Dutch Royal Wedding 17 Years On: Royal Guests Part 1

When Crown Prince Willem-Alexander married Máxima Zorreguieta seventeen years ago, his status as heir to the Dutch throne made the wedding a state occasion and as such, a large number of royal guests attended. We now look at some of these royal hats.

Queen Margrethe’s hat linked with her fur trimmed coat, the domed crown covered in the same textured blue wool fabric. The denim blue inverse brim made this design unique, hugging the bottom of the crown tightly before opening horizontally, the shape punctuated by a slim lighter blue hatband on the under side. the brim’s front brim vent was further highlighted with a pearl brooch. Despite its small footprint, this hat packs a lot of punch- perhaps too much in combination with the fur collar and cuffs on the coat?

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Princess Benedikte wore a silver tweed coat and hat with fur trim on the bumper brim (and collar and dress hem). The scale of fur trim is just right here and the dark colour contrasts AND coordinates beautifully with the fabric. The fur hem of the dress is a little odd but the hat works really well.

Benedikte’s eldest daughter,  Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, topped her lilac dress and coat with a magenta felt brimless hat trimmed with a tall spray of feathers. The pieces are all individually attractive but I’m just not sure they combine well together. Photos of Alexandra’s younger sister, Princess Nathalie, who also attended, elude me.

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Queen Silvia’s midnight blue hat combined straw and velvet- not a combination we often see. The hat’s wide, upturned kettle brim was edged in a wide stripe of velvet which was repeated on the crown. A ruched hatband of light straw added softness, volume and textural contrast between the crown and brim.

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Crown Princess Victoria topped her tailored chocolate suit with a matching straw hat. It’s a hat I’m happy to leave in the past for Victoria, its unrefined finishing and awkward looking hatband making a less than flattering look for her.

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Princess Madeleine’s hat packed a little more style punch and finesse with its angular crown and upswept brim around the back. The sequinned hatband reads a little ‘glitzy cowgirl’ and the roughly woven straw feels slightly unmatched against Madeleine’s beautifully tailored dress and jacket but somehow, the look works for what it was.

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Queen Sonja topped her cantaloupe orange lace suit with a matching silk cloche hat. The upturned brim updated the traditional shape with some angular edge (a touch somewhat nullified by the wide, rather dowdy lace hatband) and a small spray of orange feathers and a canteloupe silk twist on the side attempted to liven the design. A matching canteloupe lace purse and fur stole completed the look- and a lot of canteloupe it was. Melon overkill, I’d say.

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Crown Princess Mette-Marit was barely six months into royal life at this point and her ensemble reflects some of this inexperience. Her navy silk cloche hat was embellished by a wide, ruched hatband and the same matchstick cream stitching around the outside of the brim edge as on the neckline of her dress and, in reverse, on her cream coat. All in all, it was rather bland.
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From bland and boring we move to brilliantly bizarre with Princess Märtha Louise’s hat. A fantastical design that combines a tall, olive green felt square-edged hourglass crown, a wide purple felt brim, purple roses and cobalt, orange and red feathers, the hat is unexpected, whimsical and… well, it’s just bonkers. Pairing this embellished purple suit with this hat was a gutsy move I’ve always admired and makes me smile, still.
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Well- there’s much to discuss here! Which hats stand out to you, most? Which hats have weathered the passage of time, best?
Photos from Getty as indicated

20 thoughts on “Dutch Royal Wedding 17 Years On: Royal Guests Part 1

  1. A lovely look back, thanks HQ. What strikes me about the photos is not the hats … but the low heels the women are wearing. Only 17 years ago! It feels like vertiginous heels have been the fashion for an age!!! (I can no longer wear heels of any height, so it’s flats or platforms of various heights.)

  2. Queen Margrethe wins for sheer panache. It’s the sort of style few call pull off, but she makes it work. It makes me think of Rosalind Russell in the ‘40s. Unfortunately, there is the illusion of baldness, all too common in her hats. Love the use of the pearl brooch.

    The Swedish princesses were so young that I can give them a pass. I actually like Mette-Marit’s cloche. It suits her pared-down style. The whole ensemble is nice and crisp, but just too businesslike for a royal wedding.

