26 May 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Queen Letizia's Trendy Week

What's Letizia been up to this week? Leather, mostly.

Monday: Queen Letizia joined King Felipe, King Juan Carlos, and Queen Sofia for the 40th anniversary of the Reina Sofia Alzheimer Foundation.
How many leather peplum tops does a person need? To its credit, this red leather Carolina Herrera jacket is far superior to the Game of Thrones reject Uterqüe leather peplum top she debuted last year. I like it far more than I thought I could like anything involving the words "leather peplum".

Tuesday: The King and Queen presented the 'La Caixa' Scholarships.
New Hugo Boss dress: HOT. So hot. You know I wish she had resisted the urge to match the shoes and bag. My pet peeve, however, does not negate the hotness one bit.

Wednesday: The Queen attended the 'FameLab España 2017' Scientific Monologues presentation.
House of HM the King
Seems like Queen L has certain events circled on her calendar and designated for her more trendy outfits, like leather leggings and an oversized vest. Here's one such event...for better or for worse.

Thursday: The King and Queen hosted Princess Muna al-Hussein, mother of Jordan's King Abdullah II, for lunch during her private visit to Spain.
House of HM the King
You know what throws this otherwise pretty basic outfit off for me? The purse. The pink purse is an unneeded extra dose of sugar on what was already a sugary sweet dessert to finish out this round up.

25 May 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Manchester Tiara

Wealthy Cuban-American Consuelo Yznaga (1853-1909) married George Montagu, the future 8th Duke of Manchester, in New York City in 1876. She was one of the first of the so-called Dollar Princesses, the eligible American heiresses who married fortune-seeking aristocrats in matches designed to provide titles for the women and funds for the men. The Duchess of Manchester's goddaughter and namesake was Consuelo Vanderbilt, whose marriage to the Duke of Marlborough was among the most famous of these Gilded Age arrangements. Consuelo Montagu was also good friends with Edith Wharton, who chronicled matches like hers in The Buccaneers.

The Manchester Tiara
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
The tiara Consuelo, then the Dowager Duchess of Manchester, commissioned from Cartier in 1903 is as much a symbol of her era as her marriage was. The Belle Epoque design features seven graduated flaming heart motifs of diamonds set in gold and silver. Each heart has three dangling diamonds at the center and is topped by a detachable scroll motif and single collet diamond. The Dowager Duchess provided over 1,000 brilliant-cut diamonds and over 400 rose-cut diamonds for the tiara; Cartier provided additional rose-cut diamonds to make up the design as well as a few paste (glass) stones for the C-scrolls at the ends.

Helena, Duchess of Manchester
The motif is shared with others made around the same time, such as Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara, which is now worn by Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, and the Edward VII Ruby Tiara, now worn by Queen Silvia of Sweden. The massive scale of the tiara was definitely set up for the large hairstyles of the time. It was overwhelming even for Consuelo's daughter-in-law Helena, a fellow American who wore the tiara to the 1911 coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. In his book Tiaras: A History of Splendour, Geoffrey Munn notes that Helena "was said to have supported this enormous jewel with an air of permanent misgiving."

The back side of the tiara
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
The family's wealth and estates were basically gone by the time the 12th Duke, who spent some time in prison for fraud, took the title. The Manchester Tiara was accepted by the British government in 2007 in lieu of inheritance taxes following his death, and the diadem was allocated to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It's on display in the jewelry gallery, which is excellent news because you can visit it anytime you like. And such a beautiful and grand piece deserves to be examined up close and personal.

Which flaming heart tiara is the one for you?

24 May 2017

Tiara Watch of the Day: Sparkle in the Netherlands & Luxembourg

Kids, the day we all knew was coming has finally arrived: Queen Máxima's gone all in and decided that a business casual dress code should include tiaras too!

