Thursday, 27 March 2014

Posting Update!

Hello!

This blog will be on hiatus until the end of April whilst we attempt to prepare for and cover The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George's tour of New Zealand and Australia. Please come over and join us at 'Duchess Kate' for what promises to be an incredibly exciting royal tour. When we return we'll be posting more frequently and focusing on features including Tiara Time. We leave you with a link to The Royal Jewels, an excellent documentary I recently discovered which focuses on the jewels of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Mary and Princess Diana.


Many thanks to all of you who've read the blog since we returned :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Royal Roundup: Sophie's Emotional Hospital Visit, Danish Royals attend Gala Dinner + All the Latest News

Good evening, we have a varied selection of updates to share with you tonight. We hope you enjoy!

The Countess of Wessex made an emotional return to Frimley Park Hospital, where she gave birth to her two children, to officially open a new neonatal unit. Sophie spent quite a while chatting to parents and admiring their new babies, most of whom had been born prematurely. It was the first time Sophie had been back since her son James was born in 2007.

Frimley Park Hospital

As she unveiled a plaque for the new ward, the Countess gave a speech:

'Thank you for inviting me here, it is good to be back in happier circumstances. On behalf of the thousands of families you have helped I would like to say thank you and congratulations on raising the money for this fantastic facility. The service you provide is paramount and can literally make the difference between life and death. I can attest to that!'

For those of you who may not know Sophie's history, she went through a lot to have a family. During the premature birth of her daughter Lady Louise, the Countess had to undergo an emergency caesarean section after suffering a placental abruption, which caused her to lose several pints of blood. Lady Louise's life was also in danger during the birth and it was a very difficult time for the family, and most of all Sophie. When Sophie met with midwives who assisted in saving her life she was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears.

The Daily Telegraph

More from royal correspondent Rebecca English.

Rebecca English Twitter Feed

Below we see Edward and Sophie leaving Frimley Park Hospital with Lady Louise back in 2003. They both strike me as such wonderful parents.


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In other news regarding the British Royal Family, Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip visited Royal Holloway, University of London. Her Majesty was all smiles and looked resplendent in blue.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The Queen presented The Queen's Medal for Music to Sir Thomas Allen at Buckingham Palace. It's a prestigious award presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the musical life of the United Kingdom.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The Duchess of Gloucester greeted Queen Mathilde of Belgium at Buckingham Palace last week. The two royals enjoyed a pleasant conversation. Mathilde looked impressively stylish as always.

The British Monarchy Flickr
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Over in Denmark, the royal family showcased their finery once again (we did say they're the absolute best for doing this). A gala dinner was held in Christian VIII's Palace to mark the Turkish state visit from the country's President and First Lady. Below we see Princess Marie and Prince Joachim arriving. The red gown is gorgeous; love the red lace detail.

Kongehuset

However (in my opinion) Mary stole the show in a soft pink gown by Australian designer Carla Zampatti. It's a beautiful, timeless garment. Paired with her wedding tiara and pearls, could this look be any more princessy? :)

Kongehuset

The gown was created for Mary's photoshoot for Australian Women's Weekly. The Princess is the Queen of recycling!



A glimpse inside the gala dinner. You can view a video from the event here.

Kongehuset
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Queen Rania of Jordan visited the SOS Children's Village in Irbid. The visit was organised to celebrate Mother's Day with the facility's mothers and children. Queen Rania spoke with mothers about the roles they play in bringing up children and stories of bonding were shared. You can view a video on The Queen's Instagram.

Queen Rania Facebook Page
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Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway are in Vietnam on an official visit. They arrived in Hanoi yesterday evening and began their visit today with an official welcoming at the Presidential Palace.

The Royal House of Norway

The couple travelled by "cyclo" and decided it was a perfect time to take a selfie :)

The Royal House of Norway
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Other notable appearances include Princess Letizia out and about today in a pair of print Hugo Boss pants.



And Queen Maxima was in high spirits during a visit to an educational centre in Tilburg.


Share your favourites in the comments section!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Royal Rewind: Grace Kelly, Her Irish Heritage and Visits

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day we're taking a look at the Irish heritage of the one and only Grace Kelly, and her visits to the country, but first a look at a special photo-shoot.


