Weekly Reviews

Thoughts on the grander Royal Events previous week

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

Weekly Reviews

My thoughts on Royal events week 14/22

For the first time since November 2019 Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden invited to a splendid official dinner at the Royal Palace on April 6th. Usually such a dinner is held at least once each year in Sweden. But due to the exceptional situation with Covid, lock-down and several waves of the virus made such gatherings impossible until now. An official dinner had in fact been planned for March 4th in 2020, but it had to be cancelled at the very last minute.

The guests, who numbered about 150, were welcomed by the Royal Family in the Vita Havet. Unlike previous years, due to the Covid pandemic that hit Sweden hard, there was no handshaking between the Royal Family and the guests. Among the guests were politicians, members from the Diplomatic Corps, representatives from various authorities, science, sport, business and culture, as well as people the Royal Family had met on their visits. Many of them had been invited to the dinner which had been planned in 2020. A list of the guests can be found here.

After all the guests had been welcomed the party moved into the Karl XI Gallery which had been converted to a magnificent dining room. The 48 meter long table had been covered with white table linen – a gift to King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1959. The plates where from a set gifted to King Carl XVI Gustaf in 1996 for his 50th birthday by the Riksdag and the Swedish Government. It had been designed by Karin Björgquist and made by Hackman-Rörstrand Gustafsberg. Another gift to the King and Queen – this time in connection with their wedding in 1976 – from the Riksdag and the Swedish Government was the crystal used. Kosta had used the design by Sigurd Persson to create this wonderful set.

Adding to the beauty of the table was the Brazilian Silver Service, an heirloom from Queen Josephine’s sister Empress Amalia of Brazil. It ended up in Sweden after the Empress death in 1873.

Her Majesty combined her stunning Sapphire parure with a cornflower blue dress by Georg et Arend, a German Fashion House. On her right wrist could also be seen a Diamond bracelet. With this the Queen wore the pale blue Sash and the Breast Star of the Order of the Seraphim. Pinned to her gorgeous gown she also wore the King’s portrait in a Diamond frame.

The honour of escorting Her Majesty to the table had been bestowed on the Minister of Justice, Mr Morgan Johansson. He would in fact only a few days later cause a minor clash with the Royal Court when he published a Government proposal to remove several official flagging days; including the one on Her Majesty’s birthday once Crown Princess Victoria succeeds her father to the throne. His Excellency the Ambassador to Ukraine to Sweden Andrii Plakhotniuk was seated to the Queen’s right at the table.

Her Royal Highness had chosen an elegant red evening gown created by Pär Engsheden. The Crown Princess has worn this at several occasions already and it suits her perfectly. With this she wore the Laurel Wreath tiara and the Queen Josephine Corsage necklace she inherited from the late Princess Lilian. In her ears the impressive Diamond Floral earrings from the Swedish Royal Jewel Collection glittered and the Ruby brooch pinned to the pale blue Sash of the Order of the Seraphim. Rubies seem to feature in the bracelet on the Crown Princess’ right wrist too, a row of them being bordered by a row of of Diamonds on each side. Another Diamond brooch was pinned to the Sash at the back and like the Queen the Crown Princess also wore the portrait of her father the King in a Diamond frame.

The honour of escorting Her Royal Highness to the table befell the Minister for Financial Markets Mr Max Elger. The Minister of Justice was placed to her right at the table.

Princess Sofia wore an emerald green silk gown created by the house of Dagmar. It is not a new purchase as the Princess also wore this to the Nobel Ceremony back in 2018. The rich colour of the creation was a perfect match to the Emeralds worn in her Palmette Wedding tiara and the dark green stones (Emeralds also?) in her earrings. A slim Diamond bracelet graced the Princess’ left wrist. Additionally Her Royal Highness wore an antique Pearl and Diamond brooch with a Pearl pendant and a small Diamond brooch at the back. The brooches were used to fasten the Sash of the Order of the Seraphim that she wore together with the Order’s Breast Star. Pinned to her gown was also the portrait of King Carl XVI Gustaf in Diamonds.

