Guest Author · Sweden

Royal Themed Trip-Stockholm, Sweden!

Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest author, TripleDuchess! She has graciously written a trip report from her recent voyage to Stockholm in October 2019. Thank you for your time and generosity in sharing with the Handbag Community–we certainly appreciate it! All photos are property of the author.

Me and my big sister put on our blue suede shoes and boarded a plane with the destination Stockholm, Sweden in mid-October. After a couple of hours, we reached the first stop on our journey, The Royal Palace in Stockholm. We went to see the State Apartments, the Royal Armory and the Treasury. 

Stockholm Palace or the Royal Palace (Swedish: Stockholms slott or Kungliga slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch (the actual residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia is at Drottningholm Palace). Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen, in Gamla stan in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag building. The offices of the King, the other members of the Swedish Royal Family, and the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located here. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state.

This royal residence has been in the same location by Norrström in the northern part of Gamla stan in Stockholm since the middle of the 13th century when the Tre Kronor Castle was built. In modern times, the name relates to the building called Kungliga Slottet. The palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and was erected on the same place as the medieval Tre Kronor Castle which was destroyed in a fire on 7 May 1697. (Wikipedia)

Stockholm Palace, October 2019

Sadly, I didn’t have the chance to take any photos inside the representational rooms or State Apartments, since some of them were closed due to an upcoming exhibition. I did manage to sneak a few candid photos of some of the crowns and regalia down in the Treasury!


Crowns of Princes

Crowns of Queens & Heirs

Burial regalia

Burial regalia of King Carl X, 1660.

Swedish State Regalia


Coronation robe of Queen Lovisa, 1873.

In the Royal Armory, I was able to take a few photos of two of our old Queens’ wedding gowns. First is from Queen Sofia Magdalena which was made in 1766.

Wedding gown of Sofia Magdalena

The second wedding gown is that of Queen Lovisa, circa 1850.

Wedding gown of Lovisa


On Friday, we hopped on a boat and took a ride out to Drottningholm Palace, the official residence of the King and Queen of Sweden. The Palace is Their Majesties the King and Queen’s permanent home residence. The rooms in the southern wing of the palace are reserved for this purpose. The rest of the palace and grounds are open to the public year round.

The Drottningholm Palace (Swedish: Drottningholms slott) is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It is located in Drottningholm. Built on the island Lo ön (in Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County), it is one of Sweden’s Royal Palaces. It was originally built in the late 16th century (editor’s note: by commission of Queen Hedvig Eleonora), it served as a regular summer residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. (Wikipedia)

You can read more about Drottningholm Palace by reading the Royal Palaces’ website.

Britain · Guest Author

Community Week – Windsors in Canada (Clothes and Jewels)

Thank you to geogirl and Wendy1 for this series of posts!
Read the Preface, here, and Brunswick, here.

The Daywear

Elizabeth’s mother had died in 1938, and so Norman Hartnell (of QEll’s coronation and wedding dress fame) designed the famous all-white mourning wardrobe for her delayed state visit to France that year. In Canada, in 1939 Elizabeth wore elements of this white wardrobe as well as plenty of blue and mint green. Many of her dresses had touches of fur, at the cuffs or at the collar. Arrival outfit had a chiffon cape with a deep fur trim at its hem. The Queen even went underground in a mine in Sudbury and here she wore a hard hat and protective outerwear. Her daytime jewelry choices were invariably a string of pearls and a good-sized set of pearl earrings. As you go though these pictures, watch sharply for brooches and clips! (Editors Note: Click through the galleries to enlarge the photos! These photos are the property of the guest authors.)

The Tiaras and other Jewellery

Queen Elizabeth wore at least three tiaras on the trip – thank you, BoSS, for the details –

  • Her favourite, the Oriental Circlet (gifted to Queen Elizabeth by Queen Mary in 1937 when King George Vl inherited the throne) was worn for the Opening of the Canadian Parliament along with a heavy diamond bracelet, possibly her Queen Victoria Bracelet, and pearl and diamond earrings – possibly from the Queen Alexandra Wedding Parure.
    ⦁ Queen Mary’s Fringe (given to Queen Elizabeth in 1936 by Queen Mary) was worn to a formal event in Montreal.
    ⦁ Finally, she wore the Teck Crescent, a less substantial tiara, to wave to one’s admirers from the back of the train (as one does) after a formal banquet.

