Royal Passports

Some of the more unique aspects of royal life are what we find so fascinating here at the Royal Post, and one area we haven’t discussed yet is passports. Since they interest us, we thought you’d like to learn more as well so let’s dive in!

Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)
Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)

The British Royals

One of the perks of being The Queen of England is that she  is the only citizen of the United Kingdom who does not need a passport when travelling overseas.

giphy-2

The official website of the British Monarchy explains that the inside of each British passport has this statement:

‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.’

So, since British passports are issued in the name of The Queen, it is unnecessary for her to have one herself. She is the only exception; the rest of her family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports and must carry them when travelling abroad.

Such a great read!
Such a great read!

The fascinating book In Private In Public the Prince and Princess of Wales by Alastair Burnet includes a look at the passports that Diana and Charles carried in the mid ’80’s (such a fun read – you can pick up a copy here.

(source)
(source)

These passports don’t appear to have a special mark showing any special diplomatic status, but if we’re mistaken please let us know in the comments!

(source)
(source)

Here’s an inside look at Diana’s passport as well; it was part of the exhibit on her life at Althorp. No  severe and boring drug store passport photo for the Princess of Wales!

Princess Diana's British passport on exhibit---as we visited the Princess Diana exhibit at the Mall of America fourth floor exhibit space with a group of English-born women that call themselves the English Mums Friday morning February 3, 2012. The exhibit was lent by Princess Diana's family and it features what is considered to be the largest collection of her personal heirlooms extant. The exhibit opens Saturday. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)
A passport photo fit for a princes (source)

Diana’s childhood passport was also included in the exhibit and I remember seeing it there on my visit to Althorp in the summer of 2001. Unfortunately the photo is teeny tiny, but I can just make out that her birthplace is listed as Sandringham, England on on 1-7-61. At this point, she would have been The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer and apparently Diana’s dad took all the photos of the Spencer siblings that were used in their passports.

(source)
So cute! (source)

We also know that William and Kate applied for a passport for Prince George in advance of their trip to Australia in 2013.  Understandably, no pictures have been published of William, Kate, or George’s passports but I do have an anecdote!

Oh, George!
Oh, George!

An acquaintance of mine worked at the Welcome Centre at the Athlete’s Village during the 2012 London Olympics. At all Olympic Athlete’s Villages, the Welcome Centre essentially functions as Customs for the village. Anyone who is not an Olympic athlete must enter through the centre and be on a pre-screened and approved list and, without exception, each visitor must bring their passport with them to be left at the Centre for the duration of their visit. Most people are great about following the rules, but William and Kate sidestepped this and just brought photocopies. The gall! The folks running the centre weren’t pleased but…they let them in.

William & Kate tour the Athlete's Village (source)
William & Kate tour the Athlete’s Village (source)

 

(source)
Kate visiting the Athlete’s Village on Day four of the London 2012 Summer Olympics (source)

The House of Grimaldi

When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, she became a citizen of Monaco and decided to retain her US citizenship. This photo of her American passport surfaced on the internet – interesting that she calls herself ‘Grace Kelly Grimaldi’, right?

 

(source)
(source)

 

Prince Albert reportedly claimed dual citizenship as well, but gave it up when he turned 21. He is, however, enormously proud to have visited each and every State; he seems to bring that up in every interview with an American reporter.

The Royal Family of Denmark

There is limited information about the passport situation for Denmark’s royal family, however it is widely reported that all members of the Royal Family have diplomatic passports. We also know that when Queen Margarethe’s sons married foreigners Alexandra Manley, Mary Donaldson, and Marie Cavallier they were all given Danish citizenship. Understandably, it caused a bit of a fuss when they got to sidestep the normal channels to receive their passports.

(source)
Princes Alexandra and Prince Joachim with their sons

When  Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim divorced, she reportedly was allowed to retain her diplomatic passport. The thinking there was that her and Prince Joachim’s sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix would both have diplomatic passports so it would be impractical if their mother didn’t have one as well when travelling.

The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, (source)
The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, 2006 (source)

Also, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece can carry Danish diplomatic passports since they are descended from a Danish King and Queen. Members of their family, like Prince Pavolos and Princess Marie Chantal can also carry Danish passports since they are a Prince and Princess of Denmark. More details about that can be read here if you’re in the mood.

We’ll stick with those three royal families for now, but we’ll keep digging for more information and do feel free to share anything you know in the comments!

Royal Monograms

Our post awhile back on the art of royal signatures was such a hit that we thought we’d branch out and talk about royal monograms. There are just so many to choose from that we haven’t rounded up ALL of them but instead have focused on the ones that are most interesting to us.

Hopefully they’ll be the ones that are most interesting to you, too.

Diana Princesss of Wales

Let’s start with Diana, Princess of Wales

Star Editions
Diana on tour of Canada (via Star Editions)

Her monogram really stands to me since the cursive D reflects her loopy (for lack of a better word) handwriting.

Here is a sample of her writing on a KP notecard. See what I mean?

And because we’re all over this stuff, check this out. While Diana was living at Coleherne Court in the days before she became engaged to Charles, she has personalized stationary with the apartment’s address and phone number. She really appreciated proper stationery and must have really have loved that D with the coronet!.

A letter from Diana to Rain Spencer (via The Telegraph)
A letter from Diana to Raine Spencer (via The Telegraph)

Kate is up next.

The Duchess of Cambridge

middleton-portrait

I can’t help but wonder how this went down…did Catherine/Kate have a few monogramoptions presented to her before she settled on this monogram? Or was it more of a “here you go, this will be your monogram” situation? Whatever the case, it seems like that would have been a fun and surreal moment. And she got the same type of crown as Diana.

The monogram has already shown up on this special bracelet which is reported to be from Camilla thought that has not been officially confirmed. I like to think that it was a gift from Charles to both the “C” ladies in his family since the other side of the charm has Camilla’s monogram.

While we’re at it, here’s the signature Catherine has been using. Must be strange to suddenly not have to sign with a last name, right?

Unknown-1

 

On to the Swedes!

King Carl Gustav

The royal family of Sweden has grand monograms that are done in gold.

Queen Silvia 

Queen Silvia seems to have a double S going on, perhaps because her maiden name was Sommerlathe?

Victoria & Daniel’s Joint Monogram

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

This is lovely.

And be still our hearts, Princess Estelle has her own webpage and monogram. Of course!

via official webpage of the Swedish Royal Family
via official webpage of the Swedish Royal Family

Obviously she needed a monogram to go with her mini Order of the Seraphim:

Princess Estelle of Sweden,
Princess Estelle of Sweden shows us how its done (via Daily Mail)

Princess Madeleine

Via Hello
Via Hello

That looks like a sprightly crown on top of that M! Her hubby doesn’t get one since he declined the title of Prince…

 

but Princess Leonore’s monogram was revealed at the same time as her christening, which took place on Sunday June 8, 2014. Like her cousin Estelle, Leonore now has her own page as well. Check it out here.

via kungahuset.se
via kungahuset.se

Oh, and Princess Leonore got her own mini Order of the Seraphim as well!

via Queens of England
Hello, World! via Queens of England

Here’s a better look.

via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor
Having a snooze via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

Prince Carl Philipe

Prince Carl Philip with Prince Daniel at the Olympics
Prince Carl Philip with Prince Daniel at the Olympics

They got both the C and the P in there which must have taken some time to sort out!

