01 December 2015

Royal Earrings of the Day: December 1

These eye-catching earrings from the Swedish jewel vault happen to be impressive on both the diamond scale and the historical scale, like many other items in the family collection. Their rose-cut diamond teardrop frames are particularly reminiscent of a versatile pair of earrings in the British collection, but the Swedish version features more detailed pendants with briolette diamonds dangling inside.
The Vasa Earrings were a gift to Princess Victoria of Baden (1862-1930) when she married the future King Gustaf V of Sweden in 1881, but that was not their first connection with Sweden. The earrings are said to have been associated with Frederica of Baden (1781-1826), wife of Gustaf IV Adolf. He was forced to abdicate in 1809 and the earrings left Sweden too, until Queen Carola of Saxony (granddaughter of Gustaf IV Adolf and Frederica) gave them to Victoria for her wedding. Members of the Vasa dynasty were early rulers of Sweden, and Victoria was a descendant of the house.
The earrings have remained in the Swedish royal family ever since, and have been worn by several family members both with and without the pendants (though I think they look a bit, well, empty as plain frames). Princess Madeleine has given these earrings their greatest showcase in recent years, wearing them for events such as Crown Princess Victoria's pre-wedding dinner, Prince Carl Philip's wedding, and at her own wedding. They must be heavy to wear and they aren't favorites of Queen Silvia or Crown Princess Victoria, so I always cheer a bit to see Madeleine take them out for a spin. They're big and delicate all at once, and their history deserves to be shown off.

Photos:  Bengt Nyman via Wikimedia Commons (1 cropped, 2), Kungahuset, DR

30 November 2015

Royal Outfit of the Day: November 30

Queen Máxima visited financial support workshops for women in The Hague on Friday.
All of her action shots from this engagement look like she's in a shampoo commercial and I love it. This Claes Iversen dress is a gorgeous color and the skirt's a bit flippy, which is precisely what you  need for those shampoo commercial kind of days.

Also, for the record, I'll applaud any hairstyle that tries its best to cover up those nightmare-inducing spider brooches. GAH.

Photos: via Getty Images

29 November 2015

Sunday Tidbits for November 29: Triple the Tiara Watches

Hello again! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if a Thanksgiving is what you had. Let's do some catching up with three - count 'em, three - tiara watches for you:

--Tiara Watch #1: Princess Christina of Sweden attended an event to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Order of Innocence Society earlier this month wearing the Six Button Tiara. [Svenskdam]

--Tiara Watch #2: Princess Margriet of the Netherlands attended the Stuyvesant Ball in Manhattan, an event which always gets her to bring a tiara stateside. This year it was the Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara. [De Telegraaf]
Telegraaf screencaps

--The royal baby boom strikes again: The Duke and Duchess of Parma are expecting their third child. They have two daughters together. Prince Carlos is the son of Princess Irene of the Netherlands and older brother to Prince Jaime, whose wife is also expecting (and their announcement was in an earlier tidbits edition). [Royalty Online]

--Princess Estelle sends you autumn greetings from Sweden, and gives your new all-purpose approval meme while she's at it. [Kungahuset]
Kate Gabor/Kungahuset.se
--The Philippine government is once again assessing the value of the jewelry collection of former first lady Imelda Marcos, and are apparently considering an auction. (They're also on the hunt for a collection of paintings last known to have been in the Marcos family's possession.) This is not the first time the collection has been appraised and not the first time an auction has been suggested, but it has yet to happen and the Marcos family has disputed the ownership of the treasures in the past. The jewels are those that were seized from the Marcos couple when they fled the country in the 1980s, and they've basically sat in a bank vault ever since. Among the treasures is a rare 25 carat pink diamond, just discovered during the current review, and a handful of tiaras including the Russian Pearl Pendant Kokoshnik (which we have covered here before). [Telegraph]

--King Philippe issued a decree limiting the number of future holders of the title of Prince or Princess of Belgium, a smart move in the face of growing numbers of descendants allowed to use it. To sum it up briefly, use of the prince/ss title will be limited to children and grandchildren of the monarch in future generations. The decree does not remove the title from anyone that has it currently. [Deredactie]

--Also issued by King Philippe, a decree retroactively granting permission for the 2014 marriage of his nephew, Prince Amedeo. Amedeo did not originally ask for permission, but now that it has been granted, he returns to the Belgian line of succession. [Brussels Times]

--And finally, Tiara Watch #3: The British royal family took to Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and they did not disappoint in the jewel department. The Queen brought out the glorious Cambridge Emerald and Delhi Durbar Parure, and the Duchess of Cornwall sported her wonderful pink topaz jewels with the Greville Tiara. Plus, a bunch of brooch business and a lot more, all at the Vault.

24 November 2015

Tiara Thursday (on a Tuesday, with a Programming Note): The Tiaras of Queen Silvia

The blog is taking a break for the rest of the week. Here's a whole bunch of sparkle to tide you over:

Queen Silvia has plenty of tiara variety at her disposal with the extensive Swedish collection, and she has made good use of it throughout her marriage. That said, observing which tiaras she selects for which events quickly shows a loose pattern: the Braganza for the biggest occasions, the Leuchtenberg sapphires and the Nine Prong alternating for important occasions that don't warrant the Braganza, and everything else thrown in here and there for the rest. Excepting special occasions, she tends to be the sole wearer of many of the tiaras she favors.

