Queen Mathilde’s National Day Hats

The Belgium royal family celebrates their nation’s holiday annually with attendance at a Te Deum mass and an outdoor military parade. It’s a day we royal hat watchers look forward to each year; over the past decade and a half, Queen Mathilde has entertained us with some wonderful (and wonderfully unexpected) designs:

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Brown straw picture hat in 2000; tall pale pink straw stovepipe with quills in 2002;
pink edged brown Christophe Coppens picture hat 2003


  July 21, 2004 | Royal Hats July 21, 2005 | Royal Hats July 21, 2006 in FD | Royal Hats
Burnt orange straw curl headpiece in 2004; Pink silk organza headpiece in 2005; Dramatic pink pleated straw flying turban by Fabienne Delvgine in 2006  

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Different crystal and feathered headpieces for the 2007 Te Deum and parade, both by Fabienne Delvigne

July 21, 2008 in Christophe Coppens | Royal Hats July 21, 2008 in FD | Royal Hats
Green swirled percher by Christophe Coppens and red and orange pleated headpiece by Fabienne Delvigne in 2008

July 21, 2009 in FD | Royal Hats July 21, 2009 in FD | Royal Hats
Two more Delvigne designs in 2009- a lace headband with large black bow and memorable pink ringed headpiece

July 21, 2010 | Royal Hats   July 21, 2010 in FD | Royal Hats
A small black rosette headpiece and large, orange rimmed natural straw picture hat by Fabienne Delvigne in 2010

July 21, 2011 in FD | Royal Hats July 21, 2011 in PT | Royal Hats
A pale pink Fabienne Delvigne ruched toque hat and a black embellished beret percher by Philip Treacy in 2011

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Return to a single hat for 2012’s festivities- a black trimmed headpiece in white abaca by Fabienne Delvigne

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Pale pink stylised toque hat by Fabienne Delvigne for the inauguration in 2013

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A Fabienne Delvigne designed orange picture hat with unfinished edges in 2014 

UPDATE: Since this post was published, Queen Mathilde has worn the following hats on National Day:

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Pale blue sideswept picture hat by Fabienne Delvigne in 2015

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Blush pink layered Fabienne Delvigne calot in 2016

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Folded headpiece in lavender straw in 2017;  a red straw saucer with abaca trim in 2018, a coral straw layered leaf motif hat in 2019, all by Fabienne Delvigne

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 Almond parasisal straw picture hat and magenta abacca headpiece with pleated ruffle in 2020, both by Fabienne Delvigne

Beige textured bandeau by Fabienne Delvigne in 2021

What are your predictions for this year? And what hats here stand out to you most?

Photos from Corbis;  Lieven Van Assche/epa/Corbis; Olivier Polet/Corbis; Corbis; John Thys via Getty; Corbis; Reuters/Yves Herman; Corbis; Albert van der Werf/dpa/Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis;  Albert Nieboer/dpa/Corbis; Philip Reynaers / Photonews via Getty and Getty as indicated

21 thoughts on “Queen Mathilde’s National Day Hats

  1. I’m just catching up with all these terrific posts ! …. It seems to me that King Phillips likes 2008 red and orange 😉 😉 but me – I love 2017 lavender straw

  2. Queen Mathilde looks best in the brimmed hats. The updated 2015 picture hat is very well-suited to her.

  3. For me, this 2015 picture hat is a clear winner. I’ll give second place to 2012’s black trimmed headpiece in white straw.

  4. Love the first 3 hats in this collection. And I’m not sorry to admit it, but I actually kinda like the flying turban; I think Mathilde pulls it off surprisingly well, because it could’ve been a true disaster. A true disaster is what I think about 2007’s parade outfit and disaster; I like color, but this is too much! Also, green may be my favorite color, but the 2008 Te Deum cocktail hat is doing her no favors, and I’m not a fan of all that crinoline. I adore the pink headpiece from 2009 (I believe she has a similar design in red, but with more of a base), but I wish she had done a low chignon with it rather than have her hair all up. I like that Mathilde has taken many hat risks over the years for such a high profile event, but she obviously has not always been successful.

