27 April 2017

Flashback: State Opening of Parliament, March 1974 (and Upcoming Event Changes)

It was announced today that the 2017 State Opening of Parliament will be held on June 19th due to the snap election called by Prime Minister May. (I try my hardest to keep this a politics-free zone, so we won't go into the reasons behind the election on this blog.) The date means that the packed June royal schedule has to be altered, and that the State Opening will have a different look than the pomp-filled one we're used to.

June 19th is the Monday after Trooping the Colour, which is always the day reserved for Garter Day. The Queen has therefore decided to cancel this year's service for the Order of the Garter.

The State Opening coming so soon after Trooping the Colour does not leave enough time for practice of the ceremony, according to today's announcements, and so the 2017 State Opening will be a "dressed down" version. There will be no carriage procession to Parliament, and The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will not be present. The Imperial State Crown will be present, but it will not be worn by The Queen; she'll be expected in her usual daywear instead of a gown.

The last time the State Opening of Parliament took place in this "dressed down" format was in March 1974. The BBC's Peter Hunt shared the above video of The Queen's arrival for the event, giving you an idea of what expect in 2017. The Queen wore her usual day outfit with hat; it looks to be her outfit from Princess Anne's first wedding. In 1974 there were actually two State Openings of Parliament, because there were two elections. The full crown-n'-gown procedure was in place for the October ceremony.

Officials are insisting that this is not a permanent change - things will go back to the usual pomp and circumstance in 2018 - and that it is not due to any concerns regarding The Queen's age. A slight change was made in 2016, when The Queen took the elevator instead of the stairs during the State Opening.

Of course, the election has also had another effect on the royal schedule: the Spanish state visit has been pushed back to July 12-14. (Better than an indefinite delay, at least!)

26 April 2017

Audience at Windsor Castle

The Queen received the President of Guyana for a private audience at Windsor Castle.

That's not a bad view they've got there, eh? The Queen is in her more "casual" pearls, as she often is at Windsor, with a brooch we saw four times last year (and yet I still didn't think we'd seen it in a long time. Must not be making much of an impression...).

25 April 2017

Motability 40th Anniversary Ceremony

The Queen, Patron, hosted a ceremony at Windsor Castle to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Motability, a charity providing vehicles to disabled people and their families.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

The Queen presented keys to new vehicles to some families as part of this event, which I assume she managed to do without shouting "You get a car! You get a car!", as I most certainly would have done.

22 April 2017

Newbury Races

The Queen attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.

All smiles today, because that birthday luck kicked in belatedly: The Queen's horse Call to Mind was a winner on her second day at Newbury!

21 April 2017

Newbury Races

The Queen, accompanied by The Princess Royal, attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.

A very happy 91st birthday to Her Maj today! She spent the day indulging in one of her favorite pastimes. Would have been nice if she'd had a little extra birthday luck, but it was not to be; her horse, Maths Prize, lost today.

16 April 2017

Easter Service

The Queen and members of the Royal Family attended Easter Service in Windsor.

Her Maj's coat is bright as an Easter egg as usual. I'm surprised by the dress underneath, I wouldn't have guessed it went with this coat if we hadn't seen them together. The brooch, on the other hand, is no surprise; the Queen Mother's Shell Brooch has been worn for Easter service a couple times in the past.

Enjoy your Easter, and we'll see you at the other blog tomorrow to check out the rest of the family fashions!

13 April 2017

Royal Maundy Service

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, attended the Royal Maundy Service at Leicester Cathedral.

Ooh, second (relatively) rare brooch selection for the week: the Botswana Flower Brooch, given to The Queen in 2007 and first worn in 2014. This Angela Kelly coat is the by far the best background the brooch has had to date; it previously appeared on white and yellow jackets, but the design really stands out on a darker color.

Royal Family
The Maundy service has been a traveling affair during The Queen's reign, held at a different church each year. According to the palace, after today's service in Leicester, The Queen has now visited every Anglican cathedral in England for the Royal Maundy Service. Another landmark for a landmark reign.

11 April 2017

Visit to Bedfordshire

The Queen, Patron of the Zoological Society of London, and The Duke of Edinburgh opened a new center for elephant care at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. They also visited Priory View, an independent living scheme for older residents, during their day of engagements in Bedfordshire.

