Archives for April 2015

April 29, 2015

What Charlene Wore to the British Royal Wedding

Hello friends, and a special hello to those of you who are on pins and needles waiting for the Duchess of Cambridge to give birth! The Great Kate Wait The Sequel is in full force, with royal watchers checking their feeds every hour (at least) to make sure they don’t miss THE moment when Kate goes into labor. I can’t imagine how Kate must feel having this sort of audience. Most women can’t even stand when their husbands are frantic about the “it could be any time now” wait for labor. Lucy Ricardo said it best: “He keeps looking at me like I’m going to explode any minute.” Multiply that times a million, right? Talk about pressure. But I digress. Today is Wills and Kate’s wedding anniversary, so I thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and look at what Princess Charlene – who then was still Charlene Wittstock – wore to the British royal wedding.

The night prior to the wedding was the pre-wedding dinner, what we Americans might call the Rehearsal Dinner, but quite amplified for a royal wedding with so many heads of state in attendance. Charlene wore the above knock-out, dove-grey Akris gown, which honestly is so beautiful I could cry (you can see the full-length photo here). The sheer shawl created a wispy bateau neckline and balanced the shining silk of the gown’s ruffles, giving her an ethereal quality. I’m not usually a ruffles fan, but Charlene might convert me with this gown. It is glamour personified. She’s made of moonlight, guys.

The next day, April 29, was the royal wedding we all waited to see. (I personally stayed up all night for it, which in hindsight was a huge mistake because I was living out west at the time and the events didn’t really start til morning – anyway.) For the wedding, Charlene again turned to Akris, again in dove-grey, but this time opting for a matching coat and dress appropriate for the 11am church ceremony. The coat was unembellished and elegant, sort of a reflection of Kate, strangely enough.

And of course, what is a British wedding without a hat? Charlene’s hat was wide-brimmed, soft, with a linen-like quality. It was rather simple, at least in comparison to the others at the wedding:

I liked it very much! Maybe especially when looking at the other hats…ha.

She topped off her ensemble with a matching clutch, nude pumps, pearl earrings and white gloves. Again, very Kate, and very British-wedding. I particularly love how she and Albert matched their colors. You know a couple spends too much time together when they get all matchy-matchy. (My own husband finds this sort of thing nauseating…I just find it charming.)

So there you have it, folks! Charlene looked luminous, but didn’t outshine the bride. Couldn’t have. Not when the bride looked like this:

A little nod to our friends over in the UK, especially to the DoC as she awaits the birth of her baby. Happy pushing, Kate!

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day to Prince Albert and Princess Charlene!

As you are probably well aware, today is Earth Day: a day in which we reflect on our environmental impact and hopefully make resolutions to lessen the carbon footprint we make on our planet. So many of us consistently remember to think of the earth and its needs, but few are as dedicated as Princess Charlene’s husband, Prince Albert II, whose Foundation is dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainability. Monaco’s Prince is fiercely passionate about protecting the planet, perhaps because he has such a clear view of its majesty from his corner of the world:

If you see that every day, you want to save it. Few vistas compare with the Riviera, and having grown up with the Mediterranean in his backyard might well have planted the proverbial seed of environmental protection. (Now someone go plant a seed of some kind!)

The Prince Albert II Foundation was established almost immediately after Albert succeeded to the throne in Monaco, and given that it bears his name, it echoes his deepest concerns. His Foundation reaches several environmental issues, and the Prince personally touches all of them himself, supporting not only through the Foundation, but with his actions and words. (Photos courtesy of Facebook and Getty.)

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Albert has been instrumental in raising awareness with regards to water conservation, and he recently participated in the 7th World Water Forum in South Korea, where the main focus was accessibility of clean water around the world.

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He not only attended the Forum, but was a key figure in the panel discussions. Anyone who isn’t living under a rock knows the importance of clean water…and its scarcity. In fact, the Prince of Wales – who is also zealous about environmentalism – is said to save his bath water for gardening purposes. Now that’s dedication.

Gotta love him!

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Albert and Charlene also keep bees at the Princely Palace, and have a total of 9 hives at the Gardens of Fontvieille. With the help of Prince Albert, the Principality has been closely associated with the National Union of French Beekeeping due to the importance of bees for environmental sustainability and growth. (Plus, some honey from local bees will keep allergies down for the entire Princely family – though the twins will have to wait until they are at least 1 year old before they can partake in this natural gift, as honey is a no-no for babies.)

And as we’ve seen before, the Prince was involved in the take-off for the first solar airplane, giving the final green light to the pioneering pilots and offering a control center based in Monaco. Renewable energy, and especially solar energy, is going to be crucially important in coming years, so we could all stand to take a cue from the Prince here and do what we can.

