Kate’s Borrowed Jewels Part One: Sapphires & Diamonds

Just for fun, we’ve taken a look at some royal jewels that Kate might one day borrow from the royal collection (check out our post on Diana’s sapphire and pearl choker here). In this four part series, we are going to take a look at the pieces that Kate has borrowed to date. She’s done pretty well in this department in the last year!

#1 Sapphire Engagement Ring

Let’s start at the beginning with Princess Diana’s engagement ring. We are technically calling this a “borrow” because we think it’s safe to say that the ring will continue to stay in the royal family no matter what happens (God forbid anything should happen). After all, as Diana told Andrew Morton while she was cooperating with him on Diana: Her True Story, “the Queen payed for it.”

She also told Morton, “A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along come these sapphires. I mean nuggets! I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in.”

#2 Sapphire and Diamond Earrings

Next, we have the sapphire and diamond earrings that we (and many others) suspect were once worn by Diana. Again, these make the “borrowed” category because they are also very likely to stay in the royal family no matter what even though, like the engagement ring, the earrings are Kate’s to wear for life. In the unlikely event the marriage was dissolved (which we obviously hope NEVER happens) that might be another matter… Again, hopefully we will never find out what would happen in that case. The Prince and Princess of Wales’ divorce papers stipulated that Diana had use of her jewels for life so it would probably be the same for Kate.

Check out Diana wearing the earrings in this rare portrait we came across. We hadn’t seen it before:

It’s a bit easier to see them in this later picture:

Looks like they were modified to drops for Kate. It makes sense since they match the engagement ring so nicely. Kate has worn these A LOT already.

This picture was taken at Wimbledon.

She also wore them for the official portrait issued for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s North American Tour. 

And here’s a shot from the tour:

Join us for Part Two tomorrow when we start diving into some more serious pieces!

Kate’s London ~ The National Portrait Gallery

Continuing on our tour of Kate’s London, we will now stop at The National Portrait Gallery (Click on the link on the left hand side for more Kate’s London posts). This is always on our list of places to go when we are in London. We start out with a leisurely tour of the portraits, and then enjoy some tea and a bickie in the museum cafe. Delightful.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, The Duchess of Cambridge has announced that the National Portrait Gallery is among her first four patronages. Lucky lady! Catherine studied history of art at the University of St. Andrews, so this patronage is in keeping with her interests.

Here’s Catherine at Inner-City Arts, a not-for-profit organisation in Los Angeles  that she and William visited while they were in LA in July 2011. Cheerful painting! (What does one paint when you know the pictures will be blasted all over the world?!)

The National Portrait Gallery is in the same building as The National Gallery, which sits at Trafalgar Square, and is a relatively short walk down the Mall from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and St James Palace. The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross and Embankment. The entrance to the Portrait Gallery is off to the side, across from St Martin in the Fields church (which goes back to 1222).

The Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect portraits of famous British men and women. The collection includes over 175,000 portraits from the 16th Century to today. The collection of portraits include one of Jane Austen (drawn by her sister, Cassandra in pencil and watercolour) which is a must see!

Starting on February 9th, an exhibit will commence on Lucian Freud’s portraits. We’ve already got our tickets! Here is his portrait of HM The Queen:

And here is his portrait of Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. That is, Deborah Cavendish, nee Mitford. For more on the infamous Mitfords (some of our favourites!) click here.

We’re guessing we’ll be seeing Kate publicly at the National Portrait Gallery soon – perhaps on Feb 9th for the opening of the exhibition? We hope so!

Royal Baby News out of Denmark

The Danish royal family is celebrating a new addition to their clan.

At 8:25 am on Tuesday, January 24, Princess Marie and Prince Joachim welcomed a daughter. The new Princess is tenth in line to the throne. As is tradition for the Danish Royals, the new princess’ name will not be revealed until her christening when she is three months old. The couple also has a son together named Prince Henrik. He was born in 2009.

This is the picture featured on Prince Henrik’s page on the royal family’s website. Cute!

Prince Joachim also has two sons from his marriage to his ex-wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. They are named Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix and the came to the hospital to meet their baby sister. Here they are bundled up in the car as they arrived:

Other visitors included Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik (Frederik is Joachim’s older brother). The brothers now each have four children.

Crown Princess Victoria and Autumn Philips will be next on our baby watch!

Our thanks to reader Walden for bringing our attention to this news out of Denmark.

