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

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

Dutch Royal Wedding 17 Years On: Royal Guests Part 1

When Crown Prince Willem-Alexander married Máxima Zorreguieta seventeen years ago, his status as heir to the Dutch throne made the wedding a state occasion and as such, a large number of royal guests attended. We now look at some of these royal hats.

Queen Margrethe’s hat linked with her fur trimmed coat, the domed crown covered in the same textured blue wool fabric. The denim blue inverse brim made this design unique, hugging the bottom of the crown tightly before opening horizontally, the shape punctuated by a slim lighter blue hatband on the under side. the brim’s front brim vent was further highlighted with a pearl brooch. Despite its small footprint, this hat packs a lot of punch- perhaps too much in combination with the fur collar and cuffs on the coat?

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Princess Benedikte wore a silver tweed coat and hat with fur trim on the bumper brim (and collar and dress hem). The scale of fur trim is just right here and the dark colour contrasts AND coordinates beautifully with the fabric. The fur hem of the dress is a little odd but the hat works really well.

Benedikte’s eldest daughter,  Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, topped her lilac dress and coat with a magenta felt brimless hat trimmed with a tall spray of feathers. The pieces are all individually attractive but I’m just not sure they combine well together. Photos of Alexandra’s younger sister, Princess Nathalie, who also attended, elude me.

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Queen Silvia’s midnight blue hat combined straw and velvet- not a combination we often see. The hat’s wide, upturned kettle brim was edged in a wide stripe of velvet which was repeated on the crown. A ruched hatband of light straw added softness, volume and textural contrast between the crown and brim.

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Crown Princess Victoria topped her tailored chocolate suit with a matching straw hat. It’s a hat I’m happy to leave in the past for Victoria, its unrefined finishing and awkward looking hatband making a less than flattering look for her.

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Princess Madeleine’s hat packed a little more style punch and finesse with its angular crown and upswept brim around the back. The sequinned hatband reads a little ‘glitzy cowgirl’ and the roughly woven straw feels slightly unmatched against Madeleine’s beautifully tailored dress and jacket but somehow, the look works for what it was.

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Queen Sonja topped her cantaloupe orange lace suit with a matching silk cloche hat. The upturned brim updated the traditional shape with some angular edge (a touch somewhat nullified by the wide, rather dowdy lace hatband) and a small spray of orange feathers and a canteloupe silk twist on the side attempted to liven the design. A matching canteloupe lace purse and fur stole completed the look- and a lot of canteloupe it was. Melon overkill, I’d say.

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Crown Princess Mette-Marit was barely six months into royal life at this point and her ensemble reflects some of this inexperience. Her navy silk cloche hat was embellished by a wide, ruched hatband and the same matchstick cream stitching around the outside of the brim edge as on the neckline of her dress and, in reverse, on her cream coat. All in all, it was rather bland.
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From bland and boring we move to brilliantly bizarre with Princess Märtha Louise’s hat. A fantastical design that combines a tall, olive green felt square-edged hourglass crown, a wide purple felt brim, purple roses and cobalt, orange and red feathers, the hat is unexpected, whimsical and… well, it’s just bonkers. Pairing this embellished purple suit with this hat was a gutsy move I’ve always admired and makes me smile, still.
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Well- there’s much to discuss here! Which hats stand out to you, most? Which hats have weathered the passage of time, best?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Farewell to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

Family of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg were joined by close royal friends at the Evangelische Stadtkirche in Bad Berleburg, Germany this morning to pay tribute to the prince who died unexpectedly on March 13 at the age of 83. His wife, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, led her family in a black bumper hat with diagonal stripes on the cuff brim.

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The couple’s eldest daughter, Princess Alexandra, wore Princess Benedikte’s black Breton hat with short, curled brim bound in silk ping and trimmed with a net tulle veil. Alexandra’s daughter, Countess Ingrid, wore a floral trimmed black headband.

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Princess Nathalie also wore one of her mother’s hats, a brimless design with domed crown trimmed with a swath of feathers at the back. 

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Carina Axelsson, the longtime partner of Prince Richard and Princess Benedikte’s son Prince Gustav, wore moulded black felt cloche hat with extended brim.

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Queen Margrethe repeated her black Karakul fur toque with feather pouf trim.

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Crown Princess Mary repeated her Susanne Juul designed hat with tall, squared felt crown and straw brim, trimmed with a pair of black feathers while Princess Marie repeated her looped black silk ribbon headpiece.

