Hat From The Past: Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee

Royal Hats The vintage hat I have had most requests to cover is the iconic pink piece worn by Queen Elizabeth for the Service of Thanksgiving during her Silver Jubilee, thirty eight years ago today.

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Designed by the Queen’s long time milliner Simone Mirman, the rounded hat, a stylized take on a tam cap, was covered in the same pink silk crepe as her dress and coat. The fabric was stitched in closely repeated contoured lines that followed the shape of the hat and gave it considerable texture.

While the helmet-like shape was unusual, what stood out most on this hat were the 25 bell-shaped flowers attached to it.

Exact replica of Queen Elizabeth’s June 7, 1977 hat without stitching detail

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These flowers were anchored to the top of the hat, leaving them to freely swing back and forth as the Queen moved.  This excerpt from her speech that day gives an example of this movement.

A  whimsical touch, the handmade ‘pink-bells’ were beautifully detailed with yellow stamens and green silk cord stems.

In 1977, this hat caused a sensation and the response was not entirely positive. The hat’s helmet shape, bright shade of pink (seen in greatest accuracy above) and almost cartoonish swinging flowers were seen by many as too fanciful for such an important day. Looking back nearly 40 years later, the hat is certainly playful but it is also surrounded by a demure simplicity that makes it very grand.

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While worn during a significant moment of her monarchy, this hat will be remembered equally for the occasion it attended and for the great occasion it created. Few royal hats can claim such legacy.

Exact replica of Queen Elizabeth’s  Silver Jubilee hat worn on June 7, 1977 hat without stitching detail.
Fabric and flower trim are leftovers from the original hat and the hat block was used to form both pieces. 

UPDATE: While this hat has been widely attributed to Frederick Fox (and at the time of his death in 2013, reported as the most famous of the 400+ hats he made for Queen Elizabeth during the almost 40 years they worked together and, according to a former apprentice, verbally confirmed by Mr. Fox himself as one of his designs) it was confirmed by the Royal Collection Trust in August 2016 to be the work of Simone Mirman. Jump over to this post for further explanation.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Douglas Kirkland via Corbis; Powerhouse Museum, BBC  and and Cristina Polizzi

25 thoughts on “Hat From The Past: Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee

  1. I remember many comments at the time wondering why HM would choose such a ‘jeune fille” color as this shade of pink for such a majestic occasion. Princess Margaret wore a blue outfit on the day. As I recall, the answer was that Elizabeth had worn pink, and Margaret blue, for the previous Silver Jubilee, that of their Grandfather, George V. It was a tribute to him.

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      This photo shows the rest of the a Royal Family at St Paul’s that day. HatQueen, would you please be able to tell us who they all are as I only recognise the senior Royals. Interesting that the Queen Mother isn’t wearing a halo brim hat?

      • while Princess Margaret is wearing pink (I think?), the hat she is wearing with flowers round the brim is very similar to the hats chosen by the Queen and her for their grandfathers Silver Jubilee. Maybe HatQueen knows more on this? Is the lady two along from Anne a member of the Royal Family and if so, who?

        • The woman you asked about is the late Princess Alice, mother of the Duke of Gloucester.

          Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret wore matching flower trimmed cloche hats for their Grandfather’s Silver Jubilee in 1935. I’m afraid I have only seen black and white photos of these hats and do not know what colour they were.

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      • Is the girl in a red floral outfit the daughter of the Duchess of Kent ( in green outfit) ? I also assume that it must be Sarah Armstrong Jones in the mint coloured coat and straw hat with floral brim like her mothers? Do you see what I mean about them being slightly similar to those you have attached in the photo? Thanks

  2. I was unaware of the 25 flowers on the hat nor did I realize just how vibrant this pink actually was (thanks to all the washed out photos of the day). It is a hat that well represents 1970s millinery and may seem a bit dated at times, but it is truly one of the most iconic hats of HM’s reign, and indeed the 20th Century. A job most excellently done Frederick Fox!

  3. This isn’t a hat that I find very appealing aesthetically, but it does superbly the job of being unique, interestingly individual and memorable for a specific royal occasion. It manages to give a nod to the symbolism of the jubilee without being too heavy about it.

  4. This hat is beyond fashion – it’s an ornamental statement. If a tiara could be a hat it would be this one.

  5. I really like this pink outfit and hat on the Queen. She always looks good in pink. The symbolism in the 25 bells and the exquisite detail of the hat is superb. This is truly an iconic hat and I feel that Frederick Fox made some of the Queen’s best hats. RIP Frederick Fox.

  6. While it looks dated to 2015 eyes, I love this hat. It certainly deserves its iconic status. I can’t help myself from trying to count all the bells 😀

  7. Yes, thankyou for this retrospective. As we all know there are many symbolic gestures made by the royals by way of their attire- certain colours for certain countries, jewellery choices, trims that represent floral emblems etc….and this is no different- 25 bells for 25 years on the throne. Lovely.
    What I love about this hat apart from the GORGEOUS colour is the stitching. Not only does it provide some much needed texture to the plain domed shape, it is impeccable and so masterfully done. Exquisite. And the bells, so simply and naively made, provide some lovely movement….. For all these reasons, I give this iconic hat top marks. Thankyou.

  8. My first reaction when I saw the hat, *Oh how cute and she really looks nice*, and I still feel that way. It was a hat for the times and was perfect for her. I love her in pink then and still feel the same today. What has always impressed me about her is her *smile* and I bet there are times when she didn’t feel like smiley and did as it was required of her. One very chic strong intelligent lady who suffers no fools is how I think of her today after all she has been through……..love this lady/queen.

  9. It’s an interesting hat…. but interesting is not attractive. I guess 70s fashion was different but dangling crafty flowers off a helmet doesn’t sound like it would ever be a good idea.

  10. Oh thank you. I have never seen such good photos of the hat. It is brighter pink than I remember it being. The quilting on the hat is very well done but I never liked the flowers. It is a very famous hat!

    • Me too. I didn’t know before that there were 25 flowers for the 25th anniversary. The pink shade looks so different in all the photos washed out in some and neon in the movie. Does anyone know the true color?

      • Look at the closeup photo of the flower trim, Val, you will see what I understand is the true colour of this hat, dress and coat. The colour on the video is overly saturated and the archival photos of the day are quite faded.

  11. Thanks HatQueen, I loved with hat and outfit on the Queen. The hat is whimsical, meaningful with its 25 bells to mark her 25 year reign, bright, but not in Mad Hatter territory.

  12. I love this hat . It’s simultaneously whimsical & elegant. The movement of the bells remind me of bell chimes which I love.thanks very much for this post

  13. For me, this is the most memorable of all the Queen’s hats. And she looked wonderful wearing it. Pure delight. Thank you so much for giving such a detailed recounting of its history.

  14. It’s so iconic this hat that it’s hard to look at it objectively. But I guess that makes it a total success – it’s well remembered. It’s indeed whimsical, yet loaded with symbolism in the 25 bells. The colour on film is certainly arresting, but then the whole point is the the Queen can be seen. In this you can’t miss her! I thought she looked lovely – the hat did its job well.

  15. I think it’s delightfully whimsical and very of the moment without being too trendy. I remember seeing her on tv in this hat, but didn’t know the little bells were flowers. Love it.

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