Queen Elizabeth’s Iconic Hats: 1970s

 Last month, longtime reader mrfitzroyobe asked, “HatQueen, have you ever thought of a QE2 Iconic Hat Gallery? Readers could offer suggestions/nominations for the most lovely and memorable hats of the past decade (or whatever period), and then vote on the 10 MOST iconic hats! That process could be no end of fun!”

You’re on Mr. Fitzroy, OBE! While Her Majesty retires to Scotland until the fall, we’re going to have a weekly Tuesday-Wednesday discussion focusing on a particular decade of millinery (in random order) in the Queen’s adult life and put forward hats we believe fit the label of ”iconic” from each decade. From these shortlisting conversations, we’ll narrow down to ten designs to highlight in a new  “Iconic Hats Gallery” page. For the purpose of clarity, we’ll adopt the Merriam-Webster definition of iconic as “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.”

For each hat you put forward, you must explain why you think the hat is iconic- whether it’s part of the design, the colour, the event it attended, or something else. If you support someone else’s suggestion, say so! If you’re not sure where to start, the “Hats From The Past” index here and the photo archive at Getty Images are good bets. You are also welcome to link to articles, youtube videos or photo galleries featuring a particular hat but I ask that for copyright compliance, we avoid pinterest links and any hotlinked photos.

We start today with the 1970s (and only the 1970s!). What hats from this decade do you consider to be iconic looks for the Queen?

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Photos from Getty as indicated

99 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Iconic Hats: 1970s

  1. When the Queen visited the Gulf circuit in February 1979 (Bahrain,Oman,Qatar,Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,and UAE) she was not allowed to show the soles of her feet or drink more than three cups of coffee ! 😊 I’m not sure who the milliner was but the Queen’s hats were created with tiny veils as a nod to Islamic culture … HQ has a dedicated post to some of these hats but the cobalt blue hat really is such a lovely iconic hat !

  2. June 1972 was the funeral of the Duke of Windsor – it was a very small and private service just the Royal Fami!y and the King of Norway (only 14 attended the burial at Frogmore ) i believe the Royal Family were surprised at how many people viewed the casket ! It looked to be very awkward for everybody but the Queen seemed to make sure that the Duchess was involved with everything that was happening ! The Queen wore a black hat – the kind she favoured at that time that looked like a light turban … the Duchess was heavily veiled – .. just as an aside the image of Wallis watching through the window was very poignant and a lasting memory for many people.

    • This discussion is about iconic hats, but I do have to admit that the image of the Duchess of Windsor you mentioned was for me one of the iconic photographs of that time.

  3. In 1975 the Queen made a visit to the Bahamas … on one of the days she wore a pink outfit and coordinating hat ! The occasion was memorable for the fact that it was so very hot and everybody around her had sweat pouring off them and yet the beautiful Elizabeth didn’t even “glow” 😊 all the journalists and photographers around her were very impressed. ! leading one to wonder if there was some kind of secret to that hat 😉

  4. GREAT discussion to kick off this series! I hope you all enjoyed it.

    I’ve read through the comments several times and is seems there is consensus on these three hats:

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    We’ll move these three forward. I suspect different decades will have a different number of standout hats.

  5. Here’s one of my favourite Elizabethan hats from this era, the 1973 Sydney Opera House Opening hat. This event had massive coverage in my own country Australia –though I’m not certain if the same happened elsewhere– so not sure if that counts as iconic.
    I love this hat (and the entire ensemble) for its restraint, simplicity and elegance. I suspect that the sculptural shape of the hat and the pale colour palette was a deliberate nod to the Late Modernist design of the Sydney Opera House. Royals do that sort of thing so well!
    I can’t find any decent still pics, but the video is worth it for a great demonstration of what happens when a royal hat is put to the test of adverse weather, as HM battles powerful wind gusts. Just as well the hat design itself was brimless and very streamlined. I understand that royal wardrobe teams take into account the aerodynamics of design when the wearer will be out on or near a windy waterway. Best views: 0:44, 1:25 to 2:02

  6. Looks like a carpet.
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    • Oh ! I LOVE this whole outfit … I think she was in Helsinki wasn’t she ? but wherever she was she looks really good ! so well coordinated – I’m so pleased to see this again !

    • Yes Bart this ensemble is just beautiful. I too would love to know what the occasion was. HM has worn black and white before, at memorial
      and commemorative services.

    • I found a photo of the Queen in this same outfit – with the Shah’s eldest son – the caption says it was taken at Ascot in 1978 ! I imagine that was NOT Royal Ascot !

  9. I found the most wonderful hat of the decade! BTW, I’m getting NO work done today, thank you HQ!

    February 24, 1971
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    • Yes ! I remember that lovely woven hat … I thought it was so different – as a matter fact I looked for a long time for similar hats that were worn on that trip … I couldn’t find anything like them – so tried making my own 😑 didn’t quite look the same I’m afraid but I did wear them regally !!! 😊

  10. You miss one day on this blog and WOW! Great series, HQ. Thanks for the definition and for the gallery of photos. I had completely forgotten about the Silver Wedding hat until I scrolled through and stopped in my tracks. You’d think that fur and feathers would be too much for one outfit but that coat and hat together are just beautiful.

