Closer Look: The Pope’s Visit Hat

Royal HatsMy apologies for a quiet week here at Royal Hats. I’m under the weather and have been tucked in bed. I always feel better when discussing hats so let’s get some conversation started!

Another one of the hats on display at Holyrood House for this summer’s exhibition ‘Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe’ is this straw design by Angela Kelly that Queen Elizabeth wore for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK in September 2010.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

The Royal Collection Trust shared this better view of the ensemble from the exhibition: .


Photographs taken during the visit seem to have washed out the colour of this hat and coat and I was surprised to see it is not grey but a pale, slate blue. I like the wide straw hat band but find the crown on this design to be a little too exaggerated for my taste- it’s just a little too tall and too pointy for this be a pretty hat. This closeup view shows the attention paid to the feather trim, my favourite feature on this hat. As for the button… it’s an interesting touch but the placement floating in the middle of brim is off for me. I think I prefer hat trims that hug the base of the crown. In the end, it’s an interesting hat but the shape and washed out colour make it a miss for me.
What do you think of this hat design, now that we’ve had a closer look?
Photos from Getty as indicated

29 thoughts on “Closer Look: The Pope’s Visit Hat

  1. Hello, Your Millinery Majesty! This crazy summer has made a lot of us fall ill–a “lovely” sinus infection for me… Hope that by now you are as fit as a fine Stradivarius!
    I agree with many commenters that HM’s ensemble is not a favorite–save the color. I do love the gently blue monochromatic look, but her coat looked a bit baggy and the hat was too exaggerated in its proportions. AK definitely gets weird at times.

    • I agree with what Martha Clark says: August 20, 2016 at 11:46 am. I don’t like the coat shape or the hat. Get well soon HatQueen!

  2. This ensemble is not something I really care for (but anything by AK rarely is), however, it’s wonderful to have you back, HatQueen. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  3. Get well soon!!!
    AK hats as usual “home made” … It is incredible tha she used sinamay straw and sew hat she usually does (with fabric to match coat) instead of blocking in ” millinery way”! Unnecessary heavy stitched crown, than very wide band from same sinamay material (?!) and on top “home sheared” feathers(?!)+ button and string(?!)

  4. Glad to see you back! Check in often but never posted before and was wondering what had happened.
    Not HM’s best day but you can’t be perfection all the time.

  5. I don’t hate the hat – it could do with a few cm off the top but it doesn’t upset me. The coat does though – it’s so badly tailored and it really ruckles at the seams. Having seen these up close views of so many exquisite outfits by the masters, you really see how some (not all though) of Ms Kelly’s finishes can be a little amateurish. Which is a real shame.

    Now I’m sure I read somewhere a few years back that this hat was a reworked one of an old version. But I cannot find where! Anyone help me out, or am I deluded (again?!)

      • Brilliant- I completely forgot that this hat appeared in an earlier version.Snug Harbour brings up a great point in that comment- neither version of this hat has appeared again in public. I’m on side with her guess that the modification didn’t fix whatever it was that was off about it. Here is the original version:

        Embed from Getty Images

      • I agree with what JamesB says: August 20, 2016 at 1:52 am. I prefer the earlier version, though I still do not love it.

    • Since I missed looking at this blog yesterday, my comment is slow.
      When seeing the Pope’s hat, I recognized immediately that I’d said earlier this was a reworked hat — and coat. Glad you found my original post before I started looking for it.
      I am so surprised that this outfit was chosen for display. It’s not particularly flattering, neither the hat nor the coat, which always looks tight. I take it the outfit was chosen for display at Holyrood simply because of the outfit’s Scottish connection.

  6. I too, am not a fan of the extra height on this crown. The feather detailing is exquisite and wonderful to see in more detail, but I don’t like the placement of the button. What I really don’t like from this whole ensemble was her coat, which I thought looked really ill-fitting on HM. I do remember some people wondering why she didn’t wear black when meeting the Pope, but I believe this is because he was meeting her in her territory and capacity as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and not how it usually is with people meeting the Pope in the Vatican. I think the color, while boring, was appropriate as to not completely contrast with the Pope, but to still distinguish the Queen.

  7. Oh, Hat Queen! I got so caught up in examining the hat that I forgot to say:
    Hope you feel better!!!
    Sending good wishes… e

  8. About the hat:
    ‘Playful’ angle too steep.
    Band looks poorly sewn.
    Trim- usual AK (a bit too much). Remove the string bow, bind the ends of the feather spines together, pin the button to the spines.
    The real problem with the trim is the feathers. The prominent one has been trimmed to look like a broken comb. Or a poorly maintained feather. Not nice. The lower,secondary feather has been cut and frayed — why? That is a technique to give texture, which is not needed on a tweed hat! It ends up looking rough and little disheveled.

    HOWEVER! Unlike most commenters, I like the color. It looks quite blue next to the papal white. I understand using the aquamarine clips with this outfit, but they need a contrasting background to really shine.

    Overall, still a win!

  9. Get well soon wishes from Sydney! I, too, am under the weather……….look after yourself. Yes, this whole ensemble is a miss for me, too. There was no need to put one of the buttons on the hat – looks silly. Sometimes, Ms Kelly just goes over the line with trim! The only thing I like about this outfit are the brooches……………I hope this is confined to the ‘wear only once’ pile.

  10. I rarely say anything negative about HM’s look, but WOW, this is a miss on several levels: washed out dull color, dumpy looking coat, pointy crown on the hat. I DO enjoy the feather, button, etc., and the twin brooches! HQ, post some casual Scotland shots if you can, but I know, you’ve told us in the past that this is her private time, away from cameras, and we should all respect that. Is this another one-and-done ensemble?

      • I, along with many others, hope you’re feeling better! Every day this week I’ve been opening up to the August 16th Japanese hats, and disappointingly close the page. BTW, I loved the earlier photo of the 3 Danish royals (even with no hats). All in floral dresses and sweaters! Sweet ladies.

  11. It is such fun to see all these gems from the Royal Collection on display at Buckingham Palace and Holyroodhouse. Thank you for giving us a peek and commentary.
    This is not one of my favourite ensembles for HM. I don’t care for the shape of the hat. It is interesting to see the close-up details, though.
    Be well soon, but don’t overdo!

  12. I was surprised to see the texture of the fabric on this hat which isn’t apparent in the photos from a distance. I rather like all the trim on this hat. It gives some color in an otherwise washed out color of the whole outfit. maybe the color is better in person. The wonky crown, which seems to be an Angela favorite, is the biggest problem for me. As always, though, Her Majesty looks elegant and always like she just stepped out of a band box–immaculate.

  13. Hope you feel better soon … I agree with every word in your summation of this hat. It was an historic visit and the hat needed to be better than this (I imagine Good King Hal’s ghost hovering rather largely and watchfully in the background 🙂 ).

  14. too bad you couldn’t take the top of the hat (the crown?) off, take the trim and place it on the crown and repurpose it as a fascinator? maybe? (of course what do I know..)

  15. When I first saw it I thought, oh no. I think it is the second layer at the top of the crown. What is the milliner trying to achieve I wonder. Yet at certain angles (pictures 3, 4) it looks alright. On my monitor the colour looks really washed out. I have one positive. I really like without a moment’s hesitation the embellishment, or trim. But overall I am not a fan of this one.

    Glad you are the mend. We missed you HQ.

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