Phillips Wedding, Ten Years On: The Hats

  After looking at the gowns and headpieces worn by the bride and attendants at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips, ten years ago this week, we now turn our attention to the hats worn by the couple’s family.

Queen Elizabeth followed the same fashion approach she took nine years earlier at the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s wedding (also held at St. George’s chapel), opting for a feathered headpiece instead of a hat. Her bandeau of grey and bronze feathers pulled out the hues in her matching lace trimmed coat and gown.

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Princess Anne also opted for a fascinator and topped her chocolate dress and ivory brocade jacket with a feather spray in the same hues tucked behind her right ear. Autumn’s grandmothers are also pictured in the photo below- her paternal grandmother Mrs. Ivy Kelly wore a black hat with white hatband while her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Edith McCarthy wore a stylish design with cream sideswept brim and burgundy crown.

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The bride’s Kathleen Magas, wore a wide brimmed white crin hat trimmed with a large ruffle anchored with a pale blue hatband in the same shade as her suit.

May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats

Autumn’s stepmother, Lynne Kelly, wore a headpiece of charcoal silk roses set over cream and grey rings

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The Duchess of Cornwall wore one of her signature Philip Treacy curving bandeau feathered headresses in pale blue arrow trimmed feathers.

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Princess Beatrice wore perhaps the most memorable piece of millinery at this event, a statement Philip Treacy fascinator  of multicoloured monarch butterflies. Princess Eugenie also wore a Philip Treacy creation, a taupe metallic straw disc percher hat with gravity defying knotted bow.

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The Countess of Wessex did not appear on the front steps of St. George’s Chapel following the ceremony but is spotted at the front right of the group photo below- she wore the same large fascinator of grey silk roses, rings and feathers by Philip Treacy that she wore to Ascot a month later.


Viscountess Linley, as was her title at the time, followed the fascinator craze with another large piece from Philip Treacy in pale grey and taupe feathers.

May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats

Lady Sarah Chatto is visible at the top left of the photo below in a dove grey picture hat by Stephen Jones (she wore the same one to Charles and Camilla’s wedding at this same location in 2005)

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The Gloucester family was represented by the three Gloucester children and their familes. The Countess of Ulster, in the top right of the first photo below, wore a wore a turquoise headpiece.Lady Rose Gilman (scroll to the second photo) wore a large headpiece of black and cream silk roses that I would have preferred placed over her eyebrow instead of the side of her head. Lady Davina (scroll to third photo) topped her blue coat with a pleated silver grey hat on a cap-style base base (interestingly, her sister Rose would wear a very similar hat three years later to William and Kate’s wedding).

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Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella Windsor represented the Kent branch of the family. Gabriella’s silver metallic button base cocktail hat, also by Philip Treacy, was trimmed with a large grey silk cabbage rose and sprays of grey silk leaves.

May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats
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While not yet a member of the royal family, Catherine Middleton attended the wedding (William was away in Africa at another wedding) in a black bumper cocktail hat with straw twist and  black tulle veil.

May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats  May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats

Looking back at these hats, I’m reminded how, in 2008, fascinators were at the height of popularity. The hats and headpieces at Peter and Autumn’s wedding reflect this trend and the relative informality of the event, which will be noticeably lower key than this weekend’s upcoming wedding. Looking back, which hats stand out to you most? Which hats have stood the test of ten years of changing fashion?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Hello

10 thoughts on “Phillips Wedding, Ten Years On: The Hats

  1. Absolutely love the butterfly fascinator and had only seen it on a model before, so was delighted to see someone actually wear it. Of course, it would be our brave Princess Beatrice! What a treat.
    A delightful, heart-warming look is the feathered headpiece on the Queen. It’s wonderful to see her full face and her hair, almost a rare sighting these days with all her hats with brims.
    Love this post.

  2. I always thought with a bit of a haircut those butterflies would have been perfect! I don’t like the dull grey fascinators especially on the Queen. She looks better in a bright colour hat.

  3. This was a fun wedding where everyone looked so happy and relaxed. I’ve always loved the photo of (then) Viscountess Linley waving. She looks so excited for the happy couple.
    Princess Beatrice’s Butterfly fascinator is now legendary. I think it was fun and reflective of her personality.

  4. Ten years ago was in my very early days of royal hat watching, and I believe this is the first royal wedding I paid attention to (or at least the first I can remember), so it holds a special place for me.

    I’ve never disliked fascinators in the way some people do, and this wedding demonstrates how they can be done well. HM looked absolutely majestic in this fascinator and beautiful outfit. It is curious to see her in a longer dress during the daytime, which makes me wonder if this wedding took place in the afternoon close enough to evening, when traditionally longer and more formal dresses would come out for evening activities? If so, that would also explain why HM wore a fascinator and not a full hat (same as the Wessex wedding).

    Anne’s outfit was elegant, but her fascinator is hardly visible in many photos, and the brown and cream color scheme was a bit drab, especially on a cloudy day. Her similar, although more colorful coral and cream, outfit from Zara’s wedding ( was a better choice (although this hat [] from Ascot 2012 was an even better choice than the fascinator).

