January 27, 2016

The Feast of Sainte Dévote

Good to see you again so soon, dear readers! Today is the feast day of Sainte Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco. In case you’re new to this space and you don’t know this already, Monaco’s national religion is Catholicism, so they take their saint’s day very seriously, and celebrate it with all the exuberance you could imagine. Namely: they burn a boat in the cathedral square on the eve of Sainte Dévote’s day, set ablaze by the Prince and Princess, and attend Mass services the following morning. (Photos courtesy of Facebook and Getty.)

The boat-burning is heavy with symbolism for the Monégasque people, who celebrate the fact that their saint arrived on their shores via a tiny fishing boat after being martyred overseas. She is said to have been put on the boat by fellow Christians, and a white dove flew out of her mouth and guided her to a land where she would receive a proper burial. She wound up in Monaco, and has ever since looked over the principality and its people. As a side note, the Princely couple gave Pope Francis a historical Monégasque coin from the 18th century, featuring Sainte Dévote, as a gift when they had their papal audience last week:

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A very nice, appropriate, and thoughtful gift for His Holiness. But back to the boat-burning last night!

The burning itself is terribly theatrical, with the Princely family bringing the burning torches to the kindling-branches underneath the small boat. The boat itself is red-and-white, the colors of Monaco’s flag. Once lit, the blaze roars throughout the square, with religious and lay persons alike watching, celebrating, and honoring their beloved patron saint.

Ok, enough of that. Onto fashion!

Princess Charlene looked beautiful last night! She selected a knee-length, grey wrap dress and scarf, and paired them with her favorite cream-colored accessories. The cape is new for me, but I love the way it creates something of a reverse-halo around Charlene when she stands in front of the flames. The outfit hits me in different ways depending on her angle, but overall I think I would categorize this as a win.

Her gloves and boots we have definitely seen before: at the presentation of Jacques and Gabriella last January. The gloves have been seen multiple times since then, the most recent being at the Papal audience last week.

Jewelry was elegant simplicity itself; hair and makeup were divine. I absolutely love the bold, red lip here, and I feel like its intensity almost gives a symbolic mirror to the boat-burning.

Charlene greeted the many crowds with gratitude and grace, stopping to talk to children along the way. I’m sure at some point she must have encouraged the youngsters to head home and get to bed, as the celebrations do take place rather late in the evening!

The following morning (read: today), Albert and Charlene attended a special Mass in honor of Sainte Dévote’s feast. The photos of their exit from the cathedral are absolutely stunning, mainly because Charlene looks ultra glamorous:

She donned a black coat with satin panels and exquisite tailoring for the Mass. It is breathtaking. We haven’t seen this coat before (at least I haven’t!), but we have seen a very, very similar cut before on Charlene. It is a lovely choice that gives her long, lean body a different shape than we usually see. I love it!

This might be my favorite holiday of the year: the tradition, the history, the theatric burning of the boat, it all just adds up to a gloriously dramatic, passionate event. A very happy Sainte Dévote’s day to you all!

Comments

  1. AnnaMaria says:

    That is such a lovely black coat. It’s so beautiful. I love when a classic is elevated, and Charlene makes it sparkle.

  2. Katie Coble says:

    Yes yes yes! Charlene is the best at doing that! Thanks for stopping by, AnnaMaria, and hope to see you again soon.

  3. emilie convers says:

    Son Altesse en Gants de Cuir blanc : Quelle classe ! Quelle allure !
    émilie

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