Saturday, 19 August 2017

The royal week, in 5 photos

One royal week, all summed up in just five photos. It's still quiet on the royal front with holidays dominating but we've had a flurry of activity - most of it in Denmark - and slowly the regal images are starting to appear again. Here's a look back at the big royal events of the past seven days in five photos.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sir Bruce Forsyth, Royal Variety Legend

Sir Bruce Forsyth
1928 - 2017

Sir Bruce Forsyth, who has died at the age of 89, wasn't just a TV superstar. As well as fronting hits like Strictly Come Dancing, Play Your Cards Right and the Generation Game, Brucie was a legendary stage entertainer, too. And for decades, he could be found taking a bow before the royal box at one of the biggest spectacles of the year. For Sir Bruce Forsyth was a sparkling part of the history of the Royal Variety Performance.

Royal response to Barcelona (UPDATED)

King Felipe has joined a minute's silence held in Barcelona today to remember those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks on Las Ramblas and in nearby Cambrils on August 17th 2017. The King of Spain stood alongside his country's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, in the Plaza de Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona as thousands paid tribute.

Steel for August: Sweden's Steel Stash

August has spinel and peridot as its birth stones and although we'll end the month with a look at some regal examples of those stones, there aren't enough to fill a whole four weeks of sparkly wonder. So this summer, we're taking a look at some of the tiaras that just don't fit anywhere else in the calendar of jewels including some of those made mainly of metal. Yes, metal. We've had a look at some of the golden additions to the modern European sparkle stash and now it's time to get really, well, metally, and start on the steel. Sweden has two tiaras made of the stuff and they're both rather pretty. Here's a sparkle fest you weren't expecting, Steel for August.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Sonja's modern tiara

Queen Sonja of Norway in her golden tiara during a State Visit to Poland in 2012

August is a chance to look at some of the gems that don't fit the calendar of jewels and golden pieces are right at the top of this sparkling list. Given that it's been associated with royalty for centuries. gold plays little part in the tiara collection of many royal houses but the ruling houses in Scandinavia are changing all that right now. Queen Sonja was a bit of a trailblazer in that regard - meet her golden tiara, you won't forget it in a hurry.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Margrethe's gilded flowers

No one else is ever going to be wearing the same headpiece when Margrethe chooses her poppies

They sound as if they should be one of the prettiest modern additions to a royal jewellery box but this set of gem encrusted flowers is controversial and then some. The Golden Poppies belonging to Queen Margrethe of Denmark are a modern take on the traditional head wear of royal ladies but these are a real love them or hate them set of jewels. Here is the most talked about of all the sets made of gold for August.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Margrethe's sparkling tiara

Golden flowers for a queen - the unusual tiara belonging to Margrethe of Denmark

The birthstones of August, peridot and spinel, are rarely used in royal jewellery but that doesn't mean the calendar of regal gems can just take a month off. The long, hot days of summer are perfect for mopping up some of the sparklers that don't fit anywhere else and where better to start than with a metal that is closely associated with royalty but rarely dominates tiaras - gold. And if you want to find a gold tiara where else would you look than in the Danish royal jewellery box. Queen Margrethe never lets us down.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the heirs

This special series is looking back at the royalty of a century past. One hundred years ago, the regal map of Europe was very different with far more monarchies and ruling houses than we have now. We're beginning our time travel with a glance with a who's who of the dynasties we know today, retrospectives on how the monarchies of 2017 were a whole century ago. We've already seen the rulers and their consorts, now it's time to look at the heirs. They're listed below according to how long they had been heir to their country's throne at the time. Kings to be with sad stories and a powerhouse of a queen regnant in the making are the heirs of 1917.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

One royal week, five royal photos

It's been a quiet week on the royal front if you're not Prince Henrik of Denmark. In which case it's been an expose yourself to global ridicule kind of seven days. But let's ignore him, it's the best thing to do with hissy fitters. Instead, let's enjoy some of the best photos of a quiet-ish royal week. Despite the summer lull we had enough regal sightings to keep us busy for another few days. Here are some of the pictorial highlights.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the consorts

It is another time, all of its own. The royal scene of 1917 is so different from now it may as well be another world. Europe was dominated by monarchies whereas now they are in the minority. Over August, I'm going to look back on the blog at the royalty of 1917 and it's starting with the shape of the dynasties that still exist today. Yesterday was all about the sovereigns who ruled the royal houses that remain in 2017. This part looks at their consorts. We've got a smattering of princesses turned queens and a very determined duke here. Settle back and enjoy the consorts of 1917....

