Belgian National Day

The Belgian Royal Family celebrated their country’s national holiday today, attending a Te Deum mass at the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels followed by a military parade.

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As usual, Queen Mathilde wore a new hat for these events. A press release from the milliner reads “The hat called du Barry is from the Couture collection and is made of laminated banana fibers in a powder pink color tone.This style is emblematic of la Maison Fabienne Delvigne: original and elegant due to its shape and material.”

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In pale pink straw, the free form hat follows a basic saucer shape over Mathilde’s head. The back of the brim is split and turned upward, giving a wonderful sense of movement to the piece and more organic feel to the shape. We’ve seen this shape on several other royal clients of Fabienne Delvigne and while it’s very pretty on Mathilde from the front, I think it’s a bit clunky from the back.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Claire and Princess Astrid were also in attendance for the military parade. Princess Claire wore a warm brown straw hat with short, square crown and wide mushroom brim. Claire always carries a large brim so well and while brown is not the most exciting of shades, the hat was a great counterpoint to her vibrant ensemble.

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Designer: Brigitte Ganne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

It looks like Princess Astrid wore a small ecru carved leaf fascinator on the left side of her head. From closeup view, the piece looks like it may be made of wood.

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Photographer Bernard Rübsamen has posted a fantastic gallery of images from this event (with some amazing hat views)  you can see hereBelgian National Day always brings us some new and unexpected hats- what do you think of the ones we saw here today?

22 thoughts on “Belgian National Day

  1. Many thanks for the link to the collection of 113! photos put up. They are brilliant and show much enjoyed close access. I spied a donut hat in the background straight away HQ….your personal favourite haha.

  2. I totally agree with you HatQueen; the hat looks good from the front, but it is messy and clunky in the back. Overall though a most excellent ensemble for Mathilde! Slightly disappointed we didn’t see Elisabeth in a fascinator or something similar.

    Overall I really like Claire’s hat and dress, but I do wish the hat sat slightly farther back so it didn’t cover her face as much. This is definitely a shape she wears well.

    My word, I’m really struggling to say Astrid is even wearing a fascinator! She gets a few courtesy points since she is on crutches, but you can’t hardly see this piece in her hair, so obviously this was my least favorite of the day.

    P.S. Is there any reason why Albert and Paola aren’t at these events anymore? Fabiola always showed up until the last couple years of her life; maybe it’s a personal choice?

  3. Mathilde: Gorgeous concept and a gorgeous look, no shortage of wow factor here.The hat is perfect on 3 sides, so I’m willing to forgive the somewhat squished look at the back. The dress seaming and positioning of the dress details (bell sleeves and floral pattern) could indeed be more flattering — but as it’s not obvious from every angle, I’m on board.
    Princess Claire: Exciting! what a fabulous hat! It could have been lifted straight out of the ‘fifties. And brown is such an underused colour, It’s refreshing to see someone other than Maxima tackling brown. Sadly, her outfit, though nice in itself, looks a bit casual for this occasion and, doesn’t live up to the power of this hat.

  4. I love Queen Mathilde’s hat, it reminds me of a small picture hat from the front and I love the back. I find it interesting and we can really see her pretty hairstyle.

  5. HatQueen, you are the expert, I would never argue with you about hats, but at what point does a large barrette or hair clip start to be called a fascinator? According to Wikipedia, “it is usually a large decorative design attached to a band or clip, sometimes incorporating a base to resemble a miniature hat”, and the possibly wooden item in Princess Astrid’s hair hardly seems to me to meet that description!

    • It is a decorative design attached to a clip so on that basis, I think it qualifies. Wikipedia is wrong on the base part- if it has a visible base, it’s a cocktail hat.

  6. Queen Mathilde’s hat has a lovely sculptural look. She has it positioned very well, too. As JamesB has said, it’s a very Max-influenced ensemble.

    Princess Elisabeth looks so grown up! Perhaps we’ll be seeing her in a hat for this event next year.

