Funeral of Queen Fabiola

The Belgian Royal Family gathered today in the Cathedral Saints Michel et Gudule to bid farewell to Queen Fabiola. For this funeral, Queen Mathilde wore a new black fabric-covered headpiece that circled her head.

Queen Mathilde, December 12, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, December 12, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, December 12, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, December 12, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, December 12, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Paola wore a delicate veil in black Brussels lace.

Queen Paola, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats Queen Paola, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats Queen Paola, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Astrid wore a headband trimmed with a stacked, double silk bow topped with a swath of dotted net tulle.

Princess Astrid, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Astrid, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Maria Laura wre a wide black felt headband while archduchess Elisabetta, wife of Prince Amadeo, wore a small black pillbox hat with rounded crown and grosgrain ribbon trim around the hat. Princess Luisa Maria was the only grandchild of King Albert and Queen Paola who did not attend the funeral (presumably, she was not able to leave her studies in England).

Princess Maria Laura, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Elisabetta, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Claire wore a charcoal grey hat which was simply trimmed with a wide ribbon around the crown. The flat brim of this hat was slightly upturned around the edge and the straight sided crown was gently domed at the top.

Princess Claire, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Louise wore her first hat for this important family event. Her mottled grey felt cloche was trimmed with a petite bow at the back.

Princess Louise, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Louise, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Léa, widow of King Albert’s late half-brother Prince Alexander, wore a beautiful black lace veil. Princes Marie-Esméralda (younger half-sister of King Albert) wore a Victorian inspired black hat with net tulle trim. The back of the hat, which folded upward, was trimmed with several black satin bows.

Princess Léa and Princes Marie-Esméralda, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

You can see hats worn by royal cousins from Luxembourg and Liechtenstein at this post and hats worn by representatives of other royal houses at this post.

Photos from Patrick van KatwijkPatrick van KatwijkOlivier PoletPool/Luc ClaessenPatrick van Katwijk, Christophe Licoppe, Pool/Luc Claessen, Didier Lebrun, Albert Nieboer, Patrick van KatwijkDidier Lebrun, Christophe LicoppePieter Jan Vanstockstraeten, Didier Lebrun, Didier Lebrun, and Didier Lebrun, all via Corbis 

Royal Hats this Year: Belgium

Year in Review 2014Here are all of the Belgian royal hats we saw this year (click on each photo to link its original post with larger views of each hat):

Princess Léa and Princess Marie-Esmeralda (#2 and 3)

1. Princess Léa, February 18, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog  2. Princess Marie-Esmeralda, February 18, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog  3. Princess Marie-Esmeralda, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Maria-Laura (#4 and 5), Archduchess Elisabetta (#6) and Princess Astrid

4. Princess Maria-Laura, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats  5. Princess Maria Laura, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats  6. Princess Elisabetta, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats  7. Princess Astrid, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats  8. Princess Astrid, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Queen Paola

 9. Queen Paola, February 18, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog  10. Queen Paola, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Claire and Princess Louise (#15)

11. Princess Claire, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats 12. Princess Claire, July 21, 2014 | Royal Hats 13. Princess Claire, November 15, 2014 | Royal Hats 14. Princess Claire, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats 15. Princess Louise, December 12, 2014 | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde

16. Queen Mathilde, February 6, 2014 in Dior | The Royal Hats Blog 17. Queen Mathilde, February 17, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog 18. Queen Mathilde, February 18, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 19. Queen Mathilde, February 19, 2014 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

20. Queen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog 21.  Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog 22. Queen Mathilde, April 1, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog 23. Queen Mathilde, June 3, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

24. Queen Mathilde, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats 25. Queen Matilde, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats 26. Queen Mathilde, July 10, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats 27. Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

28. Queen Mathilde, August 4, 2014 | Royal Hats 29. Queen Mathilde, October 28, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats 30. Queen Mathilde, Novemer 12, 2014 | Royal Hats 31. Queen Mathilde, Decmeber 12, 2014 | Royal Hats 32. Queen Mathilde, Decmeber 13, 2014 | Royal Hats

Do any of these hats make your list of favourite royal hats this year? Is there one you want to nominate for your least favourite hat of 2014?

*Update: Belgian royal hats worn on December 12 and December 13 have been added to this list.