    Märtha Louise! It’s not a royal wedding unless someone wears a wacky hat, is it?

    Looking forward to the next installment, HatQueen!

  3. 1. Queen Margrethe’s hat is fantastic. Seeing the full-length picture of her coat, however, reminded me of Lucy Ricardo trying to hide something from Ricky. (She had a lot of ‘splainin’ to do!) Below, see the different trimming on Margrethe’s hat when it came out of the closet exactly 3 months later, in Paris.

    May 2, 2002
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    2. I could easily see Alexandra’s magenta hat on Sophie, even today – very nice.
    3. Silvia’s hat is big, but very nice.
    4. Victoria: I would not have picked semi-sweet dark chocolate with the gardening hat for a wedding. Madeleine’s colors would be nicer on her, IMO.
    5. Madeleine: I love the glitzy cowgirl look, casual as it is, and her eyes are amazing! Giddy-up.
    6. Sonja: Enough said on the orange overload.
    7. Mette-Marit: Enough said about the school-marm look . . . an ensemble better suited for a ship launching.
    8. Martha Louise: Wacky and fun, cartoonish and “look-at-me” . . .yes. Wedding-appropriate . . .we all have our own opinions, which makes RoyalHats so enjoyable. Happy weekend, everyone!

    • It’s a slow day, so please enjoy a 3rd outing, with a glimpse inside the massive coat:
      October 20, 2003; welcoming Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg:
      Embed from Getty Images

  4. Margarethe ‘s hat is fabulous, Sylvia’s hat is wonderful. I am always slightly surprised that not frequent hat wearers choose to go small, this is a big hat for Sylvia and she looks great in it. MM’s hat was imo a disappointment I think this is her biggest hat, she prefers and her style evolved into headbands but ML ‘s hat is great though slightly wacky.

    This was 17 years ago SO MUCH has changed in the hat world I think that if there was another royal European wedding with hats where all the royals attend the hats would be more sophisticated and fun.

  5. Queen Margarethe’s hat is a winner to me. I like the contrast with the soft fur and the hat together with the coat, as seen in the full lenght picture, make for a structured, almost architectural look. Might look odd on someone else, but looks good on her.
    Queen Sylvia is elegant, but alas! the Princesses Victoria and Madeleine bought their hats ready made by the look of it. They have moved on to better quality millinery since, so let’s not hold it against them.
    Princess Märtha Louise wins first prize for guts and sense of colour. The crown of her hat looks enormous on her but the ensemble is much fun and far better suited to the festive occasion than Princess Mette-Marit’s school mistress like outfit.
    Much has been said about Queen Sonia’s over-orange hat, on wich I agree and would like to add that the brim seems too small for her face.

  6. Ah, a hat I would love for Margrethe to pull out again! I do agree the oversized fur cuffs and collar overwhelm the look a bit, but overall an excellent choice.

    A quick Google search only brought up one link to a Pinterest page that featured Benedikte’s ensemble: a mushroom grey coat with a sedate fur collar and a fur hem on her dress, with a bumper hat whose fur brim matches the fur on her outfit. A good look, but certainly not my favorite hat for Benedikte. Alexandra’s hat would fit right in today with all the other cocktail/structured beret hats I love seeing.

    I love the combination of navy blue accessories with a bright teal outfit for Silvia. The velvet helped keep the straw hat looking more wintry, but it suffers from that classic early 2000s oversized look. Such a shame, because this is a look I would love to Silvia repeat again.

    Victoria’s monochrome chocolate brown look was rather bland, and while her outfit was fine, the hat does look quite unrefined and more appropriate for a day in the garden. Madeleine’s whole look was much more elegant, and I remember this was one of the first royal hats that really caught my eye back when I started paying attention to such things circa 2006, but now it reads very 2000s and doesn’t have the same impact unfortunately.

    I love me some orange and think it’s a lovely color for Sonja, but this is far too much! Too matchy with the dress fabric also included on the hat, and it’s so bright when paired with the black fur wrap that it reads quite Halloween. A navy dress and a navy hatband could’ve toned this down, or instead a dark shade of orange.

