Life of A Hat: Queen Elizabeth

While it is great fun to admire the merits of royal hats, I am often curious about the life of a hat. How many times is it worn? What kind of occasion warrants the debut of a new hat? So, following your suggestion, dear readers, I’m pleased to announce a new feature here on the blog, a feature that will have us follow the life of a royal hat.  And who better to kick off this feature than Queen Elizabeth.

The Hat: Turquoise blue Rachel Trevor Morgan design with a straw brim and square shaped crown covered in turquoise velvet. The crown is wrapped in a ruched sash in the same velvet and the hat is trimmed with a crimson silk rose and small, curling crimson and turquoise feathers.

Debut: October 19, 2006 for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s arrival in Tallin, Estonia on a landmark tour of the Baltic countries. The Queen wrapped a blue scarf round her neck and the print of her dress (which relates to the crimson bloom on the hat) was only visible on her skirt.  Event importance: very high with international media coverage

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Second Wearing: June 22, 2007 for Ascot. This time, the floral print of the dress was visible close to the hat and the crimson rose suddenly made sense. Event importance: high with international media coverage.

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Third Wearing: June 5, 2008 for a day of engagements in Cumbria which included tours of the Cumbrian Rural Enterprise Agency and the Cumberland Pencil Factory. Event importance: average

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Fourth Wearing: May 6, 2009 to pay tribute to 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Windsor Castle. Later that same day, the Queen travelled to Northern Ireland to begin a 3-day tour. She is pictured below opening a new wing of Altnagelvin area hospital in Londonderry. Event importance: moderate

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Fifth Wearing: Trooping the Colour on June 13, 2009. After being worn once a year for the past 3 years, the Queen repeats this hat a month after it’s last appearance for her Official Birthday Celebration (arguably, the most photographed day of her year). Event importance: high with international media coverage 

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Sixth Wearing: May 20, 2010 on a day of engagements in Yorkshire. Event importance: average  

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Seventh Wearing: The Queen repeated this hat again on June 13, 2010 for the Queen’s Cup match at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park. Event importance: Unexpectedly high when the international media noticed the Queen not wearing a seat belt driving herself to and from this event. 

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Eighth Wearing: July 14, 2010 in Castle Douglas, Galloway, Scotland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh met members of the farming community and attended a livestock show while touring rural Dumfries and Galloway. Event importance: average

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I see three particularly interesting things about how this hat has been worn. The first is the once-per-year outings in each of the first three years this hat was in circulation. In its fourth season in 2009, it was worn twice and in 2010, it was seen three times. I suspect Queen Elizabeth’s pattern of increased frequency might be found with other hats as well. Secondly, the hat appears to be unchanged from its debut in 2006. The final observation I have is the varied events this hat has been worn to. I expected it to start with highest profile events (as it did) and slowly move to lowest profile events. The Queen threw a curve in my theory, choosing the fifth outing of this hat for the Trooping the Colour in 2009, one of the highest profile events in her year. It seems like an event that might warrant a new hat but often, Queen Elizabeth wears something we have seen before.

What do you notice about how this hat has been worn? Do you think it has been retired or will we see it again?

Photos from Getty as indicated

24 thoughts on “Life of A Hat: Queen Elizabeth

  1. After decades of royal watching, my very first trip to Great Britain in spring 2009. We went to Windsor (of course) and timed it for the day Her Majesty would be presenting new colours to the Irish Guard. But when we arrived at the castle, all the good viewing spots were already taken. Disappointed to miss the ceremony, we went on the state room tour, walked into St. George’s Hall, glanced out the windows and saw……
    It was really something to be INside the castle, looking out at the Queen! Photographs don’t always convey the true colour of this hat – it is a real robin’s egg colour.

  2. Perhaps she will retire this hat when she retires the outfit she wears with the hat. I noticed it is always the same dress and coat that she wears with this particular hat. Sort of like this hat goes with this outfit!

  3. What a great new feature! Interesting that the outfit hasn’t changed for appearances, HM must really like it. Love that you did an “importance” ranking too 😀 Like TiarasRUs I would like to see this hat with an outfit where the red is more prominent. We’ll just have to wait and see!

  4. Dear hat queen,can u pls identify the designer of the hat princess Eugenie wore to Balmoral church service on Aug 17?

  5. wonderful idea, ‘tracking a hat’!

    you might consider teaming up with or (double-) checking out the second site the lovely ‘Order of Splendour’ is running, the one that focuses on her majesty’s jewelry (QEII, that is). every outing of a piece is recorded and OoS’s knowledge on QEII’s bling is as overwhelming as yours is on her headgear.

    cross-references with her majesty’s pins and brooches might help in dating a hat outing when needed …. which my OoS-trained eyes instantly spotted first on every picture because the outfit & hat combination seems to remain un-altered.

    on this blue hat: i love it and i never get tired of seeing it. the unusual combination of light material (straw) and heavy material (velvet) works surprisingly well, the red flower saves it from appearing a bit boring. if it’s a fav of her majesty, she should continue to wear it.

    do look forward to more tracking, i could imagine queen margarethe, CP mary and the duchess of cornwall might be rewarding subjects for this series.

