Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Friday, 30 March 2012

Official Royal Statement

His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann has released the following statement:

"The weekends are a great time to reflect. I'd like to thank everybody who has taken the time to experience my blog. I  LOVE blogging. It is my absolute pleasure to write the stories, take the pictures and to oversee the small hidden details that over time everybody will appreciate. Please note that the blog is not just about, dolls and jewellery but it is essentially a story that will unfold over time. For my fans, try not to skip any posts but check the archive and see if you've missed a post. 

I'm blown away by how many hits the blog has had in its first 12days. I hope it continues to grow, so please share it with whoever you think might enjoy it, especially mother's with young daughters. As the stories develop it could serve as a great mom-daughter time to spend 15mins a day, reading the "next episode" in this continuing fairy tale. My first Memory Monday post on 19 March has had 50 hits to date and as such is my second most popular post. This week's What's Up Wednesday with 51 hits to date has thus been the most popular. I don't know why but it seems you guys like the "events" aspect, whether historic or current, the most. I find that very interesting but I suppose it's because that establishes the main course of the so-called fairy story.

So please enjoy and remember your comments are greatly appreciated. I would really enjoy to get feedback on your favourite characters and jewellery or what events you like most and why. 

Looking forward to keeping you entertained."

Wonderful Weekends (Concert in the Park)

Concert in the Park featuring famous pop stars in conjunction with the Stirling Symphonic starts at 17:00 Meridian..

It's the weekend and to end off her week long tour of Scotney, Empress Crystobel has just arrived at a "Concert in the Park" The event was organized by the city of Stirling to bid the Empress a fond farewell and thank you for the memorial visit to her home country. The sizzling atmosphere is very positive and welcoming and talk might develop about the "unmentionable" topic of a Royal restoration. But politics aside let's enjoy the evening with Her Imperial Majesty who flies home tomorrow morning after an official breakfast with the mayor of Stirling.

The Empress is wearing her 'Birthday Diamond Tiara" and " de resile" necklace with ruby earrings, bracelet and brooch. A fervent animal conservation supporter, she sports a "faux" fur but surely the best one money could buy.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fandangled Friday (Noble Titles)

I think I should rather call this Fandangled Friday because I fear that I might be getting too technical here. Aaaah well, it’s my blog and I’ll post it. There’s no harm in trying to encourage a bit of brain exercise.

So to rehash the basics of last week, the categories of Royalty in order of precedence (as discussed so far);

Monarch Level
Sovereign Grand Duke/Sovereign Grand Duchess
Sovereign Prince/Sovereign Princess
Sovereign Duke/Sovereign Duchess
Sovereign Margrave/Sovereign Margravine
Count Palatine/Countess Palatine

Normally the children and grandchildren of these are Princes and Princesses by default unless otherwise specified like in the case of some Empires where they are referred to as Grand Dukes/Grand Duchesses or Archdukes/Archduchesses.

Royal Level (Royal family)
Crown Prince or Hereditary Prince/Crown Princess or Hereditary Princess
Prince of the 1st Blood Royal/Princess of the 1st Blood Royal
Prince of the 2nd Blood Royal/Princess of the 2nd Blood Royal 

A ruling monarch is referred to as Regnant and the spouse as a Consort. Sometimes these are afforded specific titles to identify them especially in the case of a male Consort. This also counts for 1st in line to a throne, who by default would be a Crown or Hereditary Prince but sometimes have specific titles.

A rare photo taken of the Crown Princess of Hispania in her Hispanian dance recital in Muren. Her full title is, Her Royal Highness the Princess Maria Dolores of Hispania, Princess of Cataljone, Duchess of  Alba, Marchioness of Marco-Pirenez, Countess of Barcelona and Baroness of Hidalgo. Please note that the tiltles are Anglicized for our benefit. The Hispanian term for Princess for instance is Infanta. Also note that to shorten her title accurately in order to be recognized as the heir to the Hispanian throne one would refer to her as Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Cataljone.

