31 January 2014

Tiara Thursday (on a Friday): The Malteser Tiara

A day late, but we'll make up for that because this is a curious one:
The Malteser Tiara
As a diadem for use at state banquets and similar events, the Malteser or Maltese Cross Tiara is a bit of an oddity: four diamond crosses pattée on a diamond bandeau, sometimes worn by Queen Sonja with one cross as a brooch and the three remaining crosses at the front of the diadem, and sometimes worn as the bandeau alone (both options shown above). The cross motif is one that feels more appropriate for a coronet or crown to me, something with more symbolic purpose - and lo and behold, that is indeed how this tiara got its start. Sometimes you need the full history to make sense of a piece, and this is one such case.
Queen Alexandra with the diadem (she is also wearing Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown)
It was originally a British diadem, made for Queen Alexandra not long after her husband, King Edward VII, died. It was created as a subsitute for the George IV State Diadem, which she had to pass on to Queen Mary as the new queen consort, and carries the same symbolic feel. As worn by Alexandra, the removable crosses of the Malteser were separated by removable diamond fleur de lys motifs. The Cullinan VI stone, the marquise cut 11.5 carat diamond which was given to Alexandra as a gift by her husband, was detachably set in the front cross. (For more on the Cullinan Diamond and all its pieces, click here.)
A close up of Queen Alexandra's version. Again, Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown is behind.
When Queen Alexandra died, the circlet went to her daughter, Queen Maud of Norway. (The Cullinan VI and one large brilliant, however, stayed in Britain.) The tiara is still in Norway, and the Norwegian ladies have altered it to their tastes. The fleurs de lys were removed, and Maud used it with the four crosses only. She wore it back in Britain for the 1937 coronation of King George VI, which was a particularly appropriate choice.
Queen Maud
Today, the Malteser Tiara is worn by Queen Sonja. Sonja has taken to wearing three of the crosses at the very front, with the fourth used as a brooch; she also uses just the bandeau without any crosses. Sonja's daughter, Princess Märtha Louise, borrowed the bandeau when she was younger.
Queen Sonja in the current version with three crosses (and one as a brooch); Princess Märtha Louise in the bandeau only
It's easy to understand why the fleurs de lys were removed, and why Queen Sonja has played around with the cross placement to make this less crown-like; Maud and her husband Haakon VII wore crowns for their coronation in 1906, but the practice has since been discontinued. Unfortunately, I think you just can't shake that feeling entirely, and what you're left with is the rare tiara that might be more at home on the set of a film about the Crusades.

What say you: just right, or just odd?

P.S.: Yes, there are two posts today, so keep scrolling!

Photos: Scanpix/ANP/Royal Collection/Corbis

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 31

Prince Hubertus of Hohenlohe-Langenburg will represent Mexico in alpine skiing at the Sochi Olympics, wearing...this:
Have you seen this? Hubertus von Hohenlohe has been dubbed the world's most interesting Olympian, and you need look no further than this to see why. He's a guy with a German title that was born in Mexico and uses that citizenship for competitive alpine skiing. He's a businessman, a photographer, a pop singer - and apparently, a guy that doesn't mind a little extra Olympic attention, because he's chosen to compete in this fetching mariachi-themed ski suit. (Not the only flamboyant choice in his uniform history, either.) This might just be our only chance to discuss a prince in a mariachi-themed ski suit. (MIGHT be.) Also, if this doesn't say Friday! then I don't know what does, so here you go.

30 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 30

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel made a short trip to Germany. On day 1, she wore a repeated black blazer over a satin pleated COS dress in biscuit.
I'd like to ask what's up with the Wilma Flintstone necklace, and I'd like to know why we need the purse strap across the body (if a princess can't get someone to carry her stuff, what hope is there for the rest of us, eh?). But she's been going on about her business like a jolly Swedish flamingo after her skiing accident, and I just can't complain. (A flamingo with a legit hairdo this time, it must be noted!)

Psst: Tiara Thursday will be on Friday this week!

Photos: Getty Images/COS/N-tv

29 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 29

Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, then wife of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, attended the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton wearing custom Zuhair Murad Couture.
Last week I threw out the newest couture collection from Zuhair Murad as a royal possibility; here's an example of the designer's work in royal action. Our subject today is the lovely Ameerah from Saudi Arabia; she was married to Prince Alwaleed, who you may remember as the Saudi prince that raised a stink because Forbes calculated his worth a mere $20 billion when, he said, it should have been more (it seems the couple have since divorced). So it's not a surprise that Princess Ameerah went the couture route for the big British royal wedding, outfitted in a luxurious custom Murad ensemble with a lacy and embellished pink light coat and dress, a matching hat perched on her cascading dark hair. So gorgeous, am I right? My affection for this appearance has only grown.

