27 May 2015

Royal Trip of the Week: May 27

Queen Letizia is currently on a visit to Honduras and El Salvador, focusing on projects with Spanish cooperation. This is her first such trip (she really only started solo international trips after Felipe became king), but she's taking over from Queen Sofia, who did many of these solo trips during the last reign.
Her arrival in Honduras was classic Letizia in her lowest key business attire, so I was curious what we'd get for the rest of the trip.
And subsequently was delighted to see that she did intend to honor her hosts by turning the volume up a notch at dinner that evening with the President and First Lady of Honduras, wearing a sparkly repeated Felipe Varela black cocktail dress. She even brought some diamonds along for the ride, in the form of her Cartier bracelet and a new pair of pendant earrings. Gorgeous.
Day two meant a return to her usual business casual, which was appropriate for an official visit and a day visiting working projects. But I did love the last outfit she threw together before leaving the country:
Very much Letizia's usual style, but there's something a little extra delicious about this one. I do love a cropped pant, maybe that's it. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for a royal in sunglasses.
Shades make everything sassier, this is a fact and it is irrefutable.

Letizia is now in El Salvador, where her trip continues until Thursday.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

26 May 2015

Royal Question Mark of the Day: May 26

It's just........huh? I have so many questions. SO MANY.
The Prince and Princess of Monaco attended 
the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix yesterday.
What even is this? Why does the skirt have a knee vent? Did it want to be a jumpsuit but chickened out halfway through? Why are there tabs at the top? Is this a paper doll jumpsuit pasted on a three dimensional human? I mean, this shape seems clearly not meant for a world with this many dimensions.
There's just nothing about this that isn't a giant question mark. Unless she was trying to win the prize for the year's most unflattering outfit, in which case I think we can call this a winner.
Outfit by Akris
Even the Dior earrings bring the question marks. A top-to-bottom achievement in huh?, I'd say.

But I won't leave you like that. I offer you this palette cleanser:
Charlotte Casiraghi at this year's Cannes Film Festival, in Gucci.
Theeeerrre we go. All better.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, Style.com

25 May 2015

Royal Flashback of the Day: May 25

Take a tiara break on your holiday Monday (or your regular Monday - tiara breaks are always advisable) and stroll with me through a flashback from some Scandinavian weddings past as we get ready for the next one. It's Grand Duchess Maria Teresa's turn, and we have three of the crown princely (and princessly) weddings to which she's brought her Luxembourg charm:

Wedding of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, 2001
Three cheers for long evening coats! Enough cheering to drown out the bedazzled buttons and wide belt on the dress underneath! I like pink paired with the red Order of St. Olav, and are you seeing the size of the stones she's wearing? The necklace and the earrings are heavenly. (She's also sporting a tiara we have not covered here, a Chaumet diamond number which is also convertible to a choker and is topped here by pearls.)
Pre-Wedding Gala for Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson, 2004
Floaty and flowery and froofy, oh my! (Same Chaumet tiara here, by the way.)

Wedding of Frederik and Mary
We're in the early days of Maria Teresa's love affair with Elie Saab, and this one looks like she's tattooed herself in sparkling pastels. (Which, if you're going for the full body tattoo, is definitely the way to go.)

Wedding of Frederik and Mary
But it does make a perfect pairing with the light blue of the Order of the Elephant and the Luxembourg Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara and earrings. And you can never go wrong with one of the family's gorgeous diamond rose brooches.

Pre-Wedding Dinner for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling, 2010
Did she get tired of carrying her shawl, or did she give up on finding a dress and just toss a bolt of chiffon over her shoulder? Unclear. The only saving grace here are those aquamarines, back in action for another royal wedding.

