Bhutan · Britain · Denmark · Japan · Sweden

Hofdame Bits and Bobs

A major summer storm blew out my electricity for two days so this Bits and Bobs may be Bit -tier than usual. Onward!


I suppose that Daisy considers her whirlwind of activity a vacation, but it’s hardly disappearing from the world. They have caught her relaxing here, and I want a better glimpse of that watercolor.

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Sommerhilsen fra Château de Cayx, hvor Hendes Majestæt Dronningen opholder sig i disse uger. I år er det 45 år siden, at Majestæten og Prins Henrik købte det franske vinslot. Købet kom i stand under et sommerophold i Prinsens barndomshjem Le Cayrou i 1974, da Regentparret hørte, at slottet var sat til salg. Kort tid efter kunne Dronningen og Prinsen kalde sig for slotsejere i Frankrig. Med en beliggenhed på blot 15 kilometer fra Prins Henriks barndomshjem har Château de Cayx en helt særlig placering, og om købet af slottet har Prins Henrik i en bog fra 2004 sagt, at ”i løbet af meget kort tid var vi derfor blevet de lykkelige ejere af et smukt lille vinslot i et af Frankrigs skønneste områder, tæt på min familie.” Gennem årene har Château de Cayx været den kongelige families base i Frankrig. I Prins Henriks levetid tilbragte Dronningen og Prinsen flere uger på det franske vinslot hver sommer, og denne tradition har Hendes Majestæt fortsat efter Prins Henriks død. 📸 Jacob Jørgensen, Kongehuset ©

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Talk about working, Bhutan has been hopping. Both a visit from the Indian Prime Minister and a private, official visit from Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko and Prince Hisahito began last week. Because there can never ever be enough Bhutan, we’ll put all the photos here. Kiko had a great arrival suit, which you can view more closely at New My Royals.

Fabric swooning.

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19 August 2019: His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen granted an Audience to Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino and Prince Hisahito of Japan at the Golden Throne Room of the Tashichhodzong this morning. The Imperial Family were escorted in a ceremonial Chipdrel procession to the Dzong. Following the Audience, the Japanese Imperial Family were invited to lunch at the Lingkana Palace. The Imperial Family arrived in Bhutan on Saturday for a private visit on the invitation of His Majesty The King. #KingJigmeKhesar #KingofBhutan #QueenJetsunPema #QueenofBhutan #PrinceJigmeNamgyel #Bhutan #CrownPrinceAkishino #CrownPrincessAkishino #PrinceHisahito #Japan

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The heirs have a play date.

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19 August 2019: His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen granted an Audience to Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino and Prince Hisahito of Japan at the Golden Throne Room of the Tashichhodzong this morning. The Imperial Family were escorted in a ceremonial Chipdrel procession to the Dzong. Following the Audience, the Japanese Imperial Family were invited to lunch at the Lingkana Palace. The Imperial Family arrived in Bhutan on Saturday for a private visit on the invitation of His Majesty The King. #KingJigmeKhesar #KingofBhutan #QueenJetsunPema #QueenofBhutan #PrinceJigmeNamgyel #Bhutan #CrownPrinceAkishino #CrownPrincessAkishino #PrinceHisahito #Japan

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Queens in Training

Princess Estelle has started first grade. Or grade one, depending on your country and point of view. She looks very Swedish, very mature and very happy, doesn’t she? May her school days continue in this way.

Bagger Mailbag

From our geogirl, a fabulous dress actually worn by Queen Elizabeth I.

Are you interested in old school dentistry? You are warned, this gets a tad creepy: Marie Antoinette and her teeth. Also courtesy of geogirl!

What did I miss?


Royal Wedding Gowns – British Embroidery

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown feature, where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. Today we’ll talk about how embroidery can transform an ordinary bridal look into that worthy of a royal wedding. We will focus on three British weddings.

Sadly, it is worth noting that photos, even high-quality photos, can’t reveal all of the nuances of embroidered elements. In some cases, we’ll have to rely on descriptions from those who have seen the gowns in person.

Previous entries in this series include Danish Heirloom Lace , Royal Wedding Venues, Venue Size and Scale, Historical and Artistic References, and Orange Blossoms.

