Dutch Royal Wedding 20 Years On: Guests

We finish our look back 20 years at the May 2001  wedding of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien today with hats worn by royal guests and extended members of the Dutch royal family to the couple’s religious ceremony.

Princess Mathilde wore a white parasisal straw hat with slightly flared, flat-top crown and generous mushroom brim. The classic black and white scheme always works and I really like how the black stitching on her coat was reversed in white on the hat’s black hatband.

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Crown Princess Victoria took a more neutral path with a tan and cream subtle plaid coat and dress topped with a picture hat in beige straw. It was not a dynamic look (it’s all rather biscuit!!), not helped by the low curve of the hat’s gently sidesweeping brim that sat awkwardly low over Victoria’s face.

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Mette-Marit Tjenssem, who would become Crown Princess of Norway three months later, wore a blush coat with sequin detail repeated on the hatband of her cream picture hat. It was another quiet ensemble (despite the sequins) but nice, from today’s vantage point, to see Mette-Marit in a brimmed design.

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We can usually count on Princess Märtha Louise to bring some colour and she did not disappoint at this event, pairing her lilac shantung silk suit with a deep orange statement hat. Between the hat’s vibrant shade, extended brim with point ends, fuchsia brim binding and brim stitching and hatband of cut orange and fuchsia silk leaves, it was a memorable design.

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Princess Kiko was in head to hem pale butter yellow. Her hat was a most interesting shape with a bumper style overtop a downward facing visor- it really defies description. Can you remember seeing her in another design of this shape? It feels unique.

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Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg topped her red suit with a natural straw woven hat with rounded crown and fluted brim bound with chocolate binding and topped with a layer of silk petal studded crin… or a large patterned lace? The hat was finished with a large flower on the left side.

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The Countess of Wessex wore two toned hat with green fluted crown and palest seafoam parasisal straw with very interesting, inverted brim and trimmed with peacock feathers. We don’t see many two toned hats and while this one reflects millinery styles of the time, still was a well balanced and interesting (in a good way!) design.

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Princess Alexandra De Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berlebourg (Princess Benedikte’s eldest daughter) contrasted her pale blue ensemble with a copper straw picture hat. The unexpected scheme worked, as did the hat’s scale on Alexandra’s tall frame. I really like the proportion between the hat’s crown and wide brim and the textural contrast provided by the stitched silk bow.

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Princess Miriam of Bulgaria wore a folded black sinamay design with black and white feathers and a black veil.

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Princess Margriet wore a wide brimmed hat in red sinamay with long sinamay sash folded over the hat. That folded sash was unique, as hat trimmings go, but seemed at odds with the rest of the design.

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Princess Marilène (back row behind Prince Constantijn) wore a dark hued, wide brimmed hat. Princess Irene (front row on right, beside Maxima) wore a lime green straw boater with extended brim. Princess Christina (second row, in between Prince Constantijn and Queen Beatrix) looked to be in a hat with black brim and royal blue crown.

It’s always interesting, looking back at past events, which hats seem timeless and which ones reflect specific styles of the time. Looking back 20 years at this event, which hats stand out most to you?

You can see hats worn by immediate family (and the bride’s attire) at the religious ceremony here and hats at the civil ceremony here.

Images from Getty as indicated  

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