The George VI Victorian Sapphire Tiara Suite

In honour of it being the last day of September, we thought we would focus on one of the newer sapphire tiaras belonging to HM Queen Elizabeth, the George VI Victorian Sapphire Tiara Suite. This post comes from our guest royal poster Sarah Taylor, who is quite the jewelry expert!!

Let’s dive in.

HM Queen Elizabeth had this tiara commissioned in 1963 to match a sapphire suite that was given to her as HRH Princess Elizabeth by her father HM King George VI on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.  This set of sapphire jewels and tiara belongs to HM Queen Elizabeth’s personal jewelry collection.

The Sapphire Suite was created in 1850, and consisted of a long necklace of linked oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds, and a pair of oblong sapphire earrings surrounded by diamonds in a chandelier style. In 1952 the Queen had the necklace shortened by removing the largest sapphire, and in 1959 she had that central sapphire made into a gorgeous sapphire pendant, which can also be worn as a brooch.

The Queen wore the necklace and earrings many times before she had the tiara commissioned.

Midnight Matinee, 1951

At the premiere of the film Rob Roy in 1953

The tiara and a matching bracelet were commissioned by Her Majesty in 1963 to complete the parure.

The tiara and bracelet was debuted in 1969 when the Queen wore them to a charity event with Prince Philip

It is believed that the tiara was constructed out of a necklace that the Queen bought in 1963 that originally belonged to Louise of Belgium, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (daughter of King Leopold II).

Here is Louise wearing the necklace. If you look carefully you can see many similarities between the tiara and the necklace, specifically the floral motifs.

The Queen has also worn the George VI Sapphire Suite Tiara more recently, including memorably in 1994 when Bill Clinton was visiting London, prior to a banquet in honour of the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

What do you think of this tiara?

As promised, we have some posts on our recent visit to Kensington Palace to follow. See you then!

In the meantime, you may also like these other posts by Sarah Taylor:

The Emerald Parure of the Netherlands

Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands Aquamarine Tiara and Parure

 

A Visit to the V & A's Ball Gown Exhibit

A few days ago, shortly after our visit to Buckingham Palace, I made my way through the rainy streets of London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. I had a ticket to see their exhibit Ball Gowns: British Glamour Since 1950, which runs until January 6, 2013. The museum’s website has all of the info on the exhibit here, but if you’re not able to go yourself hopefully this post will do!

Here’s a look at the entrance, which has quite an eye catching installation at present, doesn’t it? There was a short reprieve from the rain when I took this:

Since I arrived just after the museum opened at at ten in the morning, I had the exhibit mostly to myself and really had a chance to take my time and get a good look at everything. The exhibit is spaced out over two floors; the first floor has ball gowns from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and the upper floor has a selection of more recent gowns, up until this year.

On that first floor, there are gowns from a variety of designers including Catherine Walker, Jacques Azagury, Victor Edelstein, and Zandra Rhodes.
The ‘Elvis Dress’ by Catherine Walker, 1989
Naturally, the first dress that really caught my eye was this one, the famous “Elvis” dress that Catherine Walker designed for Diana’s trip to Hong Kong in 1989:
As with all the dresses included, it is beautifully presented. Tthe case it is displayed in is decorated with oversized photographic prints of both jewels and wall art that are in the museum’s collection. Clever, eh?? That gorgeous panelling you can see  is from the music room in Norfolk House, which was reconstructed for display in the British Galleries.
Here’s a photograph of the Music Room as it looks now so you can see what I mean. Love that!
My only wish was that there was a mirror in the back of the display case so that we’d be able to get a good look at the back of Diana’s dress. Oh, well.
The Queen Mother’s Dress by Norman Hartnell, 1953
A mirror was used in the display case where this gown by Norman Hartnell is displayed. This gown dates to 1953 and is made of silk satin with beaded embroidery:
As we discussed in our post on Norman Hartnell (click here to read it if that’s strikes your fancy), he designed numerous gowns and day dresses for the Queen Mum over the years. This dress was really only one of many.
The delightful plaque which accompanies this gown explains how Queen Elizabeth’s husband King George VI requested that Hartnell design gowns similiar to the ones Queen Victoria wore in the portraits that Franz Xaver Winterhalter painted of her.
Here is one such portrait, which shows the Queen in a somewhat similar dress:
I’m sorry that the fuzzyness of the photo doesn’t quite do it justice! I took it with my phone, so what can you do. The ornate beading and detail is really quite exquisite, and you can see how the corsetry in contrast with the crinolines under the skirt would have emphasized Queen Elizabeth’s waist.
Princess Anne’s Bellville Sassoon
The final gown with a royal wearer is this cheerful silk number which was given to the V&A by Princess Anne. Interesting that what with her popping out in outfits that she wore thirty plus years ago she didn’t choose to keep this one! That Anne is thrifty…
I can totally see her in this gown with a beehive ‘do and a tiara but alas I can’t track down an actual picture of her in it!
On another part of that main floor, there is a black and white video playing on a continuous loop that shows the Queen Mum and Princess Margaret attending a fashion show. Another video is of a Norman Hartnell fashion show which took place at Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey)! They are both short and sweet retro videos, and can be watched on the V&A website here. Just scroll down a bit, and you’ll see ’em!
The more recent gowns….
Once you’ve had a good, long look at all the gowns on the first floor, it’s time to head upstairs to see the more recent gowns.  The designers included upstairs include Jenny Packham, Rocsanda Illincisc, and of course Alexander McQueen.
Fest your eyes on these beauties:
And another one for good measure:
Delightful! And, once you’re finished with this exhibit, the Fashion Gallery is just outside. It recently re-opened after a renovation and is filled with treasures. I’ll leave you with this final picture so you can see what I mean:
Next up: a visit to Kensington Palace and High Tea at the Cadogan Hotel…

