ROYAL TEA PARTY: Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia touched down in New Orleans Thursday night — the start of a six-day stay in the U.S.
After a few days in The Big Easy, the royal couple will make their way to San Antonio, which like New Orleans is celebrating its tricentennial. Both cities hold historical significance “of the deep and close ties that unite Spain and the United States,” according to the official web site of the Royal Household of Spain. The trip will culminate with a visit to the White House to meet President Trump and the First Lady.
Like FLOTUS, Queen Letizia knows all about the power of style. For her wedding to the then-future king in 2004, she wore a long-sleeved ivory gown with an embroidered open collar and 14-foot train by Manuel Pertegaz. The designer, who died in 2014, had an elite list of clients including Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. But the Pertegaz studio has not designed anything for the queen since, a Peretgaz Studio spokeswoman said Friday. A former journalist and news anchor, the queen’s day-to-day wardrobe is often sleek and striking, with Hugo Boss being one of her go-to labels.
She arrived Thursday wearing a $595 belted, fiery red Doliana dress from the German company. The queen was seen in a long navy floral skirt and handbag from Hugo Boss for a Foundation Against Drug Addiction meeting earlier in the week. A Hugo Boss spokesman said Friday, “Queen Letizia has a wonderful long history of wearing Hugo Boss, which we are very happy to support. There has not been any formal arrangement with her, however, there is always a chance that she may wear the brand.”
Carolina Herrera and Roberto Torretta are other labels that she has worn. And like the Duchess of Cambridge and the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, Queen Letizia has shown her pragmatism by wearing certain pieces more than once.
The First Lady plans to host the queen for tea at the White House next week, according to FLOTUS’ spokeswoman. Ever-ready in the fashion realm thanks in part to stylist Hervé Pierre, Melania Trump recently bounced back on the Beltway scene after her much-publicized 25-day absence from the public eye. After welcoming Gold Star families to the White House with the President on June 4, she spoke at the June 10 annual gala at Ford’s Theatre. And on June 11, she responded to Department of Health and Human Services’ information about how states can cover the cost of treating babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome. Next month the Trumps are expected to have their own royal visit — with Queen Elizabeth II in London, during the President’s official trip to the U.K.
The First Lady and her royal guest will have a good deal to chat about after the photo-ops. In her reporting life, the mother of two covered the 2000 U.S. presidential elections and broadcast from ground zero after the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Her American hosts are busy trying to create new memories for her — (and hopefully a break this afternoon to watch coverage of Spain challenging Portugal in the World Cup.) Chefs Emeril Lagasse and Nina Compton prepared a lunch for the royals and select guests, including Gov. John Bel Edwards and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Canttell. After visiting St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo museum in New Orleans tonight, the guests of honor are due to catch a performance by the Mardi Gras Indians Saturday at the New Orleans Museum of Art before jetting off to Texas.
FLOTUS and the queen’s unofficial style summit will be a welcome distraction from more nagging headlines. While the First Lady has been plagued with reports questioning her aforementioned absence, her Spanish guests have their own woes, namely a corruption case that has shaken the royal family. The king’s brother-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin is looking at a nearly six-year sentence for embezzlement, influence-peddling and tax fraud. And the king has his own share of legal troubles.