Tuesday, 6 June 2023

The Princess Visits Windsor Family Hub

The Princess of Wales visited the Windsor Family Hub this morning. Located on the Waleses' doorstep and close to their home, Adelaide Cottage, it's one of a number of engagements we've seen the Princess carry out in Windsor.

It marks a return to the regular schedule following George, Charlotte and Louis' half-term break from Lambrook, and William and Kate's glittering appearance in Jordan to attend their first major overseas royal occasion. The Jordan trip was an unexcepted delight for royal watchers and I hope the first of many overseas deployments for occasions which call for...ahem...a hefty dose of sparkle :) Kate looked tanned and relaxed as she arrived. As Carole and Pippa Middleton were also in Jordan, I hope they took in a day of sightseeing afterwards and soaked in the magnificent sights.

An arrival video.

Today's engagement was very much in Kate's wheelhouse and in keeping with her ethos of supporting children and families.

Kensington Palace said: "The Windsor Family Hub is run by Achieving for Children, a not-for-profit community interest company which provides children’s services for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It offers a wide variety of services designed to support parents, carers and children of all ages including universal provision delivered through family hubs. This is offered alongside targeted support provided at the earliest opportunity to facilitate family resilience and prevent issues escalating."

Kate joined several groups availing of the services offered by the Hub, including parents participating in a stress management course and others joining a baby massage course.

Kate spoke to parents about their experiences and the positive impact of the Hub on their family lives.

A Palace spokesperson noted: "The Princess has dedicated her time to raising awareness of the critical importance of early childhood and in January 2023, with The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, launched Shaping Us, a long-term campaign. The Shaping Us campaign aims to transform the issue of early childhood from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time. The campaign also highlights that, by focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around all children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the physical and mental health and happiness of generations to come."

A lovely group photo.

Kate opted for a sophisticated blue and navy look today.

Kate's blue and white houndstooth blazer is a sold-out ZARA piece, which originally retailed for about £60.

It looks like Kate repeated her Ralph Lauren Nadalia top.

Kate accessorised with her Mappin & Webb Empress jewellery.

And sported a new pair of flats -- the Emmy London Lulu shoes in 'midnight'.

The £405 pair are described as:

'A stylish pointed flat in a rich midnight navy shade. With a low-profile heel and extra padding, Lulu is the perfect balance of comfort and beauty. The midnight navy shade is a super wearable tone making these pretty and practical flats a brilliant finishing touch to just about any outfit.'

They are available in multiple colours on Emmy London's website.

Tomorrow, the Princess will visit Maidenhead Rugby Club for a discussion with men on early childhood.

Thursday, 1 June 2023

A Sparkling White-Tie Banquet Brings Jordan's Royal Wedding to a Close

It was a spectacular night of royal style and sparkle for the glittering banquet completing a day of festivities for Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and (the newly styled) HRH Princess Rajwa.

The Prince and Princess of Wales tonight.

The bride and groom arriving to join King Abdullah and Queen Rania in greeting guests from all over the globe.

The couple welcomed 1,700 guests to Al Husseiniya Palace.

More from the Royal Hashemite Court:

'Al Husseiniya Palace was built in 2006 west of the capital Amman, next to the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, Al Hussein Park, the Royal Automobile Museum and the Children’s Museum Jordan.

The Palace houses the new offices of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II.

In its design, Al Husseiniya Palace is a combination of Arab Islamic architectural heritage, represented by the arches and the designs on the walls and doors; and the simplicity and elegance of interior design.

Al Husseiniya Palace also houses the offices of the Royal Hashemite Court Chief and the Royal Protocol Chief, in addition to the halls where bilateral and expanded meetings are held during official visits.

Moreover, the Palace also includes a dining hall, a hall for major celebrations and a courtyard for outdoor ceremonies — located in the space separating the Palace from the King Hussein Mosque — where kings and presidents are received.'

An arrival video.

In conversation with a very proud Queen Rania.

The wedding was one of the increasingly rare white-tie opportunities on the royal calendar. To see such a large gathering in tiaras and regalia is absolutely one to savour. Kate has been loving wearing pink of late and today she selected dusky pink shades twice. Earlier today, it was an Elie Saab creation from the 2017 Autumn/Winter Collection (click here to catch up on that post).

Tonight, the Princess opted for the shimmering 'Georgia' gown by the queen of eveningwear, Jenny Packham.

In the image below, you can see the embellishment on the neckline and tailored silhouette.

This gown is a familiar one to royal watchers who may recall Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wore it for an interview with the Financial Times ahead of her 50th birthday.

Kate wore a very similar Packham gown in Pakistan and most recently for the 2021 Royal Variety Performance. The Princess styled the vivid green gown with Missoma Zenyu earrings and Emmy London matching green pumps.

