Friday, 22 September 2017

Royals on the Vanity Fair Best Dressed List 2017

It kind of snuck under the radar this year. Vanity Fair's Best Dressed List is always pored over by royal watchers keen to see whose style has hit the mark in the past twelve months but this time round it was somewhat eclipsed by another item in the same month's magazine, an interview with a certain Meghan Markle. Let's face it, we're all convinced that Meghan will be gracing this list in the coming years with an HRH in front of her name. She's not on the 2017 line up but we do get a couple of royal nods. Here's who hit the Vanity Fair heights in the style stakes for this year...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

5 royal outfits for a civil marriage

Royal civil weddings, eh? Why on earth would anyone be thinking about those right now? Odd. But as we are, let's talk outfits. Several European royals have had a civil and religious wedding on the same day in which case there's no change for the bride. They can keep their big frocks to themselves right now. We're looking at outfits made purely for a civil marriage. Other brides have said 'I do' in front of a registrar in a different outfit from the one worn to the church for their religious wedding or blessing afterwards. Among them is Claire Lademacher whose civil wedding to Prince Felix of Luxembourg took place on September 17th 2013. In honour of that, and the possibility we might just be doing civil weddings in the UK again sometime soon, here's a look at five recent times we've seen royal brides dressed for a civil marriage.

Friday, 15 September 2017

September 15th, a royal day of destiny

September 15th is pretty important in modern royal history. A quartet of celebrations are marked on the date every year, making it about as regal a day in the diary as you can find, Three birthdays and one accession with their own place in the royal story of 21st century Europe.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sapphires for September: the Netherlands

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in the sapphire tiara of her royal house on the day her husband ascended the throne

Sapphires are stunning and the regal blue of the deepest stone has made them a favourite for royals for centuries. The modern royal families of Europe possess some pretty cracking tiaras set with sapphires and among the most striking is the one that belongs to Dutch ruling house. The sapphire tiara of the Netherlands is among the most photographed of recent times after Queen Maxima chose to wear it on the day her husband became monarch. But that historic appearance was just the latest chapter in the tale of this diadem. Here are more sapphires for September.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Prince George, King of Instagram

In a world where image is king, one ruler in waiting has it licked. Prince George has scored yet another huge hit on the official Kensington Palace Instagram account, his third big success in just six weeks. For while this channel, the most followed of all the official accounts belonging to Europe's royal households, always gets big love for its photos, the recent pictures of George that it's shared have taken it into new territory. The prince is hitting hearts like no other before him. This summer, George is the King of Instagram.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Sapphires for September: Luxembourg

Spot the sapphire - the sparkling Nassau tiara as worn by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg in an official portrait
(photo Grand Cour Ducale)

Sapphires have sparkled in regal jewel collections for centuries and their deep blue colour is as much associated with royalty as any other. The birthstone for September can be found in stunning settings in the jewel boxes of many of the current ruling houses of Europe. Here's Luxembourg's dazzling diadem in sapphires for September.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Prince and the President

They've looked to be in complete harmony for years now so it was no surprise that the latest meeting between the Prince of Wales and his friend, the President of Ireland, came at a celebration for an anniversary with musical links. Charles and Michael D Higgins met up again at Dumfries House in Scotland where, among other things, they helped mark a quarter century of Classic FM. And this bond between the heir to the British throne and the President of the Republic of Ireland is turning into a real classic itself.

Royal Baby Name Focus: Alexandra

It's the royal name that just won't go away. Every time the Duchess of Cambridge announces she's pregnant, the name Alexandra crops up on the list of favourites for a girl. It was the top pick for punters in 2013 who placed bets before the first Cambridge royal baby turned out to be a boy and it more than held its own in 2015 in the flurry of excitement around Alice and eventual princess pick, Charlotte. This time round it's one of the top five names with the bookies again for a new princess so here's the low down on the reasons that  make Alexandra such a firm favourite as a potential royal baby name.

