Greek Royal Wedding 20 Years On: British Royal Guests

The British royals have long been close with their Greek royal cousins (the Duke of Edinburgh was, after all, a Greek prince by birth) and as such, several members attended Princess Alexia’s wedding in London in 1999. Queen Elizabeth wore a yellow and white silk jacquard dress and jacket with the same fabric covering the crown and binding the brim of her cream straw hat.

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The hat’s sideswept brim gave the design jaunty air and shape which, without the sunny polka dots, seems like it could be fashionably worn today.

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The Duchess of Gloucester wore a cornflower blue hat with flat crown and gently upturned brim overlayed in a swath of dotted net tulle veil in the same shade.

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Princess Alexandra wore an ecru straw hat with tall crown and cartwheel brim embellished with all-cream trimmings- a wide silk hatband with flat bow, widely woven ivory net veil, and silk flower. I believe it is the only hat worn at this wedding that we still see in regular rotation (worn most recently last summer).

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Princess Michael of Kent wore a cream hat in lattice woven straw with tall sidesweep over the hat’s crown, simply trimmed with a slim hat and that tied in a side bow. The shape and patterned straw enabled this hat to make a great statement despite its neutral colour and modest size.

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Lady Elizabeth Anson, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin through the Bowes-Lyon side of her family, played a major role as The event’s coordinator. She wore a large red straw hat with wide pleated silk hatband and cream and red straw flowers that wrapped around the front of the hat.

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Lord Romsey was photographed at the wedding– I suspect Lady Penney Romsey (as was Countess Mountbatten of Burma’s title at the time) also attended although I can’t locate any photos of her. Maybe one of you can help?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

29 thoughts on “Greek Royal Wedding 20 Years On: British Royal Guests

  1. Even though we’ve all moved on from this, I thought I’d add some wonderful close-ups of HM’s hat, worn 2 years later. Notice TEN hat pin holes in the 1st photo, which leads us to assume that this hat was worn more times than were documented. Maybe she did her grocery shopping in this hat, when photographers were not present.

    July 13, 2001:Channel Islands, Jersey
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  2. It is certainly the case, as has already been noted in this series of posts, how many of these hats could be worn today with little or no alteration, though the clothing styles, not. Unlike many, I am not very enamoured of Princess Michael’s hat, though I do like it better in the photo from Trooping the Colour in 2002, with her hair loose around her shoulders, than the others where it is pulled back. If there is not some hair to offset that brim, the whole think (IMO) seems to overwhelm her face.

    A question about the photo of HM placing the scarf OVER her hat to visit a mosque — I have seen many photos over the years of female royals and other celebrities visiting mosques and shrines where a headscarf is customary, and in no other cases that I can recall did the scarf go over a hat (as opposed to just over the woman’s hair). I’m sure the protocol officer for the trip looked into this in advance, but isn’t it somewhat unusual to have put the scarf over a hat?

    • Doesn’t happen often, but (then) Queen Beatrix wore a headscarf over her hat when visiting Oman in 2012:
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      • Oh yes, Jake, thank you — I now remember having seen this photo at the time, but I had forgotten it. Beatrix certainly looked almost from a former era with that long coat, didn’t she!

    • A visit to the United Arab Emirates in 2010 saw another mosque visit.
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      I thought this was the reason for a rare foray into a brimless hat these days for Her Majesty
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      I think this worked better than with the brimmed hat in Islamabad in 1997.

      • A visit to a mosque in Turkey in 2008 saw the hat removed before wearing the scarf
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    • There was a bit of a to-do here in the Netherlands over the picture Jake posted below, of Queen Beatrix with a scarf over her hat. (Some right wing politician, or rather to the right of the right wing, trying to make out she had bowed to oppression or something.) It was then explained in the press, I remember, that the Queen had kept on her hat as it was a symbol of the crown and had placed the scarf over the hat to honour Oman’s custom and religion.

      By the way, Mittenmary: I think navy polka dotted dresses are all right, but when it comes to navy socks combined with yellow polka dotted frocks, I wouldn’t try this at home!

  3. The shape of HM’s hat is pretty timeless and would work well today, but yellow and white polka dots are better left in the past.

    The shape of Birgitte’s hat is classic and could be worn again, although with less veiling. I didn’t realize Alexandra’s hat was this old, but I’m happy to know some hats get decades of use and remain pretty timeless. If Marie-Christine’s hat isn’t a Treacy creation, then I’ll eat one of my own hats! Haha, but seriously, despite the boring beige/cream outfit, this hat could make a fabulous comeback today.

    I wondered who that was in the red hat when I saw it in a previous post. Sometimes it’s the lesser-known guests who wear better hats than many seasoned hat-wearing royals. Great color, fun trim, but my only minor complaint is I wish the crown was just slightly more rounded off at the top.

