Guest Post: Queen Mathilde

Longtime reader and regular commenter Jake, who lives in Washington DC and can be found on Instgram or Twitter @bestdressedmenno, entertained us last summer with a 4-part series on royal men’s hats. He has previously suggested hats from the wardrobes of Queen ElizabethQueen Maxima and Queen Margrethe he’d like to see repeated, a series he continues today with a Belgian twist. I’m very pleased to welcome back Jake! 

While we’re waiting for the COVID-19 crisis to pass, HatQueen graciously invited me to explore some more hats I would like to see return on royal heads. Today’s post features those of Queen Mathilde!

I will admit I’ve not paid as close attention to Mathilde’s millinery over the years as I have with other royals, nor have I always enjoyed her choices as much, but she’s definitely been pretty fearless in trying out many designs. Almost all of the hats featured here are by Fabienne Delvigne, and while I (and others) have complaints/hesitations about the quality of her work, I tried to keep criticism to a minimum, bringing it up only as necessary. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my top 10 choices of hats Mathilde should bring back.

1. A simple and sleek, yet chic, cartwheel brim hat in black velour felt worn at the funeral of Luxembourg’s Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte on 15 January 2005. It’s a shame it appears to never have been repeated (although the coat can stay in the past), and it resembles my favorite hat of her sister-in-law Astrid.

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2. Mathilde has worn many red hats over the years, but few have seemed as flattering IMO as this one from Prince Christian of Denmark’s christening on 21 January 2006. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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3. Mathilde is more likely to wear calots than cocktail hats, but I love this one on her. The color combination is quite unexpected for her (but beautiful), the placement is just right, and I (mostly) enjoy the organic feel of the design (a Delvigne hallmark). Worn on 27 September 2013. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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4. Fascinators have long divided popular opinion (I usually am a fan), but I really love how delicate and unique this one is on Mathilde. It was first worn at King Carl Gustaf’s 60th birthday celebrations on 30 April 2006. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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5. Everyone has that one hat they love and everyone else probably hates. This is one of mine! Red is a fabulous color for Mathilde, and as a sci-fi fan, the “Saturn’s rings” trim on this rounded pillbox appeals to me even more. Worn on 20 June 2006 during a Dutch state visit to Belgium (where interestingly, then-Queen Beatrix and Máxima changed hats and outfits during this particular outing while Paola and Mathilde did not). Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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6. It’s a shame Mathilde hasn’t worn more fuchsia, because I love the vibrant color of this hat on her! Granted, I’m not fully in love with the organic shape (again, a Delvigne hallmark) and the bow on the back is questionable with its quality, but with a little more refinement, this could make a great comeback. Worn during an official visit to the Netherlands on 8 November 2013. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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7. Cloches aren’t common on Mathilde, but this one is fabulous, and the color combination of greys and beiges this time is more striking than usual. I also love the jaunty angle (although when I look back at the comments on the post for this hat, I wasn’t such a fan; time has obviously won me over!). First worn 12 February 2015 at the annual memorial mass to remember deceased members of the Belgian Royal Family, it was repeated 3 years later, but deserves another outing. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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8. Mathilde often favors smaller hats (understandable for practicality’s sake), but this blush pink wide brim (made from what looks to be panama straw) worn at the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander on 30 April 2013 frames her face so well, and I love its pairing with the more saturated pink dress for a easily coordinated and chic look. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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9. Another cocktail hat that sadly has not been repeated is this green-hued bluestone one from an official visit to the Netherlands on 30 November 2016. This time Delvigne’s organic designs work well with this stylized large bow hat. The color is also beautiful on Mathilde, and pairs perfectly with this outfit; I do wonder what it would look like with her hair down and with a dress/skirt that flared out a bit. Hat by Fabienne Delvigne.

