Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh opened the garden of Buckingham Palace today to host the final London garden party of the season. For this event, the Queen repeated her sky blue straw hat with stepped crown, raised brim and beautiful feather flower trim. I remain a great fan of this piece although I am rather curious about why the Queen repeated it so soon after last week’s appearance. Perhaps she loves it as much as we do?
Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: May 17, 2016; July 16, 2015; June 19, 2014
The Duke of Edinburgh looked smart in a grey wool top hat with sharply curved brim.
The Duke of Cambridge made his first ever garden party appearance in a traditional black silk top hat that I thought, looked very handsome on him. The Duchess repeated the ensemble she wore three years ago for Prince George’s christening. Her natural straw beret-based percher hat is trimmed with a widely woven ivory net veil and silk blooms. The large base of the piece makes it more substantial than many other perchers and the neutral palate works well with her beautiful ruffled suit.
Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: October 23, 2013
The York Princesses both used this occasion to début new percher hats. Princess Beatrice’s hat features a black beret base with twisting black crin brim that looked to end in a pleated fan at the back. The design is completed with a white silk rose which tied the piece nicely with Beatrice’s black and white dress. Princess Eugenie’s red straw hat follows a bumper shape with an indented centre and is trimmed with a stylised flower trim in white wire. We seldom see this kind of trim on royal hats and I thought it added a modern and creative touch that set off Eugenie’s printed dress very well. Both princesses chose rather bold, fashion-forward looks that I thought they each carried off with great style.
Designer of Princess Beatrice’s hat: Nerida Fraiman
Designer of Princess Eugenie’s hat: Sarah Cant. It is the ‘Sierra’ design from SS 2016
Previously Worn: both hats are new
The Duke of Gloucester wore a black silk top hat while the Duchess topped her pale blue coat dress with a matching bumper hat. Until now, Brigitte paired a different straw hat with this coat (see it here) and I prefer the smaller scale of this bumper design. It is a very simple hat but one that suits her well.
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new
The Duke of Kent, repeated his top hat in grey wool.
Today’s hats at Buckingham Palace made a rather colourful parade- what did you think of these designs?
Top hats: D of E PERFECT. (Is he well? He appears tired.)
D of C too big. (Monopoly piece?)
D of G too small.
D of K crooked.
While I like the fun wire trim on Eugenie’s red hat, the shape looks rather melted, like Salvador Dali’s clocks.
@Chicago Chuck, I was hoping you’d weigh in with your expertise. Interesting about Prince Phillip’s choice of a black waistcoat, but at least he didn’t go with a black hat. It seems to me that the older gentleman wear their top hats with more conviction. Prince William may need more outings to be comfortable with this style.
I like the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat better this time, with her hair pinned up. The Duchess of Gloucester looks lovely in her quiet way, but I like Beatrice’s hat best.
Regarding the men and their toppers (and a couple of other men’s sartorial comments):
Duke of Edinburgh brings out the trusty – and very old! – gray topper. I’d give a lot of money to know how that hat’s brim ended up with such a distinct crease. The upside to that crease is it identifies that hat from decades ago and just goes to prove if you have nice quality and care for it well, it will last. I have it on excellent authority that the Duke loves to boast that he continues to wear the ORIGINAL morning coat from the earliest days of his marriage! Not only has his coat size stayed constant for 60+ years (amazing!), it is actually getting a bit oversized for him. Not surprising since a man in his mid-90s would be expected to begin losing weight and muscle mass.
Duke of Cambridge looks well put out – except – there is something wrong about the size of his top hat. Not the fit, but the actual size of the hat. I’ve noticed this in the past when he’s worn that hat (and I’m 100% certain it is the same hat – see above). As the Duke has aged I’ve noticed that his head seems to be more noticeably narrow when you see him directly in the face. I actually have a narrow head as well so getting the correct size hat and brim size is tricky. I think his hat sort of swallows his head. His clothes however are spot on!
Duke of Gloucester has basically the opposite issue from Cambridge – Prince Richard’s head is large and round and his hat, while fit correctly, looks small on his head. I’ve noticed this in both the black top hat we see here and also his gray top hat. Sartorially, I do like the dark green tie with the morning attire and light blue shirt – nice touch. And both the Duke & Duchess of Gloucester look like they just stepped out of teaching a class at Eton or Cambridge!
