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!)
In a post published back in September of 2011 when this blog was brand new, we had some fun chatting about some of the cute and sometimes quirky royal nicknames of the British Royal Family (Cookie! Duch! Lillibet!). Almost three years on (it’s already mid July?!), we’ve gathered a few more to share.
Queen Mary of Teck aka ‘May’
Queen Mary, Consort to George V (her second cousin once removed) and grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II, was one heck of a grand dame who never skipped out on wearing a tiara to dinner, even on a random Tuesday night at home. To those closest to her she was known as May, after her birth month.
To her granddaughter (now Queen Elizabeth), she was simply Granny. “Granny’s chips” which is how Queen Elizabeth likes to refer to this bauble here, known more formally as the Cullinan Brooch.
That’s the Cullinan IV at the top, and the Cullinan III is suspended from it. These stones come from the largest diamond ever found and we were lucky enough to see them in person a couple of years ago during an exhibit at Buckingham Palace. Our post from that day can be found here.
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is affectionately known to friends, family, and subjects as “Daisy.”
It’s a common nickname for Margaret, so she shared this nickname with her namesake and grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught (later the Crown Princess of Sweden). She passed away in 1920, 20 years before the future Queen Margrethe was born. Here’s the first Daisy:
Queen Margrethe regularly wears a diamond encrusted brooch of a Daisy which was gifted to her for her wedding. The diamonds had belonged to Crown Princess Margaret and, as you can see, the brooch was a focal point on her wedding gown:
She busts it out of the jewel box quite often, and wore it to Kate and William’s wedding in 2011:
Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark aka ‘Pingo’
Daisy’s son Frederick picked up the totally random nickname “Pingo” when he began training for the Danish Armed Services. And he did really well, by the way. He was one of four in 300 to pass a rigorous test for the Naval Diving Corps.
I like it. Pingo! Suits him, doesn’t it?
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Meanwhile, Prince Frederick likes to call Mary’s Maz, which we read in this entertaining 2013 account of an interview in The Sydney Morning Herald. Seems like a very British or Australian thing to do…reminds me of the nickname of Bridget Jone’s friend ‘Shazzer’, who’s real name I think was Sharon
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden aka Oja
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is apparently known to close family simply as ‘Oja’, or atleast this was her nickname when she was younger. What it means, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m throwing it in here anyway!
That’s all she wrote for now. Do you have any more up your sleeves you can share with us?
Today’s post is all about Schackenborg, the palatial home of Prince Joachim of Denmark and, as you can see here, it’s not too shabby.
The estate consists of the palace itself
extensive gardens (that are open to the public in the summer)
and a working farm (including a Christmas tree farm!).
The palace transferred into the Royal Family’s ownership in 1978. The Schack family had owned the palace for 11 generations (!) and decided to transfer the property the the Queen of Denmark when upkeep simply became too much.
Here is the Count and Countess Schack with Queen Margrethe, Prince Henrik and a young Prince Joachim, Prince Frederick standing in front of the Schackenborg in 1978. It must have been a sad day for the Schak family.
When the transfer took place, it was decided that Schackenborg would be held for Prince Joachim. As the second son who would likely never be king (brother Prince Frederick is one year older), the palace and estate would give Joachim both an income and a home. The plan was that Joachim would take over once he had enough of an education in agriculture and estate management.
Just imagine what must have been going through Prince Joachim’s head that day. Here he is, arms crosse with Queen Margrethe swishing ahead in her shawl. Born in 1969, Joachim wasn’t yet ten years old when all of this went down. In any case, this arrangement is similar how the Duchy of Cornwall was set up to give the Prince of Wales income before becoming King.
And here’s the count with Joachim and a wee peak at the transfer papers.
The future of the Schack family took quite a turn that day. Here is a recent photo of Mik Schack, the fellow who would have inherited had the estate stayed in his family.
This article includes an interview with Mik where he gives some more background on the situation.
