30 June 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Mountbatten Star Tiara

The Mountbatten family history is intertwined with that of several royal families, so naturally a tale of one of their tiaras touches the same family web. Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (1863-1950) was one of Queen Victoria's many grandchildren. She married Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884; when the British royal family abandoned their German titles during World War I, they adopted the surname Mountbatten and the titles of Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven. The couple had four children: Alice, who became Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (the Duke of Edinburgh's mother); Louise, later Queen Louise of Sweden; George, who inherited his father's Milford Haven title; and Louis, the last Viceroy of India and 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Princess Alice of Battenberg, 1903, likely wearing her mother's original star tiara
Princess Victoria owned a fashionable set of bejeweled stars, probably the ones seen above on her daughter Alice on her wedding day. As Diana Scarisbrick details in her book Tiara, Princess Victoria took those jewels along on a trip to see her sister, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. The year was 1914, and the declaration of World War I meant that the couple had to cut their trip short in emergency fashion. Alexandra suggested that Victoria leave her jewels in Russia; after all, it would be one less thing to mind on the rushed trip home, and the gems would surely be safe in Russia in the meantime.

The Mountbatten Star Tiara
In the end, of course, nothing was safe. The Battenberg jewels were among the many treasures never to be seen again after the Russian Revolution, including countless gems from the imperial family and others, such as Queen Marie of Romania. Luckily for Victoria, her aunt Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, provided another star tiara as a replacement. That tiara was later given to Louis Mountbatten's wife, Edwina (1901-1960), who had it reset in a more modern fashion in the 1930s. The Chaumet diadem is still in the family today and includes a pavé-set diamond base with five star ornaments on top, each with pavé-set points and a central button pearl.

The current Countess Mountbatten of Burma on her wedding day, 1946
Patricia Mountbatten, daughter of Louis and Edwina and the current Countess Mountbatten of Burma, wore the star tiara to marry John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne in 1946. (She holds her title in her own right, owing to arrangements made when Lord Mountbatten had no sons at the time of the title's creation; her marriage was one of the few where both spouses held a peerage in their own right.)

Video: Patricia Mountbatten's wedding (fast forward to 2:26 for max tiara sparkle)
Both Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were bridesmaids at Patricia's wedding. Footage of the dashing Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark taking Princess Elizabeth's coat in the days before the public knew a relationship existed has been replayed countless times in the years since.

The current Lady Brabourne, wearing the Mountbatten Star Tiara in 1996 for King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's 50th birthday celebrations
The tiara has become a bridal tiara for Countess' family. Her daughters Joanna and Amanda both wore it for their weddings, as did her daughter-in-law Penelope, the current Lady Brabourne. The most recent bride to wear the tiara was Alexandra Knatchbull, daughter of Lord and Lady Brabourne, who married last weekend.

The tiara is similar to the star version of the Dutch Pearl Button Tiara, a setting made for the 2002 wedding of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. Like the Dutch version, this star tiara shines particularly brightly as a wedding tiara. The height of the stars means it won't be overrun by a veil, and a veil provides a nice backing for a tiara with tall separate elements. The sparkle in motion would set it easily apart.

Star tiaras: yay or nay?

Royal Dresses of the Day: June 30

Everyone looks out for Michelle Obama's fashion - and rightly so, I love her take on First Lady style - but it was Princess Lalla Salma that stopped me in my tracks when the two met in Morocco.

The FLOTUS and her daughters visited Morocco this week with her Let Girls Learn initiative. Lalla Salma, wife of King Mohammed VI, greeted them on arrival.
An orange shirt dress and Valentino Rockstud shoes! She's on a one princess mission to disprove every single ridiculous "redheads shouldn't wear..." myth out there, and MORE POWER TO HER. This look is a fiery sunset, and she's pulling it off. (And to her credit, Mrs. Obama also looks incredible in that Proenza Schouler wrap dress. I do so love a modern floral.) Lalla Salma later returned to her traditional look for the dinner she hosted for the Obamas.

