Let’s jump right into a round up of royal happenings and news this week:
Queen Mathilde of Belgium welcomed Queen Rania of Jordan at the Royal Palace of Brussels earlier this week. Over a private lunch the two Queens discussed how to help the Syrian refugee crisis. On a completely frivolous note, did no one offer to take Queen Rainia’s coat and bag? [hello!]
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King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway will be celebrating 25 years on the throne on Sunday, January 17th. They will be marking the day with many events including a church service and family friendly winter events in the Palace Square. Bonus: they have invited the King and Queen of Sweden and King and Queen Margarethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark as their special guests for the weekend festivities. [The Royal Court of Norway]
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The Royal Family also released new portraits in connection with the 25th anniversary. They were taken by Jørgen Gomnæs and include one of the current King Harald and his two direct heirs: Crown Prince Haakon and future Queen Princess Ingrid. Such a cute dress on Princess Ingrid! [Royal Court of Norway]
Annie Leibowitz opened up about her 2007 portrait session with The Queen and revealed a few tidbits: she did her own hair and makeup and referred to her ceremonial robe as a “cape thing”. [Express]
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The Duchess of Cambridge will be welcoming editors to Kensington Palace in mid February when she serves as Guest Editor of Huffington Post UK for a day. The opportunity will be used to highlight the the importance of children’s mental health. As a Kensington Palace spokesperson explained, “The Duchess will be commissioning contributions from a number of leading figures in the mental health sector as well as from young people, parents, and teachers.” So that’s a new way to have a royal engagement! [BBC]
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And for anyone lucky enough to find themselves in London this February, Fashion Rules: Dress from the Collections of HM the Queen , Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales will be opening on February 11 at Kensington Palace. The exhibit includes 21 couture dresses; the Queen’s gowns are from the ’50s, Princess Margaret’s from the ’60’s and ’70’s and Diana’s are from the ’80’s. Click here for more. We won’t be in London, but we did get to see Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess back in 2012 and it was all caps FUN.
This was the first Jacques Azagury gown Diana ever wore. She chose it for a 1985 visit to Florence and it is one of the gowns that will be on display.
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Programming Note: We’re also working on updating the site, so please excuse any glitches that may occur over the coming days. We hope to be up and running normally toute de suite. Have a wonderful weekend!
Mr. Blaikie has compiled a fun collection of witty quips and (very) short stories, many never published, that give insight into the goings on of the Royal Family. It’s not too saccharine and is the perfect book to pick up and read snippets of here and there. It also has accompanying illustrations that give it some extra flavor.
Here are a few of my favorites to give you a taste.
In a chapter titled “No Airs and Graces’:
At Highclere, better knows as Downton Abbey, a farm worker was wedged under a broken-down trailer when he heard a familiar voice asking, “Can I help?’ It was the Queen, in a headscarf, out walking with a dog. She is on of those guests who wants to make a contribution.
The Queen had an adventure getting to a private party in London recently. ‘We were coming across the Park’, she told friends, ‘when a policemen stepped in front of the car and made us wait while a big procession of vehicles passed by with blue flashing lights. It must have been a very important ruler.’
In the Chapter titled Staff:
While Prince Charles and Lady Diana were announcing their engagement to the world’s press on the lawn of Buckingham Palace on 24 February 1981, two people were twitching their curtains, hoping not to be seen, in the windows behind them: the Prince’s valet and the Queen.
The Queen granted fifteen sittings to the artist Lucian Freud between May 2000 and December 200, not in the usual grand palace drawing room but in an art restoration studios in St. James’s Palace. He wanted the Queen in the royal diadem but with a blue day suit, not the usual state dress. The finished portrait was disliked by many who were unfamiliar with the artist’s approach. Because of the value of the diadem, protection officers had to be present, but Freud found them distracting and the Queen asked them to go outside. One of the men, the Queen said, she knew quite well. While picking up birds at a shoot on a friend’s estate, a cock pheasant had hurtled out of a hedge and knocked her over. There was blood. The officer rushed up and, hurling himself upon her, began administering the kiss of life. He thought she had been shot. The Queen was impressed and engaged him in her own protection squad.
