Reader Guest Post: Stylist For A Day

I’m so pleased to welcome Sandra to Royal Hats today! When I issued an open invitation for readers to write posts with suggestions of hats for various royals to repeat, Sandra proposed a slightly different take that places her in a role we’d all love to have for a day- millinery stylist for Queen Máxima. Welcome, Sandra! 

The first Royal I saw in person was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she toured New Zealand in April 1966 – my grandmother had taken me with her to Napier to stay with her brother and sister-in-law during the school holidays. Not only did we stand and  wave as the Queen Mother went past standing in an open car but we also saw Britannia in port. My young mind (8 years old) was so impressed I still remember  the colourful bunting on Britannia and the ‘strings of pearls’ on the Queen Mother’s hat. Sadly, I’m blowed if I can find an image on the wonderful web of my first Royal Hat – blue and, as I say, covered in pearls – although I vividly recall that outfit being on a magazine cover.

Sorry Sandra- I’ve searched high and low and can’t find a photo, either! Maybe Jimbo or Baxter can work their magic?! 

As a child I ‘watched’ on my  Viewmaster numerous times the weddings of Princesses Margaret and Alexandra, and Elizabeth’s coronation, and in real life have seen Queen Elizabeth (again, as a schoolgirl), Princess Anne in a tea-coloured dress up close and quite by accident on the South Bank in London in the early 1980s (no hat and no crowds either, I think it was an exhibition of artworks by prisoners), been in the same London theatre as the Duchess of Gloucester (tiara), and in 1986 had Diana and Charles wave to me (and some random roadside Brownies) in Doha, Qatar. Their limo was going so fast they had to wave to us from the back window – they both appeared to be smiling wryly. (As an aside, we had just arrived in London on our ‘Big OE’ when their wedding took place. We watched it on a small TV in my sister-in-law’s council flat in Woolwich.)

The pinnacle of my Royal spotting, though, is the moment when I was walking across a bridge in Stockholm, idly looking at the stalled traffic and there, looking right back at me looking at her, was Queen Silvia, very elegant in the back of a limo. In my memory she gave me a small smile but I may have edited that in!

To the point, of my post …

Since I’ve started reading this magnificent blog, I’ve wondered why Queen Maxima doesn’t support Dutch milliners the same way she supports, for instance, Dutch jewellery makers. Her hats are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, by the Belgian milliner, Fabienne Delvigne.

When I mentioned this to Hat Queen, her vast knowledge came to the fore as she pointed out that Maxima has worn designs by Berry Rutjes, Eudia, Herma de Jong, Hoedenhius Kaptein and hats by Jan Taminiau. “So, there are a few Dutch designers but not many … Many European royals don’t seem to be as tied to designers and milliners from their own country as the British are, although I think they are missing an opportunity to promote fashion in their country.”

I couldn’t agree more. It would be nice to see Maxima share a little more love round her own backyard. And by giving her patronage here and there in The Netherlands Maxima would also support the millinery industry and encourage Dutch artisans to train and upskill. In 2002 Marianna Jongkind was made a Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau for services to millinery so Dutch milliners are being recognised, just not worn very often by the Queen.

Some noodling round the ‘net has thrown up ten home-grown milliners that may suit Maxima. Almost all these designers also do avant-garde pieces and I’ve seen plenty of turbans and crownless hats so maybe it’s a Low Country thing? I’ve tried to include a few orange pieces because, you know, Orange! 

1. Marcus Art and Fashion (Maria Marcus): Much here that would suit Maxima (and it seems, thanks to photoshop, she’s worn at least one Marcus hat)

 Marcus Art And Fashion | Royal Hats Marcus Art And Fashion | Royal HatsMarcus Art And Fashion | Royal HatsMarcus Art And Fashion | Royal Hats Marcus Art And Fashion | Royal Hats Marcus Art And Fashion | Royal Hats Marcus Art And Fashion | Royal Hats


2. Irene van Vugt Accessories: Doesn’t seem to be a large collection but some nice designs, including this sinamay disc topped with flowers in a beautiful blue.  

Irene van Vugt | Royal Hats

3. Marga van der Bos: I like the dusky pink wide teardrop brim (below), but some of designs may be a little too ‘Beatrix’ for Max. I wouldn’t want to see her (or anyone) in the ‘chef’ hat – even her vivacity wouldn’t fix that!