Photos: Getty Images

28 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 28

Princess Charlene accompanied Prince Albert for the Sainte Devote service in Monaco, wearing Akris (the fabric, detail center, as seen in various pieces from the Fall 2013 RTW runway, right)
I have some quibbles about the boxiness of the jacket on Charlene here, but I'm falling in love with the chevron fabrics. It doesn't take much to get me to fall in love with a chevron to start with, but the subtle pattern, the added texture, and the interest created by the contrast of the thicker zigzag on the jacket and the thinner zigzag on the skirt is a genius way to make this so much more than just another charcoal suit. (Sidebar: When searching Akris looks for this particular one, I found myself absolutely charmed by quite a bit of their most recent offering, the Bonnie and Clyde-inspired Pre-Fall 2014 collection. Some potential there, no?)

Photos: AP/Reuters/Style.com

27 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 27

Queen Máxima accompanied King Willem-Alexander on a short introductory visit to Rome, wearing a mauve dress with a ruffled peplum under a camel coat, with gray pearl jewelry and a repeated feathered hat.
I must say, this outfit doesn't do anything for me. After giving it a closer look, I'm impressed with the details - the pearls are perfect with this color; even the nail polish is on point - but...nah. I see she's going with a cape effect on the coat there, but in the end it just looks like she lost her arms (some tragic accident involving the door to the family jewel vault, no doubt) or she grabbed her hubby's coat at the last second (particularly in motion, see the video embedded below).

Photos: Getty Images

24 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 24

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (left) wore a modified version of a runway look from Elie Saab Fall 2012 Couture (center) for her son Guillaume's civil wedding to Stéphanie de Lannoy in 2012; actress Lupita Nyong'o (right) wore the runway version earlier this year.
Lupita (or LUPITA!, as that will always be said in my head) is the talk of this awards season, and she's quickly becoming one of my new girl crushes. Our discussion of her appearance at the Golden Globes reminded me that she herself has worn a royal repeat, wearing the runway version of an Elie Saab Couture look previously modified by Maria Teresa. But despite my Lupita love, I'm going to give this battle to MT - this conservative number suits a grand duchess better than it suits a younger actress, no?

Speaking of Elie Saab Couture, the Spring 2014 couture shows have been happening in Paris, and it's all kinds of pretty.
Links for some of the collections we might see on royal parade:
  • Valentino: The opera meets The Lion King. Interesting, this collection. A potential for Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Máxima, Princess Marie-Chantal, Sheikha Mozah, and more.
  • Giambattista Valli: Some nice ball gowns here. We've seen this designer on Mette-Marit and Charlotte Casiraghi, to name two.
  • Elie Saab: Always and forever my fave, and a favorite of the Luxembourg ladies plus Crown Princess Victoria. Clotilde Courau was in the audience for the show; she was at a couple other shows too, including Valentino.
  • Christian Dior: Not as often seen on our regular line up. Current Dior designer Raf Simons is Belgian, which always makes me wonder if we'll see any of this pop up on Queen Mathilde.
  • Chanel: For the ladies of Monaco, naturally. At least the sneakers Karl Lagerfeld sent down the runway would be an improvement over Princess Caroline's pedicure shoes...or would they?...
  • Armani Privé: Sometimes dresses Mathilde or Queen Paola for special events, and can be seen on other royals too. Bit meh, I thought.
  • And one extra: Zuhair Murad, a designer I wish we'd see more of on the royal scene. There are some really beautifully detailed things coming from this label.

