30 October 2014

State Visit Jewels: Dutch Visit to Japan

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands are currently in Tokyo on a state visit to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan. On Wednesday, the royal couple were welcomed to the Imperial Palace.

Everybody dressed just about the way you would expect them to: suits on the monarchs, tiny saucer hat and pearls on Michiko, and an orange dress with a turban-y headpiece for Max. She's also wearing diamond pendant earrings with citrine drops, a golden bracelet, and a watch.

Also present at the welcome ceremony: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako! So good to see her looking happy and healthy. She wore pearls, her usual daytime jewels, but she also wore an outfit in orange, the Dutch royal house's signature color -- a really lovely gesture of welcome to the king and queen, who have become good friends of the crown princely family.

At the state banquet on Wednesday night, Queen Maxima debuted a brand-new-to-her tiara: the W├╝rttemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara. It's more than a century old, made of diamonds and pearls, and can be worn with or without a set of upright pearls on the top. (Max is wearing it without the extra pearls.) The tiara is one of Princess Beatrix's signature pieces; it's also the tiara she wore at her wedding. I wondered when we'd see Queen Maxima finally take this one out for a spin, and now we've got our answer. (I was excited to see the tiara -- but disappointed to see that it looked a little bit askew.) She's also wearing pearl drop earrings and part of the large diamond bow brooch from the Stuart parure.

Empress Michiko didn't wear a tiara, but she is wearing an impressive diamond necklace. And, of course, everyone's wearing their chivalric orders. There's a basic rule for order-wearing at a state banquet: you wear the highest order you have from the other country present, and if you don't have an order from that country, you wear the highest order you have from your own country. From left to right, we've got Michiko wearing the Order of the Netherlands Lion; Willem-Alexander wearing the collar of the Order of Chrysanthemum with the sash of the Military William Order; Akihito wearing the Order of the Netherlands Lion (unseen beneath his jacket); and Maxima wearing the Order of the Precious Crown.

And another extremely exciting tiara sighting: Crown Princess Masako at the state banquet, wearing full gala dress and jewels! She wore the tiara she's been seen in most frequently in recent years: a pearl and diamond tiara featuring a modern starburst motif. The tiara is a part of a mirrored set, with a coordinating necklace in the same design. Masako's also wearing the Dutch order she received during this state visit: the Order of the Crown.

The Dutch and the Japanese weren't the only royals at a gala last night -- stay tuned later today for more white-tie glitter!