Royal Family of Norway

Crown Princess Mette-Marit

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway

Double M! Love it so much we’ll ignore the rest of the Norwegian royals and move along to the Danes, ok?

Royal Family of Denmark

The Royal Family of Denmark have done a good job at making the monograms cohesive.

Mary & Frederik’s joint Monogram:

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrive for a religious ceremony at Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam

Prince Joachim of Denmark:

This has got to be the most modern looking one of the bunch. Love it:

Princess Marie

Note how the M is different from Princess Mary’s ‘M’. Details, details!

Countess Alexandra

Countess Alexandra is the former wife of Prince Joachim and we have some more juicy on the Countess that you can read here.

Princess Alexandra in 2004
Princess Alexandra in 2004

When she and Joachim divorced, not only did she get to keep her diplomatic passport and the title of countess, but she also gets to use this delightfully regal monogram:

It’s interesting to note that this monogram is a downgrade from her original. When she was Princess, she was given this monogram with the closed crown to use (on the left). After the divorce, the monogram was revised to the open crown (on the right).

Alexandra's Monogram downgrade (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra )
Alexandra’s Monogram downgrade (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra )

Before we move along, I recently found these pictures of the then Princess Alexandra at Schakenborg Castle, her home with Prince Joachim. These gates were a gift from the Queen. Joachim now lives there with Princess Marie so the gates were changed to their joint cypher. More about that here.

Princess Alexandra outside the gages of Schakenborg c. 1996 (via CountessAlexandra.net)
Princess Alexandra outside the gages of Schakenborg c. 1996 (via CountessAlexandra.net)

Alexandra and Joachim outside those lovely gates.

(via Countess Alexandra.net)
(via Countess Alexandra.net)

Principality of Monaco

Prince Albert & Princess Charlene

ox281270436309405391

Lord only knows what the deal is with these two, both they have used a joint monogram since the wedding. As far as we can tell from their official website, Princess Charlene does not have her own. Their website was recently given a sorely needed upgrade, and you can check it out here.

During the wedding celebrations, the monograph was everywhere!!! Case in point:

Princess Grace of Monaco

Princess Grace in her princess finery
Princess Grace in her princess finery

Grace Grimaldi got two G’s in her monogram.

Well that’s it for now. Anyone else share our interest in royal monograms? Hope so! 🙂

Royal Luggage

We write about a lot of random royal stuff here, and today’s post is no exception. Now that William and Kate’s tour of Australia and New Zealand is about to start, we’ve been inspired to take a closer look at royal luggage over the years.  After all, who doesn’t love a peak behind the curtain?  Luggage with tags marked with ‘The Queen’ fulfills that for me.

The Queen

The Queen is the only British Citizen who doesn’t need to travel with a passport since all British passports are issued in her name. Her family members travel on diplomatic passport and they also use a handy colour coded luggage tag system to keep things organized. Different family members have different coloured tags assigned to them, and they also specify where the luggage is to be delivered (i.e. ‘Residence).

The Queen’s tags are always yellow as you can see here. This stack of luggage was for the Queen’s 2007 tour of the US and are pretty normal looking when you consider what’s inside them., right?

The Queen's Luggage (via )
The Queen’s Luggage (via all womens talk)

Naturally, royal jewels travel as carry on!

Princess Diana

This photo of Charles and Diana was taken in 1981 and shows the couple arriving in London. In this case, Diana had a couple pieces of carry on luggage.

(via Princess Diana Boutique)
(via Princess Diana Boutique)

Things were remarkably different for their tour of Australia in 1985. This photo, taken at the Melbourne airport, shows the pile of luggage that the Prince and Princess of Wales required for the trip. This particular shot comes from the delightful book Dressing Diana by Tim Graham (it can be purchased here and is sooo worth having in your royal library).

Check out the standing wardrobe case!

The Prince and Princess of Wales' luggage
The Prince and Princess of Wales’ luggage

For this tour, the Princess of Wales was assigned pink tags and the yellow tags designated where the luggage was to be delivered. Looks like this was the ninth of many more bags! I just LOVE the organization.

Diana's luggage (from Dressing Diana)
Diana’s luggage (from Dressing Diana)

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“On this tour of Australia and America, Diana took twenty daytime outfits, twelve hats, more than a dozen evening dresses, fifteen pairs of shoes and matching bags, nineteen pairs of earrings, two tiaras, eight necklaces and assorted pairs of tights to match her outfits. Accompanying Diana was her dresser, Evelyn Dagley, who was on hand to help the Princess with her many changes each day. After Australia, the couple flew straight to America. The Princess had meticulously preplanned both trips and unveiled a whole new set of evening gowns, coats, and daywear for the visit, including the show-stoping Victor Edelstein dark blue velvet number she wore to the While House dinner and dance hosted by President Reagan.”

That would be this one, of course and I’m guessing it would have been hung in that standing wardrobe case so the velvet wouldn’t be crushed:

The Dress! (via the Toronto Star)
The Dress! (via the Toronto Star)

Since we’re stepping back in time, here’s an article that appeared in the LA Times the following day (November 12, 1985).

WASHINGTON — If you’re wondering why Princess Diana danced with John Travolta, Clint Eastwood and Neil Diamond but not Mikhail Baryshnikov, the man who sat next to her at that fabulous White House dinner, it was because the ballet dancer had sore ankles and could not do so. . . . The dance with Travolta was quite the talk of Washington the next day. The music they were dancing to, according to Travolta, was a medley of the music from two of his movies, “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever,” as played quite beautifully by the U.S. Marine Dance Band. (Source)

Prince Charles & The Duchess of Cornwall

Moving a long to a more recent tour, here is some of Charles and Camilla’s luggage being offloaded upon their arrival in Sweden in March of 2012. What a great behind the scenes look!

I spy a blue tag (via Zimbio)
I spy a blue tag (via Zimbio)

This was the red carpet arrival they really wanted us to see, but  I”m sure you’ll agree it’s not nearly as interesting as all those bags coming down the stairs.

Charles and Camilla arrive in Sweden for a Jubilee tour in 2012 (via Zimbio)
Charles and Camilla arrive in Sweden for a Jubilee tour in 2012 (via Zimbio)

Prince Harry

In this photo, Harry’s wheeling out his now ex-girlfriend Chelsey Davey’s bag from Heathrow in September 2007. He was an hour late to pick her up, was totally in the dog house and was trying to make amends.