 

A Visit to Buckingham Palace for Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

Yesterday, two Royal Posters visited Buckingham Palace to see the smashing jewelry exhibit put on to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is most aptly named Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration and it was magnificent. Serious jumpy claps…

The exhibit includes some choice selections from the Queen’s personal collection as well as from the Royal Collection. As the book which accompanies the exhibit explains:

“These works span three centuries and have been selected for their significance as works of art, for their diversity of diamond cutting and mounting that they embody, and for their historic importance. They also illustrate the ways in which diamonds have been used by royal patrons and collectors. Several of the exhibits were commissioned by Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901), the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. These works of art are distinct from the state regalia and jewels (Crown Jewels) held in the Tower of London.”

The tour includes complimentary audio tour which begins with a warm welcome from Prince Charles. After walking through the grand state rooms, including the throne room where wedding photos are traditionally taken, it’s time to see the diamonds. The room where the exhibit is set up has dim lighting, but each piece is lit up for extra glittery effect, and there’s no rush to go from one piece to the next. Love that. Let’s dive in!

Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown

The exhibit was set up in chronological order, so one of the first pieces that you see is Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown, which dates to 1870. After Prince Albert’s death in 1861, the Queen preferred to wear colourless stones as much as possible as a sign of mourning so this new crown certainly fit the bill:

And it really is petite. Petite and sparkly! It weighs only 140 grams and is made up of 1,187 diamonds. The arches can be removed to make it a circlet as well.

And here it is atop the Queen’s head:

It has been worn by Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra, but since 1937 it has been part of the display at the Tower of London.

The Coronation Necklace & Earrings

Moving along, the next pieces that really caused some heart palpitations was the stunning Coronation Necklace:

which were shown with the stunning Coronation Earrings:

These pieces were also also made for Queen Victoria by Garrard and was completed in 1858. One of the drops of the earrings is approximately 12 carats and the other is 7. You can see in the picture that there is some difference in the ‘sparkliness’ of the two, but they are both stunning.

These pieces have since been worn by four Queens during their coronations: first up was Queen Alexandra in 1901, followed by Queen Mary in 1911, Queen Elizabeth in 1937, and of course Her Majesty the Queen in 1953.

The Queen wore the necklace in Canada with her maple leaf dress in July 2010:

And we’ll be getting to those other sparkly pieces she is wearing in short order!

Queen Alexandra’s Coronation Fan

But first, the next piece that I particularly loved seeing is one that I really knew nothing about. This is Queen Alexandra’s Coronation Fan which dates to 1902:

Now that’s a fan! Brilliant and rose cut diamonds are set into the tortoise shell handle in a beautiful, floral design topped with an “A” and coronet. No expense was spared; both sides of the handle are set with diamonds and the precise detail is quite extraordinary.

Some more of the detail can be seen here:

Queen Alexandra passed the fan along to Queen Mary, who then gave it to the future Queen Elizabeth two days before the coronation of King George VI in May 1937. A note in Queen Mary’s hand reads:

For Darling Elizabeth in rememberance of Coronation Day 12th may 1937 from her loving Mama Mary. This fan formerly belonged to Queen Alexandra.

Queen Mary’s Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

My fave of them all comes up next:

We went into quite a bit of detail about this tiara in our post here, so let me just say the obvious, that in real life this tiara is super sparkly and gorgeous.

