Friday, 23 June 2017

Diana's Dresses: the auction dress


Diana's life in clothes is an endless fascination. Her style was scrutinised throughout her life, she was a style icon like no other and now, as the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches, her story is being told in twenty five famous outfits at the Kensington Palace exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story. And one of the best known of the dresses on display is one that was worn by the princess at a major event in the months before her death. The gown that Diana chose to watch dozens of her outfits auctioned for charity in the summer of 1997 is as iconic as any other. Here's Diana, the Auction Dress.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Estelle and Oscar, a royal double act in the making




He has all the look of a little brother trying to work out what she's talking about and she is the image of a big sister taking control. Estelle and Oscar of Sweden have starred in some new photos to mark midsummer and they are turning into a right little double act as the camera clicks.

Royal Ascot 2017: day three


Ladies Day at Royal Ascot is all about fashion. Oh, and the Gold Cup. But a lot about fashion. There were plenty of royal appearances to enjoy on this highlight day of the regal calendar. Here's a look back at day three of Royal Ascot 2017.

Harry Windsor and the Difficult Crown



Some are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them. That's certainly the case with royalty. Rulers are chosen by birth order but when the succession gets disrupted, history has a habit of producing great monarchs from among the younger ranks of royal siblings. Whether they want the job is another matter. According to Prince Harry, the present House of Windsor is quite certain about its desires in this regard. The fifth in line to the throne has let slip in an interview with Newsweek that no one in that extensive succession wants the top job. For Harry, this is a difficult crown.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Royal Ascot 2017: Day two


She made it. After the concerns last week that the political upheaval at Westminster might force the Queen to miss a day's racing at Royal Ascot (you could tell how well loved ER is by the genuine outrage on Twitter at the possibility of her having to miss one of her favourite events of the year), the carriages rode into view with the Monarch safely ensconced at the head of the procession. It was a much lighter royal turnout than day one when someone seemed to have lifted the balcony of Buckingham Palace from Trooping the Colour and left it at the racecourse. But we got some vintage royal appearances and a contender for regal look of the year. Welcome to day two at Royal Ascot 2017.

Pearls for June: the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara


The Duchess of Cambridge in the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara in December 2015
(photo ITV still)

It's one of the most famous pearl tiaras around and there's a good chance that if Kate and William attend the State Banquet given by the Queen for Felipe and Letizia of Spain in July, we'll get to see it again. The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara has a long royal history but in recent times it was closely associated with Diana, Princess of Wales. It's now a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge so as Pearls for June continues, here's a look at a tiara we're all very familiar with indeed.

State Dinner Sparklers: Netherlands in Italy


Thank goodness for Queen Maxima. Just when June was getting ever so slightly tiara light (we've come to rely too heavily on Sweden for weddings and anniversaries this month, we need to raise our diadem game), the Queen of the Netherlands rescues us all with a sparkling appearance in Rome. Maxima and King Willem-Alexander are on a four day State Visit to Italy. That means a State Banquet and Maxima let the temperatures do the talking going for one of the hottest stones around.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Royal Ascot 2017: day one


Every duke and earl and peer is here, everyone who should be here is here....and they were. Royal Ascot lived up to its name with as regal a show in the carriage procession as we've seen in a long time. The Queen, of course, led the way but with most of her children, grandchildren and in laws around her, it was hard not to spot a royal on day one of this famous meeting. Here's how Royal Ascot got under way in 2017.

Diana's Dresses: Classic from Cannes


Diana's dresses come with lots of tags. Fairytale, iconic, timeless. But also attached to them are notions of dreams. When people talk about Diana's clothes, they talk about what makes someone seem royal, of frocks that young girls want to wear when they grow up and outfits that sum up being a princess.  This is the princess dress I dreamed of wearing when I was a youngster.  Here's a look back at the all time classic that is Diana's Cannes dress.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Royal Wedding Flowers: the Countess of Wessex


The Countess of Wessex with her fabulous wedding bouquet 
(official wedding photograph)

A royal wedding bouquet is a big ask. It's got to be big enough to see on camera (we're looking at you, here, Kate) while not so huge that it drags the bride up the aisle (Queen Mathilde, you know this means you), take account of any symbolic/ dynastic/ romantic messages its bearer wants to send and maintain a whole millennium or so of royal tradition. All in one bunch of flowers. It's perhaps for this reason that plenty of royal brides have fallen at this sartorial hurdle. No such problems for Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Meet the queen of royal bridal bouquets.

