Belgian National Day 2014

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium celebrated their country’s national holiday today by attending aTe Deum at the Cathédrale des Saints Michel-et-Gudule in Brussels with their young family. Queen Mathilde wore a dramatic dark orange straw picture hat with an asymmetrical brim. The focus of this new hat, designed by Fabienne Delvigne, was the rough, shredded edge of the brim. I’m not sure if this unfinished straw leans toward the festive… or the messy. I do however, believe that Mathilde is one of the few royal women who looks beautiful in orange. It’s a great colour on her.

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Little Princess Eléonore wore a pale pink bow in her hair while Princess Elisabeth added pale pink roses to her curled chignon.

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

This afternoon, the royal family was joined by the King’s siblings for the annual military parade along the Place des Palais in Brussels. Princess Astrid of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este wore what I believe is her Lieutenant-colonel uniform and hat from her time in the Belgian Medical Component.

Princess Astrid, July 21, 2014  | Royal Hats  Princess Astrid, July 21, 2014  | Royal Hats

Prince Laurent wore his naval uniform and cap while and Princess Claire topped her white lace dress with a flat black bow fascinator. Black and white is always a classic look although I would have preferred Claire in a full-on hat. It was lovely to see her and Prince Laurent looking so animated after his health struggles earlier this year.

Prince Laurent, July 21, 2014  | Royal Hats  Princess Claire, July 21, 2014  | Royal Hats

Princess Claire, July 21, 2014  | Royal Hats

 King Albert and Queen Paola did not attend this event- a decision, presumably, to keep the current King and Queen at the center of national day festivities.

Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

What did you think of Queen Mathilde’s showstopping hat today?

Photos from Belga via Lavenir

Queen Mathilde Launches Patrol Ship

Queen Mathilde of Belgium traveled to Zeebrugge naval base today to christen the new Belgian Navy patrol ship P901 ‘Castor’. For this ceremony, she unveiled a new headpiece made of rough-edged pink strips of straw that wrapped in a loose orb around her head. While from a head-on view, the movement of this headpiece frames Mathilde’s face quite beautifully, this hat leaves a rather haphazard impression (almost as if Mathilde arrived at this engagement, realized she had forgot her hat and hastily threw some scraps of leftover fabric on her head in an effort to make due). I do want to acknowledge royal millinery that creatively pushes boundaries but this hat seems so much less avant garde as we have already seen versions of it on Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Queen Máxima.

Queen Mathilde, July 10, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats   Queen Mathilde, July 10, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, July 10, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats   Queen Mathilde, July 10, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This is a new hat

While this headpiece falls short for me, I am most curious to hear your thoughts!

Photos from Jasper Jacobs/Stringer and Jasper Jacobs/Stringer and Jasper Jacobs/Stringer via Getty; and Patrick van Katwijk via Twitter; and Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press Europe

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. 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. 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 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 her hat fit quite nicely with her ensemble.

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

 

Guests at The Christening of Princess Amalia

Royal Hats As we have already looked at the hats worn by her mother and grandmothers, let’s now turn our view to the hats worn by guests at Princess Amalia’s baptism ten years ago.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who was named one of Princess Amalia’s godmothers, wore a hat I absolutely adore on her. This chocolate brown straw picture hat designed by Irish milliner Philip Treacey featured Treacy’s signature figure-8 looped bow as a minimalist trim. The bow, in pink, coordinated beautifully with Victoria’s tailored pink suit, and created such a chic ensemble.

Crown Princess Victoria, June 12, 2004 in Philip Tracy | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Victoria, June 12, 2004 in Philip Tracy | Royal Hats Crown Princess Victoria, June 12, 2004 in Philip Tracy | Royal Hats

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg wore a juicy lime green.straw hat with oval, upturned brim edged in bubblegum pink. The high contrast colour combination was echoed in her suit to create a fantastic overall ensemble. My only quibble was the brim of her hat, which seemed a too large for Maria Teresa.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Mathilde of Belgium (as she was known then) wore a pale gold mushroom-shaped straw hat designed by Fabienne Delvigne. This hat shows Mathilde’s streamlined millinery style a decade ago and makes such an interesting comparison with the bright and more daring hats she wears today.

Princess Mathilde, June 12, 2004 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Princess Mathilde, June 12, 2004 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Princess Laurentien wore one of the most interesting hats at this event. Made of three layers of red straw, this hat flowed over Laurentien’s head like a wave (notice there is no specifically formed crown) and raised vertically on one side. Trimmed with a large bow and feathers on the raised side, the hat made quite a statement. I think I would have liked it much better had it not been paired with Laurentien’s busy, patterned jacket and necklace.