Fun fact we learned: according to Garrard’s Royal Ledger, this tiara was originally surmounted by 14 large pearls and could also be worn as a necklace or as a coronet, which is how the then Duchess of York (later Queen Mary) wore it to the Devonshire Ball in July 1897. Yes, it was a costume affair:

Which reminds me, we really need to talk about that particular Devonshire Ball in another post. It was quite the evening.

The Cullinan III and IV:

The Sparkliest Award of All Award goes to this brooch:

It was really quite thrilling to see up close. As you may recall, the Queen chose to wear this brooch for the Service of Thanksgiving marking her diamond Jubilee:

There is oodles of history on this piece which we’ll have to get into at another time. Suffice to say it’s gorgeous.

The Cullinan V:

This brooch was there as well:

That centre stone is 18.8 metric carats and can also be removed and suspended from the Cullinan VIII…

The Cullinan VIII:

Which is this delightful piece we have here:

How versatile, eh? That’s the Cullinan VI dangling from it in the above picture.

The Greville Chandelier Earrings

It’s the wee hours of the morning here in London, so I will end with this last, sparkly highlight. Here we have the Greville Chandelier Earrings:

Cartier created these beauties in 1918 for Mrs Greville, a generous grand dame who left them, and several other pieces, to Queen Elizabeth when she passed away in 1942. Mrs. Greville made changes to the original design in 1922 and 1929, which is the last time any changes were made. Each earring is made up of 16 stones.

Here is another shot of the Queen wearing them in Ottawa in 2010:

Not a bad note to end on, is it?

There are oodles of other pieces on display and the exhibit runs until the 7th of October. If you aren’t able to make it,  the next best thing is the book which accompanies the exhibit. It is by Caroline de Guitaut and is chock full of interesting info and pictures galore, and has proved to be great reading! It can be purchased here.

Tomorrow morning brings a visit to the V & A for the exhibit Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950, so off to bed. Will be back with a full review!

Kate & William's Diamond Jubilee Tour Highlights

Kate and William are back in the UK and reportedly have a few days off before William reports back for duty in Anglesey.

Here they are on the tarmac of the Brisbane airport where they had a layover before getting on their flight to London:

They have the keys for their new apartment in Kensington Palace now, so perhaps they’ll have some time to review the renovation plans and progress in London.

As promised, a look at some of Kate and William’s Diamond Jubilee tour highlights.

Singapore

At the Rolls Royce factory in Singapore, Kate and William had a princess moment with four year old Maeve Low:

And Kate flexed some muscle after clicking in the final blade:

Malaysia

Keeping calm and carrying on with aplomb:

And of course having that “quick shimmy in the jungle” as the couple’s Principal Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton called it. He’s the fellow to Kate’s right in the photo above.

It’s not so easy to look dignified while dangling in a harness:

Solomon Islands

The next stop on the tour was the Solomon Islands, which gave us the awesomeness that is this boat truck resplendent with the royal standard flag:

Shortly afterwards, the Duchess of Cambridge was given this totally awesome Princess Kate necklace:

Wonder what she and William thought when they saw that? Gotta admit Princess Kate rolls off the tongue a whole lot easier than “Duchess of Cambridge” does.

Tuvalu:

On Tuvalu, Princess Kate was ‘Cathleen thanks to that delightful fan in her hand:

Wish I could see if William’s fan has a name on it as well. And what are they going to do with the plethora of beautiful shell necklaces they’ve been given, I wonder? Do they get tucked away in a drawer?

On another note, after all those rumours that Kate wanted to wear flowers on her wedding day, she sure got the chance on this trip! Tiaras of the floral variety, if you will:

And William got in on it, too:

 At the end of Kate and William’s tour of Canada last year, Prince William said:

“In 1939, my great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, said of her first Tour of Canada with her husband, King George VI: `Canada made us.` Catherine and I now know very well what she meant.”

In a nutshell, I think this trip was probably the making of them in a whole new way. Kate dealt with her first big media fiasco with grace and dignity, and they represented the UK extremely well. Plus we got to indulge in the frivolity of analyzing pretty dresses and such. Win-win, I’d say!

Kate & William's Staff on Their Jubilee Tour

Tomorrow, Kate and William’s Jubilee tour will come to an end and they will head back to Britain. I for one am going to miss waking up to delightful pictures like this one:

And this one:

Now that we have oodles of pictures to look through, let’s recap the unsung heroes that have travelled with William and Kate to help make sure their tour has gone off without a hitch.

We discussed the who’s who on their staff in detail in a previous post (click here to read it) and then mused over who would be on the trip in another post (click here), because that’s just what we do.

So, how right were we?

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Principal Private Secretary and Equerry to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

As expected, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton has been on hand for the entirety of the trip. As the couple’s Principal Private Secretary, he likely had the unfortunate job of both informing William and Kate about the unfolding picture fiasco and spearheading a plan of action. This was all on top of keeping the tour going smoothly, of course. I’m sure he’ll be ready for some serious R & R when they get back to London!

