Belgian Monarchs Open Royal Military School Term

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attended the opening ceremony for the Royal Military School’s new academic year (Princess Elisabeth is enrolled in this year’s course) on Thursday in Brussels.

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For this event, Queen Mathilde wore a new bandeau headpiece covered in the same red crepe as her belted dress. The head-to-toe red look is somewhat tempered by the smaller scale headpiece, which also balances well with the dress’ pussy bow neckline and bell sleeves. A larger millinery design – particularly something with a brim – would have been too much, especially when the mohair jacket is added to the mix.

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Designer:  It is the “Tizani” by Fabienne Delvigne. Dress and mohair jacket by Natan.
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

What do you think of Queen Mathilde’s new headpiece?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

Belgium National Day 2020

Members of the Belgian royal family celebrated their country’s national holiday today, attending a Te Deum mass at Cathedral of Saints Michel-et-Gudule in Brussels followed by a parade honoring victims and heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic in front of the Royal Palace.

For the mass, Queen Mathilde wore a new picture hat in almond parasisal straw. That hat follows a traditional shape with rounded crown and extended, drop edge brim and is simply trimmed in a straw hatband.

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You can’t go wrong with a classic picture hat and this one’s scale, shape and colour are right on point. It’s a great counterpoint to Mathilde’s navy Battenberg lace printed shirtwaist dress, the two refined pieces a better pairing than the felt feodra she wore with this dress last month. I give both the hat and the ensemble top marks.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Louisa” design. Dress by Natan
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Mathilde changed into a bright floral dress for the parade, topped with a fuchsia ringed headpiece trimmed in a ruffle of pleated silk abaca.

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It’s another good look, the sleeker silhouette of the dress playing well with the smaller scaled headpiece. I’ll never embrace these open crowned doughnut-shaped pieces but must concede that the way this one frames Mathilde’s face, as a bandeau, is very good. The pleated ruffle also gives some asymmetrical interest and the vibrant colour can’t help but feel celebratory. This hat’s design is also is slightly reminiscent of one of Mathilde’s best hats ever, worn on this day seven years ago.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Rueda”design. Dress by Dries Van Noten. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Elisabeth wore her first hat for a public engagement, a draped bandeau headpiece in blush banana (abaca) fibre straw.

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It’s a great debut piece for Elisabeth with scale and colour well suited to a younger wearer, the ruched abaca giving a textural softness and the bandeau shape framing her face in another very lovely way. The headpiece is also a good pairing with Elisabeth’s floaty floral frock, grounding the look (with such a fun pop of orange on her purse!). We’ve talked here about the challenges facing a young princess venturing into hat-wearing and this piece is a fine start.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Lisly” design. Dress by Natan. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Astrid topped her bold striped dress with a black parasisal straw hat. The hat’s strong lines from its straight-sided crown and curved brim are softened with its large silk bow trim on the front; it pairs well with the equally strong striped dress to make a balanced monochrome look (love the yellow purse!)

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Every royal hat we see is a wonderful sight these days and to see four new designs debut at a single event is a rare treat. What do you think of these hats in Brussels today?

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Photos from Getty and social media as indicated 

Monaco Royal Wedding: Guests from Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein

We continue our look back at the July 2, 2011 religious wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene with hats worn by guests from the royal houses of Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Queen Paola topped a sparkly grey ensemble with a matching picture hat trimmed with pleated silk abaca draped over the crown and fanned out around the brim. I’m all for creative trims on hats and while I like the texture this silk abaca lends to the look, it’s not entirely harmonious with the hat (was it plonked on top because the hat needed ‘something’?) or with the overall ensemble.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Princess Mathilde topped her streamlined purple cape collar dress with an equally sleek charcoal straw percher hat with flying bow. It was such a sophisticated look for Mathilde, the grey accessories beautifully contrasting with the purple frock, her fantastic hairstyle perfectly showing off the hat, and the silver sparkle of the hat’s straw metallic weave linking wonderfully with her waterfall diamond brooch. Très chic.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Dress by Armani

Princess Astrid made a strong millinery statement in an oversize cloche hat in natural straw with tall, rounded crown and extended, mushroom shaped brim edged in fringe.  The exaggerated shape was a little awkward, but I think it was the hat’s fringe, which matched her pale green Chanel bouclé suit, that took it over the top. It was a haute couture look for certain but was it attractive? I’m not sure.

Designer: likely Maison Michel

Princess Claire also wore a hat with exaggerated natural straw brim, but to greater success. Along with the wide cartwheel brim, her romantic picture hat featured a pillbox-shaped crown with flat top and sides covered in pink silk and a playful pink silk sash sewn free-form on one side. The sash is one of the unexpected but prettiest trims I’ve seen on a picture hat and the hat, along with Claire’s retro-styled jacket and full-skirted frock was another one of my favourite ensembles at this event. It was just so, so lovely.