Yes, I’m actually Count ofSchackenborg. Myfamily hadSchackenborg Castlethrough11generations, butcould not affordto inheritit, so in 1978 it wastaken over bythe royal family,” saidMikSchackto bt.dk.
“My fathertoldme thatit washopelesslyindebt, and it would betoo hardfora Copenhagenboylike me. I wasnotout to playfarmer, because I had openedMusikcafeen atHusetandwaswell on the waythere,” continues MikSchack.
And so the plan went into effect. Prince Joachim studied agriculture in Denmark and abroad, knowing that Schackenborg was his future.
In 1993, all that planning came into action and he took over the Schakenborg estate made the palace home.
In 1995, two years after moving to Schackenborg, Prince Joachim announced he was going to marry Alexandra Manley. Alexandra had quickly won over the royal family, and actually explained in an early interview that she first met Queen Margrethe one-one-one while she had a paintbrush in hand at Schackenborg, helping to paint a fireplace (source).
To celebrate the wedding , many Danes contributed to what was called The Nations Gift, which paid for the refurbishment of the exterior of the house and grounds.
There was a televised reception to thank the Danes for their gift and warm wishes, and this was the first time that Alexandra gave a speech in Danish. She only had six weeks of lessons under her belt at this point and despite that she impressed everyone. Alexandra’s is an interesting story – you can read a bit more about it by clicking here for our post on her twinkly engagement ring.
Queen Margrethe gifted the couple with monogrammed gates to the palace with an A for Alexandra and a J for Joachim. See them there? More about those gates in a minute.
First, Schackenborg made from tiny Lego pieces! Legoland is a big deal in Denmark- it’s where Lego was invented!- and they created a Lego model of the palace, which the couple visited in 1997.
Here’s a glimpse inside.
The couple had quite a few dogs to walk around the palace grounds.
And this photo gives us a better look at the interior.
This portrait was taken in the same room and was featured in Vanity Fair in 2003.
A little over a year ago I came across a documentary entitled “Mary Elizabeth Donaldson” that was made after her engagement to Prince Frederik.
The documentary was produced with the full cooperation of Mary and the royal family(!), and aired exclusively on Danmarks Radio on exactly ten years ago today on May 10, 2004. This was just three days before their wedding on May 14. If you haven’t already seen it and are AT ALL interested in the Danish royals, I highly recommend it. You can watch the documentary below and yes, it’s an hour. Plan to really tuck in and watch while folding laundry, wrapping birthday presents or something. Just do it!
There are three main reasons why I find this documentary so interesting to dissect.
#1: The Documentary was done with the royal family’s full co-operation
The fact that this documentary was royally sanctioned is fascinating in itself. I suppose the royal family and their advisors felt it was important to really introduce Mary formally to the Danes, and to give them a chance to get to know her. Consequently the documentary is very “behind the scenes” and shows the couple arriving at the airport to travel to Australia for visit the Donaldson family and even on the plane. Later we see them walking on the beach
and Mary introduces her relatives during their visit at a winery and tells us all about them (they all seem very warm and lovely).
She also takes us around to where she used to work and we hear from her boss about what she was like as an employee (“she wanted to move ahead quicker than I thought she should…but if that’s a weakness then I think that’s acceptable”). We also hear talk about how she met the prince during the Sydney Olympics and Mary’s sister talks about how excited they all were when Mary and Frederick got engaged. She says that her children were especially jazzed to be able to tell people “my auntie is going to be a princess.”
I mean, it’s GOLD. Can you image if there had been an officially sanctioned Kate documentary before her wedding to William? Unheard of!
#2 Insight into Mary’s Incredible Transformation
Mary’s measured manner of speaking, careful annunciation, and lack of a full on Australian accent is fascinating (her dad even comments on it at one point). Her transformation began around the time she first met Frederik. She was 28, and must have figured that she need to polish up if she was going to go the distance and get that tiara! Most tellingly, Mary signed up to take an eight-week course called Starmakers that gave lessons on comportment, how to pose for pictures, and public speaking.