Here he is with Kate the day things got real, during the stop in Malaysia:

Let’s play ‘Where’s Waldo’ for this next photo. Jamie is right behind William and Kate in this photograph, taken earlier that same day at a cultural event in Kuala Lampur Park:

And as far as that whole photo scandal goes,  it seems to me that as unfortunate as it was, as far as ‘recovery mode’ goes it couldn’t have been more perfect that:

a) Kate and William were both working on behalf of the Queen the day they were published, and not out of the public eye in Wales or spotted shopping in Kensington or something

b) the news broke on one of the busiest days of the tour

c) and that Kate was very respectfully dressed all covered up at a mosque, head scarf and all.

I mean, seriously. Full marks for keeping calm and carrying on! FULL MARKS!!

Now back to the guy at the helm of this tour behind the scenes. No duty is too small – here he is helping Kate out with an umbrella during a downpour (he’s on Kate’s left) as William and Kate lay memorial wreaths in the Solomon Islands:

I am sure William and Kate were very grateful to have him there, and even more so once those photos were published.

Rebecca Deacon, Private Secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge

We wondered if Rebecca would be along for the trip, and it turned out she was! It must have been extra helpful for Kate to have her there as a support.

On the morning that those pictures were published, Rebecca assisted Kate with flower collecting as she did a walkabout:

Another look:

And the full extent of the craziness that they were in the middle of can be seen here:

Like Kate, she changed for their next set of engagements that day. It’s a small picture, but I believe that’s Rebecca in the cream dress behind Kate:

 She can also be spotted in a striped dress walking behind William and Kate when they arrived on the Solomon Islands. She’s carrying Kate’s Le Pilage Longchamps bag. In this awesome post done by What Kate Wore, they have some more info on it if you’re interested.

Here’s another photograph of Rebecca and Kate taken in the Solomon Islands. She seems to really be a great person to have on the team and you just gotta give it to her for not seeming fussed about hair and makeup in that humidity! And I love her light blue dress.

Amanda Cook Tucker, Kate’s hairdresser

Speaking of hair,  Amanda Cook Tucker was also spotted so the reports that she would be the hairdresser on the trip turned out to be true.  As we mentioned before, she reportedly cut both William and Harry’s hair when they were children and they really appreciate her discretion. She’s looking very classy here, no?

 Protection Officers

We went into detail on who has been assigned as Kate’s personal protection officers in our post here. I haven’t noticed Emma Probert in any of the pictures so far, but do I spy Kate’s protection officer Karen Llewelyn here? I think she is the blonde lady in the patterned scarf behind Kate:

In our next post, we’ll have a recap of tour highlights. Thanks for stopping by!

Updated: You can check out our highlights post by clicking here

Kate & Diana's Diplomatic Dressing in Asia

As Kate and William’s Jubilee tour continues, we’re going to look at more royal diplomatic dressing at it’s finest.

In our last post, we discussed this specially made orchid print dress that Kate wore for a visit to the botanical gardens in Singapore. It was made by Jenny Packham, who also made that orchid print dress Kate wore in Santa Barbara on the North American tour. Nicely done, Kate!

Another sartorial highlight of the tour so far was this chic dress designed by Prabal Gurung, who is from Singapore.

The bold print is so different from Kate’s usual style and I just love how fresh and modern it is:

And another key diplomatic look was this gown that Kate wore to dinner with the King of Malaysia.

Yes, we’d been hoping for a tiara appearance but this dress was blingy enough all on it’s own. This bespoke gown was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and is embroidered with hibiscus flowers, the national flower of the country. Kate really is all about the language of flowers, isn’t she? I mean, that was the theme woven throughout her and William’s wedding.

There has been some discussion that the white dress underneath overlay can be worn by itself, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for it at a future event.

Gotta say, as soon as I saw the dress I thought of Emma Thompson’s gown in Sense and Sensibility:

Ok, now on to Diana’s diplomatic sartorial choices in Asia. A lot of these looks are very well known, but it’s still fun to reminisce.

Japan 1986

For her visit to Japan in 1986, Diana bought this red polka dot dress at a favourite boutique on Fulham Road called Tatters. The boutique is still there.

The hat was designed by Frederick Fox to reflect the Japanese flag, which it certainly did!

And, true to form, Diana got right into the kimono she was presented with:

Thailand 1988

For her tour of Thailand in 1988, Catherine Walker made Diana this silk chiffon sarong style gown. Love the colour combo!