Oh, Harry (via The Daily Mail)
Oh, Harry (via The Daily Mail)

He thinks nothing of schlepping his own bags and is shown here arriving at Hollyroof House for Zara’s wedding back in the summer of 2011.

Harry (via Daily Mail)
Harry (via Daily Mail)

And while were’ on the subject of that wedding, what I loved most about the coverage was all the photos of royals arriving and leaving with their bags.

Here’s Sophie leaving the morning after with her hat box.

Sophie's hat box after Zara's wedding (via Daily mail)
Sophie’s hat box after Zara’s wedding (via Daily mail)

The bride was also photographed getting ready to leave (the striped bag she’s carrying is an Anya Hindmarch traveler bag that is comes tucked away in her bags when you buy them).

 

Zara the day after her wedding
Zara the day after her wedding

Her need husband Mike Tindall was photographed still wearing his suit from the day before (but he did change shortly after).

Mike Tindall (via The Daily Mail)
Mike Tindall (via The Daily Mail)

And here’s Zara’s brother Peter and his wife Autumn packing up to head home.

Heading home with Savannah (via The Daily Mail)
Heading home with little Savannah (via The Daily Mail)

William & Kate

William luggage to include his official monogram. This photo was taken during Kate and William’s tour of North America.

This guy is like WHAT? (Via Lainey Gossip)
This guy is like WHAT? (Via Lainey Gossip)

In contrast, Kate’s luggage is a total miss mash. While living in London after graduating from university, Kate was a weekend warrior (she only worked 4 days a week which helped) and the green bag below made a lot of appearances. By the way, I have those same shoes she’s wearing in the pic below. They are from LK Bennet and the are just the best, though I think the last time they were in stores was 2008.

Kate the Weekend Warrior (via Just Jared)
Kate the Weekend Warrior (via Just Jared)

Here is the bag and those shoes again.

It's huge! (via Just Jared)
It’s huge! (via Just Jared)

Another outing.

Kate and that bag (via Kansas City News)
Kate and that bag (via Kansas City News)

This was taken at Gatwick airport in July of 2007. Kate was en route to the Seychelles where she met prince William (he arrived shortly after her). This was after the short-lived April 2007 breakup heard around the world..

Kate at the airport (via Lazy Girls)
Kate at the airport (via Lazy Girls)

Ok, now we’ll fast forward to the summer of 2011 when Kate and William toured Canada. Remember the big accidental dress reveal?

Kate's dress for the BAFTA event in LA (via Daily Mail)
Kate’s dress for the BAFTA event in LA (via Daily Mail)

It happened as Kate and William’s luggage was being loaded into the airport in Yellowknife, and eagle eyes spotted the dress and correctly assumed the dress was for the BAFTA event they were to attend in Los Angeles. Here it is on Kate.

That dress was well travelled (via The Daily Mail)
That dress was well travelled (via The Daily Mail)

And here’s a close up of some of the other luggage on the tarmac. The spotted one is from Cath Kitson and the red is Longchamp. She has it in a few different colours and sizes.

luggage (via )
I spy another yellow tag (via mymomshops.com)

To end, here are Kate’s outfit options arriving at the hospital after Prince George was born. More random bags!

via Daily Mail
via Daily Mail

We’ll see if her luggage gets an upgrade for the Australia and New Zealand tour!

In the meantime, here’s a round up of some articles around the web with more bits and pieces about the tour if you’re in the mood for more.

Kate’s bought a pretty new pair of pearls from Kiwi jewelry designers to wear on the tour.

Prince George will be wearing some cute stripes from Baby Gap.

And here are some other ideas of what outfits Kate may have packed.

Government House in New Zealand where Kate and William will stat fir the first part if the tour

UPDATED April 6, 2014: The tour has begun: Kate and William were spotted switching planes in Sydney en route to New Zealand. Kate was carrying her navy Longchamp bag (well, actually William was carrying it for her since she had Prince George). Also, is that a Kangaroo?

And so it begins! (via The Daily Mail)
And so it begins! (via The Daily Mail)

 

And it still looks like a total mishmash of bags. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more photos like this during the tour.

Pink tags! (via The Daily Mail)
Pink tags! (via The Daily Mail)

Ok, and this video is hilarious. Seriously, it made me laugh out loud. It’s a morning news show in Australia and they are trying to make a story out of William and Kate getting on their plane to New Zealand and they’re having a lot of fun with it. They talk about the luggage being loaded on, they beg William and Kate to turn around at the top of the stairs when we’re boarding the plane, and we even see Kate’s secretary Rebecca Deacon carrying a hat box and garment bag onto the plane….so perhaps Kate will be wearing that hat and outfit when she disembarks?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_FzSrY1xfc

 

 

Christmas at Sandringham

In just a few days, Sandringham will be over run with the Queen’s family for the annual Christmas visit, so we thought it’d be fun to run down what it is that the Royals get up to every year there.

The Queen on Christmas Day 2012 (via Windsor Star)
The Queen on Christmas Day 2012 (via Windsor Star)

Who’s Invited?

Traditionally, the group included the Queen and Philip, their children and spouses, their grandchildren and now three great-grandchildren. The Queen also includes the families of Princess Margaret’s two children, Lady Sarah Chatto and Viscount Linley.

Peter Philips and Prince William escort Margarita Armstrong-Jones to church on Christmas Day 2006 (via CBS News)
Peter Philips and Prince William escort Margarita Armstrong-Jones to church on Christmas Day 2006 (via CBS News)

Even though Sandringham looks spacious, that’s a whole lot of bedroom to sort out. Back in 2011, the Daily Mail conjectured that some junior members of the family would be housed in staff quarters.

Sandringham via The Daily Mail
Sandringham via The Daily Mail

So let’s count ’em down:

  1. The Queen
  2. Prince Philip
  3. Prince Charles
  4. Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
  5. Prince William
  6. Kate
  7. Prince George
  8. Prince Harry
  9. Prince Andrew
  10. Princess Beatrice
  11. Princess Eugenie
  12. Prince Edward
  13. Sophie, Countess of Wessex
  14. Lady Louise
  15. James, Viscount Severn
  16. Princess Anne
  17. Tim Laurence
  18. Peter Philips
  19. Autumn Philips
  20. Savanna Philips
  21. Isla Philips (their daughter)
  22. Zara Philips (their daughter)
  23. Mike Tindal
  24. Viscount Linley
  25. Viscountess Linley
  26. Charles Armstrong Jones (their son)
  27. Margarita Armtrong-Jones (their daughter)
  28. Lady Sarah Chatto
  29. Daniel Chatto
  30. Samuel Chatto (their son)
  31. Arthur Chatto (their son)

Note that Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are not included in the invitation, though they were invited in the past.

