Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo

European royals gathered in Waterloo, Belgium yesterday to participate in a ceremony hosted by the Belgian government to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The 1815 battle, which saw the overthrow of Napoleon Bonaparte and the restoration of Louis XVIII to the French throne, is being celebrated during three days of grand scale re-enactments which include more than 5000 historical re-enactors from around the world. The Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg monarchs were on hand yesterday for the first event.

As hostess for this ceremony, Queen Mathilde stood out in a natural straw hat with large, flat crown and wide mushroom brim. The considerable scale of the piece was lovely on Mathilde and gave some neutral grounding to her vibrant goldenrod dress and jacket. We haven’t seen this piece worn since 2004 and it was lovely to see it again.

Queen Mathilde, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: June 26, 2004

Queen Máxima repeated her silver grey silk ringed headpiece with new grey and blue lace dress. In the past I have been rather critical of these open-topped headpieces and while I’m still not in love with this one (and retain quibbles about the puckered seams), I appreciate it much more. The open top gives this piece a lightness needed for a summer hat and places the focus on  Máxima’s face.  This is the third outfit we have seen Máxima pair with this headpiece (we’ll look at those in greater detail in a few weeks) and is, so far, my favourite.

Queen Máxima, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Máxima, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Máxima, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Máxima, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: April 4, 2014November 24, 2013; Oct. 20, 2007

The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg topped her oyster-grey suit with a domed pillbox hat made of the same fabric. We have seen Maria Teresa in numerous pillbox hats over the past year and the shape suits her well. The ensemble is a little bland for my taste, however, and I would have loved even a subtle bit of colour to liven it.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, June 18, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Marchioness of Douro (née Jemma Kidd), who is the Duke of Wellington’s daughter-in-law, wore a Philip Treacy percher hat in cream, trimmed with a signature Treacy twist.

The Marchioness of Douro , June 18, 2015 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

It always seems that the European royals are delighted to get together and this event was no different. What did you think of the royal hats seen yesterday in Belgium?

European Monarchs in hats by Fabienne Delvigne, June 18, 2015 | Royal Hats

Photos from Pool / Frédéric Sierakowski/Photo News S.A.Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Patrick van Katwijk, Pool / Frédéric Sierakowski/Photo News S.A., Patrick van Katwijk, Olivier PoletPool / Frédéric Sierakowski/Photo News S.A., and Pool / Yves Herman/Photo News S.A.  via Corbis; and Getty as indicated

Swedish Royal Wedding: Royal Guests

Royal Hats A number of other reigning royal houses were represented among the guests at Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist’s wedding yesterday. Queen Mathilde of Belgium topped her blue gown with the bandeau bottom piece of the Nine Provinces tiara. The simple scroll motif and low height of this tiara make it a more modest piece but in combination with her diamond and pearl drop earrings and diamanté studded off the shoulder gown (in what is THE most perfect shade of blue on her), Mathilde looked classically beautiful.

Queen Máxima wore her Mellerio Ruby tiara, a piece made up of three large scrolls connected by suspended diamond swags. With a matching necklace and bracelet, the tiara makes a grand but very light, delicate statement. I thought it was the perfect piece to pair with her embroidered lace Jan Taminiau gown, a gown many of you will recognize from her and King Willem-Alexander’s inaguration in April 2013. As she often does at such formal events, Máxima looked incredible.

Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde, June 13, 2015 | Royal Hats

The Countess of Wessex wore her Aquamarine tiara made up of diamond scrolls around a central aquamarine. It was beautifully paired with small drop earrings, an aquamarine pendant and a grey lace dress by Czech designer Taťána Kovaříková. While some might be underwhelmed by the streamlined gown, it was exactly the right cut and shade to show the aquamarines to greatest effect and I thought Sophie looked very elegant.

Countess of Wessex, June 13, 2015 | Royal Hats

Princess Hisako of Takamado wore a diamond tiara with small pearl drops that, like the tiara she wore for Princess Madeleine’s wedding two years ago, I assume is one from the vast Japanese Royal collection allocated for her use. This piece is a perfect proportion for petite Princess Hisako; it appears that it combines with her earrings and delicate necklace to form a diamond and pearl parure. Throughout the video stream yesterday, Princess Hisako seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, wearing a wide smile and looking most lovely in her pale green, gold embroidered gown.

Just two posts remain in our coverage of the Swedish royal wedding- royal representatives from non-reigning royal families are up next.

Photos from Splash News,  Patrick van Katwijk/dpa and Patrick van Katwijk/dpa via Corbis; Getty as indicated

Queen Mathilde Celebrates Belgium At Expo 2015

Throughout its six month duration, Expo 2015 in Milan will spend one special day highlighting each of the 145 participating nations. Today was Belgium’s turn and Queen Mathilde travelled to Italy to tour her nation’s pavillion and join in celebrating all things Belgian. For this visit, Mathilde topped an elegant pleated dove grey dress and coat with a new rounded pillbox in the same shade. The straw hat followed the sleek, clean lines of the coat and dress and was trimmed simply with a knotted twist at the back from which two ribbon tails wrapped up the side of the hat. While the ensemble is very elegant, I think a pop of colour from a shoe, bag or jewel (something larger than the odd insect pin) would bring it to life. I’m afraid it’s a little boring and one-note as is.

