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Wimbledon Poll Results and a Little Tiara Talk

Hello-Hello, is everyone having a good August? I have been buried with some non-blog-related things and am finally digging out, argh!!

Today we have poll results and a few other quick updates for you. We begin with the August royal recess, when the majority of British Royal Family members enjoy some vacation time. As many are aware, the Queen spends much of the summer at Balmoral, her Scottish estate.

The Queen is usually in residence for August and September. Historically Kate and William have visited in September, bringing Prince George and Princess Charlotte with them. Below, the Duke and Duchess in September 2015 on their way to Sunday services at Crathie Kirk.

With both children now in school, I’m not sure what the Cambridges might do regarding a Balmoral visit this year. Classes for both George and Charlotte begin the week of September 6th, well ahead of the week when the family usually traveled to Scotland. Below, Kate out for a drive with HM in September 2016.

It’s possible the Cambridges might visit earlier than they have in previous years.

For more information about Balmoral, Hello! has a profile piece hereThe Guardian has an article about the estate here; a People story is here.


Also today, an update on the LK Bennett situation. You may remember that the retailer was not accepting orders via its websites for some time. You can now order from the UK site, but that is not the case in the US. The same message remains on the US site saying the company isn’t taking orders online.


I have not received any response to my emails to LK Benett. In calling some of the US stores, I was told they do not know a date when shoppers will be able to order from the US site. They recommend looking for items on the UK site and then contacting a US store to see if the item is in stock. If I learn anything new about the situation, I will post the information here.

UPDATE Monday, August 20: LK Bennett tell me they were doing final checks today on the site and hope to have it back live mid-week.

UPDATE Tuesday, August 21: The website is back up and running

ADDED FRIDAY, AUG 17: On a quasi-related note, House of Fraser has canceled all online orders. This is from the retailer’s Facebook page:House of Fraser carries many brands worn by Kate, including LK Bennett, Hobbs, and Max Mara. The company went into administration (filed bankruptcy in US parlance) last Friday and was then purchased.

From The Financial Times:

House of Fraser’s website remained offline on Friday, a day after the company cancelled all its online orders following delays triggered by a payment dispute with its warehouse operator.

The 169-year-old department store chain was bought by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90m less than two hours after it entered administration.

This is what you see on the company’s homepage. If you stay on the page long enough the graphic below left changes to the one shown below right, with the suggestion that shoppers go to Flannels, another of Mr. Ashley’s companies. Flannels stocks brands like McQ by Alexander McQueen, a selection of Mulberry accessories (but no apparel, shoes or other product groups), a limited range of Ted Baker London.

I know quite a few readers have shopped at HofF over the years. Hopefully, the company will be able to stay in business.


A few months back we had a comment from Christine; she suggested covering some FAQs during this quiet time. Today we’ll just do one, but I plan to answer some of the others in a post next week.

Today’s question: What are the rules about wearing a tiara? (Of course, I picked this first!) Below, Kate wearing the Lover’s Knot tiara on her way to the 2015 diplomatic reception.

I’m limiting our tiara chatter to British royal family traditions, primarily because I am not terribly familiar with the practices and etiquette of other royal families and most assuredly would get things wrong.

There are two specific occasions when we know we will see tiaras; both are white-tie events, a step above black-tie. One is an official state banquet. Below, Kate at the China state dinner in October 2015 wearing the lotus flower tiara.

The other occasion is the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception. Kate was in pale blue Alexander McQueen and the Lover’s Knot Tiara at the 2015 reception.

As far as who “can” or “should” wear a tiara, there was long a “rule,” that only married women should wear them. As noted by the Royal Order of Splendor, that is not the case anymore.

And though people still tend to repeat it, I personally don’t put much stock in the marriage rule these days. Obviously it doesn’t apply to unmarried royal princesses, as they wear tiaras all the time and have for a long time.

A BBC story quotes Grant Harrald, who offers etiquette tips via his “Royal Butler” website.

“The old rule is that hats are never worn indoors after 6pm, because that is when the ladies changed into evening dress, and tiaras and the family jewels would come out.

“Flashy diamonds and tiaras are not worn during the day, and only married ladies wear tiaras.”

Mr Harrold adds: “For married ladies it was a sign of status and would show you were taken and not looking for a husband.

“For the gentleman it was a clear sign not to make advances toward the lady in question.”

