Service of Thanksgiving for the Late Duke of Marlborough

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of John Spencer-Churchill, the 11th Duke of Marlborough who passed away last October,  was held yesterday The Guards Chapel in London. The Duchess of Cornwall attended the service, wearing her black straw picture hat wrapped in large black ostrich feathers.

Duchess of Cornwall, February 4, 2015 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats Duchess of Cornwall, February 4, 2015 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

The Duchess of Gloucester topped her elegant coffee coloured peplum coat with an unexpected hat in textured orange straw. While the colour juxtaposition in the outfit was striking, I’m not sure about the protocol around wearing an orange hat to this type of event. Can anyone shed light on the dress code for a memorial Service of Thanksgiving?

Duchess of Gloucester, February 3, 2015 | Royal Hats   Duchess of Gloucester, February 3, 2015 | Royal Hats

The Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, Lily Spencer-Churchill, repeated an elegant black straw lampshade hat with rolled crin underbrim and crin bow at the side. The lightness of the crin underbrim adds such a pretty dimension to this hat, making this one my favourite of the trio.

Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, February 4, 2015 | Royal Hats

Photos from Getty as indicated. Click on each photo to link with the original source. 

19 thoughts on “Service of Thanksgiving for the Late Duke of Marlborough

  1. I agree with HatQueen that the best hat of this group is The Duchess of Marlborough’s hat though it’s odd to be wearing straw in winter. My second choice is the hat worn by Rosita, Duchess of Marlborough. My third choice would be the Duchess of Gloucester’s hat, but I do wish it was in a dark colour, because bright orange seems out of place at an event like this, and once again I’m baffled by the idea of a textured straw hat in winter. My least favourite hat is the Duchess of Cornwall’s which looks like an ostrich is nesting on her head.

    • I am in agreement with what Aussie Princess Caroline says: February 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm. I might add that I hate with a passion that ostrich trimmed hat worn by the Duchess of Cornwall and I hope it retires.

  2. The Duchess of Gloucerster’s hat is HORRIBLE. Cute for a day at the beach or a shopping day at a Tuscan market but for a royal engagement? I’m appalled.

    • Rosita is a *former* Duchess of Marlborough as she was the late Duke’s third wife. Lily, his fourth wife and his wife at the time of his death, is now the dowager Duchess, with the wife of the new Duke, Edla, the new Duchess. Edla Griffiths is a ceramicist and credited with helping the new Duke to a more stable life.

      Rosita was born Countess Douglas-Stjernop, the daughter of a Swedish diplomat.

      • While she was no longer married to the Duke, it is the correct form of address writing “Rosita, Duchess of Marlborough”, like “Diana, Princess of Wales” after her divorce from Charles. I know people probably don’t have many black hats in their closets, but you would think Camilla would have one that’s more seasonally appropriate (felt vs. straw); the same goes for the Duchess of Gloucester and the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough. While I certainly like the Dowager and Rosita’s hats, I find it a bit odd they repeated them from the funeral back in October, but I guess, again, that funeral hats are prevalent in most wardrobes. I guess I just get nitpicky about details, sorry!

    • Thanks jelsta, I really like the hat and the whole outfit worn by Rosita, the former Duchess of Marlborough, and I think it’s dignified, but still elegant, for this type of event.

  3. I think orange is a bit too bright a color for an event related to someone who passed away. The coat is really beautiful though. 🙂 The Duchess of Marlborough is also my favourite among these 3 ladies, I like the shape and size of her hat very much!

    • I am with you Josephine. The Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, Lily Spencer-Churchill, has the best hat at the ceremony, and the hat and outfit are dignified. She really suits the lampshade shape, which is hard to wear for most people. While I like the Duchess of Gloucester’s elegant coffee coloured peplum coat and the textured orange straw hat separately. they don’t really work together for me. The coat says “winter” but the hat says “summer.” I think the orange hat is not really appropriate for this type of event. I also think Bristol is coorect in saying the the Duchess’s outfit just doesn’t go with the Duke’s morning suit, and she should have worn something with a similar level of formality. I am not at all pleased to see the return of the Duchess of Cornwall’s black straw picture hat wrapped in large black ostrich feathers. It looks too over-the-top for this type of event. I do like her clothes, leather gloves, and jewels. RIP John Spencer-Churchill.

  4. A Service of Thanksgiving is a little bit different from a memorial service, which is in itself less formal and black than a funeral. Services of Thanksgiving can be quite jolly affairs, depending on the person involved. I’d say it’s quite rare, but not unknown, to see hats like the Duchess of Gloucester’s at a Service of Thanksgiving. My issue with it is that the Duchess’s whole outift just doesn’t go with the Duke’s morning suit! If the Duke is wearing morning suit, then the Duchess should be wearing something of a similar level of formality. Nice hat, but not for this occasion. Camilla’s hat is a good workhorse for this sort of thing. It suits her and looks suitably special to be honouring the occasion.

    • Yes. A Service of Thanksgiving is a celebration of the person. Quite different than a funeral or memorial really. One needn’t wear black as one might for a funeral although many people still do.

  5. My view of memorial service protocol was always black ties, morning coats and black waistcoats for gentlemen with day dress and hats, either black or very subdued colours for ladies. I think The Duchess of Gloucester has got this one very wrong (a lovely hat and outfit, but very inappropriate).

  6. I LOVE this on the Duchess of Gloucester! I am also curious about the official protocol here. My impression is that it’s a bit more relaxed than the funeral or immediate memorial service, but would love to know the official word.

  7. According to me, this kind of service are dominating by the color black. We are living in modern times, love the orange hat worn by the Duchess of Gloucester. An array of color for the live of a colourful person. Xxx

  8. I’m with you. The Duchess of Marlborough’s hat is lovely and perfect for the occasion. The orange hat on the Duchess of Gloucester does seem jarring, but it pairs nicely with brown suit. The Duchess of Cornwall has worn that hat before, and sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t.

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