Marga van der Bos | Royal Hats

4. Berry Rutjes Jr.:  I can see Maxima in the teal Audrey Hepburn or Little Stitched Natural Cap, the Simple Beautiful (although in a colour to suit her tawny locks) and perhaps, if it were able to be worn at a more sensible angle, the Lulu Blue.

Berry Rutjes Jr. Millinery | Royal Hats Berry Rutjes Jr. Millinery | Royal Hats

 Berry Rutjes Jr. Millinery | Royal Hats   Berry Rutjes Jr. Millinery | Royal Hats


Thank you Sandra – what a diverse and striking set of hat suggestions! I imagine some will immediately strike a chord with other readers (let us know which ones do!). Stay tuned tomorrow, everyone, when Sandra will return with suggested designs for Queen Máxima from six more Dutch milliners.

25 thoughts on “Reader Guest Post: Stylist For A Day

  1. Thank you so much, Sandra, for this excellent overview of Dutch milliners! I have to say I don’t care much for the Berry Rutjes Jr styles, but the others are wonderful and would look great on Maxima — perhaps she’ll choose some of them in the future!

    That leads me to ask — when did the concept of a royal “stylist” take hold? When I previously paid attention to the British royal family 20+ years ago, I was aware that HM and Diana and perhaps some of the other royal ladies had designers that they favored (for both clothing and millinery), who may have guided them and made suggestions as to what would work best, but I don’t remember anyone called a “stylist”. Is this something that has started with the current generation of Kate and the other royals in that age bracket, or was I just not paying attention before?

    • That’s a really interesting question, Matthew. The professional fashion stylist seems to be a result of the digital age. Now that modern photography/video can reveal every tiny flaw (I can’t believe the public discussion generated by the presence of a bandaid on Kate’s finger!) and make any wardrobe mishap a media sensation, it’s practically a necessity.
      It does seem as you say that royals have traditionally put themselves in the hands of their favourite designer, who would suggest a total look including hat, shoes, handbag, etc–which up till recent times has been the only practical solution, given that active royals then (and now) couldn’t possibly have the time to shop around themselves for the amount of new clothes they wear. And it seems pretty natural that a long-serving royal wardrobe employee with a good eye would become trusted to advise on outfit creation and to suggest new items, thus developing into a de facto stylist — just as we’ve seen with Angela Kelly, rising through the ranks. On the face of it, having a professional stylist would not be a strange new experience for a royal – it’s probably only a question of the cost.
      I do wonder which royals don’t use a professionally-trained stylist – there may be a lot more “Angela Kelly’s” in royal courts than we know about; and I suspect that there are some royals who, if they do have their own pro stylist, don’t always rely on that stylist for advice. We already know from a post earlier this year that Maxima has gone clothes shopping with her husband as style advisor :). Perhaps this might account for some of the variations in Maxima’s style 🙂 ?

      • I was reading your reply when a thought popped into my head: they always had a stylist of sorts, didn’t they?, only they were called something else: valets for men and lady’s maid for women… they wouldn’t shop for their lady, but they would take care of preparing complete outfits for them,with maybe a couple options to choose from. But it was the valet/ maid who knew what was in the wardrobe and what to get…

      • LadyB, you are quite correct, though I’m not sure if the actual term lady’s maid was used much past the Downton Abbey/Upstairs Downstairs era. Princess Diana did have two staff members Evelyn Dagley and Fay Marshalsea who were referred to as “dressers” and probably functioned to a certain extent as a modern day stylist might, though as you said, their function was more to put together things from the existing wardrobe than to serve as a personal shopper. I did also read at one time that Ms. Dagley kept a record of what Diana wore for which public engagement, so that outfits were not repeated to the same group of people. On note cards! (There’s probably an app for that by now.) They were also responsible for making sure everything was properly cleaned and cared for, and in charge of packing for trips.

        mcncln, Kate had a bandaid on her finger?!? OMG, how did I miss that?!? I hope it was at least one of those kiddie types with a cartoon character or cute animal on it. (Color coordinated to her outfit, of course!)

