Princess Michael of Kent is celebrating her 70th birthday today. In honour of this milestone event, we are going to look back at her royal life through her hats.
When Baroness Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz married Prince Michael of Kent on June 30, 1978 and became a member of the British Royal Family, her debut coincided with the start of 1980s fashion. While perhaps an unfortunate decade to start one’s royal life, Princess Michael’s first hats were somewhat sedate in comparison with the fashion of the times.
In her 40s, Princess Michael’s millinery confidence surged during the 1990s as the shapes and styles of her hats grew bolder, larger, and more dramatic. These hats show clear signs of the millinery panache we now associate with her.
The turn of the millenium marked a turning point in Princess Michael’s hats. She had established relationships with both John Boyd and Philip Treacy, two milliners known for pushing creative boundaries in their hat designs. Working with these designers, her hat style firmly established as one of strong shapes, large scale, and strong, dramatic embellishments. Paired with Princess Michael’s statuesque height and unfussy clothing, this dramatic millinery style shone.
We can’t look at Princess Michael’s hat style, however, without sharing her love for headscarf DIY turbans.
In recent years, the dramatic effect of Princess Michael’s hats has not decreased. While the colours are less vibrant, the shapes continue to be very strong, the scale (even on small hats) is large, and the trims are simple but bold. The hats are larger than life and I suspect that’s a big reason why Princess Michael is so popular among those of us who are fans of royal hats.
If there was one of Princess Michael’s hats I would love to see her bring back into circulation, it is the raspberry pink wool Philip Treacy design with flat brim, trimmed with two feathers and a knotted band around the crown (just above the turbans). What hat would you like to see repeated this year? And what are your thoughts on Princess Michael’s evolving personal hat style? Which hats would you like to steal from her millinery closet for your own?!
1980s Photos from Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Bob Thomas/Popperfoto, and Tim Graham
1990s Photos from Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Mark Cuthbert, Tim Graham
2000s Photos from Tim Graham, Tim Graham, James Whatling/Mark Cuthbert, Mark Cuthbert,Tim Graham, Max Mumby/Indigo, Eamon McCormack, Dave M. Benett, AFP, Photoshot, Carl de Souza, Antony Jones, Tim Graham
Turban Photos from Terry O’Neill, Carlos Alvarez/Stringer, Antony Jones, Wire Image
Recent Photos from Pascal Le Segretain, AFP, Dave M. Bennett, WireImage, Mark Cuthbert, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo and Kirstin Sinclair. All photos are from Getty
Princess Michael is fabulous!! Hats, clothes…perfect from head to toe!! She is aging beautifully…
Princess Michael of Kent certainly has been not only an adventurous hat wearer but an adventurous woman as I know. Probably still is: leopard never changes its spots. She looks great. Congratulations.
I agree with the sentiments of what TiarasRUs says: January 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm. “I’ll closet raid all her hats, except for the turbans, she can keep those.” Her hats and clothes and jewels are stunning. I’m not a fan of turbans on anyone. My personal pick for best hat here is the white hat with turquoise trim from William and Kate’s wedding. Her brimmed hats suit her best. I also agree with what
efrompdx says: January 15, 2015 at 5:49 pm. “Such an elegant hat wearer! She is one of my all time favorites. I would love to see the black crown, white brim, white feather hat come back. Also, the Cambridge wedding hat, the black picture hat with the stiff bow, and yes, a few others!” I agree with HatQueen that I’d like to see a return of “the raspberry pink wool Philip Treacy design with flat brim, trimmed with two feathers and a knotted band around the crown (just above the turbans).”
I’ll closet raid all her hats, except for the turbans, she can keep those.
I am surprised how much I love the turbans! Marie-Christine can rock them! I do love the Cambridge wedding hat, but I am pretty sure the family members seated behind her were none too pleased by the way it must have blocked their view. It is a fabulous hat. I am also fond of the animal print one at the start of the section on the turn of the millennium and in the final row, the left most that is white with the fluffy white feathers. I am always surprised when she wears something I don’t like on her – she is consistently successful.
I really like the wide brim with light blue bow. I think she wore it for the wedding of Will and Kate. She has great hat style.
If I could have just one hat of Princess Michael’s, it would have to be the black crown with the white brim and white arrow feather. To be fair, she looks very elegant in all of them but I’m not a fan of her turbans. Another reason I like this lady is that, although Princess Anne has dubbed her “Princess Mouth” for her outspokenness, I applaud any woman who speaks her mind in this powerful family.