 Now today, we will expound on the Nobility. This could be seen as the extended and very extended family members of Royal Houses. Royalty as we know is only acquired through birth up until the second generation but Nobility can extend in perpetuity in the inherited line. This means that the grand children of Nobility finally revert to “commoner” status if they are not the one inheriting the existing title. There are exceptions to all rules and remember one can gain a title of Nobility or Royalty if a monarch bestows one. All this can seem complicated but like learning the intricacies of a new language it will come naturally over time. Here are the categories of Noble titles in order of precedence;

Noble Level
Noble Prince/Noble Princess
Earl or Count/Countess

Just like with monarchs, the firstborn of a Noble inherits his title upon death or abdication. Also, the heir of a Noble gets to use his father’s highest subsidiary title as his own while in line of succession. An example will explain it clearly. The current Earl of Cartwright’s full title and style is as follows; His Lordship, the Lord James Cartwright, 9th Earl of Cartwright, Viscount Langdon, Baron Langdon of Cartwright. If and when the Earl has an heir he will be known as, the Honourable Viscount Langdon. All other children will be referred to as, the Honourable Lord or Lady (name) of Cartwright. Grandchildren will revert to plain Mr. or Miss. (name) Cartwright. I know this can get super technical and confusing and above all there are exceptions and controversies. For any question, please leave a comment on this post and I will reply.

Wives of Nobility also gain the female version of their husband’s titles by courtesy. Thus the wife of the Earl Cartwright will be Her Ladyship the Countess of Cartwright.

Here we see the Earl of Cartwright  arriving at the Christmas Ball in 2011 with his mother.

We will discuss the wives of deceased title holders another day along with what is referred to as the “Gentry Level” just above commoner.

One of the things that make Royalty and Nobility, impossible to understand and appreciate is the complete misunderstanding of “precedence” and “importance’. If one has the sad misconception of the world of Royalty as being a place of one person being “more important” than the other then you have and will continue to completely miss the plot. A King has precedence over his son the Prince. Yet if you ask a loving father to choose between his own life and that of his son, what would he choose? The King clearly has importance in one context but then doesn’t in another. It is for us all to define these contexts and it takes a lifetime.

The point is, a Duke has precedence over a Baron but he isn’t “more important” or more valuable. That’s a silly notion caused by hundreds of years of misunderstanding. If you eat food then your lips touch it before your tongue, then your throat precedes your stomach and then it gets dissolved into the blood and is transported wherever it is needed. So precedence explains the fact that everybody has a function and place in the body of a Kingdom. If the Baron doesn’t like being down the ladder from the King or the commoner dislikes the Nobility then it just requires putting responsibility before personal preference. The main factor remains however they are all under a “crown” and have the benefits and responsibilities of living in a kingdom.

A poignant reminder. The old crown jewels of Scotney, destroyed in the revolution. When Royalty is misunderstood, it either causes conquest from the Royal side or Revolution from the commoner side. To misunderstand Royalty causes sadness. Find the Prince or Princess in your heart, regardless of your place in the world. Be the best "you", you can be. 

The main benefit afforded by a Kingdom over any other government system is plainly, that nothing else provides such an obvious “fairytale” quality and aspirational forum for happy endings, against all odds.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Princess Kirsten)

Greetings from the Principality of Swann on this wet Thursday.
I trust that if you are reading this blog your life is at least blessed with an internet connection which immediately puts you in a very privileged position and is something to be thankful for. I must say, this blogging experience has been very inspiring lately and has made me feel like I have something to contribute. I do hope that you are all enjoying it and would still seriously like more comments on the posts. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

So, we are profiling another illustrious character today. It was yet another struggle to choose someone. There are so many amazing Royals to choose from and I don't want to just be random but I mean to construct a well thought through picture of the world of Royalty in your minds. 

Wearing the Hanoverian Amethyst Tiara at the 2010 year-end Christmas ball.

Her Royal Highness, the Princess Kirsten of Hanoveria was born on St. Valentine’s Day 1990. She is the youngest sibling to the current reigning Grand Duke George III of Hanoveria. Her sister married the claimant to the Syldav throne in 2010. She is first cousin to both the Crown Prince Imperial and the Duke of Swann on her mother’s side and on her Father’s side she is first cousin to the pretender to the Ruskian Imperial throne, the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Ruskiana.

The Princess at the complete left with most of her close relations (see if you can recognize any) at the Crown Prince Imperial's 2010 birthday Party.

The Hanoverian Royal Family survived the 96 revolution and their monarchy was one of the few that did not fall because of it either. Yet the family was devastated personally by the death and seeming death of many of its members. For years while the Empress Crystobel and her son were living in secrecy they were thought dead by the likes of Princess Kirsten’s family. This was obviously done for their protection but made it very difficult on both sides. 

As if the revolution wasn’t enough, the young Princess Kirsten had to deal with the family’s private problems that reached a head just before her 10th birthday in 2000. Her beloved father was shot dead in front of her by a sniper while he was making his year-opening speech from the palace balcony following the Christmas/New Year holidays. It came to light after an investigation and some arrests that the Grand Duke was secretly being blackmailed by a criminal cartel and that his refusal to comply led to the sniper that was intended to shoot his wife but missed.

