Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Square Crown & Kettle Brim of Angela Kelly

During recent discussion about Queen Elizabeth’s newest purple chapeau,  several of you referenced other hats with this same shape. Indeed- there are several other iterations of this Angela Kelly design, one I am calling the “Square Crown & Kettle Brim”:

Embed from Getty Images  Queen Elizabeth, June 26, 2015 in Angela Kelly Queen Elizabeth, Nov 27, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving, June 5, 2012; In Germany, June 26, 2015;
Attending the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit in Malta, Nov 27, 2015;

 Queen Elizabeth, June 10, 2016 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, June 12, 2016 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, Nov 24, 2016 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

90th Birthday Service of Thanksgiving on June 10 and Patron’s Lunch, June 12, 2016
Celebrating 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Nov 24, 2016

Since this post was originally published, four more variations of this style have been added:

June 17, 2017 in AK | Royal Hats Mar 29, 2017 in AK/SM | Royal Hats

Opening Parliament on June 17, 2017; Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018

May 19, 2018 in AK | Royal Hats July 4, 2018 in AK | Royal Hats

At the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, May 19, 2018; Hosting a Holyrood Palace Garden Party, July 2, 2018

The kettle brim, is upfolded at 90 degrees to create a cuff-looking edge, is a good design feature for the Queen as it allows her a slightly larger scale brim without obscuring her face from view. This handsome shape lends itself well to embellishment…  which is where its downfall is also found. I think just one hat in this bunch has the right balance of froufrou – the pale yellow and grey design in the top- a balance that we saw last week is a little precarious. The others, I’m afraid, are a warning against fussy, overmixed textures and trimmings. I think the strong lines of this design work best with a “less is more” hand at embellishment.

I am curious, dear readers, what do you think of this signature Kelly design?

Jump over here for an index of other signature shapes Angela Kelly has designed for Queen Elizabeth

Photos from WPA Pool, Chris JacksonAberto PizzoliMax Mumby/Indigo, WPA PoolMark Cuthbert, AFP/Carl CourtMax Mumby/Indigo, Pool/Max Mumby and Jane Barlow via Getty 

24 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Square Crown & Kettle Brim of Angela Kelly

  1. I agree with many others that #1, the Diamond Jubilee hat, is the most successful of the bunch.

    I think the problem with most of the others (especially the purple) is the embellishment/trim is so bunched together in one area, making one space on the hat very cluttered and the rest empty. Since the hat runs a little wider, it creates an unbalanced look that a wider, more streamlined trim that runs somewhat parallel to the brim would correct. I don’t know if that description makes sense, but that’s what I’m going with, and what I think is reflected in the hatband on the Diamond Jubilee hat. The 90th birthday hat is second best in terms of the trim in my opinion since the petals run a little longer and wider.

    Overall, I think the shape is quite good, but I hope it doesn’t become overused too quickly.

  2. I am not a fan overall. I think the most successful one is hat number 2, the yellow and grey. I always think the Queen looks so good in yellow.

  3. This is one of Angela Kelly’s better shapes for HM, but what is it that makes her over-embellish it so often? I like the yellow and gray best. The contrasting trim frames the face so well, and the koosh ball is light and whimsical.

  4. I like this general style and am pleased to see all six examples on one screen. To me the Diamond Jubilee is by far the best. Its simplicity and lack of extra ornamentation make it perfection. I don’t think it’s ever been reworn. Next best is the yellow/gray just repeated. While I was surprised to see that it’s straw on the brim, I think its ornamentation is good. The yellow birthday hat and the pink are fine, although I wish the ornamental flower on the yellow were a little shorter.
    The turquoise and pink looks all right from a distance. Up close I find the difference in heavily patterned turquoise fabric and turquoise brim a little jarring, especially coupled with the bright pink ornamentation to match the bright pink dress. If everything were turquoise, then the different brim would look smashing. But with that patterned turquoise fabric, the multiple collars on the coat and the contrast color, the brim, while nicely styled, looks overdone. There are too many different elements here.
    My least favorite of these hats is the recent purple. First, its crown is noticeably taller than the others’. Then there’s the super-big white flower that doesn’t seem to go with anything that shows, including with the little snippet of the dress at the hem. Had the hat been shorter and only with dark purple velvet trim, it would work perfectly. I would be happy if the flowers were ripped off, though, and the height remained unchanged. Seems like a simple modification.
    As you have clearly stated many times, “less is more” would be a good mantra when dealing with a strong design.

