Belgian National Day

The Belgian royal family celebrated their country’s national holiday today with a Te Deum mass at The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula followed by a military parade outside the Royal Palace.

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Queen Mathilde wore a new bandeau headpiece covered in a textured striped fabric in the palest beigey-pink.

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The caped floral dress requires a light millinery touch and the scale and subtle texture of this design works well. It’s nicely finished, with bias placement of the stripe and not a pucker or underside structure to be seen. While it lets the dress be the focus, which I suppose was its aim, I’m afraid I find it a bit underwhelming

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

Princess Elisabeth also wore a new hat, in textured deep orange (or tomato red?!) straw. The pillbox design is simply trimmed with a knotted sash on the side.

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It’s a great scale on Elisabeth, the weave of the hat providing textural contrast to the floral pattern on her dress. We’ve not seen her in many hats and this one is a good ‘beginner.’

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Designer:  Fabienne Delvigne’s “Kennedy” design. Dress by Natan
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Enrolled in this year’s course at the Belgian Military Academy, Princess Elisabeth marched in the military parade in full uniform.

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Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent also attended in military uniform, Princess Astrid in a green hat with smart curved brim and Prince Laurent in a traditional cap (Princess Claire did not attend).

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Today’s celebration officially included Princess Delphine and her partner, Jim O’Hare, for the first time. She wore a vibrant patterned dress and matching beret from Belgian ethical fashion brand Erratum, whose work is inspired by Africa.

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It’s a bold look but one that seems authentic for the artist, whose work is described as vibrant, playful and quirky. The same words describe this ensemble and that’s exactly what makes me love it. Yes, it’s lot of pattern and the hat could really use some structure (there’s a reason fabric hats are blocked over sinamay bases!) but its a confident statement that I wish we saw more in royal fashion.

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Designer: Erratum
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Marie-Esméralda attended the Te Deum in a very pretty pink pleated bandeau headpiece.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this is new

It’s wonderful to see larger events opening up, especially with they include the debut of a new princess! What do you think of this group of hats today in Brussels?

Images from Getty as indicated  

Belgium National Day 2020

Members of the Belgian royal family celebrated their country’s national holiday today, attending a Te Deum mass at Cathedral of Saints Michel-et-Gudule in Brussels followed by a parade honoring victims and heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic in front of the Royal Palace.

For the mass, Queen Mathilde wore a new picture hat in almond parasisal straw. That hat follows a traditional shape with rounded crown and extended, drop edge brim and is simply trimmed in a straw hatband.

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You can’t go wrong with a classic picture hat and this one’s scale, shape and colour are right on point. It’s a great counterpoint to Mathilde’s navy Battenberg lace printed shirtwaist dress, the two refined pieces a better pairing than the felt feodra she wore with this dress last month. I give both the hat and the ensemble top marks.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Louisa” design. Dress by Natan
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Mathilde changed into a bright floral dress for the parade, topped with a fuchsia ringed headpiece trimmed in a ruffle of pleated silk abaca.

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It’s another good look, the sleeker silhouette of the dress playing well with the smaller scaled headpiece. I’ll never embrace these open crowned doughnut-shaped pieces but must concede that the way this one frames Mathilde’s face, as a bandeau, is very good. The pleated ruffle also gives some asymmetrical interest and the vibrant colour can’t help but feel celebratory. This hat’s design is also is slightly reminiscent of one of Mathilde’s best hats ever, worn on this day seven years ago.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Rueda”design. Dress by Dries Van Noten. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Elisabeth wore her first hat for a public engagement, a draped bandeau headpiece in blush banana (abaca) fibre straw.

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It’s a great debut piece for Elisabeth with scale and colour well suited to a younger wearer, the ruched abaca giving a textural softness and the bandeau shape framing her face in another very lovely way. The headpiece is also a good pairing with Elisabeth’s floaty floral frock, grounding the look (with such a fun pop of orange on her purse!). We’ve talked here about the challenges facing a young princess venturing into hat-wearing and this piece is a fine start.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Lisly” design. Dress by Natan. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Astrid topped her bold striped dress with a black parasisal straw hat. The hat’s strong lines from its straight-sided crown and curved brim are softened with its large silk bow trim on the front; it pairs well with the equally strong striped dress to make a balanced monochrome look (love the yellow purse!)

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Every royal hat we see is a wonderful sight these days and to see four new designs debut at a single event is a rare treat. What do you think of these hats in Brussels today?

