Britain

Royal Wedding Gowns – British Embroidery

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown feature, where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. Today we’ll talk about how embroidery can transform an ordinary bridal look into that worthy of a royal wedding. We will focus on three British weddings.

Sadly, it is worth noting that photos, even high-quality photos, can’t reveal all of the nuances of embroidered elements. In some cases, we’ll have to rely on descriptions from those who have seen the gowns in person.

Previous entries in this series include Danish Heirloom Lace , Royal Wedding Venues, Venue Size and Scale, Historical and Artistic References, and Orange Blossoms.

Bride: Princess Elizabeth
Designer: Norman Hartnell

This is the grandmother of all symbolically embroidered gowns. Initially, there were fears that the entire wedding would be a quiet and reduced scale affair. The country was still under rationing, but royalty being what it is, Princess Elizabeth was allowed an additional 200 coupons for the creation of her dress. She then engaged Norman Hartnell, the king of exuberant embroidery, to design her gown. Fears of a grim, ration-induced celebration and un-embellished gown were set to rest.

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The overall theme of the dress is rebirth and growth after World II, and Hartnell used Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece Primavera as an inspiration. He blanketed the bodice and skirt with diamanté-encrusted star flowers, roses, jasmine blossoms and ears of wheat using thousands of seed pearls, silver thread, crystals, and tulle appliqués.   The dress included an unusual silk tulle train, embroidered in a star pattern, which was starkly visible when viewed against the dark flooring of the Abbey. It is a lot of embroidery, and a heavy dose of symbolism – the message of Queen-to-be and country beginning anew is strong.

Primavera/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Bride: Princess Mary
Designers: Messrs Raville

1922: From left to right; Queen Mary, King George V, with their daughter Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, the Princess Royal, and Viscount Lascelle, 6th Earl of Harewood, on their wedding day. (Photo by W. & D. Downey/Getty Images)

World War I was fresh in the collective memory of Britain when Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, married Viscount Lascelle. The Princess elected to pay honor the British Empire with the embroidery of her dress. The symbols in the gown reflected the contributions of the Empire and Dominions to the Allied cause during the First World War.

Princess Mary’s wedding gown is to be of cloth of silver of magnificent design. The material was bought by the Queen from India some years ago and is described as a triumph of native manufacturing

The Associated Press

 The hand-woven ivory silk as embroidered with floral symbols, including the maple from Canada, the lotus from India, the wattle from Australia and the fern from New Zealand.

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Bride: Meghan Markle
Designer: Clare Waight Keller
, for Givenchy

Meghan Markle was an American marrying a British prince, and both their wedding and her wedding dress were highly anticipated. She chose to announce her new-found commitment to husband, family, and country by wearing a veil that embodied the elements of her new role. The Prince and the Duchess of Sussex are Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors. To emphasize the importance of this role, Clare Waight Keller designed the 16-foot veil with embroidered signature flowers from the 53 Commonwealth countries. In a nod to Duchess’ home state, a California poppy was also included. According to the Duchess, the veil details were a secret to everyone prior to her entrance, and she reported later that Prince Harry, in particular, was touched and delighted by the thoughtful inclusion.

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Detail of Veil, Screen Capture Pedestrian TV

Which of these showcases the best symbolic use of embroidery?
Britain

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

ROYGBIV-Yellow!

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.

Zimbio

The Duchess of Sussex in a bright surprise last year.

Pinterest

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

Norway

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

Denmark

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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Sweden

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.

Japan

Here we have an interesting entry from Michiko.

Zimbio

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

New My Royals

Netherlands

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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Spain

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!

Britain

Commonwealth Day 2019

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On Monday, March 11 the British Royal Family celebrated Commonwealth Day 2019. The senior members turned up at Westminster Abbey in their coated and hatted best.

Queen Elizabeth led the pack in a lovely shade of purple, wearing the Kent Amethyst brooch.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was also in purple, wearing a floofy hat.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore a repeated red Catherine Walker coat, last seen on the Australia/NZ jaunt.

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wore a new Victoria Beckham dress with a cream coat. Not 100% behind her hat, reading a bit “1970s nurse” to me.

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PM Theresa May was also in attendance, adding one more to the floofy hat squad.

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What do you think about this year’s attendees?