Sophie & Edward’s Engagement Announcement: January 6, 1999

Just for fun, let’s take a step back in time.

17 years ago today, on January 6 1999, the press was notified on the Queen’s behalf that Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones were engaged. Later that morning, a photo call was held in the St. James’s Palace. The couple emerged to greet the waiting press for pictures and a look at the ring.

Sophie & Edward (source)
It must have been a warm January! Sophie & Edward at St. James’s Palace January 6, 1999 (source)

During the photo call, Prince Edward revealed that when he proposed, “I managed to take her completely by surprise, she had no idea it was coming.” He was also pretty thrilled with the ring and told the journalists “If it catches the sun, you’ll all be blinded.” One of our first posts when we launched the blog in 2011 covered Sophie’s engagement ring here.

On that day in January 1999, Prince Edward was 34 to Sophie’s 33 years of age and they had been dating for a solid five years. To answer why the wait was so long, Edward said  “It’s impossible for anyone else to understand why it has taken me this long but I don’t think it would have been right before and I don’t think Sophie would have said yes if I had said before. Hopefully, by the fact that she did say yes, I must have got the timing right.” (source). You can check out a video of the photo call here here.

We went into detail on their chance royal meeting in a previous post. In a nutshell, they met thanks to a charity event that the company Sophie worked for had helped to put on. She first met him at a preliminary meeting in 1992 and then things really got rolling at the event itself when Sophie asked him to play a round of tennis with her. A rather gossipy article with more on that can be found here if you are in the mood for more.

A First Photo, September 1993 (source)
A First Photo, September 1993 (source)

Fun fact: Television presenter Sue Barker was also on the invite list for the event that day, however she was unable to take a promotional photograph with Prince Edward, so Sophie was asked to step in and the results are above. When the couple sat down to a pre-wedding interview a few days before the wedding, Sue was the journalist asked to do the honors.

A good chunk of the interview is included in the footage below. It took place on the grounds of Bagshot Park, the stately home that Prince Edward had begun to lease two years before the engagement (and, really, the house and grounds deserve their own lengthy post so will add that to the list). The interview begins at 27:30 and a detailed transcript can be found here.

It’s been reported that Prince Edward proposed to Sophie while they were on vacation before Christmas. They spoke to their parents over the holidays and made the announcement when everyone was getting back to work in the New Year which gave them some time to decide a few things. For example, they shared with the press that they would like to have a smaller wedding than Edward’s siblings had had and would instead have their wedding ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. Both Princess Anne and Prince Andrew had chosen Westminster Abbey for their weddings and Prince Charles of course famously married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

They also shared their intention to continue their careers after the wedding instead of taking on full time royal duties. This AP video has some interesting snippets including a quote from Sophie’s business partner saying that “it’s business as usual…the intention always was that we’d sent the company up and after the engagement she’d continue to work.” Interesting that Sophie was that candid in expecting the engagement, right?

Sophie outside her office after her engagement was announced, protection officer in tow. (Getty Images)
Sophie outside her office after her engagement was announced, protection officer in tow. (Getty Images)

A former boyfriend is also interviewed in the video. His soundbite is quite something. He says, “She’s a capable girl and I always think she had her eye on the main chance. I think that although she went out with the likes of me I think that weekends are very much spent in the country homes of Lord This and Lady That and I think that that is what she always felt was the kind of area that she would want to move into…and good luck to her…I think she’ll be a breath of fresh air.” Cue the screech of the record stopping on Lord This and Lady That. Sheesh- she can’t have been too thrilled with that interview!

The wedding went off on June 19, 1999 with just a few small glitches like the sound of airplanes en route to Heathrow drowning out the vows and Edward struggled to get Sophie’s ring on. They will celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary this year and while they did go back to work after the wedding it proved to be too difficult to continue indefinitely what with Edward’s production company ignoring a media ban when William started at St. Andrew’s University and Sophie’s being taken in by a fake sheikh. They announced in December 20o1 that they would be wrapping up their careers in order to focus full time with royal duties and supporting the Queen.