Check out the daywear section and the various other images, and see if you can spot anything else – who can find the gifts hidden there?

The Maple Leaf Brooch

According to the Mothership, King George VI bought the brooch for Elizabeth to commemorate this state visit. Supposedly, she wore it on the crossing, throughout the tour and frequently thereafter but we could not find images of that. However, we did find this interesting aside on the purchase here!

Pictures of the Tiara Moments on the Canadian Tour:

The photos above are at the Parliament opening. Descriptions from the time state that her gown was white satin and gold brocade with a wide-hooped panniered skirt and scalloped train. The photo at right was hand-tinted but it seems that the person who did the tinting didn’t know the details of her gown’s colouring so they took the liberty of tinting it pale blue which, in fairness, was her predominate colour of the tour.

The First Walkabout

The royal walkabout first happened in Ottawa on this trip. After dedicating the National War Memorial, the royal couple, rather than returning to their motorcade, spent half an hour mingling with 25,000 First World War veterans who were part of a crowd of at least 100,000 people. The CBC radio announcer covering the event was stunned and described the warm rapport thus “One these old veterans is patting the King most affectionately on the shoulder…Her Majesty is chattering with one of the veterans of the amputations association…The Queen is speaking to a blind veteran now…The King is shaking hands…”

“Canada Made Us”

Although the original purpose of the 1939 tour was to allow the monarch to engage with Canadians as King of Canada, the impending outbreak of war in September that year further shaped the significance of the event.

For Queen Elizabeth, the 1939 tour began a lifelong personal relationship with Canada and helped establish her and her husband as modern monarchs. She would later say that “Canada made us”.

An enduring symbol of the Canadian tour was of Their Majesties waving from the observation platform at the back of the Royal Train. This is how many Canadians – especially those who lived outside of the larger cities – saw their King and Queen.

Links Comprehensive 90-minute complete coverage from the CBC

Interesting rare color footage – short clips. (check out the end for the closing waves from the train) well-produced clip incorporating great color footage – the royal part starts at 0:45, the mine coverage at 2:15 – and you can see Queen Elizabeth in a hard hat here – also notice that King George has a light (strung around his neck) but not the queen! the Toronto visit. A lady in waiting riding in a police side car (keeping her head down!), the cape dress and King George walking, sword in hand, about 2:40

Britain · Guest Author

Community Week – Windsors in Canada (New Brunswick)

Thank you to geogirl and Wendy 1 for this series of posts!
Read the Preface, here.

Working trip…tasks done

Royal visits are busy and this was no exception – Their Majesties dedicated the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls, attended the King’s Plate horse race and dedicated Coronation Park in Toronto, inaugurated the Queen Elizabeth Way, an expressway that connects Southern Ontario to Toronto. The Queen also laid the cornerstone of the Canadian Supreme Court building and the King personally granted Royal Assent to nine bills and became the first Canadian monarch to directly meet his Parliament. Together, they dedicated the National War Memorial in front of 10,000 war veterans.

June 13, 1939 was Day 28 of their 31-day tour. The bulk of their 8,377-mile journey was covered by train but that day Their Majesties left the royal train at Newcastle, travelled 108 miles by motorcar over a bumpy, dusty, unpaved road.

Halfway along that slow journey they made an unpublicized stop to have lunch at a small family-run tearoom in a hamlet called Doaktown. Even though this stop was unpublicized, people from near and far lined the roadway to get a glimpse of their monarch and his popular consort. The close-up photo shows them arriving, so elegantly dressed – a reporter stated that the Queen’s outfit was blue – and the hotel owners and staff later told all and sundry that Their Majesties were friendly and kind. The Queen “even” stepped into the kitchen to thank the ladies who prepared the meal.

That one-hour royal visit is probably Doaktown’s greatest claim to fame and there are many residents today who talk about the event of over seventy years ago as if it happened last week. The little girl who presented the Queen with a bouquet of fresh lilacs is still a bit of a local celebrity. The chairs used by the King and Queen were kept and each has a plaque affixed to it so that people will always know that the Queen sat in “This Chair” and the king sat in “That One”.

