Order Of The Garter 2019

Founded by Edward III in 1348, The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry awarded at the Sovereign’s pleasure as a personal gift. Twenty four recipients of the order, known each as a Knight or Lady,  meet each year for a grand ceremony held int St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on the Monday before Royal Ascot begins.

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Members of the Garter wear elaborate robes and accessories for the Garter Service including a special hat. The hat, in the style of a Tudor bonnet, is made of black velvet with a voluminous, unstructured crown and flat brim. It is trimmed with the order insignia, white ostrich and black heron feathers, and slim cord wrapped around the base of the crown that extends to a pair of gold and royal blue tassels hanging down the side. British royal family members belonging to the order include Queen Elizabeth, who is Sovereign of the Garter, The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is also a member, did not attend the service today.

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King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and King Philippe of Spain were appointed as Supernumerary Knights of the Garter during state visits to the UK in 2018 and 2017; their attendance at today’s ceremony saw them officially installed in these roles and they wore the full garter regalia.

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Queen Máxima wore a tall, verical saucer hat in dusky pink straw trimmed with a mass of silk flowers and curling pheasant feathers on the underside of the raised brim.

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It’s a great look for the Dutch Queen. I really the slightly darker shade of pink on the hat and adore how its lines and lush trimming play so well off Máxima’s sleek caped coat dress- the pairing of the two items is fantastic. I’d like, however to change two things about the hat- first is the angle of placement on the head (tilt the top edge down a bit so it sweeps slightly more diagonally that so vertical) and the second is to tidy up the brim binding edge. Tweak these two things and a great hat would become a complete knockout.

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Designer: unconfirmed. My guess is Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Claes Iversen.
Previously Worn: This hat is new. Some suggest it is a reworked version of this Prinsjesdag hat but the straw bases are different shapes and colours.

Queen Letizia wore a kokoshnik-style bandeau headpiece in formed black straw, trimmed with black feathers and veil. It’s the first headpiece in this style we’ve seen on the Spanish queen and it suits her petite frame so well (not leaving the hat looking like it’s wearing her, as unfortunately is often the case). With her black and white printed dress, the headpiece tops an elegant ensemble that’s fantastic on Letizia.

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Designer: It is the “Black Peony” design from Spanish brand Cherubina
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated a hat in almond straw with off-center, peaked crown and side sweeping brim. A beaded straw hatband and side twists studded with ecru silk flowers complete the design. The beaded embellishment on the hatband and side twists add a subtle but welcome bit of sparkle to the design and while the colour is quiet, the scale and style make a great signature look for Camilla.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: June 19, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge repeated a black sinamay hat with upturned flyaway brim in windowpane lattice straw, trimmed with a curled black an ostrich feather. The brim shape on this piece gives the design a wonderfully light and airy feel and the hat was beautifully paired with Kate’s white coat dress with black trim.

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Designer: Silvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. It is the Lion Tamer design. Coat dress by Catherine Walker.
Previously Worn: July 1, 2016June 11, 2011

The Countess of Wessex repeated her natural straw saucer hat with lattice open woven brim  trimmed with a large coral feathers and tan twists. The hat’s shape, reminiscent of Dior hats in the 1950s, pairs so well with her full skirted ensemble. Bright coral is not an easy hue to wear and this ensemble is beautifully balanced between the vibrant skirt and the hat’s feathers.

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Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: May 15, 2018 (it was also your favourite repeated royal hat in 2018!);  Oct 5, 2017June 20, 2017 i

The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her slate grey straw veiled pillbox hat. It’s a quietly classic design we’ve seen on Brigitte more than a few times but one she wears well.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 18, 2018May 19, 2018Jun 17, 2017Jun 1, 2017Jul 1, 2016Jun 12, 2016Jun 10, 2016

Zenouska Mowatt, on the far left below, topped her blue and yellow patterned dress with a navy straw bandeau. The bandeau’s wide curving base is trimmed with silk flowers and leaves on the right side.