Also taking on the shirt dress look, in recent princess news:

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene watched St. John's Eve festivities in Monaco last week.
Palais Princier
Once again, Charlene surprises me, going a little more retro than I would have expected. This look isn't going to move mountains or anything, but when it comes to wandering around your palace and popping out for a little fresh air, it's pretty perfectly low key.

29 June 2016

Royal Outfits of the Day: June 29

We're going to check in with a couple of Queen Letizia outfits real quick. Don't worry, I won't take us back as far as those leather culottes she won't let die.

June 22: Queen Letizia attended a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction, and to pay tribute to Queen Sofia's work with the foundation.
This is a real handy appearance because it basically sums up the style differences from one queen to the next - from brocade suits to summer separates, from adherence to the classic queen uniform to flexibility for trends - in one easy image. Just in case you need that. For academic purposes.

June 28: Queen Letizia attended a conference for the Food and Agriculture Organization.
House of HM the King
Could she be the opening to an HBO show in this blazer, or have I been watching too much Game of Thrones? Could go either way.
Repeated blazer from Felipe Varela
I do love this jacket with a crisp white trouser. Excellent conference attire, and one of many examples of a Letizia outfit that falls partway between those aforementioned queenly styles.

28 June 2016

Royal Wedding of the Day: June 28

June 19th was King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia's 40th wedding anniversary! (It was also Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's 6th wedding anniversary.) The couple met at the 1972 Olympics and four years later, Silvia went straight from commoner to queen. Let's take a look back:

Lennart Nilsson

Silvia wore a wedding gown by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, an almost starkly simple design in silk duchesse, previously covered in depth here. The lack of embellishment on the gown allowed the Cameo Tiara to take center stage, but it might also have allowed some unexpected things to take the center stage too: the fold at the top of the family's historic veil (said to have been a solution concocted when the veil turned out to be longer than the train), or the tissue strapped to her wrist by a rubber band (a precaution insisted upon by her mother, which ended up showing from underneath her sleeve every time she waved).

It's far from my favorite royal wedding gown, but I'll be interested to see what those of you that see it in person think (remember, it will be going on display starting in late October in Stockholm). Perhaps the real fantastic elements here will be better appreciated when seen in close up. I'm getting that feel from the interesting seaming hinted at by the close up below, anyway.

A photo posted by Kungahuset (@kungahuset) on

Of course, a royal wedding gown also must be seen in movement to be fully appreciated and of course I have you covered there too; see below or check out another video here. Silvia's gown does seem more stately in the right context than it does in random pictures.

Fair warning, there's an immediate difference between that video and videos from more recent Swedish royal weddings: no tiaras! Apart from the Cameo Tiara for Silvia, obviously. Unlike the sparkling weddings the family throws today with guests in white tie and tiaras, Silvia and Carl Gustaf's guests wore morning dress or uniform for the gentlemen and long dresses with hats for the ladies. (Thank heavens they've come to their senses in the years since.)

27 June 2016

Royal Jubilee of the Day: June 27

Grab your nearest crown prince and give him a twirl, it's Silver Jubilee time in Norway! Celebrations for King Harald's 25th year on the throne continued last week with the whole royal family gathering in Trondheim, where Harald and Queen Sonja's consecration was held in 1991.

Queen Sonja choose to echo the ivory ensemble she wore back then with an elegant white outfit and a lovely hat. Princess Astrid was also on the best dressed list in her bright aqua. And so were the kids, of course, because I'm a sucker for a traditional costume.

Shopping from the Huh? headwear department, we have Crown Princess Mette-Marit and her face veil. Just a face veil, like Princess Madeleine at Princess Leonore's christening, but with even fewer ornaments to give it any sort of hat-like presence.
Why bother being anti-hat if you're going to keep just the silliest bits? Sometimes I just don't know, man.