This picture was taking during that course:
This news broadcast has actual footage of Mary in the course practicing walking with her fellow classmates. Seriously!!! That part starts at 1:20 if you’d like to skip ahead.
In a nutshell she went from being pretty and girl next door:
To this. TA DA!
The Royal Order of Sartorial blog has a more thorough account of Mary’s transformation. Check it out here.
#3 More Insight into Official Princess Training
The Starmakers things is one part, but this documentary also gives more insight into the work that Mary did to prepare to be Crown Princess. Perhaps most importantly, she had to learn to speak Danish and we see her in the midst of one of her lessons in what I assume is her apartment.
She seems very smart and hardworking, and unlike Princess Charlene of Monaco who is still struggling with her French, she picked up Danish pretty quickly. She tells the camera that she had two teachers that work with her, and that they also had her reading historical books and books about the royal family as a way to help learn the language.
She also talks about what an out of body experience it was to walk out onto the balcony to see a sea of Danish people waving Danish and Australian flags after the engagement was announced, and how she wants to work towards being a worthy representative of Denmark.
I think that she has done a good job in the last ten years, and I sincerely hope that we’ll be able to say the same about Kate…
Mary does get a hard time from lots of royal blogs out there, but she seems very warm and relatable, don’t you think?
Our last post reminisced about some unusual and fun royal portraits and today we’re looking at some delightfully awkward and sometimes creepy ones. Let’s dive in.
Princess Marie Chantal and Prince Pavlos of Greece
These two got married on July 1, 1995 in London and chose to sit for this wedding portrait afterwards.
So blasé. And she’s the definition of haughty, right?
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Next up is Charlene. I get what they were going for here – but it’s just a bit much for me. Fascinating that she and Albert a) thought this was a good idea and b) signed off on it.
And this one is a bit random thanks to the equestrian look – I don’t know that Charlene has ever been on a horse – but it’s a fun homage to Princess Grace. And a bit warrior princess-y to boot.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Maxima had some 40th birthday portraits taken back when she was a princess and a lot of them were lovely. Just not sure about a few of them…
I mean, I get the idea behind this one…White on white. Professional woman. Regal. All that is great. It just doesn’t look very comfortable. Maybe she needs to learn the Tyra Banks schmize trick (aka “smile with your eyes”).
And this is pretty – who doesn’t love seeing spring time blossoms fluttering to the ground- but we’re talking about a future Queen here! Not someone celebrating their sweet 16. And she looks like she’s grimacing…maybe she’s not sure about this, either?
Alexandra Manley and Prince Joachim of Denmark
Alexandra Manley and Prince Joachim posed for this engagement photo in 1995. So that’s really the problem here I suppose…the oh so dated outfit and hair do on the future Princess. Otherwise it’s pretty cute!
Here’s another for good measure. So young!
The British Royal Family
We’ve posted one of these before (see here and here for more) but think it’s totally worth another visit.
I mean, this is exactly how Harry and William hoped to spend their Saturday off from school, right?
Here’s some more interesting info on the circumstances of this photo shoot with Lord Snowdon over at The Daily Mail.
And what is the deal with this one?
Seriously…what was the train of thought from “I’d like my portrait taken by Terrence Donovan” to “and I’d like to be in my Safari get up.”
This was taken by Lord Snowdon and really couldn’t be more posed!
But maybe this one gets the prize? I gotta say I still love it, though.
Love everything about this image – but why does the future Queen Mum have to be hanging out the window?
The Danish Royal Family
I’ve saved the best for last. This one really takes the cake, particularly because it was an official portrait of the royal family of Denmark. A LOT of effort and time went into this and when it was released in November of 2013, it caused a stir for all the wrong reasons.
Note that the only sitters who are looking out at the viewer are the Queen and the first three in line to the throne. Princes Felix and Nikolai are hard at work on a red tower of doom. Princess Isabella rubs her hands together as she plots her next move while Prince tries to make a run for it. Shivers!
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.
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?
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!
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 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.
