02 December 2016

Royal State Visit of the Day: December 2

The tail end of this week's Belgian/Dutch state visit brought much to admire: Designer switcheroos! Jaunty hats! Sneaky tiaras!

Day 2: The sovereign couples with the Dutch Prime Minister
Belgian Royal Palace
Queen Mathilde's hat feels like it's not asymmetrical enough to be purposefully asymmetrical, if you know what I mean. Sort of just looks lopsided as is. Still, the Armani Privé coat is aces and an easy scene-stealer. (Queen Máxima wore her own fire engine red outfit with a big red hat yesterday, and I'm wondering how they missed that opportunity to twin it up.)

Day 2: The evening return concert
Usually the state banquet takes the top prize as my favorite event in any given state visit, but I don't know...the ladies might have saved their bests for night two. Máxima's tutti frutti-style necklace and bracelet should be worn All.The.Time. and they look sooooo good with this repeated Valentino green dress. Mathilde both snuck in an extra tiara appearance (that's her Laurel Wreath Tiara, worn as a necklace) annnnnnnd snuck in new designer: Jan Taminiau! This is an excellent move. It's both a nice nod to her hosts (Taminiau is Dutch, and a favorite of Máxima's), and just a great dress overall. Worth alllllll those extra letters.

Day 3
Máxima finished the visit with a feather in her cap, as she is prone to do. And Mathilde finished the visit in an Esmeralda Ammoun outfit I feel like I've seen a million times, because we've seen so many interpretations of this basic type of lace placement (see also: Kate, Letizia). I guess that qualifies it as a classic, and this might be my favorite version. This has been an A+ trip from Mathilde, hasn't it?

01 December 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure, Revisited

The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara
The Nobel Prize Award ceremonies are fast approaching. For the past few years, Queen Silvia has been alternating between wearing the Nine Prong Tiara and the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara for the gala Stockholm event. If she continues this tidy rotation, this year would be a sapphire year. In advance – in hope? – let’s revisit the tale of that blue diadem.

Queen Josephine in the tiara with pearls
Composed of 11 sapphires framed in diamonds on a diamond base of honeysuckle and leaf motifs, the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara was probably made by the Parisian jeweler Marie-Etienne Nitot. Originally, pearls were included as an alternative to the sapphires; the pearls are no longer with the tiara, but supposedly the capability is still there. It’s a flexible tiara made in 11 different sections, allowing the user to adjust the circumference at will. It folds out to store flat in its box, a feature that Queen Silvia has noted makes it very handy to travel with.

Queen Victoria (left), Queen Louise (right)
The sapphires are thought to have been a wedding gift from Napoléon to Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg, when she married Eugène de Beauharnais (Empress Joséphine's son). It makes the journey to Sweden with Augusta's daughter, Josephine, who married Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. The parure is now in the family foundation in Sweden, and has been worn mostly by queens and/or those acting as first ladies of the country.

Queen Silvia
A full parure, or matching set, of jewelry accompanies the tiara. Today, that parure is composed of the tiara, earrings, a necklace, a brooch, and two hairpins. The earrings are relatively new to the set; original earrings are thought to have been altered or given away by Queen Victoria, and a new set was created when Queen Louise (as Crown Princess) converted two of the four original hairpins into a set of earrings.

Crown Princess Victoria in parts of the parure, Queen Silvia and the Leuchtenberg Sapphire necklace and brooch
The parure today is frequently worn by Queen Silvia, and she has explored all sorts of color combinations with the luscious blue sapphires. Princess Birgitta, King Carl Gustaf’s sister, wore it for Carl Gustaf and Silvia's pre-wedding event in 1976; her outing of the sapphires was the last time the tiara was worn by anyone other than Queen Silvia (to date). She did, however, allow Crown Princess Victoria to wear the earrings, brooch, and hairpins for the Nobel Prize ceremony in 2011. 

Is this what you’re hoping to see come December 10th?
(Me: Unless someone wants to wear something we haven't seen in a while...)