The ultimate determining factor is the host or hostess. It is really up to them to set the dress code; they (or their staff) would let guests know well in advance if tiaras will be worn. Below, Kate at the Spain state dinner in July 2017.

There are also practical considerations, like how a tiara is affixed to the head. This is from a Town & Country story:

Having a lot of hair would help, as this will enable both the tiara… to be secured. Although there is a popular misconception that tiaras are heavy. In fact, very few are. However, they are like a stone hat; a bit cumbersome and the veil doubly so.

Below, the Duchess on her way to Buckingham Palace for the 2016 diplomatic reception.

Tatler has a piece with 10 Rules for Wearing a Tiara, and it also includes basic information, like tips for affixing the tiara to one’s head.

Tatler UK

The Order of Splendor post has more information; the full Town & Country piece is here and the BBC story is hereWedding Dash has a post on How to Pull Off a Tiara with Any Kind of Wedding Hair.


Now for our final item, the results of our poll asking for your favorite Wimbledon look worn by the Duchess.

With a total of 4726 votes, the Catherine Walker dress remained firmly at the top of the list. The dress was a bit of a departure for the Duchess, with the wildflower print on the skirt, but it was a pretty change of pace and one that was obviously popular. 

We’ll leave you with links to some light reading, recent stories you may enjoy:

  • The Mirror has a piece covering possible designers for Princess Eugenie’s wedding gown.
  • A story in PR Week features Hello! Magazine’s Emily Nash talking about what it’s like to be a royal correspondent and editor, and working with the Palace public relations team.
  •  Harper’s Bazaar has a photo gallery looking at the 51 best costumes from The Crown.
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Thursday 23rd of August 2018

Thank you for an interesting post. I wonder if there are any photos in existence that show Princesses Beatrice or Eugenie - the only unmarried princesses in the British Royal Family - wearing tiaras. I have never seen any such photos.


Thursday 23rd of August 2018

I don't recall seeing photos of either of the Princesses in a tiara, but I could well be wrong. :)

Andie L

Tuesday 21st of August 2018

Interesting. Thank you for this post!


Saturday 18th of August 2018

Thanks very much for a weekend post with fun speculation on Kate sightings and tiaras. I can see royal watchers will have to keep their eyes peeled in the last few weeks before school starts again. It’s a reminder that Kate will soon be back to full-time and we will find ourselves busy now we have two duchesses in our sights.

And tiaras are always worth reviewing. People love to believe in these old rules of protocol as adding to the mystique of royalty I suppose, but I’m glad we have heads up on the rules now being governed more by event-specific dress code. I’m also intrigued to learn that tiaras aren’t necessarily heavy as I’ve sometimes wondered at all the finery the nonagenarian Queen is obliged to walk out in. Maybe she gets to heft more weight when it comes to wearing a full-on crown. As for leaving hair unwashed for a day, I can’t help thinking there must be some new product out there which would help in the event of hair proving slippery.

I’d forgotten how the Wimbledon poll had shaped up so was surprised to see the winner – a commendable choice for tennis watching, the delicate flower print has proved popular. I was also surprised at this year’s bright yellow D&G sneaking up to second place, the last time I looked I thought it was well down the list. I’m very happy to see a favourite of my own, the magical tiered Temperley. I love it for being such an unusual dress with those skilfully created layers in a pleated fabric, echoing a classic tennis skirt.


Saturday 18th of August 2018

Thanks, Susan for the links and info about Balmoral. It seems that some love it there and some can't wait to leave. Margaret Thatcher was not a fan and neither was Diana. I guess it depends on one's comfort levels with isolation. I think staying at Balmoral would be the ultimate in privacy and getting away from it all. With its vast acreage you could go days without seeing any of the bustle of the outside world. I know I would love it, being in the highlands, surrounded by nature and peace. The events back at the castle, the grand dinners, the afternoon tea, the games, the family times would be great. Seeing the Queen and Prince Philip enjoying BBQs and casual picnics would be a contrast to their usual very formal agendas. Imagine sleeping in a grand bedroom, perhaps with a fireplace, waking up to bagpipes and being impacted by the centuries of history. How special to be wrapped in a warm tartan blanket, while reading on a rainy day. Sign my up, I'm ready to go!


Sunday 19th of August 2018

What a lovely reply. I want to go too!

Betsey NYC

Friday 17th of August 2018

What a fascinating post! Thank you, Susan, for putting so much work into your blog. I love all these extra details and learn so much from all interesting little tidbits.

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