    I completely agree about giving these three hats (pink Jubilee/Olympics, navy from Anne’s wedding, pale blue from the Silver Wedding) the iconic stamp.

    Now I’m going to stir the pot and throw in one more suggestion, the teal kerchief/turban combo from Peter Phillips christening. Iconic for the event (first grandchild’s baptism) and for the style. The Queen had a few of these shaped hats in the 70s (I laughed when I saw the striped one down in the comments because my sister hated that hat!) but this one is one of the more elegant ones.

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    • Here’s another photo, Trish. So glad you’re enjoying this series so far! I’m finding it fascinating as well.

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    • The look on P Annes face makes me laugh ! not sure if she’s just mimicking his face or for some other reason !!😉 but the Queen is keeping her face down …

  11. A reader on twitter suggests this hat (one that still defies description for me).

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  12. Ooh while I’m at it the Silver Wedding hat counts too. A lovely pale blue outfit, it is a close relative of the Investiture/Anne wedding/Jubilee hats – turban with a bit of froof at the back. But this one, in a lux fabric and with fur touches was stunning I think. And it was a big occasion, so again, at the time would have been welll known. Alas I can only find a mono picture, sure someone else can do better!

    • JamesB, who cares about the blue hat – check out Anne’s red hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 20, 1972
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    • Totally agree, JamesB, that hat would be my 3rd choice after the pink Jubilee Bells hat and the Princess-Anne’s-wedding hat.
      Like those, this was a special hat for a very special event. I think it’s really pretty with all the feathers, and the fur trim on the coat. HM has never worn floaty feathery froof to the same extent as The Queen Mother, or even Princess Margaret, so this hat really stands out for me. .
      The video below is worth watching for an even more fabulous hat, that of Princess Anne (not to mention Anne’s amazing red-and-hot pink coat. The Princess Royal had such stunning hats and outfits in that decade).
      Best moments are at 0:21, 1:13, 3:29, 4:06.

    • Yes. That’s my three done – The Pink Jubilee; the Navy from Anne’s wedding, and this from the Silver Wedding. All similar styles worn at important occasions in that decade. No need to look further!

  13. At the beginning of the 1970s the Queen had a “thing” about striped and very colourful turbans that looked like head scarves . . one that seemed to catch my eye right away was the hat she wore in Canada in July 1970 (I watched her arriving on TV while on bed rest after my son was born ) it was a rainbow of colours that was very attractive that she teamed it with a lovely blue coat ! because it was so out of the ordinary for her I’d say that it was really a fun departure from her usual choices !😑

    • Is this the one you are thinking about, Nonie? If so, it’s shown here, repeated in Fiji in 1977

      Embed from Getty Images

      • No! A hat that mimics a headscarf is not iconic – looks like she’s still got her rollers in underneath!

      • No 😕 (but thanks HQ – that’s one of them.) the one I’m thinking of was in more pastel colours and she wore it with a cornflower blue coat ! She looked lovely ! it was the only striped one I liked it I remember rightly 😊

  14. The pink Olympics/Jubilee hat. It looked historic to me , rather Tudor in shape, but also very modern. I mentioned it in an online course I was taking about Royal fashions and many found it lovely.

  15. I’m so excited about this series! Are you only going to do Queen Elizabeth, HQ, or will you also create an Iconic Hat Gallery for other royals?

    The pink bells for the Jubilee and Olympics was the very first hat I thought of even before I read we were starting with the 1970s! I also thought of the navy hat from Princess Anne’s wedding although it’s the diamond patterned coat that I think is iconic, not so much the hat. JamesB, I’d never seen the zebra patterned dress and coat from the US tour in 1976 and it’s amazing!

    The other 1970s hat that I think comes close to “iconic” is the polka dot yellow turban. I think it’s awful but still very memorable.
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    • love this yellow hat cum turban. it really is her majesty a her most icon self (if that is n acceptable choice of words). wins the decde for me!


      • oh my – lots of typos (so sorry) – so, what I meant is actually “Her Majesty at her most icon self”. Will do better at spell checking next time

  16. Now here’s a feature with some mileage. So the Jubilee hat is a total given, so I’ll move on…

    For me, the chicest outfit HM sported in that dodgy decade was the striped number for the American bicentenary in 1976. The hat itself isn’t the star but the outfit is amazing, and elevated it to iconic in my book. And this was a high profile tour so it would have been well
    Known at the time. Alas can only find in black and white, can you work your magic HQ?!


    • You’ve stumped me, JamesB- I can’t find any photos of this in colour but from what I can see of this ensemble, it’s spectacular. Can anyone else help? Jimbo?!

      Embed from Getty Images 
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          • It is. The coat and dress are really amazing and I can’t believe the ensemble is new to me. I just wonder…. is the hat iconic? The shape is certainly one we saw on Her Majesty a few times… is that enough to warrant inclusion in an “Iconic Hat Gallery”?