The new Earl and Countess of Wessex (source)
The new Earl and Countess of Wessex (source)

It seems to me that they’ve been fulfilled their promise and are actively involved with a number of charities and interests so it must be mildly frustrating that the press glosses over them for features on more glamorous royals. Sophie is a favorite of mine, she seems quite down to earth and hardworking despite all the crazy around her. What do you think?

PS Here’s a look at the tiaras Sophie has worn so far if you feel like looking at more sparkly things!

Royal March Birthdays

Time to celebrate Royal March Birthdays!

March 10, 1964: Prince Edward Earl of Wessex

To kick off his 50th birthday, Edward and Sophie hosted a shingling at their palatial home, Bagshot Park, over the weekend. Guests included the Queen and Philip, Lord Linley, Tim and Lady Helen Taylor. Charles, Andrew, and Anne weren’t photographed going in but hopefully they were there, right? Meanwhile we know that Kate and William were off on yet another holiday, this time in the Maldives.

The Queen & Philip arrive The Daily Mail
The Queen & Philip arrive The Daily Mail

He also released a new portrait of his family that was taken in their wood panelled dining room.

Edward, Louise, James and Sophie (via Daily Mail)
Edward, Louise, James and Sophie (via Daily Mail)

Edward didn’t chill out on his birthday, either. He spent the morning with Sophie at Robert Browning Primary School where he was given a massive birthday card and was even serenaded with a birthday cake.

Edward & Sophie (Via The Express)
Edward & Sophie (Via The Express)

Later on (after a quick wardrobe change) they were at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Service. I hope William and Kate are taking notes 😉

Sophie and Edward arrive at the service (Via Hello)
Sophie and Edward arrive at the service (Via Hello)

PS Sophie was wearing her wedding earrings that were a gift from Edward. Haven’t seen her wear them in awhile!

Sophie's wedding earrings (via )
Sophie’s wedding earrings (via The Express)

See?

Sophie's Earrings (via The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)
Sophie’s Earrings (via The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)

March 14, 1958: Prince Albert of Monaco

Onto Monaco! Here’s the birthday boy on the left with older sis Caroline, Grace and Ranier….actually looking much the same as he does now.

En Famille
En Famille (via Lisa’s History Room)

That round face!

PRince Albert takes a load off (via )
Prince Albert takes a load off (via Lisa’s History Room)

And all grown up.

Marrying Charlene Wittstock (via The Telegraph)
Marrying Charlene Wittstock (via The Telegraph)

Here’s to a year filled with more pictures like this one.

Are we having fun yet??(Via Lainey Gossip)
Are we having fun yet??(Via Lainey Gossip)

March 23, 1990: Princess Eugenie of York

Princess Eugenie turns 24 this year. She’s been living in the Big Apple since the fall and working for auction house Paddle 8, who’ve definitely gotten extra press for having a princess on their pay roll. Vanity Fair was all over it.

Eugenie & Gran (via Vanity Fair)
Eugenie & Gran (via Vanity Fair)

Meanwhile big sis Beatrice has joined twitter as @yorkiebea – maybe Eug will follow?

Happy Birthday!

 

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:)

Royals Visiting Their Old Schools

Today we’re looking at four royal ladies who got to go back to their old schools as royals. Not too shabby, eh?

Grace Kelly at Ravenhill Academy

Grace Kelly was born in 1929 in Philadelphia and spent the first 9 years of her education at Ravenhill Academy, a Catholic girl’s school. Ravenhill was a gorgeous mansion that was donated to the Archdiocese  of Philadelphia by the Weightman family.

Ravenhill c. 1940 (Via Phila.edu)
Ravenhill c. 1940 (Via Philau.edu)

As Princess of Monaco, she returned to the school to break ground on a new theatre that had been donated in memory of her dad, John B. Kelly.

Breaking ground (via Argenaimages)
Breaking ground (via Argenaimages)

She returned to the school when the theatre was completed to dedicate it and to unveil this plaque:

Grace unveils a plaque at Ravenhill (Via Argentina Images)
Grace unveils a plaque at Ravenhill (Via Argentina Images)

In 1982, Ravenhill mansion was purchased by Philadelphia University, who own it to this day. Grace is the school’s most famous former pupil.

