22 July 2016

Royal National Day of the Week: July 22

How many synonyms are there for "classic"? I might need them all.

The Belgian royal family celebrated National Day yesterday, attending a Te Deum and a parade. King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, and their four children (Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore) were in attendance.
This whole picture could serve as the definition of the word, as a matter of fact. Paste it right there in the dictionary. This is one nice, elegantly dressed family all around - a model of royal special event dressing, basically.

Royal Palace
Mathilde, of course, was dressed by Natan in a new pale pink dress of organza and lace, topped by a matching hat from Fabienne Delvigne. And matching accessories all the way down, because Mathilde. Princess Elisabeth was looking a little chic too, in a dress from Brussels-born Diane von Furstenberg (per ModeKoninginMathilde) and her updo. Introducing them to #TeamUpdo early and often is a parenting decision I can get behind.
Happy Friday to all you members of #TeamGloves. She has one glove removed for shaking hands, in case you're wondering.

Later, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visited the festivities in the park.
Royal Palace
This is a lovely summer dress - and such a great spot for a colorful belt - just to cap the day's successes.

On the other hand, here's Prince Laurent, the King's brother and resident family black sheep, chatting on his phone during the parade. For the second year in a row.
And sitting all by himself on his section of the dais, because his wife, Princess Claire, and his sister and brother-in-law, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, didn't attend. Astrid's absence in particular is very unusual. Speculating on the status of an alleged rift in the Belgian royal family has been a popular gossip sport for years, and...well...this year's National Day didn't do anything to help. (To be fair, Astrid and Lorenz did go to a Te Deum in a separate town earlier, and Astrid had another engagement in the evening. They also went to a pre-National Day concert with Mathilde and Philippe.) I'm not among those royal watchers that enjoy picking apart who misses each event and why/why not, but - if this is actually much ado about nothing - I am surprised to see a rumor mill so willingly fueled.

Programming Note: Starting next week, we'll move to our usual summer posting schedule while most of the royals are hidden away on holidays. That means Tidbits moves to Mondays, and we continue with posts on Monday through Friday, with one post instead of two on Thursdays. See you Monday!

21 July 2016

Tiara Thursday: Elizabeth Alexeievna’s Diamond Kokoshnik

Elizabeth Alexeievna’s Diamond Kokoshnik
It takes a lot to make a jewel sparkle even in a black and white photograph, but here we are: Brazilian diamonds en masse in a tiara with not one but two rows of large single diamonds. The base has a central medallion and a series of closely packed diamond rays, resting underneath a row of dangling diamond pendants that must have sparkled like crazy in movement. This is all topped with a row of upright diamonds, accentuating the strong inverted v-shape of the diadem.

Elizabeth Alexeievna wearing this tiara, 1820s
With all those high quality diamonds, it can only be a relic of Russia’s lavish imperial days. The tiara belonged to Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna (1779 – 1826), who was born Princess Louise of Prussia and married the future Alexander I of Russia in a match made by Catherine the Great. This diamond tiara was created in the early 1800s, and shares a love of pendant diamond stones with the Russian Nuptial Tiara, which was made around the same time and for the same empress.

Alexandra Feodorovna
A century later, the tiara appeared on the head of Alexandra Feodorovna (1872 –1918), the wife of Nicholas II. But like the rest of the tiaras worn by the last Russian empress and her court, this one was headed for an uncertain future.

The Russian jewels amassed, 1925
Elizabeth Alexeievna’s tiara can be spotted on the table of treasures taken into possession by the government after the overthrow of the monarchy. Much was sold by the government in the 1920s; some pieces were sold intact, and others were broken up and sold stone by stone. Like many of the other pieces you can spot on that table, this diadem has never been seen again.

Are you hoping this one will magically reappear some day?

Royal Photocall of the Day: July 21

The Swedes decided to get in on the family photocall trend this summer, gathering at Solliden for the press after celebrating Crown Princess Victoria's birthday. This is like a royal version of Keeping up with the Joneses, and I love it.

Video: The photocall in action
And...yup, they've hit all the usual royal family photocall requirements: kids who have no idea they shouldn't be going about their normal business, adults crossing their fingers the kids don't have a meltdown, and general awkwardness. That's pretty much it, those are the only requirements. Oh, and a dog. Gotta have the dog in there.

Expressen screencap
On the sartorial side of things, it's possible that Princess Madeleine has come up with the absolute perfect summer photocall outfit. The top - which The Royals and I informs us is Valentino - is not too casual, and perfect with a cropped pant. A doubly perfect selection when you know you have a runner on your hands. Summer style done right, I say.  

For more: see Hello and Expressen for photos.

20 July 2016

Royal Wedding Flashback of the Day: July 20

Lady Helen Windsor, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, married Tim Taylor on July 18, 1992. Her Catherine Walker gown - so difficult to construct, the designer later wrote she nearly had to bribe her team to create it - became one of the highlights of Catherine Walker's considerable royal dressing career. (Walker herself passed away in 2010, but her legacy continues today. Lady Gabriella Windsor and the Duchess of Cambridge are current royal fans.)
The bride borrowed the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara from her mother. The tiara was most likely created from a diamond bandeau from Queen Mary, a piece that the Duchess of Kent wore on her own wedding day. The embroidery on the dress took its cues from the tiara, so - combined with her pearl and diamond necklace and earrings - this is one of the best examples of jewelry working with a wedding dress to create a complete look.

The arches at the neckline were inspired by the St. George's Chapel venue, an influence that is clear without becoming overwhelming. It's not The Cathedral Gown - as opposed to, say, The Bow Gown - but those details still give this dress its originality. I think it's a bit dated, from today's perspective, but it still holds its own and I still consider it anew each time I see it. (This time around, I realize that I never really considered her bouquet, or how she held it. Suddenly realizing that it included purple - I'm just generally not here to look at the flowers, okay? - makes me love this look even more.)

19 July 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: July 19

The Danish royal family gathered for their annual summer photocall on Friday, with the royal couple and the crown princely family.
Whilst Henrik tried something new (was "experiment with facial hair" on his retirement bucket list?), Mary tried something old: another variation of the casual boho look, her favorite sort of summer photocall costume.
In the Mary Does Boho Summer Games, I'll give it the silver medal. (In these Games, the gold obviously must go to 2012's festival of Free People patterns, the bronze to last year's maxi skirt effort, and a yogurt lid on a string of paper clips to 2014's muumuu of which we shall not speak.)

Sabine dress by SEA, per Heaven
Better without the cardi? Sure. But I'm not about to let a chill ruin my appreciation of a cute dress. In conclusion:
 Pretty much.

(Click here for a video in which Josephine's got the moves and Isabella chauffeurs like a boss, or here for a gallery. There are a few bonus family members to be spotted as well.)