domenica 19 marzo 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses Exhibition at the Royal Palace of Stockholm: Crown Princess Victoria

Today we're on to the third dress in the Swedish Royal Wedding Dresses 1976-2015 exhibition, looking at Crown Princess Victoria's wedding attire (you can read about Queen Silvia's in my previous post here, and about Princess Lilian's here).

Crown Princess Victoria (who wasn't actually Crown Princess to begin with, but was made heir apparent in 1980 after a change in Swedish succession law the previous year established absolute primogeniture) and Daniel Westling, a one-time personal trainer and gym owner, got engaged on 24 February 2009. Victoria received a white gold engagement ring set with a single brilliant-cut solitarie, reportedly by court jeweller W.A. Bolin:

The wedding took place on 19 June 2010 (the 34th wedding anniversary of Victoria's parents), in Stockholm Cathedral, in front of more than 1,000 invited guests.
On 18 June, the Parliament of Sweden honoured the couple with a gala performance at Stockholm Concert Hall. The dress Victoria wore to the concert was also part of the display; it's a long asymmetric dress in nude lace by Lebanese designer Elie Saab, embroidered with sequins and pearls and with a short train of gathered silk chiffon. Victoria accessorized with some major bling, in the form of a pair of statement earrings (actually a pair of diamond epaulettes - shoulder elements from a dress military uniform - that were converted into a pair of earrings) and the Bernadotte family's diamond arrow brooch:


For the big day itself, Victoria turned to a Swedish designer, Pär Engsheden, who created a wedding dress of pearl-white, double-faced duchesse satin, with a 15-ft train. Like her mother Queen Silvia, Victoria wore her grandmother's lace veil (if you missed my previous post, you can read more about it here) and the Cameo tiara, although she also added the matching bracelet and earrings:

Victoria wore a pair of white silk satin court shoes by Roger Vivier, featuring the designer's trademark diamanté clasp, and a matching clutch bag, both also on display alongside a dried sprig of myrtle from the wedding bouquet:


The bouquet, made by Royal Court's florist Claes Carlsson, comprised lilies of the valley, roses, phalaenopsis, peonies, clematis, cosmos, stephanotis, sweet peas, malva, Amazon lilies, gardenia, azalea, bleeding heart and dicentra formosa (that's quite a lot of blooms in one bouquet, isn't it?):

The bridesmaids' dresses were also by Pär Engsheden, made of pearl-white silk organza with short sleeves and a roll collar. The bridesmaids wore white patent leather ballet pumps and carried bouquets of lilies of the valley, while the page boys, among them an adorable Prince Christian of Denmark, wore traditional sailor suits:

The wedding reception was held in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace, the same room where the wedding dresses exhibition is taking place, followed by dancing in the White Sea ballroom:

Among the mementos on display in another part of the Palace was a commemorative medal awarded to family members and officials involved in the wedding:

There's still two more fabulous wedding dresses to discuss, so keep an eye on this page!

Official Visit to Paris, March 2017

Official visit to Paris, 17-18 March 2017


17 March 2017 - Meeting with President François Hollande at the Élysée Palace.
Bespoke double-breasted coat with velvet trim by Catherine Walker & suede pumps by Emmy London; mock-croc green leather clutch bag by Polish brand Etui Bags; "Siren" wire earrings in green onyx by Monica Vinader; Ballon Blue de Cartier watch (Daily Mail article here).

 17 March 2017 - Attending a reception at the British Embassy in Paris to meet young French leaders from the arts, sports, fashion, business and the voluntary sector and to mark the launch of "Les Voisins" ("The Neighbours"), a year-long celebration of UK-French links.
New dress: black lace sleeveless dress with black leather bow belt by Alexander McQueen"Eugenia" silver-tone faux pearl and crystal ear cuffs by Balenciaganew necklace and ring: most likely also by Balenciaga and part of a set matching the earrings; Ballon Blue de Cartier watchnew shoes: ankle strap suede "d'Orsay" pumps by Gianvito Rossi (Daily Mail article here).

 17 March 2017 - Attending a black-tie dinner at the British Ambassador's residence, also known as the Hôtel de Charost.
New gown: floral embellished baby blue evening dress by Jenny Packham (an older season style); "Cabrina" platinum lamé pumps by Oscar de la Renta; "Casa" box clutch, also by Jenny Packham; diamond chandelier earrings and Art Deco diamond bracelet, both on loan from the Queen (Daily Mail article here).

