The Tiaras Worn by Kate So Far

This past week, a prediction we made on this blog back in October 2011 came true: Kate wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara in public. Before we dive further into that momentous occasion in history for royal jewelry watchers, let’s take a look at each of the three tiaras Kate has worn so far.

The Cartier ‘Halo’ Tiara (also known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Scroll Tiara)

Back in April 2011, Kate famously wore a tiara for the first time in public when she chose to wear the Cartier ‘Halo’ Tiara for her wedding day to Prince William. Our original post about that tiara’s history can be found here.

(Via Culture Concept)
The new Duchess of Cambridge, April 2015 (Via Culture Concept)

This tiara first came into the Royal Family’s collection around 1923 when the then Duke of York gave it to the then Duchess of York (later the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother). According to Leslie Field in the The Queen’s Jewels, it was one of half a dozen tiaras that the Duchess of York wore between her marriage in 1923 to her accession to the throne in 1936.  The photograph below of the Duchess of York was taken just before King Edward VIII’s abdication and was likely the last time she wore it in public. After that, she had more ‘Queenly’ tiaras to wear and she wasn’t seen wearing the tiara in public again.

(via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)
The Duke and Duchess of York c. 1936 (via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)

At some point it was passed onto the present Queen, but it seems it wasn’t a great favourite since she has never worn it in public either. Instead, she loaned it to her sister Princess Margaret who wore it on numerous occasions and later to Princess Anne, who wore it frequently in her early tiara wearing years. The classic, low style of this piece makes it a perfect starter tiara!

Princess Anne and Princess Margaret (via Pinterest)
Princess Anne and Princess Margaret (via Pinterest)

Now of course Kate is the most likely member of the royal family to be seen wearing the tiara in future years, and my guess is that Princess Charlotte will be the next royal lady to be seen in it after Kate (Prince Harry’s future wife is going to have to choose something else). What do you think?

Hopefully Kate will dust it off an wear it more in the future. After all, Kate’s parents commissioned diamond earrings from Robinson Pelham that echo the scrolls of the Halo tiara and it would be so much fun to see them worn together again on a night out.

As a side note, around the time of the wedding there were rumours that Kate planned to wear a floral wreath on her head instead of a tiara, in keeping with the ‘language of flowers’ theme of the wedding and all. These earrings shot a hole through that theory; the Cartier ‘Halo’ tiara must have been chosen pretty early on into the engagement to allow time for the earrings to be made with such a similar scroll motif as the ones used in the tiara.

(via The Jewelry Editor)
Kate’s Wedding Day Earrings that Echo the Scrolls of the Cartier Tiara (via The Jewellery Editor)

Kate hasn’t brought out this tiara or the earrings out for a second time yet, but it’s bound to happen in the next few years at least. One possible reason that she hasn’t worn it again yet is because it was loaned to Cartier for the Cartier: Style and History exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris from December 4, 2013 to February 16, 2014, right when her second tiara wearing event came along

 

The Lotus Flower Tiara (also known as the Diamond Fan Motif Tiara)

It was on December 3, 2014 that Kate wore a tiara in public for the second time, and obviously the Halo tiara was unavailable, so the Queen offered up something else. She chose another dainty but pretty ‘starter tiara’ which was appropriate since Kate hadn’t been in the Royal Family very long. Diving right into wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara would have been a heavy weight to carry in more ways than one.

Kate arrives at Buckingham Palace, December 3 2013 (via Royal Fans)
Kate arrives at Buckingham Palace, December 3 2013 (via Royal Fans)

This tiara first came into the royal family in the 1920’s when it was gifted to the Duchess of York. In The Queen’s Jewels, Leslie Fields refers to it as having “graduated diamond fan-shaped festoons given height by pearls and collet diamonds on upright spikes.” It actually appears that there is only one pearl and it is at centre front.

As was the fashion, the then Duchess of York wore the tiara across her forehead for this 1929 portrait.

The Stylish Duchess of York photographed in 1929 (via Daily Mail)
The Stylish Duchess of York photographed in 1929 (via Daily Mail)

She later passed the tiara on to Princess Margaret to use, and she wore it in the more traditional style for many tiara occasions, and once for a portrait which is now held by the National Portrait Gallery.

