Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to 19th April 1941, 80 years ago yesterday. While she wouldn’t become the Duchess of Devonshire until 1950, Deborah Mitford still turned heads when she married Lord Andrew Cavendish. And her floral bridal headpiece? Fantastic.

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Dutch Royal Wedding, 55 Years On

55 years ago yesterday, Princess Beatrix married German diplomat Claus van Amsberg. Royal weddings are usually celebratory occasions but in post-war Europe, the Dutch heir-to-the-throne’s choice of husband was not completely welcomed. As a child, Claus had been required to join the Hitler Youth and conscripted into the German army at the very end of WWII; while he was never involved in active combat, his past involvement with the Nazi party was problematic.

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Princess Beatrix and Claus van Amsberg announce their engagement, June 28, 1965

The couple stood firm and leveraged support from Beatrix’s German father Prince Bernhard to gain Queen Juliana’s endorsement. They further prevailed in gaining parliamentary approval for their marriage, a step needed for Princess Beatrix to remain in the line of succession, despite a petition with over 65,000 signatures against the marriage.

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The couple give notice of their upcoming marriage at Baarn Town Hall, February 17, 1966

These circumstances paved a less than ideal path to the altar and the couple’s wedding day on March 10, 1966 saw groups simultaneously cheering and protesting the union (a smoke bomb detonated during the carriage procession). Thankfully, these stresses are not evident in the Beatrix and Claus’ beaming faces. Their day started with traveling by the House of Orange’s gold carriage to a civil ceremony at Amsterdam Town Hall presided by mayor, Gijsbert van Hall.

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A religious ceremony immediately followed in the Westerkerk, led by the Reverend Johannes Hendrik Sillevis Smitt.

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Princess Beatrix wore her wedding gown for both ceremonies. Collaboratively created by the bride and Dutch royal family couturier Carolien Berge-Farwick of Maison Linette in white silk and duchess satin, the gown’s fitted bodice featured a high, rounded neckline and three quarter length sleeves. Sparkling beadwork at the waist highlighted the gown’s split skirt, which revealed a beautifully embroidered column underskirt and flowed to a sixteen foot train. While the dress’ streamlined shape was certainly of its time, the spectacular embroidery elevated it to one befitting a future queen.

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This regal royal bridal look was further elevated by the voluminous silk tulle veil and statement Wurttemberg Pearl Tiara. Impressive tiaras can easily overwhelm even a royal bride but the unadorned neckline of the gown, the extensive embroidery on the skirt, and the classic 60s bouffant veil balanced the tiara, beautifully.

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Princess Beatrix was attended by six adult bridesmaids, including her younger sister Princess Christina, who wore Wedgewood blue silk crepe gowns. Lace jackets with three quarter length sleeves, gloves, and matching bandeau headpieces with large feather poufs completed their ensemble. Two wee bridesmaids wore white silk dresses with white floral wreaths in their hair.

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Queen Juliana topped a stunning petrol blue velvet coat and blue lace column gown with a turban made of mottled blue and white silk petals.

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Princess Irene wore a headpiece of large deep pink silk flowers. Princess Margriet wore a white veiled pillbox, the fur hat linking with the collar and cuffs on her blush silk gown and coat.

 

Guests from numerous European royal houses were in attendance:

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Despite the controversy of this marriage, Prince Claus became an accepted and much loved member of the Dutch royal family and by all accounts, the couple enjoyed a happy marriage and family with their three sons. When Prince Claus died in 2002, he was deeply grieved by all.


Which hats stand out to you most at this wedding?

Images from Getty as indicated; Rolls Press/Popperfoto via Getty Images

Habsburg Bourbon Wedding in Austria

On Saturday, Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma and Archduchess Gabriella of Austria were married on the grounds of Schloss Tratzberg in Jenbach, Austria following a three year engagement. Archduchess Gabriella might be familiar to some of you- she is the daughter of Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria (thus niece of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg). There is a comprehensive explanation of the couple’s familial roots here.

Gabriella wore an ivory silk strapless gown with fitted bodice that extended to an A-line skirt with short train. A cropped overlay jacket of appliqued lace with three-quarter length sleeves and an embellished boat neckline topped the gown.

Gabriella completed her bridal look with full length lace veil and the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara with diamond leaf and berry motif and center sapphire (you can read more about the tiara over at Luxarazzi or The Court Jeweller). Some reports have suggested that the veil is the same as was worn by the bride’s elder sister Archduchess Marie Christine back in 2008 but as you’ll see here, the veil’s size and lace pattern is different. Whatever the provenance of the lace, it paired beautifully with the gown, lace jacket and delicate bandeau tiara to create a very pretty bridal look for Gabriella.