Refreshed, the royal couple then drove to the provincial capital: Fredericton. Awaiting them at the Legislative Assembly were 15,000 schoolchildren – local children as well as children and youth from a large portion of the province. Wendy1’s mother, father and step-mother and Geogirl’s mother all attended this event of a lifetime. Wendy1’s Mum lived a few blocks from the Legislature but Dad and Mum2 boarded trains in their respective villages with their fellow classmates to attend. Geogirl’s mum (and her Girl Guide troop) travelled 215 km by train – an exciting trip for a 10-year-old who had never been out of her own small village!

The children sat for hours on temporary wooden bleachers, each with their own lunches plus small bottles of milk which were provided for them. Their excitement reached a fevered pitch when Their Majesties finally arrived. It was reported that their roars of “We want the King! We want the Queen!” continued after they had entered the Legislature for a small ceremony of greeting. The din from the children was so loud that windows were closed but still the people inside the Legislature could hardly hear what was being said indoors. Fifteen thousand children are clearly capable of making a tremendous noise!

Photos of their visit to Fredericton (Editorial Note: Unless noted otherwise, the following photos are the exclusive property of the guest authors):

The royal couple has just arrived and are walking along the path to reach the steps of the Legislative Assembly. Note the sea of children (15,000!) crammed onto the bleachers.

Their Majesties went to the provincial government buildings for the official welcome and then on to lunch at the University of New Brunswick. Then they boarded a smaller, lighter train consisting of a locomotive, four day coaches, and a drawing room car for the short run (77 km) to Saint John where they arrived late in the day. A long gritty, dusty, hot, people-packed day that must have exhausted them. The scenery for them – trees, rolling hills, more trees, potato farmland (to become McCain’s heartland) and a lovely wide river crossed here and there by covered bridges. The next day they were up, the Queen was presented with a handmade quilt (perhaps it is still at Castle Mey or Balmoral?), and then it was on to Nova Scotia for the final leg of their marathon tour.

Britain · Guest Author

Community Week – Windsors in Canada (Preface)

Welcome to Community Week and the story of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their 1939 tour of Canada. We are grateful to guest authors geogirl and Wendy 1, who have generously shared their time, family memories and photos to provide this series of posts. After reading the preface, delve further into the tale in the next two parts, which will run on Thursday and Friday. You don’t want to miss the personal and treasured family photos!

It is 1931 and Canada was granted control over its own foreign policy and became the political equal of the United Kingdom, sharing a common monarch.

It is 1936 and the king, George V, is dead.

It is 1936 and the king, Edward Vlll, has abdicated.

It is 1937 and the king, George Vl, is crowned.

It is 1939 and the winds of war are circling around the Empire and Europe.

Canadian Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir invited King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth (later to be the Queen Mother) of a royal tour of Canada to foster Canadian unity and demonstrate Canada’s status as an independent kingdom. Canadians could “see their King, the King of Canada, performing royal functions, supported by his Canadian ministers”. And, of course, there was a subtext, to shore up support in North America for Britain should hostilities break out in Europe.


So…the royal visit of King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth began. They left Britain in a naval convoy in the Empress of Australia. Interesting fact: their ship carried 3550 bars of gold worth 30 million pounds! The gold was stored in Canada for safekeeping and later used to pay Britain’s war bills.

They arrived in Canada on May 17th and stayed for a month, crossing Canada twice by train – accumulating over 3200 miles on the beautiful royal blue Royal Train. They saw every Canadian province and most major cities, the Dominion of Newfoundland, and even spent a few days in the United States.

At the time, Canada had a population of about eleven million and from all reports, the majority of those people saw Their Majesties. Tens of thousands turned out everywhere – swamping many small towns of several hundred. And people lined the rail lines to wave and salute. For instance, in Edmonton, Alberta, the regular population of 90,000 swelled to more than 200,000. In Melville, Saskatchewan, over 60,000 people flooded to the town of 3,000. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the city’s population of 50,000 doubled as visitors came in to see the royal couple.

The visit truly was a spectacular event in Canada – uniting the country in a flurry of royal fervour!

This is the story of what Queen Elizabeth wore, her day dresses and jewelry (mostly tiaras, but you can see some brooches and earrings) and the impact she made on the parents of two Handbaggers from small town New Brunswick, who heard the stories over and over as they were growing up. The tour also saw the birth of the royal walkabout and the first use of the much-loved Maple Leaf Brooch. So, two degrees of separation….Let’s look in!

