What a Thing to Say To The Queen Book Review

Happy New Year, Royal Posters! I hope you’ve enjoyed a happy holiday season. It’s hard to believe that we started this blog in 2011 so are already into our 6th year.

To kick off this New Year on The Royal Post, I’d like to share some snippets from a delightful book on the British Royals. Just published in November of 2015, it’s called What a Thing To Say to The Queen: A Collection of Royal Anecdotes from the House of Windsor by Thomas Blaikie. Lucky me – I was given a copy for Christmas.

Perfect to read with a cup of tea (source)
Perfect to read with a cup of tea (source)

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 at a polo match at Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey (source)
The Queen at a polo match at Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey (source)

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.

Charles & Diana on the grounds of Buckingham Palace (Source). Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images
Charles & Diana on the grounds of Buckingham Palace (Source). Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images

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. 

Lucian Freud portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (source; The Royal Collection)
Lucian Freud portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (source: The Royal Collection)

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.’

HM Queen Elizabeth II with HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1960 (source)
HM Queen Elizabeth II with HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1960 (source)

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. 

Margaret, Elizabeth, & Anne (source)
Margaret, Elizabeth, & Anne (source)

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!

All best wishes for a happy 2016.

 

 

Royal Visitors at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

For the London 2012 Olympics we had fun reviewing all of the royals who came out to cheer on their fellow countrymen and today we wrap up the Sochi Olympics with more of the same. What’s not to love? This is an event where even Kings and Queens have to wear credentials in the venues, jump up and down waving flags, and wear olympic uniforms.

Princess Charlene & Prince Albert

We’ll dive in with Charlene and Albert who were both there at the beginning of the games (and before this whole thing started to get attention). Take a good look at La Princesse Charlene’s credentials, which give her access to ALL venues. Not too shabby!

Charlene & her Credentials (via Zimbio)
Charlene & her Credentials (via Zimbio

They showed up at skiing where Albert showed of his Olympic gloves.

Albert & Charlene (Via Zimbio)
Albert & Charlene take in some Alpine Skiing (Via Zimbio)

This guy like them, too.

Hey, can I borrow those? (via Zimbio)
Hey, can I borrow those? (via Zimbio)

Afterwards, they congratulated Arnaud Alessandria of Monaco.

Is a camera guy getting this? Oh good. (via Zimbio)
Is a camera guy getting this? Oh good. (via Zimbio)

The Princess Royal

Moving on, Princess Anne joined other IOC members and met with Vladimir Putin before the opening of the games.

via Zimbio
via Zimbio

She paid a visit to the Athlete’s Village as well. Gotta say, those uniforms look very smart.

(Via Zimbio)
(Via Zimbio)

Much more British Olympic fun can be found here.

PS Why doesn’t Zara stage a hair intervention?? WHY?

King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden

The King and Queen of Sweden paid a short visit to Sochi and cheered on their fellow Swedes from February 14th to 16th. The visited the athlete’s village, watched the Swedish country relay team scoop of two gold medals, and took in some hockey, figure skating, and curling. Here they are meeting with Swedish figure skating champion Alexander Majarov before his competition where he ended up placing 14th and scored a personal best.

140214-DDMM-OS-dag-1-foto-SOK

Naturally, they also got the traditional picture in front of the olympic flame.

The King, Queen, and the Flame (via kong
The King, Queen, and the Flame (via kungahuset.se)

We can’t not mention that the King and Queen first met at the 1972 Olympics in Madrid, where Silvia Sommerlath was working as an interpreter for the Olympic Organizing committee and participated in the medal ceremonies. See?

SIlvia Sommerlath presents a medal at the 1972 Olympic Games
SIlvia Sommerlath presents a medal at the 1972 Olympic Games

For more on that, check out our post here.

Crown Prince Haakon, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway

The winter Olympics are definitely Norway’s thing, so Crown Prince Haakon paid a visit from the 10th to the 14th of February (boo! Princess Mette-Marrit stayed home).

