Hats From the Past

Royal Hats to July 24, 1986 and a royal visit to the Shetland Islands that saw not only a polka dotted open crowned hat (memorable in its own right) but also, a spectacular winged Viking helmet. I didn’t remember ever seeing this design on the Princess of Wales before- do any of you?

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Photos from Getty as indicated

16 thoughts on “Hats From the Past

  1. Ok, I’ll be in the minority, but I don’t hate it. As a whole, her outfit makes sense. The hat works with the suit. Sometimes an open crown is just an interesting variation….

  2. As I was reading the post with the polka dot hat I was thinking of the Vancouver outfit. Both interesting choices and quite fashion forward at the time.

  3. Well that’s interesting, and yes it had passed me completely by. Very 80s, somewhat fabulous.

    And this was the day after Andrew and Fergie’s wedding – a busy few days!

  4. What she said! I am also with you, SalannB and shannon conley about loving the beige suit with the polka dots, but not the missing crown. I do like the open crowned hat better than this black stretchy thing above. That just ruins the great monochrome suit!

  5. Thanks for the correction, HatQueen, I missed that one, and I must say that to me, that side view (the top one of your two photos) just emphasizes what a silly looking style it is — more like one of those wide stretchy hairbands worn in the wrong place than a hat!

    P.S. In the 1980s, I was part of a group that did for Diana’s clothes what you do now for hats (designer, previously worn, opinions, etc), but we did it via snail mail, mailing large envelopes of lists and comments and photos around to each other round-robin fashion. Thank goodness the internet was invented!

    • It’s interesting- I remember the 1986 Canada tour first, because it’s when I met the Prince and Princess as a youngster, and second, because my mother bought a souvenir book filled with photographs. We all thought Diana’s outfits were spectacular and it’s only now, having archived many of her hats, that I realise she wore most of them months earlier on a tour of Italy. The Italian tour would never have made news in Canada and we all thought her outfits were all new, just for us! The internet has certainly changed royal fashion watching!

  6. I love her suit and the subtle polka dot, I just wish it weren’t open crown. I somehow can’t rid myself of neverending distaste for them.

  7. I can’t be sure if I actually remember this hat but I certainly don’t recall the open crown and polka dots. Diana was a stylish woman who experimented in the early years to find her niche.

    • 1986 was certainly Diana’s year for polka dots! If you look at this Pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/matthew951/diana-1986/ , you will see another outfit where the matching hat was equally dotted. (I’m pretty sure photos 2, 4, and 5 are all the same outfit, looking like different colors from the photography or the lighting — numbers 1 and 3 were Andrew and Sarah’s wedding, which JamesB already mentioned, but in that case the hat is not dotted.

      And if you look at this one https://www.pinterest.com/matthew951/Royal-Multiples/ , you will see yet another combo of polka dotted dress and hat from the Epsom Derby in June 1986, worn again at Ascot in either 1987, 1988, or 1992, depending on which caption you believe — I haven’t yet had a chance to research it.

  8. Thank you for this one, HatQueen! Showing my age, but I actually remember that Shetland Islands visit from when it actually occurred. Diana wore a lot of interesting hats in 1986, but I’m pretty sure no other open-crowned ones, and I could not find any other repeats of this outfit with or without the hat. Interestingly, the polka dots on the hat are so subtle that in some photos, you can’t even see that they’re there, depending on how the light hits it.

    • There was also this, worn during a May 1986 visit to Vancouver
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