Royal Stamps

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).

Princess Amalia, Princess Alexia & Princess Ariane

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.

via

 

By the way, this photograph was released earlier this month to mark Princess Amalia’s 11th birthday of December 7th.

The Birthday Girl (via Hello!)
The Birthday Girl (via Hello!)

She posed with her two sisters as well – their parents refer to them as ‘the triple A’s.

The girls (via Hello!)
The girls (via Hello!)

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.

Hello World! (via Australian News)
Hello World! (via Australian News)

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.

(via Postal Heritage)
Two Elizabeths (via Postal Heritage)

I love this one, too. It was taken during a relaxed moment on the Royal Yacht Brittania in 1972.

Just so much fun (via Postal Heritage)
Just so much fun (via Postal Heritage)

 

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.

(via )
So glossy! (via posten.no)

Here’s a bit of a closer look at the family photos (apologies that they are so tiny!)

(via )

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge

This shot taken during William & Kate’s Australia tour is now a stamp in Australia. That’s the dress William told Kate she looked like a banana in..but hey it makes for a cheerful stamp!

(via Pinterest)
(via Pinterest)

So which is your favourite? I vote for the laughing Queen shot from 1972 🙂

Some More Royal Nicknames

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.

Topley Studio; Photographer: WIlliam James Topley (1845-1930)
Topley Studio; Photographer: WIlliam James Topley (1845-1930)

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.

The Royal Collection © 2012,Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II RCIN 100005
The Royal Collection © 2012,Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
RCIN 100005

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.

More information on this beauty can also be found over The Royal Collection or at The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour, a delightful blog.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark aka “Daisy”

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is affectionately known to friends, family, and subjects as “Daisy.”

Provenance Unknown
Provenance Unknown

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:

Provenance Unknown
Provenance Unknown

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:

Provenance unknown
Provenance unknown

She busts it out of the jewel box quite often, and wore it to Kate and William’s wedding in 2011:

Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

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.

Provenance unknown
Provenance unknown

I like it. Pingo! Suits him, doesn’t it?

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Mary and Frederick at Wimbledon, July 2014 (via Pinterest)
Mary and Frederick in the royal box at Wimbledon, July 2014 (via Pinterest)

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!

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

That’s all she wrote for now. Do you have any more up your sleeves you can share with us?

Schackenborg Palace

Time to chat about another royal home!

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.

via countessAlexandra
via The Unofficial CountessAlexandra page

The estate consists of the palace itself

via kongehuset.de
via kongehuset.de

extensive gardens (that are open to the public in the summer)

(via Kongehuset.de)
(via Kongehuset.de)

and a working farm (including a Christmas tree farm!).

working away (via Royal Watchers)
Joachim the farmer (via Royal Watchers)

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.

Visiting Schackenborg in 1978 (via Tomorrow's Crowned Heads)
Visiting Schackenborg in 1978 (via Tomorrow’s Crowned Heads)

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.

3-10_zps441f1291-1

And here’s the count with Joachim and a wee peak at the transfer papers.

via bt.dk
image via bt.dk

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.

Mik Schack via Danish Royal Family Media Watch
Mik Schack via Danish Royal Family Media Watch

This article includes an interview with Mik where he gives some more background on the situation.

Yes, I’m actually Count of SchackenborgMy family had Schackenborg Castle through 11generationsbut could not afford to inherit itso in 1978 it was taken over by the royal family,” said Mik Schack to bt.dk.

“My father told me that it was hopelessly in debtand it would be too hard for a Copenhagenboy like meI was not out to play farmer, because I had opened Musikcafeen at Huset and waswell on the way there,” continues Mik Schack.

And so the plan went into effect. Prince Joachim studied agriculture in Denmark and abroad, knowing that Schackenborg was his future.

Joachim on the estate's farm (via Royal Dish)
Joachim on the estate’s farm (via Royal Dish)

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).

Alexandra and Joachim's wedding day
Alexandra and Joachim’s wedding day

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.

The reception (via PrincessAlexandra.net)
The reception (via PrincessAlexandra.net)

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.

Alexandra's first speech in Danish (via PrincessAlexandra.net)
Alexandra’s first speech in Danish (via PrincessAlexandra.net)

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.

Home Sweet Home (via PrincessAlexandra.net)
Home Sweet Home (via PrincessAlexandra.net)

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.

A mini Schakenborg (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page)
A mini Schakenborg (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page)

Cute, right?

via the Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page
via the Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page

Here’s a glimpse inside.

via the Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page
via the Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page

The couple had quite a few dogs to walk around the palace grounds.

via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page
via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page

And this photo gives us a better look at the interior.

via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page
via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page

This portrait was taken in the same room and was featured in Vanity Fair in 2003.

