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...

When Harry met Harry....

Handsome Harrys are two a penny in London right now. Put a prince and a pop star called Harry together at a premiere of a box office biggie and what do you get? Photo magic, that's what. Here's how, why and when Harry (HRH) met Harry (Mr Styles). There's only one direction to go....

Spanish State Visit: day two, King Felipe in the spotlight

On day one of the Spanish State Visit, King Felipe VI of Spain shared the limelight.  His wife, Queen Letizia, was getting plenty of attention with three outfits in the colours of the Spanish flag while his great grandmother, British born Queen Ena, was being remembered just about everywhere.  But day two has been very much about the newest monarch in Europe. Felipe has had a string of high profile engagements on day two and he's still got time for tea before another banquet in his honour this evening. This is how the State Visit spotlight fell on the King of Spain...

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: a family of her own

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is 40 tomorrow. That's a milestone for anyone and the future queen is celebrating with several days of events (lots of photos here, keep checking back). As we wait for the party to get started, here's the last part of the picture album marking the major moments of her life so far. We've already seen how her royal story began and how she took on an historic role in the Swedish Royal Family.  Now it's time to look at how Victoria formed her own family, it's wedding and babies time.

State Dinner Sparklers: Spanish State Visit

It was a State Banquet months in the making with huge expectations on the tiara count and as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain at Buckingham Palace, the sparkle didn't disappoint. There are enough tiaras here to keep even the most die hard diadem fan happy until Christmas with history and surprises everywhere you look. Welcome to State Dinner Sparklers on #SpainStateVisit 2017.

Queen Ena, star of #StateVisitSpain

One king, two queens. While Letizia has been getting plenty of attention as the Spanish State Visit gets under way, another consort from her country has been grabbing headlines too. The first day of #StateVisitSpain has given a starring role to Queen Ena -  tragic, lonely Ena. The exhibition of Spanish linked items from the Royal Collection held after lunch at Buckingham Palace featured a big section on the woman who was consort of Spain for a quarter of a century. Queen Ena was the great grandmother, and godmother, of King Felipe. And the tiara that she wore to turn from princess to queen has just become one of the most photographed pieces of jewellery in the world as Letizia donned the Fleur de Lys, otherwise known as La Buena, at the State Banquet. Ena, the forgotten consort, is suddenly world famous. Here are five things to know about Queen Ena of Spain....

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Spanish State Visit: State Banquet first photos

The State Banquet for King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain is under way with a glittering guest list, more tiaras than you can count and sugar flowers. Yes, sugar flowers. More on those tomorrow but for now, here's a first look at the photos from a truly spectacular evening as the Spanish State Visit Banquet takes place at Buckingham Palace.

Spanish State Visit: tea and politics

After a glittering morning to get the Spanish State Visit to the UK under way, it was time for two very British pursuits. Part two involved tea and talking politics. And to prove that this is a big visit for both hosts and guests, that political chatter went straight to the top of the news agenda. Let's start with tea.

Spanish State Visit: first photos

The State Visit by the King and Queen of Spain is under way. King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain have been given an official welcome and enjoyed a carriage ride along the Mall and now it's time for lunch. While they enjoy a rather lovely looking salad made using equipment from the time of Queen Victoria (more on that later), here's a first look at some of the first images of this first State Visit from Spain in 31 years.

Spain State Visit: sunshine and showers

The King and Queen of Spain have arrived in the UK for their State Visit. Felipe VI and Letizia touched down on the afternoon of July 11th 2017 - the official visit begins this morning. And it was a case of sunshine and showers for the royal visitors who have finally made it here after several interruptions to their State Visit schedule.

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: the landmark birthdays

Let's take a little bit of time away from the Spanish State Visit to concentrate on the other big royal story this week. On July 14th 2017, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is 40. There are days of celebrations (but no overseas royals taking part, as confirmed by the guest list released yesterday) to mark this milestone. In the run up to the big day, we're taking a look at other major moments in Victoria's life so far (you can catch her baby pictures here). As it's such a landmark birthday, it's only right that other big anniversaries get a look in. So here's a look at the milestone birthdays so far, starting with a very special one indeed....

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Spanish State Visit to UK: the final countdown

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain on one of their most recent public appearances
(photo Casa Real Twitter)

Felipe and Letizia are on their way. In just a few hours time, the King and Queen of Spain will touch down at Luton Airport ahead of their much anticipated State Visit. They are in the UK from July 12th to July 14th (see the full agenda here) with plenty of headline making moments lined up. And plenty of preparation has gone into the visit. As the final countdown begins, here's a look at how the UK is getting ready for this major State Visit and how the trip is doing down in Spain.

Spanish State Visit: the rewind

The Spanish State Visit gets under way officially in just a few hours time. This is one of the most hotly anticipated visits of recent years and not just because Felipe and Letizia had had to change their plans three times since the trip was first announced. This is a chance to see the newest monarch and consort in Europe alongside the longest reigning and longest serving on the continent and it's also another chance to see the friendship between the two royal houses in action. It's also pretty historic - the last time a King and Queen of Spain paid a State Visit to the UK was back in 1986 when Felipe's parents, Juan Carlos and Sofia, did the whole carriages and king thing. To get ready for this sparkling summer treat, here's a look back at their trip and what will soon be the penultimate Spanish State Visit.

