Belgium · Netherlands · Spain

Designer Diaries – New Monarchs and New Clothes

Two days to the coronation of King Charles III. What will the women of the royal family wear? It’s still a mystery, although rumors are flying thick and fast. Long gowns? Tiaras? Floral headdresses? Day dresses? Hats?

We do know what was worn at the last British coronation. You can look back at our Hofdame LiL’s excellent post on the late Queen’s coronation gown, designed by Norman Hartnell. The post also contains lots of great information on the gowns worn by other royal family members. It was a different time, and whether we will see this level of dress in 2023 is debatable.

In the meantime, let’s turn our attention to the ceremonies of the last three new European monarchs. They’re all different and may provide clues as to what to expect tomorrow.

April 2013, Dutch Inauguration

The new King had relinquished all his military appointments before the inauguration. He appeared at the event in white tie, wearing the sovereign’s mantle over his shoulders. Queen Maxima wore her now-iconic sapphire blue Jan Taminiau gown with the Mellerio Sapphire tiara. As noted at the time, there was no mantle for her, so her gown included a floor-length cape instead.

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Princesses Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane coordinated with their parents in matching blue dresses, with small changes so each girl had some individuality while preserving the consistent family image. Princess Beatrix wore the same family blue.

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July 2013, Belgian Inauguration

Many events coincided with the inauguration, including King Albert’s abdication and the annual National Day celebrations. The actual swearing-in of the King was shoe-horned into the middle of everything, and as a result, everyone was dressed in an upscale business fashion.

The King switched to a new military uniform after the abdication, indicating his new position. The Queen wore an elegant Natan day dress with a flattering collar that dipped down in the back.

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Like the Dutch girls, Princesses Elisabeth and Eleonore wore dresses in the same color and fabric, with small details changed. The boys were in suits.

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June 2014, Spanish Proclamation

King Felipe was sworn in formally sworn in and proclaimed king in a low-key ceremony held in the Cortes. The new King wore his army gala uniform and a newly awarded red Captain General sash. Queen Letizia wore Felipe Varela, a solid choice for her when it comes to big events. The white suit was decorated with red and yellow to reflect the Spanish flag in a subtle manner.

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In a slightly different approach to royal kid dressing, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia wore the same style but in different, complementary colors.

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Do you think any of these approaches will be in evidence this weekend? Keep in mind, we are talking about different traditions and cultures so some things may translate and others may not.