The wedding of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium ten years ago today was a “mini” royal wedding – Laurent was the son of a king but not the heir to the throne. A number of royals from across Europe attended and there were some great hats on display. After looking at the bride’s veil and dress earlier today, let’s now turn our attention to the guests’ hats.
Queen Paola and Claire’s mother Nicole looked like they coordinated their millinery as both were in unadorned light brown natural straw hats with upturned brims. Nicole’s hat featured a square shaped crown while Paola’s was a more traditionally rounded shape to highlight her dramatic diagonal brim. Their hats were both winners for me and both were designed by Fabienne Delvigne.
The groom’s aunt Queen Fabiola of Belgium wore a hat in her favourite colour (lavender) with a wide upturned brim and silk flower trim. I loved how she placed it at a jaunty angle on her head and thought she looked just beautiful.
Claire’s sister Joanna looked very demure in a soft pink 1920’s inspired cloche with side fan bow also designed by Fabienne Delvigne. In considerable contrast, Princess Mathilde (the groom’s sister-in-law) looked rather dramatic in a huge pink metallic straw conical pyramid hat designed by Maison van den Borne. It’s a lot of hat for this petite princess and I think it overwhelms her a little. Since we’ve never seen her repeat this one, I can only guess that she was on the fence about it, too (although, I can’t imagine the average daytime royal engagement warrants THIS big a hat!).
Princess Astrid (sister of Prince Laurent) gave birth to her fifth child, Princess Laetitia only ten days after the wedding and thus was not able to attend. Her eldest daughter, Maria Laura, carried on her mother’s zany hat style with this ruched pink organza Peach Basket style hat. As this was this young Princess’ first major public hat occasion I’m going to give her a pardon and only comment one word: lampshade. Enough said.
Princess Lea of Belgium wore a blue picture hat of ruched straw while Princess Esmeralda wore a large red straw picture hat with square crown and upturned brim edged in a wide stripe of straw.
Most of the Luxmbourg Royals (who are cousins as their mother was King Albert’s sister) were in attendance. Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (née Princess of Luxembourg) wore an elegant beige straw hat with mushroom shaped brim and back bow. Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg wore a large lilac straw hat with high upturned brim. I loved both these hats, although I could have done without the rest of Sibilla’s outfit.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa must have also received a memo to wear a hat with an upturned brim because that’s exactly what she did- in bright orange.
The Swedish Royal Family was represented by Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine. Victoria wore a chocolate brown straw picture hat with a square crown designed by Philip Treacy (and trimmed by Treacy’s signature pink looped bow). This remains one of my favourite hats that Victoria has ever worn. Madeleine wore an ice blue straw hat with a slightly mushroom shaped brim and side fan bow.
The Dutch Royal family were represented by Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Laurentien wore a watermelon pink straw hat with – you guessed it – another upturned brim! It’s a great hat, although I think Laurentien ‘s fine features would be better complimented with a more delicate hat (and no crazy collar necklace). It was also a Fabienne Delvigne design.
Also in attendance were Prince Kardam and Princess Miriam of Bulgaria (before their awful car accident in 2008) and the Duke and Duchess of Bragança. Miriam wore a peach straw hat with a small, flat brim and drown wrapped in organza net. With flowers also on the side, there’s a lot going on with this hat. Isabel wore a simple cream straw hat with rolled brim and side flower detail. It’s not the most exciting of hats but I like it much better than the chocolate brown hat streak she’s on these days.
And finally, all weddings have a crazy aunt and this one had Princess Inaara Aga Khan (wife of the Aga Khan) in this larger than life beige and purple shiny transparent straw confection. While I am all about memorable hats, this one does seem a bit much.
Prince Laurent and Princess Claire celebrate this, their tenth anniversary with their children Princess Louise and twins Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric, who joined them in 2004 and 2005. The family does not play any official royal role but we see them joining the rest of the Belgian Royals for major events like the Remembrance Te Deums every February and the National Holiday in July.
Looking back at their wedding from a decade later, I have to name this “The Wedding of the Upturned Brim!” That being said, many of the hats were unadorned and could be easily worn today. I think my favourite was Princess Victoria of Sweden in that elegant brown and pink picture hat. Which one did you like best? And which one would you still wear today?