Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, Part Two

Royal Hats After looking at the hats worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, we now turn to the hats worn by the Countess of Wessex and York Princesses. Joining this conversation are three milliners whose work has graced royal heads –  Christie Murray, Jill Courtemanche and  Fiona Mangan.  I’m thrilled to have these ladies join for Ladies’ Day at Ascot today!

Countess of Wessex in a revised hat by Jane Taylor

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Christie:  How lovely is the Countess’ dress! I love the detailing at the bottom.  Jane’s done a lovely job with this bias, mesh sinamay brim.  The patterning works beautifully with her outfit, as well as the colours and  textures of the vintage-style veiling. For me, I don’t think that the trim is quite balanced. I can see what she was going for, but I think it’s just missed the mark. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful look. I’m loving that everyone so far hasn’t gone for the traditional ‘lace and floral’ for Ladies Day!  More paired back, chic and minimalist elegance. It’s modern femininity and I just love it.

Jill: Thank goodness for Sophie this week, she really has been the vision. Another beautiful, classic, ladylike outfit topped with a gorgeous hat. I really like the pattern on the straw with the detail in her dress and that the feather trim on the hat extends above and below the brim, that is quite nice. I do think the design on the trim is a little too harsh next to the face, the veiling adds a little softness but it seems a bit unfinished. Overall though I think this look is a winner and with the earrings and broach it’s stunning!

Fiona: Love the dove grey colour in the dress but feel the style is suited to someone a little older. Sophie looks so much more elegant in a tailored outfit so to be honest, this dress is a little disappointing. I quite like the hat shape but the trimming is too wild for my taste with the feathers looking like they were dropped out of the sky without much thought on how they were arranged. Again, the veiling is not properly trimmed!

Royal Hats: I believe this is the same hat Sophie wore to Ascot in 2012 but with different feather trim. The previous feathers had a larger and more natural sense of movement which I think I might prefer. Feathers aside, for me the star of this hat is the brim and the use of the lattice weave is absolutely brilliant.

Princess Beatrice in Laura Apsit Livens

Royal Hats: I adore this hat! I love the contrast between the traditional shape and the modern colour blocking and love that while it is completely unembellished, it is anything but boring! Hats at Ladies’ Day are famous for being trimmed to death (or into complete absurdity) and I adore that Princess Beatrice caught everyone’s eye today with this very streamlined piece.

Fiona: Love her whole ensemble. Her dress is so classic, so simple and against the bold colours of the hat and shoes this is a winner for me in a lot of respects. I do however feel the hat would have been really nice if she had tilted it, though sitting straight across her head adds a bit of the unexpected and quirkiness to her look. The hat itself is beautifully finished. I keep thinking there should be some other trimming on it but the boldness of the design approach is like that of when you walk out the door all dressed up for an occasion, which is to remove one accessory piece– the Less is More Concept! A Bold and Brave hat I would say!

Jill: There are a couple things I like about this hat, the turquoise is a lovely color on Princess Beatrice, very flattering to her coloring and I like the very wide straw edge on the brim but that is where it ends for me. The shape is too flat and I am not a fan of the orange / turquoise combination. Her dress is a lovely, classic silhouette and really an open canvas as far as hats go. The only way I could see this working is if she added a statement necklace which picked up on the turquoise but even then the hat could benefit from some trim (and less orange).

Christie: The colour choice is really youthful, I love how Princess Beatrice and worked it in with her shoes. And I love the chic minimalism of her white outfit, just gorgeous! For me, the shape of the crown and the depth really doesn’t work with the brim though. It looks far too large for her head, and squashes the look. I would have love to have seen and smaller and slightly taller crown, or more angular, to really work with this outfit. I do love that they’ve let the colours do the talking and haven’t killed the hat with a trim. Perhaps, if it was sitting further back on the head, it would work even better? Great idea but just hasn’t quite been pulled off, in my opinion.

Royal Princess Eugenie in Nerida Fraiman

Jill: Princess Eugenie’s hat is youthful and fun, very nice on her. The deep green is flattering and the lightness and movement of the crin trim is very pretty. I particularly like this look in the photo above when she has her jacket off, it’s a terrific match with her fun dress and really makes her eyes pop. I am not a huge fan of the brooch trim but it does brighten the whole look and is a modern, young way to add jewelry to her ensemble.

