Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Prince Harry Honours Victoria Cross and George Cross Recipients

Prince Harry today attended the remembrance and re-dedication ceremony for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association at St. Martins-in-the-field Church in London.

The prince, who was representing his father Prince Charles, away on a four-day visit to Colombia, attended a special church service with the twenty-three current members of the association, including former Chief Superintendent Jim Beaton, GC, CVO, who was awarded the George Cross after being shot three times protecting Harry's aunt Princess Anne during an attempted abduction in 1974.

After the service Prince Harry joined association members for an official reception at St. James's Palace.

Spain's Royal Couple Greet Chile's President in Madrid

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain greeted President of Chile Michelle Bachelet at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid today, as the president began a two-day visit to Spain with an official lunch at the royal residence.

President Bachelet's visit to Spain is part of a wider European tour, which aims to promote economic cooperation between Chile and the European economy, and reassure investors after new tax reforms in Chile were criticised as damaging economic growth in the country. It is President Bachelet's first visit to Europe since she was re-elected in March.

Queen Letizia looked professional and elegant in a grey ensemble by her go-to designer Felipe Varela. The embellishment on the jacket adds a touch of sparkle to an otherwise plain look.

Letizia completed the look with grey pumps by Magrit.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Arrive in Colombia

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall began their four-day visit to Colombia on Tuesday night when they touched down at Bogota Airport.

The first engagement for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall was a reception at the British ambassadorial residence, hosted by Ambassador Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby. Camilla was presented with a snakeskin handbag by fashion designer Mario Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez and his wife Olga also gave Camilla a handbag for the Duchess of Cambridge.

Charles received a Colombian national football shirt from President of the Colombian Football Federation Jaime Bedoya, and a book on the works of native artist Carlos Jacanamijoy.

Today the couple were greeted by President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos and his wife María Clemencia Rodríguez de Santos at the Presidential Palace. The visit is the result of Mr. Santos's invitation to strengthen ties between Colombia and Britain and his appeal to help his government bring a lasting peace to the country, which has suffered fifty years of armed conflict.

A large marching band paraded past the palace in honour of their guests.

Prince Charles and Mr. Santos inspected a guard of honour while the Duchess of Cornwall and Mrs. Rodríguez de Santos looked on.

The visit will examine serious issues affecting Colombia, which include the rebuilding of those parts worst affected during the upheaval and the effects of violence on the citizens of the country, with special emphasis on victims of sexual violence during the conflict.

The British government has said it will help Colombia's prosecutors deal with cases in the aftermath of a peace deal with rebels; according to official figures more than 7,000 Colombians suffered sexual attacks during the violence.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Royal Rewind: The Royals & Oscar de la Renta

Last week iconic and legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta passed away in his home in Kent, Connecticut aged 82. Diagnosed with cancer in 2006, he died from complications caused by his illness. His gowns helped to hone the style of icons including Jackie Kennedy and most recently he designed a beautiful wedding gown for Amal Clooney - another trendsetter in the making.

Indeed, he enjoyed friendships with the royals. He greatly admired Princess Diana and famously said she "had a natural sense of royalty that no royalty can match". Below we see the late designer enjoying a dance with Diana during a 1996 gala in Washington - Diana's first engagement in the U.S. after her divorce.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar was photographed laughing with Princess Margaret during a charity fashion show in Claridge's.

Over the years he forged a close friendship with Queen Sofia of Spain and even became chair of the Spanish Queen Sofia Institute. At the age of eighteen he came to Spain to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer and drew much of his inspiration there.

Sofia remains a huge fan of his designs and has worn his creations several times in recent years. 

The latest generation of royals have come to appreciate his work and his designs have very much become a staple for European royals. Earlier this year Prince Charlene selected a fitted green dress by the brand.

Crown Princess Mary has worn his designs with aplomb. A favourite of mine which springs to mind is the stunning navy blue dress with a collar made of pearls.


Earlier this year, Mary sported a divine floral-print dress by Oscar de la Renta for events marking World Cancer Day.


A closer look at the red and black dress.

Princess Marie-Chantal in a dazzling gown the evening before Princess Madeleine of Sweden's wedding.

Princess Madeleine looking radiant in Oscar de la Renta for Princess Victoria's 32nd birthday celebrations. 

Queen Máxima wearing her much-loved de la Renta coat earlier this year.

Both Letizia and Infanta Elena wore Oscar de la Renta suits for National Day in 2012.

We leave you with this memorable quote from Oscar:

'Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.'

Monday, 27 October 2014

Queen Sofia Presides at the Íñigo Álvarez de Toledo Awards

Queen Sofia of Spain was at the Senate Building in Madrid, Spain to present awards for the Spanish Renal Íñigo Álvarez de Toledo Foundation (FRIAT), which works to fight kidney disease and support research initiatives.

The foundation was set up in 1982 in memory of Count of Eril, Íñigo Álvarez de Toledo y Mencos, who died because of kidney disease at age 44 in 1980 and supports research in nephrology at all levels.

The annual awards are a chance to recognise the hard work and dedication involved in nephrology and the efforts being made to help those suffering kidney disease, while also raising awareness of the subject nationally and internationally.

The Prince of Wales Hosts Afternoon Tea in Honour of VC and GC Recipients

Charles, Prince of Wales hosted an afternoon tea reception for members of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which he is president of. The reception was held at St. James's Palace, London and attended by holders of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in the field, and the George Cross, awarded to civilians and military personnel for bravery in circumstances of extreme danger.

Recipients in attendance included Warrant Officer Class 2 Kim Hughes, who was awarded the George Cross in 2010 for his work as a British Army bomb disposal expert during the Afghanistan conflict.

And former Australian soldier Ben Roberts-Smith, awarded the Victoria Cross in 2006 for his gallantry in Afghanistan while destroying Taliban machine gun positions. Roberts-Smith became the most highly-decorated member of the Australian Defence Force.

Australian soldier Corporal Daniel Keighran, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Derapet in 2010 said: "It is incredibly humbling to talk to these guys and hear their stories, To be a part of that group as well - I don't think I'll get used it. Every year there are less and less members, so it's good to come together."

The biennial gathering of the association's members is a timely reminder of the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war and the prince was clearly fascinated and moved by the stories they had to tell.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Danish State Visit to Croatia Comes to an End

It was the fourth and final day of the Danish state visit to Croatia, and the royal couple were in the coastal city of Split, where cultural history and archaeology were very much the order of the day.

Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik began the day by opening an exhibit honouring Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve (1887-1961) who excavated much of the ancient city Salona near Split, once the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

Afterwards, the queen and prince consort visited Diocletian's Palace, which was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the fourth century and now forms part of Split's city centre.

During the tour of this historic city centre, the royal couple travelled by electric car. The palace has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.

At midday, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik proceeded to the Ivan Meštrović Gallery. The gallery was once home and workplace to famous and world-renowned sculptor Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) and now displays many of his most important pieces to the public.

The queen and prince consort also attended a lunch at the gallery hosted by Denmark's ambassador to Croatia, Poul Erik Dam Kristensen, where they met various members of the arts community in Croatia and also some from Denmark.

The last engagement of the day was afternoon visit to the ruins of the city of Salona where they were greeted by archaeologist Nenad Kambi.

The royal couple inspected ongoing work at the site and learned about the history and archaeology of the ancient settlement.

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik appeared to thoroughly enjoy their visit to Croatia and I must say this state visit was very interesting to follow, as it provided an opportunity for us all to get to know more about this beautiful and fascinating country and observe the strengthening relationship between Denmark and Croatia on the world stage.
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