Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Queen’s Fashion

Have you ever wondered how the Queen always looks so elegant and majestic?  This beautiful book "Dressing the Queen" tells the story of the Queen's royal wardrobe.  The author is Angela Kelly, Personal Assistant, Advisor, and Curator to the Queen.


Angela Kelly is often described as the "Queen's Gatekeeper." The daughter of a Liverpool dockworker, she served in the Army before joining the royal household as a maid.  Divorced and twenty-five years younger than the Queen, she has become a confidante to the Queen.  She has been the Queen's personal assistant since 2002 and is one of the few people who can lay hands on the Queen.  As for handling the Queen's wardrobe, she has a meticulous eye for detail and understands the Queen needs to wear something that sets her apart from the crowd.  She plans the Queen's official and private wardrobes and is the curator of Her Majesty's personal jewelry collection. 


The Queen's wardrobe is planned months in advance.  Wardrobe diaries are kept with the details of the outfit and events at which it was worn and it takes a Logistics Team (handled like a military operation) to handle the packing and transportation of her luggage when traveling

Stewart Parvin is the Queen's royal dress designer and has worked with her since 2000.  He choses fabrics that do not crease and are fully lined so that they don't. Day dresses are designed to stop just below the knee.  Cocktail dresses are just below the knee or ballerina length.  On the day of an event, the outfit will be laid out with a handbag, gloves, shoes, and a hat.  A matching headscarf will also be added, just in case the hat gets wet in the rain. 

The Queen favors dresses/suits over skirts and blouses.  She can't be bothered adjusting a blouse that may have come untucked when exiting a car.  Her trademark is monochromatic color with matching coat and hat and her signature style of suits/dresses (with weighted hemlines) has withstood the test of time.


When the Queen steps out in public, she's usually wearing a hat designed by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.  Ms Morgan has been the Queen's milliner since 2006.  The crown of her hat can be higher and sharply angled so that everyone can easily see Her Majesty but not so high as to cause a problem getting in and out of the car.  Of course, no hats after 6pm...but a headpiece or a tiara is de rigueur at a state event.
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The Queen has an umbrella to match every single one of her outfits...transparent (so everyone can still see her) with a colored handle and edged trim coordinated to match the color of her outfit.   Of course, now I need umbrellas to coordinate with my outfits!


The Queen's handbag of choice?  A Launer Bag. She owns more than 200 of them!  As one would expect, her bags are bespoke with a longer handle and black appears to be her go-to color.  Rumor is that she uses her handbag to signal her staff when they need to intervene on her behalf.  Her Ladies-in-Waiting carry her necessities such as extra stockings, medicine, band-aids, etc.  The Queen carries lipstick, a mirror, reading glasses, and mints.  She only carries cash on Sundays...to place in the collection plate on Sunday.

Gloves are a staple of the Queen's iconic style.  Forget everything I have ever told you about glove etiquette.  The Queen ALWAYS wears gloves.  You cannot wear them all the time.  She can.  She is the Queen of England. 

Since 1947 Genevieve Lawson's family, Cornelia James has been the Queen's official glove maker.  She first wore their gloves on her wedding day in 1947.  Since the Queen shakes approximately 45,000 hands per year, hand gloves are needed to protect her hands from dirt and damage while shaking hands all day.  She loves the classic-style gloves, wears only black or white, cotton and nylon, and they must be washable. 

Also forget everything you have heard about handshaking etiquette.  When greeting the Queen, the rules are different.  You never extend your hand to the Queen.  When she extends her hand, a simple touch is all that is done...no shaking, squeezing, or patting with the other hand.  FYI, Just in case you ever meet the Queen.

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The Queen's swoon-worthy collection of brooches is every girls dream!  She has taken the old-fashioned brooch and made it a must-have accessory. You can view tons of them on Pinterest, all stunningly beautiful and truly made for a Queen.  My favorite?  The Flower Basket (shown in the photo below).  I think it is exquisite and oh-so prissy!   And...I adore this photo of the Queen.  It reminds me of my mama...the hairstyle and the outfit. Not to mention the lovely three-strand pearls!  


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What shoes does the Queen wear?  She has worn the same Anello and Davide pumps for over 50 years.  The Queen spends all day on her feet and can't exactly walk around complaining that "her shoes are killing her feet," now can she?  What is one to do?  Well, she has a servant to "wear in" her shoes!  Yes ma'am!  You KNOW that is NOT a rumor.  Oh, to be the Queen.

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The Queen is a wonderful example of aging gracefully.  You can see from her photos through the years that she did not color her hair.  "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is attained along the path of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31

Bright colors, soft makeup, being well-groomed, and apparently an excellent skincare routine have kept her youthful for her age.  God Save the Queen!

