British Royals Commemorate Remembrance Day & WWI Armistice Centenary

As this year’s Remembrance Sunday coincided with the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, special consideration (and royal attendance) surrounded this commemoration. A ceremony at the Cenotaph at Whitehall, in central London, occurred as it does each year, led by the Prince of Wales. He was joined by the Dukes of Cambridge, Sussex, York and Kent, the Princess Royal, the Earl of Wessex and Prince Michael of Kent, all in military uniform with respective caps of their rank.

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Queen Elizabeth, who watched the service from a Whitehall balcony for the second time, wore a new hat in black felt. The design features an upturned kettle brim and tall molded crown, the top of which looks to be off the same block as Angela Kelly’s split crown hats. The hat is simply trimmed with a layered leather and felt hatband which circles the crown midway, finishing at the front in a looped knot. The streamlined embellishment works well on this design to balance the slightly awkward shape of the crown’s top.

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Designer: Looks like Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her large black black felt hat with flyaway raised brim edged in a wide band of bias-woven ribbon. It’s still a dramatic statement piece for her with the most magnificently sleek lines.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Dec 25, 2016;  Nov 13, 2016Dec 25, 2015

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new hat which, interestingly is a winter felt version of this straw hat already in her wardrobe. The lines of this design, with extended brim around the upswept back of the design are particularly lovely and beautifully punctuated with the slim binding around the brim. The choice of a single curling quill for trim is also the right one for this hat- overall, it’s an elegant piece that, I think, will be a good addition to Kate’s millinery collection.

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Designer: Lock and Co. It is a bespoke version of the Abney from AW 2018. Coat is Alexander McQueen.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Sussex wore a black percher hat with bumper shaped base, trimmed with a single-looped side bow. These smaller profile millinery designs suit Meghan well and I really like the textural difference between the velvet felt of the hat and the silk wool of her coat. Large base button perchers sometimes read as a bit boring and the cuffed, bumper shape of this one has a slight military nod that fits this event very well.

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Designer: unknown (my guess is Stephen Jones). Coat by Givenchy
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex’s modified saucer hat features a shallow button crown and wide brim and is trimmed with a large silk bow that drapes over half of the design. The sharply upswept angle that the hat’s base (visible in the third photo in the gallery below) places it on the head is key here- without it, I suspect the hat might read a bit 1980s twee but the elevated position keeps the piece looking modern and fresh.

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The Countess of Wessex wore this hat later in the day when she and Prince Edward attended the Welsh National Service of Thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: This hat is new. 
After the Cenotaph service, other royal family members traveled also to other services marking the Armistice centenary held around the United Kingdom. Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence attended the Scottish Commemorative Service at Glasgow Cathedral where Princess Anne repeated her black percher hat with net veil-overlaid round button base trimmed with a crescent of pointed black feathers. The percher style is a fairly new one for Anne but one I hope she continues to embrace as it works particularly well to modernize and soften her hairstyle.
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Nov 10, 2017Oct 4, 2017Jun 27, 2017
The Duke and Duchess Gloucester attended the Armistice Day Service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the Duke in a black bowler hat and the Duchess in a lovely new peacock blue felt pillbox with domed crown. The colour of this piece is wonderful on Brigitte and pairs so well with her navy coat to create an overall ensemble that is a little punchier than we usually see at such memorial events but still perfectly appropriate. 


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Finally, the Prince of Wales attended a Remembrance Service at the Guards’ Chapel at Wellington Barracks. The Prince, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards Regiment, wore a traditional regimental bowler hat.

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Several family members also attended a service at Westminster Abbey commemorating the centenary of the WWI Armistice- we’ll look at those hats in a post coming up first thing tomorrow morning. For now, what do you think of this first round of hats we saw worn for Remembrance Day yesterday?
Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

13 thoughts on “British Royals Commemorate Remembrance Day & WWI Armistice Centenary

  1. The Queen appeared quite emotional on this day … unusual for her as she’s so stoic ! Camilla and Catherine looked so beautiful and regal ! Princess Anne looked the best I’ve seen her in the percher it suits her so well ! Sophie is just the best in that type of saucer very becoming on her … Meghan was very elegant and the Duchess of Gloucester was lovely
    The photo of Prince Charles made me giggle … he looks like he’s waiting for the bus !! (sorry no disrespect)

    • I agree with you, Nonie, that HM looked more emotional than usual in some of the photos, and I can’t help wondering if it was because, though for the younger attendees this was an important historical event, for her it was an event still fresh in the minds of people as she was growing up. She may have been remembering people she actually knew, who came home from the war, but are most certainly gone now.

  2. I can’t help feeling the The Queen’s hat would look better with her usual radiant smile. I look forward to seeing it on a less somber occasion although it will still not be a favourite among her black hats..