These gorgeous photos were taken of Grace on St. Patrick's Day 1954. The strapless emerald green gown was a classic choice and similar to so many of Grace's beautiful pieces. It could be worn today and have an equally captivating effect.


Did you know green was Grace's favourite colour? Symbolizing hope, luck and youth she never missed an opportunity to wear lime, jade or emerald. Following a tradition from Ireland, to bring good luck and happiness on the birth of a baby, Grace had the wall of the Palace library - set to be the birthplace of her daughter, Princess Caroline - painted green.

Grace's Irish roots begin with her paternal grandfather, John Peter Kelly, who was a bricklayer from Newport in Mayo. Born in 1857 in the scenic area of Drimurla, he, like so many, departed a starved and oppressed Ireland in 1887 for Philadelphia where he founded one of the city's leading construction companies and made his family's fortune.

The Princess was incredibly interested in her roots and first visited Ireland in 1961, much to the delight of the people of Ireland who considered the Princess "one of their own" since she first hit the big screen. Grace appropriately wore a vivid green Givenchy suit, the same one she had chosen for lunch at The White House earlier that year with the Kennedy's - "an elegant way to wrap the green flag around me".

One of Grace's first ports of call was the old cottage where her grandfather had lived. Grace and Prince Rainier stayed at the elegant Newport House and had tea with Ellen Mulchrone, who owned the charming ancestral cottage that back then had a traditional thatched roof. Grace was very taken with it.

The Grace Kelly Film Festival

The Princess used a black-throne stick as she made her way under the escort of Rev. Father Cummins during a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Patrick at Croagh Patrick in Westport.

The Grace Kelly Film Festival

Grace and Rainier attended a ball of the petit lits blanc for a French Hospital Charity in Powerscourt, Wicklow in 1965.


A great photo of the royal couple dancing.


Rainier and Grace with Albert and Caroline during a family holiday in Ireland, during which they stayed in Carton House, Co. Kildare.



The Princess attended the funeral of Irish president Éamon de Valera in Dublin in 1975.


Grace's visits had given her a love for Ireland, and as she continued her life in the Principality, Drimurla was never far from her mind. In 1976 the Princess purchased the ancestral cottage and surrounding 35 acres of land for £7,800. She returned several times, often walking the high street in Mayo, mixing with locals and getting her hair done. She adored the down to earth attitude of the locals and the sense of normality she enjoyed there.

Westport Co. Mayo

On her last visit to Ireland in 1979, the Princess told Gerald Bracken, former editor of The Mayo News she had planned to turn the cottage into a holiday home. Sadly, Grace passed away three years later and her dream never materialised. Prince Albert, who with his sisters inherited the house, paid an unannounced visit in 1987 and again in 2011. Since then the 18th century home has been "let go to rack and ruin", according to Mr. Bracken, who added, "We had hoped it would be a tourist attraction for Americans".


I do hope something is done to restore the cottage. It's incredibly important to preserve what we can and Grace remains such an iconic figure.

Drimurla

Following Grace's untimely death, the people of Westport sent a wreath of wild flowers - picked around Drimurla - to Monaco for her funeral. In 2012, the 30th anniversary of her death, Newport honoured Her Serene Highness with a film festival dedicated to her memory. Obviously, Grace left an indelible mark on Mayo and its people.

The Grace Kelly Film Festival

Cary Grant famously said:

'She never distanced herself from others. Even so, as soon as she came on set, everyone fell silent'.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Style File: Danish Royals Showcase Regal Looks

Having followed royal families from around the world for some time, I can say with some confidence not one of them showcase royal glamour in all its finery like the Danish royal family. Floor-length gowns, elegant up-dos, dazzling tiaras and jewels. They truly are a royal style fan's dream.

Kongehuset

Queen Margarethe and Prince Henrik hosted a gala dinner for members of the Danish Parliament during the week, and it was a dazzling affair.

Kongehuset

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary arrived holding hands (I just love when the royals show their romantic sides, particularly at officially events like this). Mary looked absolutely beautiful in a flowing kimono-style white gown with floral print.

