Belgian Monarchs Welcome German State Visit

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium welcomed German President Joachim Gauck  and his partner Daniela Schadt to Brussels yesterday for the first of a three-day state visit to Belgium.

Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats

For the official welcome, Queen Mathilde repeated the dove grey straw rounded pillbox with knotted bow trim on the back. The first time we saw this piece, it topped and elegant but slightly bland monochrome ensemble. Today, Mathilde paired it with an exquisite sea foam green and grey patterned coat and green dress. The pairing might be a subtle change from the original but one that balances the simple hat beautifully.

Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: June 12, 2016

What do you think of this repeated piece on Queen Mathilde today?

Queen Mathilde, March 8, 2016 in Fabienne Delvigne |Royal Hats

Photos from Didier Lebrun/Photo News S.A./CorbisDidier Lebrun/Photo News S.A./CorbisWolfgang Kumm/dpa/Corbis, Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/CorbisPatrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis, Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/CorbisPatrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis, and Didier Lebrun/Photo News S.A./Corbis

Seeing Double: Queen Mathilde

Royal HatsLooking into my archives on Queen Mathilde’s hats recently, I found an interesting pair of picture hats, both designed by Fabienne Delvigne and worn, each for the first time, just eight days apart:

Princess Mathilde, May 11, 2001 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Navy and white version worn during a Swedish state visit to Belgium,  May 11, 2001

Black and white version at the May 19, 2001 wedding of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands

Both hats are fantastic- the shape of the large mushroom brim is wonderful and the contrasting trim, in classic navy and black, makes for such timeless and elegant combinations. I’m just curious why Princess Mathilde, as she was then, ordered such similar versions of the same hat and wore them so close together?

Photos from Photonews via Getty and Getty as indicated

Inventory: Queen Mathilde’s Red Hats

One royal who has embraced vibrant hued hats is Queen Mathilde. While she has numerous pink, magenta, and burgundy pieces, we’re going to focus our look today on all things truly red within her millinery closet. Over the past sixteen years of her royal life, Queen Mathilde has worn nine red designs:

1.Princess Mathilde, May 8, 2001 | Royal Hats  2.Princess Mathilde, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats  3.2006-06-20 Dutch state visit

Introduced: May 8, 2001; October 15, 2002; June 20, 2006
Designer: All are Fabienne Delvigne

4.2008-07-21 national day 5.Queen Mathilde, October 18, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats   6.Queen Mathilde, Nov. 6, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Introduced: July 21, 2008; October 19, 2013; November 6, 2013
Designer: All are Fabienne Delvigne

7.Queen Mathilde, February 17, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  8.Queen Mathilde, April 21, 2014 | Royal Hats  9.Queen Mathilde, June 25, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Introduced: February 17, 2014; April 21, 2015; June 25, 2015
Designer: Fabienne Delvigne; unknown; Fabienne Delvigne

Within this group of nine there is considerable diversity of shape- a saucer, a calot, a pleated beret, picture hats in straw and wool (including one crown-less design), and two more avant garde numbers that involve pleats and rings. The other thing that stands out to me most here is that five of these nine pieces have been introduced into service over the past two and a half years (since Mathilde became queen). Some other European monarchs seem to have given up the tradition of hat wearing and I’m thrilled that Mathilde has not chosen to do the same. Of these nine pieces, which ones do you think she wears best?

Note: While hat #4 was also included in the orange inventory, I couldn’t leave it out here. It’s as red as it is orange so we’ll include it in both inventories.

Photos from Van Parys Media/Sygma/Corbis; Mark Cuthbert via Getty; RoyalPress Nieboer/dpa/Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press; Olivier Polet/CorbisAlbert Nieboer/dpa/Corbis; Sean Gallup via CorbisPhilip Reynaers/Photo News S.A./CorbisPhilip Reynaers/Photo News S.A./Corbis; and Getty as indicated

Belgian Royals Attend Memorial Mass

Members of the Belgian royal family gathered at Notre Dame Church in Laeken today to take part in an annual Te Deum mass in memory of deceased family members. For the service, Queen Mathilde repeated a grey felt Garbo style hat with rounded crown and slightly floppy brim. Trimmed simply with a slim leather band around the base of the crown, this hat’s impact comes from the relaxed shape of its brim. It’s a stylish piece that Mathilde wears well (jump over to this post to see this hat paired with other outfits)

