In what must be the most visually arresting State Opening of Parliament in Great Britain in recent memory today, we saw a ceremony without robes, gowns, diamonds, carriages or even the Duke of Edinburgh. There was, however, a hat.
Queen Elizabeth’s new hat is covered in the same cornflower blue paisley silk/wool cloqué fabric as her coat and follows a standard shape: moderately tall crown with flat top and straight sides with an upfolded kettle brim. What sets it apart, aside from the patterned fabric, is the mass of blue feather flowers placed on the front. The yellow flower heads in the center obviously coordinate with the ensembles blue and yellow patterned dress.
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Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Previously Worn: this hat is new
I actually love the outfit. The patterned fabric seems rich reminding me of a tapestry. I like the shape of the hat simple and straight forward. I also enjoy that the hat is covered with the same fabric as the dress and while the flower petals are the same color as the hat and blends into the background a bit I love the pop of color from the centers of the flowers.
I am sad to hear the Duke is in the hospital but glad that it is precautionary. Hoping he feels much better very soon. I found it endearing to see Prince Charles escorting his mother down the aisle. It also makes me think about how one day he will be the one wearing the crown.
This is obviously a polarising choice of hat so here is my take on The Queen’s appearance.
I like the colour: it goes well with the gilt and splendour of the surroundings. It shows up well in real life and on TV even though the colour is deeper on some monitors
I like the style of dress: the way it opens to show the matching print is attractive when The Queen has to sit “on display” for a longish period. The buttoned up top is attractively neat and more slimming than many of her State dresses.
I like the hat: the fact that is covered in the same material as the dress gives it a unified look in my book. The flowers are whimsical /frivolous but don’t strike me as cheap or homemade. The shape reads “floral crown” to me.
I think the comparison with the European flag is silly social media speak. The Queen who wore peach to the Olympic Opening Ceremony to avoid showing preference to and/or offending any with her colour choice is unlikely to make such an overt and childish political statement.
I LOVE the fact that The Queen at 91 is still dressing in bold colours and has the ability to shock. After the shock and with good photos from different angles I suspect that more may come to like this hat. That photo you posted from Stephen Jones is a corker in my view.
I find the silk jacquard quite regal enough – it’s a luxurious evening-wear style fabric – and I love the simplicity and added formality of matching the hat fabric to the coat.
However the flowers are completely lost against the shiny fabric, because they are too matte. I feel this hat is much improved when I block out the flowers and imagine a very simple bow or other trim in a shiny material, so as to let the fabric have pride of place.
But what I am really struggling with is the colour scheme. Not one, but TWO of the three primary colours together – primary blue and primary yellow – frankly I find it garish, even cartoonish, especially in the context of an historic building with such a beautiful textured and rich interior. Strong colour is understandable if HM is to be viewed from a kilometre away. But for an indoor event, it’s overkill – especially given what HM usually wears for the event, which is all white. Her white gowns are more than dazzling enough against the darker colours of the inside of parliament, even against the gold throne. Could HM not have worn one of her white evening gowns, with a white hat whipped up by AK? that would be classic court dress. I can only assume that protocol did not permit such an outfit. Nevertheless, if ordinary daywear was, as indeed it seems, deemed the best alternative, it would have been nice to have seen some nod to the past and to tradition, in the form of an all white ensemble.
It’s late her in SoCal but I would like to add my two cents. The color is awesome, the jacquard weave is beautiful but the hat is a miss for me. I was very glad to see the Prince of Wales with her Majesty but hope that the next opening of Parliament goes back to the regular format. I miss the white dress, the jewels and the robes. Best wishes to the Duke of Edinborough. At his age, ANY hospitalization is serious (I’m a registered nurse).
The color is really pretty! 🙂
I’m sorry I must be the odd one out but I love this hat and entire outfit I think it is very appropriate for this event. I was surprised to see these photos this morning when I was expecting to see Royal Ascot hats as had forgotten about the Opening of Parliament. Maybe it was the surprise of the unexpected but my first thought was Queen looked wonderful and very Regal as does Prince Charles.
I think this gorgeous blue fabric with the heavy pattern is a extremely Regal as is the contrastingly deep yellow gold on her dress and the centre of the flowers on the hat. I think the richness of HM outfit looks great in the ornate furnishing of Parliament.
