It’s royal-royal state visit time, everybody—which means we’ve got major tiaras in Belgium tonight!
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands headed to Brussels on Tuesday to begin a state visit with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. The Belgian royal couple welcomed their Dutch counterparts with an official ceremony at the Royal Palace in Brussels to kick off the visit.
The two royal couples also greeted members of the public in Brussels and made a balcony appearance at city hall.
The first day of the visit included several stops for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. One of the most poignant was a commemoration ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels.
They also made a stop at Belgium’s federal parliament…
…and had a meeting with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and his wife, Annik Penders.
For the first day of the state visit, Queen Máxima wore ivory: a tweed suit with a matching hat, bag, and shoes.
She also added plenty of diamonds and pearls to her ensemble. She wore classic diamond and pearl button earrings and a three-stranded necklace of graduated pearls. Her brooch is one of the most exciting parts of the ensemble. The diamond and pearl strawberry leaf brooch dates to the first half of the nineteenth century. It was once owned by Queen Sophie of the Netherlands, who wore it in a memorable Winterhalter painting.
Máxima also added a seed pearl bracelet and wore a diamond and pearl ring on her right hand. Even her hat pins were tipped with pearls! The small purple pin on Máxima’s lapel is an important touch, too—it’s a miniature version of the Order of Leopold, her highest Belgian decoration.
Queen Mathilde wore a red floral outfit with a matching hat for the arrival of the Dutch royal couple.
She upped the sparkle factor considerably by wearing a lovely pair of diamond earrings (seen most recently during the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition) and a diamond floral bracelet.
In the evening, the royals headed out to the outskirts of Brussels for a grand state banquet at the Palace of Laeken. The dramatic vistas outside the castle always make for beautiful gala photographs.
The royals wore white tie, gala gowns, tiaras, and decorations for the dinner. Both King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima wore the purple sash of Belgium’s Order of Leopold, while King Philippe and Queen Mathilde wore the blue and gold sash of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
The couples toasted to the happy and enduring relationship between their two nations during the banquet.
For the dinner, Queen Máxima wore a textured pink gown with a ruffled skirt, accessorized with some of the grandest diamonds in the Dutch royal vaults.
Queen Máxima reached for one of the smaller settings of the grand Stuart Tiara, which was made in 1897 for Queen Wilhelmina. The tiara was constructed as a showcase for the 40-carat Stuart Diamond, but Queen Máxima opted not to wear the large, pear-shaped stone on this occasion, swapping it out for a different diamond cluster. (This is the same setting that she wore last year during the Dutch state visit to Sweden.) She paired the tiara with the tiara’s matching necklace.
Even more diamonds completed the ensemble. Máxima wore Queen Wilhelmina’s Diamond Earrings, plus a pair of diamond bracelets. On her left wrist, she wore the smaller of the two Dutch East Indies Bracelets, and on her right wrist, she added the Diamond Trellis Bracelet, which was made for Queen Wilhelmina around 1900.
She also wore her engagement and wedding rings, plus the diamond ring that Willem-Alexander gave her to celebrate the birth of Princess Ariane in 2007. And she carried a fan, too—it’s reportedly very hot in the palace today!
Queen Mathilde wore a dramatic gown of light blue lace with a cape for the banquet, plus a whole lot of diamonds.
She reached for the full setting of the Nine Provinces Tiara, the diadem reserved for Belgian queens regnant and consort. The tiara was one of the wedding gifts presented to Queen Astrid, King Philippe’s grandmother, in 1926. Technically, Mathilde wore two tiaras for the banquet. Her necklace is the secondary setting of the Wolfers Tiara, which was presented to Queen Fabiola as a wedding gift in 1960.
Queen Mathilde also wore one of her pairs of diamond fringe earrings, as well as a diamond and aquamarine bracelet.
And here’s one more look at the ensembles of both of the queens consort at tonight’s banquet. Magnificent!
Speaking of capes, there was one more royal lady in attendance at the banquet: King Philippe’s sister, Princess Astrid of Belgium. She draped a fire-engine red cape over her hot pink evening gown. The sash of her highest Dutch decoration, the Order of the Crown, completed the colorful look.
For her jewelry, Astrid reached for diamonds: the Savoy-Aosta Tiara, plus intricate diamond drop earrings and a large diamond brooch.
Stay tuned: we’ll be back with more Royal Ascot jewels in the late morning tomorrow!