Closer Look: The Royal Blue Mother of the Bride Hat

Royal HatsBuckingham Palace opened its segment of the exhibition, “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe” recently, adding to exhibitions already open at Holyrood House and Windsor Castle. There are some truly spectacular pieces, including the Norman Hartnell coat and coordinating Simone Mirman hat Queen Elizabeth wore for Princess Anne’s first wedding in 1973.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The 1970s saw the Queen in a lot of turban shaped millinery and while many of us prefer to forget this era, I think this piece was one of the more successful designs in this shape. The strong lines of the turban shape in this case are softened with a veil-like addition of purple lace and royal blue silk taffeta ribbon ruched into the shape of flowers. In the close-up video below, you’ll notice the complexity of this embellishment, complete with hundreds of minuscule and very neat stitches where it is attached to the main helmet shape of the hat.

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While our focus here at Royal Hats is always on the hats, our peek at this particular design, however, is incomplete without looking closely at the coat worn with it. The softness of the veil on the hat contrasts with the angular lines of the coat’s diamond cutouts- two feature that in theory, would compete but in reality, are a beautiful compliment. The perfect construction of the inset diamond panels on the coat is also something to marvel.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

These photos and videos provide the clearest and closest views of this hat and coat than we have seen before and leave me in awe of the masterful construction evident in both pieces. This is an incredibly beautiful ensemble, worn for an important moment in British royal history, and I’m so thankful the Royal Trust has provided this better view.
What do you think of this ensemble, now that we’ve had a closer look?
Photos from Getty and the Royal Collection Trust as indicated

23 thoughts on “Closer Look: The Royal Blue Mother of the Bride Hat

  1. So much more flowing and attractive than the green Mirman flowing turban you posted about on July 5! (I can’t help it that the color appeals to me much more as well!) I think this is a very elegant hat, and beautifully made. (These close-ups are so revealing of the detailed workmanship of the hats of this vintage.) The whole costume suited the queen very well.

  2. It’s a lovely colour, and one can appreciate the workmanship from the closer view, but ooh, dear, I really don’t like it. It is dated, and it seems to me that the shape (which is so much of its time) is really not inherently attractive. However, maybe one will need to wait another thirty or forty years, until it is really in the past, before one can decide if that’s true or if it’s simply one’s mental image of 1970s fashion clouding the issue!

  3. HatQueen, could you possibly tell us who the other relatives and guests in the group photo are and what they are wearing. many thanks.

  4. That coat is so luxurious! I never took a good look at Her Majesty’s outfit before these current closeup photos. Without the retro photos (where the color is completely “off”), we now have a greater appreciation of the quality of the craftsmanship Norman Hartnell brought to all his designs.
    It would be so fun to see this coat on another member of the Family – Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice, or The Countess of Wessex would rock this coat.

  5. It was so interesting to see the detail of the hat and all those tiny flowers in the decoration.The panels in the dress remind me of monochrome Seminole quilting. A masterpiece of workmanship and, for the 1970s, I really like it.

  6. This closer look shows amazing details. The workmanship is stunning, and he while ensemble is so well matched. I usually think of the 70s and 80s as somewhat of the wilderness years for HM’s fashion, but is makes me reappraise it. The silhouette is very similar and oft repeated, but the detailing in this outfit show how each one was so special.

  7. Not my cuppa, but a hat of its time, certainly. The coat stands the test of time.

    I see Queen Beatrix was already wearing her favorite shaped hat back then! And, from everyone, such lovely smiles!

  8. The hat was lovely for it’s time but would not work today. The coat, however, is exquisite and I could see Kate in it!

  9. I love this hat and outfit. The hat design seems so nuanced; for example I like the use of purple fabric amongst the blue fabric, which I guess would add richness and depth and to the apparent texture and colour of the ruched area. And of course, the coat is amazing. Thanks for this series, HatQueen!

  10. I think there are very few hats I would like to see return from the 70s, but this is definitely one of the more successful ones. The color is great, and the coat is definitely amazing to see in much better detail. Anne’s wedding to Mark Phillips definitely brought out some of the best (worst?) of 1970s millinery; would love to have a go at all the hats present from that day haha (the Countess of Athlone will always be a personal favorite from that event).

  11. The workmanship is so beautiful, but, to me, it has always looked like curly blue hair flowing out of the top of her hat and it always wull.

    • I agree with LadyLou says:July 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm. I love he colour and the workmanship but not the curly hair effect!

  12. Thank you for the post! Fabulous workmanship on the dress. The hat is spectacular although not particularly appealing to today’s tastes.

  13. I’m feeling so excited seeing these photos, I am travelling from Australia to see the ‘Fashioning a Reign’ exhibitions at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle next month.

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