Imperial Enthronement: Foreign Royal Guests

Tuesday’s enthronement ceremony was attended by a number of royal events adorned in either national costume or traditional century court dress, giving the wonderfully formal gown-and-hat combination we don’t often see.

Queen Máxima donned a familiar slate blue gown in transparent silk brocade printed with large roses  but paired it with a different hat than we’ve seen with it before- her grey silk floral and dotted net tulle statement headpiece. The scale and bold design of the headpiece pairs wonderfully with the gown, elevating the sense of drama and gravitas of the overall ensemble.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Gown by Natan.
Previously Worn: Nov 4, 2014November 19, 2005

Queen Mathilde was wonderfully elegant in a an exquisite gown, cape and pillbox trio in pale pink silk crepe. The clean, sleek lines of each piece make them balance perfectly together and create a serene and quietly regal look. It’s a fashion philosophy we often see used with the Imperial royal ladies- perhaps the inspiration or influence for this ensemble?

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Designer: unknown. Gown by Armani Prive. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new. It is not the same as the felt calot worn February 6, 2014 as some blogs are reporting. 

Queen Letizia paired her bright, floral gown with a divided bandeau headpiece in pale, dusky pink silk. The scale is great on her and the solid colour is a great choice against her patterned dress, although I thought the bandeau’s construction, with many visible stitches, wasn’t quite up to snuff.

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Designer: Nana Golmar. It is a bespoke silk version of the velvet “Iria Headband“. Gown by Matilde Cano.
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

Crown Princess Mary’s muted lilac-grey caped dress was brightened with mulberry straw hat. The modified saucer  is worn at a steep incline and trimmed with two huge silk flowers on the underside of the raised brim, the one at the front in mixed shades of purple. Supremely elegant on its own, I think this gown is again, elevated with the statement hat – not to mention those rubies!

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Gown by Valentino
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Crown Princess Victoria wore a straw saucer hat in the same saturated inky purple shade as her gown. The piece, also designed to sit at a sharply tilted angle on the head, is lavishly trimmed with silk roses and straw twists beneath the raised brim, a touch that gives such textural contrast to the opposite, very smooth upper side of the saucer.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Gown by Escada.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Seated next to Crown Princess Victoria was a face new to Royal Hats, Swazi King Mswati III’s newest wife, Inkhosikati LaMashwama. She topped her white suit with a vibrant blue straw hat with disc base trimmed with rolled straw rosettes and large bow loops, blue tulle, purple cut feathers and pearls, scattered over the base.

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I know some readers have been waiting days to discuss the hats in this post (my apologies for the delay) so I turn it over to you- what millinery looks here were your favourites?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

26 thoughts on “Imperial Enthronement: Foreign Royal Guests

  1. I’ve just seen a photo of now-former Empress Michiko at the time of Emperor Akihito’s enthronement in 1990. Her hat comprises a rose-like flower with netting (all in cream), worn forward and coming over her brow. Maxima’s hat, to my eye, for this enthronement (of Michiko’s son) has more than a distant echo. A deliberate choice on Maxima’s part or a happy coincidence? I’m sorry that I couldn’t find a free Getty image to embed, the only ones I saw had a charge on them.

  2. I see that Haakon didn’t travel alone … (the woman in national dress isn’t identified in the Getty caption).

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  3. Wonderful showing from all (although must admit I don’t quite know what Letizia was thinking, it’s so unlike her to miss the mark!).

    My favourite is Mathilde, for the overall serene, absolutely regal look that still managed to not draw attention to herself. True queen inside and out. And she always wears Armani well. The pillbox hat matched her dress perfectly and the elegance off the ensemble was undeniable.

    Second to Mathilde I would put Mary. I think in the battle of grand Italian designers, in this case Armani beats Valentino. The hat(in my opinion) didn’t quite match the overall ‘feel’ of the dress. The flow of the cape battled with the angularity and sharpness of the hat. It’s possible I am too picky. Also I didn’t favour the colour combo.

    I typically quite like Máxima’s pump and circumstance approach, but to me it was drawing attention just a tad too much. It’s a lovely hat, but I felt she was pushing it. It does however match perfectly the overall ‘Maxima style’ and all in all I would never want her to change who she is, we would be deprived of some wonderful millinery showings.

    Victoria was nice and relatively interesting, but somehow still nothing remarkable. It felt like she was copying someone else’s style. Like all Tracy hats, it was exquisitely executed, but somehow still didn’t have the same impact as Mary’s.

    Lots of style in this new royal hat-wearing lady! So glad there are new fresh ideas!