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Designer: I suspect it’s the “Catherine in Midnight‘ by Laura Cathcart
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Order of the Garter service this year brought us a wonderful parade of hats to kick off Ascot week with a fanfare. What do you think of these hats in Windsor today? Which designs stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Spanish State Visit To Great Britain

The Spanish state visit officially began today with the ceremony, pomp and circumstance we’ve all come to expect from these type of events. For this morning’s official welcome, Queen Letizia followed the usual British royal dress code for a state visit and donned a hat (the fourth hat we have ever seen her wear!).

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By Spanish milliner Maria Nieto, the design in butter yellow straw features a short, sharply upswept ‘slice’ brim and wide hatband, loosely draped around the base of the crown. The hat is lavishly trimmed in yellow silk flowers entwined with crin ribbon on both sides of the raised brim. The colour surprised me (I don’t think Letizia has worn yellow often) but it is lovely on her, and the scale is absolutely perfect for this petite queen. For someone who never wears hats, this choice was a particularly good one.

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Designer:  Maria Nieto. Dress and coat by Felipe Varela
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Queen Elizabeth repeated the mulberry straw hat with stepped brim, gently upswept brim and floral trim that she debuted at Ascot a few weeks ago. Of the string of new hats we’ve seen the Queen wear in recent weeks, this is among my favourites and while she usually waits a little more time in between repeated wearings, was a great choice for today’s events.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: June 24, 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her palest grey straw hat with large ostrich feather wrap around the crown. It’s another great wide brimmed hat for Camilla although not my favourite colour on her- if she’s going to do barely there neutrals, I prefer her in warm creams instead of cool greys.

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What do you think of these three memorable hats today in London?
Photos from Getty as indicated

British Royal Wedding Four Years On: European Royal Guests

A wedding  Our look back at the marvellous royal hats worn at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge four years ago now moves from family members to royal guests. First up is hats worn by guests from the reigning royal houses of Europe.

The Norwegian Royals (who are cousins to the British Royal family) were represented by the King and Queen. Queen Sonja thoughtfully turned to British hat makers Lock and Co. for her hat. In white straw and trimmed with a simple curled white feather, the ceterpiece of this hat was its lattice brim which was folded up over the crown. The resulting shape was a modern departure for Sonja but it looked wonderful on her.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark topped her Twitter blue wool coat with a brimless calot hat covered in the same fabric. The calot was trimmed in a  band of the same patterned blue silk fabric as her dress over which several spiky, spiralled feathers were placed. The hat is a characteristically quirky piece for Margrethe and I thought she wore it well. The overall ensemble, however, was an overkill of the same blue fabric and needed breaks in both colour and texture.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa topped her slate blue dress and jacket with a large dove grey picture hat trimmed with a single, oversize blue ombre rose. The hat is a beautiful one and while I covet it for my own millinery closet, I don’t think it was the right choice for Maria Teresa. Both her suit and the hat seemed to dwarf the Grand Duchess, which was most unfortunate.

The Spanish Royals seldom wear hats and this wedding provided us an opportunity to see their millinery style. Queen Sofia chose a light fascinator to in the same shade as her Margarita Nuez lavender silk suit. Made of layered organza and net tulle, the headpiece was studded with the same periwinkle blossoms that formed the floral pompom buttons on her jacket. The Princess of Asturias (as was her title then) topped her Felipe Varela embroidered pink 1930s inspired dress with a coordinating cloche hat. Designed by Pablo Y Mayaya, the cloche hat was a great scale and colour for Letizia. I’m afraid, however, it suffered from over-trimming. With four kinds of feathers (including large pheasant ones). a wide ruched sash around the crowd, a net tulle veil, rosettes and even bits of appliqué lace, this small hat held everything but the kitchen sink and suffered for it.

Princess Máxima (who was not yet Queen) was the picture of refined elegance in a pale pink lace Valentino suit and a silk calot hat designed by Fabienne Delvigne. Head-to-toe ensembles in pale pink risk looking rather boring and flat but the different textures of lace and draped silk created a look that was as interesting as it was harmonious. The artfully ruched silk on the hat gave it a wonderful sense of movement despite its small footprint. The addition of diamond star brooches to the side of the calot gave it a touch of glamour and we now all associate with Máxima and I adore her for adding this bling.