The Kents 1988 Christmas Card (via eBay)
The Kents 1988 Christmas Card  (via eBay) 

The Kents are planning on spending the holiday at their home in Kensington Palace along with their new granddaughter Maude, which Princess Michael has been chatting to The Telegraph about. She’s such a piece of work it’s mesmerizing to read about her outlook on the world.

Anyway, now that the family is so large the Queen hosts an annual  Christmas lunch for the extended family at Buckingham Palace as a way to get everyone together. I suspect it’s also a way to be diplomatic about the more pared down guest list.

Here’s Sophie arriving at the Christmas lunch in 2012.

Sophie driving into Buckingham Palace December 2012 (via Hello)
Sophie driving into Buckingham Palace December 2012 (via Hello)

The 2013 Buckingham Palace party included Prince George, who arrived in the back of the car with Kate and William along with his nannie Jessie Webb.

Off to lunch 2013 (via Daily Mail)
Jessie was seated behind Kate and George was behind William. I promise. (via Daily Mail)

There’s been some speculation that Kate’s family has been invited for Christmas Day this year. I find that very hard to believe  – the house is obviuously stuffed to the gills and Camilla’s family isn’t invited for Christmas Day and she’s higher up the pecking order.  Once William and Kate take up residence at Amner Hall I’m guessing that the Middletons will start to spend Christmas there.

Amner Hall, via Zimbio
Amner Hall, via Zimbio

Amner Hall is only two miles away from the main house, so it would be a perfect solution, right? That way, William and Kate can easily make the trek to the great house for meals and tea time and what not which would free up a bedroom, and they’d still have time with the Middletons back at Amner.

December 23 & 24: Arrivals

The festivities traditionally begin on December 23rd, though many guests do not arrive until the 24th.You may recall that Kate, William, and Harry arrived on the 24th back in 2011, after William played in a football match.

Harry and Kate watch William's football game on Christmas Eve 2011 (via )
Harry and Kate watch William’s football game on Christmas Eve 2011 (via HRH Duchess Kate)

Each of the royals are instructed to arrive at a specific time – with  senior royal arriving last – to avoid any chaos. The Queen arrives via train from King’s Cross station no later than the 23rd, and usually arrives a few days earlier than that.

In 2012, she arrived on December 20th.

The Queen on December 20, 2012 arriving at King's Cross Station en route to Sandringham (via )
The Queen on December 20, 2012 arriving at King’s Cross Station en route to Sandringham (via Daily Mail)

And she and Philip arrived on the in 2013.

The Queen & Philip at King's Cross Station en route to Sandringham (via Daily Mail)
The Queen & Philip at King’s Cross Station en route to Sandringham (via Daily Mail)

At 4:00 pm on Christmas Eve it’s tea time! Everyone gathers together and finishing touches are made to the Christmas tree. I can just see Lady Louise and Viscount Severn being all over that.

Lady Louise with Sophie, Edward, and Philip on Christmas Day 2012
Lady Louise with Sophie, Edward, and Philip on Christmas Day 2012 (via Zimbio)

In an article for The Independent back in 1999, then editor of Majesty magian Nigel Evans said,

“At Sandringham,” says Evans, “the men all have breakfast together and the women are expected to lie in bed. Then the men go off shooting all day until 4pm and the women can either follow them or do their own thing. But they nearly always spend all of their free time outside.”

The family exchanges joke gifts on Christmas Eve. The gifts are all laid out tables and are reportedly opened before dinner. One year, the Queen apparently received this awesome Billy Bass.

Billy Bass really is awesome. (via Spokeo)
Billy Bass really is awesome. (via Spokeo)

We have one, too and it’s awesome because it suddenly perks up and starts to sing. In 2011, it was reported that Kate gifted everyone with homemade jam and today Prince Harry was spotted buying “African curios” in South Africa so I think we know what his contribution will be.

Time to Change Clothes Again!

When Kate was on a walk about in 2011, she revealed that she had to change outfits 5 times a day at Sandringham. On a typical day that likely includes:

  • A morning outfit
  • A Hunting outfit
  • A day dress for a post-shoot tea and the Christmas church visit.
  • A cocktail dress for pre-dinner drinks
  • A gown for the black tie dinner

So Much Bloody Curtseying: Keeping Track of the Order of Precedence

Then there’s the whole matter of the Order of Precedence. This is a list laid out by the Queen to essentially explain who must bow to whom when the Royal Family is together.

Via The Toronto Star
Via The Toronto Star

It so very ridiculous and silly it’s unbelievable.The royal family’s official website describes the Order of Precedence very tactfully:

“Unlike succession to the throne, which is regulated not only through descent, but also by Parliamentary statute, precedence of the Royal Family at Court is determined by both law, as well as traditions and customs. Precedence of members of the Royal Family at private events is a matter for The Queen’s discretion.

The Queen decides which members of her family are accorded the status of members of the Royal Family and also, from time to time, approves their precedence.

The Queen determines both separate precedence (for ladies and gentlemen) and also joint precedence.

Generally speaking, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of a Sovereign, as well as their spouses, are members of the Royal Family. First cousins of the monarch may also be included. Children are included on coming of age or after they have completed their education.

Precedence of the Royal Family at Court does not follow the line of succession. Thus, The Duke of Edinburgh takes precedence immediately after The Queen.”

Autumn and Peter Philips and Princess Beatrice bow to the Queen (via The Telegraph)
Autumn and Peter Philips and Princess Beatrice and boyfriend Dave Clark bow to the Queen (via The Telegraph)

The website does not go on to list the actual Order of Precedence, but it was widely reported after Kate and William’s wedding to take the new Duchess of Cambridge into account and it’s generally not too tough to figure out. This excerpt comes from The Telegraph and does a good job explaining what’s what.

“The new rules of Court make it clear that the former Kate Middleton, when she is not accompanied by Prince William, must curtsy to the “blood princesses”, the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

When William is with her, Kate does not need to bend the knee to either of them, but she must curtsy to the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Despite being married to the Queen’s son, the Countess of Wessex will, however, have to curtsy to Kate, even when William is not present.

“Updating the Order of Precedence has been a simple matter of following the precedent set when the Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles,” a courtier tells me.

A document is said to have been circulated privately in the Royal Household, clarifying Kate’s status. When the Order was last updated, after Prince Charles’s second marriage, in 2005, the Countess of Wessex was reported to be upset that she now had to curtsy to Camilla. “She didn’t like it one bit,” a senior courtier was quoted as saying. The Earl of Wessex’s wife had previously been the second-highest ranking woman in the Royal family because neither of the Queen’s other sons, Charles and Prince Andrew, were married.”

Sophie and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent curtsey to The Queen at Royal Ascot in 2012 (via The Telegraph)
Sophie and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent curtsey to The Queen at Royal Ascot in 2012 (via The Telegraph)

Yep, things changed a lot for Sophie since she married Edward in 1999. And Princess Anne was obviously not about to curtsey to Camilla. Fascinating, no?

