Milestone Birthday for Princess Mathilde

It’s a busy week of milestone birthdays here on Royal Hats (and stay tuned at the end of this month for one more!). Today we celebrate the hat-wearing loveliness of Princess Mathilde of Belgium. Princess Mathilde (née Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz) married Crown Prince Philippe on December 4, 1999 and has emerged as a popular and immensely well-liked member of the Belgian Royal Family. She is both beautiful and intelligent (before her marriage, she was a speech therapist and holds a master’s degree in Psychology)- the perfect mix for a modern princess. As we celebrate Mathilde’s 40th birthday today, here is a look back at 40 of her most memorable hats.


1. A black and white straw picture hat with black feather trim  for the Belgium Royal Family’s annual Remembrance Mass in Feb 2001
2. A nautical mushroom-brimmed hat for the Swedish royal family’s visit in May 2001


3. Also during the May 2001 Swedish visit, a raspberry straw picture hat with sideswept brim
4. For the February 2, 2002 wedding of Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Mathilde sported a chocolate faux fur winter hat to compliment her red coat.
5. Pale pink straw stovepipe with stylised dragonfly trim for the National Day Military Parade, July 21, 2002


6. A sparkling pink conical picture hat for the wedding of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire April 12, 2003
7. For the Norwegian Royal Family’s visit in May 2003, a classic white pillbox hat.
8. A new Van den Borne wide brimmed boater in brown straw with pink trim for national Day in 2003

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

9. Tall cloche in coffee hued felt for King’s Day celebrations in November 2003
10. A beautiful grey straw picture hat worn to welcome the Finnish President for a State visit, May 21, 2004

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 11. One of her best looks- a pale grey Fabienne Delvigne picture hat with green burnt feather trim worn to the wedding of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain on May 24, 2004
12. For the National Day Military Parade on July 21, 2004, a fascinator in curled rusty orange straw
13. A LOT of rainbow tweed for Kings Day on November 15, 2004


14. Somber but very stylish black wool for the funeral of Grand Duchess Josephine of Luxembourg (who was born Princess of Belgium), January 15, 2005
15. Delicate pink silk fascinator for the National Day Military Parade, July 21, 20051
16. Navy blue felt Fabienne Delvigne design with short brim and square crown for the annual Remembrance Mass in February 2005

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17. Cream straw Fabienne Delvigne designed hat with mushroom brim for the christening of Princess Amalia of the Netherlands, June 12, 2004
18. Wide brimmed red wool hat for the christening of Prince Christian of Denmark, January 21, 2006
19. A unique red calot with circular floating ringed brim by Fabienne Delvigne for a Dutch royal visit to Belgium on June 20, 2006


21. Stunning Fabienne Delvigne pink straw fly-away hat for National Day, July 21, 2006
22. Gossamer crystal beaded Fabienne Delvigne fascinator for the National Day Service of Thanksgiving, July 21, 2007
23. For the 2007 National Day Military Parade, Mathilde changed into this spiky fascinator in pink, blue and cream.

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24. A more sedate grey tweed beret for King’s Day celebrations, November 15, 2007
25. Looking so very fresh and stylish (just weeks after delivering her fourth baby) in green at the National Day Service of Thanksgiving, July 21, 2008


26. For the National Day Te Deum service on July 21, 2009, a wide lace bandeau with black satin bow
27. Another gutsy fashion statement in this Fabienne Delvigne flying rings hat for the National Day Military Parade, also on July 21, 2009
28. A wide faux-fur wide cuff headband for an annual Remembrance Mass, February 23 , 2010


29. Oh-so royal in a large natural straw picture hat brimmed in orange trim at the National Day Military Parade, July 21, 2010
30. A mohair fedora for King’s Day, November 15, 2010


31. For the annual Remembrance Mass on February 17, 2011, a grey fur papakha hat
32. A large teal straw saucer picture hat with flying silk bows by Philip Treacy for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, April 29, 2011
33. A charcoal grey percher hat by Philip Treacy for the July 2, 2011 wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco

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34. For the National Day Thanksgiving Service on July 21, 2011, a black straw cocktail hat with looped bow by Philip Treacy
35. For the National Day Military Parade the same day, a more subdued blush straw ruched toque by Fabienne Delvigne
36. A textured black pillbox to commemorate Armistice Day, November 11, 2011

 Embed from Getty Images

37. Retro and über stylish in this Fabienne Delvigne grey wool hat for King’s Day, November 15, 2011
38. An interesting navy blue fez by Stephen Jones at the annual Remembrance Mass on February 16, 2012

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39. Black and white Fabienne Delvigne rosette hat for National Day, July 21, 2012
40. A burgundy velvet Fabienne Delvigne headpiece with open crown for King’s Day, Nov 15, 2012

There we have it- 40 hats to celebrate this 40th Birthday. I love watching Mathilde’s style progression from the beginning of her royal life (where some of those large hats overwhelmed her) – she has done some serious millinery experimentation and become so much more confident in her fashion and hat choices. If pressed to pick my favourites, I would choose the royal blue cloche (#16) and the dazzling crystal fascinator (#22). I am also drawn to the pale pink fly-away hat (#21) and the flying pink rings (#27) simply because they are such a departure from what all of the royal princesses wear and it took great guts and confidence on Mathilde’s part to wear them as beautifully as she did. Which one do you think is Mathilde’s best?

Photos from:
#1-15: Corbis; Photonews, Mark Renders and Getty Images via GettyLieven Van Assche/epa/Corbis;
#16-30: Antony Jones and Mark Cuthbert via Getty; RoyalPress Nieboer/dpa/Corbis; Albert van der Werf/dpa/Corbis; Corbis
#34-  Chris Jackson  and Sean Gallup via Getty; Corbis; 

5 thoughts on “Milestone Birthday for Princess Mathilde

  1. Wonderful to see all of these hats. Thank you. She has had many winners. Seems to wear two designers mostly.
    In my opinion so many are tied for first place, it is hard to sort them out.

  2. I really like #1, #15 and #26. My favourite is #1. That hat is beautiful. Princess Mathilde also looks really good in pink flowered hats. She’s very delicate- I don’t like those modern ones on her.

  3. Thank you, HatQueen, for this most excellent review of hats. While Princess Mathilde has worn many hats, most of them are pretty bad:
    #2 – Lamp shade
    #6 – Bigger lamp shade
    #8 – interesting, but in a rather ugly way
    #13- Hideous (perhaps this is why you assigned this #13)
    #17 – Lamp shade
    #19- Solar system model (terrible on the head of a princess)
    #23- deep sea creature
    #25- plastic bowl stuck on this poor princess’ forehead
    #27- Slinky from the toy department
    #29- Sombrero
    #37- Cowgirl
    #38- Yup- it’s a veiled ski hat.

    Maybe the next 40 years will bring us more beautiful hats. Cheerio!

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