Queen Elizabeth’s Widest Brims

Royal Hats Earlier this week, a reader asked the following question:

I love reader questions, Pekka! You’re right- most of the brims on Queen Elizabeth’s hats are fairly small, something I suspect works well with both aesthetics (smaller brims balance well with her petite frame) and practicality (she’s easily able to see and be seen). If we look at the hats worn over the past fifteen years, however, there are some large brims that might surprise you:

From Rachel Trevor Morgan:

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From Angela Kelly:

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From Philip Sommerville, Frederick Fox and Marie O’Reagan:

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This list is far from comprehensive and doesn’t include any worn over her 50+ hat wearing years last century. So, I turn the question over to you dearest readers – as we celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday this weekend, which other wide brimmed designs she has worn that stick out in your memory?

Update- based on the lively discussion below, it appears that the biggest brim we’ve seen on Her Majesty is the one on this white straw hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan!

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Photos from Getty as indicated

58 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Widest Brims

  1. This is a big brim, even if it’s all upward! Australia, 2000.

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  2. Finally found a slice brim, worn in New Zealand in 2002:

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  3. Eton Boys Tea Party, 2008. A real corker!

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    Kuala Lumpar, 1998

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    Golden Jubilee, London, 2002

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    Jamaica, hat by Philip Somerville, 2002. These very ‘deep’ brims ( the hat sits very low on her head) seem to have been a thing for a while

    • As you can see the first hat and the last are the same! Darn. Time for a snooze. The top hat and caption are correct. Here is the Jamaica 2002 Somerville hat:

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        • Sandra, you may be off for a cuppa…..I’m off for a G&T. I love your pictures, and I truly think this post has been one of the FUNNEST in quite a while. My vote on the biggest brim is the cream hat with chocolate trim. Here’s one more for now, one of the loveliest photos of HM:

          May 16, 2000; Westminster Abbey
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    • Thanks for all these extra images, Sandra. Each one is so reflective of its time – I remember and like so many of them! However even though the deep brim was a style way back, it’s not one I care for – I still think it looks like the wearer has a lampshade on her head!

  5. March 11, 1977; Tamworth, NSW
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  6. Ah, Jimbo, I couldn’t stay away …

    Not a huge brim, but the twirly, pixie top is, um, fun.

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    Hungary, 1993.

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    80th birthday thanksgiving, Windsor, 2006

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    Birthday cake in Wales, 1989

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    CHOGM in Cyprus, 1993, a hat by Philip Somerville

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    Royal Ascot, 1960

    • Whoever designed the pixie top, I can just imagine them in the studio saying to the staff, now I wonder what anyone would think if we put HM in a turquoise pith helmet?

      However, the bottom B&W one, it seems odd to see HM in the wide brimmed hat and the Queen Mother not, rather than the usual reverse!

  7. And one of my very favourites- worn October 13, 1982 in Papa New Guinea, October 1981 in Sri Lanka and October 21, 1980 in Tunisia

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  8. And from the mid 80s

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    • Oh my goodness – that navy/white ‘cherry’ hat looks awful. I had a grey felt hat (in the 1970s) and lifted one *side* of the brim (not the front) up with a bunch of faux cherries, pinning it to the crown. Thought it was the height of sophistication, especially when worn with platform T-bars. To put it in context, I lived in a provincial small town where sophistication was eating fish and chips with a knife and fork! I also *really* dislike the last hat with its blue and white bow half up and half down. I’ve always imagined the Queen has a very kind nature, and that’s partly from seeing some of the mad hats she’s had to wear over the years.

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      Birthday races, Newbury, 2017 and Ascot races (October) 2017

      Happy birthday, ma’am, and many more hat-filled years to come!

  9. A few older ones:

    November 1983
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    October 1982
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    1978 & 1977
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    • HatQueen, do you know who the designer is of the white one with the red trim above (1982) worn with the red print dress? It is similar to one worn by Princess Diana a number of times in 1983 during trips to Australia and Canada, and also at least once back home in England. (Hope this embedding works!)

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      • Okay, now that I’m seeing them both together on the same screen, I see that they’re not actually THAT similar except for the color scheme and the bow in the back, but one does call the other to mind! (And I’m glad to see I’ve finally figured out the embedding.)

        • Well, I’ve been unable to ascertain if any of these designers also made the similar hat of Diana, but I did learn (from his obituary) that Frederick Fox was apparently the inventor of the fascinator, so that was pretty interesting!

          • I’m 95% certain Diana’s hat was John Boyd. I wrote earlier that the Queen’s hat is likely Frederick Fox, Graham Smith or Marie O’Reagan. I need to add Philip Somerville to that list – he started making hats for the Queen in the early 1980s. Based on that start date, I suppose it’s possible that he made both hats… but I don’t think so!

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        • HatQueen, thanks for posting those two photos side by side, and thanks also for this entire post! I’m having a lot of problems with my computer today, so I’m not having a lot of success commenting on your original photos or those added by the other members, but just wanted to say that I’m enjoying it tremendously!

  10. Yay, it worked!

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    Malaysia 1998.

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    Jamaica, 2002. A Frederick Fox hat.

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    Winchester, England, 2005.

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    Royal Ascot, 2012

    And now I really must get back to work!

    • The heck with work, Sandra! This is toooooooooooo much fun. The first one you gave us in this group from Malaysia is a real hum-dinger!