Princess Margaret in the Lotus Flower Tiara (via Daily Mail)
Princess Margaret in the Lotus Flower Tiara (via Daily Mail)

As we pointed out in our earlier post,  until Kate wore this tiara in December of 2013, it hadn’t been worn publicly since Serena Stanhope wore it on her October 1993 wedding day when she married Princess Margaret’s son David Linley. That’s a wait of over 20 years!

Serena Stanhope Wore the Tiara on her Wedding Day (Via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)
Serena Stanhope Wore the Tiara on her Wedding Day (Via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)

The fact that the Queen appears to own the tiara now implies that Princess Margaret never personally owned the tiara. Or, in the unlikely event that she did, the Queen must have privately bought it back from Princess Margaret’s children so it would not be sold at auction. Princess Margaret’s son and daughter did choose to auction off Princess Margaret’s ‘Poltimore’ wedding tiara back in 2006.

Kate brought out the Lotus Flower tiara for a second time for her third public tiara appearance. It was considered to be something of a diplomatic choice since she chose to wear it for a state banquet given for Chinese President Xi Jinping. In Chinese culture, the lotus flower is considered to be representative of harmony, beauty, and tranquility (source).

Cheers to diplomatic jewelry wearing! (via Daily Mail)
Cheers to diplomatic jewelry wearing! (via Daily Mail)

 

It was Kate’s first state dinner and let’s hope a State dinner will be given for the King and Queen of Spain when they visit England and stay at Windsor Castle in March 2016 and that Kate and William will take part; a Queen Letitia and Duchess of Cambridge photo op would be most welcome!

Our post with more of the history of this tiara can be found here, if you’re in the mood for more.

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

We originally wrote about this tiara in October of 2011, and that post can be found here. In that post we spoke about how it makes sense that even thought this tiara is so strongly lined to Diana, Princess of Wales this tiara, it should eventually be passed to Kate to use once she had built up her own royal identity enough. She is after all the Duchess of Cambridge and will eventually be Princess of Wales herself. Wearing significant pieces of jewelry owned by the Royal Family when representing the United Kingdom just goes with the territory!

It was thrilling to see her pull up to Buckingham Palace wearing it. It’s quite fitting that this first outing for the tiara  on Kate was for an event where pictures aren’t released to the public. It’s the perfect warm up for when she next gets it out of the vault for a more public outing with more photo opportunities.

Kate in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara (via Today)
Kate in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara (via Today)

In The Queen’s Jewels, Fields gives us much more insight into the history of this tiara:

One of the most charming tributes that Queen Mary ever paid to the maternal side of her family was the tiara that she had made by Gerrard in 1914 to her own design and from pearls and diamonds already in her possession. It was a copy of one owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse, who married the first Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III, in 1818. She had been given it by her family prior to her marriage…When the Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest daughter, and namesake, Augusta, married the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1843, she gave her the tiara as a wedding present. The Grand Duchess, in turn, became godmother, and ultimately closest confidante, to her niece, the future Queen Mary, who saw her annually and knew the tiara well. In 1912 she wrote to her aunt:

‘If you have a dinner to celebrate yr birthday you must wear on yr 90th birthday the pearl & diamond diadems &English orders, do please do so for my sake. Think how beautiful you will look with yr white hair and still lovely neck.”

Naturally the tiara was passed along to Queen Mary who wore it often. This portrait of Queen Mary shows her wearing the tiara in 1926 as it was originally designed.

Queen Mary in 1926 (via Tumblr)
Queen Mary in 1926 (via Tumblr)

She removed the upright pearls by 1935 and left the tiara to the present Queen in her will. Queen Elizabeth who wore it on several occasions before passing it on to the Princess of Wales to use.

Queen Elizabeth in 1955 (via Internet Stones)
Queen Elizabeth in 1955 (via Internet Stones)

The Queen lent the tiara to the Princess of Wales to wear when she married Prince Charles in 1981; despite some claims to the contrary, this tiara was never personally owned by Diana.

Diana wore the tiara for the first time in October of 1981 for the opening of Parliament and numerous times after that. She apparently often chose to wear the Spencer tiara instead since the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara is much heavier and she found the swinging pearls distracting.