    Letizia’s hat (or lack there of), and overall look was (to me) a letdown. I see others liked it, so I am happy some found the upside of her sartorial and millinery choices.

  4. What an amazing event – and what a security nightmare it must have been! I love that they’ve done the seating in alphabetical order – Swaziland, Sweden … Spain, Tonga … Britain, Denmark – though my theory wilts a bit when I see Belgium and The Netherlands side by side! And admit that Brunei is on the other side of Sweden; Lichtenstein is behind Britain, Norway is behind Denmark; and Qatar (not Saudi Arabia) is the other side of Spain). Darn, alphabetical would have been so cool! (And now I’m wondering what the system is – geographical? It’s not monarchs only in the front row …)

    Anyway, on to the hats … I love Maxima’s outfit, head to toe. The hat, the gown, the jewels. This is what she does so well. Her hat is exuberant, yet stylish and suits both her face shape and her personality. Amazing that she’s had it so long. Mathilde has also got it spot on too and this simple, yet sophisticated, look is entirely her. Where Maxima is verve, Mathilde is calm. Both women look tremendous. (And Mathilde scores another point for realising the coloured sash meant matching accessories were far better.) Mary is another who understands her own style and she’s showing it off here to perfection. (The cape dresses were a good choice on what looks to be a cool day – rain and a breeze.) I like the purple-burgundy shades she’s used for her accessories, given those stonking rubies around her neck!

    Yes, these steeply tilted, floral disc hats are a thing, aren’t they? Victoria looks perfectly turned out but is missing the ‘pow’ of the other women I’ve mentioned so far. Letizia is wearing things that are all fine in themselves but don’t add up to a great overall look. I’m not at all sure about the bandeau, especially as it seems I can see the underside from certain angles. The Swazi king’s wife looks very nice – finding a suitable, small hat when you have a high forehead must be difficult and this isn’t a fail by any means.

    • At first I thought the seating arrangements might’ve been by length of reign (the Sultan of Brunei having the longest), but that doesn’t seem right either. Perhaps it was just first come, first serve? Maybe we’ll never know!

  5. Despite the low royal hat turnout, this ceremony looks to have had a diverse cast of royal families and monarchies represented, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s nice to see this, especially for such a momentous occasion.

    Obviously Máxima was my favorite for bringing back a hat I requested in my top 10 list a couple years ago (that makes two from my list that have reappeared in the last week or so; please don’t let them hide in hatboxes for so long again, Máxima!). It’s interesting how this time the hat is tilted to the other side, which also makes me wonder if that plays with the way the netting is shown, or if it actually has been trimmed back a bit? At any rate, a great hat that pairs very well with this dress. Brava!

    Mathilde was oh so elegant in that caped dress, which I love, but something seemed a bit off with the pillbox for me. Overall though still definitely a winning ensemble that reflects those often worn by the Japanese imperials.

    In a couple of close up photos, I didn’t think this bandeau hat worked well color-wise with Letizia’s outfit, but from a distance it does. While the overall idea works well, I think the lack of height in the headpiece and the poor quality make this a let down unfortunately. Otherwise I think Letizia looked spectacular.

    I wish the disc on Mary’s hat was actually larger, like on Kate’s hat. Despite that, it’s otherwise a great hat paired with this streamlined cape dress (although I think Mathilde’s looked better).

    Victoria always wears Treacy hats well, and this is no exception. The dark blue-violet color was also an excellent choice.

    It’s nice to also see the Sultan of Brunei’s traditional hat. And a good choice of cocktail hat for Inkhosikati LaMashwama, although the placement could use improvement, although as this is probably one of the few times she will wear a hat like, this, she gets a pass, especially with those fantastic sapphire earrings.

    Thanks HatQueen for this continuing coverage. Looks like it’s not over yet!

    • Another king in a hat: King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah of Malaysia.

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      • Also amongst the gentlemen sporting headgear was this rather nice appearance from Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (accompanied by his wife Rula Ghani).

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    • And this is pretty dashing from top to toe – Battulga Khaltmaa, Mongolia’s president

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      • Oh my, thanks so much for these sandra! You know I enjoyed seeing all these men’s hats, and I especially love the Mongolian president’s stylish fedora! I’m glad we got to see more traditional costumes and clothing at this ceremony, even on the men, instead of the usual Western suits and outfits.

        • My pleasure Jake. I hoped you’d like them. You’re right, it adds so much when national/traditional dress is worn to high-profile events like this. I’m used to seeing the robes worn by, for example, the Qataris, but I never tire of seeing how fine and elegant the clothing is (those gold-brown top robes are very finely woven indeed).

