Sunday, March 20, 2016

Castleholics Anonymous with Ella of The Court Jeweller

Well, not that anonymous but I still liked the name anyway: Welcome to yet another new feature for Confessions of a Castleholic! In this new series, I am going to talk to a number of fellow castle loving bloggers about the good, the bad and the just plain beautiful of visiting castles and palaces around the world. The first one I got to interview was the wonderful and knowledgeable Ella Kay of The Court Jeweller (and a number of other blogs including Mad Hattery and A Tiara a Day). And to make it even more fun, I also gave her a little (yet very difficult!) interview about royal jewellery so make sure to check that out!

Château de Chambord
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Imagine you could borrow any tiara in this world and dance all night long in one castle’s (or palace’s) ballroom – which tiara would you sneak away from their current owner and which castle or palace would star in this dream come true? (And who are you dancing with?)
This will probably betray the fact that I watched the new version of War & Peace fairly recently, but I'd definitely be waltzing in the candlelit ballroom of the Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg. To keep with the Russian theme, I'd go for a kokoshnik tiara -- I think the gorgeous aquamarine kokoshnik from the Swedish royal collection. (And to really keep with the theme, I think I'd pick James Norton -- who played Prince Andrei in War and Peace -- to be my dance partner!)

You visited the Château de Chambord, one of the castles highest up on my list of places to see – what did you like most about it and did you manage to see any other castles of the Loire region?
The thing I remember most about Chambord was the amazing double helix staircase that dominates the central part of the chateau. I could so easily picture French royal and aristocratic ladies in their grand gowns sweeping up and down those stairs, catching glimpses of each other as they passed but never meeting. All of the Loire chateaux are so beautiful and romantic, but my favorite was Chenonceau, with its meticulous gardens and that gorgeous long gallery stretched over the river.

Thinking back to all the royal places you have visited, which ones stand out the most to you and why?
I've never seen anything else in my life like Versailles -- the only place that feels even remotely similar is the Vatican, honestly. The grandeur is so over-the-top that it doesn't even feel real, which I guess is part of the point. The theatricality of the French court from that period just oozes from the building, even centuries after the monarchy ended.

Windsor Castle
(Photo: The Court Jeweller)
Your home is your castle: Apart from the fact that many castles are freezing cold and not the most cozy of places, if you had to chose one as your home, which one would it be?
Hands down: Windsor Castle. Even though it's still a working royal residence with staff and visitors and everything else, the castle actually feels strangely cozy and warm. The town of Windsor is also like a storybook come to life. I can see why the Queen likes to spend so much of her time there.

And finally, which are the top three castles/palaces you want to see in the coming years? Do you have any immediate plans yet?
I live in the US, so my castle visiting has to be planned extremely strategically! Next time I come to Europe, I'm hoping to visit Scandinavia, and Rosenborg Castle (with the Danish crown jewels!) is at the very top of my list. I'd also love to see Schönbrunn Palace, especially the gardens. And although I've lived in London in the past, I've somehow never managed to actually visit Buckingham Palace proper, so that's definitely on the list as well! 

Make sure to come back next Sunday, when I will speak to The Lady & the Rose 
about our visit to Munich's Residenz, Russian splendour and more. 

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