Fifteen years ago today, Belgium hosted its biggest royal wedding of the generation. Prince Philippe, heir to the throne, married speech therapist Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz on December 4 in Brussels. Today, they have four children, and they’re King and Queen of the Belgians. Let’s have a look back at the jewelry worn on their wedding day, shall we?
Mathilde borrowed her wedding tiara from her new mother-in-law, Queen Paola. It’s a diamond bandeau that once belonged to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium; Paola owns the piece personally. With her Edouard Vermeulen gown, Mathilde also wore a pair of diamond and pearl earrings. She regularly wears the earrings at major royal events. (At this summer’s Belgian royal wedding, the bandeau tiara was worn by the bride, and Mathilde wore her wedding earrings.)
The mother of the groom, Queen Paola, wore pearl earrings and a diamond and pearl choker, plus a gorgeous floral brooch. King Albert II, who is having a really great time in the back, is wearing Belgium’s highest order of chivalry, the Order of Leopold. You’ll see the distinctive purple sash on lots of the men in the wedding photos.
Pearls were also the jewel of choice for the groom’s aunt, Queen Fabiola, although they’re a bit obscured by her jacket and fur. The hat is enormously glorious, perfect for Fabiola, whose hair has always been a little larger than life.
Princess Astrid, the groom’s sister, kept her jewelry fairly minimalist — it was 1999, after all — but I think I spy a brooch securing her fur wrap. Here’s a better view of her earrings.
Here are a few more ladies from the extended Belgian royal family — that’s King Albert’s sister-in-law, Princess Lea, on the left, and his younger sister, Princess Esmerelda, wearing the fur hat. Esmerelda isReally digging Esmerelda’s gold necklace.
King Albert II and the late Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg were also siblings, so of course, the family jetted over from the grand duchy for the day. Josephine-Charlotte wore pearls, including the double-drop brooch that’s one of my favorite pieces from the Luxembourg jewel collection.
Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, then the Hereditary Grand Duchess, went with large gold earrings and a major fur stole.
Because King Albert’s mother, Queen Astrid, was born a Swedish princess, the Belgians also have major family ties to the Scandinavian royals. Queen Silvia of Sweden wore pearls…
… and so did Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, although she also added a pair of interesting earrings and a molting bird.
You can sneak a peek of Queen Sofia of Spain here between Albert and Paola; she clearly also got the pearls-and-feathers memo.
Constantine and Anne-Marie of Greece also attended; Anne-Marie added a pearl bracelet to her outfit.
Kardam and Miriam of Bulgaria were there, too. It’s tough to tell, but it looks like Miriam’s wearing delicate gold jewels.
Princess Martha-Louise of Norway is an especially close cousin; her namesake grandmother and the groom’s grandmother were sisters. She’s on the ’90s minimalism train with her jewels, too.
The couple had a huge bridal party, wearing LOTS of red velvet.
Royals and family (and some of both)…
And the traditional giant royal wedding guest photo!