Five Tidbits about Glamis Castle

With it’s turrets and stone walls, Glamis fits the bill of a picture perfect fairytale castle. It is located in the valley of Strathmore in Scotland and has an extraordinary amount of history. Here are a few of the most interesting tidbits about this famous castle.

5.  The first castle at Glamis was completed in 1376. Prior to that, a hunting lodge and other buildings were located on the land. The new castle was home to Sir John Lyon, Thane of Glamis, who had been awarded the estate from the first Stewart King of Scotland, Richard II. Sir John Lyon was a forebear of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (aka Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) and the castle has been the seat of the Bowes-Lyon family ever since.

4. Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle for one week in 1562 during a progress to Northern Scotland. There isn’t much further information on this, but it is believed she was on her way to a rebellion. She and her entourage would have taken over the castle and the Earl and his family would have been expected to wine and dine and generally go all out as hosts.

3. According to the Peerage of Scotland, the title Earl of Kinghorne was created in 1606 and bestowed upon Patrick Lyon. The title changed in 1677 to Earl of Kinghorne and Strathmore. The current Earl is the 18th member of the family to hold the title. His name is Michael Fergus Bowes-Lyon (‘Mikey’ to his pals)  and that’s him below outside of a shop he owns in the town of Forfar, not far from the castle.

2. It is believed that Shakespeare wrote the tragedy Macbeth at some point between 1603 and 1607. The title character Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis (the same title Sir John Lyon had) and resides at the castle. It’s interesting that the castle was well known enough at this point for Shakespeare to have written about it. It is possible that he visited Glamis himself, though that has never been confirmed.

1. Despite many reports to the contrary, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was not born at the Castle. In 1900 when she was born (possible at her family’s home in London) her father was the heir to the earldom and her paternal grandparents, the 13th Earl and Countess, still lived at Glamis.  Elizabeth’s father inherited the title when she was four (at which point she went from being an Honourable to a Lady) and so she spent her childhood there. That’s her on the castle grounds as a wee tot:

The estate makes up 14,000 acres so there was plenty of space to run around!

Her daughter Princess Margaret was born at the castle in 1930 during a stormy summer night. To top it all of, she was the first royal to be born in Scotland since 1600.

Check out the official castle website by clicking here.

Ten of Our Favourite of Kate’s Hats. Which is Yours?

We wish we had more opportunities to wear a hat! Here are 10 of our favourites of Kate’s hats.

Which is yours?


Wedding of Laura Parker Bowles, 2006


Garter Day 2011


Christmas 2011


1st Official Royal Engagement with William, Wales, 2011


Military Presentation, June 2011


Derby, June 2011


Zara's Wedding, July 2011


Garter Daym, June 2008


Trooping the Colour, June 2011


At the Calgary Stampede, Canada 2011

[polldaddy poll=5870041]

The Princess Royal

It’s been awhile since we spoke about titles. Back in the autumn, we chatted about how Camilla really is the Princess of Wales and about the oodles of titles that Princess Grace had and that Princess Charlene now holds. Today, we’re diving into the British title Princess Royal.

‘Princess Royal’ is the title traditionally conferred upon the oldest daughter of the British sovereign. Once the title is conferred, it is held for life. There cannot be more than one holder of the title at a time.

Princess Anne currently holds the title; the Queen conferred it in 1987 when Anne was 37 years of age. Consequently she went from being “Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne” to “Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.”  She is the seventh holder of the title.

It all began when Queen Henrietta Maria, daughter of King Henry IV of France and wife of King Charles I of England, decided to bring this French royal tradition to England. In France, the oldest daughter of the King was given the title ‘Madame Royale.’ She decided the equivalent in England should be ‘Princess Royal’ and so here we are. It’s a bit of a funny and repetitive title we think. What Princess isn’t royal?? And yet it works somehow.

Here’s a short but sweet look at the six Princess Royals that led to Princess Anne.

Princess Royal #1

In 1642, Queen Henrietta (the lady who got this whole thing started) and King Charles’ daughter Princess Mary became the Princess Royal. That’s her in the portrait above dressed in all her finery and not looking too impressed. She married Prince Willem of Orange and so became a Dutch Princess as well. She passed away in 1660 of smallpox.

Princess Royal #2

This new tradition didn’t pick up again until 1727 when Princess Anne, the daughter of King George II and Queen Caroline, was granted the title. She was 18 years old. She married William, Princes of Orange in 1734 and decided to go by her new title, Princess of Orange, instead. However, as is tradition, she continued to hold the title Princess Royal until her death in 1759 of dropsy.