The Ukrainian Ambassador escorted the Princess to the table while the Ambassador of Iceland was seated to her right hand side.

A very nice surprise was to see His Majesty’s sister Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson attend the dinner. Wearing a purple chiffon gown with sequin embroidery and see-through sleeves. She combined the outfit with the Six-Button Diamond tiara, two strings of sizeable Pearls with a Pearl pendant and a Pearl button brooch. Even in her ears she wore Pearl pendant earrings. Crossing over from her right shoulder to her left hip was the pale blue Sash of the Order of the Seraphim with the corresponding Breast Star pinned to her gown. Like all the other Royal ladies she wore the portrait of the King in a Diamond frame. She even wore another honour bestowed upon her by His Majesty and that was the King’s Medal in Brilliants Size 18 on a chain.

Princess Christina was escorted to the table by the Ambassador of Iceland.

The Royal gentlemen all looked very smart in their white-tie and orders. His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philip wore the Sash and Breast Star of the Order of the Seraphim and the black Neck-tie of the Order of the Polar Star. The King also wore the Breast Star of the Order of Vasa pinned to his jacket. The other main difference was the medals worn by all three. His Majesty wore five commemorative medals marking: the 90th anniversary of King Gustav V (1948), the 85th anniversary of King Gustav VI Adolf (1967), the 100th anniversary of the birth of King Haakon VII of Norway (1972), the Silver Jubilee of King Olav V of Norway (1982) and the Silver Jubilee of King Harald of Norway (2016). Prince Daniel only wore two medals on his lapel: the Ruby Jubilee (40 years reign) of King Carl XVI Gustaf (2013) and the 70th anniversary of King Carl XVI Gustaf (2016). Five medals were also worn by Prince Carl Philip: 70th anniversary of King Carl XVI Gustaf (2016), the Ruby Jubilee of King Carl XVI Gustaf (2013), the 50th anniversary of King Carl XVI Gustaf (1996), the Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel (2010) and finally the Uppland Medal of Merit (2008).

The King escorted the Second Deputy Speaker Lotta Johnsson Fornarve to the table. Prime Minster Magdalena Andersson was seated to His Majesty’s left. Prince Daniel lead the Ambassador of Finland Maimo Henriksson to the table and Second Deputy Speaker Lotta Johnsson Fornarve was seated to his left. Prince Carl Philip had the Prime Minster to his right while seated to his left was the Ambassador of Denmark Vibeke Lauritzen.

Mr Tord Magnuson was also in white-tie and could be seen wearing a few orders too. Although no Swedish Orders have been awarded to Swedish citizens since 1975 Mr Magnuson was created an officer in the Order of Vasa in 1972 and thus wears the badge around the neck in the Order’s green ribbon. In addition he wore the King’s Medal in the 12th Size in a ribbon around his neck in the same pale blue colour as the Order of the Seraphim. Pinned to his jacket could also be seen the badge as an Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour (France).

Menu

Steamed Norwegian king crab, marinated rutabaga, grapefruit and aromatic herbs

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Baked Icelandic monkfish, fresh lumpfish roe, butter-baked white asparagus, Sandefjord sauce and chives

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Braised spring lamb from Mälardalen, lamb gravy with wild garlic and glazed celeriac

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Lemon meringue, citrus sorbet, juniper berry oil, last year's elderflower, fennel pollen and French meringue

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Wines

Château Coucheroy 2015 Pessac-Léognan
Château Mancèdre 2010 Pessac-Léognan
Château du Juge 2011 Cadillac

The official dinner in Stockholm was not the only tiara event this week. In the Netherlands the King and Queen welcomed the President of India for a State Visit. As is usual the first day ended with a State Banquet at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Luckily it was a white-tie event, which meant tiara sightings, and not the rather low-key suit and tie dresscode which was observed in Belgium two weeks ago when the President of Austria visited Brussels.

