Dutch Inauguration Countdown: Who Designs Queen Beatrix’s Hats?

Hat Query  A reader submitted the following question: Queen Beatrix changed from her signature hat style in the early 90′s, then came back to it in the late 90′s. In between there are some very fun looking fantastical hats. How did this come about? Was there a different designer or consultant during this period?

Since the 1970s, Queen Beatrix’s hats have been made by four people.

Queen Beatrix first turned to Harry Scheltens, working with him from the early 1970s until 2003. From all accounts, Scheltens was a playful personality who took greater risks with Beatrix’s hats as the years went on. I think the shift you noticed during the 1990s was simply a designer pushing the creativity of his work. Some of the hats might look a little funny now but I think this speaks to the remarkable amount of trust Beatrix placed in her milliner.

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In 1982, Queen Beatrix began including designs from Suzanne Moulijn in her wardrobe. Moulijn’s designs have a very recognizable style characterized by a combination of clean lines and rounded shapes as you can see here. I think this is the “signature style” you’re referring to that we still see today.

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Moulijn is also responsible for some of Beatrix’s feathered hats. Striking? YES!! Flattering? I’m not so sure.

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In recent years, Beatrix also obtained a few hats from Dutch milliner Myra van de Korput for hats. She made both the blue picture hat  and the black metallic hat (designed for the quick addition of a headscarf during a trip to the U.A.E. in 2012) below.

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Like her friend Queen Elizabeth, Queen Beatrix has also developed a very close relationship with her dresser,  Emy Bloemheuvel. Emy was a former pupil of Harry Scheltens – this training, combined with her close involvement in Beatrix’s wardrobe, made designing hats for the Queen a natural and obvious role for her to take on. Because Emy is a royal employee, we don’t often hear confirmation of the hats she has designed; two memorable hats we know came from her hand are a black and red one worn 1989 on a trip to Portugal and the pink flowered boater Queen Beatrix wore at the christening of her granddaughter Princess Amalia on June 12, 2004.

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That was a VERY long answer to your question but I hope it provided some insight into Queen Beatrix’s hats!

Photos from Getty as indicated; Corbis

24 thoughts on “Dutch Inauguration Countdown: Who Designs Queen Beatrix’s Hats?

  1. It takes a very strong lady of extreme self confidence and courage to wear some of those hats………what an array of hats! For me, that pick one she wore to her granddaughter’s christening was and is the most beautiful hat that she owns. As for a lot of them, not on your life would I wear some of those hats, some are like the one with the black upside down bowl on a tan rim, that is one very ugly hat…………

  2. Beatrix must have a wonderful since of humor. Some of those hats are absolutely hilarious, but she can pull it off whereas anyone else could not. I certainly can’t see Queen Elizabeth wearing some of those concoctions, but with Beatrix they seem perfectly natural.

  3. Thank you so much, Hat Queen, for taking the time to research this. The hat designers are artists who often go unrecognized because unlike a painting, they cannot simply sign their name to the bottom. Neither are hats saved and preserved like paintings for hundreds of years for later study and appreciation in a museum (ok, maybe some – Sometimes a hat is included in a portrait, and then we know about it.) Do many of the royals have personal hat / wardrobe designers or do most go shopping and so use a variety of designers?

    • From the research I’ve done so far, the two most prolific hat wearers (Queen Elizabeth and Queen Beatrix) are the only royals who have a member of their personal staff designing some of their hats. I suspect this is partly done for efficiency and partly done for ease- their dressers know what suits them. Queen Beatrix’s dresser Emy Hill is a trained hat maker so that helps! Beatrix and Elizabeth have worn many more hats than other Queens.

      Most royals obtain their hats the same way they obtain their clothes- some are custom-made by a designer and some are bought off-the-rack. If they are having an outfit made, the clothing designer often works with a hat designer to create a cohesive look (when you see a hat in the same fabric as a dress or coat, that’s a dead give-away!). Many royals, however, repeat their hats, as The Duchess of Cambridge did last week. These hats are probably purchased on their own and then put together with an outfit by a stylist or personal dresser.

      You make such an interesting point about these hats being a work of art but not being preserved like a painting or tapestry. I suppose that’s another purpose of The Royal Hats Blog!

    • How do you expect anyone to know the answers to this unless they work in one of the royal palaces? It’s not like the royals announce where they go shopping.

  4. I found this very interesting. I didn’t really think before that each designer’s hats would have a similar look but it makes sense. I like the hats designed by Suzanne Moulijn the best.

  5. The pink hat she wore for the christning of Princess Catherine-Amalia is the most beautiful hat Queen Beatrix has ever worn.

    • Hullo Patsy! You and I shood go shopping together for hat’s because every time I see that pink one I just can’t imagine a more beautiful hat. It is the most beautiful hat I ever did see.

      • I like that she does not choose plain hats like most of the other princesses. These ones are so much more interesting. And it’s just a hat! Have fun with it!

  6. I do not like most of the hats from the first designer because they are too silly. The second group of hats are very beautiful. They are much more gentle and I love these hats on Queen Beatrix.

  7. That was awesome. Can you do a post like this for all the royal’s? You can totally see how that hats from one designer are similar and that makes all of ther hats make more sense (instead of looking at all of them as a big group and wondering why some are so different).

  8. I didn’t realize how crazy some of her hats were until I started reading this blog this week. Way to go Bea!

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