Researching Queen Mary’s Milliners

 British author Tim Symonds (acclaimed author of the Sherlock Holmes series) recently wrote to me with a request for royal hat assistance. He is setting a new novel series between the years of 1916 and 1920 and is researching who the milliners to Queen Mary were during these years, as well as where their millinery workshops were located. This question stumped me- can any of you help? Please share any information in the comments below.

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Photos from Getty as indicated

20 thoughts on “Researching Queen Mary’s Milliners

  1. Try Angrave at Queensway Bayswater. A business established by my great grandmother Annie Angrave and her sister. The business had a royal warrant by 1908 as it is mentioned in Bidecker’s guide and would appear to have held the warrant in 1925 although by then Great grand mother and Her sister had died.

  2. My husbands maiden great aunts , two sisters, surname Sweetman , last heard of living in Royal Tunbridge Wells where a seat in the Pantiles was dedicated to them , were milliners to Queen Mary in fact the whole Sweetman family were seamstresses and my husband remembers as a child a quilt made up of pieces left over from hat making . We can research their first names if that could be a help

  3. In that last photo of Queen Mary she appears to be wearing Cullinan’s III and IV at her throat! I wonder where she was going. I was going to suggest the social pages of old newspapers for news of hats and clothes.

  4. The official biography of Queen Mary speaks of Yanda being the “court milliner” during Queen Mary’s reign. She worked closely with Mrs. Handley-Seymour who made most of the royal dresses. Apparently King George was very particular about dress and millinery style for his wife.

  5. LJ is to be congratulated. The question posed sent me off for a couple of hours research and the results were interesting but unproductive. We’ll look forward to the book/mystery and TV series!!

  6. Wow! Impressive work by LJ!
    Will look forward to the book by Mr. Symonds.
    And, would love to see a RoyalHats series about Queen Mary’s hats? They can’t compete with her jewelry, but it would still be fun.

  7. Does this mean he is writing a historical mystery that involves a royal hatmaker?. YES PLEASE!!! Where can I preorder?!?!?! And when can Masterpiece Theatre make it into a movie?!!!!! SO EXCITED.

    So glad you’re back HQ. The world was sad and depressing without my daily dose of Royal Hats. And girl- you really need to catch up on the polls.

  8. I’ve been thinking about this a lot- I’m not sure they made hats specifically for Queen Mary but Lock and Co. Hatters have been in the millinery industry in London since 1676 and Christy’s London since 1773. Both have made hats for the royal family and I suspect could help with some knowledge of what was happening in the millinery industry during the years around WWi.

    • Research is such fun. Suggestions: The Royal Cetemonial Dress Collection; The Costume Society; The Fashion Museum in Bath; London Business Directories from your time period; Illustrated Magazines; Queen Mary’s Dress Books which are probably held at the Royal Archives

      • Additionally from my collection: A Hundred Years of Royal Style by Colin McDowell. Appendix A discusses Royal Warrant Holders. In 1914 the milliners to Queen Mary with the Royal Warranr were Mrs A.J. Betts, London; Madame Frederic, London; Maison Nouvelle, London. In 1925, Angrave Limited, London; Mrs A.J. Betts, London.

        Contacting the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association would allow you to research in greater depth

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