Royal Wedding Dresses: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden


When you're a queen in waiting, getting married in the biggest royal wedding the whole of Europe has seen for three decades and there's a TV audience of millions to think about, the pressure to get the dress right is huge. Victoria of Sweden showed just what she was made of by not buckling when she turned up to the church in one of the best gowns ever seen at a royal marriage ceremony. Ever. That's not an exaggeration. Stare at this frock and love it and you will only come to love it more. Meet the perfect royal wedding dress.

Royal Wedding Dresses: the Countess of Wessex


Edward and Sophie in an official wedding portrait taken on June 19th 1999

She was a discreet royal bride at a relatively low key wedding. But the bridal gown of Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones has stood the regal test of time better than many. As she became Countess of Wessex, the bride wore a gown inspired by history that looks as good now as it did on June 19th 1999 when she walked into St George's Chapel, Windsor. Here's a lookback at the Sophie's royal wedding dress.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Diana's Dresses: the Debut Dress


The life of Diana. Princess of Wales is being celebrated this year in a special exhibition at Kensington Palace (Diana, Her Fashion Story) and among the most high profile gowns in the press coverage of the event has been one worn before she even became royal. I'll admit I hadn't really registered the pale blue evening gown making such a mark in this exhibition but it's an interesting piece that has become very famous for good reason. This is the start of Diana's style story - and shows all the hallmarks of the fashion icon who would dominate headlines for years.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

George and Charlotte, Changing the Guard


Changing the Guard usually takes place in the morning but there was a royal version of it on the balcony of Buckingham Palace this Saturday afternoon. Prince George and Princess Charlotte made their second appearance there for the Queen's Official Birthday celebrations and, without really knowing, took on a new role in their royal career. For their great grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, is retiring in a few weeks' time and this could be the final time he makes an appearance at this event. Prince Philip seemed full of pride and joy as he watched the next generation enjoying a spectacle he has been part of for over six decades. Today, the royal guard began to change.

The Queen's message that speaks for so many


One statement.  One expression of a whole country’s feelings. The heartfelt message from the Queen on her official birthday, talking of sombre mood, of being resolute, of being determined, summed up how many in the UK feel right now. As did the look of sadness and disbelief caught on her face as she arrived in west London on June 16th to visit those affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower which has claimed at least thirty lives. Right now, the Queen seems to reflect the mood of us all.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Diana's Dresses: pretty in pink


Diana's dresses are among the most famous in the world and her evolution as a princess and a person can be told through their style and chic. The exhibition of her outfits at Kensington Palace celebrates her life in the year that we mark 20 years since her death and it includes some of her most famous gowns. This month, I'm taking a look at ten of my favourite pieces from the display. Now it's time to head back to the Eighties again and get Pretty in Pink.

The Royal Power of Flowers


We're used to seeing royals receiving flowers but wearing them is a different matter. While the Prince of Wales likes a discreet buttonhole or two, full on floral is another matter entirely. But as Princess Madeleine of Sweden has just shown, sometimes flowers really do hold all the power. Madeleine has just wowed at the Polar Music Awards with a floral skirt that will take some beating in the regal style rundown of the year. And with fashion going floral this seas, we've had plenty of royal posies of perfection to savour in the past few months alone. Here's a bouquet of recent moments when the royals showed us the power of flowers.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Harry visits Borough Market


Prince Harry has visited Borough Market today, less than twenty four hours after it reopened following the terror attack there on June 3rd. Kensington Palace was quite clear about why the prince had gone - he was lending support to traders as they welcome shoppers back. #LoveBorough was the message and Harry really did. He has the cake to prove it.

Pearls for June: Luxembourg


There are some pearls in there - Stephanie of Luxembourg in a very unusual tiara
(photo By Frankie Fouganthin - Own workCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wiki Commons)

The ladies of Luxembourg have a lot of tiaras to choose from and among them are two diadems decorated with pearls. One is grand and does the whole classic diamond and pearl mix thing. The other is more discreet and mixes the pearls with a more unusual stone.  Settle back and enjoy Luxembourg's contribution to pearls for June.

