Royal Florals of the Day: July 27

Queen Letizia attended the 25th Annual FEDEPE Awards yesterday.

Well lookie here, my favorite living shampoo commercial is still killing it! She totally knows she's killing it, too, which is even better. Just strolling by, casually scooping up yet another Perfect Summer Queen trophy to put up on the mantel.

House of HM the King

The dress is from CH by Carolina Herrera, so no wonder I love it. It's a floral with a twist, in a subtle embossed texture instead of a colorful print. She emphasized the floral theme with earrings also by Carolina Herrera.

CH by Carolina Herrera

Just…you know. {contented sigh of loveliness}

Queen Letizia presented the National Fashion Awards last week.

Other florals have also been in the mix. She wrapped herself head to toe in Spanish fashion for this event honoring Spanish fashion – obviously – and pulled out an old Zara dress for the occasion. The showpieces here were the earrings by Anton Heunis, featuring brass, antique silver plate, Swarovski crystals, and amethyst drops with lions and…bugs.

Anton Heunis

Okay, but I'm just going to need some assurance here that we won't be taking the bug thing to Máxima levels in the future.

Royal Dresses of the Day: July 26

Charlene's been getting her glam on. (Again! Keep it up, Char. We need the gowns now more than ever.)

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the annual Red Cross Ball
in Monaco on Saturday.

Purplish floaty glam is probably the best sort of glam, scientifically speaking. Just a bit gravity defying at the top and simple enough everywhere else to let that shine. Also, HELLO, take a pause for those earrings. Adding a couple of diamond waterfalls to your outfit can never be a bad thing.

I feel, though, that the diamonds aren't the story here. (I KNOW.) It's the dress – or, more specifically, the dress designer, because Armani Privé is back! This is a bespoke design based on the Spring 2016 couture collection; you may remember the general idea from Queen Mathilde's debut of another such dress back at King Carl Gustaf's birthday bash.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene also attended the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation 3rd Annual Saint-Tropez Gala last week.

And this is another recent Armani Privé look, a bespoke number from the Fall 2016 Couture collection, something a little more along the clean lines I usually expect to see Charlene wear.

Armani was Charlene's constant go-to for special events in the run up to her 2011 wedding and for that stupendous wedding gown. But then she took a sharp turn, swapping in Akris as the favorite, while Armani was nowhere to be found. This has always intrigued me. Were there just several collections in a row that she didn't care for, or did something else go down? It's a mystery. As long as Armani's back in play, I don't really care. It's just a good fit.

Monday Tidbits for July 25: Taking to the Sea, and More

In case you missed my note on Friday's post, we're swapping over to our usual summer schedule since things are starting to slow down on the current events front. All that means is Tidbits will be on Mondays and we still post Monday through Friday, with one post instead of the usual two on Thursdays for the rest of the summer.

And so, without further ado, some tidbits for your Monday:

Prince George turned three, and of course there were some new snaps to celebrate. The family obsession with stripes lives on! [Hello]

Matt Porteous/KensingtonRoyal Twitter

Those other Cambridges – you know, the ones with their names on the swing George commandeered – will not be attending the Rio Olympic Games, so they had to take to the sea at home to get in their mandatory matching team shirt time. [Zimbio]

Video: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the America's Cup World Series

–Over in Japan, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, and Princess Aiko visited Nara and Kyoto. I rather like Masako's long gray dress, especially the wrap detail on the top. [Imperial Family of Japan Blog]

NNN video

–I bet you this “mishap” was the best part of Prince Charles' day. [Express]

–And finally, also taking to the sea and wishing everyone a good summer: Princess Ingrid Alexandra, in this beautiful shot shared by Crown Princess Mette-Marit on her Instagram.

A photo posted by @crownprincessmm on

Coming up this week: A little glamour in Monaco, and at Buckingham Palace too…

Tidbits is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!  

Royal National Day of the Week: July 22

How many synonyms are there for “classic”? I might need them all.

The Belgian royal family celebrated National Day yesterday, attending a Te Deum and a parade. King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, and their four children (Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore) were in attendance.

This whole picture could serve as the definition of the word, as a matter of fact. Paste it right there in the dictionary. This is one nice, elegantly dressed family all around – a model of royal special event dressing, basically.

Royal Palace

Mathilde, of course, was dressed by Natan in a new pale pink dress of organza and lace, topped by a matching hat from Fabienne Delvigne. And matching accessories all the way down, because Mathilde. Princess Elisabeth was looking a little chic too, in a dress from Brussels-born Diane von Furstenberg (per ModeKoninginMathilde) and her updo. Introducing them to #TeamUpdo early and often is a parenting decision I can get behind.

