Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to this day in 1930 and a visit to a mission in central London that saw Queen Mary in one of her signature toque hats. The outer brim on this design looks to be covered in a textured, folded fabric reminiscent of origami- an unusual detail that I’d love to see at closer range!

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Photo from Getty as indicated

17 thoughts on “Hat From the Past

  1. What an extraordinary recollection ! I wonder whether the Royal Family were aware of these arrangements, probably not. Still, it must have been nice for the children to be in the front row, at least for those old enough to remember it !

  2. It almost looks as if the brim is decorated with embroidery on the right hand side, but maybe it’s a trick of the light and it is in fact the structure of the fabric.
    What intrigues me, is that the little girls are all wearing short cotton dresses (their Sunday best, no doubt), revealing bare legs, whereas the Queen and her companion are in furs!

    • Yes, Wies Mauduit, I agree about the little girls’ attire, especially since it was February, ie. still winter!
      The children in the front row reminds me of my mother’s experience of being in the crowd during a royal visit. I was with her in a stroller. I was her only child then, and just a year old. We were waiting for The Queen’s motorcade to pass by. One of the policemen at the barrier turned to the crowd and announced “all children are to be brought to the front NOW”. Another policeman picked me up in my stroller, and without a word to my mother, plonked me down somewhere in the front row with all the other children. My mother, who was some rows back, could no longer see me. She was frantic with worry, but the policeman remembered her, and I was eventually returned to her safe and sound.
      Unfortunately I have no recollection of that first view of royalty, or my temporary abduction, but apparently I was quite unfazed.

      • Mcncln: Thanks for the fantastic story. Had I been “abducted” as a child, my mom would have immediately fled to the nearest hat shop in celebration! Only kidding. My closest brush with “royalty” was in 1980 when my mother volunteered downtown at Ronald Reagan’s campaign headquarters. He was a very nice gentleman. We have a close friend (with whom we travelled to Sydney, Oz in 2001) who once sat on Lyndon B. Johnson’s lap when she was a child. Do these count?

        • I once knew a man who told me that as a young child he had been introduced to George Bernard Shaw in 1934. Upon seeing the great man (and his whiskers) the toddler went “baa”.

        • Haha Jimbo; actually, I think they DO count — the “head of State” can be either a monarch — or a President, if the state is a republic.
          I vaguely recall Lyndon B Johnson visiting my home town of Sydney during the Vietnam war. The visit is remembered in this country because of an out-there remark by our state’s Premier, who accompanied LBJ in his limousine in the official motorcade. When their way was blocked by anti-war protesters, our Premier, according to LBJ, urged the chauffeur to “Drive over the bastards!” Luckily for all concerned, the chauffeur did not take the order literally.

        • Thanks for the evocative LBJ visit pics below Jimbo – interesting times! WordPress isn’t allowing me to reply directly to you response so I fear I have digressed too far off-topic.. back to hats! as your comment implies, by that date, hat-wearing was in irreversible decline. The only men still wearing hats with suits back then were police detectives, racing bookmakers, and the elderly. You can see the populace, then as now, preferring to tough out the glaring, cancer-inducing Aussie sunshine with no more protection than a pair of sunglasses.

          • Mcncln:
            1. The following pictures were VERY typical sights in 2001 when I was in Sydney, New Castle, Tasmania, and other places. (MANDATORY UNIFORM!)
            2. It’s a shame we can’t communicate one-on-one, since most people have either moved on from this conversation, or simply aren’t interested!
            3. Rarely do I go out hatless anymore, for the same reason as our Aussie friends.

          • Hi Jimbo, sorry about the late reply! It’s certainly fun to share the many interesting topics which can unfold from one apparently narrow aspect of royal fashion. The pics you linked of the schoolkids in their hats still holds true, but rest assured that as soon as Aussie kids reach high school, teachers decide that enforcing hatwearing on rebellious teenagers isn’t worth the stress, and the kids are let go bareheaded – unless they are in a private school, from which they can be expelled for such a misdemeanor. (Teenagers can’t be expelled from a government school for something as minor as a uniform infringement, as the government, unlike private schools, has an obligation to educate its students, no matter how rebellious they are.)
            I wore a panama school hat throughout my high school years, under threat of detention, although just like my fellow students I mercilessly squashed my poor hat into my school bag whenever I thought I could get away with not wearing it. I remember being envious of a schoolmate whose hat blew off and vanished into Sydney Harbour when our class were all on a ferry trip. That lucky student was the only one who I recall ever having a legitimate excuse to go bare-headed!

        • Jimbo, I love the recollection of your own brush with “royalty” and the friend who sat on LBJ’s lap! My grandfather had the pleasure of meeting Eleanor Roosevelt when she was traveling around the country promoting the purchase of World War II War Bonds, and my grandfather was the chairperson of a local event — he recalled her as being very friendly and gracious to everyone. My own brush with American “royalty” is unfortunately one I do not personally remember — my parents told me that they took me with them to stand on a main street to watch a motorcade go by containing JFK and Jackie Kennedy when he was campaigning for the Presidency, but I don’t remember it at all!

          I was however in the audience at the Brooklyn (NY) Academy of Music for a production of Faust in February 1989, I think it was, when Princess Diana was there in her capacity as patron of the Welsh National Opera. She was in the box at the left of the stage, and in the box at the right was Mrs. Brooke Astor, who was definitely New York royalty at that time. I was seated in the front balcony right behind the Emmanuels and the audience was full of important New Yorkers. It was quite a star-studded evening. But the best part of that day for me was actually earlier in the day, when they were setting up and I was able to get into the building by convincing the security guard that I was a member of the BAM staff, and that was the occasion when I had a very nice (and quite lengthy) chat with Tim Graham, the photographer, as he was setting up his equipment in his designated spot inside the theater.

    • I agree the little ones look like they are in their Sunday best. However bare legs were the norm back then. I remember that as kids in the 50s and 60s – so later than this photograph – we wore ankle socks whatever the weather and then long socks when we reached the ripe old age of 11. No stocking ( tights hadn’t been invented) until at least 14 years old. We must have been tough – and always had cold, red knees!

      • So true Diane – and it was the same for little boys: no long trousers until high school! Boys had to wear shorts regardless of the cold, the only concession being knee socks in winter.
        I can remember my grandmother’s generation saying that it was pointless to dress children in long pants (or tights), because young children invariably rip the knees out of them.

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