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a gala reception for the Diplomatic Corps yesterday.
...or not. As entertaining as the couple are in their mismatched outfits here, that's just them arriving at the Royal Palace for the dinner. They don't actually live at the Royal Palace, you see; the Queen gets ready at home and is all set to go on arrival, while others (including the King, Princess Beatrix, and Princess Margriet) toss on their formal best after arriving. Willem-Alexander was properly white tie attired on the way out of the event. I'll have to keep the dream of business casual tiaras alive for another time.

Anyway, Máxima topped a ten-year-old Natan dress with the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, plus diamond and pearl earrings and a diamond and pearl strawberry leaf brooch from Queen Sophie (1818-1877). Some color would have been nice here, though? Even just a bit? Mega tiara appearances shouldn't be this blergh, is what I'm saying.

Princess Beatrix joined her daughter-in-law in pulling from the family stash of pearls and diamonds. The Pearl Button Tiara is getting around these days, having made its debut on Princess Mabel earlier this month.

And finally, Princess Margriet was looking saucy in sparkly green, with the Dutch Emerald Parure on top and hubby Pieter van Vollenhoven (see? White tie) by her side.

But wait! There's more! Tiaras were also on parade in Luxembourg yesterday.

Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie hosted a state banquet for the President of Portugal during his state visit to Luxembourg.
SIP/Charles Caratini
Go ahead and give Maria Teresa alllllll the structured metallic dresses you've got, please and thank you. And let's hope she continues to accessorize them with massive diamond collet necklaces and the Belgian Scroll Tiara.

Despite her valiant effort to match her sash from Portugal's Order of Merit without looking like a bumblebee, Stéphanie's look suffers one major setback: her tiara. This modern diamond butterfly motif tiara (see it closer here, from another occasion) is never going to convince me it wasn't a clearance rack find at Claire's in another life, and that's that.

23 May 2017

Royal Event of the Day: Windsors at the Chelsea Flower Show

There are things that happen with a soothing regularity, such as: the Windsors will turn up en masse for their annual trip to the Chelsea Flower Show, and they will be the epitome of springtime fashion while they're at it. Yesterday's show was indeed a soothing array of spring.

Royal Family
The Duchess of Cambridge joined the royal party in a pleated silk floral print midi dress. You know, I have several cracks at the ready about florals for flower shows being, well, groundbreaking...
Dress by Rochas (per Japanese Ginger on Twitter)
...but an easy, breezy silk dress and a jaunty ponytail is the perfect choice for this event. Just ask the Queen! (Minus the ponytail part.)

Royal Family
The Queen led the family charge wearing - what else? - a nice floral dress and jacket, plus - what else? - a nice floral brooch (the Chelsea Iris Brooch, her usual pick for this event since the organizers gave it to her. More, as always, at the Vault).

Royal Family
Princess Alexandra hopped on the floral train in a more subtle way with a diamond flower brooch. The Queen has a dead ringer for this brooch in her own collection. It's a pretty common design.

Royal Family
Stepping out of the obvious theme, we asked the Countess of Wessex to give us another chance to see this Valentino dress in action, and she delivered! I can report that I still love it. And yes that is a Mary Berry alert to the side; she also joked around with the Duke of Edinburgh, and I decided over at the Vault that the pair should have their own cooking show. Make it so.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were also at the flower show. (This pic is actually from another event they attended yesterday in the same outfits, so just use your imaginary green screen and throw some flowers in the background.) Just a few days after I reminded everyone how much I enjoy their unconventional shoe choices, we have another perfect example on Princess Beatrice:
French Sole "No Place Like Home" taupe velvet embroidered shoes inspired by gentlemen's opera slippers (per Polka Poppins on Twitter)
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't immediately decided I needed a pair of these myself. Mind you, I really have no idea how they came to be paired with this particular outfit, or for this particular event. But who doesn't need a happy little shoe?

22 May 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Máxima's Double Duty Dress

What was it I said when Princess Madeleine wore a blush pink Roksanda Ilincic with massive sleeves to Prince Oscar's christening last year? Ahem: "I imagine Madeleine has already been fielding inquiries from Queen Máxima about this dress – no way does a sleeve this dramatic slip past our Dutch queen."

