24 November 2015

Tiara Thursday (on a Tuesday, with a Programming Note): The Tiaras of Queen Silvia

The blog is taking a break for the rest of the week. Here's a whole bunch of sparkle to tide you over:

Queen Silvia has plenty of tiara variety at her disposal with the extensive Swedish collection, and she has made good use of it throughout her marriage. That said, observing which tiaras she selects for which events quickly shows a loose pattern: the Braganza for the biggest occasions, the Leuchtenberg sapphires and the Nine Prong alternating for important occasions that don't warrant the Braganza, and everything else thrown in here and there for the rest. Excepting special occasions, she tends to be the sole wearer of many of the tiaras she favors.

So, as we approach another Nobel ceremony, a tiara retrospective is needed for our Swedish queen. Stick around to vote for your favorite! (And see previously: Victoria's tiaras, and Madeleine's tiaras.)

We have covered all of these in depth before, so click on the tiara name for details as always.

Kungahuset/Bruno Ehrs
The largest tiara at her disposal, this is a true big gun and she treats it like one, bringing it out only for the most special occasions (state banquets for fellow monarchs, Crown Princess Victoria's wedding, that sort of thing). She's never worn this one to the Nobel ceremony.

Nobel Prize video screencap
Tiara #1 of her two favorites, and one we see her wear on the regular. She wore it earlier this year for Prince Carl Philip's wedding, completing a run of her three most important tiaras for the weddings of her three children.

Frankie Fouganthin via Wikimedia Commons
And this is #2 of the Silvia favorites. It's said to be pretty rigid and hard to wear if it doesn't naturally fit you, but it must fit Queen Silvia like a dream because she wears it all the time. It was her choice for Princess Madeleine's wedding in 2013.

Though the Connaught has been shared with other family members on occasion (really just family weddings in recent years) and the drops have been worn by her daughters, it's usually worn only by Queen Silvia. She wore it to the gala held the night before her wedding, making it the first tiara she ever wore in public.

There's a double tiara appearance above: the Connaught on the head and the Modern Fringe around the neck. I have a hunch this one is now Princess Madeleine's, and I doubt we'll see it on Queen Silvia again. Time will tell.

And this would be the second tiara she wore, on her wedding day. With the exception of Crown Princess Victoria on her own wedding day, this tiara is also a Silvia-only piece now.

Queen Silvia "created" this tiara by placing a heavy necklace in the family collection on a tiara frame. The amethysts have since been shared with other family members (which you know makes me happy, amethyst lover that I am).

Presidência da República Portuguesa
There's some family controversy behind this tiara that resulted in scarce use for several years, but its gaining speed now. It is an Edwardian piece difficult to wear with modern hairstyles, but luckily Queen Silvia knows a few things about tricky tiaras.

And Others...
Fotocollectie Anefo via Wikimedia Commons
The remainder of Queen Silvia's picks from the Swedish tiara collection are less likely to be seen on her today. Perhaps not coincidentally, all of these are favorites for others in the family:
  • The Baden Fringe Tiara: This is the designated "crown princess" tiara for the family, and Silvia's use of it backed off once Crown Princess Victoria began to wear it.
  • The Cut Steel Tiara: Who can forget the tiara Queen Silvia is said to have discovered in a cabinet in the palace? (Well, someone can, I guess, since it ended up in the cabinet in the first place.) Today it is a favorite of Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Christina and not a frequent choice for Silvia, though she has commented on how pleasantly light it is to wear.
  • The Six Button Tiara: I'm not going to lie, I feel my well-documented dislike of the button tiaras is slightly vindicated by the fact that Queen Silvia avoids them both. She has worn the Six Button once at least; to my knowledge, she's never publicly worn the Four Button Tiara. Perhaps this is simply because she has enough pieces reserved for the queen without dipping into those frequently shared by the princesses, but I think I'll stick to my own theory.

Now the choice is yours: Vote!

The blog will return on Sunday. (We will be up and running over at the Jewel Vault though, where a trip is happening at the end of the week.) Happy Thanksgiving!