Thank you for visiting with me today.  Tomorrow I will share an afternoon tea setting to celebrate National Afternoon Tea week in the U.K.



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Queen's Ladies-in-Waiting


The Lady-in-Waiting role dates back centuries and every Queen or Princess in a royal family has had one.  Diana, Princess of Wales had eight.  Anne, Princess Royal, has eleven. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has three.  Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has one. With a busy schedule and a strict daily routine, Queen Elizabeth II needs all the help she can get and she has nine Ladies-in-Waiting! 

The Queen's Senior Lady-in Waiting and Mistress of the Robes, Fortune Fitzroy, is only needed for ceremonial occasions.  The other eight are in regular attendance.  The Mistress of the Robes is a lot like a personal stylist.  She is responsible for the Queen's wardrobe and jewelry.  She is also in charge of the other Ladies-in-Waiting and their schedules and duties.  The Woman of the Bedchamber is the Queen's right-hand woman.  She has the most up-close and personal responsibilities.  It is her job to help the Queen dress and undress, as well as to help her take a bath.
 
The Ladies-in-Waiting are considered the Queen's best friends (Her Majesty's A-Team) and help their mistress collect flowers at events, attend to private and personal matters, run all her errands, and handle general correspondence.  Not all of the ladies are of noble birth but are all well-off financially and have shared interests, inbred caution, and are etiquette savvy.  They are unpaid but do receive room and board in the royal London residence as well as a clothing and travel allowance.  They are friends for life with the Queen and they NEVER retire.

Meet some of the ladies:
Diana Baroness Farnham, Lady of the Bedchamber
The Hon. Mary Anne Morrison, Woman of the Bedchamber

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Lady Susan Hussey, Woman of the Bedchamber
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Fortune Fitzroy, Mistress of the Robes, Dowager Duchess of Crafton, Sr. Lady-in-Waiting
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Virginia Fortune Ryan Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, Lady of the Bedchamber since 1973

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The Hon. Annabel Whitehead, Lady-in-Waiting


There are three other Ladies-in-Waiting to the Queen:  Philippa de Pass, Jennifer Gibbs, and Richenda Elton. (They are internet-shy).

If you wondering about Kate Middleton...she has only one Lady-in-Waiting (aka her Right-Hand Woman/Personal Assistant/Modern-Day Lady-in-Waiting), Catherine Quinn. 

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I truly missed my calling!  Lady-in-Waiting (well, old-school style) sounds exciting to me!  This new modern-day assistant thing, notsomuch.

Thank you for visiting with me today.  I will be back tomorrow to talk about the Queen's fashion.



Monday, August 13, 2018

The Queen


I bought this pretty book because I thought the cover was beautiful and it would be a nice coffee table book.  It is not a biography of the Queen, but is about her life and reign.  This book is full of gorgeous photos of the Queen and her family and it also includes several side stories of people who serve the Queen.

I have been planning for some time to write about the Queen and her lifestyle.  Due to her recent public appearance cancellations, for the first time EVER, the Queen's funeral and mourning plans have been rehearsed by ministers.  Ugh!  I can't deal with that news.  I will go into this subject in another post, but for now I feel it's time to show my admiration of her style.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London, April 21, 1926, to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth was married to Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947.


The official wedding family portrait, November 20, 1947.


After her father ascended to the throne in 1936 on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII, she became the heir presumptive.  Upon her father's death in 1952, she became queen regnant and was coronated as the Queen (after a mourning period) on June 2, 1953.  Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for 65 years, longer than any British monarch in history
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Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburg with Prince Charles, Prince Andrew,  Anne--Princess Royal, and Prince Edward.


I love this photo of Queen Elizabeth...so regal and elegant!
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These are a few notable facts about the Queen:
~Her nickname is "Lilibet" which was given to her by her late sister Margaret when they were little girls--because Margaret constantly mispronounced her big sister's name.
~Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Elizabeth are third cousins, sharing the same great-great grandparents--Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
~The Queen can travel anywhere she wants--no passport needed; nor does she need a driver's license.
~Her love of corgis is well known and she has owned more than 30 of them during her reign.  She stopped breeding them in 2015 because she didn't want to leave any behind after she died. (sniff sniff)
~Her last Corgi, Willow, died this past April. (sniff sniff, again)  She still has 2 dogs, Vulcan and Candy, which are her "Dorgis"--Dachshund and Corgi cross breeds.

Everyone wants to know what the Queen eats and drinks.  Well, according to reports, she loves Special K cereal with fruit (strawberries or peaches) in the morning, along with an Earl Grey tea.  She sometimes has toast and marmalade or scrambled eggs.

