21 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: Back to the Cambridges in Germany

As the tour draws to a close...

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception on Thursday evening during their tour of Germany.
Kate wore a bird print dress from German designer Markus Lupfer, paired with an excellent belt, an excellent clutch, those Prada sandals she loves so much right now, and pearl jewelry. I was prepped and ready with my standard list of accessory quibbles, but then the pearl jewelry made me wonder. If you look a little closer...

...that triple row pearl bracelet comes from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Coming on the heels of Kate's debut of a pair of Diana's pearl earrings at the Spanish state banquet, I can only assume she was eager to show us another new thing. (The interests of jewel watchers being paramount in her concerns, I'm sure.) I hereby rescind my accessory quibbles and fully endorse her use of the Put A Bird On It strategy.

On Friday, the trip's last day, the Duke and Duchess traveled to Hamburg.
A bit of lavender from Emilia Wickstead brings out a stronger accessory combo with that contrasting clutch. That's a well played move. (This color also puts her squarely in line with the theme of the day for another royal family - the Belgians - but that's another story for another post.)

20 July 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Wellington Tiara

From the time of its creation through today, the title of the Duke of Wellington has been one of the most recognizable in the peerage of the United Kingdom. It was just one of several European titles and other decorations gathered by the 1st Duke, Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), in the course of an active political career and a celebrated military career that included the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The Wellington Tiara
The Duchesses of Wellington have, for several generations now, worn a tiara grand enough to suit this prominent family title. The tiara features intricate, large diamond scroll motifs dotted with large single diamonds and interspersed with smaller knotted diamond scroll motifs, again with several large single diamonds included.

Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington
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The diadem dates back at least to Elizabeth Wellesley (née Hay, 1820-1904), the wife of the 2nd Duke. She was depicted wearing the tiara in 1859. The couple both held prominent court positions in Queen Victoria's household, with the 2nd Duke serving as Master of the Horse and the Duchess serving as Queen Victoria's Mistress of the Robes for several years.

Kathleen, Duchess of Wellington
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Kathleen Wellesley (née Williams, 1848-1927), the wife of the 4th Duke, wore the tiara in a couple of portraits. Above, she's also shown wearing a magnificent diamond necklace that is still with the family. And the tiara, of course, is also still with the family. The current Duchess of Wellington (born Princess Antonia of Prussia) first wore the Wellington Tiara for her 1977 wedding to the Marquess of Douro, as the current Duke was titled at the time. He succeeded to the Wellington title in 2014.

Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (left) wears the tiara at the Duke of Wellington's Waterloo Banquet in 2015
The Wellington name was brought back to the forefront in 2015, for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Hosting a splendid formal Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House, the Duchess wore the Wellington Tiara and the same diamond necklace the 4th Duchess paired with the diadem.

The Duchess greets the Duchess of Cornwall
You can see above how the tiara forms a complete circlet around the head - well, you can see it provided that you're not totally blinded by the sparkle on the Duchess of Cornwall at that banquet. (We covered that appearance over at the Jewel Vault; Camilla wore the Greville Tiara and all five strands of the Greville Festoon Necklace.)

The Duke and Duchess were attendees at the recent Spanish state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where the tiara may or may not have had another appearance; regrettably, they were not spotted in the state banquet coverage. (The Duke of Wellington is also the Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Grandee of Spain 1st Class, another title picked up by the 1st Duke, and they have a Spanish estate. The Duke and Duchess' daughter, Lady Charlotte, married Alejandro Santo Domingo in Spain last year with King Juan Carlos and the Duchess of Cornwall in attendance.) There appears to be least one other tiara option at the Duchess' disposal:
Lady Charlotte in a different tiara
Lady Charlotte and her husband were guests at last year's Colombian state banquet, where she wore a different family tiara.

The Wellington Tiara seems to be the main headliner, though. For a grand tiara with so many big stones, it manages to keep a certain lightness to the design. I think it's a success on every level.

How do you rate this big gun tiara?

19 July 2017

Royal Trip of the Day: The Cambridges Greet Germany

We're picking up right where we left off with the Cambridge Poland/Germany tour: with another case of family and country coordination.