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Queen Anne-Marie wore a short brimmed hat with moulded crown in the shape of a partial Pork Pie, simply trimmed in a Petersham ribbon hatband.
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Queen Máxima repeated her Bettina Thomas designed rounded pillbox hat with bow at the back. Princess Beatrix wore a large black straw bumper hat with double upfolded brim.
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Queen Silvia wore a larger scale black felt hat with short, upturned Kettle brim trimmed with a wide, folded silk hatband and knotted sash. Princess Madeleine, who is Princess Benedikte’s goddaughter, wore a simple black headband.

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Princess Märtha Louise, who represented the Norwegian royal family, repeated her swirled black cocktail hat wrapped in black net veil.

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I’m sure you all join me in expressing the deepest of sympathy to Princess Benedikte and the Berleburg family as they grieve the loss of Prince Richard.

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

Christening of Prince Christian: Royal Guests

Royal Hats When Prince Christian of Denmark was christened ten years ago, the event was attended by numerous royal relatives and close friends. After looking at the hats worn by his mother, grandparents and godparents, we now turn our attention to those worn by royal guests.

Queen Margrethe’s sisters, Queen Anne-Marie and Princess Benedikte, both wore vibrant hats. In bright red felt, Queen Anne-Marie’s hat featured an unusually tall crown, a short, upturned brim; the piece was boldly embellished with a large knotted bow and curling black feather spines. Princess Benedikte topped her grey fur coat with a large beret-style design in raspberry felt. We have seen Princess Benedikte in numerous hats in this hue and the colour is fantastic on her.

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Princess Marie-Chantal wore a Philip Treacy designed fascinator of straw twists and several different varieties of gold feathers. While some might argue that the spiky design gave some textural contrast to her tweed coat and dress, I have always found the combination of classic clothing and modern headpiece to be jarring and disharmonious.

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Princess Alexia of Greece topped her grey fur jacket with a burgundy felt hat. With an indented crown and fluted, upturned brim, this hat is all about shape. I adore the grey and burgundy colour scheme of her ensemble but I’m afraid the stylised brim and crown shapes on her hat look rather dated today. Tatiana Blatnik (who would become Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark in 2010) wore a simple fascinator of navy feathers. The lightness of the piece, which feels better suited to a summer wedding or garden party, feels off balance against her winter coat

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Princess Theodora wore an interesting loden green beret variation with high peaked side trimmed with a felt rose in the same colour. Princess Benedikte’s daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg topped her gold bouclé coat with a purple fascinator. The headpiece, consisting of a purple silk rose and feathers that swept around the top of her head, provided a spot of colour and textural contrast to her ensemble.

Princess Theodora, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats   Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats

The Countess of Frederiksborg, who arrived with her young sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, wore in an ecru felt hat with asymmetrical upfolded brim. The hat was trimmed in a pleated sash of the same fabric as her coat, drawing the two pieces together in a unified winter white ensemble. Some of you might recognize the hat as the same one worn for Prince Felix’s christening (the last christening to have taken place in the Danish royal family at the time) in 2002- an interesting choice but a hat that Alexandra wore very well.

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Princess Mathilde (as was her title in 2006) topped her beautiful red coat dress and cape with a large matching hat. With a squared crown and upfolded brim, the hat was simply trimmed with a wide ribbon around the base of the crown. It’s a strong look for Mathilde but she carried it well. It’s a classic piece that I would love to see trotted out again.

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Dutch Princess Laurentien also wore an exaggerated hat- made of the same brown plaid as her tailored jacket, the piece featured a tall, indented crown and oval shaped brim. Unfortunately, the stylised fedora overwhelmed Laurentien and looked to be swallowing her up.

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Princess Märtha Louise of Norway wore a 1940s inspired hat by Anja Irgens. With a close fitting crown and diamond brooch detail, the star of this hat was its upfolded brim that swept around the hat in fluted waves. Märtha Louise has long been known for her quirky style and while this hat fits that style brief, the colour and shape are exquisite. Ten years later, it is still one of my favourite hats in her wardrobe.

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It is only once in a generation that a royal house christens a future king or queen and the scale of this event reflects its importance. Looking back, I’m surprised at how many hats withstand the test of time and could successfully (and stylishly) be repeated today. Which hats stand out most here to you?
Photo from Getty as indicated; CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/Reuters/Corbis; CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/Reuters/Corbis; Birger Storm / Billed Bladet;