You'd think a ruffled suit and a non-hat would mean we'd reached Peak Mette-Marit, but you'd be wrong, because the flower crowns were yet to come.
The family attended a garden party, and the ladies changed clothes and donned floral wreaths because hey, why not? Honestly, though, if any royal family can make flower crowns work without looking ridiculous, it's this one - and work it they did. It was fresh, pretty, and fun.

Here's where we run into that little Who wore it best? I mentioned last week. On the very same day that Mette-Marit was gallivanting about in all the ruffles and eyelet she could find, Princess Claire was wearing the very same dress for Luxembourg's National Day.

Dress by Vilshenko (with thanks to Laura), as worn also by Princess Claire
The thing about this dress is, if you're going to wear it, you'd best find yourself a flower crown to go along with. Mette-Marit takes this one home, no competition.

There have been several events for the Silver Jubilee tour recently, and this is but a taste. For more on this day, check out a gallery here, or video of the church service here.

Photos: NRK screencaps, via Getty Images as indicated, Lyst, RTL screencap

26 June 2016

Sunday Tidbits for June 26: Mirror, Mirror on the Dress

Tidbits ahoy:

--The Norwegian royal court published a new photo of King Harald with Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Ingrid Alexandra, as they mark the 25th anniversary of Harald and Sonja's consecration. The picture, taken in front of the Norwegian crown, recreates a 2006 photo which marked the 100th anniversary of the coronation of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud. More on some of the recent Silver Jubilee events coming up this week.
2016: Torgrim Melhuus, TiTT Melhuus as / NDR / Det kongelige hoff
2006: Lasse Berre, Det kongelige hoff

--Zara Tindall, who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in team eventing, has missed out on selection for the British equestrian team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. [BBC]

--She won't be the only royal rider absent in Rio: Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg has said her horse is not stable enough to compete. Nathalie won a bronze medal in team dressage for Denmark in 2008, and also competed in London in 2012. [Der Westen]

--I am intrigued by Queen Rania's Loewe mirror-embellished dress, but I wonder if people would keep checking themselves out in your shoulder all night long. [Lyst]

--The Earl and Countess of Wessex were in Canada for a visit this week, where the sartorial highlight was a little LBD on Day 2. For Sophie, just to clarify. [Countess of Wessex Blog]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, a society wedding went down (more on that tiara on Thursday). Also, the Queen has been tweeting again, but is still not live tweeting Downton Abbey like I asked her to. I mean, I can send her the DVDs.

Coming up this week: Flower power in Norway, and more...

Sunday Tidbits is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!  

24 June 2016

Tiara Thursday (on a Friday): The Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara, with Bonus National Day Fun

One of the most distinctive pieces in the vast Luxembourg tiara collection is the Chaumet Emerald Tiara, with its pointy shape and an egg-sized emerald front and center. Another Chaumet piece in their collection is also quite distinctive, though perhaps in a quieter way: the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara.
Cour grand-ducale
This particular Chaumet tiara features ribbons of diamonds and diamond garlands weaving around each other, topped by diamonds alternating with taller round pearls. Some say a classic diamond fringe tiara is like a fence on top of the head, but - thanks to that lattice-style design - this might be the tiara that gives me the most fence-like feel. (In a lovely, delicate way, mind you.)
The tiara, shown with sapphires on top
As the name suggests, the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara is a flexible piece. The diamonds and pearls along the top are detachable, meaning the tiara can be worn more than one way; the lattice portion can also be used as a choker style necklace (as shown on the Grand Duchess below, along with the Belgian Scroll Tiara).
The tiara has been worn by several grand ducal ladies. Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte (mother of the current Grand Duke) wore it at least once, as did her daughter her daughter Princess Margaretha; Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has been wearing it since her days as the Hereditary Grand Duchess. National Day 2016, celebrated this week in Luxembourg, added another princess to the list.
Cour grand-ducale/Olivier Polet/tous droits réservés
For more gala pictures: Wort, Tageblatt

A rousing round of tiara switcheroo (which we love) at the National Day gala gave us a few debuts. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa looked amazing, repeating the Elie Saab dress she wore to Crown Princess Victoria's wedding with a new wrap orientation and the Belgian Scroll Tiara; Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie wore a small butterfly tiara first seen in 2014; Princess Claire wore Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde’s Tiara for the first time; Princess Tessy wore the Diamond Vine Leaves Tiara for the first time, along with quite a dress in the Nassau colors. And Princess Alexandra, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess' only daughter, made her debut in the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl Choker Tiara. She wore it without the pearls.

