The Order Of The Alamo Hosts The Court Of The Grand Tour Coronation


By Jake Gaines         Photography by Katie Clementson, Billo Smith Photography

With a much anticipated and celebratory return to San Antonio’s beloved Fiesta events and traditions, The Order of the Alamo presented an elegant coronation of its Queen and her court, The Court of the Grand Tourin a dazzling ceremony staged at the enchanting Majestic TheaterThis year’s theme transported spectators on an epic visual adventure that paid homage to the historic Grand Tour tradition of 18th and 19th century Europe. 

A rite of passage for aristocratic young men and women of England, those who embarked on a Grand Tour after their graduation would ride luxury carriages throughout Europe for three to four years on a journey to further their cultural education. The Court of the Grand Tour‘s gown and train designs were inspired by extensive research and honored several cities of the Grand Tour, as well as iconic architecture and crafts from each stop—from the Alhambra of Granada, Spain and the watches of Geneva, Switzerland to Londons Westminster Abbey and Italys famed glassmakers. 

The Mistress of the Robes, Alicia Brusenhan, worked tirelessly alongside dressmakers to bring the elaborate vision to fruition. Under Brusenhan’s leadership, the creative team began designing the courts 26 Queen, Princess, and Duchess dresses and robes for many months before the coronation ceremony. The Court Artists were Lisa Hanson and Francie Calgaard. 


The Queen of The Court of the Grand Tour was Ian Parker Brusenhan, the Mistress of the Robes’ daughter, and was attended by Princess Marguerite Holton Stewart and 24 duchesses from San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and beyond. The 2022 President of the Order of the Alamo was R. Webb Sellers, Jr. The Coronation Chairman was Barclay Houston, while Brett Balthrope served as Lord High Chamberlain. 



The Order Of The Alamo Hosts The Court Of Parisian Splendour Coronation


By Jake Gaines         Photography by Katie Clementson

THE SETTING: Because of the pandemic, the original The Order of the Alamo coronation date in 2020 was moved twice to 2021 when the Order hosted a privately-themed event, The Court of Parisian Splendour, that occurred al fresco with a much smaller attendance and COVID protocol in place. The Argyle was the venue for the Coronation of the Queen and her Court, a reception, and dance afterward. 


THE STYLE: An entire stage was built that allowed the court to make a full entry, bow, and then ascend the main stairs of the Argyle. Mistress of the Robes Kate Coiner Park, and the event’s artistic directors, Amy Stieren and Wendy Stieren, began working on the court’s 26 Queen, Princess, and Duchess’ dresses and robes long before the ceremony. The Parisian theme of the gowns was based on extensive research and design to represent the various icons, monuments, and culture from Paris. Then the dresses were draped over the railings of the second and third story verandas. The main “house” of the Argyle served as the evening’s set, while the families and their guests looked on. The intimate setting, and master of ceremonies, Albert Steves, as the Lord High Chamberlain, made it an exceptional event for all who participated.    


At the beginning of the show, the Order honored the 2020 The Order of the Alamo President Elliott G. Hayne, accompanied by his three daughters. Representing Napoleon I, Albert Steves V was introduced as the Lord High Chamberlain. After the 24 Duchesses and their Dukes were presented, including six from the Visiting Court and eighteen from the Royal Household, the current 2021 Order President Andrew B. Price and his son, Nelson, arrived to preside at the Coronation of the Queen. The Princess, Hannah Elizabeth Bakke, was presented, after which all rose for the Queen, Elizabeth “Liza” Grace Huey, crowned by 2021 Order President Andrew B. Price.


After the coronation, the Duchesses came down to the stage from their seats on the verandas. Their trains remained on the Argyle verandas, and they exited down the main ramp, waving to their friends and family.  Albert Steves’ last words to the audience were “Until the City of Lights beckons again…remember, that Paris…is always a good idea”.