23 November 2015

Royal Duo of the Day: November 23

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania were in Spain last week for a working visit with King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. A style showdown is inevitable, isn't it? Particularly between these two queens, who have each brought their own twist on queenly dressing to the job. Rania stuck to her more adventurous (well, adventurous in comparison) combinations of luxury designers, and Letizia stuck to her carefully selected favorite designers and her clean silhouettes. In fact, Letizia played it even safer than usual, adding to the contrast between the two queens consort. The result has something for everyone, and I like a game where everyone wins.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania arrived in Spain on Thursday, and were given an official welcome by King Felipe and Queen Letizia.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore a Fendi coat.
Right off the bat, see? A red dress is peak Letizia, and I can't think of another royal lady that could pull off Rania's coat. But since that's a whole lotta whatever happening on one coat, I'm calling this one for the host country.

Thursday evening, the Spanish royal family hosted a dinner for their guests.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore an Agnona ensemble and Balenciaga shoes.
Everybody should have a good superhero belt at their disposal, don't you think? I think I like it enough to leap it over a standard LBD, Barbie Feet Syndrome and all.

Queen Rania made a solo visit to the Prado Media Lab cultural center.
She wore a Derek Lam blouse, leather skirt, and Christian Louboutin shoes.
On the other hand, I'm not sure my affection for a windowpane print is enough to leap me over the sideways version of Barbie feet.

On Friday, Queen Letizia and Queen Rania visited Molecular Biology Center 'Severo Ochoa' at Autonoma University.
Queen Letizia: Carolina Herrera suit, Prada shoes. Queen Rania: Alexander McQueen blouse, Azzedine Alaïa belt, Proenza Schouler skirt, Christian Louboutin shoes.
I never say no to Carolina Herrera, but I also never say no to something twirly (and what is Rania's skirt for if not for twirling, eh? Double the swoopy fun with those sleeves). And so we end on a draw, and hearty thanks to Their Majesties for playing along.

22 November 2015

Sunday Tidbits for November 22: Trips, Trips, and Also Trips

Some of our regular cast members have been on the go lately with working trips here and there and everywhere, so let's play catch up around the world:

--Queen Mathilde made sure to pack only her most colorful prints for a visit to Ethiopia in her role as Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium earlier this month, and it was just the right thing. [ParisMatch]
Belgian Monarchy Twitter

--Queen Máxima also brought the color (and the lobsters!) for her visit to Bangladesh as part of her work for the UN in inclusive finance. I love our Dutch queen in this Michael Kors pink and camel number, which I find vibrant in a sophisticated way. [Refdag, Hello]

--Crown Princess Mary traveled to Senegal on a private trip with the Orchid Project as part of her advocacy for reproductive and sexual health and rights, and stopping female genital cutting. [Orchid Project]

--Here is Crown Prince Haakon holding a baby sloth in Brazil, so happy Sunday to you. He traveled with a Norwegian delegation for an official visit/trade mission packed with events on business and the environment: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4. [Konghuset]
Photo: Marianne Hagen, the Royal Court of Norway

--Crown Princess Mette-Marit was at work back home. She and the kids attended a memorial for Paris in Oslo, and I'd love to see this coat at a happier event so that I can properly lavish some praise on it. [Zimbio]

--A Canadian mining firm working in Botswana has found the second largest diamond ever, 1,111 carats and nearly the size of a tennis ball. It's the biggest gem quality stone found since the Cullinan Diamond (and we know where that went). Perhaps the Queen of Canada should discreetly mention how skilled she is at taking care of such treasures... [CBC]

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were out and about again, in North Wales. Shenanigans ensued. [Hello]

--And finally, at the Vault we looked at one of QEII's sparkly wedding gifts, since this week marked the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's 68th wedding anniversary. Sixty-eight! It boggles the mind. The British Monarchy tweeted a video with a letter from King George VI to his daughter after her wedding, and it really is just too sweet. [Twitter]

Coming up this week: double queen style in Spain and more...

