25 July 2017

Royal Event of the Day: National Day in Belgium

Belgium celebrated National Day last week. There were hats! There were sleeves! There was some seriously vibrant color coordinating!

Belgian Monarchy
Oh yes, those royal interpretations of the giant sleeve trend aren't going anywhere anytime soon. I'd deflate 'em a solid 20%, but they are doing an admirable job of bringing a little bit of trendiness to what is otherwise a firmly standard, non-trendy Queen Mathilde outfit.

Belgian Monarchy
Somewhere out there, Queen Máxima is leaning back with a smile on her face. And then she's dialing her Natan hotline and ordering up one of these for herself. With even bigger sleeves, I'm sure.

L to R: Princess Eléonore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Emmanuel
Queen Mathilde's pink floral dress anchored a family color scheme of pinks, magentas, and purples. The purple sash of the Order of Leopold means not even King Philippe gets left out. It's also sort of a subtly perfect touch that 15-year-old Princess Elisabeth's dress is the closest match to her dad and his sash. (That dress, per ModeKoninginMathilde, is from Esmeralda Ammoun.)

Prince Lorenz, Princess Astrid, and Princess Claire (Prince Laurent was also present, though not shown here)
You know you're serious about the family color thing when the extended fam fits right in. In a year surprisingly lacking in hat interest, I find myself totally in love with Princess Claire's offering. Upside down salad bowls have never looked so good.

24 July 2017

Monday Tidbits for July 24: Birthdays and Memories

It's been a minute since we've had a Tidbits post, so let's get to it:

--The 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, is approaching. ITV and HBO will air the documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy with Princes William and Harry tonight. The princes have also shared some personal photos of their mother and selected items to recreate her desk on display at the summer opening of Buckingham Palace. [Express, Instagram, BBC]

--Prince George isn't the only one with a new portrait for his birthday! Prince Felix of Denmark, who has just turned 15, posed for some new pics with his older brother, Prince Nikolai. The two are the sons of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Countess Alexandra.

--Over at the Jewel Vault: QEII got a new brooch, and it's pretttttttty. Also, in honor of the Duchess of Cornwall's 70th birthday, we're taking a look at some of her most impressive official gifts, starting with one jaw-dropping breastplate necklace.

--The Queen's collecting brooches and corgis. She's reportedly adopted a new corgi called Whisper, who belonged to Sandringham's gamekeeper. When Whisper's owner fell ill and passed away, the Queen pitched in to help take the dog on walks, and is now said to have asked if Whisper can stay with her. [People]

--And finally, really, do you not agree that the Princess Royal should be accompanied by birds of prey on all her engagements?

Coming up this week: National Day in Belgium brings all the sleeves out to play, 
and more...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

21 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: Back to the Cambridges in Germany

As the tour draws to a close...

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception on Thursday evening during their tour of Germany.
Kate wore a bird print dress from German designer Markus Lupfer, paired with an excellent belt, an excellent clutch, those Prada sandals she loves so much right now, and pearl jewelry. I was prepped and ready with my standard list of accessory quibbles, but then the pearl jewelry made me wonder. If you look a little closer...

...that triple row pearl bracelet comes from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Coming on the heels of Kate's debut of a pair of Diana's pearl earrings at the Spanish state banquet, I can only assume she was eager to show us another new thing. (The interests of jewel watchers being paramount in her concerns, I'm sure.) I hereby rescind my accessory quibbles and fully endorse her use of the Put A Bird On It strategy.

On Friday, the trip's last day, the Duke and Duchess traveled to Hamburg.
A bit of lavender from Emilia Wickstead brings out a stronger accessory combo with that contrasting clutch. That's a well played move. (This color also puts her squarely in line with the theme of the day for another royal family - the Belgians - but that's another story for another post.)

