Prinsjesdag Preview

Tomorrow is Prinsjesdag, the yearly event during which the monarch of the Netherlands addresses a joint session of the Dutch congress. The event is quite a spectacle, and follows very specific traditions, particularly in the sartorial department. Here is a quick primer at Order of Splendor.

So…. that leads us to our business. To get in the mood, let’s post our favorite Prinsjesdag ensembles. Although Max is always a great source, don’t limit yourself. Queen Beatrix was always a delight at this event, and Laurentien often astounds us with many surprising combinations. You can even throw back to previous monarchs, if you feel inclined.

Here is a sampler of our favorites. What are yours?


In Defense of the Tiara – The Dutch Pearl Button

For our next face off, we’re doing some convertible tiaras. From a little convertible, like today’s to some that have more options than you can count!

Today though we are focusing on a tiara that was converted from a vault fave to a very special wedding tiara: The Dutch Pearl Button.

The original tiara

The History

It is thought that the base of the tiara once belonged to Queen Sophie, but while the design is close, it’s not exact.

The buttons of this tiara started as small brooches that also belonged to Queen Sophie.

However the pieces started life, they came together in 1967 for Princess Margriet to wear for her wedding to Pieter van Vollenhoven.

The tiara also played a part in Queen Beatrix’s inauguration.

It was worn by various members of the Royal Family, through the 80s and 90s, and the base was used to created Máxima Zorreguieta’s wedding tiara. The stars for Máxima’s tiara came from the Royal Vault; they are 10-point diamond stars brooches that once belonged to Queen Emma.

The Case for the Tiara

LG: While the original design of this piece doesn’t “wow” me, it’s a good piece for any Royal Vault: good size, pearls, diamonds, and seems to work on everyone. That said, Max’s version of this one is one of my Top 5 Wedding Tiaras (oh…there’s an idea for a post…). She looked stunning, and managed to take a very standard tiara and make it her own.

The Handbag: I love it, particularly in the star format. I like the space and airyness of it, if you can call something so laden with pearls and diamonds and design airy. It is also a great match to the two major wearers, Oma and Max. Not easy, since both are strong but different personalities.

The Case against the Tiara

OC: This is not my favorite piece in the Dutch vault. I appreciate how it can be changed around and I prefer the star version. That being said, it leaves something to be desired in overall design. Perhaps it is the size of the toppers which require spacing that isn’t appealing to me?

LiL: I don’t know. I like it with the stars, and I like it on darker hair, especially the way Princess Margriet has it styled. But it sort of all falls apart on blondes. So unless it’s earmarked for “Middle A”, I’m going to have to pass.

What are your thoughts on the Dutch Pearl Button Tiara?

In Defense of the Dress – Maxima in Beccaria Blue

Welcome back to In Defense of the Dress, where we take a another look at dresses that brought on the divisiveness the first – or second, or third – time around.

The Facts

Queen Maxima attended the benefit gala dinner for the Princess Maxima Center for children’s oncology in the Concert building on September 5, 2017. She wore a Luisa Beccaria organza printed dress, in a light blue over white print. The dress sported a flowing skirt, deep v-neck and wide, sheer sleeves. She had the neckline modified from the plunging version of the original, no doubt for the sake of modesty. She accessorized with a diamond, sapphire and moonstone necklace.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Luisa Beccaria Organza Printed Wide Sleeves Dress

The Case for the Dress

The Handbag: Just look at her! It’s floating! It’s feminine. It’s summery and flattering. Busy? Well, yes, but who can tame busy-ness better than Maxima? And she chose just the right accessories. I not only approve, I want to see Catharina-Amalia or Alexia swirl in wearing this one day. Chef’s kiss.

LG: Love it! It’s everything I want in Max gown. Great fit, beautiful design and bell sleeves. The fact that its blue just adds to the perfection!

LiL: OC is on her own here because I LOVE THIS. It’s just the right amount of BoHo for me. Lively pattern, fabulous shades of blue, and…AND… A DROP DEAD GORGEOUS NECKLACE to boot. Okay, so maybe the necklace isn’t technically part of the dress, but who cares, am I right? Max nailed it.

The Case Against the Dress


OC: I don’t have much here. It’s ok. Nothing really to swing me either way in any sort of grand fashion swing.

How do you feel about Max in Beccaria?
Britain · Netherlands · Spain

Royal Wedding Gowns – Scale and Size

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,
(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.

Embed from Getty Images

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, (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.

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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, (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.

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Which gown do you feel was scaled best to the venue?

Random Royaling – Maxima Visits the Money Exhibition

Yearning for some old school royaling, including gloves, brooch and hat? Queen Maxima is here to serve.

Embed from Getty Images

The caption at Getty said that Maxima was visiting a “Money Exhibition” and I couldn’t resist the alliteration of that title; however the actual event was ‘Gek op Geld’ , or Crazy about Money. The exhibit was held at the Tax and Customs Museum in Rotterdam and organized under a general financial education theme, which fits with Max’s work in micro-finance.

The light blue dress with a wide neck, ending in a deep v, is a repeated Natan. It’s the fourth time around for it, and the design house must be wearing me down because I like it more and more with each outing. I am not sure that I have ever seen those earrings or that brooch before, but I am sure we have some commenters (cough Triple A cough) who have. The jaunty ponytail is something she should default to more often, I think.

And Triple A came through, as he does ; ).

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Yesterday, Maxima did wear jewelry from her personal collection. The earrings and brooch aren't new, in fact they were acquired in the early years of their marriage. The swan brooch made from gold, has little diamonds in the neck and breast part, eyes of emerald and wings made of (probably) moonstones. Maxima's earrings are not unknown as well… Remember last week? Order of the Garter? 😉 But this wasn't the first appearance, Max has worn these multicolored gemstones earrings set in gold since 2001, made by @steltmanjewelry in The Hague. #dutchroyaljewels #earrings #brooch #jewels #royalty #diamonds #emerald #moonstones #amethyst #diamonds #instaroyals #royals #dutch #queenmaxima #steltmanjewelry @steltmanjewelry

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What do you think about this Natan repeat? Worth seeing the fourth time around?