So happy earth day to you all! Think about your resources and try your best to conserve, be it by recycling, reusing water à la Prince Charles, cloth diapering, going vegetarian like Charlene, or even something as simple as eliminating paper towels from your households. Reduce, reuse, recycle, maybe plant a tree, and pretend you’re looking out onto the Mediterranean from your back porch. Love your Mother Earth!

April 19, 2015

A Royal Wedding Anniversary

Exactly 59 years ago today, Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco in the lavish wedding ceremony that captured the world’s attention. Still regarded as one of the most famous weddings in recent history – nay, in all of history – it is my personal belief that this wedding brought royals into the limelight. Royals have always been famous, of course, but had previously been unreachable. But given that this event was televised and included a Hollywood celebrity, this particular union seemed to signify a shift: royalty for the era of stardom.

Grace and Rainier had a whirlwind courtship, and though they had met previously, their romantic relationship and engagement occurred over the course of a few days. She set sail for Monaco in early April of 1956, with a particularly grand send off from her fans in the USA.

A little over a week later, Grace arrived in Monaco to a warm welcome from the Monégasque people. Wedding preparations took up the next week, until the civil ceremony on April 18:

The beautiful but very short ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room, with a reception following:

I LOVE Grace’s dress for the reception. Fit for a princess! (And. Those. SHOES. Um…those are for me, yes?)

The next day was THE wedding, of course! The religious ceremony is the one we all consider their anniversary: April 19, 1956. At the time it was considered “the wedding of the century,” but I think Charles and Diana may have swept that title away since.

The epic wedding ceremony took place at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco, and was televised around the world. It is estimated that millions of people tuned in for the ceremony, starting the era of die-hard royal wedding-watching.

And then there’s the dress…oh, the dress. Grace Kelly’s wedding gown was designed by MGM’s costume designer, Helen Rose, and has been replicated hundreds of times since for any bride who wants to look classy. It is considered one of the most elegant and beautiful wedding gowns in history. The most famous dress to offer up grand similarities (while maintaining its own unique flavor) was the Duchess of Cambridge’s beautiful wedding gown:

Same result: elegant, regal, appropriate, gorgeous.

The gown itself consisted of a sweetheart neckline with a lace illusion bodice, wrapped tightly at the waist and opening into a bell-shaped skirt. It had a modest but impressive train, and she wore her hair swept back with a headpiece (not a tiara, though) and a lace-embroidered veil.

It is famously said that she carried a prayer book down the aisle in lieu of flowers; however, while she did carry a prayer book, she also had flowers. They were later left at the chapel of Sainte Dévote, as is customary.

There was, of course, another reception after the religious ceremony, which included a gigantic wedding cake (not quite of the same scale as Charlene and Albert’s wedding cake, as you can see at the end of this post, but close). *Nom nom nom.*

While Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are no longer with us, it’s still appropriate to think of them today and remember their wedding fondly. Here’s to a beautiful couple and a beautiful day!

April 15, 2015

Charlene Arranges Cultural Exchange & Gives Swimming Lessons to Students

Yesterday, Princess Charlene provided an opportunity for the young South African rugby team – the one that participated in last Saturday’s Sainte Dévote tournament – to spend the day at a local Monégasque school, Collège Charles III, meeting with their Direction of National Education of Youth and Sports. The students and the school gave the South African team a very warm welcome. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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Naturally, the students had a very warm interchange, and their conversations were amicable to say the least.

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It looks like they had a blast getting to know each other, learning from one another’s experiences, and seeing the Monégasque lifestyle through the eyes of those their own age.

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After the meeting, Charlene succumbed to the requests of the South African students: a swim lesson, pretty please!!

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Who are we kidding? Of course she entertained the request, and with gusto! Her whole mission with the Princess Charlene Foundation is to teach children to swim. I imagine she jumps at dives into any opportunity to do that first-hand.

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Charlene wore a cream, sleeveless jacket over a black (and also sleeveless) blouse for the non-swimming portion of the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a better photo of her entire outfit, so this is all we saw…except the wetsuit she wore in the pool. She looked radiant and chic the whole day through, though my personal opinion is that she looks her most joyous and free when in the water. It’s great to see her swimming with kids!

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To top off the day, the principal of Collège Charles III put together a request, “from the heart, a testimony of our affection,” by proposing that Charlene become the patron of the school. Of course, this proposal was met by immense cheers from all the students.

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Children, swimming, Monaco, and South Africa all in one event – a heavenly combo for Charlene. It’s so lovely to see her in her element.

Until next time, please feel free to stop over at the new Acorn Étoile site, Kate’s Clothes, written by Jane Barr. It’s a wonderful online encyclopedia of the Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion over the years, the epitome of hyper-organized heaven for Kate fans. Make sure you’ve got time to spare before heading over, because you won’t want to leave!