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:
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!
This mug is for the big 4-0, Both of these mugs are currently available on eBay, if you’re interested!
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.
She also released this birthday portrait:
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.
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.
Happy Birthday to all the royal ladies and Prince Vincent. So, who’s buying that mug???
Happily for us, the New Year is a big time for celebrations, galas, and tiaras in Denmark. These traditional celebrations (known as levees) have been kept up for centuries.
Queen Margrethe now has the celebrations extend over three days. According to the Royal Family’s official website each of the events recognize different movers and shakers in Denmark and are set up as follows:
New Year’s banquet on 1 January in Christian VII’s Palace, Amalienborg, for the government, the country’s top civil servants and the Royal Court’s leadership.
New Year’s levee for the Supreme Court and the officer corps of the Royal Life Guard and Royal Hussar Guard regiments in Christian VII’s Palace, Amalienborg. New Year’s levee for the diplomatic corps at Christiansborg Palace.
New Year’s levee for officers from the Defence and the Danish Emergency Management Agency, for the 1., 2. and 3. rank classes, and for invited representatives of large national organizations and those having royal patronage, at Christiansborg Palace.
This year, the second and third day levees will be celebrated on January 6th and 7th, so we’ll just focus on the New Year’s Day banquet in this post. And, since this is a blog all about the fun of royal frivolity, we’re going to focus on some of the dresses that the Danish princesses have worn since 2006.
Mary’s puffed sleeves from 2006 are unfortunate but the gown still has a regal air.
Attendees of this banquet include recipients of the Order of the Elephant, which is what Mary is wearing around her neck. This order does give a bit of a dressing challenge.
This gorgeous red velvet gown was first brought out in 2007 and since then it has become something of a New Year’s Day staple. On January 1, 2007 Mary was expecting her second child Princess Isabella and this dress worked as a maternity gown. Here are Mary and Frederick arriving at the New Year’s Day banquet, where apparently the security is pretty low and royal watchers aren’t kept behind barricades.
As a side note, Princess Mary also packed this dress for her trip to Oslo that February to help celebrate King Harald of Norway’s 70th birthday. As you can see, Prince Edward and Mary entered together which is kind of random but awesome.
Mary skipped the 2011 New Year’s events because she was expecting Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine. Princess Marie showed up in this lovely gown, though the neckline made the Order of the Elephant look a bit off kilter, no?
Mary was out again in full force in 2012 and showed up in the gorgeous red velvet dress from 2007. It had been reworked into this lovely creation and has become a favourite of mine forever.
Look. at. that. train. Also, take note of the brooch on her waistband.
Mary certainly didn’t skimp on the accessories, either. Check out the rubies and diamonds in the hair from the Danish ruby parure.
That year Queen Margrethe wore this awesome pink gown.
In 2013, Mary brought out the orange again, and this time wore the diamond brooch on the top of her skirt.
Princess Marie showed up in hot pink.
And Queen Margrethe brought out this navy velvet gown.
And now here we are in 2014. On January 1, Mary brought the red gown out again, this time with a matching velvet choker bedecked in diamonds. In fact, it looks like she took the brooch that had been on her belt in 2012 and skirt in 2013 decided to wear it around her neck this time. It looks like the velvet matches perfectly, which must have come from scraps left over from the reworking.
This move reminds me of Diana’s velvet choker, remember?
She actually had a couple.
I realize that Mary’s trying to shake things up a bit and give the dress a fresh look with that choker, but man there is a lot going on here.
Anyway, Princess Marie wore this gorgeous blue gown. In this case the fact that she doesn’t have as many jewels to wear really works in her favour, no?
So, any favourites? Would love to hear. Hope your New Year is off to a terrific start!
And this photo for 2007 is a bit of a baffling choice to me. Where are they? Is that the hull of a ship under construction? Are they in some sort of fort? There must be an obvious explanation and they all look great, including little Princess Isabella who was born in April that year.
For 2008, it looks like they chose the white background package at Sears. Little Prince Christian takes the cake with that smile.
