Knowing there were two State Visits taking place this week, I was looking forward to what I hoped to be two splendid regal events. One of the State Visits took place in Sweden with the President of Finland making his second State Visits to the country. The Swedish Royal Family almost never disappoints when it comes to State Banquets hosted for foreign Heads of State. So I knew that we would see some wonderful, and very possibly grand, jewels from their impressive collection worn.
I was more doubtful when it came to the other State Visit taking place in Spain. True, it was a meeting between two Royal Heads of State as the King of Spain received the Emir of Qatar. But that in itself is still no guarantee at the Spanish court for bringing out the glittering tiaras and putting on a spectacular show. When looking back on the previous State Visit to Spain from Qatar, which took place in 2011, the dress-code was white-tie, yes, but the ladies without tiaras and no orders worn (except the King’s neck-tie of the Order of the Golden Fleece). Having seen that this was the case then I should not have put my hopes that high for a tiara appearance this week’s State Visit either. But I thought to myself that things do change and lately the Spanish Queen had worn more tiaras to these special events. Or at least that is what I tried to convince myself was the case.
One of the facts that made me increase my expectations was that the Emir had been decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic. Maybe a odd choice, some might think, for a muslim to be decorated with an Order with such a name and the actions of the Queen the Order is named after. But it is the Order normally given by the King to Presidents and rulers without the style of Majesty.
And then the welcoming ceremony, which took place in the courtyard of the Royal Palace, also gave rise to my hopes. Because it was indeed a very impressive ceremony with splendidly uniformed troops, many of them mounted on shiny horses. Breast plates and helmets glistened in the bright sunshine as the Emir and his consort were escorted in the Royal car by mounted detachments to be welcomed by Their Majesties. The car drove up to the red carpet which had been laid down and where Their Majesties stood waiting. As soon as they got out they were warmly greeted by the King and the Queen. And then the welcoming ceremony followed the usual pattern with National Anthems being played, the inspection of the Guard of Honour and the presentation of the Spanish representatives from Parliament, Governmen and other civil and military authorities.
At least I think the Emir and his wife were presented to military authorities. Because if one looks closely on the video one can see that once the Emir is guided along the line-up by His Majesty himself one can spot an empty space at one point. And no uniformed personnel can be seen in the line-up. When I spotted this I immediately went back to an earlier point in the video when the whole line-up can be seen at a distance from above (a drone camera probably) and I saw that the space that was empty during the presentation was occupied at that earlier point by a uniformed person. I was later able to identify him as Admiral General Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, Chief of the Defence Staff, the highest professional military authority on the Kingdom after the King. So why he had left his place in the line-up just when the King made the presentations to the Emir is still a mystery to me. Maybe somebody out there would know the answer to that? If so, I would love to hear from you.
So, as I said, with this grand welcoming ceremony I had expected something equally grandiose in the evening. Sadly, the dress-code was the same as the one used for the previous Qatari visit; white-tie yes, but without tiaras and sashes of the Orders. It cannot be denied that the Queen looked very elegant in her evening gown. And she did wear a small pale blue and white bow with the bade of the Order of Charles III suspended from it. But I have to say that I was rather disappointed in that no tiara was worn. It can be argued that since the Emir’s consort did not wear a tiara it would have looked bad if the Queen had worn one. But I personally do not agree with that. When the late Emir of Qatar visited the United Kingdom for instance tiaras were still worn by the British Royal Family.
It was therefore a comfort of sorts to witness the glitter at the Swedish State Banquet taking place on the same day. And it was not just one tiara, but at least three as the banquet was attended by both the Crown Princess and Princess Sofia as well as the Queen. There might have been more, as the ladies at the Royal court also wear tiaras when attending these banquets, but sadly I have not been able to spot any of them in the footage I have had access to from the event. Should you have any additional information, please give me a shout 🙂
You can check out more about the Swedish splendour on my blog, here. Eventually I will also create a page on the Qatari State Visit to Spain, but that will wait until I have recovered sufficiently enough from the disappointment to “revisit” it and the tiara-less event.
As I followed the two State Visit realising that only Sweden would bring out wonderful treasures from their collection little did I know that another Royal tiara event had in fact taken place earlier at that very same day!
Many of the rulers of Malaysia and Brunei really know how to celebrate their birthdays. Like the monarch of the United Kingdom a birthday honours list is made by these rulers to mark their birthdays also. But contrary to the British monarch the Malaysian / Brunei rulers put on considerable pomp and circumstance when these birthday honours are awarded.
Now, I discovered a few days after the State Visits happening in Europe on that day, that 17th May is in fact the birthday of the current Raja of Perlis, His Royal Highness Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail. He succeeded his father as the 7th Raja of Perlis in 2000.
Part of the Royal birthday celebrations was an investiture ceremony at the Raja’s Palace Istana Arau. 325 worthy recipients of different awards had been included in the birthday honours’ list. Since the Covid pandemic is not fully overcome some necessary precautions had been taken and masks were worn. It did not take away the grandeur of the ceremony though.
The Raja wore the Collar and Breast Star of the Order of the Royal Family of Malaysia as a former King of Malaysia, the Sash and Breast Star of the Royal Family Order of Perlist (which he founded in 2001) and the Breast Star of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail.
His wife, the Raja Perempuan (Queen Consort), wore the Collar and Breast Star of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail and the Sash and Breast Star of the Order of the Crown of the Realm. The latter is a federal order which she received during her time as Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen Consort) of Malaysia. At former events Her Royal Highness has been seen wearing a grand diamond tiara. But this year, like for the event in 2019, she wore a smaller tiara, also of diamonds. Whether this is a new piece, or one that has been in the family for some time but has only been given some outings now recently, I do not know. It could be that this smaller tiara is easier to wear, especially taking into consideration the Raja Perempuan’s age.
Also attending the ceremony were the Raja’s son and heir, Raja Muda (Crown Prince) Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, and his daughter-in-law. He wore the Collar and Breast Star of the Order of the Crown of Perlis, the Sash and Breast Star of the Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail and the Neck-tie of the Most Gallant Order of Military Service. Royal Family Order of Perlis, which is a Malaysian Federal decoration. His wife wore the Collar, Sash and Breast Star of the Order of the Crown of Perlis. She also wore a beautiful diamond tiara in her hair