Queen Attends Maundy Thursday Service

Queen Elizabeth attended Maundy Thursday service today at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. For this service, at the end of which she distributes traditional Maundy Thursday monies to 92 men and 92 women (for each of her own years of life), she wore a vibrant blue new hat.

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Covered in the same textured blue silk cloque fabric as her coat, the hat features a square crown and downward facing brim with black faux fur wrapped raised kettle edge. The hat is simply trimmed with a hatband covered in the same fabric.
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There is much to like about this ensemble- the open collar links Her Majesty’s floral dress with the ensemble (much more easily than a peek at the hem) and the black cuffs, collar, buttons and brim edging give a punchy contrast that link with the ever present black shoes and purse. The texture on the blue fabric is also lovely… which brings me to my quibbles. Like many fabric covered Angela Kelly hats designed for the Queen, this one is too much of a good thing. The faux fur wrapped kettle brim edge is also clunky- I think it would have been more refined in velvet instead (with velvet cuffs on the coat to match?). I sense that the sharp colour palate of the hat would benefit with sharper execution (like diagonal seams on the faux fur brim edging, a basic technique that leaves the seam barely visible) that we often see in hats made for the Queen by other designers.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: this hat is new
I worry that I am unfairly harsh with Angela Kelly’s work… today’s hat, however, simply doesn’t feel up to snuff. What do you think of this vibrant new design?
Photos from Getty as indicated

41 thoughts on “Queen Attends Maundy Thursday Service

  1. This cornflower-cobalt blue color is beautiful for HM, and while the fur collar and cuffs on the coat seem a little heavy, I definitely still like it overall, and it shows off her lovely dress very well.

    The real problem with this ensemble is the hat. While it is a standard shape that usually flatters HM, this hat suffers like the Opening of Parliament hat last year from too much matchiness with the fabric; the fur brim edge also is clonky and unrefined, and the lack of any trim makes this hat look quite unfinished. If we take away the fur on the hat and add white flowers and black feathers as trim (and maybe a black hatband), I think that would much improve this whole look.

  2. It’s not just you HQ! Angie is inconsistent, some of her hats are lovely but so often she defaults to covering the hat with fabric that is too heavy. Maybe the fur brim was an attempt to do something different, but having the black in the hatband would have been more aesthetically pleasing. And as others have said, the hat seems to be too big like HM has to keep her eyebrows raised to keep it from slipping down too far. I do like the open collar of the coat as I always like to see the dress underneath. The texture of the coat material is lovely as well. but I see that it’s going on the diagonal on the hat and that throws everything off too. I’ve always been fascinated by Maundy Thursday, those lovely bouquets, the little money pouches, the fact that it’s in a different place each year, the Yeoman Warders carrying it all in on huge plates – I love all of it!

  3. In the Queen’s last two hat appearances (one well made and one with issues) I’ve had a vague feeling that the hats were pushing the Queen down. When I read beachgal’s comment I realized that must be what I’m feeling: the hats are just a tad too big. And I guess the reason I had trouble accepting that is that I have always loved the Queen’s big hats, especially the ones with downward sloping brims. But maybe now that the Queen in her advanced age (God bless her) is shorter and a bit hunched, a smaller hat might be better.

    • As we age our spine tends to bend down and becomes kyphotic thus giving the person a “widow’s hump”. Thank goodness that HM doesn’t have a bad case of kyphosis but she does appear to have lost some height and her head is more forward. I know that it’s important to HM that she can be seen well and that accounts for her bright colors and small brimmed hats. I love her best in a smaller hat with a small cartwheel brim. I also like her Rachel Trevor Morgan hats and Stewart Parvin coats better than Angela Kelly’s ensembles but that’s just me.

  4. I agree – the idea is good but it just falls short on the execution. The heavy fabric and the fur trim are a clash, and the hat brim just looks a bit wonky.

    HM has been debuting a lot of new outfits lately, normally she relies on a lot of repeats in the colder weather; I hope we’ll be seeing some old favourites (and some lesser worn favourites) again soon.

  5. I agree, HQ. And when a hat style is as plain as this one, any flaw in the execution is glaring.
    To be honest, the design itself seems lacking in confidence. Given the size of the brim edge, and the big collar and cuffs, the hatband is surprisingly narrow. I see the crown is ever so slightly tilted up to HM’s left, as is the brim — but the subtlety of these features simply give the hat an uncertain air — there is a slightly worn feel, and the hat almost looks accidentally “bumped out of shape”. The usual crisp lines seem to have got a bit lost under all that texture and fur.
    Luckily, the statement coat, which is beautifully proportioned and well made, carries the look – and the hat.
    I do think that great millinery commands attention, and will usually stand up to scrutiny even when it is seen completely separated from its ensemble – but, remove this hat from its coat, and I doubt that it would do either.

