Belgian Royals Attend Memorial Mass

Members of the Belgian Royal family gathered at Notre Dame Church in Laeken yesterday to attended a mass held annually in memory of deceased family members. For this event, Queen Mathilde wore a new rounded headpiece covered in the same charcoal fabric as her high collared blouse. The textured fabric works surprisingly well on the design (and is well made- there’s not a pucker to be spotted here) but oh, how I wish it had a covered crown. I can’t get behind these doughnut designs.



Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new
Princess Marie-Esméralda, (younger half-sister of King Albert) wore a navy straw based headpiece trimmed with navy and cream feathers, placed on the back of her head. Her sister-in-law, Princess Léa, wore a simple navy bow, also placed on the back of her head (see the video clip below).

Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (King Philippe’s first cousin) wore a sequinned calot hat wrapped in a a swath of dotted tulle. She also placed the design WAAAY back on her head… perhaps to downplay its disco vibe? I thought it was a strange choice for a memorial event such as this.
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
Let’s face it- this isn’t the strongest group of hats we’ve reviewed. What elements here do you like?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Photonews, Photonews, Photonews and Photonews via Getty

16 thoughts on “Belgian Royals Attend Memorial Mass

  1. I am going to rant a bit here. I hate these donut shaped hats and padded headbands. If the occasion calls for a hat, wear a hat! This was a memorial Mass that called for proper hats. Mathilde’s hat looked wonderful until it looked half made. Why go through the work of matching fabrics and not finish it? As for the others, the less said the better. The best hat among the entire bunch was the woman greeting them in the videos, as someone else pointed out. I think if the occasion calls for a hat, the wear a real hat, not a bunch of feathers or something on a piece of elastic. If you are going to church, that means you cover your head. I may be old fashioned about church manners. I just feel if I can find church appropriate hats in rural Indiana USA, those with many more resources should be able to find them also. It is just a sign of respect, in my book. Thanks for listening to my rant. I like this site and enjoy reading the insights of the others.

    • This conversation has got out of hand. It’s one thing not to like a design- by all means, let’s discuss elements that we don’t feel are successful- but let’s keep the conversation respectful. Bandeau headpieces and cocktail hats are very much in fashion. Wearing them is not a disrespectful act, as you suggest.

    • I’m not sure the term “church appropriate” is something that can be defined as an absolute. Among the congregations I have been familiar with over the years are some where the women wear hats worthy of a royal event, some where they wear token little lace pieces over their hair, and some where they wear no head covering at all. I imagine that those styles became defined by custom over the years, and I’m sure the women in each of those congregations would be quite surprised to learn that their particular custom was not considered “appropriate”.

      • Matthew I quite agree with you. Here in the Netherlands there are differences in church dress as well, and this is a small country. In regions with very traditional protestant communities, women will wear hats to church (and those are the only parts of the country where hat shops thrive!). But in the Catholic church my husband attends (and where I sometimes accompany him) absolutely no one wears a hat. Yet I am sure it makes no difference to the way people believe or worship.

  2. I saw the first photo of Mathilde and thought “Hm, looks like it might be a good pillbox.” Then I saw it from the side and it was a great let-down…

  3. All odd, the last one (calot) reminds me of the one Princess Wallis of Windsor wore to a memorial for Queen Mary, there were a lot of interesting hats that day.

  4. I agree with previous comments. These hats are quite jovial considering the event. I have noticed on some royal families, hats worn in such occasions are very similar. The British royal family is mostly in black wide brim hats. The Eastern European families such as Russians or Rumanian wear austere hats with same cultural meaning. The Spanish royal family follows a similar tradition. I think queen Sofia has worn a veil in many occasions as well.
    I am not sure what the style/tradition is among Western European royal families such as Belgian, Swedish, or Norwegian. But other than the most senior female member, I have noticed the hats worn by other female members lean more on the less formal side in such occasions as Church related services.
    I really want to like QM hat. The color looks great, the texture adds to this simple design. But a covered crown would have been more ceremonial. Plus this headpiece makes her hair look a little messy from the back.

  5. This would have been an odd group of hats for any occasion, but most particularly for a memorial service. I would have expected that among any royals, it was pretty much a requirement to have a nice sedate black or navy blue hat on hand for funerals and memorial services even if hats are not worn all that often at other times, but maybe not. I agree with Wies that Queen Mathilde’s would have been the best of the group had it been a pillbox — I actually like the fabric covering and coordination with her blouse quite a bit, but I just can’t get used to that doughnut style on anyone. The other hats, the less said, the better.

  6. Princess Marie-Esméralda’s headpiece looks ridiculous. Does not photograph well at all, and it just looks like a mess of craft supplies on the back of her head, something a high school cheerleader might make.

  7. I agree with the general opinion here that we didn’t really see any hats, and the choices of non-hats weren’t all that apt for the occasion. This fashion for donuts, which Catherine Cambridge seems to have embraced too, is like the slippery slope towards not wearing a hat, to my mind. Let them be banished!

  8. Definitely an odd selection. Another problem with such exiguous hats is that they more or less demand a perfect coiffure to look any good. In my opinion, one should either wear a hat or not wear a hat. Trying to have a bob each way is seldom successful.

  9. The only decent “hat” was the dark charcoal grey hat worn by the woman on the church steps. The lady greeting the Royals, she is in both videos. Queen Mathilde’s doughnut reminds me of the elastic hairbands that my sisters wore 40 years ago. Through the day, the bands would work their way back beyond the forehead, and sometimes pop off behind the head. Then my brother and I would snatch them up and make slingshots out of them.

  10. Mmm. The sequinned calot is bizarre. Even P. Marie-Esméralda’s feathered headpiece seems a frivolous choice for a memorial service. Makes one wonder wether these royals own more than one hat.
    Queen Mathilde’s doughnut would have been perfect, had it been a pillbox. So much easier when you don’t have to bother what the back of your head looks like!

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