The Princess sparkled in the Lover's Knot tiara. Alongside the Queen's Mother's Lotus Flower tiara, the Lover's Knot is the primary piece in Kate's rotation and one very deeply associated with the late Princess Diana and now with the new Princess of Wales.

The tiara features elements of the Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Cambridge Lover's Knot is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet, a pillar-like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a round diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature and the size gradually decreases from the centre towards both ends. We've previously discussed just how heavy Diana found it, sometimes opting to borrow the Spencer family tiara, as she found it headache inducing. It is a substantial piece.

The most notable element of Kate's jewels tonight, surprisingly, was not her tiara, but her choice of earrings from the Royal Collection. The Princess wore the fabulous Greville Chandelier earrings. The stunning earrings were a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth from her parents in 1947 (originating from Mrs Greville's bequest). According to the Royal Collection Trust: "Their design incorporates a lexicon of modern diamond cuts, including half-moon, trapeze, square, baguette, baton and emerald."

Below, Queen Elizabeth II wearing the earrings at the White House whilst dancing with President Gerald Ford in 1976.

Kate donned her Royal Family Order (below, photographed on another occasion). The order for King Charles III has not been distributed yet. When it is, we'll see Kate wearing two.

The Princess donned her GCVO regalia. In April 2019, to coincide with William and Kate's eighth wedding anniversary, the late Queen appointed her granddaughter-in-law Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the Sovereign. The Royal Victorian Order was established in 1896 by Queen Victoria to recognize personal service to the monarch. Like the Royal Family Order, the blue sash with red and white trim and the star of the order will be worn at white-tie occasions throughout Kate's life. The GCVO robes came to the fore when the Princess wore hers for the Coronation last month.

Once again, Kate used her divine diamond Bentley & Skinner brooch to secure the sash. The piece is described as: "An Art Deco diamond set brooch, of rectangular shape with corners cut away, with an openwork pattern comprising of a central, round brilliant-cut diamond with an estimated weight of 0.35 carat, with a baguette-cut diamond to the top and bottom of the rectangle, total estimated diamond weight 4.5 carats, all mounted in platinum, circa 1920." I have long suspected it may have been a gift from the King.

Kate completed the look with her pink satin Prada clutch.


As requested, we're taking a look at the megawatt sparkle on offer tonight in addition to the Princess. First, we're taking a look at another British princess -- Beatrice -- whose tiara appearance tonight was a blast from the past for royal watchers.

Emerging for the first time in over two decades, Beatrice borrowed the tiara from her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York. The piece was gifted to Sarah in 1986 by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and was subsequently worn for her wedding to Prince Andrew. The scroll tiara, created by Garrard, is Sarah's property (she has joked about keeping it by her bedside table) and it now begins life with another generation as her daughters may opt to wear it for the rare occasions which call for a tiara.

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Beatrice wore Reem Acra's pink and gold embellished satin-piqué gown. Below, the dress in beige. It's also on sale in navy at Net-A-Porter.

Beatrice and Edo greeting the royals.

Princess Rajwa chose a sweeping custom Dolce & Gabbana design for her second look. Rajwa wore white evening gloves and an elegant updo.

The bride wore her new tiara and earrings, designed by FRED Paris. It's understood the scroll tiara features an Arabic inscription meaning 'Hope from God' (with thanks to Regalfille and Princess Marie of Denmark via Twitter).

Below, the runway look Alta Moda 2022 collection.

Hussein and Rajwa welcoming guests including Queen Jetsun of Bhutan.

Queen Rania was in custom Elie Saab couture from the SS23 Collection (with thanks to Royal Fashion Police) and her Arabic Scroll Tiara. Certainly not a coincidence -- the tiara, one of Rania's staples, was created by FRED (as her daughter-in-law's was today) almost twenty years ago and features an inscription with an Arabic prayer. There's greater poignancy to Rajwa's tiara choice and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was a gift from her new in-laws.

The Court Jeweller notes Princess Iman (the groom's sister) sported the diamond Chaumet tiara she wore for her own wedding in March.

Iman teamed it with a Giambattista Valli pink gown, which was one of the more unusual designs of the night. In the video below, you can see Princess Salma in a wine sequin gown and her mother's (Rania's) bracelet tiara.

It was a night of jewel-filled decadence for the Dutch royal ladies (and we would expect nothing less). Máxima was sparkling in an adjusted version of her Stuart tiara and a bespoke Jan Taminiau gold gown. Princess Catharine-Amalia was regal in red and Queen Wilhelmina's Ruby Peacock tiara.

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I adore this photo -- it will be one Máx and her eldest daughter will no doubt look back on fondly in years to come.

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An immensely warm greeting for King Willem-Alexander from King Abdullah.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was striking in a hot pink cape gown by Safiyaa. The Ginkgo style is available at My Theresa.

