February 2, 2015

Predictions and Daydreams: Couture Edition

It’s snowing here in New York. A LOT. And it’s cold. And given that my house is over a hundred years old, it’s cold inside too. The only things keeping me warm are strong cups of coffee (I’d hook up an IV if I could), a very fuzzy blanket, and the warmth emanating from my computer as it pumps Paris Fashion Week’s best shows to me. Add fashion shows to that IV and I’m a happy girl.

The haute couture shows in Paris this year were glorious. Star-studded, too, though with the obvious exception of Princess Charlene. One dear reader, Laura, suggested that I sit in for Charlene this year, and trust me, I would have if so many celebs hadn’t beaten me to it. Sigh. It’s my belief that Charlene would have loved the couture lines this year, and I think we will see some bespoke versions on her in the coming year, if not the straight-up originals. Here’s a little recap of a few of the designers and what they presented this year, so we can make predictions.

Dior

Charlene has worn Dior in the past several times, with much success. Charlene is one of those beings who is able to wear couture without pause, and without the threat of looking ridiculous. She roams the earth with a fashion confidence that knocks me over. She’s one of the few who can pick pieces right off the runway and wear them, looking perfectly lovely and calm:

Dior had a stunning show this year, surprising every viewer by making the models walk flights of stairs in order to show the clothes. A bold move for a bold line, to be sure.

The silhouettes were meant to echo various past decades of fashion, and naturally I found myself gravitating toward the ultra-feminine 50s forms for my Charlene daydreams.

I say “daydreams,” because Charlene tends to stick to more fitted evening wear, and Dior showcased plenty of that too. The more realistic side of me can see her wearing some of those pieces, no doubt.

The above short dress, perhaps in a lighter color, could easily be seen on Charlene at an outdoor summer engagement.

Chanel

Charlene famously chose Chanel for one of her most important, prominent appearances: when she and Prince Albert had their civil marriage ceremony in 2011. And of course she chose Chanel, the label embodies both gravity and femininity with perfection:

Oh, Chanel…Chanel…how you never go out of style. Naturally, the Chanel show was chock-full of the exquisite lines, tailoring, and high-quality fabrics that we have come to expect from Karl Lagerfeld.

While there was a presence of much more color than we’ve seen in the past, there was a good handful of more neutral, safe colors for Charlene.

I could easily see her wearing some bespoke versions of these dresses and suits, as they seem appropriate for both her style and the events she frequents.

Versace

Versace has always known how to dress Charlene, that’s for sure. She has an amazing figure, and she loves the fitted look that Versace does so well. She comes out looking like a goddess:

Charlene is normally a fixture at the Versace show, and after viewing this year’s collection, it’s easy to see why. These pieces are the ones she gravitates toward: form-fitted evening wear.

Some of the geometric cutouts from this year’s collection are a bit much – the kind you might see in Hollywood, but not on a Princess.

See what I mean? Kate Hudson, yes; Charlene, no.

But others, like the above white gown, are just slightly edgy, the kind of risk Charlene loves to take. There were some sparkly neutral dresses that seemed to scream Charlene, and I would love to see her wearing them:

 

Armani

It’s no secret that Charlene loves Armani – remember her wedding? Of course you do, two Armani gowns in one day! Charlene has also chosen Armani for several other events, knowing that it can serve well for sophisticated suits as well as evening gowns:

This suit might be one of my favorite Charlene fashion moments in history. I swoon.

This year, I wasn’t feeling like the patterned pieces (bamboo was the theme of this line) would fit into Charlene’s style, but the lines of the gowns were impeccable, and the separates were definitely some of the most elegant I’ve seen yet.

Some of the jackets and tops were magnificently tailored and chic, and a few of the gowns would look stunning on Charlene:

While I don’t see her reaching for the bamboo, I can definitely see her opting for some of the subtler, structured pieces that fit so well with her fashion identity.

Ok, now that you’re thoroughly teased by what I’ve shown you here, go online and watch the shows! Am I missing anything? Did I neglect a favorite designer of yours? Please let me know your thoughts and predictions – it will be fun to see if any of our guesses are spot-on this year!

January 27, 2015

Princess Charlene Burns a Boat for the Feast of Sainte Dévote

Today is the celebration of the feast day of Sainte Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco (and Corsica, as she was born there). With Monaco being one of the few Catholic nations in the world, today the Monégasque people focus on Sainte Dévote, her story, and celebrate her protection over Monaco.

