Queen Hosts American President For Tea

I often wonder if Queen Elizabeth (or her dresser, Angela Kelly) follow media commentary or public opinion about the things she wears. The subtle changes we sometimes notice made to different hats and outfits appear related to comfort and practicality (brims made smaller, for example) and not in response to how an outfit has been received. That’s why I was fascinated to see the Queen today in a hat that, just over a year ago, made its first, very controversial appearance, at the opening of Parliament. As you can see from the sides by sides below, it has undergone renovation:

  Jun 21, 2017 in AK | Royal Hats

Today’s version, with double folded bow beside the original version, with yellow centered flowers, worn June 21, 2017

In our animated discussion about this design last year, my favourite comment came from a particularly insightful reader who said, “Her Majesty The Queen does not make political statements (unless she does!)”. I find the choice of this hat particularly intriguing – whether originally intended or not, one can’t ignore the reality that it carries a very strong EU connection.  I can’t imagine its repeat today, for this controversial visit, was coincidental.

Embed from Getty Images

As far as renovations go, the double bow does streamline the overall look of the hat although the ensemble still suffers from pattern overkill from the use of that paisley silk/wool cloqué fabric on both the coat and hat. I love the colour (it’s so pretty in daylight!) but still think this design would work much better with a straw brim to lighten and lift, breaking up all the pattern.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

In the end, I find myself thinking more about what statement Her Majesty is trying to make with the repeat of this particular hat today than about the controversy or protests surrounding these particular American guests… which in itself, is some masterful diplomatic maneuvering.  The Queen is incredibly skilled at handling sticky political visits and I’d love to think she hatched a plan, behind the scenes weeks ago, to manage this tricky one with her millinery. Hats off to you, ma’am.

Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: June 21, 2017
What do you think about the Queen’s choice of this hat today and it’s new trim?
Photos from Getty as indicated; Chris Jackson and Carl Court/Stringer via Getty

41 thoughts on “Queen Hosts American President For Tea

  1. The hat is a beautiful shade, the ideal colour for a summer’s day – and that’s about all one can say about it!

  2. Ha! the yellow flowers are gone. Good. That takes the hat and ensemble from fussy and heavy, to just heavy. Except now the addition of a bulky unyielding bow makes the hat look stiffer.
    it was always going to be a challenge to wear a fabric in the daytime that looks like upholstery from the palace of Versailles. Perhaps the “evening-wear” court dress fabric used by the royal ladies of the Netherlands for their openings of parliament was the inspiration for this ensemble, particularly the use of matching fabric for the hat (though the Dutch ladies often relax this rule.) As we have seen in the Netherlands, the court dress formula is a tricky business and can very easily look old-fashioned. Not so the ensemble HM wore in 1974 to open parliament the last time she wore day dress for this role. That ensemble was a masterpiece of creative design, both the Simone Mirman hat and the Hartnell coat. The plain, luxury glossy silk fabric used for both was the perfect choice for an elevated, modern day look, and as things turned out, it was dressy enough for a ceremonial event too. It was first worn at Princess Anne’s wedding:
    https://royalhats.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/closer-look-the-royal-blue-mother-of-the-bride-hat/
    Embed from Getty Images
    For a petite senior like HM, a rigid-looking almost “top hat “ shape really benefits from the softness, lightness, uplift and movement that the flourish of a pretty flower, soft bow or feather trim provides. The geometry and sheer size of this particular bow only emphasizes the stiffness of the shape, and the dense texture of the fabric used over every surface makes the hat look monolithic, and bulkier than it really is. There’s a lack of visual variety on this hat, which is not simplicity (the busy fabric makes sure of that) and which for me makes this hat unusually no-nonsense-please and business-like — as someone commented, very Japanese Imperial Family. Not what I expect from the British royal family.
    Unless “no-nonsense, business-like, old-school, ceremonial, ” is exactly the message HM wanted to convey….

  3. I’ve deleted more than 20 comments with political content that felt neither necessary nor appropriate here. If I deleted a comment that included something you wanted to say about the Queen’s hat, please do repost it.

    For those of you who are upset with the time it took to remove these comments, please remember that my time spent writing and managing this blog is entirely as a volunteer. It’s the weekend. My life does not revolve around policing this blog.

    We’re all grown ups. Let’s behave like it.

  4. The whole outfit doesn’t really do it for me, it’s Ryanair blue for a start which I find too solid. It is in the mid to high 20Cs here at the moment (we’re actually having a heatwave!!) so HM would have been pretty warm. I find the hat in its new form very heavy looking I preferred the frothier look of the flowers, but even then it was not a hat I like.
    No Melania did not curtsy. Behind the scenes HM is know to laugh at all of this, bless her! If the DoE had been there I wonder what non pc quip(s) he would have come out with LOL!