The Princess of Wales in 1981 (via Pinterest)
The Princess of Wales in 1981 (via Pinterest)

So three tiaras in four years is pretty fantastic and has me wondering if there are any other tiara’s from the Queen’s collection that have been earmarked for Kate to wear in the future before she becomes Queen. On that note, they’ll also have to have a tiara on hand for Prince Harry’s future wife to use, assuming she won’t already have one of her own. Any eagle eyed tiara observers out there with ideas for what Harry’s wife will have? Maybe she and Kate will share the Lotus Flower? Or they will buy her a new one, like they did for Sara, Duchess of York? Or perhaps they will dust off something in the Queen’s Vault that hasn’t been seen publicly in ages, like they did for Sophie, Countess of Wessex?

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!

A Royal Family Order for Kate?

A side bar in a Daily Mail article caught my eye earlier today and inspired me to dust off the computer and dive back into the Royal Post, which I’ve been wanting to do for quite sometime!  The article in question is a tidbit about the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.

That is the Order we see Diana wearing pinned to her pink dress in the photo below.

Such a Diana look (source)
So many bows! (source)

Here is the sidebar article in full:

The Queen plans to celebrate her milestone next month – when she becomes the longest-reigning Monarch – by honouring the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate will receive the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a female member of the family. The 33-year-old Duchess is the only senior member not to wear a family honour. A source said: ‘It is an honour reserved for first division female Royals.’ Sophie Wessex has one, as does the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne. The insignia is a diamond- encrusted brooch featuring an ivory plaque of the Queen wearing the Order of the Garter and bearing the Royal cypher. It is worn on a yellow ribbon. Kate is expected to wear hers to a State dinner when the Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the UK in October. (source)

I’m wondering about the source here. Traditionally this honour isn’t announced in advance – it’s something that only becomes public when the royal in question starts to wear the Order out and about. The Daily Mail isn’t providing anything concrete and a quick Google search shows that this information hasn’t been picked up anywhere else as of yet. That being said, it seems like the Daily Mail does have some reporters in cahoots with legit sources behind palace walls so…could it be true?

The Front and Back of the Royal Family Order (source)
The Front and Back of the Royal Family Order (source)

I think it could be.   Kate and William have been getting criticism lately for being work shy and maybe this is intended to help push things in an another direction.

Let’s look a little more at the history. For the British Monarchy, the Royal Family Order is  a tradition that was formalized by George IV when he became King in 1820. It used to be that both men and women wore Orders, but now it is solely given to female members of the family and is given at the discretion of the sovereign in recognition of service.

The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth is a portrait of the young Queen surrounded by diamonds and on a yellow ribbon. The front and back can be seen in the image above; it comes from the wonderful blog From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault.

Each sovereign chooses a different colour for their Order’s ribbon. Queen Elizabeth’s dad George VI chose a pretty pink shade, for example. Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret wore theirs to the coronation in 1939. If you look closely, you can see them pinned to their dresses below.

Those mini crowns! (source)
Those mini crowns! (source)

And here’s the Queen wearing it in 1969 with a dress that matches the ribbon perfectly. Below the pink, you can see the light blue order given to her by her grandfather King George V.

The Queen colour coordinates her dress with her order in 1969
The Queen colour coordinates her dress with her order in 1969

For her Order portrait, the Queen chose an image taken during a sitting with Dorothy Wilding in 1952, so it was done before her 1953 coronation. I wonder if the Queen knew she wanted a yellow ribbon and chose her dress for the portrait accordingly?  These are the things I think about!

by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson, hand-coloured bromide print, 1952 (Source)
by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson, hand-coloured bromide print, 1952 (Source). This portrait is held by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Anyway, Princess Anne has worn the Order for decades.

The Queen and Princess Anne at a reception in Vienna (Getty Images)
The Queen and Princess Anne at a reception in Vienna (Getty Images)

We also know that Princess Diana received a Family Order quite early on. Here she is wearing it in 1983.

The Princes & Princess of Wales all dolled up on tour in 1983 (source)
The Princes & Princess of Wales all dolled up on tour in 1983 (source)

It’s a bold piece and doesn’t necessarily always go with the evening gowns it is worn with, but as The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour put it “you’d wear your mother-in-law’s portrait on your best dress because it is considered an honor to do so.”  😉

30 Mar 1983, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia --- Princess Diana wears Spencer family tiara, necklace, and family order of Queen Elizabeth pin. --- Image by © Tim Graham/CORBIS (SOURCE)
30 Mar 1983, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia — Princess Diana wears Spencer family tiara, necklace, and family order of Queen Elizabeth pin. — Image by © Tim Graham/CORBIS (SOURCE)

Sophie and Edward got married in 1999 and Sophie began to be spotted wearing the Order in 2004. Here she is at the May 2004 wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson.