  5. Could the example below be, shall we say, a predecessor to the “square crown, cuffed brim” design? (Say THAT 3 times fast!)
    I know it’s slightly different, and before 2000 (just barely though – October 19, 1999) but I thought it showed HM looking so natural, while wearing such an uncharacteristically dull hat!

  6. For me, the Diamond Jubilee hat is the best of the bunch. The ruched fabric provides needed softness to the angular lines in an integrated way. The others are not quite so successful.

    • Interesting- many of you like the Diamond Jubilee hat! I think if the colour scheme had more punch, I would have liked it a lot more. I think the mix of diamante studs and patterned fabric on the crown also reads a little twee.

  7. I don’t mind any of these. If I had to pick a favorite it might be the first, pale aqua hat. However there is something about the way the Queen’s hats always match so completely to their respective outfits that bothers me. I like a hat to go with an outfit, but not necessarily be the same as the outfit, or at least not all the time.

    • I agree with you about the matchy, matchy hats. I know she’s not going change her ways for my tastes, but it’s a tad boring.

  8. The Jubilee hat is outstanding. It will stand the test of time because of the clean lines and pleasing proportions and mix of textures. It is by far the best, to my eye.
    Second would be the yellow with the white chrysanthemum, with the caveat that the flower be moved to the side, or the angle.
    Everything else needs the embellishments removed. I wanted to scream (and I might have, a little) when I saw that purple hat. There are contrasting purple bows behind the flowers! That’s all it needs!
    So many of her hats have: too many, too big, too centrally placed, too much. But, the base that she creates for the floral extravaganzas have great potential on their own.

  9. It’s a good shape, and although the trimming can be a tad OTT, by and large I think it’s successful. My love for the yellow and grey is on record, and I rather like the hot pink too.

    Also, is the blue and white from Ascot a couple of years back not a twin? The brim isn’t as straight, but I feel it’s closer to this group than the rolled brim titfers.

    • Hmmmm…. the dark blue one has a distinctly domed crown and curved brim (as opposed to the flat crowns and more crisply near 90 degree folded brims we see here) so I think it belongs in this group. That being said… these two different styles are very close to each other.

      • I see what you mean, it’s just all of those have a rolled brim. I guess it’s in between the two, the shapes are quite similar aren’t they.

  10. I placed all six pictures on my screen at the same time for comparison, and now, I’m caving (in agreement) to everyone else’s criticism of the latest purple one, (which appears to be the only winter-weight hat in the group.) I see now that there is is too much embellishment there, and in the wrong position. That being said, it is still a magnificent, regal color. I actually quite enjoy all of them.
    BTW, no one has commented on my BRILLIANT solution to the rear seam dilemma on the yellow/grey hat from last week. Maybe it isn’t quite as brilliant as I thought.

    • Well, I thought of responding to your brilliant solution to the rear seam dilemma. I’d think that It certainly could be done, and if the poof is big enough, the seam would be hidden. I suspect, however, that the back seam in the hat lines up with the seam in the back of the coat. With the Prince William Christening outfit, at least, both seams were extremely noticeable. Seams vary in visibility depending on the fabric and how it’s been pressed, it appears. The coat seam often isn’t necessary. Many coats do not have back seams, but the Queen is slightly hunched, and that seam probably allowed for adjustments to the pattern to help make the coat fit better. Perhaps AK thought hiding the hat seam would accentuate the coat seam too visible (although two highly visible seams would appear to most of the twice the problem of one highly visible seam).
      At any rate, I shall start staring at the back of all outfits with hats. If one can’t find one in a hat covered with fabric, you’re right: it’s probably hidden under some ornamentation somewhere.

  11. I love the very first one, the Diamond Jubilee one. The shape is clear cut without looking too strict, the embellishments don’t obscure the shape and the whole hat has a wonderful lightness about it that goes well with Her Majesty’s white hair.

  12. The bottom row yellow (90th Birthday Service of Thanksgiving) and the Hot Pink (Patron’s Lunch) are the most successful, I think.

    The embellishment on the yellow (Germany) in the middle of the top row looks like a Koosh Ball. I wasn’t thrilled with the hat from the Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving (the hat needed SOMETHING), but all is forgiven because Her Majesty wore “Granny’s Chips”!

  13. I think the Diamond Jubilee and The Patron’s lunch work quite well…the others I’m with you the embellishment is too much/not right.

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