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Hofdame Bits and Bobs

Who knew November was such a busy royal month? Birthdays, feasts, appearances – the royals have been everywhere. Let’s get started.

The First and Last Words about Prince Andrew

We understand that The Handbag is a drama-free refuge for most of us. We will not be covering or mentioning Prince Andrew in posts while the serious allegations around him remain unresolved. We will continue to cover both Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, and of course, all other members of the British royal family.

The Hofdames really appreciate that our Community has not broached the topic of Andrew in the comments. We have had a couple of inquiries as to whether discussion about the clothing of Beatrice and Eugenie is allowed, and it is absolutely welcome as long as we stick to their fashion choices. We thank you all for your discretion and your continued support of this blog and its objectives. You all have been terrific.

Getty Weekly Photo Roundups

If you are reading here, we assume you like royals and you like photos. Getty links to some of the events of last week:

Emperor Naruhito performas Daijosai Rite
King Albert and Queen Paola celebrate King Philippe’s Birthday
Princess Charlene distributes Red Cross Christmas Gifts
Duchess of Cambridge Opens Nook Children Hospice


Queen Mathilde sometimes likes to sidle up to the sartorial crazy side and just embrace it. Here she wore a very complicated Natan coat ( I think I would need a set of step by step instructions just to put it on) during a royal visit to the ‘Institut du Sacre-Coeur’.

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I haven’t been able to find confirmation on the designer of this ensemble, but I would put money on Natan. The Queen was attending the opening of the 1st Congress of the International Mukwege Chair, a group dedicated to interdisciplinary study on the effect of sexual violence. 

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She repeated her Carolina Herrera blue lace dress in a joint appearance with Philippe.

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The banquets related to the enthronement continue in Japan.

Once of our classic princesses, Princess Hisako, has been insanely busy, including a lovely kimono outing. It is astounding how her good humor never flags.

Our Community Efforts

Our community members Iselen and Too Much Hemlock have submitted videos that are balm for the eyes.

From Iselen, a video about the clothing of Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who developed a new, traditional style for her 1960 royal tour of Europe and the United States. The fashion incorporated traditional Thai style and modern elements, many of which were designed by Balmain. You’ll also glimpse an enormous tiara and some European royals of the day. Enjoy the beautiful video of the beautiful Queen. More videos can be found here.

From Too Much Hemlock, here is an enchanting video on the wedding of the Duchess of Vendome, whose dress we covered a couple of weeks ago.

If you are looking to do some early royal-related Christmas shopping, you should check out The Crown Chronicles shop. Working in conjunction with artist Amelia Noyes, they have created a royal-themed collection in time for the holidays.

Book Nook

It’s in Swedish, but it might be worth learning to read the language! Princess Christina has written a book about her grandmother Princess Margaret of Connaught. The cover alone is intriguing, and apparently the book features conversations with Princess Benedikte and Queen Margrethe. Princess Margaret (Margareta) has descendants in the Swedish, Danish and Greek royal houses, and we have discussed some of the wedding traditions that continue on due to her legacy.

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What did I miss?

Belgium · Denmark · Netherlands

Random Royaling – The M Team

We have the A Team, so why not the M team? Mary, Mathilde, Marie and Max come on down!

Mary made an appearance at the Magasin Du Nord Foundations Fashion prize, along with a lovely lady that the internet tells me is Baroness Nina Wedel-Wedellsborg. The duo presented an award to Veronica DSouza, CEO at the young fashion company, Carcel. Mary’s jacket is from YDE and many of you will be happy to see her Valentino Rockstud pumps. I am always happy to see fashion Mary, myself.

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Mathilde visited the Ter Duinen Hotel School and met with second year hotel-food course students, who are often involved in activities at the Royal Palace. The fearless Queen tried her hand at some cake decorating dessert piping, it seems. That tiny maple leaf brooch is by Christine Bekaert ; ), per Modekoningin Mathilde.