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Photos from Getty and social media as indicated 

Monaco Royal Wedding: Guests from Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein

We continue our look back at the July 2, 2011 religious wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene with hats worn by guests from the royal houses of Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Queen Paola topped a sparkly grey ensemble with a matching picture hat trimmed with pleated silk abaca draped over the crown and fanned out around the brim. I’m all for creative trims on hats and while I like the texture this silk abaca lends to the look, it’s not entirely harmonious with the hat (was it plonked on top because the hat needed ‘something’?) or with the overall ensemble.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Princess Mathilde topped her streamlined purple cape collar dress with an equally sleek charcoal straw percher hat with flying bow. It was such a sophisticated look for Mathilde, the grey accessories beautifully contrasting with the purple frock, her fantastic hairstyle perfectly showing off the hat, and the silver sparkle of the hat’s straw metallic weave linking wonderfully with her waterfall diamond brooch. Très chic.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Dress by Armani

Princess Astrid made a strong millinery statement in an oversize cloche hat in natural straw with tall, rounded crown and extended, mushroom shaped brim edged in fringe.  The exaggerated shape was a little awkward, but I think it was the hat’s fringe, which matched her pale green Chanel bouclé suit, that took it over the top. It was a haute couture look for certain but was it attractive? I’m not sure.

Designer: likely Maison Michel

Princess Claire also wore a hat with exaggerated natural straw brim, but to greater success. Along with the wide cartwheel brim, her romantic picture hat featured a pillbox-shaped crown with flat top and sides covered in pink silk and a playful pink silk sash sewn free-form on one side. The sash is one of the unexpected but prettiest trims I’ve seen on a picture hat and the hat, along with Claire’s retro-styled jacket and full-skirted frock was another one of my favourite ensembles at this event. It was just so, so lovely.


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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa sparkled in a headpiece of spiky silver metallic dahlia flowers with silver pearl centers and cut grey feathers. It was a sassy design that suited Maria Teresa really well but that may have been better matched with a different outfit. Maybe a more vibrant dress? Maybe with less competing sparkle? I think disco ball jackets might be best reserved for after dark.

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Designer: unknown. Dress and jacket by Elie Saab. 

Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein paired her blue silk dress and coat with a wide brimmed straw saucer. These extended saucers continue to be an interesting, smoothly curvy take on a picture hat (thanks Philip Treacy!) and the a wider transparent brim on this design brought lovely lightness around Sophie’s face. Like the Grand Duchess, I think some colour variation would bring some welcome contrast here- the little bit of cream from the scarf at her shoulder and belt aren’t enough to save the ensemble from being too blue. Change out the hat for ecru straw instead of blue and I think we’d have had a winner here.

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Designer: Philip Treacy

How do you think these looks, and in particular, these hats, fare nine years on?

Jump to this post for an index of other royal hats that appeared at this wedding. 

Photos from Getty as indicated; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Bauer Griffin; SIPA

Austro-French Royal Wedding Part 2

The wedding of Prince Jean Christophe Napoléon and Countess Olympia von Arco-Zinneberg on Saturday saw many royal faces with numerous extended family members and guests in Paris to celebrate with the couple.

The bride’s mother, Maria Beatrice of Arco-Zinneberg, was born an Archduchess of Austria-Este, the elder sister of Prince Lorenz of Belgium (Archduke of Austria-Este before gaining the title of prince when he married Princess Astrid). As uncle and aunt of the bride, they were in attendance, Princess Astrid in a brimless hat of spiky dark green feathers. Their daughter, Princess Maria Laura, who acted as a witness for her cousin, wore a sparkling bandeau headpiece. Princesses Luisa Maria, Laetitia Maria and Elisabetta (Amadeo’s wife) were also on the guest list but so far, elude photos.

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Archdukes Rudolph, Carl Christian and Simeon of Austria are also Habsburg relatives of the bride through her mother. Archduke Rudoplph’s wife, Archduchess Marie-Helene wore a white saucer trimmed with veil and a figure-8 bow in the same raspberry pink stripe as her silk coat. Archduchess Marie-Astrid topped her royal blue and gold dress with a navy straw saucer based cocktail hat trimmed with a multi-looped silk abaca bow and a swath of dotted navy tulle.

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Archduke Simeon’s wife, Archduchess Maria (née Princess Maria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies) wore a navy straw brimmed hat with voluminous straw overlay on the brim that wrapped around the design as a draped scarf of sorts. They are pictured here with Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein;  Margaretha topped her orange suit in a repeated russet brown straw hat with mushroom brim, trimmed on the side with a straw bow and pouf of dotted tulle.

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Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus’ elder daughter, Princess Maria Anunciata, wore a high halo bandeau headpiece in brilliant emerald green, lavishly trimmed with silk roses and a ruffle of rough-edged straw studded with tiny beads. Her aunt, Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, wore a picture hat in champagne straw with wide mushroom brim. The hat’s sheen is spectacular and the repeated use of the wide brim binding also on the hatband gives great balance to the design.

