Royal Round Up October 2 – 5

Many Royals have been out and about this week. We’ve rounded up a few key sightings if you’ve missed them:

October 2: Princess Charlene surfaces in Paris at the Akris runway show

Princess Charlene sat in the front row, two seats down from none other than the Queen of Vogue, Anna Wintour. She also spoke to the Daily Telegraph when they requested an impromptu interview. She told them, “I think for anyone living in a new country and adapting to a new lifestyle, it’s a different role…I’m just learning.I was an Olympic swimmer, I lived in a swimsuit, I lived on tour.” She also said she isn’t taking on royal duties full time: “I have just taken a bit of a break. I need time to adjust. I just got married.”

That may be very true, and no doubt it’s an adjustment to go from Prince Albert’s girlfriend to Princess of Monaco, but she has lived in Monaco since 2007 and had a good amount of time to get familiar with it all. So….it can’t be that big of a shock, can it? There does seem to be something else afoot here.

October 3: Princess Eugenie hailed a cab in her socks

We’ve all been there. Apparently it took ages for a cab to stop…

October 4: Princess Beatrice attended an exclusive Tony Bennet Concert

And then headed to Paris!

October 5: Princess Beatrice sat in the front row at Elie Saab in Paris

Not a shabby way to spend a Wednesday. And we love this dress on her – this has got to be one of the best looks Bea has turned out in lately. Apparently there was a bit of a kerffufle with Princess Sirivannavari of Thailand, who also sat in the front row..basically Bea’s bodyguard reportedly told her, “She don’t want to meet no princesses. She’s sitting here, not getting up.” Hmmm…no politeness points there. We hope this is just a rumour. These things can turn into international incidents!

October 5: Prince Philip Hobnobbed with Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow

The night of the fashion, show, Prince Philip attended an evening at The Arts Club in London’s Mayfair. Bear in mind Prince Philip recently celebrated his 90th birthday. What a guy to be out on the town. Can you imagine if the Queen had showed up with him? It would have been quite a different event in that case…this looks like it could be a little more relaxed. Gwyneth even got up and stage and sang her heart out.

What on earth were they talking about, do you think?

October 5: The Duchess of Alba married for the third time

Ok, she’s not technically ‘royal’ but heck the Duchess of Alba is 85 years old and the Guiness Book of World Records has her as the most titled woman on the planet. She is also enourmously wealthy and On October 5th, she married for the third time. Her new husband is 60 year old Alfonzo Diez. As you can imagine, this marriage caused great friction amongst her children who reportedly believed that Alfonzo was something of a gold digger. To prove them wrong, the Duchess divided up her fortune amongst them before the wedding. We hope she’s right!

Here’s a picture of the Duchess at her first wedding:

The Mitford Sisters

Hands up if you’re intrigued by the Mitford Sisters! We posted about another set of sisters, The Miller Sisters, a few weeks ago. This set of sisters, while not royal, is more controversial and somehow more intriguing – they were amungst the original “It Girls” after all. While many of you will be familiar with the Mitfords, here’s a quick summary for those who may not be…

The Mitfords are an aristocratic English family. Lord and Lady Redesdale had six daughters (and a son) born between 1904 and 1920. The six sisters became famous and others notorious for their politics, beauty, or marriages (or all three).

The letters between the girls over decades have turned into The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters (2007). We really loved this book for its fascinating insights into the lives of aristocratic women throughout the 1900s while also showing their remarkable wit and intelligence.

Here’s a quick run down of the six Mitford Sisters, from oldest to youngest.

The Hon. Nancy Mitford (28 November 1904 – 30 June 1973)

The eldest Mitford, Nancy was known for her acid wit. She wrote a number of novels, including The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. (They both are great, fun reads.) She spent her final years living in Paris wearing Dior and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and an Officer in the French Legion of Honour for her writing accomplishments.
The Hon. Pamela Mitford (25 November 1907 – 12 April 1994)

Given the nickname ‘Woman’ by her family, Pamela was arguably the tamest of the six sisters and had the least newspaper headlines. She enjoyed domesticity and animals and married a jockey. Endearing tid bit: the Aga stove in her kitchen was a brilliant blue chosen to match her eyes.