A little backstory: Sainte Dévote’s name is actually unknown, but she is referred to in this way in an effort to reflect upon her devotion to God. After being martyred in particularly gruesome, torturous ways in Mariana, her body was snuck onto a boat by Christians so that it might receive a proper burial in wherever it landed – because it was certainly not going to get one where it was. The legend says that a dove flew out of her mouth and guided the boat to what is now Monaco, where she was discovered by fishermen and, of course, given the aforementioned proper burial. A small chapel was built in her memory, and still stands today, where flowers are said to bloom on her feast day – today – even in the January cold.

It doesn’t end there: when a common thief unsuccessfully tried to steal her relics over 900 years ago, he was caught and arrested, and his boat was set ablaze by the Monégasque people. Since then, Monaco has invoked the protection of Sainte Dévote, and has given her credit for several victories in its history, including the end of their Plague epidemic and saving Monaco’s independence from various invaders.

Each year on the eve of her feast day, it is customary for the royal family to set a small boat on fire in recognition of their loyalty to Sainte Dévote, and their gratitude for her protection over their Principality. On the 27th, there is of course a Mass said in her honor and a procession of her relics, along with a blessing over the whole of Monaco for her continued and steady protection.

From a religious perspective, it’s lovely to see the country unite in recognition of their patron saint. Religious traditions these days usually take the form of very quiet, civilized ceremonies, losing any vigor or passion that might be at the heart of the traditions themselves. But boat-burning is a delightful shift from the ordinary, a departure from the quiet and dignified to the zealous and passionate. The burning boat on the stones, the cold air breathing life into the fire, the crashing waves of the Mediterranean egging it on like background music: this meeting of the elements certainly make it a sensory feast.

From a non-religious perspective, we are just thrilled to get to see the Princely family involved in something so near and dear to their country’s heart. I love seeing a Princess wielding fire, too – very evocative and powerful, it’s the stuff of history books. Sartorially speaking, Princess Charlene usually chooses mostly muted, sometimes somber, always fashionable attire for the events:

For the boat-burning this year, Charlene looking very chic in a grey coat and black leather boots/accessories. She took my suggestion and cinched the coat this time, hooray! It is actually quite similar to her most recent look when she presented her twins, but with color changes and the cinching, which make it SO much better. I love, love, love this outfit on her! The black offsets the grey in just the right way. Each piece alone is lovely in its own right; together, their power increases exponentially. The one tiny flaw at which I will pick (sorry, I’m a detail person): the popped collar. I’m not a popped collar girl, even when it was en vogue. Charlene can carry it off, but I’d probably still prefer it laying flat. A small quibble in the wake of sheer perfection.

Her hair and makeup looked like perfection too. Anyone else notice that those bangs have mysteriously vanished? I didn’t hate them, but I’m not disappointed to see them gone. I love her eyes, and now we can see them! Speaking of eyes, it’s also worth a mention that the couple doesn’t look nearly as tired as they did a couple weeks ago. Perhaps it’s safe to assume that the babies are starting to do their nights? Every mom out there is crossing fingers and maybe praying for the intercession of Sainte Dévote on that one!

Normally on Sainte Dévote’s day, we see the Princely couple at the Mass and on the balcony; however, the photos that have surfaced show only Albert…it doesn’t look like Charlene was able to make it for either appearance. In case those are updated and somehow Charlene was there, I will certainly update the post! But at least we got to see her set a boat on fire, that’s something.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sainte Dévote’s day! (But do not try the boat-burning at home, ok?)

January 25, 2015

Happy Birthday to Princess Charlene!

Hello dear readers! Today marks the 37th birthday of Princess Charlene. As a special day for Charlene and Albert, and indeed for their whole family and much of Monaco, one would expect nothing less than flutes of champagne and caviar hors d’oeuvres. As lovely as that sounds, we here must speculate that this particular birthday might be a bit more low-key – perhaps of the “lying on the couch and eating some cake” variety – due to the 6 week old babies that are undoubtedly screaming their precious little heads off in the background.

That being said, I’ll keep things low-key around here too, by reflecting on my favorite Charlene sightings of this past year. We’ll skip her fashion week appearances, though, since we’ve already seen those in a recent post (wink, wink).