I love the navy pillbox with pink trim in the first set of pictures and I think that could be worn successfully today with the bow at the bottom or just slightly to the side framing a low chignon. That is the one I’d want in my closet as well 😀 She can do a big picture hat successfully but I agree with Mr. Fitzroy that the ones with trim below the brim aren’t the most successful. Bring back the Cambridge wedding hat or the pale blue one. I also like all the variations on riding hats, those should totally come back into fashion.
Princess Michael has wonderful hair for hats: pillboxes, picture hats, the classic riding topper with the veil – her hair enhances them all, and, along with her height and build, enables her to choose styles very freely. There may be individual hats that aren’t good, but there are no styles in general that one thinks “Stay away from that”. That means she can and does run the gamut of variety in her choices, which hat-fans must applaud. I love lots of her hats (the elegant navy with the white brim in the third group, the magenta one, the huge white hat with sky blue trim, the domed black pillbox with the feather at the front), and there are only a very few that I think are really not successful (she looks like a flight attendant in the red hat and blue suit, and the very last one with the trim on both surfaces of the brim just doesn’t work, somehow).
Princess Michael of Kent is such a beautiful and elegant lady. Love all her hats and fashion. And, oh my gosh, I had to take a second look at some of her earlier photos in her hats. She looks like Princess Diana!
Yes, I was going to say that! The left one in the second row looks extraordinarily like Diana!
Sorry, I meant the third row. The first and second photos in the first group also look a lot like Diana.
I thought the same.
I never noticed before now how simple and elegant her clothes are. I don’t think her hats would be as eye catching if she had fussy clothes.
When you see a retrospective Princess Michael certainly has been an adventurous hat wearer. and you have to appreciate that. Compared to say P. Bea who basically wears different versions of the same hat, I’d pick P. Michael anytime. I adore the 2nd hat – navy straw with pink on white dot trimming is set 1 – I’d like to see that again. But happy birthday to PM and thanks for the daring.
I totally agree with you HQ that the fuschia one needs a comeback this instant! I also want to see her chapeau from Wills & Kate’s wedding have another outing (actually, many more outings). What I love about M-C is she can carry off large brims, similar to Camilla, with grace and class and aren’t overpowered by them.
She’s not an important royal but her hats all scream “LOOK AT ME”. That’s annoying.
It’s odd how she resembles Princess Diana, especially in the early pictures of the 1980’s.
Such an elegant hat wearer! She is one of my all time favorites.
I would love to see the black crown, white brim, white feather hat come back. Also, the Cambridge wedding hat, the black picture hat with the stiff bow, and yes, a few others!
She’s innately fabulous isn’t she. She certainly doesn’t shy away from a statement, and has the stature and confidence to carry it off. I love her in a huge picture hat, they suit her so well, but whatever she wears she managed to do it with a sense of drama and panache. She’s stylish in an old fashioned Hollywood way, and I absolutely lover her for it. Thanks for this round up.
I agree JamesB. The Princess looks fabulous and younger than 70 years. Happy Birthday Princess.
Love love love the black with white feather..
Me too! I think it is my favourite.
One of the few (other then those who wear turbans indigenous to their religion/culture) who I like in a turban. She always has reigned class in my book (even in the worst of the 80s poofy gown era).
Favs: ’80’s – top middle pink and black. ’90’s – bottom left white emsemble. ’00’s #3 white and black with feather. ’10’s – #’s 1 and 2. I’ll pass on the turbans. Would love to see the hat from W&K’s wedding repeated.
The ones of hers that I would love to own are the ones with a large downward curved brim – ther are four of these in the group just above the turbans, Both she and the Duchess of Cornwall wear their large hats with such confidence – love them!
I really love her huge picture hats. I would love for her and the DOCornwall to lead a revival of picture hats!
Mr Fitzroy absolutely adores the white sailor cap, embellished with giant round Lego piece and black veil…
partly because it is one of her most visually quirky hats,
but mostly because (when one gazes at the full overview) it’s NOT!
While her giant picture hats are always stunning and soigne (and she gives the Duchess of Cornwall a real run for the money in that category), the least successful examples have the floral trims both above and below the brim — those just seem a bit fussy for her.
I agree MrFitzroyOBE.
Wow, I LOVE the first hat in the last set of photos.
A word that often comes to mind when I think of PM’s hat style is “quirky”. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but never, ever boring.
My personal favorite in this grouping is the white with turquoise trim (first hat, last group). If memory serves, that one is from the Cambridge wedding?
Yes, it is!