Royal Passports

Some of the more unique aspects of royal life are what we find so fascinating here at the Royal Post, and one area we haven’t discussed yet is passports. Since they interest us, we thought you’d like to learn more as well so let’s dive in!

Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)
Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)

The British Royals

One of the perks of being The Queen of England is that she  is the only citizen of the United Kingdom who does not need a passport when travelling overseas.


The official website of the British Monarchy explains that the inside of each British passport has this statement:

‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.’

So, since British passports are issued in the name of The Queen, it is unnecessary for her to have one herself. She is the only exception; the rest of her family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports and must carry them when travelling abroad.

Such a great read!
Such a great read!

The fascinating book In Private In Public the Prince and Princess of Wales by Alastair Burnet includes a look at the passports that Diana and Charles carried in the mid ’80’s (such a fun read – you can pick up a copy here.


These passports don’t appear to have a special mark showing any special diplomatic status, but if we’re mistaken please let us know in the comments!


Here’s an inside look at Diana’s passport as well; it was part of the exhibit on her life at Althorp. No  severe and boring drug store passport photo for the Princess of Wales!

Princess Diana's British passport on exhibit---as we visited the Princess Diana exhibit at the Mall of America fourth floor exhibit space with a group of English-born women that call themselves the English Mums Friday morning February 3, 2012. The exhibit was lent by Princess Diana's family and it features what is considered to be the largest collection of her personal heirlooms extant. The exhibit opens Saturday. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)
A passport photo fit for a princes (source)

Diana’s childhood passport was also included in the exhibit and I remember seeing it there on my visit to Althorp in the summer of 2001. Unfortunately the photo is teeny tiny, but I can just make out that her birthplace is listed as Sandringham, England on on 1-7-61. At this point, she would have been The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer and apparently Diana’s dad took all the photos of the Spencer siblings that were used in their passports.

So cute! (source)

We also know that William and Kate applied for a passport for Prince George in advance of their trip to Australia in 2013.  Understandably, no pictures have been published of William, Kate, or George’s passports but I do have an anecdote!

Oh, George!
Oh, George!

An acquaintance of mine worked at the Welcome Centre at the Athlete’s Village during the 2012 London Olympics. At all Olympic Athlete’s Villages, the Welcome Centre essentially functions as Customs for the village. Anyone who is not an Olympic athlete must enter through the centre and be on a pre-screened and approved list and, without exception, each visitor must bring their passport with them to be left at the Centre for the duration of their visit. Most people are great about following the rules, but William and Kate sidestepped this and just brought photocopies. The gall! The folks running the centre weren’t pleased but…they let them in.

William & Kate tour the Athlete's Village (source)
William & Kate tour the Athlete’s Village (source)


Kate visiting the Athlete’s Village on Day four of the London 2012 Summer Olympics (source)

The House of Grimaldi

When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, she became a citizen of Monaco and decided to retain her US citizenship. This photo of her American passport surfaced on the internet – interesting that she calls herself ‘Grace Kelly Grimaldi’, right?




Prince Albert reportedly claimed dual citizenship as well, but gave it up when he turned 21. He is, however, enormously proud to have visited each and every State; he seems to bring that up in every interview with an American reporter.

The Royal Family of Denmark

There is limited information about the passport situation for Denmark’s royal family, however it is widely reported that all members of the Royal Family have diplomatic passports. We also know that when Queen Margarethe’s sons married foreigners Alexandra Manley, Mary Donaldson, and Marie Cavallier they were all given Danish citizenship. Understandably, it caused a bit of a fuss when they got to sidestep the normal channels to receive their passports.

Princes Alexandra and Prince Joachim with their sons

When  Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim divorced, she reportedly was allowed to retain her diplomatic passport. The thinking there was that her and Prince Joachim’s sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix would both have diplomatic passports so it would be impractical if their mother didn’t have one as well when travelling.

The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, (source)
The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, 2006 (source)

Also, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece can carry Danish diplomatic passports since they are descended from a Danish King and Queen. Members of their family, like Prince Pavolos and Princess Marie Chantal can also carry Danish passports since they are a Prince and Princess of Denmark. More details about that can be read here if you’re in the mood.

We’ll stick with those three royal families for now, but we’ll keep digging for more information and do feel free to share anything you know in the comments!

Royal Monograms

Our post awhile back on the art of royal signatures was such a hit that we thought we’d branch out and talk about royal monograms. There are just so many to choose from that we haven’t rounded up ALL of them but instead have focused on the ones that are most interesting to us.

Hopefully they’ll be the ones that are most interesting to you, too.

