Random Royaling – Order of the Civil Merit

King Felipe and Queen Letizia, accompanied by Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia, attended the Order of the Civil Merit (Orden del Mérito Civil) ceremony at the Royal Palace. Established by King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1926, the order rewards civic virtues of officers in service for the State.

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There isn’t much intel on the dresses worn by Letizia, Leonor and Sofia, which is too bad because they are good. Letizia’s dress features tabs decorated with jeweled buttons at the waist. She is wearing her Bulgari aquamarine earrings and a diamond and sapphire bracelet. Excellent up close photos are available at New My Royals and Queen Letizia Style.

I particularly like Sofia’s cream dress with a bow gathering the fabric at her waist, an usual design feature that’s still appropriate for her age. Leonor’s dress features a pattern, slightly high waist and 3/4 length sleeves. She accessorized with her Order ribbon. Both girls seem significantly more mature than the last time we saw them, but that happens at their ages.

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Yes indeed, there is grown-up Sofia and grown-up Leonor, lurking in those faces.

What do you think of the Spanish women in this outing?

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!


Brit Brief – Order of the Garter

The hofdames can already feel the excitement building for this year’s Order of the Garter ceremonies. In addition to the usual pomp and the appearance of the senior Windsors, both King Felipe and King Willem-Alexander will be invested. The proceedings will be held at St. George’s Chapel. We will bring you all the details in an additional post, with some possible special guest contributions, as soon as we have them.

If you want to remind yourself what the ceremony is about, head here. Until we get the special post up, please use this post to add any comments or photos you might happen upon. Treat this as a mini-open post (although we’ll have a real Brit Brief Open Post starting tomorrow, for Ascot week).

The official photos with Her Majesty have been released. This is quite obviously a very big deal, even to the royals who are used to big deals.

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Queen Letizia is wearing a Cherubina hat and dress, and Queen Maxima is wearing Claes Iversen. Queen Letizia Style has already posted a run down on Leti’s ensemble, and our Iselen has provided many details in the comments. Triple-A has similarly been on the case providing us with information on Max’s clothing and accessories.

Let’s do a quick rundown on what some of the Windsor ladies wore.

Princess Alexandra was in her full regalia, riding in the procession, and looking healthy and good. I love a good Alex sighting. All is well with the world.

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Princess Anne, also in full regalia. Is it any surprise that she wears this well?

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Sophie was in a repeated Suzannah dress and Jane Taylor “disc” hat, with some nifty pearl drop earrings.

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Kate, to no one’s surprise I am sure, wore a new Catherine Walker “Liza” dress and Sylvia Fletcher percher, which is described as designed in the “Lion Tamer” Percher style. You tell me what that means, but it is one of my favorite hats. She wore the Collingwood pearl drop earrings.

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Camilla was just so very Camilla like in her Anna Valentine Dress, Five Strand Pink Topaz choker, and Philip Treacy hat. I hope this is a good sign for big hattage through Ascot! I also just love this view of Letizia’s dress, so I couldn’t help but slip her in again.

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A lovely and iconic group, right? There is a tantalizing glimpse of the Duchess of Gloucester in back, as well, in a fresh blue dress with what looks like Princess Alice’s diamond clips on the lapels.

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A great day, sartorially and historically. It was also a great day here! Hat tip to all the following blogs Queen Letizia Style, ModekoninginMaxima, What Kate Wore and Regal Fille. If you are at all interested in the royal hattage, Royal Hats is a must stop. Also, find Triple-A’s comments on Max’s hat re-do in the comments. Thanks to you all, for all your comments and contributions. This would be a dull and dry corner of the internet without you!

Belgium · Denmark · Norway · Royal Recap · Spain

Royal Recap – Globetrotters

The standard Royal Recap will return in a couple of weeks. We just have too many tours to discuss, so many that this post should be subtitled: Official and UnOfficial Visits: Everyone is Doing It!

We’re going to dispense with tour formalities and just do quick hits for each royal lady. You may catch a glimpse of their better halves, but then again, I make no promises ; ). We are busy here.

Ok, everyone! Hit your marks and let’s go.


King Harald and Queen Sonja made an official trip to Chile, and it was Chile’s lucky week because Sonja pulled out some sophisticated bold stripes and pattern mixing and matching.

Quick Hit One: Sonja understands that a Queen must be visible, and this dense and vibrant striped ensemble definitely draws the eye. It also is entirely flattering, colorwise. I always dig her sunnies.

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Quick Hit Two: Sometimes, you have to back away from the color and just go with a bold stripe to set yourself apart from the crowd. I have always liked Sonja in grey, but I think this jacket might be a bit long, a bit too overwhelming for her small frame.

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Quick Hit Three: I always like a good pattern mix and match, and Sonja agrees with me. I like this version of the scarf as neck bow so much better than the tight, short versions sported by some of our younger royals. Hello, Harald ; ).

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For a week, Argentina housed four of the best looking people on the planet. Lucky Argentina is on their second royal visit in as many weeks, and Leti and Felipe are up. Check out Queen Letizia Style for details and lots more photos.

Quick Hit One: The arrival. Leti is wearing what is described as a jade green Hugo Boss sheath dress – I would call the color more watery green myself. Leti + Sheath = Certain Success

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Quick Hit Two: The official welcome. Leti is wearing a sleeveless cream Pedro Del Hierro. I am very fond of Juliana Awada’s lovely navy, which reminds me of the night sky.