Queen Máxima and Qatar's Sheikha Mozah attended a seminar on Protection and Education In Conflict Zones in The Hague last week.
Forgive me, but: CALLED IT. Queen Máxima chose a more vivid color for her version of the dress, an iris hue, and it's really quite fabulous on her - a better choice than the rest of the bell sleeves in her closet. (You know she has a whole section.) In a full length it would have been fabulous on Sheikha Mozah too, whose sleek style is uncharacteristically buried under all those pleats.

Máxima's dress by Roksanda
What's interesting about Máxima and this dress is how she made it pull double duty. The same day, she joined the King for a state event. An added hat was a must, of course; this being Máx, she also threw in a jewelry switch up.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima formally welcomed the President and First Lady of Mozambique to the Netherlands.
While Sheikha Mozah warranted tanzanite drop earrings and a pair of modern diamond bow brooches, the official welcome called for diamond earrings and a large brooch probably from the depths of the royal vault. I'm having visions of a vault wall filled with a complicated flow chart dictating appropriate jewelry levels for appropriate events...though any chance for double the jewelry is a chance our Máx will take, truly.

20 May 2017

A Wedding for the Weekend: Pippa Middleton Gets Married

It might not technically be a royal wedding, but we're not ones to complain about a little extra bridal glamour, are we? We are not. Let's have a little looksee - just a brief one - at the bride of the weekend and her royal guests...

Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, married James Matthews at St. Mark's Church, Englefield Green, England. 
The bride's dress comes from Giles Deacon. It features a high neckline and cap sleeve with hand appliquéd bespoke silk cotton lace designed to create the illusion of a no seam dress. The corseted bodice is embroidered with pearls and the underskirt has layers of organza and tulle.

With her pearl-embroidered tulle veil by milliner Stephen Jones, Pippa wore a Maidenhair Fern tiara and matching headpiece from Robinson Pelham, the jewelers who also made her earrings; the earrings are the same ones she wore to her sister's royal wedding in 2011 and are companions to Kate's wedding earrings. I can't say I follow Pippa's style at all, and yet this feels just right for her, doesn't it?

The Duchess of Cambridge was on hand to wrangle the train and the wee bridal party, which included Prince George and Princess Charlotte (in bespoke outfits from Pepa & Co.). Kate chose Alexander McQueen for her blush pink dress, Jane Taylor for her matching hat, and Kiki McDonough for her earrings (yup, another new pair!). It's a lovely and understated look, with many comparisons to similar pieces she's worn in the past - something I'm sure will win her much praise for not overshadowing her sister. I think I might have preferred a sleeker hat, but if I'm honest, those percher hats she adores are a hard sell for me in the first place.

My wedding guest swoons for the day belong to Princess Eugenie, who looks faaaaabulous! The perfect dress shape for her (it's from Paule Ka, per Polka Poppins on Twitter), and she's keeping the York sisters love of interesting shoes alive with a little added color. LOVE.

I'll also never miss a sighting of Lady Gabriella Windsor, daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Wearing her usual picks - Catherine Walker with a Philip Treacy hat - she's really got the old world royal elegance down pat.

Happy wedding gazing and happy weekend, all!

19 May 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Letizia at Infanta Sofia's First Communion

This week: Kate stepped out in icy blue, QEII went minty fresh, and Letizia's lace was in a duck egg mood. Pale blue/green coats are having a moment.

The Spanish royal family attended Infanta Sofia's first communion this week, held with her classmates.
Queen Letizia selected a dress and coat from Felipe Varela with lace sleeves and side detailing for the occasion, accessorized with diamond earrings, silver shoes, a silver clutch, and a matching husband.

This new outfit gives her something of a style twin moment with...herself. Shades of aqua and the guipure lace look also featured in her selection for the first communion of elder daughter Leonor in 2015. The kids have their school uniform for the event, Letizia has her Felipe Varela uniform.