Photos: Getty Images/Style.com

23 January 2014

Tiara Thursday: Princess Claire's Tiaras

It's a double tiara day. Celebrate!
Princess Claire's Wedding Tiara
On her wedding day in 2003, Princess Claire of Belgium debuted a new-to-the-family tiara, a dainty diamond structure purchased for her by King Albert and Queen Paola. The tiara has a small base but a bit of height, a shape that doesn't suit everyone but worked perfectly with Claire's own delicate features.
At the beginning of her marriage, this was Claire's only tiara and she wore it for all her tiara occasions. But at the 2010 wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, she pulled out a surprise and wore another new-to-her tiara, a slightly larger diamond structure of posts and scrolls topped with large round pearls.
Princess Claire's Pearl and Diamond Tiara
A new tiara in the Belgian royal family is an unusual thing, really; the purchase of Claire's wedding tiara seems to have been out of necessity more than anything, since there apparently aren't that many tiaras floating around in the family and they don't do a tremendous amount of sharing. It's not surprising, then, that many initially assumed that Claire had been loaned a tiara for the Swedish royal wedding.
We've seen her in the "new" tiara at more occasions since then, however (at both the 2011 wedding in Monaco and the 2012 wedding in Luxembourg), so it appears to be her property. In fact, we haven't seen her wedding tiara since - but Claire's tiara-wearing occasions are sparse these days, since there hasn't been a tiara event in Belgium for a few years. I hope we'll see her wedding tiara again soon, though. I do have a certain affection for the delicate piece, and it's definitely my favorite of the two.

Which one is your favorite?

Photos: Getty Images/Belga/PPE/CTK

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 23

Crown Princess Mette-Marit joined Crown Prince Haakon at the Nobel Peace Center earlier this week.
Not the sort of attire that's going to move mountains, sure - though given the problematic daywear Mette-Marit can be prone to, this is actually rather nice, right? - but M-M's back! And wearing heels after her surgery, as many have noticed, so she must be feeling pretty good. It looks like her official schedule is filling up again, so here's to more Mette-Marit in 2014. (You can click here for a video with the couple speaking.)

Photos: Se og hør

22 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 22

Claire Coombs married Prince Laurent of Belgium on April 12, 2003.
Princess Claire celebrated her 40th birthday on January 18th. I'm a bit late, but whatever - we need an occasion to revisit the everlasting loveliness of her wedding gown. Oh heavens, I do love this one. The design may be simple, but it's got a grand train to bring it up to the full royal level, and that lace overlay on the bodice is the perfect thing to pair with Queen Paola's antique family veil. The Natan label doing what it does best, really.

Click here for my prior post on this gown. (And stay tuned for more on her tiara!)

Photos: Rex/IBL/PA

21 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 21

Queen Máxima joined King Willem-Alexander to welcome French president François Hollande for an official visit to the Netherlands.
We've seen this whole thing before, of course, just with hair down and aquamarines on this time. Last time I gave the ridiculous sleeves a pass, but I'm afraid the pass has expired. They don't work very well when she's standing with her hands at her side, do they? Got to be awkward at lunch, too. They're just fighting for space, all sleeved up and nowhere to go. That makes two outfits this year that could use a serious volume reduction, and I'm starting to fear what could be next...

Video, above

Photos: Pool/Reuters

20 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 20

Video: Empress Michiko and Emperor Akihito attended a concert last week.
My recently revived obsession for capes requires me to send the Japanese empress some love on this Monday! Cape attachments on gowns, little cape-like sleeves on daywear, you name it - Michiko gives us more cape action than anyone on our regular royal rounds. And this Friday appearance (hat tip to The Royal Correspondent blog, a great resource if you like to follow the imperial family) is a perfect case in point.
Michiko cape-age (concert appearance, far left)
I tend to think of a cape as a very dramatic thing, but on the Empress it becomes a gentle touch. Perhaps it's because the added volume in the sleeve area hints at the elegance of a kimono, but this look suits her so well, no?

Photos: ANN News/BestImage/Imperial Household Agency

17 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 17

Last summer, Princess Marie-Chantal (left) wore an Oscar de la Renta Spring 2013 embellished dress (runway, center) for Princess Madeleine's pre-wedding dinner. At this year's Golden Globe Awards, Michelle Dockery of "Downton Abbey" fame (right) sported the same look.
You know, I very nearly included M-C's look in my honorable mentions for 2013, and when I saw it pop up this past weekend at the Globes, my appreciation for the royal styling grew even more. In the epic battle of "Who wore it best?", I have to give this one to M-C because the shoes and her overall bearing are making the look. This is one dress that benefits from the eh, I wear couture to grab the morning paper attitude, if you get what I'm saying. Et toi?

(Celebrity fashion isn't within our normal scope here, but I can't let a reference to the awards pass without saying LUPITA! and CAPES! That is all. If you missed the Globes gown parade, Buzzfeed's got the quickest fashion wrap up.)

