Wednesday, 12 November 2014

If it's Wednesday, it must be Belgium

For a queen who was criticised in the past for not travelling abroad on official duties all that much, Queen Letizia is really racking up the airmiles. In the last month she's been to Austria, Portugal and Luxembourg and now she's landed in Belgium for a whirlwind visit. OK, King Felipe is there as well but let's face it, all eyes are on Letizia as the introductory tours of Europe's royal courts continue. And for the first time since she started her hello visits, she's hit style gold.

Letizia in Brussels - another day, another overseas visit for the Queen of Spain

Wearing a white jacket with fabric buttons and a dark blue skirt that Schiaparelli would have been proud of, Letizia strode confidently across the red carpet rolled out to meet her in Brussels as she and her husband met up with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. The official welcome was filled with smiles, hand kissing and chatting as Europe's two newest monarchs and their consorts met up again. And after the serious business of inspecting troops and listening to the national anthems of their two countries they headed inside for a photo call.

 In the warm, two kings called Philip and their queens

Letizia has had a few fashion faux pas on her introductory tours but this outfit was easily the smartest, most formal and most impressive of the lot.But even so, Letizia ran into a familiar problem on these visits. She was outdone by her hostess.

Mathilde wins it, just, as she goes head to head with Letizia in the style stakes

Queen Mathilde chose an emerald green coat with black accessories that was a winner in its simplicity. The only jarring note was her choice of mid blue gloves - at odds with the rest of the outift. But perhaps the big problem for Letizia was underlined by the chic bandeau style hat chosen by Mathilde. The introductory visits usually call for the more formal hat and coat style outfit and the Spanish queen's decision to go for a more modern, more relaxed look has often made her seem under dressed for the occasion. A hat with this outfit might have taken the day but as it was this was a home win for Belgium.

Mathilde wins by a head - the decision of the Spanish queen not to wear hats on her introductory tours is one reason she's been outdressed on several occasions

The pattern of the visit is pretty similar to others - after meeting their royal hosts, the King and Queen of Spain then held audiences with several leading politicians including the new Prime Minister, Charles Michel. And then it will be back to Madrid with a short rest before more visits to say hello.

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