    Autumn’s mother Kathleen’s whole ensemble was a bit off for me. While the hat shape was good for her, the details looked kinda cheap to me, and didn’t pair well with her floor-length skirt. Both of her grandmothers were in great form with their coordinated outfits and hats, but Edith McCarthy’s jaunty angled portrait hat was a favorite of the day for me! Stepmother Lynne looked fine, but it wasn’t anything special.

    Camilla looked nice, although this isn’t my favorite fascinator for her. I’m one of those that loved Beatrice’s butterfly fascinator; I found it very innovative and exciting, but I didn’t think it was overdone (also, butterfly trim on fascinators/hats really popped up after this appearance). Eugenie’s disc percher would’ve looked better if it sat a little more forward, but overall she looked great. Sophie’s headpiece would be better perched a little higher and not so much on the side of her head; this was very much in her experimental hat phase, where sometimes she got it right, and other times it was just too much!

    For gold and beige on a blonde, I actually didn’t mind Serena’s fascinator as texturally it was much different, and it had some awesome height too! Sarah Chatto’s hat is a nice one for her, but she always plays it safe.

    I actually think Davina Lewis’ hat is different from Rose’s at the Cambridge wedding; this looks to have a cocktail base, whereas Rose’s was clearly on a massive headband. At any rate, this was probably my least favorite hat of the day, as it was a weird design, and colorwise fell so flat against her amazing cobalt blue and pink outfit. Also, Rose Gilman was also present at this wedding (although she played hide and seek well with the photographers [you can also get a slightly better view of the Countess of Ulster’s fascinator in the second photo]):
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    I wasn’t such a fan of Gabriella’s outfit, but this bright silver cocktail hat was a stunner, one I wished we could see again! As for Kate’s cocktail hat, it looked fine on her, but I agree the veiling was a bit funereal, and seemed a bit at odds with her outfit that had more brown tones to it.

    • Thanks, Jake. You’re right- the base on the Lady Davina’s silver hat is different here from the one Lady Rose wore later to the Cambridge wedding- just not sure if it’s a renovation or an entirely new piece! And great photo finds for the Countess of Ulster and Lady Rose here- I’ve amended the post to include these views. It seems that in 2008, placing fascinators on the side of one’s head was a look (Rose, Sophie and and Serena) that thankfully, we don’t see so much today.

  5. Bea’s butterflies are my favorite – totally impractical but lovely with her hair colour and just an all around fun hat. I don’t find the feathered things a success when they almost match the wearer’s hair – there needs to be contrast such as Camilla demonstrates. I would say my favorite hat would be Mrs. McCarthy’s (but the photographer should have suggested she put both feet flat on the floor as the queen did – sorry, it’s my little quibbilino because I used to work for a photographer staging the clients.)

  6. Welcome back to Minority Corner, where fascinators are appreciated and enjoyed – – – for the most part. (BTW, I looked up “bandeau,” and discovered it to be a garment worn to cover another part of the female body. The French language is so versatile.)
    1. As usual, Queen Elizabeth leads the pack with her beautifully subtle head piece. The muted colors are complimentary and they harmonize very well together, not upstaging the star of the day.
    2. The color of Camille’s selection is very lovely with her hair. Both hers and HM’s must have been attractive and pleasant to see in a gentle breeze. Now for the other side of the coin!
    3. Beatrice coulda/shoulda/woulda made a better choice for this occasion. The entire ensemble screams “look at me!” and forecasts another unfortunate millinery decision to be made some three years later at another family wedding. Take the butterflies to Ascot.
    4. In the previous blog this morning, I waxed poetic about Sophie. Had I seen the photo below of her, wearing the same grey blob, I would have possibly been more reserved with my verbal enthusiasm! It reminds me of an object created in high school Metal Shop Class, using an Erector Set, but without benefit of instructions!

    June 18, 2008, Royal Ascot
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    • I’m with you, especially on #3, Jimbo. I’d love the butterflies at Ascot. Not to be too prissy, but isn’t it basic wedding etiquette to not draw attention from the bride?

      Do you suppose the royal ladies made a group decision to go with neutrals, or was that the prevailing fashion? While they all look lovely, they seem subdued for a spring wedding.

      I thought at first HM’s fascinator was too subtle against her hair, but I appreciate it in the closer view. And it’s not so much the design of Sophie’s hat as the scale for me.

  7. I have to confess my favorite hat is the butterfly fascinator. I know it’s polarizing and perhaps a little too-attention seeking for someone else’s wedding, but I can’t help but love it. Other standouts for me are Mrs. McCarthy (that sideswept brim is lovely and the proportions of the hat are great), and of course the D of Cornwall in her lovely arrowhead Treacy. Kate’s hat is cute, but the black veiling makes it feel a little funereal, and I’m glad she’s wearing her hair up more often.

    • Me too, Shannon- I always loved the butterfly fascinator and thought it was magnificent on Beatrice. I would have loved to see it worn again with a more neutral dress than this colourful McQueen.

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