Rubies for July: Spain

Queen Sofia of Spain in the rubies given to her as a wedding present

Rubies with their hot, fiery colours suit the warm summer month of July down to the ground. The gems are usually bright red (although shades ranging from deep pink to burgundy are known) which means they are eye catching and much in demand. So it's no surprise to find that many royal houses in Europe own at least one set of these stunners and Spain is no different. But its ruby collection is very different from those in other regal collections and its striking design and flexibility makes the Spanish set a real stand out set. I'll admit, this is my favourite of all the ruby tiaras out there an dI'm hoping against hope (and every expectation) that we get to see it during the Spanish State Visit to the UK which gets underway on July 12th. Here are more Rubies for July.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Royal Engagement Rings: the Queen

It's a platinum ring that has its own platinum anniversary today. The engagement ring given to the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) by Prince Philip was first seen by the world seventy years ago today. The official engagement appearance of Elizabeth and Philip took place on July 10th 1947, a milestone in a royal romance that has been the bedrock of the modern House of Windsor. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the official betrothal appearance, here's a look  at the royal engagement ring belonging to the Queen.

Letizia's State Visit Style Pointers: the hats

The Spanish State Visit gets under way in just two days time and to complete our look at what Queen Letizia might wear, we're going back to the beginning. The official welcome at Horse Guards Parade on Wednesday will involve carriages, guards of honour and enough pomp and ceremony to keep even the most ardent royal fan happy for weeks. But it also means hats. It's a but because Letizia isn't a great hat fan. In fact, you can count the number of times she's gone high profile in a hat on the fingers of one hand. None of her previous State Visits has seen her reach for a hat but we do have some examples from weddings and other big royal events. Hat or no hat is still a big question but if a box with a brim is carried off the flight at Luton on Wednesday, here are some pointers as to what might be in it...

Rubies for July: The Burmese Ruby Tiara

The Queen in the Burmese ruby tiara commissioned in 1973

There's seems to be something about rubies that makes the era of the pieces they belong to strikingly obvious. Queen Sofia's rubies (see more here) are about as Sixties as you can get, the Swedish Connaught tiara couldn't look more Edwardian if it tried (don't believe me then look here) and the Burmese Ruby Tiara belonging to Elizabeth II only needs one glance to tell you that it was made in the 1970s. Maybe it's the fiery red colour that focuses the eye more but these gems really paint a picture of the time their settings were created. The seventies theme of the Burmese Ruby Tiara takes us right back to a time in the historic reign of Elizabeth II when she was just marking the first of many major milestones. Forty years on, it's got to be a favourite to be worn at the State Banquet during the visit by King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain in just a few days' time. Let's get retro with more Rubies for July.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Prince Harry in Leeds: the photo album

Prince Harry has spent two days in Leeds with mental health issues, sport and sweets all on the agenda. This was like a condensed version of the rest of his life, played out over forty eight hours, as the fifth in line to the throne ticked all the royal boxes. He gave speeches, he talked local issues, he lost the jacket for some sport and he ended up being photographed in one of those white hygiene hat, a particular royal badge of honour. Here's a look back at what Harry got up to in Leeds, in photos....

Friday, 7 July 2017

The House of Windsor at 100: sons of the Crown

The House of Windsor is 100 on July 17th 2017 but don't expect a fanfare. This landmark is low key but there's no doubting that it is a moment in history. On July 17th 1917, King George V changed the name of his royal house and family from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor as anti German sentiment grew in World War One. The new dynasty he created on that day, by royal proclamation, remains one of the most famous in the world and has provided some of the best known regal stories of the past one hundred years. This special series is looking at the past, present and future of the Windsors and today it's the turn of the men. Welcome to the House of Windsor at 100, sons of the Crown.

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: the first year

Crown Princess Victoria is 40 on July 14th 2017. It's a landmark birthday for a landmark princess. This is the woman who changed history as a baby and who has built a reputation as one of the hardest working and most loved royals on the continent. Just about everything Victoria does right now is headline news so making the big 4-0 is bound to be big. In the run up to the celebrations (which stretch across several days), I'll be taking a look back to some other big moments in her life so far. It all starts back in 1977, when a princess was born in Sweden....

Rubies for July: the United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, wearing the Oriental Circlet

There's nothing like a tiara fit for a queen. And while many of the diadems in the royal collections of Europe right now have been worn by both a whole host of royal ladies, some of them are designated in that very exclusive category - queens only. The Oriental Circlet Tiara, owned by the Royal Family, is one of those. And with the Spanish State Visit just around the corner (July 12th is kick off, there will be lots of photos here), this ruby sparkler is a contender for the State Banquet which will take place as this glittering event gets under way. Time for more Rubies for July....

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The House of Windsor at 100: daughters of the Crown

On July 17th 1917, George V issued a royal proclamation changing the name of his royal house and family to Windsor. It was the beginning of dynasty that would set records and change the concept of modern monarchy. And it's a house built on and by women. We've already met some of them when remembering the consorts, now we turn to the royal daughters. Four women have been born to the monarchs of the House of Windsor, all of them hugely important. As we mark the centenary of this special dynasty, here are the daughters of those who have worn the Crown.

Letizia's State Visit Style Pointers: the sparkle

OK, drop the dignity for just one moment. While we're all making the serious noises about the Spanish State Visit next week being about ties between two countries, business development, history etc, what we're all getting most excited about are the tiaras. State Visit = State Banquet = sparkle. But while the rest of Queen Letizia's past State Visit wardrobes have had a bit of a pattern to them, dipping into the past to predict tiara future is harder. For Letizia's past four State Visits have included just one diadem decked dinner. And even when she's been the host for a State Banquet, the net hasn't gone much wider. Here are the State Visit Sparkle pointers as this big visit gets closer.