The Hon. Diana Mitford (17 June 1910 – 11 August 2003)

Diana became one of the most notorious and controversial of the six sisters. A stunning beauty, she married Bryan Guinness of the brewing family and heir to the barony of Moyne at the age of 18. Upon her marriage she became a leader of the London social scene, and lady of homes in London and Dublin as well a country estate. However, she soon shocked London society to the core when she left Bryan to embark on an affair with Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists. This was Simply Not Done. Seriously. Diana and Mosley married secretly in Germany on 6 October 1936, shockingly in the Berlin home of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler as a guest (he gifted the couple with a framed photograph of himself). As you can imagine, the Mitfords were horrified, and understandably Diana was considered by the British government to be even more dangerous than Mosley. The pair were imprisoned for much of WWII for their views (in part due to testimony from older sister Nancy). Diana spent much of her later years living in France and live cldose to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor who became close friends. Imagine being a fly on the wall at those dinner parties!
The Hon. Unity Valkyrie Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948)

Unity, who happened to have a German middle name, became fascinated with Germany and moved there. She had an disturbing, obsessive fasciation with Hitler, and frequented the cafe that he was known to visit. After going every day for months, she was eventually invited to join him at his table and they became close enough him to play her against his girlfriend to make the girlfriend jealous. The day war was declared between her native England and Germany, Unity devastated her family and shot herself in the head. She survived, but was brain damaged and suffered poor health for the rest of her life. She passed away in 1948 in the home of her mother.

The Hon. Jessica Mitford (11 September 1917 – 22 July 1996)

Jessica (‘Jecca’ to her family), a staunch communist, ran off at age 19 with her second cousin, Esmond Romilly, to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. This was also Simply Not Done and made the cover and many newspapers at the time. They eloped, and eventually moved to the United States. Sadly, Esmond died fighting in WWII. Jessica remarried, and became an investigative journalist and writer. She wrote the book Hons and Rebels, based on her early years, and The American Way of Death, among others.

The Hon. Deborah Mitford (born 31 March 1920)

And now, onto our favourite and final Mitford, the very likable Deborah(‘Debo’). The youngest (and only surviving) sister, Deborah grew up loving animals and taking care of her chickens. She married  Lord Andrew Cavendish who became heir to the Duke of Devonshire when his elder brother was killed in WWII (he was married to Katherine, “Kick” Kennedy, JFK’s sister, but that’s a whole other story). Together, they virtually saved the family seat of Chatsworth from ruin (Chatsworth has it’s very own post in the works – stay tuned), and also maintained Lismore Castle in County Waterford,  Ireland.

Chatsworth
Lismore Castle

In her lifetime, she has held the following titles:

  • The Honourable Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford (1920 – 1941)
  • Lady Andrew Cavendish (1941 – 1944)
  • Marchioness of Hartington (1944 – 1950)
  • Her Grace The Duchess of Devonshire (1950 – 2004)
  • Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (2004 – present)
Despite her titles, her teasing sister Nancy used to call her ‘Nine’, which she claimed was Debo’s mental age.
Luckily for us, for someone who claims she’s never read a book, The Dowager Duchess has written many, including her memoir ‘Wait for Me!’ which was published last year in honour of her 90th birthday.  We loved it – it’s funny, honest, and offers a wonderful insight into her life as the youngest of the infamous Mitfords, the ups and downs of her life, and funny anecdotes of life on the Chatsworth Estate. For example, during the years that she and her husband the Duke restored Chatsworth, they would often go for walks on the grounds. Once Chatsworth came into view should would remark, “What a lovely house! I wonder who lives here?” To which he would answer, “Oh, do shut up.”
What are you thoughts on the Mitfords?

Our Favourite Kate Quotes

Ok, so we haven’t heard Kate speak in public all that much and we understand why it will be a while until we do. Prior to the William and Kate’s North American tour, their Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said that Kate would not be speaking publicly. He said,  “There is a time and a place to choose to sensibly introduce yourself to the role of public speaking. When she feels comfortable to do that [she will].” This is all part of the strategy that has been carefully worked out for Kate’s introduction to Royal Life that we are seeing unfold, so, in the meantime,  here are a few of our favourite Kate quotes.

#5. “There’s a 3 D effect

This was Kate’s oh so diplomatic response to the Queen when the Her Majesty called the wedding dress display at Buckingham Palace (click on the link to see our favourite wedding dresses) “horrid” and “creepy”. Does this 3 D comment make sense? Not really. But what was she supposed to say? We’ve got to give Kate full marks for trying. She was dealing with a crabby Queen (on their way down the corridor to the exhibit she is overheard saying something like, “you’ve already seen this, so you don’t want to see it again do you?”) and she obviously didn’t want to be rude or hurtful to the  exhibit’s curator, something that the Queen didn’t seem too concerned about. Kate made a real effort for this outing and had her hair done and put on a new dress (quite different from the dress she was wearing when she first met the Queen-click here to see). We can all relate to this quote and being in rather desperate straights having to think of a quick response. Well done, Kate.

via MSNBC.com

#4 “By far the best dressing up outfit I ever had was a wonderful pair of clown dungarees, which my Granny made. They were white with big red spots and she used a small hula hoop for the waistband — genius!

