Tribute To One Of The Greats

The following notice was posted this morning from John Boyd Hats:

There is nothing more to add, except to admire the creative brilliance of his work over the past seven decades.
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His work and his sparkling personality will be missed. 
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Photos from Getty as indicated

24 thoughts on “Tribute To One Of The Greats

  1. Thanks for the retrospective! Princess Anne’s hats are mostly too far out for me to appreciate, but I love Princess Diana’s hats. They are so delicate and feminine. They were perfect at the time and still look lovely. Such variety too!

  2. His hats for the young Princess Diana really were a huge part of her iconic look. Small, feathered, often in a tricorn shape, they became synonymous with her. But he also helped her diversify a bit too. The hats for Anne really were quite out there; who knew she was so adventurous! So funny that she quite quickly adopted such a utilitarian approach to fashion….

  3. Like many other commenters on this post, it is the Princess Royal’s hats that are a surprise. How wonderful! Mr. Boyd was such a talented milliner. Thank you for the retrospective.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful retrospective Hat Queen. What an extraordinary gentleman Mr. Boyd must have been ! His hats for Princess Anne are certainly witty. I love the one with the tassel at the back and the one with what looks like two silk flying banners.
    His early hats for Princess Diana look very gentle and young. One can’t but think that it must have helped her to find confidence in her new role, at a time when most women of her age did not wear hats at all.

  5. I remember so many of his hats that were worn by Princess Diana. Those are what got me interested in hats. I didn’t realize that Princess Anne wore so many of his hats. Those are some of the nicest hats I’ve seen her wear, and they were very flattering. I wonder if she still has any of them? He certainly created some lovely, memorable hats, and he will be missed.

    • I’m certain HatQueen would have a definitive answer, but as far as I know, John Boyd never created a hat for HM. He did study under Aage Thaarup, who was a milliner for Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother for many years in the 1950s and 1960s.

      • I’ve never seen a hat worn by Queen Elizabeth that was made by John Boyd. He did, however, also make hats for the Duchess of Gloucester, Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

        • Did John Boyd create the “going away” hat that Princess Diana wore? After the wedding she and Prince Charles were riding in an open carriage. It was either pink or salmon colored, tri-corned I believe and matched her dress perfectly. I don’t remember if there was a feather. I can’t find a picture but I do remember it because we are the same age and I certainly wasn’t wearing hats, well, just sun hats when outdoors….

          • Yes, the ‘going away’ hat was a John Boyd design.
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            She repeated it during the 1983 tour of Australia – photos from this second outing give a much better view.
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  6. Thank you HatQueen for this lovely tribute. I was extremely sad to see this post on Instagram today. Out of all the milliners I follow on Instagram, the John Boyd account was one of my favorites as it always brightened my day to see his smiling face in the midst of so many wonderful hats. It was also amazing to see him carrying on faithfully to the craft until the very end. The grey portrait hat worn by Kate was one of my favorites of his in recent years. He will be truly missed.

  7. I recognized John Boyd’s name from this blog, but I had no idea that how prolific he was. It’s impressive to see the variety of royal wearers as well as the variety of styles. His wit is comes out in details like the dragonfly (I think) on the brim of Anne’s in the black and white photo, the position of the feather on Diana’s pale pink, and the floral cascade from Anne’s pale teal pillbox.

    Is the plume-like design on the front of Diana’s royal blue bumper meant to reference the three ostrich feathers?

    Thank you for the splendid retrospective, HatQueen!

  8. John Boyd’s passing is a real loss to the millinery world — his styles were universally clever and fun at the same time as being stylish. I really love that hat on Princess Anne with the artificial insect on it — I had never seen that one before. Thank you so much, HQ, for putting together this great retrospective!

  9. Oh, dear. Such beautiful hats. As previous commenters have noted, Mr. Boyd seems to have had a particularly intuitive understanding of what might flatter Princess Anne. His creative spirit will surely be missed. Thank you for posting this, HatQueen.

  10. On a weird time-era note, I feel like so many of Princess Diana’s hats look too small, as though she’d taken a child’s hat and put it on. They clearly aren’t, that must have just been the style, but any ideas why that happened? I look at hats from the 70s and earlier and they have strange and wonderful shapes that we might call “dated” but they don’t have that weird too-small-ness thing going on.

      • I think you’re right. Looking back they do look small, but at the time they didn’t. Probably, as you say because of the hairstyle. What could be smaller than the fascinators of today (which I despise) – they don’t seem out of place

  11. So many of the Diana hats are one’s I’ve seen before and to my eyes look very much of their time. But many of these princess Anne hats are new to me and altogether glorious for any time! Wowo! My favorites out of this set are:

    Diana: Bright blue with blue bow (over the polka dot dress) and the periwinkle with the veil at the top.

    Anne: TOO MANY! Wow, so many wonderful ones. I especially love the green almost boater-y hat with the white trim, the white and green (almost looks like a bonnet) where the green brocade matches the dress collar, and the aqua pillbox type hat with the profusion of flowers cascading off it. The dark fedora is gorgeous too.

    The hats Princess Michael and the DoCam are wearing are uniformly lovely, really graceful in lines and proportions. Of course they feel more current so perhaps that’s why, but lovely all the same.

    What a loss to the millinery community and how wonderful that we have so many fabulous John Boyd hats! Thanks so much for the retrospective HatQueen!

  12. Those Princess Diana hats. Wonderful, yes. But those Princess Anne hats. Fantastic. I wonder if she has any of them. Quite a few would look quite fetching on her Zara. Remarkable hatmaker. Wonderful man. We will miss you.

  13. I think even non-hat people (yes, there are such people….) would recognize many of these hats..I dare say some of them have a place in history. It does not get better than that!

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