For those of us royal hat fans, a royal wedding is a millinery extravaganza and no royal family does hats at big events like the British royal family. After looking at hats worn by the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s nuptials four years ago, we turn our attention for the rest of the day to those worn by the British royals. First up, the hats worn by members of the Queen’s immediate family.
In 2011, the Countess of Wessex had started wearing Jane Taylor’s designs and that’s where she turned for a bespoke piece to wear with her Bruce Oldfield suit. Taylor created a beige pink straw cocktail hat which was liberally trimmed with silk roses and three large vertical feathers in the same shade. The hat heralded a new era of hat styls for Sophie and was the first of numerous beret-based cocktail hats that she appears to still favour today. While the visible headband was a little awkward, the hat looked great on Sophie.
Princess Anne splurged for a new hat in royal purple. The flat, curved base, which was edged in slim white ribbon and came to sharp points on both sides of the piece, was topped by a large flat silk rose and a swath of white net. The randomness of the hat still puzzles me- the shape is a little odd and the trim looks like it was plonked on top with little thought. The shape of this piece may work well with Anne’s antiquated hairstyle but for me, this was not a brilliant hat.
Zara Phillips topped her metallic coat with a show-stopping Philip Treacy hat. Made of black and silver straw, the large picture hat featured a sharply upturned ‘slice’ brim. The underside of the brim was trimmed with a giant multi-looped bow. It was a dramatic hat but really- would we have expected anything less from Zara?
Autumn Phillips topped her grey and purple printed coat with a cocktail hat of fluted grey straw. Tucked inside the smooth folds of the hat were grey silk flowers and slim feathers. The shape is pretty enough but I did not like the placement, way out on the side of Autunn’s head.
As for the York Princesses…. you already know about THAT hat.
For me, this hat was a complete disappointment and error in judgement. I couldn’t stand it then and I can’t stand it now. I despise the sheer ridiculousness of it. I loathe the way it upstaged Princess Beatrice’s gorgeous Valentino coat. I detest the way it monopolized attention at an event where Beatrice was not the star. I abhorred the way it ruined all shots of the Queen inside the Abbey (Bea was seated behind her granny) and I continue to curse how the press STILL refers to it as a fascinator (see the visible base? That clearly makes it a cocktail hat!). Most of all, I deeply resented how it this single piece created the perception that all royal hats were silly.
UPDATE: Several insightful commenters have reminded how Princess Beatrice turned this lemon into much lemonade, auctioning the hat for charity. It was a very classy move on her part and I admire her for it. And, as much as I didn’t like this piece worn to this wedding, it did get the entire world talking about royal hats. I just wish she had worn it to Ladies’ Day at Ascot instead.
Lucky for Princess Eugenie, Beatrice’s infamous hat drew attention away from her chapeau. Also a Philip Treacy design, her vertical cocktail hat was a bespoke creation to go with her Vivienne Westwood suit. Neither, I’m afraid, were a success. Eugenie’s hat, a crescent shaped electric blue boat worn smack on the top of her head, was trimmed with a bouquet of dark purple flowers and a large spray of pale grey feathers. I appreciate that the colours tied in with her suit but the shape of this piece was both unattractive and unflattering. I remember wishing it would just sail away…