Earlier, the family attended the traditional Te Deum. (See a gallery here.)
RTL video; see the Te Deum here
Stéphanie and Tessy provided all the hat interest the whole family needed with a sampling of fancy napkin fold couture. Which was excellent, because the day's best dressed was MT, impeccable but maybe a wee bit bland in her gray. Claire also livened things up by unknowingly wearing the same dress as Crown Princess Mette-Marit on the very same day - but M-M is another story for another day.

Other National Day events were also happening, and Luxarazzi has you covered there.

23 June 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: June 23

It seems the moment many of you have been waiting for has finally arrived.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a gala dinner for East Anglia's Children's Hospices' Nook Appeal
I know this Jenny Packham gown has been on many a wish list for a repeat; we haven't seen it since its debut in 2011. It's not among my personal favorites (I don't love the shoulder/neck detail, kinda?), so I'll stand here to the side and hand out paper bags for those of you that need to breathe.
Jenny Packham
But you know that my ambivalence does not extend to either #TeamUpdo or #TeamMoreDiamonds, and the styling this time has been given a major upgrade. The Duchess wore diamond chandelier earrings on loan from the Queen (worn several times before), along with Queen Mary's Diamond Bar Choker Bracelet (first worn at last year's Chinese state banquet), which is also on loan from the Queen after passing through Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. (More on that piece at the Vault.) Pile it on, please.

Psst: Tiara post will be tomorrow.

22 June 2016

Royal Outfit of the Day: June 22

Hang on, I need to rewind for a second.
At QEII's 90th birthday service (not even two weeks ago, but basically forever ago in internet times), I spotted Viscountess Linley in the crowd, I spotted some massive pillbox hat action, and I gave her my Best in Retro Award. Done and done.

But I didn't see the full look until later. And listen, this Christian Dior coat and Rachel Trevor Morgan hat, I gotta tell you...
I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Best in Retro and So Much More, that award should have been. So well assembled without being super matchy. Such a perfect use of a chunky heel in a lower height. Such a perfect use of a non-nude shoe. So retro without being gimmicky.
The fabric of Serena's coat, shown on the Christian Dior Fall 2016 RTW runway in a skirt
And - this is the kicker - so different from what we usually see in a parade of British royals at an event like this, I think. You know what I mean? Serena, she nailed it.

21 June 2016

Royal Outfits of the Day: June 21

Sweden's royal family attends the Polar Music Prize award ceremony every year, and they did so again last week. Sometimes Crown Princess Victoria uses this event to have a little bit of fun with her outfit, and sometimes that strategy really does pay off. For example:

A photo posted by Polar Music Prize (@polarmusicprize) on

Talk about working the goddess angle to spectacular effect. Pairing this white Ralph Lauren dress with this H&M Conscious Collection necklace - costume jewelry takes on chain mail - is her most successful use of statement accessories...ever, maybe. Wow.
Ralph Lauren dress, H&M Conscious Collection shoulder necklace

Princess Sofia made sure she got in on that striking white-on-white photo op too, in separates by Rodebjer.

Sofia's clearly still playing the starring role in A Girl and her Center Part: A Love Story, but this time it has some purpose, some bite. In a good way.

Please do note Victoria's extra hair bling. Please do not note Queen Silvia's suit.

They both looked ready for a concert, and weren't the only ones...

Watch that video from about 7:15. Trust.

