Tiaras Worn in Untraditional Ways: Part One

It’s no secret that we love tiaras so, for this three part series, we have rounded up a few examples of tiaras being worn in rather untraditional and, well, sometimes plain kooky ways.

We begin with none other than Queen Victoria. The portrait below was painted by Franz Xalter Winterhalter in 1842. As you can see, the Queen is wearing the diamond and sapphire tiara that Prince Albert designed for her at the back of her head.

The tiara was made the same year that the portrait was painted and it is safe to say it became one of her favourites. After all, it matched the sapphire brooch that Prince Albert gave her for a wedding present.

Here’s a closer look at the placement of the tiara. She must have had a whole lot of pins in her hair to keep it from falling off!

Interestingly, Queen Victoria’s placement of the tiara is believed to have been inspired by this portrait of Queen Henriette Maria of France (1609-1669).

And here is a closeup of the tiara itself. The sapphires are kite and cushion shaped and set in gold; the diamonds are set in silver. This tiara is now owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood.

 No doubt the current Countess of Harewood was inspired by this portrait of Queen Victoria when wore the same tiara in the same fashion. That”s her on the right with the tiara fixed to the back of her head with an elaborate bun. Love that!

The lady on the left wearing the tiara in the traditional manner is Andrea Lascelles. She is the wife of the Earl and Countess’ fourth son and she wore the tiara on her wedding day. Something old, borrowed and  blue all in one.

Join us tomorrow for Part Two! There is much more tiara fun to come…

Princess Anne’s Greek Key Pattern Tiara

Time to talk about tiaras! Today we are featuring the Greek Key Pattern Tiara, also known as the Meander Tiara. This piece is owned by the British Royal Family  and is currently used by Princess Anne.

This tiara is made up of diamonds in a traditional Greey key pattern that features a central diamond surrounded by a laurel wreath. The wreath is flanked by two honeysuckle motifs. According to the wonderful book Tiaras, A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn, the tiara is believed to be French and was made circa 1900, possibly by Cartier.

The tiara belonged to Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg (also known as Princess Andrew of Greece, after her husband’s title). She passed the tiara over to Queen Elizabeth as a wedding present in 1947, which is how the tiara came to be part of the British Royal Family’s collection.

And a side view which also shows off her delightful hair comb:

Princess Alice was the great-grandaughter of Queen Victoria and was born in Windsor Castle; it is through her that the Queen and Prince Philip are related. She had a very eventful life which included being diagnosed with deafness as a toddler, a severe nervous breakdown as an adult which led to an extended stay in a sanatorium in Berlin, and she has posthumously been named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the UK government for sheltering Jews during WWII. When the Greek royal family was overthrown in 1967, the Queen and Prince Philip extended an invitation for her to live in London. She lived in Buckingham Palace until her death in 1969.

As far as we know, the Queen has never been seen wearing this tiara in public. It was passed to Princess Anne in the early 1970’s and she has worn it often over the last forty or so years.

Love the hair here:

Mum & Daughter all dolled up:

Here’s a more recent photo. Perhaps one of the reasons she still keeps her hair so long is so that she’s ready to tiara it up like this?

Princess Anne also wore the tiara in her official 50th birthday portrait taken by John Swannell, below. We’ve always thought this was a bit of an out there choice of dress and pose for Anne but she must have loved it:

Anne lent the tiara to her daughter, Zara, for her wedding to Mike Tindall. This is the first time we’ve seen Zara in a tiara and sadly it may well be the last so let’s soak it up:

Here’s a look at her with Mike in her wedding ensemble. Lovely!

So, tell us. What do you think of the Meander Tiara? Are there any other tiaras you’d like us to feature in a post?

Her Majesty The Queen, One Very Cute Granny

The Queen seems like a very cute Granny. Here are a few of our fave snapshots of the Queen over the years.

The Queen and Zara

Zara Phillips is the Queen’s second oldest grandchild, after her brother Peter. Since Zara was born in 1981, this cozy photo must have been taken around 1983. We aren’t sure where it was taken, perhaps at a horse race?

The Queen with William, & Harry

The Queen, William, and Harry were checking out something in the photo taken around 1986. It looks like William and Harry are in matching shirts.

The Queen with Lady Louise and Viscount Severn

 We saved the best for last. We love this photograph of the Queen with her two youngest grandchildren, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn. Their parents are the Earl and Countess of Wessex and  this photo was taken at Windsor over Easter last year.  Look at all those blue bells!

To end, here’s a snapshot of the Queen with her only great-grandchild, Savannah Phillips. Number Two is on the way this spring. Click here for our post on that news.

Some of Sophie’s Best Hats

Over the years, Sophie has pulled out some crazy hats; we’ve already looked at many of the ones she has worn on Christmas Day (click here and here to refresh your memory). Today, we’re going to step back and take a good look at a few of our favourites. As you’ll see, the bulk of them come from the last year. Sophie has really been picking up her game lately!