This video shows Kate giving Prince Philip a quick curtsey during the 2012 Trooping the Colour balcony appearance, so she clearly hadn’t seen Prince Philip prior to that. The curtsey happens at 0:11.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrwIIMkcx8U]

Christmas Day!

The day starts out with a hearty English breakfast followed by an early private service. Then they all return to the castle to change for church visit #2.

The fact that there’s an early morning church service was news to me. Kate, Beatrice and Eugenie and the rest of the family were spotted walking there on Christmas Day 2011, The ladies were in different outfits than the ones they were spotted in at the later service (also – no hats!).

Via The Mirror
Via The Mirror

As we’ve recounted in numerous posts in the past, the family walks together to St. Mary Magdalen Church for the 11 o’clock service. In recent years, the Queen has been driven to church accompanied by Sophie. This year I’m guessing that Zara will get to do the honours since she’s expecting a baby in the New Year.

The Queen and Sophie Christmas Day 2012 (via )
The Queen and Sophie Christmas Day 2012 (via the Mirror)

Here’s a look at the lady’s fashion choices over the years if you’re in the mood:

  • Sophie’s Christmas day style evolution can be found here and here
  • Zara’s is a doozy and can be found here and here
  • And we can’t forget the York girls! They can be found here and here

The Rest of Christmas Day

After Church, the family troops back for lunch complete with Christmas crackers and watches the Queen’s Christmas broadcast, though the Queen prefers to watch it separately. Here’s her broadcast from 1957:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-harry-girlfriend-cressida-bonas-2836432

Then there’s some free time before  a formal dinner is served at 8:15.

The Boxing Day Shoot

Early on the 26th, the guns set off for hunting and it’s possible that the Middletons may be included.

Kate & William at Sandringham in 2008 (via Princess Diana Remembered)
Kate & William at Sandringham in 2008 (via Princess Diana Remembered)

There’s also  been chatter that Cressida is invited this year.

Harry & Cressida (via the Mirror)
Harry & Cressida (via the Mirror)

After the Boxing Day shoot, the family begins to scatter again, but the Queen and Philip stay on at Sandringham until February.

Christmas at Sandringham for the Rest of Us

If you’re looking for a holiday rental home, why not rent one on the Sandringham Estate? This is the charming Garden House. It’s booked this year, but is available next year as of this writing.

The Garden House on the Sandringham Estate (via )
The Garden House on the Sandringham Estate (via )

If that’s a bit much for your taste, Christmas trees are also available for purchase at Sandringham. Check it out here.

It will be interesting to see how the traditions change and evolve when Charles becomes King. Will he want to continue the Sandringham tradition or pare things down with a smaller gathering? What do you think?

Some more!

If you haven’t gotten enough yet, here are some more posts we’ve written on Christmas at Sandringham

Will(via Princess DIana Remembered)
Will(via Princess DIana Remembered)

Royal Family Attend Christmas Day Service

William and Diana on Christmas Day (via Princess Diana Remembered)
William and Diana on Christmas Day (via Princess Diana Remembered)

Royals & Their Pets

This Royal Poster recently adopted the CUTEST puppy from the Pasadena Human Society. She’s named Ruby and is some sort of beagle/ chihuahua and possibly Jack Russell mix.

See?

Ruby  needed a red collar, naturally
Ruby needed a red collar, naturally

Ruby has got us thinking about royals and their pets so today’s post is a rundown of a few favourites.

The Queen’s Corgis

Shall we start with the obvious?

Corgis are probably the first royal pets that come to mind for most of us royal watchers. They have been  faithful companions of the Queen since she was a child, starting with a wee little guy named Dookie who was brought home in 1933. He was named for the Duke of York. Cute, eh?

That’s him below. LOOK AT THAT FACE!!

Dookie & Princess Elizabeth in 1936, via The Telegraph
Dookie & Princess Elizabeth in 1936, via The Telegraph

They have been a constant fixture, as you can see from this video taken from Prince Harry’s Christening in 1984. This is one of my all-time favourites and worth a watch or re-watch. In it, you see the Queen explaining to Zara, Peter, and William that her new puppy’s name is “Dash.” Zara asks “Does it bite?” and the Queen replies “No, not yet. But it might after it’s finished with you.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPJQvQX7X9I

Lots more corgi info can be found here. Also, this article over at the Daily Mail all about the Queen’s graveyard at Sandringham for her pets is worth a read.

Prince Charles & The Duchess of Cornwall

Prince Charles is also a big fan of dogs and seems to favour Jack Russell terriers.

Prince Charles on the cover of Tattler
Prince Charles on the cover of Town & Country

One of his pet dogs was named Pooh (he was originally named Roo but was renamed by William after the favourite A.A. Milne character). He was a Jack Russell Terrier who sadly went missing on the Balmoral estate  in April of 1994. Charles was devastated and put out an ad in the local paper and sadly poor Pooh wasn’t found.

In happier news, the Duchess of Cornwall also loves Jack Russell Terries and has had several over the years. One of them came from the same litter as Pooh, and she currently has two rescue dogs, Beth and Bluebell.

Camilla, Beth and Bluebell
Camilla, Beth and Bluebell via The Daily Mail

Beth and Bluebell were adopted from the Battersea Dogs Home, and Camilla took them back there for a visit in December of 2012. Hats off to Camilla for being  dog resucer! During the tour she told a reporter that ‘”Beth is the sweetest dog with the nicest temperament, she so laid-back. Bluebell is much more feisty but lots of fun. She seems to think she is a lot bigger than she actually and is a bit of a toughie. They are very happy and love each other, though, which is the main thing…I love Jack Russells. They are so intelligent.”

Princess Diana

Next up: a guinea pig!

This picture of Lady Diana with her pet guinea pig Peanuts has made the rounds a lot over the years.

Diana & Peanuts Via
Diana & Peanuts Via A Pondering Mind

Turns out it was taken by photographer John Hocknell in 1972 when Diana was showing her pet at the Sandringham pet show. Here he is proudly showing off the photo:

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

As you may recall, Diana grew up in Park House before her father became Earl and inherited Althorp, the Spencer Estate. Park House is on the Sandringham estate and the Spencers were often invited over to “the big house” by the royal family. More info on all that can be found here.

Prince William

This delightful black lab who joined in on this August 1997 photocall at Balmoral was named Widgeon, and she belonged to Prince William.

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

Back in 2000, Prince William gave an interview to mark his 18th birthday and Widgeon came up, though it wasn’t too enlightening. The full interview can be read here, but here is the Widgeon bit:

Q: How is your dog, Widgeon, and do you have any other pets?

A: Widgeon had eight pups about 18 months ago. I have no other pets.

Oh, you sure had a way with words, William. Anyway, I love the name. Widgeon is a type of duck and it seems very suitable for all the hunting and whatnot that I’m sure she joined in on.  Like here on a shoot at Sandringham back in 2009:

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

Widgeon passed away sometime in 2010, and now of course William and Kate have Lupo!

