This week (July 29) marked 34 years since the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. And oh....That Dress.
Oh good, or oh bad? Oh, both. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and made from silk taffeta woven in Suffolk with plenty of lace, including a bit of lace donated by Queen Mary to the Royal School of Needlework, and plenty of embroidered pearls and mother-of-pearl sequins, it's a confection in the sweetest sense of the word.
Its overwhelming volume hasn't stood up to the timeless fashion test, and all its unintended wrinkles on the big day are hard to forget. But it also stood its own against the scale and grandeur of St. Paul's Cathedral, which is precisely what the 25 foot train and all those sparkles were intended to do. Diana moving down the aisle, anchoring a barge of silk with the Spencer Tiara twinkling away, is not an image easily forgotten.
The fact that it is not easily forgotten is exactly why this one has a spot on my best list. I don't actually find it attractive myself - it is well and truly dated to these eyes - but for better or for worse, this dress was an event. I think that part of the goal of a royal wedding dress should be that memorable quality, and a dress that still pops into your brain when someone says "royal wedding dress" all these years later is an achievement on its own.
P.S.: Yes, let's talk about the dress. Friendly reminder that judging the marriages of others and personal attacks of any sort are quite simply not what we do here.
The Duchess of Cornwall is primarily associated with the Greville Tiara these days, which is her go-to piece for most of her tiara-wearing needs, but she does have other diadems at her disposal. One option comes to her not as a loan from the Queen, but courtesy of her own family history.
The Cubitt-Shand Tiara is a diamond floral tiara featuring flower designs nestled in a dense wreath of leaves. The design rises to a central point in a slightly asymmetrical fashion, which is fitting for its nature theme. Exact details on the tiara's history are hazy; it's thought to have come from the family of the Duchess' mother, Rosalind Shand (née Cubitt, hence the name), perhaps specifically her maternal grandmother, Sonia Keppel Cubitt.
The diamond design and the family history make for a great wedding tiara, and Camilla wore it when she married Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. The couple's daughter, Laura, also wore it for her wedding to Harry Lopes in 2006, pairing it wonderfully with the floral earrings that Camilla wore to the blessing service for her wedding to the Prince of Wales.
Camilla's royal duties have provided a few opportunities for the tiara to return to action. The Duchess has worn it to the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace (perhaps more often than we know, even, as that event is often held without official access for the media) as well as to a reception earlier this year which was her first solo tiara occasion. Unsurprisingly for a private jewel, whether Camilla owns the tiara or borrows it from a family member when needed is unknown.
The Cubitt-Shand Tiara is the smaller of the tiaras we've seen her wear, but since it still makes an impact even with the volume of her usual hairdo, it's really not that small. I think it's a gorgeous member of the ever-popular diamond floral tiara category, and a nice addition to her collection, giving her another option to use as she leaves the Greville Tiara to the most prominent state occasions. (She does apparently have another tiara on loan from the Queen that we haven't seen her wear yet: the Teck Crescent Tiara. She also wore the Delhi Durbar Tiara once.)
Which of the Duchess of Cornwall's tiara options is your favorite?
The usual summer slowdown in royal activity is slowly turning my facial expression into something not unlike this tiny human's above. But it was awfully nice of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to pop outside over the weekend for the America’s Cup World Series races anyway, nasty race-cancelling weather and all. Sartorially thrilling? Nah. But just right for the occasion? Of course.
It's important to note that I've now worked out a whole scenario in my head in which their secret couple's version of tipsy online shopping involves personalizing everything under the sun with their complete formal titles. It is also important to note that this is now my new favorite (imaginary) fact about them.
Something a bit smarter is in order when prizes are involved, so Kate took the opportunity to once again channel the nautical theme with her Breton stripes and navy blazer - not that she needs a reason for her favorite casual duty outfit, but she'll take one if she can get it - and William threw on a blazer of his own. These two Wills looks are totally working for me, by the way. (As well they should be, for all my whining about the endless maze of blue suits that is his wardrobe.) More uniforms and more this, please.
The attendees from year to year are a rotating cast of the
extended Danish family, whichever members happen to be staying
at the castle at the time, I guess. This year, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik
were joined by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and their
kids (Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess
Josephine), as well as Princess Benedikte's daughter Princess Alexandra
and her family (husband Count Jefferson, plus kids Count Richard and
Countess Ingrid). And an assortment of dogs, obviously.