To read more about the State Visit, you can press here. It will bring you to the page created on this blog on the Indian State Visit.

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My thoughts on Royal events week 13/22

I had imagined that I would mainly be writing about what Orders all the attendees at the Thanksgiving Service to the life of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh were wearing as I expected at least some of the Royal gentlemen attending in uniform. However, it was announced that they would not wear uniform but plain clothes instead. After seeing that announcement it seemed that there would not be a lot of spledour to write about for the week in question. But I was wrong. A grand regal event did take place this week, though somewhat far from home. I have a feeling that most Europeans forget about the monarchies that exists to the East (I readily include myself in this group). It is a shame, especially for us that enjoy the occasional splendour and glitter, as the East Asian monarchies seem to continue many of the traditional glittering occasions which we unfortunately see less and less of here in Europe.

The Kingdom of Malaysia for instance is a federation of several States, nine of which have their own proper Royal Family. Each of these Royal Families maintain their special traditions and ceremonies. And to add to this the office of King of the whole of Malaysia is on a rota among the rulers of these nine States, each King sitting for only five years. The installation ceremonies are indeed very grand affairs and because of the very special arrangement there is one every five years! So it is not necessary to wait a lifetime in order to see a monarch installed.

One of these States is called Perak and is currently ruled by His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak. He is the 35th Sultan to rule the State. On March 28th he opened the first meeting of the fifth year of the 14th State Legislative Assembly. For the State Opening His Royal Highness was accompanied by his wife Her Royal Highness the Raja Permaisuri (“Queen Consort”) Tuanku Zara Salim. She was elegantly dressed in a pale yellow gown wearing a sparkling Diamond tiara which she wore for the first time during her wedding celebrations in 2007. Having been invested with the highest honour of the State, the Royal Family Order of Perak, in 2015 she wore its Collar and Breast Star. In addition she wore the yellow and white Sash and Breast Star of the Azlanii Royal Family Order. The Sultan himself looked equally splendidly wearing an outfit in the same shade of pale yellow as his wife. With this he wore the Royal headgear called “Ayam Patah Kepak” or a “Tengkolok” with a intricate jewel of blazing diamonds pinned to its front. His Royal Highness wore the same Orders as his wife as well as a ceremonial “kris” (a dagger) in his belt. A very Royal sight indeed.

So even though we did not get a grand tiara event for the Austrian State Visit last week we at least got a tiara event this week.

As for the oher exciting regal event of the week, the Thanksgiving Service for the life of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey, was somewhat of a disappointment. Not the service itself. That was very dignified and it was great to see Her Majesty being well enough to attend it. But much around the service looked a bit messy to an outsider like myself. Especially matters concerning the Royalty from abroad attending. And there were quite a few of them, to the point of having six Royal Head of States (HM the Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II; HM the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf; HM the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander; HM the King of the Belgians, Philippe; HM the King of Spain, Felipe VI and HSH the Prince of Monaco, Albert II), one former Royal Head of State (HRH Princess Beatrix), the wife of a Royal Head of State (HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg Maria-Teresa) and an exiled Queen Consort (HM The Queen of the Hellenes, Anne-Marie). Other Royal attendants included heirs and members of both reigning and exiled Royal Families.

Though it can be argued that this was a private event I found it very odd that so little attention was paid to protocol. Even when the event is deemed private but you have six Heads of State attending in addition to the very close family it is a great help for things to run smoothly that there is a set of guidelines; i.e. protocol.

For the arrival for instance I would have expected those with highest rank to enter the Abbey last. Or, at least, last second to the immediate family (that is; direct decendants) of the person they are giving thanks for. Meaning that cousins should arrive before Heads of State and the immediate family. So I was a little confused when the bus with all the Royal representatives from abroad arrived ahead of the extended family of the Queen. As the Royal representatives were all travelling in the same bus it was probably a bit difficult to organize them among themselves – though it looks like the King of Sweden is trying (or maybe he is just waiting for his elder sister joing him and his wife and letting others pass in front of them until she does so). Maybe that is why we saw the King and Queen of Spain walking behind the Crown Prince of Bahrain, the Prince and Princess Hassan of Jordan and Prince Philip of Greece while all the other Kings and Queens walked in front of them.