(via Vanity Fair)
Just hanging out at home (via Vanity Fair)

And another one of the gates for good measure!

via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page
via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page

Joachim and Alexandra divorced in 2005 and Alexandra moved out of the palace. It is now home to Princess Marie who married Joachim in 2008.

While Joachim and Alexandra married in Frederiksborg Palace Church outside of Copenhagen, Joachim and Marie married at a church close to their palace.

 

Marie and Joachim's wedding day
Marie and Joachim’s wedding day

And the reception was actually held at Schackenborg. Love those floral heart wreaths!

The bride and groom return to their palace (Royal Dish)
The bride and groom return to their palace (Royal Dish)

This portrait of the bride and groom with ether parents was also taken in the palace.

The bridge and groom at home (via )
The bridge and groom at home (via The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour)

That made me wonder if the monogram on the gates and been updated so I did some digging and sure enough, they did!

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

A few more shots of the palace before we leave. Here’s the whole family together – Princess Marie with tiny Princess Athena, Prince Felix, Prince Nicholai, and Prince Henrik.

Everyone on the floor! (via )
Everyone on the floor! (via Danish Royal Watch)

As I mentioned earlier, Prince Joachim is a partner in a large christmas tree farm on the estate, and so naturally they have to have a big one at the palace each year.

Christmas at the palace (via )
Christmas at the palace (via My Royals Blog)

Similar to Alexandra, Marie also posed by the window.

via
via My Royals Blog

I haven’t been to Schackenborg or the surrounding town, but I think it would be fun to check out! How about you – is it on the list?

The 10 Year Anniversary of a Documentary on Princess Mary of Denmark

A little over a year ago I came across a documentary entitled “Mary Elizabeth Donaldson”  that was made after her engagement to Prince Frederik.

Mary & Frederick Greet the Crowds May 14, 2004 (via Order of Splendour)
Mary & Frederick Greet the Crowds May 14, 2004 (via Order of Splendour)

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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCPzbGGWLC0

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

Mary & Frederick stroll on the beach in the documentary (via MaryFromTheStart.Blogspot)
Mary & Frederick stroll on the beach in the documentary (via MaryFromTheStart.Blogspot)

and Mary introduces her relatives during their visit at a winery and tells us all about them (they all seem very warm and lovely).

Mary and her Dad during filming (via Mary From the Start)
Mary and her Dad during filming (via Mary From the Start)

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:

Mary at Starmakers practicing a pose (via Ksiezna Mary)
Mary at Starmakers practicing a pose (via Ksiezna Mary)

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfMZObKeQ1Y

In a nutshell she went from being pretty and girl next door:

Mary in her younger days
Mary in her younger days

To this. TA DA!

Princess+Mary+Guests+Arrive+Dinner+Royal+Family+G4QLdLqSGH7x

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.

Mary and her Danish book (Via Dr.Dk)
Mary and her Danish book (Via Dr.Dk)

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?

 

If you’re in the mood for more makeover talk, here’s a look at how Kate started preparing her royal wardrobe and here are a few more fun posts on Mary:

A look at some official portraits of Princess Mary

Princess Mary’s engagement ring and pre-wedding interview, which is full of bon mots

Mary all dolled up for the New Year’s Banquet

Mary’s oldest son Prince Christian is a real cutie…and the future King

 

 

Awkward (and sometimes creepy) Royal Portraits

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.

whatever you do, look thoroughly over this, ok? (via Tumblr)
whatever you do, look thoroughly over this, ok? (via Tumblr)

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.

Princess Charlene razzle dazzle (via IB Times)
Princess Charlene razzle dazzle (via The Times Magazine)

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.

Charlene strikes a pose (via Tumblr)
Charlene strikes a pose (via Tumblr)

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”).

Are we sitting? Leaning? (via )
Are we sitting? Leaning? (via Happy Pixels)

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?

The Floral Princess (via Happy Pixels)
The Floral Princess (via Happy Pixels)

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!

Engagement Photo of Joachim and Alexandra (via Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page)
Engagement Photo of Joachim and Alexandra (via Unofficial Countess Alexandra Page)

Here’s another for good measure. So young!

via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra page
via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra page

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?

Diana with an unimpressed Harry & William (via Tumblr)
Diana with an unimpressed Harry & William (via Tumblr)

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?

Diana's Out of Africa homage? (Via Getty Images)
Diana’s Out of Africa homage? (Via Getty Images)

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!