Diana Princesss of Wales

Let’s start with Diana, Princess of Wales

Star Editions
Diana on tour of Canada (via Star Editions)

Her monogram really stands to me since the cursive D reflects her loopy (for lack of a better word) handwriting.

Here is a sample of her writing on a KP notecard. See what I mean?

And because we’re all over this stuff, check this out. While Diana was living at Coleherne Court in the days before she became engaged to Charles, she has personalized stationary with the apartment’s address and phone number. She really appreciated proper stationery and must have really have loved that D with the coronet!.

A letter from Diana to Rain Spencer (via The Telegraph)
A letter from Diana to Raine Spencer (via The Telegraph)

Kate is up next.

The Duchess of Cambridge


I can’t help but wonder how this went down…did Catherine/Kate have a few monogramoptions presented to her before she settled on this monogram? Or was it more of a “here you go, this will be your monogram” situation? Whatever the case, it seems like that would have been a fun and surreal moment. And she got the same type of crown as Diana.

The monogram has already shown up on this special bracelet which is reported to be from Camilla thought that has not been officially confirmed. I like to think that it was a gift from Charles to both the “C” ladies in his family since the other side of the charm has Camilla’s monogram.

While we’re at it, here’s the signature Catherine has been using. Must be strange to suddenly not have to sign with a last name, right?



On to the Swedes!

King Carl Gustav

The royal family of Sweden has grand monograms that are done in gold.

Queen Silvia 

Queen Silvia seems to have a double S going on, perhaps because her maiden name was Sommerlathe?

Victoria & Daniel’s Joint Monogram

Via Hello!
Via Hello!

This is lovely.

And be still our hearts, Princess Estelle has her own webpage and monogram. Of course!

via official webpage of the Swedish Royal Family
via official webpage of the Swedish Royal Family

Obviously she needed a monogram to go with her mini Order of the Seraphim:

Princess Estelle of Sweden,
Princess Estelle of Sweden shows us how its done (via Daily Mail)

Princess Madeleine

Via Hello
Via Hello

That looks like a sprightly crown on top of that M! Her hubby doesn’t get one since he declined the title of Prince…


but Princess Leonore’s monogram was revealed at the same time as her christening, which took place on Sunday June 8, 2014. Like her cousin Estelle, Leonore now has her own page as well. Check it out here.


Oh, and Princess Leonore got her own mini Order of the Seraphim as well!

via Queens of England
Hello, World! via Queens of England

Here’s a better look.

via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor
Having a snooze via Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

Prince Carl Philipe

Prince Carl Philip with Prince Daniel at the Olympics
Prince Carl Philip with Prince Daniel at the Olympics

They got both the C and the P in there which must have taken some time to sort out!

Royal Family of Norway

Crown Princess Mette-Marit

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway

Double M! Love it so much we’ll ignore the rest of the Norwegian royals and move along to the Danes, ok?

Royal Family of Denmark

The Royal Family of Denmark have done a good job at making the monograms cohesive.

Mary & Frederik’s joint Monogram:

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrive for a religious ceremony at Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam

Prince Joachim of Denmark:

This has got to be the most modern looking one of the bunch. Love it:

Princess Marie

Note how the M is different from Princess Mary’s ‘M’. Details, details!

Countess Alexandra

Countess Alexandra is the former wife of Prince Joachim and we have some more juicy on the Countess that you can read here.

Princess Alexandra in 2004
Princess Alexandra in 2004

When she and Joachim divorced, not only did she get to keep her diplomatic passport and the title of countess, but she also gets to use this delightfully regal monogram:

It’s interesting to note that this monogram is a downgrade from her original. When she was Princess, she was given this monogram with the closed crown to use (on the left). After the divorce, the monogram was revised to the open crown (on the right).

Alexandra's Monogram downgrade (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra )
Alexandra’s Monogram downgrade (via The Unofficial Countess Alexandra )

Before we move along, I recently found these pictures of the then Princess Alexandra at Schakenborg Castle, her home with Prince Joachim. These gates were a gift from the Queen. Joachim now lives there with Princess Marie so the gates were changed to their joint cypher. More about that here.

Princess Alexandra outside the gages of Schakenborg c. 1996 (via
Princess Alexandra outside the gages of Schakenborg c. 1996 (via

Alexandra and Joachim outside those lovely gates.

(via Countess
(via Countess

Principality of Monaco

Prince Albert & Princess Charlene


Lord only knows what the deal is with these two, both they have used a joint monogram since the wedding. As far as we can tell from their official website, Princess Charlene does not have her own. Their website was recently given a sorely needed upgrade, and you can check it out here.