30 November 2016

Royal State Visit of the Day: November 30

While the Belgians were arriving for a visit to their Dutch neighbors on Monday, the Spanish were doing the same with their Portuguese neighbors. Queen Letizia arrived in a repeat of an outfit first worn in 2012; we're going to skip right to the evening stuff, because we can.

One of my favorite Letizia gowns - this divine black Carolina Herrera - made the trip, which is delightful. Alas, her tiara did not manage to make the trip. That's not at all surprising; everyone has their own rules for which kinds of events warrant what kinds of gems, and she's following in some more cautious footsteps when it comes to bringing out the full glitter. Doesn't mean the look doesn't still feel a bit unfinished to me, at a white tie event with orders where many would go full gala, though.
House of HM the King
(For the record, she did wear her diamond wedding earrings, diamond bracelet, and diamond brooch. Which is more diamonds than I'll ever have, right there.)

White tie did equal a tiara for someone else:
The Duke and Duchess of Braganza were in attendance at the banquet, and the Duchess gave us the tiara we needed. This one is a convertible necklace, a nicely sized choice for the evening.

Night two brought some more gems, yay! These emerald and diamond earrings are an interesting pick because they come from Queen Sofia's jewel collection. The earrings are part of a set that includes an emerald and diamond necklace, and Sofia wore these pieces to Felipe and Letizia's wedding. Letizia has borrowed the set in the past.
House HM the King
They were the perfect choice to complement her repeated Felipe Varela dress. She does look great in green, doesn't she? She should have an emerald tiara to not wear.

29 November 2016

Tiara Watch of the Day: November 29

As promised, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde kicked off their state visit to the Netherlands yesterday, where they were greeted by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

NOS. See here for video.
For a pair of queens that adore a twin act in eye-searingly bright shades, the arrival outfits used an astonishingly understated color palette. Queen Máxima's Claes Iversen dress was let down by the brown poncho/cape/wrap/whatever she tossed on top for the outside stuff (it used to belong to her mother-in-law), so it was much improved indoors:
Queen Mathilde was in Natan, of course, and both wore Fabienne Delvigne hats. Gotta love that Mathilde upped her hat brim game for a visit to the queen of the giant hat brims, right?

Queen Mathilde also upped her game for the state banquet like we guessed she would, breaking out the full version of the Nine Provinces Tiara for only the second time and pairing it with a lovely soft pink gown from Pierre Gauthier.
Queen Máxima, I am sorry to report, did not do the same. I'm surprised this visit didn't rate more than a repeated Jan Taminiau gown and the Mellerio Ruby Tiara - I thought we'd see either the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara or the Dutch Sapphire Tiara - but apparently she didn't consider my opinion. The nerve.


We did, however, get plenty of other Dutch tiaras to keep us occupied. Princess Beatrix went with the Dutch Diamond Bandeau and a smattering of diamond star brooches from the family collection. Princess Margriet wore the Pearl Button Tiara (which was her wedding tiara), and Princess Laurentien wore Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara (I'm liking that piece more and more each time it shows up). I do so love it when they turn up in full force.

28 November 2016

Monday Tidbits for November 28: A Tiara Watch, and More to Come

I hope your week included pie, whether you celebrated Thanksgiving or not. Let's kick off a new one:

--Pictures from Prince Harry's trip to the Caribbean, to start your Monday right. [Hello]
Prince Harry visits the Colonarie Turtle project on St. Vincent
Kensington Palace

--Margaret Rhodes, first cousin and friend to QEII (and known to many royal watchers from her memoir and her frequent appearances in royal documentaries), has died at the age of 91. [BBC]

--Princess Beatrix and Queen Silvia met up at the Vatican, where they opened a Rembrandt exhibit.

--Over at the Vault, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, and Wessexes attended a special service for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The Queen also debuted a new set of brooches from her late mother's collection last week.

--And finally, a late breaking Tiara Watch: Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven attended the Peter Stuyvesant Ball in New York earlier this month. The Princess brought along the Dutch Emerald Parure to go with her sparkly green dress.

Coming up this week: More Dutch tiaras, and a Belgian one too, as the Belgians visit the Netherlands for a state visit starting today. We will, of course, have full coverage.

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