Photos: Getty Images/Style.com

16 January 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Akishino Tiara

The Akishino Tiara
We did not see any of our previously-covered Japanese tiaras in action at their annual New Year's event this year, but here's one we did get to see. This tiara belongs to Princess Kiko, or the Princess Akishino. She's married to Prince Akishino, second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. It shares several characteristics with other tiaras from the imperial family: it comes with a matching parure, including at least a necklace, brooch, and earrings, and it is composed of all white stones (diamonds in this case). The design motif's a little hard to see and name, but it's always looked like a chain of paper dolls to me. (See it in action again: in the second video of this post, or at the end of this video.)
Princess Kiko (née Kiko Kawashima) debuted the parure on her wedding day in 1990. The set was most likely made for Kiko, as the family has a few tiaras to pass down but often purchase new for new tiara-wearers; Mikimoto is a popular jeweler with the imperial household and a likely maker. It is, so far, the only tiara we've seen on her - but she may have more options in her future, as she is set to become the empress one day. Akishino's older brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, has only a daughter; girls are ineligible for the throne at this point, making the Akishino couple and their son, Prince Hisahito, next in line after Naruhito. That means that the tiaras reserved for the empress may eventually be added to Kiko's line up* (and I wonder if the same will go for the Crown Princess Scroll Tiara). But she's got a good option here to tide her over - in fact, it might just be my favorite Japanese tiara.

How to you rank this one among the imperial tiaras?

*Updated to add clarification: Yes, it is possible the line of succession (Naruhito-Akishino-Hisahito) might not mean that all three sit on the throne; one possibility is that Akishino could predecease his brother. This was not mentioned in the original entry because it's always a possibility when discussing lines of succession. Even if Kiko never becomes the empress, she and her husband have an increasingly important role to play, and it's interesting to ponder how that might change her tiara prospects.

Photos: Imperial Household Agency/yuko2ch

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 16

Queen Máxima, wearing Natan, accompanied King Willem-Alexander to host an annual New Year's reception. Princess Beatrix, Princess Margriet, and Pieter van Vollenhoven were also in attendance.
When Máxima arrived for this event (click here for that), I had a hunch that her coat and pose were giving us the best of a potentially questionable outfit. This event is normally private, but as though they were reading my mind, the royal house allowed a video inside (embedded below). And sure enough...my original thought that her hair and copious use of aquamarine jewels is indeed the best thing here. Unless she was going for a cone-shaped upper body from the start, in which case, well done.

Photos: RVD/Natan/PPE

15 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 15

Video: Princess Letizia joined Queen Sofia to present the decorations of the Civil Order of Social Solidarity.
This video presents, in the correct order, my exact thoughts on Letizia's dusty lilac/mauve/whatever Felipe Varela suit. She's sitting behind a table, only the top visible: A suit? A purple-ish suit? Sold. She stands, still behind the table: What IS that stuck on her skirt? Oh, hang on... And finally, without the cover of the table: ...right. It's this one again, and the stray thingymabobs on the skirt have yet to magically disappear.
Fixed it. Just this part, please.
You'd like to at least give her credit for the suit, but did she have any other choice with the always impeccable Sofia at her side? Nah.

Photo: Getty Images

14 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 14

Queen Mathilde accompanied King Philippe to host a New Year's reception last week. Her repeated gray/blue Natan dress is a shape she knows well: magenta to visit the Netherlands, and cream for Philippe's swearing in ceremony.
So, what do we think: Mathilde's chosen her permanent timeless queenly silhouette, or she's just fallen temporarily in love with this dress type? (And if she's going to pick a trademark shape...should this be it? It's certainly not a bad option, I'd say.) We'll be seeing plenty of the newest European sovereigns out and about as they start making first visits to other countries this year, so we shall see.

Photos: Getty Images/RVD/Belgian Monarchy

13 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 13

Crown Princess Mary visited Myanmar for three days in connection to her work for the United Nations Population Fund and the Danish Refugee Council. Above, an outfit from the first day with floral trousers from Zara.
I found this the most interesting of Mary's outfits on this trip. These floral crops have a serious potential to go wrong, but she paired them well with a plain top for a casual look - they even seem perfect with the bare feet (everyone was shoeless at this event, by custom). A lower cost option from Zara (per Styleofmary) is an excellent choice as well, for a visit that's not about the high end fashion. Well played, I say.

For more on Mary's trip: check BT, or daily wrap ups with links on the Royally Scandinavian blog.