Wedding of Victoria and Daniel
Hang on, there's one more saving grace: THIS WHOLE THING RIGHT HERE. She saved up allllll her good stuff for the wedding itself. The draping on this Elie Saab is perfection, and I love the way the Order of the Seraphim sash is tucked into it all. And props must, must, be given for breaking out her biggest big gun in the form of the massive Luxembourg Empire Tiara. Even if you don't care for the selection (say what??), give her the nod for volunteering to wear this beast for one very long day. That's dedication to the sparkly cause.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated

24 May 2015

Sunday Tidbits for May 24: Jewelry Debuts and See-Through Shoes

No less than three royal ladies debuted new jewels this week, and I'm always here for that. Sparkly tidbits await you:

--Queen Máxima was out and about with a napkin on her head, but check out those earrings. HELLO LOVER. These are new pieces for her, and she continues to have one of the best collections of pink gems on the royal block. [Zimbio]

--Speaking of Máx, she and King Willem-Alexander are heading out for a state visit to Canada beginning Wednesday (they'll be in Ottawa, University of Waterloo, Beamsville, and Toronto), and an official visit to the United States the following week (Washington, D.C., Grand Rapids, Chicago). Those links will take you to the official agendas, in Dutch. [Het Koninklijk Huis]

--The Countess of Wessex visited Prague and got a new brooch! [Countess of Wessex Blog]

--The Duchess of Cornwall visited Ireland and got a new brooch! [Jewel Vault]

--That brooch came during an historic and well-received trip with the Prince of Wales to Ireland and Northern Ireland this week. One particularly emotional moment came during a trip to the place where Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb, and Charles' speech there is embedded below. [Storify, YouTube]

--There seems to be an epidemic of sculpture openings in the Netherlands this week. Throw some orange in the mix for Princess Beatrix's opening, and she could have played along with the M&M twin show. [Royal Hats Blog]

--We have a confirmed international royal guest for the upcoming Swedish royal wedding: Princess Hisako of Takamado, who also attended Princess Madeleine's wedding. The official guest list has not been released yet, but more royal courts will eventually publish their agendas independently, as the Japanese imperial household has done. [Imperial Family of Japan Blog]

--Cutie pie Princess Leonor had her first communion this week, with the royal family in attendance. Queen Letizia sported see-through shoes from Magrit with her Felipe Varela ensemble and a matching transparent vinyl clutch with silver lining. Worked well enough for Cinderella, I suppose. (Transparent vinyl peep toes are the new glass slippers, did you not get that memo?) [Hola]

Tomorrow's a holiday, but I'll be here to bring you some ~*gLamOur*~ anyway, so stay tuned...

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, YouTube

22 May 2015

Royal Style Twins of the Day: May 22

Okay, so here's what I think happened:
Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde took one look at what was going on with the sculpture exhibition they were opening in The Hague this week...
...and their mission was clear: TIME TO SEUSS IT UP. And did they succeed? Yes they did indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
I think we can guess which of these brains decided they should be rhyming technicolor cartoons for the day. Sporting a millinery party platter of Seussical costume trimmings, Máxima was outfitted in a coral-y orange Natan coat dress with extra volume in the skirt and sleeves and coral pendant earrings. Obviously keen to live up to their Natan Twins moniker, Mathilde also sported the Belgian brand in an orange and blue print belted frock with a Fabienne Delvigne blue turban and pearl earrings.
I'm telling you, I LOVE this appearance and every bit of ridiculous contained within. Seriously! They made me laugh, they made themselves laugh, and - here's the important part - they did their best to be highly visible for all the onlookers hoping to catch the double queen show at an outdoor engagement. That's a job well done. They can bathe themselves in beige another day.

And in case you have any doubt that this was a plan and not a coincidence, note that Mathilde made an outfit switch just for her jaunt with Máx.
Earlier that day, she was sporting the same hat but with a repeated blue floral Dries Van Noten dress for a pit stop at the residence of the Belgian ambassador in The Hague. Definitely a color scheme designed for an easy flip into twin mode. Also, this:
A joint appearance in 2007
Classic. Oh, you two.

Photos: via Getty Images and Twitter as indicated

21 May 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Roxburghe Tiaras

A while ago I mentioned a Sotheby's sale including pieces from the estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, which included three tiaras. The sale was on May 12. Today, we're taking a closer look at those diadems. Buckle up, you're in for a triple tiara treat...
Our three tiaras in action, modeled before the sale
Born in 1915, Mary was the daughter of the Marquess of Crewe and his second wife, Lady Peggy Primrose. She was named after her godmother, Queen Mary. In 1935, she married George "Bobo" Innes-Ker, the 9th Duke of Roxburghe. Society life rolled on as usual for the couple, including a role for the Duchess as a trainbearer to Queen Elizabeth at the 1937 coronation, until 1953. Eighteen years after their marriage, her husband abruptly (and apparently without stated reason) tried to have Mary evicted from Floors Castle, his ducal seat. Thus began a marital feud that lasted six long weeks, Mary refusing to leave the castle while the Duke shut her out of as many amenities as he could, including telephone, electricity, and gas. She survived with the help of sympathetic neighbors including the Earl of Home, future prime minister, who stepped in to negotiate an end to the standoff. The Duchess of Roxburghe was granted a divorce in London. The couple had no children. (The Duke swiftly remarried and had two sons by his second wife.)