And also love that she accessorized with flowers in her hair:

This dress was included in the custom wallpaper that was part of the Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess” exhibit at Kensington Palace. The exhibit just closed on September 2nd. Can you spot the dress in there?

Hong Kong 1989

When Princess Diana was planning for her 1989 visit to Hong Kong, she commissioned several outfits especially for the trip.

This pagoda shaped hat was designed by Philip Somerville and the outfit she wore with it was a Catherine Walker creation. This outfit became a favourite: Diana also famously wore the ensemble to Ascot that year and of course in front of the Taj Mahal (without the hat).

The final look we’re going to discuss in this post is my number one fave Diana gown.  Catherine Walker designed this stunning pearl encrusted gown especially for this trip.  Pearls were chosen because of their association with the orient, and the result was stunning! That’s 20,000 simulated pearls on there, folks.

And of course the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara went just perfectly with it:

The press called this the “Elvis Dress” because of the stand up collar, but it was actually inspired by Elizabethan collars. Here’s a super short video of the dress in action:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCS4jVbIMd4]

When Diana chose to sell some of her gowns in a Christie’s auction, this dress was one of the very last that she decided to include. It ultimately sold to the Franklin Mint for $151,000 US, which made it the second most expensive dress in the auction after the Victor Edelstein gown that Diana wore at the White House when dancing with John Travolta.

In 2006, the Franklin Mint donated the gown to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  In fact, it is currently on display there as part of an exhibit entitled “Ball Gowns: British Glamour Since 1950” and lucky me, I’ll be seeing it there in just over a week! I’ll be sure to report back with a meaty post! Looking forward to it…

Diplomatic Dressing: Diana's Klondike Costume

In our last post, we spoke in depth about Princess Diana’s travelling wardrobe and in particular, the oodles of outfits that she had to pack to ensure she had just the right thing for every occasion.

The first few days of William and Kate’s Jubilee tour has shown that Kate has been paying the same sort of attention to her wardrobe and, like Diana, has used her clothes as a way to pay tribute to the countries they are visiting.

Case in point: this bespoke Orchid printed Jenny Packham dress for a visit to the Botanical Gardens in Singapore. As you probably already know if you’re reading this blog, the Gardens named a white and pink orchid  after William and Kate so she really was dressed for the occasion!

For a prime example of how Diana also dressed for the occasion during her travels, we’re going to step back to  the Prince and Princess of Wales’ tour of Canada in 1983.

The couple was invited to a semi-formal Klondike themed BBQ in Edmonton, Alberta and, as you can see in the above photo, they really got into the spirit of things! This event was in held on June 29, 1983 so keep in mind that Diana was just 21 years old at the time.

Once this event was on the schedule, costume designer John Bright visited Princess Diana at Kensington Palace with some options. To give some context, some of John Bright’s credits include the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility and Remains of the Day, which both starred Emma Thompson.  Diana looked over the options and ultimately chose this peach dress. Mr. Bright designed a hat to go with it. The informative PrincessDiana.Ca website describes the dress follows:

“It is a form-fitting princess line gown of pink/peach wild silk with a swagged overskirt ruched at sides and back to reveal a silk lace flounced underskirt and a short train. The lace is repeated at the collar, jabot and cuffs. The coordinating hat, which Bright designed specifically for Diana, is cream petal straw trimmed with period velours au sabre silk ribbon, silk flowers and pearl sprigs.”

Here is a closer look at the hat:

What makes this dress extra special is that it wasn’t the first time it was worn. It was dactually esigned by both costumer Linda Mattock and John Bright for “Lillie Langtry”, a 13-part 1978 miniseries about a woman who had been a mistress of Prince Charles’ great-great grandfather Prince Edward, the future King Edward VII. Who else had been his mistress? That’s right, Camilla Parker-Bowles’ great-great grandmother Alice Keppel. Apparently, Princess Diana was well aware of this connection and had watched the mini-series and chose the dress as a bit of a cheeky gesture. To make things even more interesting, the princessdiana.ca website points out that Lillie Langtry had accompanied Prince Edward to Edmonton as well. I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up!

Here is a photo of actress Francesca Annis in the dress as Lillie:

This dress is also included as one of the many costume repeats out there in the delightful blog Recycled Movie Costumes. Check it out, but be warned: time flies when you’re on that site!

The dress is currently on display on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.

We’ll look at some more of Diana and Kate’s diplomatic dressing in our next post. See you then!

Preparing for the Royal Tour & A Travelling Wardrobe for Kate

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Jubilee tour is just around the corner, it’s gotten us thinking about the planning that has gone into the trip in general and the travelling wardrobe that Kate will need. Let’s jump in!

