Denmark

Masterpiece Theater: Margrethe II and the Danish New Year

In Danish tradition, Queen Margrethe hosts New Year Receptions. She often wears a fur trimmed navy blue dress with her various honors. She wears it so often, there have been cries for change, but I truly do see this outfit as another piece of Masterpiece Theater.

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These photos are from several different years, and yet they could be any year, and I’ve only put out a small sample to view! Put simply, continuity on display.

What say you? Royalty’s main function OR a frugal lady who refuses to bedazzle another brocade gown?

Sweden

Masterpiece Theater – Victoria 2014 Nobel Prize

It’s definitely a masterpiece appearance when your photo taken from behind is as glamorous as any taken from the front. Behold, Crown Princess Victoria at the 2014 Nobel Prize ceremonies.

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You are seeing the back of the Baden Fringe tiara, which is almost as glorious as seeing it from the front. This was the year that she first wore the large diamond cross from the Bernadotte family collection, which you see at the back of her neck. But you know what I love? I mean, just love, love, love? What elevates this from an ordinary gala appearance is the utter care taken from behind. Note the small brooch securing the sash on her back, and, the icing on the cake, the diamond lozenge brooch – said to be a favorite of Princess Lillian – in her hair.

A woman wearing both a tiara and hair bling is definitely royal, and probably a Queen in Training.

Want to see the front? Our OC has the post for you today!

So, what do you think of this Nobel turn? Is this a masterpiece of an appearance? Even just glimpsing it from behind?

Britain

Masterpiece Theater – Evolving Style of a Modern Princess

Hat Tip to our own geogirl for the information on the wedding dress!

We are going to reach way back and look at the life of one of the Edwardian era’s most sparkling princesses, Princess Patricia of Connaught. She was born in 1886, the youngest child of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Her grandmother was Queen Victoria, and her older sister was Princess Margaret of Connaught, later Crown Princess of Sweden.

In her day, she and Margaret were considered two of society’s great beauties. Their activities were followed by the public with the type of attention that is only known by celebrities today. So great were their charms their Uncle King Edward VII shopped them around as potential brides to most of the crowned heads of Europe. Margaret, of course, married the future King of Sweden, but Patricia married a Scot, and a commoner, for love.

Young Patricia
Wikimedia Commons, public domain

While unmarried, Patricia attended many high profile events. When Margaret married Sweden’s Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf in 1905, Patricia was a bridesmaid. As they were close relatives, she was an attendee at Edward VII’s coronation and the coronation of George V. It was a glittering life, and the tightly corseted, hyper feminine clothes suited the princess. Her hair also suited the full and fluffy styles of the times.

Right: Princesses Patricia and Margaret in coronation robes for Edward VII’s coronation in 1902. Left: The entire Connaught family, with Princess Patricia in profile, at George V’s coronation.
Wikimedia Commons, public domain

The 1905 wedding of Margaret of Connaught and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. Princess Patricia is at the far right.
Wikimedia Commons

When Patricia married Alexander Ramsay in 1919, she relinquished her title, although she did set a trend by being the first royal to marry at Westminster Abbey in almost 600 years. She wore a gown embellished with silver wire embroidery in a lily motif, a cloth-of-silver train and a lace veil anchored with a wreath of flowers. The dress silhouette is a reflection of the post World War I years, when women’s clothes lost the strict structure of the Edwardian era. The dress reflects the lack of corsetry and soft draping of that fashion era.

One of the issues I perceive in the clothing of women from this period is that the very details that made the clothing comfortable and freeing for women also obscure the figure. Thus, they don’t photograph well. Also, the flash photography does “white-out” much of the dress detail. I suspect this dress, with the silver embroidery, was spectacular in person. It must have sparkled mightily in the light.

The wedding dress of Princess Patrica, who left Westminster Abbey as “plain” Lady Patricia Ramsay
National Portrait Gallery

The dress itself continued on an interesting journey after the wedding. It is now part of the collection of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Museum, in Calgary, Alberta. It is the only British royal wedding dress to be housed outside of the UK.

