17 January 2018

Readers' Favorite Outfits of 2017, Evening Division: The Results, Part 1!

There were some surprises in the results from your day division 2017 vote, both in which outfits made your top 10 and perhaps more so in which outfits (and royals) didn't make the cut. Will the evening division be any more predictable? The first half of your top 10, coming right up...

#10. Queen Máxima at the Italian State Banquet in Jan Taminiau
Embed from Getty Images
The winner of your day division poll also had several contenders for the evening division (so many that not all of them got to be included in the vote, because I wanted the options to include more than, like, four royals). This red gown was worn twice in 2017, and while it didn't really resonate with me, it slides onto your list at #10.

#9. Crown Princess Mary at the New Year's Reception in Lasse Spangenberg
Embed from Getty Images
It's not easily classifiable between day and evening, this one, but it's great enough in either category to nab this spot on your list.

#8. Crown Princess Mary at the Norway Birthday Dinner in Erdem
Kongehuset/NRK/Lyst
Two spots in a row! After her conspicuous absence from your day division favorites, Mary's not wasting any time making her mark in the evening division. (I'm actually really liking the bow at the waist in the stock photo, now that I'm looking at it again. Game for a repeat, hmm?)

#7. The Duchess of Cambridge at the Spanish/British State Banquet in Marchesa
Royal Family
Huge enthusiasm for this state banquet appearance, despite not really seeing a proper picture from the front (just glimpses in motion and while at dinner). That launches Kate to her first spot on your evening favorites...

#6. The Duchess of Cambridge in Paris in Jenny Packham
British Embassy
...and the first of her two 2017 blue Jenny Packhams grabs her a quick second spot. I preferred the second one; it seemed like more of you preferred this first one. Either way, mission accomplished.

Have your picks made the list yet? Stay tuned for the final five...

16 January 2018

Readers' Favorite Outfits of 2017, Day Division: The Results, Part 2!

I thought there were some real surprises at the top of the pile from your day division favorites. Let's investigate (and click here for #6-10!):

#5. Princess Madeleine at Crown Princess Victoria's 40th Birthday in Erdem
Embed from Getty Images
I honestly forgot about this appearance entirely when making my own lists of 2017 bests, but I can't argue with all the affection for it in the final vote. Erdem has served Princess Madeleine well.

#4. Queen Rania at Jordan's Independence Day
Instagram/@queenrania
Did this Queen Rania outfit make the list because of this seriously fierce wind-blown photo? Yes. Do you think creating a moment like this is an accident? No. That's planning, and planning is as much a factor in a good royal outfit as anything else, if you ask me. (By the way, some wondered why this outfit wasn't classified in the evening section. I kept it in the day section because Queen Rania's outfits for this event include a nod to traditional style - albeit often in her own, high fashion way - and therefore it is not something that I'd expect to see used as an evening gown on another occasion.)

#3. Princess Eugenie at Royal Ascot in Preen
Embed from Getty Images
One of my personal favorite Ascot outfits last year got a lot of love from your votes, and I hope this silhouette and this color gets a lot of love from Princess Eugenie in the future. It's such a good match.

#2. Crown Princess Victoria at Prince Gabriel's Christening in Pär Engsheden
Erika Gerdemark/Kungahuset.se
The reds are a good match for anyone, as this voting has made clear. Crown Princess Victoria's sharp turn at December's Swedish christening makes her the second and final royal to earn double spots on your top 10.

#1. Queen Máxima at the Woman 20 Summit in Natan
Embed from Getty Images
And there it is, the biggest surprise of all: I wouldn't generally call daywear Queen Máxima's strongest suit, but an excellent pose and an assist from a coordinated bouquet has elevated her and her favorite designer to the very top of your 2017 favorites. Well done, Máx!

Any surprises for you? Did your favorites make the cut?

15 January 2018

Monday Tidbits for January 15: More New Year's Fun

We are not done with the royal New Year's festivities, but first, a documentary update:

--The Coronation documentary, featuring commentary from Queen Elizabeth II herself on her coronation, aired for the first time last night. Highlights and chat are over at the Vault. Also over at the Vault: a splash of purple and pink on the way to church, with a sneaky ruby brooch.

--Luxembourg's grand ducal family held a New Year's reception last week. I get that Stéphanie pulled the black accents from the dress, but still would have loved to see something less heavy. [Facebook, via Luxarazzi]
Cour grand-ducale/Claude Piscitelli

--A shiny Queen Mathilde joined King Philippe for a New Year's reception for European institutions at the Royal Palace, wearing a repeated Natan ensemble.
Belgian Monarchy

--The Japanese imperial family held their traditional New Year's Lectures and their traditional New Year's Poetry Reading last week, both with a dress code of long day dresses and hats for the imperial princesses. The Lectures this year were a special treat, because Crown Princess Masako attended for the first time in 15 years (after withdrawing due to her illness). [Imperial Family of Japan Blog]
Crown Princess Masako, Princess Kiko, and Princess Mako at the Lectures
ANN screencap

Coming up this week: More of your 2017 favorites revealed...


