Ascot Hats: Countess of Wessex

While we’ve not spoken much about upcoming Ascot, I have received numerous private messages filled with anticipation and excitement about the royal hats we’ll see this year. To get us all revved up for this year’s races which kick off next Tuesday, we’re going to take several retrospective looks at some of the hats worn to Ascot over the years by some of our favourite regular royal attendees. One of the heads I keep close watch for during Ascot week is the one belonging to the Countess of Wessex. Sophie has attended at least two days of races every year since beginning of her royal life- here are all the hats she has worn:

2000: June 20 and 21 in unknown designs (notice the unique inverted brim on the green hat)

Countess of Wessex, June 20, 2000 | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 20, 2001 | Royal Hats

 2001: Hats of unconfirmed design (likely Philip Treacy) and bold shape worn on June 19 and 20

Countess of Wessex, June 19, 2001 | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 20, 2001 | Royal Hats

2002: June 19 in Philip Treacy and June 20 in a navy and white hat of unknown design

Countess of Wessex, June 19, 2002 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 20, 2002 | Royal Hats

2003: June 16 and 17 in pale Philip Treacy designs, both with upswept brims and exquisite trim

Countess of Wessex, June 16, 2003 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 17, 2003 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

2004:  Sharper lines and exaggerated, diagonal brims worn on June 15 and 16, again by Philip Treacy

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2005: Philip Treacy feathered, flowered saucer on June 14 and pink feather trimmed white hat June 15  

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2006: June 20 and 21 in lavishly trimmed hats again from Philip Treacy

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2007: Sleek, streamlined designs in neutral hues by Philip Treacy worn on June 19 and 20 
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2008: June 17 in a lime percher and June 18 in a silver ringed headpiece, both by Philip Treacy  

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2009: June 16 in a black Philip Treacy cocktail hat; June 17 and 18 in hats by Rachel Trevor Morgan 

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2010: June 15 and 16 in Rachel Trevor Morgan designs; June 17 in Philip Treacy

Countess of Wessex, June 15, 2010 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 16, 2010 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 17, 2010 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

2011: Making the switch to Jane Taylor millinery with a white oversized vertical saucer with fuchsia feather trim June 14, the famed blue beret cocktail with peacock feathers June 15 and an open weave, soaring saucer with blush feathers trimming the under side of the upsweep on June 16
Countess of Wessex, June 14, 2011 | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 15, 2011 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats Countess of Wessex, June 16, 2011 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats

2012: June 20 in a pale grey lattice straw picture hat and June 21 in a lace trimmed percher hat, both by Jane Taylor

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2013: From Jane Taylor, a vibrant blue round percher with lace trim on June 18a statement folded saucer hat with magenta crin twists on June 19 and a black straw wide brimmed wave hat with floral trim on June 21

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2014: June 17,  June 1and  June 1in a beaded percher, upswept picture hat and waved platform with bows, all by Jane Taylor


Countess of Wessex, June 17, 2014 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats  

2015: From Jane Taylor, an oversize cream rimmed vertical saucer with open weave bow on June 16, a folded cream crin striped saucer with feathers on June 17 and repeat of the 2012 statement lattice straw picture hat with updated feathers on June 18

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Countess of Wessex, June 18, 2015 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats

2016: Again from Jane Taylor, a cream fabric covered ‘potato chip’ with pheasant feathers on June 14a vibrant blue chevron woven hat with raised back brim on  June 15, and a cream button base cocktail hat with peach folded straw fans and on June 16

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2017: All from Jane Taylor, a natural straw lattice saucer with black silk twist on June 20; a plum straw oversize boater with silk cabbage roses on June 21; white straw vertical saucer with lavish feather trim on June 22

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It’s quite the millinery style evolution, isnt it?! During the Philip Treacy years (2002-2010) of high crowns, vertical saucers and massive feathers, I admire Sophie’s millinery bravery on one hand (I adore the hats worn in 2003 and 2007) while on the other, wondering if the scale and harsh lines of numerous pieces overwhelmed her. Jane Taylor’s designs follow slightly softer lines which suit Sophie so well (except for that feathered white potato chip from last year). I think it’s a safe bet to expect more Jane Taylor hats for Sophie this year- I for one, am hoping for more hits of colour. 

I’m curious for your thoughts on Sophie’s Ascot hats over the years- which ones stand out to you most? What do you notice about her evolution in Ascot millinery?

Photos from Getty as indicated; Tim Graham, Tim Graham, UK Press, Tim Graham and Sion Touhig via Getty Tim Rooke/REX/ShutterstockTim Graham, Tim Graham, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Stuart Wilson, Max Mumby/IndigoMax Muby/IndigoMark CuthbertMark CuthbertChris Jackson, Max Mumby/Indigo and Mark Cuthbert via Getty; and James Whatling/Splash News via Corbis

17 thoughts on “Ascot Hats: Countess of Wessex

  1. I don’t get those oversized bucket hats, which seem to be wearing Sophie. The highly embellished hats of 2004-2006 fit in well at Ascot, but I think they also overwhelm her.

    While I appreciate all this variety, I generally like the large hats worn at a diagonal best: the pink from 2003, the grey from 2012 & repeated in 2015, the black from 2014 & 2015, and the wonderful rippled shape with the raspberry curls from 2013. The streamlined pair from 2007 are wonderful. The peacock hat is spectacular.

    I vote for more color, too, especially blue, for one of the most consistently excellent hat-wearers at Ascot!

  2. Sophie definitely looks much better in the Jane Taylor hats. Jane Taylors designs suit her much better. Sophies Ascot look appears much more stylish since she made the switch to Jane Taylor millinery. Looking forward to seeing what wonderful hat designs Sophie will be wearing to Ascot this year.

