Queen Elizabeth’s Maundy Thursday Hats: Part 1

Last year, we looked back at the hats Queen Elizabeth has worn this century on Easter Sunday. Sunday service, however, isn’t Her Majesty’s only outing during Easter weekend. At the conclusion of Maundy Thursday service, she (or a royal representative) hands out symbolic alms to elderly recipients – a tradition that goes back to 1210 when John, King of England, gave food and clothing to the poor in Knaresborough, Yorkshire. We will undoubtedly see Her Majesty this week at the Maundy Thursday service and in preparation for that, I thought we’d take a look back at the hats she has worn to this event in years past:


1935; first public engagement as sovereign in 1952, 1953 and 1955 (in 1954 she was away on the Commonwealth Tour)


1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959 (in 1960 she did not attend due to Prince Andrew’s birth)


1961, 1962, 1963 and 1965 (Prince Edward’s birth prevented her attendance in 1964)


1966, 1967 and the same orange ruffled turban in 1968 and 1969

The hat shape evolution here is interesting- the 1950s calots grow in volume to the 1960s turbans, with that brimmed halo hat in 1966 (in vibrant blue) for some contrast. I didn’t know that Her Majesty’s first public engagement as queen was to attend the 1952 Maundy Service until researching this post and the beautifully veiled capulet she wore that year shows how young she was.

We’ll continue our look at the Queen’s Maundy Thursday hats through this week- stay tuned!

Photos from Universal Images Group, PA Images, PA Images, Ullstein Bild, PA Images, Gamma Keystone, Keystone-France, PA Images, PA Images, Popperfoto, Bettman, Stringer, PA Images, PA ImagesPopperfoto and PA Images via Getty

6 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Maundy Thursday Hats: Part 1

  1. I love the style of the ‘fifties and ‘sixties, so it’s always a pleasure to revisit the hats HM wore then.
    One thing I’ve noticed from watching videos of the time, is how integral the outfit is to the hat. I don’t think the effect of these hats is always apparent from just a portrait-style photo. But seeing HM from head-to-toe, I appreciate how the proportions of the hat (e.g. width, height, etc) are more often than not beautifully balanced against the coat; and how what, in isolation, may seem like an overabundance of detail on a hat, or too much stiffness or softness, suddenly looks just right in the context of the ensemble. (Of course, HM’s trademark poise has a lot to do with making these fashion statements look so accessible.) Here’s the 1968/69 orange turban:
    https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/queen-elizabeth-ii-with-prince-philip-behind-in-procession-news-photo/455956434
    The following video 0:47 to 0:50 may show the 1965 feather hat (allowing for wandering stray feathers on HM’s forehead in the 1965 pic which are not there in the video). The raw silk collar of the jacket in both images does look very similar. https://youtu.be/c6My5EJ9Ix8?t=47
    That blue feather hat reminds me that in the ‘sixties, my mother had a pillbox of feathers in brilliant blue, with scattered accent feathers in jewel green. It looked stunning when worn with her skirt suit in a matching blue. Sadly, mum eventually gave that wonderful hat away, along with all her other millinery. I still have fond memories of my mother’s beautiful hats.

    • Mcncln, you just confirmed my suspicion – I thought I recalled seeing the 1965 feather hat as blue in my mind, and your super duper video proves it! Thanks for finding it.

  2. A very interesting group of hats, if only we could see them in living color! I spent a shameful amount of time today looking for color photos, but to no avail. I could swear that I’ve seen color versions of 1956 and 1965, but my memory must be playing tricks on me. Where are all these beauties today?

  3. Some interesting numbers here; several of which I’ve never seen before. 1962s cuffed pillbox has promise and the coat looks fab. I love 1965s feathers look, it’s very chic. And the repeat of that tasselled Orange turban is a real puzzler!

  4. So interesting to see the style evolution from calots to turbans, almost helmets. The 1952 caught my eye, too — what a pretty style for the young queen. The white band on the 1955 makes me think of a nun’s headpiece. Does it look like 1961 is a repeat of 1959?

    Looking forward to the rest of the week, HatQueen!

    • Yes- I also think the 1959 and 1961 hats are the same (they share the same unique shape and material- whatever it is!) although the coats are different.

      I also meant to say that not all of these photographs were taken at the Maundy Thursday service- a few showed much better views of the hats at other outings so made sense to use. Interestingly, in this pre-digital age, hat repeats were often closer in time than they are now! The 1963 hat shown above was photographed March 28, 1963 on the Queen’s arrival back from a trip to New Zealand and Australia and repeated April 4 for the Maundy Thursday service. We seldom see such quick repeats today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.