Diana at West Heath Girls School with her sisters

Next up is Diana. Back In December of 1987, she paid a visit to her old school West Heath in Sevenoaks, Kent. She was a student from the ages of 12 to 16 and so this visit took place just ten years after leaving the school in 1977. Fun fact actress Tilda Swinton was a student at the same time as Diana and has mentioned that in interviews from time to time.

The purpose behind the 1987 visit was to officially open a new sports hall and she was joined by her sisters Sarah and Jane, who’d also been students there. I believe this was the only official engagement where Diana was joined by her sisters in this sort of capacity (later on, Sarah became one of Diana’s Ladies-in-Waiting, which must have been a little strange since she had dated Prince Charles for a short while in the ’70’s).

Diana and her sisters Sarah and Jane at West Heath School
Diana and her sisters Sarah and Jane at West Heath School (Via ImageCollect.com)

To add to the fun of it all, the trio arrived by one of the Queen’s Flight helicopters, which is a pretty great way to make your arrival, no? Here’s some news coverage of the visit:

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

After leaving the school, Lady Diana went on to a finishing school in Switzerland called Institut Alpin Videmanette, which closed its doors in 1991.

Meanwhile West Heath also had difficulties in the 1990’s and went into receivership in 1997. The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund considered buying the school but when they decided against it, Mohammad Al Fayed stepped in and the school is now known as New School at West Heath. More info about all of that can be found here if you’re interested.

Sophie Rhys-Jones at Kent College

Next up is Sophie, who doesn’t get much coverage which we keep hearing from readers is a real shame. However, she soldiers on and  in March of 2012, Sophie visited her old school Kent College. She seemed to match her outfit to the navy of the school uniforms, as you do, and was clearly a hit with the students.

Sophie visiting Kent College
Sophie visiting Kent College

The visit marked the 125th anniversary of the school as well as the opening of the re-named Countess of Wessex Theatre.  As a side note, it was revealed in 2009 that Sophie had hired her first Lady-in-Waiting and that she had been a fellow pupil at Kent College.

Some more information on this visit can be found here and if you’re in the mood for more Sophie, check out this post. It’s all about Sophie’s aquamarine tiara and is our most read Sophie post ever!

Kate at St. Andrew’s School in Berkshire

And we’ll end with Kate. As you may recall, Kate visited her old school St. Andrew’s on St. Andrew’s Day in November of 2012 and the press was all over it. Kate had been at the school prior to going to Marlborough College, and had played on the school’s field hockey team.

She wore a tartan McQueen coat for the visit and seemed to have a fabulous time running around in her high heeled boots.

Kate at her old school (via USA Today)
Kate at her old school (via USA Today)

Kate also gave a speech about how much she’d loved the school, and then it seems she went home and started feeling dreadful. A couple of days later, William and Kate were forced to announce that Baby George was on the way since Kate had to be in hospital. And now here we are a year later!

Did we miss any other royal school visits?

5 Fun (and Possibly Surprising!) Royal Facts

How about a little royal trivia to add to your repetoire? Today we’re counting down five surprising royal facts that you just may not have known. Let’s start with number #5…

#5 Coleherne Court

It is well known that Lady Diana Spencer lived in a beautiful apartment block called Coleherne Court before her engagement to Prince Charles was announced.

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

The apartment block is on Old Brompton Road and is a very short walk from the Earl’s Court tube stop. Diana’s apartment was in Block H, and was purchased by her mother. Diana rented the other bedrooms out to friends while she was dating Charles, and had a sign on her door that said “Head Chick”. Our post on the building gives some more details on Diana’s days and can be read here.

Via Flickr
Via Flickr

Since then, another future royal bride lived at Coleherne Court! You see Sophie Rhys-Jones also lived there before she married Prince Edward. What are the odds!? She moved out shortly afterward and she and Edward now live in an enormous estate called Bagshot Park, which is a relatively short drive from Windsor Castle.