      June 6, 1994; 50th anniversary of D-Day in France.
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      • Hum-dinger indeed.
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    • A few more from the early 2000s:

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  11. Not sure if my embedding skills are up to the task so apologies if it all goes haywire!

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    A 2010 visit to Scotland.

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    2002 in the UK. This is quite a ‘mad’ style.

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    Queen Mother’s 100th birthday service in 2000.

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    Malaysia, 1989.

  12. The very first and last RTM hats are gorgeous – the colour, the shape, the trim. Couldn’t be better. There’s always something about AK hats that I want to tweak, the pick of this bunch, for me, is the white and red ‘Canada’ hat. The magenta hat at the end carries the DNA of the more recent orange Christmas hat, no? The trim anyway, to my eye. Of the rest, the 2 Somerville meringue swirls and the striking black and lime green hat, but possibly I’m liking that because it’s such a different combo for her. Good work Rebecca and HQ. Also thanks to Jimbo. I like the 2002 birthday hat, it looks sumptuous, and the Kentucky Derby one is a beauty too.

  13. Happy Birthday, Queen Elizabeth: Here are some wide-brimmed hats from her younger days as monarch:

    April 21, 1986 (two hats, one coat) Not the best photo, for sure.
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    April 21, 1989 & April 21, 2002
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    June 8, 2002 Epsom Racecourse, before it was altered.
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    June 3, 2006 Epsom Racecourse
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    May 5, 2007 Kentucky Derby (+/-100 miles from my home)
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    June 20, 2008 Royal Ascot (one of my least favorites – all that’s missing is the Minnie Pearl price tag!)
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  14. What a fabulous posting! Thank you HatQueen for a very comprehensive answer to a reader’s question. My personal favorite hat style for HM is the “mushroom brim” so I’m going to go with the white with red embellishment that she wore visiting Canada. You can see that she’s also wearing her gold and diamond maple leaf pin. The pink swirl hat has also long been on my “best worn hats” for HM and I was glad to see it here today. Happy Birthday, ma’am and best wishes for many more to come!

    • There was a navy ‘twin’ to the white mushroom brimmed hat- both made their debut during the June-July 2010 visit to Canada. The brim size looks slightly smaller to me (the reason why I didn’t include it) and the hat made a surprise reappearance departing for France June 5, 2014 with a renovated brim.
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  15. Wow! Thank you for putting together a brilliant review of some of HM’s wider brimmed hats. My personal favourite is the ice blue with feathers, far right on the second row of Rachel Trevor Morgan. But I’m very interested to see the unusual pale pink hat, first left on the first row of the third group — a real break with the norm.

    She looks so much like the Queen Mother in the right hand side photo of the second row of the third group, in purple and turquoise.

    • The pink ‘swirl’ hat you mention was made by Philip Somerville. Off all of HM’s hats, this is the one that gets the most collective praise each time I bring it up!

  16. One of HM’s earliest wide brims of her reign:
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    This has long been a favorite photo of mine.

    • JAKE: You beat me to it! This photo of HM is my all-time favorite, BAR NONE! Just shy of 28, she is magnificent! Since you posted it before I was able to, I’ll give some fascinating information about it. (You can see the nerd coming out in me now.)
      Queen Elizabeth wore this ensemble to a garden party at Government House in Sydney, Australia on February 18, 1954. The dress is by Hardy Amies. This was a part of her 1st Royal Tour down under. The next day, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote: “Her black hat was of two layers of nylon crinoline straw, and pressed between the layers were flat bunches of ostrich feathers in vivid scarlet, emerald green, and pale blue. As they caught the sun the colours looked like brilliant blobs on an artist’s palette.”
      MY KINGDOM FOR A COLOUR PHOTO OR VIDEO OF THIS!!! I have spent a sinful amount of time in the past, (and in vain) searching for ANY other photo or video, and found none. Mcncln, get to work!!!

  17. Love this post! I really like her in a wider brim, and wish she would wear more. Sadly some hats (the purple fedora for instance), have had their brims shrunk a bit, so I think the maximum size has been set. But she’s 92 tomorrow, she’s allowed to have her favourites.

    Of those my absolute favourite is the pale blue with the peach flower. It’s so elegant and such a great palette for her. The black and green has been much admired too.

    It’s rare I dislike her hats, but amongst this groups are the ones that I really love.

    • The purple homberg has indeed been shrunk (see original brim size here) as has this pale beigey pink felt upsweep. Both were made by Rachel Trevor Morgan
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  18. You’ve got to include (I don’t know how) the large hat for Prince Andrews wedding, or Prince Williams!! Be good to see them !!

  19. Oh what a beautiful selection of hats! I love the light green RTM hat with the pink roses: charming colours, lovely design. And the draped pink (Philip Somerville?) “crème Chantilly” swirl hat is also quite interesting.
    Some of the asymmetrical wide brimmed hats though might have looked even better if worn slightly more tilted, like the fuchsia and turquoise one.

    • Yes- the draped pink ‘swirl’ hat was indeed Philip Somerville. He also made the black and white one with swirled white crown, black bow and black straw brim.

      • The pink swirl is THE hat that will forever be my favorite!!!! There are many that I like and others that I like a lot but the pink swirl is TO DIE FOR. It looks like a simple hat but the construction is complicated.

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