Queen Mathilde, February 17, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Mathilde, February 17, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats    Queen Mathilde, February 17, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: February 19, 2013November 15, 2011

Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (who is a first cousin to King Philippe) also attended the service this year. Princess Margaretha repeated a simple black brimless bumper hat. During past outings, this hat has appeared to be a pillbox but if you look closely at this photo, you’ll see a rounded crown surrounded by a bumper brim.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: December 12, 2014February 18, 2014
Princes Marie Esmeralda and Princess Léa (standing beside King Philippe, below) also attended although neither wore hats. While Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire often attend this event, they did not this year. This made for a less dynamic group of Belgian royal hats than we usually see at the Te Deum, leaving just two for us to admire this year.
Belgian Royal Family, February 17, 2016 | Royal Hats

Christening of Prince Christian: Royal Guests

Royal Hats When Prince Christian of Denmark was christened ten years ago, the event was attended by numerous royal relatives and close friends. After looking at the hats worn by his mother, grandparents and godparents, we now turn our attention to those worn by royal guests.

Queen Margrethe’s sisters, Queen Anne-Marie and Princess Benedikte, both wore vibrant hats. In bright red felt, Queen Anne-Marie’s hat featured an unusually tall crown, a short, upturned brim; the piece was boldly embellished with a large knotted bow and curling black feather spines. Princess Benedikte topped her grey fur coat with a large beret-style design in raspberry felt. We have seen Princess Benedikte in numerous hats in this hue and the colour is fantastic on her.

Princess Marie-Chantal wore a Philip Treacy designed fascinator of straw twists and several different varieties of gold feathers. While some might argue that the spiky design gave some textural contrast to her tweed coat and dress, I have always found the combination of classic clothing and modern headpiece to be jarring and disharmonious.

Princess Alexia of Greece topped her grey fur jacket with a burgundy felt hat. With an indented crown and fluted, upturned brim, this hat is all about shape. I adore the grey and burgundy colour scheme of her ensemble but I’m afraid the stylised brim and crown shapes on her hat look rather dated today. Tatiana Blatnik (who would become Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark in 2010) wore a simple fascinator of navy feathers. The lightness of the piece, which feels better suited to a summer wedding or garden party, feels off balance against her winter coat

Princess Theodora wore an interesting loden green beret variation with high peaked side trimmed with a felt rose in the same colour. Dutch Princess Laurentien also wore an exaggerated hat- made of the same brown plaid as her tailored jacket, the piece featured a tall, indented crown and oval shaped brim. Unfortunately, the oversize fedora was too big for Laurentien and looked to be swallowing her up. In this pairing of exaggerated hats, I think Princess Theodora’s was substantially more successful.

Princess Theodora, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats  Princess Laurentien, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats

Princess Mathilde (as was her title in 2006) topped her beautiful red coat dress and cape with a large matching hat. With a squared crown and upfolded brim, the hat was simply trimmed with a wide ribbon around the base of the crown. It’s a strong look for Mathilde but she carried it well. It’s a classic piece that I would love to see trotted out again.

Princess Mathilde, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats  Princess Mathilde, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway wore a 1940s inspired hat by Anja Irgens. With a close fitting crown and diamond brooch detail, the star of this hat was its upfolded brim that swept around the hat in fluted waves. Märtha Louise has long been known for her quirky style and while this hat fits that style brief, the colour and shape are exquisite. Ten years later, it is still one of my favourite hats in her wardrobe.

Princess Märtha Louise, January 21, 2006  in Anja Irgens| Royal Hats  Princess Märtha Louise, January 21, 2006  in Anja Irgens| Royal Hats

Princess Benedikte’s daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg topped her gold bouclé coat with a purple fascinator. The headpiece, consisting of a purple silk rose and feathers that swept around the top of her head, provided a spot of colour and textural contrast to her ensemble. The Countess of Frederiksborg, who arrived with her young sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, wore in an ivory felt hat with asymmetrical upfolded brim. The hat was trimmed in a pleated sash of the same fabric as her coat, drawing the two pieces together in a unified winter white ensemble. Some of you might recognize the hat as the same one worn for Prince Felix’s christening (the last christening to have taken place in the Danish royal family at the time) in 2002- an interesting choice but a hat that Alexandra wore very well.

Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats   Countess of Frederiksborg, January 21, 2006 | Royal Hats

It is only once in a generation that a royal house christens a future king or queen and the scale of this event reflects its importance. Looking back, I’m surprised at how many hats withstand the test of time and could successfully (and stylishly) be repeated today. Which hats stand out most here to you?

Inventory: Queen Mathilde’s Blue Hats

As Queen Mathilde celebrates her 43rd birthday today, we’re  going to take a peek at her blue hats. She has worn ten different ones so far during her royal life- here they are in the order that they have been worn:

1.Princess Mathilde, February 2005 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  2.Princess Mathilde, April 29, 2011 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats  3.2012-02-06 mass for deceased royals 4

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne; Philip Treacy; Maison Van den Borne
Introduced: February 2005; April 29, 2011; February 16, 2012

4.Queen Mathilde, September 27, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  5.Queen Mathilde, Dec. 2, 2013 Elvis Pompilio | Royal Hats  6.Queen Mathilde, March 30, 2014 | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne; Elvis Pompilio; unknown
Introduced: September 27, 2013; December 2, 2013March 30, 2014

7.Queen Mathilde, May 6, 2015 in Dior | Royal Hats  8.Queen Mathilde, Novemer 12, 2014 | Royal Hats  9.Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

 Designer: Christian Dior; unknown; Fabienne Delvigne
Introduced: June 6, 2014; November 12, 2014May 20, 2015

10.Queen Mathilde, July 21, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Introduced: July 21, 2015

For hats of the same hue, it’s an eclectic mix! What is most interesting to me is that the first hat did not appear in Mathilde’s millinery wardrobe until 2005, more than five years after she became a princess. While I find the great similarities between hats #5 and #6 curious, I suspect that both calots were custom designs made in the same fabric as the clothes they accompanied. I don’t think #2’s grandness can be beat nor #4’s quirky sense of fun and I would adore seeing these two pieces worn again. What hats stand out most to you in this group?

Photos from LesoirChris Jackson and Mark Renders via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/CorbisPatrick van Katwijk/dpa/CorbisJULIEN WARNAND/epa/Corbis; Albert Nieboer/dpa/Corbis; AFP/Emmanuel Dunand and Michel Porro via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis

Your Winners! Best New Royal Hats of 2015

2015 best hat small

After nine polls, ten finalists and more than twenty thousand votes, your favourite new royal hats of 2015 have been named. With no further fanfare, here are the top five winners (jump back to this post for a peek at all the finalists):

#5 Queen Mathilde’s red straw saucer by Fabienne Delvigne worn on June 25 in China

Queen Mathilde, June 25, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

#4     Princess Madeleine of Sweden’s magenta silk flower and ribbon twist headpiece by Philip Treacy worn for the christening of Prince Nicolas on October 11

Princess Madeleine, October 11, 2015 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

#3 The Countess of Wessex’s soaring cream straw slice hat with lattice woven ribbon detail by Jane Taylor, worn for Ascot on June 16 

And by an incredibly slim winning margin of just twelve votes, your#1  favourite new royal hat of 2015 was Beatrice Borromeo’s natural straw hat with textured mushroom brim of unknown design worn at the christening of Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques on May 10

                         2015-05-11 Monaco Christening 49

It appears, dearest readers, that we have not completely joined in the current trend for cocktail hats but usually favour larger scale, dramatic hats with substantial brims. Thanks to everyone who cast a vote- you can review the detailed results of the poll below. And finally, if anyone can provide any design information about our winning hat, it would be greatly appreciated!

For those of you wondering about the best repeated hat of 2015, I think it’s safe to say that this Jane Taylor design on the Countess of Wessex (which won our Ascot 2015 poll) would likely win. It received far greater positive response than any other hat we saw last year.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Philip Reynaers/Photo News S.A./Corbis;  Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis; and Eric Gaillard / Reuters