In 2009, Ziggy made another appearance in this autumnal stroll.
This picture from 2010’s card is my fave. Looks like they were all on holiday somewhere exotic, or maybe they just have cool upholstery on some massive cushions in their house?
And then there were four! The card for 2012 featured Christian, Isabella, and twins Josephine and Vincent.
That same year, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie sent out this hanging out on the floor picture.
Fun fact: Prince Joachim is a partner in a large farming business that includes a Christmas tree section at the Schackenborg Castle estate farm. They export 1,500 to 2,000 trees a year to Hong Kong (source).He has also been known to send a tree to his ex-wife Countess Alexandra as a gift.
Here’s a pic of Alexandra with their sons in 2007 on their way to a Christmas concert.
And this was the christmas card that Countess Alexandra sent out of her and the boys with husband Martin Jorgensen in 2010
Here are some more Christmas card posts if you missed them:
This Royal Poster recently adopted the CUTEST puppy from the Pasadena Human Society. She’s named Ruby and is some sort of beagle/ chihuahua and possibly Jack Russell mix.
Ruby has got us thinking about royals and their pets so today’s post is a rundown of a few favourites.
The Queen’s Corgis
Shall we start with the obvious?
Corgis are probably the first royal pets that come to mind for most of us royal watchers. They have been faithful companions of the Queen since she was a child, starting with a wee little guy named Dookie who was brought home in 1933. He was named for the Duke of York. Cute, eh?
That’s him below. LOOK AT THAT FACE!!
They have been a constant fixture, as you can see from this video taken from Prince Harry’s Christening in 1984. This is one of my all-time favourites and worth a watch or re-watch. In it, you see the Queen explaining to Zara, Peter, and William that her new puppy’s name is “Dash.” Zara asks “Does it bite?” and the Queen replies “No, not yet. But it might after it’s finished with you.”
Lots more corgi info can be found here. Also, this article over at the Daily Mail all about the Queen’s graveyard at Sandringham for her pets is worth a read.
Prince Charles & The Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Charles is also a big fan of dogs and seems to favour Jack Russell terriers.
One of his pet dogs was named Pooh (he was originally named Roo but was renamed by William after the favourite A.A. Milne character). He was a Jack Russell Terrier who sadly went missing on the Balmoral estate in April of 1994. Charles was devastated and put out an ad in the local paper and sadly poor Pooh wasn’t found.
In happier news, the Duchess of Cornwall also loves Jack Russell Terries and has had several over the years. One of them came from the same litter as Pooh, and she currently has two rescue dogs, Beth and Bluebell.
Beth and Bluebell were adopted from the Battersea Dogs Home, and Camilla took them back there for a visit in December of 2012. Hats off to Camilla for being dog resucer! During the tour she told a reporter that ‘”Beth is the sweetest dog with the nicest temperament, she so laid-back. Bluebell is much more feisty but lots of fun. She seems to think she is a lot bigger than she actually and is a bit of a toughie. They are very happy and love each other, though, which is the main thing…I love Jack Russells. They are so intelligent.”
Next up: a guinea pig!
This picture of Lady Diana with her pet guinea pig Peanuts has made the rounds a lot over the years.
Turns out it was taken by photographer John Hocknell in 1972 when Diana was showing her pet at the Sandringham pet show. Here he is proudly showing off the photo:
As you may recall, Diana grew up in Park House before her father became Earl and inherited Althorp, the Spencer Estate. Park House is on the Sandringham estate and the Spencers were often invited over to “the big house” by the royal family. More info on all that can be found here.
This delightful black lab who joined in on this August 1997 photocall at Balmoral was named Widgeon, and she belonged to Prince William.
Back in 2000, Prince William gave an interview to mark his 18th birthday and Widgeon came up, though it wasn’t too enlightening. The full interview can be read here, but here is the Widgeon bit:
Q: How is your dog, Widgeon, and do you have any other pets?
A: Widgeon had eight pups about 18 months ago. I have no other pets.