Princess Mathilde (who also was not yet Queen) chose teal blue for her ensemble. Her Armani dress and jacket was crowned with a large picture hat by Philip Treacy. A similar shape to the navy hat worn by Lady Frederick Windsor, this piece featured a wide round brim, moulded crown and vertical looped Treacy signature bow. While I loved the colour on Mathilde, the impact of the wonderful hat was lost against her overly shiny suit.

Crown Princess Victoria followed the pattern of head-to-toe in a single colour, choosing cantaloupe orange for her ensemble. Her large straw picture hat, designed by Swedish milliner  Britta von Koenigsegg, was a welcome departure from the smaller fascinators Victoria usually favours and it looked great on her. This shade of orange is one of the more difficult colours to wear and while Victoria she managed it well, I think the overall ensemble is just too peachy for me.

Rounding out this group of European royals was Charlene Wittstock (just two months later, she would become Princess of Monaco). Her palest-of-pale bluey grey straw picture hat featured a low, rounded crown and gently waved wide brim. With her Akris coat and pearl earrings, the hat made for an extremely elegant and refined ensemble.  High collared coats and picture hats can be a tricky combination but the rounded, slightly open neck on this coat and the easy movement of the hat made for such a perfect compliment.

As we might have expected, the European royals wore wonderful hats to this wedding. Whose hat did you admire?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Spanish Royal Wedding

Marriage of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

What fun we have had this week, celebrating the 10th wedding anniversary of King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain with a look back at the fantastic hats and headpieces worn at their grand wedding:

The Bride

The Attendants

Spanish Royal Family
Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina

The Bride’s Family
Paloma Rocasalano, Telma Ortiz Rocasolano, Erika Ortiz Rocasolano,
Menchu Alvarez del Vaille, Enriqueta Rodriguez

Extended Spanish Royal Family
Infanta Pilar, Simoneta Gómez Acebo, Laura Ponte, Infanta Margarita, María Zurita y de Borbón,
The Duchess of Calabria, Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, The Duchess of Alba

Greek Royal Family
Queen Anne-Marie, Crown Princess Pavlos, Princess Alexia, Princess Irene

Belgian Royal Family
Queen Paola, Queen Fabiola, The Duchess of Brabant, Princess Astrid, Princess Claire

Norwegian Royal Family
Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Martha Louise

Swedish Royal Family
Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine

Dutch Royal Family
Princess Máxima, Princess Laurentien

Queen Margrethe of Denmark

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg

Queen Noor of Jordan

Princess Caroline of Hanover and Monaco

Crown Princess of Bahrain

Bulgarian Royal Family
Princess of Turnovo, Princess of Preslav, Princess of Panagyurishte,
Princess of Vidin, Princess Kalina

Other Non Reigning Royals
Empress Farah Dibha of Iran, Grand Duchess of Russia, Duchess of Bragança, Princess Béatrice of Orléans,
The Princess of Naples, Princess Clotilde of Savoy, Princess Inaara Aga Khan

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Spanish Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The Attendants

The Royal Hats Blog  At her wedding to the Prince of Asturias on May 22, 2004, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (now Queen Letizia of Spain) was attended by four pageboys, three young bridesmaids, and two older bridesmaids. The attendants’ 18th century themed attire was designed by Spanish designer Lorenzo Caprile who took inspiration from Francisco de Goya’s painting The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children (1787).

"The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children" by Francisco de Goya (1787)

The elder two pageboys (Prince Felipe’s nephews Froilán and Juan) wore white knee breeches and frilled shirts with embroidered waist coats and knee-length coats in gold silk. The younger pageboys (Prince Felipe’s nephews Pablo and Miguel) wore cream silk trousers, lace trimmed shirts and gold silk waist sashes.