Christie: I think this headpiece is really gorgeous! Porkpie hats are difficult to block in sinamay and I think it’s hard to make crinoline not look tacky. Nerida’s done a wonderful job. The colour of the headpiece looks beautiful with Princess Eugenie’s eyes and hair colour. From a styling perspective, I would have been more likely to pull out that pastel, flamingo pink in to the body of the hat, which would have balanced the pattern on the bottom of her dress, stood out against her hair colour, and been more age-appropriate than the green. But I do think she looks gorgeous.

Royal Hats: This hat is one of my favourite colours- a colour that looks beautiful on Eugenie. While the colour scheme on this hat is certainly dark, I think her summery dress balances it and makes it work.

Fiona: Another beautiful look from one of the younger Royals. Her dress with the graphic print is age appropriate and fun. The petrol blue hat has a great shape and her placement is perfect. I love using crin myself but in a more structured way – this is a very typical Nerida Fraiman application of crin, where she sculpts it which works to soften the structure of the hat.

While it was officially Ladies’ Day, a number of very dapper royal men in top hats were spotted as well:

Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York

I adored Countess Spencer’s beautiful teal blue saucer below, trimmed in what I suspect are handmade silk roses. And my favourite non-royal hat of the day?  This beautiful Rachel Trevor Morgan design worn by none other than the designer herself.

Numerous members of the British royal family who usually attend Ascot instead took part in events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. We will look at hats worn at these events along with all those worn on the fourth day of Ascot later today. Until then, what did you think about these and the other royal hats worn today for Ladies’ Day at Ascot Racecourse?

18 thoughts on “Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, Part Two

  1. I really love the hat worn by Sophie Wessex. It is an ideal hat for the races, wide brimmed, feminine, classic Southern belle, and memorable!
    Princess Beatrice’s hat is a really different look for her. I normally don’t like hats with a different colour of crown and brim, but here it actually works. It could have gone wrong if it wasn’t worn with that simple white dress. I agree with what was critiqued by Royal Hats on the day: ‘I adore this hat! I love the contrast between the traditional shape and the modern colour blocking and love that while it is completely unembellished, it is anything but boring! Hats at Ladies’ Day are famous for being trimmed to death (or into complete absurdity) and I adore that Princess Beatrice caught everyone’s eye today with this very streamlined piece.’
    Princess Eugenie’s hat is cute, but I don’t like the busy dress fabric and the black jacket looks like it belongs at an evening function, not at the races.
    I thought Countess Spencer’s teal blue saucer trimmed in roses, was perfect against her dark hair, and matched her stylish dress well also. It is a colour you don’t see a lot of.
    Princess Marie-Chantal’s hat is very Ascot appropriate, though she isn’t tall enough to cope with such a big hat with so much trim, so the hat is wearing her, not vice versa.

  2. Sophie- Gorgeous hat, again. But why all the white and pale gray?
    Beatrice- LOVE LOVE LOVE! It’s super modern and cool an I love that she matched it with her shoes. A statement necklace would have been nice.
    Eugenie- Super cute! I love the bling on her hat, it makes it kind of vintage cool. And LOVE her in teal!
    I’m going to save the massive crush I have on Marie Chantal’s hat for the next post. I don’t know who the Countess Spencer (haven’t there been a few?) is but her hat is gorgeous!

  3. Overall everything is nice. So good to see Princess B has calmed down. I think orange might not be the right colour but she improving. Probably orange was picked to go with her hair colour. Wonderful white dress. Needs a little something to tie the dress to the hat…wee piece of jewellery perhaps. princess E …please not black..the hat has lovely colouring. I can not see the dress clearly. Loved Countess Spencer’s entire outfit. Sophie..just lovely. The Greek Royal…needs more makeup or bit darker colour in the hat but still nice. Think it is makeup that is needed.
    Hope to see a picture of Princess Haya.

    • I thought Countess Sophia has been nailing her fashion choices lately. She really has upped her game since the younger princesses have started to have a more high profile role. Marie Chantal definitely needs to add some makeup. She looks really drab under such a hat. Love the white dress on Princess Bea – leads to so many options with the hat, just a little disappointed. How come Princess Bea isn’t wearing a name tag? She hasn’t worn one all week?

  4. The first and last pictures of the Countess of Wessex are stunning, with the sunlight reflecting through the hat and putting the pattern of the hat’s trim onto the dress. The Countess has really upped her game recently.
    I have mixed feelings about Princess Beatrice. While her dress is beautifully cut, the hat is good and the orange shoes do tie the whole outfit together, I still wonder whether something other than white (and orange shoes) could have been found to play up the hat’s unusual color combination.

