Belgian Royals on State Visit To Japan

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde embarked on a state visit to Japan earlier this week. They were officially welcomed at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday where, as expected, the occasion saw a number of new hats.

Queen Mathilde stood out in a new brown wool casque style headpiece covered in red-orange and brown maple leaves. There’s no doubt this is a unique and daring design that requires considerable millinery bravery to carry off but I wonder if it’s a little TOO far out there to be considered attractive. I’m just not sure a leaf covered helmet, no matter how creative or beautifully executed, can be flattering.
Queen Mathilde, Oct 11, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, Oct 11, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Empress Michiko topped a charcoal suit with a small matching saucer hat. While this follows the same shape and scale of many of Michiko’s other hats, it is set apart with a double underbrim in silver lattice straw and a simple ribbon twist trim in a lighter shade of grey.

Empress Michiko, Oct 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Empress Michiko, October 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Crown Princess Masako topped her pale pink suit with a matching hat. While the shape of this design- with a domed, straight sided crown and primly upturned brim- is neither memorable nor flattering on Masako (from the front view, the hat looks too big for her), I think it may be partially redeemed with that lovely, pleated hat band.

Crown Princess Misako, October 11, 2016 | Royal Hats

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
These three hats cover completely different ends of the royal millinery style spectrum and while it doesn’t seem fair to compare them, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on each design. Let’s chat!
Photos from Getty as indicated; PhotonewsAFP, PhotonewsPhotonews and Photonews via Getty

Queen Mathilde Visits Magritte Exhibition

Queen Mathilde was in Paris yesterday to take in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou dedicated to late Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte. For this visit, she repeated a charcoal grey silk headpiece that, while from the front appears to be a stacked calot, is actually a pair of open rings that encircle her head. The first time we saw this design, I was not a fan but the styling here with Mathilde’s fantastic blue frock and grey accessories has made me warm to it. These open crowned headpieces have such a light and airy aesthetic that works well for less formal engagements such as this.


Queen Mathilde, Oct 5, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats


Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: October 28, 2014
I know many of you are gravely averse to these open crowned designs- did the wonderful styling on Queen Mathilde’s ensemble yesterday change your thoughts about this particular headpiece?
Photos from Getty as indicated and Belgian Monarchy

Belgian National Day

King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their children celebrated their country’s national holiday today with a Te Deum mass this morning at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels followed by a military parade.

Queen Mathilde wore a new hat, as she usually does for this event each year. This year’s ensemble was less dramatic than in years past and she topped an exquisite NATAN lace dress with a hat described by the designer as “a beige pink head dress accompanied by a matching clutch, both made out of banana fibres.” The headpiece looks to be made of individual crescents (stylised petals perhaps?) stacked to follow the general shape of a calot hat.



Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new
The stacked, overlapping petals pieces give some visual interest and movement to the design, counteracting it’s nondescript colour without overwhelming the delicate lace of Mathilde’s dress. It’s an ensemble that’s all about subtlety and while we might prefer outfits with more punch, there’s something undeniably beautiful and elegant about this one.
What do you think of Queen Mathilde’s new hat today?
Photos from Getty as indicated and EPA

Belgian Royals Attend Religious Procession

King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth were in Tongeren yesterday to take part in  Kroningsfeesten, a religious procession takes place every seven years to commemorate the crowning of the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For this event, the Belgian queen repeated her beautifully draped calot hat in royal blue ruched straw. The calot style works so well for Mathilde’s fine features and this shade of blue is so striking on her, particularly in combination with her orange and blue frock.


Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: May 20, 2015
Click on the middle photo above to open a small gallery of photos taken at this event. What are your thoughts on this design?
Photos from Getty, Twitter and The Belgian Monarchy as indicated

Queen Mathilde Presents Piano Competition Awards

Queen Mathilde was at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo today to present awards to laureates of this year’s prestigious Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition. She used this event to début a new calot headpiece made of what looks to be black textured silk. The design features numerous cut-outs across the back that give it a light and summery feel that works beautifully with Mathilde’s leaf printed silk dress.

Designer: likely Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Some other reports suggest today’s hat is the same as the one Mathilde wore during her and the King’s inaugural visit to England on March 13, 2014 (below left) or on her visit to Ypres last summer (below right). You’ll note that both of these designs are in fact, different.
Queen Mathilde, March 13, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats      Queen Mathilde, July 9, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats
The design worn by the Belgian Queen today has a much lighter feel than her other black headpieces, making it a great one for summer. While we didn’t have the best view of it today, what are your initial impressions?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Lesoir; and HLN

Day 2 of Jordanian State Visit to Belgium

The Jordanian state visit to Belgium continued today with a tour of Brugge which included stops at a chocolate shop, a secondary school and the Town Hall. Queen Mathilde chose another new hat for these events, a pale pink calot trimmed in rows of coordinating lace trim and a mass of bows on the side. The lace stripes are my favourite part of the hat as they add lovely dimension and movement to the piece while visually separating it Mathilde’s dress- it’s a great visual trick that makes these two pieces, which are clearly made of the same fabric, not look overly matched.

Queen Mathilde, May 19, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Head-to-toe ensembles in the same colour can be tricky but this combination of dress and hat make it look effortless and Mathilde looks really pretty and elegant in it. What do you think of this new calot hat?
Photos from Getty as indicated and The Belgian Monarchy

Jordanian State Visit To Belgium

King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan arrived yesterday in Belgium for a three day state visit. While the first day saw no hats on either the host or visiting queens, today’s more formal programme (which included the official welcome) was a different story.

Queen Mathilde used this occasion to début a large hat in cream straw with a rounded crown and mushroom shaped brim

The stand out feature of this design is the very wide weave on the straw- a much wider weave than we’re used to seeing on straw hats. This rough weave is balanced by the hat’s crisp cream silk bands around the crown and brim that magically transforms it from something one might see at the beach to something that fits for a state visit. Paired with Mathilde’s streamlined yellow and cream hounds-tooth dress and cream accessories, the hat tops an ensemble that feels summery and effortless yet so very refined.

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: this hat is new
This hat is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory- what do you think of it?
Photos from Getty as indicated