The Princess of Asturias' first communion, 2015
So, which Letizia wore it better? I'll take the 2015 version, myself. Although the clear shoes and clear clutch she sported back then were - and will always remain - a hard pass.

18 May 2017

Royal Style Twins of the Day: Stéphanie at the Cannes Film Festival

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg attended the opening gala of the Cannes Film Festival yesterday.
You have to glam it up for Cannes, right? Princess Stéphanie knows how it's done. One of her best looks right here. This white Ralph Lauren dress also featured in a recent sartorial highlight for another royal, so it's a tried and true choice.

Ralph Lauren/Polar Music Prize Instagram
Crown Princess Victoria wore this dress to the Polar Music Prize last summer, and it was one of her best 2016 outfits. Part of what makes these twin appearances so fabulous is that both used the dress as a canvas for a major jewelry statement: a huge shoulder necklace from the H&M Conscious Collection for Victoria, and the debut of a serious pair of earrings for Stéphanie.

A pink-toned stone surrounded by lines of diamonds! Quick, get my fainting couch. And the number for those jewel thieves.

17 May 2017

Tiara Thursday (on a Wednesday): Grand Duchess Hilda’s Tiara

Your weekly tiara’s coming at you a day ahead of schedule! This diadem has been in the news recently, because there's nothing quite like a juicy jewel theft to grab some attention.

Grand Duchess Hilda's Tiara
Badisches Landesmuesum
Made in the early 20th century by German jeweler Schmidt-Staub, this tiara is a classical design featuring a diamond ribbon undulating between swags of laurel wreaths, with a triple tier base and the solid top line of a kokoshnik shape. The platinum and gold diadem includes 367 brilliant diamonds in an à jour setting, meaning the back of the setting is left open to allow the maximum amount of light to filter through the diamonds. There are also diamond pendants in the design, another feature that will pick up extra light. Light makes diamonds come alive, so the tiara must have been far more spectacular in use than it ever could be in a photograph. (That's almost always true anyway, but especially with construction like this).

Grand Duchess Hilda
The tiara was commissioned for Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden (1864-1952), who was the daughter of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg. Although the exact timing of the tiara’s commission is unknown, it was likely created around 1907 for Hilda for her husband’s coronation as Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden. The couple were the last Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden; they were deposed in 1918, along with the rest of the German monarchs.

Princess Editha
Hilda, who had no children of her own, gave this tiara to her niece, Crown Princess Antoinette of Bavaria (1899-1954). Antoinette’s daughter, Princess Editha of Bavaria (1924-2013), was the last known family member to wear the tiara publicly. Grand Duchess Hilda’s Tiara was first sold in 1973; later, in 1984, it was purchased by the state-run Badisches Landesmuesum in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Badisches Landesmuesum
The museum placed the tiara on public display, where it remained until a couple weeks ago. On April 29, museum staff got an unfortunate shock when they discovered that the tiara was missing. It had been taken from inside its locked display cabinet in the museum's throne room. The stolen tiara has been valued at $1.31 million (€1.2 million), and the Baden-Württemberg police are still seeking any information about the theft. You don't often hear about stolen tiaras being found intact, but let’s hope this one finds its way back home.

What grade would you give this grand diadem?

16 May 2017

Royal Outfits of the Day: Letizia and Victoria Suit Up

We've been hit with a double dose of a color I can only describe as institutional blergh.