Bride: Princess Elizabeth
Designer: Norman Hartnell

This is the grandmother of all symbolically embroidered gowns. Initially, there were fears that the entire wedding would be a quiet and reduced scale affair. The country was still under rationing, but royalty being what it is, Princess Elizabeth was allowed an additional 200 coupons for the creation of her dress. She then engaged Norman Hartnell, the king of exuberant embroidery, to design her gown. Fears of a grim, ration-induced celebration and un-embellished gown were set to rest.

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The overall theme of the dress is rebirth and growth after World II, and Hartnell used Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece Primavera as an inspiration. He blanketed the bodice and skirt with diamanté-encrusted star flowers, roses, jasmine blossoms and ears of wheat using thousands of seed pearls, silver thread, crystals, and tulle appliqués.   The dress included an unusual silk tulle train, embroidered in a star pattern, which was starkly visible when viewed against the dark flooring of the Abbey. It is a lot of embroidery, and a heavy dose of symbolism – the message of Queen-to-be and country beginning anew is strong.

Primavera/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Bride: Princess Mary
Designers: Messrs Raville

1922: From left to right; Queen Mary, King George V, with their daughter Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, the Princess Royal, and Viscount Lascelle, 6th Earl of Harewood, on their wedding day. (Photo by W. & D. Downey/Getty Images)

World War I was fresh in the collective memory of Britain when Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, married Viscount Lascelle. The Princess elected to pay honor the British Empire with the embroidery of her dress. The symbols in the gown reflected the contributions of the Empire and Dominions to the Allied cause during the First World War.

Princess Mary’s wedding gown is to be of cloth of silver of magnificent design. The material was bought by the Queen from India some years ago and is described as a triumph of native manufacturing

The Associated Press

 The hand-woven ivory silk as embroidered with floral symbols, including the maple from Canada, the lotus from India, the wattle from Australia and the fern from New Zealand.

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Bride: Meghan Markle
Designer: Clare Waight Keller
, for Givenchy

Meghan Markle was an American marrying a British prince, and both their wedding and her wedding dress were highly anticipated. She chose to announce her new-found commitment to husband, family, and country by wearing a veil that embodied the elements of her new role. The Prince and the Duchess of Sussex are Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors. To emphasize the importance of this role, Clare Waight Keller designed the 16-foot veil with embroidered signature flowers from the 53 Commonwealth countries. In a nod to Duchess’ home state, a California poppy was also included. According to the Duchess, the veil details were a secret to everyone prior to her entrance, and she reported later that Prince Harry, in particular, was touched and delighted by the thoughtful inclusion.

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Detail of Veil, Screen Capture Pedestrian TV

Which of these showcases the best symbolic use of embroidery?

Royal Rooms – Living Room at Skaugum

Housekeeping note: We want to thoroughly celebrate Mette-Marit’s birthday here at the Bag, so Bits and Bobs will show up on Tuesday!

We royal watchers see so many photos of royals in their homes that some of the rooms become as familiar to us as the royals themselves. This one is highlighted for our girl’s Mette-Marit’s birthday, and also for our LiL, who loves both MM and this room.

The living room at Skaugum during the time Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja lived at the estate.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit live at the Skaugum Estate, in the Asker municipality southwest of Oslo. Skaugum originally belonged to the convent of Nonneseter and Mariakirken. In 1929, Crown Prince Olav married Princess Märtha, and the couple was presented with Skaugum as an official residence. The following year the main building burned down. Arnstein Arneberg was commissioned to design the new house, and it was completed in 1932. The designer did not rebuild the house in any type of homage, instead he intended to reflect the transition from the Neo-Classicism to Functionalism. The result is a beautiful, light filled residence.

Skaugum, 1921, before the fire. Wikimedia Commons.
Skaugum, 1932, after the rebuild. Wikimedia Commons.

King Olav V lived at Skaugum until 1968. Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja moved in that same year and remained there until summer 2001, when they moved into their newly renovated apartments at the Royal Palace. The estate went through a year of renovations, and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were able to move in during December 2003.

Another view of the room during Harald and Sonja’s residence.

