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:
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.
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.
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.