Photos: Instagram, Ralph Lauren, H&M, TV4 screencaps

20 June 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2016, Part 3

The year's fanciest hat parade has come to an end, and we have just a few awards left to hand out. (This, by the way, is just a selection of royals from Days 4 and 5.)

Most Conflicted Combo
Princess Haya, Day 4
This dress is half pretty ballerina and half dancing Liesl, which should make it my favorite thing ever. But then there's also an artichoke in mourning smack dab in the middle of her forehead, and now I really just don't know.

Best in Show
Princess Beatrice, Day 5
Royal attendance always peters out by the end of Ascot. The Queen was awarded for sticking around to the end with a win on the last day, and a trophy presented by her granddaughter. And Princess Beatrice awarded me for sticking around to the end by wearing what has become my favorite outfit for Ascot 2016.
Burberry Prorsum dress, Gina Foster hat
You may recall me gushing about this Burberry Prorsum dress in the past, when it appeared in a different print on Crown Princess Mary, so it's no surprise that I adore this version too. I can't wait to see Beatrice take this for a spin with a hotter shoe, but for now, the hat is all the embellishment it needs. LOVE.

Best in Continued Ascot Spirit
Princess Eugenie, Day 5
One fun skirt, a second big hat, and three cheers for bringing the quirkiness that Ascot deserves. She's had a good run with a nice mix of sophistication and fun, and I like this cheery skirt and its tip toward the fun side.
Alice + Olivia skirt and top, Nerida Fraiman hat
And hey, in the event that Ascot gets attacked by a sudden hail storm, she's all set!

Best in Gents
The Prince of Wales, Overall
Don't forget, the gentlemen deserve some appreciation too. The Prince of Wales was my standout this year, attending for four days instead of his usual one or two (Day 5 is shown above). As always, he gets it right by paying attention to the tiny details. His tie pins, for example: if you missed this fun discovery in the comments on our first Ascot post, one of his jeweled tie pins happens to be the cypher of King Boris III of Bulgaria. (Thanks to Floriana for pointing it out and Deanna for solving the mystery!) Why? Why not, I suppose.

Who wins your 2016 Best of Ascot title?

19 June 2016

Sunday Tidbits for June 19: Wedding Stuff for Now and for Later

It's always a good weekend when it brings us a tiara:

--Princess Alix de Ligne married Count Guillaume de Dampierre on Saturday. Her wedding gown was accented with fringe and topped by a de Ligne family diamond tiara. Loads of Luxembourg royals were in attendance (the bride's father is Grand Duke Henri's cousin), and Princess Stéphanie officially put me into IKEA overload. See a video here and click here for a gallery. [RTL, DH]
RTL screencaps
--Mark your calendars: Prince Alexander of Sweden will be christened on Friday, September 9, in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace.

--Also mark your calendars for a trip to Stockholm for some must-see royal wedding nostalgia: In honor of the King and Queen's 40th wedding anniversary, the wedding gowns of Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine, Princess Sofia, and Princess Lilian will go on display at the Royal Palace. The exhibition will run from October 22, 2016 through March 5, 2017.

--Some love for the Princess Royal, if you please: Anne put her sparkles on to accept the prestigious Longines Ladies Award for her lifetime of contributions to the equestrian industry. Here's a gallery, and here are highlights from the ceremony. [Zimbio, YouTube]
Longines screencap

--It's totally York Appreciation Month: Princess Eugenie popped out to a UNAIDS gala wearing what might by my all-time favorite Eugenie outfit, a red hot Alexander McQueen dress first worn in 2011. I maintain that her wardrobe should contain at least 90% McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. [Hello]

--The Danish royal family knows exactly what I require in a royal Instagram account: plenty of photos of traditional dress, then and now. Queen Margrethe usually provides when she visits the Faroe Islands, as she did this month. (Another thing I require in a royal Instagram account: cute photos from Ascot adventures.) [Instagram]

Coming up this week: The hat parade comes to a close, the Swedish royal family gets their groove on, and more...