Prince George at school: first photos (UPDATED)

Here he is, a future king taking a major step in his life. Prince George of Cambridge began classes today and looked very smart while he was at it. George Alexander Louis, the royal baby whose arrival captivated the world. is now a school boy.

5 September Royal Brides

Princess Claire of Luxembourg was a September royal bride
(photo Grand Court Ducale/ Guy Wolff)

September isn't the most popular month for royal weddings. Summer holidays are still coming to an end and everyone's getting back into the swing of the royal agenda. That's not to say the month is a marriage free zone and to prove it here are five September royal brides.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The royal baby's name is somewhere here....

You know how we all like to get adventurous when it comes to royal baby names. Don't bother. William and Kate are expecting their third little Cambridge and we know from past experience that the bookies always have it right when it comes to the name pick. Both George and Charlotte were among the top three favourite names for royal babies right at the start of their mum's pregnancies so if you look at the list of bookies' picks right now, you are more than likely looking at the moniker of the next fifth in line to the throne. We've let them settle for a day or two and now it's time to get #royalbabynameguesses serious. Oddschecker has been checked and here are the top five male and female picks for the new number five. The winner is somewhere here....

Prince Henrik diagnosed with dementia

In a sad statement that will resonate with millions of families touched by this condition, the Danish Royal Household has announced that Prince Henrik has dementia. The diagnosis was made at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen recently.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Meet Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna

The newest prince in Europe is ready for his close up. Gabriel Carl Walther, Duke of Dalarna has starred in his first official photo taken by, who else, but his proud dad.

Meghan and Harry: we are in love

''We're two people who are really happy and in love''. Meghan Markle has been speaking to Vanity Fair magazine and, boy, is the world taking notice. Almost a year on from the confirmation of her relationship with Prince Harry, Meghan has been talking about their relationship and everything in this regal garden is looking really rather rosy. Do the ironing now, 2018 looks set to be a really busy royal year.

5 things we already know about #RoyalBaby Cambridge no 3

The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant  with her third child and the royal guessing games have begun. Gender, weight, name and hair colour are all already topics of discussion with bookies offering odds on all sorts of royal baby guesses. Like the previous Cambridge pregnancies, the information we have right now is rather limited but we can start to put together a picture of Kate's latest great expectations. Here are five things we already know about #RoyalBabyCambridge number three...

The new Swedish line of succession

We have a name, let's give him his place. The latest addition to the Swedish Royal Family has been announced as Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna and he comes in as number six in the line to the throne. To celebrate his arrival, here's a rundown of how the Swedish succession looks now little Gabe has made his debut. Don't get too comfy, Madeleine has another to add come March 2018....

Monday, 4 September 2017

Royal Baby Cambridge: the Windsor fifth

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child. The baby, due in spring 2018, will be fifth in line to the throne from birth. And as far as the House of Windsor is concerned, that's a pretty interesting position to arrive in. Here's a run down of the babies born as fifth in line since the House of Windsor was created in July 1917....

Prince Gabriel of Sweden

The newest prince in Europe is called Gabriel. The King of Sweden, baby's grandad, announced his names at a special cabinet meeting this morning. The sixth in line to the Swedish throne and sixth grandchild of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia is Gabriel Carl Walther.

William and Kate: royal baby Cambridge number 3

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to be parents again. Kate is pregnant with baby number 3 and while there's no official due date, all eyes are turning to late spring for the arrival the latest royal baby.

Sapphires for September: Sweden

Queen Silvia of Sweden wears blue sapphires for the marriage of her only son in June 2015

September's birthstone is the beautiful blue sapphire. This stunning stone has been a staple in royal jewellery for centuries and in the modern era, it's found in some of the most sparkling tiaras owned by European ruling houses. Sweden owns a stunning set of sapphires and, let's face it, blue for a boy is quite appropriate there now as the country's royals are awash with princes. As we find out the name of the latest little man to join the House of Bernadotte later, let's celebrate his arrival with some sparkling blue stones. Welcome to sapphires for September.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Meet Baby Bernadotte

He's home. The newest member of the Swedish Royal Family has left hospital with his parents just a day after being born. And here's the photo to prove it.