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Much of Luxembourg’s Nassau royal family members were also in attendance. Princess Stephanié, Hereditary Grand Duchess, repeated a circular wrapped headpiece made from overlapping layers of red banana fibre, trimmed with a multi-looped side bow. Princess Claire wore a classic black bandeau trimmed with faux pearls.

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Countess Diane (wife of Prince Jean), wore a tall slice hat of black crin with crown covered in curling pink and black feathers. Jean’s daughter, Princess Marie-Gabrielle, wore a bandeau headpiece covered in varied shades of dusky pink feathers topped with a pink birdcage veil sprinkled with copper sequins.

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Princess Sibilla repeated a wonderful red hat made by Dillon Wallwork. The design features a squared crown covered in the silk crepe, a sidesweeping windowpane straw brim with wide brim edge also in silk crepe, and a wide grey silk hatband with side bow. Also in a British made hat was Princess Beatrice of York in a Julian Garner design described by the milliner as a boater “made out of a fine parasisel straw and is trimmed with hand cut dyed feathers embellished with Preciosa crystals”

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The Greek royal family was represented by Crown Prince Pavlos, Princess Olympia, Prince Michael and Princess Marina. Princess Olympia wore an angular grey-olive bandeau headpiece while Princess Marina donned a black felt fedora with ribbon hatband and kicky upturned brim on one side.

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The Royal House of Hanover was represented by Prince Christian and Princess Alessandra who wore a dark purple bandeau veiled headpiece. The Olympe design from Spanish brand Mimoki features an overlapping double bandeau wrapped in cotton raffia. The Duchess of Bragança topped her blue silk dress and coat with a navy straw arc headpiece trimmed with feathers.

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Princess Tatiana Radziwill wore a red circle headpiece of silk abaca studded with read beads with flying bow tails at the back. Duchess Sophie of Wurtenberg wore a fascinator of bright pink feathers.

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Princess Maria Pia of Savoy wore a pink and grey floral headpiece set on a circle of gathered net tulle veil.  Princess Edouard De Lobkowicz (née Princess Marie Francoise of Bourbon-Parma) wore wonderful throw-back voluminous pillbox covered in curving mint, grey and peach straw leaves.

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The groom’s maternal aunt, Princess Anne Marie of Bourbon Two Sicilies, wore a braided black picture hat with upswept brim on one side, trimmed with a black organdie multi-looped bow and net veil. Her daughter, Dorothée de Bourbon-Siciles, wore a fascinator of neon pink crin, dotted crin and feathers while her daughter-in-law wore a chic black veiled pillbox with bow on the side. 

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Finally, the groom’s maternal uncle, Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, attended with his glamorous wife and daughters. Princess Camilla’s navy blue straw vertical disc hat is lavishly trimmed with different varieties of feathers in navy and black, large loops of navy crin and crystal-studded windowpane crin on the exposed underside of the raised brim.  Princess Maria Carolina, who served as a witness, topped her orchid purple suit with a magenta straw hat. With a sharply curved ‘slice’ shape, the design is trimmed with pink and black feathers on the lower side of the brim. Princess Maria Chiara wore a tan silk abaca draped hat with pleated crescent, net tulle veil and dark blue organza leaves and lighter blue flowers.

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Numerous more royal guests attended the wedding who, I’m afraid, were not caught by photographer’s lenses. Even so, we do have record of 33 hats and headpieces from this event which we are able to admire. This leads me to ask, dearest readers- which ones stand out to you, most?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Belgian National Day 2019

The Belgian Royal Family celebrated their country’s national holiday today, attending a Te Deum mass at the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels followed by an annual military parade.

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Queen Mathilde wore a new hat described by the designer as “made of natural fibers… inspired by the leaf pattern on the lace of the Queen’s dress”.

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At first look, I found the shape a bit flat and awkward. After seeing side views, which show how dimensional the shape is around the back, that hat started to make sense. The delicate shape of the back balances the large, flat planes of ‘leaf’ on the front and gives some much needed balance and contrast to the design. And the colour, which is not an easy one to pull off, looks great on Queen Mathilde. I just wish she’d passed on the red leather gloves.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. It is the “Mystery” design from the Couture Collection 2020
Previously Worn: this hat is new

As in past years, Princess Astrid attended the parade in military uniform with stitched brim hat.

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Princess Claire topped her deep ruby pink trouser outfit with a matching straw hat. The design features a wide, mushroom brim and rounded crown and is simply trimmed only with a folded straw hatband in the same colour.

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Head to toe ensembles in strong colours such as this can be tricky but this one, with different textures between clothing, hat, purse and shoes, works really well on Claire. She wears wide brimmed hats so well and this one, with its bold colour perfectly balaced with a noticeable lack of trim, is great on her.

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Designer: Amélie D’Hooghvorst
Previously Worn: this hat is new

What do you think about this pair of new hats today in Brussels?

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Photos from Getty as indicated