  3. Sophiedefinitely looks much better in the Jane Taylor hats. Jane Taylors designs suit her much better. Sophies Ascot look appears much more stylish since she made the switch to Jane Taylor millinery. Looking forward to seeing what wonderful hat designs Sophie will be wearing to Ascot this year.

  4. What a fabulous post and some wonderful, lovely, delightful hats! They’re wonderful and so are you, dear Hat Queen, for providing cheer to me in this grand post!!

  5. What an interesting retrospective! The Countess has definitely branched out in her millinery style. I’m looking forward to next week!
    Thanks, Hat Queen, for entertaining us!

  6. Here are my favorites: In 2000 she was so elegant! I love the cream/blush hat! And BTW, I love that necklace. I have not seen that recently. In 2003 the pink with upswept brim is gorgeous. She could wear that again! It does have a Camilla vibe to it now, though. In 2012 the grey picture hat and again in 2015. I also love the beaded percher she wore in 2014. She does keep you guessing what she will wear next! It will be interesting to see what she wears this year. I do think we are guaranteed it will be a Jane Taylor design.

  7. She’s got better with age – well her hats have I mean! She wasn’t shy at all, but she almost tried a bit too hard, or sometimes not at all, in the early years. Her choices are so much more elegant and yet fun now, not relying on huge brims which somewhat overshadowed her. All that said, my absolute fave is the grey picture hat she had repurposed in 2015, that’s a stunner and she looked amazing in it.

    She gives good hat does Sophie.

  8. Sophie is one of my favorite Royal. I think since she started wearing Jane Taylor hats she’s more stylish. I like June, 17, 2003; June 15 & 16, 2010; 2011, 2012 and 2013 hats; June 17 & 19 2014; June, 17 & 18 2015; and June, 15, 2016 hats.

  9. What amazes me is how many different shapes, styles, and colours flatter the Countess! She has a lot of flair and self-confidence, which enables her to pull off some bolder effects.

    Interesting, too, to note how her personal colour preferences evolved early one, and we still often see her in aqua, navy, cream, blush etc. Again, it shows a confident style to stick with your colour palette through the years.

    I actually quite like the feathered potato chip from 2016. I think the wavy shape is lovely and flattering, and the feathers add a touch of zany. Favourites: the romantic picture hat from 2012, the navy bowed number from 2014, and the peacock feather percher from 2011.

  10. What a fabulous collection of hats! I love the variety in choices, but she still always looks chic and not crazy. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I think my top ones are:

    June 19, 2013 (cream with pink accents)
    June 21, 2013 (black, but I love this more at the wedding she wore it too, can’t remember whose)
    June 20, 2007 (cream slice with curlicues)
    June 14, 2005 (grey saucer with bold black and white feathers. Love this!!)
    June 15, 2004 (cream with pink flowers). I generally think the pre-2005 ones all look a bit big on her, but I think that was probably the style of the time, and they are really lovely. I just love that spray of pale pink leafy things.

    The only one I really dislike is June 18, 2008 (grey headpiece), it just seems like too much and way off balance. It looks like it must hurt her neck to keep her head upright with that hanging off the side.

    Thanks so much for the great retrospective, can’t wait to see what we see this year!!!

  11. I love the individual details of the second hat of 2000, especially that inverted brim, but everything together just didn’t work. The exaggerated shapes and sizes were characteristic of many royal hats in the early 2000s.

    Both hats from 2003 were great, and the butterfly one has long been a personal favorite. The grey saucer from 2005, the green one from 2008, and the black one from 2009 were early percher cocktail favorites of mine, and I like the boldness of the massive floral trim on the pink cloche from 2006.

    The 2011 blue cocktail hat with sweeping peacock feathers has long been one of my favorite hats ever for Sophie. I didn’t realized she had switched to Jane Taylor this recently though.

    2012 was an excellent year for her Ascot hats, as was 2014. While appreciate her bringing in more color in 2016, I thought the execution of the shapes and trim was off.

    I also hope we see more color this year! Looking forward to all the coverage and grateful for all your hard work @HatQueen!

  12. I personally don’t favor the percher hats and I don’t usually love hats that swing too much to the zany style so my favorites would be the hats from 2000, 2003 (I especially like the butterflies), 2012, the black picture hats in 2013 & 14 and the light blue in 2015. I agree Sophie has really come into her own looking very sleek, sophisticated and elegant. I hope in these days leading up to Ascot we might see another royal portrayed over the years like this. I am looking forward to the Ascot hats this year. I especially love seeing the hats on some of the minor royals who we don’t normally see.

  13. My favorite years are 2003 (Philip Tracy upswept brims) and 2012 (Jane Taylor picture hat and molded percher). These are my favorite styles. I noticed that when she started wearing Jane Taylor, Countess Sophie also started putting her longer hair up most attractively. Of her later percher styles, I like the small dark blue one from 2013, the black and white from 2015, and the one with the orange trim from 2016. Thanks for this interesting look back. I too am eagerly awaiting this year’s Ascot hat viewing.

  14. Not a fan of the bucket-hats in the first few years. The perchers and especially the wide brimmed models of later years suit her much better. I love that grey picture hat (2012 and 2015) with the exquisite latticework – it creates such interesting patterns when the sun is out. And it’s a beautiful color for her. I hope it gets a third outing this year. I’m less enamored with all those nearly vertical designs. She’s always a favorite of mine – can’t wait for this year’s outings.

  15. The evolution of hats is comparable to the general evolution of Sophie’s style. The sleeker hair, the more stylish clothes, and her general increased confidence have all made her one to watch. When I went back to look, I agreed with Hat a queen about 2003 and 2007. Those hats do stand out in a sea of zaniness. I am certain the Countess will look smashing again this year at Ascot!

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