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the monarchs

A century ago, the royal world looked very different. There were a lot more of them to start off with. In a world riven by war, the ancient dynasties that had held power were holding on but sometimes only just. This month, I'm taking a look back at the royal world of a summer a century ago and it all starts with the people in charge of the dynasties we still know today. There will be another post soon looking at the rulers of monarchies that have long gone. But first here are the sovereigns of 1917, in order of reign length starting with the one who had been ruling the longest by 1917....

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Prince Henrik's blame game

If ever there was a moment to keep quiet and carry on it was just after you'd made yourself a global laughing stock. Prince Henrik is having none of that. Days after getting everyone tutting and tittering by throwing the ultimate royal hissy fit and saying he wouldn't be buried next to his wife because he'd never been given the title of king consort, he's made things even worse. In an interview to be published in full tomorrow, Henrik is laying the blame at the feet of the Queen of Denmark.

Denmark's royals on damage limitation duty

Keep calm and carry on. That motto has got many a monarchy out of a muddle and it's being put into good use in Denmark right now. As Prince Henrik keeps the world entertained as he rows with himself about where he's going to be buried, the next generation of royals is keeping it real. What better way to show the regal focus is on the country and not the contents of a still to be dug grave than getting out and about and being seen to do just that? Cue the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark on a charm offensive.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Royal social media stars of July 2017

Royalty relies on image. Since medieval times, the appearance of things regal plays a big part in the success or otherwise of a dynasty. From Holbein's portraits to Beaton's photos, one moment caught forever can have a huge say on the forever prospects of a royal family. In the 21st century, image remains just as important and is played out in many different ways with Instagram increasingly popular. Nearly all the royal houses of Europe have an official account now (we're looking at you, here, Felipe and Letizia because you broke our hearts not launching one to co-incide with the State Visit) and what they post there gives us a pretty good idea of how they want to be seen right now. Just as importantly, what we like gives a good indication of how we see the royals right now. And birthdays and cute kids always win. Nothing beats a birthday on Instagram. Except puppies, and we had one of those this month, too. In a cake filled month, here's what won hearts for the royals in July 2017.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Denmark's princely huff over graves is a right royal row

Prince Henrik of Denmark is nothing if not good value for money. Just when you think royal season has gone quiet on us, up he pops in a row of his own making that makes people laugh and shake their heads in equal measure. Henrik, now 83, has never got over the fact that his marriage to the Queen of Denmark makes him a prince and not a king. He's stropped off to France about it before, he's given endless and ultimately dull interviews about why he's so hard done by and now he's thrown the ultimate royal consort hissy fit and said he's not going to be buried with his wife when the time comes in protest. You've got to admit the man is trying.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Hat tip to Philip, king of royal PR

It's the image that summed up the day and you can place the credit firmly with one person. Since the moment he entered the Royal Family, 70 years ago, Prince Philip has shown a knack for handling the media. The photo of him tipping his hat during his final public engagement on August 2nd 2017 has made the front page of just about every UK paper and there's a reason for that. It sums up the story of the Duke of Edinburgh retiring perfectly and the man himself knows that better than anyone.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What other royals did on a day of history

Life goes on. All eyes might have been on Prince Philip as he retired from public life with a final solo engagement at Buckingham Palace on August 2nd 2017, but other royals were marching into the future as the curtain fell. On the day that the Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life, there was a handful of royal appearances across the continent. Here's what other royals did on a day for the history books.