Queen Letizia held audiences on Friday.
Here we have an attempt to freshen up the traditional suit with a suede skirt and suede waistcoat. Best tried without the blouse under the vest so as to avoid the straight jacket side of the institutional line, methinks.
Hugo Boss separates

Crown Princess Victoria attended a sustainable seas meeting at the Royal Academy of Sciences yesterday.
Victoria's effort is a little more classic, yet she comes out on top here - due largely to an excellent stair pose, I'm not gonna lie. Hit those marks when you can. Hey, no one knows this better than Letizia, Queen of the Shampoo Model Action Shot.
Separates from J. Lindeberg

15 May 2017

Monday Tidbits for May 15: Gifts Aplenty and Carriages Galore

If you missed any of our Norwegian birthday coverage last week, you can find it all here. On to the next:

--The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been on a visit to Northern Ireland and Ireland. At one stop (below), a special outfit for Camilla: a Magee tweed suit given to her as a gift during a visit to Donegal in May 2016 and a Claddagh brooch given to her as a gift during a visit to Galway in 2015. [RTE]
Receiving another handwoven gift at the Grennan Mill Craft School
Clarence House

--The internet has crowned Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway its new fave, following the prince's antics on the balcony at his grandparents' birthday celebration. [Mashable]

--Aww, this is nice: Big smiles from the Duke of Edinburgh as he watched his granddaughter, Lady Louise Windsor, made her carriage driving debut at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Her carriage was first driven by the Queen in 1943 and was tucked away in a barn until recently, when it was found and restored. [Express]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, the Queen herself was in casual mode (with a couple of brooches thrown in) to soak up the Royal Windsor Horse Show atmosphere.

--And finally, c'mon, how can you resist this?

Coming up this week: A stolen tiara! One we haven't covered in full, so look for that. Plus, more...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

12 May 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: The Duchess of Cambridge in Luxembourg

The Duchess of Cambridge made an official visit to Luxembourg yesterday, marking the anniversary of the 1867 Treaty of London. She was accompanied by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and later also by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and met with the grand ducal family.
Kensington Palace
It's a new Emilia Wickstead coatdress for Kate. Technically new, let's call it, because if you feel like you've seen it before, you'd also be correct. The whole look is absolutely lovely. Yawningly lovely, though, if we're being honest. I'm just trying to curate an interesting Royal Coat Museum here, guys.
Kiki McDonough
Perhaps I should focus my attentions instead on her burgeoning Kiki McDonough Museum, for we have a new addition to the collection in the form of these blue topaz and diamond pendant numbers.

Or maybe we could just borrow Stéphanie's choice for this portion of the coat exhibition, pep it up a bit. This red dress manages to look pretty good in almost all the motion shots, which is a high achievement for a garment filled with ruffles.
Satin-backed crepe dress by Paule Ka (h/t to Heaven)
On the Stéphanie scale, this rates pretty high. It's a fabulous color for her, and a good move to turn it up for an engagement with many more degrees of exposure than her usual events.

Every kind of duke and duchess you could ever need (L to R): Princess Alexandra, the Hereditary Grand Duchess, the Grand Duke, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Grand Duchess, and the Hereditary Grand Duke
Kensington Palace
Are those yellow shoes on Princess Alexandra? Between that and her hilarious refusal to face the camera straight on - girl knows her angles better than the rest of them, or maybe that's just the direction to head for snacks - she might be the most interesting part of this shindig.

10 May 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: The Government Dinner for King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday

Another day, another birthday dinner in Norway as the festivities for King Harald and Queen Sonja’s joint 80th birthday wrap up. The government threw a black tie dinner at the Opera, which was just a wee bit hampered thanks to inclement weather. Our judgements must go on despite all the wraps and umbrellas…

Most Customized Birthday Queen
Queen Sonja of Norway
And the wraps are getting in the way, right away. It’s a real shame that Sonja didn’t get to show off her dress on the way in to the Opera, because it’s really a special piece; Queen Sonja came up with the idea and the design based on her graphic prints, and the Opera staff made it.
Sonja did get to show it off during the couple's acceptance speech. When Harald noted the dress' special origin, he got a cute twirl from Sonja and a big smile from fellow artist Queen Margrethe (see it here). And here I thought the lime green ball gown was the most Sonja dress Sonja ever wore!

