23 March 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: The Duchess of Cambridge's Last Two

The last two days of engagements for Kate were her last before maternity leave, Kensington Palace announced. Behold:

The Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation hosted a symposium on early intervention on Wednesday.
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One more bespoke Jenny Packham for the road, in shades of Easter basket stuffing with a bow on top! A divisive bow, it seems, as bows on clothes tend to be.

Kensington Palace
But without the bow, there's not much too it. It adds interest and it's not too twee. A thumbs up from me.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook engagements celebrating the Commonwealth on Thursday, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London next month.
Kensington Palace
And here we have a repeated GOAT coat and a new Hobbs London top paired with a skinny trouser and heels, a perfect basic outfit shape that can work in so many different situations.

Kensington Palace
It's cute!

22 March 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Belgian Scroll Tiara, Revisited

Luxembourg’s doing their best to make up for a tiara-less state banquet earlier this week. They brought along an unexpected number of family members for the return dinner, and they released a glittering new portrait of the Grand Duchess to celebrate her birthday! (Which is today; she is 62. Happy birthday, Maria Teresa!)

Lola Velasco/Cour grand-ducale
Splendid, right? She’s wearing the tremendously flattering Yves Dooms evening gown she wore for the 2017 National Day gala. She’s also repeating the Belgian Scroll Tiara, and it’s about time we refreshed our thoughts on this gem. Especially since, for the past few years, it has been Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s unequivocal favorite.

The Belgian Scroll Tiara
The Belgian Scroll Tiara is a diamond tiara of palmette, crescent, and scroll motifs made by Henry Coosemans in 1953. There are 854 diamonds here, all set in platinum, with a total weight of 46.42 carats. The center stone is an 8.1 carat diamond that can be removed and worn as a ring, and the central element can be worn as a brooch. It was a gift from the Sociéte Générale to Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium when she married Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg that same year.

Princess Joséphine-Charlotte on her wedding day
Joséphine-Charlotte wore this for her wedding portrait, having already worn the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara for the ceremony. (If you can’t pull a two tiara day on your wedding day, when can you?) She continued to wear the tiara throughout her years as the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, even after her husband had abdicated in favor of their son, Henri. She did allow her daughter-in-law, Princess Sibilla, to borrow it.

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte
Several years ago, the Belgian Scroll Tiara came terribly close to losing its place in the family collection. The diadem was Joséphine-Charlotte’s personal property; when she died in 2005, her five children seemed to have had some difficulty dividing up her assets. In 2006, an auction through Sotheby’s was announced. A large quantity of her personal jewels and other valuable possessions were to be sold by the family. Among the loot: this tiara, her other wedding tiara, and jewels from her parents, King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians.

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Princess Sibilla borrows the tiara in 2002
The jewels were private property, so it was completely within the family’s rights to do as they pleased with them. Nevertheless, the auction caused a public outcry. Rumors of tension among siblings and in-laws popped up, as well as all the old talk of the damaged relationship between Joséphine-Charlotte and her daughter-in-law Maria Teresa. Not only that, but the family’s finances and judgment were called into question by some. In other words: all the things that a royal house does not want questioned were suddenly a point of discussion. In light of this, the auction was cancelled.

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Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, also wearing the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara around her neck
The Belgian Scroll Tiara was thus salvaged, along with several other major pieces of jewelry. (The family still sold off some more minor pieces; they just did it in a quieter fashion.) The tiara is now a firm favorite with Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. She’s worn it for the past two National Day galas, plus a state visit and the Norwegian birthday gala in 2017, among other occasions. I’d love to see it on Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (who is Belgian), should MT decide to release her grip.

Does this rank among your favorite Luxembourg tiaras?

21 March 2018

Royal Visit of the Day: Máxima and Rania Collide in the Netherlands

A state visit from Jordan to the Netherlands was scheduled for 2017, then it was cancelled/postponed, and then it was rescheduled for this week - but downgraded to an official visit. Still, at long last, the fashion forces of Queen Máxima and Queen Rania have collided as promised!

The official welcome ended up being a pretty tidy summation of both ladies' styles: one with all the cape and hat action you can stand, the other sleek and simple with a twist (that twist, in this instance, being a button configuration that leaves me permanently searching for the fictional missing pair). Obviously I love the cape on Máxima's Claes Iversen coat, although I can't help but feel like the whole thing smothers her in tan. Rania's fresh light blue is a welcome relief for the first day of Spring.

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At the official dinner: Prince Constantijn, Princess Margriet, Queen Rania, King Abdullah, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Princess Beatrix
We have another textbook definition of her personal style from Queen Máxima in the evening, because oh YES, this is a ruffled formal banana frock and I kinda love it and that's Máx Magic for you.

Rania, on the other hand, is pretty tame compared to her usual and actually went with a traditional choice. She thanked the women of the Basmet Al-Khair Charitable Society for her traditional Jordanian dress on her Instagram. I love the sleeve details.

The switch to an official visit meant a formal, white tie state banquet was replaced with an official dinner. So no tiaras this time around. But Máxima wouldn't let a visit from fellow monarchs go entirely un-bedazzled, now would she?
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Of course she wouldn't. She adorned her Claes Iversen dress with the Stuart (House Diamond) Necklace with the pendants removed. It's the second time she's worn it; it's been shortened by a few links or worn back a bit so that it matches up with the neckline of the dress and as a result, these two things work together against all odds. Bless her, trying to soothe our tiara loss by wearing a serious royal necklace with her ruffled formal banana frock.

20 March 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for March 20: A State Banquet and More

Let's see what we've got here...

--ICMYI, we covered the wedding of Prince Christian of Hanover and Alessandra de Osma (and the big ol' tiara that came out to play) over the weekend.

--The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg embarked on a state visit to France yesterday. I am sorry to report that the French president is still keeping the dress code for state banquets below the point at which tiaras are worn, so boo. Luxarazzi has all from the banquet and from the arrival.
Cour grand-ducale / Bertrand Rindoff / Getty Images

--Over at the Jewel Vault, a delighted QEII brought back her favorite aquamarine brooches.

--The Belgian royal palace announced that Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, will begin studies at UWC Atlantic College in Wales this summer. King Willem-Alexander also attended the school. [Twitter]
Belgian Monarchy

--Queen Margrethe has returned to work after the end of the official period of court mourning for Prince Henrik. [Instagram]

--And finally, let's keep that theme of Very Good Dogs running for one more day: Here's the Prince of Wales meeting Ned, a 9-week-old puppy and future sniffer dog, while visiting Heathrow's Terminal 5 last week.

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!

19 March 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: St. Patrick's Day with the Cambridges

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Irish Guards on St. Patrick's Day, where the Duke, Colonel of the regiment, took the salute at the parade and the Duchess handed out the traditional shamrocks.
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Another year, another root through the green section of the Royal Coat Museum! No need to search far back into the archives for this one; she just reused the Catherine Walker coat debuted a few weeks ago in Sweden with its faux fur collar and cuffs. Safe guess that was the plan behind commissioning another green coat in the first place, I'm thinking.

Army in London
The Gina Foster hat is a repeat as well and a veteran of this ceremony. The color match between the hat and coat is good, something that can get dicey when combining repeats.

But enough about that, let's say hi to the real star of the day:

Army in London
There's Domhnall the Irish Wolfhound, Irish Guards mascot and Very Good Dog, receiving his shamrock from the Duchess. Domhnall led the parade and, as the Irish Guards hilariously shared later, was tuckered out from his big day.

Irish Guards Facebook
Same, buddy, same.