Photos: Keld Navntoft/BT/Styleofmary

10 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 10

Video: The Duke of Cambridge, sporting a suit and tie, arrived at Cambridge University earlier this week to start a 10-week executive course in agricultural management.
Men get a place in the outfits of the day too! Including kids all excited for their first day of school. It's just like when I was a student...everyone in suits and ties, VIPs waiting to greet me, bodyguards all around...oh, the good old days.

09 January 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Cartier Onyx Tree Kokoshnik

The Cartier Onyx Tree Kokoshnik
We don't see onyx that often in today's royal jewels, though it was long a staple of mourning jewelry. But in this tiara the black material shines, depicting an Art Deco tree with branches sprawling across a diamond background in a platinum setting. The tiara, made by Cartier Paris in 1914, also features pearls studding the top of its kokoshnik shape (kokoshniks are traditional Russian headdresses) and touches of black enamel. The tree is fascinating here, too - nature motifs are incredibly common in the tiara world, but this stylized version is a uniquely complete depiction, trunk and all. The combo of the tree and the black onyx gives this diadem sort of an Evil Queen appeal, don't you think? Just me? (That's a compliment, by the way. The Evil Queen always gets the best wardrobe.)
Center detail of the tiara; a clutch with the tiara's image carried by Charlotte Casiraghi; the Cartier exhibit ad
The tiara exists in the Cartier world as a showpiece, really, a stunning example of the craftsmanship and Art Deco styling of the renowned firm. I have not seen it in use (though if you have an example, feel free to comment). It's a cover girl tiara, its image adorning book covers, promotional materials, even purses. Currently, it's being used in promotions for a massive Cartier exhibit in Paris.

Video: The Cartier exhibit
The Cartier: Style and History exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris, runs until February 16, 2014. Hundreds of Cartier works of art are on display, including some pieces with royal connections. Queen Elizabeth II has loaned out the Williamson Diamond Brooch and the Halo Scroll Tiara; Monaco's princely family has loaned pieces including the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara, the brooches from the Bains de Mer Tiara, a diamond necklace, and Princess Grace's engagement ring; the bandeau tiara that belonged to Belgium's Queen Elisabeth is out for show, plus pieces from the collection of the Duchess of Windsor, and much much more. If you can get there, don't miss it! 

How do you rate this tree tiara?

P.S.: Our new Royal Outfit of the Day series runs on Thursdays too, so keep reading for the second post!

Photos: Cartier/Getty Images

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 9

Crown Princess Mary attended the third day of the New Year's receptions. Queen Margrethe, Prince Henrik, and Crown Prince Frederik were also in attendance.
Aha! A new-and-yet-still-old repeat! Now we've got old pieces combined to make a new court outfit: the striped skirt was worn previously for evening use, and the basic black peplum top from Hugo Boss has been used for day outfits (Mary owns it in white too). She's also dressed it up with a prim updo and a string of pearls around the neck. See, I like this approach. These outfits are tricky to repeat, but combining a little of this and a little of that really works. Clever Mary.

Updated to add: Lots of questions about why she only has one glove on. It's an etiquette thing - it's considered polite to remove the glove to shake hands. The other hand remains gloved and carries the second glove. Not everyone does this, but keep an eye out and you'll see it done this way more often than you think.

Note: This is a new feature! Click here if you missed the announcement.

Photo: Scanpix

08 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 8

Video: The Prince and Princess of Asturias attended the Pascua Militar, a military parade, along with the King and Queen.
Give me a minute to gaze wistfully at these Spanish people, standing around outdoors like it's no big deal, before I have to don five or ten layers and deal with whatever new arctic weather problems have been thrown at North America today. Pfft.

Okay. I'm over it.
Letizia joins us today to stand in solidarity with the Danish serial court dress repeaters. This outfit, a Felipe Varela number featuring a deep blue blazer over a navy velvet dress with a matching blue sash at the waist, was worn to the annual reception for ambassadors in 2011 and to the Pascua Militar in 2012. There's so much bad news surrounding the Spanish royal family at the moment (the scandal surrounding Infanta Cristina and her husband continues to get worse; a poll is making the news rounds, suggesting that a majority of Spaniards want the ailing King Juan Carlos to abdicate; his appearance at this event, looking frail and struggling with his speech, is not quite reassuring), a low key and appropriate sartorial repeat is not at all surprising. Playing it safe indeed.

Note: This is a new feature! Click here if you missed the announcement.

Photos: Pool/Getty Images

07 January 2014

Royal Outfit of the Day: January 7

Psst...: Yes, this is a new feature! See today's other post for details.

