23 January 2018

Royal Jewels of the Day: An Engagement Ring Update

In 2013, I ran a series of posts on royal engagement rings from multiple royal families. (You can check them out here.) I have received many requests to update those posts in the years since, and while continuous updates are not a goal I can achieve, we have accumulated enough to do a little update post. Let's add a few from brides of the past five years (and of the year to come!):

Princess Eugenie of York
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We'll start with the most recent addition to the collection, the stunning ring shown off by Princess Eugenie as she and Jack Brooksbank posed in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace after announcing their engagement yesterday. (Her Erdem dress, by the way, is a repeat.) The couple are thought to have designed the ring together.
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Carrying on the British royal family's love of a colored stone ring, this one is a padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds, on a gold band. Padparadscha sapphires have a pinky-orange color that varies by stone. Pink engagement rings are a bit of a trend in some circles, from pink stones to rose gold settings, and unusual stone choices are having a new moment in engagement rings, too. But nestling the stone in a ring of diamonds brings it back to one of the most classic ring designs (and understandably draws easy comparisons between Eugenie's ring and those of her mother, or of her aunt and cousin-in-law). I've seen reports place the value of this ring anywhere from £7,000 to £100,000, so - as is always the case - you have to take these figures with a grain mountain of salt.

Meghan Markle
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Meghan Markle's engagement ring from Prince Harry joins Queen Elizabeth II's and the Countess of Wessex's rings on the all-diamond side of the family. The ring is by Cleave and Company and Harry is said to have helped design it; it features a center diamond from Botswana with two diamonds on either side from the personal collection of Diana, Princess of Wales, on a gold band. This will look good with a plain Welsh gold wedding band, assuming Meghan is given one in accordance with family tradition. More pictures are in our engagement post.

Princess Sofia of Sweden
The main ladies of the Swedish royal family have a string of diamond engagement rings in classic settings. Prince Carl Philip added to the pile by proposing with a round diamond in a diamond halo on a split shank diamond band. Princess Sofia now wears it alongside her diamond wedding band.

Beatrice Borromeo
Bernd Schwabe - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
There wasn't a here's the ring photoshoot when Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo got engaged, though it seems like this ring is the one: a pear-shaped stone with halo of diamonds on a diamond band. Early reports on their rumored engagement suggested that Pierre had proposed with a pink diamond ring; in some photos, the pear stone looks like it might have some color to it, but it's hard to tell. (Beatrice does have a pair of magnificent morganite earrings reportedly from Princess Caroline, so she is not without her pink stones.)

Ekaterina Malysheva
Axel Hindemith / CC BY-SA 3.0
I don't recall a presentation of the ring when Prince Ernst August of Hanover got engaged to Ekaterina Malysheva, either, so this might be a bit of guesswork as well. This ring with a central sapphire on a thick and detailed diamond band seems to be the one; the bride wore it during the wedding festivities. Sapphires once again prove to be one of the most popular royal engagement rings.

22 January 2018

Monday Tidbits for January 22: A Royal Engagement and More

Windsor Castle's going to get a royal wedding workout in 2018, huh?

--Princess Eugenie is engaged to Jack Brooksbank! The announcement was made today. They'll marry at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in Autumn 2018.

--Crown Prince Haakon's trying his hand at the royal parent-turned-photographer game with this most casual of snaps, released to celebrate Princess Ingrid Alexandra's 14th birthday.
HRH The Crown Prince

--Celebrity style twin alert: Here's Laura Dern on the awards circuit, trying out the same Stella McCartney dress we saw on Queen Rania back in October. Both demonstrating how a pair of shoes can change the dressiness of a look, I'd say. [Zimbio]

--Royal style twin alert: Queen Letizia's joining the ranks of royals who go shopping in the closets of family members for a little vintage flair. Vanitatis reports that the striped dress Letizia wore to King Juan Carlos' 80th birthday was one worn by her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia, back in 1984. It intrigues me that, of all the things Sofia must be keeping, this is the one she picked. [Vanitatis]

--More birthday snaps released by the Dutch royal house, who celebrated the 75th birthday of Princess Margriet (sister of Princess Beatrix, aunt of King Willem-Alexander) with a couple new portraits.
RVD/Anko Stoffels

--And finally, plenty of updates over at the Jewel Vault: a peek into what the royals were gifted in 2017, a new-to-the-blog and super rare brooch from the Queen, and three lovely royal church-going outfits from the weekend.

Tidbits is your spot for royal topics we haven't covered separately on the blog, all week long. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

19 January 2018

Readers' Favorite Outfits of 2017, Evening Division: The Results, Part 2!

