Britain

A St. Patrick’s Day Retrospective

A bit of good news, folks. The current world situation did not cancel today’s annual Cambridge St. Patrick’s Day event! There wasn’t going to be one anyway! The Irish Guards are currently deployed out of country so let’s take a look back, starting with Kate’s first appearance in 2012 right on up through 2019. I think you will all agree with me when I say she’s come a long way in her comfortability (is that even a word?) from the first event to the last. Let’s go!

Kate first handed out the shamrocks in 2012. This was her first military engagement alone, and it was a big one. HMTQM was the main shamrock hander-outer back in the day, and those are some pretty big shoes to fill. She chose an Emilia Wickstead coat dress, and her Betty Boop hat by Lock & Co. Also worth note, this is not Domhnall, he didn’t join the regiment until 2013. This is his predecessor Conmeal, who was also a good boy.

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2013 was the first year that William joined her, and I must say he really added a punch to the visuals. She usually looks great no matter what, but toss in that Irish Guards uniform, and whoa. Kate opted for the same Wickstead coat she wore in ’12, which obviously didn’t fit quite as well since she was pregnant with George. But I have to be honest, this might be my favorite SPD ( St. Patrick’s Day) appearance so far. She got her heel stuck in a grate, her updo started to fall apart, and it decided to chuck down rain. But there were huge smiles and laughter all around, and it was our beloved Domhnall’s first time in the Big Show. How could anything have been wrong?

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2014 brought much better weather and a Hobbs coat topped off with a (I believe) Gina Foster hat. The Hair was in glorious shape here. Big, full, thick and healthy. It really deserves its own name, address, and zip/postcode.

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The duchess decided brown was the order of the day in 2015, and I think this might be my second favorite SPD appearance. Everything here just pops. Great Catherine Walker coat, great updo, and her brown Lock & Co . hat. Lovely.

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William and Domhnall were left to their own devices in 2016, after Kate was unable to attend. I have to tell you that the photos for this one were slim pickings. Thirteen pages worth of photos the year before, only two for William.

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2017 saw the whole gang together again, right before they hopped a plane for Paris. IMO, this is her most polished SPD appearance to date. Another Catherine Walker coat, this time with velvet accents which I LOVE, and a hat (rumor has it. It was never confirmed) by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co.  I want to say 2017 is the year she really upped her royal game, sartorially speaking. Everything about this look is classically ROYAL, if you know what I mean. Great job, Kate!

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Many were surprised to see Kate at the 2018 ceremony considering that Prince Louis’ due date was just over a month out, but she was there, looking quite well indeed. She wore the Catherine Walker coat that had made its debut on their trip to Sweden and Norway the month before, along with her Gina Foster hat.

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That brings us to our most current ceremony in 2019. She looks as marvelous as always, but I do believe this is my least favorite of her SPD outfits so far. Everything looks all sharp/pointy angles to me. Very severe. The outfit is by McQueen, and the hat is from Lock & Co. This was also our friend Domhnall‘s last SPD parade. He has retired and is living a wonderous life somewhere out there, rolling down hills and napping in the sun.

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I hope you enjoyed our look back at the very fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day events from the past eight years. Hopefully everyone is where they need to be in 2021, so we can meet the Irish Guards new mascot (they are still searching as of February) in his or her first SPD appearance.

I have to admit that my top three favorites are from when she was pregnant with each of her kids. She seemed very EXTRA. Extra smiley, extra laughy, extra EXTRA. What about you? Which of these was your favorite look?

Britain · Sweden

Rocking The Royal Lady Hard Hat

Will and Kate visited the Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot, South Wales on Tuesday, February 4th, and looking at her looking fabulous in a hard hat got your friendly neighborhood hofdames to thinking: What is it about Royal Ladies that makes them look so good in hard hats? Maybe you can tell us.

Since Kate is the one that kicked this whole question off, let’s take a look at her first. The other day in Wales, in Sunderland in 2018, and her first Royal Lady hard hat experience in Denmark, right after her wedding in 2011.

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Not to be out done, here are some other British royal ladies over the years. Look at Anne. You know she just single handedly provided power to Hucknall for the next six months.

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The British ladies certainly make an effort, but I’d be willing to bet Vickan wears more hard hats than anyone. It seems she’s good for at least a half dozen hard hatted engagements a year.

