mercoledì 31 agosto 2016

Royal Visits to Canada in History - Part I

With the buzz around the upcoming royal visit to Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge later this month mounting by the day, I thought we could take a look back at past royal tours to Canada - and of course, in the spirit of this blog, to get some style inspiration with all the fab tour looks! Disclaimer: given the very strong ties between Canada and the British monarchy, the following has no pretence at being an exhaustive recap.

Did you know the first member of the British royal family to embark on a tour of Canada was Prince William, later King William IV (Queen Victoria's uncle), way back in 1786-87? I didn't. Royal tours are always taxing for those involved, but going on such a long and remote journey in the late 1700s must have been a veritable adventure!

More than 70 years later, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, made a lenghty visit to the country in 1860, touching Nova Scotia, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and many other cities along the way (he is pictured below at Point View, Niagara Falls - the one with the light-coloured waistcoat):

In 1878, Queen Victoria's son-in-law, the Marquess of Lorne, was appointed Governor General of Canada, and he and his wife Princess Louise moved to Canada, where they resided until 1883, travelling extensively around the country. However, Princess Louise (pictured below a year after her arrival in Canada) was unhappy there, as apparently she suffered from homesickness and disliked Ottawa. Lake Louise in Alberta is named after her.

George V visited Canada three times before his accession, the first one in 1882 and later in 1901, this time with his wife, and finally in 1908 for the tercentenary of Quebec City.

Another son of Queen Victoria, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, served as Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. Prince Albert, later King George VI, who was embarked on the training ship HMS Cumberland in 1913, came ashore to visit his great-uncle and his family when the ship was travelling along the east coast of Canada.

The Connaughts' daughter, Princess Patricia, putting Rideau Hall's ice rink 
to good use with a friend in 1914.

On 17 May 1939, George VI, who had assumed the separete title of King of Canada at his coronation two years earlier, accompanied by his royal consort Queen Elizabeth stepped off the Canadian Pacific liner RMS Empress of Australia in Quebec City at the start of a three-week tour of all provinces, the first reigning monarch to set foot on Canadian soil.

At the Canadian Senate in Ottawa.

The royal couple travelled east-west by rail from Quebec City to Vancouver, visiting most of the major cities along the way.

Greeting Canadians from the back of the royal train.

It was for this visit that the King commissioned Asprey with a maple leaf diamond and platinum brooch which he presented to his wife (more on the brooch in my previous post here):

In 1985, during another visit to Canada, the Queen Mother recalled her first tour more than 40 years earlier: "It is now some 46 years since I first came to this country with the King, in those anxious days shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. I shall always look back upon that visit with feelings of affection and happiness. I think I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians, and my feelings have not changed with the passage of time".

After the war, Princess Elizabeth first visited Canada in 1951 with the Duke of Edinburgh. She attended her first hockey game at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and partook in a square dance at Rideau Hall:

Meeting indigenous people in Brantford, Ontario.

Some of the tour outfits (you'll notice the Nizam of Hyderabad tiara which had yet to be dismantled and the Maple Leaf brooch on loan from the Queen):

The couple appeared on Canadian postage stamps:

At her coronation in 1953, the Queen wore a gown by Norman Hartnell embroidered, among other Commonwealth floral emblems, with the Canadian maple leaf in green silk and gold bullion thread veined with glass beads:

When the Queen travelled to Canada in 1957, her first visit after her accession, she took the coronation gown with her and rewore it at the Opening of Parliament in Ottawa on 14 October:

Later that same day, at a reception at Rideau Hall, the Queen wore another stunning Hartnell creation, the so-called Maple Leaf of Canada dress, featuring a garland of green velvet maple leaves and white roses. Each green velvet leaf was appliqued with clear and emerald-coloured glass beads:

Princess Margaret travelled to Canada in late 1958, to celebrate the centennial of British Columbia's entry into the Confederation. Below she is seen arriving at an official function wearing the Papyrus tiara and a maple leaf pin:

Two years later, in 1959, the Queen and the Duke returned for a tour of every province and territory of the country and to open the new St Lawrence Seaway. This tour also gave us one of my all-time favourite gowns of the Queen's, and another great sartorial tribute to the host country, this creation by Hardy Amies in grey silk organza, embroidered throughout with pink silk, spangles and bugle beads in a mayflower motif, the provincial flower of Nova Scotia:

The Queen wore the dress to a gala dinner in Nova Scotia:

A commemorative cup and saucer produced in honour of the royal tour:

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh returned in 1967, to help celebrate the Candian Centennial. For the official celebrations, the Queen wore another maple leaf gown by Norman Hartnell, this time in white and blue silk crepe, featuring an inverted V-shaped band of embroidery in a design of maple leaves and berries:

The Prince of Wales and Princess Anne first travelled to Canada with their parents in 1970, for the centennial of the Northwest Territories. The Royals sported traditional attire:


The Queen examined some Eskimo harpoons with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau:

Mother and daughter dressed for a formal dinner in furs and embroidered buckskins...Oh, and diamonds! Princess Anne is wearing the Greek Key tiara, while the Queen is sporting a diamond and aquamarine tiara now on loan to the Countess of Wessex:

Princess Anne returned to Canada in 1974 with her husband Mark Phillips, and she really pulled out all the stops in terms of jewellery!