In the Chapter titled Our Eye for Details:
The Queen annotated the program for a state visit of the King and Queen go Thailand in the 1960’s. ‘Tell the band leader under no circumstances to play excerpts from the King and I.’
In the Chapter titled Mother:
The Queen Mother wished to name her second daughter Anne, but George VI wouldn’t have it. She had to settle for Margaret, the King’s preference, which she considered a maid’s name. Curious that when her time came, the present Queen called her first daughter Anne.
In a chapter titled Wild Side:
The Queen was greatly excited about Ginny Airlie’s 70th birthday party at Annabel’s in February 2003. She hadn’t been to a nightclub, she said, since she was first married. On an engagement the following day at St. Alban’s Abbey in Hertfordshire, the Dean asked her if she knew Robert Salisbury, also present. ‘Oh yes’, she said, ‘Robert and I were in a nightclub last night until half past one.’
There are plenty more anecdotes in the book and I highly recommend picking up a copy!
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!
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.
‘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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
It’s no secret that royal and postage stamps often go together, but sometimes the results are a little more fun than others. Here’s a round up of some royal stamps that stand out, regardless of whether you are a stamp collector or not (I most definitely am not, though many attempts at stamp collecting were made in my youth).
First up is the delightful young princesses of the Netherlands. A series of stamps was issued in 2012 featuring the 3 daughters of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (she goes by Amalia) is next in line to be Queen followed by Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane, the youngest.
By the way, this photograph was released earlier this month to mark Princess Amalia’s 11th birthday of December 7th.
She posed with her two sisters as well – their parents refer to them as ‘the triple A’s.
Crown Princess Frederick, Crown Princess Mary & Prince Christian
We have another young future ruler next. Princess Christian, the future King of Denmark, made his stamp debut at the age of 14 months with his parents. The three of them are wearing Greenlandic costume (Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark0. Mary’s colourful outfit was a wedding present she’d received back in 2004 . This stamp is part of a charitable fundraising program in Denmark that dates back to 1921.
Queen Elizabeth II
Royal Mail released this sweet stamp to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday in 2006. 8 stamps were issued, one for each decade, and each featured an informal photograph.
I love this one, too. It was taken during a relaxed moment on the Royal Yacht Brittania in 1972.
Crown Prince Haakon & Crown Princess Mette-Marit
A little more on the formal side, these stamps were released in celebration of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s 40th birthdays in 2013 (they were born just under a month apart). The series also included a shot of Crown Princely Family as well as one of the King of Norway with his son and granddaughter.
Here’s a bit of a closer look at the family photos (apologies that they are so tiny!)
For this post we thought it would be fun to look at a royally historic address in London and to see how it has changed over the years.
17 Bruton Street in Mayfair was the London residence of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. The Earl and Countess (their Christian names were Claude and Cecilia) were Elizabeth Bowes Lyon’s parents, shown here on the left in this famous wedding portrait.
This photograph of Bruton street was taken in 1904. The street stretches towards the lovely Berkeley Square Gardens.
The Strathmore’s moved into 17 Bruton Street in 1920 from their previous residence at 20 St. James’s Square. Several of the letters documented in the book Counting One’s Blessings The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth were written there or reference going to and from the house. It seems that some extensive work was done on the house before the family moved in. In April 1921 Elizabeth wrote this letter to her governess Beryl Poignand from the Strathmore’s stately Hertfordshire home St. Paul’s Waldenbury:
12 April 1921 to Beryl Poignand
St. Paul’s Waldenbury
I haven’t heard from you for years fickle Beast. I am longing to hear, so take up your pen oh Medusa, & forthwith set down on paper all your doings & thoughts […]
Mother & I have been here since Xmas now- isn’t it extraordinary? I am longing for ’17’ [Bruton Street] to be finished, and then you must instantly come and see it…”
It was at that point that Elizabeth struck up a closer friendship with Prince Albert. She left from the house on her way to Westminster Abbey on her wedding day April 26, 1923:
Another look. We wrote about her very of the moment dress here, if you’f like to see.