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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa sparkled in a headpiece of spiky silver metallic dahlia flowers with silver pearl centers and cut grey feathers. It was a sassy design that suited Maria Teresa really well but that may have been better matched with a different outfit. Maybe a more vibrant dress? Maybe with less competing sparkle? I think disco ball jackets might be best reserved for after dark.

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Designer: unknown. Dress and jacket by Elie Saab. 

Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein paired her blue silk dress and coat with a wide brimmed straw saucer. These extended saucers continue to be an interesting, smoothly curvy take on a picture hat (thanks Philip Treacy!) and the a wider transparent brim on this design brought lovely lightness around Sophie’s face. Like the Grand Duchess, I think some colour variation would bring some welcome contrast here- the little bit of cream from the scarf at her shoulder and belt aren’t enough to save the ensemble from being too blue. Change out the hat for ecru straw instead of blue and I think we’d have had a winner here.

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Designer: Philip Treacy

How do you think these looks, and in particular, these hats, fare nine years on?

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

Photos from Getty as indicated; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Bauer Griffin; SIPA

Hats From the Past: Christening of Princess Isabella

Thirteen years ago today, Princess Isabella of Denmark was christened in an intimate service held in the chapel of Fredensborg Palace, the Danish royal family’s summer home.

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Crown Princess Mary topped a dusky pink Birgit Hallstein dress with the same cream silk flower bandeau headpiece by Malene Birger she had worn for Prince Christian’s baptism in 2006 (and she would later repeat for the christening of Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine in 2011).

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Larger than a bandeau, the headpiece’s scale gives it enough presence to stand on its own without obscuring a view of the baby and the floral motif gives is a delicacy and charm that feels very right for the occasion. The colour is so wonderful against Princess Mary’s hair and easily pairs with different ensembles, although this dress fell flat for me. In this ensemble, I think the headpiece was one of the most successful elements.

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Queen Margrethe wore her recognizable pink and green ensemble with patterned floral silk dress and wide brimmed vibrant green straw picture hat, trimmed with pink straw loops. Ever the romantic, Prince Henrik tied in his ensemble with a pink shirt.

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Princess Benedikte topped her pink coat with the loveliest ecru straw brimmed hat (how elegant are the lines on the brim’s  cartwheel shape) trimmed with a pink spray of silk flowers on the side. Her daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, wore a bandeau headpiece of deep purple flowers.  Carina Axelsson topped her pink dress with a pale almond straw brimmed hat with gently sidesweeping brim, trimmed with an ecru wide hatband and side ruffled bow. Queen Anne-Marie of Greece wore a wheat coloured straw hat with upturned, rimmed kettle brim and a textural, woven hatband.

Princess Isabella’s godmothers included Queen Mathilde and Prince Frederik’s first cousin, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark. Mathilde topped her lace coat with a matching wide padded bandeau headpiece, covered in the same lace and trimmed with a multi-looped black silk side bow. Princess Alexia wore a cream bandeau headpiece with spray of goose biot feathers on the side.

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Royal guests included Crown Princess Victoria who wore a bandeau headpiece with textured fabric base, trimmed with applique flowers and a pair of feather quills. Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore her gold Prada headband with blush silk bow on one side.

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Princess Mary’s stepmother, Susan Donaldson, wore a deep eggplant silk floral fascinator with dotted tulle bow.

Looking back, this event is a noticeably more informal and intimate affair than Prince Christian’s baptism was, just 18 months earlier.  The palate is so light and summery, although today’s current popularity of bandeau style headpieces makes me surprised to see so many here, 13 years ago! Perhaps these royal ladies were just ahead of fashion?!

What do you think of these royal hat looks? Which ones stand out most to you?

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Photos from Getty as indicated; Polfoto

Belgian Monarchs Commemorate VE Day

On Friday, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attended a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument in Brussels to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

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For this ceremony, Queen Mathilde repeated a beige velvet felt fedora trimmed with a hatband of the same material folded into a multi-looped bow.

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It’s a fairly sedate hat, elevated here with its pairing with Mathilde’s navy dress with ecru Battenberg lace print. The dress lifts the overall look, which remains quietly dignified enough to fit for a memorial event while still feeling light for spring. Beige accessories may not be exciting on their own but pair here to support an elegant ensemble.

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Designer: Fabrienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: Oct 14, 2016; October 11, 2013

It’s so exciting to see a hats starting to be worn at public royal events, even if these events are extremely pared down. What do you think of Queen Mathilde’s look on Friday

Photos from Getty as indicated