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!

12 January 2018

Readers' Favorite Outfits of 2017, Day Division: The Results, Part 1!

You voted for your favorite outfits of 2017, day and evening division, just before the calendar flipped over. Now, finally, it's time for the results. We're counting down your top 10 favorites from both divisions!

We're starting with your favorites from the day division, part 1:

#10. Queen Letizia at Spain's National Day in Felipe Varela
House of HM the King
A perfectly classic royal outfit which could have appeared on a young QEII or anyone else from then until now, Queen Letizia's suit and surprising royal accessory (a brooch! In traditional brooch position! On Letizia!) just slide onto your top 10 list in the bottom spot.

#9. Princess Sofia at Prince Gabriel's Christening in folk dress
Erika Gerdemark/Kungahuset.se
A traditional outfit of a different sort that also doubled as a big royal surprise takes the next spot, with Princess Sofia's choice to wear the traditional dress of Älvdalen - a dress reportedly made by relatives - to her son's christening.

#8. Crown Princess Victoria in a Birthday Portrait
Erika Gerdemark/Kungahuset.se
Crown Princess Victoria looked like a boss in her 40th birthday portraits, the simple white shirt and white trousers perfectly portraying a princess at work and complementing the sleek backdrop of her home, Haga Palace.

#7. The Duchess of Cambridge at the V&A in Gucci
Embed from Getty Images
The cute mod flair of this Gucci day dress lands the Duchess of Cambridge, one who had an awful lot of potential contenders for the day division, on your list.

#6. Queen Letizia at the UNICEF Awards and Peru Visit in Carolina Herrera
House of HM the King
Letizia's second spot on the list goes to this flippy and fun summer dress from a designer that always serves her well, Carolina Herrera.

Will anyone else hit the list a second time? Stay tuned next week to find out...

11 January 2018

Tiara Thursday: A Fife Tiara Update

When the Fife Tiara took home the #2 spot in your Favorite Tiaras Rematch, I noted that it had achieved its tremendous popularity despite scarce appearances and hardly any public exposure. Well, following news that dropped in December – while we were in yearly review and holiday mode (thanks to those of you that contacted me about it!) – that’s about to change. The Fife Tiara has changed hands, and it looks like you’re going to be able to see it in person.

The Fife Tiara
Quick recap first: The Fife Tiara was an 1889 wedding gift to Princess Louise of Wales, the oldest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, from her new husband, the Earl of Fife (who was made the Duke of Fife by Queen Victoria right after the wedding). The tiara has diamonds mounted in silver and gold and the design is dominated by a series of pear-shaped diamonds that hang freely in a Gothic-inspired diamond framework. More large pear-shaped diamonds alternate with round diamonds along the top of the tiara. The design is attributed to Oscar Massin because an identical design was included in an 1878 display of his work.

Princess Louise
The Fife Tiara passed to Princess Louise’s eldest daughter, Princess Alexandra, and she, as Duchess of Fife in her own right, wore it to the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937. Alexandra was predeceased by her own son, so the title – and the tiara – passed down to her nephew, James Carnegie, the 3rd Duke. The tiara stayed within the family, though there’s really just about one public example of it in use in recent decades.

The Fife Tiara
Sotheby's/UK Government
And here’s the 2017 update: The Fife Tiara has been given to the U.K. government as part of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme and will be displayed at Kensington Palace! The Acceptance in Lieu program enables taxpayers to transfer important works of art and heritage objects into public ownership while paying Inheritance Tax; the 3rd Duke of Fife died in 2015. The government’s report on items accepted in 2017 (excerpted above and below; the full PDF is here) notes that the Fife Tiara was accepted as “pre-eminent under the second and third criteria” for assessing objects offered, which means that it was determined to have “especial artistic or art-historical interest” and was of “especial importance for the study of some particular form of art, learning or history”.

The government feature on the tiara
The government has now permanently assigned the tiara to Historic Royal Palaces, which manages Kensington Palace and other palaces, for “retention and display at Kensington Palace in accordance with the condition attached to the offer.”

The Fife family is also assumed to be in possession of another major tiara, Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara. Which is interesting, considering this recent tweet from Historic Royal Palaces:

https://twitter.com/HRP_palaces/status/945427690764500992

That would be sight to see, if we're talking about the real deal and if it might be shown at the same time as the Fife. We'll see what happens.