During the wedding celebrations, the monograph was everywhere!!! Case in point:

Princess Grace of Monaco

Princess Grace in her princess finery
Princess Grace in her princess finery

Grace Grimaldi got two G’s in her monogram.

Well that’s it for now. Anyone else share our interest in royal monograms? Hope so! 🙂

Royal Christmas Cards from Monaco

Back in December of 2011, we published several posts showing Christmas cards of various royals over the years, like this one from Prince Charles in 1996:

Three Shepherds (via Daily Mail)
Three Shepherds (via Daily Mail)

We thought we’d keep that tradition going this year so today, we’re taking a look at Christmas cards from Monaco. I must say it’s been rather tricky unearthing them, so we hope you enjoy the few we managed to find.


All of the Christmas cards that were received by the Kennedy administration were carefully saved and now reside at the John F. Kennedy Library. One of those cards was sent by Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, and featured a photo of their children playing in the snow with gorgeous mountains in behind.

The Grimaldi kids playing in the snow (via BroadwaytoVegas)
Albert and Caroline playing in the snow (via BroadwaytoVegas)

As you may recall, Grace was friendly with Jackie Kennedy, and Grace and Ranier were guests of honour at a luncheon at the White House in the summer of 1961. My guess is that this photo was taken in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad during the winter of 1961. Gstaad was a favourite winter destination for the family and this photo was taken there in 1961 of Grace, Caroline, and Albert so the timing lines up! Princess Stephanie was born in 1965.

Grace, Caroline, and Albert
Grace, Caroline, and Albert (via Grace and Family)

Here’s another taken that year:

Learning to ski
Learning to ski (via Grace Film)


The next card we’ve been able to find is this one, which was sent to friends (including Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Lewis) in the winter of 1968.

Christmas Card from Princess Grace & Prince Rainier 1968 (Via John King Books)
Christmas Card from Princess Grace & Prince Rainier 1968 (Via John King Books)

Grace and Jerry had become friends during her acting years and here they are together at the Oscars in 1956.

Grace & Jerry at the Oscars in 1956
Grace & Jerry at the Oscars in 1956

While the card is a bit dull merely because I’d rather see a picture of Grace, Rainier and the kiddos, I looove the gorgeous calligraphy and that one of the stamps displays the profiles and Grace and Rainier. Perfection!


That next year, Grace had her friend and photographer Howell Conant capture some Christmas photos of the family, which hopefully meant there was a more delightful card in their friend’s mailboxes that year.

The Grimaldis in 1968 (via
The Grimaldis in 1968 (via Habitually Chic)

I love this photo that Howell took, too.

That's a serious Christmas tree (via Doses of Grace)
That’s a serious Christmas tree (via Doses of Grace)

And this one.

Wrapping time (via )
Wrapping time (via Eaton Square)

Ok, one more of the kids. This time they were getting friendly with some blow-up Santas.

kiss, kiss (via Eaton Square)
kiss, kiss (via Eaton Square)

Howell Conant took wonderful pictures of Grace and her family over the years. According to the LA Times, when Princess Grace died in a car accident in September of 1982, Howell Conant was packing for a trip to Monaco to take the family’s Christmas card picture. He travelled to Monaco immediately, and left his camera behind.

For more information on Grace and Howell’s decades-long relationship and the hundreds of photographs he took, check out our posts here, here, and here.


Moving ahead a few years, Princess Caroline sent out this Christmas card in 1984. It featured a yawning baby Andrea Casiraghi who had been born in June of that year.

Princess Caroline's 1984 Christmas card (via Pinterest)
Princess Caroline’s 1984 Christmas card (via Pinterest)

Here is the inside of the card, signed by Caroline and her husband Stefano

(via The Casiraghi Trio)
(via The Casiraghi Trio)

Andrea got married in August 2013 to Andrea Santo Domingo in Monaco and he is currently second in line to the throne after Princess Stephanie.

Andrea and Tatiana (via Hello!)
Andrea and Tatiana (via Hello!)


Jumping ahead even further in 2008, Prince Albert sent out this rather uninspired “Happy New Year” card to ring in 2009. It featured a picture of the globe and his royal monogram. So boring, Albert. SO BORING.

Albert's 2009 New Year Wishes (via )
Albert’s 2009 New Year Wishes (via ebay)

I haven’t been able to track down any joint Christmas cards from Albert and Charlene (have you?!), so this photo will just have to do as we wrap up this post. It was taken in December of 2011 when Charlene and Albert were on hand to open the Christmas Village in Monaco.

Charlene, Albert, & Santa (via)
Charlene, Albert, & Santa (via Royal Chronicles)

If you’d like to check out some more royal christmas cards, click away.

We’ll look at more royal Christmas cards in our next couple of posts as we gear up for the holidays. See you then!