Video: On Mary and some of her auctioned jewels, including unrelated jewels at the sale. For a video showing West Horsley Place, click here.
Mary made her life in London after the divorce and eventually inherited a country estate, West Horsley Place, when her mother passed away. She did not remarry and did not have children of her own. When she died in 2014 at the age of 99, her estate passed to her nephew, television presenter Bamber Gascoigne. West Horsley Place is in desperate need of extensive repairs, and she assumed he would end up selling the mansion and estate. Mr. Gascoigne, however, decided to go the opposite route. The Sotheby's auction was designed to raise funds to keep the house and make the necessary repairs. It reminds me of the strategy Princess Gloria of Thurn and Taxis used to keep the family fortune afloat in the 1990s, selling things that can reasonably be bought again (such as jewels) and keeping those that can't (such as historic estates), which seems quite smart to me. As an added bonus for those that love jewels, this brings several wonderful pieces to our attention.

Among other gems, the auction included three tiaras:

The premiere piece in the collection is a unique diamond tiara by Cartier that dates from the 1930s. An Art Deco geometric treasure, it is set with circular-cut diamonds and topped by a series of 31 collet-set diamonds. The case from Cartier is stamped with the monogram and coronet of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. This is the most expensive of the three tiaras, selling for more than $2.5 million.

A more imposing diamond tiara went for nearly $850,000, a piece that dates from the last quarter of the 19th century. The design features 20 swinging pear-shaped diamonds dangling amidst rose and cushion-shaped diamonds forming scroll and fleur de lys motifs and a base with lozenge and trefoil motifs. It feels like a cross between the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, with its lozenge base, and the Fife Tiara, with its dangling pear drops, which is a very good thing by my book. And this one has added flexibility: the tiara detaches from the bandeau base to become a necklace, while the bandeau itself breaks down into two separate sections.

The last of the three tiaras is a ruby and diamond diadem of a similar age to the older diamond tiara, dating from the later half of the 19th century. The tall piece features rose, cushion, and circular-cut diamonds in foliate motifs over ruby baselines, with a central lyre design set with diamonds and rubies. The older pieces in the collection, including this ruby tiara and the diamond tiara above, possibly belonged to Mary's maternal grandmother, Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery (you may remember her from our recent discussion on the Rosebery Pearl and Diamond Tiara). A matching ruby and diamond bracelet is inscribed on the back with a memorial to "my beloved grandmother Sara Cohen." This tiara brought in the lowest price at auction, just over $100,000. (See? You don't need a house. Or part of a house. You could have a tiara instead. Your loss.)

Which of these three would you most like to take home?

Photos: via Getty Images and Sotheby's video

Royal Trip of the Day: May 21

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary kicked off their official visit to Germany. The trip ends today.
You know how Mary has the whole well put together schtick down so pat, it can even be boring? Yeah. That's what I'm feeling here.
Mary's Tory Burch jacket, and the evening event on day 1. 
Click here for a video, or here for a gallery/article.
She did repeat a David Andersen white dress of which I am quite fond, but other than that...meh.
Day 2 started with something very familiar - in two different countries, even - and ended with something that is not. Sound the Jumpsuit Alarm! (This one's from Ole Yde, per StyleofMary.)
It looks like a maxi dress with a belt and fluttery sleeves, but that's actually a sneaky pair of trousers, which puts us squarely in Jumpsuit Territory. Always cause for concern - not because jumpsuits are always bad (they're not my favorite pieces, but they can work), but because toning them down for royal dressing purposes can go so very wrong.
Oddly enough, this one isn't setting off as many alarm bells as the description alone does. Maybe it's because the trousers are loose enough to trick me into believing it's a skirt....or maybe I'm just still half asleep from the first part of the visit.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, FarFetch, BilledBladet video