23 July 2013

Royal Fashion Awards: The Belgian Abdication

As Britain waited for a someday future monarch, Belgium went ahead and traded in for a future monarch right now: King Albert II abdicated on Sunday in favor of his son, the new King Philippe. The events took place in the midst of the yearly National Day celebrations, with happenings on Saturday night followed on Sunday by a Te Deum, the abdication, the new King's oath at Parliament, a military parade and more, carrying on into the night.

Video: A summary of the day's main events
As you might expect, Belgium's own Natan label made plenty of appearances, dressing Queen Mathilde, her two daughters, Queen Paola, and Princess Claire. Plenty of hats from Fabienne Delvigne were also in play. This is a standard combination, particularly for Mathilde, and that went along with the tone: this was a special event but still business as usual at the same time.

Best Dressed
Queen Mathilde (and King Philippe)
Left to right: Saturday evening, the day events on Sunday, and later on Sunday
Mathilde didn't put a foot wrong. She was elegant at every turn - but still very much Typical Mathilde. She always loves her some prints, we've seen shoulder details like that in the past, and these are her standard shapes. Special...and yet normal, if you get what I'm trying to say here. Not to be forgotten, Philippe cut a dashing figure in his uniform - in two uniforms for the day, in fact, as he made a switch to a new one as king.
Just to throw us magpies a bone, this being such a regular old bling-free occasion and all, new official portraits were released. And we get something new-to-us! Mathilde has made her debut in the Nine Provinces Tiara, specifically the bandeau portion only. Gorgeous bandeau tiara hair, plus Queen Fabiola's mega diamond waterfall brooch we've seen Mathilde wear a few times. I can't wait to see her in the full tiara - maybe she can make me love it, miracles do happen - but this was a lovely compromise: a "new" thing, but still not too much for the current sparkle-phobic climate.

Best in Coordination
The Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, Princess Eléonore
Four very well behaved and well coordinated children, no? But I can't resist saying here: I'm getting a few shades of déjà vu here to the dresses worn by the A-Team at the Dutch inauguration. Right? Plus the collar on Mathilde's dress too. And while I'm at it, her blue gown above (again, Natan) makes me flashback to the pink Natan she wore at the Dutch inauguration

Best in Retirement
Queen Paola (and King Albert)
L to R: Saturday night, Sunday day, Sunday night
Paola's green was the perfect color choice - a nice contrast to Mathilde in ivory, easy to see, but not scene stealing. The emotion of the event showed particularly on these two, I thought, and they went proudly into their retirement, so to speak. 

Best in Color Commitment
Queen Fabiola
L to R: On Saturday, and on Sunday
Taking the purple all the way to the gloves: that's my kind of royal.

Best in Quick Changes
Princess Claire
L to R: On Saturday (with husband Prince Laurent), on Sunday at the first events, and later at the military parade
After giving us her best impression of a highlighter in neon on Saturday, Claire made a crafty non-change outfit change that I loved: she simply ditched the jacket and swapped out her hat to sit outside for the parade. Two outfits in one. (And I'm quite partial to the second version, but then I do love a big hat.)

Best in Family Coordination
Princess Astrid
L to R: On Saturday, on Sunday on the balcony, on Sunday at the military parade with her husband, Prince Lorenz, and four of their children behind them
Even more coordinated as a family than the reigning ones: Princess Astrid went for pale pink, as did her two eldest daughters (and her youngest daughter had a printed skirt that went nicely with the rest). Plus, she brought us bonus royal spotting! In the second row we have Princess Maria Laura, Princess Luisa Maria, Princess Laetitia Maria, and Prince Joachim (in uniform). The only thing we're missing is Astrid and Lorenz's oldest child, Prince Amedeo. And as another bonus, on the far left we have Princess Léa (widow of King Albert's late half-brother Prince Alexander) - also in tune with the pink memo.

Who wins your best dressed title?

P.S.: Yesterday's post is still open if you want to chat about the new baby! If there are hospital exits to cover, we'll do so tomorrow.

Photos: Getty Images/Belgian Monarchy/Reuters/AP/AFP/Belga