Sophie in January 1999 before her engagement to Edward was announced (via The Royal Forums)
Sophie in January 1999 before her engagement to Edward was announced (via The Royal Forums)

#4 Nottingham Cottage, Kensington Palace

Onto another fun fact about royal homes. As you know, William and Kate moved into Nottingham Cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace back in 2011.

It’s probable that William was already pretty familiar with the house by that time, since he likely visited the cottage as a youngster, when his aunt (Princess Diana’s sister) Lady Jane Fellowes lived there with her husband Robert Fellowes. At that time, Robert Fellowes was serving as Private Secretary to the Queen and a perk of the job was living there.

Lady Diana with Patrick Robertson
Lady Diana with Patrick Robertson (via Pinterest)

In The Diana I Knew, which was written by the American lady who hired Lady Diana Spencer to be a nanny for her son Patrick, she recalls that Diana mentioned taking Patrick to “see my sister in Kensington” on a few occasions. Diana failed to mention that these visits actually took place within in the palace grounds.

#3 Royal Godparent Surprise

So by now we all now that Zara is one of Prince George’s godmothers. But did you know that one of Zara’s godparents is none other than Andrew Parker-Bowles, Camilla’s ex-husband?

Camilla and Andrew Parker-Bowles' 1973 Wedding Via Lamberdebbie's blog
Camilla and Andrew Parker-Bowles’ 1973 Wedding Via Lamberdebbie’s blog

Yep, when Zara Philips was christened on 27 July, 1981 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, he was named one of her three godfathers (the Duke of York was another). You see, he and Camilla were both good friends of Princess Anne, and in fact he and Princess Anne even dated for awhile.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-_Tg3MjF4s]

All these years later, it seems that they still have a close relationship. Andrew and Anne were were spotted at Ascot together in 2010 and here he is with Zara and Princess Anne at Cheltenham in 2011. Andrew was also one of the guests at Zara’s wedding that year:

Via Sydney Racing
Princess Ann, Andrew Parker-Bowles, and Zara Via Sydney Racing

#2. Sarah Ferguson & The Duchess of Devonshire

You probably are well aware that Diana Spencer and Sarah Ferguson were distant cousins, but did you know how?If you’ve seen the movie The Duchess with Keira Knightley, this next fun fact may just ring a bell.

Fergie and Diana (via Huffington Post)
Fergie and Diana (via Huffington Post)

Keira Knightley’s character was based on the true story of Lady Georgina Spencer, who went on to marry the Duke of Devonshire on her 17th birthday, the 7th of June 774. The new Duchess of Devonshire was the toast of the town wherever she went and she was quite the trend setter in her day.

Keira Knightley as The Duchess of Devonshire (Via The Daily Mail)
Keira Knightley as The Duchess of Devonshire (Via The Daily Mail)

Years later, she had an affair with Charles Grey which resulted in an illegitimate daughter named Eliza Courtney, who was born in 1792. Eliza never knew the true story of her parentage, but it turns out that she is the great-great-great grandmother of Sarah Ferguson and thus the  great-great-great-great grandmother of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Via The Daily Mail
Via The Daily Mail

#1 Diana Spencer, Prince Andrew, & Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Diana’s nickname growing up was “Duch” since, according to her family,  she was “determined to be a Duchess at least.” A future Duke she may have had her eye on from a young age was Prince Andrew, who was a childhood playmate.

Prince Andrew is seated on the bench
A young Prince Andrew is standing next to the bench (via News Conner)

You see, before her dad became Earl Spencer and moved the family to Althorp,  Diana grew up in Park House, which is on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Diana’s parents rented it from the Queen for several years.

Park House in Norfolk (via  SandringhamEstate.co.uk)
Park House in Norfolk (via SandringhamEstate.co.uk)

Over the Christmas holidays, the Spencer family would be asked over to the main house and Diana and Prince Andrew would play together.