  5. Well, more misses than hits it seems but it’s great that she tries new things. The national day is the day to do it if you ask me. Although a more classic hat would be nice for a change.

    The hat from the inauguration for me is still one of the most elegant hats I’ve ever seen.

    It’s quite funny that we often describe Mathilde as rather safe in her fashion choices but it’s not something you can say about her hats. In fact, she seems to take even more risks than Maxima who already has a few signatures styles (with the very large brims, sometimes turn up at one side).

  6. Golly, there are some stinkers here – the flying turban (great name for it) and the green saucer are the ones that make me laugh and weep in equal measure. I wonder why Mathilde is so fond of F Delvgine’s outlandish creations? Sure, wear them once in a while for the variety they definitely bring to the millinery closet, but to have said closet full of wacky and nothing else seems perverse. There must be other Belgian milliners if Mathilde wants to ‘shop local’.

    And on that note, I’ve always wondered why Maxima is so fond of F. Delvigne too. Aren’t there any Dutch milliners?

  7. Mathilde is a woman, not unlike Maxima, who isn’t afraid to try different shapes and colors in hats. I think that’s part of the fun of being a royal! There are so many other rules and protocol that must be observed that one area where these royal women can ” let loose”, so to speak, without offending anyone would be in their choice of hats. So why not?

    • Some of these hats sure are creative. I don’t like all of them especially the ones with weird shapes. Have her hats tamed down a bit since she became queen? I think so.

  8. I am on record as a fan of Queen Mathilde and especially of her variety of hats, but I must say there are some in this collection that I really don’t care for at all. Nonetheless, I still love the fact that she does not seem at all intimidated by hats and is willing to take a chance. Even when she chooses something very unusual she doesn’t appear to be doing it simply to get attention.

    • I agree- she seems to be truly open to experimenting with fashion but not in a way that’s all about being the center of attention. She’s much braver than I am!

      Kate’s hats sure look boring in comparison.

  9. I love the variety that this displays. Unlike some royal ladies, Mathilde doesn’t stick to a formula, but tries different things all the time. Perhaps in a way, her millinery experimentation (like Maxima’s) is in fact her trademark. I like very many of these, particularly the Inauguration Day hat. The white with black trim seems to me like a perfect Ascot hat (maybe that’s just the My Fair Lady association at the back of my mind!) Some are not as appealing as others to me, but I would say that they generally go very well as part of an outfit, and they add a great deal of interest. As hat lovers, we can only be grateful to someone who helps to raise the profile of hat-wearing in such a generally positive way.

  10. Although most of these hats are just odd and somewhat unattractive, I rather like the following: #4, the orange straw that shows only from the back of the head; #7 and #8, the two crystal-feathered headpieces; #12 the pink rings, which I like very much. It’s surprising that the very large hats totally change the shape of Queen Mathilde’s face. I think she looks the most attractive with smaller, dressier designs.

  11. Lord – she’s not afraid to experiment is she. And sadly, she very often misses the Mark. Some of these are just really odd shapes, and they don’t suit her. The flying turban and the multicoloured fraggle are particular low points. She’s much better in classic, plain shapes, like on Inauguration Day. She’s a classic beauty who doesn’t need to gild the lily. Let’s hope she sticks with those simpler shapes like she’s been doing more recently.

  12. I like the variety too. She is never boring but like Max. The only one I really would like to see arrested and sent to the Tower is the flying turban. That actually offends me. I do like the twirly brown thing that sits in her bun. Delavigne may not always get it right but the designs entertain me more than Kate s yawny forehead bolters. I would like to see our Sophie wear these hats

  13. I am a great fan of Queen Mathilde but I must say there is not a single hat above that i like. The only one I find pretty and interesting is the pink rings headpiece

  14. There’s a ton of variety here! She doesn’t have a “signature” hat shape does she? LOVE that.

    I’m hoping for lots of color and another crazy shape. Why not, right?!

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