Prince Haakon takes in some skiing (via Zimbio)
Prince Haakon takes in some skiing (via Zimbio)

Flashback: Here’s Prince Haakon lighting the Olympic flame to declare the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway open.

Prince Haakon lights the flame at the opening ceremony of the Lillehamer Olympics
Prince Haakon lights the flame at the opening ceremony of the Lillehamer Olympics

The King and Queen came out later and stayed from the 17th to the 22. They flew the flag watching a biathlon event.

Wave that flag! (via Zimbio)
Wave that flag! (via Zimbio)

Hey, did you know that King Harald was an Olympian himself? Yep, he was on the Olympic Sailing team at the Tokyo ’64 games, the ’68 Mexico City Games, and finally at the ’72 Madrid Games. Much more on the Norwegian royal’s Olympic history is in our post here.

Queen Maxima

Hold on to your hats, I’ve saved the best for last. King – and Queen Maxima paid a visit to Sochi near the beginning of the games and they did not disappoint. Our favourite and most enthusiastic cheerers were decked out in orange and out in full force .

They showed up at the village riding orange bicycles.

Maxima led the way (via Hello!)
Maxima led the way (via Hello!)

They felt their athlete’s pain while watching speed skating.

(via Zimbio)
(via Zimbio)

And, just as we’ve come to expect, they really got into it when things were going well.

(Via Zimbio)
(Via Zimbio)

Oh, the joy.

via Daily Mail
via Daily Mail

This time we didn’t have the little princess’ enthusiasm which was a bummer. They must have had to stay home for school. Remember this? Heck, one little princess (Princess Ariane, I believe) was waving Maxima’s orange coat around. Can you see her?

Via Zimbio
The Dutch Royals get into the spirit – heck they ARE the spirit- at the London 2012 Games Via Zimbio

Here are some more great pics of Maxima getting into the spirit of things. As is to be expected, Princess Anne was much more sedate and Tim Laurence and the King didn’t want to get too cozy it would seem.

via Zimbio
via Zimbio

Well, that was fun. Any other favourite Olympics moments to share, royal or otherwise?

Christmas Cards from the Queen, the Yorks, and the Wessexes

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.

The Queen

c.1950

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.

c.1950 (via )
c.1950 (via Nate D. Sanders)

1953

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.

(via FDR)
(via FDR Library)

1955

The card for 1955 was definitely more chill, with a young Charles and Anne standing in as book ends.

(Via Anorak)
(via Anorak)

1964

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.

Baby Prince Edward (via eBay)
Baby Prince Edward (via eBay and The Royal Collection Trust)

1987

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.

(via Daily Mail)

1988

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.

2 Elizabeths and Beatrice (via )
2 Elizabeths and Beatrice (via Everything Royal)

1996

I think this picture is fabulous. There they are just lounging on a grassy bluff in the Western Isles on a sunny day.

So relaxed (via Daily Mail)
So relaxed (via Daily Mail)

1998

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).

What a gang (via Daily Mail)
What a gang (via Daily Mail and The Royal Collection Trust)

The Yorks

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.

These Cards were sent to Jimmy Saville (via Daily Mail)
These Cards were sent to Jimmy Saville (via Daily Mail)

This card was sent out in 2001, years after Sarah and Andrew divorced.

The Yorks in 2001 (via Pinterest)
The Yorks in their white shirts in 2001 (via Pinterest)

In 2009, Andrew sent out his card with this picture of Beatrice and Eugenie and their snowman.

We all need an HRH toque (via Hello)
We all need an HRH toque (via Hello)

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.

The Wessexes

2008

In 2008, Sophie and Edward sent out this card which was maligned for being a bit staid and lacking in personality.

2008 (via Daily Mail)
Sophie and Edward in 2008 (via Daily Mail)

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.