November 2007

First of all, Sophie has never been afraid of a large brimmed hat. This photo was taken on November 19, 2007 after the Westminster Abbey service in honour of the Queen and Prince Philip’s diamond wedding anniversary. How cute that Sophie wore a red hat that features a heart flourish for the occasion. Sophie is also wearing the pearl necklace that Prince Edward gave her for their June 1999 wedding; another symbolic gesture, perhaps?

Side note: We love Princess Beatrice’s classy little topper.

October 2009

Sophie wore this black hat to a memorial service in October of 2009. It’s nice to see her in a classic style.

April 2011

Sophie chose th fascinator by milliner Jane Taylor for Easter service on April 25, 2011 (just days before the Royal wedding!). Looks like a pinwheel dandelion and yet… it works.

Sophie brought out a serious floral headband for William and Kate’s wedding service. She looked great.

June 2011

Sophie chose this hat festooned with peacock feathers for Royal Ascot in 2011 and  still managed to look chic and classy.

So tell us, did we miss any of your favourites?

The British Royals & Madame Tussaud’s

The Royal A-Team are currently featured in Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum in London. The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, and Prince Harry are all on display. For the most part, we think the wax look a likes aren’t too shabby.

Here is the Queen and Prince Philip:

There is also a waxwork statue of Princess Diana, which can partially be seen in the foreground of this shot:

We are intrigued to see if a wax model of Kate will be unveiled at Madame Tussauds in the next year or so. In December of 2011,  there was some coverage on this idea and the museum went so far as to announce that they would be requesting sittings with Kate after the wedding. It generally takes about four months to complete a waxwork statue and they predicted it would take as long for Kate’s.

As for what the Kate waxwork will be wearing, that is up for discussion! It could be replica of her wedding dress, or an outfit that Kate donates herself. According to Metro in the UK, a spokeswoman for Madame Tussauds said: ‘It depends on what she wants and whether she can donate clothing. I imagine the sculptors will probably go to her and the sitting normally takes a couple of hours.’

To see how Kate’s model would be handled, we could look to past Royal brides. After her wedding to Prince Edward, a waxwork of Sophie, Countess of Wessex was unveiled in a replica of her wedding dress.  This could be the route that they take with Kate, though it would be very expensive to create a passable replica of the dress. So far none of the replicas out there quite do it justice.

Psst…that doesn’t really look like Edward at all, does it? Not bad of Sophie!

The waxwork Sophie has also worn evening attire:

Does anyone want to wager a guess as to when Kate’s model will be unveiled? Her first portrait will also be an exciting thing. No doubt the National Portrait Gallery will want a portrait of their newest patron!

Royal Moms & Their Matching Kids

We’ve noticed a few examples of royal ladies matching their kids clothing and thought we’d round them up here. Sometimes it goes a little overboard and other times it’s just plain cute.

Princess Diana & Prince William

Princess Diana had Catherine Walker create matching jackets for her and Princes William and Harry. Here she is pictured with William dressed for Easter services in 1987. Prince Charles looks a little left out in his suit; maybe that is what Diana was going for.

This is a more subtle example, but clearly Diana knew this would be a good photo op and wanted to be colour co-ordinated when dropping off William  at school.

Sarah, Duchess of York & Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie

Sarah colour co-ordinated her outfit with Princess Beatrice in the early ’90’s. It looks like Beatrice was a flower girl on this particular occasion.

Now this photo below is a little different; Prince Andrew got in on things, too. These photographs were taken when the York family was all dressed up for Beatrice’s 18th birthday at Windsor Castle. They celebrated with a 1898 themed costume ball to commemorate the fact that Beatrice was born at 8:18 pm on the 8th of August, 1988. The Victorian theme was also a nod to Princess Beatrice’s great-great-great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. Princes William and Harry and cousin Zara did not attend though they were spotted in London that day; perhaps they thought it was a bit much??

Not surprisingly, Princess Euqenie did not have as lavish an 18th birthday as her older sister. Instead, she celebrated with a small get together at Windsor Castle and a night out at a club with friends.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex & Lady Louise

And to end, we have Sophie and Lady Louise. Sophie wore this pink ensemble for Trooping the Colour in June 2011. Her daughter Lady Louise wore a very sweet matching pink coat. How cute are they?

Rarely Seen Portraits of Princess Diana: Part Two

We hope you enjoyed Part One of Rarely Seen Portraits of Princess Diana.

For Part Two, we’re going to start with this one of Princess Diana with Princes William and Harry. We just recently discovered it for the first time  and love it for all of its soft focus glory…and also because William and Harry aren’t looking to impressed with how they are spending their day:

Now this one by Demarchelier is just so darn cute. Wonder if Prince William actually took a picture? And if so, where is it??

William got in on this portrait, which is more commonly seen:

However, this one  (also by Demarchelier) might just take the cake for that random bale of hay alone:

We’re now going to jump ahead to 1995 for some solo Diana portraits. This next series of photographs was taken by portrait photographer Gemma Levine. As far as we know, this was the only sitting that Princess Diana had with this particular photographer. Do let us know if we are wrong on that.

To begin, we have this shot of Diana in a most interesting jacket. If we could just remove those cuffs, pocket flaps, and lapel this would be So. Much. Better!