What also make for a particularly Regal and appropriate outfit for the occasion is the fact that the dress and coat is slightly longer than what she usually wears, this was something that struck me when I first saw the pictures. The longer length of the dress and coat was probably also a practical consideration given the fact she would be sitting most of the time.
I also agree with the comment re. the approach to this outfit and the style of outfit Japanese Royals wear for such formal occasions.
Just thought I’d add it maybe because I am not British that I have had a different view of this outfit and the wearing of a hat for the Opening of Parliament. I do not have the connection or feelings of nostalgia for the traditions of this event so don’t find the change as jarring. Also not living in Europe (I am Australian) the potential political message of HMs choice of colour for her ensemble completely escaped me.
I just feel sad. I don’t like change.
A little shocked by the queen’s ensemble for opening Parliament. There’s nothing really wrong with it, barring one or two excess flowers, but it looked like a lovely elderly lady had wandered in by error to read the Queen’s speech. Lovely fabric and color, but not somehow fitting for the occasion, an exceedingly rare situation in the queen’s case. (Although many times more comfortable than the usual attire, I am sure.) I do hope that the Duke of Edinburgh is on the mend soon–thank goodness the Prince of Wales was there to support her.
I can’t think of anything nice to say about this hat either and agree that it looks like a craft project gone wrong. Heavy fabric and the less said about those flowers the better.
Odd how differently one can view an outfit. I liked it when I first saw it (admittedly before reading everyone else’s criticisms). I like the style of the hat. It appears to be at least similar to, of not exactly, the Square Crown and Cuffed Brim AK hat. Its trim is limited to one set of repeated blue feather flowers with yellow heads. There are no additional, competing angles or curly-cues. Since the coat is patterned, I’m glad that the hat at least has the same pattern rather than a different pattern. Even a straw or sinamay would have created a clash of patterns, in my opinion. Most of Queen’s Elizabeth’s coats are solid color, many solid texture. This is different. This coat’s lining appears to match the dress. What I am puzzled by is why the jacquard was not matched in front (and probably not in the back either, although I haven’t seen it up close). Pick one set of curly-cues for the center, then work outwards symmetrically. That might give the outfit a more unified, less busy appearance.
By now, however, most US press account are about the EU flag symbol in the hat’s decorations rather than about anything else. Can’t see a picture of the hat without a picture of the flag appearance next to it.
Japanese ladies from the Imperial family often wear matching silk hats and suits/dresses, and it works well for them !
And IT IS a great color ! What goes wrong with the hat maybe the fact that it stands a little heavy on HM’s head. And too many flowers ?
Good point. The Imperial royal hats are not usually as heavily patterned as this one. They also look much ‘quieter’ in their pastel hues.
It’s a lovely color on HM, this delphinium blue. But that’s all I’ve got in regards to the hat. It’s one of Angie’s worse efforts. But given all the insanity of the schedule changes lately, maybe this was the best she could do given that a “new” ensemble would be expected for both the State Opening and Ascot.
I don’t hate it!!
I like the strong blue and (as a Europhile Brit!) I feel about laughing that it’s been seized upon as been a pro EU statement. It isn’t of course, but that is so funny.
I think had the hat been straw everyone would be more on board, as it’s a lot of patterned fabric. I agree it has a bit of a homespun look to it, but I don’t think it’s Ms Kelly’s worst.
Also as a Europhile Brit, I can’t help thinking the hat’s similarity to the EU flag was NO coincidence. I don’t think the Queen does things by accident….
Nice color – but ick to the hat!
I’m sticking with MrFitzroy in liking the colour of HM’s hat and dress.
Really fascinating comments from readers, though!
Here in the US, the television networks covered the Quuen’s hat on the national nightly news!!
What a ghastly disaster. AK tries and sometimes succeeds, alas not this time!
When I first saw this ensemble, quite early this morning, RexFeatures, posted only 3 pictures, and my immediate reaction (NO coffee yet!) was WOW! what a beautiful color – have I mentioned my love for blue? I thought it was very regal and appropriate. . . .then I woke up. I still love everything about it (politics aside) except the decorations – HQ said it best as a “craft project.” But, on reflection, back in November of 2015, I recall being in the minority with my “thumbs up” on the following ensemble. It’s very lonely in my world sometimes.
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HA! That’s what I love about reading comments- we all see these things differently. From what you all have said, I have come around to liking the scale and colour of this hat. Like the one you posted, I think this once would have been vastly improved with a straw brim.
Awful hat – so heavy in its design and the flowers are awful. I do wish HM would stick with RTM!
It’s interesting- I can’t think of a single royal who wears only one milliner. I think working with two or more gives a bit of variety to the hats.
Overall I thought this was actually a good showing for HM! What I don’t care for is the jacquard fabric covering the hat; simple parasisal or sinamay in this shade of blue would’ve been a much better choice of material for the hat. The color is gorgeous for HM.
Turning to the event itself: the fact the Opening of Parliament changed dates and style very quickly didn’t give a whole lot of time to come up with a completely new hat and outfit (which we all knew she would do), especially in the middle of the busiest time of year for British millinery (not to mention a very busy time for HM as well). Therefore, I’m not surprised this wasn’t her best look ever. Also, HM could be making a subtle political statement, but that is pure speculation on our part as we all know she is very devoted to her duty as being impartial. The flowers in the hat may look like the EU flag, but they tie in with the dress under her coat, which obviously is much more yellow (anyone watching HM’s outfits like we do on here will know this is a staple of how she dresses, so it’s not unusual). Personally, I think HM was put in a very difficult position personally and professionally (especially at 91), and she did her best to work with a very rushed situation in the midst of everything else happening in the U.K. recently.
Well, the color is a rather nice-ish shade of blue…..That’s all MrFitzroy can offer.
Also interesting, and requiring scrolls back and forth among photos, it appeared initially that perhaps HM had worn the same dress under both coats– which would make sense, she just swapped out the coats and hats (and brooches). But no, on closer examination, while they are very similar blue and yellow print dresses…and, likely, either dress -could- be worn with either coat, they are not the same print, though MrFitzroy would bet that the dresses are exactly the same pattern/cut..
What a curious day, on oh so many levels.
To make this hat even more curious, the Queen changed her outfit between the Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot. First, I find that absolutely incredible that she had/took the time to completely change her outfit whilst traveling from London to Windsor, hosting luncheon at the castle, then making her way to Ascot for the royal procession – all at 91 years old! Second, who changes clothes that often?!?! Third, if she was indeed going to have different outfits for the two occasions it seems she would have worn something with more gravitas at the Opening (not sure what that would have been though). I love the jacquard fabric for the coat but there is just too much of it when the hat has the same fabric. There is a lot going on with that fabric (I could have understood a simple blue dress of the same color under the coat because even the peaks we saw of the dress made it a bit too much as well.)
That woman is amazing! (And I would have lost my bet on her hat color – yet again!)
So what do you think- was it coincidence that this ensemble happened to be in the same colours as the EU flag?
Her Majesty The Queen does not make political statements (unless she does!)
HA! Well known milliner Stephen Jones just posted this
I haven’t kept up with all the politics in the UK, and which parties supports which approach for Brexit. (Heaven knows we have enough to worry about on this side of the pond.) But the EU will in any case continue to be an important ally and trading partner for the UK. So, what if we read these colors as a gesture of continued cooperation and friendship rather than an overt political statement?
I’ve seen a lot of comments trying to turn this hat into a political statement by the Queen since the color scheme and the yellow center of the flowers are reminiscent of the EC flag. I doubt that the Queen had such a statement in mind. But the fact that people are even thinking of such an interpretation shows how heated the political climate in the UK is.
That said I find the hat itself okay – it’s the flowers I don’t like (not for political reasons). They look artificial maybe because the blue of the petals is too matching.
Love the brooch.
I’m afraid someone else will have to come up with something positive. Maybe our standard, “It’s a great color for HM”? The jacquard looks luscious. It might have made a pretty band on a straw hat.
So let’s move on….nothing to see here.
Some people online have pointed out that the hat resembles the EU flag and they think the Queen was trying to make some sort of statement. I enjoyed reading resulting discussion of “what is she trying to say?” immensely.
Oh goodness, news organizations are starting to pick up on the Queen’s ‘controversial’ hat.
While there are those who continue to decry all the pomp and circumstance isn’t it the way we mark who we are and our long history. I feel an unexpected sense of “loss”. For me the hat in no way meets the occasion. I am not sure what I was expecting and have no suggestions. However this hat is a beautiful colour if the violet blue of my monitor is true. The fabric and floral trim are also very pretty. HM looks lovely overall as she typically does but this says Garden Party to me rather than the opening of Parliament. I look forward to others’ thoughts.