At the end of March, Charlene attended the Rose Ball 2014 in Monte Carlo. The event aids the Princess Grace Foundation, and Charlene looked effortlessly glamorous. I actually have a love/hate relationship with this dress, though – the top is amazing, and the bottom is not great. Hence the head-shot. Hope you don’t mind! Google the full-length version if you’re curious.

About a month after the Rose Ball, Charlene jetted out to California for The Colleagues 26th Annual Spring Luncheon, held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This is one of my all-time favorites on Charlene – something about the cut is very 40s to me, and the green color is great with her eyes. There’s something about that smile, too. The photos from this event all have the same glow to them. Ah! That must be it. She was in her first trimester with the twins here, so that might explain the glow (and the smile).

In June, Charlene and Albert re-opened the Princess Grace Rose Garden after it had been closed for 8 months for renovations. I didn’t really adore the dress so much, but it was just nice to see her at an event in honor of her late mother-in-law. I love seeing her splash the champagne on the roses, too.

Again in June, Charlene went to the opening of the Monaco Yacht Club. Once again, the ensemble was nice, but it didn’t wow me. I was more into her new hair style – it felt really retro-glamorous, and the close-up head shots were gorgeous.

There’s that glow again. In August, when Charlene’s pregnancy was really starting to show, she and Albert appeared at the 66th Monaco Red Cross Ball Gala. They attend almost every year, so it wasn’t a surprise to see them there. Her pregnancy really made this a stand-out appearance in comparison to past years, though: she was radiant. Who needs diamonds when you have skin like that?

And last, but definitely not least, would be Charlene’s appearance on the balcony on Monaco National Day (November 19th). Given the twins pregnancy, it is understandable that she was slowing down her public engagements at this point (I think this was her last one of 2014), but the Monégasque people were delighted when she made an appearance for National Day. It’s actually the sheer delight from her presence that made this appearance worth a mention. Her smile is infectious!

And those, my friends, were my favorite moments of 2014. I skipped over quite a few – feel free to call me out on it if you feel jilted that I missed one of your favorites! Let’s hope that Charlene’s 37th year will put this past one to shame. We do expect to see the royal family and hopefully Charlene for the feast day of Sainte Dévote on the 27th, so cross your fingers and check back soon. Happy birthday Charlene!

January 19, 2015

Paris Fashion Week

So I’m a few weeks ahead of myself here, but I get excited about fashion weeks whenever and wherever they happen. And since this space is French-flavored, today I will focus in on the Paris Fashion Week, with the Haute Couture shows scheduled to take place at the end of the month. I present you with photos from years past, where Charlene was large and in charge at the events.

Charlene has been a fixture at Paris Fashion Week for years. And for good reason: the lady knows fashion, and she has become a fashion icon many times over. I think it started well before she married Prince Albert, but increased exponentially since becoming the Princess of Monaco.

Honestly, it would be hard for Charlene to not be a fashion icon. Much like her British counterpart, Kate, she’s tall, she’s gorgeous, she’s famous, she has impeccable taste, and – sorry, I’m going to be really blunt here – she has money. I hate to be crass, but let’s face it, you absolutely need deep pockets in order to keep up with fashion. At least if you’re wearing the real stuff. She is, in essence, the ideal model for any of these designers to woo, and they all undoubtedly are itching to score her business – especially with its impending publicity when she wears their pieces publicly.

This year, though, I assume Charlene’s viewing of fashion week will be much like mine: enjoyed from the comfort of the couch, with a pint of ice cream and a large, large spoon, after having just put the kids to bed. It will be quite different from years past, when she sat front-and-center at the Paris shows, getting a first-hand glimpse of Versace and Dior perfection. To have the means to actually wear such designers is enviable, but to be placed in front of the collections in the designers’ attempt to seduce you – now that, my friends, is power.

If she does manage to make it to Paris for the shows this year, it will certainly be a well-deserved break from the baby juggling she’s doing back in Monaco. Moms across the world will be applauding the fact that she is getting a chance to indulge in something she loves while others mind the babies. I hope she does get a chance to go, but I would be surprised if she were ready to leave her little tykes for multiple days just yet. But maybe she’ll squeeze in a day’s worth, perhaps as a birthday treat to herself? Let’s hope.

