Hat Quandry At Polo

While we’re waiting for today’s events to be underway at Royal Ascot, I have a hat quandary for you to ponder.

Last Sunday, the Queen attended the Queen’s Cup Polo Final at the Guard’s Club in Windsor. She wore, what at a very quick glance, I thought was a much admired, repeated coral pink hat trimmed with a distinctive straw rose.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Because I’m a bit distracted this week, I didn’t think much about the hat. During Monday’s Order of the Garter post, however, several of noticed changes from its previous outing. This piqued my curiosity so I went back to this hat’s last appearance on March 10, 2014 for some side-bypside comparisons.


March 10, 2014 photos on the left; June 16, 2019 photos on the right


Even with less than ideal photos, there are some clear differences. Most obvious is the new brim and hatband. The flowers are different but the very similar petal individual shapes lead me to suspect that the flower has simply been rotated 180s and is, essentially, now upside down.. The hatpins are different. Finally, the crown on this week’s hat is a shorter version of the same formed shape- the space between the middle pleat (just about the hatband) and the top is smaller in the more recent version. This shape change on the crown suggests to me that we have a new hat, maybe with some recycling of the old hat’s trim?

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn:March 10, 2014; October 29, 2013October 1, 2013;  May 17, 2012

What do you say, dearest readers?

Royal Ascot Day 2: Wrap Up

Today at Royal Ascot was light on royal attendance, with just the Aga Khan (photographed below with racing journalist Liz Price in a navy feather covered hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan) and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (and his entourage) in addition to the royals we’ve already covered today. I’ve missed seeing Princess Haya this year- hopefully she’ll make an appearance tomorrow. And- jump over to last night’s wrap up to see a photo of Princess Alexandra, who attended yesterday but eluded most photographers.

Embed from Getty Images

The day of the races also saw a few hats atop noble and notable heads in today’s carriage procession:

Countess Mountbatten of Burma repeated the stunning silver sidesweep picture hat by Dillon Wallwork that she first wore to her daughter’s wedding in 2016

Embed from Getty Images

Viscount Brookeborough, the Queen’s Lord in Waiting in the first photo; Lord de Mauley, Master of the Horse and Lieutenant Colonel Charles Richards, Deputy Master of the Royal Household in the second

Embed from Getty Images

Viscountess Brookeborough in a blue piped white hat and Lady deMauley in a beautiful grey straw percher pillbox

Embed from Getty Images

And finally, here are all the non-royal hats that caught the attention of our guest milliner, Wies Mauduit, and myself:

Glasgow milliner William Chambers and his partner Niall Walker in traditional Scottish attire (this made us both smile!)
Hat shop owner Elizabeth Hughes in a peacock teal blue Juliette Botterill flower trimmed saucer. LOVE the colour!
Milliner Rachel Ellis Oates (Hatonista) vibrant blue and yellow butterfly headpiece of her own design (closeup here)
Charlotte Hawkins in a pale pink saucer with soaring pink and grey feathers from Vivien Sheriff
Milliner Lisa Tan’s straw boater with layered rainbow brim
Unnamed racegoer in this oversize pink waved disc with twist and floral trim from Guibert millinery
Chi Ling Lin in a mushroom brimmed hat in classic black and white
Alexandra Dudley in a wonderful red hugger percher with oversize poppy by retired milliner Gina Foster
Francesca Cumani in a pale pink button percher with cherry blossom trim from Fi Graham Millinery
Milliner Louise Walton in a wide brimmed navy straw hat with turquoise binding and feathers
Chez Liebenberg in a bright pink elevated saucer with flowers from Lizzie’s Hats
Striking burnt feather and sinamay bow headpiece on equine photographer Mathea Kelley
Author and instagram influencer Alicia Healey in William Chambers’ exquisite black veiled percher with roses
Isabelle Kristensen’s soaring headpiece by Ana Bella Millinery
Valerie Stark’s equally futuristic hat by Awon Golding. The colour and movement of the brim is rather captivating.
Editor Emily Nash’s charming cream teardrop percher with blue butterflies, also by Ana Bella Millinery
Tess Ward’s classic, wide brimmed, natural straw picture hat from Lock & Co.
Natalia Kapchuk in a cheekily political and patriotic Union Jack hat 

Ah Wies, it has been such a gift to have you join me today. You are truly a millinery master. Thank you for taking time from a very busy week to generously share your vast millinery expertise and experience with us!

Photos from Getty as indicated; Tim Rooke via Shutterstock

Royal Ascot Day 2: Prince & Princess Michael of Kent

I’m so happy to be joined by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of  La plus belle!  bespoke millinery in The Hague, to chat about today’s royal hats at Ascot!