  5. I agree with @HatQueen the feather trimming on Sophie’s hat at it’s previous Ascot appearance was better. I love this hat, but slightly disappointed she chose a repeat (especially an Ascot repeat) for Ladies’ Day. I also much prefer the previous outfit paired with this hat compared to this one. Hoping Sophie will bring out some color before Ascot is over!

    Beatrice looked great in this hat and I think pairing it with a monochrome outfit was the correct choice; I also love bringing in orange with her shoes. My main issue is that it all seems quite plain for Ladies’ Day (as @Jill said, I think a statement necklace to bring in the turquoise would’ve been helpful), although as is, it would be a fantastic choice at another time, like a Buckingham Palace garden party.

    Eugenie is the winner of these three for me. The dark teal is a fantastic choice for her and I love her outfit, with or without the jacket. The hat is wonderful, and the crinoline is elegantly done her, and I find it more successful that the crinoline on Sophie’s hat yesterday.

    Pavlos and the DOE are the clear winners for me in this grouping of top hats. The Earl Spencer’s is definitely sitting too far forward, but then I never expect many fashion wows from the Spencers to begin with; Lady Spencer is the exception here though, and she looks simply marvelous!

  6. A couple of evenings ago, Sophie attended an event at the Royal Albert hall wearing the most beautiful dress I have ever seen…(a raspberry and white one with a gorgeous white cardigan, check it out it was divine!) and, it was knitted, just like this one today. This dress is not as good but the hat is a ripper with it. I too am loving the lattice look, especially on a lovely sunny day. Good ID too Hat Queen.
    There’s just something about Beatrice’s hat that is troubling me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it would have looked better on a bit of a tilt or maybe it’s that bold rounded crown. Not sure, but it’s definitely a better look overall than the spotted skirt the other day. Ah that’s what it resembles….a UFO, or something else planetary. A young, fun look though.
    Beautiful base colour for Eugenie’s hat, especially nice with her colouring and those smoky eyes. The print on the dress is throwing me off and I like the look better with the jacket removed. The pattern is obviously inspired by Australian Indigenous Dot Painting artwork, but once you’ve seen the real thing and know the significance and the spirituality behind their paintings, it’s difficult to see it “out of context” if that makes sense. Just a personal thing for me obviously because I am from Australia.
    All in all, another fun post. Many thanks.

  7. I think this is the best look I’ve ever seen on Beatrice – well done! Sorry, but the crocheted skirt of Sophie’s dress reminds me of Home Education classes – love her hat though. Eugenie looks very nice – I like the hat more than the clothes but, all in all, she looked good. CP Marie-Chantal’s Chanel coat – yes!

    And you know me, gotta bring in the boys – Did you notice how the Duke of Edinburgh is very sensitively clothed to compliment the Queen? Nice touch! However, CP Pavlos for the win! Now that is how you wear a topper (and when you contrast Pavlos with Tim Laurence, you really see how good Pavlos looks). Lastly, a “fine” example of a felt hat that looks (and I’m sure feels) like a black bucket on Earl Spencer. Come on Lord Spencer, please source and purchase an antique silk top hat. You’ll enjoy your day at the races so much more if you do!

  8. Sophie can wear hats, can’t she? Another great look from her, although overall somehow not as crisp as the previous two days.

    Beatrice, finally, wow! Great look. Love, love the hat. Wearing a white dress with a boldly coloured, bot otherwise plain, hat is genius.

    Eugenie’s hat is nice on its own, but I’m afraid I don’t like the dress fabric and I don’t like the black jacket with it. No satisfying some people, eh?

  9. I was thinking it’s that hat retrimmed on Sophie too. I hope it is, two so similar would be somewhat profligate! She looks amazing – can we have more major picture hats please?

    Beatrice is stunning. This hat is fab, and perfectly contrasted against the white dress. She gets some flak does Bea, but even the caustic commentators of the Daily Fail say she looks good.

    Eugenie too – heavens, a home run! This is great, the outfits well put together, the dress is fun, the hat flattering. And not a beige Mac in sight.


  10. Sophie had yet another glorious outfit and hat! Bea’s hat is much better than what often I see her in – Eugenia looks like she often does and nothing too exciting there for me either, but both Yorkies look nicer than they do lots of the time in my opinion.

    • Can we please refer to these princesses by their names? I really find the “yorkie” nickname unsavoury. These two young ladies are not dogs.

      EVERYONE- it is not that difficult to type Christian names. Let’s pay the royals we admire that bit of respect, please.

  11. Eugenie’s hat is brilliant! Bea looks good too but the white dress was so plain it looked like a uniform.

    I’m loving your coverage of Ascot this week! Keep it up!

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