Who wants a sandwich? Oh wait we don't have any. (via Daily Mail)
Who wants a sandwich? Oh wait we don’t have any. (via Daily Mail)

But maybe this one gets the prize? I gotta say I still love it, though.

It's so comfy to sit here reading a book (via Daily Mail)
It’s so comfy to sit here reading a book (via Daily Mail)

Love everything about this image – but why does the future Queen Mum have to be hanging out the window?

Just hanging out (Via )
Just hanging out (via The Image Works)

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.

Prince Christian looks into the bleak and scary future (via )
Prince Christian looks into the bleak and scary future (via Daily Mail)

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!

What’s your favourite of the bunch?

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:)

The Danish Royal Family New Year's Day Banquet

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 and Family (via )
Queen Margrethe and Family (via Kongehuset.de)

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:

First day:
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.

Second day:
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.

Third day:
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.

The Queen & Prince Consort (via Kongehuset.de)
The Queen & Prince Consort (via Kongehuset.de)

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.

2006

Mary’s puffed sleeves from 2006 are unfortunate but the gown still has a regal air.

Princess Mary in Blue (via )
Princess Mary in blue (via The Occasional Royal)

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.

2007

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.

 (via Tumblr) 
                                                                                                              (via Tumblr)

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.

The 2007 Debut (via Tumblr)
The 2007 Debut (via Tumblr)

Later on Mary danced with Frederick, so we can get a better look at the dress and underskirts. Pretty!

It's a good dress for dancing (via Tumblr)
It’s a good dress for dancing (via Tumblr)

 2008

In 2008, Mary brought out this gorgeous velvet cape . Love it, and am just not feeling it with that dress.

The cape is great, the dress not so much (via Yahoo Groups)
The cape is great, the dress looks a bit summery, no? (via Yahoo Groups)

2009

Mary totally killed it with this icy blue dress and fur topped off with Danish rubies, though. Best one yet!

Starting the New Year Right 2009 (via What Mary Wore)

Starting the New Year Right 2009 (via What Mary Wore)

That year Princess Marie wore this gorgeous blue dress to her first New Year’s Day gala. She married Prince Joachim in 2007, but it appears that she did not attend the event in 2008.

Another fur! (via Princesses Lives)
Another fur! (via Princesses Lives)

2010

In 2010, Mary turned out in orange number bedecked in fur.

Going for a bold colour (via )
Going for a bold colour (via Style of Mary)

And Marie chose this pink floaty gown.

Princess Marie (via Princess's Lives)
Princess Marie (via Princesses Lives)

2011

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?

Princess Marie (via Mad Hattery)
Princess Marie (via Mad Hattery)

2012

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.

Red Velvet (via Hello)
Red Velvet (via Hello)

Mary certainly didn’t skimp on the accessories, either. Check out the rubies and diamonds in the hair from the Danish ruby parure.

Why not wear it all? (via Mad Hattery)
Why not wear it all? (via Mad Hattery)

That year Queen Margrethe wore this awesome pink gown.

In the pink (via Oh No They Didn't)
In the pink (via Oh No They Didn’t)

2013

In 2013, Mary brought out the orange again, and this time wore the diamond brooch on the top of her skirt.

More orange for Mary (via Hello!)
More orange for Mary (via Hello!)

Princess Marie showed up in hot pink.

Princess Marie (via Hello)
Princess Marie (via Hello)

And Queen Margrethe brought out this navy velvet gown.

Queen  Margrethe (via Hello!)
Queen Margrethe (via Hello!)

2014

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.

Ringing in 2014 in style (via Pinterest)
TRinging in 2014 in style (via Pinterest)

This move reminds me of Diana’s velvet choker, remember?

via Diana's Jewels
via Diana’s Jewels

She actually had a couple.

via Diana's Jewels
via Diana’s Jewels

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.

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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?

Marie & Joachim (via Hello)
Marie & Joachim (via Hello)

So, any favourites? Would love to hear. Hope your New Year is off to a terrific start!

Danish Royal Family Christmas Cards

With under two weeks to go until Christmas, for today’s post we are jumping over to Denmark to take a look at some of the Christmas cards the Danish Royals have sent out over the years.

How festive! (via Danish Royalwatchers)
A wee little tree for Frederick and Mary (via Danish Royalwatchers)

We’re especially focused on Princess Mary and Prince Frederick, but a few other royals have snuck in, too.

2005

This is the earliest card unearthed so far. If there is a card from 2004, I’m guessing it was a wedding picture. 2005 featured baby Christian and Ziggy, Mary and Fred’s adorable border collie.

