Saturday, July 25, 2009

Picture of the Moment: Chapeau Royale

Picture of the Moment: Chapeau Royale

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Doesn't 'our' Princess Mary look beautiful in this stunning hat?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chanel and The Duke of Westminster

Portrait by Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen

The great designer, Chanel, longed to marry even though she had such a splendid career. She remarked that she did have the chance to marry once and become a duchess as well. She said that she refused the Duke of Westminster, however. "There are many Duchesses of Westminster, but only one Chanel!", she said.

Chanel and the Duke were introduced at a party in Monte Carlo and had a long affair. The ex-soldier was incredibly rich and took Chanel on many holidays on his yacht. He also showered her with jewelry. According to one legend, he hid a beautiful uncut emerald at the bottom of a crate of vegetables for his glamorous girlfriend. He must have been surprised at one stage, however, when he arrived at the designer's door with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the attendant didn't recognise him and tried to give the 'delivery boy' a tip!

You can see some gorgeous stills of the film, Coco Avant Chanel, at: Chanel Photos at Filmofilia

Friday, July 3, 2009

Caroline Bauer: The Prisoner of Regent Street (1807 - 1878)

Caroline was astonished when Prince Leopold suggested that he take her back to London so that she could share his 'golden solitude'. He had only set eyes on her once! He was not bad-looking and he was royal so she considered the offer seriously. She was a little tired of the stage and she might enjoy being feted by a Prince.

Beautiful Caroline reminded the Prince of his beloved wife, Charlotte, who died in child-birth. He didn't treat her as well as Charlotte, however. Caroline was used to being given jewels and flowers by her many admirers, and praised for her acting. Leopold kept her a virtual prisoner and hardly spent any money on her at all! He was also 'cold, pedantic and petulant'.

Leopold was unwilling to marry her because he'd been offered the Greek throne and he probably didn't want Caroline to be his Queen. She complained to her cousin, Baron Stockmar, who was Leopold's advisor, about his bad treatment of her. They had a civil wedding which she describes as 'drearily desolate', although her mother was pleased and 'pressed her to her heart amid tears of joy.'

When her brother, a German army officer, wanted the loan of a fair amount of money, neither Leopold nor Stockmar would agree to it. She hurled reproaches at them and left them. She never spoke to either of them again.

Caroline eventually married a Polish count, Wladyslaw Plater. She died tragically from an overdose of sleeping pills. Legend has it that her memoirs were found by her side.
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