Oh, you sure had a way with words, William. Anyway, I love the name. Widgeon is a type of duck and it seems very suitable for all the hunting and whatnot that I’m sure she joined in on. Like here on a shoot at Sandringham back in 2009:
Widgeon passed away sometime in 2010, and now of course William and Kate have Lupo!
Princess Mary and Prince Frederick of Denmark
Now over to Denmark. Ziggy is a Danish-born Border Collie who was a gift from the Danish Kennel Club to Mary and Frederick back in 2005. Here he is as a puppy walking with Mary in Copenhagen:
And here he is later with the family:
And I love this photo which was taken to celebrate Mary’s 40th birthday. So dynamic.
The Swedish Royal Family
Labradors are the dog of choice for the Swedish Royal Family. They have had a succession of them over the years and in 2010 they had to say good bye to Jambo, a golden lab who joined the family in in 1998.
Here are a few pictures of the familyd Jambo over the years. What a cutie!
In the palace with Princess Madeleine during a photocell for her 18th birthday. Apparently it was all a big yawn:
And here was his balcony appearance:
And out on the town in Swedish colours:
Princess Grace of Monaco
We’ll end with Monaco.
Princess Grace loved poodles, and had several over the years. One was named Oliver and he was given to Grace by Cary Grant when she left Hollywood to marry Prince Ranier. Oliver joined in on Grace’s cruise to Monaco on S.S. Constitution in April of 1956 and seems to have been quite a hit.
A weimaraner also made the journey. He was a wedding gift from Grace’s brother Jack but I haven’t been able to figure out what his name was. Does anyone know?
Oh, and if you’re a fan and haven’t seen the documentary “Mary Elizabeth Donaldson” which was done back in 2004, do you ever have a treat in store for you: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCPzbGGWLC0]
To the portraits!
1. Jiawei Shen, 2005
The first official portrait of Crown Princess Mary was completed in 2005, the year after her and Frederik’s wedding. It was commissioned by Australia’s National Portrait Gallery and this is the result:
As you can see, Mary is all decked out in the Order of the Elephant and looks quite regal. Tons of information is available at the official website of the National Portrait Gallery. Click here for that!
Since the portrait’s unveiling it has been on display at the National Portrait Gallery, though it travelled to the Danish Museum of National History in Frederiksborg in Denmark in April 2006.
Here it is on display at the palace along with Mary’s dress:
This photo was taken during a 2011 visit to Australia when Mary had a good, close look at it:
2. 2006, Ralph Heimans
The next official portrait of Mary was completed in 2006. Australian-born, Paris-based artist Ralph Heimans was given the commission. This portrait is the Danish counterpart to the first portrait we discussed. Heimans’ painting has quite a different feel; it depicts the princess amongst the Rococo glory of the 17th century Frederiksborg Castle, north of Copenhagen.
In the background, the artist has painted the harbour of Hobart, where Princess Mary grew up in Australiaand Mary is looking quite serious as she gazes out towards the windows:
Do we like it? Personally, I prefer it to the first one. I like the timeless quality of it, and the way that the light is coming in to the room. It seems rather mysterious.
The artist called Mary “an ideal sitter” and said, “When I started this painting I wanted to enrich the painting with sort of historical references. And I was really trying to be faithful to my ‘impression’ from the very first time I met the princess – and that was in May (2005). It was the impression of a very strong, confident and professional person and, yet, it’s all wrapped up with the fairy tale obviously that’s associated with her, and her world at the palace.”
Here’s Mary checking it out:
3. 2012, Guggar Petter
Here is a more recent portrait which was done by Danish artist Guggar Petter in 2012, and it’s my favourite of them all:
The portrait was donated by the artist to the Museum of National History, which is located in Fredricksborg Castle outside of Copenhagen. The museum also borrowed Gugger’s portrait of President Obama that was commissioned from her in 2007 by one of Obama’s benefactors.
Here is a look at the unveiling, which was attended by Mary: