Belgian Monarchs Visit US Military Academy

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are on a working visit to the United States yesterday. Yesterday, Their program took them to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. For this visit, Queen Mathilde wore a new hat created especially for this event and described by the designer as “a small bell hat made of red Panama and trimmed with ribbon and a matching bow.”

There is much to like about this piece- the scale is great on Mathilde and I like how the slightly squared crown gives some angular contrast to the rounded brim. I wish the hatband was pulled down a little in front to the base of the crown (it looks to be riding up a bit) but that’s an easy fix. Most of all, I admire how the patterned lace dress, blue earrings, and hat combine to form a red-white-and-blue ensemble that nods gently to her American hosts. Red, white and blue is hardly a subtle colour combination and if a sartorial patriotic nod was needed yesterday, this was a good way to do it.

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Audrey” hat
Previously Worn: This hat is new
What do you think of Queen Mathilde’s new hat?
Photos from social media and Frederic Andrieu

27 thoughts on “Belgian Monarchs Visit US Military Academy

  1. Great analysis from everyone about this hat. I’m liking the offbeat shape, although we’ll have to get another wearing with better photos to tell for sure. I agree with HQ about the subtle nod to the colors of our flag. It’s such a pretty dress, and the red hat gives the ensemble a focal point. A larger hat would have been too much red.

    • Mitten Mary, I agree with you 1000%! Queen Mathilde looked wonderful on Wednesday, with the gentle nod to our colors!
      Oh, the uproar some of the press spewed forth regarding the non-royal hat that emerged from the White House just 24 hours earlier. Another reason I want to pack up and move to Europe – anywhere where hats are worn and appreciated! Politics aside, I think Melania looked smashing on Tuesday, as she and (lower case) donald greeted the French president and his charming wife, albeit sans chapeau! Thoughts, James?
      Tuesday, April 24, 2018, Washington DC
      Embed from Getty Images

      • Jimbo, I’m so glad you posted this, I really wanted to comment to someone on Melania’s hat, but wasn’t sure it would be appropriate to do so here! I thought she looked fabulous, and was actually surprised that Mrs. Macron did not also wear a hat — I would have assumed that their social secretaries would coordinate on something like that. Like you, I wish that hats were worn more frequently in the U.S. Particularly since participating in this blog, I have often found myself seeing some prominent American woman on TV and imagining what type of hat would have gone best with whatever she was wearing.

        • Matthew, just like Congress, I debated on posting this today, and thought how Mcncln recently mentioned that the President’s wife is as close as we’ll get to royalty here in the U.S. I forget the exact post, however. As for us Yanks wearing hats, Mrs. Jimbo and I are doing our parts, and I’m sure you are too! I’m heading out into my 70 degree yard this afternoon, with my head properly covered! (My Miami Beach cap) Happy weekend, hat lovers!

          • HatQueen, I believe you are correct about that. I just did a Google image search on her and could not find a single photo of her in a hat, not even an outerwear hat in photos that (based on coats and gloves) were clearly taken outside in the cold!

      • I also thought this was a great hat and outfit for Melania, although I was surprised to see her wear a hat at all, especially inside at the National Gallery of Art. I’m not surprised Brigitte Macron didn’t wear a hat.

        P.S. If you want to see someone in the U.S. who’s really into hats and wears them all the time, look up Representative Alma Adams of North Carolina. I’ve personally sold hats to her in the past, and I believe she has around 1,100 now (give or take).

        • Thanks for the heads up, Jake! Congresswoman Adams certainly does have an impressive collection, based on what I saw online. I would imagine that with that many hats, a person who does not live in a palace would have to turn the spare bedroom into a giant walk-in hat closet — I have enough trouble storing just a few! Another representative who wears hats as much as possible is Frederica Wilson of Florida, but she almost exclusively wears fedoras and cowboy-style hats. I believe I read somewhere that she started doing that years ago in honor of someone, but I’ve forgotten the details.

          • Frederica Wilson’s hats are way too costume-y for me, but I’m glad to know about Alma Adams. Love the campaign video!

        • Jake, I picked out the hat you sold Alma Adams – the one she’ll wear if she remarries! Check out this 2 minute video, it’s amazing!
          Apologies, HQ, as the subject momentarily veers from the untouchable Royals!

          • Haha I wish I had sold her that one! I hope this isn’t off topic either, but this was a funny election campaign video she did a couple years ago, and showed it to me the day it premiered:

  2. It’s a pity that in 2 of the 4 main photos showing Mathilde, she is placed at the perimeter of the frame, where there is the usual wide-angle lens distortion which is stretching and widening her image, making it hard to establish the true silhouette of the hat. And then when I tried to have a closer look at the original style, Ms Delvigne’s website was down 😦
    But from these limited views, I think this could be a truly elegant hat. Too bad it is worn with a patterned fabric whose design does not support the hat. Fire-engine red is such a big statement — perhaps THE loudest colour statement of all — and it can easily look unbalanced when teamed with a small, soft, delicate and faded-looking pattern like the one on the dress here. As I see it, a sharper-contrasting pattern, or block colour, would have worked better. In the past, Mathilde has done this quite well with some of her other red hats:
    2 other blonde royals who have also successfully teamed a red hat with a pattern, or colours other than red, are Maxima– —and of course Princess Diana.

  3. Errrrrr… I’m not a fan. The brim looks comical small to my eyes. If it was more lampshadey I’d be on board. It just looks a bit off to me. Fab colour though.

  4. I’m going against popular opinion to say I’m not such a fan of this hat. The crown and brim proportions and shapes are too off and create awkward angles; I think a larger and more even lampshade/mushroom brim would’ve been a better choice. While I’m glad to see Mathilde add another red hat to her wardrobe, this particular shade of red is really bright in comparison to the subdued red of her dress; to go with this outfit, I think a blue hat would’ve worked better, or get some bright red shoes to help balance the color of this hat. Overall, the idea is good, but the execution didn’t work so well for me.

  5. I think this is a very effective hat in terms of both style and colour. I wonder, though, whether the apparent riding up of the ribbon at the front is because the brim is actually asymmetrical? I think it might be curved higher at the front, so that the actual length of the crown from top to bottom is shorter at the front than the back, so the ribbon can’t actually be level all the way down? It’s really difficult to tell from these photos whether that’s the case or not.

    • I love the colour of the hat. I don’t think the hatband is riding up; the crown is indeed shorter at the front than at the back, which is unusual. (See picture of Queen Mathilde standing outside whith a bouquet in her hands.)

      • Ah- that’s why the hatband sits at that angle. The more I look at this hat, the more I think something is off about the shape. I think I prefer a mushroom brim with the same rounded shape around the whole hat. The brim curve looks different on this hat around the front.

  6. Love this hat – what an interesting shape. And if you see how well she stands out in those long shots, so much better to be wearing a red hat than a white or blue one.

  7. OH!! I love this hat!! What a fun wonderful newish and different but still calm and appropriate shape. Oh wowza! I would love to see Ms. MM in this shape or the DoCam! It’s brimmed but not too much, and has grace and movement, and isn’t the same-old small brim shape we see (in lovely variety but still) on HM.

    • Love your assessment, Shannon: “…newish and different but still calm and appropriate…” You’ve nailed it.

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself. My initial reaction when I saw the hat was positive and I like it more now. I’m sure the cadets were thrilled to have the King and Queen visit; its such a picturesque venue.

  8. Beautiful hat! And West Point is gorgeous – the the buildings and grounds as well as the setting along the Hudson River.

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