Sophie and Edward in 2004 (Getty Images)
Sophie and Edward in 2004 (Getty Images)

Camilla and Prince Charles got married in 2005 and she started being seen with hers in 2008.

Camilla in Sri Lanka, 2013 (source)
Camilla in Sri Lanka, 2013 (source)

So Kate could be receiving the Order in advance of the President of Singapore’s state visit in October, or it’s possible she already has it and just hasn’t been photographed wearing it yet.

It’s also possible that the Queen is holding off on bestowing this honour for awhile yet. Kate is far from a full-time working royal – here is the tally of engagements she’s done each year since her wedding

  • 2011: 34 (granted, the wedding was in April of that year)
  • 2012: 111 (The Queen did 425, Prince Philip 325, Princess Anne did 566, and Prince Charles 592)
  • 2013: 44 (Prince Philip at 92 did 184 and Prince Charles did 537)
  • 2014: 76 (Prince Philip  did 200, Sophie did 307)

The Queen is all about work and duty and might want to see a little more elbow grease first.

Also, I wonder about Beatrice and Eugenie and if  or how they factor into this at all. What with Princes Charles’ plans for a more streamlined monarchy,  they  are not full time working royals though they do the odd engagements here and there and both work for various charities. Will they be left out and all ‘”Hey, Gran where’s my Order? I was born a princess!”

Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie (source)
Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie (source)

And what about Zara?  I’m thinking since she doesn’t have a title or do charitable engagements on behalf of the Queen, that’s an easy no. She became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to equestrianism back in 2008 so she has her own thing going on.

Zara Philips with her parents and Mike Tindall (source)
Zara Philips Princess Anne,  Timpthy Laurence, and Mike Tindall (source)

All that being said, if this little Daily Mail tidbit turns out to be true, that’ll be very telling as to who their sources are!

So what do you think? Will Kate be picking out a dress that complements the yellow ribbon of the Order for the state visit in October? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

William & Kate seen either leaving or arriving a diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace (source)
William & Kate seen either leaving from or arriving at the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace in December 2013. To date apart from the wedding, this has been Kate’s only other tiara appearance. From this photo it seems she didn’t have the Order then! (source)

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! 🙂

April 26, 1923: Lady Elizabeth’s Diary Entry on Her Wedding Day

Today is Prince William and Kate’s third wedding anniversary, and the three year anniversary of the Royal Posters staying up all night to watch and direct every second of it. There was even a life-size cut out of William and Kate there (thanks, AMD!) and we all dressed up as different royals. So much fun. Anyway, their’s isn’t the only royal wedding to look back on this time of year.

91 years ago this week, Prince Albert married Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon in Westminster Abbey. Lucky for us, we have Elizabeth’s diary entry from that day as it was quoted in the delightful book Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by William Shawcrosse, which includes letters Elizabeth wrote when she was a young girl up until the last years of her life (it can be purchased here.)

Diary: Thursday, 26 April, 1923

Woke at 8:30. Up by 10. Put on my wedding dress, aided by Suzanne & Catherine. It looked lovely. All the family went off early, also mother. Miss Chard came & talked to me. At 11.12 the carriage came & father & I started off for the Abbey. Lots of people in B St., & crowds in streets. Did not feel very nervous. Bertie smiled at me when I got up to him – & it all went off well. We had a long drive home to B.P. Crowds very kind. We were photographed, & also went out on the balcony. The luncheon. Sat between Bertie & the King. After lunch talked & cut cake etc. Went to change about 3.40. Mother & Anne came – then May & Rosie, Mike, and David and father. Awful saying goodbye. B & I drove off at 4.15 & had a special to Bookham. Very tired & happy. Bed 12.