  5. I agree, I wish Melania had worn a hat. She has shown that she is not opposed to the idea, so this would have been a good opportunity. As for curtsying, though, it’s my understanding that as an American visiting in an official capacity it would be against protocol for her to do so.

  6. Americans don’t bow and curtsy. At least the queen didn’t get hugged like last time an American president visited. It took some maneuvering to cover up that protocol breach. I doubt the queen worried either time.

    While it’s amusing, I doubt any symbolism as to the hat since the symbol got removed. I can’t believe the queen is waving goodbye to the EU by removing daisies from her hat – or expects a visitor to look at how she wore a hat a year ago – which has since been re-trimmed.

  7. I’ve never noticed before that the Queen’s coat was lined in the same fabric as her dress. Lovely! The tailoring on the coat is also fabulous, it fits perfectly. I much prefer the hat in its refurbishment today. The flowers weren’t horrible necessarily but the placement of them was not good. I would like to think that HM wore this blue ensemble for a number of reasons, but we’ll never know for sure. But as she’s been at this game for longer than anyone else involved, I trust her to know what she’s doing. I’d love to know what she said to Phil later over dinner though!

  8. What an interesting choice of hat! I didn’t realise it was the “EU” hat on the small screen I was using yesterday. I do like the update.

    What I had noticed (and smiled about) was that she wore the colour of the other American political party, as well as the opposite (complementary) colour to orange.

  9. Those flowers for the first wearing were hideous, hidden political message or no. I am happy to see them gone.

    I also don’t see anything “controversial” about this visit. QEII has met every American president since 1952 with the exception of Lyndon Johnson, and many of those men had questionable professional and personal lives.

  10. Just for the heck of it, I found the dress, sans hat and coat, if anyone is interested.

    July 11, 2017
    Embed from Getty Images

  11. I was curious to see what you would say about this hat in this post! I happened to catch the livestream of the meeting, and even at a distance I could tell immediately which hat and outfit this was, and was quite surprised, but also delighted haha.

    This is a beautiful color for HM, and the pattern of the fabric is wonderful. As I said during its previous outing, I don’t like that the fabric also covers the hat, and wish the hat was made of a different material. While this will never be my favorite hat because it is too matchy-matchy, I enjoyed both trims, although this time was more subtle.

    Regarding it’s potential political messaging: I agree that a hat is just a hat, except when it’s not. Is HM using it to signify her political preferences? Perhaps. Is she actually just fooling us all into thinking we know what she’s saying with her clothes? Perhaps. No matter what this hat and outfit have or have not signified during both of its outings, did it get a big gleeful (and slightly sinister) smile out of me today? Absolutely! Long live the Queen and her cleverness!

  12. The hat, while I agree very much wiith your sartorial observations, Hat Queen, was a masterly choice. Not unlike the brooch choice yesterday, I believe. (See http://queensjewelvault.blogspot.com)

    The colour of the hat and coat is wonderful and it would be lovely to see its like with mor variety again.

  13. I am sorry to say I am unaware of the controversy surrounding HM’s hat. Perhaps someone could fill me in…it would be greatly appreciated. The controversy over the hat with the flowers and today.

  14. Honestly? As an American, I would have liked to see the Queen in a pink hat. Yes, it would have made a very bold statement, but it’s just a hat. Right?

  15. Since the E.U. wearing was so controversial due to the hat’s (perhaps unintentional, perhaps intentional) adornment, I figured that this specific hat never would be repeated. To have it repeated today, while nonetheless modified, is fascinating. I certainly hope that the Queen was sending a message and that Trump’s advisors are decoding its significance.

    • It seems more likely the EU is decoding the significance – removing the yellow flowers meant the removal of the EU symbolism – possibly representing a drawing closeness to allies outside of the EU.

      But sometimes a hat is just a hat. Her majesty looked lovely.

  16. What a thought-provoking post, HQ. I would not have seen the subtly delivered non-political political message if you hadn’t pointed it out.

    I agree that the hat is improved by the new trim. But, although I love both paisley and this shade of blue and “Silk/Wool Cloqué” sounds sumptuous, this is too much of a good thing. The unbroken block of hat and dress makes this look “matchy-matchy” (a term I avoid!) rather than coordinated. I like the idea of uncovered straw to lighten it up.

    About the guests, I will say nothing.

  17. I have to say I really dislike this hat ! it looks so stiff and hard and looks like cardboard … especially the bow – but the colour is lovely and that’s about all I can say about it ! As to the hidden reference – you’re probably right – the Queen is a very canny lady though of course we can only assume her reasons for certain things !!

