The Countess of Wessex (née Sophie Rhys-Jones) celebrated her 50th birthday yesterday. In honour of this milestone event, we are going to look back at her royal life through her hats.
Sophie’s bold and daring hat style dates from the time she joined the British royal family in 1999. During the first three years of her royal life, Sophie’s hats made strong statements- the crowns were tall, the shapes were exaggerated and the embellishments were not held back.
At a wedding, May 1999; Trooping the Colour, June 14, 1999; Christmas 1999
Easter 2000; Trooping the Colour, 2000; Ascot, June 2000, October 2000;
Ascot, June 2001; Trooping the Colour, June 2002; Easter 2003; Ascot June 2004
By 2003, Sophie had established a strong relationship with Irish milliner Philip Treacy. For the next seven years, her hats were primarily Treacy designs and this partnership saw Sophie push the boundaries of her millinery style with more dramatic shapes and gigantic embellishments. It was during this time that she cemented herself as a major player in the world of royal hats.
Ascot 2005 &2003; at the wedding of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, April 2005; Ascot, June 2005
Christmas 2005; July 2005; January 1, 2006; Ascot, June 2006
Easter 2006; November 19, 2007; Ascot, June 2007
Ascot 2008; Easter 2008; October 9, 2009
Trooping the Colour, June 2011; Ascot, June 13 and 14, 2011
In 2008, the Countess of Wessex wore a navy straw pillbox hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan to church on Christmas Day. This hat was a significant departure in style from the hats she had worn the previous decade and marked the beginning of a style change. This change in millinery style continued over the next two years with Sophie wearing several more Morgan designs.
Christmas 2008; February 24, 2009; Ascot, June 2009; Christmas 2009; Ascot, June 2010
In late 2010, the Countess of Wessex began working with British milliner Jane Taylor and this partnership has yielded most memorable results. While Sophie’s hat style in this new era has remained strong and very dramatic (and continued experimentation with different hat shapes), there is now an underlying confidence with which she carries these hats. It seems that with Jane Taylor, Sophie has hit her hat-wearing stride.
At Prince William’s wedding, April 29, 2011; June 2012; July 30, 2011
March 12, 2012; The Epsom Derby, June 2012; Ascot, June 2012;
Luxembourg Royal Wedding, October 2012; Easter 2013; Trooping the Colour, June 2013; Ascot June 18, 2013
Ascot June19, 2013; August 9, 2013; Ascot, June 18, 2014
Ascot June 19, 2014; Remembrance Day 2014; Christmas 2014
It’s no surprise that the Countess of Wessex was one of your top picks for best overall royal hat style in 2014. What is it about her millinery style that you love most? Which hat would you most like to see Sophie repeat this year?
Photos from Antony Jones/UK Press, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, UK Press, Tim Graham, Mark Cuthbert, Mark Cuthbert, Anwar Hussein, Justin Goff, WireImage, Chris Jackson, WireImage, Tim Graham, Anwar Hussein, WireImage, Tim Graham, Justin Goff, Tim Graham, AFP, WireImage, WPA Pool, Max Mumby/Indigo, Chris Jackson, Max Mumby/Indigo, Mark Cuthbert, Chris Jackson, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Nash, Mas Mumby/Indigo, Chris Jackson, Mark Cuthbert, Chris Jackson, AFP/Stringer, AFP, Max Mumby/Indigo, Sean Gallup, Mark Cuthbert, Mark Cuthbert, Samir Hussein, Samir Hussein, Mark Cuthbert, Max Mumby/Indigo, Chris Jackson and Mark Cuthbert via Getty and ADavidson/GoffPhotos.com/Splash News/Corbis via Corbis