10 royal birthdays for September

September has its fair share of royal birthdays but it stands out as a celebration month for one reason. Three of those anniversaries, all biggies, fall on one day. Yep, get the cake ready and put aside an hour to look at official photos on September 15th when a queen, a consort in waiting and a prince who may or may not be about to get married all celebrate their special day. There's plenty to party about on either side of that date too - here are ten royal birthdays for September.

The Summery Summary: Belgium

As the warm months of July and August pass into history, it's time to sum up what the royals were up to in the summer. And where better to start than in Belgium where September 1st means back to school for the youngest members of the Royal Family and a boosted agenda for the grown ups. The headlines from the past couple of months give us a good idea of how the holiday season was spent - here's the summery summary for Belgium's royals.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sweden has a new prince

Royal Baby Sweden is a boy.  The announcement was made by proud dad, Prince Carl Philip, at a press conference at Danderyd Hospital where his son was born earlier today. The baby, a second child for the prince and his wife Princess Sofia, weighed 3.4kg (7lbs 7oz) and measured 49cm.

A royal baby for Sweden

Sweden has a new royal baby. Princess Sofia has given birth to her second child. The new sixth in line to the throne was born on August 31st 2017 at 11.24am local time at the Danderyd Hospital. Mother and baby are well. A happy beginning to a new royal chapter.

Diana, Princess of Wales 1961 - 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales
1961 - 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales died twenty years ago today. Fatally injured in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris just after 12.20am on August 31st 1997, she died in Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital around 4am. Twenty years on, many tributes have been paid and many memories shared. The princess continues to fascinate and will for many years to come. An integral part of the House of Windsor, her life and her death changed it forever. Twenty years on, the world still remembers Diana, Princess of Wales.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

William, Harry, Diana: forever her boys

Twenty years ago this week, two young princes stood and contemplated the flowers left in memory of the mother they had lost. Two decades on, they did the same. The sight of William and Harry looking at tributes left in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales as the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches is perhaps the moment we will all take away from the sea of remembrances that have marked this summer. Twenty years on, they remain forever her boys.

Diana, 20 years on: tributes at Kensington Palace

Diana has dominated the royal summer and with just a day to go until the 20th anniversary of her death, flowers and tributes are already being laid at Kensington Palace. The gates of her London home were the focal point for national grief in 1997. Today, they are filled again with fond memories of a princess gone but not forgotten.

The Cambridges playing catch up

Here's to a new school year. As they prepare to send their first born off to classes for the first time, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also renewing their diaries as Kensington Palace announces the first engagements after the summer. And perhaps with good cause. The latest royal work stats, compiled by the Press Association show that William and Kate are really playing catch up when it comes to work in 2017.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

5 royal brides who didn't wear tiaras....

Royal brides wear tiaras, we all know that to be true. And if you're hubby is a) a ruling sovereign or b) quite likely to end up as one then a diadem is all but compulsory. However, several very important royal brides have bucked that trend including one who celebrates her 49th wedding anniversary today and walked down the aisle with only flowers in her hair. Here are five famous royal consorts who didn't wear tiaras to their weddings.

A handsome prince goes to the ball....

After the summer they've had, Denmark's royals needed a reason to smile and a big birthday with fairytale ball provided the happy-ish ending they've been seeking for weeks. Prince Nikolai of Denmark turned eighteen on August 28th 2017 and grandma, Queen Margrethe II, threw him a party on the royal yacht, as you do, to mark the milestone. Even grumpy grandpa, Prince 'call me king, please' Henrik, smiled. Here's how Denmark's royals got happy with a party....

Monday, 28 August 2017

Victoria: a welcome return for royal lite

Victoria swept back on to our screens in all its chocolate box glory last night and left a rather sweet taste in its wake. The ITV series, telling the story of Britain's second longest reigning monarch, returned with plenty of passion and pizzazz to earn its place in the autumn viewing schedules. It might be created firmly in the tradition of Sunday night drama, Upstairs Downstairs with crowns, but why tamper with a formula that works?