Prince Philip's final engagement

In the end, there was no other way to say goodbye. As the Duke of Edinburgh walked back into Buckingham Palace at the end of his final solo public engagement, the band broke into 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow'. And so say all of us.

Prince Philip's final bow

The Duke of Edinburgh carries out his final public engagement today ahead of his retirement. Prince Philip will attend a parade at Buckingham Palace to mark the end of a challenge for the Royal Marines which celebrates their strength and endurance. It will be the end of an era.

Two royal brides for August

August might be a popular time for brides across Europe but for royal brides, it's not that hot a date. What with all those regal relatives heading off to their summer palaces for a bit of a break, getting all the royal guests in one place for an August wedding can be hard work. But in one country, they don't let that get in their way of holding a royal wedding. Norway loves an August marriage and in the last fifty years, it's given us two of the continent's biggest royal weddings in that month. Here's a look back at two royal August brides....

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Summer starts in Spain

It really is royal holiday season when you spot a Spanish royals in the fading Mallorcan sun. Put a monarch on the steps of the Marivent Palace there and you have a fanfare like no other to say that the summer break is well and truly upon us. So grab your sunnies and a big hat, Felipe has been prowling his palatial holiday home for a photocall which can only mean one thing. Summer starts right here.

12 royal birthdays for August

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway celebrates her birthday in August

August is traditionally quiet on the royal front. The summer holidays beckon and as the rest of us head off for a bit of a break, the royals do exactly the same leaving a great big gaping hole where the photos, smiles and appearances usually go. But that's not to say a royal fix will be hard in August because it's also a bumper month for birthdays. Get the cards ready, here are 12 royals who will be celebrating in August.

Monday, 31 July 2017

5 royal reasons to remember July 2017

And then we came to the end. After a month that's been positively overrun with royal events, just about everyone is feeling exhausted from so much regal news. We've had big stories, big anniversaries and big visits and that's just to get things started. As July winds to a close, here's a look back at the major moments that will linger. Here are 5 royal reasons to remember July 2017....

Royal remembrances at #Passchendaele100

''Drawn from many nations, we come together in their resting promise that we will never forget''. The words of the Prince of Wales at a ceremony marking the centenary of the beginnings of the Battle of Passchendaele were moving and special.  And they came as two Royal Families came together to join their tributes to those of thousands in Belgium and around the world as the start of one of World War One's most terrible battles was marked.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

George and Charlotte's tarmac tour

It's one way of building a profile. Prince George and Princess Charlotte made like plane spotters this month and spent a lot of time hanging out at airports. The third and fourth in line to the throne accompanied their parents on their visit to Poland and Germany but while William and Kate were on parade through day and night, their little prince and princess kept their appearances airside. We got tarmac and tantrums and loved every second of it. Here's a recap of George and Charlotte's airport adventures from July 2017.

Rubies for July: Denmark

The fiery red birthstone of July has been a favourite for royals over centuries and this month's look at their modern use ends with one of the best known ruby tiaras around right now. The Danish Ruby Tiara, part of a stunning parure, is now used by Crown Princess Mary and it's such a favourite we get to see it at least once a year. But it has a long and romantic history so to end our look at this month's birthstone, here are rubies for July from Denmark.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses: Lady Diana Spencer

It's about as famous as royal wedding dresses come. The Emanuel design worn by Lady Diana Spencer as she married the Prince of Wales on July 29th 1981 remains an icon of modern royal fashion. We know the bows, the frills and the creases like the backs of our own hands but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them one more time. Thirty six years on from the wedding of the century, here's a look back at Diana's wedding dress.