Best in Blues
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
As seems to be the case with every royal gathering, you have a selection of ladies going the embellished navy dress route. Mette-Marit’s version is from Marte Krogh, and I’m on board minus the sleeves.
Mathilde’s sequined version is lovely, although I can’t help thinking it belongs in Queen Silvia’s closet next to her line up of shiny blue gowns.

Most Standard Business, Princess/Countess Division
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and the Countess of Wessex
Both of these dresses are exactly what I would expect both of these ladies to pick. Märtha Louise’s repeated Ingunn Birkeland is colorful and a little bit unusual, which I think is a fair summary of ML’s style on the whole; Sophie’s is very stately and from Suzannah (h/t to Anna), one of her favorite designers. Also worth noting: Sophie’s hair is on point.

Most Standard Business, Queen Division
Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Queen Sofia of Spain, and Princess Astrid of Norway
One big category for one big group: the ladies who love their repeats and their wraps. All of this is business as usual, what more can you say? King Juan Carlos and his powder blue shirt might be the thing of most note here, truth be told.
Note 1: Yes, I put Princess Astrid in the Queen Division, and I will hear no objections. Note 2: Sofia and Juan Carlos, along with Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, are two couples who made it for day 2 of the celebration but skipped day 1. More details on the guest list in the open post.

Most in Need of a Standard Business Upgrade
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Princess Marie of Denmark
They’re clad in long dresses and everything, but there’s so much of a daywear feel to both of these (in the print on Victoria’s Acne repeat and the sleeve/neckline cut of Marie’s Rikke Gudnitz repeat) that they come off feeling a little underdressed.
Posing for a family photo on the royal yacht, as you do
At any rate, I’m coming off frowning in both of their directions.

Best in Jewels
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg
Here, this will take our formal level up several notches: the Lux ladies busted out the gems! And bless them for it, this is what we need to cure our tiara hangover.
Emeralds for Maria Teresa and aquamarines for Stéphanie, who continues to dig into the family vault with her first outing in their aquamarine and diamond parure. Atta girl.

Best Duo
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Look at these two gems. This mother and daughter-in-law duo were having a whale of a time on the carpet, and I'd join that party any day. I'd even go for a very 1910 governess hair + black dress combo if that would help me fit in. (Mabel's making it work!)

Biggest Bridal Turn
Princess Tatiana of Greece and Princess Sofia of Sweden
Avalanches of tiered and flared lace, or an explosion of froof on illusion netting? Pick your bridal poison.
Sofia's dress by Alexis (h/t to The Royals and I and PrincessanSofia)
Actually, I come pretty close to liking both of these – Tatiana’s more than Sofia’s – but I was still glad to see that the white trend pretty much ended after their early arrivals.

Steepest Fall
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
Well, M-C, after two appearances at the top of my best dressed list, this is where we part ways. We had a good run. Like I said, Marie-Chantal always brings something straight off the runway, and sometimes it works, and sometimes…hoo boy, it does not. Let’s not spread this Valentino idea to anyone else. (I’m already afraid the seeds of a bad idea have been planted in the Valentino-loving brains of Máxima and Mette-Marit…)

Best Upgrade
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
For her second Prinsjesdag rerun in a row, Máxima gave her 2016 Claes Iversen outfit an A+ makeover by replacing the blouse top with a more fitted and embellished off-the-shoulder top. Accessorizing with major sapphires, including her second big sapphire bow brooch of this trip and the sapphire version of that delicate diamond trellis necklace, was the perfect touch.
I would have rated this one a lot higher back at its original appearance if I knew about this master plan! Sneaky Máx, she always has something up her sleeve.

Best Dressed
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Don’t ask me why Victoria’s floral makes my nose scrunch up but Mary’s floral makes my knees go weak. That’s just the way it is, okay? All I know is that this Erdem (per Heaven) is FAB and the accessories are SUPERB and the best dressed spot vacated by Marie-Chantal has been eagerly snapped up by the usual suspect.

And that’s a wrap on these fabulous Norwegian birthday celebrations! Thanks to all who have played along. Once more before we go, tell me…

Who makes your best dressed list?