  6. I agree with HQ, it might be the angle of the photos especially the last one, but the rim of the hat seems to have a wave in it.

  7. wonder if the collar/cuffs and hat trim might be detachable? could account for the not-quite-up-to-snuff tailoring. or hat making. oh, and a BTW: is there a particular reason for the bouquet to always be of the exact same composition?

  8. HatQueen, you never stray far from hitting the nail, errr Hatpin square on the head. It’s a spot on analysis.
    MrFitzroy has certainly grown to appreciate Mrs. Kelly’s role with HM, and would say in recent years much of what she produces has charm, if not always finesse. HM, lately must have everything viewed though the lens of “She is 92!” and she is never less than nicely turned out, though often in middling ways. She deserves more occasions when she looks ‘spectacular’ rather than ‘very nice, indeed’.
    I think what makes MrFitzroy wince about this outfit (aside from no brooch, but that’s another blog) —is that it is SO CLOSE to being spectacular, the color, the concept….but the devil is in the details, and here three or four of those critical bits fall short.
    I think that is what many find so frustrating at times….that ensembles which could be truly memorable end up being ‘nice’.
    Bless Her Majesty, she does look consistently wonderful in any metric.

    • Mr Fitroy, this is a very measured and accurate opinion on dressing a 92 year old monarch. I imagine that the clothes are made from a standard set of blocks, fitted on the stand and manufactured in a continuum. The passementerie errs on the self trimming/matching side and has become predictable but does conform to the expected norm of Her Majesty’s later wardrobe.
      Ms Kelly’s domination of all choices is evident and I have heard that her influence extends to all millinery choices too. Consequently we no longer see the inspired flourish that Simone Mirman could bring the the royal hats in the 1960s. We were spoilt by all those beautiful watery greens, corals and dazzling turquoise blues that came to represent the middle period of the Queen’s clothes.
      Hats have their own lexicon of fabrics and finishes and the ‘dressmaker’ approach of self fabric has traditionally been frowned upon by the best milliners. Yet modern times decree a different approach and the task of keeping the Queen’s appearance fresh and current seems to be in capable hands.

      • Mr. Rhodes; It is my honour to have you join in the conversation with these fine points. I have been a fan of your work for more than a decade since I first stumbled by your studio on a visit to Australia and was completely wowed by a hat I’ll never forget- black straw with a wide curved saddle brim with white stripes around the underside. I regretted for months afterward that I had not bought it.

        • Thank you, HatQueen. I wonder which space I was operating from then…..I bet I regretted you didn’t buy that hat either. Who doesn’t love a purchase made? I have watched your blog from the sidelines and not commented before. Globalisation allows connection but also comes at a cost. The repetition of hat styles across the world now that everyone can see ‘the trends’ at the click of a button, has become a little tedious. I have high hopes for some originality at the forthcoming Royal Wedding.

      • Mr Rhodes, Thank you for the compliment. What vivid memories your color descriptions bring back — and those iconic colors were set off so beautifully by Her Majesty’s luminous chestnut hair color of the time. This was the era when I first saw HM in person, and it was an indelible impression!

    • mrfitzroyobe – You’ve said what I could not clearly articulate- the Queen always looks good but there seem to be many missed opportunities where her ensemble could have been spectacular.

    • The Queen’s focus seems to be “well put together elderly woman” rather than “memorable” which is a hard to achieve standard.Yes. I would often like to have a few tweaks. Yes. Her hats are not always as beautiful and exciting as in the past or as some others wear. Yes. I can see how the “nice” could be spectacular with a bit more expertise and expenditure from the professionals e.g.Stewart Parvin and Rachel Trevor Morgan rather than her capable but less expert in house dressmakers/milliners. However, I still think from head to toe The Queen is frequently and consistently the best “put together” royal woman we follow on this site. I know the focus here is hats but for me there is no point wearing a beautiful hat if from the neck down is “off” or a hot mess as is the case with many of the younger women. Finally, while her husband, Charles and Anne wear lots of frankly old and sometimes dated clothes the Queen is indeed “fresh and current”. Bless her indeed and her team of helpers

      • Dear Kew Gardens Hatter,
        I agree with your summary. The Queen understands the need to maintain a dignified appearance and has avoided fashion extremities throughout her life. As a woman who has worn 1000s of hats and outfits, I am sure that the Queen has had distinct favourites but has never allowed herself to ‘stay to long at the fair’ with a style. Remember the glamorous 1960s Princess Margaret who seemed later in life to revert to the sweetheart necklines and full skirts of her youth. The Queen’s fashion direction has adhered to the Rolls Royce motto; Proceed. I was thinking too about the much considered fur band on the brim edge. I wondered if the fur had been cut on the bias whether it behaved differently from the coat trimmings. It may have ‘parted’ the fur or even read as a mismatched colour. I have experienced this phenomenon myself and have had to use the fabric on the straight despite a more clumsy looking finish.