Ziggy stole my heart (via RoyalDish)
Ziggy stole my heart (via RoyalDish)

2006

2006 was a walk in the park…

Out for a Walk (via RoyalDish)
Out for a Walk (via RoyalDish)

2007

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.

(via Royal Dish)
(via Royal Dish)

2008

For 2008, it looks like they chose the white background package at Sears. Little Prince Christian takes the cake with that smile.

via Royal Dish
(via Royal Dish)

2009

In 2009, Ziggy made another appearance in this autumnal stroll.

2009 (via Royal Dish)
A 2009 stroll (via Royal Dish)

2010

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?

(via )
(via EuroHistory.com)

2012

And then there were four! The card for 2012 featured Christian, Isabella, and twins Josephine and Vincent.

2 Princes and 2 Princesses in the Pool (via Royal Dish)
2 Princes and 2 Princesses in the Pool (via Royal Dish)

That same year, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie sent out this hanging out on the floor picture.

Prince Henrik (via Royal Dish)
Prince Joachim (via Royal Dish)

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.

Alexandra with (via Hello)
Alexandra with Nikolai and Felix (via Hello)

And this was the christmas card that Countess Alexandra sent out of her and the boys with husband Martin Jorgensen in 2010

Black & White (via Royal Dish)
Black & White (via Royal Dish)

Here are some more Christmas card posts if you missed them:

Royals & Their Pets

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.

See?

Ruby  needed a red collar, naturally
Ruby needed a red collar, naturally

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!!

Dookie & Princess Elizabeth in 1936, via The Telegraph
Dookie & Princess Elizabeth in 1936, via The Telegraph

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.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPJQvQX7X9I

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.

Prince Charles on the cover of Tattler
Prince Charles on the cover of Town & Country

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.

Camilla, Beth and Bluebell
Camilla, Beth and Bluebell via The Daily Mail

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.”

Princess Diana

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.

Diana & Peanuts Via
Diana & Peanuts Via A Pondering Mind

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:

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

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.

Prince William

This delightful black lab who joined in on this August 1997 photocall at Balmoral was named Widgeon, and she belonged to Prince William.

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

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:

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

Widgeon passed away sometime in 2010, and now of course William and Kate have Lupo!

Kate, William, & Lupo via The Daily Mail
Kate, William, & Lupo via The Daily Mail

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:

Via The Sydney Morning Herald & AFP
Via The Sydney Morning Herald & AFP

And here he is later with the family:

Time for a walk
Time for a walk

And I love this photo which was taken to celebrate Mary’s 40th birthday. So dynamic.

princesa-mary-9--a

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!

Victoria & Jambo via Royal Dish
Victoria & Jambo via Fashion Spot

In the palace with Princess Madeleine during a photocell for her 18th birthday. Apparently it was all a big yawn:

That's a big yawn (via Algonet.se)
Are we keeping you up, Jambo? (via Algonet.se)ut on the town with Victoria  in Swedish colours:

And here was his balcony appearance:

Jambo's balcony appearance (via Photo Bucket)
Jambo’s balcony appearance (via Photo Bucket)

And out on the town in Swedish colours:

4411378

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.

Grace & Oliver learn about their muster station
Grace & Oliver get to their muster station for a pre-cruise drill (via MSN.com)

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?

Taking a walk on the poop deck, as you do
Taking a walk on the poop deck, as you do

Naturally, Oliver there when Grace greeted the Prince upon arrival in her massive white hat.

Via Tres Sugar
Via Tres Sugar

Well Princess Grace seems like a smashing way to end this post. Have I missed any other favourite royal pets?

Portraits of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

What with all the chatter on Kate’s first official portrait, we thought it would be fun to look at the official portraits done of Australian-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. She is a favourite around here, after all.

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:

static

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:

section_2_8

This photo was taken during a 2011 visit to Australia when Mary had a good, close look at it:
Prince Frederik and Princess Mary Visit Australia - Day 3 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:

f863-m

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:

mary9406_wideweb__470x2750

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:

gp_kronprinsesse_mary

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:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1ZV49PUggg&feature=em-share_video_user.html]

4. 2012, Romero Britto

This colourful pop art portrait by Brazilian artists Romerro Britto was unveiled on May 6, 2012 at Gallery Copenhagen.

As you can see, Mary is decked out in the Danish Ruby Parure tiara and has acquired some blue hair.

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While we’re on the subject, Mr. Britto has also done portraits of Princess Charlene and Prince Albert as well as William and Kate:

tumblr_md7xszJ8CT1r3innio1_500

He sure likes hearts:

picture-91

Oh, and the Queen, too:

picture-1210

Thoughts?