So it is safe to say that I did not find the arrival very organized when it came to the Royal representatives from abroad. Nor did I care for the seating offered them inside the Abbey. They were placed somewhere in the back rows and in alphabetical order. I know that the alphabetical order is something that is used quite often at the British Court when they have to deal with foreign Royalty. But I find it much more elegant and proper when they actually take the time and effort to sit them according to seniority (based on the years of their reigns). With the alphabetical order the King of Sweden would always end up last, no matter how many years he’s been on the throne.

If the arrival was chaotic the departure was even worse. I still have the image of the Queen of Denmark standing at the Abbey exit after having been stopped to let the extended family of the Queen of the United Kingdom out first on my mind. This is the elderly Queen who no longer has the feet of a twenty-year old and in her own Kingdom is always provided with a chair when greeting her guests to grand events at the Palace to avoid her standing for long. When finally being able to leave together with the other Royal representatives from abroad she is seen smiling, but I am sure she did not find being left hanging around at the exit very amusing really.

Weekly Reviews

My thoughts on Royal events from week 12/22

Austrian State Visit to Belgium

When I heard that we would have a State Visit happening this week I naturally got excited. It was announced that the Austrian President would pay a three-days State Visit to the Kingdom of Belgium. I was hoping for a State Banquet with a lot of glitter and splendour now that the strictest Covid restrictions had been lifted in so many countries. There is of course the ongoing terrible war with Russia having invaded Ukraine, but the announcement of the State Visit taking place was actually made after the start of this war. So if it was felt that a State Visit might not have been totally appropriate considering the situation one would perhaps have expected a postponement. Then I read somewhere on the net that the King and Queen of the Belgians would host an official dinner on the first evening of the visit. This immediately dashed my hopes for a grand State Banquet.

In addition to hoping for a glittering State Banquet it was also the fact that this could maybe have been the Duchess of Brabant’s debut at a Royal event of this importance after reaching her majority. The Duchess had been seen accompanying her father the King the previous day on his visit to the emergency services and the site where a car ran into a group of carnival celebrators, killing six people and injured many others in Strepy-Bracquegniesnother.

However, when the photographs from the official dinner were published it became very clear that not only was the dress code suit and tie (not even black-tie!). It also showed that the number of dinner guests had been kept to a minimum. Only 16 was seen sitting around the table and, sadly, none of them being the Duchess of Brabant.

It has to be said that the Covid virus has not yet disappeared. So it made sense that the number of guests would be somewhat reduced at the dinner. But I guess that since we have been deprived of Royal glitter for so long now the expectations were higher than maybe they would have been under normal circumstances. And it is of course not the first time the dinners hosted during a State Visit to Belgium have been void of tiaras, white-tie, Sashes and Breast Stars.

For instance when the President of Turkey visited Belgium in 2015 with his wife no State Banquet, or in fact any dinner as such, were held at all. Instead a “State Luncheon” was hosted. And in both previous reigns of King Baudouin and King Albert II there were occasions when tiaras were left resting in the vaults when Head of States visited. However, in those cases the dress code was usually black-tie and not the “business-like” suit and tie.

So we will just hope that things will soon return back to “normal” and that more white-tie State Banquets will be hosted at the Belgian Royal Court in the near future!

Another thing that I found a bit odd was the matter of honours. King Philippe is clearly seen wearing a pin fastened to his lapel. It is, however, difficult to make out which order it is the King is wearing. But it is not in the recognisable purple colour of the Belgian Order of Leopold. So it must therefore be the Austrian Decoration of Honour that he is wearing. So far, so good. But when then looking over at the Austrian President he is not wearing any pin on the lapel of his suit. For a short time I thought that maybe there had not been any exchange of Orders at all and that the Order worn by His Majesty was one that he had received previously. But then when checking other photographs of the President at various day events during this visit he is indeed seen wearing a pin with that purple colour of the highest Belgian honour. So there must have been an exchange of Honours which made the fact that the President was not wearing any during the dinner but during day events a bit strange to my eyes.

