There was much pomp and circumstance as Miss Eleanor Clark Brennan of Ladue was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty by the mysterious Veiled Prophet Thursday night at the 127th annual Veiled Prophet Ball held at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch.
She exuded poise and grace as the gold curtains concealing her swung open. As the live orchestra played music, she walked slowly down the long runway where she bowed before the Veiled Prophet. He placed her plumed crown on her head. As his chosen Queen, she took her place beside him seated on her throne next to his. Miss Brennan was surrounded by 59 Maids of Honor, six Special Maids and the Veiled Prophet’s court.
More than 2,000 were in attendance inside the fabulous ballroom. Everyone was dressed in formal attire, men in formal tails and women in ball gowns. All wore white gloves, men and women alike. It looked like a night at the Oscars, without the red carpet.
The VP and his court wore lace veils over their faces that concealed their identity. The VP wore a long, white robe with a train which had jeweled and sequined details. He wore a gold crown. It was a stunning sight to behold with all of the pageantry, flowers and brightly-colored ball gowns and robes.
Each young woman was dressed in a beautiful ball gown. A variety of styles and colors from bright pinks to deep purples to soft pastels were represented. The dress fabrics were some of the finest found, satin, silk, organza and other flowing fabrics that moved gracefully as each young women glided down the runway. The Queen wore pure white satin.
The Queen and the Special Maids’ dresses had long trains that flowed behind them. The young women looked as though they were floating down the runway rather than walking.
Prior to the procession of the maids, members of the Veiled Prophet organization, former maids, former queens, family and friends enjoyed the social hour during a cocktail party to kick off the ball.
Junior Maids consisting of girls in the fifth grade were given a memento and special attention before they attended the ball.
"It is an opportunity for them to have an experience with the VP organization and to see what their opportunity might be," said Tom Cooke, public relations spokesman for the Veiled Prophet Organization.
The Bengal Lancers stood at attention as the young girls passed through and entered a room reserved just for them. The Lancers marched down the hallway and into the room. After a brief introduction, the Lancers presented the girls with a charm as a memento of the night.
Fifth grader Marley McNulty thought it was "cool" and was excited to attend her first ball.
When the ballroom opened for attendees to find their seats, men in costumes of bright colors, festive masks, and jester’s hats reminiscent of Mardi Gras entertained the crowd. Jugglers dresses in various costumes also performed and entertained attendees until the procession of the maids began.
The procession of the maids began with Bengal Lancers marching down the runway and back. They were wearing red tunics, white pants, black boots, colorful turbans and cummerbunds, and white gauntlets. They marched with a low shuffle and carried bamboo lances with red and white pennants. Their presence in uniform added an element of military regality while their theatrics added an element of humor. Three trumpeters followed. They wore all black except for red coats and black and red plumbed hats trimmed in gold. With regal sounds of their trumpets, the ball officially began.
First, former VP Queens were announced followed by the Special Ladies. Each walked the runway. Afterward, the retiring Queen took her last walk down the runway signaling the end of her reign.
Marking their formal entrance into society, Maids of Honor, Special Maids and the Queen of Love and Beauty were presented. Generally, young women are introduced to the St. Louis community while they are in their sophomore year of college. The VP Ball has served as a venue for introducing young women for numerous generations.
With much pageantry, a young girl wearing a short white dress with gold accents marched up the steps to the throne of the Veiled Prophet. She knelt down in front of him with arms extended to receive a scroll inscribed with the name of a young woman. She repeated this process, one for each of the six young women who were chosen as Special Maids. There was also one reserved for the Queen.
When the gold curtain opened for each of the lovely young women chosen as Special Maids and their names were called, they began their walk by bowing at each side of the stage before continuing down the runway. All joined the Veiled Prophet, his court and the other maids at the end of the runway.
Finally, as the music changed from soft serene sounds to something more festive, the new queen was announced. The attendees clapped in approval as she bowed to the left and to the right. She continued down the runway to take her throne. She looked radiant.
A receiving line and reception followed directly after the crowning of the Queen. Afterward, the Queen's supper was held where dinner, dancing and celebration were enjoyed.
The celebration continued way into the wee hours of the night.
Tuesday, Patch will feature photographs of the 59 maids who were introduced to St. Louis' society.