With the big announcement this morning that King Juan Carlos will abdicate, Princess Letizia will soon find herself Queen of Spain. This monumental change in her role warrants a look at her millinery style, don’t you think?
When the Prince of Asturias announced his engagement to journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in November 2003, he took the public by complete surprise. While Letizia was cast into public spotlight (or rather, moved from one spotlight to another!) overnight, her fashion transition was fairly simple- she continued wearing the tailored business suits she had worn for her journalism career in her new royal life. This business approach to fashion, combined with Queen Sofia and the Infanta’s practice of not wearing hats, made us royal millinery watchers wait six years for Princess Letizia to finally wear a hat. Since this first hat in 2011, Princess Letizia has only worn two other hats (all three were at major royal events where hats were required):
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Princess Letizia in a Pablo Y Mayaya design for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, April 29, 2011
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Another Pablo Y Mayaya design for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume’s wedding, October 20, 2012;
In a grey a Maria Nieto design for the Inauguration of King Willem-Aleander of the Netherlands, April 30, 2013
I think these hats all betray Princess Letizia as a hat novice. The first, in pink straw, is a lovely shape and proportion for her but is terribly over trimmed – with a ruched sash around the brim, net veil, four kinds of feathers, and beaded rosette, it seems to be carrying everything but the kithchen sink. The second hat is simply too big and overwhelms petite Letizia while the third vertical plate with top explosion looks, unfortunately, like a giant earmuff. To be fair, I think it takes more practice choosing and wearing hats to get things right.
Two areas of Princess Letizia’s millinery style have been marvelously successful. The first are beaded hairpieces:
A bejewelled hair clip for the October 26, 2012 Prince of Asturias awards and a fantastic flapper-style
Pablo Y Mayaya design for the March 26, 2012 wedding of Prince Felipe’s longtime friend Alvaro Fuster
And the second is the traditional lace mantilla. If my recollection is correct, we have only seen Princess Letizia in a peineta comb once; I suspect that as Queen, we will see this beautiful Spanish headpiece on her much more often, and certainly more often than a hat. This is something to look forward to as she wears a matilla and peineta so beautifully.
Mantillas worn for visits to the Vatican in June 2004, April 2011 and March 2013
When Princess Máxima and Princess Mathilde became queens in The Netherlands and Belgium last year, there was a noticeable increase in the number of hats we saw them wear. I do not think we will see this trend continue in Spain, as evidenced here by the few number of hats Princess Letizia has worn in the past. I will however, keep my fingers crossed that she has some millinery surprises in store for us!
Photos from Bauer Griffin via Style Bistro; Chris Jackson via Getty; Semana; Julian Parker and Carlos R. Alvarez via Getty; Hola; Eric Vandeville via Getty; AFP via Vogue; Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press Europe
Spain does not seem to be a hat wearing culture, at least not in this economic climate. Maybe it was different in the past? Either way, I like all three of these hats on Letizia but the first pink one is my favorite. It’s very flattering to her face shape and I don’t find it over-trimmed at all. The dress is very simple in spite of the lace so the extra oomph on the hat elevates the look to royal wedding guest. The straw hat is a bit big but still pretty. The clamshell was a trendy hat shape for awhile but that seems to have died down, maybe as everyone realized how difficult it was to wear? This one works on Letizia because the proportion is right, not too big, not too overtrimmed. For evidence, see Maria-Teresa’s similar hat at Luxumbourg’s National Day, the proportions were way too large for her. I don’t mind the sparkly hair clips or headbands, for an evening event they are fun and bring a bit of glitz. Especially as again in this economic climate, we are unlikely to see very many tiaras in Spain. Though hopefully that will change! Letizia shines in the pienata & mantilla, really lovely. I hope she wears one to the enthronement/swearing in/coronation (whatever they have decided to call it!), especially as Queen Sofia set a precedent for wearing one as King Juan-Carlos was made King.
When Felipe becomes King, and Letizia becomes Queen, she will be able to exercise the Privilege du Blanc, which is wearing white in the Pope’s presence. This is accorded to all Catholic Queens, Princesses and Grand Duchesses.
Letizia has worn some interesting hats. I think she will come into her own as Queen.
I loved that pink hat on Letitia although I hadn’t seen the back of it. I still think it is very becoming. I have to confess that I loathe mantillas almost as much as I loathe most fascinators. Give me a “proper”
hat any day. I didn’t like the side platter hat because of the earmuff effect but I like the broad brimmed hat. The clothes Letitia wears are of beautiful quality and fit and that counts for a lot with me. I think she is very “hatty” i.e. she can wear a hat. I ‘d love to see her wear more of them.