20 July 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Wellington Tiara

From the time of its creation through today, the title of the Duke of Wellington has been one of the most recognizable in the peerage of the United Kingdom. It was just one of several European titles and other decorations gathered by the 1st Duke, Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), in the course of an active political career and a celebrated military career that included the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The Wellington Tiara
The Duchesses of Wellington have, for several generations now, worn a tiara grand enough to suit this prominent family title. The tiara features intricate, large diamond scroll motifs dotted with large single diamonds and interspersed with smaller knotted diamond scroll motifs, again with several large single diamonds included.

Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington
The diadem dates back at least to Elizabeth Wellesley (née Hay, 1820-1904), the wife of the 2nd Duke. She was depicted wearing the tiara in 1859. The couple both held prominent court positions in Queen Victoria's household, with the 2nd Duke serving as Master of the Horse and the Duchess serving as Queen Victoria's Mistress of the Robes for several years.

Kathleen, Duchess of Wellington
Kathleen Wellesley (née Williams, 1848-1927), the wife of the 4th Duke, wore the tiara in a couple of portraits. Above, she's also shown wearing a magnificent diamond necklace that is still with the family. And the tiara, of course, is also still with the family. The current Duchess of Wellington (born Princess Antonia of Prussia) first wore the Wellington Tiara for her 1977 wedding to the Marquess of Douro, as the current Duke was titled at the time. He succeeded to the Wellington title in 2014.

Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (left) wears the tiara at the Duke of Wellington's Waterloo Banquet in 2015
The Wellington name was brought back to the forefront in 2015, for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Hosting a splendid formal Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House, the Duchess wore the Wellington Tiara and the same diamond necklace the 4th Duchess paired with the diadem.

The Duchess greets the Duchess of Cornwall
You can see above how the tiara forms a complete circlet around the head - well, you can see it provided that you're not totally blinded by the sparkle on the Duchess of Cornwall at that banquet. (We covered that appearance over at the Jewel Vault; Camilla wore the Greville Tiara and all five strands of the Greville Festoon Necklace.)

The Duke and Duchess were attendees at the recent Spanish state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where the tiara may or may not have had another appearance; regrettably, they were not spotted in the state banquet coverage. (The Duke of Wellington is also the Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Grandee of Spain 1st Class, another title picked up by the 1st Duke, and they have a Spanish estate. The Duke and Duchess' daughter, Lady Charlotte, married Alejandro Santo Domingo in Spain last year with King Juan Carlos and the Duchess of Cornwall in attendance.) There appears to be least one other tiara option at the Duchess' disposal:
Lady Charlotte in a different tiara
Lady Charlotte and her husband were guests at last year's Colombian state banquet, where she wore a different family tiara.

The Wellington Tiara seems to be the main headliner, though. For a grand tiara with so many big stones, it manages to keep a certain lightness to the design. I think it's a success on every level.

How do you rate this big gun tiara?

19 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: The Cambridges Greet Germany

We're picking up right where we left off with the Cambridge Poland/Germany tour: with another case of family and country coordination.

Just like their mix of Poland's flag colors as they started the trip, the Cambridge family left Poland and arrived in Germany in a family palette based on the blue cornflower, one of Germany's national flowers (as is being frequently reported, though several German readers have disagreed with that claim of symbolism. National flowers, even when accurate, are generally a more obscure reference than, say, a flag color).

After arrival, the Duke and Duchess met with the Chancellor.
And also like their arrival in Poland, it was another case of new-but-similar for Kate. She also has this blue Catherine Walker coat in red, a version ordered for another national color nod during the Cambridges' first trip to Canada. We may require an entire display in the Royal Coat Museum, dedicated solely to this coat in every single color of the rainbow. Underneath, there was a matching blue lace dress, and she wore a necklace and earrings from Kiki McDonough to complete the look.

Meanwhile, this little one discovered that there are certain perks to this whole tour thing. Namely, an unlimited supply of fresh posies.

The tour continues in Germany through Friday. Stay tuned...