Morning everyone! Trying a new twist on our tiara posts here, and following along with the “Hall of Fame” series The Handbag/Sudsy is working on now. We’re going to have some Hall of Fame Tiaras, starting with one that were recently featured in OC’s ROYGBIV:Florals post.
Now since I don’t have a favorite floral tiara (they’re not really my thing), I thought I’d start with LIL’s absolute fave: The Spanish Floral.
A bit of history: this tiara was gifted to Princess Sophia by General Franco for her marriage to Inante Juan Carlos. Side note: this caused a touch of controversy when it was worn by Letizia on a visit to the Netherlands in 2013. The Royal House later clarified that the tiara was originally made for Alfonso XII’s second wife, Archduchess Maria Christina. It left the family, to later be acquired by Franco from the Madrid jeweler Aldao.
So there’s our fave. If it’s yours as well, please vote for it below. If you have another floral that has your heart, please vote for it using the “Other” option. We’ll tally them up, and let you know which one wins!!
Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown summer series, where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. In this entry, we examine how the size of location can influence the dress design. A royal bride needs to make an impact coming down the aisle. She needs to be seen not only in the venue, but by crowds on the street and often, on television screens. Previous entries in this series include: Danish Heirloom Lace and Royal Wedding Venues
Note: When I mention the size and scale of the venue, I am talking about the location of the actual religious ceremony. All these brides wore their gowns in several places on their wedding days; such is the whole point of a royal wedding.
Bride: Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti Designer: Valentino Venue: Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam Number of Guests: 1700
(Nieuwe Kerk By Arch – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5083699) (Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander by Image Source: Getty)
Nieuwe Kerk is an expansive fifteenth-century church, which is used primarily as an exhibition and arts space. Regular services are no longer held there, although is the venue for Dutch royal investiture ceremonies and the grandest of weddings. Valentino knew he had to design a dress that wouldn’t get lost in the space and the sea of guests. And he responded. He delivered a dress in heavy silk Mikado (it was February, and that helped the bride stay warm), with embroidered lace panels in the skirt that were revealed as the bride moved. But it was the back view which made the most of the venue. The designer included a five-meter (16 foot) train, and a floral hand-embroidered veil that rested over the train. The entire effect made the beautiful bride visible and interesting from front and back, and a lovely complement to her surroundings.
This one is definitely worth a watch from the camera placed above the events. You will definitely get a feel for the scale of the venue, and the way the gown and train fill the space.
Bride: Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano Designer: Manuel Pertegaz Venue: Santa María la Real de La Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain Number of Guests: Approximately 1700 (unofficial)
(Santa Maria Cathedral By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39902190) (Queen Letizia and KIng Felipe by Image Source: Getty)
Madrid’s cathedral is relatively new. Begun in 1879, it was constructed in fits and starts throughout the 20th century and finally consecrated by Pope John Paul in 1993. It was built to impress, size-wise, and to make a statement that Madrid was the country’s spiritual capital. The ceilings soar, and the main aisle is 102 meters long. Considering this length, Manuel Pertega designed a dress that is narrow, but long. The skirt extends from the waist and flows into a train measuring 15 feet, or 4.5 meters. From the front, the bride is a slim column, but from the side and rear, she takes up space. The dress is made from Valencia silk woven with threads of fine silver, and embroidered with fleur-de-lys flowers, the heraldic fleur-de-lys, ears of wheat, clover, and strawberries. The veil echos the shape of the train. Made from off-white silk tulle and hand-embroidered, it is embellished with scrolls and garlands of ears of wheat, and fleur-de-lys.
The criticism of this dress is that it appeared to overwhelm the slender bride, and indeed in motion, there are times when it looks like she struggles to control all that fabric. In still photos, however, you can see what the designer aimed for, the feeling of stature in an enormous venue.
Bride: Lady Diana Spencer Venue: St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Designers: David and Elizabeth Emanuel Number of Guests: 2,650
(St. Paul’s Cathedral By Photo: Harland Quarrington MoD/MOD, OGL v1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26907705) (Princess Diana and Prince Charles by Image Source: Getty)
We can’t talk about scale without talking about this wedding. St. Paul’s is one of the grandest possible venues possible for a wedding. The present building dates from the late 17th century, and was designed in the English baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren . The dome dominates the London skyline, and the building is one of the largest churches in England. It can hold up to 3,500 worshipers. By any measure, this is an impressive space.
First-time royal wedding dress designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel had a task in front of them to make their very young bride both visible and memorable in the midst of all the space, people and hubbub of this event. When talking about the failures of the dress, most people point to the eighties excess and the wrinkled fabric, however, their major success was that the designers correctly accounted for the scale of the event. A pared-down, minimalist bride would have been lost in this venue, and the designers understood that.
The Emanuels delivered a dress that was big by any measure. The fabric was an ivory pure silk taffeta with Carrickmacross lace panels, said to be from Queen Mary, at the front and back of the bodice. The volume was achieved in the full skirt, lace-flounced sleeves, and a neckline enhanced with taffeta bows. The old lace-trimmed train was twenty-five feet long.
Time often isn’t kind to this dress, but there is no denying the effect of the very young bride, in her very big dress, on the steps of one of the grandest cathedrals of them all.
Let’s face it, she has autumn, winter and spring swagger, too, but she’s worn some good stuff this summer in particular. Before she disappears into her summer break, let’s take a look at some of her recent outings. As always, an enormous hat tip to our own Iselen for bringing her styles to our attention, and to the blog Queen Letizia Style for filling in with details. Head there to get more intel, and to find out what Leti has worn to these events in the past.
First up, my favorite, and once again I am puzzled by my own inconsistency. I don’t like handkerchief hems, smocking on adults, most florals, and most flowy fabric. But this is ….. a great exception. Letizia visited Oviedo to open the 2019 summer courses of the International School of Music. She wore this print dress by Maje, a French label, in the ‘Rayema’ style. I think the deep v, which opens the neckline, goes a long way to mitigating any overwhelming feeling from the print. And, yes, you can dress like a queen because the dress is $204 (U.S.) at maje.com.
Two wonderful repeats, the coral/peach Michael Kors that was first worn to a visit at the White House, and a red lace Carolina Herrera that is on (at least) its fourth outing. I add them here because they are quintessential Leti. She paired the Kors with a royal lady ponytail and some pretty well matched shoes, and the Herrera with Herrera slingbacks.
Leti wore this repeat fit and flare Herrera for audiences at Zarzuela last Friday, although I seem to have blocked the first wearing out of my mind so I was pleasantly wowed all over again. I am particularly intrigued by the LODI burgundy suede ankle strap pumps, although my own feet scream in agony over the thought of wearing them. I’ll just enjoy them on Leti’s soles of iron.
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.
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.
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!
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!