Queen Mathilde, June 12, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unconfirmed. It is very similar to this headpiece – both are likely the work of Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Photos from Nick Zonna/Splash News via Corbis and Getty as indicated

Queen Mathilde Awards Queen Elizabeth Music Prize

Queen Mathilde of Belgium was at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo this morning to present awards to winners of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition. For this function, Queen repeated a headpiece we have not seen in nearly three years. Some of you might remember this shell-inspired piece in rosy-beige pleated straw from its first appearance at the Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess’ wedding in October 2012. While I was not initially complimentary of this piece, I’m doing an about face thanks to today’s pairing with Queen Mathilde’s white eyelet dress and a less bouffanted hairstyle. While this headpiece is still is a little reminiscent of an underwater creature or folded napkin, it dresses down with a summer dress and neutral accessories so much better than it ‘dressed up’. Seeing it like this enables me to appreciate it for the pretty piece that it really is.

Queen Mathilde, June 2, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, June 2, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, June 2, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, June 2, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, June 2, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: October 20, 2012

We have seen the young queens of Belgium and the Netherlands experiment widely with brimless daytime hats and I think this piece’s organic and creative shape makes it a success. I adore that Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima have both embraced daytime hat wearing and admire the personal spin and modern style they both place on this tradition.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Christophe LicoppeChristophe LicoppeChristophe LicoppeChristophe Licoppe and Christophe Licoppe via Corbis

Queen Mathilde Opens Edegem Hospital

Queen Mathilde officially opened the new maternity and children’s wing at the ‘Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen’ (UZA) hospital in Edegem yesterday. She carried on her penchant for vibrant hats and frocks with a new headpiece in pale coral pink straw.

Queen Mathilde, May 21, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

In past, I have been rather vocal about my dislike of open-crowned hats. This piece, however, has me eating those words because I think it is beautiful. The colour is lovely on Mathilde and combination of ruched straw and curving lines of the piece lend it the most graceful sense of movement. The fluted edge at the back (faintly reminiscent of this previous hat) is subtle but crucially saves the headpiece from looking like a doughnut.

Queen Mathilde, May 21, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, May 21, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, May 21, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

I thought the combination of this hat with Mathilde’s her interesting pink and coral printed dress created a very fresh and modern take on ‘feminine pink from head to toe’. I suspect, however, that not everyone will be as enamoured with this headpiece as I am – what do you think of it?

Photos from Philip Reynaers/Photo News S.A.Philip Reynaers/Photo News S.A., Philip Reynaers/Photo News S.A., and Philip Reynaers/Photo News S.A. all via Corbis

Dutch and Belgian Queens Open Sculpture Exhibition

On Wednesday, an outdoor sculpture exhibition celebrating 20 years of Dutch-Belgian cultural cooperation was officially opened in The Hague by Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde. It’s not often that we see two Queens at work together and it seems that these two decided to mark this special engagement with a pair of coordinating NATAN frocks and two new and very vibrant hats.

Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima, May 20, 2015 | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima, May 20, 2015 | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima, May 20, 2015 | Royal Hats

Queen Máxima topped her coral coat dress with a large straw saucer hat in the same hue. The hat was cheekily trimmed with a mass of vertically placed rainbow feathers in the center and a wide band of tan straw edged around the brim. The shape of this saucer is a departure for Máxima and it balanced very well with her collarless coat and chic chignon. I suspect that most of us would go to great lengths to avoid wearing an orange saucer hat trimmed with feathers that look to be plucked straight from an Obsk but on Máxima, it just works. In fact, I think her coral coat dress works better with the hat than it would without it.

 Queen Máxima, May 20, 2015 | Royal Hats   Queen Máxima, May 20, 2015 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Queen Mathilde topped her orange and royal blue printed dress with a ruched blue straw calot hat. The draping on this particular piece is beautifully done (amazing how the straw looks to have the same fluidity as fabric) and this shade of blue works well for Mathilde.. It is a shape we have seen on both queens numerous times and while I would love to see some more variety, this piece is so well done that it warrants a thumbs up.

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Earlier in the day, Queen Mathilde attended a reception for Belgian artists held at the the residence of the Belgian ambassador. For this meeting, she paired the same hat with a blue and white printed Dries van Noten dress. This quick change shows the versatility of this hat and makes me wonder, dear readers, which dress do you prefer with it?

Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

From all accounts, it seems that a wonderful day was had by Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde in The Hague. What did you think of their vibrant hats?

Belgian Royals Inaugurate Vessel

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were in Zeebrugge yesterday to attend the launching of the new navy ship P902 Pollux. The King and Queen were joined by their eldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, who has been named as the official godmother of the vessel. For this event, Queen Mathilde repeated her pale blue calot hat with straw cuff and coordinating suit. This is a great working look for her and the monochrome outfit somehow doesn’t read as flat or one-note as others we have seen recently.

Queen Mathilde, May 6, 2015 in Dior | Royal Hats    Queen Mathilde, May 6, 2015 in Dior | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth, May 6, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal HatsPrincess Elisabeth, May 6, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer of Queen Mathilde’s hat: Christian Dior. Suit by Dior.
Previously Worn: June 6, 2014

Princess Elisabeth wore a braided headband in the same fabric as her dress, trimmed with a side rosette. I thought it was a perfect mini-fascinator for the 13 year old princess on one of her first major engagements and she wore it very well.

Princess Elisabeth, May 6, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats    Princess Elisabeth, May 6, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Princess Elisabeth, May 6, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Photos from Getty as indicated;  Albert NieboerAlbert NieboerAlbert Nieboer, Albert NieboerAlbert NieboerAlbert Nieboer and Albert Nieboer via Corbis