20 November 2015

Royal Fashion Awards: National Day in Monaco

That Monaco bunch, they sure know how to give us some stuff to talk about on National Day. It's their big annual day in the sartorial sun, and they make it worth our while. Just a few awards of note from the day events (which includes a cathedral service followed by appearances at the palace):

Best in Time Travel
Princess Charlene in Akris
You know how sometimes you go to your closet in the morning and you find yourself torn between sleekness of your Star Trek uniforms and the flair of your 1920s throwbacks? Happens all the time. Well guess what, kids: PROBLEM SOLVED.
Also: What to do when National Day just can't handle your new pixie cut? HAIR PRISON, that's what. This ensemble is a problem solver all around. And unexpectedly caps lock-y, too.
On the balcony with Jacques and Gabriella, who will celebrate their first birthdays soon.
See a video here.

Most Froof
Princess Caroline in Chanel
And you thought Valentino was the only one with a dust ruffle fetish. The fabric gives this one the gravitas it needs, ruffles and all. (Also, the anti-froof: Princess Stephanie! A surprise front runner in simple but bold red.)

Best Play on My Weaknesses
Beatrice Borromeo
With Pierre Casiraghi, a thrown together Charlotte Casiraghi, and a lovely Princess Alexandra
Granted, I have major weaknesses for Beatrice's style and for recent royal brides and for pink earrings, but I think she wins the day regardless. This is a chic ensemble (which I suspect is Armani, and which amusingly sports a dust ruffle of its own), nicely done without being overly done. It leaves the flash to the Köchert earrings Beatrice wore for her civil wedding, which were reported to have been a gift from Princess Caroline. Magnificent.
The earrings in morganite, diamonds, and white gold, by Köchert. If they were mine, I'd wear them everywhere too...

Click here for a gallery of the day's events, including the Duchess of Castro solving the age-old problem of which black and white pattern is best by opting for all of them. 

Photos: via Getty Images, Bunte video, Köchert

19 November 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Alba Russian Tiara

This is a tiara that goes by many names but is perhaps best known as La Rusa, or The Russian. Such a name is fitting for such a diadem, and such a diadem is fitting for such a lady: La Rusa belonged to Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba (1926-2014).
The Alba Russian Tiara, "La Rusa"
Made of diamonds and platinum in a striking geometric motif, the tiara was inherited by the Duchess of Alba from her maternal grandmother, María del Rosario de Silva, Duchess of Híjar, Duchess of Aliaga (and a whole bunch of other titles). The “La Rusa" moniker came from its kokoshnik shape, kokoshniks having been a traditional form of Russian headdress popularly adapted as tiaras at the Russian imperial court. Apparently Cayetana was known to attach a further Russian connection to the tiara, saying it came from Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928). But with no records to tie this piece to the Dowager Empress, that’s a tale easier to doubt than to prove.
Left to Right: Cayetana, María, Matilde
The Duchess of Alba considered the tiara to be an important piece for the family and one with sentimental value, and as such, she felt it would be a fitting bridal tiara. The trouble was, not everyone agreed: her offer of the tiara was initially refused when her second son, Alfonso, married Princess María of Hohenlohe-Langenburg in 1977. The bride eventually (and reluctantly) accepted her offer and wore the tiara at the wedding, but the incident had already caused family friction. As Cayetana wrote in her memoirs, she finally found a bride happy to wear the tiara when Matilde Solís married her eldest son, Carlos, in 1988.
The publication of her memoirs also brought to light the tiara’s surprising fate. Despite considering it such an important piece, the Duchess of Alba said that she sold the diadem to buy a horse for her son Cayetano, an equestrian competitor. Details of the sale remained private, but the tiara recently resurfaced at New York jeweler Joseph Saidian & Sons. Earlier this year, the jewelers told Spanish outlet ABC that the Alba family had not made inquiries to reacquire La Rusa, which doesn't surprise me at all. With a new price tag and few reasons for tiara use at hand, I can't say I blame them.

La Rusa as a wedding tiara: yay or nay?

Photos: Hola/Juan Gyenes/ABC