Here’s one of those pictures she mentions. What a happy looking bunch. *cough*

Via Royal Musings
Via Royal Musings

This photo of the couple of the balcony is a bit more cheerful:

Via Royal Musings
Via Royal Musings

As we discussed in the post on the Greville Jewels, the new Duke and Duchess of York spent their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey, Mrs. Ronnie Greville’s estate. Unfortunately, Elizabeth came down with a case of whooping cough. Too bad!

If you’re in the mood for some more reminiscing, here’s our post on the Queen Mum’s wedding dress and here’s another one all about the time we went to have high tea at the Goring Hotel in London (where Kate stayed with her family the night before the wedding, natch). Oh – and this time last year, was also all about the Queen Beatrix’s abdication and saying hello to Queen Maxima. It all started on April 29, 2013…so many royal memories 😉

Kate & William’s Staff on the NZ and Australia Tour (and some more luggage)

The royal tour has been underway for a week now so it’s time to look at Kate and William’s entourage and some more behind the scenes fun.

Hello, World! (via Parade)
Hello, World! (via Parade)

There are 11 staff working on this one, up from the 9 that were on the Golden Jubilee Tour in 2012 and the 7 on the Canada and US tour in 2011 (click here to see our recap of the Jubilee tour staff, if you’d like).

We’ll start with the below shot of the entourage getting off the plane is Kate’s hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker (I bet she takes care of William’s trims, too). In front of her we have Sophie Agnew who was hired to assist Rebecca Deacon (there are a lot of thank you cards to write, people!). Rebecca isn’t in the shot, but we’ll get to one of her shortly.

The man in front of them hasn’t been named (a 2013 Daily Mail article states they were asked not to share his name) but we know that he’s Fijian born and was formerly a corporal in the Parachute Regiment. Now he works as an orderly for William and Kate, assisting with everything from chauffeuring to keeping William’s wardrobe organized).  And case in point- yes, we are TOTAL dorks – he’s carrying one of William’s monogrammed garment bags.

(via Pop Sugar)
(via Pop Sugar)

 

Here is a better look at it from the Canadian 2011 Tour:

(via Zimbio)
(via Zimbio)

Here’s Mr.  Fiji chauffeuring Kate to her engagement at St. Andrew’s Pangbourne in November 2012.

Kate being driven to  to St. Andrew's  (via Daily Mail)
Kate being driven to to St. Andrew’s (via Daily Mail)

He’s also the fellow who delivered Prince George’s official birth announcement to Buckingham Palace this past July. He seems like an affable guy who’d be nice to have around.

Royal-Messenger

 

Now it’s driving me crazy who that blond girl is in the polka dot dress. Here’s another shot of her with Amanda.

Windswept (via Daily Mail)
Windswept (via Daily Mail)

She also hasn’t been named, but I recognize her from when she arrived with hairdresser Amanda to get Kate ready to leave the hospital (same girl, right? Or am I off the mark?).

Amanda Cook Tucker & an aide arrive at the hospital (via Daily Mail)
Amanda Cook Tucker & an aide arrive at the hospital (via Daily Mail)

And oh, look! Amanda and Mystery Girl were driven to the hospital by the corporal (more garment bags!).

Well, hello again! (Via Daily Mail)
Well, hello again! (Via Daily Mail)

So who is she and what is her job? A press officer, perhaps? Interesting it hasn’t gotten out yet….do share if you know!

Finally, we have Kate’s private secretary Rebecca Deacon arriving in Wellington along with William’s private secretary Miguel Head and Nannie Maria.

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

We’ll chat about Kate’s tour outfits next….Kate and William arrived in Dunedin and Kate was in a VERY familiar looking coat dress…more soon!

Not so windy this tim (via Daily Mail)
Not so windy this tim (via Daily Mail)

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Royal January Birthdays

This year, we thought we’d write a post each month on royal birthdays (hurrah!). This won’t be a comprehensive list, instead we’ll be sticking to our favourites and we’re kicking things off with a wee prince and princess of Denmark.

Because everyone deserves a birthday tiara (via Ideas by Blog)
Because everyone deserves a birthday tiara (via Ideas by Blog)

January 8th, 2011: Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent of Denmark

To mark their third birthday, the Danish Royals released three new pictures of twins Josephine and Vincent. Cute, eh?