Happy Friday to all you members of #TeamGloves. She has one glove removed for shaking hands, in case you're wondering.

Later, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visited the festivities in the park.

Royal Palace

This is a lovely summer dress – and such a great spot for a colorful belt – just to cap the day's successes.

On the other hand, here's Prince Laurent, the King's brother and resident family black sheep, chatting on his phone during the parade. For the second year in a row.

And sitting all by himself on his section of the dais, because his wife, Princess Claire, and his sister and brother-in-law, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, didn't attend. Astrid's absence in particular is very unusual. Speculating on the status of an alleged rift in the Belgian royal family has been a popular gossip sport for years, and…well…this year's National Day didn't do anything to help. (To be fair, Astrid and Lorenz did go to a Te Deum in a separate town earlier, and Astrid had another engagement in the evening. They also went to a pre-National Day concert with Mathilde and Philippe.) I'm not among those royal watchers that enjoy picking apart who misses each event and why/why not, but – if this is actually much ado about nothing – I am surprised to see a rumor mill so willingly fueled.

Programming Note: Starting next week, we'll move to our usual summer posting schedule while most of the royals are hidden away on holidays. That means Tidbits moves to Mondays, and we continue with posts on Monday through Friday, with one post instead of two on Thursdays. See you Monday!

Tiara Thursday: Elizabeth Alexeievna’s Diamond Kokoshnik

Elizabeth Alexeievna’s Diamond Kokoshnik

It takes a lot to make a jewel sparkle even in a black and white photograph, but here we are: Brazilian diamonds en masse in a tiara with not one but two rows of large single diamonds. The base has a central medallion and a series of closely packed diamond rays, resting underneath a row of dangling diamond pendants that must have sparkled like crazy in movement. This is all topped with a row of upright diamonds, accentuating the strong inverted v-shape of the diadem.

Elizabeth Alexeievna wearing this tiara, 1820s

With all those high quality diamonds, it can only be a relic of Russia’s lavish imperial days. The tiara belonged to Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna (1779 – 1826), who was born Princess Louise of Prussia and married the future Alexander I of Russia in a match made by Catherine the Great. This diamond tiara was created in the early 1800s, and shares a love of pendant diamond stones with the Russian Nuptial Tiara, which was made around the same time and for the same empress.

Alexandra Feodorovna

A century later, the tiara appeared on the head of Alexandra Feodorovna (1872 –1918), the wife of Nicholas II. But like the rest of the tiaras worn by the last Russian empress and her court, this one was headed for an uncertain future.

The Russian jewels amassed, 1925

Elizabeth Alexeievna’s tiara can be spotted on the table of treasures taken into possession by the government after the overthrow of the monarchy. Much was sold by the government in the 1920s; some pieces were sold intact, and others were broken up and sold stone by stone. Like many of the other pieces you can spot on that table, this diadem has never been seen again.

Are you hoping this one will magically reappear some day?

Royal Photocall of the Day: July 21

The Swedes decided to get in on the family photocall trend this summer, gathering at Solliden for the press after celebrating Crown Princess Victoria's birthday. This is like a royal version of Keeping up with the Joneses, and I love it.

Video: The photocall in action

And…yup, they've hit all the usual royal family photocall requirements: kids who have no idea they shouldn't be going about their normal business, adults crossing their fingers the kids don't have a meltdown, and general awkwardness. That's pretty much it, those are the only requirements. Oh, and a dog. Gotta have the dog in there.

Expressen screencap

On the sartorial side of things, it's possible that Princess Madeleine has come up with the absolute perfect summer photocall outfit. The top – which The Royals and I informs us is Valentino – is not too casual, and perfect with a cropped pant. A doubly perfect selection when you know you have a runner on your hands. Summer style done right, I say.  

For more: see Hello and Expressen for photos.

Royal Wedding Flashback of the Day: July 20

Lady Helen Windsor, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, married Tim Taylor on July 18, 1992. Her Catherine Walker gown – so difficult to construct, the designer later wrote she nearly had to bribe her team to create it – became one of the highlights of Catherine Walker's considerable royal dressing career. (Walker herself passed away in 2010, but her legacy continues today. Lady Gabriella Windsor and the Duchess of Cambridge are current royal fans.)

The bride borrowed the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara from her mother. The tiara was most likely created from a diamond bandeau from Queen Mary, a piece that the Duchess of Kent wore on her own wedding day. The embroidery on the dress took its cues from the tiara, so – combined with her pearl and diamond necklace and earrings – this is one of the best examples of jewelry working with a wedding dress to create a complete look.