This is an excerpt from an interview with Kate posted on the Party Pieces website in March of 2010. It was pulled down pretty quickly, no doubt due to concerns that Kate was using her celebrity to promote her family’s business (click on the link for more on the Middletons) while still trying to be a private citizen. It’s true you can’t have it both ways. Similarly, this picture was posted on the company website back in 2008 and was also quickly pulled down. At any rate, this quote is a nice insight into Kate’s childhood.

via PartyPieces.co.uk

#3 “It was a huge shock when it came and very excited

This was Kate’s take on how she felt when William proposed during their official engagement interview with ITN reporter Tom Bradby. There was a real giggle at the end. Cute.

via The Daily Mail

#2 According to fellow St. Andrew’s University student Richard Dennen (years before William and Kate were engaged – click on the link for Kate’s pre-engagement style) Richard he told Kate he was nervous about his new job at Tatler she told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you my first interview.” HA. Cheeky!

Via Zimbio.com

#1 “I’m not very good at that was Kate’s off-guard comment when the official engagement interview came to an end. Kate was so relieved it was over she fell back on the couch pillows and uttered these words.  She did do a great job, but like anyone she was being hard on herself. She must not have known it was caught on camera and would be included in footage…but it is so real and normal we love that it did!

Check it out for yourself by clicking on this link here. This adorable moment is at the 25:02 minute mark. It’s soooo worth it, even if you’ve already seen it before!

Let us know if we’ve missed one of your favourites!

British Royal Family Christening Gowns

Today we discuss a different type of gown – Christening gowns.

Since 1841 most members of the Royal family have has worn the same ancient christening gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Victoria. The gown is believed to have been made from the same silk and Honiton lace as Queen Victoria’s wedding gown.

The gown been carefully preserved over the years. Here’s a glimpse of the gown some of the members of the Royal Family that has worn it:

Princess Elizabeth of York, 1926

Prince Charles, 1948

Princess Anne, 1950

Here is some old news footage of the event:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYtcid46vF4&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLDF6EC4BB0232BFFD]

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, 1964

Peter Philips, December 1977

It’s a bit of a mystery, but in the footage for Zara’s christening, Princess Anne mentions that Peter didn’t wear the gown. If anyone knows more about why that would be, please let us know in the comments! The Queen sure looks sweet here regardless:

Zara Philips, 1981

Here is the footage of the photocall after Zara’s christening. It’s a great peak into the Royal Family. At 2:30, you will hear Princess Anne talking about the christening gown. She says that Zara is wearing the same gown that she and the Queen both wore. She says Peter didn’t wear it because “he’s a boy.”  It’s worth a look:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-_Tg3MjF4s]

Prince William of Wales, 1982

A nice picture of Baby Wales in the traditional gown. He wailed for much of the photos, and Princess Diana later told Andrew Morton that she hadn’t been consulted on what part of the day would be a good time for the christening in terms of William’s schedule. Turned out it was the worst time! Interestingly, Prince William was christened on the Queen Mother’s birthday (August 4th):

Check out some footage of a wailing William at the photo call after his christening here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_zEl9fSFr4]

Prince Harry of Wales, 1984

Absolutely the best royal christening photo ever!

And here’s some footage of the photo call for Prince Harry. In it, Prince Charles talks about all the other royals who have worn the gown. They all appreciate the history, it seems. Funny how he says, “it must get so incredibly hot inside there.” And then the Queen teaches Zara and Peter about the meaning of the word ‘dash’ and that they can use it when they are cross. LOVE it:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPJQvQX7X9I]

Princess Beatrice of York, 1988

Princess Eugenie of York, 1990

Eugenie’s Christening took place on December 23rd, at Sandringham, Norfolk, where the Royal Family spends Christmas. Is the a young Peter Phillips we spy, sticking a straw of sorts in Fergie’s face? Oh dear.

Lady Louise, 2004

Lady Louise, above, was the last royal baby to be christened in the original gown. At the christening of Prince Edward and Sophie’s son James, Viscount Severn, a replica of the gown was first used.

James, Viscount Severn, 2008

Savannah Philips, 2011

The most recent royal baby to use this gown was Savannah Phillips, daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, and granddaughter of Princess Anne. The gown is shown in it’s full glory, below.

So, the big question is, who will be the next royal baby to wear the gown?