Diana at Park House with her pram
Diana at Park House with her pram

When speaking to Andrew Morton for Diana Her True Story, Diana remembered, “We were all shunted over to Sandringham for holidays. Used to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the film. We hated it so much. We hated going over there. The atmosphere was always very strange when we went there and I used to kick and fight anyone who tried to make us go over there and Daddy was most insistent because it was rude. I said I didn’t want to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the third year running.”

That just rings so true!

In the end, Diana helped set up Fergie with Prince Andrew by inviting her to a lunch at Windsor Castle in 1985. And the rest is history.

Do you have any other fun royal facts to share with us?

All about Madeleine's Wedding

First things first.  How lucky are they that it didn’t rain?? I mean, there must have been plans in place in case it did, but I’m sure even the best laid plans would have been tough to pull off what with all the carriage riding and boating involved in the day.

Copyright Kungahus
Copyright Kungahus

Fortunately , it was gorgeous!

Copyright Kungahus
Copyright Kungahus

There was some cloud cover, but the sun came out and there was even a rainbow when the couple arrived at Haga  Palace for the reception. You can’t make this stuff up!

photo

And for those of us who watched the live feed from SVT, the male reporter’s outfits were outstanding and deserve special mention. If ever there was an occasion to wear a floral vest and pink shirt, this would be it.

photo-1

Madeleine’s Dress

Onto the most important apparel of the day: Madeleine’s dress. Happily, her gown was not strapless. I love that the bodice is structured but feminine thanks to the lace, and that the skirt and train has such a soft, ethereal drape. The train is really what brings this dress into Princess territory in my books.

madeleine-dress1--z

Naturally, the best description comes from the Royal Family’s press release:

Princess Madeleine’s wedding dress was created by the Italian designer Valentino Garavani. The wedding dress is made from pleated silk organza with appliquéd ivory-coloured Chantilly lace. The upper section of the bodice is lace with a deep-cut back. Narrow vertical pleats open up from the accentuated waist, above the wide skirt, which ends with a four-metre-long train.

Madeleine’s Tiara 
As predicted in my post yesterday, there was no Cameo Tiara for Madeleine. Hurray! Instead, she chose the Modern Fringe Tiara, which seems to be her favourite.
The press release describes the tiara simply as “ privately owned, decorated with sprigs of orange blossom.” The orange blossom is hiding the metal base of the tiara, so I think that was a good move.
Via Hello
Via Hello
This is what the tiara looks like sans orange blossoms:
Copyright Kungahuset.se
Copyright Kungahuset.se
Madeleine’s Veil
Madeleine also bucked tradition when it came to her veil and opted for a new one.
The veil is also silk organza, and is edged with tulle scatted with point d’esprit dots and small Chantilly lace orange blossom. The Princess’s shoes are ivory white organdy with woven point d’esprit dots.
I like how orange blossoms were incorporated into the veil as well.
The Order of the Polar Star

While Chris O’Neill declined royal titles in order to continue working as a private citizen in NYC, he was given the Order of the Polar Star and wore it to the ceremony. A very appropriate gesture!

photo-2

Princess Victoria

Princess Victoria has just been killing it lately! And so has little Princess Estelle for that matter. Prince Daniel was man enough to carry Victoria’s purse so he gets special mention, too.

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Thanks to the Royal Family’s press release on their choice of attire, we know that:

The Crown Princess wore a greige rosé dress with aubergine accents. The dress is made from hand-dyed double-sided silk organza with layers of hand-dyed tulle in three shades, silk threads, Lurex threads, pearls and Swarovski crystals in amethyst and pale grey opal.

Victoria’s jewels were exquisite, and a nice way to recognize the late Princess Lilian.

The Crown Princess wore Princess Lilian’s Tiara and corsage, with the Order of the Seraphim on a ribbon with grand star. Princess Lilian’s Tiara was made by the company Boucheron in Paris, and was originally a necklace. It was a gift from Queen Sofia (1836-1913) to Princess Lilian’s mother-in-law, Crown Princess Margareta, on her wedding day in 1905.