Royal Number Seven

Sweden's royal baby boom continues and the latest pregnancy announcement (Madeleine, number three, March next year, all well) has put the country's king and queen in a rather special situation. For this little prince or princess will be grandchild number seven for Carl Gustaf and Silvia. Seven is a bit of a magic number, lucky for most and special for many. So in honour of their exciting news, here's a run down of who else makes the number seven royal grandkids club. We'll start with the current monarchs of Europe and their broods...

The next generation comes of age...

Prince Nikolai of Denmark celebrates his 18th birthday today and as well as the usual official photographs and now customary social media posts, there is another consideration. For Nikolai is the eldest grandchild of Danish Queen, Margrethe II, and his milestone birthday is a landmark for her, too. For there is something rather special about seeing your grandchildren entering adulthood. This is when Denmark's next royal generation comes of age.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Royal Baby Boom: Sweden's lucky seven

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia are awash with grandchildren. With just days to go until Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia welcome their second baby, the Swedish Royal Household has confirmed that Princess Madeleine is to be a mummy again. Madeleine's new baby will be grandchild number seven for the King and Queen of Sweden. Definitely lucky for them.

The Royal Week in 5 Photos

And then we came to the end. After weeks of sunshine, shorts and sandals, the royal summer is beginning to pack its bags and head off for another year. Random royals are starting to appear with tans that clearly weren't acquired in the minstrels' gallery of some dusty castle and we'd now be shocked, if not horrified, to see anyone do a photocall in espardrilles. Yep, summer is saying goodbye and we're saying hello to a busier royal diary. Here are five fun photos to sum up the royal week where summer started to fade....

Friday, 25 August 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses: Mette-Marit of Norway

Norway's unexpected royal bride gave us an unexpected royal wedding dress and the gown, just like the princess who wore it, turned out to be a big success that stood the test of time. Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby said 'I do' to Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway on August 25th 2001 in a dream of a dress that became an instant classic and remains one of the best loved royal wedding gowns of her generation. Here's a look back at the royal wedding dress of Norway's Crown Princess.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

William and Harry: the love of family

The House of Windsor isn't known for being overly emotional. But in the run up to the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, her sons have been talking openly about their loss. Now, ahead of a new BBC One documentary about the princess, William and Harry have also revealed how much their father and grandparents did to support them as they came to terms with the shock of Diana's death.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Battle of Bosworth anniversary: a rainbow of stories

Richard of York gave battle in vain. That's the rhyme for a rainbow that generations of British schoolchildren have learned but today it has particular resonance. For on this day, in 1485, Richard really did give battle and lost his crown in the process. On the anniversary of the battle that ended the rule of the might Plantagenets and gave us the Tudors, below is a collection of links to some of the posts on the blog in the past few years about Richard, the king who conquered him, Henry VII, and the princess who should really have been the first regnant Queen of England, Elizabeth of York.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The royal week, in 5 photos

One royal week, all summed up in just five photos. It's still quiet on the royal front with holidays dominating but we've had a flurry of activity - most of it in Denmark - and slowly the regal images are starting to appear again. Here's a look back at the big royal events of the past seven days in five photos.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sir Bruce Forsyth, Royal Variety Legend

Sir Bruce Forsyth
1928 - 2017

Sir Bruce Forsyth, who has died at the age of 89, wasn't just a TV superstar. As well as fronting hits like Strictly Come Dancing, Play Your Cards Right and the Generation Game, Brucie was a legendary stage entertainer, too. And for decades, he could be found taking a bow before the royal box at one of the biggest spectacles of the year. For Sir Bruce Forsyth was a sparkling part of the history of the Royal Variety Performance.

Royal response to Barcelona (UPDATED)

King Felipe has joined a minute's silence held in Barcelona today to remember those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks on Las Ramblas and in nearby Cambrils on August 17th 2017. The King of Spain stood alongside his country's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, in the Plaza de Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona as thousands paid tribute.