Princess Michael of Kent repeated her arctic silver white silk covered pillbox hat, trimmed with trailing plumes of white ostrich feathers.

Embed from Getty Images

Wies Mauduit: Again, this hat works well with today’s colder weather. I like the way the feathers soften the outline of Marie-Christine’s face. Without them, this hat would look plain, but the feather trim makes it festive enough for Ascot.

Royal Hats: This hat has been worn several times and while it sometimes seems a bit much for the average royal extended family event, it fits right in here. The colour scheme is so sophisticated and I really like the slightly flared crown shape, which gives it a bit more gravitas (if it needed any more!)

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: John Boyd
Previously Worn: May 18, 2019; October 12, 2018June 13, 2015;  Oct 18, 2014Jun 16, 2014

Prince Michael repeated his black silk antique top hat.

Embed from Getty Images

What do you think of Princess Michael’s pillbox today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


Royal Ascot Day 2: Princess Royal

It’s my pleasure to be joined today by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of  La plus belle!  bespoke millinery in The Hague, to talk about today’s royal hats at Ascot!

Princess Anne repeated a dark, ink blue straw hat with pork pie indented crown, trimmed with velvet brim piping and a velvet hatband affixed with a gold horse pin in the center.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Royal Hats: This ensemble makes me smile. While the hat dates back until at least 1999, it gets a shot of updating adrenaline paired with Anne’s navy and cream patterned dress. Yes, there are other hats that would make a better pairing for this dress but this hat, with its brass equestrian pin at the front, makes an eccentric topper for it that Anne continues (and continues and continues) to wear well.

Ever practical, I also love that Princess Anne was the only one truly prepared for the rain. I also adore the photos of her exuberantly waving as her mother and brother’s carriage rode by!

Wies Mauduit: Princess Anne is right to hang on to this hat. It is made of beautiful braided straw which is not to be found anymore. I’m not quite sure, but it looks like old fashioned Baku straw. Baku is a strong, rather stiff material, beautifully polished, giving it a waxed-like sheen unlike any other material.This hat doesn’t make for a very summery look for Anne, but it was well adapted to the weather of today!

2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 12 400 2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 11 400
Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown. Likely John Boyd or Graham Smith
Previously Worn: May 13, 2018; Apr 24, 2011; Sep 3, 2010Apr 23, 2000; Apr 4, 1999 ; Jun 17, 1997; and likely more

What do you think of Princess Anne’s hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Rupert Hartley and David Hartley via Shutterstock


Royal Ascot Day 2: Wessexes

It’s my honor to welcome Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of  La plus belle! bespoke millinery in The Hague, to chat about today’s royal hats at Ascot!

The Countess of Wessex topped her graphic white and navy dress with a woven pyramid saucer hat in the same colours, worn at a jaunty angle thanks to its off-center placement on a structured base.

Embed from Getty Images
2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 8 400 2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 3 400

Wies Mauduit: This Tonkinese shape is interesting by its material and technique. It is made of hand woven Swiss (straw) braid in two colours, giving it an interesting, textured look. The woven material will be blocked and stiffened on a wooden hat block in two parts (skull cap and brim) over a base of what is most likely white sinamay to give it structure.

Royal Hats: Thanks for the explanation on this material. It’s unlike anything I remember seeing before.

2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 6 400  2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 4 400

Wies Mauduit: At first I thought this look a bit severe with the officer’s collar of the dress, but seeing the picture of the full dress, it completely made sense.The photo of Sophie under an umbrella below shows what a great, graphic ensemble this is. Well done, Sophie!

2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 9 400 2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 7 400

Royal Hats: I also had to see this hat with the dress to make sense of the whole outfit- I like it a lot. This hat is all about its textured material and benefits from the smooth lines of its shape to highlight this well. It pairs fantastically with Sophie’s sleek white and navy dress, bringing some pattern into the overall ensemble. The styling here is so great- I’d never think to pair minimalist, modern hoop earrings with this but it’s perfect. Sophie shows such millinery bravery embracing edgier looks and this one is a striking look for her.  

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Earl of Wessex repeated his navy silk antique top hat.

2019-06-19 Day 2 Ascot 5 500

What do you think of Sophie’s new hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Tim Rooke, David Hartley, David Hartley, David Hartley, Tim Rooke, Rupert Hartley and David Hartley via Shutterstock


Royal Ascot Day 2: Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall

I’m so pleased to be joined by  Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of  La plus belle! bespoke millinery in The Hague, to share her thoughts on today’s royal hats at Ascot!