For me, even if I haven’t the deep pockets I’d like to have, I still love a good fashion week. For a fashion-lover, there is something so magical about being able to view the most recent work of the world’s top designers all at once. It would be like getting to taste the cuisine of the world’s greatest chefs for a week straight: pure, indulgent heaven. Like royal watching, it’s a nice departure from daily life, a full-on dive into an other-worldly realm of beauty.

Once the Haute Couture shows in Paris are done, I might do a review of what was shown, and perhaps discuss the possibilities that we might see on HSH in the upcoming year. Until then, cross your fingers for a Charlene sighting and I’ll see you again on her birthday!

January 13, 2015

The Princess Charlene Foundation

We are going to spend so much time on this blog discussing Princess Charlene’s fashion, babies, and engagements that it is sometimes difficult to remember that there’s more to being a royal than looking effortlessly glamorous and wearing lots of diamonds (though sign me up for that job, right?). Our favorite royal ladies often do loads of office work that usually center around charities, and Charlene is no different than any of them. I thought it might be nice every once in awhile to put aside the fashion and look at some of the work Charlene puts in behind the scenes.

I’ve got to be honest with all of you: I don’t love swimming. I can do it well enough, but I don’t love it. I enjoyed swimming as a kid, but as an adult I quickly lost interest. The chlorine (or the salt, depending on whether we’re talking pool or sea), the cold water, the mixed odor of sunblock and perspiration wafting through the air: it all gives me a headache. My one exception would be outdoor heated pools, especially if they’re part of a mountainside luxury resort and it’s snowing – now that can be sexy. But the normal, summertime pool is, for me, a vacuous experience. If it weren’t for my husband reminding me that it’s good for kids to swim, it would never even occur to me to take my child to the pool.

But I do love Charlene. And even though I don’t get it, I do admire her love for swimming and how much she embraces it. It also makes her an ideal princess for Monaco, given its proximity to water. To use her passions as a springboard for charitable work, Charlene created a foundation that reflects her love for swimming while giving back to the community. The Princess Charlene Foundation teaches swimming to children so that water safety, fun, and healthy exercise can be a part of their lives.

Charlene and her family have been involved in teaching swimming for years, but only after her increase in status was she able to make it more of a national quest. Indeed, she seems quite in her element when she’s teaching swimming to children, and she lights up when discussing the mission of her Foundation on its website (and on Media Events Monaco’s Youtube channel):

I am always struck by how much of Charlene’s personality shines through when she’s around water – is it just me? It’s almost like it’s more of a natural environment for her than dry land. I love seeing her laughing here with Albert, at the Charity Christmas Swim a few years ago. She’s the picture of fun.

I think he notices it too. It’s lovely to see how he supports her, jumping right in and embracing something that is a passion for her. It’s endearing to see them more relaxed and genuinely enjoying themselves – and each other – so much.

Now if I liked swimming, and if it were warmer than 4 degrees outside here in NY, I’d totally be in the mood for a swim now. Maybe after the spring thaw…who’s with me?!

January 7, 2015

Introducing: Gabriella & Jacques!

Finally, January 7th is here! All of us here have been waiting patiently for today, when Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II introduced the newest royals to their people. The Monégasque people cheered as the Princely couple appeared, some waving flags and others releasing red and white balloons into the air. I’ve heard that today was declared a holiday, so that one and all could gather under the balcony to greet the infants properly.

The Princely couple appeared on the balcony of the Palais Princier in Monaco around 11am today, each holding a very bundled-up infant. It is said that Charlene was snuggling Jacques while Albert held Gabriella, but truth be told, I don’t know how anyone could possibly know which baby is which. The pictures I’ve seen (and the ones I will show you here!) don’t seem to give any indication as to who’s who. But WHO cares! They’re both so cute and tiny and squishy!

The above picture is about the only one in which we can properly see one of the infants’ faces. Appearing on a balcony doesn’t quite give the photographers the option of being positioned above the couple (like when Prince George was born), but what can you do? At least this photo was snagged. Charlene and Albert both do seem quite taken by their new little ones, don’t they?