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

The three young bridesmaids (Prince Felipe’s niece Victoria, Letizia’s niece Carla Vigo Ortiz and Victoria Lopez-Quesada y de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, granddaughter of Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria) wore cream and gold silk dresses trimmed in lace embroidered with the same motifs as Letizia’s veil.The young girls also wore cream headbands with cream and gold multi-looped bows on the side. I thought it was adorable how the size of the hair bow was directly proportional to the size of the bridesmaid!

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

The two older bridesmaids, Ana Codorniu Álvarez de Toledo (daughter of the Marquess of Casa Loring) and Claudia González Ortiz (Letizia’s first cousin) wore gold silk dresses with a tightly corseted bodice, square neckline, three quarter length ruffled sleeves and full, pleated skirts. A white lace apron overlayed the front of the skirt and a white lace shawl was added for the ceremony. The bridesmaids’ ensemble was topped with a white snood which covered the back of their heads.

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal HatsWedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasalano, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Spanish Royal Wedding, May 22, 2014 | Royal Hats

I have always been intrigued by the attendants’ attire at this wedding as it was such a striking contrast to Letizia’s rather modern dress. The 18th century fashion gave a sense of long-rooted history to the event and added a very romantic touch. As much as I loved it, it seems incredibly fussy (especially those snoods!). As always, I am interested to hear your opinions- what did you think of the ensembles worn by attendants at this Spanish royal wedding?

Tomorrow, we will focus on the hats and headpieces worn by family members of the bride and groom.

Photos from Museo Nacional del Prado; AFP via Getty; Dusko Despotovic via Corbis; Julia Munoz, AFP, Javier Soriano, Pedro Amestre, Javier Soriano and Odd Andersen via Getty

Spanish Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The Bride

Royal Hats

Royal Hats

King Felipe and Queen Letizia are vacationing in Mallorca this week with their daughters and other members of the King’s family. In May this year, they celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary; as they and most other royals are on vacation this week, we’re going to take advantage of this lull in royal engagements to take a look back at the many hats worn at their grand wedding, ten years ago.

Journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano’s wardrobe was filled with business suits when she and the Prince of Asturias shocked the world with the announcement of their engagement. As such, Letizia followed the the recommendation of Queen Sofia and asked 87-year old Spanish designer Manuel Pertegaz (longtime designer of Spanish royal gowns) to create her dress. Pertegaz  designed an elegantly simple gown with high collar, v-neck, bell sleeves, slim bodice, and A-line skirt that flowed into an unusual circular train. Made of silk from Valencia, the creamy-hued dress was embroidered with intricate patterns of clover, strawberry tree berries, wheat, flowers and the Asturias fleur de lys in luminescent gold and silver thread.

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats  Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal HatsLetizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats  Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Amazingly the dress was cut from single, continuous panels from shoulder to the end of the fifteen-foot train. While the circular design of the train flowed beautifully out from the dress and looked absolutely stunning when Letizia was stationary, it dragged in heavy, folded layers behind her when she walked up and down the aisle of Almudena Cathedral.

 Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

It appears that a slinkier lace dress was worn underneath the main gown.

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Letizia topped her dress with an ivory silk tulle veil cut in the same circular shape as the train of her dress. It was also hand embroidered with motifs of ears of wheat, flowers, and the the Asturias fleur de lys. A gift from Prince Felipe, the veil was a lovely match for Letizia’s gown.

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal HatsLetizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats  Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

The veil was anchored by the Prussian Diamond Tiara, on loan from Queen Sofia (the history of this tiara is detailed here and here). I think The Greek key and laurel leaf design of this tiara coordinated well with the embroidery on Letizia’s dress; the scale of the tiara was also perfect for this very petite bride. Letizia’s only other jewelry were a pair of delicate diamond drop earrings, a gift from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats  Letizia Ortiz, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

I love this dress but wonder if it would be better suited to a taller bride. I think the cut overwhelmed Letizia and the incredible visual effect of the circular rain was lost when Letizia moved. In many photos, she appears to be drowning in fabric- not a good look for a royal bride. On a more positive note, the intricate embroidery gave a personal touch to the dress and coordinated so beautifully with the veil and tiara. Looking back at it now, I am afraid that this bridal ensemble looked best from a closeup view. I am curious, dear readers, what do you think?

