23 February 2018

Royal Outfit of the Day: Letizia in Red (So Much Red)

Oh, Letizia. I know red's your color and all, but...

The King and Queen of Spain attended the opening of the ARCO contemporary art fair in Madrid yesterday.
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DAS TOO MUCH. Two boots too far.

House of HM the King
Now, Letizia sometimes likes to get a little experimental at this particular event and that's all well and good; this is nothing compared to the Leather Culotte Incident. It's still two boots too far, though, if you ask me.

22 February 2018

Tiara Thursday: The Strathmore Rose Tiara, Revisited

A regular topic of conversation as the royal wedding machine rolls along deserves a bit of a revisit:

 The Strathmore Rose Tiara
The Strathmore Rose Tiara, or Queen Elizabeth’s Strathmore Tiara, was a gift to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon from her father, the Earl of Strathmore, for her 1923 wedding to the Duke of York, the future King George VI. The tiara features a garland of wild roses in diamonds mounted in silver and gold and was purchased for the future Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at a London jeweler; it dates from the late nineteenth century. The pavé-set diamond roses could be used as individual brooches, and – at least originally – could be swapped out for five single-collet sapphires, according to The Queen’s Diamonds.

Queen Elizabeth, as Duchess of York
The tiara also came with two different frames, one to wear the tiara across the forehead in the bandeau style so popular at the time, and another to wear the tiara on top of the head in the more traditional style. Elizabeth wore the tiara across her forehead in its best-known portrait sitting, but she did also wear it on top of her head.

Worn on across the forehead or atop the head
Examples of the Strathmore Rose Tiara in use are sparse. Elizabeth seems to have used it primarily (perhaps only) in her years as Duchess of York, moving along to other pieces in the years after she became Queen Elizabeth. It’s possible that the Strathmore Rose hasn’t been seen in use since the 1920s or early 1930s. Other tiaras in her collection were similarly discarded in favor of others after she became queen, like the Lotus Flower Tiara; most of those other tiaras, however, eventually found new wearers and continued to be in use. The Strathmore Rose, on the other hand, is still waiting. Queen Elizabeth kept the tiara until her death in 2002; it then passed to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in whose collection it now resides.

When a tiara disappears into the vault for so long, rumors and speculation tend to arise. In particular, there’s a rumor that the Strathmore Rose is in such poor condition or so fragile that it can’t be worn. I do not know the source of that suggestion and it may simply be speculation taken as fact; what we do know is that the tiara has been photographed alone a few times in recent decades and, obviously, the Queen has jewelers to fix things if that’s really what is needed or desired. (The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, for example, had its frame repaired multiple times during the Queen’s reign and was eventually remade in the 1980s.) Personally, I hope the Strathmore Rose Tiara will reappear someday – if for no other reason than to satisfy our curiosity.

Are you hoping for a reappearance?

21 February 2018

Royal Outfits of the Day: Commonwealth Fashion at the Palace

A royal team up focused on fashion? It's like this event was tailor-made for us.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex hosted a reception for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham Palace on Monday. Princess Beatrice was also present.
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While Kate debuted yet another new Erdem, Sophie opted for a new Burberry dress. I'm pretty much always tempted to say Sophie's preferred midi skirt length could use a shortening, but in this case, I think it works. It's a sleek look for her.

Royal Family
Princess Beatrice wore a repeated Erdem dress. One of my favorite royal Erdems, as a matter of fact.

On the whole, though, all three royal women left the fashion heavy lifting to the professionals on this evening.
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Naomi Campbell arriving for the event
...because somebody had to bring the FASHION, after all.

Anna Wintour was present for the Buck Pal reception and it wasn't her only brush with royalty this week.
ITN screencap
Front rowing it with the Queen and Vogue's own queen, how 'bout that? Full details of this event - Her Maj dropped by London Fashion Week to present an award in her name - are up at the Jewel Vault, of course!

20 February 2018

Tuesday Tidbits for February 20: Blue Velvet Moments and More

Other stuff:

--Tributes to the late Prince Henrik continue, including a service and reception for patronages and close friends hosted by Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, with Henrik's three dogs among the mourners. The funeral is held today. [Twitter]

--Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel traveled to Lithuania to help mark the country's 100th anniversary of independence last week. (Crown Princess Mary was also supposed to travel to the country, but her trip was cancelled due to Prince Henrik's death.) I'm liking Victoria's blue velvet dress more than her choice of hat for the outside portion, although I'm sure she was nice and toasty. [ParisMatch]

--A little coronet brooch for the Duchess of Cornwall while visiting Yorkshire! Cute. Also, she looks good in this pink. [ITV]
ITV screencap

--Birthday = new portrait, you know the drill! Luxembourg joins in this week with a new picture of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie for her 34th birthday. (Princess Marie also owns this Paule Ka coat.) Stéphanie also appears to have had her own blue velvet moment recently. [Pinterest, Twitter]
© 2017 Cour grand-ducale/Lola Velasco Tous droits réservés

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: A double brooch day, yay!

Coming up this week: Fashion comes to Buck Pal, and more...

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 February 2018

Royal Jewels of the Day: Kate's Emerald Display

The Duchess of Cambridge decided to show off a little more from her jewel vault last night.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the BAFTA Awards.
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Emerald and diamond earrings with a matching necklace and bracelet! This is not an entirely new jewel debut. Recall, if you will, her visit to New York in 2014:

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At the St. Andrews 600th Anniversary Dinner
The earrings she wore to the BAFTAs appear to be the bottom portion of the earrings she wore in 2014. She also wore the bracelet back in 2014. The provenance of this set is not officially known, but a gift from a Middle Eastern royal - based on the style and size of the jewels - is my strongest guess. A wedding present, maybe, since that would have been her biggest opportunity to pick up a Middle East gift thus far in her royal life.

If I just leave it at the emeralds and don't talk about the dress color, can we call that good?
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Thing is, I found the notion that there should be any "controversy" should she choose to wear black in support of Time's Up in the first place to be a fairly infuriating thing. And I find myself unwilling to devote any more words to it than that. (But I'll end this back on a purely superficial note to say that, while the shape of this Jenny Packham dress is stunning, I'm not a fan of the dullness of this color with the vibrant emeralds. Funnily enough, they'd have looked amazing with black.)