Guest Author · Netherlands


We are very lucky to have a guest writer for today’s posts, our friend Edwin Fellner from DutchRoyalJewels. Here’s Part Two of his fabulous report–including a special piece of new information! Enjoy!

#5 The “Stuart“ Diamond Bow Brooch

The diamond triple bow stomacher or devant de corsage was created by court jeweler E. Schürmann & Co from Frankfurt am Main, along with “Stuart“ tiara and necklace in 1898. He used elements and the house diamonds from the Orange-Nassau collection. The triple bows are set with old mine diamonds and three large stones set in the central axis. A cluster of diamonds and pear shaped diamonds pendants is suspended from the bottom bow. The brooch can be worn in several settings. Some of these diamonds date back from the 17th century. The two triangular rose cut diamonds belonged to Queen Mary II and are considered to be quite rare due to their age and shape.

Queen Wilhelmina has worn the bow brooch together with the tiara. Juliana was the first Dutch Queen who wore the complete “parure”. Beatrix has never worn any part of these jewels. The brooch reappeared in 2013 but not in it’s original setting. Queen Maxima opted to wear a smaller version (only the bows). Maxima waited until 2018, before she wore the full version again.

#6  The Mellerio Ruby Devant de Corsage

This diamond and ruby parure was a gift from King Willem III to his second wife, Queen Emma in 1889. Made by the famous jeweler Mellerio dits Meller in Paris, for the huge sum of fl.160.000, the diamond and ruby parure contains ornaments with a neo-renaissance design. The unique parure consists of: a diadem, necklace with a large clasp, brooch, devant de corsage, bracelet, earrings and a fan. This ruby set is by far the most complete parure in the Orange-Nassau collection. The rubies have an exceptional quality and there’s a large number of fairly large diamonds used which explains the enormous sum which was paid for this set. The large stomacher or devant de corsage, which can be taken apart to form smaller brooches or pendants, has the same motif as the festoons from the tiara. Queen Emma wore the lower central element from the devant de corsage with the pendants attached to a white gold chain necklace. Princess Margriet used the lower part of the central element as a brooch and Queen Beatrix wore the same central element attached to a rivière of diamonds. Not long ago, Queen Maxima surprised us all wearing a new version of the stomacher; the brooch combined with the stomacher’s lower part. Originally, the devant de corsage was planned as a middle part of the necklace. After trying the silver work-model, Queen Emma disapproved the original design and the middle piece became a huge stomacher.

Here’s the scoop!

#7 Mellerio’s large unknown Iris Flower Brooch

After the marriage of King Willem III and Emma, the Dutch jewel collection was substantially expanded. Willem spoiled his younger wife with the most expensive and beautiful jewels. After an initial small and careful order in November 1882, the Parisian jeweler Mellerio dits Meller received a huge(!) order from the Dutch King in May 1888. Tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, small brooches, hat pins and earrings were ordered for the young Dutch queen. A large part of these jewels are still being worn by members of the Dutch royal family. However, there’s one jewel of this royal shopping list, which is an unknown piece. The Mellerio bill from 1888 mentioned “1 broche fleur iris sapphires briljante et roses” meaning a huge diamond and sapphire iris flower brooch. So, we were well aware of the existence of this brooch, but we didn’t see this mysterious jewel ever. At the archives of Mellerio in Paris, we still can find the original working sketch of this exceptional piece of jewelry, but pictures of this brooch were missing…until now!

At the archives of the former court jeweler, I have found a few old pictures of the Dutch royal jewels.  And to my great surprise, I also discovered a clear picture of the Mellerio Iris Flower Brooch as described above! The brooch was pictured with other jewels and therefore is it possible to estimate the size of the brooch, estimated to be about 20 cm (almost 7.9 inches) long.

Unfortunately, this piece of jewelry has never been shown or worn in public . The logical question whether the brooch is still a part of the content of the Dutch vault or has been lost (broken up/given away), is hard to answer. I think we should putting our hope on our magpie, Max. Maybe, just maybe, she has a small surprise waiting for us in the future… Let’s hope so!

Which of this selection of Dutch devants de corsage delights you? What are your favorite appearances of these jewels?

What do you think of the Mellerio Iris Flower Brooch and when do you think would be the best time for Max to break it out and surprise everyone?