When the Countess of Wessex arrived at the wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg on October 20, 2012, there was a collective gasp of awe. Sophie stood out from the predictable suits and silk dresses worn by other wedding guests in an Emilia Wickstead printed frock and Jane Taylor’s dramatic “Lady A” hat. The shape of the hat, a sweeping wave straw disk with pointed ends, was unique and most unusual for a royal hat. I thought Sophie looked amazing in it.
It was therefore, most surprising when Sophie arrived at the Ascot Races in June 2013 in a twin to this hat (or an almost twin, as this hat features different trim and a more sharply curved brim). These hats are so similar, it makes one wonder why she commissioned the second one.
The story doesn’t end there- Sophie wore a third very similar hat (Jane Taylor’s Lulu design) to the Order of the Bath Service just four days earlier on June 17, 2013. While the Lulu hat was made of navy and silver metallic straw and is trimmed with flowers and feathers under the top curve of the brim, it is undeniably a close relation to the first two hats. So far, we have seen Sophie wear each of these hats just once.
I think Sophie carries the unusual shape of these hats very well. That being said, three of this particular style of hat seems like overkill to me. What do you think of this trio of hats?
Photos from Getty as indicated; WPA Pool via Zimbio and Mark Cuthbert via Getty
I can’t see any difference in the size of the two black ones in these photos, although the shape has changed. Still, I wonder if it is the same hat that has been reshaped by being steamed? (I’ve just visited a stately home which had a hat steamer in the service rooms!) It just seems so unlikely to get two virtually identical ones! However, whatever the truth of that, I think these are great on Sophie, and a tribute to her more adventurous taste in hats that we so appreciate. I definitely prefer the black to the silver.
I have to agree with those who say the black hats are the same. I am not seeing any enough variation to deem them two different hats.
Thanks for the link Baxter, in these photos it does look like the same first hat was remodel
led with different trim. I still think the trim on the first hat looks stunning, and hats 2 & 3 come 2nd and 3rd respectively.
You are so good at putting pictures together. You’ve made your point: they must be one hat. Thanks.
Multiple hats in very similar styles and/or colors…….one wonders how many of these are ‘comp’ hats, provided by the maker, knowing the press will publish the name of the designer? It is done, and more often than we might imagine, especially by those with an important name, the need (in Sophie’s case, many engagements) or desire for large wardrobes and not nearly enough money to provide it for themselves. I see nothing at all wrong with it. I thought the same thing when the owner Heavenly Necklaces (a brand of faux jewelry worn often by the Countess) appeared in the Royal Box at Ascot with Sophie this year – a favor for a favor? Remember…..Sophie was an advertizing professional before her marriage.
You may be right Deb W. If they were freebies, or even free loans, it could explain the mystery of why she would wear 3 very similar hats. Then again, perhaps she decided that she liked the style so much she wanted more like it. Perhaps she got a generous discount on the price for buying more than one at once?
The Luxembourg wedding hat is my favourite as it is a striking design and it suits her head and face shape well. The dress with it is alright but not as good as the blue dress in the last photo. The last hat, worn with that lovely blue dress, is my least favorite of the three, as I don’t like shiny metallic looks for day wear. While I do like the hat Sophie wore to the Ascot Races, the jacket looks drab, ill-fitting and way too sombre for the races. I think you have to hand it to Sophie for being more daring with her hat choices than many other royals are!
I like these hats very much. They are far better than all the ridiculously small discs perched on the forehead. This style suits Sophy very well. To have one in a different color makes sense. To me it looks as if the first two are the same with different trimmings, but it is hard to tell on the screen and all the photos are taken at different angles.
Given that the hats are all different, ie in colour, trim, materials used, minor shape variations…..I consider them to be 3 separate hats. Variations on a theme yes, but each a separate entity. Do I like them?…..they’re okay but not my favourite. The blue one is softened by the addition of the flower underneath the brim and I do like that. Thanks
She obviously loves that hat! I don’t see anything wrong with her having more than one. I do the same thing with shoes. I find a shoe that I love, that is comfortable, etc., then I buy that particular shoe in every color. Sophie does the same thing with hats I guess. Good for her!
Karen: My sentiments exactly!
I think the first to hats are the same one, she just had feather changed.
I wondered if the first two were a rework, but I get your point. Sophie does tend to get quite a lot of hats that look alike, god knows how many beige cocktail hats she has. I love the lux outfit! it’s just so fun and youthful, she looks 15 years younger than she is. I also love the blue frock repeated from the jubilee. The royal,ascot black… Not so much.
I think the one worn to the Garter Service is June is my least favourite. Also the Ascot version is let down by the dreadful outfit. So the one worn to Luxembourg wins the prize for me.
Hard to tell the exact colours I think and hope there is a redo of the original hat…but I think it has been mentioned there is a black one and a dark blue base. I like the one with the print dress best. The blue dress is excellent.
I love seeing hats of different shapes. Yes, maybe, two of the same style and color are unnecessary (the black ones), and the blue one is very, very similar, but I still like them. And, really, think about how many similar hats HM Queen Elizabeth has… Sophie doesn’t have nearly the hat closet that her mother-in-law has.
This hat is so great on Sophie that for me she could have ten of this design! (Of course, in different colours and materials.) 🙂
Is there any chance the base of this hat has been used before and she is being frugal by making some changes? If so, she deserves to be admired for trying to make something over for another occasion.
If she has purchased three very similar hats, this does seem like overkill.
While the third hat (navy and silver) is certainly different than the first two, the first two are slightly different as well. If you look closely at the two black hats, there are subtle differences between the shape and size of the disk brims. These are also all couture hats so there is little to no chance part of one was reused for another. That’s why I’m so surprised in the space of eight months, Sophie wore three hats that were so similar.
Thanks for the info. For some reason, I cannot see the details on my screen. Since you provided this info… Three hats is too much!
I love-love-love the outfit with the b&w dress! I’m discovering through this wonderful blog that I am a feather-hat person. 🙂 The all-black ensemble doesn’t do anything for me, nor does the third hat, but her dark blue dress in the third picture is a beautiful color on her–it brings out the color of her eyes.