All Photos:Kungahuset

So what do you think of our choices? Do you have a favorite photo of royal ladies donning hard hats/safety gear? Drop them in the comments, and be sure to let us know why you think they look so good!

Britain

Random Royal Rotogravure

The Duchess of Cambridge popped on a Boden hat while touring a new EACH charity shop in 2016.

I thought she was just channeling her inner “Smooth Criminal”, but apparently it was a try before you buy situation.

Eight years in and we still get plenty of glimpses of the girl from Berkshire. Whether it’s at Wimbledon, an event for kids, or helping Prince Charles figure out how to iron, (that photo cracks me up everytime) show me your favorite photos of The Duchess of Cambridge being just “Kate”.

Britain · Netherlands · Spain

Order of the Garter–more fun!

The appointment of the Knights and Ladies of the Garter is in The Queen’s gift, without Prime Ministerial advice. Queen Elizabeth has appointed Felipe VI, King of Spain, a Stranger Knight in 2017 and Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands as a Stranger Knight in 2018.  As we all know, both Kings attended this year’s Garter Service.

Another fun fact is that our very generous contributor Gert-Jan de Wit  was in attendance at Windsor and has graciously allowed us to share some of his photos!  (You can see more of his work by taking a look back at the Corps Diplomatique Dinner posts) and by clicking on his name to see his website.  A huge thank you to Gert-Jan for always being so supportive of the Handbag–we can’t thank you enough!  Let’s get started!

The Princess Royal and the Duke of York

Elizabeth II has also created other Stranger Knights in the past.  Time for you to show us your research skills and show us your favorite photos of Garter Days past including Stranger Knights in the comments! 

Here’s a hint:  start with relatives of those Kings we see here in Gert-Jan’s amazing photos!

Britain

Brit Brief Open Post – Trooping the Colour

Today is the Queen’s Birthday!!! Ok, well not actually…that’s back in April. Today is her “official birthday” which includes a parade called the Trooping the Colour.

For newbies to the royal scene, this tradition goes all the way back to George II, when he combined the annual summer military march with his birthday parade (he was an October baby – and yes, we do rock!). The monarch’s birthday is usually celebrated during June, which has better weather than most of the actual birthday months of the monarchs. Some history here and here.

While the parade is all good and fun, what most people get the most excited about is the balcony appearance after the parade. Queen Elizabeth II, and pretty much all of her extended family, come out on the balconies of Buckingham Palace to watch a RAF flypast.

Since this event starts quite early (at least for those of us in the US), we’ll be back during the day with some pictures, but feel free to share below!

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The parade has begun and the woman of the hour has arrived, in a closed carriage. She appears to be entirely in beige, from hat floof to hem, as we like to say. A lovely sparkle in it, too.

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The Triple Duchess routine is in force, with the Duchess of Cornwall in mint green with a Wedgewood effect, the Duchess of Cambridge in a lovely yellow cream and the Duchess of Sussex looking sophisticated in navy. Prince Harry, lucky lad, is escorting all the ladies in one carriage. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were together, as were Sophie and Edward and their family.

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Some close-ups, for those who like to scrutinize detail. Meghan is reported to be in a bespoke design by Givenchy, Camilla in Bruce Oldfield with a Philip Treacy hat, and Kate in McQueen. Both Sophie and Autumn Philips are reported to be wearing dresses by Suzannah Fashion.

Princess Beatrice is wearing a pink Emilia Wickstead, also worn previously by Sophie (Ascot 2018) and Mette-Marit. I do love the detailing on Eugenie’s dress, which seems to have a textured effect.

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Lady Louise is repeating her ensemble from Princess Eugenie’s wedding.

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Autumn Philips in her Suzannah ensemble. I prefer this neckline to Sophies, only because of the interfacing factor. Those collars should stand at attention!

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Father, son and Aunt Anne in the Horse Guards uniform. The lower lip truly holds that hat on.

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Some peeping children, taking in the scene. Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are keeping an eye on things, and Prince George is all, “Eh. I’ve done this before. No need to wave ; ).”

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I think it’s fair to say that Prince Louis enjoyed both the flypast and his balcony debut.

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As always, the extended clan joined up on the balcony to watch the flypast. I enjoy this mother flanked by two sons configuration. Since we often don’t focus on Prince Andrew at this event, it’s nice to see him front and center with his mother and Charles.

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