Estelle was just the cutest thing throughout the ceremony. Here she is reading the program:

photo

And sitting in her own little chair:

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Prince Carl Philip

Prince Carl Philip walked into the wedding ceremony with Queen Silvia, but his live-in girlfriend Sofia Hellqvest was there as a guest…maybe they’ll be next?

Via Elmundo
Via Elmundo

Princess Charlene

What’s up with her being at the wedding solo? We knew she would be in advance, but I’ve been checking out Prince Albert’s official page and there isn’t any engagement listed that would explain his absence. It’s not the most up-to-date website to begin with and needs some serious work and editing. Check it out here.

Via Hello!

Via Hello!

Also, what’s with her not wearing a tiara? Why did she bother having one made if she wasn’t going to wear it. So mind blowing.

Sophie’s Aquamarine Tiara

Edward and Sophie are the British Royal Family’s go-to wedding guests for royal weddings abroad and this was no exception.

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Sophie seems to have put her own wedding tiara in the vault and in it’s place she’s brought  back the aquamarine tiara that we first saw on her at the royal wedding in Luxembourg back in October. I’m so glad she has a bit more of a tiara collection to work with these days. She looks great in this dress and I love the colour. Well done, Sophie.

Princess Mary, Princess Mette-Marit and Their Shawls

Not sure that this is a trend I can get behind. What with the sashes and jewels, this sheer shawl/ cape thing is just too much. Agree or disagree?

Here’s Princess Mary, wearing the Midnight Tiara.

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

And Princess Mette-Marit in her shawl thing. I do love the colour and her train, though!

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Princess Marie Gets Best Dressed Guest

In my books, she’s the winner. Classy and lovely!

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece

Princess Marie-Chantal has been instagramming pictures all over the place. I’ve been hoping she would take one at the dinner, but she seems to be behaving herself. Drat.

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

The Bride & Groom’s Arrival at Haga Palace

I can’t find a better picture of the bride and groom’s arrival at Haga Police online, so this will have to do. Discuss:

photo-3

What was with the costumed attendants? It was whimsical and fun I guess, just came a little out of left field for me.

However, I LOVED how they had a group photo on the steps of Haga Palace with all of the guests. Amazing. And again, so great it didn’t rain. Again, no better photo to be found than this one. Note the bubble gum wrappers in the foreground…

photo-5

After that, everyone headed in the palace for the dinner reception. Seriously bummed that part isn’t televised like it was for Victoria, but I totally get why they are keeping it private. Maybe some photos will be released later.

So Who is Next?

As far as engaged couple go, we have Monaco’s Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo whose wedding date has yet to be announced. Here they are at Albert and Charlene’s wedding:

andrea-casiraghi--a

We can also look forward to the wedding of Prince Félix of Luxembourg and Claire Lademacher which will take place on September 17 and 21, 2013:

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

Are Princess Beatrice and Dave Clark getting engaged anytime soon? They are currently yachting in the South of France with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis which just seems all kind of bizarre…maybe they’ll be invited guests.

Via The Daily Mail
Via The Daily Mail

Other possibilities include Prince Carl Philip of Sweden as we mentioned and eventually Princess Beatrice and  Prince Harry. Now that will be a party.

A New Tiara for Sophie

Many eagle eyes noticed that Sophie, Countess of Wessex was wearing a tiara that we had never seen her wear publicly before to the royal wedding in Luxembourg over the weekend. Hurray for Sophie getting some more jewel choices!

Here’s a good look at the tiara, which perched very nicely on Sophie’s head:

It turns out we discussed this very piece in a previous post by guest Royal Poster Sarah Taylor. Click here for a refresher. This tiara is from the Queen’s collection and is made up of diamonds and Brazilian aquamarines.

The Queen has not worn this tiara much at all – at least not publicly. Here is one of the few photographs available of the Queen wearing it:

The Queen was gifted this tiara from the Governor of Sao Paulo during a visit in 1968. There was some speculation that this tiara was taken apart to make up the Queen’s larger aquamarine tiara, so it is good to see that that was not the case after all!

