Readers’ Pick: Top Repeated Royal Hats of 2017

In 2017, we saw 390 repeated royal hats (not counting military uniform hats, casual sports hats or embellished headbands) step out for a variety of different public events including state visits, family celebrations, racing events, charity visits, memorials and regular daytime engagements. Each month, you named your favourite designs and from here, we assembled a list of eleven semi-finalists. You cast your votes and a clear winner emerged. Without further ado, here are the your top choices and winner of Top Repeated Royal Hat Design of 2017.

Duchess of Cornwall’s pale blue straw upsweep with large rose by Philip Treacy worn at Ascot June 21


Sep 29, 2017 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats

Countess of Wessex’s blue swirled straw percher with crin flowers by Jane Taylor worn Sep 29


Oct 5, 2017 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats

Countess of Wessex’s  natural straw saucer with lattice brim and coral feather by Jane Taylor worn in Brunei Oct 5


Mar 21, 2017 in Susanne Juul | Royal Hats

Crown Princess Mary’s black Susanne Juul hat with tall felt crown, straw brim & feather quills on Mar 21



Crown Princess Masako’s dark burgundy hat with double hatband worn Dec 5
Dearest readers, you often surprise me (something I adore!) and I must admit I didn’t foresee an Imperial royal hat walking away with this title! I’ll also admit that this is not my pick for this award, as beautiful as it is. For those of you who voted for Crown Princess Masako’s burgundy felt hat – what was it about this design that made it stand out for you above the others?
Jump over to this post to see all eleven finalists and the poll results and stay tuned later today to see your pick for favourite new royal hat last year.
Photos from  Mark Cuthbert and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; The British Monarchy;   Patrick van Katwijk and Asahi Shimbun via Getty   

39 thoughts on “Readers’ Pick: Top Repeated Royal Hats of 2017

  1. I’m sorry, but Masako’s hat is awful. It’s just so bad. It’s a breath of fresh air in the context of the Imperial family, but it’s lines are quite dated, the color manages to look sort out f sickly despite being saturated, the proportions make it look as though her head is squished (I suspect that anemic curve of the brim is to blame)…I could go on, but really, it’s a bad, bad hat.

  2. The wonderful Tom and Lorenzo like to say that the trifecta is the right ensemble on the right person for the right time. Rather than focus on technical millinery workmanship, I’m looking for TLo’s trifecta, applied to hats–which hat elevates its ensemble into a wow moment. Masako was a “Wow!” for me, in large part because her hat was perfect for that woman and that ensemble, for that event. The saturated purple color contrasted beautifully with the burgundy of her suit. The hat trim was an elegant tie-in. The brim width and shape were flattering. A simple hat can deliver high impact.

    To prove the fickleness of fashion: I adored Zara’s high level of difficulty hats that no mere mortal could wear. I voted for it in the new hats poll but I guess I was in the minority on that one.

    • Great points. I also loved Zara’s blue velvet button percher- it was a “Wow!” for me, too! But, as you say, it clearly wasn’t a “Wow!” for everyone. It’s not often that a single hat gets a “Wow!” from every one of us, not even the ones that win the polls (as proven here!).

      • In my opinion, Zara’s blue percher is an excellent example of what most have been saying about looking at the whole package, not just the standalone hat. I liked Zara’s percher — I thought it was interesting and well-designed. But I didn’t like it on her!

  3. Hat controversy, how delicious! I didn’t vote for the winning hat because my criteria don’t include whether I could wear it but rather, for me, it’s about those marvellous concoctions of millinary art that I could *never* wear. Masako looks lovely but to me it’s not an outstanding hat in terms of its craft.
    However, taste is subjective and democracy means that the majority wins, whatever the minority may think. Tough luck, in other words.
    Two of the top five are hats I did vote for and another that I was close to voting for so I’m not unhappy with the overall result.

  4. Wow, I haven’t been on this blog that long, but I can’t recall such a controversy before! Since I’m one of those who voted for Masako’s burgundy hat, I figure I ought to put in my two cents. I did NOT vote for this hat because the princess was smiling. I did however vote for it based not just on the hat as a freestanding object, but on the overall styling of her outfit that day – the suit, the hair, the jewelry, as well as the hat itself. We mention these things in our daily discussions of each hat that appears, as well as the appropriateness of a hat for a particular occasion or locale, so it does not seem inappropriate to take them into consideration when choosing a favorite in a poll.

