Queen Elizabeth’s Iconic Hats: 1980s

 Our search for Queen Elizabeth’s most iconic hats brings us to those worn during the 1980s. Again- we’re looking for hats “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence” and each suggestion you make should be qualified as such. As always, feel welcome to link to articles, youtube videos or photo galleries featuring a particular hat but please avoid pinterest links and any hotlinked photos.

The 1980s had some memorable fashion- which hats from this decade do you consider to be iconic ones for the Queen?

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Photos from Getty as indicated

24 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Iconic Hats: 1980s

  1. I like all the hats you posted HQ and most of the others too. In terms of iconic, the purple hat worn in China may have history on its side as it was the first visit of a British monarch to China AND that is The Great Wall in the background. The blue feathery hat with the feathers cut in a way that mimic the polka dots in The Queen’s dress looks to be a beautifully made hat for an important occasion. I love the big green exuberant tam o shanter but I am not sure it is iconic. I am not such a fan of the shallow crowned hats but the blue for the Duke of York’s wedding is a lovely hat, again for an important occasion. The purple Somerville with violets is beautiful in concept and execution but IMO it never quite worked on The Queen. Something about the placement was not quite right and IMO it needed a quieter outfit for better effect.

  2. I agree with you HQ! The York wedding hat is perfectly lovely and is number 1 in my poll. Number 2 is the hat worn to Prince William’s christening, I just love the exuberant trim. And number 3 is the hat worn to the Prince and Princess of Wales wedding. The color is beautiful and I feel it’s a great representation of her 80’s millinery. Just My opinion of course.

  3. I agree with many that the blue hat from the York wedding is the best of the ’80s. I also recognize the purple Somerville as iconic in a different way. It looks beautifully made, rather eccentric, and somehow the kind of hat only the Queen would wear.

  4. The Charles & Diana wedding hat and the Andrew & Sarah wedding hat are probably the 2 most iconic from the 80s.

    I’ve seen this photo multiple times over the years, and so for me this hat is a bit iconic as well:
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    The 80s really seemed like a time of experimentation and change, more so than I ever realized, when it comes to HM’s hats. She wore so many styles, although virtually all of them seem dated to me now. Here are a few that stick out for me in my brief searching.

    Morocco 1980:
    Embed from Getty Images

    This unusual one from the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday:
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    And of course, the purple Somerville hat:
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    • Argh, got the wrong code on the first photo. Here it is:
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        • Clearly, they’re looking at the clouds, and debating whether or not using the umbrella! Thank goodness Jake’s picture of HM dining in Morocco was taken 9 years before my discovery of HM’s hat while visiting the farm. I would have put 2 and 2 together and come up with pig roast!

    • Jake, thanks for that back photo of the Somerville purple hat — I had seen many photos of the front before, but never the back. Seeing the embellishments inside those folds of fabric makes the hat a little less odd-looking than I always thought it was!

  5. I personally love the wide transparent brimmed black hat she wore with the yellow coat on the morning of her 60th birthday, before she changed into the smaller yellow beret style hat which was more widely photographed. At the time is was quite a different style for her, and at such an important event.


    She wore it again at ascot the same year. It’s difficult to find many photos, but if you scroll down this gallery to 1986, you get a better view.


    I think it’s another one of her wide brimmed elegant hats that could almost still be worn today.

  6. I feel we need a moment to discuss the blue and white baker boy cap style in the slideshow. This hat just makes me laugh whenever I see it. I think it only had one outing… a style departure for sure, but not sure how successful it was! To me it always makes me think of the biker from the Village People; which is suspect wasn’t the look she was going for!!

  7. HQ: The 1st hat in the 1st slideshow always reminds me of a picnic basket – iconic or ironic?
    JamesB: I join you in your vote for the Andrew/Fergie wedding chapeau – beautiful. I also like the yellow one, even though I like HM’s brimmed hats better.
    Bristol: I can only imagine the havoc being wreaked on the royal hairdo when wearing the turban/helmet/tight fitting numbers. Occasionally we see a photo of HM at an engagement, and after she has removed her hat, her hair is just fine. Thank goodness I don’t have that problem (anymore!)
    Here are some beauties, all from 1989!

    April 21, 1989; Queen Elizabeth’s birthday.
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    August 8, 1989; Isle of Man.
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    October 14, 1989; Malaysia
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    May 4, 1989; Visiting a hat fan. This one is new to me, and I went hog-wild when I discovered it!
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    • “Hog-wild,” hah! Settle down, Jimbo! What an interesting hat — makes me think of Nehru. Are there similar hats out there in the ’80s, or was this just an experiment? The simplicity is kind of refreshing.

      The cerise with the black bow is very pretty, but I’m not sure it’s quite iconic. Interesting to have the large black bow placed squarely front and center, just at it is with the picnic basket hat. I have to admit that I like the picnic basket — it’s fun!

    • Jimbo, just recently (I believe in the Baxter guest post) we were discussing hats with printed fabric rather than fabric matching the coat, and you’ve posted two examples of this — I wouldn’t mind seeing this style return.

      In terms of iconic, obviously the two wedding hats fit that bill as well as the christening hat in terms of being the most widely seen, but there are also some other interesting looking hats here that I had not previously seen. (Though some not necessarily that we would want to appear in public again!)

  8. The polka dot turban and the blue hat with the striped bows under and over the brim (both shown in the slideshows) are instantly memorable and definitely say 80s to me. Also the blue one worn to Andrew & Sarah’s wedding. I do love the newsboy cap, though, I’d like to see HM bring that out again for a giggle 😀

  9. I agree, the hat from the York wedding is lovely. I also like the blue polka dot turban with feathers from Prince William’s christening.

  10. The ’80s has always intrigued me in terms of fashions / styles worn by the Queen. Specifically, I think the look she wore for Charles and Diana’s wedding is very dated, largely because of the hat. Yet only five years later, the outfit for Andrew and Sarah’s wedding could I think be worn today and still seem stylish if not entirely fashionable, again mainly because of the hat. And I suppose that’s entirely because of later trends creating what we see as fashionable or dated. In other words, big brims have stayed fashionable, or part of the fashion mix, ever since then, whereas the smaller but rather solid head-embracing and helmet type shapes of the seventies and early 80s have generally not (smaller hats since then having gone more in the wispier fascinator direction). Maybe if those close-fitting hats come back into fashion in future, it’ll be the 1981 hat that will seem more stylish, and the 1986 one dated! (But I really don’t believe that…)

    • I like your theory, and think it holds water. I’m just not seeing the helmet/turban look coming back in quite the same way. It was kind of of it’s time and seems to have been left there!

  11. Oh this one Is easy. The hat worn for Prince Andrew’s wedding was one of her best ever. A new shape for her, very on trend, a fabulous colour and a happy, high profile event.

    I also really liked the yellow 60th birthday hat a lot too, it was a fun look and with that shoulder padded coat, very fashionable for the Dynasty era.

    This decade for me was a mix of the rather prim, small shapes she had been wearing for some time and larger, more adventurous styles which were more becoming on her. An early taste of how her millinery tastes would change around the millennium when her style really evolved to what it is now.

  12. I’ll start this one off with one of my favourite of the Queen’s hats- the cornflower blue tilted brim Philip Somerville design for the Duke and Duchess of York’s wedding in July 1986. For me, it’s a perfect hat.
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