  6. It’s a very special event and all women made sure they looked their absolute best. I enjoyed this a lot.

    I love the fact that Maxima picked an almost fifteen year old hat. I never really liked the hat though. That flower is just ridiculously big. But here it looks amazing in combination with that dress! Without a doubt the best pairing. Not only does it look more in proportion, it also matches the flower pattern of the dress. Well done!

    Mathilde: absolutely stunning. She and Maxima both looked as regal as can be, yet they both sticked to their own style. It’s wonderful to see.

    Mary: I love how the hat matches her jewelry. It’s an amazing look for her.

    Victoria : wonderful. Great color.

    Letizia: hmmm… she can do better than this. It also seems she missed the dress code. The other women went for subdued and no prints. I thought that somehow fitted the occasion more than this flower pattern.

  7. Splendidly regal looks all around. Bless Max for mixing it up. While the hat she previously wore with this gown coordinated perfectly, I agree with HQ that this flowered piece elevates the ensemble.

    I love the sleek lines of both of the cape dresses and appreciate Mathilde’s diplomatic to the host country’s aesthetic with her subdued look. Mary’s hat is my favorite — glorious colors. Victoria’s would be improved by a lighter color for the flower trim, which is a little lost against her hair.

    I wish more of the queens and crown princesses had been there! I know the Wessexes often represent the Queen at royal events and Sophie would have hatted up beautifully. Clearly, the occasion required sending the heir and not someone further down the line.

  8. CP Victoria

    View this post on Instagram

    🇯🇵 I dag närvarade Kungen och Kronprinsessan när den 126:e Kejsaren av Japan officiellt tillträdde Krysantemumtronen. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Det nya Kejsarparet, Kejsar Naruhito och Kejsarinnan Masako, har efterträtt Kejsar Akihito och Kejsarinnan Michiko, som i maj abdikerade av hälsoskäl. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Kejsar Naruhitos tronbestigningsceremonier består av en rad olika ceremonier som hålls under året. Vissa av dessa är statsceremonier och andra av mer religiös art. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Dagens ceremoni, kallad ”Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi”, var en statsceremoni under vilken Kejsaren officiellt tillkännagav för utländska och inhemska gäster att han bestigit tronen. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Under kvällen närvarade Kungen och Kronprinsessan tillsammans med andra utländska gäster vid en hovbankett, ”Kyoen-no-Gi”, under Kejsarparets värdskap i det Kejserliga palatset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Under dagens högtidliga tillställningar bar Kungen Japans högsta orden: Kejserliga Krysantemumorden i kedja. Kronprinsessan bar, i band över bröstet, storkorset av samma orden. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Tronskiftet har även inneburit att man gått in i en ny period i den japanska tideräkningen. Den nya perioden kallas "Reiwa”, vilket ungefär betyder harmoni. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📷: SPA (1 och 2), Hiromi Johansson/Sveriges ambassad i Tokyo (3) och Imperial Household Agency (4)

    A post shared by Kungahuset 🇸🇪 (@kungahuset) on

  9. I agree with you, Bristol. I thought that Maxima’s placement of her hat balanced out the sash on her other shoulder nicely. I love that the large rose in her hat matches the roses in her dress. I think that this is the best pairing of this hat to date.

    I liked Letizia’s floral patterned dress with the green belt and pink bandeau and clutch. I thought the bandeau was simple and that was needed with the busy pattern of her dress, but it is sad about all the puckers in the velvet. That distracts from the look. I think the look could have been helped by an updo and a simple pillbox or calot would have formalized the look, also. I thought that the floral pattern was meant to be a compliment to Japan, but it is too bad there were not any chrysanthemum’s in the pattern.

  10. Queen Maxima: I don’t know anyone else who can carry that huge flower hat. Excellent ensemble.
    Queen Mathilde: Elegant, especially perfect for Japan
    Queen Letizia: The hat color does match the busy dress… the overall look is fussy
    Crown Princess Victoria: Amazing!
    Inkhosikati LaMashwama: Excellent international debut!

  11. Thank you for showing Inkhosikati LaMashwama. I noticed her in photos earlier in the week and wondered who it was who wore such gorgeous earrings. Her outfit is lovely, and the hat is nice, but I agree with most others that it needs to be worn at a different angle.

    My favorite looks were CP Victoria and Queen Mathilde. Victoria’s dress was beautiful, so suited to the occasion and a dynamite color on her. She wears those saucer hats so well, and I love the roses and twists. Queen Mathilde looks so serene and the dress and hat are perfect on her.

    I did like CP Mary’s ensemble, but the 2 colors threw me off a bit. I agree with “hats off” that they look more like shades and got lost a bit. However, the dress is stunning and her hat shape is spectacular on her. Her evening look was my favorite with that sparkly cape, and her entire tour look was incredible.