The Hanoverian nation was devastated but it only boosted their respect for their monarchy and Royal family. The courage showed by Princess Kirsten’s father and how the family dealt with the matter in resolute dignity, even making a public speech of forgiveness towards the murder endeared the nation to them. Afterward an anti-crime campaign led to an almost total drop of the crime rate in Hanoveria that has remained so to this day.

Princess Kirsten, in her own bid to make her mark, was the first female Royal to join the Hanoverian military and served in several anti-drug operations. It was during this time that the Crown Prince Imperial and his mother came out of hiding to the shock but also joy of their extended family. After her service she married, to the great jubilation of the people, the fabulously wealthy Prince Felix Youssopoff. The Ruskian noble Prince is the current head of the Youssopoff family and their vast family holdings in sheep farming, timber and gemstone mines. A new age has dawned in her life and in the world of Royalty it seems. The princely couple has vowed to prioritize Princess Kirsten’s passion to stamp out organised crime wherever possible.

She had a bullet graze her face in 2010 and as a result had to have minor facial reconstruction. Here we see her at left, before and at right, after the event.

Fashion, style and glamour come as a close second in the priorities of the Princess’s life. She supports many famous designers like Barbie International and Madame Frumsetta. She also loves to make her style and celebrity status, not to mention her jewellery available to draw attention to relevant charity functions. As such, she and the unbelievable Youssopoff jewellery are often seen at red carpet charity affairs and Royal functions like the Enthronement ceremonies surrounding the restoration of Queen Gloria I of Normandia in 2011.

Here we see Princess Kirsten at the Enthronement in Normandia wearing the spectacular Youssopoff "Comet Parure" dating from the flapper era.

Super chic for a Pariseum Fashion Week gala banquet held early March 2012. Here she wears the Youssopoff Diamond Bandeau and matching earrings.

 The young Princess has her whole life before her but at the same time has come a very long way. We wish her all the best and cannot wait for her to shine her beauty, both inner and outer at whatever function we’re going to spot her next.

What's Up Wednesday (Heads of the Royal Houses)

As far as current events go, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up, especially lately, as so many things have been happening in the world of Royalty. Before you wipe out your eyes, what you still thought of as current has become historic. 

The most important event to take place in March this year was the 1st bi-annual Heads of the Royal Houses Meeting since 1995.

This event was hosted by the Princess Xenia of Wallachia (seen in white towards the right of the picture). The meeting is chaired by the Crown Prince Imperial as de facto Emperor and High King over all Princes. This year saw many progressive steps agreed upon to secure developments in the world as regarding Royal responsibilities and functions. The main topic on the agenda was the imminent situation in Syldavia, as that nation prepares to reintroduce a monarchical system of government. Other political obstacles like the Serbieski claim to autonomy was resolved amicably. The pretender to the claim of an independent Kingdom of Serbieski accepted the mediatised title of Grand Duke in the now "province" of Serbieski in greater Syldavia. This will take effect once the Kingdom gets re-established under Count Nikolas von Bismarck as its new King. All being said and done the Royals in glittering finery enjoyed a splendid banquet and some much deserved entertainment.

Queen Maria I of Hispania at left chose to wear her grand mother's sapphires, not seen since the late 80's and Empress Crystobel opted for her "understated" rubies.

The meeting was held in the ballroom of the Draculesti Palace in Wallachia. Here in the center is the hostess, the reigning Grand Princess Draculest XII Xenia of Wallachia. To our left, the pretender to the Franconian throne, Prince Louie D'Pont Du Lac and at right the now, Grand Duke of Serbieski.

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hanoveria. Grand Duchess Alice wears the Consort's Diadem of  Hanoveria as she probably saw this meeting as "official and formal" enough for it. 

Another "controversial figure is the Duchess of Lancaster. When the eventual restoration of the Empire of Scot-Britania comes on the table her position will also come in question just like that of the Grand Duke of Serbieski seen at her right. She, very symbolically, chose to wear the ancient Lancaster Amethyst in her necklace to this event. as subtle statement declaring her rank and stance as rightful heir to the Duchy of Lancaster.

Reigning at this stage for a mere 9 months, the very popular, Queen Gloria I of Normandia, wearing her mother's Amethyst and Pink Diamond parure.

Always trying to secure the lime light and making obvious displays of rank and power, the enigmatic, Lady Arcwhite, ruler of the Island chain of Arcwhite. Other guests at this years meeting obviously included the Crown Prince Imperial couple, Count von Bismarck, pretender to the Syldav throne and his wife and finally the Duke of Swann. Absent but invited guests included the claimant to the Monagasque throne, the Marquis D'Bacquemme, and the claimant to the throne of Fulco d'Este, the Arch Duke Otto von und zu Fulco d'Este.