          • I came across the hat and outfit, repeated in 1977 during the Silver Jubilee. The more I see it, the more I fall in love with the coat and adore how the simplicity of the hat makes the coat even more successful.

            Embed from Getty Images
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        • I love this outfit, but the hat doesn’t stand alone, imo.

          At all “historic” events of the decade, HM wore the helmet with froof style, so arguably this was the look she wanted preserving for posterity from that decade.

          • So I agree that the hat alone isn’t iconic. But it’s not the star here and a simple, elegant hat is part of an amazing outfit. So I vote a yay!

          • I’m not sure it was a look she specifically wanted preserving for posterity as much as it simply was her millinery style at the time.

  17. The silver jubilee hat without a doubt for all the reasons mentioned above. I prefer the colour of the hat for Princess Anne’s wedding but if you’d asked me to recall what she wore that day I would have struggled to remember

    • Hmmm…. AnnieM, you’ve found the weak spot in this quest. Many of us won’t remember the queen’s older hats. I don’t think all of her iconic millinery has been worn in the past 20 years yet I fear, that’s what most of us will remember. How can we get around this, dear readers?

      • Rabbit holes will keep everybody entertained, educated, enlightened and awake half the night ! I think I maybe one of the few people old enough to remember seeing quite a few of these weird and wonderful millinery works of art … but it’s still a delight to say ” oh yes – I forgot about that one”

      • That is what I meant in my comment above, re “historic” occasions that were recorded at the time in portraits, books, memorabilia, meant to be kept and reviewed. So, although many of HM’s hats from the decade are forgotten, the ones she wore at the Olympics, Jubilee, Anne’s wedding and her Silver Wedding will keep appearing in retrospective galleries. The Queen knows which occasions will remain known to posterity – and chose similar hat styles at all those events in that decade. Those were the iconic hats.

  18. Mr. Fitzroy, you have really opened up a kettle of fish here! And HQ, thanks for starting this new series with such a challenging decade – the 1970s! Merriam-Webster’s definition includes the words “distinctive excellence,” which I found scarce as hens’ teeth in the 70s. M-W defines MEMORABLE as “worth remembering.” (Remember the fascinating conversation about “coordinated vs. matchy?”)
    I think the following is iconic – Princess Anne’s wedding of November 14, 1973. Magnificent color and unique coat.

    The following, from the Gulf States tour, I would classify as memorable – both hats are unique in character, as well as appropriate, and above all, beautiful.
    February 12, 1979; Kuwait

    February 22, 1979; Qatar

    • Sorry, Jimbo, but you have linked to photos in a general search gallery (without any photographic credits) instead of specific photos and as such, I had to remove the links.

      A quick look in the Hats From The Past index here on the blog brought up two of the hats you described and the third was easy to find on Getty images:

      Hat worn to Princess Anne’s wedding on November 14, 1973: See dedicated post here

      February 12, 1979; Kuwait See dedicated post here

      February 22, 1979; Qatar
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      • So sorry, HQ, the computer gremlins are running the show for me today. I immediately emailed you when I discovered something was wrong.
        Mea MAXIMA culpa.

      • I completely forgot, Jimbo, there’s a green twin to the blue hat with flowers she wore in Qatar. Does having a twin make a hat any more iconic?!
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    • I want to suggest this hat too. A big moment in HM’s reign and it appeared in all the commemorative books etc. it was a style she wore a lot that decade – not unlike the navy one she wore for Princess Anne’s wedding, which could also be on the short list for this decade.

  19. Oh, my, I’m seeing some very long internet rabbit holes in my future. Thanks to Mr. Fitzroy for his idea. So glad you have included a definition of “iconic,” HatQueen, since this word is so often used incorrectly.

    I agree with Jake, Matthew and maz about the Silver Jubilee hat. It’s so unique and royal, the kind of thing only HM could wear.

    • Some further thoughts since HatQueen has asked us to explain the reasons for our choice: this hat was linked to an important event for the queen. The optimistic color and motion of the trim reflect the jubilation of the occasion. The use of the 25 bells is an original idea — have we ever seen the number of something used on a hat trim tied so literally to the occasion?

      I admit it’s a hat that I admire rather than actually like! The stitching detail and bell-shaped flowers are beautifully made.

    • I do agree with Jake that the Silver Jubilee hat deserves the label “iconic”, especially now having read the posts about it, including the correction from Freddie Fox to Simone Mirman as the designer (had not read these before as they preceded my joining the blog), and also learning that the hat was not new for the Silver Jubilee but had previously been worn to open the Olympics.

      I was not that fond of the Queen’s close-fitting hat style of the 1970s, mainly because I didn’t like the way it went with her forever hairstyle — she always ended up with nothing (or little) showing in front, and those little tufts sticking out on the sides. If she had (like some of the current young royals) altered her hairstyle more to go along with each hat, I might have liked them more.

  20. Bonjour, je préfère le chapeau rose avec les glands du jubilé, je le trouve élégant. Quant à celui de l’investiture je le trouve affreux. Bonne journée.

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