In Defense of the Tiara – Alex’s Kokoshnik

To round out a thoroughly British week here at the Handbag, lets discuss another of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite tiaras – Queen Alexandra’s Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara.

The History

This tiara was created for Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII and daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria, in 1888 for Edward and Alexandra’s 25th anniversary. It was designed at Alex’s request after a tiara of her sister’s, Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia (born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, and mother of the future Nicholas II). The tiara was a gift of The Ladies of Society, a collection of the 365 peeresses of the realm.

The tiara was created by Garrard, and was made of 61 platinum bars containing 488 diamonds, the largest two weighing in at 3.25 carats each. Upon Alex’s death in 1928, the tiara passed to Queen Mary, and then to Elizabeth II upon Mary’s passing in 1953.

The Case for the Tiara

The Handbag: It’s a wall of diamonds. A WALL OF DIAMONDS THAT YOU WEAR ON YOUR HEAD. I rest my case.

The Case against the Tiara

LG: While I appreciate a straight up wall of diamonds on someone’s head, the bars of this one remind me of popsicle sticks on a good day, and tongue depressors on a bad one.

LiL: I have to agree with LG. This is just too clunky/chunky/ ice-lolly-sticky for me. Zero personality.

OC: Unimaginative but I can’t deny the sparkle.


What do you think of Alexandra's Kokoshnik

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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Britain · Denmark · Netherlands · Norway · Spain · Sweden


Welcome to this week’s edition of ROYGBIV clothing! We’ve now made it to yellow. If you’d like a refresher, please feel free to revisit Red and Orange!

Let’s get started!

United Kingdom

Betty looks amazing! I love the crustiness of this dress combined with the sheer cape action. She always looks good in a bright yellow no matter her age.


The Duchess of Sussex in a bright surprise last year.


Any finally, Princess Michael. Not sure what’s going on up top but I really appreciate the skirt on this gown.


Mette Marit does NOT wear a lot of the brighter colors, so I was pleased to find this entry from 2010.


Mary famously did a spread in Australian Women’s Weekly and wore this gorgeous yellow gown.

And while not completely yellow, I quite enjoyed this appearance at Captain Sweden’s birthday in 2016.

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Sofia makes her ROYGBIV debut wearing this yellow gown to a family friend’s wedding.

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Oh, Victoria. Remember when you wore your mom’s old dress? Unfortunately, despite all efforts, I remember it too.


Here we have an interesting entry from Michiko.


And look at this ray of sunshine from Masako. Le swoon.

New My Royals


Máxima, as usual, has some high moments and low moments with the color yellow. A high? This fab dress worn to Mr. & Mrs. Monaco’s wedding. Hey there Wax in your dress whites…I see you.

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This? This is not my favorite, though I could defend it if I had to. Bonus Oma sighting (in one of my favorite outfits of late)!

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Letizia’s Daffodil Dream worn to Spain’s state visit to Betty back in 2017 was a real departure for her and The Handbag was HERE for it! Hats and gloves on a Queen of Spain set many hearts aflutter.

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What say you about these yellow designs?

Tell us your thoughts and show us some of your yellow favorites in the comments!

Breaking News

Breaking News

As many of you may know, a major fire has broken out at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The spire and roof have collapsed, and the early estimates are the interior will be a total loss. We realize this isn’t exactly a royal story, but since we are a community here, and many may have fond memories of Notre Dame, we are opening this post up for your memories, thoughts, photos and a place to share.

Many of our royal faves have spent time at the Cathedral.

Elizabeth II and Philip

Carl Gustaf and Silvia have attended a St. Lucia concert at Notre Dame.

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Marie Chantal of Greece has tweeted regarding the fire

Please feel free to share your stories and photos below.