    The eleven finalists were all wonderful hats, each representative of the unique style of the wearer, and we would have been quite surprised to see many of them worn by another royal with a totally different style. Indeed, some of them would have looked quite out of place worn by any ordinary woman anywhere who wasn’t a royal, unless she were attending Ascot or the Kentucky Derby. The issue is not whether my sister could or could not buy the same hat in a local department store, or whether the chosen hat is relatively plain, yet still somewhat daring for the style constraints of that princess’s particular society — the issue is whether that hat, combined with all of the other factors (hair, outfit, etc) pleased the voters the most.

    It’s also interesting to note that the hat that came in second (Crown Princess Mary) was just as plain, and was in fact a black hat worn to a funeral, and yet nobody seems to be complaining about that choice.

  5. I voted for Masako’s hat (among others) because I thought it was a good hat, and I was glad to see a Japanese hat in the running. Masako wore this hat very well and seems very comfortable in it; this combo was the main reason for me to vote for it. A hat can look good on a shelf, but not good on a person, and vice versa. So yes, a person can make or break a hat, and therefore one can (and should) vote beyond just the hat itself.

    The fact so many people are complaining and saying it’s a pity vote is atrocious, and frankly, seems a bit racist to me. That has never been said about any other hat or hat wearer on here. So many times Crown Princess Mary and the Countess of Wessex are fawned over even when they wear plain/simple hats, and yet when a Japanese princess gets chosen as a winner, so many people are upset and make that very clear?

    Please, enjoy the fact we get so many awesome hats to look at and appreciate.

    • I echo Eliza’s wise words that I don’t think anyone has meant harm here.

      I also want to say that what makes a hat spectacular is somewhat elusive- it’s a combination of the design and construction of the hat itself, certainly, but the most beautiful hat will fall short if it is paired with the wrong outfit on the wrong person or at the wrong event. I have long thought that Princess Beatrice’s famous pink hat at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding would have had a completely different response if she had worn it to Ascot instead.

      It is also clear from almost all comments here that Crown Princess Masako’s hat stirred something in us- how it looked on her, at this event, with her burgundy suit yielded a strong, collective “She looks great!” and that is enough to make the hat a worthy winner.

    • I also wanted to say that when I pulled these polls together, I was ELATED to see an Imperial royal hat in both of them, as well as a hat worn by Princess Anne. These women, in particular, get their fair share of millinery criticism here and it was so wonderful to see that beautiful hats they wore last year were recognized as such. Both polls saw hats of all different shapes and styles, worn by royal women of all ages. That diversity is one of the things I love most about watching royal hats and I’m always proud when it is reflected here.

    • I think your comment about people not liking the result because of race is in poor taste. Also, I haven’t noticed anyone ‘fawning’ over particular royals – and that is from someone undecided on the place of monarchy in the 21st century. I come here to look at hats and enjoy comments from around the globe that don’t bring up The End of the World. Royal Hats is a sanctuary and a tonic. Racism, as far as I can recall, has *never* raised its ugly head here. So please don’t be the first to do so.

      • OK everyone- TAKE A DEEP BREATH.

        And now take another one.

        Now here goes.

        It is ALWAYS good to question if racism is present. That is how we eliminate it. I don’t think it has been a major issue here at Royal Hats and I will do my darnedest to keep it that way.

        That being said, I don’t think comments here have meant harm. We have touched on a complicated topic- what constitutes beauty? It’s completely subjective (as we’ve heard from just about every comment!) and complicated. I have long struggled with this very question when it comes to discussing the Imperial royals’ fashion because the discussion imposes western sensibilities and lenses on them. Would it be easier not to include them? YES! But I have long felt the Imperial royals were ignored in royal watching circles- something I’m proud to say is changing. I like to think that their regular coverage here on Royal Hats has aided this a little. As I look at coverage of Imperial royal hats over the past year there has certainly been critiques but there has been compliment and, I think, fair evaluation. Let’s please extend that fair evaluation here.

        I’ll leave discussion about ‘fawning’ for another time- I will just say that I see it a lot. We all have royals whose styles we prefer and that bias does come into play. Part of why I try to keep discussion here focused on hats is to keep this in check.

        Admiring fashion will ALWAYS be subjective. That’s why it’s important to do our best to listen to each other, first and foremost. Comments here are usually filled with consideration, graciousness and respect. Let’s make sure this conversation retains all three.

  6. Nope, not getting it either. It’s a perfectly alright hat, serviceable and quite elegant; but I want fun and high fashion! Sophie’s straw saucer was the one for me (she had a good year didn’t she!)

    • Agreed. I could buy this hat off the peg in any department store. It won because Masako got pity votes. You could sit on either of Sophie’s hats and they’d still be better than this.