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⁣ ⁣ Bezoek aan de Hotelschool Ter Duinen in Koksijde. Tijdens het bezoek komt de opleiding hotel-voeding (2de jaar) aan bod en is er een ontmoeting met de studenten service uit de opleiding Restaurant en Keuken (5de jaar). Vervolgens is er een bezoek aan Keuken en Restaurant (volwassenonderwijs). Het bezoek wordt afgesloten met een lunch in het restaurant De Mijn, verzorgd door chef Vanbockryck en zijn leerlingen. De verschillende hotelscholen in ons land worden regelmatig ingeschakeld tijdens activiteiten in het Koninklijk Paleis en in het Kasteel van Laken. Deze traditie gaat reeds lang terug en is voor de scholen en hun leerlingen een ideale leeroefening.⁣ —————⁣ Visite de l'école hôtelière Ter Duinen à Koksijde. La filière hôtel-alimentation (2ème année) ainsi qu’une rencontre avec les étudiants des formations service restaurant et cuisine (5ème année) sont à l’agenda, tout comme une visite de la cuisine et du restaurant (enseignement adulte). Un lunch au restaurant De Mijn préparé par le chef Vanbockryck et ses étudiants clôture la visite. Les différentes écoles hôtelières de notre pays sont régulièrement impliquées lors d'activités au Palais Royal et au Château de Laeken. Cette tradition remonte à longtemps et constitue un exercice d'apprentissage idéal pour les écoles et leurs élèves.⁣ —————⁣ Visit to the Ter Duinen Hotel School in Koksijde. Meetings with the hotel-food course (2nd year) and with the student service from the Restaurant and Kitchen course (5th year). Then there is a visit to Kitchen and Restaurant (adult education). A lunch at the De Mijn restaurant prepared by Chef Vanbockryck and his students ends the visit. The various hotel schools in our country are regularly involved in activities at the Royal Palace and in the Castle of Laeken. This tradition goes back a long way and is an ideal learning experience for schools and their students.⁣ ⁣ @terduinen @friekedelobelle @lucashovaque @reinvanbockrijck @seppe.nobels #school #ecole #education #Coxyde #Koksijde #BelgianRoyalPalace #MonarchieBe⁣ ⁣ 📸 Belga

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Marie is promoting her book on food waste, a cause near to her heart. “Food with Respect – a cookbook that reduces food waste” was recently published, and I wish there were an English version. Marie is utterly charming here; it’s the first time I have heard her speak. Princess Marie’s Closet has been following the book release closely. The crepe, asymmetrical dress is by Maje.

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H.K.H. Prinsesse Marie har sammen med en række madildsjæle og kokke været bidragsyder til kogebogen ”Mad med respekt – En familiekogebog, der mindsker madspild”, som indeholder 80 madspildsopskrifter. Præsentationen af bogen fandt sted i dag hos forlaget Gyldendal i København, og ved boglanceringen holdt Hendes Kongelige Højhed tale. I Danmark bliver over 700.000 tons god og spiselig mad årligt smidt ud. De største syndere er husholdninger, og hver dansker smider i gennemsnit 43,7 kilo spiselig mad ud om året. Det er især børnefamilier, der har den største udfordring med at få brugt maden op. Den nye kogebog har til formål at få familierne til at få større respekt for mad og hjælpe danskere med at genbruge rester, spare penge og tid i køkkenet samt tænke på miljøet. 🎥 Stop Spild Af Mad/Lars H. Laursen ©

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Max decided to bring up the rear in a quiet, understated color. This is financial Max, at a Pension 3 Day conference, and I believe this is third time we’ve seen this blouse, in as many colors. I have not seen the suit before because believe me I would have remembered it.

Give a hand to the hardworking M Team folks!

Belgium · Britain · Norway

Royal Wedding Gowns – Elegant Coats and Wraps

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown feature, and to our third post in the series on royal wedding gowns with coats and wraps. We have covered the dramatic and the second and third wedding coats and wraps. Today we are in the final of that series, coats and wraps worn to elegant effect.

Note: We covered Queen Letizia’s bridal ensemble here, so we won’t go over it again in this post. It’s in the poll, though!

Bride: Queen Mathilde
Designer: Natan

Yes, it was Natan, and yes, it was a success. That’s the short story. The long story is that the marriage was in chilly December, it was a union between an aristocrat (Mathilde was a jonkvrouw, a word that always tickles me) and the future King, and it was very royal wedding which included moving from venue to venue on the day itself. Natan had to design a gown with gravitas, and warmth, that would hold up to such a celebration. He also had to allow room for the beautiful but visually heavy heirloom veil from Queen Paola’s family.

He succeeded admirably, I believe. The gown was crepe silk, with front button and waist detailing and a very long train. The veil lay nicely on the 5 meters of silk, and the collar stood up and framed Mathilde’s lovely face well. She accessorized with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Bandeau tiara.

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Bride: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Designer: Wenche Lyche

Princess Märtha Louise has been described as whimsical and quirky, and it is somewhat of a surprise that her wedding gown was rather subdued and conventional, until you look at the details. The coat was inspired by the Märtha lily and the Gothic arches of Nidaros Cathedral, and those details can be seen in the puffy insert of the sleeves at the shoulders, and how the train comes to a v-point at the end. But viewed in its entirety, this gown is classic elegance all the way.

