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.
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
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.
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.