A look at Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle Christmas

The Queen on Christmas Day over the years, starting in 1970

Diana at Sandringham for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Queen Always Has a Hoot at the Braemar Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at that!

Hilarity!!

Camilla was having a hoot, too

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

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

In 2010, Charles and Anne were there as well:

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

HM even did the hand-on-arm laugh:

More fun was had in 2009:

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

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

The Queen mum was there with Prince Charles in 1988:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part One is here

And Part Two is here.

Hurray for all things tartan!

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

Favourite Royal Olympic Moments Part Two

In our last post, we recapped some delightful moments from the Danish, Swedish, and Dutch royals. Today we’ll jump right in with the Belgian royals.

The Belgian Royals

Princess Mathilde and Prince Philippe brought their family to London to take part in the festivities. Here they are at Wimbledon watching a rousing game of tennis. That’s Princess Elisabeth hiding behind the Belgian flag; as we discussed back in February, she is second in line to the throne. Hurray for the enthusiasm:

They also did a bit of sightseeing:

The Norwegian Royals

Skipping along, Princess Mette-Marit and Prince Haakon were in London for the start of the games, and are shown here ready for the Opening Ceremony:

They were at several events with their family. That’s Princess Ingrid on the left with her brother Prince Sverre Magnus.

The Spanish Royals

The Spanish royals did their fair share of cheering, too. Here they are during the Spain’s basketballgame against Russia:

The Queen was there, too:

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco

Now I think we’re coming to a true highlight. As you may recall, we’ve been a bit concerned about Princess Charlene after that rather dreadful interview with CBS, so we were happy to see her looking very spirited while cheering on the South African swimming team. She was a member of the South African swim team for the Sydney Olympics, and here she is when Chad le Clos won the gold in a major upset for Michael Phelps who ended up with silver.

It was awesome.

A tearful moment with mom and pop le Clos:

High Five for that:

Near the end of the games, we had another royal greeting when Prince Albert sat behind the Duchess of Cambridge

Which leads us to the British Royals…

The British Royals

Naturally, they were out in full force. Let’s boil down some key moments. First of all, let’s give it to the Queen for her involvement in the Opening Ceremony:

Would have been nice if she’d cracked a smile, but what can you do:

Kate and William were very enthusiastic cheerers:

But Prince Harry was really my favourite to watch…

…especially when he got out his camera at women’s volleyball:

Sophie got out her camera during the swimming:

And, look, Prince Daniel of Sweden made sure to say hello at another event:

And let’s here it for Lady Louise and Viscount Severn who showed up at an equestrian event:

Eugenie and Beatrice didn’t miss out, either:

But the best moment has to be when  Zara and her team won the silver medal and Princess Anne was there to award them.

Did we miss any of your favourite royal moments?

A Royal Olympic Day

Well it was quite a Royal day at the Olympics! Let’s recap, shall we?

The British Royals

First of all, Zara Philips and her team won the silver medal in Three Day Eventing. Way to go, Zara! That’s her right in the middle of her team on the podium:

As we discussed in our post on British Royals at the Olympics, Zara was following in both of her parent’s Olympic footsteps. Princess Anne was there to cheer Zara on and was all decked out in Olympic paraphanalia. Camilla sat next to her:

Princess Anne awarded the medals. Here she is with Zara:

As you can see, Anne chose quite the hat for today’s event. Quite the hat. Zara’s dad Mark Phillips was there as well. He coaches the American eventing team, who placed fifth.

Love this shot of William being all “Your sister won!!” with Peter Phillips in the stands:

Beatrice and Eugenie were there today, too:

We imagine that the Queen and Prince Philip were watching it all unfold on the TV up at Balmoral where they are having a bit of a break. Oh – and we were very happy to see that that “James Bond with the Queen” rumour turned out to be true! Here’s that video if you missed it:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H6vSoXcMSI]

The Royals of Jordan

It doesn’t seem like many journalists picked up on the fact that Anne wasn’t the only Princess involved in the medal ceremony. Princess Haya of Jordan, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, presented the winners with their bouquets.