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Quick Hit Three: Vivid orange Zara, assymetrical to boot. My favorite thing about this outfit is the fabulous bee brooch – and brooches aren’t usually my thing.

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Quick Hit Four: I wish I had information on Juliana Awada’s fabulous cocktail dress, but alas I do not. Leti shines in red, as she always does. This dress is by Roberto Torretta.

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Quick Hit Five: The fabulous Awada and Letizia managed to mirror each other without matching cutely – quite a feat. Leti is wearing a repeated polka dot Massimo Dutti dress.



King Philippe and Queen Mathilde embarked on an official visit to Korea, and Mathilde packed a boatload of clothes with an Asian theme.

Quick Hit One: Tils brought along not one, but two, Armani coats, both with embroidery that extend a diplomatic nod to her hosts.

Quick Hit Two: She pivoted back to her favorite designer, Natan, for the next two outings. I prefer the outfit without the jacket, which you can see at ModekoninginMathilde. A few astute internet observers have pointed out the outfit’s resemblance to Tils Benelux Sister In Sartorial Adventures, Max.

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Quick Hit Three: The state banquet was “smart” dress, not a tiara occasion. No big jewels, but there was some sparkle added to the pale blue pleated skirt, again by Natan. Tils also sported some lovely blue topaz earrings, which some think might have been an inheritance from Fabiola.

Quick Hit Four: Tils in jaunty red, unidentifed designer. But my favorite! The color is great for her and she just seems happy and youthful in this ensemble.


Mary made a quick unofficial visit down to Ethiopia in support of her favorite causes: equality and rights for women and girls. For more information on the trip, and some incredible photos, see Style of Mary

Quick Hit One: Mary was the guest of honor at dinner hosted by Ethiopia’s first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde. She became Ethiopia’s first female president last year. Mary is wearing a Vilshenko printed midi dress – a mirror image of a white version we have seen in the past.

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Etiopien fik sidste år sin første kvindelige præsident, og i aftes havde hun inviteret H.K.H. Kronprinsessen og udviklingsminister Ulla Tørnæs på middag i anledning af deres besøg i det østafrikanske land. Med høje ambitioner på særligt ligestillingsdagsordenen satte Etiopiens premierminister sidste år et nyt ministerhold, hvor der er lige dele kvinder og mænd. Den etiopiske regering har ambitioner om at skabe lige muligheder på det sociale og økonomiske område, og kvinder markerer sig i stigende grad som iværksættere og virksomhedsledere. I den forbindelse besøgte Kronprinsessen og udviklingsministeren i denne uge Etiopien. Besøget havde fokus på FN’s verdensmål 5 om ligestilling mellem kønnene og kvinder og pigers rettigheder og muligheder.

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Quick HIt Two: Mary is just like us! She is wearing a Malene Birger blouse and practical pair of North Face pants, which I do believe I have seen in my own closet. Quite down to earth for visiting the children in a school at Shire.

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I går ankom H.K.H. Kronprinsessen til byen Shire i regionen Tigray, hvor én af Etiopiens største flygtningebefolkninger befinder sig. Her mødte Hendes Kongelige Højhed både en gruppe skoleelever, der har fået bidrag fra Dansk Flygtningehjælp, og en gruppe uledsagede mindreårige, der udgør en stor beskyttelsesudfordring i de etiopiske flygtningelejre. De mindreårige er ofte flygtet alene med henblik på at blive genforenet med familiemedlemmer, der i nogle tilfælde flygtede for flere år siden. Onsdagens besøg var sidste del af Kronprinsessens besøg i Etiopien sammen med udviklingsminister Ulla Tørnes. Her har Kronprinsessen og ministeren i to dage besøgt det østafrikanske land med fokus på FN’s femte verdensmål om ligestilling mellem kønnene. 📸 Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix ©️

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That’s it folks! Whew, time for everyone to REST.

Which tour is your favorite?
Arbitrary Apparel Appreciation

Arbitrary Apparel Appreciation–Juliana Awada

Juliana Awada is the wife of Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri. The couple visited King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia on a state visit to Spain in February 2017. The state banquet was at the Royal Palace of Madrid, a gorgeous back drop for a gorgeous dress.

Alamy stock photos, in case you couldn’t tell from the watermarks.

I LOVE the subtle sparkle shown in the first photo, because it really elevates this dress to black tie. The soft pink is incredibly complementary to Mrs. Argentina’s complexion and the dress moves beautifully.

The video below cracks me up because for all of the orchestration involved in state visits, the age old issue of photo placement happens to the best of us.

There has always been commentary that the top looks a little too close to a bathing suit for comfort, and I can see the case for that. I think the beading and the delicate fabric accents mitigate that aspect and bring this somewhat old-fashioned dusty rose into a fresh and modern black tie gown.

Even the Queen appreciates the garment! Oh, how I love that sparkle.

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Oh yeah, you may have noticed this was the banquet at which Letizia debuted La Buena and the earrings from the Joyas de Pasar.

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What do you think of Ms. Awada’s gown?

If you could, what jewels (of any house) would you style this gown with?

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