Three years the Duke and Duchess of York moved there for a few months for the birth of their first child. They had previously lived in Chesterfield House and Curzon House in Mayfair. The future Queen Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton on at 2:40am 21 April 1926. Home Secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks was present in the house following tradition. At the time, Princess Elizabeth was third in line to the throne after her dad and uncle, and was named HRH Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York after her mother, paternal grandmother Queen Mary and great-grandmother Queen Alexandra. Both King George V and Queen Mary visited the home to see the new baby and massive crowds gathered at the house to witness it all. Despite that – no photos of the King and Queen’s arrival can be found. By the way, they switched things up for Princess Margaret, who was born at her maternal grandparents Scottish estate Glamis Castle on August 21 1930.
Princess Elizabeth was christened on May 29, 1926 at the private chapel in Buckingham Palace. At the time, she was still living on Bruton Street, and here she is heading to BP with the Duchess of York. This is also a a rarely seen look at the famous christening gown (lots more about the christening gown can be found here).
Here’s an excerpt of one from 1926, which goes to show how much the Duke and Duchess of York appreciated being able to stay and live at the house. It wasn’t until later that the Duke and Duchess of York took a London house at 145 Picadilly, which we’ll just have to write about in a future post.
28 October 1926 to Lady Strathmore
My Darling Mother
Thank you a thousand times for your two last letters. I am so sorry that poor father has a cold, and I do hope he is better now. I wonder when you will be coming south? […]
We leave here tomorrow, & return to B.[ruton] Street. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it.
The baby is very well, and now spends the whole day taking her shoes off & sucking her toes! She is going to be very wicked, and she is very quick I think…
Sadly, the house has been demolished and we haven’t yet unearthed when this happened or when the Strathmores decided to sell (do you know?). However, a plaque is on the building that now stands in its place. The plaque was added as part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012.
It reads On this site at 17 Bruton Street stood the townhouse of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne where Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, later to become Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926.
Here’s the building that stands there now.
In fact, there’s a restaurant there that holds the address 17 Bruton Street. It’s highly rated and called Haakasan.
As a side note, favourite royal Designer Norman Hartnell also has some history on Bruton Street. On 11 May 2005, Hartnell was commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at 26 Bruton Street, London W1, where he lived and worked from 1935 to 1979.
Do you know anymore about 17 Bruton Street? Have you taken a stroll by where it once stood?
A couple of years ago at Windsor Castle, I struck up a conversation with a member of the staff. She was very friendly and easy to talk to. The conversation took a few turns and she nonchalantly revealed that she had previously worked as an assistant dresser to The Queen. Obviously that was fascinating so I wanted to ask a million questions about what that was like while trying to behave like a normal person and not overstep the mark.
To her credit she was very discrete and spoke of her amazement that Kate had done the tour of Canada without an official dresser and that while The Queen had been wonderful to work for, she wanted to try something new which lead her to a new role.
So of course I was excited to be given a copy of Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe by Angela Kelly. Since starting as one of the Queen’s dressers in 1994, she has risen up the ranks and now holds the unique title of Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Her Majesty The Queen (Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe). So, yeah, she has a pretty awesome resume.
Published back in 2012, it’s an insightful book with gorgeous pictures that shows how much thought and effort goes into the creation of each of The Queen’s many bespoke outfits and gowns, how not a scrap of fabric is wasted (the Queen’s stock room includes fabric from 1961), and how they are all carefully maintained.
It also reveals a bit of the close working relationship that Angela and The Queen clearly have. The fact that the Queen even gave her blessing to the book is huge! She has also given Angela a grace and favour home in Windsor, as well as the honour of the Royal Victorian Order which recognizes personal services to The Queen. In a 2007 interview with The Telegraph that the Queen consented to, Angela explained
“I just want everything to be right for The Queen – to make life easier for her because she is so busy. My job is to ensure that when The Queen meets people she looks right.
“I would never overstep the mark and I remain in awe of The Queen. But she has allowed me to become closer to her over the years. We [the royal dressers] are not treated like flunkies. It’s not like that. The Queen treats us with real respect.
“I don’t know why the Queen seems fond of me – because I don’t give her an easy time! I do think she values my opinion, but she is the one who is in control. She always makes the final decision.”