Sadly, there are no pictures of her at the event to be found but we do have this one which taken at the Sydney Olympics when she participated in Show Jumping.  That’s right, we have yet another Royal Olympian to discuss!

Princess Haya was also the flag bearer for Jordan a the Sydney Games:

Princess Haya really is all about horses. She is the President of the International Eventing Federation and is also involved in horse racing. This was taken at Royal Ascot this past June. Princess Haya’s horse Joviality (awesome name) won the Windsor Forest Stakes. Fierce outfit! Love:

Princess Haya also holds the title Sheikha of Dubai as one of the wives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The Royals of Monaco

Meanwhile in the pool, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200 Butterfly, narrowly beating Michael Phelps. Princess Charlene, who competed for South Africa at the Sydney Games, was there to cheer him on along with his parents:

Princess Charlene has been a big supporter of the team since becoming Princess of Monaco. She even had the team come to Monaco to do some training before heading to London. Here’s another shot of Charlene and Albert at the pool:

On another note, I happened to hear a CNN interview with Charlene and Albert on the radio today. In it, Charlene seemed MUCH more prepared than she did in the awful, cringe inducing CBS interview that was broadcast last week. If you haven’t seen it, it’s really quite incredible. CBS even took it down from their website and edited out all the terrible parts. Like when Prince Albert called a time out when Charlene can’t answer the question “what’s it like to be a princess?”  and when Charlene looks like completely fed up and over it when Princess Grace comes up.  Fortunately, the original video is still available on a website we tracked down. Go ahead and check it out by clicking here.

Until next time, happy Olympics watching!

For more Royal Olympic frivolity, check out:

Spain’s Royals at the Olympics

Denmark’s Royals at the Olympics

Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics

Sweden’s Royals at the Olympics

The Dutch Royals at the Olympics

Norway’s Royals at the Olympics

The British Royals at the Olympics

With just two days to go until the Opening Ceremonies in London, it’s time we talked about the home team’s Royal Family.

London was announced as the winner for the 2012 Olympics on July 6, 2005 and we were somewhere in that crowd below in Trafalgar Square for the celebrations:

It was super exciting, and heartwarming to see all the people taking time out from work in anticipation of the big announcement. And now here we are!


In recent months, the Royal Family’s involvement has really ramped up. Princess Anne travelled to Athens where she received the Olympic flame and began the torch relay.

She is a member of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, President of the British Olympic Association, and a former Olympian.

Kate has also gotten involved. She met with the Team GB Field Hockey men’s and women’s teams to lend her support. For more on that visit, click here.

Princess Beatrice has also been all over pre-Olympic fun. She started the 5k race in the London Olympic Stadium and said,

“I am thrilled to be able to play my part in such a historic occasion and it is fantastic to see the incredible transformation that the Olympic Park has undergone. I, like so many others running on the day, know that the experience of being one of the first to cross the Olympic finish line is an extraordinary moment in what promises to be a memorable year for the nation.”

She was also on hand to receive the Olympic torch as it arrived at Harewood House in Leeds along with the Earl of Harewood. You may recall from our post on Queen Victoria’s diamond and sapphire tiara, that it is now the Earl and Countess of Harewood that now own it. Click here for more on that delightful sparkler.

Zara also participated in the torch relay. She is shown here on her horse  Toytown, who was retired last year. Toytown sure seems like an amazing horse. Zara said, “He’s awesome, he done us proud. He loves crowds, he was just a little bit… it makes a noise, so he was worried about that. It’s unreal the amount of people that are here. Such a massive honour.’

The British Royals will be out to cheer Zara on when she competes on her new horse who is appropriately named High Kingdom. Good luck, Zara!!!

Zara really got into the spirit of things in the photo booth when she went to pick up her Olympic uniform. Oh, yeah!