April 13, 2015

Princess Charlene Hosts Luncheon and Youth Rugby Tournament

Happy Monday, all! Princess Charlene was busy-busy this weekend, entertaining at the Palace and then hosting the Sainte Dévote Tournament at the stadium in Monaco. Both events happened on the same day, so I’m lumping them into one giant post. Especially since the outfit was the same for both, it would seem foolish to separate the two occasions. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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First on the itinerary for this past Saturday was a luncheon that Charlene and Albert held at the Palace for some friends and family. All the guests are involved with tennis in some way, and thusly they all must have made lovely lunching companions.

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Attending the luncheon were Roger Federer and his wife, Mirka. Both are Swiss tennis players who participated in the 2000 Sydeny Olympics along with Charlene. In addition to having their athletic pasts in common, the Federers have two sets of twins. Undoubtedly Charlene has been communicating with them and seeking advice on how to survive!

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And of course, since this lunch took place at the Princely Palace, Charlene’s dog was in attendance too. Adorable!

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In addition to the Federers, Zeljko Franulovic attended the luncheon, along with Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy and her daughter, Melanie-Antoinette. The Baroness is Albert’s first cousin and president of the Monégasque Tennis Federation, while Franulovic is a former Croatian tennis player and the current Monte Carlo Masters tournament director. (Looking at the below photo, who else wants to straighten out the painting on the right and fix the light bulb on the left?)

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Charlene wore a non-black outfit today – hallelujah! She must read the blog! She looked fresh and springy in a casual-chic outfit. She opted for skinnies, a cream-colored blouse, beige booties (love love love) and a very surprising cape. In the first photos, I didn’t realize this was such a long piece, so this photo made me do a double-take. I actually like it very much. Does it classify as a cape with the arm slots? I don’t know. But I’ll call it a cape because I’m lazy. It billows nicely, providing a fashion statement even in an informal setting. I’m loving it! She paired the outfit with a pearl necklace and her pearl studs. Makeup and hair were fresh and natural, as expected. Gorgeous.

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Later in the day, Charlene went down to the stadium to host the Sainte Dévote Tournament, which consisted of 12 youth rugby teams from 9 different countries. The event was organized jointly by the Princess Charlene Foundation and the Monégasque Rugby Federation.

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They even designed a rugby event for toddlers. So. Stinking. Cute.

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I loved this little girl who was oh-so-excited to meet a real princess. I think I’d wear a plastic tiara too.

Photos with the teams:

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Everyone seemed to really enjoy her presence. And can we just stop for a minute to talk about her sunglasses? She has the glamour look down pat. I need those shades, guys.

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All in all, a jam-packed, very successful (and fashionable) day for HSH Princess Charlene. Looked like a gorgeous day to be out in Monaco!

April 11, 2015

Charlene and Albert Celebrate World Sports Day

World Sports Day For Development and Peace came and went earlier this week, but not without an appearance from Charlene and Albert! As active supporters of sports, especially when youth is involved, the Princely couple made a public appearance organized jointly by the Princess Charlene Foundation and the National Direction of Youth and Sports, the Peace and Sport Organization, and the Association of Parents of Students. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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As you all know by now, Charlene and sports go together like chocolate and peanut butter like Charlene and swimming. She absolutely lives for sports, and her Foundation is centered around making them available for youth, with the goal of giving them a head start in life by making physical activity readily available for them.

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So, when the United Nations declared an international World Sports Day For Development and Peace, it was no surprise that Charlene stood in full support. World Sports Day and the Princess Charlene Foundation are a match made in heaven.

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Charlene and Albert met with nearly 400 students in Monaco, who all hold the values of sports very dear. The highest achievers among these athletes were given medals from the Prince and Princess – certainly a moment they will never forget! Medals were given to those who excelled in their involvement and their degree of sportsmanship.

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Of course, what is a royal engagement without MANY group photos?

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At the end, they all held up their white cards – a symbol for the Peace and Sport Organization, which is a Monaco-based initiative that supports the building of tolerance and understanding through participation in sports. Prince Albert is a patron of the organization.

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Fashion wise, though! Charlene opted for black yet again, but this time chose a less formal coat, which I can only describe as more of a windbreaker-style. Maybe it’s the drawstring collar? It’s certainly flattering on her, and as you can see, she paired the coat with black stockings and pumps. Her makeup and hair are gorgeous of course, and I am in love with the pearl stud earrings. The epitome of class, even in a gymnasium.

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She really does look very, very pretty at this appearance, but I’m going to say it: I’m done with all the black. She looks so good in black, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just SO ready for some color. Honestly, I think it’s just been a really long winter here in NY and it’s shaping to be a really wet, dreary spring, so I’m desperate for flowery shades. Pastels, jewel tones, anything other than black, I’ll take it.