For your interest sake I'd like to mention that the most popular post thus far was last week's "What's Up Wednesday" receiving 50 hits to date in its own right. Thanks for all your interest.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

General Gratitude and Invitation

His Royal Highness, the Prince Daniel, Duke of Swann hereby declares his most endearing thanks to all those who have taken the time to view his blog. He hopes that it is enjoyed and that it inspires a pursuit of beauty and aspiration towards glorious mindsets. Through this we can manifest a "nicer" world for those around us and then ourselves. In the words of Dostoievski; "La beaute sauvera le monde". Please also feel free to comment on this blog as your perspective is appreciated and your experiences of the blog itself is worth noting. To gain the full experience, pls read the posts as the story is as intricate as the jewellery displayed. All posts can be surveyed one at a time by clicking on the "blog archive" icon on the right of each page. Take note that most of the pictures on the blog are of reasonably high resolution for your enjoyment. Click on them for greater detail as this is required to appreciate all the detail in the jewellery.You are also free to "follow" or subscribe to this blog by clicking on the relevant icons found on each page.

His Royal Highness wishes you, young and old, "many happy returns" and looks forward to post as often and as regularly as humanly possible.

Fond Regards
On behalf of the Duke of Swann
Sir Charles Jennings (Lord High Chancellor to the Principality of Swann)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (D'Pont du Lac Emeralds)

I was racking my brain trying to decide what tiara or jewellery set I was going to discuss today. You see, I enjoy posting on my blog so much that I spend the whole day thinking in circles and the torture only ends the minute I start typing. I have made up my mind about three things though; 1- I must pace myself in blogging, otherwise I’ll never get up from the computer and run out of material too soon. 2- I can always type my blogs in Microsoft Word and copy, paste and publish later. 3- We are going to discuss the most expensive emerald parure the world has seen to date!

A parure is a collective noun describing a set of jewellery normally consisting of at least a necklace, earrings and always a tiara. Over and above it can include bracelets and brooches. Take away the tiara and the parure is referred to as a demi-parure. Oops, I should have left that explanation for a Fascinating Friday. Aaah well.

Here follows the story of the fabulous “D’Pont du Lac Emerald Parure”.

Originally made in the late 19th century for the Franconian Princess Helene, Duchesse du Saint Denis, the parure passed upon her unexpected death to her brother who was the pretender to the Franconian throne. It came down the Francian Royal line until it reached the coffers of Her Highness Princess Anne-Marie D’Pont du Lac.

Princess Anne-Marie wearing the other legendary parure of sapphires.
There is no photographic evidence of her in the emeralds.

Princess Anne-Marie married the 12th Baron d’Rothchild and her daughter is the current Grand Duchess Consort of Hanoveria. In 1993 Princess Anne-Marie decided to sell two sets of the D’Pont du Lac treasures to raise funds for her sickly brother’s medical requirements and to curtail some back taxes on his waning estate.
This she did without consulting her son, the 13th Baron, as she did not want to burden him with his uncle’s problems.

The auction of the famous emeralds along with another sapphire parure took place in the city of Londinium. At the last minute the Baron d’Rothchild managed to pull the famous sapphires from the sale but the emeralds came up for bidding. He tried desperately to buy them back but was outbid at the very end by the new Empress Crystobel I of the United Empire of Scot Britania herself. The Empress was considered the wealthiest women in the world and along with her mother, the deceased Queen of Scotney, were well known to be very dedicated collectors of jewellery and art. Nothing would block her if she put her mind on buying anything as she considered herself a custodian for posterity.

The artist and now photographer, Victoria Cruywagen's pre-sketch for the intended state portrait that was never completed. Unless some undiscovered media surfaces, this would be the only record of the D'Pont du Lac Emerald Parure in its original configuration. Take note of the brooch on the left and the two bracelets. The "star" on the red ribband is of the Order of the Diamond Star and not part of the parure.
The parure joined the already vast Imperial Collection and there it stayed, worn only once by the new Empress in a sitting for a state portrait. Then, the revolution broke out and in the aftermath the parure along with many other jewels went missing or ended up destroyed. Their stories were only to be documented now, with the advent of the new era.