As we know, she is following in the footsteps of her mum Princess Anne who  was first member of the British Royal family to participate in the Olympic Games. She competed in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal where she rode Goodwill,  one of the Queen’s horses.

It is through her interest in horses that Princess Anne met Mark Philips, her first husband. They met at a reception for the British Olympic Equestrian team in 1968, for which Mark was selected as a reserve. He did participate in the 1972 Munich Olympics where he won gold in three-day eventing. He also won a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics. No pressure, Zara!

Next up: the Opening Ceremony. There are some seemingly legit reports that the Queen filmed a scene with Daniel Craig- aka James Bond- at Buckingham Palace to be shown during the Opening Ceremonies. Please let this be true! Regardless, the Queen will officially open the Games and will be there with oodles of other Royals.
See you then!!

For more Royal Olympic frivolity, check out:

Spain’s Royals at the Olympics

Denmark’s Royals at the Olympics

Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics

Sweden’s Royals at the Olympics

The Dutch Royals at the Olympics

Norway’s Royals at the Olympics

 

Royal Ascot 2012 Highlights

Royal Ascot is one of the high points of the British summer season – hats galore (fascinators are no longer allowed), royals curtseying and bowing to the Queen, and plenty of Pimm’s and champagne.

This year, Ascot ran from Tuesday, June 18th to the 22nd and one of our Royal Posters was there for the final day and had her camera at the ready. Seeing as we are not fully versed on the horse race aspect of Ascot, here’s a look at the sartorial side along with some Royal musings.

Oh, and they really are serious about that dress code. There are even employees on hand to inspect the arrivees. Here are three so-called dress code assistants at the ready, ready to discern a fascinator from a proper hat and whatnot:

Her Majesty the Queen

Our Royal Poster took this photograph of the Queen and Philip in their carriage on Saturday. They are in there, I promise!

Fun Fact: This is the Queen’s 65th year in a row attending Ascot. It also heralds her 21st win. This year, her horse Estimate won the Queen’s Vase Stakes, which seems rather appropriate.

To top it all off, Prince Philip presented the Queen with the winner’s  trophy. What a month they’ve had what with the Jubilee and now this!

Here’s the winning horse with the very happy Queen:

The Countess of Wessex

Love the hat, love the skirt, love everything about this ensemble. Well done, Sophie.

Also love that Sophie isn’t just there to look pretty. Oh, no. She really gets into it:

Another day, another neutral and chic ensemble:

Princess Michael of Kent

Here she is chatting away in black and white. Gotta say that all together it reminds me of a certain Disney character who just loved her dalmatian coat:

These two ladies really committed to their curtseys:

Another day, another hat. Love the pillbox:

Princess Anne

Always thrifty, Princess Anne brought out the floral outfit she wore to her daughter Zara’s wedding last summer…

…and on another day, she wore the same hat, coat, and dress that she wore to William and Kate’s wedding:

Like Sophie, Anne really gets into the spirit of things, too:

The Queen makes that exact expression when she’s getting all riled up. I can’t find the exact picture I’m thinking of at the moment, but will post it when I do.

Princess Eugenie

Euge stuck with hats of the smaller variety for her days at the races.

Hello, Man in a Hat:

I quite like this one:

Princess Beatrice

Near the beginning of the week, Princess Beatrice chose this Erdem frock, which would certainly work for a visit to Canada:

and on the final day of the races we got to see her version of the curtsey to the Queen:

Our Royal Poster took this photograph yesterday, which gives some insight into Beatrice’s view over in the Royal Enclosure. So many photographers milling about and such…

Autumn and Peter Philips

Nice to see Autumn and Peter out and about. Here’s their version of the curtsey/bow to the Queen:

What with all this talk of curtseys, let’s chat about the Order of Precedence. It has reportedly been revised to take the Duchess of Cambridge into account; the last time a revision was done was after Prince Charles married Camilla. It seems that Princess Anne wasn’t too keen on the idea of having to curtsey to Camilla around the breakfast table, so the Queen made some revisions so that this protocol wouldn’t be required. The Telegraph reports as follows:

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.