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Just like their mix of Poland's flag colors as they started the trip, the Cambridge family left Poland and arrived in Germany in a family palette based on the blue cornflower, one of Germany's national flowers (as is being frequently reported, though several German readers have disagreed with that claim of symbolism. National flowers, even when accurate, are generally a more obscure reference than, say, a flag color).

After arrival, the Duke and Duchess met with the Chancellor.
And also like their arrival in Poland, it was another case of new-but-similar for Kate. She also has this blue Catherine Walker coat in red, a version ordered for another national color nod during the Cambridges' first trip to Canada. We may require an entire display in the Royal Coat Museum, dedicated solely to this coat in every single color of the rainbow. Underneath, there was a matching blue lace dress, and she wore a necklace and earrings from Kiki McDonough to complete the look.

Meanwhile, this little one discovered that there are certain perks to this whole tour thing. Namely, an unlimited supply of fresh posies.

The tour continues in Germany through Friday. Stay tuned...

18 July 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Queen Margrethe and her Raincoat at the Danish Summer Photocall

The Danish royal family holds an annual summer photocall in the gardens at Gråsten Palace, their summer residence. This year's photocall took a little different format, featuring just Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, and their four kids watching the Ringsted Horse Ceremony outside the palace. It was a rainy, dreary day, and any potential sartorial triumphs (oh how I usually love Crown Princess Mary in her boho maxi skirts) were fairly foiled by the need for coats.

This is not a problem, however, when your raincoat is designed to be the star of the show.

Queen Margrethe loooooooves her floral coat with its cheery yellow trim and its matching yellow Sou'wester-style hat. Most raincoats are boring and this Danish sovereign is anything but, so she wears what she calls the "happy" raincoat. It's always an unexpectedly exuberant statement, standing out in a sea of sedate royal rain gear or on a parade field surrounded by military uniforms. It's a true signature Margrethe piece. The raincoat even has a backstory, because you know she didn't just happen upon this creation in a shop somewhere one day.

On display in 2015
Photo courtesy of and with thanks to Scarfie on Twitter
The coat is made from a tablecloth-type wax cloth fabric purchased by the Queen in London at the Peter Jones department store. (She makes at least one London trip a year, for her Christmas shopping. She's said to call in on her friends at Buckingham Palace while she's in town.) (And while we may joke about people wearing curtains or tablecloths sometimes, never forget that when it comes to Queen Margrethe, there's a solid chance it's true.)

She took her festive fabric purchase to Jørgen Bender - the couturier responsible for multiple royal wedding gowns, epic royal gala looks, and...the occasional royal foul weather gear - to have it fashioned into a raincoat, which of course she had a hand in designing. It was made in 1995 and has been a famous part of the Queen's wardrobe ever since. The coat and hat were even included in an exhibition of Margrethe's wardrobe staged in honor of her 75th birthday.

Things like this really show how much fun Queen Margrethe has with her often over-the-top wardrobe. There's a sense of humor here, too. You get the feeling that she actually does a little bounce of joy when she sees the rain begin to fall, for she'll have another chance to sport the jolliest raincoat in all the land. It's just so perfectly Daisy, no?

17 July 2017

The Cambridges in Poland and Germany: Your Open Post

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are heading out and about again, spending this week in Poland and Germany with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in tow. And the visit begins...

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...with something we've seen before. Both in terms of tight family coordination, as seen when the whole Cambridge family arrived in Poland for the first leg of the trip...

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...and in terms of a favorite silhouette, shown here when the couple met the President and first lady at the Presidential Palace. For the Duchess, this is another outfit that is technically new but which also happens to be so similar to others in her wardrobe that mistaking it for a repeat would be entirely understandable. (It's from Alexander McQueen.) A crisp white suit is never really a bad choice, even though it can be one big *shrug* of a choice.

The outfit did provide some new jewels, a pendant with a red/pink stone surrounded by diamonds, plus a pair of earrings and a ring also in red/pink stones. (Many have guessed rubies, of course, though I note that they're pretty large if so.) Hopefully higher highlights - and more new gems, eh? - are yet to come.

We'll be checking in with tour periodically on the blog. As we've done in the past, we'll also have an open post right here for those of you that want to discuss the whole tour as it happens. You're welcome to use this post throughout; as always, please mind the comment policy and enjoy!