British Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The British Royal Family

Royal Hats At the wedding of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall ten years ago, guests predictably included members of the British Royal Family. As you might expect, the hats and headpieces worn by this group give us great insight into millinery fashion a decade ago.

The Countess of Wessex’s hat fashion at the time included numerous stovepipe cloche hats with unexpected curves and slopes and the hat she chose for this event followed this trend. Made of in straw printed with a grey faux snakeskin pattern, it was trimmed with a handful of vertically placed Lady Amhurst feathers at the side. While the Philip Treacy design felt daring, bold, and at the cutting edge of millinery fashion at the time, its relevance has passed and it does not translate well today.

The young York princesses were mere teenagers a decade ago and as such, were fairly inexperienced hat wearers. Inexperience aside, they wore hats at this wedding that I adore. Princess Beatrice’s fascinator of chocolate and taupe straw lilies and taupe feathers brought out the warm tones in her complexion and hair and perfectly framed her face. During a time when fascinator fashion often included feathers flying madly off in all directions, the relative simplicity of this piece have always struck me as particularly lovely. While the lines of Princess Eugenie’s cream straw cloche were as exaggerated as those on the Countess of Wessex’s hat, the proportion was more flattering. The navy band and bow added a youthful touch and paired with her navy coat, created a charming ensemble for this young princess.

Princess Anne recycled a turquoise silk pill box hat that was more than 20 years old at the time. While the pill box shape does transcend time and the vibrant colour was wonderful on her, the voluminous veil brought a bee keeping vibe into the ensemble that did not do it any favours. Two years ago, Princess Anne repeated this turquoise coat at a Buckingham Palace Garden party, paired with an updated (and slightly more successful) hat.

Not surprisingly, the trendiest fashion at this wedding was worn by Zara Phillips. Zara sported a simple black fedora over her Pucci-inspired dress. The choice of a fedora for such a high profile event is a gutsy one and I adore Zara for it. The choice of the dress, however, remains a head scratching mystery.

Royals are often criticized for not keeping up with current fashion and I think this group of hats shows this is not the case. Strangely, it seems that the most fashionable hats are the ones least likely to transcend time.

Next up? The hats worn by the extended members of the British Royal Family. Stay tuned for these Linley, Chatto, Gloucester and Kent hats later today.

Photos from Getty as indicated

10 thoughts on “British Royal Wedding Ten Years On: The British Royal Family

  1. Everybody seemed to be having such a wonderful time, I hate to say anything negative, but here goes. The Countess of Wessex’s hat was huge and her severely structured white jacket overpowered her softer black and white skirt; she still looked lovely. Loved Beatrice’s fascinator but hated Eugenie’s huge cloche. Princess Anne looked wonderful and very happy. I just wish she had chosen accessories in a color other than black – a contrasting color maybe or beige. Although I could be Zara’s grandmother, I love Zara and her going out of the box fashion and color-wise. She is having fun, and more power to her!

  2. I too think Princess Beatrice looked lovely. I am okay with fascinators (as long as they are done with skill) and I think this looked really lovely nestled in her hair and completing the hairstyle by pulling it away from the face, not just being plonked there. I thought the colours of it were a perfect match for her suit, especially as the lining appears to be of a very similar brown. I thought it perfectly acceptable and very Beatrice. I absolutely loathe Sophie’s hat, the shape, the pattern…..ugh shudder! Oh and I had a good chuckle about the Princess Royal channeling a beekeepers vibe. Very funny. Loving this retrospective by the way. Thank you.

  3. Sophie’s hat demonstrates what I didn’t like about Philip Treacy in the early-to-mid-2000s. Glad we all got past that. Beatrice’s fascinator is quite nice, but again, nothing for me to get excited about. I still love Eugenie’s hat and coat and wished those had made an appearance again. Anne’s pillbox should’ve been retired long before this outing; the color is nice, but it is so dated. I applaud Zara’s bold choice of hat and outfit, but I’m afraid this look (like Sophie’s hat) demonstrates what fashion and style was trying to make happen during the first years of the new millennium.

  4. The Countess of Wessex: I liked her suit and it fitted well, and the grey faux snakeskin design on the hat was a perfect match. Unfortunately the exaggerated stovepipe cloche shape was too Mad Hatter for me. If the height of it was reduced, I think it would have been more successful. While I like the Lady Amhurst feathers at the side, I felt the hat was just too busy, and the feathers would have worked better if the hat was plain and not a snakeskin print. In fashion, less is more.

    Princess Beatrice: While I am no fan of fascinators, I accept that they were all the rage at the time. I think this is one of the more successful ones. I agree with HatQueen that the chocolate and taupe colors worked well with the tones in her complexion and hair. It’s a shame her hair was messy.

    Princess Eugenie: I think this cream straw cloche would have been a success if the crown was not so tall, and I would like to see her try a cloche again. I liked the navy band and bow and her navy coat.

    Princess Anne: I loved the turquoise color on her, and the cut of the coat was good. The floral brooch was stunning. I liked the simple shape of the turquoise silk pill box, but I do think brimmed hats are a lot more flattering to her face shape, and I agree with HatQueen about the voluminous veil channeling a bee keeping vibe.

    Zara Phillips: Zara was determined to stand out from the crowd in her multi-colored print dress, teemed with long boots, which was a zany look, especially for a wedding. I like the black fedora, but I don’t think it coordinated with her outfit. The fedora shape is flattering to her.

  5. That hat of Sophie’s is a puzzler isn’t it. I see where she’s going and the look overall was well styled. But ultimately that hat style isn’t terrinly flattering – however this was Sophie finding her feet, and when you look at her majestic hattery now you can see how it all started.

    Beatrice looks lovely, and I remember thinking this was a good start – sadly she had a few hiccups to come (as we all do when we’re 16!!) Eugenie’s hat, is I’m afraid just a bit too big for her…

  6. OY VEY. Time has not been kind to these hats. I get that Sophie’s was from this moment in fashion but let’s be honest that it was NOT a good moment for hat design. Zara’s fedora is cool but for a wedding? Not so much. Her dress ended up wearing everything any and completely overwhelmed her, her hat, her boots…

    Beatrice is the winner in this group.

  7. Sophie’s hat was odd. Her jacket and skirt looked good on her.

    I don’t really like any of these hats very much. I much prefer hat fashion today.

    • Sophie’s hat had too much going on. Same for Zara’s dress.
      One of Bea’s best looks. Princess Anne looked good too. Can’t ever go wrong with a pillbox.

  8. I also liked Princess Beatrice’s fascinatior, and I actually didn’t mind Princess Anne’s old fashioned pillbox. I hated Sophie Wessex’s hat and I still really hate Princess Eugenie’s hat, although in this picture, it looks better on her than in some of the others. Regardless of the hat choices, the royal ladies looked lovely and properly celebrated the happy occasion with their best accessories: big smiles! I still think this is one of my favorite royal weddings ever, after The Danish crown prince’s wedding. For sheer romance, those two are memorable occasions, and still make me smile.

  9. The only one I really liked was Princess Bea’s fascinator. It is a vast improvement from the “Royal Flush” she wore to Prince William’s wedding!

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