In addition to looking starry-eyed by the new Prince and Princess, let’s be real here: the couple looks tired. Not so tired they’re going to faint, but they seem to have that glaze, that certain je ne sais quoi that is so common behind the eyes of new parents. And anyone who’s done it with one newborn is probably foaming at the mouth over the idea of doing it with two. Now that’s a lot of work. (I remember looking at my husband at 2:30am one morning during the newborn stage, and saying “We are only having ONE child.”) But since they’re royalty, hopefully they have help!

Aside from the new humans on the balcony, I couldn’t help but notice that Charlene looked a bit different too: new bangs! What is the consensus here, love them or hate them? I am always so baffled at how Charlene looks good no matter how she does her hair, or what she wears. But for me, I’m not feeling the bangs. They’re nice, but she has a glorious face, and they seem to be a bit thick for her delicate features. As for her ensemble…

…I don’t love this photo, but I’m putting it in here just so you can see her whole outfit. Charlene chose an off-white, billowy pea coat and matching, high-necked sheath dress underneath, with beige gloves and boots. I had noticed the beige gloves on the balcony, but had no idea she would be wearing matching boots until I saw this full length shot. Très chic! I’ve got to say, it is impressive to pull off high leather boots at 4 weeks postpartum. I’d call this outfit a win just for that. I don’t personally love the exact color combinations – for me, the boots were a bit too dark for her skin and the coat – but as an ensemble, it was certainly appropriate for the event. I sort of wish she had cinched the coat closed for the walkabout, to make the whole outfit look more polished in the breeze. But these are minor issues – overall, I loved each element and thought she carried them off beautifully. Especially for having just given birth to twins!

Overall, what a lovely day for the twins to make their first public appearance. It was a joy to see the couple looking so happy, healthy, and proud of their children. Only 4 weeks old and already fulfilling royal engagements – I’d be proud of that too! Now let’s hope we get many more pictures the whole year through. Happy 2015, everyone!

December 30, 2014

The Princess Bride, Part 3: Finally, a Tiara!

After the wedding, which we have now discussed in excruciating detail, Princess Charlene and her Prince headed to the Opéra Garnier in Monaco for their wedding reception: a lavish dinner and ball, followed by grand fireworks to celebrate the nuptials. The couple certainly pulled out all the stops for the event, which was attended by several other royal guests, all adorned in white tie and tiaras. Champagne and diamonds all the way on that beautiful evening in early July…as opposed to those of us who live in the USA, who were at that same time prepping for our Independence Day festivities, full of beer, pretzels, and outdoor barbeque. Vive la différence!

But I digress! Monaco’s newest royal arrived that night sporting her first tiara, a rite of passage for all new princesses. Or at least it should be, in my opinion. How many people get to wear tiaras without looking ridiculous? Only actual princesses, that’s who.

This tiara was a gift to Charlene from her new hubby, and was designed for Charlene – with her input – by jeweler Lorenz Baumer. It is said that she wanted the tiara to reflect her love of the sea, like a wave crashing upon a rock. Now looking at it, it does seem reminiscent of that elusive sparkle of seafoam when it splashes onto the shore. If you are so inclined, check out this amazing video from Lorenz Baumer’s Youtube channel, in which Baumer showcases the intensive process of how this tiara was made (and this gives some great close-ups of the diamonds!):


The tiara has been aptly named the Diamond Foam Tiara, and it is clearly a modern design as far as tiaras go. While that it always a huge risk with something meant to stand the test of sartorial time, I think it makes me like Charlene even more that she would be so daring. But it only goes modern in terms of design; diamond-wise, make no mistake, it is ALL tiara: 60 carats, white gold, and extreme sparkle envy. The video certainly attests to that. People are really on the fence about this piece, though – mostly a love or hate reaction from royal watchers. Personally, I really like it, but I can see how others would have differing views. Where do you stand on this one?

Moving onto the dress…

Charlene chose another Armani gown for the reception, one that was just as stunning as the wedding gown but much more lightweight and airy for a hot July night. It consisted of a high, sheer neckline, cinched at the waist and flowing down into a layered, four tiered, floaty skirt. Like the wedding gown, it had very simple and elegant lines to it, while close-up it was full of detailed embellishments.