The room has been photographed a lot during the last thirty years or so, and deservedly so. Although estate is large (it sits on 120 acres of agricultural lands, including 120 acres of woodlands and several additional structures), the main house has a welcoming atmosphere and the living room is particularly attractive. The room is anchored by a large fireplace, and three of the four walls contain bookshelves. There are large windows on the often unseen exterior wall that allow a lot of natural light to enter the room.

Haakon and Mette Marit in their early days at Skaugum
Royal House of Norway

The decor of the room has evolved with each set of occupants. Harald and Sonja selected glass topped coffee and end tables, a traditional oriental style rug, and couches trimmed with thick fringe in the style of the times. The early photos of Haakon and Mette Marit’s years at Skaugum show couches covered with plush brown fabric, and a tufted light brown ottoman. Practical choices for a family with three younger children.

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More recently, the room has been lightened up further by the introduction of light, almost white couches and a lovely botanical fabric covered ottoman. The ottoman is also covered with books, more proof of Mette Marit’s obsession with reading. The rug has also been lightened up considerably.

Mette Marit in the living room at Skaugum, indulging in her favorite hobby.
Royal House of Norway

It’s obvious Mette Marit loves her living room, and it’s understandable why. It’s a beautiful spot. If you would like to learn more, Royal Central has an excellent post on the estate.

What do you think of this royal room? Is it a place you could see yourself?


Random Royaling – Staatsfeiertag

We don’t talk about Liechtenstein very often, but there is one holiday a year where the royal family is out in full force. That is Staatsfeiertag, or National Day. National Day is celebrated on August 15. It was established by law in 1990, to take advantage of a current bank holiday, the Feast of the Assumption, and to honor the birthday of Prince Franz Josef, who had died in 1989.

There are various celebrations, but the royals appear on the lawn in front of Vaduz Castle. This year was of particular note, as the celebrations mark the 300th anniversary of the country. So let’s take a peek at who was there this year.

The current monarch, Prince Hans-Adam, and his consort, Princess Marie, in blue, lead the way. Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, and his wife, Princess Sophie, are in the background with their children.

Three of the grandchildren of the monarch are below. It’s also nice to get a peek of Hans-Adam’s second son, Prince Maximilian, and his American born wife, Princess Angela. Their very handsome son, Prince Alfons, is with them. They live primarily private lives and it’s rare to see much of them.

Here is a view of most of the family, with a good look at the lovely dresses of Princess Sophie, Princess Marie and Princess Marie-Caroline. Also, a glimpse of some of the official speechifying. Just your typical family outing, right?

If you are interested in Liechtenstein in general, check out this article. Some cool, unusual facts you can wow the family with!


Random Royaling – Odense Flower Show

The Danish Crown Princess is back from summer vacation and again demonstrating how it’s all done. The Poppins Princess reappeared to open the Odense Flower Show, and a welcome sight she was.

Everyone has heard of my fatigue with flowing florals, but just trust Mary to come and banish all complaints. This dress is fitted enough, the floral flattering enough, that my usual criticisms of such dresses are silenced. Love that belt, too. The dress is from the ROTATE Birger Christensen collection, and New My Royals has some good photos. Mary appears to have had some modifications done to the open back on the off-the-rack design.

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Når sommeren går på hæld, blomstrer det i Odense, hvor over 100.000 planter i forskellige opsætninger er udsmykket til byens årlige blomsterfestival. Som protektor åbnede H.K.H. Kronprinsessen i dag festivalen, der denne sæson fejrer 20-års jubilæum. Årets tema er derfor ”På tidsrejse: Med tiden i centrum”, og ved dagens åbning mødte Kronprinsessen mange af de gartnere og frivillige, der har arbejdet på at gøre festivalen klar. Det er fjerde gang, at Hendes Kongelige Højhed åbner Odense Blomsterfestival, og ved dagens åbning navngav Kronprinsessen en ny hortensia, der fik navnet ”Princess of Passion”. Hendes Kongelige Højhed har været protektor for Odense Blomsterfestival siden 2012. 📸 Carsten Bundgaard, Ritzau Scanpix og Odense Blomsterfestival ©

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ROTATE Floral Midi Birger Christensen

Has Mary done a number on your floral fatigue, too?