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10. Finally, the likelihood of seeing this one again is almost zero, but the teal hat worn to William & Kate’s wedding on 29 April 2011 would make a fantastic hat to repeat for the Belgian National Day celebrations. If repeated, preferably it would be paired with a less shiny outfit; something in charcoal grey to coordinate with the trim would be a nice switch, and that would let the teal of the hat show off more, along with other teal accessories, like the clutch she had at the wedding. Hat by Philip Treacy.

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Clearly, I think we don’t see enough wide brims on Mathilde! What do you think? Which hats would you like to see Mathilde bring out of her hat archives?

Thanks, Jake! You’ve included some of my favourites- the red “Saturn’s Rings” is so fun and the last hat, the teal Philip Treacy saucer, is simply spectacular. I can’t wait to hear what other hats are suggested!

30 thoughts on “Guest Post: Queen Mathilde

  1. Thank you, Jake, for this great overview of Mathilde’s hats, and also to the other suggestions! I agree that over the years she has worn some very attractive styles and shapes that we don’t seem to see on her anymore, and I hope some of these (or other similar ones) will come out of her closet very soon!

    • Thanks Matthew, and I agree that hopefully we’ll see some more fun styles/comebacks in the near future; I am surprised at how many hats we have seen Mathilde in during the pandemic, especially as HatQueen’s 2019 data showed Mathilde solidly in the middle of the pack when it comes to hat-wearing frequency.

  2. I like these as well. Although I think the fur one (fake or not) won’t be seen again.

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    This is quite similar. Not sure if I want to see it again but I think it’s interesting. Couldn’t find a closer picture.

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  3. Thank you, Jake, for this great list. I enjoyed it a lot, especially since Mathilde is one of my favourite royals and hat wearers. Lots of people think she plays it safe but I remember her wearing some bold hats. Although I do agree that lately, she plays it safer.

    The pink hat in your list is one of my fave hats and outfits from Mathilde ever. Other hats I adore from your list are the dark red one and the one from Philip Treacy. Simply sublime. The cloche is not my favourite type of hat but it such a great look on her.

    She has some nice pillboxes as well. This pink one is gorgeous:

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Michaël! Those Dior-esque lampshade hats look great on Mathilde and should certainly get another outing, but of course I had to go with the more colorful choices haha.

  4. Lovely hats from Matbilde, but I do wish she would patronise milliners other than Delvigne for a more polished finish.

    That said, she looks amazing in that magenta, but I think it’s the colour rather than the shape that does it. I love a picture hat and so the look from the Dutch inauguration was stellar. But my favourite is the Treacy, and I wish she’d wear more of his. This hat could easily handle a comeback, she looked just amazing that day, and I love that she snuck a tiara in too!

    • I totally agree, it was the color and overall idea of hat #6 that made me include it here; a more refined disc shape with better trim would make a world of difference.

  5. Jake, thanks for the great variety of Queen Mathilde’s hats. All of them are millinery beauties, and most of them should be worn again. Mathilde wore an absolutely wonderful green hat in March of 2018, which was simple and practical, yet elegant and classy. For its vibrant emerald shade alone, I’d love to see a re-wear, since I share a love for the color green with you.

    • Yes Jimbo, that emerald velour felt boater hat would be an excellent repeat for Mathilde! When I do these lists, my own personal criteria is to dig back farther than the past 3 or so years and find ones that have been absent for longer, hence why that was not on my list this time (although I know you know my undying love for green, and I’m grateful we have that in common haha [in addition to Ohio]).

  6. What a delightful hat wearer Queen Mathilde is! She radiates grace and elegance, yet isn’t timid in her choices.
    Thank you for such a beautiful selection, Jake. Let’s hope things will brighten up in 2021 and that there will be plenty of opportunities again to bring out those hats!

    • Thank you Wies, and yes, here’s hoping we will get more hat opportunities next year! Who knows, maybe after being stuck inside so much with such few opportunities to wear hats, everyone will want to wear them as much as possible next year? (one can dream haha)

  7. Thank you Jake! You brought up some wonderful choices.I always loved the 2011 Philip Treacy hat from the Cambridge wedding. The style is great, but that color is just “wow” on her!
    I love the red hats you chose (along with the one from mittenmary) and the #9 green hued felt bow. It looked grey to me, which is a great color. I find Queen Mathilde can wear any color and style. She really has an understated elegance about her.

