Reader Matthew recently asked, “Are there any occasions anyone can recall where a new royal bride wore hats for official appearances that she already owned in her non-royal life?”
Good question, Matthew! For the purpose of clarity, I’m going to consider “non-royal life” as everything before the royal engagement!
A quick survey of continental European royals has brought few examples, likely because hat wearing beyond casual or sporting designs in mainstream European culture is not common. Aside from Princess Mette-Marit repeating a navy knit ski hat, Sophia Helqvist borrowing one of Crown Princess Victoria’s hats for Princess Lilian’s funeral and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy borrowing one of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s hats for Princess Estelle’s christening in May 2012 (neither which has been repeated, so they don’t really count!), I’ve only come up with one such repeat:
Black textured straw hat with lace trim worn Nov 5, 2002 to the Melbourne cup and again in Aarhus, Jul 26, 2004
In the UK, however, where hats are more commonly worn for weddings and other events (and several multi-year courtships saw royal girlfriends attend public events), I’ve come up with a few hats worn by royal brides both before their engagements and after their marriages:
Tall brown felt hat with burgundy velvet trim worn Nov 20, 1997 and Jan 31, 2003
Chocolate felt hat with faux fur brim from Lock & Co. worn Dec 8, 2002 and Mar 14, 2012
Black felt Philip Treacy sidesweep with signature bow worn Dec 15, 2006 and Nov 12, 2017
Ecru straw wide brimmed Philip Treacy design with feathers worn June 2, 2003 and June 9, 2005
OK magazine reported in this article last weekend that the Duchess of Sussex had brought her much worn Madewell fedora into her royal life, incorrectly citing its appearance at Wimbledon. The panama Meghan actually wore to Wimbledon was a finer quality hat from French millinery brand Maison Michel- the Virginie design.