Spanish Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The Spanish Royal Family

Royal Hats When the Prince of Asturias married Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano on May 22, 2004, he was heir to the Spanish throne and the wedding was a major event for the country. While all eyes were inevitably on the bride, the women of the Spanish royal family were also very much in the spotlight on this day.

In contrast to the day dresses and hats worn by most of the other 1200 guests at these nuptials, Queen Sofia, in her role as “Madrina” (mother of the groom) chose a full length ecru silk dress with embroidery around the sleeves, skirt and waist. She topped her gown with a calf length traditional black lace mantilla and high peineta comb. The mantilla was cut so that a triangle fell over the crown of her head, in front of the peineta; the two pieces were anchored with a diamond bow brooch at the back.

For those of you wondering about Queen Sofia’s choice of formal dress at this daytime wedding (as I was!), her official role as ‘Madrina’ carried this dress code. Thanks to the commenters who explained this Spanish tradition.

Queen Sofia, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats Queen Sofia, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

Queen Sofia, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats  Queen Sofia, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats  Queen Sofia, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

Infanta Elena wore a pink and white lace Christian Lacroix dress and jacket, inspired by a traditional Spanish torero (matador). She also wore a black lace mantilla and high pieneta comb, anchored again with a diamond brooch at the back. The ensemble was extremely haute couture and so very, very Spanish.

Infanta Elena, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Infanta Elena, May 22, 2004 | Royal HatsInfanta Elena, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Intanta Cristina went a less traditionally Spanish route with her head wear for this wedding, choosing a striking gold picture hat by Mabel Sanz with square crown, slightly waved brim and wide ribbon tails on the side. With her chartreuse dress and dove grey coat, the overall ensemble was unexpected and very modern. While I’m not certain the dress and coat worked with this hat, this hat was stunningly beautiful on Cristina and I love it as much today as I did a decade ago.

Infanta Cristina, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats  2004-05-22 Asturias wedding 38

The fashion and headpieces of the groom’s family seem less coordinated than that of the bride’s family, which we will look at later today. What are your thoughts on the headpieces worn by the ladies of the Spanish royal family at this wedding?

Next up? The hats worn by Queen Letizia’s mother, sisters and grandmothers.

Photos from Hola; Odd Andersen, Christophe Simon, Miguel Riopa/AFP and Angel Diaz via Getty;  Albert Gea and Bernardo Rodriguez via Corbis; Miguel Riopa, Pascal Le Segretain, and Pascal Le Segretain via Getty

16 thoughts on “Spanish Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The Spanish Royal Family

  1. My favorite outfit was Infanta Elena’s Christian Lacroux torero-inspired outfit and she really rocks pink and a mantilla and high peineta comb!

    Queen Sofia was a stunning “Madrina” and I thought her long ecru silk dress looked elegant, and the embroidery was exquisite. She looks good in her traditional black lace mantilla and high peineta comb. I wonder if anyone knows why her mantilla was cut so that a triangle fell over the crown of her head, in front of the peineta? I haven’t seen that before, though perhaps I just never paid close attention to mantilla wearers.

    Infanta Cristina’s hat was fabulous and suited her face and head shape well, however, it didn’t go with her outfit. Her chartreuse dress didn’t go with her dove grey coat, and the coat looked like she made it out of one of my aunt’s tablecloths.

  2. There may be a cultural reason, but I wish the mantillas were not black. Ivory would have looked so much better. That being said, I love the traditional dress.

  3. I love seeing this dress code. So many things get lost as we globally shrink with each passing year. Sometimes it seems we are getting to the place where our style of dress and our homes are starting to look too much alike, and it is refreshing to see the traditions that live on in different countries.

  4. Thanks for these flashback posts. I love them.i thought infanta elena’s dress was designed by Christian Lacroux. pls correct me if I m wrong

  5. I read (I didn’t know this) that at a Spanish wedding the mother of the groom has an important role to play, and even an official title – she is the ‘Madrina’. Apparently the long dress and the mantilla are traditional for the Madrina, and it’s not unusual for her to be the only guest dressed this way. (I’m sure someone will correct me if this is incorrect).

  6. In Spain it is the privilige for the mother of the groom to wear a long dress. The countess Ripalda also wore long at the wedding of her son with infanta Elena

  7. Sofia had no choice as to the length of her gown. She was Madrona: mantilla, peineta, and long dress are the dress code.

  8. I would guess that as Queen of Spain, Sofia decided she needed somethig more formal than a shorter dress; it sets her apart as the senior female member of the family (and to me looks far more in tune with the mantilla than a day dress does).

  9. I agree about Sofia’s long gown. It just looked odd. I did love Cristina’s hat, but not with that dress and coat. I think it would have been nicer if all three ladies had followed Elena’s model and had gone for the traditional headdress with a day-length dress or suit.

  10. Wow. The mantillas are certainly striking, aren’t they? It seems like they would be awfully awkward to wear, as the combs are so large…

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