'Wow': Queen Mathilde honours former colony with Flemish-Congolese dress – 'very striking'


The Queen and King of Belgium arrived in Congo, a former Belgian colony, on Tuesday, June 7. They arrived in Kinshasa, the country’s capital, and will be visiting Lubumbashi and Bukavu during their stay.

Yesterday, Queen Mathilde was seen visiting the Beach Ngobila market in Kinshasa, admiring the clothes that were on sale there.

The beautiful, multicoloured printed material displayed on the market stalls is called pagne, which is a type of textile.

Mathilde paid tribute to the people of Congo by wearing a dress made of pagne herself.

It was a dress by Flemish-Congolese designer Odile Kanyunyi, whose Belgium-based brand is called Odile Jacobs.

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Odile shared a photo of Mathilde in her design earlier today, writing on Instagram: “Your Majesty, you honour me by wearing this outfit I made.

“You are dressed in elegance, and it suits you so well.

“It also does me so much good to see my work displayed, worn and considered.

“My art is a territory between two worlds, between different codes, different countries and cultures.

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“My work is also the fruit of a healing process: I make ‘dimensional sewing’. What I create I invent thanks to what I am. I am neither one nor the other, I am: Odile Jacobs.

“I create what I am: a flower in a universe that makes me grow. Thank you, [Your] Majesty.”

The dress had a high, round neckline and long slightly puffed sleeves, and it reached Mathilde’s knees.

It was covered in two patterns: a pale blue and white spotted print, with a dark blue and black squiggly print on top.

Twitter user @marshav14 wrote: “Queen Mathilde of Belgium always looks beautiful, but the blue, grey, and white pattern dress is very striking!”

Instagram user @isadecock commented: “Magnificent!”

User @franck_verhaeghe simply said: “Wow.”

Later in the day yesterday, Mathilde was seen wearing another dress as she and her husband pose in front of the Congo River.

This dress was white with three-quarter sleeves, but it also featured a blue pattern: flowers with grey leaves.

Mathilde paired the dress with strappy blue, heeled sandals.

The royal couple’s visit to Congo is a historic one as it is the Belgian royal family’s first trip to the country since it became independent of Belgian rule.

Earlier this week, King Philippe apologised for the atrocities of his ancestors, saying: “This regime was one of unequal relations, unjustifiable in itself, marked by paternalism, discrimination and racism.

“On the occasion of my first trip to Congo, here, in front of the Congolese people and those who still suffer from it today, I wish to reaffirm my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past.”

On Monday, June 6, the King handed over a giant Congolese mask to the people of Congo – one of about 84,000 artefacts taken during the colonial era which Belgium has agreed to return.

Belgium controlled Congo, which is 77 times its size, from the 19th Century until its independence in 1960.



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