Here are a few tidbits from the book – for more I recommend reading it yourself!
Secrets of a Tiara
The Girls of Great Britain of Ireland Tiara is gorgeous (to learn more about it, click here if you like), and my favourite tiara of all time. It’s even cooler now that Angela Kelly pointed out this special design feature I hadn’t previously realized. In shadow, it looks like a row of girls holding hands! See?
Also, Angela is one of the very few people who has access to the vaults that stores the Queen’s jewellery. As she puts it in the book,
“It is a great honour and privilege to be entrusted with the care of the Queen’s private jewellery and to help select the items that are worn on a daily basis. Again, the final choice is always made by The Queen, but based on a selection that I will have made to complement the outfit she will be wearing and appropriate for the occasion.”
Queen Mary’s Jewellery Trays
The jewels that The Queen selects on any given day are presented to her on special trays that also once belonged to the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary.
The lace cover that is pulled back actually has Queen Mary’s monogram on it and were sewn by Queen Mary herself.
Umbrellas for Every Occasion
The Queen knows that she needs to stand out in a crowd, and that people want to see her no matter what the weather. So, she has a large collection of see-through umbrella’s trimmed with every possible color to match her outfits.
There really is so much more in the book – I could go on and on! So, what do you think? Sounds like a fascinating job to me. For much more on how the outfits are created and jewellery maintained, I recommend checking out the book yourself!
Whoops, it’s May 1st and we had this post sitting in the drafts folder…and promptly forgot about it. But no matter, without further ado, here are the birthdays of three Kings, two Queens, a Grand Duke, and two young princesses.
April 10, 2007: Princess Ariane of the Netherlands
Ariane is the youngest daughter of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, so she is currently third in line to succession after her two older sisters Amalia (the future Queen of the Netherlands) and Alexia.
Here she is arriving for her baptism on October 20, 2007. Her gown is gorgeous but OMG those matching purple capes!
King Philippe is a bit of a snooze to me (his wife Queen Mathilde is SO much more interesting) but it seems unfair not to include him. Here he is with his family (daughters Elisabeth and Eleonore and sons Gabriel and Emmanuel) after he was made King in July 2013.
and pssst…they totally took some inspiration from the adorable matching princesses of the Netherlands during their dad’s coronation, right?
April 16, 1955: Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Next up is King Philippe’s first cousin, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (his mom Princess Josephine of Belgium was the sister of King Albert the I, Philippe’s dad). Funny that they are five years and a day apart.
Henri’s wife Grand Duchess Maria Theresa is also much, much more interesting to me but there was quite a scandal last summer when the Luxembourg government resigned so perhaps they aren’t as dull as I’d thought. More here.
April 16, 1940: Queen Margrethe of Denmark
Next up is Queen Margrethe, aka Daisy! You just gotta love her quirky sense of style and how she is not afraid of colour, especially bright shades of green.
And fuschia, too.
Here she is with our next birthday girl at Windsor Castle in May 2012.
April 21, 1926: Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth was born at the home of her maternal grandparents the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London (their other home was Glamis Castle). Sadly, the house was demolished. You can check out the Google Street View for 17 Bruton Street by clicking here and it’s clearly NOT a beautiful home. Sigh.
Anyhow, when she was born she was known as Princess Elizabeth of York and there was no expectation that she would one day be queen. How cute is this photo?
This one at Balmoral Castle takes the cake, though. I think we need a picture of the Queen, Prince George, and Kate right there. Please make that happen this summer.
April 21, 2007: Princess Isabella of Denmark
Princess Isabella is the second child of Prince Frederick and Princess Mary which makes her third in line to the throne (after her dad and brother). Her official page can be found here.
Isabella’s birth was celebrated with a 21-gun salute. She was christened on July 1, 2007 and in keeping with tradition, her name was not revealed until that day. There was a bit of controversy around it because Isabella isn’t a common name in the Danish family, and of course there’s the whole Twilight of it all. Anyway, they did jam in a bunch of traditional middle names – Isabella’s full name is Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe. Oh, and one of her godmothers is Queen Mathilde of Belgium – not too shabby!.