The Travelling Team

As far as the staff that will be accompanying Kate and William, here’s what we know so far. The Duke and Duchess will reportedly have nine members of staff accompany them and this number may include Kate and William’s private secretaries.  We spoke about them in our post on Kate and William’s staff which you can read here. They include:

  • Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Principal Private Secretary and Equerry to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Jamie has been speaking to the press about the travels plans, and was one of the few staff members included on the North American tour last year.

  • Rebecca Deacon, Private Secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge
  • Miguel Head, Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge

Of these two, I’d guess (and am hoping) that at least Rebecca will be there. Kate will reportedly not have a dresser, but perhaps Rebecca will be able to pitch in with some of those duties on top of the rest of her work. I had the opportunity to speak to a former dresser to the Queen a few months ago, and she recounted her astonishment that Kate did so well without one on the North American tour. She thought that there must have been someone there who was helping out behind the scenes. I though that was interesting…she would know, after all!

  • Amanda Cook Tucker, hairdresser for Kate

The Daily Mail is reporting that Amanda Cook Tucker will join the tour as Kate’s hairdresser.  Amanda apparently cut Harry and William’s hair when they were children, and they very much appreciate both her talent and discretion. James Pryce, who did Kate’s wedding hair and was along for the North American tour, has not been so discrete.

  • Private Protection Officers, which most likely includes Kate’s officers Emma Probert and Karen Llewellyn, who we spoke about here.

The Tour Schedule 

Here’s what we know about their schedule so far:

  • September 11th: Singapore

On their first day in Singapore, the Duke and Duchess will visit Singapore Botanic Gardens where orchids have been named after them and Diana, Princess of Wales. That night, they will attend a dinner with the President of Singapore where Prince William will give a speech on behalf of the Queen.

Note on the Weather: The weather report for Singapore on the days that Kate and William will be there is currently calling for scattered thunderstorms, rain, some sun, and highs of 87 degrees fahrenheit.

  • September 12th: Singapore

Their second day will be spent at the Gardens by the Bay where they will plant a tree.

Dorky Memory Moment: Their first joint tree planting took place in Ottawa, Canada

That afternoon, they will visit the special needs school the Rainbow Center where they will take part in art therapy and gym classes. The day will end with a reception at the High Commissioner’s residence.

  • September 13th:  Malaysia

The Singapore leg of the tour will end at the Krani War Cemetery, where the royals will lay a wreath. They will then travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Their first engagement will be lunch with the Prime Minister, followed by a visit to a hospice. Kate will give her second speech as a working royal during the visit. As Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton explained, “The Duchess is keen to learn more about the hospice movement in Malaysia...The Duchess wanted to establish contacts between her charities here and charities overseas, and she hopes that a legacy of this visit will be to get a dialogue going between EACH and Hospis Malaysia.

That night, the couple will attend a dinner hosted by the King  of Malaysia, Abdul Halim of Kedah.

Fingers crossed this will be the second appearance of the Cartier Halo Tiara on Kate’s head. Please.

Weather Note: The weather report for Kuala Lumpur for these two days calls for more sun, rain, and scattered thunderstorms. A high of 87 degrees fahrenheit is expected.

  • September 14th: Malaysia

The day will begin at a cultural event in Kuala Lumpur Park, followed by lunch with the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. Next up is a Diamond Jubilee tea hosted by the High Commissioner. In the evening, they will attend a reception in Kota Kinabulu.

  • September 15th: Malaysia 

The couple will visit the rainforest- what Lowther-Pinkerton referred to as “a quick shimmy in the jungle“- and help to raise awareness about endangered orangutangs.

  • September 16th: Solomon Islands

After arriving in the Solomon Islands, the couple will attend a service of thanksgiving at the Church of Melanesia for Her Majesty the Queen. That evening they will attend an island feast hosted by the Governor General. I’m thinking that this is where we can expect Kate and William to wear some traditional costumes. Jamie Lowther Pinkerton revealed that the Duke and Duchess “will wear traditional garb at some of the dinners” and that throughout the tour “their dress will reflect local customs.” Kate will not be showing up in anything risque, but then we already knew that!

September 17th: Solomon Islands

The following day, Kate and William will divide and conquer:  Kate will attend a reception for women’s groups and Prince William will award Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards to Solomon Islanders and one from Vanuatu.

They will then attend a memorial and a lunch reception before flying out to the final leg of the tour, Tuvalu.

  • September 18th: Tuvalu

The couple will take part in two welcome ceremonies, which will be all the more special because a member of the Royal Family hasn’t visited since the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were there in 1982. As far as how that will go, Lowther-Pinkerton admitted “We have really have no idea what to expect.” That must be rare!!

While there, the couple will enjoy another traditional dinner, where we’ll likely see the royals in more costume.