Sunday Tidbits is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!  

17 June 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2016, Part 2

Previously, on Ascot: The Blog... We left off with the fashions of Day 1 and most of Day 2; over yonder at the Jewel Vault, we've covered the Queen, Cams, and a bit of Anne in her Eliza Doolitte best (plus, a brand new brooch from Her Maj!).

"Hey, twinsies!"
We pick up with a leftover from Day 2 and the fruits of Day 3, which was Ladies' Day. The Queen set the tone for the day by hilariously matching outfits with the Gold Cup-winning jockey, and the interesting color combos and fancy hats continued from there:

Best in Ascot Spirit, Again
Princess Eugenie, Day 3
and Nearest Miss at Ascot Millinery Magic
Princess Beatrice, Day 3
Princess Haya's feather explosion from Day 1 still holds this year's top Ascot Spirit prize, but Princess Eugenie's deserves an honor of its own. This Jess Collett hat isn't over the top, but it is a serious hat upgrade for Eugenie's personal style, and that's what I want to see at Ascot.
Eugenie's dress from Roksanda; Beatrice's dress from ADEAM
Eugenie's hat was a nice curvy contrast to Princess Beatrice's overly flat hat. She tried valiantly to match the tremendous success of her orange and blue topper from last year, but alas, I suspect nothing will ever top that. I suppose we can give some points here for building the most oddly specific subset of hats around (how many orange and blue hats does a person need?), and for a second day of royal granddaughters echoing their royal granny's color scheme.
Before we move on, did you spot the bonus royal in the first pic? It's a purple-clad Princess Sarvath El Hassan of Jordan! Princess Sarvath and her husband, Prince Hassan Bin Talal, have been at Ascot several times; he was Jordan's crown prince for years, and the couple still pop up at various Euro royal events. She's an interesting Ascot attendee because a small flower or a fascinator is about as into the hat thing as she gets. I suppose no one argues with the Queen's guests about the Ascot rules.

Also Best in Ascot Spirit
Countess of Wessex, Day 3
Doing her part for the Ladies' Day cause in Suzannah and Jane Taylor: the Mother of Coral Dragon Wings.

Closest Call in Retro Style
Princess Haya, Day 2
Speaking of Princess Haya, she reined it in (see what I did there) for Day 2 with a sleek but giant pillbox hat. It's a retro look that allllllmost works for me, but the open jacket moving around just added unnecessary bulk to the outfit. So close.
Chanel Couture Fall 2015
She was back to her big hat ways for Day 3, in tip-to-toe red.

Also present on Day 3 but not pictured here: Princess Michael the Caped Crusader, Princess Alexandra, and a pretzel-brooched Princess Royal.

Ascot continues on Friday and Saturday. Will the royals bring us anything else fun to discuss, or are they all tapped out? We shall see.

16 June 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Cameo Tiara, Revisited

As King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, it's time to revisit the tiara Silvia Sommerlath chose for her bridal diadem - a tiara that happens to be one of the most unique tiaras on the royal rounds.

King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia
The Swedish jewel collection has some of the oldest tiaras still in use, and this is one such diadem. Its first owner was Empress Joséphine, the first wife of Napoleon. She likely received it as a gift from her husband around 1809, at a time when cameos were quite popular. It was probably made by French court jeweler Nitot.

The Cameo Tiara
The seven cameos used in this tiara were made first and were not intended to go together, which is why they are all different in size and color. Each is framed in pearls and they sit on a base of gold and seed pearls. As we know it today, the Cameo Tiara is part of a set including a pair of earrings, a brooch, a necklace, and a bracelet, but those pieces may also have not originally been intended to be part of a parure with this diadem.

Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway
Fredric Westin/Public Domain
Though the tiara was worn in a painting by Joséphine's daughter Queen Hortense of Holland, it ended up in the hands of the Empress' granddaughter, Josephine of Leuchtenberg. Josephine #2 brought the tiara to Sweden through her marriage to the future King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway, and it has remained there ever since.