Queen Mathilde looked very elegant though, even with it only being a suit and tie event. And although she left the tiara in the vaults she did wear some very nice jewellery. The pink earrings matched perfectly the pink ring and picked up the pink / purple colours in the floral motives in her gown. Purple is also, as already mentioned, the colour of the highest Belgian honour, the Order of Leopold. So all in all a very suitable choice for this event.

Crown Princess Victoria – Sweden

After the disappointment with the dinner offered by the King and Queen of the Belgians it was thus a nice unsuspected surprise to see the Crown Princess of Sweden attending an evening event in Stockholm where they had indeed kept the standards high when it came to dress code. It was a white-tie event, although without tiaras. The occasion was the annual celebration at the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, Sciences and Antiquities.

Though I had preferred it had the Crown Princess worn a small tiara to this event I was happy to see that she was wearing the pale blue Sash and Breast Star of the Order of the Seraphim. She also the portrait of her father King Carl XVI Gustaf in Diamonds pinned to her elegant midnight blue tulle evening gown. As for jewels she didn’t actually wear much; only a pair of long earrings, a couple of small bracelets on her left wrist and holding the Sash in place a small Diamond Floral brooch. Even so, it was great to see Her Royal Highness dressing up for the occasion and that the more elegant dress-code prevailed in Sweden.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – The Platinum Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean – Jamaica

Another event which served as a sort of comfort to me after my disappointment with the dinner in Brussels was the banquet held in Jamaica for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A lot can be said about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean as representatives of Her Majesty the Queen, and much has been said already, but I chose to concentrate on the glittering events rather than all the other Royal engagements on this blog. And even though the visit to Jamaica is the one that has been talked negatively about the most (I believe) it was here that the most glittering Royal event took place: the Governor General’s State Dinner.

Again, it was a missed opportunity for a tiara appearance for us who rather kind of like that sort of splendour. But at least the dress code was black-tie with Orders. This gave the Duchess the chance to wear her Family Order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2017) and the Breast Star of the Royal Victorian Order (2019) pinned to her stunningly beautiful green evening gown. Again very little jewels were worn, but those Emerald earrings looked perfect with the gown. As already noted by many these earrings have of course been worn by Her Majesty the Queen on several occasions ever since she received them as a gift in connection with a State Visit to the United Kingdom.

The Duke of Cambridge, dressed impeccably in black-tie, wore the Breast Star of the Order of the Garter pinned to his jacket. In addition he wore the miniature medals from the three last jubilees of Her Majesty; the Golden Jubilee medal (2002), the Diamond Jubilee medal (2012) and the latest, the current Platinum Jubilee medal (2022).

The host for the evening, the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, also wore a few medals pinned to his jacket. He wore the miniature medals of the Jamaican Order of the Nation(2009), the Jamaican Order of Distinction (2006) and the Order of Saint John (2013). He has also been awarded the Order of St. Michael and St. George by the Queen in 2009, but he chose not to wear that. I believe he could have worn the Breast Star of the Order, just like the Duke of Cambridge wore the Garter Breast Star.

Also, although it was not an evening event with glitter and gala I find it worth adding a link to photos from the military parade which also took place in Jamaica. Just because. His Royal Highness looked very smart in his white uniform!

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Reception of the Diplomatic Corps, UK

These days when talking about grand glittering Royal events it’s usually events that took place some time ago. Back then birthdays, a film premiere, a night out at the theatre or the celebration of anniversaries all meant putting on one’s best evening wear, including grand jewels and orders. Nowadays the grand jewels are normally only brought out for the first evening of a State Visit. However, thank goodness, there are still a couple events apart from those State Banquets where the jewels and orders come out to shine like they were made to do. One such event is the annual reception of the Diplomatic Corps in the United Kingdom. Sadly, due to the Covid restrictions, the reception has not taken place for two years. So it was a pleasant surprise to learn that this year a reception will be held on March 2nd.