Empress Crystobel as we know escaped the massacre, not just with her life and that of her son but managed to save many historical pieces. The emeralds however saved from the fire, did not remain entirely intact. Due to financial necessity, the empress decided to break up the famous set in order to make the stones available for collateral to secure her and her son’s financial future. The stones allowed for several successful investments and could later be redeemed. Upon the Crown Prince Imperial’s marriage, he ordered three sets of jewellery made from this original single parure: 

1- The original parure’s necklace and tiara were reset and slightly modernised but they both retain the original “design” however without the upstanding drop pearls and the smaller emeralds. It is referred to as the "Greater D'Pont Du Lac Emeralds".
The Crown Princess Imperial has only worn this part of emeralds once, in January 2012 to her visit to the Hispanian opera.

2-The drop pearls were permanently affixed to an existing plain diamond and pearl tiara, necklace and earrings from the Imperial collection. 
The D'Pont du Lac Pearls in their current setting. The necklace however is not featured in this photo.

3- A slightly less imposing emerald parure called the "Lesser D'Pont Du Lac Emeralds" was created from scratch using the remainder of smaller emeralds. The latter was made for Empress Crystobel as a gift of thanks to her from her son. Last year the Prince Imperial added an entirely new set of earrings to his wife’s parure as a gift for her birthday.
Empress Crystobel has often worn her part of the emeralds and is seen here at the Knights of the Realms Meeting 2011 with the complete set.

Sometimes one wishes precious stones could talk. Imagine what your engagement diamond could tell you of the journey it traveled to end up on your finger.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Memory Monday (The Crown Prince Imperial Ball)

In our second installment on historic events we present;
The Crown Prince Imperial’s Coming of Age Ball.

His Imperial Highness, Prince Christian Victor, The Crown Prince Imperial of the United Empire of Scot-Britania in the place of honour at the 2009 ball.

In the aftermath of the Bloody Revolution, the Imperial Family were believed to have all died in the missile attack on the Palace of Roswind Castle. However, in reality Empress Crystobel managed to escape with her young son, the Crown Prince Imperial. She took him to be raised in Muren, a small town in the Switzer Confederation. Here a very good friend of the Empress ran a prestigious finishing school for girls. This friend, known as the Seeress of Muren “adopted” the young boy and raised him ingognito, as her own. The Empress left to stay in Americania with her sister in law the Princess Augusta of the United Empire of Scot Britania.

Many years later the young Prince, known in the town by his first names Christian Victor, came of age and his aunt in conjunction with the Seeress arranged a splendid Ball to celebrate his coming of age. It was to be on a scale to relive and revitalise the Royal events of before the revolution. The Muren municipality under the behest of the influential Seeress, not to mention the substantial deposit paid by Princess Augusta secured the building of an entirely new Town Hall for this purpose. The media coverage alone would also put Muren on the international tourist map forever, bringing much needed revenue to the remote location.

The "Mine" magazine published its world exclusive coverage of the event. The picture shows The Crown Prince Imperial Dancing with the Duchess of Roswind. It was a defining moment of reconciliation at the ball as her mother was at first wrongly accused for having a hand in the revolution.

The date was set and the formal event took place on the 24th of September 2009.
Empress Crystobel was still believed publically to have died and as such due to tenuous fears for her safety did not attend the Ball. As a matter of fact, for his own safety, the Prince’s identity and location was kept secret until only 3 months before this event and only the Americanian refugee protection department head, Princess Augusta, the Seeress and the Prince knew that the Empress was alive.

Some guests arriving at the ball. Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (in the pink on the left) blew everyone away wearing the massive Tzar Nicholas Pink Diamond. In the center at the back, dressed  in gold, is the very reclusive Margravine of Montrose. She has only attended two Royal events in the last five years and was quoted as saying that the Prince's Ball was of great importance.

HIH the Princess Augusta

The Ball was a huge success and international approval of Royalty soared to new heights. The Duke of Swann made a speech denouncing the revolution and ushered in, although symbolically, a new era of Royalty.

The ball in full swing.

The Duke of Swann enjoys a waltz with the Seeress of Muren.

Gloria van der Bilt is seen dancing with the Count von Bismarck. 

Wonderful Weekends (State Portrait Queen of Hispania)

As a Grande Finale to a great week of blogging and a wonderful weekend, I'd like to post one of my favourite pics. I might end each week with an amazing picture depicting something related to, you guessed it, Royalty.

I love "state portraits" whether they are photos or paintings. This one was the first to be released after the Queen of Hispania broke her self imposed internal exile. It carries her new found confidence with a certain "old-world" majesty. It's very traditional and quite straight to the point. She is standing as symbol of her proud nation, resolute and passionate, looking forward into a new and promising even though, challenging future.