Bro & Sis (via )
Bro & Sis (via Kongehuset.de)

The other two pictures can be seen here. Following tradition, Vincent and Jospehine’s names were not revealed until their christening day in April of 2011. Since there were two of them, a second christening gown had to be rustled up. More on that can be found here, in our post on Danish Royal Christening Gowns. It’s one of our most read posts ever!

Joesphine & Vincent's christening (via Sky News)
Joesphine & Vincent’s christening (via Sky News)

January 9: Kate Middleton aka the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate celebrated her 32nd birthday today and, just like every other year since she and William were engaged the palace simply said she was celebrating the day “privately.” So, we’re guessing there was a cake either in Kensington Palace or at Kate’s parent’s house in Berkshire.

The Birthday Girl in 2007 (via NyMag)
The Birthday Girl in 2007 (via NyMag)

The picture above was taken on January 9, 2007, as Kate made her way from her apartment to work at Jigsaw. There was a real flurry of attention on Kate that day, and lots of conjecturing that William would propose. The pressure was a bit much for William, and they borke up three months later.

Kate in a new pair of Kiki McDonough Christmas Day 2011 (via Grazia Daily)
Kate in a new pair of Kiki McDonough Christmas Day 2011 (via Grazia Daily)

As far as birthday gifts go this year, I know I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for a new pair of Kiki McDonough earrings.

January 20, 1965 : Sophie, Countess of Wessex

Sophie is another January baby, and it turns out that some good people out there have been making and selling mugs to commemorate the big day. Seriously! This one marks her 35th Birthday:

Sophie's 35th Birthday Mug (via eBay)
Sophie’s 35th Birthday Mug (via eBay)

Whoever made it should have perhaps done a bit more research. They thought that Edward and Sophie are the Count and Countess of Wessex…whoops!

Count and Countess of Wessex! (via eBay)
Count and Countess of Wessex! (via eBay)

This mug is for the big 4-0, Both of these mugs are currently available on eBay, if you’re interested!

Sophie's Birthday Mug (via eBay)
Sophie’s Birthday Mug (via eBay)

January 20, 1973: Mathilde, Queen of Belgium

For her birthday last year, she was a Princess. Then the King abdicated and now she’s a Queen. Also, she is only nine years older than Kate. Funny, eh? She seems so much older (in a good way!). Anyhow, to mark her 40th birthday last year, Mathilde did a little better than a mug. She got an official stamp. And it’s gorgeous.

Classy! (via Pinterest)
Classy! (via Pinterest)

She also released this birthday portrait:

Awesome Birthday Portrait (via )
Awesome Birthday Portrait (via My Royals)

January 25, 1978 : Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene is turning 36 this year, so she’s just four years older than Kate and five years younger than Queen Mathilde.

Albert & Charlene Christmas 2013 (via The Prince's Palace)
Albert & Charlene Christmas 2013 (via The Prince’s Palace)

I don’t know why I find this so fascinating, I just do. Anyway, who knows what she’ll be up to this year – Charlene is such a wild card – but my guess is she’ll be getting home to South Africa to see her family.

January 31, 1938: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.

The last birthday girl of the month is Princess Beatrix. Last year her birthday came before her abdication so she celebrated as a Queen, and this year I’m sure her family will treat her like one.

Beatrix & her Grandkids (via Ready for Royalty)
Beatrix & her Grandkids (via Ready for Royalty)

Happy Birthday to all the royal ladies and Prince Vincent. So, who’s buying that mug???

PS Happy Birthday, Big Pete! & KSTA:)

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)

Royal Ladies Who Open Their Closets…

Who doesn’t love a little thriftiness? This post is all about royals who’ve popped up wearing something that looks a little familiar or who’ve shared their clothes with friends or relatives.

Queen Silvia & Princess Madeleine

We’re going to start with this especially frothy example. As you probably recall, Princess Madeleine had a gorgeous custom Valentino wedding gown that she wore for her wedding ceremony in June of 2013. She also wore this gown for the  reception.

via Hello!
Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill via Hello!

What many royal watchers may not have realized is that after some dancing, Madeleine took out her updo, put her hair down, and changed  into this sparkly tulle gown.

Madeleine and Chris outside their wedding reception
Madeleine outside her wedding reception (via Princess Madeleine of Sweden Blogspot)

Thankfully kept her tiara in place.

