Dutch Monarchs Visit Curaçao

King Willem Alexander and Queen Máxima arrived Sunday on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao for a two-day visit. For their arrival, Queen Máxima paired a familiar vibrant orange cotton summer dress with a hat she first wore in this region back in 2011. A variation on a saucer, the folded straw design follows smooth lines to a raised top, backed by raw edged ruffle trim in the same straw.


While the hat looks caramel brown in most photos, its previous outing (in much better weather!) in 2011 suggests it has an orange cast that, I suspect was the rationale for pairing it with this dress. The scale is great on Máxima but the slightly irregular shape and rough edged straw trim on the back give it a very informal feel that feels a little too unpolished for my taste. I understand the desire to mix things up within one’s wardrobe but we’ve all seen the similarly shaped orange straw headpiece Queen Máxima usually wears with this dress– a more polished piece in the same shade as the dress tha I think just works better.


Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Natan.
Previously Worn: Nov 5, 2011. Princess Aimee borrowed it for King Willem Alexander’s inauguration, April 30, 2013.
Queen Máxima used the island’s Dia di Bandera, (Flag Day) celebrations yesterday as an occasion to début a new hat.
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In pale aqua straw, the rounded crown design extends into a wide, sidesweeping brim with raw, unfinished edges. The design is completed with what looks like a slim hatband in either burnt feathers or dyed raffia, tied at the back of the hat in a bow with tails left to swirl in a circle around the brim.  
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This hat is an aqua twin to one of my favourite of ALL Queen Máxima’s hats. It’s a good second iteration of this design… but I’m not sure it’s great. I love when royal milliners break out patterned straws for summer hats but I’m not sure about the blue stripes visible in the weave of this material. Call me fickle but when we first saw this raw unfinished-edge technique when then Princess Máxima stepped out at the Spanish royal wedding in 2004, its unique, creative and unexpected beauty really stood out (I remember that hat taking my breath away!) Fourteen years later, we’ve seen Fabienne Delvigne repeat the technique on enough similar designs on other royal heads (see here, here and here) that my sense of awe at its uniqueness is replaced by…. quiet indifference wrapped in a large helping of “seen it before”. That’s NOT how I ever want to feel about a royal hat. Like I said, good, but not great. 
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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

For the second part of the day’s festivities, Queen Máxima topped her vibrant green dress with one of her ruched pinky-beige circular headpieces with open crown.

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I completely understand wearing an open topped headpiece in hot, tropical climates- the design adds some millinery formality to an ensemble while an open crown keeps things cool and comfortable. There are, however, a few design elements of this particularly piece- namely colour, fabric and that tail that peeks out over Máxima’s ear-  that make it look like a head bandage. Queen Máxima’s has some really strong alternatives of similar shape and style in her hat closet and I think this one, this one or this one would have been better options. 
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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: May 6, 2014
I admit- I’ve been tough on these three designs. Dressing for a foreign visit in exceptionally hot weather can’t be an easy task and yet, I think we’ve seen Queen Máxima in more successful looks in even more difficult circumstances. What do you think of this trio of hats in the Caribbean over the past three days? 
Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

8 thoughts on “Dutch Monarchs Visit Curaçao

  1. The first hat is simply awful IMHO. The dress, brooch and handbag are terrific though.
    The second hat is lovely but I wish it had been a little bit darker shade of aqua but I do like the swirls in the brim.
    The third hat is a nice neutral color that I agree allows the eye to rest on her lovely face. However, the earrings look like miniature Christmas wreaths and I agree with mrfitzrobe that the seaweed colony needs to go, and immediately. A beautiful brooch would do the trick, and we know she has the jewels!

  2. The caramel straw hat – still nice; but if the orange of the dress is as bright as it seems in some photos, then I feel the hat is too medium a neutral colour to pair well with this orange. I like it when a hat leads the eye up to the face — but the dress colour is too dominant (relative to the hat colour) to allow that to happen. So I agree HQ, that the orange hat would be a better choice.
    The aqua rough-edge straw hat: I still enjoy this style, but I’m disappointed to see the muted greens of the hat paired with the bright clear aqua of the dress – which just makes the hat colours look dirty in comparison. Not to mention the crowding effect of the dress’s unflattering neckline, which reminds me of the similar “showercap” neckline of the blush dress she wore to Portugal on Oct 12, 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing this hat again, with a different ensemble.
    The beige headpiece: The shoulder trim on the dress certainly makes the big boutonniere of shamrocks that the Duchess of Cambridge wears when she visits the Irish Guards look pretty tame! Back to the hat, I like how its geometric, pillbox-like shape provides such a great foil to the unstructured froofiness of the dress’s shoulder trim; The colour is light enough to draw the eye up to Maxima’s face; however, I’m never a fan of those folded-back tailpieces which we’ve seen before in similar hats of Maxima’s — they certainly are reminiscent of wet bandages. The colour of her earrings just misses out by being too pale; a darker green, or else gold, would create a better connection to the hat.

  3. I immediately thought of the 2004 hat even before I read HQ’s comments and was gratified to see there was a like to it! While the 2004 pink cotton candy hat appears to be wafting up at the edges like a vapour (to great visual effect) the aqua straw hat just stops at the edges is if the rim were simply frayed. For this reason, I believe the 2004 pink straw hat is still the best example of this style.

  4. As always I enjoy this blog immensely, and I love Maxima’s colourful wardrobe.

    The first hat does look like it suffered in transport, the second is a wonderful shape, but the drawings on it is less so, and to me all bandage hats, also the ones in the links, are ugly. All of these hats could have been successfully replaced with variations over Maxima’s old, widebrimmed natural straw hat with varying trim.

  5. Actual hats aside (and yes, last one is just an ace bandage, there is no other way to describe it)…..MrFitzroy is most unsettled by the colony of seaweed on the shoulder of the green dress. Once that stuff takes hold, it is nearly impossible to eradicate!!

    HatQueen your observations are astute and on point, the two actual hats are very nice, but somehow miss the mark just by that small sliver which can make the difference between –oh. and –OOOHHH!!!!!

  6. I do not agree with your comment on the last one hat queen. I love this combination. I think it is young ,modern, unexpected and fresh.

  7. If the first hat had been rounder and more refined, it would’ve worked, but in its current state it just looks damaged. Time to retire this one. The dress is still wonderful, and I like the pairing of the brooch with it.

    I, for one, love this new hat on Máxima! The shape and overall design is familiar enough, but I love that it harkens back to the good and vivacious styles of her Crown Princess days compared to the more streamlined slice hats she’s favored as Queen. In photos it seems like the brim should be floppy, but the videos show how well it’s holding its shape. The color variations in the sinamay is a nice touch. I think this hat hits the perfect balance of formality and fun for a visit to Curaçao.

    As for the third outing, this was definitely my least favorite look. I love this green dress, but I’ve never liked the earring, and the hat just is too much bandage wrap! If this had been a refined pillbox, it would’ve been a lovely look, but as is, I’d rather burn the hat (and I rarely want to burn hats!).

  8. I have to agree with your quibbles HQ, the thought of the first hat is okay but the execution looks off as if it has bent during the flight.
    the second hat could have been great if it weren’t that the material looks very thin and as if somebody drew circles on it which make it look kinda messy
    the third hat resembles Mathilde’s bandage hat, though this one is better. Overall hat wise a bit off though I love the vibrant colours in her wardrobe for this Caribbean visit.

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