Jackie Kennedy & Princess Grace

Our last post recounted the somewhat frosty relationship between the Queen and Jackie Kennedy, and as promised today’s post is all about the friendship between Jackie and Princess Grace. Jackie and Grace  had a lot in common, so it’s not too surprising to learn that when they first met that they really hit it off.

Both were born in 1929. Jackie was born on July 28th in Southampton…

LIttle Jackie (Via Kennedy Legacy)
LIttle Jackie liked to wear ribbons in her hair (Via Kennedy Legacy)

…and Grace was born on a few months later on November 12 in Philadelphia.

Grace as a wee tot (via Marie Claire)
and so did wee Grace (via Marie Claire)

They both wore adorable jackets and hats

Jackie's a little grumpy here (via
Jackie’s a little grumpy here (via
Grace decked out in the garden (via Pinterest)
Grace couldn’t be more delighted  (via Pinterest)

and both girls were raised Catholic by ambitious parents. They also attended prestigious schools. Jackie was at Miss Porter’s

Jackie and a pal at Miss Porters (via )
Jackie and a pal at Miss Porters (via New England Historical Society)

and Grace was at Ravenhill Academy for nine years, followed by Stevens School in Germantown.

Grace as a schoolgirl (via Pinterest)
Grace as a schoolgirl (via Pinterest)

And of course they both married men who were Head of State of their country (at least for a relatively short while in JFK’s case).

Jackie’s wedding took place on September 12, 1953

Jackie's wedding (via )
Jackie’s wedding (via )

and Grace married Prince Ranier on April 19, 1956. Funnily enough, she spent part of her honeymoon with Ranier on Aristotle Onassis’ yacht Christina (as I’m sure you’re well aware, Onassis was to later become Jackie’s second husband).

Grace & Ranier on their wedding day in 195 (via )
Grace & Ranier on their wedding day in 195 (via )

Both women also endure in the public’s memory as style icons.

In June of 1965, Princess Grace sat down for an interview with Paul Gallico about JFK. Fortunately for us, the recording has  been revived through the “Blank on Blank” series which brings previously unheard audio recordings to life through a series of charming illustrations. The finished result is on Youtube and it is amazing! In the illustrated video Grace talks about how she first met Jackie in the mid 195o’s at a dinner party. At that time, JFK was in hospital with back problems, and Jackie and her sister Lee hit it off with Grace and convinced her join them on a hospital visit. They thought that if Grace went in dressed as a nurse that it would help cheer him up.

In the interview she recalls:

“They wanted me to go into his room and tell him I was the new night nurse…I was terribly embarrased about it and I was sort of pushed into the room by the two girls…He recognized me at once and couldn’t have been sweeter or more quick to put me at ease.”

Check out the full interview below. It’s just five minutes long and is soooo charming:


Jackie Kennedy welcomed Princess Grace and Prince Ranier to the White House for a luncheon in 1961.

Jackie & Grace (via Life)
Jackie & Grace (via Life)

Grace kept the menu for as a memento of the day, and perhaps she later regretted wearing a swim cap.

Via Tumblr
Via Tumblr

Princess Grace was an ardent supporter of JFK and on December 3, 1963 she paid a visit to his gravesite.

Princess Grace at JFK's gravesite at Arlington December 3, 1963
Princess Grace at JFK’s gravesite at Arlington December 3, 1963 (via Argenta Images)

On a lighter note, Grace and Jackie were together again in April 1966 when they both attended Spain’s Debutante Ball at the Palace de Pilatos in Seville. This video shows footage of Jackie and Grace arriving in Seville, and of the event itself.

It all looks quite delightful, no?

Oh to be a fly on the wall! (via
Oh to be a fly on the wall! (via

Why they decided to travel to attend this event I have no idea (it seems a little odd to me) but they were invited as guests of honour by the Duchess of Alba and maybe they just thought it would be a fun time.  Jackie looks a wee bit more regal than Grace here.

Jackie & Grace (via Indulgence)
Jackie & Grace show us how to wear white gloves (via Indulgy)

Though Grace is certainly at her princess best with that fur and the hint of diamonds in her hair.

g (via
Grace’s hairdo deserves its own post (via

This letter from Jackie to Grace is included in the exhibit “The Grace Kelly Years” which includes 900 artifacts belonging to the Princess. I was lucky to see the exhibit in Rome in 2009 and while I don’t remember this letter in particular (darn it!), I remember that there were several letters, including a funny one from Jack Nicholson asking Grace out.