What at first seems unlikely is actually a natural progression. Princess Patricia was born in England, at Buckingham Palace, no less. The family moved to Canada when the Duke of Connaught was appointed governor general in 1911. She was a fixture on the local scene, even attending the first Calgary Stampede. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took her name and the Princess and her family lived in Canada until 1916. The wedding dress was gifted to the LIght Infantry museum by Lady Saltoun, Flora Fraser, Princess Patricia’s daughter-in-law,

The wedding dress on display.
CBC News
The dress train, with its heavy embroidery.
CBC News

The dress is stored in a climate controlled environment and has been displayed only once before, in 2006.

Princess-Patricia-she-was lived out her life as plain old Lady Ramsay. She had one child, a son, and continued to appear in a lower key way at royal events. Stylistically, she embraced the 1920s, bobbing her hair and wearing long strings of pearls. Greatly influenced by Gauguin, she became an accomplished water color painter in her own right. She remained married to her husband until his death in 1972, and she herself died in 1974.

Lady Patricia Ramsay in the 1920s.
National Portrait Gallery, public domain

What is your take on Princess Patricia’s dress and story? Did she evolve with the times? Was she a modern princess with a wedding dress to match?

Spain

Masterpiece Theater–Infanta Elena at Crown Princess Victoria’s Wedding

GET. IT. GURL.

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On June 19th, 2010 Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo attended the wedding of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and Mr. Olof Daniel Westling (now known as Prince Daniel). She wore a stunning creation from Lorenzo Caprile which, for me, screams Spain. Sure, it borders on costume but just LOOK at it!

Infanta Elena is the older sister of King Felipe VI of Spain but since the country follows male-preference primogeniture, she was no longer the heir after her brother was born. That being said, this woman wore a dress to a foreign Crown Princess’s wedding that simultaneously projects her country, her station, and traditional elements all at once.

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A fiery, passionate color coupled with tassel accents shows honors classic Spanish elements. Historically, richly colored fabric was more expensive and therefore restricted to the upper classes. The bolero jacket echoes traditional matador traje de luces “suit of lights”. This term originated from the use of sequins and threads of gold and silver to create detailed embroidery. Bullfighting was also restricted to the upper classes and so the entire outfit displays nobility and dignity.

Elena also wore her hair in a traditional bun, as often seen in the Flamenco tradition with a festive snood.

(You know I just wanted to say snood, right?)

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Her tiara choice at this event was somewhat of a surprise, as she was recently divorced and the Marichalar Tiara was a gift from her ex-husband’s family for their wedding. You can read more about the tiara at The Court Jeweller or The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor.

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This dress had Spanish presence to match the Spanish princess.

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Elaborate, yet elegant. What say you?

Norway

Masterpiece Theater: Mette Marit’s Wedding Gown

On August 25, 2001, Mette Marit Tjessem Høiby and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway became man and wife. The bride was stunning in Ove Harder Finseth’s ethereal design.

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It was a tough road for this couple, as MM was an unwed mother with a somewhat questionable past. She even apologized to the country during a pre-wedding press conference.

But let’s dive in to the dress itself. Silk crepe and over 400 feet of silk tulle form a traditional silhouette with almost a cloud-like feel.

OSLO 20010825: Kongelig bryllup i Oslo. Kronprins Haakon og kronprinsesse Mette-Marit ble viet i Oslo Domkirke lørdag 25. august. Kronprins Haakon Og Kronprinsesse Mette Marit danser brudevalsen i slottets store ballsal. Foto: Cornelius Poppe / Scanpix
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This dress, coupled with the fresh face makeup of the bride qualifies for the inaugural Masterpiece Theater because of the way it communicates deceptive simplicity, purity, renewal, happiness, and luxury all at the same time.

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We can’t leave this post without so many people’s favorite photo from that day.

What are your thoughts on the whole package?