        • I am a hat wearer and a hat admirer rather than a milliner so I will take your word on the cut of the trimming. I do think the collar and other trimmings may be of double velvet “plush” rather than fur and dealing with that for a hat band would bring me out in a cold sweat. From observation of milliners and various videos of hat making I know it requires expertise, skill and patience to get right. Chapeau to you all I say. May the magic continue.

    • Yes! Where is the brooch!? I think the collar is too thick and wide which is a sad excuse to skip this honored tradition which we love and have come to expect!

  9. This hat is just way too heavy for HM and possibly a bit too large as well. It overwhelms her. I look at the hat and not her face first. I do love the open collar on the coat however for a change.

  10. For some reason many of HM’s recent hats (e.g. this one and the one she wore to the decommissioning of HMS Ocean) make me think of thickly fondant-ed cakes. Cake is good – but not on your head.
    The colour contrast on this one is nice, but it’s just a bit… eh. No focal point, perhaps?
    Also, isn’t HM 91, not 92 (at least till next month)?

  11. I like it because black contrast trim is very hard to get right and this is perfect. The black velvet touches are in an odd number (5), scaled well in size to the blue fabric and distributed correctly throughout her whole ensemble.

  12. HQ, I think you are right: the faux fur is to heavy a material to be used as trimming on this brim. It also looks as if it may have been cut on the grain, instead of on the bias, witch makes the fabric bulge. It gives the hat an amateurish finish, as Anniewiecks points out. Black velvet, especiacially the silk or silk and viscose variety, would have done the job.

    • I think you’re right about how the faux fur brim cuff was cut. This infuriates me- the most basic of dressmaking techniques includes the importance of cutting bindings on the bias. It’s not a couture technique- it’s a basic one.

      • It seems to be a habit of Ms Kelly, judging from the pictures posted by Jimbo. You can see it clearly when the fabric is patterned.
        As for this hat, the seam in the faux fur is on the side, therefore one may presume there is another seam on the other side. This means that two narrow strips of fabric were used to finish the hat, probably leftovers from the coat. A true milliner would calculate in a different way, making sure to order enough fabric to enable him or her to cut everything, including trimmings, on the bias. (One can exclude shortage of funds or fabric in case of a royal commission.) Of course milliners have been known to perform miracles with little scraps of material, but that needs other ingredients like wit, inspiration or simply talent.

      • I agree with you 100% HatQueen but perhaps it saves fabric if cut with the grain versus cutting on the bias and we do know that HM is a thrifty woman or am I wrong? Please advise. Thank you!

  13. I fear I am more harsh and much more direct—the hat feels overworked and uninspired. I love the color on HM but that’s all the positive commentary I can offer.

  14. HQ, I respectfully disagree with one thing: where HM is concerned, you CAN’T have too much of a good thing. I love the open collar, and the faux fur is a tremendous contrast to the vibrant blue. My only squibble is the fur/silk combination, instead of a fur/wool coat.
    I hope you don’t mind, but looking back at past Maundy Thursdays, I discovered an interesting pattern – this couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.
    Clearly, AK did not get the memo in 2014! Happy Easter, everyone. I can hardly wait ’til Sunday!
    April 9, 2009 and April 1, 2010
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    April 21, 2011 and April 5, 2012
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    March 28, 2013 and April 17, 2014
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    April 2, 2015 and April 24, 2016
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    April 13, 2017
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  15. A lovely colour, as you say, but otherwise, the hat is not in the slightest bit flattering. It looks top heavy and as for the faux fur, the least said the better.
    “A miss for me” as they used to say on Juke Box Jury!

    • The color is lovely on Her Majesty but has no one noticed that the sleeves on the coat appear too long and cumbersome? I love the open collar revealing the dress but feel the trim on the collar is too wide and heavy for the Queen’s frame, so I agree that the detail of the dressmaking is amiss. I don’t mind that the material of the hat matches the coat but the brim detracts and removal of it and replacement with another detail embellishment such as feathers that another commentator mentioned or black flowers on the hat itself would have given the needed balance. See the post on April 2009 above. Overall, the Queen always looks stunning and beautiful and we are merely attempting to elevate her look to spectacular as others have mentioned.

  16. Beautiful color! But, aside from the trimming details HatQueen mentions, I think that the crown of the hat is too large relative to the queen’s head (especially apparent in the full-length photo.) It’s sheerly a matter of personal taste, but I have never liked double-breasted coats on which the rows of buttons are placed closely together, although, again, the color is wonderful.

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