      • Did you know Marie Antoinette had a stylist?! It’s not such a new concept!

        Two interesting articles by two who were stylists for Princess Diana- first, Vogue editor Anna Harvey (with snipets from many designers who made things for Diana as well as a great explanation of her style evolution). Anna Harvey began working with Diana during her engagement and later introduced her to Jacques Azagury, who worked with her during later years.

        Royals we know who have/are working with stylists: Queen Letizia, Queen Maxima, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Sofia, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie Zara Philips. I suspect the same for Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Mathilde and the Luxembourg royal ladies.
        Royals with dressers who act as stylists: Queen Elizabeth, Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrix

      • Hat Queen, thanks for your reply Sep 1 at 3:18pm linking to those informative articles about Diana’s stylists. I didn’t know any of this. Nor did I know which royals (apart from HM) do or don’t have stylists today. Fascinating!

    • Thanks so much for trying PH, what a lovely photo (and I can see the influencer here for Princess Margaret’s shoe style). But the outfit I saw the QM in was blue and there was no veiling on her hat. It’ll be out there somewhere.

  2. A lovely selection, but I’m positively drooling over the selection from Maria Marcus, whom I was unaware of before. Thanks for the introduction, Sandra!

  3. I, too, love the Marga van der Bos dusty rose with large tear drop brim hat! Max would do it justice! I am getting so spoiled by all these guest posts. Thank you, Hat Queen for letting them share here!

    • Spoiled indeed- I am enjoying these just as much as you are.

      A few readers are working on similar posts- if any of you feel like you’d like to give this a whirl, let me know. I’d love to pass the reigns of the keyboard over to you!

  4. They’re all nice – really nice – and definitely wearworthy, but I’m absolutely drooling over the Marcus Art and Fashion hats. Art indeed. Gorgeous. You made me think about one of my first royalty sightings. It was in Asmara, Eritrea. We stood on the corner for hours to see Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh with Haile Selassie.

  5. Thanks Sandra. I would recommend Marga van der Bos for her large dramatic hats which are light enough to see through, of which your beautiful pink example is one.

  6. These are great selections, Sandra! I especially like the two blue feather-trimmed Maria Marcus hats for their Max-like drama. I agree with Joanne that the otherwise stunning teal Audrey Hepburn is too tall.

  7. I think there are less milliners on the continent than in the UK. In the UK, there’s a hat shop in almost every town!

    I’d love the turquoise Audrey Hepburn hat on Max if it wasn’t so tall. I also love the one near the top with the black crown, green brim and blue feathers and Max would look fantastic in it. I looked at Max’s blue inventory of hats (HatQueen when are you going to do more inventories????) and she could use a few brighter blue ones.

    • Do you know I never noticed how tall the crown was on that hat until you and MM pointed it out! It is a bit strange, isn’t it? But I love the colour.

    • I too love the turquoise-coloured hats, and noticed too that Max has practically no hats in this colour.
      Turquoise/teal is very underused by royals at present( apart from HM) – which is a pity as it’s one of the Universal Colours, meaning that a version of it will work with virtually any complexion, whether warm or cool.

      Sandra, it would be great fun to see Maxima in any of these hats. BTW, that photoshopped image of the queen was a surprise indeed!

  8. It’s a great question- why don’t the European royals wear more hats made from milliners in their own countries? I think the Brits wear almost 100% hats from the UK!

    I think the red one from Maria Marcus would be brilliant on Queen Maxima!

    • I don’t know very much about the European royals (except what I’ve learned in this blog), but I think the focus on UK designers (clothing too, not just hats) is either protocol or long-standing tradition. I remember reading a comment by someone in the fashion press, right after Diana and Charles’ divorce was finalized, that now Diana would be “free” to wear whatever designers she wished and also something of a stir the first time she wore something by an Italian designer.

    • Certainly in the reign of Queen Elizabeth there has been a trend of promoting business and trade – something Prince Andrew was involved with until his 2011 bad press/image issues. There’s talk of Prince Charles and the Duke of York helping ease Commonwealth countries through Brexit. “If you add a Royal, it shows you mean business,” a ‘Foreign Office insider’ has been quoted as saying (but that could be the reporter’s dear old ma for all I know).

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