Princess Royal #3

Next up we have Princess Charlotte, daughter of King George III and Queen Caroline. In her case, the title Princess Royal was used from birth, even though it wasn’t officially conferred on her until 1789 when she was 23 years old. She later became the Queen of Wurttemberg (which is now modern day south west Germany) due to her marriage to The Hereditary Prince Frederick of Wurttemberg. She died in 1828, possibly from dropsy. Those were tough times…

Princess Royal #4

Next up is Princess Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. Named after her mother, she was given the title in 1841 when she was one year old. She went on to become the Queen of Prussia and a German Empress due to her marriage to Prince William Frederick of Prussia. She died of cancer in 1901.

Princess Royal #5

Princess Louise was the fifth Princess Royal. The daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, she was conferred the title in 1905 when she was 37 years old. She married the 6th Earl of Fife (remember that line in Macbeth? “The Earl of Fife had a wife. Where is she now”). From that marriage, she added the title Countess of Fife, and later Duchess of Fife. She passed away in 1931.

Princess Royal #6

Princess Mary was the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. She married Viscount Lascelles, who later became the Earl of Harewood, in 1922 and so also held the tiles Viscountess Lascelles and Countess of Harewood. She was given the title Princess Royal in 1935, one year after Princess Louise passed away.  Princess Mary was 35 years of age at that point.

Princess Mary lived until 1965 which explains why Queen Elizabeth never held the title (she succeeded to the throne in 1952 when her father King George VI died). Princess Mary is also the reason why Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond tiara is now still owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood. To check out our post on that delightful tiara, click here.

Who knows what the future is for this title.  If William and Kate have a daughter, she is the next person who could be styled as The Princess Royal (but only if or when William becomes King, of course).  Since the rules of succession have changed, if she is the oldest child and not just the oldest daughter, she would also be next in line to become Queen. We wonder if she would then also be styled as Princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. We might just have to dive into that scenario some more in a future post. In any case, time will tell!

The Queen, Hugh Grant, and the Paparazzi

It’s been a big week here at The Royal Post! Thank your for all of your visits, comments, and notes on spelling and punctuation.   Our number one post this was was Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part Two. Click here if you missed it.

To round out the week, we have a funny little anecdote from none other than actor Hugh Grant. Back in 2009, he told Access Hollywood,

“I was introduced to The Queen. She was charming and I said — I was a bit drunk – I said, ‘Do you ever get annoyed by paparazzi? Do you ever get tempted to whack them with your bag?’. And she said , ‘No I don’t and don’t tell Harry.’ Because of course, her grandson, Harry, feels the same way as I do about paps and often gives them a whack.”


Have a great weekend!

The Connaught Diamond Tiara

Last week, we spoke about Princess Anne’s Greek Key Pattern Tiara and since we’ve once again been pretty heavy on the British Royals lately, today we’re featuring a beautiful tiara in the Swedish Royal Family’s collection.

The Connaught Diamond Tiara (also known as the Forget-Me-Not Tiara), is well over one hundred years old. This tiara features five loops of diamond encrusted forget-me-nots.  From each loop hangs a magnificent, detachable diamond drop so this tiara really sparkles whenever the wearer moves. According to one of our favourite books, Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn, this tiara was made by E. Wolff & Co in 1904. It was purchased by TRH the Duke and Duchess of Connaught as a wedding present for their daughter Princess Margaret of Connaught. Princess Margaret was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria (her father was Victoria and Albert’s third son). She was born in Windsor Castle  in 1882 and married Hereditary Prince Gustav of Sweden on June 15, 1905, which is how the tiara is now in the Swedish Royal Family’s collection.

She liked the tiara so much that she chose it for this portrait:

Sadly, Princess Margaret passed away in 1920 at the young age 38 from an infection following surgery on her ear. She was eight months pregnant with her sixth child at the time.

The tiara then passed onto the her son, Prince Gustav Adolf. When he married Princess Sibylla on October 20 of 1932 she wore the tiara with her wedding veil.

Interesting side note: both Princess Sibylla and Prince Gustav were great grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

Keeping this wedding tradition alive, the tiara was next worn by Princess Christina of Sweden when she married Tord Magnuson in 1974. Don’t just be blinded by the tiara – do check out the groom’s glasses!

Queen Silvia of Sweden was the next to wear the tiara. She didn’t wear the tiara for her 1976 wedding to King Carl Gustav – instead she wore another traditional wedding tiara that we’ll talk about another time – but she has worn it on numerous occasions since.