A letter from Jackie to Grace (via
A letter from Jackie to Grace (via Maison Chaplin)

Now this is super gossipy, but according to The National Enquirer (I know, I know), Aristatotle Onassis is the one who suggested to Ranier that he marry Grace Kelly to help elevate the principality. The article can be read here. To that I say, stranger things have happened! And, hey, if it’s true it certainly worked.

In the mood for more Grace? Here you go:

The Queen & Jackie Kennedy

For this two-part series, I thought it would be fun to look at Jackie Kennedy’s relationships with both Grace Kelly and the Queen. I’ve unearthed a few interesting  tidbits that you may not have heard before, and I’d love to hear any others you may have up your sleeves! We’ll start with Jackie and Queen Elizabeth, and the next post will be all about Grace.

Back in 1951, Jackie Bouvier was hired by the Washington Times-Herald as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for $42.50 per week. Amongst her many assignments was to cover Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration and to travel to London to cover the Queen’s Coronation, which was held on June 2 of 1953. Jackie’s articles covered her voyage to London, what the mood was like in the city, and of course the big event itself. If I’m able to unearth any of those actual articles, I’ll be sure to post them!

Her stance says "Let's do this!" (via
Her stance says “Let’s do this!” (via

We know that Jack Kennedy proposed right when Jackie got back to the States, and she resigned from her newspaper job the next day. The Washington Times Herald announced the engagement on June 24, 1953 and the wedding was held on September 12. Very speedy!

So now let’s skip ahead to June 4, 1961 – exactly eight years and two days after the Queen’s coronation. That evening, Jackie and Jack dined with The Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham palace and as far as I can tell in this picture, both ladies seemed pretty delighted and like they were having a wonderful time.

So happy! (via Tumbler)
So happy! (via Pinterest)

(Side Note: The blue shantung dress Jackie wore is now held at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum and can be viewed here.)

However, apparently there was quite a bit of haggling that went into the guest list and consequently the evening was pretty frosty. The story goes that Queen was reticent to invite Jackie’s sister Princess Lee Radziwill since she was a divorcee (shocking, I know) but eventually relented. However, the Queen then vetoed Princess Margaret and Princess Marina from the guest list since they had both been requested by Jackie.

Smile for the cameras! Via Pinterest
Smile for the cameras! Via Pinterest

An article in Reader’s Digest gives some more insight into Jackie’s memories of the evening.

The queen had her revenge,” she confides to Gore Vidal. “No Margaret, no Marina, no one except every Commonwealth minister of agriculture they could find.” Jackie also tells Vidal that she found the queen “pretty heavy going.” (When Vidal repeats this to Princess Margaret some years later, the princess loyally explains, “But that’s what she’s there for.”)

Over dinner, Jackie continues to feel awkward, even persecuted. “I think the queen resented me. Philip was nice, but nervous. One felt absolutely no relationship between them.”

The queen asks Jackie about her visit to Canada. Jackie tells her how exhausting she found being on public view for hours on end. “The queen looked rather conspiratorial and said, ‘One gets crafty after a while and learns how to save oneself.’ ” According to Vidal (who is prone to impose his own thoughts on others), Jackie considers this the only time the queen seems remotely human.

After dinner, the queen asks Jackie if she’d like to see “some pictures.” Yes, says Jackie, she certainly would. The queen takes her for a stroll down a long gallery in the palace. They stop in front of a Van Dyck. The queen says, “That’s a good horse.” Yes, agrees Jackie, that is a good horse. From Jackie’s account, this is the extent of their contact with one another, but others differ. Dinner at Buckingham Palace, writes Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in his diary that night, is “very pleasant.”

That’s a good horse??!! Too funny. The visit was just four months after JFK’s inauguration, so Jackie was still getting into the swing of things.

Nine months later, she returned to London and stayed with her sister Lee, who lived just four blocks south of Buckingham Palace. The Queen asked both Jackie and Lee to lunch which seems to me like a very nice thing to do, and they accepted. Here they are heading out the door on March 28, 1962:

Jackie & Lee Head to the Palace (via )
Jackie & Lee Head to the Palace (via Architectural Digest)

When they returned, reporters asked Jackie about the visit and we have video of it here:


Jackie was very diplomatic and tells reporters, “I don’t feel I should say anything about it except how thankful I am and how charming she was.”

If only we could hear what Jackie and Lee’s conversation was once they were inside! I love how Jackie went from reporting the coronation to being a guest at the palace as First Lady, and it does seem like in the end all was well.

What do you think – was there no love lost?

Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics

Continuing with our series of Royals and the Olympics in the lead up to London 2012, today we’re chatting all about the Princely family of Monaco. They have quite a history with the Olympic Games, and it all began with Princess Grace’s family, shown here in a candid snapshot. That’s little Grace in the middle with her parents:

The Kelly’s were a very athletic family; Grace’s dad and brother were both Olympians, and her mum lead the Physical Education department at the University of Pennsylvania.  Here are some more details on those Olympians:

John “Jack” Kelly:

Grace Kelly’s dad Jack Kelly was a triple gold medal Olympic winner in rowing. Here he is rowing at the Antwerp Games in 1920, where he won gold for both the single and double scull events:

He won his third gold metal at the Paris Olympics in 1924 for the double scull event, which made him the first athlete to win three Olympic gold medals in the sport of rowing.

John Kelly Jr.

Grace’s brother John “Kell” Kelly followed in his footsteps and was also an Olympic medallist. He won bronze in the single skulls event at the 1956 Melbourne Games, which is when this photograph was taken:

He also competed in the 1948 London Games and the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

This photo of Kell with his sister Grace (and I believe that may just be their sister Lizanne on the right) was taken at the Henley Regatta in 1947:

Kell’s final Olympics were the 1960 Games in Rome. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier were there to cheer him on.

This photograph was taken during those games. Love the hat, Grace!!

This photograph was taken there as well. Rainier was taking some family snaps:

In 1985, Kell was elected President of the United States Olympic Committee. Sadly, he died the following year so was not able to fulfill that post for very long.

Prince Albert

Grace’s son Prince Albert followed suit as an Olympian when he participates in the winter Olympic Games as a bobsledder for Monaco. Yes, this is kind of random, but there you go.

His first Olympic Games were in Calgary in ’88, where he competed against the Jamaican boblsed team made famous by the movie Cool Runnings (feel the rhythm, feel the’s bobsled time).  Here he is warming up with some serious hopping:

He also participated in the 1992 Albertville Games, the 1994 Lillehammer Games, the 1998 Nagano Games, finally the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. So, he’s a  five time olympian, folks! Not too shabby.

Prince Albert has been involved with the International Olympic Committee since 1989 and continues to be a member.

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Prince Albert also of course married a former Olympian, Charlene Wittstock. Charlene Wittstock participated in the 2000 Sydney games on the South African team, where her 4×100 medley team placed fifth. This photograph was taken during her race:

She also participated in the Marenostrum championships in Monaco that year, which is where she first met Prince Albert. She continued to swim competitively and qualified for the Beijing Olympics in 2007 but decided to retire from the sport before the Games.

Turin 2006 Winter Olympics

The couple has since travelled to various Olympic Games. Notably, the Opening Ceremony for the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 was the first time that the couple was photographed together publicly.

Here we have Prince Albert clowning around before the Opening Ceremony began. The audience was given flashlights to participate with and Charlene is loving it:

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics:

Charlene and Prince Albert were also in Beijing. Was it time for a manicure?

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

They also both attended the Games in Vancouver. The couple was engaged by this point and sat for an interview.

Check it out here:


Here’s Prince Albert posing with Team Monaco bobsledders Patrice Servelle and Sebastien Gattusoat the sliding centre in Whistler:

And here they are saying hello to the Swedish royals:

No doubt we will be seeing lots of the Princely couple in London. Can’t wait!

See Also:


Spain’s Royals at the Olympics


Denmark’s Royals at the Olympics


Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics


Sweden’s Royals at the Olympics


The Dutch Royals at the Olympics




The Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Gown Similarities

The last of our aquamarine tiara postings for March, here’s something a bit different – the Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara!

The Orsini-Ligne Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Gown Similarities

On September 7th 2009, Prince Edouard de Ligne de La Tremoille of the Belgian noble House de Ligne married the famous Italian actress Isabella Orsini in a religious ceremony in his family’s ancestral castle in Antoing, Belgium. The House of Ligne can trace its history all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. HH Princess Isabella as she is now known wore a gorgeous aquamarine and diamond tiara with matching earrings.

Coming out of the cathedral with her new husband. They look so happy! I believe Isabella had just released a dove

As you may have noticed from the above photos, Isabella’s Gerald Watelet wedding gown bears a striking resemblance to the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed wedding gown that Catherine Middleton wore to marry HRH Prince William of Wales two years later. There was some surprise in the press (and to Isabella) when the similarities were noticed (lace covered bodices with a v-neckline and lace sleeves, similar skirts and train lengths), but it seems likely that both Catherine and Isabella chose a similar royal style icon for their wedding dress inspiration – Princess Grace of Monaco. They are both gorgeous and royal wedding gowns, and suit the bride. This Royal Post-er has been enamored of Princess Grace’s wedding gown since she was 5 years old, and thinks this trend to long lace sleeves and lace adorned bodices in wedding gowns is all for the best!