Belgian Royal Wedding: The Families

Royal HatsThe entire Belgian Royal Family (with the exception of Queen Fabiola) attended today’s wedding of Prince Amedeo, Archduke of Austria-Este and Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein; as such, there were some marvelous royal hats. Princess Astrid, Archduchess of Austria-Este arrived at the Basilica with the groom, wearing a pale headpiece of dove grey rosettes made by Maison Michel Paris. While I was a little puzzled by the widely contrasting textures in her monochrome ensemble, the mix of rosettes in her hair, silk pleats on her dress, nubby bouclé on her jacket and pearls was such a classic Chanel combination that I have decided to love it.

2014-07-05 Amadeo and Elisabetta 13

2014-07-05 Amadeo and Elisabetta 14 2014-07-05 Amadeo and Elisabetta 15

Prince Amedeo’s sister, Princess Maria-Laura of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este, topped her teal lace Valentino frock (the same one Princess Madeleine wore for her daughter’s christening back in June) with a small headband of teal silk blooms. I thought it was odd that she chose a mini version of her mother’s headpiece- while I liked the shape and scale on young Maria-Laura, the colour variations between the headpiece, earrings and dress made the ensemble unsuccessful for me. I hope, however, she keeps this adorable headpiece and wears it again sometime with a different frock.

Princess Maria-Laura, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Maria-Laura, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Princess Maria-Laura, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Prince Amedeo’s other sister, Princess Luisa Maria, acted as chief bridesmaid and did not wear a hat (you can see her here in a white gown, helping Elisabetta with the train on her dress). Prince Amedeo’s maternal grandmother, Queen Paola, wore an unexpected pointed beanie cap in sparkle-studded navy fabric. It was a rather avant garde and modern pairing for her navy silk suit and I adored the colour contrast with her hair. I want so badly to love this very daring piece of millinery but this hat depicting the cosmos might be a little too out there even for me.

 Queen Paola, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats Queen Paola, July 5, 2014 | Royal HatsQueen Paola, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

While Queen Paola’s hat was bold, Queen Mathilde’s hat was downright bizarre. She topped her exquisite vibrant blue Natan caped dress with a roughly textured, woven leather and fabric, open-topped turban designed by Fabienne Delvigne. From a distance, it looks like she is wearing a bandage wrapped around her head. While I understand the desire to balance the very vibrant colour of her dress with neutral accessories, this hat is so very, very wrong.

 Queen Mathilde, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal HatsQueen Mathilde, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

One of my favourite hats of the day was worn by Prince Amedeo’s other maternal aunt, Princess Claire. She topped her bright fuchsia suit with a classic pinky beige picture hat with a square crown and cartwheel brim. The clean lines of the Fabienne Delvigne designed hat were such a beautiful compliment to her textured suit and the proportion was grand, but not off balance. This is how to do neutral accessories with a bright statement suit.

Princess Claire, July 5, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

The groom’s paternal grandmother, Archduchess Margherita of Austria-Este, topped her lovely pink and white floral jacket with a cream picture hat. I thought the pleated white crin edging around the brim gave a soft and very pretty addition to this hat.

Archduchess Margherita, July 7, 2014 | Royal Hats

Finally, the bride’s mother, Italian film producer Countess Lilia de Smecchia, wore a small green brimless hat in the same fabric as her beautifully layered coat. I thought it was, on all accounts, rather flat.

Countess Lilia de Smecchia, July 7, 2014 | Royal Hats   Countess Lilia de Smecchia, July 7, 2014 | Royal Hats

The Belgian Royal Family are an entertaining bunch when it comes to millinery at major events and today was no exception. Stay tuned tomorrow, when we’ll look at hats worn by other royal guests at this wedding. Until then, which Belgian royal hat was your favourite?

Prince Amedeo, Archduke of Austria-Este and Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein, July 5, 2014 | Royal Hats

Photos from Tiziana Fabi/Stringer, Elisabetta Villa/Stringer, Elisabetta Villa/StringerElisabetta Villa/StringerElisabetta Villa/Stringer, Elisabetta Villa/Stringer and Elisabetta Villa/Stringer via Getty; Elisabetta Villa/Stringer, Elisabetta Villa/Getty via Zimbio; Elisabetta Villa/Stringer, Elisabetta Villa/Stringer,Elisabetta Villa/Stringer and Elisabetta Villa/Stringer via Getty; EPA via The Daily MailElisabetta Villa/Stringer and Elisabetta Villa/Stringer via Getty; and AFP via LaVenir

Luxembourg Royal Wedding: Royal Guests

 This wedding was attended by a number of “minor” royals from across Europe. Princess Maria-Laura of Belgium, who is also Archduchess of Austria-Este through her paternal side, wore a brimless bright pink hat with swarthy net veil.