Big brother Prince Christian watched the proceedings from his own little chair.
This photo shows both sets of grandparents. Mary’s dad John Donaldson (a math professor) is standing behind her with her step mom Susan (a writer). You can’t miss Queen Margrethe standing next to Prince Henrik in her floral frock and matching hat. More details on the Danish christening gowns can be found here.
This photo was released to mark her 6th birthday. Check out the silver shoes!
April 27, 1967: King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands
Willem-Alexander is another royal made infinitely more interesting thanks to his wife – in this case, the amazing Queen Maxima. When she married him, he went up in everyone’s estimation.
Searching for some fun fact about him, I discovered that he is a trained pilot and to keep up his hours he flies a KLM plane or the royal family’s plane. Love that (plus it sounds like Prince William may be doing the same). Another fun fact: now that he has become king, he is the youngest monarch in Europe. He and Maxima are the best – rain or shine they show up to support and smile the whole time Check out some more amazing shots showing their enthusiasm at different Olympic Games over the years here and here.
April 30, 1946: King XVI Carl Gustaf of Sweden
Rounding out April’s royal birthday’s we have yet another royal man who’s wife just seems so much more interesting. He became king on September 15, 1973 at the age of 27 and married Silvia Sommerlath (who he met at the 1972 Olympics) in June 1976.
The night before the wedding, ABBA performed Dancing Queen for the first time(!) for the couple, in tribute to the future Queen. In more recent years, he weathered the publication of a book that alleged a myriad of things (click here for the details). Despite all that, they keep trucking along.
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 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?
Naturally, royal jewels travel as carry on!
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.
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!
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Her need husband Mike Tindall was photographed still wearing his suit from the day before (but he did change shortly after).
And here’s Zara’s brother Peter and his wife Autumn packing up to head home.
William & Kate
William luggage to include his official monogram. This photo was taken during Kate and William’s tour of North America.
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.
Here is the bag and those shoes again.
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..
Ok, now we’ll fast forward to the summer of 2011 when Kate and William toured Canada. Remember the big accidental dress reveal?
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.
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.
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 it still looks like a total mishmash of bags. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more photos like this during the tour.
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?
As our countdown to Christmas continues, so does our look at Royal Christmas cards. Today we have a smattering of cards sent by the British Royal family over the last sixty years, beginning with the Queen. She’s sent out a real variety over the years from super formal photographs to rather relaxed. H here are a few of our favourites.
This card was sent prior to the Coronation and shows Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on tour. They look so young and chipper, and that is one heck of a fur coat.
Things got more formal in 1953. This card was sent out to mark Christmas 1953 and as you can see it features a family portrait taken in Buckingham Palace after the Coronation. This particular card was sent to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and was personally signed by both the Queen and Philip. It is kept at the FDR Library.
The card for 1955 was definitely more chill, with a young Charles and Anne standing in as book ends.
Skipping along, this photograph of the Queen and Philip with Anne, Charles, Andrew, and baby Edward was taken at Frogmore and really brings home the age difference between the siblings. There’s no way Anne was comfortable perched like that.
This card of the Queen and Prince Philip with their four oldest grandchildren is all kinds of awesome. Check out our post on Wee Royals in Tartan for more.
Don’t worry, Princess Beatrice wasn’t left out of that 1987 portrait – she just wasn’t born yet. She got her time in the sun in 1988’s card, where she was pictured with her grandmother and great-grandmother.
I think this picture is fabulous. There they are just lounging on a grassy bluff in the Western Isles on a sunny day.
This portrait of the Queen and Philip with their children, grandchildren, and corgis was taken at Balmoral by photographer Logan Sangster during the summer of 1998. This was the year after Diana passed away and Sophie and Edward weren’t engaged yet which explains her absence(she and Prince Edward married in June of 1999).
Next up is the Yorks. Andrew and Fergie’s cards regularly featured Beatrice and Eugenie. When Sir Jimmy Saville died in October 2011, it was his wish that thousands of his possessions be auctioned off for charity, and these cards were among them.
This card was sent out in 2001, years after Sarah and Andrew divorced.