For lunch, she prefers fish with vegetables. 

Afternoon tea is at 5:00 p.m. sharp!  Her tea sandwiches are cut into squares, with the corners cut off--similar to an octagon-like shape; of course, the bread crusts are cut off.

For dinner, she likes lamb, roast beef, or salmon.  Anything chocolate is her favorite dessert.

Cocktails? Well, Queen Elizabeth loves her cocktails!  A glass of wine at lunch, a dry martini with dinner, champagne with dessert at dinner, and a Gin and Dubonnet nightcap.  Whew!  Being a Queen is not easy!

What does she NOT like?  Garlic, onions, out-of-season fruit, white eggs (she only eats brown eggs), rare meat (her meat must be well done), rice, potatoes, and pasta.  Of course, I'm sure the Queen practices proper dining etiquette when she is at an event outside of her home and eats whatever she is served, without complaints.

Thank you for visiting me today.  Tomorrow I will be talking about the Queen's Ladies-in-Waiting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Magnolia and Ivy


Does anyone recognize these two ladies?  Well, the lady on the left is Terri Eager and her sister Kay Snipes is on the right.  They owned the South's most fabulous tearooms--my favorite one being Magnolia and Ivy Tearoom, in Destin, Florida...back in the 90's.  Both ladies are fellow Tea and Etiquette and Children's Etiquette Consultants from the Protocol School of Washington.  I remember having tea at Magnolia and Ivy several times back in the day and it was THE place for Southern ladies to enjoy a proper tea!  After a hiatus from tearoom operations, they are back as the owners of Kingdom Teas.  At Kingdom Teas, they offer a luxury line of specialty loose-leaf teas, some teapots, and their cookbook.

I have the cookbook from their tearoom and love the recipes for "Southern Teatime Made Easy."


I decided to prepare their recipe for *Strawberry Butter and it was the perfect topping to my crumpets yesterday morning.  Crumpets are the perfect bread for breakfast.  They should be toasted on both sides, the smooth side first, the holey side last.



The recipe made enough to store some in the frig for later. Probably not a good idea for me!



Remember to use the spreader to transfer the butter from the butter dome to your plate.  Then use the spreader at your setting to add the butter to your crumpet.  I had to control myself with just ONE crumpet!  I purchase the multi-pack crumpets and freeze them individually in zip lock bags.  After thawing out and toasting, they are still fresh!




*Recipe for Strawberry Butter

1 lb. softened butter
1/3 cup strawberry jam or fresh ripe strawberries
1 cup powdered sugar

Whip butter, berries, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Store in frig until ready to serve.  (I let the butter soften a bit before serving).

Come, let us have tea and talk about happy things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remembering Jane Austen

Jane Austen, born Dec. 16, 1775, died July 18, 1817


I love all things Jane Austen and today I remembering her with a Breakfast Tea, from the book Tea with Jane Austen.  This book shares the secret of one of her favorite rituals--teatime. Each chapter includes a ritual of how tea was taken at a particular time of day, along with the history, recipes, and excerpts from Austen's novels. 

Jane Austen novels pair well with tea and tea is frequently mentioned in her work.  Jane was the keeper and maker of tea in her family and was in charge of making her family's breakfast at 9 am every morning.

This book begins with tea drinking in the morning and ends with tea in the evening--at balls and other gatherings.


This morning we are enjoying a "Grand Breakfast with the Austens at Stoneleigh Abbey."

Menu
Pound Cake
Toast
Butter
Raspberry Jam
Orange Juice
Tea




I think Jane Austen would have loved setting her table with blue and white china.


Jane loved Twinings tea and this morning we had their English Breakfast Tea...a great tea to start the day!  Twining's founder Thomas Twining opened Britain's first known tearoom in 1706 at 216 Strand, London, where it still operates today.  The business started as Tom's Coffee House, where men (not women) would gather to drink, gossip, and do business.  Thomas Twining decided to turn his love of tea into a business going against the existing coffee trend.  He came up against great opposition in the way of ridiculous taxes, thus being a beverage only the upper class could afford.  His passion and dedication would turn a little-known drink into the nations "cure all" beverage of all time. 


The loose tea is steeped in the teapot and then poured through the tea strainer, which is then placed on top of the tiny silver strainer base.  Milk and sugar may be added to a black tea. 
 
 
 
"But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea."
~Jane Austen
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Prince Louis’ Christening Photos

The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in line to the throne of England—all five of the Cambridges together for the first time!

Kate greets the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Baby Louis in her arms.

She arrived looking very princess-like, wearing a bespoke ivory dress by Alexander McQueen and a lovely headband by Jane Taylor.