Princess Laurentien, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats Princess Laurentien, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Mabel and Princess Laurentien, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Mabel, in comparison, looked serene and very streamlined in a white picture hat with a square crown. The unusual proportion of the large brim and short crown on this hat creates much visual interest on this hat (something that is created on most other hats by embellishment). At the time, Mabel was a newcomer to the Dutch Royal Family and had worn many outfits with bows (something I was never a fan of) and  I thought this clean-lined and bow-free coat and hat were such an elegant look for her.

Princess Mabel, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Other members of the Dutch royal family were also in attendance for Princess Amalia’s christening. Princess Margriet wore a white picture hat with floppy brim and red flower on the side. Princess Irene wore a beautiful black hat with flat crown and brim, trimmed with a Chanel-esque pink rose on the side. And Princess Christina wore a sunny yellow pillbox trimmed with a flower and trailing looped ribbon. This pillbox remains one of my favourite ever hats on Princess Christina.

Princess Margriet, Princess Irene and Princess Christina, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Marilène wore a royal blue ensemble topped with an elegant straw hat. The brim of the hat gently rolled up around her face and created the most flattering and beautiful hat shapes on her. When the proportions of a hat are just right for the wearer, the hat ‘sings’ and I think such was the case with this hat on Marilène.

Princess Marilène, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Annette wore a white hat in an oversize cloche shape with a tall, rounded crown and low brim. While these photos do not share the detail of this hat (I believe there was a white ribbon around the crown and the edge of the brim), it still seemed a little too big for petite Annette.

Princess Annette, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Annette, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats Princess Anita, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Anita (above right and below right) wore a sea foam green straw picture hat draped in a vine of straw leaves. I love this hat much more now than I did at the time, and appreciate such interesting trim that does not involve flowers or feathers! The trailing vine framed Anita’s face so beautifully and the large scale of the hat was wonderful on her. Princess Aimée wore a small bucket hat in pale pink with a soft, ruched scarf around the crown. I particularly like how the soft pink of her hat coordinated with the darker pink of her suit.

Princess Aimée and Princess Anita, June 12, 2004 | Royal Hats

All in all, Princess Amalia’s christening was a colourful day of royal hats, wasn’t it? I am curious- do you find that time has been kind to these hats or do they seem dated and best left as a memory?

Photos from Steve Finn, Julian Parker, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Julian Parker, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Steve Finn, Steve FinnSteve FinnSteve FinnSteve Finn, Steve Finn, and Steve Finn, all via Getty

European Monarchs Commemorate D-Day Landings at Normandy

On June 6, 1944, 156,000 British, Canadian and American allied troops joined forces and landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast in France’s Normandy region.  The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and the Battle of Normandy, which lasted through August that year, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe. Today marks the 70th day of this momentous event. To commemorate today’s anniversary of the D-Day landings, many heads of state gathered at the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives.

Queen Elizabeth, the only current monarch who served in World War II, wore a bright, citrusy green straw hat with a sharply upturned brim on one side balanced by a large fabric flower on the other. It’s a lot of bright green but she wore it very well. As expected, the Duke of Edinburgh was in military dress.

   Queen Elizabeth, June 6, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats  Queen Elizabeth, June 6, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth, June 6, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats  Queen Elizabeth, June 6, 2014 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats  

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Queen Margrethe of Denmark repeated her electric blue hat with pork pie crown, downward curved brim and striped band around the crown. While I love this hat on her, I was secretly hoping she would unveil a new chapeau today.

Queen Margrethe, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats  Queen Margrethe, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margrethe, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn:
May 5, 2013; April 27, 2014; October 6, 2013; September 3, 2013; July 4, 2013; June 2, 2013May 6, 2013June 14, 2012September 2, 2012September 20, 2011September 6, 2011; and May 23, 2011

King Herald of Norway wore military uniform (I believe this is the uniform of Admiral of the Royal Norwegian Navy).

King Harald, June 6, 2014 |Royal Hats  King Harald, June 6, 2014 |Royal Hats

While Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg opted for a suit instead of military dress (as did King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince Albert of Monaco and King Philippe of Belgium), Grand Duchess Maria Teresa unveiled a sleek new pillbox trimmed with what looked to be a flat white bow at the back. I loved the lack of frou frou on this hat and thought Maria Teresa looked great in this classic black and white scheme.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this is a new hat

It was also wonderful to see Grand Duke Jean at this commemoration (seated to the left of Queen Elizabeth below). The Grand Duke landed at Normandy in the days after D-Day as a member of a reinforcement until. Luxarazzi has an excellent detail of his role in World War II in this article that I encourage you to read.