Queen Josephine of Sweden and Norway
Bertha Valerius/Public Domain
It's currently in the hands of King Carl Gustaf, but the path down the family line hasn't been a straight one: Josephine left it to her daughter Princess Eugénie, who left it to her nephew Prince Eugen. Eugen loaned it to his niece by marriage, Crown Princess Margaret, and eventually gave it to Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when she married Prince Gustaf Adolf in 1932. Sibylla lent it to her sister-in-law, the future Queen Ingrid of Denmark, for a costume occasion and ultimately left it to her son, King Carl Gustaf.

Queen Silvia wears the tiara, necklace, earrings, and brooch of the Cameo Parure for the Nobel Prize Awards ceremony in 2005
Queen Silvia wears the tiara today for the occasional gala event, but not on a frequent basis. It's known to most by its status as a family bridal tiara, a tradition that began while it was still in Princess Sibylla's hands. She loaned the tiara to daughters Princess Birgitta in 1961 and Princess Désirée in 1964 for their weddings. Queen Silvia solidified the tiara's reputation as a wedding piece when she wore it to marry King Carl Gustaf in 1976. Crown Princess Victoria was the next bride to wear the Cameo Tiara, for her wedding to Prince Daniel in 2010.

Princess Birgitta and Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
Aftonbladet/Public Domain
(It's certainly not a required selection for a royal Swedish bride, though. Princess Margaretha wore a traditional crown from the church where she was married, Princess Christina wore the Connaught Tiara, Princess Madeleine wore the Modern Fringe Tiara, and Princess Sofia wore a new Emerald and Diamond Tiara).

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel
Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0)
To those of us accustomed to purely white bridal ensembles, this is an interesting change of pace. But really, it's not that surprising of a choice for a Swedish royal bride: there's something crown-like about it, somewhat echoing the Swedish tradition of bridal crowns, and the center cameo depicts the love story of Cupid and Psyche (as has been reported by the Royal Court; others say it is Venus and Cupid).

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel
Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0)
The Cameo Tiara can be a divisive diadem. Some love it, others hate it. I have a theory that you'll hate it until you find the one perfect appearance that will convert you. For me, that appearance was Victoria's wedding. The colorful tiara perfectly showcased the sublime simplicity of her dress. I'm also struck by how perfect it was that she wore the Cameo earrings and bracelet too, further integrating the tiara into her whole look without overwhelming her dress. Crown Princess Victoria has worn the necklace and brooch from the parure in the years since, but has yet to repeat the tiara (in fact, as of this writing, the tiara itself hasn't been worn since that 2010 wedding). I keep hoping she will be allowed to borrow it, as she continues to inch towards the jewels that Queen Silvia usually keeps for herself. Mostly, I just want to see it worn again.

Your turn: Love it or hate it?

Also: Here's a link to a Pinterest board with lots of Cameo appearances to examine, with thanks to The Royals and I!

Royal Jewels of the Day: June 16

What's Princess Charlene been up to?
The Prince and Princess of Monaco welcomed guests from the 56th International Television Festival of Monte-Carlo to the Prince's Palace for a cocktail party
Gaetan Luci/Palace
Pulling more than a few surprises out of her bag of tricks, that's what. This isn't the first time in the past weeks she's surprised me, either. I suppose you could say she's a touch overdressed when the dress code is "dudes in suits" - but hey, I'm 100% down with the top princely lady showing everybody else up. It's practically in her job description. This is a big event for Monaco and she's right to turn it up several notches.
Ralph Lauren Spring 2015 outfit, Graff Briolette earrings
Her jewelry game is getting good, too. (Okay, her earring game has always been good, so let's say it's getting even better.) These earrings from Graff feature 3.37 carats of diamonds and 65.47 carats of orange sapphires. Oh, and she's also worn this design in the aquamarine version.