Programming Note: Tiara Thursday is taking the week off – while we recover from all this splendor, you understand – and we’ll be back as usual on Friday!

Photos: NRK screencaps unless otherwise noted

Royal Cruise of the Day: King Harald and Queen Sonja's 80th Birthday

Don't miss the tiaras from last night; stay tuned for the dresses coming our way tonight (itinerary, streaming links, and open post for those discussing new events is here). In the middle: a casual mini cruise on the royal yacht for King Harald, Queen Sonja, and their royal guests!

Casual was the operative word here, so I'm just going to hit a few of the standouts. Starting with the winner for the most head-turning change in look...

Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon
Crown Prince Haakon, believe it or not. In case you missed it - or refused to acknowledge that it wasn't just a Photoshop trick - Haakon actually shaved his beard last night during the gala dinner, as part of the entertainment. Baby face there also shaved off several years. I...think we need the beard back.

The Countess of Wessex
Sophie is flying solo in Norway and looking amazing so far with this riot of color pepping up a dreary dock scene. I love her hair in its many updos, but she also looks very soft and pretty with this half up situation.

The Belgian and Dutch crews: King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, Princess Mabel, Princess Beatrix, Queen Máxima, King Willem-Alexander
I love where Máx is going with her outfit, a perfect version of modern queenly casual. Other guests sported a mix from actual casual to, well, as close as they get to casual. (Philippe and Mathilde seem like the kind of people that don't own jeans. But Philippe does seem like the kind of guy that has formal ties and casual ties.)

Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
Pavlos and Marie-Chantal, on the other hand, seem like the kind of people that have an entire yacht wear section of their wardrobes. And that makes M-C my best dressed two events in a row, how do you like that?

09 May 2017

Royal Fashion Awards: King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday Gala Banquet

The Norwegian royal family promised big sparkle and they – and their guests – delivered today, with a gala banquet at the Royal Palace to celebrate King Harald V and Queen Sonja’s 80th birthdays. (Don’t forget to check out our open post for guest list information as well as tomorrow’s itinerary.)

Thomas Brun, NTB scanpix
Tiaras galore! Click that photo to enlarge and drink in all that splendor. And when you’ve quenched your thirst, come forth and judge:

Biggest Birthday Queen Statement
Queen Sonja of Norway
Ways to avoid being upstaged at your own birthday dinner: 1) wear the biggest parure you’ve got (Empress Joséphine’s Emerald Parure will do nicely), and 2) wear a LIME GREEN BALL GOWN. Option 2 is not for the faint of heart.
Of course, when it comes to a loud color or a big, fussy ball gown, Queen Sonja is NEVER faint of heart. Much like her friend QEII, it's her birthday and she can be eye-searingly radioactive if she wants to, I suppose.

Best Tiara Surprise, Home Team Division
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mette-Marit forgot her tiara tonight. Never fear, she did not! In fact, she gave us something NEW (-ish), which almost never happens.
With apologies for the candlestick to the face, it’s the Vifte Tiara! Mette-Marit has worn this one as a necklace in the past, and others have worn it as a tiara. This is her first time wearing it as a tiara. For someone that wears the same thing most of the time, this was a fabulous surprise.

Most in Need of a Tiara Swap
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
I’m not gonna lie, I hoped this might be an occasion for something – anything, really – other than Märtha Louise’s usual: King Olav’s Gift Tiara. In a new dress from Norwegian designer Cecilie Melli (per Heaven), she looks great, and yet this look isn’t really clicking.

Best Tiara Surprise, Guest Division
Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Princess Mabel took a welcome break from her diamond wedding tiara, her constant selection for the rare tiara events she attends, to try out the Pearl Button Tiara from the Dutch vault! She paired it with a repeated Viktor & Rolf dress. Her presence was a welcome surprise itself; though she’s mostly withdrawn from royal events, King Harald was godfather to the late Prince Friso, and it’s nice to see the connection continues.