Heads of State, June 4, 2014 | Royal Hats

As previously mentioned, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands did not wear military uniform and therefore, was without a hat. Queen Máxima made up for this with a super bright yellow ruched fabric toque hat that coordinated with her jacket.

Queen Máxima, June 6, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal HatsQueen Máxima, June 6, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Máxima, June 6, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

My general dislike of bright yellow aside, this ensemble just didn’t work for me (I think it was the boxy, ill fitting Big Bird-esque jacket). The whole look seemed imbalanced and odd… and that was before I realized the toque was not a toque, but another one of Máxima’s millinery doughnuts.

Queen Máxima, June 6, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer:  I suspect Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Queen Mathilde of Belgium wore a pale blue calot hat with wide cuff (you can see the cuff here). I thought she looked exceedingly refined and elegant, especially when seated next to certain other yellow hat disasters.

Queen Mathilde, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, June 6, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designer:  I suspect Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Seldom do we see such a gathering of heads of state at one event- today’s attendance by so many royal families shows how significant D-Day was in the history of each of their nations. It’s one of those occasions where the importance of history eclipses even the marvelous hats.

D-Day Commemoration, June 4, 2014 | Royal Hats

D-Day Commemoration, June 4, 2014 | Royal Hats

Historical significance aside, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the hats worn by European monarchs today. Which one was your favourite?

Photos from Chris Jackson, Chris Jackson, WPA Pool, Chris Jackson, Guillaume Souvant,Chris Jackson, Peter MacdiarmidJean Catuffe, Jean Catuffe, Alain Jocquard and Alain Jocquard via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk and Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Chris Jackson, Alain Jocquard, Chris Jackson, Chris Jackson, Sean GallupSaul Loeb, and Peter Macdiarmid via Getty

Queen Mathilde Awards Singing Prize

Queen Mathilde of Belgiumattended the awards ceremony for winners of the 2014 Queen Elisabeth Singing Competition today in Waterloo, Belgium. For this event, Mathilde wore a circlet of ecru rose petals. I thought this new headpiece was unexpected and added a very pretty feminine touch to her pinky beige cotton lace dress. What do you think of this piece?

Queen Mathilde, June 3, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal HatsQueen Mathilde, June 3, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, June 3, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Photos from Laurie Dieffembacq/Stringer and Laurie Dieffembacq/Stringer via Getty; and Place Royale Twitter

Queen Mathilde in Radiant Red

King Philippe, Queen Mathilde accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan and their guests made a visit to car manufacturer Volvo Cars in Gent today. For this second day of the Chinese state visit, Queen Mathilde repeated her open-topped red picture hat with large bow on the side. While it is one of my lesser favourite of her hats, I must concede that Mathilde looked striking and elegant in it on this occasion. Frankly, I’m not sure I will ever come around to liking these convertible hats but I think Mathilde’s today’s outfit made me see their purpose- if this hat had a closed crown, this ensemble would become a visually jarring,oversize sea of red. I suspect the lack of crown on this hat helps this whole outfit retain its elegance…. a statement I never thought I would write (on today, of all days!). On that bombshell, I turn it over to you, dear readers, to inquire what you think of this breezy red hat?

Queen Mathilde, April 1, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Mathilde, April 1, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: October 19, 2013

Chinese President Arrives in Belgium

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan, who arrived in Belgium this morning to begin a state visit.  At first glance, I thought Queen Mathilde, who looked striking in royal blue,  was wearing the same calot hat she wore for her recent visit to Luxembourg. Alas, the hat she wore today is different. Looking closely at this ensemble, I fell in love with Mathilde’s dress but thought her hat fell flat. The calot shape was a perfect pair for the structured dress but the seam down the middle of the hat and the single feather made the hat lack both polish and punch in my estimation. And when a royal hat lacks both of these things, what’s the point of it being there? Royal blue is a marvelous colour for Mathilde while she looked great overall (those shoes are killer!), I think she would have looked just as great without this hat. Maybe even better. But enough about my ranting- what do you think about Mathilde’s outfit and hat today?

 Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Photos from Belga, Belga, Belga and Belga via LaVenir

Belgian Monarchs Visit the UK

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium traveled to Great Britain today to pay an official visit the British Monarch. Queen Mathilde debuted a new calot headpiece covered in black feathers for this visit. Paired with her black and white dress, I thought she looked very elegant.

Queen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog

 Queen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog   Queen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats BlogQueen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats BlogQueen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne

Photos from Lesoir, Belga via Lavenir and WPA Pool via Zimbio