Queen Margrethe, accompanied by Prince Henrik and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, attended the second day of the New Year's Court festivities, a reception for the Diplomatic Corps. The video above shows the event from 2012.
Yes, the video is showing you this event from a couple years ago - but guess what? It doesn't even matter, because the ladies wore the same stuff this year! Repeats ahoy, and that's why our outfit of the day is really from Margrethe. Some of you gave Mary a hard time for repeating her gown for the gala event, but here's her example: Margrethe wears this fur-trimmed blue outfit (from longtime couturier Jørgen Bender, if I'm not mistaken) for two days in a row for these daytime courts and has done so with the same dress for quite a few years. It's how she rolls, and it makes me appreciate any amount of variety from Mary all the more, no matter how small.
Margrethe, Mary, and Mary's brooch (as shown in the documentary De Kongelige Juveler)
Mary's gown is another altered repeat, but she wore the lovely sapphire brooch Queen Margrethe gave her when Christian was born. It's a family heirloom from Queen Ingrid's mother, and it's always a treat to see in use!

Photos: Polfoto/Scanpix/De Kongelige Juveler

Programming Note: New Year, New Changes!

The new year is bringing a few changes to our regular weekly features! The reasons for these switches are plentiful, from a simple need to freshen things up to the fact that this site is one I put together in varying amounts of free time, and on and on. Here's what's up:
  • The Weekly Royal Fashion Awards posts are being replaced by Royal Outfit of the Day posts (which will occur daily, on week days). These will include current events obviously, but can also include past events. And while you can bet on seeing our regular leading ladies from the weekly posts, there will be plenty of room for others.
  • Wedding Wednesdays and Flashback Fridays are retired for the time being. That's not to say that I might not throw one in for a special occasion here and there, but they will no longer be regular weekly features. Tiara Thursdays will continue on as usual.
And that's it! Thanks, as always, for reading and for understanding the need for occasional change.

02 January 2014

Royal Fashion Awards: New Year, New Sparkle

And so it is time, once again, to ring in a new year of royal splendor in the way we always do: with tiaras! The Danish royal family wastes no time busting out their finery, holding the first of a series of New Year's events with a banquet on January 1. It's time for tiaras, gowns, uniforms, and the extra fancy collars from the Order of the Elephant:

Video: The royal family arrives

Best Repeated Variety
Queen Margrethe
The Queen can be counted on to repeat a gown for the event, but she's the only one of the three ladies here that changes up her tiara choice from year to year, so there's that. This year she repeated a favorite apple green gown which is quite flattering and paired it with her traditional Yeti pelt fur wrap and the Danish Emerald Parure from the crown jewels. She also wore this combo in 2011 for the same event.

Most Stretched Repeat
Crown Princess Mary
The banquet has become Mary's yearly opportunity to display just how creative she can get with the many pieces of the Danish Ruby Parure - and normally, I love it. But...maybe sticking the brooch on a piece of velvet and calling it a choker is stretching it just a tad, hmm? The choker is a new incarnation of this burgundy velvet dress, which is making its third appearance at the event and has been revamped from its original maternity form.

Best in New
Princess Marie
Making sure we don't drown in repeated gowns, Marie's here to save the day in a new number with a printed peplum top and a solid skirt with a train. The way she's pinned on her collar is just lovely, but I'm missing the small portrait brooch of Queen Margrethe (as worn by Mary) - we've seen Marie wear the honor previously, but not tonight. A picky request, though, from a completely elegant appearance. She is wearing her regular diamond floral tiara.

And an Honorable Mention to...
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
I know basically two things about Denmark's prime minister: she likes a good selfie, and she knows exactly how to dress herself for gala events when she's thrown in with tiara-wearing ladies. All politics aside, she's my tiara-less best dressed for the evening. I mean, this is just gorgeous.

There are two additional receptions in Denmark to be held yet (neither with tiaras, but still fancy court dress).

UPDATE: And here's the sparkly event in Japan, in the video below!
For the second year in a row, Empress Michiko has chosen not to wear a tiara, I believe for medical reasons (extra weight on the head can be troublesome if you have a back issues and things like that). At the beginning, we see the Crown Princess arrive in the pearl-tipped diamond fringe tiara. She does not appear at the audience itself, so the arrival is all we get. The rest of the imperial ladies are sporting their individual tiaras.

Who wins your best dressed award?

Photos: DR1/BilledBladet/Scanpix