One more side note: Click here for a refresher on how Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustav met. It’s one of our favourite “chance royal meeting” stories EVER.

Here’s a look at Queen Silvia in the tiara over the years:

Queen Silvia has also lent the tiara to her daughter, Princess Madeleine, who wore it with aplomb for her sister Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding:
Here’s a look at the full ensemble:
And here’s a close up of the tiara. Good thing she had her roots touched up!
Princess Madeleine has also worn the five diamond drops as part of a necklace. Check it out below:
To end, here’s a picture of the King and Queen last weekend. They were in Denmark to join in the celebrations for Queen Margrethe’s Ruby Jubilee and took this tiara with them:
Here’s the Queen’s full outfit. LOVE the jacket:
What do you think of the forget-me-not tiara??

Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part Three

We hope you’ve enjoyed Parts One and Two of these series. To end, we’re looking at  an eclectic bunch of tiaras that have earned a place on this list either because of how they are worn, or because of the design of the tiara itself.

As you can see, Princess Marie-Louise (grand-daughter of Queen Victoria), is wearing the Indian-style Cartier tiara in the traditional manner for the portrait below. This 1953 photograph taken by Cecil Beaton and captures something of her personality. We’ll have to chat more about Princess Marie-Louise in a future post; she had a pretty fascinating life.

We wanted to show that portrait so that you could compare and contrast it against this next one. Take a look at the photograph below; that is a very young Lady Rose wearing (if you can call it that) the same tiara in this photograph with her mum, HRH the Duchess of Gloucester. This playful photograph was taken by Norman Parkinson. Soooo cute.

Love it. Ok, moving along this next one is more of an untraditional tiara in itself. This piece was commissioned for Charlene Wittstock’s wedding to Prince Albert and was designed by Lorenz Baumer. It has become known as the “diamond foam” tiara due to the sea spray effect of the placement of the diamonds; it was designed to invoke Monaco’s situation on the Mediterranean Coast and Charlene’s love of swimming. Unlike traditional tiaras, this one is meatn to be worn as a headband just as Charlene is wearing it below. Thoughts?

Now, to end, take a good look at this tiara on Lady Katie Percy, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, on her wedding day in February of 2011.

Yep, her tiara is definitely crooked.  In fact, it is so obviously askew that we can only imagine it was done on purpose. Maybe this was her way of bucking the norm in the midst of a lot of serious tradition; Lady Katie’s wedding to Patrick Valentine took place in February of 2011 and the reception was held at her family’s ancestral home, Alnwick Castle (side note: Alnwick Castle is also the setting for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films). Pippa Middleton and Chelsy Davy were at the wedding.

Until next time…here’s one more look:

Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part Two

We’re all about tiaras this week here at the royal post. Yesterday we had a good look at Queen Victoria’s untraditional way of wearing her sapphire and diamond tiara and today we are skipping ahead to the 1920’s.

During the roaring twenties, tiaras were often worn in an entirely different manner from the norm.  Many ladies shook things up by wearing their tiaras low on the forehead. Bands on the forehead were extremely popular at this time (any flapper costume at Halloween includes one) so ladies with tiaras decided to get in on the act, too. Here are a few prime examples.

To begin, this is Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in a diamond bandeau tiara now worn by Princess Mathilde. Queen Elisabeth’s dress and long pearl necklace really are the epitome of 1920’s fashion, no?

The bandeau tiara that Princess Mathilde wore on her wedding day is a different one than the photograph above, but was also worn by Queen Elisabeth, likely across her forehead. Pity we can’t find a picture to prove it yet…

Back to the low-on-the-forehead tiaras. This is Princess Astrid of Sweden wearing the Nine Provinces tiara. There must have been an elastic attachment around the back of the head to keep it on.

Princess Charlotte of Monaco got in on things as well. She did things a little differently by having her bangs under the tiara.

And of course Elizabeth, Duchess of York (nee Bowes-Lyon) chose this look for a formal portrait wearing the Strathmore rose tiara given by her parents as a wedding gift.

Here she is in another tiara across her forehead. She sure liked this look:

In a way, Princess Diana resurrected this trend by wearing two of her necklaces across her forehead in the ’80’s:

Of course, this wasn’t the first time this look was in style. This portrait of Lucretia Crivelli by Leonardo da Vinci proves it. We hope it comes back…

Part three will be posted tomorrow. See you then!