It all started back in 1983. I was a HUGE Princess Diana fan (blame it on her fairy tale wedding. Mock her wedding dress if you will, but I thought at the time it was the most fabulous frothy, voluminous, exquisite, delectable dress I had ever seen...still do!) and had several overflowing scrapbooks dedicated to her and Prince William. I would go to the store with my parents for groceries and beg them to purchase People, The National Enquirer, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping...any magazine that had images and stories of My Lady. I was so enamored with the lovely Princess in England. Then one day while leafing through a magazine that highlighted the Royal couple's North American tour (for the thousandth time), my eyes fastened on Princess Diana in a gorgeous ivory dress. It was the thing of my dreams. Long skirt, billowy sleeves, luscious material, very Victorian Era looking, tiara and what was that on her left shoulder? I looked closer. Oh my word! That is a ribbon with a miniature painting of Queen Elizabeth surrounded by diamonds!! I needed one. And now! As I continued to look through the pages of the magazine (it was probably LIFE or People) I noticed that the fair Princess wore this lovely ribbon brooch a total of 5 times! Good gravy. I was instantly in love. It wasn't until muuuuuch later that I came to realize what this item of jewelry was. A Royal Family Order.
Here are some really wonderful blogs and websites that explain what the Royal Family Order is.
|Princess Diana in 1983 on her North American Tour. I fell in love with this dress and Queen Elizabeth's Family Order.|
|Another image of the lovely dress, tiara, family order and beautiful Princess Diana...the above two images are from a magazine long forgotten. I cut out pictures from magazines and pasted them in my scrapbooks....|
|Queen Elizabeth II Royal Family Order. Source Wikipedia|
|Past Royal Family Orders from the British Royal Family with the lovely backs of the pins...the whole set up is gorgeous!|
Source: Medals of the World
After drooling on my beloved scrapbook picture for a week, I decided I needed my own Royal Family Order. I wasn't born a Princess of Britain, but I was a Princess to my Daddy, so why not have my own beautiful ribbon? I raided my Mom's fabric, button and bead stash and labored for half an afternoon and came up with this beauty! I was so proud of my self! Happily, I am not a thrower-away of things from my past and found that I still was in posession of my ribbon. It was in the shed in a box labeled "Gina's Childhood" in my jewelry box that I got from my parents! How totally fun!!
|My 30 year old "Walters Family Order" ribbon.|
Royal watching has led to noticing other fun ribbons that Royal ladies wear. Queen Victoria had a Royal Family order made that consisted of a cameo of herself Prince Albert that she gave to her daughters and grandaughters, and female courtiers.
|Queen Alexandra's Badge of the Order Victoria and Albert first class|
Source: Royal Collection
|Princess Victoria of The United Kingdom. Daughter of King Edward and Queen Alexandra. Here she is seen to be wearing the Badge of the Order Victoria and Albert.|
|Victoria, Princess Royal. Victoria was the oldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She is seen here wearing the Badge of the Order of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.|
Another fun badge/ribbon that was worn by royals was an insignia for the Maid of Honor of the Empress of Russia. From the little research I have done, a Maid of Honor of the Empress of Russia was an unmarried lady of nobility. She attended the Empress at court. All females of the royal family had ladies in waiting, but not as many as the Empress herself. I will continue to look for more images of ladies in waiting wearing beautiful insignia ribbons! You can read more on what others have found concerning these lovely ribbons here...Alexander Palace
|An insignia for Maid of Honor of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia.|
Source: Only Auctions.com
|Princess Tatiana Alexandrovna Yusupova, 1858 wearing a ribbon from Empress Maria.|
|Another lovely painting of Princess Tatiana Alexandrovna Yusupova, this one from 1875|
Source: Alexander Palace Forum
Why have I now decided to dedicate my spare time to obsessing over these mesmerizing ribbons with bejewelled lovelies? Well, this year I plan on making a court dress and because I am a Empress in my pretend life, I need the accessories to go along with my court dress. I have started playing around with creating a "Gina-ed" version of these three beautiful jewels and I want to share them with you. I have completed only one as the ribbons and letter pin haven't come to me yet (they are coming by way of Texas and haven't gotten there yet...) but I wanted to share the beginnings with you just in case the Royal Family Order bug bites you as well and I am not sure how long some of the findings I found will be in stores...so here we go.