    • I’m not sure I’d say “Max-influenced”- Mathilde has been going to Fabienne Delvigne for hats and NATAN for clothes longer than Queen Maxima has. I think both pieces are reflective of what’s happening at these two couture houses right now, not Mathilde copying Maxima.

        • You raise an interesting point- it seems odd to me that Edouard Vermeulen at the House of NATAN often outfits Maxima and Mathilde in very similar things. Does he not tell them the other has already chosen a particular dress? In Catherine Walker’s wonderful autobiography, the Duchess of Kent writes a lovely passage about being a longtime Walker client and describes going to look at new collections and finding that Diana, once again, had beat her to the rack and claimed several pieces first. You’d think that NATAN would do the same for the Dutch and Belgian queens. Perhaps, in the end, they don’t care!

  7. There’s a bit too much going on with Mathilde for me to be onboard. It’s the dress mainly, the sleeves and the floral pattern are fighting (and that seam is terrible, it’s so obvious). One or other would have been great. The hat is however a good pairing. This is Máx dressing by Mathilde, and for me it shows that the former has the edge.

    Love Claire’s look; the brown is an unusual colour to have picked from the bright outfit, but it calms it down. Skilfully done.

  8. I love Queen Mathilde’s hat it’s a wonderful compliment to the dress. However, I would like the dress more If it didn’t have that large abstract explosion in the middle.
    Princess Astrid’s dress is one of her best to date IMO but the little wooden ruler on the side of her head is a missed opportunity to ascent this outfit with a large brim hat. A cream hat in the scale of Clair’s and she would have been in amazing territory.
    I love that Clair never shies away from a proper hat and this is a wonderful warm tone but not sure it works with the rest of her bright outfit.

  9. I like the Queen’s hat and dress. I am one that likes the bell shaped sleeves. It is something different for a change. Isn’t Princess Elisabeth looking all grown up? She looks very pretty in her dress. It looks like she is trying to match her father’s sash which is a hard thing to do. Claire’s hat is growing on me. I thought it strange at first that it looked like wood, but with the colorful skirt I think it works. Anyway, the royal family looks great!

  10. I think the color of Queen Mathilde’s hat is absolutely beautiful on her. Overall, the shape of the hat is not awful from the back while the front is sophisticated and clean. The dress, with its cluttered flowers and bell sleeves is not up to Mathilde’s usual elegant style. Claire’s hat is neither good or bad, just a ordinary hat worn flat on her head. Astrid doesn’t look like she is wearing anything on her head in these photos.

  11. I love everything about this. The outfits, the young people, the extended family, all of it. But I especially love Queen Mathilde, her hat and dress are both fabulous. And I’m one who loves the hat (color and shape) even from the back. The very back is perhaps my least favorite angle, but still not bad and the front and top (like in the last picture of her) are so so wonderful. IMO really a great millinery piece, and great on her.

  12. Queen Mathilde’s hat looks like a giant flower petal from the front and I find it beautiful. In the back, I would have preferred the parts that look like ribbon hanging down to have been rounded off or tucked under.
    Princess Claire’s hat is bold, but it absolutely works here. The warm brown is a good neutral for the colors and the shape balances the width of her skirt. I might wish she had worn it at a bit of an angle.

  13. I do like this hat on Mat – it’s a bit whimsical and very light and airy for a summer day – however, it looks from the side like a failed fortune cookie! I dislike this dress immensely – but then I’m not a fan of these up and coming overly belled sleeves. They didn’t work for me in the late 60s and I would never wear them now either.

  14. Queen Mathilde’s hat is utterly delightful–suits her and the event perfectly. While the shape in the back isn’t perfect, I’m prepared to ignore it for the sake of its general appeal. I cannot say Iike Princess Claire’s hat very well–it covers so much of her face that it throws her top and skirt into to great a prominence; she’s all torso. The hat might look better paired with less strikingly different colors. Princess Elisabeth is looking so grown up!

  15. Queen Mathilde’s hat is pretty more for the color than the shape. I feel like we’ve seen this shape a few times before so I’m not overly excited about it. Princess Claire’s hat feels like a throwback but also modern at the same time. I love it!

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