Here’s that larger aquamarine tiara:

So how does this whole borrowing thing work, do you think? The Queen one day decides it’s time to dust off the jewel box and share? Or does Sophie ask before a big event like this? Or maybe this tiara was an extended loan from the Queen in recognition of Sophie and Edward’s tenth wedding anniversary? I am most curious about this.

Ok, let’s recap Sophie’s tiara collection so far.

1. Sophie’s Wedding Tiara

She of course has the tiara she wore to her own wedding in 1999, which had not been seen publicly before that day. It seems it is a piece made up of existing jewels in the royal collection. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour has a great post on it. Click here for that.  This is the only tiara that Sophie seems to have had access to for the first few years after her wedding.

Here she is with it for the occasion of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s wedding in 2010. Sophie is also wearing the same diamond necklace we saw this past weekend, which is also likely a loan from the Queen:

2. The Button Tiara

Sophie has also been loaned this button tiara, which she wore to a pre-wedding theatre event for the wedding of Prince Frederick of Denmark and Mary Donaldson in May 2004:

It is believed to be this tiara, which was owned by Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Greece:

It seems especially fitting that Sophie should wear it since she and Edward will be Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh when the time comes. Curious that it has not made another public appearance since. I quite like it.

3. The Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara

Then of course there’s the aquamarine and diamond tiara which we went into in a previous post. Read all about it here. Much like Sophie’s wedding tiara, unfortunately not much is known about this tiara’s provenance. Fun fact:  this tiara converts into a necklace so it can be worn for non-tiara events, too.

Check out the matching necklace and earrings she’s wearing in this photo. They appear to be the same  as what Sophie wore with the button tiara in 2004.

4. The Brazilian Aquamarine & Diamond Tiara

And then of course there’s this ‘new’ one, which I must say I prefer over Sophie’s other aquamarine tiara.

Any thoughts?

Happy Canada Day!

Today, July 1st, is Canada Day so in that spirit let’s review some British Royals in Canada over the years.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth

We’ll start with the Queen Mum. She and King George VI visited Canada from coast to coast in June of 1939. This was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Canada and it was an enormous success, with huge crowds at every stop.

On a 1985 visit to Canada, the Queen Mum spoke of that first visit to Canada by saying:

 “It is now some 46 years since I first came to this country with the King, in those anxious days shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. I shall always look back upon that visit with feelings of affection and happiness. I think I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians, and my feelings have not changed with the passage of time.”

Her Majesty The Queen

The Queen has visited Canada on numerous occasions and always arrives with patriotic ensembles.

Her Maple Leaf dress, which was designed by Norman Hartnell, is a prime example.

The Queen wore this dress on October 14, 1957 to a banquet at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada.

Years later, during her July 2010 visit, Her Majesty showed up in a maple leaf encrusted white gown. So much bling!

The maple leaves went all the way down her sleeve. Here she is with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto:

On that occasion, the Queen said,

“On my first visit, before I was queen, I noted that from the moment I came to Canadian soil, my sense of apprehension disappeared, because I understood that I was not only among friends but among fellow citizens,” she said. “Today, many years later, I still feel as much affection and admiration for Canada.”

The Queen has been in Canada on Canada Day on at least two occasions. She is shown here in 1997 during the Parliament Hill Canada Day Celebrations with then Prime Minister Jean Chretien:

The Queen and Chretien had first met years before.

According to the CBC,

Chrétien…drew a big laugh from the Queen when she attended the signing ceremony of the Constitution Act in Ottawa in 1982. Chrétien, who was the justice minister, said former prime minister Pierre Trudeau broke the tip of his fountain pen as he signed the document.

“I picked up the pen and I start to try to sign and it was not working and I said to myself ‘merde’ and she had a big, big laugh,” he said. “Everybody was asking me what the hell you told her that she had such a spontaneous laugh and I refused to say so for years.”

Here’s a photo of that moment. Merde, indeed!

In 2010, the Queen was back for Canada Day and she really did it up with her red suit and white hat.

She wore the Maple Leaf Brooch, which we discussed in detail in our post on the brooch a few months ago. Click here for that.