So happy! (via Princess Madeleine of Sweden Blogspot)
So happy! (via Princess Madeleine of Sweden Blogspot)

Some eagle eyes noticed that this dress had been previously seen on Queen Silvia. She first wore it in December of 2001 to the Nobel Prize ceremony.

Queen Silvia in her fairytale gown in 2001 (via Hello!)
Queen Silvia in her fairytale gown in 2001 (via Hello!)

I’m thinking that Madeleine clocked that dress back then and filed it away as the perfect reception dress, and then  her mom pulled it out for her 12 years later. Cute, eh?

Queen Maxima & Princess Aimee

And now onto another Queen. In the spring of 2013 after the investiture of King Willem-Alexander and Queen  Maxima,  our friend AMD flagged that Maxima had loaned one of her gowns for her cousin-in-law Princess Aimee to wear to the big event.

Back when Maxima was expecting Princess Ariane, she wore this lovely flowy gown (far left) and she REALLY blinged it out, right? Gorgeous.

A few royal maternity gowns (via Hello!)
A few royal maternity gowns (via Hello!)

She then he pulled it out of her closet for Aimee, the wife of Prince Floris ( Willem-Alexander’s cousin) to wear to the investiture on April 30,2013. You’ve just got to love Queen Maxima for thinking to do this. Princess Aimee’s son Willem was born on July 1, 2013.

Princess Aimee (via Zimbio)
Princess Aimee (via Zimbio)

I like how Aimee incorporated a little patriotic orange into the outfit with her accessories, too.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

Princess Victoria must have a HUGE closet of gowns, and she has been very generous over the years loaning them out to friends. The delightful blog Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour has a great post showing some fun examples which you can check out here.

These are my favourite examples. Check out how the pink and green dresses were given a new look:

Princess Victoria has a lot of dresses and isn't afraid to share 'em (via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)
Princess Victoria has a lot of dresses and isn’t afraid to share ’em (via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)

Princess Diana’s Hand Me Downs

Diana was also very generous when it came to giving away her old clothes. One of my favourite examples is this green polka dotted number that Diana wore to the races in the late ’80’s. Diana never did meet a polka dot she didn’t like.

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She later passed the suit and hat on to her sister Sarah, who is shown here wearing it to a wedding in 1990. That’s a whole lot of look!

Diana & Sarah & polkadots (via Pinterest)
Diana & Sarah & polkadots (via Pinterest)

Check out this fun Pinterest page for oodles of more examples of different outfits that Diana either loaned or gave out.

Perhaps Diana got this generous spirit from her mom Frances. In this group portrait taken at the reception of Lady Sarah’s wedding to Neil McCorquodale, Frances is wearing this floaty green frock.

Lady Sarah's wedding portrait
Lady Sarah’s wedding portrait

Sarah must have really liked it since she wore the same dress to Lady Diana’s 1981 wedding to Prince Charles. See?

What a group!
What a group!

As we mentioned in our post on Emily McCorquodale’s wedding, Sarah wasn’t always just being the recipient of loans. She generously lent her pearl choker to Diana to wear with her going away outfit after the reception, so Sarah had to head home from the reception without it. I wish there was a picture of Sarah handing it over. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Diana in Sarah's pearl choker after her wedding reception
Diana in Sarah’s pearl choker after her wedding reception

Kate, Pippa, and Carole

A little over two years ago (time flies!), we wrote a post on how Kate and Pippa have shown up wearing the same clothes over the years. We’ve unearthed some more occasions where this has happened.

Like the time when Pippa showed up to a wedding in the Katherine Hooker jacket that Kate has worn numerous times over the years, most famously for her first official engagement when she christened a life boat in Angelesy:

Well it IS a nice coat (via )
Well it IS a nice coat (via Elements Boutique)

And then of course there’s the the time in March 2012 that Kate showed up to an engagement in the same circa 2008 blue Reiss dress that Carole had previously worn to Ascot:

Kate & Carole in Reiss (via Parade.com)
Kate & Carole in Reiss (via Parade.com)

Kate and Carole also both took a shine to this pretty red Colette Dinnigan dress that Kate wore to a wedding in September of 2011:

(via Fashion Spot)
(via Fashion Spot)

 

So, who are your faves here? I’ll stick with the Swedes – Victoria and Silvia tie for first place as Best Gown Lenders.