 18 March 2017 - Visiting Les Invalides, to learn about the important historic and current roles of the site, in particular its work supporting veterans undergoing rehabilitation programmes, and to meet survivors and first responders involved in the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris as well as in the lorry attack in Nice on Bastille Day 2016. Later, visit to the Musée de d'Orsay to tour the Impressionists Gallery and, following on from the "Les Voisins" reception, attendeding a "Les Voisins in Action" event at the Trocadéro to highlight the strong ties between the young people of France and the United Kingdom.
New coat: bespoke striped cotton tweed waisted frock coat with a box pleated skirt and bracelet sleeves in blue and red by Chanel, based on a design from the S/S 2017 collectionnew bag: "Art Nouvelle" calfskin small flap bag  with enamel handle (from the A/W 2015 collection) and new belt: calfskin leather belt, both also by Chanel; Tod's burgundy leather fringe buckle detail pumpsBallon Blue de Cartier watchnew earrings and necklace: "Trinity de Cartier" earrings with brilliant-cut diamond and "Trinity" necklace (without diamond), both by Cartier (Daily Mail article here).

18 March 2017 - Attending the Wales vs France RBS Six Nations match at the Stade de France.
Red double-breasted coat by Carolina Herrera in double-faced wool/cashmere mix from the fall/winter 2016 collection, first worn in Canada during the September 2016 tour; "Trinity de Cartier" earrings with brilliant-cut diamond; unidentified black turtleneck top/dress; unidentified black suede ankle boots, possibly the same ones first seen in NYC in December 2014; black merino wool "Imogen" gloves by Cornelia JamesChanel "Art Nouvelle" calfskin small flap bag  with enamel handle (Daily Mail article here, see here for more pictures of Kate leaving the Embassy).

mercoledì 15 marzo 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses Exhibition at the Royal Palace of Stockholm: Princess Lilian

Following on my post about Queen Silvia's dress in the Royal Wedding Dresses 1976-2015 exhibition currently being held in Stockholm, we'll have a look at the second dress on display, that of Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland.

The Princess was born Lillian May Davies on 30 August 1915 in Swansea, Wales and worked as a model in her youth (just how incredibly glamourous was she?). At the start of her modelling career, she dropped an 'l' from her first name, hence Lilian:


While still married to her first husband, Scottish actor Ivan Craig, Lilian met Swedish Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, at a cocktail party in London to celebrate her 28th birthday. Born on 28 February 1912, Bertil was a naval officer and was in London as the Swedish naval attaché at the embassy.
She later wrote in her memoir: "He was so handsome, my prince. Especially in uniform. So charming and thoughtful. And so funny".
Although Lilian was divorced in 1945, dinastic matters meant her relationship with Prince Bertil got off to a rocky start.
Bertil's older brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, who was second in line to the throne. died in 1947. As Gustaf Adolf's son, Carl Gustaf, was less than one year old, it seemed likely that when the king died Bertil would have to serve as regent.

Prince Bertil with his nephew Prince Carl Gustaf.

To preserve Bertil's place in the line of succession, the couple chose not to marry, as Lilian's status as a commoner would have been unacceptable to the King. Instead they lived together discreetely, both in Sweden and in a house on the French Riviera, although their relationship was an open secret in Stockholm society. As Prince Bertil remained officially single, over the years he was suggested as match for, among others, Princess Margaret (a somewhat unlikely one, in my opinion, as he was a good 18 years older than her - together below at the wedding of Princess Ragnhild of Norway to Erling Lorentzen in 1953):

Her first public appearance with him was in 1972, at the 90th birthday celebration of King Gustav VI, who had developed a personal liking for her. She became a well-known figure in international society. She and Prince Bertil were married at last in the private chapel at Drottningholm Palace on 7 December 1976. Earlier that year, Bertil's nephew, the new King Carl XVI Gustaf, had married commoner Silvia Sommerlath, thus overcoming all dinastic objections to the union.

The bride was, by then, 61 and the groom 64; they honeymooned in Kenya and at their French villa. Reportedly their only regret was that they had not had children.
Princess Lilian wore an ice blue zibeline silk dress with bell sleeves, made by her long-time friend, dressmaker Elizabeth Wondrak (below), a Londoner who had trained at art school in Bromley before going on to set up her own atelier in Mayfair. One of Ms Wondrak's most loyal customers was Princess Lilian, for whom she designed no fewer than 29 dresses to be worn at various Nobel Prize ceremonies:

For her wedding, Princess Lilian completed her look with a matching headpiece trimmed with thin feathers, a three-strand pearl necklace and a diamond brooch. The bouquet, created by Stockholm florists Anita and Ulf Pelenius, was made of lilies of the valley, the bride's favourite flower, and myrtle. She also wore a mink fur coat and carried a vintage tapestry bag.

Curtseying to the King and Queen after the wedding ceremony:

The wedding reception was held at Drottningholm Palace. One of the invites was also on display:

After the wedding, Lilian threw herself into her royal duties, including attending the Nobel Prize ceremony until well into her old age (shown below with Queen Silvia in 2006):

Following the death of Bertil in 1997 at the age of 84, she continued to undertake royal engagements and to support many of her husband's causes. She retired from public life in 2010 due to her declining health: among other ailments, she suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Princess Lilian died in Stockholm on 10 March 2013, aged 97. Her love of lilies of the valley remained steady throughout the years, as denotes the cushion placed on the coffin at her funeral.

With three more wedding dresses to look at in more depth, keep an eye on this page in the coming days!