Compared to the other (stunningly beautiful) guests at the wedding, such as the above Princess Mathilde of Belgium and Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Charlene looked the most appropriate for the time of year: fresh and breezy. While other royal ladies seemed weighed down by yards heavier fabrics and layers – and much heavier tiaras – Charlene’s dress allowed her to wisp around with the delicacy of a fairy, the tiara leaving a glint of diamonds in its wake like honest-to-God fairy-dust.

In my opinion, this ensemble, moreso than the ceremony attire, really introduced her personality to the world: elegance to stand the test of time, yet modern and progressive enough to catapult the Princely family of Monaco into the next generation.

And for all the sweet tooth’s that are out there, this one’s for you. That is one giant, awesome wedding cake. I now invite you all to put the kids to bed, cut a slice of whatever cake you have in your fridge, pour a glass of chilled champagne (or whatever your poison may be), and share your thoughts below. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

December 26, 2014

Joyeux Noël!

Now that Christmas is behind us, with the pounds of gingerbread and chocolate safely in our bellies, we can all go back to royal watching in full force. Let’s collectively enjoy those post-holiday, sweets-induced comas with our feet up on our sofas and our laptops on our knees, talking about Monaco’s annual Christmas celebration!

The Children’s Christmas Party is a yearly tradition in Monaco, one that was started by the late Princess Grace, and continues to this day with Prince Albert and Princess Charlene as the usual hosts. It takes place at the Prince’s Palace, complete with Santa and LOTS of little kids wearing Santa hats. Customarily there are a slew of events that take place outdoors and indoors – including a trip to visit with the elderly – creating prime opportunities for the press to get coverage and photos. They’ve been enjoying getting shots of the royals for YEARS…

…and we’ve been enjoying it too, ha!

Since Charlene has been rather busy this year from, you know, having just GIVEN BIRTH, she obviously couldn’t partake in any festivities this year. But she has in the past, and so today we will be strolling down memory lane and looking at her previous years as hostess since becoming the Princess of Monaco. Be forewarned, I am not a great ID-er of fashion labels, but I’ll share any info if I happen to know it.

Let’s work our way backwards. 2013: Charlene donned a beautiful bespoke tartan and black velvet dress by 21st Century Kilts (I got that one, hooray!).

Very festive, especially with the snowflakes fluttering around them and the extra yards of skirt that flare with her stride. I personally love tartan, though I think people are divided on this particular ensemble. It is quite heavy on the tartan, which is rather risky with such a bold pattern. I think the fashion world tends to lean toward “less is more” with regards to plaids – just think of Kate, who usually adds tartan in the way of a scarf or in more subdued colors. Charlene has never been one to be afraid of fashion risks, though, and she carries them off with an unmatchable confidence. She can turn anyone into a believer. (How appropriate for Christmas!) I, for one, found good faith on this one.

2012: We saw a fully-black ensemble of leggings, boots, and a turtleneck under a military-style camel coat.

I flip flop on this outfit when I see it from different angles. I do like the coat, the camel color is lovely and the military style is quite fashionable. The black leggings/boots are DYNAMITE and offset the camel in just the right way. And dang, the lady can make anything look amazing. But the coat just looks a bit bulky for my tastes. Just slightly unfitted in the wrong places – does anyone else feel that, or is it just me? And the turtleneck style of the coat doesn’t seem to sit well with the fact that there’s another turtleneck underneath the coat. I feel like two turtlenecks repel one another, like magnets. Not that I dislike turtlenecks or anything (I know some people do!), but they are wild cards for me. And while this ensemble worked, it was a bit too similar to her ensemble from the previous year…

2011: Camel coat, with nude pumps.

This is one of those outfits that I love, but that gave Charlene her stigma for wearing too many nude colors too frequently. I feel like a pop of color would have helped here – perhaps some accessories like a scarf, clutch, or hat – because it just feels monotone, and that feeling made its way to many royal watchers. But I MUCH prefer the neckline of this to the other camel coat, it seems to frame her neck and jawline at just the right angles. That, and the tailoring is impeccable. It certainly has elegant lines, and the nude pumps are quite complementary. She really did look lovely…even if the color is a bit ho-hum to some bystanders. We all have shades that we favor, and I’m sure Charlene isn’t immune to that just because of her status.