Wonderful Weekends (Revolution Memorial)

On this Sunday I will share on a current and somber event.

Sunday the 18th of March 2012  saw Her Imperial Majesty Empress Crystobel I of the United Empire of Scot-Britania return to the shores of her native Scotney for the first time since the revolution. The overthrown and at first believed to be killed co-ruler of the Empire is the daughter of the deceased Queen Crystobel I of the former Kingdom, now independant Republic of Scotney. In 1993 Scotney was merged with Britania into what was the short lived United Empire of Scot-Britania.

Empress Crystobel is still out of courtesy know by her full title by virtue of International Law even though she has been living in exile and is technically seen as a citizen of the United States of Americanium. She was invited by the Scotney government in lieu of the wave of popularity Royalty has been afforded in the media of late. A formal apology for the tragedies of the revolution was given in a speech by the president, Genl. George Campbell at a special wreath laying ceremony in memory of those who died. A small memorial statue was erected 6years ago in the capital of Scotney on the 10th anniversary of the revolution to honour the innocent dead. Here Empress Crystobel along with the Queen of Hispania and the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hanoveria attended the wreath laying ceremony.

The general mood in the capital was affectionate and sympathetic towards the black clad Empress on this poignant Sunday. People stopped and bowed their heads as her motorcade drove by. It seems that Scotney is coming full circle since the fateful year of 1996.

Empress Crystobel lays Lilies at the feet of the memorial statue inside the Palace of Parlaiment in the Scotney capital.

The Royal Heads of State in attendance was at left, the Queen of Hispania and at right, next to his wife, the Grand Duke of Hanoveria.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wonderful Weekends (Taste in Style)

My tastes in style and glamour.

As the Duke of Swann, I've seen many a glamourous objects worn by the fortunate owners. I appreciate the out-of-the-ordinary but also the irrefutably sleek and classic. We will be discussing Tiaras and other jewellery owned by Royalty all over the world on Tuesdays. Those posts will serve for historic placement and to serve as catalogue of  most of the pieces. Yet I will sometimes discuss my favourite pieces at random to share my tastes and personal opinions and design preferences. So I have decided to do that now.

There are many categories of head ornaments and this will also be discussed over time but did you know that in the class of Tiaras specifically there are also sub-categories. My favourite category is the kokoshnik. This class of tiara has its origin in the folk history of the Ruskian peasants. The ladies of old used to wear a headress or hat for obviously practical reasons of covering the head in order to protect from sun and dirt. The shape of this headdress became very ornate especially when the tradition of wearing it extended to and was adorned for weddings. The women would stitch intricate lace work and beads to the stiffened fabric base of the peasant "hat". This traditional headdress was adopted as the official court headdress in the Ruskian Imperial Court and the stitching of certain decorative elements then became huge diamonds and expensive pearls.

Here two Ruskian girls can be seen wearing the traditional fabric, bead and lace ornamented headdress.

 Eventually the traditional fabric base was completely abandoned and tiaras made in gold and platinum were manufactured as a whole from metal. The reason why I like this particular style of tiara, is that its shape reminds me of a halo. To me this is the ultimate symbolic reason for wearing head jewellery, to allude to a halo and the kokoshnik is the most successful interpretation although not an option to be worn by a man. Men will have to stick to crowns and coronets. More on that at a later stage.

Here we see Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess Xenia of Ruskiana wearing the Grey Pearl and Aquamarine Kokoshnik of the Imperial Collection.

A little more normal-like tiara, but still kokoshnik inspired is the Baguette Sapphire Tiara also worn by Grand Duchess Xenia. 

This style was so successful that its influence can be seen in most tiaras but in varying degrees until it can be qualified as a total kokoshnik, like the Aquamarines above. The Swann Royal Jewellery Collection also sports what classifies as kokoshnik inspired tiaras.

Here we have the famous "Swann Diamond" set in the center of this tiara and its smaller "brother" stone in the necklace. This set hasn't been worn since the last Duchess of Swann wore it before the Bloody Revolution.

 This obvious kokoshnik is called the Ruskian Ruby Tiara and was ordered for the first Duke of Swann's wife, Princess Rose in the hey day of Royalty before the great war.

My personal taste in jewellery will hopefully become more clear over time but I also wish to inspire and educate others even though they must develop and express their own tastes.

To be continued.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Wonderful Weekends (Fashion)

“We are not a fashion company, we are a fashionable name. Fashion is our greatest enemy.” – Cartier (the world’s number one jewellery firm)

Clothes are added to the person like colour to a canvas. It tells a story but not just of personality. It gives subtle hints to attitudes, convictions and even belies demographics like financial wealth and mental capacity. There are two sides to the coin of dress. The one is fashion, the other  is side this coin spins on to fall on its head or tail is, style and practical function.

Fashion is governed by the “latest trends”. It is essentially a pack mentality where competition to be what is perceived to be the best, by being first, sets the trends. What you wear is more important than how you look in it. It is often modeled and advertised on people who look good in anything. The good thing about fashion is its innovation and experimentation. It also gauges general “vibes” of the public and as such era’s of fashion has emerged from different generations exhibiting their unique tastes, world views and sentiments. These aspects of fashion are fueled by the different approaches of style.

Style is governed by who the individual person is (or think they are) and how they want to present themselves. This might be in a trendy fashionable way or in complete disregard of fashion. It is an individualist mentality at its extreme. How you look and what it communicated is the primary goal and source of satisfaction of the wearer. What is interesting is that these people are normally artists and designers themselves who’s job in life is to come up with the out-of-the-box concepts that keep ahead of the fashion race. So the two sides of the coin feed each other and every person falls on the scale somewhere between the two extremes.

Ultimately whether it’s a fashion or style approach, it can be a success or failure. Let’s look at some of our Royals and how they contend with this dilemma. Remember Royalty face an added obstacle, the one of protocol and regalia. For them it’s not just about fashion or personal style, but depending on the event they are required to add certain jewellery, medals and/or sashes to outfits. This also distinguishes them and that is when you get something you could call a “Royal look” telling a far more intricate story.

Lets look at some "fashionable" moments.

The Crown Prince Imperial gets engaged to Odeliah Sorgenfrei at his cousin Princess Kirsten of Hanoveria's birthday party in 2010. The dress code for this event was, Evening "semi-formal" by Royal standards. Thus an evening suit or dress of any length and tiara was required. This was only Odelia's second "public appearance. Was it a success?

In 2009, Queen Gloria I of Normandia was still plain Gloria van der Bilt, a spoilt rich girl. Here she attends an auction of some antique jewellery in the Big Apple and is dressed in her version of a city-slicker going to a corporate event. Success or fail?

The Duchess of Aragon attended the same auction in 2009 wearing this ensemble. She bought most of the jewellery at the auction and also settled a private sale with the Van der Bilt family. Style or fashion?

Because of her "homey" personality, the Crown Princess Imperial, despite her rank, can often fail in the "dress-up" department. Here is one of her success stories at a Fashion Week dinner in Pariseum 2011. Do you agree?

The annual Knights of the Realms Meeting is an event with a lot of protocol requirements on dress code. Here the Crown Prince Imperial couple is seen in Court Formal Dress. Did the Crown Princess Imperial pull it off? 

Finally a Royal icon and icon of style. Princess Augusta at the 2011 Premiere of the movie Captain Americanium in the Big Apple. She sports evening wear without tiara and makes a total killing. Do you agree?

Please feel free to comment on any of the posts on this blog. Your opinion is appreciated. Also share this blog with as many of your friends as would be interested. 

Fascinating Friday (Royal Titles)

On a Friday one really needs to be stimulated and entertained. Its been a long week so now you want pudding. I hope what I consider pudding counts as the same for you? I call it "Fascinating Friday" because here I will discuss the nitty-gritty aspects of Royalty. The "why's" and "how's". We will see the different ranks, titles, forms of address, countries, genealogies, terminologies and how it all works together. 

Let's start with the encompassing concept, that of Royalty. What makes someone "Royal"? There is one rule for being Royal and that is, A monarch makes you Royal. You are either a child or grandchild of a monarch or you are "created" Royal if a monarch officially declares you as such. Nobility on the other hand is an intermediatary level of several ranks between Royalty and peasantry or the commoners. When a monarch's grandchildren have children of their own, they are normally already in line for a Noble title, granted by the monarch to his child or grandchild. So Nobility can be seen as the distant relations of Royalty and one becomes Noble also either by being born the child of a Noble or by being created a Noble by a monarch.

Here follows the categories of Royalty in order of precedence.

Monarch Level (rulers of countries)
Sovereign Grand Duke/Sovereign Grand Duchess
Sovereign Prince/Sovereign Princess
Sovereign Duke/Sovereign Duchess
Sovereign Margrave/Sovereign Margravine
Count Palatine/Countess Palatine

Royal Level (Royal family)
Crown Prince or Hereditary Prince/Crown Princess or Hereditary Princess
Prince of the 1st Blood Royal/Princess of the 1st Blood Royal
Prince of the 2nd Blood Royal/Princess of the 2nd Blood Royal 

The state portrait of Her Majesty Queen Gloria I of Normandia. The Sovereign Queen Regnant of the Kingdom of Normandia.

Normally the children and grandchildren of these are Princes and Princesses by default unless otherwise specified like in the case of some Empires where they are referred to as Grand Dukes/Grand Duchesses or Archdukes/Archduchesses.

Another note is that the wife of a sovereign monarch of any of the above titles would be called a consort. Thus a King's wife is known as a Queen Consort. If a woman is the sovereign monarch then she is a Queen Regnant and her husband is by default, Prince Consort, although not always referred to as such. 

His Royal Highness Grand Duke George III of Hanoveria and Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Alice, Grand Duchess Consort of Hanoveria.

That is quite a lot to take in, so we will discuss more next week but just one more aspect, The first-born child of the sovereign monarch normally inherits the throne. This is referred to as being first in line of succession. These children get a special title which ranks higher than other Princes/Princesses and most commonly is Crown Prince or Crown Princess. Sometimes a specific title is traditional to a specific country and as such gained instead of Crown Prince/Crown Princess. In the case of the former Kingdom of Syldavia the title of the heir apparent is by tradition the Prince of Hohenreich. Children of a monarch are designated Prince of the first blood Royal and grand children are Prince of the second blood Royal.

The reigning sovereign of Swann, His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann at left standing next to his cousin and heir, His Royal Highness Prince Dillon the Hereditary Duke of Swann.

It is interesting to note that there are exceptions to these above mentioned principals as they are not "laws" per se but rather , traditions. In the Islands of Arcwhite the sovereign monarch, who is always female is referred to as "Lady" although equal in rank to at least a Sovereign Prince by virtue of the scope of her territory. The Duke of Swann is traditionally seen equal to a Sovereign Grand Duke even though he is referred to as "Duke" and his territory as a "Principality". Both these nations also have irregular laws of succession but this will be discussed another time.

So there we have our introduction to Fascinating Friday. Hope you are sufficiently fascinated.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Baroness Klariowna)

We need to know who everybody is, don't we? So once a week I will profile one of our famous Royal personages. There are many members of many families, Royal and Noble. It will take a very long time to get to know each one, their individual titles and how they fit into the big picture. This obviously makes for a great story on a grand scale.

Baroness Eva Klariowna
Above "the Baroness" in performance.

As the curtain rises you are confronted with a smoky stage and glitz sequins background. The orchestra begins its dramatic intro and from the roof descends with angelic voice, the Baroness. The show has begun. It is the Big Apple’s theatre district and the show is a Cabaret Musical written especially for the exceptionally talented Eva Klariowna, or rather to use full courtesy, Her Ladyship Baroness Eva Josepha Renata Klariowna of Normandia.

The Klariowna baronial family emigrated from Normandia in 1967. Impoverished by war the family needed a new beginning and found the opportunity in the free states of Americania. The young Baron, an ex-army officer was also a skilled engineer and the building industry afforded him amazing prospects. The emigration process officially stripped the family of their titles on all registration documents but by international law former title holders can still be addressed as such out of courtesy. Eva was born in the Big Apple on the 8th August 1979 and grew up as a normal girl in a middle class family. Her musical talent was first spotted by a school teacher who proceeded to give her the leading role in the school play. She excelled in the performance and continued to pursue it from then on. She took part in children’s roles in great musicals and by the age of 18 had performed in Cats and also in Hollywood productions.

At this stage the Bloody Revolution of 1996 was raging across Europa. It was only then that Eva discovered that her family was of the nobility. Her father had kept it secret to afford her a normal upbringing. Eva fell into a semi depression knowing how many were being killed for just having a title while she was sitting high and dry in a foreign country. She proceeded to produce an album of original songs inspired by traditional Europan folk themes and pledged all proceeds to families affected by the revolution. The project was endorsed by another Americanian Royal émigré, Lady Karen Van der Bilt, who remained her official patron and business sponsor until her death in 2011. Currently The Van der Bilt Corporation still manages Eva’s growing talent and she counts amongst her fans, the Van der Bilt descended Queen Gloria I, of the recently restored monarchy in the Kingdom of Normandia.

Queen Gloria has offered the Baroness full citizenship and restored titles but Eva feels that she can still serve her calling best by remaining an Americanian. The door to return to Normandia however remains open. One day the Baroness might leave the stage and live in a castle but for today the “show must go on.”

Baroness Eva attended the 2011 Year-End Christmas Ball held in the Grand Duchy of Hanoveria. Here she is seen wearing what's left of the Klariowna diamonds.