The family was out in force again in 1976, when Princess Anne participated in the XXI Summer Olympics in Montreal as a member of the British Equestrian Team, and her husband, parents and all her brothers accompanied her:

Princess Anne and her husband giving an interview at the Olympics:

The Queen officially opened the Games at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on 17 July 1976:

For the evening reception, Hartnell had designed a gown in turquoise silk crepe, embroidered with stylised rings, inspired by the official Olympic symbol of silver and iridescent sequins silver beads and turquoise-coloured pearls;

There was, of course, time to watch Princess Anne competing (Prince Edward here reminds me so much of his daughter Lady Louise!):

The Queen returned in the year of her Silver Jubilee, 1977, then again the following year, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Princes Andrew and Edward, to open the XI Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. To mark her Silver Jubilee, an equestrian statue of the Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill:

She is shown below attending a banquet during the 1978 visit, with the badge of the Order of Canada on her dress. She had instituted the Order on Canada Day 1967, to honour her Canadian subjects with a Canadian order, instead of a British one. The badge consists of a six-pointed white design modelled on a snowflake, In the centre is a maple leaf:

We'll be back very soon with more Canada tour coverage from the 1980s onwards!

venerdì 19 agosto 2016

The Duchess Dictionary: Jigsaw

Catherine worked for Jigsaw as an assistant accessories buyer for about a year, between 2006 and 2007.

Based on Mortlake Rd, in Kew, south-west London, the company was started in 1972 by John Robinson and Malcolm Webster, and is now owned by Robinson Webster (Holdings) Ltd.
The company aims "to sell stylish clothes in inspiring surroundings, at affordable prices", true to their motto that "fashion is temporary but style is permanent".

In December 2006, when Catherine was 24 years old and had been dating Prince William for around three years, a spokeswoman for Jigsaw said: "We can confirm that Kate joined our staff two or three weeks ago as an accessory buyer for Jigsaw and Jigsaw Junior. We can't comment any further."
One of the company's owners, John Robinson, and his wife Belle are close family friends of the Middletons. The role of assistant accessories buyer was therefore tailored to Catherine's needs, in order to accomodate her growing royal commitments.

At the time, Catherine was often photographed wearing Jigsaw pieces, like this pretty Pansy Floral silk dress, which came with a £169 price tag and, in an early example of the "Kate effect", immediately became rather popular with shoppers:

While working for Jigsaw, Catherine collaborated with British brand Claudia Bradby Jewellery, which designs contemporary pearl jewellery for everyday wear, combining the finest cultured pearls, semi-precious stones and sterling silver to create beautiful, timeless pieces.
At the time Bradby told the Evening Standard that she'd written to Catherine to congratulate her on the new appointment with Jigsaw, and then later Catherine got in touch to discuss creating a small pendant together.

We're talking about the "Kate" rose quartz and silver necklace, which is still available to buy at £72/$105/€93:

 The necklace was reissued after the royal engagement announcement (above, the Evening Standard report). Also, notice the inflation, as back in 2010 the necklace was just £42!

The piece was originally part of the brand's Junior range, aimed at girls aged 6-18 and was reissued as part of the main brand's "Heritage" collection in time for the Royal Wedding.
A matching pair of earrings is now available as well.
From the description on the Claudia Bradby website: "designed in collaboration with Kate Middleton, this delicate silver pendant framed with rose quartz and pearl charms is fittingly feminine. Layer with the Camellia necklace for a full effect.
The pink pearl is traditionally a symbol of love and today rose quartz is known as 'the stone of gentle love'".

Another Claudia Bradby piece with an obvious connection to Catherine is the "Camellia" rose quartz and amazonite necklace, which retails at £225/$326/€288. Rose quartz and amazonite are both associated with love and said to balance the emotions and promote calm.

Catherine was photographed wearing the "Camellia" necklace at Celtenham racecourse in April 2007 just before her brief split with Prince William (below left) and in December that year at an airport stopover (below right):


On a side note, it was Claudia's husband Tom Bradby, a long-standing acquaintance of Prince William, who carried out the first official joint interview of the couple after the engagement was announced on 10 November 2010:

Both Tom and Claudia Bradby were guests at the Royal Wedding:

Catherine quit the job at Jigsaw in November 2007, fuelling rumors of an imminent royal engagement, after the couple had briefly split in April that year. It was reported at the time that she gave up the role as she wanted "time to herself", with some speculating she might build on her passion for photography and go on to open a gallery. As it turned out, this project never materialized and it was in fact another three years before the engagement was announced.