The arches at the neckline were inspired by the St. George's Chapel venue, an influence that is clear without becoming overwhelming. It's not The Cathedral Gown – as opposed to, say, The Bow Gown – but those details still give this dress its originality. I think it's a bit dated, from today's perspective, but it still holds its own and I still consider it anew each time I see it. (This time around, I realize that I never really considered her bouquet, or how she held it. Suddenly realizing that it included purple – I'm just generally not here to look at the flowers, okay? – makes me love this look even more.)

Royal Outfit of the Day: July 19

The Danish royal family gathered for their annual summer photocall on Friday, with the royal couple and the crown princely family.
Whilst Henrik tried something new (was “experiment with facial hair” on his retirement bucket list?), Mary tried something old: another variation of the casual boho look, her favorite sort of summer photocall costume.

In the Mary Does Boho Summer Games, I'll give it the silver medal. (In these Games, the gold obviously must go to 2012's festival of Free People patterns, the bronze to last year's maxi skirt effort, and a yogurt lid on a string of paper clips to 2014's muumuu of which we shall not speak.)

Sabine dress by SEA, per Heaven

Better without the cardi? Sure. But I'm not about to let a chill ruin my appreciation of a cute dress. In conclusion:

 Pretty much.

(Click here for a video in which Josephine's got the moves and Isabella chauffeurs like a boss, or here for a gallery. There are a few bonus family members to be spotted as well.)

Sunday Tidbits for July 17: Abdication…or Not, and More

(Updated to add: Next post will be on Tuesday!) Picking up with this week's international royal intrigue:

–More on the big question in Japan: “Emperor Akihito does not necessarily intend to relinquish the throne early, but has indicated he is prepared to abdicate if he becomes unable to fulfill his duties, government sources said Saturday.” [Japan Times]

–I feel obliged to tell you when royal paths cross: Before heading home to celebrate Crown Princess Victoria's birthday, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia stopped in Germany to attend the opening of the CHIO Aachen equestrian festival, where they met up with Princess Benedikte. [Zimbio]

–A little bonus tiara action, if you haven't seen it already: Hereditary Prince Franz Albrecht zu Oettingen-Spielberg and Cleopatra von Adelsheim were married in Germany last weekend. The bride wore a romantic dress by Luisa Beccaria and a lovely tiara from the groom's family; Beatrice Borromeo was in the wedding and (according to media reports) Prince Harry was in attendance. [Schweizer Illustrierte, Hola]

–Speaking of: Prince Harry took an HIV test live on Facebook, just to show how quick and easy it is, which is pretty excellent. [Washington Post]

Kensington Palace video screencap

–Over at the Jewel Vault: Take Your Grandparents to Work Day turned into Swap Out Your Prime Ministers Day. Most politics are improved by the addition of emeralds, I find.

–And finally: Princess Alexandra is, as ever, the loveliest.

Coming up this week: Danish summer fun, and more…

Sunday Tidbits is your place throughout the week to share things we haven't covered yet and for all your off topic chats. Enjoy!  

Royal Birthday of the Day: July 15

I have only cuteness to offer today. Perhaps that's what we need.

Crown Princess Victoria turned 39 yesterday! The Swedish royal family celebrated Victoriadagen at their summer residence of Solliden Palace on the island of Öland. They do this every year, greeting the crowds outside the palace first, with a concert later in the evening.

Victoria's dress – possibly the epitome of a simple summer dress, not exactly casual but not dressy either – was worn previously for those cute photos with Estelle and Oscar for National Day last month (and is by Ralph Lauren, per The Royals and I). Estelle, of course, is sporting one of her mother's old dresses.

And then there was wee Prince Oscar, blissfully unaware that he was supposed to be impressed.

For the concert, Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria switched into their traditional costumes from Öland, as they always do. The rest of the family joined in (but sans costume, because it's just Victoria and Silvia for this event).

New this year: Estelle! She attended the concert for the first time, rocking some serious ear protection. If you have to wear ear defenders, you might as well make 'em hot pink.

For Princess Sofia and Princess Madeleine, it all came down to the shoes. I had no idea espadrille wedges could get so clunky so quickly, just due to a black heel. I ought to thank Sofia for this key lesson. And finally, just in case you needed it, Madeleine's offering up a lesson of her own: there doesn't have to be anything boring about a nude shoe. A+ work.

Photos: via Getty Images as indicated, and SVT screencaps