Duke of Kent – God bless that man. He keeps plugging along even though he simply looks unwell. Unlike his wife, the Duchess who has terminated virtually all public outings, the Duke continues moving forward with appearances and royal duties. As someone else noted, the band around the base of his top hat has turned over in one area and needs some attention. But of course I doubt the Kent has as much help from a valet as Edinburgh has. The hat still doesn’t fit his head somehow but it actually gives a bit of charm to the Duke of Kent. But note that today the Duke’s morning coat fits him much better than the one we saw a few days ago.
Note that the Duke of Edinburgh chose a black waistcoat to accompany his morning attire whereas the others chose either powder blue (Cambridge) or gray (Gloucester and Kent). Black is usually reserved for either very formal events or funerals so it is a bit of a surprising choice. My vote is for the powder blue at a garden party. I’ll be wearing powder blue, buff/tan, and either light yellow or medium blue with a thin white stripe during my three days at Royal Ascot this year – no black for me!
I agree with your analysis of the fit of P. William’s top hat. It’s as if looking down from above the hat is round, while the shape of his head is more oval front to back. Would that have to be adjusted during the original construction of the hat? I’ll have to find that wonderful video about how they’re made!
The top of the hat will always be round to slightly oval, no matter the interior shape. By that I mean, the essential shape of a top hat (at least an antique silk hat) is the same but the interior area that fits to the head can be essentially molded to the wearer’s head. If one were to have the good fortune to have a hat custom made then the hat would most definitely be fitted accordingly. But when one purchases an antique hat, after having the customer’s head measured in a conformateur, the hatter should pull from his selection hats whose interior shapes are basically the shape of the man’s head. Once the correct hat has been selected (and often this would be the hat that most comfortably rests on the man’s head naturally) the hatter can further mold the interior of the hat to fit perfectly on the man’s head. I’m quite sure all of this was done when the Duke of Cambridge selected his hat.
My issue with the Duke’s hat is the scale seems wrong – the hat’s dimensions just look too large for his head. The scale and dimensions of top hats were varied. They all have essentially the same shape but the dimensions varied. He is definitely tall enough to carry a large scale hat but his face is so narrow that it looks like the hat is swallowing him (look especially at the first, close-up photo of the Duke).
While I’m at it – notice that both the black and the gray hats have black felt bands around the crown of the hat. That is the more traditional trim for silk top hats. These days, however, most hatters that refurbish silk hats use black grosgrain ribbon for the band trim. That allows for a nice and subtle bow on the left side of the hat. I guess a purist would scoff at the grosgrain but, for me, it is much more tailored and finished.
Chuck- Great insight about the hat bands. I agree that the refurbished grosgrain ribbon adds that little bit of finesse that a felt band doesn’t offer.
Kathy T- You will find the construction videos for these amazing silk top hats in this post, where Chicago Chuck shares his experience purchasing one of these beauties!
Prince William looks very dashing and Granny is gorgeous in this outfit so I don’t mind it being repeated so quickly. (But I’m with James B about lovely outfits that aren’t repeated – let’s see them. One of my favourites is the ‘meringue swirl’ pink hat from Ascot, by Somerville.)
I like the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat, but not her dress particularly. Seems a little flat having it in the same colour and the ruffle just sort of hangs there – plus there’s vertical ruffle and horizontal ruffle and – unless you’re a dancer at Moulin Rouge – that’s one ruffle too many, in my book.
Princess Beatrice looks very nice, good for her. Interesting print, nice hat. Princess Eugenie looks like she’s wearing different outfits – the whimsical hat; the skirt and jersey; the (dreadful) ankle-strap shoes. I guess she was going for a 1950s vibe and almost makes it, but it’s a strange look for a Buckingham Palace garden party. Actually, I can’t decide whether the shoes or the jersey kills it the most. I do like the skirt and print.
The Duchess of Gloucester looks very nice, she’s good and steady, isn’t she?
Prince Phillip’s topper looks as though it’s seen better days, but I don’t mind one bit!
