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):
Princess Letizia in a Pablo Y Mayaya design for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, April 29, 2011
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