Kate, William, & Lupo via The Daily Mail
Kate, William, & Lupo via The Daily Mail

Princess Mary and Prince Frederick of Denmark

Now over to Denmark. Ziggy is a Danish-born Border Collie who was a gift from the Danish Kennel Club to Mary and Frederick back in 2005.  Here he is as a puppy walking with Mary in Copenhagen:

Via The Sydney Morning Herald & AFP
Via The Sydney Morning Herald & AFP

And here he is later with the family:

Time for a walk
Time for a walk

And I love this photo which was taken to celebrate Mary’s 40th birthday. So dynamic.

princesa-mary-9--a

The Swedish Royal Family

Labradors are the dog of choice for the Swedish Royal Family. They have had a succession of them over the years and in 2010 they had to say good bye to Jambo, a golden lab who joined the family in in 1998.

Here are a few pictures of the familyd Jambo over the years. What a cutie!

Victoria & Jambo via Royal Dish
Victoria & Jambo via Fashion Spot

In the palace with Princess Madeleine during a photocell for her 18th birthday. Apparently it was all a big yawn:

That's a big yawn (via Algonet.se)
Are we keeping you up, Jambo? (via Algonet.se)ut on the town with Victoria  in Swedish colours:

And here was his balcony appearance:

Jambo's balcony appearance (via Photo Bucket)
Jambo’s balcony appearance (via Photo Bucket)

And out on the town in Swedish colours:

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Princess Grace of Monaco

We’ll end with Monaco.

Princess Grace loved poodles, and had several over the years. One was named Oliver and he was given to Grace by Cary Grant when she left Hollywood to marry Prince Ranier. Oliver joined in on Grace’s cruise to Monaco on S.S. Constitution in April of 1956 and seems to have been quite a hit.

Grace & Oliver learn about their muster station
Grace & Oliver get to their muster station for a pre-cruise drill (via MSN.com)

A weimaraner also made the journey. He was a wedding gift from Grace’s brother Jack but I haven’t been able to figure out what his name was. Does anyone know?

Taking a walk on the poop deck, as you do
Taking a walk on the poop deck, as you do

Naturally, Oliver there when Grace greeted the Prince upon arrival in her massive white hat.

Via Tres Sugar
Via Tres Sugar

Well Princess Grace seems like a smashing way to end this post. Have I missed any other favourite royal pets?

Prince Philip's Steps in the Galapagos Islands

All was quiet on the blog recently because the Royal Posters were travelling around the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. They are close to 1,000 kilometres off the mainland and suffice to say are not known for having great wifi access!

A handy map at the Quito airport
A handy wall map at the Quito airport

As I’m sure you know, the Galapagos are  famed for their incredible biodiversity and the number of endemic species that lead Charles Darwin to come up with his Theory of Evolution. The islands were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in order to help preserve them. The trip was awesome and it was exhilarating to be out (and in!) the water seeing such a variety of beautiful birds and fish as well as the Galapagos penguin and many sea turtles and tortoises. Here are a few snapshots I took during the trip:

Off on a snorkelling adventure...those mesh bags hold the gear!
Off on a snorkelling adventure…those handy mesh bags hold the masks and flippers.
A Red Footed Booby, not to be confused with the Blue Footed Booby.
A Red Footed Booby. Not to be confused with the Blue Footed Booby.
And what a pretty blue!
And what a pretty blue!
These Furry Seals and Sea Lions were tuckered out!
These Fur Seals and Sea Lion were tuckered out from hunting and were taking a snooze on the cliffs of Genovesa Island.
We snorkeled with these penguins. They are FAST!
We snorkeled with these penguins. They are FAST!

But  what does this all have to do with royalty, you may wonder?

Well, our last day exploring the islands involved an excursion to a lovely spot known as Prince Philip’s Steps. They are on Genovesa island and were named in recognition of Prince Philip’s 1964 visit to the islands. He was there due to his interest in conservation and wildlife research and sailed in on the Royal Yacht Britannia.   The steps are extremely steep and a bit of a hike to get up. Apparently a recent crop of tourists fell like dominoes on the way down and one poor fellow ended up in the water. You can see why:

The Approach to Prince Philip's Steps. Excuse the smudge on the lens!
The Approach to Prince Philip’s Steps. Excuse the smudges on the lens!

Here’s a closer view, extra big to get the effect:

Mind your stepping!
Mind your stepping!

A highlight of our hike around the island was spotting not one but TWO owls. They are so camouflaged. Can you spot the guy below?

Owl

I can’t track down any photo’s of Prince Philip climbing up the steps himself. However, we do have this photo from his most recent visit in 1980 when he struck this awesome pose on a rock. Love the sneakers!

Prince Philip visiting the Galapagos  Islands in 1980. Via Prince Philip Galapagos ALbum Facebook.
Prince Philip visiting the Galapagos Islands in 1980. (Via Prince Philip Galapagos Album Facebook.)

Prince Philip’s interest in the Galapagos continues. He is Patron of the Charles Darwin Foundation, and in 2009 he unveiled this life-sized bronze statue of Charles Darwin at Cambridge University. The statue is meant to show Darwin as he would have looked in his student days. There he is, looking into the future with great seriousness.

Prince Philips with a statue of Charles Darwin
Prince Philips with a statue of Charles Darwin (Via DogsInArt.com)

Other Royals who have visited the Galapagos include Prince Charles and Camilla. They were there in 2009 as part of a tour of South America. THIS is how you dress for a beach walk to observe wildlife, am I right?? I love that Prince Charles thought to wear a Panama hat, too. Fun Fact: although they are called “Panama” hats, they actually traditionally come from Ecuador where they are still woven by hand.

Camilla and Charles in the Galapagos in 2009, via Daily Mail
Camilla and Charles in the Galapagos in 2009, (via Daily Mail)
Another day, another outfit. Here they are with Lonesome Geroge! (via Daily Mail)
Another day, another outfit to see some Giant Tortoises (via Daily Mail)

On a more serious note, in 2011 it was announced that the Prince’s Foundation would assist with ensuring that a building development would impact the islands as little as possible. More information on the project can be found here. Perhaps he’ll make another visit soon to track the progress.

To end, here’s a pic of one of the giant tortoises we saw. Thanks for popping by!

Just moseying along...
Just moseying along…

Queen Beatrix's Abdication

Wow – big news out of the Netherlands today. As you’ve probably heard by now, Queen Beatrix has decided to abdicate in favour of her son Prince Willem-Alexander.

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This is something of a tradition in the Netherlands since the Queen’s mother and grandmother both did the same thing .

And this means we will soon have a Queen Maxima on our hands!