  3. HM’s hat looks good overall, but I just don’t think these all-upturned brims flatter her, especially in a cloche-style with a small brim to begin with. But, if the brim had been turned down, then the crown would look even taller I think. Ultimately, I would shorten the crown and turn down the brim. The trim is lovely, and I like the molded shape of the top of the crown. I know Philip is retired, but I expected to see him for such an important anniversary.

    Camilla, still rockin’ this hat like always, but why has it been so long since we last saw it?

    Kate’s hat isn’t a bad one for her, but I don’t think it’s super flattering either. Honestly, I just don’t think it’s a well-designed hat; the crown being a separate piece looks awkward, especially with the very obvious seam, and the feather spines seem a bit random in their placement. Her outfit is perfect for the occasion: Edwardian collar meets military jacket.

    Meghan’s hat is okay for her, but I think this high dome shape looks a bit odd. If this had a flattered beret base, or had more trim to it, then I think it would look better.

    Sophie’s was my favorite of the day; very sophisticated and beautiful without being over-the-top for the occasion. The shape, angle, and bow are just perfect, but I wish it wasn’t perched quite so high on its base, but that’s a minor complaint.

    Anne’s feathered cocktail beret hat is one of my favorites for her, and glad to see it out again.

    I don’t think Birgitte’s hat is a repeat; it looks like a brushed felt version of her summer pillbox (which would make more sense seasonally), as the weave of the sisal can be clearly seen in this photo (https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily/status/1002218392085057536/photo/1), but is not visible here. Regardless, it’s a good choice, although interesting she didn’t choose black. The Duke looks nice in his bowler, and I was very happy to see this wasn’t the only non-military hat worn that day.

    Of course, the other bowler being worn by Charles, who knocked it out of the park here. Simply perfect in this whole ensemble.

    • You’re right Jake- at closer look, the Duchess of Gloucester’s pillbox is indeed a new one, in felt. It’s such a great colour on her and the shape is so classic I can’t fault her having straw and felt versions of this style of hat!

  4. The men’s military caps and bowlers are fantastic. Yesterday I witnessed a short presentation of the “Missing Man Table,” where 5 American military caps were placed at a table set for 6, and the last setting had a red rose, representing a fallen comrade. Out came the Kleenex!

    HM looked dignified and appropriate as ever, and her new hat fits nicely on the shelf with about 4 or 5 others that are not terribly dissimilar. What caught my eye, however, was HM’s black coat, which has been worn since at least 2005. In the Black Hat Inventory, the queen is wearing the same black coat, labeled September 14, 2001. However, the photo was taken on May 11, 2005, at a memorial service for tsunami victims. So I was pleased to see a 17 year old coat matched to a new hat, only to find it is 13 years old. Not Anne’s recycling track record, but still impressive.

    May 11, 2005
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  5. One thing that stands out: each of the royal ladies’s hats, especially the Duchess of Cambridge’s, had some textural element or trim that stands out from the black. These are all good, but on this occasion, they are collectively excellent — more than the sum of the parts.

    Wonderful to see the Duchess of Gloucester’s blue pillbox shimmering in the sunlight,

    And the appearance of the regimental bowlers always comes as a surprise to me. Wonderful to uphold the tradition.

  6. The photo of the Queen with the two Duchesses is just a fabulous photo. All of them look perfectly appropriate. From a purely millinery standpoint, I don’t particularly care for the Queen’s hat- the shape of the crown and the placement of the leather trim makes it look like the hat’s being squeezed by a too-tight belt IMO. I always love the DoCornwall’s big black hat and she looks elegant. the Duchess of Sussex looks lovely too. IMO, the DoCambridge is the the one here who knocked it out of the park from a millinery and sartorial standpoint. The hat is the perfect shape and proportion to go with the rest of the look, the simple trim is graceful and perfect, and her hair is really nicely styled to make the hat look its best. I love seeing DoGlo in a little color too! Great showing from everyone on this special remembrance day.

  7. Slightly off topic and apologies for that. We’ve had Peter Jackson’s film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ screening in my hometown – my 22-year-old son saw it on Nov 11 and I saw it on Nov 12. If you have the chance to see it, please do. It is visceral and raw in places but if there was ever anything to speak to the generations alive today about World War 1 and why war isn’t a sensible thing to do, this is it. The addition of colour and the commentary provided by men who served in that war make it all the more ‘real’. The man I’ve been ‘getting to know’ over the past year or so who died in Belgium in December 1917 died in a field hospital – after seeing this film I think what a kindness that was. He was with people caring for him. He didn’t die alone in the mud and the cold. He has a grave.

  8. I can truly say without exception that I think all these hats are successful. The restrained trim on the Queen’s hat means it can take the added interest of the crown shape. Camilla’s hat is a good example of the statement hat she wears so well. Kate’s hat is a beautiful design deceptive in it simplicity. Sophie’s saucer is, as you comment, made by the angle it’s worn at, but it’s an interesting hat anyway. Anne’s percher is a perfectly good percher, and Birgitte’s pillbox is such a lovely colour. And more than this, I felt every one of these hats was absolutely appropriate for the occasion.

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