30 June 2014

The Top Ten: Jewels for a New Princess

After the royal engagement ring is slipped on the finger of a princess-to-be, as it was for Sofia Hellqvist last week in Stockholm, all sorts of preparations begin for her new royal role. Bridal gowns and wedding details are high on the list, but a future princess also must begin thinking about building up a proper collection of jewelry for the state visits, charity functions, national days, and other events she will be attending once she becomes an HRH.

For all of you soon-to-be princesses -- that's you, Lili Rosboch von Wolkenstein and Sofia Hellqvist -- and those who have recently joined the ranks -- that'd be you, Claire of Luxembourg -- I'm listing the top ten pieces of jewelry that I think any new princess (or just a regular gal who is a princess of her own life) should consider adding to her jewelry box. Feel free to offer additional suggestions in the comments below!

Prince Albert II of Monaco places a wedding ring on Charlene Wittstock's finger


You've already shown off your engagement ring to your friends, family, and the media, but this is the ring that really symbolizes your new royal status. If you're marrying into the British royal family, you may get a ring specially made for you from rare Welsh gold. Not all royal wedding rings are gold, though; Princess Charlene of Monaco received a platinum Cartier band from her prince.

Kate Middleton wearing the Queen Mum's Cartier tiara on her wedding day


Your engagement and wedding rings are yours to keep, but where your bridal tiara is concerned, borrowing from the in-laws is your best bet. Not only will you avoid having to purchase (or request) a new piece from a jeweler, you'll also be able to remind the world once more that you are now a part of a family with a rich history and a richer jewelry vault. And even better, because so many royal tiaras are laden with historical significance, you can choose a tiara that shows which royals you'd like to pattern yourself with.

It's no accident that the Duchess of Cambridge wore a tiara that originally belonged to the ultimate supportive royal consort, the Queen Mother. (Not a princess, but still want a bridal tiara that looks better than the ones worn by high school prom queens? Track down a jeweler who will rent you a tiara, which will let you wear a more expensive-looking piece without having to splash out the money to purchase one.)

Queen Letizia of Spain wears her diamond wedding earrings


One of the most serviceable items in a princess's jewelry box is a good pair of diamond earrings. To make them as useful as possible, it's best to get a pair that are more elaborate than simple studs but less fussy than a complicated chandelier earring. A simple pair with a small pendant drop is ideal. The diamond earrings that Queen Letizia of Spain wore on her wedding day -- and that she's been able to wear at both day and night occasions in the decade since -- are an excellent example.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Sun Military Awards


Not every evening event that you will attend will require tiaras. Often some of the first major galas and concerts that you attend will be black-tie affairs, where jewels are appropriate, but not the kind you'd pile on for a state visit. Here you'll be served well by a demi-parure of matched jewels: a set that includes pieces like a necklace, bracelet, and earrings, but that generally lacks a tiara. The Duchess of Cambridge wore such a set by Mouawad that included a necklace, bracelet, and earrings to a military award ceremony shortly after her wedding.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wears the Midnight Tiara, an exclusive loan


Once your royal honeymoon is over, you'll be expected to start attending some of the biggest royal events on the calendar, including state visits. These visits nearly always include a white-tie banquet -- a dress code which requires tiaras for the ladies. To avoid always having to ask your in-laws for the code to the safe, it's good to have another tiara in your arsenal. (If you're not going to be a queen consort one day, it's useful to have one of your own anyway!) Tiaras are expensive, but the Danish princesses have found an ideal solution to the problem of getting a new one: they've each been given the exclusive right to wear a new, modern tiara made by a Danish jeweler. No cost for the princesses; great press for the jeweler. Win, win!

Queen Letizia wears a diamond brooch on the sash of her order


While sometimes brooches can read matronly, you'll be awfully glad that you have a nice diamond one when it's time to fasten the sash of your first chivalric order to your gown for a state banquet. Queen Letizia of Spain sometimes secures her sashes with an Ansorena diamond brooch in the shape of a fleur-de-lys (the symbol of the ruling house of Spain, the Borbons). Bonus: you can also use your brooch to add a bit of sparkle to your tailored daytime clothes for events like visits to Parliament or church services.

Queen Maxima's family bracelets


You may be a public figure now that you're a member of a royal family, but the "family" part is as important as the "royal" bit. The public loves to be reminded that you care for your spouse and your children, and it's helpful to remind them by wearing a token, like a bracelet, that represents your loved ones. (Bonus: it also helps you to remember that you're not just a princess, but also a daughter, wife, and mother, too.) Both Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Queen Letizia of Spain have bracelets that feature the names/initials of their children.

The Duchess of Cambridge's Cartier watch


Add a bit of extra glitter to your daywear -- and remind everyone that you're a working royal who is committed to spending her time economically in service of her country's interests -- by sporting an elegant wristwatch. You're a royal now -- you can't check the time on your phone anymore. (The second you pull out your phone, it will be all the Daily Mail will gripe about for a week.) The Duchess of Cambridge's watch of choice is a Ballon Bleu de Cartier.

Crown Princess Mary wears her pearls


A good set of elegant, simple pearls will be one of the workhorses of your royal jewel collection: it will take you from elegant daytime events to military observances, from daytime weddings to state funerals. Choose a set that includes a necklace (either single or multi-stranded), earrings, and a bracelet. Classic off-white is the way to go with your first set of real pearls -- save the colorful versions for later.

The Duchess of Cambridge wears a Zara necklace


Yes, you're a princess now, and you've got access to diamonds that most of us could only ever dream of. But with the world following and copying your every outfit, it's good to give them an accessible, down-to-earth jewel moment, too. The Duchess of Cambridge borrows priceless jewels from her grandmother-in-law's collection, but she's also stepped out on a red carpet wearing a necklace from Zara that almost all of us could afford. You'll get to sparkle and you'll get good press. What more could a princess want?

Those are my ten essential pieces for a new princess! What would you add to the collection?