Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Domed Crown & Upfolded Brims of Angela Kelly

Royal HatsLast week, Queen Elizabeth wore one of my favourite royal hats to present new standards to the Household Cavalry. A number of you commented about the success of this particular hat shape, one we have seen a number of different times in the Queen’s millinery. Before we begin what will be a very busy month of royal hats in June, I thought I would take this opportunity to look at one of Angela Kelly’s most successful (and frequently used) hat shapes with a flared, domed top crown

Version 1: With an evenly upturned cuff brim

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The Queen in Northern Ireland, June 26, 2012; at Ascot on June 19, 2013;

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Ppening a memorial garden with the Belgian King on Nov 6, 2014

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Beginning a State Visit to France, June 5, 2014; Attending the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit in Malta, November 26, 2015

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Variation with a shorter, more tightly rolled brim worn at the Braemar Games, Sep 5, 2009; 

Version 2: With a wider, side upswept brim

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Upswept brim for Trooping The Colour, June 14, 2014; At Ascot on June 17, 2015

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June 13, 2015 for Trooping the Colour; Grey fabric at the May 13, 2017 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

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Pink tweed and straw on July 4, 2017 in Scotland; Magenta silk on June 22, 2017 at Ascot;  

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Vibrant orange for Christmas 2017; Burgundy hat with cherry blossoms March 12, 2018 

This hat shape works well for several reasons: it is usually a great size and proportion for petite Queen Elizabeth (excepting the yellow hat where the brim is too small). The upturned brims keep the Queen’s face and bright smile unobstructed from public view and make it difficult to adorn this hat shape with too much of the feathery/flowery/bowed bric-a-brac that top many Kelly designs – this hat shape seems to yield hats with more subtle details on the brim or around the crown, avoiding the Kelly tendency to become overdone. Most of the time.

I am curious, dear readers, what do you think of this signature Kelly design? Which one is your favourite?

**The other posts in this series include: the “Diagonal Crown Hats”,  the “Flat Brim Hats”, the “Teardrop Crown Hats“, the “Split Crown Hats”, the  “Oblique Brim Hats”, the “Wrapped Crown Hats“and the “Hourglass Hats”, all designed by Angela Kelly.

Photos from Getty as indicated


36 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Domed Crown & Upfolded Brims of Angela Kelly

  1. Is there a way to get definite confirmation on the designer the turquoise – off-white bouclé hat debuted in Ireland in 2011 (picture #9)? Here you’ve listed the designer as Rachel Trevor Morgan, but in the following post, dated after the date above, you’ve listed the designer as Angela Kelly. As you pointed out above, the turquoise hat certainly does look like AK’s domed crown / unfolded brim. But is it an inspiration or one of the hats? (The banded hat brim, self-covered coat buttons and hat feathers do make one think it could be AK rather than RTM.)

  2. And then there’s a different pink that looks rather like a peak-a-boo Domed Crown & Upfolded Brim:
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  3. I believe that the following hat is another Domed Crown & Upfolded Brim from the same hat block.
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  4. Does Angela Kelly actually ‘make’ the hats or does she design them? If she sends them out, who does the actual hat construction?

  5. I have never seen the white hat with the navy brim before and it is just gorgeous.

    When I think of the Queen and her hats, this is exactly the style of hat that comes to mind.

    • Because CHOGM was held in my home state here in Australia Maryanne, this hat is familiar to me. The following evening HM attended a banquet where she wore the tiara, necklace, earrings and brooch of The Aquamarine Parure prompting one journalist to go to camera with the comment- “Now that’s some serious bling!” He wasn’t joking. The following day The Queen and The D of E attended a BBQ in Perth prior to flying home to the UK. Hat Queen, I don’t know whether HM has ever worn it since but if it hasn’t been featured, please consider showing the hat she wore. I don’t know who designed it but I would love to hear everyone’s comments!

      • The matching dress for this outfit was worn when the Queen received the Ambassador of Latvia at Buckingham Palace on 16 October 2013. To my knowledge, the coat and hat never have been photographed since Australia.

  6. I think that all of these hats — with the notable exception of that horrid bright yellow and mud-colored affair — are absolutely gorgeous hats. The Jubilee mint green, the Wedgewood and the oatmeal with gold are my favorites. The turquoise is attractive too.
    Not to throw cold water in this beautiful design, though I have wondered whether the following over-gussied-up hat also is from the same block:

    • Oh blimey, you’re right. I think I’d blocked that one out. It could just about work were it not for all those flowers stapled on. But he coat is also ill fitting and dare I say it, a tad frumpy. Let’s hope for a better showing this Ascot!

    • I was hoping we could all pretend this hat never happened! Alas, you are right- it needs to be included here because it is obviously from the same hat block. I love how you, dear readers, don’t miss a thing!

      • Well, yes, this hat shouldn’t have happened, but the shape of the pink and green hat isn’t the problem.
        I’d think that even AK might like to tone this down. First she should try removing the giant flower and whatever that vertical green stem is behind the flower. If the hat still looks too exaggerated (quite possible), she should shrink the width of the green band around the brim and/or remove the second green band from around the bottom of the crown.
        Pinkish purple with light green has been a frequently used color combination by the Queen. Perhaps with such an eye-catching color combination, though, the embellishments on the hat should have been kept to zero.