Best in Tiara Enthusiasm
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg and Princess Sofia of Sweden
Two ladies who love to pull things out of their respective plentiful family vaults, what more could you ask for? Stéphanie is using Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara again and has added a second convertible sapphire and diamond necklace tiara. Sofia, repeating an Oscar de la Renta gown from the 2015 Nobel Ceremony, has added another Swedish tiara to her repertoire: the Six Button Tiara. She wears it well (and longtime readers know I don’t say that lightly about those button tiaras).

Best in Regular Tiara Action
Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Astrid of Norway, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
These three ladies didn’t necessarily shake things up, but they happened to pick some of my favorite pieces from their respective collections, so they get a personal thank you from me: the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure Tiara for Silvia, Queen Maud’s Turquoise Tiara for Astrid, and the Greek Ruby Parure for Anne-Marie.

Biggest Repeat Déjà Vu
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
This pink evening coat has been here before: Maria Teresa, wearing the Belgian Scroll Tiara, wore it to Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s wedding all the way back in 2001. It's Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture (h/t to Luxarazzi).
And this pizza-trimmed gown (okay, paisley or whatever, but it will forever read like little pizzas to me and I honesty wish it was) might as well have been here before: Beatrix, wearing the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, wore it to birthday celebrations for Queen Margrethe and King Carl Gustaf, as well as on other occasions. Déjà vu, ladies, déjà vu.

Best in Repeats
Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Queen Margrethe, in the Floral Aigrette Tiara, repeated the sleek dress she wore for the recent Belgian state visit, and she looks goooooood.
Queen Mathilde repeated the red Armani dress she wore for the Jordanian state visit, and while I wish she’d upgraded from the Wolfers Tiara, she looks goooooood.
Queen Máxima, not wanting us to forget that she owns two Jan Taminiau dresses based on a palace room, repeated her dress from Prinsjesdag 2015, and she looks reaaaaaalllly goooooood. She’s also rounding out the impressive Dutch tiara show with the Dutch Sapphire Tiara, so bonus points abound.

Best in Volume
Princess Tatiana of Greece and the Countess of Wessex
Big sleeves and big skirts, thank goodness they showed up on two separate gowns! I’m here for Tatiana’s adaptation of the big sleeve trend, worn with the Antique Corsage Tiara, even though it’s not shown to greatest effect while holding someone’s arm.
Continuing to seek out new colors to pair with her aquamarine jewels – her Wessex Aquamarine Necklace Tiara here – is really paying off for Sophie, because this green gown from Suzannah (h/t to Anna) is stunning. Really, really stunning. Grand, but not too much.

Best in Earring Bling
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Elie Saab repeat: check. Baden Fringe Tiara: check, always. Major diamond epaulette earrings: forever check, and GIMME.

Nearly Best Dressed
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
There’s so much potential in this metallic gown from Max Mara (h/t to Marwa) and I’m so nearly in love with it. Nearly. It’s just not quite holding up in motion, and the geometric design makes me wish Mary had a spectacular diamond fringe tiara to complement it. She is, instead, wearing her newest tiara find: her Diamond, Ruby, and Spinel Necklace Tiara.

Best Dressed
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
You can always count on M-C to bring something fresh off the runway. Sometimes, that’s not such a successful strategy. In this case, though? I’d love to see more floral ball gowns, so Marie-Chantal’s Valentino is right up my alley. This is also the rare case where the full royal accessory package actually works to improve the gown, because the sash and the spike of her Diamond Fringe Tiara cut through what could otherwise be an upholstery overload. ADORE, though I won't be surprised if I am alone in naming her best dressed. (Bonus tiara watch: Walking with her is Lady Elizabeth Anson, best known for being Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin and a party planner extraordinaire. Her diamond tiara comes from Princess Viggo of Denmark.)

Phew! We shall return for more fun tomorrow. Until then...

Who makes your best dressed list?

Photos: NRK1 screencaps, unless otherwise noted