Monaco Royal Wedding: Scandinavian Royals

It’s not often that a monarch marries so it was no surprise that the religious ceremony of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock on July 2, 2011 included lots of royal guests.

We start our tour of royal hats worn to this wedding with the last bride to marry a reigning monarch- Queen Silvia, who wore a wide brimmed parasisal straw picture hat in lilac pink. The design featured a crossover shape on the front of the crown, a gently sideswept brim and was simply trimmed with a double looped straw bow on the side. With her silk jacquard cloqué dress in the same colour, the hat topped a very coordinated look.

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Designer: unknown

Crown Princess Victoria’s aqua calot hat was clearly designed to match her silk chiffon embellished dress with the same curved iridescent paillettes on the dress’ sleeves completely covering the hat. It’s a very textural look in a colour that’s great for Victoria but that was let down by her limply styled hair. Victoria was in her first trimester of pregnancy with Princess Estelle at the time of this wedding, making me wonder if she was feeling her best or if the heat of the day simply got the best of her. It’s a fussier look than we usually see on Victoria, which makes me like it for her, and I wish we could see it worn again with a more successful hairstyle.

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Designer: unknown. Dress by Escada.

Princess Madeleine paired her almond silk dress with a large silk rose headpiece in a similar hue, with tall curving pheasant feather. As far as fascinators go, this one makes a statement… although the curve and height of that feather always felt a bit random to me.

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Designer: unknown. Dress by Dolce & Gabbana

Princess Mette-Marit also chose a monochrome look in a pale, neutral pink with a crescent headpiece of layered hand cut lace that circled around the back of her head. The multiple layers of lace created a wonderfully dimensional piece that contrasted against the smooth lines and asymmetrical neckline of her dress and beautifully framed her face. I usually am a stickler for impeccable finishes on royal millinery but the the slightly raw lace on this design gave it an edgy, rough beauty.

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Designer: unknown. Dress by Valentino.

Princess Mary wore one of my favourite looks at this wedding with a finely woven, wheat-hued straw saucer hat studded with tiny diamanté, trimmed with large ecru silk roses and flying coque feathers. While a neutral colour, the hat was anything but boring thanks to its dramatic shape and bold trim, elements that enabled it to stand up as the perfect counterpoint for Mary’s Mediterranean blue silk dress. With neutral shoes and a fun, patterned turquoise purse, this ensemble was perfectly styled and firmly got my vote for best dressed guest at this wedding. Nine years on, it’s still one of my favourites.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Prada. 

Princess Marie went with a more monochrome approach, topping her pale peach silk wrap dress with a brimmed hat in the same shade. The hat’s brim was gently turned up around the front the hat was completed a spray of straw leaves in darker and lighter shades sweeping over the side.

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Designer: unknown. Dress by Rikke Gudnitz.

There’s no shortage of interesting milliner here- we’ve got colour, sparkle and drama! I’ve already tipped my hand as to my favourite, dearest readers but I’m curious- which looks here stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Monaco Royal Wedding: The Bride, Groom and Attendants

Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock celebrated their marriage with a Roman-Catholic ceremony held in the inner courtyard of The Prince’s Palace in Monaco on July 2, 2011.

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Giorgio Armani Privé created a sleek gown for Charlene with a portrait collar neckline and fitted body cut from 50 meters of pearly silk duchesse and 80 meters of silk organza. The designer’s niece, Roberta Armani, gave some insight behind the dress in an interview with Vogue, saying, “My uncle wanted to make sure the dress was timeless and sophisticated. Charlene is blessed with an amazing body and spectacular shoulders, which is a fantastic base for any dress. The shade of ivory we chose suits her skin so well.”

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The gown’s silhouette opened just below the hip to a wider skirt that flowed into a cathedral length train. An additional, detachable, five-meter long train attached from the back of the portrait neckline.

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While the second train gave a grand, regal, sweeping look to the back of the dress, it appeared heavy and difficult to maneuver.

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Interestingly, Charlene removed it during the registry signing, processing out of the place courtyard with her new husband without it.  This removal revealed covered buttons up the back of the dress (below right) which had been hidden when the train was attached (below left).

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You’ll also notice that the front view of the dress shows a noticeably different silhouette without the second train.