The coat, which was removed for the reception, is embellished with Swarovski crystals. The front of the coat is held together with a clasp in an “A” shape, done up in pearls and representing her husband’s first name, Ari. There is a lovely detail of ivy and five lilies embroidered around the train, as well. The bride wore a silk veil, held in place by Queen Maud’s Diamond and Pearl tiara.

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Bride: Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Designer: Samantha Shaw

1999 was a year for coat wedding dresses. Both Sophie Rhys-Jones and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz were married that year, Sophie and Prince Edward first, in June. The bride was 34, and the dress was a mature choice. Samantha Shaw designed a v-neck coat of made ivory silk organza, tulle and silk crepe. Although it looked simple from a distance, it was embellished with 325,000 pearl and cut-glass beads. The veil was silk tulle and extended beyond the train.

Sophie’s ensemble often loses points due to the much derided tiara, a gift or loan from the Queen. Many felt it had a cobbled together feel. The rather in-your-face necklace, which was designed by her future husband, is a controversial piece as well. The veil suffered from the notoriously windy entrance to St. Georges Chapel. But if you step back and take it all in from afar, it is a lovely and elegant silhouette.

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Bride: Autumn Kelly
Designer: Sassi Holford

Autumn Kelly married Peter Phillips, the Queen’s oldest grandchild, in 2008. If you cast your mind back to those days, you’ll remember that strapless gowns were simply the height of fashion. Royal brides don’t walk down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel in strapless, so a lace bolero came to Autumn’s rescue.

The dress itself was done up in Italian duchesse satin and Chantilly lace, and the short-sleeved bolero was also Chantilly lace. It was embellished with beads to give it an extra sparkle. The dress itself had a simple A-line skirt and a three-tiered sash at the waist. There were Chantilly lace inserts on the train and along the silk tulle veil. The bride secured her veil with the Festoon tiara, borrowed from her mother-in-law.

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Which of these elegant coats/wraps is your favorite?

Queens In Training – Duchess of Brabant Birthday (Updated)

“The country can count on me.”

Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant

Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, is celebrating her 18th birthday this Friday. Knowing this audience, I am sure everyone is looking for a tiara. None yet, but the Belgian royals shared some photos and they are stunning. This is a woman with an exciting sartorial future.

I want to casually study my destiny in this library! Yes, those are photos of her father and his siblings in that book. The always brilliant Modekoningin Mathilde has identified the sweater as Zara.

The heir and her father. Queen Paola’s features are strongly carried on, aren’t they? Also, this article has spotted some mother daughter earring sharing.

The following is my favorite, and a sign of some great sartorial things to come. The Duchess wears Esmeralda Ammoun, one of my favorite new designers. Minimal, but no boredom here.

The celebrations at the palace today were just, well sob-worthy is the only phrase I can think of. Tils and Phil were at turns somber, excited, and proud. Elisabeth was just gorgeous and so very adult.

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The girls are coming, world! Elisabeth faces her destiny.

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Gifts of orders – you know you are grown-up royal when that happens.

The official photos have been released. Here is the Duchess with her grandparents and the line of succession.

We need a whole Queens In Training Section, and this would join Ingrid Alexandra’s Confirmation and the recent Princess of Asturias Awards in it. The Queens are coming, world. Be ready!

Belgium · Britain · Netherlands

Random Royaling – Tour Updates

Note: Typically, we don’t circle back like this but we have been experiencing persistent issues with Getty images disappearing after 24 hours. It makes commenting on old posts, including Bits and Bobs, hard. Thus, here are some tour updates from Kate, Maxima and Mathilde. Busy lives, folks!

The Duchess continues to make the salwar kameez look very stylish and comfortable. Speaking of comfortable, she seems to have a hit a certain stride during this trip, and is very comfortable herself. Things to note: flat shoes on Kate, and the color of William’s suit!

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Black and white chic, and some doggy love.

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Maxima packed all her hats for the India trip, it seems. I would like to see the row of hat boxes boarding the plane.

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Hat free, but I am digging this dress.

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Evening, and another sari adjacent look. I really like the jewels here.

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Mathilde and Philippe attended a gala concert with Stephanie and Guilliame. I LOVE THIS ON YOU TILS. Keep this up.

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Super quick catch up! Sorry about the Getty issues – send good vibes that the server issues are fixed soon.