It should be noted that there are many differences between Catherine and Isabella’s wedding gowns – Isabella wore a lace jacket on top of her gown, while Catherine’s lace adorned bodice was part of her gown, Catherine’s gown has significantly more detail on the waist, hips and train, and seems to be of a more elaborate construction. Interesting to see this marked trend in wedding gowns, which has now translated into the bridal design industry.

A detail of the back of Catherine’s dress, as her veil is slightly covering it in the above photo

What do you think?

Hope you enjoyed our aquamarine tiara postings for March!

Here are links to the previous aquamarine postings: Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure and the Boucheron Diamond Clips, The Aquamarine Pine Flower Tiara, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands’ Aquamarine Tiara and Parure, The Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara of Sweden, and the Wessex Aquamarine and Diamond Wedding Tiara

Grace Kelly & Howell Conant: Part Three

So, so far we’ve talked about when photographer Howell Conant first met Grace Kelly (in Part One of this series), and how he covered their engagement and wedding (Part Two). In the years following what had been called “The wedding of the century”, Howell and Grace’s personal and professional relationship continued. Howell would visit Grace at least once or twice a year in Monaco and was there for key moments in Grace’s life.

For example, Howell was there to take pictures of Princess Caroline just hours after she was born and he came back again just forty days later for her christening.

He was also there for Christmas.

And out sailing.

And to capture manysweet family moments. Of this one he said, “I loved photographing Grace when she was with her children, if only because she could get so involved with them that she paid little attention to me and my camera. At the moment when I snapped this photo, nothing was more important than fixing Caroline’s curls.”

And here we have a fun shot of Howell himself with Grace, clowning around while on holiday in the Swiss Alps.

Howell particularly liked this portrait that he took in honour of the couple’s tenth wedding anniversary in 1966. The sash that Grace is wearing is Monaco’s highest honour, the Order of St. Charles. He said, “For me, this picture personifies Princess Grace as the shot from Jamaica, of her head rising from the water, personifies Grace Kelly, the actress.” Despite the crazy hair situation she’s got going on, Grace still looks remarkably regal and poised in this portrait. 

Howell also took many formal portraits of the family over the years, such as this one.

This casual photograph of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier was taken at Roc Agel, their country retreat in 1980.

Sadly, when Grace passed away in September of 1982, Howell was packing for his next trip to Monaco (he was set to take the family’s Christmas portrait). Instead, he travelled there to attend her funeral. This was the only time that Howell did not take his camera with him to Monaco.

Howell published a book about his experiences photographing Grace in 1992. The title of the book is simply “Grace.” He passed away in March of 1999 at the age of 83.

After all these photos of Grace, are you wondering what the photographer himself looked like? We sure were. Here he is on the far right in a snapshot taken by one of his assistants.

Grace Kelly & Howell Conant: Part Two

Last week we had a good look at the first photographs of Grace taken by her favourite photographer Howell Conant. Click here for a refresher. Today we’re moving on to ‘The ‘Prince Rainier Years.’

After Prince Rainier proposed to Grace while the couple were visiting her parents in Philadelphia, they returned to Grace Kelly’s New York apartment and Grace invited Howell over to take engagement portraits. He remembered, “I hurried over to her Fifth Avenue apartment and saw a Grace Kelly I had never seen before. Jamaica had introduced me to the playful Grace, and The Swan to the thoughtful, inward Grace. Now I found standing arm-in-arm with Prince Rainier of Monaco, Grace Kelly Number Three, a woman in love.”

Check out Rainier’s cigarette in this one. Can’t imagine that making the cut these days:

Howell also said, “He was the only man in the world Grace could have married. Why? Her fame was so great, any other man would have become known as Mr. Kelly. . . . But not Rainier, who’d never fit into that category. He’s a man’s man, and they were close. People don’t understand the importance of being important. They were both important, but Rainier owned an entire country!”

Four months after these engagement photographs were taken, Grace headed to Monaco onboard the Constitution accompanied by an estimated seventy friends and family (whose passage was all paid for by Jack Kelly, who was understandably relieved that he wasn’t expected to pay for the wedding itself), and numerous reporters. Howell was there to capture every moment as part of a top secret assignment with LIFE. Only Grace was in on the secret. Because of their friendship, he was able to spend time with Grace taking pictures when the other reporters were kept away.

Love this shot of Grace hiding from a reporter who has just spotted her outside the window:

The USS Constitution arrived in Monaco on April 12, 1956. For her arrival, Grace chose to wear a white organza hat which was selected for Howell’s benefit.

