Yesterday marked 20 years since the wedding of Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Daniel Chatto. After looking at the gowns and headpieces worn by the bride and her bridesmaids, we now turn our attention to the hats worn by Lady Sarah’s royal relatives. Lady Sarah’s mother, the late Princess Margaret, wore a pale blue hat with large, flat crown, short brim and side spray of silk roses. The hat is very much in tune with early 1990s style and scale which I think was too large for petite Princess Margaret. The hat seemed to dwarf her although the colour was very pretty.
Lady Sarah’s sister-in-law, Viscountess Linley, wore a large black straw hat with front raised brim designed by Philip Treacy. The transparent straw hat brim was edged in a wide black band of fabric and the crown of the hat looks like it was an oversize bubble of cream straw. It is a fascinating hat but again, the oversize 1990s scale seems a little too big for Serena.
Queen Elizabeth wore a coral and white straw hat with a simple white band and bow around the crown. If you look closely, you will see that the front of the brim has a diagonal seam- the brim is coral on one side and white on the other (and vice versa on the underside of the brim). This two toned feature is a unique one for Her Majesty and was the design of Ian Thomas (who was once assistant to Norman Hartnell). The brim size is also unique- we seldom see the Queen in hats with such a large brim anymore and I think she wore brims very well. The scale and coral colour of this chapeau was lovely on her.
Lady Sarah’s grandmother, the late Queen Mother, wore a cream hat with wide brim trimmed with a wrap of ostrich feathers around the crown (see bottom photo in this post for a better sense of the scale of this hat). The large brim of this hat now seems like it was quite a departure for the Queen Mum, who usually wore calot style hats with upturned front brims that did not obscure her face. This hat was a very stately departure in her millinery style and I think she looked marvelous.
Princess Anne wore a smart cream hat with raised slit brim in the back. It is another hat that now looks rather dated but twenty years ago, I think it was a fairly stylish piece. Lady Helen Taylor wore an embroidered white skull cap. While her ensemble might look a little odd, I have a feeling the Punjabi kurta-style outfit might have been a gentle nod to the country where Sarah and Daniel met (and returned for their honeymoon). That being said, the form fitting hat was an interesting choice for Lady Helen, who was eight months pregnant with her first child at the time.
Princess Diana wore a somber navy dress and picture hat with a large sash that wrapped around the crown and knotted on the side of the hat. The brim was gently raised in front and turned sharply downwards in the back. It is certainly not my favourite of Diana’s hats as it seemed a little severe on her.
One of the surprise guests at this wedding was Sophie Rhys-Jones who accompanied Prince Edward. Sophie’s cream top hat with tulle around the brim and large trailing bow at the back seems to capture the essence of early 1990s millinery fashion. Thankfully, styles changed by the time she joined the British royal family in 1999.
While Lady Sarah’s bridal ensemble seems timelessly elegant, the hats at this wedding seem to reflect the fashion of the day. I am curious, dear readers, which royal hats at this wedding do you remember liking at the time? Which ones did not strike your fancy?
Photos from Tim Graham via Getty; Matthew Polak via Corbis; Chip Hires, Chip Hires, Stringer and Tim Graham via Getty; and APL and Topfoto via The Royal Forums
Hi Hatqueen, what would the style of hat Princess Anne was wearing be known as?
Although on most photos it appears to be a play of light and shadows, the Queen’s Ian Thomas hat actually had a two tone brim, white and coral, divided diagonally with the colors on the underside mirrored to those on top. Here are a couple of shots where the brim is more visible, when just over a month prior to the Chatto wedding the Queen had worn the hat (probably its debut) in France for the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Baxter, thank you so very, very much for this information on this unique hat. The two toned brim is absolutely fascinating- do you know if the Queen had any more hats with a similar effect? Thank you so much for this insight (you’ll see I updated the post accordingly).
The only other similar hat I can recall is this one worn to Royal Ascot in 2002. Its color blocking continued up the crown. Of course unlike today back then it was extremely rare for HM to have multiple hats with the same design.
Ah yes- I forgot about this one. Thanks so much for this link!
Frederick Fox’s ability to come up with unique designs over and over was quite astounding, especially when you think about the great number of hats the Queen’s wardrobe requires at any given time. It’s no wonder that Angela Kelly uses some standard shapes with different trims and embellishments.
I loved Diana’s hat.
Such an odd combination of styles and colours in the clothes – hard to know what time of year it was when looking at the photo that has Princess Margaret and Serena in the same frame! I very much dislike Margaret’s shoes, closed in would have been more chic (or a half-half style like Diana’s), but all her life she clung to that slightly racy image. Best hat? Hmm … the Queen Mother, Anne or Diana.
The Queen Mum’s hat is one of the best she ever wore, so I give her top honors for the day. I also liked the Queen’s hat very much on the day, and still do. I’m wondering who the young lady is on the left side, back row, of the family photo. Her hat is enormous, so very 1990s.
I don’t know who she is. Perhaps a Chatto family member?
These hats are all great in their way, even if we wouldn’t wear them today. I love Anne’s and can see that being worn now. I remember loving Sophie’s at the time. Diana’s & Serena’s are big but they work and I’d love to see bigger hats make a comeback. Fun!
Some fab 90s millinery. I rather like Soph’s on trend top hat (I remember thinking at the time that she was very trendy… then she regressed a bit, and now she’s back on it again). The Queen looks lovely, she wears brims all the time now, this at the time was quite unusual for her as she normally wore smaller hats, but I agree her brims are smaller now. Anne looks great, and we should apppreciate that hat, as we’ll no doubt be seeing it again soon… Margaret is lovely in blue, but my winner is the Queen Mum – she wore this hat for her 90th birthday I think, and it was such a change (well, as much of a change as she was every going to make) and I liked it a lot.
Love your ‘retro posts’, especially since there are a lot of new hats for me to be seen. Never have seen Diana in this outfit and did not realize that she and Sophie knew one another. Totally agree with your comments, with the exception of Sophie’s appearance: I love it (may be because I used to have that combination: jacket with tail and short skirt myself :)).
The hat I love most is non royal, it’s the yellow one worn by – I suppose – Daniel’s mum.
I agree: that yellow hat (Daniel’s mother?) is perhaps my favorite.
Fabulous post, HQ! Thank you.
A fun post, thankyou. My first reaction was – look how short Sophie’s skirt is!!! My goodness…..and they talk about Kate’s hemlines. Loved Diana’s shoes too. Who is the lady standing behind Princes Charles and Prince Edward? That’s a big hat!! I kinda like Lady Helen’s look and I applaud her for not missing out on any of the fun, 8 months pregnant or not.
The last picture is beautiful. Princess Margaret’s dress and coat look like they are trimmed in satin and the hat looks really good on her. Not so much in the other photos. And Sarah’s dress was absolutely gorgeous!
Love Sophie’s hat. Excellent today too.
I really loved and still love Diana’s hat. I think it’s timeless. I do agree navy is a little dark for a wedding. I still love Lady Sarah’s dress. She looked so lovely.
Spot-on assessment of everyone here. I have to say that Anne’s hat reminds me quite a bit of some of the Jane Corbett creations Kate has been wearing.
Re Sophie Rhys-Jones’s cream top hat with tulle around the brim and large trailing bow at the back seems to capture the essence of early 1990s millinery fashion. I love it, and realise why, my won wedding hat in 1995 was very similar, and I had a waist length veil attached below the bow at the back.. and still love it to this day.. Every anniversary I have a picture session 🙂
Serena’s big sheer hat was by Phillip Traecy.