Royal Wedding Album: Charles and Diana

It remains the most famous royal wedding of all. The ending may not have been the fairytale everyone hoped for on that July day in 1981 but the event itself was a modern royal event like no other. In the intervening 36 years we have had many other royal weddings but none has really come close to matching the moment when Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer were married at St Paul's Cathedral, London on July 29th 1981. Here are ten legendary images of Charles and Diana's marriage.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Rubies for July: the Netherlands

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in one of the ruby tiaras belonging to her royal house

Rubies have been used by royalty for centuries. In fact, it's one of the most regal gem stones there is. It's bright colour and deep hues make it a stand out stone for royalty but while the huge rubies of history sat happily in crowns, orbs and sceptres, the smaller settings used in modern gems made it less popular for designs in the 19th and 20th centuries when many tiaras were being designed. The Dutch Royal House has a very famous ruby tiara in its jewellery box from the late 19th century which showcases this fiery gem against a sea of sparkle. Here are Rubies for July from the Netherlands.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Granny Diana

Who knows what she would look like -  no doubt still beautiful and a royal style icon. Where would she be living and what would she be doing? All questions that have been asked many times in the two decades since Diana, Princess of Wales died prematurely in a car accident in Paris. No one knows but what is certain is that one idea of the life she never lived has caught the public imagination in recent days. The thought of Granny Diana has taken hold and is fast becoming as much a part of her story as all that actually happened.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Diana and her boys dominate the news

This time yesterday, most of us had never seen this image of Prince Harry with Diana. Now, it's one of the most famous photos in the world. Harry and William have released it as they take part in an ITV documentary about their mum which goes out on Monday 24th July in the UK. As with any TV programme, there's publicity beforehand. But when that involves William and Harry talking about Diana, it becomes headline news around the world.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Prince George at four (new photo inside)

He's had a busy week and for pre birthday treats, a bit of a play on a real helicopter takes some beating. Prince George will be spending his special day behind closed doors but as the celebrations get under way for his birthday, Kensington Palace has released a special portrait of the boy who will be king.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Royal Visit Germany: Kate in control

The royal tour of Germany built to a crescendo in Hamburg and as the final curtain fell, we were left in no doubt who is in charge of the Cambridges. Kate took control as the European working visit came to an end. There was something rather symbolic about the Duchess of Cambridge taking the baton and the lead on a royal trip to the Elbphilarmonie in the city. Kate rules when it comes to these royals.

Diana stars in Buckingham Palace's summer opening

Her former home, Kensington Palace, has been celebrating her life all year and now another royal residence which played such a major role for Diana, Princess of Wales is putting her centre stage, too. Buckingham Palace will have a special display on Diana during its summer opening this year as the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

#RoyalVisitGermany: the pretzel prince

It wasn't his finest moment. The Duke of Cambridge tried his hand at pretzel making during the second part of #RoyalVisitGermany and ended up in a bit of a knot. William's cooking demonstration during his visit to Heidelberg left him in a definite second in the Cambridge competition stakes. But it didn't take long for the future king to put that right.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

EU Blue for Berlin?

Was it EU blue? Given that Kate didn't borrow the famous floral hat that the Queen wore for the State Opening of Parliament that has taken endless comparisons to the European flag, there's no conclusive answer. But the striking shade of blue was a big hit on day three as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's European visit moved from Poland to Germany. Their visit to Berlin started with politics and ended with a political reference in William's speech. A big day, shaded blue.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Kate Effect in Gdansk

The Kate Effect has hit Gdansk. I'm not talking about how quickly copies of her clothes have sold out in the Polish city. No, this is all about the impact that the Duchess of Cambridge had there during her afternoon stop on day two of Royal Visit Poland. Quite possibly some of the huge crowds had come to see William, too. But, let's face it, Gdansk on Tuesday was all about Kate.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Royal Visit Poland: day one

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are well and truly into Royal Visit Poland. They've packed in plenty as their latest European tour gets under way. The visit is designed to bolster relations with Poland and Germany (where William and Kate arrive on Wednesday) and so far everyone seems to be getting on very well indeed. Apart from George and the airport.

Spanish State Visit: the Twitter finale

The flags are down (and the Mall looks a lot less sunny for it), the tiaras have been packed away but there was one last act of the Spanish State Visit to play out. As King Felipe and Queen Letizia boarded their plane back to Madrid, the official Twitter accounts of both royal households shared special videos packed with their own highlights of the trip. It was a tweet of a finale to a special State Visit.