Kate’s Wardrobe

So what else will Kate wear? Seeing as it is a very hot climate and we know Kate doesn’t like to wear pants unless they are jeans or for working out, I think we can expect a lot of easy, breazy cotton dresses and many more sightings of those wedges.

Our very dog eared copy of Dressing Diana by Tim Graham and Tamsin  Blanchard gives some insight into the effort that went into the Princess of Wales’ wardrobe for trips abroad.

An excerpt from the chapter entitled ‘A Travelling Wardrobe’ reads:

“Planning for a major tour abroad was like a military operation for the Palace, not least when it came to putting together a wardrobe for the Princess that would cover all possibilities of weather change and social function…After months of work with designers such as Catherine Walker on some new outfits for the trip, and after deciding what in her existing wardrobe would be appropriate, the outfits were packed into wardrobe trunks and chests, each one labelled and numbered.”

To give an idea of the scale of packing that is involved, here is what Diana took on her tour of Australia and America in 1985. Of course, that tour was munch longer that William and Kate’s, but still:

  • 29 daytime outfits
  • 12 hats
  • over a dozen evening dresses
  • 15 pairs of shoes and matching bags
  • 19 pairs of earrings
  • 2 tiaras(!)
  • 8 necklaces

Here’s a shot of the Prince and Princess of Wales during the Australia leg of that tour:

On the American leg, the Princess wore this gorgeous velvet Victor Edelstein gown to the White House:

For this tour, the Princess of Wales brought her dresser Evelyn Dagley, who kept track of when each outfit was for when and had them in tip top shape for the princess to get dressed for each outfit change.

As far as we can tell, Kate will need:

  • At least 9 summery dresses for daytime to be safe – no silk, wrinkly linen, or anything too heavy for the heat!!

This one doesn’t quite fit the bill, but maybe it will make the trip:

And this is silk but, apart from that, my goodness it’s perfect for a botanical garden visit so what the heck I’m throwing my hat in the ring for this one:

As far as new purchases go, this cotton number of LK Bennet would do the trick. It has a cinched waist and a high neck, which we know Kate likes:

Here’s a bigger picture of it:

  • 1 evening gown for dinner with the King of Malaysia. If she does a repeat, we vote for this lightweight, bright beauty:

  • 4 evening outfits appropriate for receptions, and possibly to be worn under or with traditional dress. Kate wore this bird print dress to a reception in Ottawa, and it seems to be a favourite. She also wore it to the last rehearsal the night before her wedding, so it might just show up again!
  • A sporty, casual ensemble for shimmying about in the jungle. Let’s say a cute pair of capris and a sleeveless polo. Yes, Diana inspired that one, but she got it soooo right!

  • Shoes for the jungle – maybe those boat shoes will make another appearance?

  • Every day shoes – we’re going to guess those wedges will be back

And these, which she wore in Santa Barbara for a polo match, for an evening reception or two:

Maybe she’ll be brave enough to bring out these super high wedges as well:

  • Traditional dress, which will likely be presented as a gift.
  • A tiara and formal earrings. Please. Heck, let’s hope that Kate’s wedding earrings will show up with the Cartier Halo tiara. And I bet we’ll see Kate wear some sort of floral head wreath, too!
  • A swimsuit and cover up for ‘off time’ in Tuvalu…the couple are said to want to do some snorkelling. It doesn’t seem like there’d be much time for that, but they might be able to sneak some in on that last morning before they depart.
  • Something black to wear in the event of a death. Princess Elizabeth was caught off guard in Kenya when her father died and she suddenly became queen. She had not packed anything appropriate, so when her plane arrived in London, a black dress was brought on board for the new Queen to put on before she disembarked. Diplomat Sir Evelyn Shuckburgh said, “I have heard that Queen Mary has laid it down as a principle of life never to go anywhere without a black dress – ‘in case something should happen.’” We hope you have taken note, Kate and Rebecca Deacon.

Any more thoughts or guesses on the trip?

Happy Birthday to The Royal Post!

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Royal Post. Thanks for coming to visit us and to read one or many of our 226 posts! It sure has been fun.

We thought we’d mark the day with a look at the ten most read posts of the year.

10. Sarah Ferguson’s Engagement Ring

Although Fergie and Prince Andrew have been divorced for years now, this is constantly google searched, bringing readers to The Royal Post. Take from that what you will.

9. Kate & Pippa Wearing the Same Clothes

Are musings on the seemingly shared closet of the Middleton girls, updated whenever there’s a new piece discovered.

8. The Miller Sisters

These are the three sisters who have had lots of ink spilled for them because they married “two princes and a Getty.” Interesting that this post, which we published back in the first two weeks of the blog, is being read oodles of times every day, mostly thanks to google searches.

