Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Teardrop Crown Hats of Angela Kelly

A few weeks ago, we looked at the flat brimmed hats worn by Queen Elizabeth. Looking at The Queen’s millinery wardrobe, there are a few other hat shapes that are frequently repeated. Today, we’re going to look at one of the more unusual shapes, a shape I’m calling the “Teardrop Crown”.

 Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Attending Maundy Thursday service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, March 28, 2013

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
At the Epsom Derby, June 1, 2013

Embed from Getty Images  Embed from Getty Images
On a March 21, 2014 visit to the Rambert Dance Company 

   Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Conducting an investiture  on November 25, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Taking the salute at Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on June 8, 2006

Update- since this post was published, the Queen has added the following hats in this same shape: 

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Red felt on Christmas Day, 2019

Embed from Getty Images
Teal straw covered in fabric during Holyrood Week, July 1, 2021

These hats, all designed by Angela Kelly, have slightly different brims but clearly used the same hat form to construct the crown. While this shape intrigues me, I think the point of the teardrop, when faced straight forward, makes this hat look too much like a torpedo to be truly attractive. I think the most successful design of this hat shape is the last one, in royal blue, where the larger brim and decorative knot balance out the teardrop shaped crown. Each one of these teardrop hats certainly has it’s own individual character –  which one of these teardrop hats is your favourite?

Photos from Getty as indicated

34 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Teardrop Crown Hats of Angela Kelly

  1. Actually I think all of these are very competent hats which generally add interest to the Queen’s outfits. I prefer the teardrop shape, as Hat Queen says, when it isn’t pointing straight forward.

  2. In 60 plus years the Queen has commissioned more hats than most of us have had hot dinners and from a variety of milliners. She still does. In my opinion she wears hats better (and better hats) than almost anyone I can think of, certainly of her age, although I am happy to be proven wrong. The underlying suggestion in many of the responses to this post is that she is somehow in the thrall of Angela Kelly who is delivering sub standard hats and forcing one of the richest women and most experienced hat wearers in the world to wear them! I have just reviewed a good selection of the Queen’s hats of all shapes and sizes, from a variety of milliners and from the 60 years of her reign. I have also reviewed the meaning of the word “horrid”. In my opinion, the only “horrid” here is in the comments. I don’t like all the Queen’s hats and this shape isn’t a favourite of mine but “horrid” “awful” “deedy”(?) Give me a break.

    My personal theory is that the Queen uses Angela Kelly to access and commission work from the Royal School of Needlework of which the Queen is Patron. For example, I suspect that the white trim on her Wedgewood hat and outfit for Ascot Day 4, the blue lace on this year’s Trooping of the Colour hat and the quilting on the hat and cuffs of last year’s Muster outfit were hand made and from that (or similar) source. I also think the School’s needleworkers were responsible for the embroidery on the Queen’s diamond jubilee Thames Pageant outfit (all those gold and silver dots) and the cascade of “lace” on her Jubilee concert outfit. I note that a lot of Angela Kelly’s hats are covered with the same fabric as the outfit and suspect that is another skill being developed in the AK workshop. According to this theory the Queen’s patronage and AK’s workshop help develop and sustain these skills. In my opinion it’s a worthy cause and any slight diminution in finish or style is of little consequence. The Queen clearly values Angela Kelly and her work and raised her to Lieutenant of the Order of Victoria in her 2012 Jubilee Honours list. “Chapeau Angela” I say and many more chapeaux for the Queen..

    • It’s my opinion that these hats are horrid. The shape is unflattering and unattractive. If you read the comments here you’ll see that the WIDE MAJORITY of people think they are horrid as well. It’s fine that you feel differently but you don’t need to belittle the rest of us.

      Last time I checked it was the 21st century and we were all entitled to freely expressing our opinions.

      • Before this spirals out of control, let’s all be gently reminded to keep the discussion hat focused. I think Kew Gardens made a relevant point in response to a number of comments that were clearly not liking the hats in this post. We all don’t have to agree on our like or dislike of hats (it makes it much more interesting if we don’t!) but let’s keep the discussion respectful.

      • Your sounding madder than a wet hen! I like the pink hat here with the teardrop shape and that’s OK that you don’t.There are many other pretty hats we can all like.

  3. Could you do a series on Rachel Trevor Morgan’s hats worn by the Queen? I think most of us readers prefer those ones.

  4. I’m normally a lurker, but have to jump in here. I hate these hats. Angela Kelly’s designs generally make me think of a toilet paper cozy – much too deedy. Only someone’s grandma would be caught dead within 50 paces of this stuff IMO.

  5. Although they aren’t my favorite shape – I tend to like the pink one. Not so much the light blue as it makes her look extremely pale. The vibrant blue looks great on her.

  6. These hats are nice, but I still say the brim-less hats are the best for the queen (for example, Charles and Di’s wedding) but she doesn’t seem to wear them these days. Alas. So high-end, more proportional to her frame, and shows her face better

  7. While these are all good, the most beautiful and best integrated on is the second, light-blue hat. I rather characterize the shape as a gum-drop and overall appearance as the prow of a ship. I also like the white one, but not with the dress.

      • I think these hats are quirky and pretty. It’s nice to see Queen Elizabeth experiment with her fashion and not take herself too seriously! Good for her!

    • And for me as well. I have said it before and now say it again but Angela Kelly needs to retire from making the Queen’s hats. A few of her designs are nice but 9/10 are awful.

  8. I generally like this whole suite of hats. Overall, the bright colours work beautifully. They provide a certain “snap” to the ensemble. I especially like the accoutrements Angela Kelly has used on each hat. The feathers, the curly-cues, the hatband tie and so forth, really provide wonderful interest and whimsy.
    That said, there is one that doesn’t quite measure up. It is the white one at the investiture in Abu Dhabi. The point of the teardrop is too far off-centre to HM’s right. In the second photo, with her wide-eyed gaze she looks a bit like the Queen of Tarts gone mad! I would have like it better if the point of the teardrop was closer to the centre of HM’s face. Maybe she wasn’t feeling quite right that day. Or didn’t have a mirror when putting on her hat. Looking at all the pictures and their dates, one can see where the point seems to migrate back and forth a bit. I like that better towards the centre.

    • I don’t like this shape of hat but I understand The Queen probably likes a change every once in a while and there’s only so much you can do to change a hat! The white one with the point off to the side is not flattering at all.

  9. I like the hat she is wearing at the investiture where she is wearing a print floral dress. I think this style looks best when the pointed end of the teardrop is cocked off to the side rather than dead center. I also like how the brim is parallel to the hat and takes on the same line as the line of the crown.

  10. I agree the larger brim of the royal blue hat looks much better than the other hats which have smaller brims. All the other hats remind me of the mad hatter in the Alice in Wonderland tale. The last hat though with the wider brim is much better in proportion to the overall look of the hat.

  11. Colors are nice on these…but to me this shape looks like it’s right out of an illustration for Alice and Wonderland in a cartoon! I don’t think it’s attractive or chic at all. I know they probably were trying to change her out a little but keep in the same sort of shape she liked…but for me it’s a big fail and the shape needs to be sent into permanent retirement!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s