Princess Maria Laura, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, seen here behind Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen of Austria, were the only members of the British royal family in attendance (although their attendance was not in an official capacity but a personal one). Lady Nicholas wore a new hat that is difficult to see here but that appears to be a brimless sphere in cream straw. I think it’s a great shape for Paola although I will wait for a better view to weigh in further.

Lady Nicholas Windsor, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wore a very beautiful beige picture hat with a diagonal band that wrapped around the crown down to the brim, edged in black. I think the hat would be improved with the removal of the red carnation flower but it is still a beautifully shaped hat. (On a side note, I get a kick out of Gabriela’s husband Fürst Alexander stealing some happy iphone snaps in the second shot!)

Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Alexandra of Austria topped her cream suit (I love the pleated ruffles around the cuffs and collar) with a classic black cartwheel-brimmed hat. The oversize bow on the hat was not to my taste and made the hat look rather dated.

Archduchess Alexandra of Austria, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Hélène of Austria wore a very small grey ribon fascinator. I was disappointed in this headpiece; Hélène’s beautiful sharply graphic suit could have carried a much more dramatic hat and I thought this crumpled bit of ribbon did not measure up. Hélène’s daughter Archduchess Priscilla of Austria wore the same cream hat she wore to Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen’s wedding last year. This hat is fascinating to me because underneath the mass of wide ribbon trim this hat is a simple straw bowler. I think the ribbon trim makes the shape work very well and it is very flattering on  Priscilla’s oval-shaped face.

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While not officially a royal, Donna Beatrice Borromeo attended with her longtime partner, Pierre Casiraghi. Beatrice wore a dramatic headpiece of two black feathers that wrapped around her head in a wide spiral. I’m not sure I like the way the headpiece attached to the side of her head but the overall effect of this hat was unique and startlingly beautiful.

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Designer: Philip Treacy

Archduchess Anna-Gabriele of Austria wore one of my favourite hats of the day, a wide brimmed taupe straw picture hat with a short crown. It’s such a fun hat that I thought looked lovely with Anna-Gabriele’s short hairstyle.

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I think the most showstopping hat of the day was worn by Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein. Her choice, a gigantic purple mushroom shaped picture hat trimmed in white edging and voluminous tulle veil, was dramatic to say the least. The hat was a little over-the-top for my taste and I am still perplexed by the outfit she chose to pair it with. Picture hats and turtlenecks just don’t work well together… ever.

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I think this showstopper is a great hat to end my hat coverage of Claire and Felix’s wedding. I’m sure you join me in wishing this lovely young couple a lifetime of love and happiness.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Albert Nieboer and Crystal / Slash News via Corbis

Birthday of Princess Maria Laura

Royal Hats Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este,  celebrates her 25th birthday today. The eldest daughter of Princess Astrid of Belgium and  Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este, Maria Laura grew up in Switzerland and Belgium away from the public eye. She is occasionally seen at major Belgium royal events and even less occasionally, wears a hat. I have only seen Maria Laura in a hat twice- for the wedding of her Uncle Laurent and for the enthronement of her uncle King Philippe last month. With those hats already seen here on the blog, that leaves us with this embellished headband worn back on October 9, 2009 when the Belgian royal family visited the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Let’s hope this year brings this young princess a few hats!

Princess Maria Laura, October 9, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog

Photo from Bauer Griffin via Zimbio

Belgium National Day: The Rest of the Family

The Royal Hats Blog

The entire Belgium Royal Family was on hand today to celebrate National Day and witness the swearing in of new King Philipe (see Queen Fabiola, Queen Paola and Queen Mathilde in this post).  Philipe’s sister, Princess Astrid, wore a pink Chanel bouclé suit and matching textured fabric pillbox hat, trimmed with large flat bow at the back. Astrid’s fashion and hat choices in the past have tended toward the bold (and avant garde) and this look seemed unexpectedly demure.

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Astrid’s eldest daughters, Princess Maria Laura and Princess Luisa Maria, both wore pink fascinators. Maria Laura was in a pink and blue mass of loops with a blue net bow; Luisa Maria wore a pink base covered in silk roses in varying shades of pink with green net and pink feathers. Both fascinators were fussy, fun, lighthearted and slightly crazy- all the things that a fascinator should be. I thought they were great choices for these two young royal women.

July 21, 2013 | Royal Hats
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Princess Claire, wife of the King’s brother Prince Laurent, also chose a dress and jacket by Natan with a Fabienne Delvigne designed folded asymmetrical straw apricot-coloured hat. It looked like a stylized rose bloom to me and I think paired well with her patterned dress. I have waffled back and forth about this hat all day, wondering if it’s too off balance… in the end I have decided to like it.

