Belgian Royalty: Albert I's Children's Garments--Headwear

Figure 1.--Princes Leopold and Charles here wear identical outfits, briad-brimmed sailor hats and white sailor suits. Note that even their hair is styled identically. This looks to be about 1997 when the boys would have been about 4 and 6 years old. The hats here are worn up, probably for the photograph. Normally they would have been worn more level. Note Charles holding on to the dog--it appears in several portarits with him. Also note the bows on the boys' shoes.

Less information is available on the hats and caps worn by the children. Most available images with headgear show them wearing sailor hats. Most of the available photographs, however, show the boys inside wear they are not wearing headgear. Most of the photographs appear to be formal indoors portraits. HBC has noted few outdoor snapshots. One very young portrait of Prince Charles shows him wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat. Presumably Leopold also wore a similar hat as they were so often dressed alike. A much older photograph of Leopold shows him wearing a wide-brimmed hat rather juantely with his sailor suit. While almost all photographs of headgear show them wearing broad-brimmed silor hats, there were quite a range of different styles worn at different ages and for different occassions. There were also many ways of wearing some of the hats, by varying the angle or by turming the brim up or down. Most photographs show the boys wearing broad-brimmed sailor hats, but a few photographs also show them in sailor caps. One reason the boys are so rarely pictured with headwear is that the Queen probably wanted their hair, sometimes longish styles, to better show and not be covered with a hat or cap. Photographs show that the boys as late as 13 years were still wearing sailor suits and hats or caps.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 17, 2002
Last updated: May 17, 2002