Monaco Royal Wedding: Civil Ceremony

Nine years ago, all royal watching eyes were directed to Monaco for the marriage of Prince Albert to Charlene Wittstock. One of two single reigning monarch in the world at the time (although the young King of Bhutan was considerably less well known and had announced his own engagement two months earlier), the end of Prince Albert’s bachelor life at age 53 following a five year relationship with the shy South African swimmer was big news. Today, we look back at the civil ceremony held in the Throne Room of The Princes’ Palace on July 1, 2011.

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Charlene was dressed by Chanel in pleated silk organza, lace trimmed palazzo pants, a strapless lace top and a sleek long silhoutte fitted jacket with silver buttons. The same lace that trimmed the pants peeked out from the jacket’s sleeves.

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Civil marriage ceremonies don’t come with an expected dress code and, as we’ve seen, royal brides choose completely varied looks. What worked here was the colour- the most beautiful robin’s egg blue that feels like it was created just for Charlene. What doesn’t work is the at-odds pieces (how do lingerie bottoms go with a tailored, businessy suit jacket?), which made the ensemble a head scratcher. I suppose one does not question the genius of Chanel so all I can say is thank goodness for that perfect shade of blue.

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The dress code for guests at this event was also vague with ensembles over the place- beachy sundresses to glamorous cocktail dresses with everything in between. Princess Caroline topped a vibrant blue Chanel dress with a wide-brimmed hat (likely made by Maison Michel) of very loosely woven straw. The design is completed with a  wide ecru ribbon hatband and a wreath of silk leaves and yellow flowers that circle around the brim.

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Charlotte Casiraghi also wore an informal straw hat with a raw, unfinished edge. The hat’s relaxed shape felt at odds with  the pale blue tulle scarf hatband- perhaps a last minute addition to tie the hat with her dress?

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Charlene’s mother, Lynette Wittstock, topped her mushroom grey dress with a sleek fascinator of charcoal sinamay loops, cream quills and feathers.

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Following the civil service inside the palace attended by family and close friends, the newlywed couple received a large crowd of well wishers in the palace outer courtyard.

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A nighttime concert and fireworks display followed that evening. Charlene removed her jacket and donned a rose gold, diamond and pearl cascading necklace, a gift from Prince Albert, made by Nagib Tabbah of Tabbah Jewellery. Without the jacket, the pleated pants and lace top feel much more harmonious with an effortless boho couture vibe that seemed to suit Charlene well.

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Embed from Getty Images

The hats here weren’t exactly memorable, were they? Lynnette Wittstock’s headpiece gets my top vote here, which I hope, offers her daughter some late vindication (Charlene and Lynnette zipped up to Paris the week before the wedding to purchase Lynnette’s millinery, causing loud tabloid speculation that Charlene was attempting to run away).

Jump to this post for an index of other royal hats that appeared at this wedding. 

Photos from Getty as indicated 

9 thoughts on “Monaco Royal Wedding: Civil Ceremony

  1. I agree, HatQueen that the Robin’s Egg Blue color was a winner! I never saw pictures of the outfit without the jacket before from head to toe and it looks much better. The necklace is amazing! I like Albert’s taste in jewelry. Too bad Charlene has never worn it again, to my knowledge. I also never realized the “skirt” was actually palazzo pants. Thank you for your research and attention to detail.

  2. Hi HatQueen – Did one of Princess Caroline’s daughters-in-law wear her hat to the wedding of Princess Stephanie’s son at the cathedral in Monaco in recent times?

  3. Princess Caroline’s straw hat with wattle trim is one of my all time spring favourites ever — even though the brim is a bit wonky. Too bad the hat’s effect is lessened by her dress not coordinating with the hat – – not a surprise where Caroline is concerned. And though I’d love to see this hat again, with Caroline I don’t think that’s on the cards.

    • I don’t have a picture, but the hat has not so long ago been worn by daughter in law Beatrice. I have also loved this hat with the yellow mimosa as a reminder of the youth of the Grimaldi children.

  4. One wedding fascinator and two (very pretty) sunhats didn’t add up to much, did it? I think this generation of the Monaco princely family usually interpret dress code very widely! Stephanie seems very formal – averse. I expect that mediterranean beach climate favours casual attire! Looking forward to the wedding retrospective – Charlene’s gown was one of my all-time favourites, including the way she dressed her hair.

  5. Confusing dress “code” is right! The men all look to be wearing standard business suits with ties, which makes sense, and while Charlene’s relatives dressed to fit that look, Albert’s relatives were much more all over the place.

    Lynnette’s fascinator and outfit fit the bill perfectly for a daytime civil wedding ceremony: refined and subdued. Caroline, while elegant, looked like she belonged more at a formal beach wedding in her relaxed portrait hat (which I like) and sandals. Charlotte very much looked like a beach wedding guest and seemed to not fit in with the crowd at all in terms of her outfit; I very much like the hat on her, but not for this event.

    Looking forward to coverage of the religious ceremony. Only a few months after the Cambridge wedding, it was interesting to see which guests were at which wedding (or if they were at both) and what they chose to wear.

  6. I had never heard the reason for the “runaway bride” comments was because of Charlene going to get a hat. I prefer that answer than the other rumors flying. Thank you for finding that information.

    I do love this color so much on Charlene. I agree that the jacket doesn’t work perfectly with the palazzo jumpsuit, but that necklace is so “WOW!” She looked so radiant and I can’t wait to see the retrospective on the religious ceremony. Hers was one of my most favorite wedding dresses, and some of the guests’ had very memorable and beautiful outfits.

    Caroline looks nice. Her deep blue dress is very pretty, but I wish she would have worn a different hat. Maybe a large white saucer with matching blue sash. This ceremony really was a mixed bag of outfits with casual to quite formal.

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