Note: The Open Wedding Post will reappear tomorrow morning if you are inclined to share a part of your Saturday with us!
We are wrapping up our state visits by decade posts, and quite a ride it’s been. You chose the glittery 2006 Dutch State Visit to Belgium as your aughts favorite. Max, Mathilde, Fabiola, Paola, and Astrid, all in tiaras. It gets no better than that.
Let’s press on, for the 2010s await us. Heads up, you are going to have a tough time choosing this time around.
Belgian State Visit to Japan, October 2016
The Belgians and Japanese have a close diplomatic relationship, and that, coupled with the distance traveled, meant this State Visit was a long one. There were four days of clothes, tiaras, and royal interaction, and the couple stayed in the country for two more days.
The King and Queen arrived at Toyko International Airport, Mathilde a soigne presence in a subtle floaty blue. The first day of the visit was filled with events in the city, including two changes of clothes for the Queen. The royal couple attended a reception for the Belgian community at the Embassy and visited the Nezu Shrine.
#BELJAP2016 Meeting the Belgian community in #Japan @BelgiumEmbJapan #Tokyo pic.twitter.com/EXY0LINY8o
— Belgian Royal Palace (@MonarchieBe) October 10, 2016
On the second day, the Emperor and Empress officially greeted the visiting royals. There was a military review and then a meet and greet with the extended Imperial family. Colorful Tils was in very much in evidence here, and the Empress wore her trademark cape coat.
In the evening, a State Banquet was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Queen Mathilde’s orange gown is a nod to her hosts, and the dress train is a welcome royal touch since she wore the relatively restrained Wolfers tiara. As is their wont, the Japanese Imperial Family was there in support. The Empress, in black and white chic, was past her tiara-wearing days, but Crown Princess Masako wore the Pearl Sunburst tiara. Kiko and her daughters wore their personal diadems.
On Day Three, the King and Queen set off for Yuki from the Tokyo train station, and Emperor and Empress saw their guests off. The Empress’s ombre jacket won the day for me.
In Yuki, the King and Queen were hosted by the then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for dinner. Did we mention colorful Tils previously? Did you doubt it would continue?
The Belgian couple returned to Tokyo and hosted a concert in honor of the Emperor and Empress. The Empress wore an elegant kimono, and the Queen wore a columnar green ensemble with a brocade skirt. The fancy clothes did not stop them from sitting down to a righteous gossip session, either! Obviously, they all had a lot to talk about. The Belgian royals stayed in the country a couple more days, but at this point, they said their farewells to their royal hosts.
Spanish State Visit to Britain, July 2017
Four short years and an entire lifetime ago, this much-rescheduled State Visit had royal watchers riveted.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia were met by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and then proceeded to the Official Welcome. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh greeted their guests before heading to a carriage ride and inspection of the Guard. Both Queens were definitely visible in yellow and purple; we also had a rare glimpse of a hatted-up Queen of Spain. It’s definitely a HELLO AND WAKE-UP chapeau!
In the afternoon Queen Letizia changed into a bold red coat for tea with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and for a visit to Westminster, where the King made a speech to both Houses of Parliament.
The much-anticipated State Banquet was worth the wait, and I don’t say that lightly. The Queen of Spain wore a bold Felipe Varela off-the-shoulder gown and the magnificent Fleur-de-Lys tiara with the Joyas de Pasr earrings and bracelets. Queen Elizabeth wore the Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara and added some blue embroidery to her standard white evening kit. It worked delightfully in tandem with Letizia’s blue and white sash. It was a most magnificent showdown of sparkle.
Most unfortunately there are only car arrival photos of the supporting British cast. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Lover’s Knot Tiara, Princess Anne wore the Aquamarine Pineflower, Duchess of Cornwall wore the Greville, Princess Michael wore the Kent Festoon. the Countess of Wessex wore her Aquamarine Necklace Tiara (not pictured), the Duchess of Gloucester wore the Gloucester Honeysuckle (not pictured.)
On day two, the Spanish royals paid a visit to Westminster Abbey, accompanied by Prince Harry. They laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The Queen was subtle and summery in her Carolina Herrera printed skirt.
The Lord Mayor of London hosted a banquet for the Spanish Royals, and Princess Anne also attended. I suspect that Anne’s gown came from sector 4G of her immense, never-culled wardrobe because it has definite vintage vibes. However, the Festoon Necklace and Festoon Tiara make up for it. The Queen was her glam self, wearing her Floral tiara and the Joyas de Pasr bracelets.
On the final day, the Spanish royals said goodbye to their hosts. Queen Letizia opted for softly pastel soft pleated separates. Felipe and Letizia left London and paid a visit to Oxford – which they looked like they enjoyed immensely – prior to wrapping up the visit.
Dutch State Visit to Britain, October 2018
This State Visit was only two days but it packed a wallop, partly because it was jam-packed with activity, but primarily because of one important, history-making jewel appearance. The last state visit from the Netherlands was in 1982 so anticipation was high.
The first stop for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima was the Dutch Embassy, to meet prominent Dutch residents in London. Then they swung by the Dutch ambassador’s house to meet up with their friends Charles and Cams.
The Queen met the Dutch royals at the traditional Horse Guards parade, and they made their way to Buckingham Palace. I don’t know about you, but to me, these welcomes seem to be quite a celebration in themselves. I would be exhausted by the moves between several residences and chatting with shifting casts of characters. The royals, particularly Max, are pros and held their smiles throughout.
The afternoon included a visit to Westminster Abbey, a speech by the King to both Houses of Parliament, and ended up with tea at Clarence House. Honestly, at least Cams and the boys got to change. Max managed to make her by now well-worn outfit still look fresh as a daisy.
I certainly hope they got a nap in before the State Banquet that evening because Max had a workout in front of her. I picture this: the Dutch Queen looked at her friend Letizia’s La Buena appearance and said to Wax, “Darling, hold my champagne.”
Yes, Queen Maxima not Minima brought out the Full Stuart Tiara, with the Stuart Diamond Christmas tree topper. This is a serious neck and skull workout for the lady. Her gown and sheer cape are by Jan Taminiau, who understands her presence well. The Queen wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland and – no surprise here – one of her white gowns. The Duchess of Cornwall wore the Greville tiara and her Bruce Oldfield gown.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Lover’s Knot (Cambridge or Queen Mary, your choice) and an Alexander McQueen gown.
Princess Mabel dropped by to hang out (she lives in London) wearing the Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara. Princess Michael wore the Kent Festoon and Aquamarine drop earrings.
Photos of the other royals are elusive but there was great familial support. The Countess of Wessex (wearing the Five Aquamarine Tiara), the Duchess of Gloucester (in the Cartier Indian Tiara), and Princess Anne (in the Meander) were all in attendance.
Countess of Wessex, Duchess of Gloucester (📸 by @RegalEyes) & Princess Michael of Kent at the Dutch State Banquet at Buckingham Palace tonight!#NetherlandsStateVisit https://t.co/p49ZxuIpFm pic.twitter.com/3NL4rSxHFA
— The Royal Watcher (@saadsalman719) October 23, 2018
Day two was just as busy, but the Dutch royals did have time to meet up with some cohorts for the afternoon activities. I kept muttering “Sophster is such a treasure” when I was going through these photos. Just look at the rapport the Wessexes have with their European friends! Plus Sophie looks terrific here. The Queen is her vibrant self. I am sure the entire city center was blinking in her wake.
Threw this in there, because, love.
And back to Buck House, to say goodbye to their hostess. Whew, yes, that was two days. I hope they took a vacation after!