, you two.

Photos: via Getty Images and Twitter as indicated

21 May 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Roxburghe Tiaras

A while ago I mentioned a Sotheby's sale including pieces from the estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, which included three tiaras. The sale was on May 12. Today, we're taking a closer look at those diadems. Buckle up, you're in for a triple tiara treat...
Our three tiaras in action, modeled before the sale
Born in 1915, Mary was the daughter of the Marquess of Crewe and his second wife, Lady Peggy Primrose. She was named after her godmother, Queen Mary. In 1935, she married George "Bobo" Innes-Ker, the 9th Duke of Roxburghe. Society life rolled on as usual for the couple, including a role for the Duchess as a trainbearer to Queen Elizabeth at the 1937 coronation, until 1953. Eighteen years after their marriage, her husband abruptly (and apparently without stated reason) tried to have Mary evicted from Floors Castle, his ducal seat. Thus began a marital feud that lasted six long weeks, Mary refusing to leave the castle while the Duke shut her out of as many amenities as he could, including telephone, electricity, and gas. She survived with the help of sympathetic neighbors including the Earl of Home, future prime minister, who stepped in to negotiate an end to the standoff. The Duchess of Roxburghe was granted a divorce in London. The couple had no children. (The Duke swiftly remarried and had two sons by his second wife.)

Video: On Mary and some of her auctioned jewels, including unrelated jewels at the sale. For a video showing West Horsley Place, click here.
Mary made her life in London after the divorce and eventually inherited a country estate, West Horsley Place, when her mother passed away. She did not remarry and did not have children of her own. When she died in 2014 at the age of 99, her estate passed to her nephew, television presenter Bamber Gascoigne. West Horsley Place is in desperate need of extensive repairs, and she assumed he would end up selling the mansion and estate. Mr. Gascoigne, however, decided to go the opposite route. The Sotheby's auction was designed to raise funds to keep the house and make the necessary repairs. It reminds me of the strategy Princess Gloria of Thurn and Taxis used to keep the family fortune afloat in the 1990s, selling things that can reasonably be bought again (such as jewels) and keeping those that can't (such as historic estates), which seems quite smart to me. As an added bonus for those that love jewels, this brings several wonderful pieces to our attention.

Among other gems, the auction included three tiaras:

The premiere piece in the collection is a unique diamond tiara by Cartier that dates from the 1930s. An Art Deco geometric treasure, it is set with circular-cut diamonds and topped by a series of 31 collet-set diamonds. The case from Cartier is stamped with the monogram and coronet of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. This is the most expensive of the three tiaras, selling for more than $2.5 million.

A more imposing diamond tiara went for nearly $850,000, a piece that dates from the last quarter of the 19th century. The design features 20 swinging pear-shaped diamonds dangling amidst rose and cushion-shaped diamonds forming scroll and fleur de lys motifs and a base with lozenge and trefoil motifs. It feels like a cross between the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, with its lozenge base, and the Fife Tiara, with its dangling pear drops, which is a very good thing by my book. And this one has added flexibility: the tiara detaches from the bandeau base to become a necklace, while the bandeau itself breaks down into two separate sections.

The last of the three tiaras is a ruby and diamond diadem of a similar age to the older diamond tiara, dating from the later half of the 19th century. The tall piece features rose, cushion, and circular-cut diamonds in foliate motifs over ruby baselines, with a central lyre design set with diamonds and rubies. The older pieces in the collection, including this ruby tiara and the diamond tiara above, possibly belonged to Mary's maternal grandmother, Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery (you may remember her from our recent discussion on the Rosebery Pearl and Diamond Tiara). A matching ruby and diamond bracelet is inscribed on the back with a memorial to "my beloved grandmother Sara Cohen." This tiara brought in the lowest price at auction, just over $100,000. (See? You don't need a house. Or part of a house. You could have a tiara instead. Your loss.)

Which of these three would you most like to take home?