  4. Some of these would stand up well today. That hat of Princess Michael’s is a precursor to Camilla’s enormous hats and it’s fabulous. Alexandra and Brigitte look lovely, and I’d love to see Birgitte’s back in rotation. HM’s is nice enough but I don’t totally love it, I think it’s the boxy jacket that’s not a great fit for her that bothers me most. Fab colour though. .

  5. The Queen’s hat was first worn in Pakistan in 1997. It was a high profile tour on the 50th anniversary of Partition and shortly after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

    It was worn with the spotted dress and jacket
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    It was even covered by a scarf for a visit to a mosque in Islamabad
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    The hat was worn again with the plain yellow coat worn at the Knachbull wedding for Trooping the Colour 1999
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    • This hat does look a similar shape to several Angela Kelly designs currently in rotation
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      • Angela Kelly started working for the queen in 2002. She didn’t begin designing hats until Milliner Stella McLaren joined the dressmaking team (I believe in 2008, when she came over from working for Philip Somerville when he retired) so it couldn’t be one of her designs.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t very clear in my original post: I didn’t think it was likely to be an Angela Kelly design but I think it’s likely that is where the inspiration for the hats in similar shapes we see today came from.

  6. Queen Elizabeth wore this same hat 8 months earlier, also at a wedding, with a plain yellow coat for its 1st outing. Not so many dots! HQ, I didn’t realize that polka dots are passe! When I get home, I’ll need to take my dotted ties to St. Vincent de Paul!

    November 7, 1998: Winchester Cathedral (isn’t there a song with that title?)
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      • How right you are, as usual, HQ! I got rid of mine YEARS ago! Ha ha.
        Happy weekend, all. The sun has come out and I’m heading for the water. The heathens are lining up for conversion.
        PS The coffee shop in my hotel is managed by 2 French Canadian sisters. I’ve been trying my French on them, and have only been slapped twice . . . pas mal, tu ne crois pas?

  7. Shanon, I thought the exact same thing. Could this be the hat in question?
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  8. That was one great wedding! I have got the Hello magazine UK issue of that event. Fabulous! As far as the British/Greek relation: They are all related through Queen Victoria. Her 3d son, seventh child, was P. Arthur, Duke of Connaught, father of P. Margaret, who became Crown Princess of Sweden. She’s the mother of Queen Ingrid of Denmark, hence the maternal grandmother of Queen Margarethe, Princesse Benedikte and Queen of the Hellens, Anne-Marie, the mother of the bride. P. Arthur married a Prussian Princess, so through that bloodline King Constantine, the father of the bride, is close relation, too. Such a colorful event! Thanks for bringing it back!

  9. What a terrific bunch of hats! I adore the color on the Duchess of Gloucester. I wonder why she hasn’t worn this hat recently? It would look lovely for Ascot.
    I really like Princess Michael’s hat. It reminds me of the Phillip Treacy’s the Duchess of Cornwall wears, and if this post wasn’t referencing 20 years ago, I would have assumed Princess Michael borrowed from Camilla’s millinery closet.

    • Several of Princess Michael’s hats during this time came from Philip Treacy. I strongly suspect this hat is also from him, perhaps an early version of the style we’ve since seen repeated numerous times for the Duchess of Corwall.

      • Princess Michael wore this hat several times subsequently including for Trooping the Colour in 2002
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        and the same event in 2004
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        At the commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 2005
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  10. HM looks great in that yellow, and it’s so nice to see her in something besides black shoes/black purse. I still don’t understand why she won’t break out and wear some other colors–at least neutrals, if that’s what she prefers.

    I’m not a fan of ecru hats with sort-of ecru dresses/coats, and both Princesses Alexandra and Michael are guilty of that. Either match or complement! And I wasn’t too keen on Princess Michael’s hat until I saw straight-on. Y’all are right–it is stunning.

    I didn’t remember the 90s being so colorful!

  11. It’s interesting how well most of these hats stand up to scrutiny 20 years later, even if some of the outfits have lost currency.
    HM’s hat would look fine today, with extra trim added – that colour scheme is such a fresh one.The suit I find uninspired, especially the inevitable (for the era) pleated skirt.
    Duchess Birgitte’s blue hat gains an unintended priestly vibe from its pairing with a pearl choker clerically abutting a loose, high-necked robe-like ensemble.
    Alexandra’s fresh and debonair hat is the finishing touch to her sleek understated suit.
    Princes Michael’s hat is, as Eluned Kronacher says, fabulous indeed, and is long overdue for another outing, minus the boxy swing jacket.
    Lady Anson deserves extra points for teaming a LARGE all-red hat with an all-red suit. Although it’s a combination worn by quite a few royals, Mathilde being president I think of that particular club — it’s still a bold choice, particularly for a wedding. But while her suit is just right, I feel the brim is too wide for someone of her height.

  12. I never thought I would ever utter these words but Princess Michael’s hat is fabulous ! Why didn’t she wear something like this to her daughter’s wedding instead of the frumpy many-times-worn feathered thing. This is terrific !

    • I too find myself surprised to so unequivocally love Princess Michael’s hat. It’s one I’d definitely love to see again.

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