For my Royal Family Order, I wanted an image of my husband Greg in a Czar's military uniform. A super cool costuming friend volunteered her husband to help me out with this. His name is Rob Coccagna and he took a picture of Greg and using photo editing made my fabulous husband into a Russian Czar! If any of you are interested in having Rob do this for you, message me and I will put you in contact with him!! Seriously, he does beyond fabulous work!!! I so badly wanted to follow the steps so wonderfully described by American Duchess for making
but I could not find any crystal framed cabochon settings ANYWHERE!!! Believe me I looked...spent literally hours looking. Then one day while at JoAnn's, I was looking at the button wall and found a wonderful round crystal framed circle. It was a weird thing to see as it didn't have loops or a pin or anything on it. It was just a circle with crystals surrounding it. I had a 50% off coupon with me so the idea formed in my head to see if it would bend and squish into an oval and if I broke it, because of my coupon, it wouldn't be that horrible a mistake. So squish I did. And it squished!! Into a most fabulous oval! It took me about 30 minutes of careful squishing to get it into the shape I wanted, but I was so ecstatic that it was working I almost hyperventilated!! Then, in a "bridal" part of the button wall, I found a set of crystal buckles that would be perfect for the "hanging" part of the Family Order.
I had my mom print out several images of Czar Greg and took them home to experiment with. I purchased epoxy overlay to see if it would work as a protection for the picture as the real Family Orders are painted miniatures and I wanted to get the feeling of that. I couldn't find any domed cabochon covers that would fit in my DIY crystal frame, so I had to come up with something. The epoxy ran the ink that was used to make the picture, so the bright idea hit me. Use clear glossy spray paint from the garage!! It worked like a charm! All I need to complete the Czar Greg Royal Family Order is my green on green moire ribbon found here.
|Czar Gregory the Great Royal Family Order medallion. Awesome rendering done by Rob Coccagna!!|
|Fabulous crystal buckle I found at JoAnn's.|
|Circle thingy from JoAnn's that was squished into an oval frame.|
|I laid the oval over one of the images of Czar Greg, traced and cut out the right size. I super glued it to the oval...|
|For the back of the crystal picture frame, I used the silver "metal" sheet from this package. I hope these are still in production...I have had mine for about years. I just figured it would be a lovely way to back the frame.|
Next came the cameo ribbon. I just really loved how the ones Queen Victoria made looked. So pretty and very elegand. This is my interpretation...
I searched hight and low to find a perfect cameo set in a crystal frame. The internet, eBay, Etsy, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Crafter's Warehouse were a bust. Finally, Michae's came to the rescue. Perfect! I didn't have to squish another crystal circle and blue a cameo into it! This one was premade!!
|Fabulous cameo from Michael's!|
|For the top part of the cameo and letter ribbons, I am used these little doo dads. Don't know what they are called, but they are in the bead work section of Michael's. Perfect for the "hanger" part of the ribbons...|
Now I don't have the ribbon or letter for the letter ribbon pin yet, but I wanted to share this with you anyway. My make believe self wasn't a lady in waiting, but instead, my "Mother who was an Empress herself" decided to give her daughters and grandaughters ciphers of her name, "Eugenie". Hence the letter "E" that will be coming soon. (It was the most beautiful letter that I could find....)
|A smaller Art-i-cake thingy with a smaller two piece crown...perfect!!!|
|The beautiful letter "E" that will be part of my letter ribbon!!|
Letter Source: Ebay
Well, there you have it. Or a lot of it anyway. When the ribbon and letter come, I will complete my ribbons and share them here! I sooooo cannot wait to wear them with my court dress and I hope that this LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG post inspires you to make your own Royal Family Orders!!
Oh yes....here is my Pinterest board that is dedicated to Royal Family Orders