  7. Wow, I voted for the countess of Wessex straw saucer, but had that burgundy hat as my second choice as it’s stunning, bold and can be used again and again on numerous occasions.

  8. I agree with HatQueen about Princess Masako’s hat. I am surmised to see it as the winner. The other hats come across as more elaborate and soffiaticated. Yet, considering the styles of the imperial family, this hat is almost as modern as the one the Countess of Essex wears in the royal British family.

    • When you consider that Princess Masako’s hat is at least 21 years old, the fact that it is seen as modern today is a testament to its design. Perhaps another reason to consider it a worthy winner here?

  9. I voted for #5 but am not surprised by Princess Masako for the win. I like to evaluate a hat’s success as part of the overall presentation and that naturally includes the wearers clothing, jewelry, hair and accessories. The CP was VERY well put together and her hatband matched her coat and enhanced the hat, The same for the Duchess of Cornwall’s hat and coat which was pale blue perfection for me; that’s why I voted for it!

    • I voted for this one because
      1) the colour is beautiful
      2) the shape is very elegant and the dip in the brim makes it a bit more informal
      3) the hatbands jazz it up and really set off the hat
      4) it looks fabulous on Princess Masako
      5) it’s the kind of hat you could wear a lot of different places. I look at a lot of those Ascot hats and I can’t think of a single other place you could wear them where they didn’t look silly. #1 is beautiful on Camilla but if I wore that to church for Easter everyone would look at me and wonder if I had sat on it and think I was crazy
      6) it’s the only hat here I like enough to want for myself

      It is very good to see Princess Masako “working” again but that wasn’t the reason I voted for this hat.

      • Thanks for your reply, Joanne. I appreciate all the thoughtfulness that goes into how you and others interact here at Royal Hats.

        Your comment about wearing an upsweep ‘slice’ brim to church gave me a much needed fit of the giggles. Thank you!

  10. I think that many of us voted but for this hat for several reasons. It is a real break out for the Imperial Family to have such a relatively dramatic, deep-coloured hat, and many of us were pleased to see this change, but I think many of us (and I include myself here) were just very happy to see the Crown Princess looking happy and well. So for me it was a vote for the hat, but also a vote for the wearer, something that usually doesn’t come into play for my decisions. Am I right?

    • If you are right, I feel completely betrayed and maniuplated. Why are you voting for the person wtih the best smile or who you are happy to see looking well? It’s good that everyone is happy to see Princess Masako again but his poll was for a HAT not a person.

      It’s a nice hat but it was NOT the best repeated hat last year.

      At least the other poll wasn’t a sham.

      • I agree completely.. I can’t believe people voted for Masako’s smile. Are you freaking kidding me? THIS WAS ABOUT HATS. Not smiles. HATS.

        This was 100% NOT the best hat last year. All of the other top 5 are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better.

        • Manhattan- you are completely entitled to your opinion about this hat. It wasn’t my top choice here, either. But it is the winner and, from the comments here, people were clearly thoughtful in their consideration of it. Let’s just dial back the drama a bit.

      • Janae- Let’s take this back a notch- commenters here are saying they considered the hat AND the person. I’ve looked back over your past comments of them- many strongly indicate that you do the same. I’d be happy to send some to you, if you like.

    • I’m with you, Glitter Girl. I voted for that hat because I really liked it, but my pleasure in seeing CP Masako doing so well can’t help but color my decision. I smile whenever I see a photo of her looking so at peace and happy.

    • I understand that people have a lot of empathy for Princess Masako and I want to be understanding but I’m a bit disappointed that some votes went for the wearer and not for the hat. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference (between a person and a hat) and I’ve always thought everyone here was really fair and respectful about their hat critiques and I don’t think anyone meant any harm.

      HatQueen, how do you feel about this?

      • It is sometimes difficult to separate a hat from the person wearing it- part of a hat being successful is how it flatters its wearer.

        That being said, polls are clearly meant to choose a favourite hat, not a favourite royal. I can’t always choose a photograph where the wearer is smiling – I always go with the photo that shows the hat off best. Reading here that some voted based on one particular wearer’s smile is disheartening but it is clear from the comments that this was not the only criteria they used to choose this hat. Based on that, the results stand as they are, even if I’m not completely in agreement!

  11. I did select Crown Princess Masako’s as my first choice because it appeared to be less traditional in style and color than what the Imperial women normally wear. Also, I loved the deep color of the hat and the warm smile of the Crown Princess won me over.

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