Photos: via Getty Images and Sotheby's video

Royal Trip of the Day: May 21

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary kicked off their official visit to Germany. The trip ends today.
You know how Mary has the whole well put together schtick down so pat, it can even be boring? Yeah. That's what I'm feeling here.
Mary's Tory Burch jacket, and the evening event on day 1. 
Click here for a video, or here for a gallery/article.
She did repeat a David Andersen white dress of which I am quite fond, but other than that...meh.
Day 2 started with something very familiar - in two different countries, even - and ended with something that is not. Sound the Jumpsuit Alarm! (This one's from Ole Yde, per StyleofMary.)
It looks like a maxi dress with a belt and fluttery sleeves, but that's actually a sneaky pair of trousers, which puts us squarely in Jumpsuit Territory. Always cause for concern - not because jumpsuits are always bad (they're not my favorite pieces, but they can work), but because toning them down for royal dressing purposes can go so very wrong.
Oddly enough, this one isn't setting off as many alarm bells as the description alone does. Maybe it's because the trousers are loose enough to trick me into believing it's a skirt....or maybe I'm just still half asleep from the first part of the visit.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, FarFetch, BilledBladet video

20 May 2015

Royal Outfit of the Day: May 20

Queen Letizia repeated in a big way last week:
Hello again, Felipe Varela worn to King Felipe's proclamation, dittoed right down to the small bow decoration of the Order of Charles III. I think it's improved this time by her updo, actually, which of course is the same thing I say regarding any old updo. At least I'm consistent.

I was surprised she wore this outfit again, just like I was surprised to see Queen Máxima repeat her own inauguration outfit this year. I guess I assumed the historic nature of these outfits would throw them under the one-and-done category, packed up and saved for an exhibit 25 years from now or something. Wrong then, wrong now. (CONSISTENCY.)

This was a ceremony for the delivery of the national flag to the 11th National Teach Zone of the Civil Guard, and it's a pretty formal event. She's wearing one of her most important outfits, but she's doing so because she's breaking with an even more formal dress code that existed for these types of events during the last reign. (Or so I am hypothesizing.)

To illustrate my point:
Letizia at a similar ceremony for the Civil Guard in 2005
All black with a mantilla and peineta (the large comb underneath) and a full length skirt used to be the dress code for this sort of thing. It is (it was) a nod to old formal dress, brought back by Queen Sofia over the years of King Juan Carlos' reign, something she settled into and passed to other female members of the family that took on these types of events.

Queen Sofia, similar ceremony in 2013
Queen Letizia's white suit last week was another sign that she will be doing things her own way. That's not surprising; there are certainly things that need modernizing and fixing in the monarchy, and she and Felipe have shown that they are ready to make changes. Not bad, just different.

Infanta Cristina, similar ceremony in 2006
That said, since this is a place for frivolous concerns and this is apparently my week to express my love for any sort of nationally specific sartorial thing - man, I hope the whole pieneta thing isn't gone from the royal scene for good now.

Letizia at another ceremony, 2006, also worn for a papal audience
It's just very regal, no? And special, something different from the norm to mark an occasion here or there. Oh well. Once again, my personal interests have been totally ignored in the decision making process of a monarchy in a country to which I don't belong. {DRAMATIC SIGH}

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

19 May 2015

Royal National Day of the Week: May 19

Sunday was national day in Norway, and you know what that means...
It's Bunad Time! One of my favorite Times, second only to Tiara Time. And Big Gowns With Trains Time. And Royal Wedding Time.
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess and their whole family - Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus, Marius Borg Høiby, and labradoodles Milly Kakao and Muffin Kråkebolle - gather outside their Skaugum home to watch the local children's parade go by. Traditional costume (bunad) all around, and even a festive bow for the pups.
The bunad Mette-Marit wore this year is from Vest-Agder, the county where she grew up. Each version is related to a specific area and M-M has several to choose from, which is a luxury as they are not at all cheap. The craftsmanship is wonderful, and I just love seeing these traditions alive and well.

Next, they joined up with the King and Queen to greet the Oslo children's parade from the balcony of the Royal Palace. Traditional dress is gone, and hats are in place instead. I never give the gents enough credit for upping their own game with top hats here. King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon, consider your brownie points awarded.
With her fedora and her shades, Queen Sonja looks like her efforts to go incognito were deviously foiled by a family that refused to give her the dark coat memo. Crown Princess Mette-Marit's in Prada, and against all odds (Prada = not usually my fave) I am COVETING that coat. Shame about that thing crawling up the side of her head.
Prada Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated and Style.com