It all sounds rather exhausting. Christmas must be quite something to get through! Now we can look forward to Wimbledon. Hope that William and Kate come out for it like they did last year!

Trooping the Colour 2012

So today the colour was trooped. That is to say that the Queen’s official birthday was celebrated with a fantastic parade of troops from the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry who all saluted Her Majesty. Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is actually on April 21, but it is always celebrated in June in order to hopefully get a sunny day. Here are our thoughts on how it all went down today.

The Carriage Procession

Our London-based Royal Poster was able to get a great spot along the Mall and got some wonderful pictures of the carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace. She saw the Queen and Prince Philip go by in their carriage and snapped this photo:

They opted for a closed carriage because of the iffy weather, which was a good call after that freezing day on the Thames. Great that Prince Philip is on the mend.

She also saw Camilla, Kate, and Harry go by. Love seeing that hand waving in the lower right hand corner:

That’s Princess Anne, the Duke of Kent, Prince Charles, and Prince William riding by as well:

And here we have Prince Andrew with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie:

Here’s a closer look at the princesses. They went outside of the box for their millinery choices:

I find it disappointing that Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex were not included in the carriage procession and seem to have been downgraded to a bus. Seriously! Here they are last year, with Sophie and Lady Louise in matching pink outfits:


I understand the desire to help to streamline the Monarchy, but for goodness sake why just stop at Prince Andrew and the girls for something like this? My guess is that it was suggested that Prince Andrew go the bus route as well, but he kicked up a fuss. I’d like to see Sophie and Edward get more recognition for their hard work.

The Balcony Appearance

That brings us to the balcony appearance! The best thing about Trooping the Colour to me is seeing as many Royals as possible crammed out on the Buckingham Palace balcony. It’s also fun seeing Princess Michael of Kent trying to get into a key position out there, some years with more success than others. Let’s review a few balcony appearances over the years and you can decide for yourself.

We’ll start with the 1982 celebrations, which took place just a few day before Prince William was born. Diana wore her Spencer pearl choker! As for the Queen, she was still riding out with the troops on horseback herself, which explains her ensemble:

Here they are the following year, with Princess Anne and the Queen helping to keep the little ones in order:

That’s Zara, William, and Peter with Diana in 1984:

In 1988 Princess Diana once again wore green with her Spencer pearl choker and Harry could barely see over the balcony.

So Diana helped him out, and Harry was Harry:

Princess Michael of Kent was there, too. See?

Jumping ahead, what on earth is the Queen saying here at the 2003 ceremony??

Here they are cramped out there in 2010. Yes, that’s Princess Michael of Kent RIGHT NEXT TO THE QUEEN:

And then last year Princess Michael fancied being next to William and Kate:

This year there were lots of Royal attendees again. Here’s a bit of a close up. From the left, that’s Prince Andrew, the Countess of Wessex, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, the Queen, Princess Anne and her husband, Prince Philip, Kate, Prince William, Princess Eugenie, and of course Prince Harry.

Sophie and the Queen both repeated their outfits from Prince William’s wedding. Here are Sophie and Edward after the wedding ceremony, so it looks like Sophie just got a new hat for today:

And of course here’s the Queen on the wedding day:

Kate kept her streak of wearing only Alexander McQueen on the Buckingham Palace balcony by accessorizing her beautiful bespoke Erdem dress with an Alexander McQueen clutch. Thanks to the always on top of things What Kate Wore blog for spotting that! I think she looked very Grace Kelly-ish because of that beautiful neckline. Just wish her hair was swept back so we could see more of it! Also, her dress looks like it was cut rather large, no? Just saying…

Any other thoughts on today’s festivities? Does anyone else wish Sophie and Edward were given a more prominent role? It’s tough even finding any good pictures of them today!

See you next week to recap the Order of the Garter ceremony!