Here we are: The End. It's time for your final five favorite outfits of 2017, the very best that royal evening wear had to offer us:

#5. Princess Sofia at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Ida Lanto
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A supremely princess-y turn for Sofia on one of Sweden's biggest nights gave her a tidy showing on both your day and evening favorite lists for the year.

#4. Princess Tatiana in Australia in Celia Kritharioti
Princess Tatiana doesn't appear here very often, but when she does, her continued partnership with this Greek designer wins her consistent praise. Also, CAPE!

#3. Queen Máxima at the Argentina State Banquet in Jan Taminiau
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Can't beat a great necklace or a great repeated dress, from the Dutch designer that's landed Máxima her greatest praise - and her second spot on your evening top 10.

#2. Queen Letizia at King Willem-Alexander's Birthday in Stella McCartney
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And finally, the two themes that ran through this year in review ring true once more: it was the year of Letizia, and...

#1. Queen Letizia at the Spanish/British State Banquet in Felipe Varela
House of HM the King
...it was the year of the red dress. I can't think of another year when one person could have taken the top two spots, and I can't think of another year in which it would have been so well-deserved.  La Reina, folks.

So, tell me: How'd your picks make out? Are you in agreement with the group vote?

18 January 2018

Tiara Watch of the Day: Sweden in State Banquet Splendor

The first state banquet of 2018 brings us some tiaras in action for our Thursday treat (with a side dish of other evening fashion from this week, while we’re at it). The Swedish royal family welcomed the President and First Lady of Iceland for a state visit yesterday, and despite being one tiara down for the state banquet – Crown Princess Victoria was out sick – the remaining tiaras did their best to give us a good show.

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Queen Silvia, gearing up for the Winter Olympics by bringing back one of her signature eau de figure skater dresses, let her sash be her stylist for the night.

She pulled her dress from the stripes down the side of Iceland’s Order of the Falcon, and pulled the Leuchtenberg Sapphires from the sash’s main color. It's a very flag-waving look. You'd have a hard time finding a bad situation for those sapphires, though.

The Dowager Countess Princess Sofia didn’t play with any of that, in a black Ida Sjöstedt gown and her wedding tiara with pearl toppers. It’s…a lot of fuss, with the bow and the stuff all over and the clutch and the sash and all the rest on top. A lot of fuss.

Sofia found a little better balance between fussy elements earlier in the week at a sports gala.
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Something about the sportiness of the top isn’t quite matching for me, but a plain top is the way to handle the triple tiered skirt of this lavender By Malina gown. And that plain top makes an excellent canvas for some jewelry interest:

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Fun! And purple, so double fun. (She's also a good advance advertisement for Swedish design here. The dress is from an upcoming By Malina collection, the brand shared on Instagram; likewise, the earrings are by Caroline Svedblom and they shared on Instagram that they'll be available in February. The perks of being a princess, man.)

17 January 2018

Readers' Favorite Outfits of 2017, Evening Division: The Results, Part 1!

There were some surprises in the results from your day division 2017 vote, both in which outfits made your top 10 and perhaps more so in which outfits (and royals) didn't make the cut. Will the evening division be any more predictable? The first half of your top 10, coming right up...

#10. Queen Máxima at the Italian State Banquet in Jan Taminiau
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The winner of your day division poll also had several contenders for the evening division (so many that not all of them got to be included in the vote, because I wanted the options to include more than, like, four royals). This red gown was worn twice in 2017, and while it didn't really resonate with me, it slides onto your list at #10.

#9. Crown Princess Mary at the New Year's Reception in Lasse Spangenberg
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It's not easily classifiable between day and evening, this one, but it's great enough in either category to nab this spot on your list.

#8. Crown Princess Mary at the Norway Birthday Dinner in Erdem
Two spots in a row! After her conspicuous absence from your day division favorites, Mary's not wasting any time making her mark in the evening division. (I'm actually really liking the bow at the waist in the stock photo, now that I'm looking at it again. Game for a repeat, hmm?)

#7. The Duchess of Cambridge at the Spanish/British State Banquet in Marchesa
Royal Family
Huge enthusiasm for this state banquet appearance, despite not really seeing a proper picture from the front (just glimpses in motion and while at dinner). That launches Kate to her first spot on your evening favorites...

#6. The Duchess of Cambridge in Paris in Jenny Packham
British Embassy
...and the first of her two 2017 blue Jenny Packhams grabs her a quick second spot. I preferred the second one; it seemed like more of you preferred this first one. Either way, mission accomplished.

Have your picks made the list yet? Stay tuned for the final five...