HRH The Duke of Brabant and Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
December 4, 1999
Note: Mathilde's wedding gown has been written about before on this site, a few years ago, but that's like a century ago in Internet Time. In honor of the soon-to-be King and Queen of the Belgians, today we have a redo.
The September 1999 announcement of the engagement of the heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, came as a great surprise. Many wondered if the 39-year-old prince would ever marry; Philippe was seen as an awkward and introverted guy, kind of boring really, and certainly not a suave Prince Charming with a love life ripe for press picking. He stayed under the radar, which is exactly how he managed to date a 26-year-old speech therapist from the Belgian nobility for three years in secret. The announcement of their engagement left the country clamoring for the couple's photocall - the press didn't even have a good recent photograph of the new future queen.
|With their siblings at the engagement photocall|
trip to the town hall, the civil ceremony, the religious ceremony). On top of the train rested the veil, a family heirloom from Queen Paola's family dating back to 1877. The magnificent piece of Brussels lace was also worn by Paola, Philippe's sister Princess Astrid, and later by sister-in-law Princess Claire.
Queen Elisabeth's Diamond Bandeau. Queen Paola does not loan tiaras normally - never, really, she doesn't have much to loan - so this was a special occasion indeed.
not bad at all when it comes to the bespoke wedding gown. Mathilde's gown made my list of top 10 royal wedding gowns initially, and though it certainly wouldn't make a redone list today, I still have a soft spot when it comes to this one. It has a high collar on a coat dress plus a simple dress details paired with a detailed veil, two of my favorite combos. But beyond personal preference, I think there's a good design at work here: it's a December dress that doesn't overdo it with the winter theme (the wee attendants in red velvet provide all the holiday spirit a wedding requires), and it has a certain amount of design flair and a certain amount of grandeur (high collar and train length, hello) without overwhelming Mathilde. I think the dress was a great success.
What do you say: a success, or not?
Photos: ANP/Getty Images/Corbi/Polfoto