Attending the opening of the Festival
Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, see video here
This comes on the heels of her wearing a Cartier necklace in white and yellow diamonds with matching earrings and a Roland Mouret gown to open the festival. We've seen a fair bit of Roland Mouret from her recently; the necklace, on the other hand, was a total surprise.
Roland Mouret gown
A Charlene with a few surprises and a whole lot of diamonds at the ready is a Charlene that I am HERE FOR. More, please.

15 June 2016

Royal Fashion Awards: Royal Ascot 2016, Part 1 (Updated)

Put on your party hats, Royal Ascot is in full swing! For the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall, you can follow along at the Vault. Here, we'll be checking out the rest of the fashion highlights. Day 1 and a couple highlights from Day 2, coming up:

Best in Updo Commitment
The Duchess of Cambridge, Day 2
She made her Ascot debut in Dolce & Gabbana and a Jane Taylor hat. We didn't really get to see this Dolce the first time she wore it, under a red coat at the Queen's Windsor birthday celebration; seeing it in full, the waistline might be a touch awkward?
But never mind that. I think - I think - it's time to issue her an official membership card to Team Updo. All is well.

Best in Ascot Dreams Come True
Crown Princess Mary, Day 2
and Best in Hat Sculptures
The Countess of Wessex, Day 2
You have no idea how hard I laughed when I learned that all my jokes about petitions to get Mary at Ascot were ACTUALLY TRUE. Not only did she show up, she showed up in one of my favorite dresses, an orange Marc Jacobs dress - maybe the only orange dress I've ever really  loved. No big hat for Mary, but she did go with a British milliner: Jane Taylor, in the hat she wore to Albert and Charlene's wedding as well as Princess Estelle's christening.
It was a banner day for Jane Taylor, really. The Countess of Wessex stuck to her usual Ascot dream team, Taylor and Emilia Wickstead. This hat looks like the weather turned it halfway inside out, umbrella-styles. But it's Ascot! This is THE place for all your weather-proof hat sculptures.

Best Commitment to a Theme
Zara Tindall, Day 1
Listen, Mary Katrantzou doesn't mess around with her florals. This dress is like someone stuck a perfume ad in a blender, and if you're going to wear it, you're going to have to WEAR IT. Props to Zara for not wimping out and trying to stick a plain white hat or beige purse with this one. She followed that theme all the way through.
Mary Katrantzou Amellus Dress
(P.S.: Though surely coincidental, I have to also note how much I loved that Zara's color palette echoed her granny's color palette. Yellow and blue done in two different ways for two different generations.) (P.P.S.: Here's a little behind-the-scenes look at Zara's hat from milliner Rosie Olivia.)

Best in Ascot Spirit
Princess Haya, Day 1
You know what they say: it's not Ascot until someone puts a mysterious sea creature on their head. (Princess Haya, in case you're not familiar, is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and wife of Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. She's very involved in the equestrian world, and a regular at the races.)

Best in Utilitarian Volume
The Countess of Wessex, Day 1
I like to think of the volume on these Emilia Wickstead balloon sleeves as a practical decision in addition to an aesthetic one. A pair of built-in floaties could be useful. You never know when someone's going to throw you in a lake.

Best in Sneaky Bling
The Duchess of Gloucester, Day 1
We should probably just make this a permanent lifetime award for Birgitte. She's at it again, not only sporting earrings and pearls and a brooch, but using a pair of clips at her coat clasp. Clever girl. Let's also give some love to the Princess Royal, proving once again that you just can't go wrong with something simple and white.

Best in Uniform Chic
Princess Beatrice, Day 1
I almost passed over Beatrice, but then - STOP THE INTERNET PRESSES - I saw the shoes. Don't they look like baby Garter stars from afar? Just the thing to complete the ensemble, which otherwise looks as though she's made off with the top half of somebody's military uniform. I totally think it works.
Shoes by Aquazzura x Poppy Delevingne

We'll be back with other highlights from Days 2 and 3 on Friday!

Photos: Channel4 screencaps, Net-a-porter, others as indicated