Which ensemble was your favorite? For me, the most recent is the winner, probably because it’s just so Christmas-y and surprising. Truth be told, I’m not as captivated by her fashion as by Charlene’s ability to be so interactive and fun with the children. She really seems to enjoy them and partake in the activities completely. Once in awhile it appears that she just forgets about the cameras and, in those moments, her joy with children seems to shine through. How joyful it will be to watch her interact with her own little royals as time goes on!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Year is full of joy, love, and laughter!

December 23, 2014

First Pics of the Twins!!!

Ok, so I can’t actually show these on the website yet, due to copyright issues. Argh! But if you have the power to click on links, I suggest you do so here, RIGHT NOW or ASAP in order to see the first pictures of Charlene’s adorable twins!

How much do I love these photos? They’re so cute! I really like the Christmas theme for the first formal shots of the newborns. I couldn’t help notice the red and white combo that seems to be ever-present in the photos: a subtle (or not so subtle) nod to Monaco’s flag? Perhaps. I guess it helps that those colors coordinate well with Christmas, ha!

The twins will be officially shown to the Monegasque people on January 7, 2015. Now *those* pics we’ll be able to post here, so be on the lookout. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the linked photos!

December 22, 2014

The Princess Bride, Part 2: Haters Gonna Hate (Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate)

Now to talk about the elephant in the room: as much glow as she had on her wedding day, Princess Charlene still gets flack to this day for looking unhappy (and for crying) during the wedding. And the rumors surrounding the wedding kinda put it together (which, if you think about it, would be the job of rumors). Personally, I don’t believe the rumors are true, but it’s worth discussing since the public got so worked up about it.

Just a refresher: the speculation was that Prince Albert had been called out as being the father of an 18 month old baby, just weeks before the wedding, and that Charlene tried to skip town (and the wedding) but was then “persuaded” into going through with it. Now, the guy has a couple kids from previous relationships, but this specific one would indicate that he stepped out on Charlene during their courtship. Let’s face it, that’s not your best antidote for the normal pre-wedding jitters. And the story, topped off with the forced smile that seems to find its way onto the wedding pictures, certainly put all those pieces together nicely for a nice, juicy scandal.

I’ve got to admit, I saw it too. It was a bummer. For me, Charlene didn’t look as much unhappy as exhausted and ready-to-be-done-with-the-whole-thing-already. And I also have to admit that, if you look through my wedding album, you’ll see the exact same face on me: strained. My speculation is that Charlene was probably over the whole thing at this point. After all the planning and trekking and being nervous and pulling a giant train around – sorry, pulling TWO giant trains around – and having her hair pulled in all directions and having it be a hundred degrees outside and, to top it off, having cameras in her face every stinking second, I think she’s probably done at this point and ready to cut the damn cake already. I’m even exhausted just thinking about it. And if it were me, I probably would have cried a lot quicker than she did.

As for the kiss photos, which also look strained: I don’t really put any stock in royal kissing photos, mainly because royalty are not prone to PDA on a normal basis. Suddenly they’re expected to flaunt it to the world, and yes, it ends up looking very awkward. Additionally, if you look at the below photo and remove your eyes from their faces, you’ll see one other piece of body language that’s (to me) more telling: her hands are holding his arms, pulling him in, not pushing him away. I like to nitpick the details!

For me, the bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter whether the rumors are true or not. That’s between them, and they did end up getting married. While she might have looked overwhelmed by it all, there are also plenty of less-publicized photos that seem to show very blissful moments. In the moments where it appears that they have forgotten about the cameras, they seem to have these tête-à-têtes that are pretty darn cute.

As much as we all get kinda bummed when we see a less-than-thrilled bride, you’ve gotta admit that being a bride sucks. It looks like it would be a great gig, but it really sucks: it’s a lot of pressure, most details don’t turn out the way they should have, and nothing is really about the bride and groom. I can only imagine that the feeling is exponentially heavy for a royal bride, especially with icky rumors circulating about the relationship before they had even reached the altar.

What do you think, though? If you were about to get married, and suddenly your whole circle started gossiping about how awful your relationship was – true or not – what would you be feeling? More to the point, what do you think about this particular situation: are the smiles (or lack thereof) making you annoyed as a bystander? Please share your thoughts on the whole thing, I’d love to hear what others think!

Part 3 of the wedding series is coming soon, in which we’ll be delving into the afterparty (and that’s where we’re gonna talk tiaras). Bring a glass of champagne (or a can of beer, I don’t judge) and join us!