Nicolas, the royal team leader, turns two


This time two years ago, we got a big surprise and Sweden finally got a new prince. On June 15th 2015, Princess Madeleine gave birth to a son - the first time the ruling family had welcomed a baby boy in over 36 years. And the little prince who arrived that day turns two with a whole nursery full of male cousins following in his wake. It's time to say Happy Birthday to Nicolas of Sweden, the little royal team leader.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Queens on Trains


The Queen takes the train from Slough to London Paddington and follows in her great, great granny's rail tracks
(photo Royal Family Instagram)

'There was no dust or great heat, in fact it was delightful and so quick'. So wrote Victoria following the first ever train trip by a queen back in 1842. On June 13th 2017, her great, great granddaughter, Elizabeth II, recreated the very same journey to mark the 175th anniversary and gave us that gem of a regal image - a royal on a train. There's something really quite lovely about it all so to celebrate the anniversary, the happy photos and the sheer silliness of getting excited about royals taking trips by public transport, here are some recent times we've seen queens on a train.

Diana's Dresses: the Travolta Dress


The life and style of Diana, Princess of Wales is currently being celebrated at Kensington Palace with an exhibition of her dresses. And amongst the displays is a gown that isn't just one of Diana's best known, it's one of the most famous dresses in the world. The Historic Royal Palaces' exhibition Diana: Her Fashion Story features the Travolta Dress, a frock so famous it needs no introduction. Actually worn on numerous occasions, it is forever associated with one night at the White House when royalty met Hollywood and the world watched on. The latest installment on Diana's Dresses is all about the Travolta.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

5 things to know about William and Kate's summer tour


More details have just been announced of the visit the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make to Poland and Germany this summer. With less than six weeks to go until this high profile event, here are five things to know about William and Kate's summer tour.

Royal Wedding Traditions: the Myrtle of Sweden


Princess Sofia of Sweden's wedding bouquet was the latest to follow a royal tradition
(photo kungahuset.se)

Royal weddings are all about tradition. While the old fashioned trading of pretty princesses for large chunks of land/ no wars for thirty years/ gold bars and barrels of rum etc in marriage contracts have fortunately faded into history, some habits remain. One of them is the tradition that all Swedish royal brides wear myrtle in their hair or carry it in their bouquets on their wedding day. It's a sweet custom that not only makes the flowers a bit easier to sort, it provides a link to an ancestress whose influence shaped the modern family.

Royal Wedding Dresses: Princess Sofia of Sweden


The wedding dress of Sofia of Sweden in all its glory in one of the official photographs

It's one of the most eagerly awaited dresses of 2015 and already part of royal history. The gown worn by Sofia Hellqvist two years ago today as she became a princess was suited the bride to perfection.  A modern twist on traditional royal with enough stand out moments to make it her own, the wedding dress of Sofia of Sweden is standing the test of time.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Kate visits those hurt in London Bridge attack


The Duchess of Cambridge meets hospital staff who treated those affected by the London Bridge terror attack
(photo @KingsCollegeNHS Twitter)


The Duchess of Cambridge has spent the afternoon at King's College Hospital in London to visit some of those injured in the terror attack at London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3rd 2017. During her time at the hospital, Kate also met many of those who had cared for the victims - in the immediate aftermath and the days afterwards. And she ended her afternoon hearing about the psychological support they will all be offered in the future.

Diana's Dresses: the flamenco dress


Diana, princess and icon. As the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches, she remains one of the most famous royals of all and the tributes and commemorations ahead of the anniversary show just how much affection she is still held in, all these years on. One of the most high profile celebrations of Diana is taking place at her London home, Kensington Palace, where an exhibition marking her life in fashion opened in February. Diana was a style icon, her every outfit a headline grabber, and the princess herself was well aware of the power of her clothes (you can read all about her idea of the 'Princess Expectation here). The pieces in the exhibition are instantly recognisable and over the next two weeks. there will be a look back at ten of the iconic dresses featured there. And it starts with one of my own favourites, the flamenco dress.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark


Margrethe and Henrik of Denmark  on their wedding day, 50 years ago today
(photo Wiki Commons)

All royal weddings are sparkling affairs but when a future ruler gets married, the glitter factor is ramped right up and the celebration turns into an epic that gets its very own place in the history books. That's what happened to the wedding that took place fifty years ago today when Margrethe, heir to the throne of Denmark, wed Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in Copenhagen. The queen in waiting's marriage was attended by royals from across Europe and made headlines around the world. Which makes her outfit one very famous gown indeed. As Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik celebrate fifty years of marriage, here's a look back at the royal wedding dress that made history half a century ago today.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Pearls for June: Denmark


Queen Margrethe of Denmark in the Pearl Tiara that only she is allowed to wear

These pearls really pack some punch. Apart from being huge and rather beautiful, they are part of a tiara that is traditionally reserved for the Queen of Denmark alone. And given the magnificence of the Poire Pearl Tiara, that's not too much of a surprise. As Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henri get set to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 10th, here's a look at Pearls for June from Denmark.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses: Princess Madeleine of Sweden