Updated July 2013: We may have an answer to that question! Peter and Autumn Philips’ second daughter, Isla Elizabeth was christened in the same church as her older sister. The christening took place on July 1, 2012. However, we didn’t get a photo of Isla wearing THE gown, just a quick snap of her in this blue one:

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Perhaps she wore the gown inside the church, and they changed her out of it in order to keep it preserved? Here’s to hoping. I mean, that blue dress is cute and all, but come on.

And now Prince George of Cambridge will be next!

Updated Oct 2013: For our post on Prince George’s christening, click here.

‘The Fish Are Having Their Revenge’ ~ The Queen Mother

HM The Queen Mother, taken by Lord Snowdon in 1997. Is that a fishing hat?

We’ve already talked about Princess Diana’s lack of prowess with a fishing rod, so let’s move on to a royal who was a real expert at angling: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Who doesn’t love the Queen Mum? She famously gave just one interview in her life; the only occasion was an impromptu interview in 1923 during her engagement when she was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The Queen Mum definitely believed in “less is more” in maintaining a royal mystique and refused to do any more after that but she still left us with many ‘bon mots.’ We’ll get to one of our favourite in a moment.

The Queen Mother loved to fish and was an adept fly fisherman. As is the royal way, her interest in fishing led her to become the patron of the Salmon  and Trout Association which focuses on salmon and trout conservation. She would fish along the banks of the River Dee in Scotland when staying at Balmoral and she also enjoyed fishing for trout at the lochs that surrounded the Castle of Mey in Scotland. The Queen Mum bought the castle in 1952, shortly after her husband died and it become a great refuge for her. Here’s a look of the Queen Mum in front of her castle:

A humble abode, really. Some might call it a fishing lodge.

The Queen Mum fished for years, and one of our favourite tales of her fishing is when a fellow angler realized that she was sharing the river with none other than the mother of the Queen. The lady instantly went to curtsy, and of course her boots filed with water and she got extremely wet. No doubt the Queen Mum had a discreet chuckle over that.

She certainly showed her sense of humour in May 1993.  That month, while staying at Balmoral, the Queen Mum was enjoying a fish dinner when a bone lodged in her throat and she began to choke. Her Majesty was rushed into emergency surgery at the nearby Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to remove the bone. After the succesful surgery she remarked:

After all these years, the fish are having their revenge.’ What a lady!

Jewelry Predictions for Kate: The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Seeing as Kate is the Duchess of Cambridge and all, we hope that she will eventually wear the gorgeous, antique Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. With its dangling pearl drops and dainty diamonds, what a sight that would be!

We imagine Kate won’t wear it for quite some time since it appears that she has the Cartier Halo Tiara at her disposal and it really is the perfect starter tiara to work with for the time being. In case you need a refresher, the Cartier Halo Tiara is the one lent by the Queen for Kate to wear on her wedding day.

One big hint that we’ll see Kate wear this again: Kate’s parents gave her earrings that match the Halo Tiara very well. No doubt Kate intends to wear both the earrings and tiara together at future tiara events (we can’t wait for that!). The earrings were specially designed by Robinson Pelham to feature the acorn in their new family crest and they looked just lovely on the wedding day; big enough to be noticed and significant and yet not too blingy. if you look closely at the photo below, you can see that the scroll on her earlobe matches the scroll of the tiara. Clever!

Here’s another look at the gorgeous earrings. See what we mean with the scrolls?

Once Kate has earned her ‘Royal stripes’ so to speak, and has put in some quality time as a full working royal, we think she’ll start to bust out some more serious jewels. It’s a smart strategy. Hopefully the Cambridge Lover’s Knot will be one of the serious pieces Kate will add to her repertoire. We image that she’ll bring out a tiara like this around the same time that she is honoured with the family Order. We know that this tiara is strongly identified with Princess Diana (along with some of the other jewels of Diana’s we hope she wears, more on that later) but hopefully that won’t deter her.

As we all know, the Queen lent Diana this tiara for her use on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Charles (when the Prince and Princess divorced, the tiara was returned). Diana chose to wear the Spencer Tiara for the wedding, but did wear the Cambridge Lover’s Knot on numerous occasions. She said it gave her headaches, but come on! To be able to wear this piece, a headache would totally be worth it. Don’t let that stop you, Kate!

This tiara has a lot of history. It was commissioned in 1913 by Queen Mary; she wanted a design that was similar to one her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse owned and that had been made for her in 1818 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of Cambridge. Here is a portrait of Princess Augusta in this original tiara:

And here is Queen Mary in the version that she commissioned:

The pearls on the top of the tiara we see above could be removed and Queen Mary wore the tiara both with and without these pearl spikes. Not entirely sure if this is still the case; if you know, please fill us in! Queen Mary was Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother, and when she passed away in 1953 this tiara was passed onto Queen Elizabeth.