In 2009, Andrew sent out his card with this picture of Beatrice and Eugenie and their snowman.
The photo was taken in February of that year at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Apparently they found that HRH toque just lying around. Amazing.
In 2008, Sophie and Edward sent out this card which was maligned for being a bit staid and lacking in personality.
Agreed! Sadly, it’s the only one of theirs I’ve been able to track down so far. Hopefully in years after they picked things up a bit.
So, which of these stands out as favourites for you?
Here are a few more Christmassy posts if you’d like to read more.
For this two-part series, I thought it would be fun to look at Jackie Kennedy’s relationships with both Grace Kelly and the Queen. I’ve unearthed a few interesting tidbits that you may not have heard before, and I’d love to hear any others you may have up your sleeves! We’ll start with Jackie and Queen Elizabeth, and the next post will be all about Grace.
Back in 1951, Jackie Bouvier was hired by the Washington Times-Herald as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for $42.50 per week. Amongst her many assignments was to cover Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration and to travel to London to cover the Queen’s Coronation, which was held on June 2 of 1953. Jackie’s articles covered her voyage to London, what the mood was like in the city, and of course the big event itself. If I’m able to unearth any of those actual articles, I’ll be sure to post them!
We know that Jack Kennedy proposed right when Jackie got back to the States, and she resigned from her newspaper job the next day. The Washington Times Herald announced the engagement on June 24, 1953 and the wedding was held on September 12. Very speedy!
So now let’s skip ahead to June 4, 1961 – exactly eight years and two days after the Queen’s coronation. That evening, Jackie and Jack dined with The Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham palace and as far as I can tell in this picture, both ladies seemed pretty delighted and like they were having a wonderful time.
(Side Note: The blue shantung dress Jackie wore is now held at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum and can be viewed here.)
However, apparently there was quite a bit of haggling that went into the guest list and consequently the evening was pretty frosty. The story goes that Queen was reticent to invite Jackie’s sister Princess Lee Radziwill since she was a divorcee (shocking, I know) but eventually relented. However, the Queen then vetoed Princess Margaret and Princess Marina from the guest list since they had both been requested by Jackie.
The queen had her revenge,” she confides to Gore Vidal. “No Margaret, no Marina, no one except every Commonwealth minister of agriculture they could find.” Jackie also tells Vidal that she found the queen “pretty heavy going.” (When Vidal repeats this to Princess Margaret some years later, the princess loyally explains, “But that’s what she’s there for.”)
Over dinner, Jackie continues to feel awkward, even persecuted. “I think the queen resented me. Philip was nice, but nervous. One felt absolutely no relationship between them.”
The queen asks Jackie about her visit to Canada. Jackie tells her how exhausting she found being on public view for hours on end. “The queen looked rather conspiratorial and said, ‘One gets crafty after a while and learns how to save oneself.’ ” According to Vidal (who is prone to impose his own thoughts on others), Jackie considers this the only time the queen seems remotely human.
After dinner, the queen asks Jackie if she’d like to see “some pictures.” Yes, says Jackie, she certainly would. The queen takes her for a stroll down a long gallery in the palace. They stop in front of a Van Dyck. The queen says, “That’s a good horse.” Yes, agrees Jackie, that is a good horse. From Jackie’s account, this is the extent of their contact with one another, but others differ. Dinner at Buckingham Palace, writes Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in his diary that night, is “very pleasant.”
That’s a good horse??!! Too funny. The visit was just four months after JFK’s inauguration, so Jackie was still getting into the swing of things.
Nine months later, she returned to London and stayed with her sister Lee, who lived just four blocks south of Buckingham Palace. The Queen asked both Jackie and Lee to lunch which seems to me like a very nice thing to do, and they accepted. Here they are heading out the door on March 28, 1962:
When they returned, reporters asked Jackie about the visit and we have video of it here:
Jackie was very diplomatic and tells reporters, “I don’t feel I should say anything about it except how thankful I am and how charming she was.”
If only we could hear what Jackie and Lee’s conversation was once they were inside! I love how Jackie went from reporting the coronation to being a guest at the palace as First Lady, and it does seem like in the end all was well.