It’s been nearly seven months since a royal wedding was held in Washington, DC – the wedding of Archduke Imre of Austria and Kathleen Walker. This wedding happened the same week this blog was born so alas, it did not get covered. Since this week has been very quiet on the royal front and it’s the week that these young lovebirds celebrate their seven month anniversary, I thought we’d look back at the hats from this Austrian-American royal wedding. Special thanks to Spiering Photography and Marlene A. Koenig, author of The Royal Musings Blog, who attended this event and have graciously shared photographs with us.
Archduke Imre is the son of Archduke Carl Christian of Austria and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria (née Princess of Luxembourg) – this makes him the grandson of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and the nephew of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. At the time of this wedding, his Luxembourg relations were preparing for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume’s wedding (which took place a month later) so a number did not travel to Washington for the wedding. The bride, Kathleen Walker, is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and completed a degree in journalism from Northern Kentucky University. She met Imre while working as Communications Director of the Arlington (Virgina) Diocean Catholic Charities and they both attended a Missa Cantata in honour of Blessed Karl of Austria, Imre’s great-grandfather. Kathleen is also well known for her outspoken support and advocacy of the Pro-Life movement (a topic that will not be debated or discussed on this blog). The couple married on September 8, 2012 at St. Mary Mother of God Church in Washington, DC, the same church where they first met.
Kathleen wore a white satin dress with pleated bodice, lace neckline and sleeves. She topped this with an antique lace Habsburg veil from her groom’s family- a veil rumored to have been worn by Empress Eugénie for her wedding to Napoleon III in 1853 (also worn by Imre’s sister Marie-Christine at her wedding in 2008 and his sister-in-law Adelaide in December 2012). The veil was anchored by a triple string of pearls- a very pretty and unique touch, don’t you think?
The bride’s mother, Margaret Walker, wore an ice blue suit and a cream straw hat with mushroom shaped brim. There looks to be a straw rose and some delicate feathers on the side.
Kathleen’s bridesmaids, one of whom was Imre’s younger sister Archduchess Gabriella of Austria, wore peacock blue silk dresses with fresh blush pink and cream roses in their hair. Imre’s attendants included his brother Cristophe (who was married in December) and his cousin, Prince Felix of Luxembourg (centre).
Imre’s mother, Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria (née Princess of Luxembourg) wore a ruched tan straw hat with large picture brim. The brim was a little floppy for my taste but I suppose, fit well with this less formal royal wedding.
Imre’s aunts, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (née Princess of Luxembourg) and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg were a contrast of styles. Margaretha wore a small hat in sherbet orange and fuchsia pink with flat brim and side bow. At first glance, I was not a fan but now I find this hat most amusing and delightfully quirky (although I can’t say the same about those orange shantung silk pants). Sibilla was characteristically elegant in a large natural straw picture hat to set off her coral dress and jacket. Coral is a tough colour to pull off and I thought the hat made this ensemble balanced and beautiful.
A number of other royal cousins attended this wedding. Princess Margaretha’s daughter, also named Marie-Astrid, wore what looks to be headpiece covered in yellow flowers and green leaves. While I’ll give her points for the stylish grey and yellow colour scheme, I’ll pass on the messy hat.
Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg chose a blush pink giant rosette fascinator. Again- I like the colour but the shape and placement of this headpiece is all wrong to me. Slapping a bunch of feathers (or ripped fabric, in this case) on the side of your head does NOT make a stylish millinery statement. Her coat, however, is sublime.
Alexandra’s sister-in-law-to-be, Claire Lademacher, did much better in a pink straw beret perched on the back of her head. Since this wedding was this one of this future princess’ first public hat outings, we’ll forgive the funny placement (I prefer berets further forward, a little off to the side) although I’m still scratching my head at the pink and yellow hat and dress combination.
My favourite hat worn by a royal cousin was this electric blue veiled straw beret worn by Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau. Paired with a printed vintage-inspired dress, this hat was striking and fun while still appropriate for the church wedding.
Adelaide Drapé-Frisch, who married Imre’s brother Christophe in December, wore a navy hat with flat crown, rolled brim and polka-dotted feather trim. For her first royal hat outing, I thought this was a solid start… even if it did look like that handsome groomsman sat on it on the way to church.
Imre’s second cousin (through the paternal side of his family), Archduchess Priscilla of Austria, wore a white straw hat in a very simple shape, with a not-so-simple sweeping straw flower flowing over the brim. I’m not usually a fan of white hats (especially at weddings) but with her flowered dress and lilac jacket, any other colour would have been too much.
The Duke and Duchess of Braganza also attended this wedding. It’s tough to see but Isabel wore a chocolate brown rose and leaf fascinator on the side of her head. It’s an unusual choice with a silver suit- an unsuccessful choice, in my opinion. Isabel favors brown hats and I just wish she’d break out with some color. ANY colour.
And finally, the best for last (or most memorable, at least!) Anastasia, Princess of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (née Princess Anastasia of Prussia) wore a hat entirely covered in bright pink feathers. I suppose if you can’t wear a hat that looks like a giant peony bloom to a royal wedding, you probably can’t wear it anywhere. I’m not a fan of the hat but I’m a fan of any woman gutsy enough to wear it in public.
All in all, this was a much less formal wedding than we would see a month later in Luxembourg (not surprising, for the heir’s wedding) and three months later for Imre’s brother Christophe. While I’m a fan of royal weddings, I found the relative informality of this one gave it great charm- it was not about pomp and pageantry, but about a happy family getting together for the fun celebration of a couple filled with love and joy. That’s just my take- I’m curious, dear readers, what did you think of this American-Austrian royal wedding? Which hat was your favourite?