Hobnobbing with Rose Parade royalty in Pasadena

At last Friday’s reception for “Royals of Pasadena” at Pasadena Museum of History, 20 former and three current Royal Court members gave the classic Rose Parade wave.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The invitation said “Royal attire encouraged.” The Rose Examiner did not have royal attire, but we were in the courtly spirit at the reception for members of the Rose Parade Royal Court, past and present, at Pasadena Museum of History’s exhibit “Royals of Pasadena” on Sept. 8. More than 20 Rose Queens and Princesses attended. Each one received a special tiara from Laura Verlaque, Director of Collections as she entered. We were able to talk with several of the Royals, as well as one of the curators of the exhibit.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery in this article, and the stories of the Rose Queen crowns in the article below.

Gowns and wardrobe items were solicited from members of Royal Courts across the decades. Verlaque said that originally, PMH was going to send letters to the entire list of prior Court members that the Tournament of Roses had provided. Then, right before the letters were to go out, she realized that was a tremendous number of women, so the requests were limited to those who still lived in California. Even with that, 75 gowns were offered.

Elissa De Angelo is one of a group of volunteers who preserve the textiles in the PMH collection, and prepare them for display. As the dresses came in, she altered the mannequins to fit the dresses. “Boobs, shoulder pads, clothes from each decade were worn differently,” she said. Some of the dresses had to be cleaned or steamed, with care to the kind of fabric. She said a hair dryer was used to blow the dust off silk garments, because silk could not be cleaned.

“The French Hand Laundry was very helpful with offering expertise,” De Angelo said. (The business, a Pasadena fixture, has operated since 1912.) For more about PMH textile exhibits, read “Fabulous Fashions” (pdf).

She called our attention to the most recent dress, a sapphire gown worn by 2017 Rose Princess Shannon Larsuel. Asked if any of the queens had worn their dresses in their weddings, she directed us to the 1949 white gown worn by Queen Virginia Bower. Both are pictured in the photo gallery.

Beverlie Anderson MacDuff was a Rose Princess in Queen Virginia’s court. “I had a wonderful time,” she said. “I’ve always been happy that I was a princess.” Born in Pasadena, Princess Beverlie said she went to the Rose Parade “a babe in arms.” She never missed a parade after that.

 

All photos copyright 2017 by Laura Berthold Monteros

Crowning the Rose Parade Queens: Photo gallery

by Laura Berthold  Monteros

Since the first Rose Queen graced the flower-bedecked float that carried her along the Rose Parade route on Jan. 2, 1905 (the first was a Sunday), there have been different crowns for different eras. Some of the early queens did not have crowns, and wore garlands or hats instead. The Pasadena Museum of History has several on display in its “Royals of Pasadena” exhibit, now through Feb. 11, 2018.

A special crown was created exclusively for the 50th Rose Queen, but the Tournament of Roses tells us that the 100th Rose Queen will continue to wear the Mikimoto pearl crown. A couple of Tournament members, one formerly the chair of the Queen & Court Committee, noted how heavy this crown is. “Did you see how Tori’s head went back?” one asked, recalling Queen Victoria’s coronation last fall. She had to stand very straight to keep it balanced.

Click through the photos for descriptions of each crown, including who wore it. Do you have a favorite? Use the comments to give your opinion. We would also love to hear from Rose Queens about the crowns they wore! Unless otherwise credited, photos are by Joann Wilborn/Marlyn Woo and are copyrighted.