Queen and Duke Host Garden Party

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted another garden party at Buckingham Palace this afternoon. The Queen surprised in a hat she has not worn often, a design in pale blue straw. This piece is a masterful work of texture with linear woven straw shown to great effect in the hat’s symmetrical, flat crown and lattice woven straw giving wonderful movement to the brim. The straw hatband and large front bow, which would look twee on almost any other design, work wonderfully here, playing against the otherwise sleek lines and shape of the hat. Paired with Her Majesty’s pale blue jacquard coat and dress, the ensemble is an example of how to dress hat to hem in the same hue without being overly matched or boring. It’s a brilliant hat and I’m so happy to see it again (thus confirming it has not yet been retired!).

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

Designer: Philip Somerville
Previously Worn:June 10, 2014June 19, 2008November 26, 2005

The Duke of Edinburgh repeated his grey felt top hat with black hatband. In a sweet sartorial touch, you’ll see his tie is matched to his wife’s ensemble.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Princess Alexandra repeated the cream straw hat we first saw her wear to Alexandra Knatchbull’s wedding last summer. With a rounded crown and cartwheel brim, the hat is embellished with a cream widely woven net veil, pale mist green silk roses and tiny curling feathers. I usually prefer brighter colours on Alexandra but this is a beautiful hat on her and perfect for an event such as this.

Princess Alexandra, June 1, 2017 in RTM | Royal Hats Princess Alexandra, June 1, 2017 in RTM | Royal Hats

Designer:  Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: June 25, 2016
Princess Alexandra’s brother, the Duke of Kent, repeated his grey felt top hat. While our resident top hat experts have long aggrieved the fit of this piece, I can’t tear my eyes away from the hatband, which desperately needs to be steamed. Please, Edward- take care of this.


Duke of Kent, June 1, 2017 | Royal Hats

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The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her grey straw cuffed bumper hat with matching veil. I love how Brigitte places the hat at a rakish angle, giving the simple piece a bit of drama. With her navy dress and pearls, the hat tops a classic ensemble and she wears it wonderfully well.

Duchess of Gloucester, June 1, 2017 | Royal Hats

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: July 1, 2016June 12, 2016June 10, 2016
Aside from a certain top hat that needs some care, the hats today at Buckingham Palace were all winners for me. What are your thoughts on this parade of garden party hats?
Photos from Getty as indicated; WPA Pool via Getty; Press Association via the British Monarchy

16 thoughts on “Queen and Duke Host Garden Party

  1. I love this hat and outfit on QEII – please have this remade in different colours and so nice not to see the huge and heavy slanted crown hats.

  2. The Queen’s outfit is a very nice one, but isn’t it unusual for a Garden Party outfit to be repeated at another Garden Party? The Queen looks fabulous, but I’m surprised this was chosen instead of another light blue. I too believe the Queen is using the umbrellas as a walking stick on uneven grass. Good idea.
    Princess Alexandra looks fabulous too. It’s a gorgeous if uncolorful hat.
    I am increasing my knowledge of men’s top hats. Wonderful!

  3. Nothing gets past you eagle eyed top hat experts! (something that I both adore and am terrified by!) I think you might be on to something- the first two photos in the run below (2017 and 2016) show a different front brim curve than the final three.

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    Here’s another run of comparison photos- #1 is today, #2 & #3 were at Ascot last year. These first three hats look the same to me. #4 at Ascot in 2015 and #5 at a 2013 garden party look different with a very flat section across the front of the brim. As I look at these photos, I initially wondered if a new top hat was introduced last year but if you look at the left side of the brim edging in all photos, they show the same wear. Jimbo and Chicago Chuck- is it possible the brim was reshaped on this piece? It’s obviously felt (not silk) so resteaming the brim doesn’t seem impossible.

    Embed from Getty Images

    • I’m virtually certain they are two different hats. Notice the fit – the hat with the flat brim sits lower on the Duke’s head, actually a better fit because it is approximately a finger’s width above the top of the ear. Whereas the hat with the “normal” brim sits higher on his head. I’m beyond surprised that he has two grey top hats, but it certainly isn’t outside possible. I’d venture to guess that at some point he was wearing hats more frequently and didn’t like wearing the same hat days in a row (sort of like it isn’t a good idea to wear the same pair of shoes for multiple days). For a good while at Royal Ascot gentlemen wore almost exclusively grey top hats, so maybe this dates to that era when he’d need two grey hats and would wear his black hat only in more formal settings.