    • You are right about Mathilde being able to wear virtually any color it seems (although I don’t recall her in yellow), but she does favor some heavily (bright red seems to be top of the list); here’s hoping we get to see some colors she hasn’t worn often again soon!

  8. Great post Jake, thanks so much. I really enjoyed seeing all these hats again and any of them would be great repeats (except maybe for #3). I did a double take on the hat worn to William and Kate’s wedding, scratched my head and quickly realised what was puzzling me. Lady Frederick Windsor wore a hat that was almost the double of Mathilde’s. HQ post at the time informs me the designer of Sophie’s hat was Philip Treacy. Great minds, eh. The other thing, although this was mis-remembered, was the colour of Mathilde’s outfit. Turns out it was Princess Michael in shiny teal blue and not her daughter-in-law.

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    • Sorry HQ, please remove the Getty link. I forgot the ’embed’ step!

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    • Thanks Sandra, and yes, Sophie and Mathilde’s hats were of similar design (not surprising as they’re both Treacy), but I have never liked Sophie’s as it always looked unbalanced on her head, despite her looking fabulous otherwise (that outfit needs to be repeated, but with a different hat) and the hat being high quality.

      Marie-Christine’s hat from the Cambridge wedding is in my top 10 (probably in my top 5) royal hats that need to be repeated ASAP!

  9. Thanks for this post, Jake.

    Take out the fascinator, the Red Rings Around Saturn, and the fuschia Eyeless Stingray ( good one, mcncln!)
    and I think we have some winners here. Especially liked the cloche.

    • The cloche was a surprise like for me, especially in neutral colors; but that’s the great thing about hats: you never know what will catch your eye!

  10. Great choices, Jake! I’m especially with you on the red rings, the neutral-is-not-boring cloche, and the Cambridge wedding teal. Your styling idea for the last one is perfect.

    Here’s another red hat that should get another outing:
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    And I doubt this one would get a repeat since it was worn for such an important event, but the movement on this one is stunning:
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    • Glad to know I’m not alone in loving the red rings hat! And thanks mittenmary for adding your choices; that red one deserves another outing with better placement on her head (in my opinion!).

  11. It’s a good selection, thank you Jake! I like he red hat the best, I also recall she wore a nice powder blue pillbox on a visit to Denmark

  12. I just had to find other views of that fascinator #4, and found that it must have inspired her hair to go wild too.
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    Those plastic fibre-optic tendrils….my grandmother would say this fascinator looks like it’s been “pulled through a fence backwards” (if you zoom in on the 2nd pic in the post, some of the tendrils are hanging halfway down her right arm :)). Still, nothing that a good pruning wouldn’t fix.
    I must confess a certain fondness for the fuschia felt hat #6 which reminds me of a soft toy stingray – only I can’t help wondering if its eyes have fallen off. I love the bluestone felt #9. And yes, the 2011 Prince William wedding hat #10 is unforgettable and overdue for a comeback, with a grey ensemble as you suggest. Mathilde is one of my favourite hat-wearers, so Jake this was a fun read, many thanks.

    • I knew the fascinator would be a bit divisive, and unfortunately I blame the wind and mid-2000s styling for it not looking always successful in these photos (and perhaps a bit too much whimsy with strands of the material). I’m glad you enjoyed the list, especially as I have not always paid attention to Mathilde in the past.

  13. Great selection of hats, thank you for reminding me of them. I particularly love the “fountain droplets” fascinator, the pink wide brim and the teal wedding hat. I definitely agree that she should put all those calots away!

    • Mathilde has worn some great calots and has helped me appreciate the style more, but I agree her hat rotation needs better variation!

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