    Queen Maxima looked wonderful, and I don’t mind the beautiful flower as focus. Queen Letizia’s dress is lovely, but the headpiece doesn’t work for me. In some photos, it looks like you can see the underside of the bandeau, but perhaps it was the shading.

  12. I thought Mathilde and Mary won the day for me with Victoria coming in a close second. Mathilde and Mary looked like the dictionary definition of regal elegance. Victoria’s dress and hat were vibrant and beautiful. I did not care for Letizia’s hat or dress. She is so petite that the floral pattern overwhelmed her and it seemed as though the dress was wearing her. Her hat did not pair well with her hair, her style, or her dress. While the other queens went elegant, her “hat” looked more like what a 16 year old princess might wear. Even her jewels, which are amazing, looked out of place on that outfit. I also agree with Hats Off who said she looked out of her comfort zone.
    I couldn’t agree more.
    Lastly, while I loved Maxima’s dress, I did not love the hat. I can’t believe I’m saying this because Maxima is so good at pushing the fashion envelope, but I thought the hat was too much. It didn’t accentuate the dress or pair well with it, I thought it drove the entire outfit in a way that was more wacky than harmonious. It put me in the mindset of a bathing cap with plastic flower petals. Such a shame with such a gorgeous dress.

  13. I agree with the comments given,
    Maxima look almost serene in that colour and love the hat with it.
    Mathilde just wow
    Letizia is a miss for me, it doesn’t fit properly , the color is unflattering nor does it return in her clothes, I don’t like the shape of the bandeau. she looks outside her comfort zone. A shame, I really liked her dress and this headpiece doesn’t complement her look.
    Victoria looks great, love that color on her.
    The purple in Mary’s hat sort of get’s lost as the color doesn’t return in her clothes only her accessories, for a while I though the purple was just shade. A shame because the hat is wonderful

  14. I loved these formal day ensembles with hats! I thought Maxima looked fabulous – with all those enormous diamonds, she needed a hat that matched up and it did!
    As Bristol says, Mathilde’s outfit seems almost designed specifically to appeal to Japanese sensibilities and was equally gorgeous. She has been wearing some wonderfully flattering ensembles recently and this counts amongst them.
    I was not enthralled with Letizia’s outfit. Apart from not loving the floral gown, I think a more formal updo with a small hat would have been more fitting for a Queen at an enthronement than the headband on loose hair, which struck me as too informal or girlish. In some photos the hat seemed to be the wrong pink, but that isn’t the case with your pictures, so I don’t complain about that now.
    Mary and Victoria wore versions of the hat style that has been extremely popular amongst royal ladies and race goers recently. Both chose hat colours that paired very well with and enhanced their gowns and jewels – well done them.
    LaMashwama’s hat looked well as a contrast to her white suit and paired with those stunning sapphire earrings, though I agree the placement could have been better.
    On the whole, a great turnout and very enjoyable to watch!

  15. I think Maxima’s ensemble does justice to the occasion – the exuberant hat makes a real statement which might be over the top for a “normal” event, but an enthronement is clearly special. What I found really interesting is that Maxima is wearing it tipped the other way from the two previous occasions, down over her right eye (looking at her) rather than her left. I think this change is really very rare, since most hat wearers instinctively wear hats angled to one side or another and stick to it, especially the very same hat worn again.

    Mathilde is, as you comment, hugely elegant – just as well-matched to the occasion, but in a completely different way from Maxima.

    I suspect from past experience that some readers may be referring to sofa-covers in describing Letizia’s outfit… However, I love it. Although I could wish for a more substantial hat, the bandeau is pretty enough to pass muster, and we know how little hat-wearing goes on in Spain. The only thing about this ensemble that I feel could have been better managed is that the sash must have been a predictable part of it (I’m assuming a Japanese order as all three Queens are wearing it), and I’d have liked an outfit that didn’t fight with it. On a plain colour, such as Maxima’s and Mathilde’s, a sash works even if it isn’t a colour combination that is particularly successful, but on this flowered print, the sash definitely doesn’t go! To some extent I think one can ignore sash colours when assessing the success of a formal outfit, seeing them more like a badge that is what it is, but on the other hand, I think all the sashed outings that seem most successful actually do make the most of considering sashes as part of the overall effect of colouring and pattern.

    Both Victoria and Mary’s hats are great, in themselves and as part of these court dresses. Clearly built-in capes are the in-thing at the moment!

    It’s always interesting to see a new face. Inkhosikati’s hat is an attractive one, but I feel is crying out to be worn tilted more forward and at an angle.

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