Camilla on camera at 70, new portrait inside

The Duchess of Cornwall is 70 today and while the day itself might be low key, it's not going totally unmarked. To celebrate her 70th, Camilla has been caught on camera with Charles. And the man behind the lens for this new portrait is none other than Mario Testino.

Camilla at 70: seven decades, seven photos

The Duchess of Cornwall is 70 today. And once we've got over the excitement of seeing whether the Duke of York will tweet a congratulatory message on her actual birthday rather than sending them out days in advance. we've got seven decades of Camilla to celebrate. The baby girl born in London on July 17th 1947 has had a rollercoaster royal ride but as she marks three score years and ten, has found a personal equilibrium and a popular profile that is bringing contentment all round. As Camilla of Cornwall turns seventy, here's a look back at her life so far with seven pictures for seven decades.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Kate's date with King Roger the Eighth

It's been a special Wimbledon for Kate and it came to an end with an historic match. The Duchess of Cambridge, in her first year as patron of the All England Tennis Club, watched Roger Federer become the first man to claim eight singles titles and extend his record as all time Grand Slam holder. Oh, and he's the oldest chap ever to take a singles crown in the Open era. That's one way to make sure Kate remembers her debut season as patron.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sunshine at Solliden for the Summer Princess

Crown Princess Victoria rounded off her 40th birthday celebrations in a place she called her ''summer paradise''. The future queen of Sweden and her family headed to the island of Oland for the last part of her party and Victoria left no one in any doubt about how happy she was to be there for this milestone.

The King of Tennis

If any Spanish player gets to the final of the US Open, they might want to get King Juan Carlos on a plane as quick as they can. For the second Grand Slam in a row, Juan Carlos has turned up to cheer on a Spanish star and had plenty to smile about as they've gone on to win. That's before we even take into account the fact he was also in Cardiff to see Real Madrid do the duodecima this summer. The happy ending at Wimbledon is part of what's been a golden week for Spain's monarchy. King Juan Carlos is the royal everyone wants cheering them on right now.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Spanish State Visit: ending on a high

Well, that went well then. The King and Queen of Spain have ended their State Visit to the UK with the cheers still ringing in their ears. The past three days have been a win all round for King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain and there were big crowds out in Oxford to send them on their way as their tour came to a finish. Here's how the Spanish State Visit ended on a high....

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: carriages and kids

The celebrations for the 40th birthday of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden are well and truly under way. We've had dancing, singing and speeches and that's before we even get to the carriages. On a sunny day in Stockholm, thousands have come along to join in the festivities for the future queen. Here's a look back at some of the images from this special day so far....

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: the Te Deum

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is 40 today and celebrations began with the country's royal family attending a Te Deum service for her at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The birthday girl was the star of the show but the next generation of princes and princesses gave her a run for her royal money as the family arrived. Here are the photos that signal the 40th birthday party of Sweden's future queen is well and truly under way...

Kate's night at the museum, the photo album

From glitter to whale skeletons. It's been a strange twenty four hours for the Duchess of Cambridge. After all the sparkle of the State Banquet for the Spanish State Visit on Wednesday, Kate was at the Natural History Museum on Thursday for a spot of official opening. We learned her kids love nature, she is fascinated by life under the water and if she cuts her hair at all the world goes nuts. Here is Kate's night at the museum, in photos.

State Dinner Sparklers: day two of the Spanish State Visit

It's not 100% a State Dinner but don't let that little fact get in the way of enjoying these tiaras. The Princess Royal accompanied the King and Queen of Spain to a dinner in their honour at the Guildhall in the City of London on July 13th 2017 and there was plenty of sparkle to see. There are no huge surprises but when there are this many diamonds, who cares? Here's how day two of the Spanish State Visit got glittery...

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Spanish State Visit: the glittering Guildhall Gala

If the early part of day two of the Spanish State Visit was all about King Felipe then Queen Letizia took over for the evening. The couple attended a gala dinner at the Guildhall in London in their honour and the Queen of Spain was definitely the star of the show. Here's the second gala event of the Spanish State Visit, in pictures...