Queen Elizabeth’s Braemar Hats

My sincere thanks to Jimbo for collaborating on the text and photo sourcing of this post, and for coming up with the idea for it in the first place!

Every year on the first Saturday of September, the Braemar Gathering takes place in the Scottish Highlands at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar, Aberdeenshire. While there have been Gatherings of one sort or another at Braemar since the days of King Malcolm Canmore, nine hundred years ago, the Gathering has been run in its present form since 1832. It is a wonderful event which showcases the history, traditions, sports, language, food, culture and heritage of Scotland and since 1848, has been attended regularly by the reigning monarch and members of the royal family.

Sporting events of these Highland Games test extreme athletics, strength, endurance and pure grit through the caber toss, tug-of-war, stone put, weight throw, sheaf toss, and Scottish hammer throw and are extremely popular with spectators. Queen Elizabeth has enjoyed this gathering for many years, often dressed in tartan or tweed (and always, in a coordinating hat!).  Judging by her happy enthusiasm, it is safe assume that this event is a high point in her late summer holiday at Balmoral. Here are some of her “Braemar Hats”.

 Embed from Getty Images
1949, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1957

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1958, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1967

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1968, 1969, 1975 1980 and 1981

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1982, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1989

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Gallery A: 1994, 1996, 2001, 2001 and 2002     Gallery B: 2003 through 2007

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Gallery C: 2008 through 2012    Gallery D: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

Update: Since this post was originally published, the Queen has worn the following hats to the Braemar Gathering:

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Turquoise felt with teal velvet leaves in 2018; Purple felt with flowers in 2019, both by Angela Kelly

I suspect we’ll see Queen Elizabeth at the Braemar Gathering tomorrow- what colour do you think her hat will be this year?
Thanks again, Jimbo, for sharing your inspiration for this post!
Photos from Getty as indicated

21 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Braemar Hats

    • So glad you found this one. A wonderful Braemar outfit and unusual for The Queen’s use of beige shoes, handbag and gloves (not shown in this photo) and that huge diamond brooch: the Queen Adelaide I believe.

  1. Fabulous post — thank you, Jimbo and HatQueen! Didn’t get here in time to guess on this year’s color, and I have no idea who the lady in the big yellow bubble hat is, but I did want to point out that the David Levenson photo labeled 1985 in the captions is labeled 1984 on the Getty website:
    Embed from Getty Images

  2. Thanks so much, HatQueen and Jimbo! Great idea! It’s not only a mini-history of the Queen’s fashion, but also a Windsor family photo album. Hope you will add this to your Retrospectives page.

    Looking forward to the 2018 entry.

  3. Great work, HQ and Jimbo!
    As far as I can tell, winter fabrications seem to be the norm for HM’s Braemar hats (and suits) — so I was surprised to see that HM’s turquoise 2002 hat appears to be made of straw. HM wore the same turquoise hat-and-suit combination on another occasion in 2002, and closeups show that the hat has a thin piping of the same fabric as the suit, so the combination is definitely a planned ensemble. But if subsequent hats are any indication, a summer-weight hat for the Braemar Games is unlikely to reappear.

    • I humbly take back seat to this project. HatQueen did the bulwark of it. I don’t know how HQ does it! She should take a nice break this weekend from all her labours!

      Wouldn’t it be great if HM wore this blast-from-the-past?

      January 18, 2004; St. Mary’s Church, Flitcham.
      Embed from Getty Images

      • Nice find Jimbo. Gosh, that’s another hat of HM’s I’ve never seen before, the supply seems endless. I guess that’s a good thing :).
        I do love to see HM in a beret… but I feel this one is a bit too architectural for her. It reminds me of the bow of an aircraft carrier, complete with for’ard anchor bays. Of course, Princess Diana would have rocked this hat – especially that fabulous side feather — but then, she was 5’10” tall :). Here’s my all-time favourite blue beret on HM:
        Embed from Getty Images

        • Agree with you, mcncln, that Diana would have looked great in this beret, especially during the years when her hair was a bit longer. HM has literally never varied her hairstyle over the years, but it’s interesting to imagine how any given hat (of her own actual hats) might have looked on her if she had.

  4. Thanks for the slide shows! I’m guessing there’s probably a lot of tweed worn, just more subtle patterns than the kilts worn by the men. The Queen has a lot of nice suits with interesting weaves. Of these hats I like the lavender from ‘83, the dark blue from ‘94, the soft pink with pouf from ‘13, and the white with black and gold feathers from ‘14. It’s fun to see the range of styles over the years.

  5. I’m quite surprised by the low amount of tweed and tartan too! I reckon this rates as her favourite engagement of the year, the whole family looks to enjoy it so much.

    There’s a black and white houndstooth coat with a white hat that is the perfect outfit for this outing I think. It’s not been worn much which is a shame.

  6. Well that was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed seeing the Queen and other family members relaxing and enjoying the Games. I was slightly surprised that more tweed hasn’t been worn over the years. And very little tartan on the ladies. In 1985 there is a woman directly behind the Princess of Wales wearing an enormous mustard yellow hat. It reminds me of the tam that Benjamin Bunny wore in his Beatrix Potter book. Does anyone know who she is?

    • Oh goodness, yes! That yellow bubble hat just jumped right off the page! The Queen always looks so lovely and well groomed. I cannot imagine having to dress like that every single day! I’m tired just thinking about it!

      The hats are just so varied! The look on the Princess Royal in 1968 is just great and I love the Queen’s tam that year. My favorites are the last few years. The soft pink of 2013 is just perfect for me, the color, brim size, delightful trim, it’s just perfect!

      What a fabulous post, thanks to Jimbo and of course, our Dear Hat Queen!!

  7. What a great idea Jimbo! Thanks for all the great slideshow pictures. I enjoyed seeing the children in their kilts and tartan and especiallly Princess Margaret, Princess Diana and the Duchess of York. The color photos of the Queen are fabulous. As for Mer Majesty’s hat color at tomorrow’s Braemar Games, I think I’ll pick blue. She seems to be wearing a lot of blue lately so that’s my pick. Thanks again.

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