Here's a bit of an unusual brooch selection: the Daffodil Spray, which might be part of a set of brooches given by The Sultan of Oman, is only on its fourth appearance. (Asking for two amethysts in a row would have been too much, I suppose.)

Royal Family
Any day with a Rachel Trevor Morgan hat + Stewart Parvin coat combo's a good day, anyway.

Something else to love: The Queen and The Duke feeding bananas to an elephant. It's the little things, you know.
That's Donna the elephant. The Queen also had a chance to check in on Elizabeth the elephant, who was born last year and was named after Her Maj in celebration of her 90th birthday. (Unsurprisingly, HM was very interested in the care of the elephants and quick to compare it to keeping horses.)

07 April 2017

Lord Snowdon Memorial Service

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and Members of the Royal Family, attended a Service of Thanksgiving remembering Lord Snowdon at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

It's been over a year since we last saw the Amethyst Bouquet Brooch. It looks perfect with this velvet-trimmed purple ensemble; I may even like it better here than the Kent Amethyst, which was worn when this outfit debuted last year. Good choices all around for this event, purple having been considered a color of half-mourning in eras past.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Also of sparkly note: Lady Sarah Chatto wore her pearl and diamond wedding earrings, which belonged to her mother. I wouldn't have pegged her to be the one that would get the most use of Princess Margaret's jewels, but she reliably wears some at every royal event she attends, and it's wonderful to see.

05 April 2017

Royal Lancers Guidon Presentation

The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief, presented a new Guidon to The Royal Lancers in a ceremony at St. George's Hall, Windsor Castle. The Duke of York, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, was also in attendance.  
The Queen also added an honorific suffix to the regiment's name to mark her 70th year as its Colonel-in-Chief and in recognition of the regiment's service and loyalty to herself and to her mother, Queen Elizabeth. The regiment will now be known as The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths' Own).
Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/MoD Crown Copyright 2017
For more: Telegraph article and video, Zimbio gallery.

It's Easter Court for The Queen right now, the month or so around Easter she traditionally spends based full time at Windsor Castle. That means public engagements are a little slower, though she was snapped out riding late last month and Prince Philip was seen carriage driving. I'm glad that one of these sparse engagements involved the wearing of a skull and crossbones brooch.

Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/MoD Crown Copyright 2017
Okay, despite the fact that it amuses me greatly to imagine Her Maj owning an entire collection of skull brooches for her personal use, this is obviously a regimental badge. The Royal Lancers gave this diamanté brooch to their Colonel-in-Chief in 2015, and this is the second time we've seen hear wear it.

03 April 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall at a Gala Dinner in Florence

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a gala dinner in Florence, Italy, where The Prince was presented with the Renaissance Man of the Year Award. The couple are on an official visit to the country. 
Clarence House Instagram
For more: Zimbio gallery.

Serious diamond alert! Camilla's Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure made another appearance tonight, with a red Anna Valentine dress and a bracelet or watch which is new to me.

I'm surprised a gown that's not technically full length got the full necklace treatment, only because Cams has proven to be quite fond of using the Pear Drop Diamond Earrings with other things, like her collection of pearl chokers. Surprised but delighted, obviously. Sparkling diamonds and a colorful dress are all we need here.

01 April 2017

The Queen Mother's Diamond Flower Earrings

The Queen Mother wears her Diamond Flower Earrings
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was fond of these earrings, each of which features a central round diamond surrounded by marquise diamond "petals" to create a flower shape. Their origin is not precisely known, although a gift from King George VI or one of the jewels Queen Elizabeth commissioned herself would be the best guesses. They were in her collection for decades, becoming particular favorites in her later years. The earrings were inherited by The Queen in 2002.

Video: The Queen Mother wore the earrings in 1995
The Diamond Flower Earrings illustrate some of the differences between the jewelry selections of The Queen and her mother. These were regular options for daytime wear for Queen Elizabeth, who was even known to wear the Greville Peardrop Earrings for the occasional special day event. But for The Queen, who is so tied to her usual pearl earrings for daytime (and who generally includes pearls for day even when she strays from those), these all-diamond earrings are strictly an evening option.

The Queen wears the Diamond Flower Earrings with the George VI Festoon Necklace, 2009
They're not even a frequent evening option for The Queen, at that; she wore them a couple times in 2009 and that's about it so far. I'd love to see her loan them to The Countess of Wessex or The Duchess of Cambridge, where they might get more use. They're lovely earrings that could be favorites again for someone.