The wedding took place late afternoon so there were no hats but some lovely royal guest fashion is to be admired, including a sweet pink Austrian folk dress on the couple’s nearly 3-year old daughter, Victoria. At the back of the bottom photo, you’ll also catch wee Prince Charles of Luxembourg, proudly held by his papa.

Norwegian Royal Wedding, 52 Years On

Anniversary
King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway celebrated 52 years of marriage on Saturday.

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The couple married on August 29, 1968 at Oslo Domkirke following a nine-year courtship that began serendipitously when, several months after her father’s death, Sonja Heraldsen was convinced, by her mother, to attend a June 1959 party also attended by the Crown prince.  Despite the couple being photographed several months later at his graduation from the Norwegian Military Academy, they had to overcome strong pressure for Crown Prince Harald to marry a foreign princess instead of a commoner trained as a dressmaker and tailor. But overcome they did (reportedly, after Harald, the sole heir, gave an ultimatum to his father that it was Sonja or no one!) and consent was granted to their union in 1968. King Olav V added his own support to the marriage by offering to escort Sonja down the aisle.

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Sonja’s training as a dressmaker in Norway and France and work in her late father’s clothing store undoubtedly gave her greater understanding of fashion than most royal brides. She collaborated with Sigrid Vedeler from Norwegian fashion house Molstad for her gown.

The resulting gown followed a silhouette popular in the late 1960s- high neck, three quarter sleeves, slight empire waist and A-line skirt- made of structured silk zibeline that crisply emphasized the design’s clean lines and beautifully held its shape. The gown was simply embellished with pearl embroidery on the funnel neck and on bands at the sleeves.

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A sweeping, square edged train attached at the shoulders.

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The gown was topped with a voluminous silk organza full length veil anchored by a spiky white faux floral headpiece. To balance the headpiece, Sonja’s only other accessories were simple pearl stud earrings. Her all white bouquet, made by legendary retired decorator Fernando Menk, included orchids, roses, lily of the valley and Sonja’s favorite flower, freesia.

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With guests in gowns and tiaras, the wedding was a glittering affair.

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I have always loved this bridal look for its sweeping lines and streamlined aesthetic. What are your thoughts, 52 years on?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Greek Royal Wedding, Ten Years On

Ten years ago today, Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark married Tatiana Blatnik at the Cathedral of Ayios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) on the Greek island of Spetses. The wedding was the family’s first on Greek soil since going into exile in 1967. While smaller in royal attendance than the weddings of the groom’s elder brother in 1995 and sister in 1999, it was still a glittering event.

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Tatiana turned to fellow Venezuelan-born designer Angel Sanchez for her wedding gown. Made from 40 meters of French Chantilly lace, the strapless gown was topped with a scalloped edge bolero jacket that she wore for the sunset ceremony and removed for the evening reception. The gown followed an A-line silhouette with strapless crisscross bodice featuring a sweetheart neckline and a draped skirt flowing from the hip.  A separate train, attached at the back, completed the gown.

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The same Chantilly lace was used for an extended veil. It’s a romantic look for certain but the lace upon lace upon lace layers of skirt, train, veil and bolero blurred the lace’s detail instead of enhancing it. On its own, the veil is beautiful but its detail and scalloped edge were lost in the overall look.

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Queen Anne-Marie’s Antique Corsage Tiara anchored the veil, adding a lovely bit of sparkle to Tatiana’s lacy bridal look (and perhaps starting a Greek family tradition, as Princess Marie-Chantal also wore it for her wedding). Diamond drop earrings completed Tatiana’s accessories,

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Children in the wedding party were dressed in white linen suits and white cotton dresses with pleated detail with white floral wreaths in their hair.

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As for the bridesmaids in their strapless sequinned bodice dresses with marine hued skirts…. it was all a bit too disco mermaid.

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As the ceremony took place in the evening, the dress code did not include hats but with a lengthy royal guest list ( many of them extended family members), there was much glamorous fashion to enjoy

Greek & Spanish Royal Families:

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Danish Royal Family:

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Other Royal Guests:

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There aren’t hats here to discuss so instead we, unusually, talk tiara. How does this royal bridal look hold up for you, ten years on?

Photos from Getty as indicated