Love the picture below. Maxima is being her usual exuberant self and that’s Catharina-Amalia, future Queen of the Netherlands, on the far right beside Queen Beatrix:

887185-queen-beatrix

I think there is something to be said for this whole abdication thing. Why not hand over the reigns when everyone is healthy and you’re not in mourning? Plus, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima have been married well over ten years now, which has given them plenty of time to get into the swing of things.

This photograph was taken last week during a State visit to Singapore. See? They have had lots of time for on-the-job training together. And to think that during that whole trip they knew this announcement was just around the corner…

Princess+Maxima+Queen+Beatrix+Visits+Singapore+49vE7GktQoil

The Royal Family’s official website can be found here with all of the details that have been released so far, so there is no need to recount them verbatim here.

I found it especially interesting to read that the Queen will be moving from Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague  to Drakensteyn Castle in Lage Vuursche. This castle is a country home she purchased back in 1959. This is where she lived until she became Queen.

Here is a delightful photo of Beatrix in front of the castle:

23688_fullimage_Drakensteyn-2_560x350Presumably the new King will be taking up residence at Huis ten Bosch Palace Palace

images-1

Also, she is not going to be Queen Beatrix the Queen Mother or some such. Oh, no, she’s going back to being a princess. Another tidbit I found interesting was how the abdication means that:

After the abdication, the line of succession will begin with the children of His Majesty the King: Her Royal Highness the Princess of Orange, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexia, and Her Royal Highness Princess Ariane. The next in line will be His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn, his children and finally Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet.
 
After the abdication, the children of Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven will no longer be eligible for the throne. They will also cease to be members of the Royal House

So, Princess Margriet is the Queen’s youngest sister aand she has four sons. I’d say that the Netherlands know how to a) abdicate with grace and b) keep things under control in terms of a too big, bursting at the seams royal family. Way to go.

What do you reckon Charles is thinking over in England?

Prince+Charles+Prince+Charles+Camilla+Survey+jL6uFjWTNFBl

If you’re in the mood for more, here are our top two posts on the family:

  • Our post all about Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, future Queen of the Netherlands, can be found here.
  • Princess Maxima’s oh so patriotic engagement ring can be found here.

Highlights of the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Unfortunately it rained on their parade today so it was a bit of a “cold noses, warm hearts” situation on the River Thames. However, years of planning went into every detail and it was still a spectacular and celebratory day. Here are the highlights as I saw them.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at a Street Party

Before the Thames festivities kicked off, Charles and Camilla showed up to a ritzy street party outside of Fortnum & Mason. Camilla looked great in what looked like a Burberry trench.

They chatted with the revellers…

…and really tucked in with their Union Jack plates and napkins.

Side Note: This reminds me, if you haven’t seen the footage of Charles watching some old never before seen family videos, it really is a must. He released the footage on friday in a tribute to his “mama”, and this video shows him watching and commenting on it himself. It’s quite cute hearing him chuckle away as he watches…

And it’s fun to see the family resemblance that comes out. I mean, as one example here’s a screen shot of Charles as a baby in a video taken by the Duke of Edinburgh:

Which really reminded me of this photo of baby William with Diana during a photo call in New Zealand:

Check the video out for yourself here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePeqJCB3cU&feature=related]

Street Parties Galore

It is thought that up to one million onlookers showed up despite the weather. Not too shabby:

 The Queen in White

It’s her party. Her Majesty the Queen arrived with Prince Philip in a white Angela Kelly coat and hat which have been made over the last year. The colour was a great choice since it really helped her to stand out on the dreary day.

A photograph of her ensemble was released:

Lady in Red

Love Kate’s red  outfit. According to the Clarence House twitter feed, she chose “a dress by Alexander McQueen with a Sylvia Fletcher hat by James Lock.”

Royal Reporter Richard Palmer’s twitter feed revealed that “Kate’s wearing a maritime-themed brooch featuring two silver dolphins. It’s a gift from the Royal Navy Submarine Service.”

Kate also carried a scarf with her to help ward off the chill on the river. Richard Palmer reported that it was in the Strathearn tartan, which is very fitting since Kate and William hold the titles Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Love that touch! If you’d like to see our post on Wee Royals in Tartan, click here.

The Dashing Brothers

The Royal brothers looked very smart in their uniforms. Prince William was in Flight Lieutenant No. 1 dress uniform and Harry wore the No. 1 ceremonial dress of the Blues and Royals.

Prince Charles & Camilla Arrive

They sure got fancied up after the street party.

According to the Clarence House twitter feed, Camilla was decked out in an “Anna Valentine coat and dress with a Philip Treacy hat.”

One Doesn’t Sit

The Queen, joined by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the entire journey down the river. Bit of a shame those thrones didn’t get used, but the Queen really would have been drenched up there.

They were huddled under the canopy when the rain really started to come down:

There were still some smiles, though

The Yorks and the Countess of Wessex

Meanwhile, the other Royals followed behind in the Royal Flotilla. Beatrice and Eugenie were very enthusiastic and no crazy hats were to be seen. That’s Prince Andrew with them and it looks like the Countess of Wessex is beside Eugenie:

There’s another shot of Countess of Wessex with London Mayor Boris Johnson:

Side Note: Our favourite part of the Epsom Derby yesterday was Princess Eugenie’s Union Jack manicure:

And are those some Links of London bracelets we spy?

Plus, all the royals looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Here’s the Queen with Princess Michael of Kent on our far left and Prince Edward to the Queen’s left:

And the Countess of Wessex looked great in her hat. Prince Andrew showed up as well with his usual sort of expression:

Sadly, William, Harry, and Kate couldn’t make it. Back to the Pageant…

Pippa & The Middletons

All of the Middletons were there on the Elizabethan, a paddle steamer and seemed to be having a jolly good time.

That’s dad Michael behind Carol, who appears to be wearing a sapphire version of Kate’s Kiki McDonough earrings.

Singing in the rain

Due to the weather, the “wow” moment (a diamond-shaped fly past) was cancelled. That was a real shame since so much effort and practice had gone into it, but the London Philharmonic Orchestra played on and sang Land of Hope and Glory.

The BBC live feed showed Camilla hopping along a bit to it (Kate was standing beside her and did not join in on the hopping) and the Queen gave a nice smile.

And then, God Save the Queen was sung (everyone on the Royal Barge seemed to be at least mouthing the words, except for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh) and spectacular fireworks were set off of London Bridge

The Queen, Duchess of Cornwall, and Duchess of Cambridge all left the royal barge carrying umbrellas that matched their outfits (natch)

and then it was over.However,  tomorrow we have the concert at Buckingham Palace to look forward to! See you then.


A Full Royal Day in London for The Queen, Charles, Camilla, & Kate

Today there were several British Royals out in full force and we’ve attempted to include the bulk of them here. This is a pretty long post, so do get comfortable!

Let’s start with the Queen. Joined by Prince Philip, she officially opened Kensington Palace today after lengthy renovations. Charles Mackay, chairman of the Historic Royal Palaces board, explained: “We have set out to awake the sleeping beauty of Kensington Palace. Our objective was to open up the palace to make everyone feel welcome. It has been the most ambitious and complex project we have ever undertaken.”

