HRH The Prince of Asturias and Miss Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano
May 22, 2004
Only a week after Crown Prince Frederik married Mary Donaldson in Denmark, Prince Felipe of Spain tied the knot with journalist Letizia Ortiz in Madrid. Theirs was the first wedding of a member of the Spanish royal family to take place in Madrid since the wedding of King Alfonso XIII and Princess Ena of Battenberg in 1906. That wedding was marred by an assassination attempt on the royal couple and the tragic deaths of several bystanders -- this one, thankfully, went more smoothly, although it was a cloudy, rainy day in the Spanish capital.
There were a few controversies, however, about Felipe's choice of bride. Letizia, a journalist who covered the September 11th attacks in New York and the Iraq War, will be the first commoner to be queen of Spain. She also had previously been briefly married and divorced. However, because her first wedding was a civil rather than religious one, the Catholic Church did not recognize it, and she was free to marry Felipe.
Felipe and Letizia have become quite a working team since their wedding, frequently appearing together on royal engagements. They have also had two daughters, Infanta Leonor (born in 2005) and Infanta Sofia (born in 2007). Leonor is expected to become queen of Spain in her own right one day -- that is, if her parents don't provide her with a baby brother!
HRH Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant and Countess Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
December 4, 1999
Of the six crown princely weddings we'll be hatting about with in preparation for Crown Princess Victoria's June nuptials, Prince Philippe of Belgium's wedding is the first. Married to Belgian aristocrat Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in 1999, Philippe is currently their heir to the Belgian throne, now occupied by his father, King Albert II.
Since their marriage, Mathilde and Philippe have lived an active but fairly low-key royal life. In between major royal events and charity work, they have found time to have four children: Princess Elisabeth (future Queen of the Belgians), Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléanore. But let's do a little time-traveling jaunt back eleven years, and -- dare I say it -- party like it's 1999!
Anybody want an apple?
Beyond reminding her people that they should eat more fruits and vegetables, Queen Fabiola also gave them a nice purple hat to look at on National Day. The king's sister-in-law obviously went fairly traditional, with a wide-brimmed straw hat with a color coordinating flower. Wouldn't this look really fabulous, though, if the flower were in a high-contrast color like black?
Regardless, it's great to see Fabiola out and about. She was ill earlier this year, and someone actually wrote letters to a Belgian newspaper threatening her just before the national day celebrations, if you can imagine that. Perhaps the apple is both a healthy snack and a self-defense device?
Queen Fabiola looks like a proper Spanish lady at the royal wedding, doesn't she? There's a good reason for that -- she was born Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón in Madrid, the daughter of an aristocratic Spanish family.
Fabiola's connections with the Spanish royals run so deep that one of her godmothers was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, great-grandmother of the groom at this wedding, Prince Felipe. (Victoria Eugenia's marriage to Alfonso XIII of Spain was also the last royal wedding before Felipe and Letizia's to be celebrated in Madrid -- with only 98 years between the two! Things went much better at the 2004 wedding than they did in 1906; Alfonso and Ena narrowly escaped an assassination attempt as they drove back to the palace from the ceremony.)
We've actually seen the hat that Queen Fab wore here -- she repeated it a few years later on Belgian National Day. I still think this would look even more fab on Fab if the flowers were in a more contrasting color -- perhaps a deep purple or black?
Here's a hatter we'll only have the chance to see in flashbacks: Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium and Princess Astrid of Sweden, sister of King Baudouin and King Albert II of the Belgians, and wife of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (the military man in the center of the photo). She was a lady with some serious royal cred! This wedding was one of the last major royal events she attended as Grand Duchess; her husband abdicated in 2000, making her son Henri the Grand Duke. She died five years later, in 2005, of lung cancer.
I think Joséphine-Charlotte's hat is a great example of how to wear a dark-colored hat to a wedding; the chocolate brown is lovely and soft, and the champagne-colored ribbon keeps it from being too funereal. Her entire outfit is regal and lovely -- very appropriate for her nephew's winter wedding!
We can't overlook J-C's sister-in-law in this photo, either: Queen Fabiola is on the right, underneath the feathery hat that seems to be trying to eat her alive. Run, Fabiola! Escape it while you can! (Question: is this the most enormous hat we've ever seen on Mad Hattery? It's got to be at least top three! I mean, it's practically a parasol!)
The queen of the Belgians in 1964 was the always-lovely Fabiola, pictured here with her late husband, King Baudouin, the older brother of the current Belgian king, Albert. (I always have to look up his name to make sure I've spelled it right!) The tiara Fab is wearing here looks a little like the Danish ruby tiara, but it was (and is) a separate piece belonging to Fabiola: the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara.
Here's another view of Fabiola wearing the tiara at the ball, this time with King Simeon of Bulgaria and Queen Marie José of Italy:
When Spanish aristocrat Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón married Baudouin in 1960, the Spanish head of state, Franco, gave her this diamond floral tiara as a wedding present. It's actually convertible in two ways: each large flower has a central stone that can be switched out; Fabiola has worn it with diamonds and rubies, among other gems. In addition, the flowers themselves can also be rearranged and set on a base with small spikes so that the tiara looks more like a crown diadem. Love a versatile piece o'bling!