To the numerous assembled photographers, the hat was a nuiscanse because it hid her face, but for Howell it worked like a photographer’s white umbrella and it diffused the harsh sunlight (the ship arrived at ten am). Clever!!

And then there was The Wedding. The first event was the Civil Ceremony, which was held on April 18, 1956 (so 7 days after Grace’s arrival in the principality) and Howell was there to capture it all. He liked capturing his subjects from above when possible:

That evening, the couple attended a gala at the Opera House and when they returned home to the palace they waved to the citizens of Monaco waiting below:

They must have been exhausted, but the next day was another big one of course. Howell captured some candid moments, like this one when Grace was adjusting bridesmaid Carolyn Scott’s hat:

Another fave. The bodice of the gown featured 125 year old rose point lace:

After all the festivities, the Prince and Princess boarded the Deo Juvante II for their honeymoon cruise. Naturally, Howell was already onboard to capture the couple’s arrival.

In Part Three, we’ll conclude this series with Howell’s photographs of Grace and her family in the years she lived in Monaco. Hope you’ll join us!

Grace Kelly & Howell Conant: Part One

If you haven’t read Remembering Grace 25 Years Later with Photographs by Howell Conant (published by LIFE), we highly recommend that you do! It’s a beautiful book that recounts Grace’s friendship with Howell Conant, her favourite photographer.

Howell followed his father, a portrait photographer, into the family business and over a period of 27 years he took most, if not all, of the iconic photographs of Grace Kelly. Basically, if you can think of any photographs of Grace Kelly from 1955 on, chances are he took it.

It all started when Grace was 25 and Howell was assigned to photograph her for the cover of what was then a very popular movie magazine called Photoplay. At this point Grace was a star but she hadn’t yet won her Oscar. Suffice to say this first shoot didn’t go all that well; basically Howell was intimidated by Grace’s stardom and beauty, so she ended up getting rather fed up and gave him direction for the shoot (“This is my good side. Now light it as you know how, and we’ll be done with it”). Afterwards, Grace had an interview booked with Earl Wilson who was THE gossip columnist of his day. As the story goes, she asked Howell if she could borrow a headband for the interview and he agreed if she came back to return it herself. This turned out to be a real turning point because when she did, she noticed some of the photographs that he had out and realized how talented he was.

Shortly after that, Howell landed another job with Grace. This time he was hired to shoot her for the weekly magazine Colliers. For this shoot, she suggested that he come along for part of the vacation she had planned in Jamaica with her sister Peggy. Evidently she was tired and figured this would kill two birds with one stone.

This idea ended up working out extremely well; the picture of Grace emerging from the water  (the one at the very top of this post) was taken during that holiday. Originally, Grace was all decked out in scuba gear but thankfully they got rid of that and the results are flawless. It is our favourite photo of Grace of all time (confession: we’ve tried to recreate it numerous times but….it’s a tall order, what can we say?!).  The photo was chosen for the cover of Colliers and became one of the most iconic photos of Grace. If you aren’t familiar with the picture yet, take a good, long look at it. There’s even a small drop of water about to fall off her ear just like an earring. Perfection. Here it is in black and white:

Here are some more shots that were taken in Jamaica:

Grace sure knew how to pose for the camera:

Another favourite:

You can see how relaxed Grace has gotten with Howell here. She’s so playful and animated.

Of these photos also taken on the trip Howell said, “When Grace began playing with the pillow I started shooting. Grace was so myopic she couldn’t see ten feet in front of her, so she followed the sound of my voice as I directed her. ‘Beautiful,’ I said over and over again.”

After this trip to Jamaica, Conant became a close friend and confidant of Grace’s. Once again, no doubt at Grace’s suggestion, he was hired by Colliers to capture her while filming The Swan.

More fun behind the scenes:

Howell described his experience watching Grace on the set by saying “She remained remote on the set; quiet, pensive. Wrapped in a camel’s hair overcoat, she stood next to this incongruous stage light and I snapped away. For me, this was a new side of Grace, a hardworking actress.”

Howell also took these beautiful photographs of Grace. They were taken at a home in Hollywood she was renting during the filming of The Swan. They certainly show the “ice queen” side of Grace, so different from the playful holiday photos.

The above photo of Grace in a black dress peaking through the white curtains was taken the same day as the red dress photo. As you can see, this photograph was used as a Vanity Fair cover AND a slightly different one was used the cover of the LIFE book (above). No wonder; it still looks totally au currant.

Here is a nice, clean version of it:

Until next time, we’ll leave you with this delightful and somewhat whistful shot from the Jamaica shoot:

In Part Two, we’ll take a look at the photographs Howell took when Prince Rainier came on the scene. Hope to see you then. Ciao!