Remembering the Duchess of Alba

Royal Hats

The Duchess of Alba passed away this morning at the age of 88, following a period of illness. Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y Silva,18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, was one of the few women in the royal world of male primogeniture to carry her title in her own right (she was the only child of the 17th Duke of Alba). She was well known for her glamorous lifestyle, her record number of noble titles (more than 40), her controversial marriages, her passions for art, culture and flamenco dance, and her very colourful fashion.

Duchess of Alba | Royal Hats

Duchess of Alba, 1955| Royal HatsIn Cordoban costume for the 1955 Seville fair

 Duchess of Alba | Royal Hats

Duchess of Alba, 1962 | Royal Hats

 Leading a pre-bullfight parade during Spain’s 400th anniversary in 1962

Duchess of Alba, 1966 | Royal Hats At a bullfight with the Countess of Quintanilla and Jaqueline Kennedy in 1966

Duchess of Alba  | Royal Hats  Duchess of Alba  | Royal Hats

Duchess of Alba  | Royal Hats   Duchess of Alba  | Royal HatsDuchess of Alba, May 3, 2010  | Royal Hats

At the May 3, 2010 wedding of Pepito Marquez y Gonzalez de Gregorio and Edina Zichy

Duchess of Alba, April 4, 2011  | Royal Hats Duchess of Alba, August 14, 2013  | Royal Hats

At the Seville Fair in April 2011; Enjoying Ibiza in August 2013

Duchess of Alba, October 11, 2013  | Royal Hats

At the October 11, 2013 wedding of Maria Colonques and Andres Benet

Duchess of Alba, 1980 | Royal Hats

In the garden of the Palace of Liria, 1980

Photos from Elmundo; Jerry Cooke via Getty; Rex via London Express; Loomis Dean via Getty; The Daily Mail; Enfemenio; The Telegraph; Lecturas; Europa Press, Europa Press and Aurora Fierro via Getty

Spanish Royal Wedding Ten Years On: Extended Spanish Royal Family

Royal Hats As one might expect, members of the extended Spanish royal family were in attendance for the May 22, 2004 wedding of the then Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano. King Juan Carlos arrived at Almudena Cathedral with his sister, Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz. Pilar wore a dramatic magenta straw hat with tall crown and upturned lattice brim that came to a sharp point. The hat was trimmed with a large mass of feathers on the side. It’s not a hat for the faint of heart (which makes me love it) but I still have a hard time seeing it paired with Pilar’s very traditional floral coat.

Infanta Pilar, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Infanta Pilar, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Pilar’s daughter, Simoneta Gómez Acebo, wore a lime green ensemble that seems best left in the past. Her hat, a chartreuse straw oversize fedora with wide brim and large feather spine decoration, certainly made a statement.

Simoneta Gómez Acebo, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

Laura Ponte, who would marry Infanta Pilar’s son Beltran in September 2004, wore a dramatic black vertical saucer hat. The textured hat was trimmed with a giant black feather, a spray of ecru feathers and flowers at the back, and an open weave veil which tightly enclosed her face. Laura, a model, was probably used to such high fashion looks but the hat was a little macabre for my taste.

Laura Ponte, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

I assume Infanta Pilar’s other two daughter-in-laws, Bárbara Cano and Mónica Martín Luque also attended this wedding- can anyone help source photos of them at this event?

King Juan Carlos’ other sister, Infanta Margarita topped her mint green dress and jacket with a pale grey fascinator. This headpiece consisted of a side silk bow and a cloud of net tulle which framed the Infanta’s face. I like the unexpected grey and mint colour combination and thought the grey headpiece tied in well with Margarita’s sapphire earrings and necklace.

2004-05-22 Asturias wedding Margarita 1 2004-05-22  Margarita of Spain

Margarita’s daughter, María Zurita y de Borbón, topped her beautiful coral coat with a classic straw picture hat. This hat featured a squared crown and was trimmed with chocolate and coral feathers and a front bow. The ensemble was pretty, streamlined and oh-so elegant.

María Zurita y de Borbón, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria and his wife, Princess Anne of Orléans, were also predictably in attendance. Princess Anne chose a demure her pale green dress and coat and coordinating light, crin headpiece. Their youngest daughter, Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, topped her bright red coat with a large and very romantic straw picture hat trimmed with peach roses and trailing ribbons. This is a hat I want to love but can’t, thanks to its odd pairing with this coat.

2004-05-22 Asturias wedding Anne Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Infante Carlos’ other daughters Princess Cristina, Princess María (Archducess of Austria), Princess Inés and daughter-in-law, Princess Sofia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies were, presumably, also in attendance.

And finally, while not officially related to the Spanish royal family, I can’t bear to leave out the Duchess of Alba. One of the most fearless noble women when it comes to fashion, Cayetana  wore a characteristically whimsical headpiece in pink and green tulle net. This is not the kind of headpiece one expects to see on a duchess of a certain age (Cayetana was 78 at the time of this wedding) and I adore her for it.

Duchess of Alba, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats Duchess of Alba, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

There are some unexpected ensembles and hats within this group and I am curious to hear your thoughts. Next up? The hats worn by King Felipe’s other royal cousins- the Greek royal family.

Photos from via Pascal Le Segretain and Pedro Amestre via Getty; El Mundo, El Mundo and El MundoEl Pais;  El MundoEl Mundo, El Mundo and El Mundo

Duchess of Alba Celebrates a Spanish Wedding

Last Friday, October 11, The Duchess of Alba was spotted at the Spanish celebrity wedding of Maria Colonques and Andres Benet. Cayetana topped off her very festive boysenberry-hued ensemble with a purple flowered cocktail hat. Doesn’t she look great?! I admire her fashion confidence and can only hope that when I am her age (a sprightly 87 years old) I have as much fun with my millinery and clothing choices as she does.

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Photos from Getty as indicated