So, as we approach another Nobel ceremony, a tiara retrospective is needed for our Swedish queen. Stick around to vote for your favorite! (And see previously: Victoria's tiaras, and Madeleine's tiaras.)

We have covered all of these in depth before, so click on the tiara name for details as always.

Kungahuset/Bruno Ehrs
The largest tiara at her disposal, this is a true big gun and she treats it like one, bringing it out only for the most special occasions (state banquets for fellow monarchs, Crown Princess Victoria's wedding, that sort of thing). She's never worn this one to the Nobel ceremony.

Nobel Prize video screencap
Tiara #1 of her two favorites, and one we see her wear on the regular. She wore it earlier this year for Prince Carl Philip's wedding, completing a run of her three most important tiaras for the weddings of her three children.

Frankie Fouganthin via Wikimedia Commons
And this is #2 of the Silvia favorites. It's said to be pretty rigid and hard to wear if it doesn't naturally fit you, but it must fit Queen Silvia like a dream because she wears it all the time. It was her choice for Princess Madeleine's wedding in 2013.

Though the Connaught has been shared with other family members on occasion (really just family weddings in recent years) and the drops have been worn by her daughters, it's usually worn only by Queen Silvia. She wore it to the gala held the night before her wedding, making it the first tiara she ever wore in public.

There's a double tiara appearance above: the Connaught on the head and the Modern Fringe around the neck. I have a hunch this one is now Princess Madeleine's, and I doubt we'll see it on Queen Silvia again. Time will tell.

And this would be the second tiara she wore, on her wedding day. With the exception of Crown Princess Victoria on her own wedding day, this tiara is also a Silvia-only piece now.

Queen Silvia "created" this tiara by placing a heavy necklace in the family collection on a tiara frame. The amethysts have since been shared with other family members (which you know makes me happy, amethyst lover that I am).

Presidência da República Portuguesa
There's some family controversy behind this tiara that resulted in scarce use for several years, but its gaining speed now. It is an Edwardian piece difficult to wear with modern hairstyles, but luckily Queen Silvia knows a few things about tricky tiaras.

And Others...
Fotocollectie Anefo via Wikimedia Commons
The remainder of Queen Silvia's picks from the Swedish tiara collection are less likely to be seen on her today. Perhaps not coincidentally, all of these are favorites for others in the family:
  • The Baden Fringe Tiara: This is the designated "crown princess" tiara for the family, and Silvia's use of it backed off once Crown Princess Victoria began to wear it.
  • The Cut Steel Tiara: Who can forget the tiara Queen Silvia is said to have discovered in a cabinet in the palace? (Well, someone can, I guess, since it ended up in the cabinet in the first place.) Today it is a favorite of Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Christina and not a frequent choice for Silvia, though she has commented on how pleasantly light it is to wear.
  • The Six Button Tiara: I'm not going to lie, I feel my well-documented dislike of the button tiaras is slightly vindicated by the fact that Queen Silvia avoids them both. She has worn the Six Button once at least; to my knowledge, she's never publicly worn the Four Button Tiara. Perhaps this is simply because she has enough pieces reserved for the queen without dipping into those frequently shared by the princesses, but I think I'll stick to my own theory.

Now the choice is yours: Vote!

The blog will return on Sunday. (We will be up and running over at the Jewel Vault though, where a trip is happening at the end of the week.) Happy Thanksgiving!

23 November 2015

Royal Duo of the Day: November 23

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania were in Spain last week for a working visit with King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. A style showdown is inevitable, isn't it? Particularly between these two queens, who have each brought their own twist on queenly dressing to the job. Rania stuck to her more adventurous (well, adventurous in comparison) combinations of luxury designers, and Letizia stuck to her carefully selected favorite designers and her clean silhouettes. In fact, Letizia played it even safer than usual, adding to the contrast between the two queens consort. The result has something for everyone, and I like a game where everyone wins.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania arrived in Spain on Thursday, and were given an official welcome by King Felipe and Queen Letizia.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore a Fendi coat.
Right off the bat, see? A red dress is peak Letizia, and I can't think of another royal lady that could pull off Rania's coat. But since that's a whole lotta whatever happening on one coat, I'm calling this one for the host country.

Thursday evening, the Spanish royal family hosted a dinner for their guests.
Queen Letizia wore a Felipe Varela dress, and Queen Rania wore an Agnona ensemble and Balenciaga shoes.
Everybody should have a good superhero belt at their disposal, don't you think? I think I like it enough to leap it over a standard LBD, Barbie Feet Syndrome and all.

Queen Rania made a solo visit to the Prado Media Lab cultural center.
She wore a Derek Lam blouse, leather skirt, and Christian Louboutin shoes.
On the other hand, I'm not sure my affection for a windowpane print is enough to leap me over the sideways version of Barbie feet.

On Friday, Queen Letizia and Queen Rania visited Molecular Biology Center 'Severo Ochoa' at Autonoma University.
Queen Letizia: Carolina Herrera suit, Prada shoes. Queen Rania: Alexander McQueen blouse, Azzedine Alaïa belt, Proenza Schouler skirt, Christian Louboutin shoes.
I never say no to Carolina Herrera, but I also never say no to something twirly (and what is Rania's skirt for if not for twirling, eh? Double the swoopy fun with those sleeves). And so we end on a draw, and hearty thanks to Their Majesties for playing along.