    Mette-Merit’s whole look is pretty sedate, but I thought it was done well considering some of her other looks. While it may not be wedding guest fabulous, it’s certainly an ensemble people can look to if they want to wear a hat in a more everyday setting.

    Märtha-Louise’s hat certainly is one of the most memorable of the 2000s, and I’ve always loved it. I think purple and green is an unexpected color combo that works very well, but the red and blue feathers in the hat trim throw everything off a bit for me. Overall, she was a very elegant guest who was able to express her personality in a way that wasn’t too over-the-top.

  7. Margrethe’s hat is fabulous. I’d love to see it again. Really interesting, not dated, different, and flattering. Everything else here is either lovely but normal (Sonja/Silvia/Alexandra/MM) bad (Vitcoria/Madeleine) or dated bonkers (M-L). I actually don’t mind Martha-Louise’s hat- my biggest observation is that it’s shape is a bit dated (reminds me of some of the more out there hats on the CoW from that era), but at least it’s interesting.

    • Mark Phillips and the Duchess of York are no longer in the British royal family due to their divorces from the Queen’s children in the early 1990s. As such, they never represent the family at anything.

      There were three representatives from the British royal family at this wedding- be patient and stay tuned tomorrow!

      • Quick etiquette question… at most weddings (especially in UK), all guests wear buttonholes (men) and woman (often on handbag or wrist). Why do the royal family not partake in this traditional act at weddings?

        • Dd, I’ve never been to a UK wedding, but have been to many U.S. weddings and one in Mexico City, and have never observed a custom where ALL men where buttonholes — generally the men in the wedding party wear them, not those who are simply guests. As far as wrist corsages, the only place I’ve ever seen those is at proms (high school end-of-season formal dances), never at any event involving adult women. Of course, this could be a regional thing.

  8. Margrethe wins it for me. I wondered about having the hat in the opposite colourway, with the pale blue underneath and a navy band; but then that might have been too matchy matchy. She does like her yeti fur, doesn’t she?
    I liked Mette-Marit’s look – a brooch would have livened it up, maybe even pinned to the hat!
    Martha-Louise wins the Princess Beatrice Trophy for Best in Bizarre, and I agree with everyone else that Sonja wins for using up every inch of that roll of fabric – I’m just glad someone advised her against the bows for the shoes.

  9. When this wedding occurred I was a busy mother with little access for foreign press. I was not even computer savvy at the time. Times have changed, but my love of hats has not just my chances to see many more, passed and present. Was this others experience too? That said, Q. Margrethe’s hat was the one that I enjoyed the most. I could see her wearing this hat today, a la Princess Ann. For pure fun it was Princess Martha Louse for the win, as usual. What I love is that she is not shy about wearing items that show her personality. I always hope she is at an event, because she often wears things I wish I owned. This hat is one I would wear even today. I also thought that Mette-Marit’s hat looked lovely with her outfit. I know I have the twin to Queen Sylvia’s hat in black in a hat box in my closet just waiting for a occasion to reappear. Thank you for these wonderful chances to see beauties we missed at the time.

  10. Wow! There is a lot to look at here. Perhaps the problem is an early February wedding. In “Northern Climes” it is hard to know what to wear. You want to be warm and fashionable. A suit seems like a good choice, and perhaps a wrap of some sort, so already you have a rather busy look. Combine this with a hat, and you have to be careful not to overdo it. I quite like Margrethe’s hat. Silvia looks elegant as always. As JamesB says, Sonja looks very odd. But Martha Louise is undoubtedly the hat I will remember. I would invite her to everything, just to see what she wears!

  11. Most of these hats really do look 17 years old don’t they. Victoria, Madeleine and M-M all look very of the time, those boxy shapes just look so dated now.

    Of the Queens, Silvia fares best but this still would look old fashioned today. Margrethe’s rigout was never vaguely fashionable and for that I love it! It’s a bonkers look only she can do! And Sonja seems to have got lost on her way to a Halloween party. I don’t hate orange and black most of the time, but this one tips it over the edge for me.

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