25 May 2018

Royal State Visit of the Day: More from the Dutch in Luxembourg

Summer is almost here. Do you have your luxurious caftans ready for all the cocktail parties you shall be hosting on your yacht?

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a concert in Luxembourg, Máxima wearing a repeated Valentino caftan gown
Queen Máxima's caftans come in the form of gowns and they are always ready, darling, whether for cocktails on a yacht or hosting a return event on the second day of the Luxembourg state visit.

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Grand Duchess Maria Teresa's looking ready for a little holiday glam too, with all the tropical foliage happening on her bespoke Elie Saab dress (per Heaven).

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And just a little tip for you from these ladies: Use those flowing garments as a showcase for your strongest necklace game. Queen Máxima wore the Ruby Peacock Necklace previously on this red gown; last night, she followed up on her Stuart Surprise with her Tutti Frutti-style necklace and bracelet. I wouldn't have thought that set would work so well with red, and yet it does. Just one reason that set belongs to her and not me, I guess. One of about 66,419 rea$on$.

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Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie may not have sported a caftan - her flowy dress is another Elie Saab nabbed from her mother-in-law's wardrobe - but she too came to play in the necklace department. One of the diamond rivière necklaces from the Luxembourg collection! Making up for the giant diamonds missing from the Lux side of the state banquet, are we? (Luxarazzi posted a video of these arrivals, worth a view if you're interested in Stéphanie's updo. Some impressive hair architecture going on there.)

Shall we hit the day events from days 1 and 2, briefly?

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For day 2, the Grand Duchess looked super cute - a great jacket in bold jewel tone, neatly paired with cropped trousers and a statement necklace. That is all I have to say about the day outfits on day 2. Moving on...

Moving back, actually, to the arrivals and another can't-miss-it outfit from Queen Máx. If she'd leaned more into the green side of this and less into the yellow, she would have come pretty close to one of my all-time favorite QEII ensembles. But she didn't.

Speaking of hats, if you've ever wondered how royal women manage to greet each other when they're all hatted up, well:
Sometimes it doesn't work out so well. The Hereditary Grand Duchess won the prize for best welcome outfit anyway.

Psst: Check in over the weekend, fingers crossed we'll have some fun stuff to look at from Crown Prince Frederik's birthday!

23 May 2018

Breaking Tiara News: Queen Máxima Wears the Stuart Tiara

It's the moment many have been waiting for since King Willem-Alexander took the throne: Queen Máxima wore the Stuart Tiara for the state banquet in Luxembourg tonight!

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It's a smaller version of that elusive Dutch big gun, to be clear; the setting has been lowered, the namesake pear-shaped Stuart Diamond has been removed from the top center with a smaller substitute in its place and other large diamonds from the top have been removed. Which was predictable, really; it is a massive tiara that comes with smaller settings, so easing into it is logical. Queen Máxima is wearing two of the removed large diamonds as earrings.  Read the tiara's full story here.

The Stuart Tiara in its full setting, as worn by Queen Juliana
There's the full version, as worn by Queen Juliana. The tiara was created for Queen Wilhelmina in 1897 and was regularly worn by Juliana, her daughter. Once Juliana's daughter, Beatrix, took over the throne, the tiara went unworn. Unworn for more than 40 years. Until now!

Royal reporter Rick Evers shared a fantastic video of the occasion, with some drool-worthy close ups and oh so much sparkle:
There is also a set of mega diamond jewels, the Stuart or House Diamond jewels, that Juliana wore with the Stuart Tiara. Máxima debuted the necklace from that set last year. Here, she wears the large bow brooch from the set, which she's used before. Her dress is a Jan Taminiau repeat.

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Also, other people were there! Let's do a quick sash check (left to right): Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume in the Order of Orange-Nassau from the Netherlands, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, King Willem-Alexander in Luxembourg's Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, Queen Máxima in the same, Grand Duke Henri in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Blauw Bloed screencap. Click here for more sparkly video.
The Luxembourg ladies doubled up on their Elie Saab, Maria Teresa in a repeat and Stéphanie borrowing another dress from her mother-in-law's closet. The Hereditary Grand Duchess is giving us a double tiara appearance, technically, and a debut; she's wearing the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara for the first time (without the pearls), and her sapphire and diamond necklace can also be used as a tiara.

Cour grand-ducale/Cyril Moreau
I must say, I'm a little disappointed in Maria Teresa when it comes to the tiara department. If there was ever a time for the Luxembourg Empire Tiara, right? Instead, the Grand Duchess stuck to her current favorite, the Belgian Scroll Tiara. Good thing her dress is divine, easily my favorite of the evening.

The Dutch arrived for their state visit to Luxembourg earlier today. The visit continues through Friday.

Royal Outfits of the Day: Camilla and Meghan in the Garden

Clarence House
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall hosted the Prince's 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration yesterday, a Buckingham Palace garden party for 6,500 people from 386 of his patronages and reps from 18 military affiliations. They were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their first engagement as a married couple.

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I'm not entirely convinced that Meghan's dress in photos lives up to its promise on the hanger, but I see where she's going and she's headed in a more chic direction than we usually see at a garden party. That's promising. (The dress is from Goat.)