Princess Madeleine of Sweden in her Valentino wedding dress

It is a royal star of a royal wedding dress. When Princess Madeleine of Sweden married Chris O'Neill on June 8th 2013 at the Royal Chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, she wore a gown by Valentino that became an instant royal classic. While very much a traditional wedding dress there was enough modern and new about this to make it a template for future gowns. Madeleine's marriage outfit was magical.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pearls for June: Spain


Queen Sofia of Spain in an official photo wearing one of the three pearl tiaras belonging to the Spanish Royal Family
(photo casareal.es)

We've already had a very modern take on pearls with a controversial pearl tiara from Spain and now we're off to Madrid again for another look at June's birthstone. There are three pearl diadems worn by the royal ladies of Spain, all with different characters and histories. This hat trick of headwear includes some unusual pieces and a very grand tiara that never fails to impress. And they could all be contenders for the tiara worn by Queen Letizia during her State Visit to the UK which is due to get under way on July 10th 2017.  Here is another set of pearls for June.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Prince Harry in Singapore: the photos


(photo Kensington Palace Twitter)

Prince Harry's two day visit to Singapore has come to an end. In the short time he was there, the prince packed in plenty. He spoke to young people about mental health and saw a quick and easy way to test for HIV. Harry also played polo and supported his charity, Sentebale. But it was also a trip touched by sadness as the prince led a minute's silence in remembrance of those killed in the terror attack in London on Saturday night. Here's a look back at Harry in Singapore.

Estelle introduces Oscar to National Day, her way


This is how you do it, brother....Estelle shows Oscar the National Day ropes

She's made it her own in recent years but now Estelle is throwing open the doors of a family tradition. The second in line to the throne of Sweden is showing little brother, Oscar, just how modern royals do national day.  But while Oscar is making his debut in these now expected photos from the Swedish royals on their country's special celebration, it's still Estelle who's the star.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Pearls for June: Queen Letizia's tiara


Queen Letizia in her diamond and pearl tiara
(photo credit: casareal.es)

The month of June takes pearls as its birthstone, an eternal favourite when it comes to royal jewellery. Perhaps it's the creamy colour or the wide variety of shapes and textures of the stone that make it so popular - after all, it goes with just about everything. And while it might not have the wow, in your face, that cost how much impact of some gemstones, it's versatile and available which is always a good start. One of the most recent, and controversial, additions to a royal collection is Queen Letizia's diadem of pearls and diamonds. It could well make an appearance during her State Visit to the UK next month so let's take a look at at as we continue Pearls for June.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sweden's June Royal Brides


Everyone loves a June bride and in Sweden it's hard to find a royal wedding that hasn't taken place in this summer month. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia chose a June date for their marriage in 1976 and all three of their children followed suit. Three of the king's sisters said 'I do' on a day in June while his grandparents, Gustaf Adolf and Margaret, also married in the month. Here are Sweden's June royal brides.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

8 Royal June Brides


June is always a pretty popular month for weddings and that's just as true for royalty as for the rest of us. Putting aside the Royal House of Sweden, where weddings are rarely held in any other month (lots more on that soon), there are plenty of other regal marriages that have taken place in this sunny, happy month. Here are eight royal brides for June.

The royal wedding that rocked the world


Edward and Mrs Simpson before their romance became common knowledge

It was low key and discreet, a million times removed from the grandeur of a usual Windsor wedding. Yet the marriage that took place, on this day in 1937, is among the most famous of all royal unions. Edward, Duke of Windsor wed Wallis Simpson in a short ceremony in France. It was a royal wedding that rocked the world.

Royal Wedding Dresses: the Duchess of Windsor

  

It's one of the most famous blue wedding dresses in the world even it's usually seen in black and white. It's about as well known as a royal wedding gown gets even though it was worn to a ceremony that took place behind closed doors and which was recorded for posterity in a brief photo session in the hot French sun later on. Yet the dress worn by Wallis Warfield Simpson at her wedding to Edward, Duke of Windsor has a place in royal history all of its own. This is the gown worn to the wedding that changed the House of Windsor, and royalty, forever.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Victoria gets her 40th birthday party started


When you're a queen in waiting and about as popular as they come, then you can get your birthday party started any time you want. With six weeks to go until Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden celebrates her 40th, the festivities have started with a series of portraits and an official royal website all about her big day. This is going to be some birthday.