Now, typically the reception takes place in the autumn. But this year it has been decided to host it in spring. In the announcement made it says that the Queen is hosting the delayed reception, meaning that it is the reception which should have been held in the autumn last year. Does this mean that there will be a second reception later this year?? Hopefully that is the case 🙂

Although this event has taken place annually for many many years it is only recently that we have been treated to photographs. I believe that the first time the world was able to get a glimpse of this event was in 1969 when the documentary “The Royal Family” was aired. It this we see that the Queen is dressed in a splendid evening gown wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik tiara, the King George VI Festoon necklace and the Antique Girandole Diamond earrings (from minute 53:20).

After that it took a long time before we again were allowed a glimpse into this annual event. In 2004, however, we were treated to photographs of the Queen greeting foreigner diplomats at Buckingham Palace. She was then seen wearing the impressive Wladimir tiara with Pearls. Around her neck she wore the Coronation necklace and the Coronation earrings in her ears.

For two more years photographs were published before it suddenly dried up again. Hopefully photographs were taken at the following receptions also, only that they have not yet been published. It would be so wonderful to be able to see those photographs (if they do indeed exists), so fingers crossed that they will at some point be published.

Luckily, in 2016, once more photographs were again published. No photographs have been found of the Queen from the 2017 reception though, but in 2018 and 2019 they were back. Hopefully photographs will now be published so that we can enjoy seeing one of the very few truely glittering Royal events still being hosted.

So, hopefully we will get to enjoy the splendour of this year’s event too. We can all need a bit of glitter and tradition after what Covid has brought us of misery.

From the photos we have been allowed to see suggests that the Queen again favours white evening gowns for this event, though in 2004 she was seen wearing a mauve coloured gown. Her Majesty will always wear the blue Sash of the Order of the Garter together with the Breast Star of this Order. In addition she wears the Royal Family Orders of her grandfather King George V and her father King George VI.

As for the choice of jewels Her Majesty is not just sticking to one combination. Why should she with that fantastic collection at her disposal? Sadly it is only possible to make a list of the combinations worn from those years where photographs have been released:

YearTiaraNecklaceEarringsBracelet
1968Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik
2004Wladimir with PearlsCoronationCoronation
2005SapphireDubai SapphiresDubai SapphiresDubai Sapphires
2006Girls of Great Britain and IrelandKing George VI’s SapphiresKing George VI’s SapphiresSapphire
2015Girls of Great Britain and IrelandCoronationCoronation
2016SapphireKing George VI’s SapphiresKing George VI’s SapphiresSapphire
2018Girls of Great Britain and IrelandKing Faisal DiamondsQueen Mary’s Diam. Florets
2019Wladimir with EmeraldsGrand EmeraldEmerald DropsCartier Emeralds & Cartier Diamonds

Should anybody reading this blog entry have any additional information I would be very interested in hearing from you. With so many diplomats having attended this event over the years I am sure that one or two must have made a note of the jewels worn.

Funeral

January 18th, 1939 – Funeral of Prince Waldemar of Denmark

On a cold day in January 1939 Prince Waldemar was interred at Roskilde Cathedral next to his wife Princess Marie. A large gathering of Royals from all over Europe attended the funeral as well as official representatives both from Denmark as well as from abroad. Even though it was no doubt a Royal occasion it was not a grand State occasion. Consequently the Royals were mainly close family. For instance there were no Royal representation from the Be-Ne-Lux countries, from Italy nor from the Balkan Kingdoms.

To see a list of those who did attend the funeral you can go here. It is still under construction and new names will be added as soon as they have been identified.

The evening before the funeral itself the coffin was brought from the Yellow Palace to Holmen Church. You can read more about that here.