  18. I suppose we’ll never know the full context to HM’s clothing and accessory choices, but in my opinion we have been treated to a master class in sartorial diplomacy the last couple of days from someone who’s been doing it for longer than, well, anyone.
    You are awesome, Ma’am.

  19. Well in the midst of huge protests here in the UK, HM walks a difficult line perfectly. I too thought this was a subtle reference, which made me chuckle. The thing is with HM she makes statements with her clothes all the time; she’s been dressing diplomatically for years in countries colours and floral emblems; just lately… well it’s got a while lot more fun!

    So I like this renovation. It could perhaps have been done better in a plain fabric to break up the pattern but it still works and as much as I loved the EU flowers they were a little tacky.

  20. Thank you for your eagerly awaited post, HatQueen — I think this is the first time I have ever sat clicking “refresh” on my browser waiting for a blog post.

    I agree and am sure that the choice of this ensemble was no accident. Surely we are not the only ones who will remember the original embellishments on the hat, and will see them in our minds even if they are no longer actually there. The replacement cloth bow is nicely sedate — the fact that it is made from the same fabric suggests that it might have been available all along, just waiting to be put to use.

    Thank you particularly for including that last photo. I loved seeing that the lining of the coat is made from the dress fabric. As I look back at last year’s photos, I see now that that feature was just visible in a seated photo, but not so obviously.

    Questions:
    — Who is the gentleman walking with Mrs. Trump behind her husband and the Queen? There were other photos where you could get a better look at him — none that identified him by name, but he looks familiar.
    — I was surprised that Mrs. Trump did not wear a hat – she must certainly have known that Queen Elizabeth always wears hats for outdoor occasions like this – but I wonder what the protocol is for having tea at Windsor Castle. Presumably HM would remove her coat and hat to have tea with guests in her own house?

      • ChicagoChuck, thanks for that link. As a representative of the Lord Chamberlain’s office responsible for protocol and state visits, it makes perfect sense that he would be there. He may look familiar to me from having seen him in photos of other official functions.

        And Jimbo, yes, he is the same person that escorted her to the dais. Thanks for that video, by the way, we only saw brief video clips on TV here. I had heard that the Trumps kept HM waiting, I assume that was what the extra musical interlude and all the chatting with the officers on the dais was about.

    • Matthew, could the gentleman be a member of security, perhaps. Didn’t he escort HM to the dais, around 8:22.

      As for Mrs. Trump, I surely had hoped that she wouldn’t miss a PERFECT opportunity to wear a hat, sadly not seen here in the US often enough.

      • That would have made me happy, but Mrs. Obama didn’t wear a hat either. (I think both first ladies looked nice and appropriately dressed for their respective visits.)

        It’s a question whether to wear a hat when you know you’re meeting someone who will. The queen of Spain did so in England but not in the Netherlands although Queen Maxima almost always wears a hat. The Queen of Jordan – another who rarely wears a hat, also didn’t in the Netherlands.

  21. I think the new trim is a huge improvement, and I actually like the matchiness of the hat and coat. BTW, HQ, the last photo you chose gives us a wonderful glimpse into the coat/dress matching interior! Fantastic. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed on this Friday the 13th, that forthcoming tweetage will be at least judicious and respectful.

    • Interesting that the coat is lined with the same material as the dress. I wouldn’t have expected that. I would have thought silk in the same color as the coat.

      • That was a great picture and fun to see that the coat is lined with the same material as the dress. I too would have thought the coat would be lined with a silk fabric in the same color as the coat. Does that mean if the Queen chooses to wear a coat again with a different dress the lining would need to be redone? Or does the Queen simply have a coat for every dress?

        • I think the Queen has a coat for every dress. Why wouldn’t she? The jackets of traditional Chanel suits are lined in the same silk as the blouse they are worn with. The silk lining is more fragile than the wool the jacket is made of, and so in time, the lining will have to be redone. And so will the blouse, of course. But when one can afford Chanel suits (or when one is HM the Queen), one can afford new silk linings and blouses. And a coat with every dress!
          Apart from that, I think both the hat and the bow rather stiff, but the colour is lovely.

  22. For a split second when I looked at the 5th photo in the series (stepping off the dais) I thought Trump was holding Her Majesty’s hand, like he did to PM May both in Washington and at Blenheim Palace. Thank you to the heavens above I was wrong!

    As you say, Queen Elizabeth has had to welcome lots of unsavory individuals in her 66 year reign. While we don’t really see it, I’m quite sure there is polite and there is welcoming. Today she did polite.

    Oh, and the hat – not a fan of the hat and coat fashioned out of the same material. So not really a fan of this hat, but the fabric is delicious!

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