Cheltenham Festival: Day 1

The royal hat annual calendar leads each year to the pinnacle middle of June, where, after enjoying Trooping the Colour and the Order of the Garter, we gorge ourselves in the millinery fantasies and flops worn to Royal Ascot. One highlight on our yearly journey toward this zenith is the Cheltenham Festival, a five day racing event that ushers us from the end doldrums of winter toward spring. Today, the 2018 Cheltenham Festival began.

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Princess Anne, who rarely misses these races, attended today in her repeated grey felt cloche with square crown  trimmed with an overlapping triple pleated black hatband, side spray of feathers and overlapping feather overlay over the downward facing brim. It’s not my favourite hat in Anne’s wardrobe (it’s certainly into feather overload territory) but somehow, it works. And that’s not just because it looks wonderful in comparison to the utterly battered fedora worn by Andrew Parker-Bowles.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Dec 25, 2017

Zara Tindall, who is expecting her second child, wore a sleek grey fedora embellished simply with layered turquoise and dark teal Petersham ribbon hatbands. It’s not the statement hat we often see Zara wear at this event but the hat makes a chic statement for this first day of racing. The two toned hatband is a particularly wonderful detail.

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Designer: Goldust Milliner. It is the “Emma” design from the winter fedora collection
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Thoughts about these first two hats at this year’s Cheltenham Festival?
If there are any non-royal hats worn at this racing event that you’d like to share, by all means, share them in the comments!
Photos from Getty as indicated

17 thoughts on “Cheltenham Festival: Day 1

  1. I think Princess Anne has smashed it. As a new follower of royal hats, I haven’t seen it before, and I’m a REALLY big fan.

    I note Zara’s little Art Deco style brooch – interconnected diamond and triangle shape. Is that a piece that indicates something about her status at the races, or is it her own jewelry? I’d love to know.

  2. Love both of these. Anne’s has to be an Angela Kelly surely? It has her heavy hand plus the overplayed feathers are alike to the golden one she has. Trim the side feathers and it’s a winner. Her outfit is very well put together.

    Zara is uncharacteristically subdued but it’s wonderful. She looks very chic.

  3. Leaving aside the hats for a moment (though I agree, Princess Anne’s hat is a winner), I am slightly disturbed by the way ladies, royal and otherwise, insist on wearing stiletto heels while pregnant. Surely, if there’s one time you don’t want to risk catching your heel (in the turf, a cobblestone, a grate or what have you) and falling, that would be it?

  4. While the feathers on the brim might be too much (although they don’t bother me personally), I still really like this one for Anne; the shape flatters her well, and the grey is a nice color that will pair with almost anything. But my word, Andrew Parker-Bowles needs a new hat STAT!

    Zara’s fedora is definitely more subdued than her usual percher cocktail hats, but I like this one, and it will easily work for many occasions and with many outfits. I’m not as thrilled with her outfit, but she gets a pass due to her pregnancy. Mike looks quite sharp in his tweed 3-piece suit, although a chocolate or navy fedora would top it off nicely.

    You’ve already featured a few of my favorite hats from Day 1 (Francesca Cumani was definitely my top choice!), but here’s a slideshow of a few more I enjoyed:
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    The fourth one is not necessarily a standout hat, but the color coordination without being matchy really caught my eye.

    • The hats on the two ladies in the second shot work really well, both together and apart. Elegant, simple and not so audacious that people groan when they see you approaching.

      I also really like the 5th shot with the blue and pink blossom ornament. I’d like to see how well it works without the vertical straw, and maybe with smaller hoops.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. Holy Cow! That 2nd non royal hat is something else! I quite like Princess Ann’s hat – however, I would give the topper feather grouping a trim to make it more bunched and lower.

  6. HQ, you’ve really picked two beautiful green hats – maybe because St. Patty’s Day is Saturday! BTW, as an aside, last August I was shopping for some greatly reduced clothes, and asked the customer ahead of me in line if she thought the green shirt blended with the green shorts. She told me that ANY green blends with any other green. I asked her to hold my spot in line, and I promptly returned the shirt to its rightful place! (In the process, I almost tripped on her white walking stick!) As for the fantastic, festive, feathered feat of fancy, I fear you finally found a hat which is even more difficult to wear while climbing in and out of a car than the infamous “Royal Flush” at a wedding several years ago!

  7. My pick for top non-royal hat of the day goes to ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani in this loden green teardrop percher with crin and luminous peacock feather trim by Jane Taylor. Yes, I see that the green shades on the hat and the lapels of her jacket do not match but I don’t care- the hat is STUNNING.

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  8. Two other non royal hats that caught my eye today (the top one’s designer is unknown, the green fedora is from Juliette Botterill Millinery):
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