Kongehuset

The breathtaking garment was designed by Charlotte Lynggaard for Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen, an international jewellery brand which still continues to hand craft jewellery from precious raw materials at their workshop in Hellerup, Copenhagen. In 2013, the brand celebrated its 50th anniversary in conjunction with the Elle Style Awards and a selection of gowns including Mary's were designed to compliment the jewels. The show was described as a "Scandinavian Fairytale" with ethereal and whimsical pieces on display.

Luxury Insider

You can see the dress in motion (at roughly 8:00) in the video below.



The Crown Princess also wore it for King Willem-Alexander's investiture in April. I think it looked much better the second time round without the hat.


Mary wore one of her go-to tiaras. The classic piece was a wedding gift from her Queen Margarethe and Prince Henrik. It is believed it was purchased at auction. Originally it was quite a small tiara but it has been altered to include a row of pearls at the bottom and on the top of the lower spikes. Of course, the pearls are removable ensuring Mary can wear it either way. We'll be looking at Mary's tiara's in greater detail in future 'Tiara Time' posts.

Order of Splendor

Mary completed the look with her bespoke 'Lotus' earrings and a blue pendant. Terrific ensemble for the Princess.

Kongehuset

Other honourable mentions go to Princess Marie, pictured arriving with her husband Prince Joachim (again, note the hand holding). I love the silhouette of her gown, the fitted waist and flowing skirt.

Kongehuset

Queen Margarethe's sister, Princess Benedikte arriving at Christianborg Castle.

Kongehuset

What did you think of the Danish Royals style?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Royal Roundup: Highlights of the Week

Hello dear readers,

I've decided to make an amendment to our 'Royal Roundup' posts and incorporate a variety of news from a variety of royal families in the spirit of updating in a somewhat timely fashion.

We begin with the British Royal Family and a look at an official portrait released by Buckingham Palace to mark Prince Edward's 50th birthday. It's a lovely, informal family portrait and I have to say I'm a big fan of the Wessexes, a royal couple who are seriously underrated in terms of media coverage.

The British Monarchy Flickr

It's been a busy week for The Countess of Wessex who visited  England Hockey at its base at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Buckinghamshire, to talk to staff and players from both national teams and observe a training session. Sophie has been patron of England Hockey since 2007 and joined in during a game.

Hockey England

Members of the Royal Family have been out and about attending this year's Cheltenham festival. The annual racing event is favoured by the Windsor clan. The Duchess of Cornwall was in high spirits at Ladies Day when she won a bet against her son Tom Parker-Bowles. She looked thrilled as she took three twenty pound notes from her son.


The Queen's granddaughter-in-law Autumn Phillips looked stylish.



New mother Zara Tindall enjoyed a day at the races with her mother Princess Anne.



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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark met with Chelsea Clinton, vice president of The Clinton Foundation, in New York at a dinner organised by the Danish Consulate General. The duo discussed a variety of issues during the meeting including global health, empowerment and women's rights - all issues Princess Mary feels passionately about.

Kongehuset

Meanwhile, Princess Mary's mother-in-law, the Queen, attended the opening of the exhibition "Vikings: Life and Legend" in London.

Kongehuset
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Over in the Netherlands, Queen Máxima made a fashion statement upon arrival at the official opening of "Week of the Money" at the Dutch Sound Institute. Máxima has always been one to experiment with her fashion choices. What are your thoughts on this look?


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Members of the Spanish Royal Family attended the 10th anniversary memorial service for victims of the March 2004 Madrid Bombings. No doubt a sombre day of reflection for many people in Spain.


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We wrap up today's post with a look at a new official photo of Princess Charlene of Monaco. It's a very casual and relaxed shot, which is something we're seeing more and more of in official royal photos across the board.

Palais Princier De Monaco

We hope to do at least a couple of these posts weekly moving forward.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Latest News: Prince Harry and Cressida's Week in the Spotlight

We don't know about you, but here at The Royal Digest we love a royal romance and are simply delighted to see one of our favourite royals, Prince Harry, enjoying a relationship with the beautiful Cressida Bonas. Following a long-term relationship with party girl Chelsy Davy, the Prince was linked to a string of striking blondes before he started seeing Cressida, a friend of his cousin Princess Eugenie. Given word on the royal news street and appearances by the couple this week, one could be cautiously optimistic (and let me tell you your faithful scribe is feeling optimistic about these two) a royal engagement may be on the cards within the next couple of years.