The cuffs are much more subtle in this one where the Princess appears to be emerging from the darkness. Most mysterious:

and another one. This dress has quite a daring back for a formal portrait, no? Princess Diana was pushing the envelope a bit here. It looks like her head is suspended in darkness but then her exposed back gives her away:

Let’s end with something FUN. Let’s call this one Sassy Princess in Front of The Royal Tapestries. This portrait was taken by Patrick Demarchelier at Kensington Palace. We wonder when else she brought that gown out?? Can’t really see this one working at Balmoral.

Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favourite rare portraits of Princess Diana and the boys! We’re always on the hunt for more.

Have a great weekend!

Princess Diana’s Jewels: The Sultan of Oman Suite

So we’ve been thinking about Princess Diana’s jewels lately and thought it was about time for another post on the topic. After all, who doesn’t like talking about royal bling?

The focus of our discussion today is the jewels given to Diana by His Majesty The Sultan of Oman. He is pictured betweenthe Prince and Princess of Wales in the image above.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited Oman in November of 1986. The trip was quite a whirlwind for the couple; it also included stops in Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Here’s a quick, interesting clip of the Prince and Princess arriving in separate cars as per custom in the Arab country. Diana’s skirt was considered short for the conservative nation and caused quite a stir:

Here’s a link to a video

The picture below of the Princess talking to female students was taken during a visit to Oman University. She was clearly making an effort to wear conservative clothes that day!

And we love this picture so just had to include it. It must have been sooooo hot there…look at those flushed cheeks.

The generous gift from the Sultan included a modern diamond and sapphire necklace with a matching bracelet and earrings. The sapphires are embedded in the crescent that surrounds the strands of diamonds. In the photograph below, Princess Diana is wearing both the Spencer Tiara and the Sultan of Oman necklace. The blue stones stand out next to the black of the dress.

Diana continued to wear these pieces throughout the years which implies that she genuinely liked them. Here’s a good view of the matching earrings:

The photograph below was taken in October of 1996; Diana was attending the film premiere of the film Haunted.

Here’s a better look at the bracelet:

These pieces certainly aren’t our favourite –  they are just a bit too ’80’s and lack a sense of timelessness – but Diana wore them well. They must be locked away in a vault until the right royal lady comes along to dust them off. We can’t imagine that they’ll be seeing the light of day anytime soon.

What do you think of these pieces? Too modern or just right?

Chance Royal Meetings: Sophie Rhys-Jones & Prince Edward

We received quite a few emails and comments when we featured Sophie, Countess of Wessex in our series on the Royal’s Christmas Day Walk to Sandringham (click here and here for a refresher). This post is for those of you who requested more information about Sophie!

We love talking about Chance Royal Meetings, and Sohie and Edward have a good one. They first met in September of 1993 at a charity event held at The Queen’s Tennis Club in aid of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  Sophie was working in PR and was there assisting her boss. During the event, she was asked to step in for a photo with Prince Edward to help promote the event. English presenter Sue Barker was supposed to have been there and would have been in the picture instead but she couldn’t make it at the last minute.

This is the photo!

Two months later, Prince Edward asked Sophie out on a date after getting her contact information from her office. Reportedly, their first date was a game of Real Tennis (the original racquet game which has evolved into modern tennis). Here’s a picture of Edward in his tennis whites ready for a game.

Check out our post on Sophie’s engagement ring for more information on how their relationship progressed.

Fun Fact: When Sophie and Edward got engaged, it got out that Sophie’s mother had had her own chance royal meeting; she had once danced with Prince Philip at a society ball. Wish we had a picture of that! If you like, our other posts on Chance Royal Meetings by clicking here.

To end, here are two very recent photographs of Sophie and Edward taken on New Year’s Day, 2012 at Sandringham. Prince Philip was there as well; this was his first public appearance since returning home from hospital.

Princess Diana Having Fun with Accessories

Happy New Year!! We had a lovely wedding and will now be back to our regular schedule.

To kick of the new year, we thought we’d chat about some of the more unique ways that Princess Diana accessorized over the years. She certainly had a lot of fun with fashion and often pulled out some pretty fun and occasionally “out there” accessories and pieces of costume jewelry over the years. Here are some of our all time favourite examples.

This shot was taken when Princess Diana had long hair and was experimenting with different styles. Must have been a nice break from wearing one of her tiaras.

We know Princess Diana loved pearls. She wore this long strand down her back in 1985 for the Back to the Future premiere. I recall reading that she regretted her decision when she had to sit with the pearl knot digging into her back for the whole movie.

These long strands look so elegant. Our guess is that the pearl strands were costume; those pearl drops were NOT.

This look definitely steps into costume territory. She was certainly being rather daring with the red and black gloves, to say nothing of the brooch.

Princess Diana also loved polka dots so much that back in the ’80’s she wore polka dot socks to match her polka dot skirt.

She also pulled out a tie with little elephants:

And a black bow tie to go with her white ensemble:

Now this sweater isn’t technically an accessory, but it deserves mention. The front of it says, “I’m a Luxury” and the back says, “Few Can Afford.” HA!

So what’s your fave out there look of these?