On Wednesday January 18th the funeral service took place at Holmen Church. After the service the coffin was brought in a funeral procession to the railway station. From here both the remains of the late Prince and the Royal mourners would travel by train to Roskilde where a new procession formed in order to bring the coffin to the Cathedral. Only very close friends and family attended this last part of the funeral.

To read more about the funeral itself you can check out the page created for this event here.

Funeral

January 14th, 1939 – Death of Prince Waldemar of Denmark

Today marks the day when Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II succeeded to the throne. Sadly all the grand events planned to celebrate this day had to be postponed for a later date due to the current Covid-19 situation in many countries – including Denmark.

However, January 14th also marks another death in the Danish Royal Family. Though further back in recent history as it happened back in 1939. Prince Valdemar had been born in October 27th 1858 to the then Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, who by then had been chosen to succeed the childless King Frederick VII. In connection with Prince Valdemar’s christening he and his other siblings were granted the style of Royal Highnesses by Frederick VII.

The Prince lived to become a very popular member of the Danish Royal Family. He married the French Princess Marie and they had four sons and a daughter together.

To read more about the death of this Danish Prince, press here.

State Visit

1951 – Norwegian State Visit to the United Kingdom – Day 1

This year marks the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has now been on the throne for an amazing 70 years. And the beginning of her reign saw a marvellous string of glittering events being held. Not just to celebrate her accession, but it was much more normal back then to put on the glitter whenever attending a special event. Even film premieres or inaugurations of important landmarks were considered special enough to warrant elegance, shining and colourful Order insignias and blazing diamonds.

However, the Queen starting attending glittering events even before becoming Queen. Being the eldest daughter – and heir – of a King meant that she would attend State Occasions of different types. Especially in the later years of her father King George VI, as he was not in very good health. One example of this was the State Visit paid by the Norwegian King Haakon VII in 1951. Plans had been made for King George to receive his Norwegian “colleague” and uncle when he arrived by sea onboard the Royal Yacht “Norge” in June of that year. However, King George was taken ill in the days running up to the start of the State Visit. So plans had to be altered. King George’s younger brother the Duke of Gloucester would step in and welcome the Norwegian King on King George’s behalf.

The State Visit on the first evening went ahead as planned. But again King George had to represented by his family. The Duke of Gloucester took his brother’s place at the State Banquet, sitting to the left of the Norwegian King. But it was the then Princess Elizabeth who was given the task of reading her father’s speech. She was glittering in diamonds like one would expect, as was her mother the Queen.

To read more about the first day of this State Visit just press here.

Another great blog to check out with more photos and information is the Royal Watcher’s and his entry regarding this visit here.

State Visit

1960 – Thai State Visit to Norway

King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit travelled extensively around Europe during the year 1960 and in September they visited the Scandinavian countries. King Olav welcomed them to his capital on a day with pouring rain. Although the visit only lasted two days the King and Queen of Thailand were presented with elements of Norwegian life, both present and past. Both days were concluded with a grand white-tie event where Royal jewels were proudly on display. A separate page has been created on this visit and you can read more about it here.

State Visit

2021 – Spanish State Visit to Sweden – Day 1

Ever since it was announced that a Spanish State Visit to Sweden would take place in November excitement had been building up for this event. On November 23rd the King and Queen of Spain flew up to Stockholm. The State Visit did not officially begin until today (November 24th), but the King and Queen made the most of the evening previous to this to attend a reception at the Spanish Embassy for the Spanish community in Sweden.

Today the King and Queen of Sweden have received the Spanish King and Queen at the Royal Mews, as per the tradition created for State Visits, before riding in State Procession to the Royal Palace for the rest of the official welcoming ceremony.

More on the visit by going to this page here, which will be updated as new information emerge.

As was announced already before King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia left for Stockholm the King have awarded Spanish honours to the Swedish Crown Princess, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. And it is expected that Queen Letizia will be awarded the Order of the Seraphim by King Carl XVI Gustaf during the exchange of official gifts: