Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Monday, 28 April 2014

Memory Monday (Top 10 Dress-Up Ensembles of the Past Royal Decade)

Today's Memory Monday deals with history but not of the political nature but rather that of style. It is also sometimes good to see relevant topic based photos grouped together for proper comparison. Thus we decided to do a list of the top 10 dress-up ensembles worn by our Royal women over the last 10 years. 

The list is limited to outfits worn to events, but not wedding dresses. Dresses worn in State Portraits are excluded from the list unless also worn and photographed at an actual State Event and where the chosen ensemble was deemed best outfit at that particular event.

We will never forget this dress and jewellery ensemble that set the stage and precedent for all events to follow. Lady Arcwhite made her debut wearing this to the 2010 Christmas Ball. The Ice Queen look was fitting to the Christmas theme and the country she represented but was "warmed" with pink tones giving Lady Arcwhite an imposing yet welcome place in our hearts. It is therefore ranked no 1 and has yet to be bettered.

The Annual Christmas Balls always brings out the best in outfits and jewellery. To reign supreme att these events takes something special. For our no 2 spot we selected this ensemble worn by the indomitable Empress Crystobel to the 2011 Christmas Ball. It reflects the awe inspiring glamour and style of a true Empress without taking it to extremes. 

As befitting of the Queen of the moment, the 2012 Investiture of King Nikolas III of Syldavia allowed Queen Maxima to dress for the part. being a restored monarchy the balance between regality consideration of practical budget was what this look was all about. Queen Maxima strikes that balance perfectly by wearing a dress made by a local designer with simple lines giving it a very modern feel. White is chosen to allude to a bride committing to her husband, which was in principle the role of the Consort Queen to the King. The long train adds majesty but it's also removable accenting practical use as the dress can be worn again for a different, less formal event. The Queen added traditional jewellery to complete this very successful look. 

A new "Empress" has definitely appeared on our red carpet at the 2013 Christmas Ball. The event saw all the guests pulling all the stops and many of the outfits were milestones in style for their wearers. However one lady took the cake, the Crown Princess Imperial. Often the humble Princess, although strictly speaking the highest ranked woman in the world, is over shadowed by more upfront Royals when it comes to dress-up. However the Princess, who does not care to much about outward appearances often hits the ball for a six. This event was her tour-de-force. After the death of Empress Crystobel a period of mourning put a damper on showy events and even the Christmas Ball was under threat of cancellation or at best serious down tone. However, The Scotney and Britanian Governments decided to host it as a diplomatic event in amends for the assassination of the Empress. It was the first time the Crown Prince Imperial and Crown Princess Imperial stepped out in full dress-up in public since he funeral of Empress Crystobel and the diplomatic significance of the event required something special to be worn. The Crown Princess Imperial wore a stunningly appropriate dress of dark tones to hint at mourning but with regal blue shining through in rich brocaded patterns. She paired it with a tiara from the Crown Collection to affirm her rank and also wore some of Empress Crystobel's private jewellery that was left to her husband the Crown Prince Imperial. It is amazing how clothes and jewellery can be such an intimate testament of the state of the heart and state of affairs. 

For her Investiture as Queen of Normandia in 2011, Queen Gloria had to face the challenge of blending her own tastes with the requirements of tradition and national symbolism. Light blue is the national colour of Normadia, it combines with the requisite fur trim (albeit fake fur), symbolic of Royal status. The dress was obviously inspired by medieval design to pair respectfully with the medieval Crown Tiara but the entire look has a distinctly modern feel. Traditional dress has never been made to look so stylish with metallic detail and Queen Gloria's brand new earrings made to match.

After the 2010 Christmas Ball Lady Arcwhite retained some style momentum by stealing the show for a second time in a row only a few months later. The 2012 Heads of the Royal House Meeting saw some of the main players gathering for a strategy meeting. here Lady Arcwhite showed her clout to the media with a look akin to 1950's glitz. Pairing the metallic pink with some spectacular jewellery the event was taken from regular to cosmic.

It is allowed to steal the show as a lady at an event that intrinsically is to honour a man. Such was the case at the 2012 15th Anniversary of the Duke of Swann's Ascension. The most eye catching woman of this event  and no 7 on our list was undoubtedly Queen maria of Hispania dressed in all white and rubies. The almost iconic look set the precedent for what to expect from Queen Maria who at that stage was still gaining her footing on the world stage. 

Lady Arcwhite takes her third slot on our top 10 list but this time the memorability of the ensemble is based purely on the symbolism and not necessarily the purity of style. For the 2012 Christmas Ball Lady Arcwhite was the host and was required by tradition to wear certain official jewellery. The final result was very imposing, spectacular but also a bit creepy. However the look was perfectly in keeping with the event and its host and did leave a lasting impression on us all making it no 8 on our list. 

Effortless glamour is the hallmark of style. The Grand Duchess of Hanoveria never seems to try too hard and always looks the part but at the Birthday Ball in 2012 she had all eyes on her. The Grand Duchess paired the spectacular Hanoverian Aquamarines with a gold ball gown that almost gave the effect of a misty hays of gold. The look was truly memorable.

The first internationally published event needed the hostess to look the part. That look has stayed with us as we have come to expect from Princess Augusta. She put all our Royals back on the map and turned public opinion around reigniting public interest in the extravaganza that is Royalty. Her Byzantine inspired dress at the 2009 Birthday Ball burned itself into our minds and now that flame needs constant refueling with more glamour. 

Five honourable mentions must be made as they were worn at the same events as the top 10 but as such are strictly disqualified from our limited list. However due to the fact that they came to mind instantly while making the list we thought we would add them for good measure.

Also a true icon of style Princess Xenia of Wallachia dresses impeccably stylish yet she knows her place and never tries to upstage anybody. As such her incredible ensembles are often relegated to the back ground of major events but we do make note of them and this particular one has summed up her look. Worn to the 2013 Christmas Ball the Princess' dramatic personality and penchant for dark tones and purple are obvious. 

Queen Maria often plays the white card and does it well as mentioned on our top 10 list however this one is also noteworthy. The dress was actually her second choice and back-up after her original dress was torn badly while exiting her car. 

Princess Kirtsen Youssopoff pulls all the stops when the event requires it and when everybody else goes full tilt she does the same but in her own, almost "sexy-yet-regal" manner. Clean lines with a bit of glitz and leg is paired with stylish historic jewellery to give us the Kirsten we have come to expect. Undeniably chic. 

For their first major Royal event the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Reichenthal wanted to impress and that they did. Full length evening gown can so easily be frumpy or cake icingy but the Grand Duchess Azantha showed us hoe it should be done. Aquamarine dress hugs the figure yet surrendered full volume and paired with Royal Jewels it was a complete winner also at the 2013 Christmas Ball. 

Definitely the 2nd best dressed at this event and one of her most spectacular looks to date the Crown Princess Imperial redeemed her sapphire debut with this perfect pitch of Imperial yet not-stealing-the-limelight dress. The Syldavian Investiture required all the guests to play second fiddle to the new King and Queen. The Crown Princess Imperial was however going to make the most of it and and stayed in our minds as the best dressed after Queen Maxima. It was also the prime opportunity for the Princess to wear her sapphires in a noteworthy manner after they were completely overlooked when they debuted at the same event where Lady Arcwhite stole the show. Revenge is sweet. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Financial Friday (Royalty in Business)

In former centuries being Royal was the only occupation of Royalty as their class afforded them the responsibility of "ruling". All that meant was that they had to make all the decisions concerning their country's internal and foreign affairs. These days not even the reigning monarchs really rule and when they do it is very similar to the very real job of directing a massive corporation. As such many monarchs and especially their extended family members have grown accustomed to actually running a business or working in some form or another. Thus the role of "being Royal" has almost become a ceremonial icing on the cake of an actual job. 

Let us take a look at some of the business ventures Royal are involved with these days.

The International powerhouse Arc International has become a household name due to its global influence and outright financial force. It is wholly owned and managed by Lady Arcwhite in her private capacity. This however remains a technical reality as she obviously works with a board of directors and international branch managers. She also has to juggle the many responsibilities with her ceremonial role as ruler of the islands of Arcwhite. 

Arc International has many diverse holdings of which the three main branches are; media in the form of MINE Magazine, computers in the form of Hayz International and state of the art power plants.

The first natural gas power plant owned by Arc International was erected in the province of Serbieski in Syldavia and was the cause for a still raging controversy. 
Hayz Computers is a household name. The company reached its apex under the direction of the very young computer whizz Viscount Hayz who also holds a title of Nobility. He amalgamted his holding with that of Arc International a few years ago and has also taken up the role of official spokesperson for the international conglomerate. 

Lady Arcwhite will mostly let Lord Hayz do the talking while she makes the decisions and signs the cheques. 

The Duke of Swann is one of the richest people in the world and this is not due to his Royal status but rather to business. As reining Duke, His Royal Highness is obviously into agriculture, mining, tourism and city property development but has seen the gap to boost business in these fields to benefit his country and his profit margins. 

Swann International is the parent company that owns all the Duke's various business interests and has served to only boost the Principality of Swann's gross national profit. One of the many branches of Swann International deals with the media as Europa's most circulated newspaper, The Proclaimer is owned by the company.

Art and art trading is somewhat of a hobby of the Duke who is also an accomplished artist himself. He not only funds the arts where possible but makes an effort to exhibit his own work and then funnels the money into national art development programs. Jewellery design and manufacture is another such field of interest that also receives effort from Swann International especially in 3rd world countries like South Africa.

Often considered a frivolity, the Duke of Swann is also a co-owner of the nightclub Dark Star in the Swann Capital.

Sorgenfrei Castle was recently acquired by the Crown Prince Imperial. It is situated high on a mountain top in the city of Muren, the Crown Prince Imperial's wife's hometown. This Castle does not just serve as a royal residence but also as a museum and a wedding/conference venue and guest house. In that capacity the castle is a very lucrative business. Sorgenfrei's large property also includes the Crown Princess Imperial's family farm.

Odelia Sorgenfrei, now the Crown Princess Imperial of the United Empire of Scot-Britania grew up on a diary farm that she still owns and forms part of the Sorgenfrei Castle Estate. The dairy farm has been operating successfully and profitably for more than five generations and the Princess insists on managing her inheritance properly.

Princess Augusta is a world famous historic jewellery trader. She specializes in dealing with historic antiques, restorations and auctions.

Princess Augusta has played a major role in restoring old Royal jewellery that has been worn over centuries. This job has done much for historic preservation. She has also served as curator/consultant to many International History Museums.

Princess Augusta's special expertise and close Royal Familial ties had her presiding over several majorly historic jewellery auctions like the famous D'Pont Du Lac Sapphire sale pictured above.

Madame Frumsetta may be considered at the forefront of contemporary fashion and couture design. her world wide renowned style has become a veritable household name and a red carpet can almost not be counted unless one of her designs are featured. As an entitled Royal she eschews the traditional privileges it comes with but prefers to pursue her artistic drive through hard work. This has proven to be a very successful formula.

Madame Frumsetta however uses her close links to Royalty to serve her Royal clients with the sensitivity of somebody on the "inside". She does not however lose her head in the castles in the sky but prefers backstage to the red carpet in her private capacity.

Gloria Van DerBilt, was once a wealthy media, movies production, magazine, education and transport heiress. She never lost that privilege but has gained the title of Queen of Normandia. She has amalgamated her family business obligations with that of head of state to the benefit of both. Her international business empire  has boosted the economy and skills development of her adopted kingdom and it in turn has welcomed her with equally accepting fervor and hard work. It seems that when Royalty and business combine it can lead to new heights of prosperity and harmony. 

One of the greatest of these synergistic successes is that of the Youssopoff Princely Family and their relationship within the former Empire of Ruskiana. Although the country ousted its monarchy and discontinued the use of titles, the Youssopoffs were invited back after generations to manage their former holdings, with momentous results.

Prince Felix Youssopoff is the managing director of the company that is responsible for all the mining, timber and sheep farming associated with the Youssopoff family. He also manages vast tracks of land that includes entire towns and tourism. As such he strictly speaking does not own anything of what originally was his family's property but has turned such a profit that he has become one of the wealthiest business men in the world. Due to this he has been able to buy significant shares in the company and through that now owns some property linked with his heritage. 

The small Grand Duchy of Reichenthal has always been associated with carpenters, artisans and wine farming. The reigning Grand Duke has his finger in every pie and is considered a very hands-on Royal. He serves on all major boards that regulate and manage the practical affairs of his region's world renowned produce. His people see him as setting the pace and benchmark for Reichenthalian quality especially in the field of wine making, that he himself also greatly enjoys doing.

Yes, Royalty can and indeed do also actually work. As if their duties as a national symbols are not enough they can also turn a successful buck.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

"To be or not to be" Thursday (The Earl and Countess Basquith)

At last year's Christmas Ball we had the unexpected pleasure of seeing several "first timers" to the official public red carpet. Another rare appearance was made by the Earl Basquith. His Lordship was quoted to say that he felt to add his weight to the public appearance of Nobles to the historic event held in Scotney even though his wife who completely shuns public appearances decided to still remain out of the limelight. The Countess Basquith is a 2nd cousin of the Duke of Swann through her father the Baron Walker who is a Swanobian Noble.

In the front left we see the only close up taken of the rarely photographed Earl Basquith who attended the 2013 Christmas Ball without his wife who refrained from attending due to illness.

Another rare appearance, although completely overlooked by the press, was made by the Earl as a pall bearer to Empress Crystobel at the funeral in 2013. We see the Earl at the far left in the photo above. This honour belies the Earl and his wife's high status among the high ranking Royals even though they almost never appear in public. The Noble couple currently live in South Africa where the Earl works in the automotive industry.

As family relations of the Duke of Swann the Earl and Countess Basquith made one of their exceptional appearances at the Duke of Swann's 2004 coronation. Although not taking part in the religious ceremony they did attend the more private and un-publisized state dinner that was held after. This was the last time the Countess appeared in what may be counted as a public event and the photo above is all we have of this elusive personage to date. We can but hope to see more of them and also their jewels as these families always have historic treasures to share.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday (News Flash Elopement)

The Marquis D'Bacquemme and Princess Oktavia Von Hohen und Silberstein have eloped! They are reported to have married in a small town in southern Franconia without the attendance of any family or the media. This happy albeit shocking occurrence has been named by some as the most romantic Royal event of the year and has sparked a frenzied media inquiry into the matter. Official records from the town council of Nize, have revealed the event to be fact. 

An alert Royal watcher snapped this photo in a crowd one evening in a small resort town near Nize Franconia. The photo taken on the same weekend as the purported civil wedding conducted by a local judge led to questions which has now pierced the very private Marquis' secret. The odd couple seem to once again prove that opposites attract. The Marquis shuns the public eye whereas the Princess has seen the cover of many tabloids and once earned the title "Punk Princess". Last year saw the couple attend the Christmas Ball in Scotney and that was the first official event attended by the Marquis. 

This magazine cover from 2009 shows the Princess in her wilder years. She has seemingly calmed down and now will settle into married life we hope. Perhaps her calming has also led to the Marquis becoming more active on our red carpets. We wish them both the best. Perhaps a church ceremony may be on the cards but we will not hold our breath.

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Jewellery worn by Princess Suzanna of Wallachia)

Princess Suzanna, the Dowager Princess of Wallachia has had opportunity due to her rank to wear very impressive jewellery from both her family of birth and the dynasty she married into. Born a Princess of Swann allowed her a fabulous dowry of new jewellery and the Wallachian Royal Family has jewellery with great historical value. Let us look at the jewellery this famous figure has worn over the last few decades as wife of a head of state and daughter of one of the wealthiest families on earth. 

As wife of the former ruler of Wallachia and now mother of the current ruler, Princess Suzanna primarily wears official jewellery pieces attached to her title. In this State Portrait from the era preceding the 96 Revolution we see the Consort Crown of Wallachia resting on the pedestal behind Princess Suzanna. This was probably the last time this crown was officially used. It was made at the same time as its larger counterpart, the Crown of the Sovereign Prince. It is set with seven pear cut amethysts and seven square aquamarines set alternatively in solid gold. It is decorated with seven white pearls instead of black like in the other crown. In this photo the Dowager Princess wears the Crown Necklace and Earrings as well. This set was made especially for Princess Suzanna by the people of Wallachia upon her marriage to their Prince. The set was permanently added to the Crown Collection in thanks to the people in order that it remained a part of the national heritage in perpetuity.

The ancient medieval tiara that forms the final part of the Crown Jewel Collection. Called the Princess Bathoria Tiara can also be seen in this State Portrait. The tiara was permanently entered into the collection when Prince Vlad III's daughter was stripped of wealth and titles in circa 1550 after she was declared mad by the Seer Mithrandir. The Princess purportedly murdered several servants and children after her husband the Count Bathoria cheated on her with a servant girl. She was left isolated in her remote castle while her husband conducted his "affairs" elsewhere and eventually her husband's neglect drove her insane. Today many superstitions surround the story of the Princess Bathoria and her tiara. One in particular states that if the tiara was ever lost that the curse of madness would befall another Princess of the Draculesti line.

As a Princess in her own right Princess Suzanna has many private jewels at her disposal. The most famous and most often worn is her Dowry Parure. The tiara from this set of jewellery is featured in the photo above coupled with sapphires also in the Princess' private collection.

Princess Xenia's mother is the younger sister of the Duke of Swann's father. As a Princess by birth she left her country of origin with a dowry of Swanobian ancestral jewels. The Swann Dowry Diamond Parure as it has now become known is one of the most dazzling in the Wallachian collection. High quality pearls combine with exceptional diamonds in this traditional fringe design tiara and necklace. The set also includes earrings in the shape of a cross and a bracelet added at a later stage by Princess Xenia as a birthday gift to her mother.. 

In this photo we see Princess Suzanna wearing the tiara and earrings from the Dowry Parure and has allowed her daughter to wear her sapphires. Princess Suzanna often allows her daughter to wear any of the jewellery from her private collection. 

Princess Suzanna also received a diamond Demi Parure consisting of a collar necklace and matching earrings from the people of Swann to celebrate her marriage. This set has technically already been gifted to her daughter, Princess Xenia as a 21st birthday gift but both Royal ladies still wear it alternatively. 

This set of sapphires was acquired by Princess Suzanna in her own capacity in the early 80's. That era was one of the greatest in the history of Royalty. Ostentatious design was at the order of the day and jewellery firms boomed with extravagant orders of which this was one. The Princess spent some of her inheritance money and ordered the set brand new with the intent to display her prestige and that her daughter should inherit something directly from her. 

Many Royal jewellery collections include necklaces that can convert into a tiara. What makes this particular set unique is that both necklaces can me worn as tiaras making it possible for two ladies to wear virtually complete sapphire sets at once. Ironically however, no photo exists to date of of either Princess Suzanna or Princess Xenia wearing one of the necklaces as a tiara.

Princess Suzanna is seen here in 2013 wearing parts of her sapphire set. 

Another official and historic tiara from the Wallachian Crown Collection is the Angel Wing Aigrette. We see Princess Suzanna at right in the photo above wearig it. It has been in the family for close to 100 years and was obviously purchased in the days of the fashionable Aigrette. This 20's style tiara just remained in the Royal collection by chance, unaltered until today, where now it stands as a testament of a bygone era and its fashions. It is a difficult piece to wear, both practically due to its height and also proves awkward in appearance when not coupled with the right clothes or event. As such the piece is very rarely worn.  

A new tiara made to match the historic amethyst necklace and earrings in the Wallachian Royal Collection. This tiara was a 20th wedding anniversary gift from the Prince of Wallachia to his wife. Above we see the Princess wearing the new tiara coupled with the historic jewels. 

This close up archive photo allows us a detailed look at the discreet amethyst tiara. 

The Wallachian jewels have been featured before in the different contexts before on this blog. We hope this perspective featuring the unique aspects of the Dowager Princess'jewels have added to your appreciation of the collection as a whole. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Wonderful Weekends (New State Portrait of Queen Maxima of Syldavia)

For this Easter weekend we though to post a double portion of State portraits. The Kingdom of Syldavia has released a new set of State Portraits of their Queen Consort. 

The portrait shows the wife of King Nikolas III, Queen Maxima wearing a national treasure in the form of Queen Ingrid of Syldavia's diamond tiara. She also wears her new emeralds and the green sash and badge of the Order of the Syldav Cross. 

The Queen also poses with the Consort Queen's Crown. These portraits boost the glamour and historic connection of the newly restored monarchy with their people. 

Wonderful Weekends (State Portrait of Arch Duchess Maria Theresa of Fulco D'Este)

In the wake of the recent Fulco D'Este wedding we thought it might be interesting to release a historic State Portrait linked to the history of the Arch Ducal Family of Fulco D'Este. The current Arch Duke is a descendant of the last and only Kaizer of the Germanic Empire. His grandmother, Princess Maria Theresa was the eldest daughter of the Kaizer. She married the then Furst Von und Zu Fulco D'Este. Their son, the current Arch Duke's father gained the title of Arch Duke through his mother and when Fulco D'Este was annexed to the Germanic Empire the title also replaced the traditional title of Furst and has remained so to this day. 

Her Imperial Highness Arch Duchess Maria Theresa of Germania, Furstin Von und Zu Fulco DÉste. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Wonderful Weekends (Duke of Swann and Countess De Lumbre Performs for Charity)

On this Easter Weekend, the Duke of Swann decided to use his considerable influence and talent coupled with that of a good friend to raise awareness and funds for a charitable cause.

The Duke of Swann was joined by renowned Spanish dancer Countess De Lumbre to do a once-off Spanish dance performance in aid of orphans in the Hispanic region of Cataljone.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann stands ready in proper pose to receive the Countess on the dance floor. 

The Countess De Lumbre, who is renowned for her resemblance to Queen Maria of Hispania is dressed in a traditional Hispanic "Tail Dress". 

The dance begins as the couple elegantly raise their hands.

This regional dance requires the man to wear a hat and has to remove and replace it as part of the dance. 

A confident attitude is best expressed in this dance. Even though the man is very masculine subtle elegance can be appreciated in the gentle movement of the hands and head. The Lady although feminine produces very strong stamping with the feet and exudes strength in her facial expressions. 

The lady is required to pick up her dress at times, swirling it vigorously to the beat of the music.

The dancer also gently circle each other. 

The confident poise is unmistakably beautiful and elegant. 

Spanish dancing expresses deep passion. This dance requires the dress tail to be kicked at times to get it out from under the dancer feet. This allows for a visual display as the dress flares up and around. 

The show was aired live on the internet raising funds whilst viewers logged in to view it. It ran for an entire day and was then permanently removed. Stills of the dance are still available as downloadable images also at a nominal fee that goes to charity.