Ascot Hats From the Past

Royal Hatsto the first Ascot races in 1946 following a hiatus during WWII and a young Princess Elizabeth with her aunt, both in flower trimmed hats. Princess Elizabeth’s angular hat feels fashionably jaunty and interestingly similar in shape to a design her granddaughter would wear to the same event, 56 years later.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

If there are any royal hats worn today, please share and discuss in the comments as well.

Photos from Getty as indicated

11 thoughts on “Ascot Hats From the Past

  1. Considering the time, the austerity, I think her Majesty and Princess Royal hats are very cheerful. The abundance of flowers is in sharp contrast of the limitations everywhere else. Paired with the smiles, makes for beautiful portraits.

    Zara’s hat on the other hand is over the top, pun intended. The bow and the flower seem to clash for attention. The high of the crown seems to have been created to accommodate the flower.
    Zara wears interesting hats, but this is somewhat cartoonish for me.

  2. Not being very familiar with Mary, the Princess Royal, a little research was in order. I found her earlier photos were uncannily reminiscent to a young Princess Anne, and her middle aged photos were remarkable with the similarity with Queen Elizabeth. By the way, I immediately thought of this Easter hat from only ten years ago.

    April 12, 2009; Easter Sunday
    Embed from Getty Images

  3. I like the jaunty angle of Princess Elizabeth’s hat.

    Mary, Princess Royal is a Royal I find so interesting. Only daughter of George V and Queen Mary, lived during SIX different monarchs reigns, and was one of the few members of her family who maintained a relationship with Edward and Wallis, she was very active and even trained and worked as a nurse. I would love to read her memoirs of she had written any! If anyone can recommend any good reads about her I would be grateful.

      • @Mitten Mary: Glad to hear it interested you! I would love to see a miniseries in the style of The Crown chronicling Queen Mary and George V lives and their children (not just Edward VII and George VI). They all lead fascinating lives and were witness to so much change and upheaval but I suppose the uptight and cold Mary and George aren’t as appealing as yet another film or drama about Victoria and Albert. Then again I never thought I would see a film made about Queen Anne!

        • That would indeed make a good series! I wonder why no one has thought of it. How sad for Mary to have outlived three of her brothers.

  4. I wonder if we, who comment on every wayward crease or unfinished (to us) bit of trim would consider the finish work on these hats that Princesses Elizabeth and Mary are wearing. Compared to the crisp work on Zara’s hat, these seem to just have random flowers piled on top of a nondescript hat. I know it is barely Post War, and rationing was rife, but these hats just don’t have a lot of style for me. Of course hats were worn more frequentl then, so that was a good thing!

    • Interesting observation, Glitter Girl. Life was pretty hard postwar, so the hat business was probably not at the top of anyone’s priority list. There is such a difference in exposure now — Royals are photographed and scrutinized so much that the milliners know they have to get every detail right.

      • There was also, I believe, still rationing at that time that even the royals participated in, so hats were possibly in the category of functional item rather than fashion statement. Didn’t then-princess Elizabeth receive donations of ration coupons to purchase the fabric for her wedding gown?

        I wonder if the royal ladies may have had fewer hats made to look like a greater number by swapping out the embellishments.

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