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But enough of my gripes about color choices! Bottom line: great cause, great involvement, very uplifting event, and lovely to see the Princely couple supporting something so near and dear to their hearts. Definite win all around!

April 8, 2015

Princess Charlene Honors Late Father-in-Law at Mass

On April 6th of this year, Monaco observed the 10th anniversary of Prince Rainier III’s death. A solemn day to be certain, not only for the Princely family, but for the whole of Monaco. A special Mass was held yesterday at the Cathedral of Monaco in honor of the late ruler, which of course was attended by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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Albert must miss his father terribly, and Charlene must wish she could have known him. I’m not sure that we have any indication that the late Prince ever got to meet his future daughter-in-law, as Albert and Charlene only became a couple after his passing. Charlene has attested that she and Albert were merely friends for the 5 years prior to that appearance, so there certainly is a possibility that she met Prince Rainier, though unlikely. (If anyone knows for sure, please let me know in the comments!)

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Princess Charlene looked lovely at the Mass, wearing an entirely black ensemble to pay her respects. But I’ve got to be honest, folks – I’m not entirely a fan of this outfit, though I will admit that it is a success in the modest-and-mournful department. But this particular coat and mantilla aren’t doing it for me. The coat looks a bit awkward and heavy on her, and the belt distracts me for some reason. The mantilla also looked heavy/thick in the photos, much less becoming than the black mantillas Charlene has worn in the past (and can definitely carry off). Am I just being too picky? I hate when I dislike an ensemble at a time like this, it feels so gauche to talk about clothes at a somber event.

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As you can see, she’s not the only one donning the shade of mourning: Albert’s sisters, Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie, also wore black. Charlene chose to wear significantly more black, though, pairing her ensemble with black tights instead of nude. I personally feel like that choice made her outfit a bit unbalanced, just *too much* black, but I understand her desire to be respectful and play it safe (I also hate black tights in general, so that may contribute to my opinion). And who knows, there might have been some strict protocol for her to follow since she is in such a high position – I’m really not sure, but I have a feeling that this is the case. Charlene is usually much more balanced in her tones, and this one choice struck me as off for her.

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A look inside the Cathedral. It really is beautiful.

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As sad an occasion as it was for the Princely family, I hope it was cathartic for them to mark the anniversary with a Mass as they undoubtedly continue to grieve their father’s passing. It’s never easy, though going through these sorts of motions does tend to help with the process. Prince Rainier was much loved by so many people, particularly his family, and he seemed to know how lucky he was:

The Prince who had everything, and deserved every drop of happiness. May he rest in peace.

April 4, 2015

Princess Charlene Appears on Balcony for Good Friday Procession

Greetings all! As Holy Week comes to a close tomorrow, I’ve been anticipating some sort of appearance from Princess Charlene. My interest was piqued when she missed the Rose Ball – apparently to take care of little Gabriella, who is under the weather with a bug. Her absence from the Ball was like a guarantee that we’d see her at some point during Monaco’s Easter festivities, and luckily, we were right. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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The annual Good Friday Easter Procession occurred on Good Friday (obviously), and to my delight, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert appeared on the balcony to observe.

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The procession took place at the Prince’s Palace, giving Charlene and Albert a stunning view from the balcony. The annual procession has been a tradition for around 800 years, and those participating perform The Procession of the Dead Christ, a traveling enactment of the Stations of the Cross. Additionally, the palace is lit up in purple, which for Catholics signifies the color of the Lenten season.

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On to the fashion! For the occasion, Charlene chose a lovely black coat with large lapels and cuffs, pairing it with a bateau-neck dress underneath and chic black pumps. The shape of the coat was exquisitely flattering, a fitted bodice with a full skirt. I did like the neckline of the coat, though the shine and cut of the lapels didn’t suit my preferences. Charlene carried it off beautifully, though.

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Those heels. I swoon. (And I love the cutesy hand-holding. Adorbs!)

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Her hair and makeup were also quite nice, though not as impeccable as usual. Something was off…but I can’t quite put my finger on it. At first I thought it was the smoky eye that didn’t work quite right, or the lighting was poor, or perhaps it was the lack of jewelry, but none of those seems to be the complete answer. Does she just look a bit tired? It seems to make the most logical sense, given the fact that Gabriella has a cold. Sick infants are no joke, people.

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Overall judgment: I liked it! I’m a little tired with all the black these days, and I’m definitely ready for more color (and jewelry!) in the spring. But this ensemble was appropriate, tailored, chic, balanced and lovely. Definitely a win! I hope you all have a very happy, healthy Easter. Another excuse to binge on chocolate…enjoy it, friends!