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For the military parade, Princess Claire removed her jacket and changed into a cream coloured straw hat with ribbon and bow around the crown also designed by Fabienne Delvigne. It’s a perfect summer hat and I thought it was lovely on her.

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Princess Léa (wife of King Albert’s late step-brother Prince Alexander seated behind Princess Claire to the left), wore a feathery pink fascinator. It coordinated perfectly with her tailored pink suit and looked great with her hair in a chignon. It was an understated look but I thought it was very elegant

Princess Léa July 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

All in all, it was a great day of hats in Belgium. Which one was your favourite?

Princesses Claire, Maria Laura, Astrid and Luisa Maria, July 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

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Photos from Getty as indicated;Albert Nieboer/dpa/Corbis

Hat Coming of Age

The Royal Hats Blog Reader M.C. submitted the following hat question:

 I noticed the royal little girls do not wear hats. Is there a time in their lives when they “come of age” and start wearing hats?

Great question! If you look at the current generation of younger adult royals (age 20-45), you will notice a few trends. In the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway), I was not able to find hats worn by princesses before they turned 18. I believe the first hat publicly worn by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was for her father’s 50th birthday celebrations in April 1996, just before Victoria turned 19 years old.

 Princess Victoria, April 30, 1996  | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Martha Louise, May 17, 1994  | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Victoria (age 18), April 30, 1996 and Princess Martha Louise (age 22) on National Day, May 17, 1994

The Spanish royal ladies wear hats very seldom (we have only seen Princess Letizia wear three hats in her decade of royal life) and the Dutch Royals have no birth princesses in this generation to review. In the Belgian royal family, Princess Astrid’s eldest daughter Princess Maria Laura was just shy of her fifteenth birthday when we first saw her don a hat for her uncle Prince Laurent’s wedding.

Princess Maria Laura, April 12, 2003  | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria (age 14) , April 12, 2003  

In Great Britain, the royal little girls start seem to start wearing hats at an earlier age. The first hat I can find Zara Phillips wearing was to Ascot in 1989 when she was eight years old (although we have no way of knowing if the hat was worn for fashion, for Ascot dress code or for sun protection). The next hat I was able to find  Zara wearing was at Christmas 1994.

Zara Philips, June 20, 1989  | The Royal Hats Blog Zara Philips, December 25, 1994  | The Royal Hats Blog

 Zara Philips at age 8, June 20, 1989 and age 13, December 25, 1994

The only two birth princesses in the British Royal family in this generation are Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.  These young girls were first seen in hats at the funeral of their aunt Princess Diana in September 1997. From this point, the two York princesses were seen in hats at most royal family events.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, September 6, 1997 | The Royal Hats Blog

9 year old Princess Beatrice and 7 year old Princess Eugenie at their aunt’s funeral, September 6, 1997 

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, August 31, 1998| The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Beatrice (age 10) and Princess Eugenie (age 8) at Balmoral with their grandparents, August 31, 1998

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, December 25, 1999| The Royal Hats Blog

Christmas at Sandringham (ages 11 and 9) December 25, 1999

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, June 4, 2002 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Beatrice (age 13) and  Princess Eugenie (age 12) attending the Queens Golden Jubilee, June 4, 2002

Lady Louise Windsor appeared publicly in her first hat last on Christmas Day 2011 when she was eight years old. It appears, however, she has not made a full transition to hat wearing as we have not seen her in a hat since then (she attended most of the Diamond Jubilee festivities last year as well as Trooping the Colour the past two years and the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation last month)  I suspect Louise will start wearing hats to Christmas and Trooping the Colour on a regular basis within the few years.

Lady Louise Windsor, December 25, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog

Lady Louise Windsor (age 8) at Sandringham with her parents, December 25, 2011

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium (who will become Crown Princess when her parents accede the throne on July 21) will be twelve years old this fall and we will have to stay tuned for her first hat as well. I also suspect that Princess Amalia of The Netherlands, if she inherits some of her mother’s flair for fashion, will start wearing hats  earlier than her contemporaries Princess Leonor of Spain, Princess Ingrid of Norway, and Princess Estelle of Sweden.

One thing is certain, M.C. – there are a few exciting years of hat watching ahead as the youngest generation of European princesses start wearing hats and find their individual millinery style! Thanks so much for submitting your question.

Photos from Raymond Reuter via Corbis; Raymond Reuter via Corbis;  Photonews via GettyTim Graham via Getty; Tim Graham via GettyTim Graham via Getty; Tim Graham via GettyTim Graham via Getty; and Tim Graham via Getty