The Duchess of Cornwall wore a new picture hat in pale aqua straw with angular, off-center peaked crown and sidesweeping brim. The hat is trimmed with a layered jinsin hatband and side twists.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Royal Hats: COLOUR! No royal wears a cream/ecru straw picture hat as well as Camilla (or has as many!) and it’s GREAT to see her in other colours-  this pale turquoise is excellent on her. We see a lot of sidesweeping picture hats on Camilla but, as Jay reminded yesterday, it’s because the shape and scale suit her so well. This ensemble is well balanced and while it’s one-note in colour, details on the dress sleeves and neckline, jinsin twists on the hat and a showstopping necklace make it nuanced and interesting.

Embed from Getty Images

Wies Mauduit: Such a pleasure to see the Duchess of Cornwall in pale turquoise – or mint green as it looks in some pictures. The dress is rather simple and with its collar with stitched ribs it has a somewhat sporty look that is well complemented by the neat jinsin curl trimming on the hat. Silk flowers or waving feathers would have been too much, this is just right.

An elegant, streamlined look for Camilla and I would have liked to add: an impeccable one, if it weren’t for the hemline of the dress. It makes me wonder if the fabric is synthetic. (In French couture houses a double folded bias strip of organdie, cotton or silk organza is inserted in the hemline to make it look polished and lay completely smooth. The devil is in the detail!

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Prince of Wales repeated his antique black silk top hat (a hat that could really use a polish!).

Embed from Getty Images

What do you think about Camilla’s new hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


Royal Ascot Day 2: Queen Elizabeth

It is my great honour to introduce Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit, creator of  La plus belle!  bespoke millinery in The Hague, as my guest to discuss today’s royal hats at Ascot!

Despite rainy weather for the second day of Royal Ascot today, Queen Elizabeth wore a bright smile- perhaps thanks to her new hat?! In pale blue straw, the hat features a tall, domed, straight-sided crown and a short, downward facing cartwheel brim. The design is completed with a straw hatband covered around the front with handmade silk blossoms in shades of purple and blue.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Wies Mauduit: After yesterday’s fireworks, giving us Queen Elizabeth in an interesting new brim shape, Queen Máxima in a very Ascot worthy creation by a Dutch (!) milliner and the Duchess of Cambridge in a beautifully romantic hat and dress combination, today’s hats were comparatively simple. And maybe that was a good thing, as there was a lot of rain falling on Ascot today!

The betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat was suspended yesterday after an unknown punter put a stake of four figures on yellow, the betting organisation suspecting foul play. Instead, Her Majesty turned up in blue. Today the bets where on pink but Queen Elisabeth appeared yet again in blue, a lovely pale shade with just enough turquoise to keep it from being baby-ish (note the matching umbrella!)

Royal Hats: I like to think she follows the betting  and chooses a colour just to foil everyone! This hat immediately reminded me of this similar hat, also by Rachel Trevor Morgan, that the Queen wore to Ascot in 2014. My second thought was one of surprise- this is almost the same colour palate that she wore yesterday. I can’t remember the last time she repeated a colour, back-to-back at Ascot.

Embed from Getty Images

Wies Mauduit: The hat’s simple design is enlivened by a half circle of silk flowers, echoing the pattern and colours of Her Majesty’s dress. The petals of the white flowers have been delicately outlined by hand in black ink to make them stand out against the pale blue sinamay. The work of a skilled and talented flower maker!

Royal Hats: Thanks for pointing that out- I never would have realized that the petal markings would be hand drawn but of course, that makes sense when you’re talking about hand-made silk flowers (the markings don’t magically appear!). The shape, colour and scale of this hat is great. I agree that what makes it stand out to me is the floral trim. It’s delicate, soft and so well balanced- while there’s considerable colour contrast between those in colour tinged cream and darker purple, their thoughtful and artful placement makes them work beautifully together.

Embed from Getty Images

Wies Mauduit:  The silk bourrette tweed of the coat in combination with the silk flowers make a lovely, summery look on such a rainy day! My only quibble might be that there is nothing to tie the hat to the gold buttons on Her Majesty’s coat, but that may be due to the choice of brooch: the blue silk flowers harmonize perfectly with the cornflower blue of the massive sapphire.

Royal Hats: Great observation. I thought the blue blossoms tied perfectly with Queen Victoria’s sapphire brooch (not a typo- this is a brooch Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria) but I can see how a gold brooch (or silver buttons) would make what is already a great ensemble, completely unified.

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan. Coat and dress by Stewart Parvin
Previously Worn: this hat is new

What do you think of Queen Elizabeth’s new hat today?

Embed from Getty Images

Photos from Getty as indicated