The pink hat is pretty from the front but I agree that it is too busy in the back. I don’t care for her other hats but she looks beautiful in a black lace veil. Do you think she will wear one for her coronation?
Interesting post! Like other commenters, I had not realized Leti’s hat appearances were quite so few in number. Of the three, the pink one is by far my favorite. I had previously thought it “perfect”, but, alas, I had not before seen the back. Still a good show if a bit overdone.
I agree on all points. I’m really surprised that Letizia has only worn 3 hats. Somehow, it seemed like more than that. I also really like the pink hat from the front, minus all that junk going on at the back.
Yes, some more interesting hat research. Odd to see that Letizia only has worn 3 hats in comparison to her contemporaries. Do you have any idea how many Maxima and Mathilde have worn? General numbers would help put this in perspective.
For Mathilde, I’ve counted about 80 different hats and for Maxima, approximately 155. It bears remembering that Mathilde’s royal life began in December 1999 and Maxima’s in February 2002, while Letizia married Felipe in May 2004. A more accurate comparison would be with Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who became a princes just 2 weeks before Letizia did. She has worn approximately 40 different hats.
Thankyou for your very prompt post. Letizia is one of my favourite royals so was hoping for a little something on her. I think she is a very stylish woman, with or (as is often the case) without hat! Thanks.
It is a crying shame that the Spaniish royals do not wear hats more often, especially as Princess Letizia suits them so much. My favorite look here is the mantilla and peineta comb. My second favorite is the first pink hat, though the back of it is over-trimmed, and she should have put her hair up, because long loose hair worn with a hat tends to look sloppy, and there is way too much going on at the back of her as it is. That pink outfit was also lovely and pink really flatters her. I hate the giant ear muff hat, it simply wouldn’t flatter anyone’s face. Wearing hats can provide sun protection and decrease the risk of skin cancers, so the royals would be good role models if they wore hats more often.
I actually love all 3 hats.
Just a note to clarify one thing… Carlos Baute is not a Felipe’s friend. The wedding you talk about was of Alvaro Fuster (one of the best friend of Felipe) with Beatriz Mira. The confussión must come, because Beatriz Mira before had been Carlos Baute’s girlfriend. (sorry, if my English is not very good…)
And as I am writing you, I take this opportunity to say you that I loooove this blog, and specially your comments and analysis of the hats!!
Regards from Spain!
Thanks for the correction, Marisa. I think the error was in my translation of articles about this event- I mixed up who was who! I’m so glad you like the blog and really appreciate you making this correction.
Goodness, only three hats altogether – that’s amazing! I’d have imagined that she’d have been to more royal hat events abroad, let alone at home. So none worn in Spain at all?! I knew the Spanish aren’t very hatty, but didn’t realise it was a complete absence.
However, I actually like all of Letizia’s three hats very much indeed. The first hat is a very twenties style that lends itself to being bedecked, and I like it. The dress, although lace, was simple, and the hat with the more complicated decoration complemented it very well. (And it looks professional, not craft-gun applique.) The second hat is lovely; I agree it is a little large for her, but not overly so, and it was worn as a wedding guest, so needing her face to be seen wasn’t a top priority. And I like the spectacular earmuff! It’s a really interesting hat, beautifully executed, and it shows a self-confidence that we don’t always get with her clothes choice.
Well, she looks beautiful in all 3 hats shown here, though I agree that the second one is too big. I really like the grey saucer one on her, she has the perfect features to pull it off. I don’t have the technical knowledge to critique hats too much. She should wears hats more though, they enhance her beauty!
I hope you don’t mind if I respectfully disagree with your judgment. I am definitely a hat novice, so that probably explains why. 🙂 I think her three hats are lovely and so elegant (although I do think the back of the pink one is too busy–but the front is gorgeous), but her hair clips make her look juvenile. Your blog is one of my favorites, and I’m always so excited when there’s a new post. 🙂
Of course not! I love to hear different opinions and if you have been reading here a while, you know I am very fickle and my opinion is quite likely to change! I think you actually might be right about the black beaded hair clip, although I’m going to defend the silver one. If only we had a better view (it was worn to a private event so this is the only photo available).
I agree about the pink hat. From the front, it has a 1920s Downton Abbey feel to it and I LOVE it!
Great post. I had no idea Leti wore this hat or that she even didn’t wear hats much. Love the blog!
Agreed! I just haven’t decided if it’s a Mary hat or a Edith hat. Either way, I love it!
Such a shame that the Spanish royals don’t wear hats or even dress up that much.