Queen Paola of Belgium didn’t wear diamonds in her hair on her wedding day, but she made sure that her daughter-in-law, Queen Mathilde, sparkled in a family tiara for her wedding ceremonies in Brussels.
On December 4, 1999, the Duke of Brabant (now King Philippe of the Belgians) married his Belgian-born fiancée, Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz, in a pair of sparkling ceremonies in Brussels. (You can read more about Philippe and Mathilde’s royal romance in this earlier article.) The day began with a civil ceremony at the Brussels Town Hall, followed by a balcony appearance (pictured above). Next was a religious wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels.
Mathilde wore the same gown, veil, and jewels for both ceremonies. Her dress was made by the Belgian fashion designer Édouard Vermeulen, who runs the label Natan. The gown featured a jacket with a high collar and long train.
Here’s a good look at the collar and button detail on the jacket.
For her wedding day, Queen Mathilde borrowed an antique Belgian heirloom tiara, Queen Elisabeth’s Art Deco Bandeau, from her new mother-in-law. The geometric diamond tiara, as the name suggests, originally belonged to Philippe’s great-grandmother, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. Queen Paola has owned the tiara since the early years of her marriage; it was a gift from her father-in-law, King Leopold III.
Queen Paola also loaned Mathilde the same antique lace veil that she’d worn for her wedding to King Albert II in 1959. The veil is an heirloom from Paola’s mother, Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana e di Sebastiano.
Mathilde also wore a pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings with her wedding ensemble. These feature studs with diamond bow designs. Mathilde wears them often for gala events.
Like Queen Astrid and Queen Fabiola before her, Mathilde also received a tiara as a wedding present: the Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara. The versatile jewel, a gift from a group of Belgian aristocrats, can also be worn as a necklace.