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Train issues aside, what shines on this dress is its cut and its embroidery. Scrolling down the dress front to the hem and around the edge of both trains, a delicate floral pattern was embroidered in platinum-coated embroidery thread incorporating 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 30,000 gold stones and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops. Roberta Armani reported that 3 seamstresses worked 2,500 hours on the dress and veil with 700 hours devoted to embroidery alone. The embroidery gave an exquisite delicacy to the dress’ stark lines and sparkled in the sunlight, giving the most beautifully dimensional effect that brings the gown to life.

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Armani used 20 meters of silk organza for the veil, delicately edged in tiny hand embroidered seed pearls. Anchored at the back of her head, the silk billowed over her face in the prettiest, lightest cloud.

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Charlene anchored the veil with 19th century diamond hair clips inherited from Princess Charlotte (Albert’s grandmother),  borrowed from Princess Caroline. I remember at the time of this wedding adoring how the traditional jewels were worn in such a modern way, tucked around Charlene’s chignon to beautifully frame her face from side views and link so perfectly with the sparkling floral embroidery on her dress. The combination of dress, veil, hairstyle and headpiece made such a beautiful look.

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Prince Albert wore the summer uniform of Monaco’s Palace Guards with gold leaf and crown embroidery on the epaulettes and sleeve cuffs and brass buttons monogrammed with his personal cypher. Even with a black tie and a bit of sparkle from the Order of Saint Charles, the Order of Grimaldi, and the French Legion of Honor, it’s rather bland, particularly with the white shoes. Understandably, even Princes don’t have input or choice when it comes to the design of a military uniform but this one is not a head turner.

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Princess Charlene was attended by two friends, Isabell Kristensen in a taupe silk gown of her own design and Donatella Knecht de Massy (wife of one of Prince Albert’s cousins) in a pale grey-green v-neck gown with matching, minimalist bandeau headpiece.

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Albert and Charlene chose seven 7-year old girls from different areas of the principality to round out the wedding party. Princess Caroline worked with Jean-Christophe Maillot, director of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, to create their ensembles, based on traditional Monagasque folk costume.

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Along with the red and white striped skirts trimmed in black ribbon, ruffled blouses, aprons and pyramid natural straw hats that characterize this traditional dress, these ensembles also included Albert and Charlene’s monogram embroidered on the silk stockings and aprons, which also were stitched with the name of each girl’s home region of the principality. Finally, the couple gifted each girl with a gold cross they wore, fastened on a black velvet ribbon. Each outfit took more than 120 hours to create and formed a thoughtfully patriotic nod to Monagasque heritage.

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For the evening wedding dinner and ball at the Opera Garnier, Princess Charlene wore a second Armani Privé dress of white silk chiffon with a high, sheer neckline and four-tiered fluted skirt, hand embroidered with dangling beads and Swarovski crystals. She explained to Vogue, “The wedding dress is pretty heavy so I wanted to change into something light, soft and easy to move in for the evening.” Charlene topped the effervescent gown with a sleek, contemporary tiara, custom made by Lorenz Baumer and commissioned by Prince Albert for a wedding gift. The modern lines of the tiara suit Charlene so well, it’s a shame she has not yet worn it again.

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This wedding was a mix of traditional elements contrasted with a very modern bride who seemed not to venture far from her normally streamlined sartorial aesthetic. Nine years on, how does this stand up for you?

Stay tuned tomorrow when we turn our attention to the many hats worn to this event, first with those worn by the Grimaldi and Wittstock families.

Photos from Getty as indicated 

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 

Greek Royal Wedding 20 Years On: Danish & Spanish Extended Families


We don’t often see a  royal bride who counts four queens between her mother, grandmother, and aunts but such is the reality of Princess Alexia’s family tree. As such, her wedding was an extraveganza of royal hats on high profile royal heads.  Alexia’s grandmother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, wore an ensemble in pale lilac with a cuffed ring brim hat. Made of the same fabric (silk crepe?) as her dress and coat, the hat’s centerpiece was its woven crown, a unique design touch that gave it wonderful texture.

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Queen Margrethe topped her vibrant floral dress with a picture hat in the same hues. The wide brimmed design, in grass green straw, was trimmed in whimsical twists of layered pink and white curling straw.

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Princess Benedikte was in sunny yellow from head to hem. Her straw hat featured a flat crown, silk hatband stitched in narrow rows and folded into a flat front bow, and a wide downturned brim overlaid in a swath of yellow net veil studded with silk rose petals. While the colour seems very much of the time, the classic shape translates better than her ruffle trimmed suit!