7. Crown Princess Mary’s Engagement Ring and Pre-Wedding Interview

You just gotta love Crown Princess Mary.

6. What Kate Was Wearing When She First Met the Queen

As Kate disclosed during her and William’s engagement interview, this first meeting took place at Autumn and Peter’s wedding at Windsor. You know, the wedding when the bride and groom decided to sell the pictures to Hello magazine and all hell broke loose. That one.

5. Our Favourite Royal Wedding Dresses

This was one of our first posts. Take a look and vote!

4. A Tale of Two Cottages: William & Kate’s London Home

A peak at Nottingham Cottage, the little house on the grounds of Kensington Palace that William and Kate have been calling their London base.

3. Kate & William’s Future Kensington Palace Apartment

Kate and William are getting the keys this month, and renovations will be underway in their new apartment, which used to be the home of grand dame Princess Margaret. As you can image,  How exciting that it will be given new life by William and Kate. This is a big deal. I imagine they are planning on making it their permanent base. Yes, it way off into the future, but when William becomes king it wouldn’t surprise me if he and Kate decided to stay on at KP instead of moving over to Buckingham Palace, or Buck House as the royals call it.

2. Thoughts on Emily McCorquodale’s Wedding

This was seriously fun. When the pictures came out of Emily’s wedding, we couldn’t help but write and write and write about what we were seeing. Fortunately, reporters out there didn’t seem to really have a clue so it was fun to shed some light on things.

1. British Royal Family Christening Gowns

Who knew there were so many people out there searching for royal christening gowns? Take it from us, there are. Every day of the week.

Thanks for all of the comments and messages in the last year. Do let us know if you have any requests for future posts!

The Queen Always Has a Hoot at the Braemar Games

One of the things that I took away from the Queen’s James Bond skit for the Opening Ceremony was that Her Majesty really is one heck of an actress.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AS-dCdYZbo]

Yes, she only had one line, but she really delivered it well and without a hint of self consciousness. Then I realized that she’s had to spend her whole life looking fascinated and interested in everything from dance recitals to jam factories, so no wonder she is a pro! Except maybe she wasn’t so good at it during the rest of the Opening Ceremony:

That’s why it’s all the more delightful to see her looking genuinely happy and relaxed, and it seems like the Braemar Games really does that for the Queen every year. And we know we aren’t the only ones who like seeing this; google searches for “the Queen laughing” bring people to our site all the time.

The Braemar Games, of which the Queen is Patron, are held on the first Saturday of September in Aberdeenshire, not far from the Balmoral estate where the royals spend their summer holiday. So, she’s already relaxed from that, plus she gets to cheer on events like tug of war, sack racing, caber tossing, and a whole lot of bagpiping. Plus, the royal men get kilted up. what’s not to love about all of that?

This is tossing the caber, by the way. First, you carry a huge log like it ain’t no thang:

And then you toss it in the air as far as you can:

Yes, it does look hilarious. So when picture came out of the Queen, Phillip, and Charles laughing and generally enjoying themselves at the Games came out yesterday, I thought there must be a mistake because I’ve seen these before. You’ll see why.

First of all, here’s the Queen having a grand time with Charles on September 1st:

It’s nice to see Prince Phillip up and about again, as well and joining in on the cheering:

Look at that!

Hilarity!!

Camilla was having a hoot, too

Now let’s look at past years. In 2011, the Queen was also in high spirits:

We’ve seen the Queen give out lots of trophies, but there’s something about the unbridled joy that went along with this one, eh?

In 2010, Charles and Anne were there as well:

This event has got to be a favourite of Charles’ as well:

HM even did the hand-on-arm laugh:

More fun was had in 2009:

And in 2008 the tartan blanket came out but the Prince looked pretty chilly:

It’s nice seeing different family members joining in. The Queen chilled out with the Duchess of York in 1990 before all hell broke lose:

The Queen mum was there with Prince Charles in 1988:

Princess Diana at Charles joined the Queen and Queen Mum in September 1982. Diana always wore tartan to the Braemar Games.

Check out Charles’ face. And then the Queen’s. They are LOVING it:

Another nice moment. They really are relaxed up in Aberdeenshire:

There’s so much to love about this photo of the royal attendees in the 1960’s:

To end, this is  the oldest picture we have of the Royals at the Braemar Games. The Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and the Queen Mum all attended in 1958:

Delightful. If you haven’t quite had enough already,  you might enjoy our posts on Balmoral style.

Part One is here

And Part Two is here.

Hurray for all things tartan!

And before we go, have you seen these waving solar powered Queens from Kikkerland? I think they are a hoot!