The Palace will be open to the public on March 26, and visitors will be able to see how Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubliee in the exhibit Victoria Revealed. If you are able to make a visit, it sounds like it will be worth it.

Naturally, there was a ribbon cutting.

Next up, the Duchess of Cambridge paid a surprise visit to Great Britain’s field hockey team which must have been pretty thrilling for her. That is a pretty fun day at the office, no? It was a natural fit since she was the captain of her high school’s team and also played for St. Andrew’s University. Plus the Olympic spirit is just so infectious, it’s great to start a few months ahead.

A press release from LOCOG explained,

Great Britain’s hockey players enjoyed the company of a very special guest today as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge joined the men’s and women’s squads at the London 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford.

The Duchess visited the hockey players in her role as an official Team GB Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Together with fellow Ambassadors The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Duchess will play an active role in supporting Team GB and ParalympicsGB and inspiring young people to reach their full potential in the build up to and during the London 2012 Games.

First she toured the Olympic Park and looked a tad like a flight attendant, but full marks for co-ordinating the official Ambassador scarf with her coral jeans. It was nice to see her in pants for a change:
Here’s a photo of Kate at Marlborough College playing field hockey:

And getting right into things today:

It was good to see her putting on some running shoes and taking part. When she and William were in the Northwest Territories during their tour of Canada, she stood on the sidelines which is nowhere near as much fun:

At the end of her visit, Kate received a team jersey for her and one for William with “Cambridge” on the back. Do you think she’ll wear it to a future practice or during one of the actual Olympic matches? Hope so:

It will complement her Team Canada ice hockey jersey…they are sooo ready for costume parties now:

Love this picture of Kate front and centre with the men’s team:

Please don’t get upset for this comparison, I just cant’ help myself…

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall was at Clarence House where she hosted some young students who were all decked out in patriotic face paint. Now who will believe them when they say it’s actually them in the picture??

The Prince of Wales’ website explains:

The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to become Patron of The Big Jubilee Lunch (BJL). Today a group of six young BJL organisers from a local school met Her Royal Highness to discuss their plans with her. The children, from St Peter’s Eaton Square primary school, with their faces painted in Union Jack colours, knocked on the door of Clarence House, which was opened by The Duchess of Cornwall. She invited the children inside, entertained them in the Garden Room, chatted about their Diamond Jubilee celebration plans, and enjoyed the cupcakes they had made as a gift for their hostess.

To round out the day, Kate, Charles, and Camilla visited the Dulwich Art Gallery in support of Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Art. This was Kate’s first visit to one of Charles’ charities and they seemed to have had a great time.

Fashion Side Note: Kate seems to have gotten her hair smoothed out after her field hockey outing and even switched her earrings from her Kiki McDonough studs to her Links Hope earrings. Love the dress – especially the length of the skirt for an event like this.

The trio got right into things and tried out an art project themselves:

and ironed their work onto silk:

Here’s some footage from the BBC: uk-17392128

We’ll be seeing more of Kate in the next few days. On Monday, she will visit The Treehouse, a hospice run by EACH in Ipswich and will give her first speech during that visit. Before that, on Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day), she will present shamrocks to the Irish Guards at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot.

Here’s a taste of how that will go down from when Princess Anne did the honours wearing the gold shamrock brooch:

Do you think Kate will wear the Shamrock Brooch again?

Have a great weekend…and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Art of the Royal Signature

Ok, this might seem silly but what the heck! Royal signatures are fun to analyze, whether they are on important documents (such as the one that The Queen signed with Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982 which formally repatriated the Canadian Constitution, pictured above) or if they are simply on Christmas cards.  Confession: after seeing that Princess Diana signed her correspondence with simply “Diana”, we went about doing the same thing in our (much) younger years. That was all fine and good until a bank teller when we were around 12 or 13 pointed out that a last name was actually required on certain documents. Ha! Oh, well it was fun while it lasted. Last names aren’t something the British Royal Family really deals with all that much. The official website of the British Monarchy explains:

People often ask whether members of the Royal Family have a surname, and, if so, what it is.

Members of the Royal Family can be known both by the name of the Royal house, and by a surname, which are not always the same. And often they do not use a surname at all.

Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged.

Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries over which they and their families ruled. Kings and queens therefore signed themselves by their first names only, a tradition in the United Kingdom which has continued to the present day…

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared on an official document on 14 November 1973, in the marriage register at Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips….

Unless The Prince of Wales chooses to alter the present decisions when he becomes king, he will continue to be of the House of Windsor and his grandchildren will use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

From what we understand, Beatrice and Eugenie use the last name “York” when needed, and Princes William and Harry go by the last name “Wales” for their military careers. However, they don’t sign with their last names.

Let’s go back to Diana to discuss this some more. Before her wedding to Prince Charles, Lady Diana Spencer signed her name “Diana Spencer.” This letter dated May 20, 1980 (a little over two months before the wedding) is a great example, we’re just sorry we can’t make it  bigger:

For enquiring minds, the letter reads: “I would like very much to thank you for your extremely kind letter and for the lovely drawing you have coloured so beautifully. Your though was very much appreciated.”  It must have been from a young child who’d sent a congratulatory letter.

Interestingly, Diana also signed the marriage register ‘Diana Spencer’ during her and Charles’ wedding. That seems to have been the last time she signed that way. After that, she shortened her signature to her first name:

It became so recognizable, it was appropriated for the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

And also for Tina Brown’s Book The Diana Chronicles:

Sarah, Duchess of York did the same thing:

Sophie, Countess of Wessex signs her name like this:

Same with Camilla:

And now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is following this tradition as well. Before the wedding, she signed her name Catherine Middleton.

This signature is from the guest book at lodge where William and Kate were staying when they got engaged. For more info on that click here.

Here’s another example. This comes from a book of condolensce that Kate and William signed for the New Zealand earthquake last February. Note that William just signs with his first name and since the wedding is still a couple of months away, Kate is still signing her full name:

There were lots of guests books to sign during William and Kate’s trip to Canada, at which point she would have just been signing “Catherine.”

This was in Ottawa on the first day:

 

And on Canada Day, also in Ottawa:

In Charlottetown:

In the Northwest Territories:

And this was in Calgary on the last day of the Canadian leg of the tour:

This signature comes from her Valentine’s Day visit to Liverpool last month. We’re definitely down to just Catherine now! Wonder how it came up in conversation that she should sign that way once she became HRH…or if she had already picked up on this particular tradition from William.

And, to end, The Queen, Prince Philip, and Kate also signed their names this way on a certificate which marked their Jubilee trip to Leicester:

They also signed the guestbook at the University that day:

So, any thoughts to this whole no last name thing? And does anyone know if the marriage register from William and Kate’s wedding was ever published? Until next time…