Steel for August: Sweden's Steel Stash

August has spinel and peridot as its birth stones and although we'll end the month with a look at some regal examples of those stones, there aren't enough to fill a whole four weeks of sparkly wonder. So this summer, we're taking a look at some of the tiaras that just don't fit anywhere else in the calendar of jewels including some of those made mainly of metal. Yes, metal. We've had a look at some of the golden additions to the modern European sparkle stash and now it's time to get really, well, metally, and start on the steel. Sweden has two tiaras made of the stuff and they're both rather pretty. Here's a sparkle fest you weren't expecting, Steel for August.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Sonja's modern tiara

Queen Sonja of Norway in her golden tiara during a State Visit to Poland in 2012

August is a chance to look at some of the gems that don't fit the calendar of jewels and golden pieces are right at the top of this sparkling list. Given that it's been associated with royalty for centuries. gold plays little part in the tiara collection of many royal houses but the ruling houses in Scandinavia are changing all that right now. Queen Sonja was a bit of a trailblazer in that regard - meet her golden tiara, you won't forget it in a hurry.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Margrethe's gilded flowers

No one else is ever going to be wearing the same headpiece when Margrethe chooses her poppies

They sound as if they should be one of the prettiest modern additions to a royal jewellery box but this set of gem encrusted flowers is controversial and then some. The Golden Poppies belonging to Queen Margrethe of Denmark are a modern take on the traditional head wear of royal ladies but these are a real love them or hate them set of jewels. Here is the most talked about of all the sets made of gold for August.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Gold for August: Queen Margrethe's sparkling tiara

Golden flowers for a queen - the unusual tiara belonging to Margrethe of Denmark

The birthstones of August, peridot and spinel, are rarely used in royal jewellery but that doesn't mean the calendar of regal gems can just take a month off. The long, hot days of summer are perfect for mopping up some of the sparklers that don't fit anywhere else and where better to start than with a metal that is closely associated with royalty but rarely dominates tiaras - gold. And if you want to find a gold tiara where else would you look than in the Danish royal jewellery box. Queen Margrethe never lets us down.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the heirs

This special series is looking back at the royalty of a century past. One hundred years ago, the regal map of Europe was very different with far more monarchies and ruling houses than we have now. We're beginning our time travel with a glance with a who's who of the dynasties we know today, retrospectives on how the monarchies of 2017 were a whole century ago. We've already seen the rulers and their consorts, now it's time to look at the heirs. They're listed below according to how long they had been heir to their country's throne at the time. Kings to be with sad stories and a powerhouse of a queen regnant in the making are the heirs of 1917.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

One royal week, five royal photos

It's been a quiet week on the royal front if you're not Prince Henrik of Denmark. In which case it's been an expose yourself to global ridicule kind of seven days. But let's ignore him, it's the best thing to do with hissy fitters. Instead, let's enjoy some of the best photos of a quiet-ish royal week. Despite the summer lull we had enough regal sightings to keep us busy for another few days. Here are some of the pictorial highlights.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the consorts

It is another time, all of its own. The royal scene of 1917 is so different from now it may as well be another world. Europe was dominated by monarchies whereas now they are in the minority. Over August, I'm going to look back on the blog at the royalty of 1917 and it's starting with the shape of the dynasties that still exist today. Yesterday was all about the sovereigns who ruled the royal houses that remain in 2017. This part looks at their consorts. We've got a smattering of princesses turned queens and a very determined duke here. Settle back and enjoy the consorts of 1917....

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Royalty of 1917: the monarchs

A century ago, the royal world looked very different. There were a lot more of them to start off with. In a world riven by war, the ancient dynasties that had held power were holding on but sometimes only just. This month, I'm taking a look back at the royal world of a summer a century ago and it all starts with the people in charge of the dynasties we still know today. There will be another post soon looking at the rulers of monarchies that have long gone. But first here are the sovereigns of 1917, in order of reign length starting with the one who had been ruling the longest by 1917....