  6. It has been a bit of years since HM last worn this hat, isn’t it? Thanks to this blog entry, HatQueen, otherwise I would have forgotten about the hat. I think except for being her favourite or for paying respect to the context where she is visiting (in terms of nation or charity’s colours etc), her outfits are not following any patterns. I have seen or read somewhere that her outfits & hats are recorded down so she will not appear wearing that same outfit if she is visiting the same place again. From your very detailed records, HatQueen, we still have not got this worn for Maundy Thursday, Easter, Windsor Horse Show or Garden Parties yet, so who knows, if we may get it again for next year? 😉

    Regarding Trooping the Colour, I think from at least 2000, she has never worn any new outfits for her official birthday celebrations in June yet at all. There have been several occasions which are similar to this Turquoise blue number, when she wore the outfits for high profile events and then wore it again for Trooping the Color. You can see from below for reference:
    State Visit to Germany on 02nd November 2004

    Trooping the Colour on 14th June 2008:

    I also notice there were outfits which have been worn on high-profile Royal Visits to the Commonwealth countries and then worn again for important & historic outgoing State Visits. You can find an example here:
    Debut here in Canada on 17 May 2005 during a 9-day Royal Visit

    Then worn again on an important & historic State Visit to the Baltic States on 20th October 2006:

  7. I like this new feature! I often think that it’s interesting how some of HMs hats get a lot of exposure, and others get a couple of wears and that’s it. I guess, like all of us, she just likes some more than others!

    How she behaves is different per event re a new hat or not. Trooping is always a repeat, but Christmas is always a new one. Day one of a tour is usually new, and many new hats get debuted alongside some old favourites. And there’s no rhyme nor reason beyond that much… Recently holyrood week saw a bevy of hats from the back of the closet, some not seen for 4 years. I think 5 wears is about average, but that’s totally unscientific. This one was clearly a real fave, but I cant help thinking it’s probably been retired, but who knows, it may resurface at a lower profile event in a couple of years time,

  8. I love the idea of following a hat, well done.
    HM obviously likes this outfit, and I have always admired her in blue as it enhances her eyes. Do you think this is the best blue for her? I’m not sure that it is.

  9. The Queen obviously enjoys wearing this outfit. 8 times in less than 4 years, I’m okay with that. You make an interesting point Sarah, in regards to exposing an outfit to as many and varied audience as possible. It could well be a consideration when deciding what will be worn, (one of many presumably). I am only speculating of course, but am pretty sure a record of each outfit’s appearances is kept and referred to when considering what to wear “this time round”. I feel sure also that HM has the final say in what it is she is wearing on any given day, suggestions no doubt offered, but I just feel that ultimately the final decision would be hers. What is interesting to me about today’s choice (as Anne noted) is that it has not been tweaked AT ALL, yes the brooch has changed each time but there have been no reworks, alterations or substitutions. It is obviously considered perfectly acceptable as it is. Thankyou HQ for this new feature, already looking forward to more of the same.

  10. This is a super addition to this blog. I find it fascinating and enjoyed the “story of a hat” very interesting, and I look forward to further stories. I think this particular hat is quite charming and the colour is wonderful on The Queen.

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again, though a bit altered, as this hat is a color that (I think) looks quite well on HM. Perhaps, though, with a different trim next time?

  12. I love your idea of following a hat. And I think that the Queen (or other hat wearers) do repeat their hats when they think the interest for the event they are attending will be from different groups of people. So for every group, the hat seems new. Or maybe it makes a sort of personal touch, because I was really pleased to see the hat from Kate and William’s wedding at Trooping the Colors, even if I knew it wasn’t new.

  13. Thanks Hat Queen for an interesting article. I do like this hat and it suits the Queen well, especially with the red pop of color. Perhaps next time she will wear a red coat with a blue dress under it, or perhaps replace the trimmings. As we haven’t seen it for a while, I suspect that it went off to be altered and will reappear in a different way.

  14. What an interesting tracing of a hat! This is a good working outfit: certainly stands out in a crowd.
    I agree with your conclusions about the choice of repeat hats for lower profile events, and I believe too that Richard is right in saying the the Queen never wears a new hat for Trooping. (Most shocking was her choice of repeating her yellow AK outfit from the Cambridges’ wedding for Trooping 2012.)
    The dress for this coat and hat has been photographed at investitures too. I don’t know how the selection of the dress alone for photographed events is factored into the choice of the Queen’s wardrobe.
    I suspect that this outfit will not be worn again when photographers are expected. There’s nothing wrong with livestock shows, and they’re obviously important to the Queen, but they’re probably among the lowest priority for photographic records of the Queen’s wardrobe.

  15. I like the hat. I think it has a pleasing amount of embellishment and while the flower is a bright contrast, it’s not too jarring. Funny that she wears the same outfit every time! Will she wear it again? I have no idea, but it has been a number of years since the last wearing. I would love to see her ‘hat closet’! Is there a word for that?

  16. Like the colour. I think the Queen personally likes this outfit. I do not like the buttons on the coat. I think she will wear it again. Nothing outstanding.

  17. Very interesting article – thank you! As it seems every item of clothing is alwyas worn together I wonder how the clothes are stored/labelled. There must be a very complex method of keeping track!

  18. I seriously doubt that we shall see this hat in use again, BUT one never knows!! I’m ‘stretching my neck out’ when I say that The Queen never wears a new hat for Trooping the Colour! I suspect that this has something to do with the fact that so much of the event takes place outdoors. With the vagaries of the British weather, and the long drives, usually in an open carriage, Her Majesty would not like to ruin a new hat on it’s first outing – it’s simply not in her nature so to do!

    • Interesting. I would have thought that Trooping the Color = new hat. I’d love to see the history on other hats worn for Trooping the color.

  19. What a wonderful idea for a feature! And with an “importance ranking” even! I’m really looking forward to new postings! I love love love it!

    Now, concerning the hat: I was surprised that The Queen combined it always with the same coat and dress, obviously the only changing thing here is her brooch. So she really has fixed sets of garments what makes it easier to prepare for events. I think we will see it again, although for me personally, it’s not my favourite. Yet I have the impression that HM loves it very much and feels very comfortable with wearing it. On her birthday celebration a woman will certainly wear some of her best loved clothes.

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