Love this ever so Canadian moment:

Princess Anne

Let’s not forget Princess Anne. The Princess Royal has also brought out red and white during visits to Canada. Here she is in 2010 accepting an honorary degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland:

The Duke and Duchess of York

During their marriage, the Duke and Duchess of York visited Canada a few times. Here they are all decked out for the Calgary Stampede in 1987:

On another day, Fergie wore a maple leaf in her hair, which won her more fans:

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was actually born on Canada Day in 1961, so today would have been her 51st birthday. In July of 1998, I visited the gates of Kensington Palace and there were oodles of flowers left out for the occasion.

She and Prince Charles visited Canada together several times over the years, and at one point Diana even speculated that she would like Prince Charles to be named Governor General of the country. I believe that was only a fleeting fancy. However, Princess Diana certainly showed up in a lot of red and white.

Here she is in 1983:

Another shot from 1983:

And another:

The couple had a short stop over in Vancouver in 1985 on their way to Australia and were back in the city in 1986 to kick off Expo. More red came out for that visit:

This photograph of Princess Diana greeting William and Harry in a red-and-white check Missoni jacket got a lot of press. William and Harry were joining their parents on their Canadian tour in 1991 and they had not seen each other for a few days. The family was travelling on the Royal Yacht Brittania:

Prince William & Prince Harry

On that visit in 1991, Princes William and Harry visited Niagara falls:

And in 1998 before a private ski holiday to Whistler, they spent a couple of days in Vancouver, prompting thousands of school girls to camp out outside their hotel. I may or may not have been one of them:

The Duchess of Cornwall

It seems that the Duchess of Cornwall feels that red isn’t really her colour, but she does get into the spirit of things during visits to Canada in other ways.

For example, she (like the Duchess of Cambridge) have both borrowed the Maple Leaf Brooch from the Queen.

She has also worn the regimental brooch of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, of which is Colonel-in-Chief. It is called the Pellatt brooch. The Regiment commissioned a portrait of Camilla, which she unvieiled during her visit to Canada in May 2012. She wore the exact same outfit that she is wearing in the portrait, which is pretty darn cute:

According to the Prince of Wales’ website, during the visit Camilla said,

 “As the daughter of a highly decorated World War Two hero, the great-great-great-granddaughter of a Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Allan MacNab, and Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles, a British regiment closely allied to your own, I feel very much a part of your regimental history, so please remember how much my association with you all, as your Colonel-in-Chief, means to me and what interest, concern, and pride I have in all you do.”

Camilla’s revelation of her direct connection to the Canadian leader Sir Allan McNab was news to me! Here is the fellow himself:

Camilla is shown here in May of 2012 during a visit to Fort York in Ontario. She wore the brooch on her hat this time:

It is also notable that the black clutch bag that Camilla carries in the photo above is from the Michique line, which is designed by two Cape Breton-born sisters. It seems that a member of Camilla’s staff was told to hunt for a Canadian designer to help support during their tour. Hurray for that!

The Earl and Countess of Wessex

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have been to Canada on numerous occasions, with varying degrees of publicity. In fact, their first overseas tour together was to Canada in 2000. Here they are on Prince Edward Island during that tour. Sadly, no red to be seen:

The Duchess of Cambridge

Kate was all over getting into the red and white spirit of things during her tour of Canada with Prince William last summer.The visit coincided with Canada Day and Kate and William participated in the celebrations on Parliament Hill. Kate even wore red shoes for the occasion. This was also the first of three times that she wore the Maple Leaf Brooch during the trip.

Kudos to Kate for the maple leaf hat. Hope she gets to wear it again before too long:

On Kate’s last day in Canada, she pulled this custom Catherine Walker coat dress out:

In Prince William’s last speech of this Canadian tour he said,
“In 1939, my great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, said of her first Tour of Canada with her husband, King George VI: `Canada made us.` Catherine and I now know very well what she meant.

Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised. Our promise to Canada is that we shall return.”

On that note, we wish you a very happy Canada Day! We will chat more about Wimbledon in our next post…

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!