Later today, we will look at the unique outfits (with headpieces!) worn by the attendants at this wedding.

Photos from Odd Andersen, Pascal Le Segretain, AFP, Pedro Armestre, and A. Jones/J. Whatling/J. Parker/M. Cuthbert via Getty; Boris RoesslerDusko Despotovic and Gustavo Cuevas via Corbis; AFPPool, Javier Soriano, Pedro Armestre, Pool, Pool, AFP and AFP via Getty

Millinery Style: Princess Letizia

With the big announcement this morning that King Juan Carlos will abdicate, Princess Letizia will soon find herself Queen of Spain. This monumental change in her role warrants a look at her millinery style, don’t you think?

When the Prince of Asturias announced his engagement to journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in November 2003, he took the public by complete surprise. While Letizia was cast into public spotlight (or rather, moved from one spotlight to another!) overnight, her fashion transition was fairly simple- she continued wearing the tailored business suits she had worn for her journalism career in her new royal life. This business approach to fashion, combined with Queen Sofia and the Infanta’s practice of not wearing hats, made us royal millinery watchers wait six years for Princess Letizia to finally wear a hat. Since this first hat in 2011, Princess Letizia has only worn two other hats (all three were at major royal events where hats were required):

Princess Letizia, April 29, 2011 in Pablo Y Mayaya | Royal Hats  Princess Letizia, April 29, 2011 in Pablo Y Mayaya | Royal Hats

Princess Letizia in a Pablo Y Mayaya design for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, April 29, 2011

Princess Letizia, October 20, 2012 in Pablo Y Mayaya | Royal Hats    Princess Letizia, April 30, 2013 in Maria Nieto Royal Hats

 Another Pablo Y Mayaya design for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume’s wedding, October 20, 2012;
In a grey a Maria Nieto design for the Inauguration of King Willem-Aleander of the Netherlands, April 30, 2013

I think these hats all betray Princess Letizia as a hat novice. The first, in pink straw, is a lovely shape and proportion for her but is terribly over trimmed – with a ruched sash around the brim, net veil, four kinds of feathers, and beaded rosette, it seems to be carrying everything but the kithchen sink. The second hat is simply too big and overwhelms petite Letizia while the third vertical plate with top explosion looks, unfortunately, like a giant earmuff. To be fair, I think it takes more practice choosing and wearing hats to get things right.

Two areas of Princess Letizia’s millinery style have been marvelously successful. The first are beaded hairpieces:

Princess Letizia, October 26, 2012 | Royal Hats  Princess Letizia, March 26, 2012 in Pablo Y Mayaya | Royal Hats

A bejewelled hair clip for the October 26, 2012 Prince of Asturias awards and a fantastic flapper-style
Pablo Y Mayaya design for the March 26, 2012 wedding of Prince Felipe’s longtime friend Alvaro Fuster

And the second is the traditional lace mantilla. If my recollection is correct, we have only seen Princess Letizia in a peineta comb once; I suspect that as Queen, we will see this beautiful Spanish headpiece on her much more often, and certainly more often than a hat. This is something to look forward to as she wears a matilla and peineta so beautifully.

Princess Letizia, June 28, 2004 | Royal Hats  Princess Letizia, April 30, 2011 | Royal Hats  Princess Letizia, March 19, 2013| Royal Hats

Mantillas worn for visits to the Vatican in June 2004, April 2011 and March 2013

When Princess Máxima and Princess Mathilde became queens in The Netherlands and Belgium last year, there was a noticeable increase in the number of hats we saw them wear. I do not think we will see this trend continue in Spain, as evidenced here by the few number of hats Princess Letizia has worn in the past. I will however, keep my fingers crossed that she has some millinery surprises in store for us!

Photos from Bauer Griffin via Style Bistro; Chris Jackson via GettySemanaJulian Parker and Carlos R. Alvarez via Getty; HolaEric Vandeville via Getty; AFP via Vogue; Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press Europe