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Princess Benedikte’s elder daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein Berleburg, wore an ivory straw hat with flared and domed crown and wide brim that sloped downward in back and upwards in front. An overlay of informally ruched sinamay paced over the brim gave movement and a touch of modernity to the design.

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Princess Benedikte’s younger daughter, Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein Berleburg, seen behind Prince Charles in the photo below, wore a sky blue sinmay hat with squared crown and sideswept brim trimmed with a multi-looped bow on the side.

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While Queen Sofia did not wear a hat, Infanta Elena’s statement piece was impossible to miss. While structure here is difficult to pinpoint (Is it a pyramid? Do I see a small, rounded straw crown on th very top?), the hat’s focus was its wide cartwheel brim entirely covered in cream ostrich feathers. The phrase “lot of look” comes to mind to describe Elena’s couture suit and hat on steroids and I admire how much milliny confidence it must have taken to carry off such an over-the-top hat. It’s such a memorable royal hat moment.

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Infanta Cristina topped a blue dress and grey silk organza coat with a neutral almond straw hat with curved brim. The hat’s classic shape and streamlined trim (just a slim hatband) made a chic maternity look for Cristina.

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Infanta Margarita, who we seldom see, wore a very simple veiled headpiece. This is one of those times when function seems to have trumped fashion as the choice seems to satisfy the need for a headcovering, but that’s all. Do any of you recall seeing this headpiece from other angles?

There are some colourful and memorable hats among this group of royal relatives- I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Photos from Getty as indicated; ORBAN THIERRY/CORBIS SYGMA

Greek Royal Wedding 20 Years On

Last month marked the 20th anniversary of a major royal wedding in London attended by three Kings and eight Queens. On July 9,1999 Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark married Carlos Javier Morales Quintana, a Spanish architect and a champion yachtsman, at St. Sophia Cathedral. Over the next few days, we’re going to take a look back at this event.

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The bride went to one of her mother’s favourite designers, Austrian Inge Sprawson, for her sleek gown in ivory satin. With long, fitted sleeves and a wide v-neck, the focal point of the dress was a pair of diagonal crossed seams at the waist that created a fitted bodice silhouette and attached the gown’s skirt.

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The straight skirt flowed into a modest sweep train with a longer, detachable train fixed at the waist. The back of the dress was decorated in a row of beaded buttons which were repeated on the underside of each sleeve.

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Following the tradition set by her grandmother and followed by her mother, aunts and cousins, Alexia wore her great-grandmother Crown Princess Margaret’s Irish lace veil anchored with the Danish royal family’s Khedive of Egypt Tiara.

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A simple gown is usually the best way to show off such an amazing vintage lace veil but I’m just not sure that the cut and fabric of this dress entirely flattered it’s wearer. For me, it always paled in comparison to the amazing gold beaded Armani dress with portrait neckline she wore two days earlier to a pre-wedding party- a look I’ve long thought was her very best. It was breathtakingly stunning

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Princess Alexia was attended by her sister Princess Theodora, who wore a long sleeved gown in floral embroidered lilac silk organza with sheer sleeves and a draped neckline.

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Bridesmaides included Princess Alexia’s 3-year old niece, Princess Olympia, and Princess Mafalda, daughter of Prince Kyril and Princess Rosario of Bulgaria (the Prince and Princess of Preslav). Their dotted white silk organza full-skirted frocks with lilac silk sashes were topped with delicate white floral hair wreaths. Pageboys wore high waisted lilac silk trousers with white silk Peter Pan collared shirts.

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Fascinators were very popular in 1999 (Queen Elizabeth famously wore one two weeks earlier for the wedding of the Earl and Countess of Wessex) making Queen Anne-Marie’s headpiece of lilac feathers a fashionable choice at the time. From today’s viewpoint, it seems a fussy choice for her lace trimmed coat and dress.

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Crown Princess Marie-Chantal topped a textured suit with a wide brimmed hat in light ecru straw. The design featured a raised brim around the front behind which was a large grin unstructured bow.

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I’m curious, dearest readers- what do you think of this bridal look and hats, 20 years on?

Jump over to the following posts to review hats worn by the many royal guests:

Danish and Spanish Extended Royal Families
British Royal Guests
Norwegian and Swedish Royal Guests
Luxembourg, Jordanian, and Eastern European Royal Guests

Photos from Getty as indicated