8 more Royal Birthdays for June


There are so many royal birthdays in June, it's hard to keep up with them all so after yesterday's rundown of the royal women blowing out candles, here come the chaps. We've got some of the most senior and the youngest royals in Europe on this list not to mention future kings and record breaking consorts. Settle back and enjoy some more royal birthdays in June.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

12 royal birthdays in June



If you're planning on sending royal birthday cards this month, it's time to get busy. There are a lot of royals blowing out candles in this sunny month, so many in fact it's girls only here and the boys will follow later. As the sweet summer weeks of jolly June get under way, here are twelve birthday celebrations involving women born to royal houses.

Pearls for June: the Swedish Cameo Tiara


It is a tiara fit for a queen and with a romantic history that makes it ideal for weddings. The Cameo Tiara of Sweden is linked to a woman whose royal love story is among the best known in history and it has become indelibly linked with regal romances in modern day Sweden. The Cameo Tiara was worn on June 19th 1976 by Silvia Sommerlath as she said 'I do' and became Queen of Sweden and exactly 34 years later her first daughter wore it for her own wedding as she began a family that will form the basis of the Bernadotte dynasty in years to come. But its history is as fascinating as its unusual appearance.  This is a very special tiara so what better way to start out look at Pearls for June by spending some time with this lovely creation.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Top Royal Instagrams of May 2017


A picture paints a thousand words so what appears on the official royal accounts of image led Instagram should tell us reams about how the ruling houses of Europe see themselves. The photos they share let us know what they think is important now - and how often we like them says right back what we rate about royalty in 2017. The most popular Instagram posts of May paint a picture of what matters about royalty right now. Which makes Princess Charlotte very important indeed.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

5 royal reasons to remember May 2017


May is almost done leaving a long list of royal memories. Many of them are your everyday, routine, is that a ribbon you're cutting or a plaque you're unveiling kind of thing that pass into a mass of similar events dotted throughout the year. But others are stand out regal moments that have left their mark and then some, becoming landmarks in the royal 2017 that will linger long and take on a meaning all of their own. Here are five royal reasons to remember May 2017.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Cambridges Together for Heads Together (new photos inside)



The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have two new helpers in their Heads Together campaign. While William and Kate have been behind this initiative with  Harry for over a year, the royal trio have been joined by another prince and princess. George and Charlotte are starring in a new photo as their dad talks about mental health with GQ magazine.

Harry's May Photo Album


Bank Holidays are all about taking it easy and relaxing. No need to think too hard, how about a few photos? Prince Harry has had a busy month this May. To get it all in one place and remember just what a stand out month it's been for him, here are some of the best photos of Harry in May. Bank Holiday sorted.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Emeralds for May: Denmark


Queen Margrethe of Denmark in emeralds for her 40th birthday in 1980

It's one thing to have a stunning set of emeralds at your disposal, it's another when only you can wear them. The Danish royal collection includes an emerald tiara about as impressive as you will find anywhere and only Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark can wear it.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Belgium's royals and political debuts


The art of being royal can be tricky sometimes in the 21st century. Part of the mystique is the unchanging nature of the institution but to remain the same when everything else is different is a challenge. We want modern royals to be in touch with how people feel but we also want silent, elegant figureheads who do the whole smile and wave without causing, well, waves. So let's take a moment to appreciate the King and Queen of the Belgians who this week took on a headline grabbing couple of days and sailed through them with flying colours. This is what happened when Philippe and Mathilde met the President of the United States of America.

State Sparklers: Netherlands Diplomatic Corps Dinner


It wasn't just the glassware that was sparkling in Amsterdam on May 23rd 2017. The Dutch Royal Family hosted the annual Diplomatic Corps Dinner at the Royal Palace and brought out some of their grandest and glittery tiaras. Pearls, diamonds and emeralds were all on the menu - settle back and enjoy the sparklers worn by the royal women of the Netherlands at this important. yearly event.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Queen visits Manchester (updated)




The Queen has visited Manchester today to meet some of those injured in Monday's bomb attack. The Queen spent time with some of those still being treated at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital this morning and told them that the bomber was 'very wicked'. The bomb went off at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena. Twenty two people were killed, many of them children and young people.

State Dinner Sparklers: Luxembourg welcomes Portugal


The Portuguese State Visit to Luxembourg might not be the highest profile royal event of recent weeks but it's packing sparkly punch. Once we'd all stopped wondering why Stephanie has taken to holding her increasingly large clutch bags in front of her tummy over the past week or so, we got down to some serious diamond counting. There were no big surprises but plenty of stones - here are the State Dinner Sparklers when Luxembourg welcomed Portugal.