  7. I like this shape more than some of Angela Kelly’s others, but some are more successful than others. The wedgewood is lovely, as is the navy and white one. I sincerely hope we don’t see the highlighter yellow one again, that is not a good color for HM at all.

  8. Fantastic post. It’s a good shape, and you’re right – it’s because the craft gun tends to stay in the cupboard. The Jubilee hat is glorious, I wasn’t so keen at first, but it has the right mixture of regal and fun. The Wedgwood is of course a triumph, and I’m a big fan of the oatmeal with the gold embroidery too.

    This shape shows is just how versatile AK actually is. She does have some really good ideas, I just wish she’d do that thing that all well dressed women are meant to do, take off the last accessory they put on!

    • Thanks James for describing the hat as oatmeal in colour, much more succinct and pleasant than my hurried brown and grey description. I’m glad I am not alone in liking this hat. Cheers.

    • I especially like the oatmeal one too. She also wore it on a state visit to Slovenia in 2008 without the black fur scarf and with the modern ruby brooch. She looked lovely. The gold embroidery is such a novel addition. I want to know who did the work. The Braemar outfit has the virtue of looking warm; a good thing for that neck of the woods at any time of the year. The Wedgewood is a knock out.

  9. May I add that the addition of pale lilac gloves to Her Majesty’s pale mint ensemble worn on the Diamond Jubilee was a tiny bit of absolute brilliance? Just right to add a bit of zip to the elegant coat fabric. That touch, for me, made the outfit even more celebratory.

    • You’re right about the gloves, and even more worthy of comment in that the Queen almost NEVER wears any but black or white gloves.

    • I saw The Queen live on Jubilee Day and I think the gloves were white, think the photo just gives them a funny appearance.

      • Oh, well, better make that “the Queen NEVER wears other than black or white gloves!” (But like all generalisations, this is probably dangerous.)

  10. I think this style works very well for the reasons that you detailed Hat Queen. Good observations. My favourite would have to be the 4th one down – the grey and brown number. The reason, like always for me, the mix of the hat with the complete ensemble and the memory which it evokes. The picture featured was taken on Feb 5 2012 (On the eve of Accession Day) when HM attended church. The day was very cold and snowy and the contrast of HM in this outfit with black accessories, including black boots, against the crisp white snow made for some incredible photos. The embroidery on the hat was repeated on the cuff and the elbow and also on the coat. Her Majesty looked radiant. Truly Exquisite. Thankyou.

  11. I like the Angela Kelly hats much better than the hats by the other designers! The black and white one has too much going on with the lattice brim (which is beautiful by itself) and the large black feathers. The peach hat just seems off. The Angela Kelly hats are all very attractive hats. I also love the Wedgewood blue one.

    • I meant to say that my favorite one of this style is the Wedegewood blue one. It looks so beautiful on the queen.

  12. The Queen’s most successful hat shape is the “Square Crown Rolled Brim”. My favorite hat in the above photos is the black and white lattice hat and the suit looks great too, and I think most people look chic in black and white, but sadly it’s a color choice worn infrequently by the Queen. My second favorite outfit is the Wedgwood blue, just because I think there is a bit too much lace trim on the body of the coat, and it kind of competes with the lace trim on the hat. This shade of blue really suits the Queen’s coloring and brings out the blue of her eyes well. My least favorite is that yellow, green and brown outfit, especially because not only is the coat very drab, but the yellow of the hat and dress is a garish shade that reminds me of Big Bird from Sesame Street, and the small brim looks like an amateur tried to copy the Queen’s hat style and cut the brim too small. I do appreciate that the Queen can’t wear the same hat style all of the time, but if she wants variety, I think she should go to a variety of milliners who are experts in their own field of hat styles.

  13. Well, hmm. There is just something missing from Angela’s creations that those masters had. A delicacy, a knowing of fitness and proportion? I love the one that you surmise is by Philip Somerville. And yet , it is very close to the one that she wore on her Accession Day. I don’t have quite the eye to know just what it is that just doesn’t quite make the mark. That piercing yellow with the greenish brown -oh, somehow I had missed that outing and I’m glad. That is just truly awful.
    I’m glad that the Queen has a friend in Angela, but maybe that could be her fulltime job and let the hat creation go to someone else.

  14. Oh Hat Queen you have given me a good giggle today. I loved your statement that the Queen wore a certain hat on the 60th Anniversary of her Ascension Day – lovely mental picture of her flying upwards, perhaps with an Umbrella like Mary Poppins! Don’t worry – we have all made much worse slips of the keyboard, and at least you raised a smile. I do think these hats are a successful shape – my favourite is the one attributed to Frederick Fox.

    • To Barbara and HatQueen… tee hee. Your comments make me smile broadly… and now I can’t help but have that mental picture and hope our beloved Queen will indeed simply sail upwards in some magnificent hat when that sad day comes. May it be many, many years from now. I don’t want to contemplate a world without our fair Queen… she has been there my whole life!
      And, of note, I adore these hats on the Queen as well as all the details noted in the comments. To be able to *wear* Wedgewood… how fabulous!

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