Victoria wore the beautiful Boucheron Laurel Wreath Tiara.

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Queen Sofia of Spain was regal as ever in her Niarchos ruby parure.

The talented Royal Fashion Police team noted Crown Princess Mary of Denmark very cleverly upcycled a gorgeous Jesper Hovring gown for the event and teamed it with her ruby and diamond tiara.

Belgium's Princess Elisabeth opted for a bespoke blue Armani Prive gown teamed with a diamond tiara which was purchased for the Princess by her parents.

What a night! Looking forward to hearing which look was your favourite :)

The Princess of Wales in Elie Saab for Royal Wedding in Jordan

The Prince and Princess of Wales are in Jordan today for the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Rajwa Al-Saif at Zahran Palace in Amman.

The glittering wedding, a State event, is a much-awaited milestone for William and Kate, marking the first time they have attended a royal wedding or prominent occasion hosted by another monarchy. As Prince of Wales, a considerable amount of overseas travel was undertaken by Charles. Now as King, with a different set of responsibilities, the mantle has fallen to the Waleses. Thus far, there's no Commonwealth tour on the horizon for the couple, with the notable exception of Earthshot, which will take place in Singapore in November.

As coverage of the wedding was growing, I had a feeling it might be the perfect occasion for the new Prince and Princess of Wales to attend.

There are several important connections between both William and Kate and Jordan. Of course, when Kate was just two, the Middleton family spent over two years in the country where Michael was working for British Airways. During a solo visit to Jordan in 2018, William said his wife "loved" her time there. Kate attended an English language nursery before returning to England two years later.

In 2011, the Middletons chose an image of Michael, Kate and Pippa in Jordan as one of several released ahead of the royal wedding.

In 2021, William and Kate took the children to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan for a family holiday. They chose a family portrait from the trip for their Christmas card that year.

Additionally, Queen Rania is a member of the Earthshot Prize Council and has been enormously supportive of the project. Rania also spoke warmly during the Coronation, telling People: "It struck the perfect balance of solemnity, spectacle, and spirituality. The many different traditions and rituals we saw were a reminder of Britain's deep respect for its history, and the link between King Charles III and British sovereigns of centuries past. It is admirable to see how the British monarchy has evolved through the years and remained a steadying presence for the country and its people."

On a wider point, we saw such an immense outpouring of support and a sense of coming together for both the Queen's funeral and the King's coronation, it's important for senior British royals to reciprocate where possible, an element I imagine factored into the decision to attend.

Below, the Prince and Princess being greeted by Queen Rania and King Abdullah with a curtsy from Kate. Queen Rania looked effortlessly elegant in a black Dior gown.

Another look.

People reports:

'When the couple arrived, they had a lengthy chat with the parents of the groom, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, with Kate dipping into a curtsy while greeting each of them.'

Below, King Abdullah and Queen Rania welcoming a host of relatives and foreign royals.

Before we proceed to coverage of the bride, groom and guests, we'll take a look at Kate's sartorial choices for the wedding. As you all know, I've long been an avid enthusiast when it comes to the combination of the Princess and Elie Saab. We've seen Kate wear a two-piece blue look for Ascot -- repeated last month for a Buckingham Palace garden party.

I've long wondered if the talented Lebanese designer featured in Kate's private rotation with a degree of frequency. Today, Kate chose an intricate dusty pink, flowing gown with a high neckline from the designer's Autumn/Winter 2017 collection. Given the collection the dress is from, it's been speculated Kate may have worn it to another wedding (I understand Kate actually wore a striking green gown for Pippa's wedding reception). I think it quite likely it was purchased for a tour possibly 2017/2018, but then Kate was expecting Louis and on maternity leave. Another Saab creation for tonight's banquet? I do hope so :)

Kate's unidentified statement pink earrings have added a stunning finish to several of her looks over the years. It's long been speculated they were a wedding gift. Some years ago, Rebecca English received Palace confirmation they were not on loan from the late Queen and didn't offer further guidance. It's quite possible they are, in fact, a gift from the Jordanian royals.

Below, Kate wearing the dazzling pair for the 2017 BAFTA awards.

Kate carried her gold glitter Wilbur & Gussie 'Charlie' clutch, a piece she's had since 2011.

Crown Prince Hussein, 28, was officially named Heir to the Throne when he was just fifteen years old. The namesake of his grandfather, Hussein claims descent in the male line from Muhammad's daughter Fatima and son-in-law Ali, the fourth caliph. Hussein has enjoyed a varied education which has seen him obtain a bachelor's degree in International History at Georgetown and also graduation from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, previously attended by William and Harry. A Captain in the Jordanian Armed Forces, he is a powerful public speaker, following very much in his mother's footsteps.

Rajwa Al Saif, 29, is an architect and the daughter of one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent engineering firms (her mother is related to King Salman of Saudi Arabia). Rajwa completed her education in the United States, studying at the Syracuse School of Architecture and earning a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.

The Telegraph reports:

'There has been some speculation that the high-profile wedding could be aimed at distracting Jordanians from a bitter public rift between the King of Jordan and his half-brother, who was implicated in a failed coup attempt two years ago.

In May last year, King Abdullah II explained that he had placed his half brother, Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein, under house arrest due to his “erratic behaviour and aspirations” in a public letter that was unprecedented in its candour.

The move came in the wake of a 2021 alleged coup attempt that Jordanian leaders claimed to have foiled by arresting 19 people, including Prince Hamzah and a number of political allies and officials.'

Today has been declared a public holiday in Jordan, allowing all those who wish to celebrate the most significant royal wedding since Abudullah and Rania wed thirty years ago.

The bride was escorted by her now brother-in-law Prince Hashem and his sisters Princess Iman and Princess Salma.

Zahran Palace, built in 1957, is a majestic royal residence. Zahran meaning "blooming flower" is filled with lush greenery and overlooks Jabal Amman, one of Jordan's oldest neighbourhoods.

More from the Royal Hashemite Court:

'The Palace was the home of Her Majesty the Queen Mother the late Zain Al Sharaf (grandmother of His Majesty King Abdullah II, mother of His Majesty King Hussein and wife of His Majesty King Talal) until her passing on 26 April 1994. Afterwards, Zahran Palace became a Hashemite headquarters where official functions are held.'

The live stream with coverage of arrivals and the wedding ceremony shared by the Jordanian Government.


A beaming Hussein upon seeing his bride.

The scene inside during the intimate ceremony.

William and Kate amidst a sea of royals.

The exchanging of rings.

After the ceremony, William and Kate had a warm chat and took the opportunity to congratulate the newlyweds.

They will all see each other at various occasions throughout their lives as future kings and queens.

William and Kate were in attendance officially representing the King and the Royal family, but they were not the only ones from the family invited. Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi were there on a personal basis; there's obviously a close friendship across the families. 

Beatrice looked lovely in Needle & Thread's Celia dress in ice blue.

The newlyweds depart Zahran Palace.

The couple participate in the Red Motorcade.

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A wave from the happy couple.

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More from Jordan News:

'Today, the Red Motorcade is used on occasions of national importance, including the opening of Parliament, Army Day, Independence Day, and during official visits of heads of state.

On these occasions, motorcade members and riders don full Jordanian military regalia and the national red and white checkered headdress, known in Arabic as the Shemagh.

The Motorcade consists of eight bright red armed land rover vehicles and 11 motorcycles, but on special occasions, horse, and camel riders join the lineup and the Jordan Armed Forces Musical Band plays military music on bagpipes'.

A video from the procession which saw thousands line the streets.

The Princess of Wales was not alone in favouring Elie Saab today; the bride chose a custom made gown by the designer, too.

Vogue Arabia shared the details:

'For her wedding day, the future queen of Jordan opted for none other than Elie Saab. Her pick was, as one would imagine, all-white. 

First seen stepping out of her car with sister-in-law Princess Iman holding her hand, Rajwa Al-Saif wore her white wedding gown with an elaborate veil that trailed meters behind her. The dress itself was a body skimming number that came sans embellishment, but stood out for its elegantly sculpted asymmetrical neckline. Along with the full-sleeved gown came a detachable train with floral detailing that added volume and drama to her wedding look'.

A closer look at the sweeping train.

Quite unexpectedly, Rajwa opted for a new tiara. Tiara Mania notes the beautiful piece appears to have "Arabic calligraphy on all sides". Rajwa teamed the piece with matching diamond earrings.

As you may have noticed, photos are incredibly sparse, however we did get a glimpse of several royals leaving their hotel. As always, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is a sartorial vision in a blue floral Luisa Beccaria gown she's worn previously and dazzling jewels.

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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden chose the very pretty By Malina 'Alize' floral dress.

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The always elegant Queen Jetsun of Bhutan and Princess Eeuphelma of Bhutan.

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A very impressive young lady who is immersing herself in duties and State occasions at just 21 -- Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. She chose a magenta cape gown by Essential Antwerp (with thanks to Royal Fashion Police).

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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark repeated her floral Erdem 'Agnes' gown.

First Lady Dr Jill Biden, representing the US, was elegant in a custom lavender Reem Acra gown (with thanks to Kate Bennett).

Jovial scenes at the first reception.

Just as I was about to hit publish on this, I noticed Gert's Royals spotted Carole Middleton, Pippa and James Matthews in attendance. It's very interesting indeed and perhaps speaks to closer friendships than we're aware of.

We're expecting the glittering evening banquet (with tiaras) to get underway quite shortly.

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