Clarence House
Anyway, let's talk about that Philip Treacy hat and its perfectly matched updo. A brim! Huzzah. Sort of a beginner's entry into the serious world of hat shenanigans. Can you even really consider yourself a member of the British royal family before a hat has hula hooped its way around your head? I think not. She's officially in the fam now.

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Camilla's an experienced hat hula hooper, and she has the impressive collection of Philip Treacy designs to prove it. She's also wearing her Four Strand Pearl Choker with Large Diamond Clasp and her Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings.

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Her Bruce Oldfield coat and dress looks like a rejected wedding option, right? "No, no, gotta leave the brights to the Queen and the white and light green to Doria. NEXT!" This minty coat is trying to trick us into believing there's a blazer involved too.

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We can't forget the birthday boy, can we? (Even though his birthday's not until November.) He likes his gray morning dress, and it works really well on him. Impeccable as ever.

Event Roundup: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Wedding

Relive the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with all our wedding posts in one spot!

The official wedding photographs were taken by Alexi Lubomirski in the Green Drawing Room and East Terrace of Windsor Castle.

All the details on that Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy wedding gown, the groom's uniform, the bridesmaids and page boys, and the mother of the bride

Going in-depth on the tiara worn by Meghan on her wedding day

Featuring Stella McCartney and Diana's aquamarine ring

A look at what the Windsors wore to the ceremony

A spotlight on guests beyond the royal family

The Pre-Game:

22 May 2018

Tiara Thursday (on a Tuesday): Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

As promised, here's an in-depth look at the tiara that made a surprise reappearance on the Duchess of Sussex on her wedding day. Plus, some clarification on the difference between this tiara and similar bandeaux from Queen Mary’s collection – they’re easy to get confused!

Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara
Royal Collection Trust
The story starts with the detachable brooch that sits at the center of Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara. It dates from 1893 and is the oldest part of the tiara. The brooch is a classic style with a large brilliant diamond at the center, surrounded by nine brilliant diamonds. It was a gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) from the County of Lincoln for her 1893 wedding to the Duke of York (later King George V).

Royal Collection Trust
Mary received a staggering amount of jewelry as a bride, including more than 40 brooches and multiple tiaras. Her wedding gifts still play a large role in the jewel collection of her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen demonstrated the depth of that 1893 haul by wearing another one of Mary’s wedding gifts, the Richmond Brooch, to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding.

Royal Collection Trust
Queen Mary commissioned this Diamond Bandeau Tiara specifically to fit the County of Lincoln brooch in 1932. This English-made jewel is crafted from large and small brilliant diamonds pavé-set in platinum, in a design pierced with interlaced ovals. There are 11 different sections to the structure, giving the bandeau flexibility. The tiara also includes clusters of 7 larger diamonds to each side, somewhat echoing the basic design of the central brooch.

Queen Mary, 1950
The County of Lincoln brooch is detachable from the tiara. Examples of Queen Mary wearing the tiara are scarce; some have wondered if Mary might have used a different centerpiece, but it’s difficult to be certain. It would, however, have been a very Mary touch to swap out the center. She is, after all, the one behind the flexible pendants of the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara and the changing centerpiece of the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara, to name just two examples.

A comparison: Four bandeau tiaras that belonged to Queen Mary
Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara was among several small-ish bandeau tiaras in her collection, most seemingly created or acquired in the 1920s and 1930s. These pieces can be easily confused, but the designs are clearly different, as you can see from the comparison above. They are:
  1. Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara, our topic here (created 1932). Some called this tiara the "filigree tiara" in the past, before any official information was available.
  2. Marie Feodorovna’s Sapphire Bandeau, which has similar overall shape but different design. This was last worn by Princess Margaret.
  3. A small bandeau Queen Mary acquired in the 1920s and later used as a base for emeralds borrowed from the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara; the bandeau was left to the Kent branch of the family and appears to have been reconfigured into the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara.
  4. Queen Mary’s Lozenge Bandeau, used as a base for pearls borrowed from her Lover’s Knot Tiara, and later worn on its own by Princess Margaret.
(This is not a comprehensive list, just those that have been covered here.) It seems that these were a used by Queen Mary for gala performances and other such events in her later years; smaller options for smaller events, I suppose.

The Duchess of Sussex
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Queen Mary’s Bandeau Tiara went unseen for decades after her death, its whereabouts unknown to the public. Until, that is, it reappeared on Meghan Markle as she married Prince Harry. Queen Mary bequeathed it to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and it only took around 65 years to find a new wearer.

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The Queen loaned the tiara to the new Duchess of Sussex. It worked wonderfully well as a wedding tiara, a statement piece to anchor an impressive veil that was also low enough to look good underneath a blusher as she arrived at the chapel. The base of the tiara was nicely wrapped for her in dark velvet so that it disappeared into Meghan’s hair.

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Some have asked if Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara will be a lifetime loan to the Duchess, a question that can only be answered by waiting to see if she continues to wear it. (Many brides do end up using their wedding tiara regularly; the Duchess of Cambridge is a prime example of those who don’t.) We could be in for a bit of a wait for her next tiara opportunity, given that Prince Harry is not a regular attendee at state banquets (his first was in 2017) and he has not attended the annual Diplomatic Reception. It took two and a half years to see the Duchess of Cambridge in a tiara again after her wedding. Until then, we’ll just have to delight in a sparkly mystery solved once and for all!

How do you think this bandeau did as a wedding tiara?