Last week, Cressida supported her Prince at the We Day event, which promotes global youth empowerment. The 25-year-old dance graduate looked casual and chic in a Mackage coat, Selfiridges skinny jeans and her signature converse trainers as she posed for photographs with her sister Isabella Calthorpe (former flame of Prince William), and her husband Sam Branson, son of Virgin mogul Richard Branson. The We Day event is largely sponsored by the Bransons.



Inside the Wembley Arena, Prince Harry gave an empowering and humorous speech:

'For those of you who were expecting Harry Styles, I apologise, and no, I am not going to sing. I feel extremely privileged, and incredibly nervous to be standing here in front of you today at the first We Day to be held in the UK. The world around us is changing fast.
 On one hand, it is a much more connected place. The internet is now part of our everyday lives, and social media has changed the way we communicate. What that means is that our generation, although I am nearly 30, has the greatest opportunity of any in our history to effect change on a global scale. Some people don't think it's cool to help others; personally I think it's the coolest thing in the world.'

After his speech Harry joined Cressida in the crowd where she congratulated him.


The two shared a hug.


Although it was not recorded in The Court Circular, Cressida's presence at the event has been considered a sign of how serious the relationship is in the press pack. Ms. Bonas is believed to be rather shy and this week she looked much more relaxed and comfortable as evidenced by the closeness of the couple at We Day.


Today, the couple were out and about publicly again, as the pair enjoyed an afternoon at Twickenham. Cressida and Harry enjoyed the sporting action taking place between England and Wales. The game ended 29-18 in England's favour, by the way.


They've been together almost two years, so it's nice to see them enjoying outings like normal, everyday couples, despite their public profile. We look forward to seeing more of them together in the future. On another note, what do you think of Cressida's style?

Friday, 28 February 2014

Latest News: Royal Babies - Princess Leonore & Mia Tindall

It's really been a royal news week dominated by babies, hasn't it? And I cannot think of a cuter subject to discuss, so let's begin with Princess Madeleine's new arrival. On Wednesday, 26 February, a cabinet meeting was held at the Royal Palace to mark the birth of Madeleine's child. During the meeting The King informed the government that the Princess will be named:

Her Royal Highness Princess Leonore Lilian Maria, Duchess of Gotland

I think you'll agree Princess Leonore is adorable!

Kungahuset

The King and Crown Princess Victoria looked delighted to discuss the latest addition to the family at the cabinet meeting.

Kungahuset

I thought the names chosen by Madeleine and Chris to be beautiful choices. Leonore and variations of the name are becoming an increasingly popular amongst European royals. It is the name of the future Spanish Queen (Leonor) to name just one. Some were surprised the baby was titled Princess, given that her father, a British-American, declined to take any titles and the couple have lived in New York for some time and will continue to do so. Nonetheless it's always lovely to welcome another Princess.

A look at the happy family.

Princess Madeleine Facebook Page

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Over here in Britian, The Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike introduced the world to their daughter Mia via an exclusive photoshoot with Hello! Magazine.

Hello! Magazine

The couple's decision to sell the first photos of their daughter has been described as "tawdry" by royal commentators. Many feel it was not prudent for a member of the Royal Family to partake in such financial ventures.


'Zara Tindall has risked irritating The Queen by selling exclusive photographs of her daughter Mia to Hello! Magazine for a six-figure sum. The Queen's granddaughter is the most senior member of the Royal Family to sell the rights to the first portrait of their child, and signed the deal despite previous denials that she intended to make money from the birth.'

The pictures were taken at the couple's home on the Princess Royal's Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire. In the interview, Zara described her daughter as "pretty relaxed and happy so far" and said, "I keep looking at Mia and thinking, 'Oh we made that'."

What do you think of Zara and Mike's decision to sell the photos of Mia? I expect if the money had been donated to charity the decision would have been met with a less harsh reception from the press.
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