      • Chuck I think you’re right – two hats: the wonky brimmed topper looks older, with a VERY slight indentation at the top (see the last photo in the set, including raindrops.) HEY, maybe the hat shrunk in the rain, and it now sits higher on his head! HA HA! Also, the older hat seems to possess that ever so faint outward flair at the very top! Very nice detail.
        BTW, I LOVE how many times the duke’s tie matches/blends with HM’s ensemble, especially the penultimate picture where HM is wearing the wonderful orange hat.
        PS The royal barber must be on vacation.

  4. Rather surprised to HM bring this one out after a 3 year absence, but it’s a nice surprise. For a front-placed bow, this one is not unflattering at all, and the floral detail of her outfit is excellent (but I’m not so keen on the closure bow for her coat).

    As for the DoE, I believe @ChicagoChuck is right in that this is a different grey top hat; I didn’t pay attention to the brim shape so much (although now I see it), but rather I noticed the overall profile seemed smaller and that it looked to sit a little higher up on his head (look at the 2014 post of HM’s hat, and you will see the difference in the DoE’s top hats). While this is not a bad hat, it’s just not as good as the other one.

    Alexandra does Alexandra best; not the most exciting hat, but still a superb outing of simple elegance (although looking back at this hat’s previous outing made me with HM would repeat that coral hat from Alexandra Knatchbull’s wedding!).

    The first thing I noticed in the first photo of the Duke of Kent was his hatband with the fold in it; how did that escape notice? It takes very little steam to make that look nice again, so I can’t believe someone in BP didn’t fix it quickly.

    I really like Birgitte’s hat this time, but perhaps because it’s been close to a year since she last wore it haha. That aside, it is a good look for her, especially with that jaunty angle.

  5. 1. I love everything about HM’s ensemble today, PRIMARILY that she is still wearing a 12 year old hat!
    2. Clearly, on such a sunny day, all the umbrellas MUST be a part of the uniform, maybe to lean on during a less than riveting conversation.
    3. Chuck, I noticed the same thing about the Duke’s topper, but I think it’s the same hat from the past! Good Gawd, at 95, he’s not going to get a new one NOW!
    4. Princess Alexandra looks SMASHING! What an elegant lady!
    5. Welcome back, HQ, we’ve all missed you!

  6. I like this hat style and shape on Her Maj. I wish she would make versions of this one part of the regular rotation. Very flattering and attractive.

  7. I so agree the Queen looks wonderful. I like the way the bow on the hat matches the bow on her coat. And yes a WOW to that brooch!
    The Duke of Edinburg looks marvelous, I will be sad to see him step off the public stage.
    Princess Alexandra does look very Edwardian so elegant. The Duchess looks very smart as well.

    Did the Duchess of Kent not attend with her husband? and did the Duke of Gloucester also not attend? I like seeing these much loved senior generation royals once in awhile.

    • I’m afraid the Duchess of Kent has not attended these things in many years. The Duke of Gloucester is often in attendance but apparently not today.

  8. The Queen looks lovely. Perfect ensemble. The other royal ladies are beautifully dressed as well.Prince Philip’s grin almost obscures his hat. The Duke of Kent seems to be more in evidence with HM since Prince Philip is scaling back his public appearances .

  9. HM looks absolutely beautiful. The outfit and hat are just perfect, and a lovely color for her. I liked everyone’s hat today.

  10. First, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Queen Elizabeth look more lovely. That soft blue palette is exquisite and I really like the shape of the hat (since we’re about hats here I’m not going to mention that brooch – wow!)

    Second, Hat Queen help me here but I think that may be a different topper on the Duke of Edinburgh. The one we usually see has a very pronounced brim on the hat – almost squared off at the front. This hat’s brim is not so severely shaped.

    Third, I adore Princess Alexandra! She looks like she stepped off the page of an Edwardian story book illustration. So lovely!

    Fourth, I also adore the Duke of Kent – for continuing to serve the Queen and the country (not to mention the whole lot of that generation!) That hat?!?! God bless the man, God bless him.

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