Belgian Monarchs Continue Canadian State Visit

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde continued their Canadian state visit yesterday with tours of the National Gallery and the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. For the second day in a row, Queen Mathilde applied a diplomatic hand to her fashion choices, repeating a casque style headpiece in overlapping dark orange-red maple leaves.

Mar 13, 2018 in FD | Royal Hats Mar 13, 2018 in FD | Royal Hats

Mar 13, 2018 in FD | Royal Hats  Mar 13, 2018 in FD | Royal Hats

The mixed brown and orange-red leaves that were part of this hat at the time of its first outing, on a state visit to Japan in October 2016, have clearly gone renovation. This updated version all in red is not only a better fit for this Canadian visit but works better with this design- the single colour highlights the layered, textural beauty of the hat itself. It’s really beautiful on Mathilde, and that wasn’t an adjective I would have used for the first version. The single colour also works better with this ensemble- the topper compliments and no longer competes with Queen Mathilde’s floral patterned skirt.

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: Oct 11, 2016
I imagine it difficult to hit the right balance on diplomatic dressing and I think Queen Mathilde’s choices on this tour so far- bold red and this maple leave headpiece- have offered a thoughtful nod to her Canadian hosts without veering into twee territory. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this hat, it’s renovation, and it’s choice for this tour. 
Photos from Benoit Doppange via Belga  

32 thoughts on “Belgian Monarchs Continue Canadian State Visit

  1. I agree, Hat Queen: the single-colour version is a great improvement.
    I notice European royal ladies are much more likely to wear a skirt and top, compared to the British royal ladies who almost invariably go for dresses. Of course, a dress is much easier to coordinate with hat, shoes, bag etc than a top and skirt which aren’t of the same material. But Queen Mathilde and Queen Maxima both seem very good at creating an ensemble with less matching going on, though to my eyes it seems a less formal look.

  2. I find it fascinating that such a themed hat was used for diplomatic dressing in such different countries as Japan and Canada.
    Agree that the changes were for the better.

  3. While this still will never be a favorite hat of mine, the removal of the brown leaves and reworking of the placement of the red ones does indeed improve this hat. It looks more streamlined here, and works better overall with the whole outfit.

    As a side note, it’s interesting how much the maple leaf motif is beloved in Canada and shown off by royals in state visits to Canada. In most other places, I would think such a nod would be seen as too cheesy (i.e., if royals wore star motifs in red, white, and blue to the U.S.).

    • We Canadians LOVE our maple leaf and are honoured when Royals acknowledge this. When I was in school ( a long long time ago, admittedly) we sang a song called “The Maple Leaf Forever.” I admit that the word are not without controversy now, but the idea is there that our symbol is the Maple Leaf.

    • The degrees of diplomatic dressing are interesting. I’m not sure where the line between “respectful nod” and “cheesy” is! My sense is that when royals wear red in China, it is noticed and appreciated (respectful nod). When Queen Elizabeth wears green in Northern Ireland, it is met with similar response (respectful nod). When Princess Diana wore a silk dress on the first day of a visit to Japan in 1986 printed with large red dots in a homage to the Japanese flag, it made international news! Today, I suspect such a fashion choice might be seen as a bit over the top (cheesy). I think there’s also appreciation when a royal woman wears something created by a designer from the host country or with some sort of connection to it (respectful nod).

      As for maple leaf brooches or embellishments on hats- to readers outside Canada, it might seem cheesy; to us Canadians (who have an uncharacteristic amount of pride for our beloved national symbol), I think seeing a royal wear this motif – especially someone from OUR royal family! – is endearing and we appreciate the gesture.

      • I think it is a nice tradition and the maple leaves make a very elegant decoration, one of the reasons for their succes in royal millinery perhaps.
        As for fascinators, I think the British press invented the word “hattinator” for small hats worn on an Alice band or held to the head with an elastic. But I much prefer the French word “bibi”, which designs any cute little hat.

      • Of course I meant no offense by offering up that observation. As you said, usually colors are a nice nod to a host country, but in particular the maple leaf has stood out (at least to me) as a specific motif used frequently, and I’ve never heard a Canadian say the use of it in a royal hat/jewelry was over the top. While something like the shamrock for Ireland has also been used, that motif has always been more subtle (like in a wedding dress), or specifically around St. Patrick’s Day. Therefore, it was mostly an observation of curiosity; I hope that clarifies my statement, and I appreciate the insight from Canadians about this.

        • No offense taken! It’s an interesting observation- I can’t think of another country’s emblem that has appeared more on royal hats than the maple leaf. Maybe that’s simply because it’s… a leaf!

    • Good point Jake. Other countries have national plant motifs, but they rarely seem to show up on hats used for royal visits.
      New Zealand’s national plant is the fern, and Duchess Kate wore a hat with fern trim in for her visit there in 2014 – however the colours needed to be black-and-white, whereas her hat was blue, so the reference may have been missed- a lost opportunity! (Though she did get the colours right later on the tour with her NZ fern evening dress)https://media.glamour.com/photos/56963e8393ef4b09520fe3e3/master/w_1600,c_limit/fashion-2014-04-kate-middleton-emilia-wickstead-blue-dress-fern-brooch-new-zealand-main.jpg.
      and here’s HM in 1954 touring Australia (my country) in a hat trimmed with Australia’s national flower, the wattle.
      https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/royal-tour-of-australia-queen-elizabeth-ii-and-prince-philip-the-duke-picture-id78966973?k=6&m=78966973&s=612×612&w=0&h=Ul8hivSCHzd7MOK4WoaJSYDxQ4yuKL0Y6qtyHLxJj58=
      HM has visited Australia and new Zealand at least 5 times (I think) but no subsequent sign of wattle or ferns on hats, that I know of. Canadians, I am jealous! I would love to see more of my national flower shown in royal millinery.

      • This is HM in Sierra Leone, West Africa (1961). If you let your imagination run a bit, can you picture maple leaves?

        • Ah yes, the Greek god Dionysus hat.
          Much as I adore ‘sixties hats, this one is just way too cheesy for my taste. The oh-so-literal bunches of grapes make me think that HM borrowed her hat from Nureyev when he was performing L’apres-Midi d’un Faun.
          I can take any amount of flowers on people’s heads, but I just cant take fruit seriously. Way too Carmen Miranda.

      • Another interesting observation. I wonder if the shape of a maple leaf is simply an easier shape to work with, trim wise, than wattle or a fern?

  4. I would love to have a fascinator like that for Canada Day. I might have to try to make a similar one, although I’m prety sure it wouldn’t turn out like that!

  5. Mathilde looks very elegant with her renovated maple leave hat, and she is wearing another very tasteful ensemble, two days in a row.
    HQ: I thought it would be interesting to compare two different occasions where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, tipped her hat to Canada.
    July 1, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada in straw:
    Embed from Getty Images
    June 13, 2016 at Windsor Castle for the Order of the Garter Service in a more winter-weight:
    Embed from Getty Images

  6. I like this hat. It is a creative and subtle nod to Canada. I also like the whole outfit. It looks like something I could have in my closet. Not too matchy, matchy or an all one note look. Lovely!

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