I too think this speedy repeat is a bit odd, HM is normally scrupulous about not doing that. I still think there are some fabulous outfits from the past few years that have only been worn once that need to get out – like the stunning bright green from the D Day celebrations. Hmm.
Kate looks stunning and it’s a good time to bring this beautiful outfit back. She’s been on a good run of repeats lately, of which I approve actually.
Bea and Euge look fabulous. Eugenie has the edge in her slightly edgier look, and it suits her figure really well.
I suspect we’ll see the bright green ensemble from DDay celebrations at Ascot this year… or maybe even Trooping the Colour? It seems to me that the Queen sometimes saves new outfits to wear at a few higher profile events before putting them into ‘regular’ service.
Well I hope we’ll be seeing that soon – as well as the yellow from Germany. But I believe I may have mentioned that already 😉
the men win hat’s on
Ruthtoo you talked me into liking Beatrice’ s hat better. The crin does elevate it to another level nicely. I wish we could see a good view of the hat from the back. The DoC did wear different shoes and clutch, but that didn’t change the outfit much. It is such a beautiful dress that I loved seeing it better and from different angles, but a new hat would have been fun! HM looked wonderful! I would like to see the Duchess of Gloucestershire’ s hat better before making a judgement. I liked Princess Eugenie’ s hat also for the bold pop of color which went with her outfit very well.
I’m glad to see this hat back again for HM, but to see it at the different (and in my opinion better) angle compared to when she wore it last week. Interesting that she chose to repeat it so soon. Philip looks smashing as usual.
Since this whole ensemble was worn for a very high profile occasion, I would’ve preferred a different hat or a different outfit for Kate just to switch things up a bit. I still think she looks lovely though. I like seeing William in a top hat, and while it doesn’t seem to be sitting too low on his head, it does look rather wide for him nevertheless. Weird.
Beatrice looked very nice and I really liked her new hat, but I did find the all black & white ensemble to be a bit boring. Eugenie was my favorite of the day; I love this cocktail hat! The color and unusual trim are fantastic, and really go well with the avant-garde design of her dress.
Richard looked nice in his top hat, but I’m not a fan of Birgitte’s hat. I know it’s new for her, which I should be excited for, but this does not seem like a garden party hat to me; it seems much more suited for a working engagement, while garden parties call for something a little more fun. Finally, the Duke of Kent’s top hat hatband looks like it got folded over at the top and needs to be steamed out.
Overall a good showing for the final garden party of the season.
The York princesses wear lovely hats–the problem is that the hats don’t suit them. The other ladies and gentlemen looked very elegant, hats and all.
My favorite old hat is the Queen’s. My favorite new hat is princess Beatrice’s. I think the size, shape, styling, contrasting flower, everything worked well with her dress and looked great on her. The netting on Kate’s hat looks rather messy and detracts from the beautiful flower, in my opinion. I’m also not a big fan of that flat shape. Whereas, I think the crin brim and pleated bow on Beatrice’s hat, as well as the placement of the flower, elevate what is basically also a small flat hat to a thing of beauty.
It’s hard to complain about the Queen’s outfit, this hat being one of her best, but I daresay that something went wrong in its being worn again just one week after its having been worn for the Duke of Lancaster’s Regimental Memorial Dedication. Perhaps another turquoise outfit was chosen for today and lunch was spilled on it, necessitating immediately fetching whatever else in turquoise was pressed and in the closest closet.
The Duchess of Cambridge looks fantastic, the York princesses not so much.
Either the height of the Duke of Cambridge’s black silk top hat changes the shape of his face, or he’s losing weight.
Beatrice and Eugenie are not petite women. Imho, they should forego the little perchers, in favor of a more substantial hat. Something still young and fun but a little more in proportion to their bodies, like the hat Beatrice wore to the 2015 Royal Ascot.
I’m not too keen on Eugenie’s ‘antenna’ on top of her hat. Would have been nice to see Kate change out something in that outfit, like the hat, since we have seen it before — but I’m sure she didn’t want to upstage the whole affair by coming in something very new and noteworthy. Prince William looks good in a top hat! HM is great in that shade of turq.
Quite a contingent! Like all the hats. Duke of Cambridge should wear a topper more often.