Here is a beautiful, candid shot of Queen Elizabeth wearing the tiara en route to an event. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the matching earrings:

And here is one of our favourite portraits of Diana. She is wearing the pearl encrusted Catherine Walker “Elvis” dress with the gorgeous tiara and the earrings, which are partially obscured but the stand up collar. Princess perfection and Diana knew it, you can see it in her eyes here, don’t you think?:

So, are you with us?? Let’s put out good vibes so the Queen suggests that Kate eventually get this little number out of the vault. If it’s done all in good time, it would be gorgeous and so appropriate on her! And what other royal lady would the public be happy to see wearing this? Exactly. This tiara can’t stay hidden away for ever!

Updated December 2015: We are happy to wore this that Kate was loaned the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara for the annual Diplomatic Reception held at Buckingham Palace on December 8, 2015. Here is a photo of her wearing it as she was driven through the gates of the Palace. So happy to see her wearing this piece! This is the third tiara that Kate has worn, so the Queen has certainly been generous.2F2ECC6400000578-3351607-Kate_wore_a_pale_blue_lace_dress_with_a_conservative_elegant_nec-m-5_1449630502540

UPDATED: Boodles Boxing Ball

Hello All! Happy Monday! Today marks our one month anniversary of the Royal Post! Thanks for coming by!

Let’s take a look at the Boodles Boxing Ball, which took place on Saturday, October 1st at the Park Plaza Hotel in London. In attendance: Pippa, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and a smattering of other royal friends including Chelsy Davy.

The Boodles Boxing Ball is an annual event, which raises money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust (and is sponsored by Boodles, a British jeweller). And yes, there is boxing involved. With just sounds bizarre and painful.

Anyhow, there was no sign of William and Kate, and although we would have loved to have seen them, we think it’s a smart move to be selective about their ‘glamourous’ public appearances while they are not yet full time working royals and still forming a strategy for Kate’s  royal role. While this is certainly a good cause, Kate doesn’t want to be associated just with these sort of evening events; there needs to be a lot of ‘mucking in’ first to balance out the glamourous events and they did attend both the Ark Gala in June and the BAFTA event in Los Angeles in July. Plus, William is hard at work in Wales and it would have likely been too much to come back again for this event so soon after the Royal Marsden Hospital Visit.

William and Kate attended the Boodles Ball in in 2006 and 2008. In 2008, Kate wore a pink Issa gown and in 2006 she chose a blue BCBG gown. We haven’t seen either gown again publicly since. The blue one is looking quite dated in our opinion (though it was cute in it’s day), but we hope to see the pink one again. So flattering:

Kate at the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008 (left) and 2006 (right) via People MagazineThis year, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were in attendance. Eugenie wore the  black dress she wore to Holly Branson’s engagement party back in April. It looks great on her.

Princess Eugenie, Via The Daily Mail
Princess Beatrice Via The Daily Mail

Not so sure about Beatrice’s print, but look at those shoes! Sparkly Louboutins!

And here we have Pippa:

Pippa Via Just Jared

Pippa showed up with Alex Loudon and brother James Middleton in a down to there red dress, said to be by favourite  designer Temperly. It’s very vavavoom but why not get away with that while you can? As for accessories, we were hoping Pippa might bring out the Robinson Pelham earrings tonight that she wore at Will and Kate’s wedding, but no luck! Hmmm….wonder when we will see those again? Seriously, when you can wear those why the HECK would you wear anything else?

Here’s a pic of the earrings:

And here is James arriving ahead of Pippa:

James Middleton Via Royal Dish

And, finaly we have Chelsy Davy. Even though she’s no longer dating Prince Harry, we wanted to include her since she’s a fun one to watch and well, she and Harry have broken up before, so who knows. She could very well be back in the royal fold again.

Chelsy chose to wear the same Alberta Ferretti couture gown that the she wore to William and Kate’s post-wedding ‘family and friends’ dinner reception at Buckingham Palace.  The designer made this dress especially for Chelsy for the wedding dinner. It’s nice that she could wear it again so soon:

Chelsy Davy. Boodles Boxing Ball Via The Daily Mail

And here it is from behind:

Chelsy Davy at Boodles BoxingBall 2011 Via Entertainment Wise

Here’s a sketch of Ferretti’s design of the dress, which was released by the designer at the time of the Royal wedding:

We love the blue, and thinks she looks GREAT! The blue dress was a big success on the night of the Royal Wedding as well, especially after the green number for the ceremony not turning out so well!

Just for fun, here she is with the York girls on the wedding day, cozy in the middle:

Join us tomorrow for a look at a very special tiara…one of our favourite topics!