British Royals Host Third Palace Garden Party

Queen Elizabeth was joined by members of her family yesterday under grey skies for the third and final Buckingham Palace garden party of this summer season.

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Despite the rain, the Queen looked very summery in her repeated pale pink straw hat with hourglass shaped crown, trimmed with white straw twists and brim binding and pale pink winter berries.

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There’s lots to like here between the delicate colour, the well detailed white trim and those unique berries- how I adore those berries as a welcome change from the flowers and feathers we so often see! However- I’m afraid that the extreme shape of the crown is neither attractive nor flattering. There’s a fine line between creative and caricature when it comes to fashion and this hat doesn’t land on the right side.

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Designer: Angela Kelly, made by Stella McLaren. Coat and dress by Stewart Parvin.
Previously Worn: June 15, 2016

While the Duke of Sussex wore his silk top hat (or more accurately, carried it for most of the event), the York Princesses joined the bandeau trend that has globally swept through millinery fashion.

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Princess Beatrice wore a maroon felt bandeau covered in individually cut felt leaves (a design that caught my eye here back in March!). These photos don’t show the design detail off very well but it’s a great piece with texture that livens up the bandeau shape. I think Beatrice wears it well and the colour is divine on her.

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Designer: Laura Cathcart. It’s the “Tess” design. Dress by The Vampire’s Wife
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

Princess Eugenie topped her champagne pleated dress with a cream velour felt bandeau wrapped in diamond widely woven veil. Cream duck and goose feathers studded in the veil complete the design. Like her sister’s bandeau, I think this one works thanks to the texture provided by the feathers and veil. It’s not my favourite colour on Eugenie (I’d prefer it with a more vibrant dress) but the scale and design is really lovely.

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Designer: Maggie Mowbray. It’s the “Helena” design. Dress by Sandro Paris.
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

The Duchess of Gloucester repeated the same look we saw her wear at last week’s garden party- her blue straw pillbox with recently added veil paired with a blue floral dress and cream jacket. There’s not much to add except say that for better views of the hat, hop over to last week’s post which has recently been  with better photos.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: May 23, 2019May 31, 2018

The Dukes of Gloucester and Kent both repeated their grey felt top hats while Princess Michael of Kent repeated her rounded  white silk covered pillbox (all are visible in the gallery below). I find the exaggerated, bulbous shape of this one over the top but those words are often ones I use to describe Marie Christine’s style so it’s on point for her.

Designer: I suspect John Boyd
Previously Worn: June 12, 2016; June 2, 2016; June 15, 2013June 11, 2011June 20, 2008

Interestingly, the only hats I’ve praised here are the two bandeaux- a critique I stand behind. They’re both interesting, textural designs that flatter their wears, which is not something I can say about the more extreme hat shapes also seen here. I found the hats at this last Buckingham Palace garden party of this season rather hit and miss- what do you think?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

28 thoughts on “British Royals Host Third Palace Garden Party

  1. Chiming in with a “what everybody else said”: the exaggerated crown mars HM’s pink, Eugenie’s bandeau could be worn farther back, and Beatrice would benefit by a softer hairstyle. Two additional thoughts: the winter berry trim is so pretty, but could do with a little pruning. And isn’t Eugenie’s bandeau especially lovely with the veil pulled forward, as in the designer’s photo! Maybe that would be too formal for this occasion, and I like the softness of the veil as she wore it, but maybe for a future event?

    I’m imagining the Duchess of Gloucester’s thinking, “Oh, I can just repeat my outfit since I won’t be seeing any of the same people.” She seems like a very practical person.

    HatQueen, I’m always surprised that we don’t see more of your new design picks on royal heads!

    • When it comes to Royal Hats, I’m HARDLY an influencer! Part of why I feature these new design picks on our weekly ‘Extras’ posts is to admire hats from milliners we don’t see on royal heads. There’s amazing work happening around the world and it’s nice to see a tiny bit of it.

      • I don’t mean to say that royals are checking this blog for your picks (although maybe they should be!), but that you have such a good eye. It seems that the more discerning stylists and dressers might be alert to more of the milliners you feature.

        • You make a good point- while some royals go to a single milliner and have a very consistent millinery look (Duchess of Cornwall is a good example), those working with stylists, I think, get pushed to try new things. And that makes things more entertaining for us!

          As for my eye- you’re very kind. My mum is a seamstress and growing up around her sewing table undoubtedly influenced how I see, respect and critique handmade items (and the level of finishing I know is possible and should be expected from couture work!).

          • THAT’S how you know so much about fabric! Or do palace press releases say what kind of fabric royal outfits are made out of?

            I liked the Queen’s hat until I scrolled through the photos and understood what you meant. If the shape was dialed back a bit it would be a great hat. I don’t like this bandeau craze but I agree that these two on the Yorks are better than most others. The Duchess of Gloucester surely has other clothes and hats she can wear and she knew she would be photographed. Is she trying to beat Princess Anne as the most practical dresser in the family? And that block of cheese on Princess Michael’s head… I have no words.

  2. I’m a huge fan of HM’s outfit. The coat is divine and I’m rather fond of the hat. I simply like the shape of it (I know, I’m the only one here) and the berries are simply wonderful! Good job!

  3. I think the trim on HM’s hat is well-balanced with the shape and therefore I don’t find it exaggerated (unlike many others with this crown shape). So happy to see this one again, especially as I had unfortunately forgotten about it!

    Beatrice looked wonderful and well-coordinated colorwise in her bandeau headpiece and outfit. I agree with others in the critique that Eugenie’s headpiece is sitting a bit too forward; also, the all-cream look does wash her out a bit, as sandra said, so I wish she had jazzed it up with a fun necklace at least. Ultimately, while I think bandeau headbands have their place sometimes, it is one millinery trend I’m not keen on unfortunately.

    Disappointed Birgitte repeated EVERYTHING she wore last week (even the necklace); it’s a good look, but not one I wanted to see again right away. Would’ve much preferred a repeat of one of her 2018 Ascot looks.

    A fine look for Marie-Christine, but her it’s hard to find anything to say (whether new or nice) when she just goes through a bunch of beige/cream hats and outfits that eventually all blend together.

    All the royal gentlemen where in fine form in their top hats, but Harry continues to be one of the best, if not the best, in this category.

  4. While I agree that the shape of the hat on HM is unusual, I think there is a good reason for that. Due to aging HM has become shorter. The hat is a wonderful accessory to give her height. Particularly considering at her age she cannot wear high hills. On someone of higher stature the hat might look more out of place. But I think in this case adds to the presence of HM.

  5. Hello everyone! Since we’re at the last Buckingham Palace garden party of the year I thought I’d chime in with my hypothesis on the gentlemen not wearing, but carrying, their top hats. As far as I know there is no social protocol regarding carrying vs wearing a top hat (as there was when royal gentlemen in formal day wear for royal funerals carried their top hats out of respect). You’re supposed to wear a hat, but remove it at certain times. Notice that most of the men you see carrying are royal, whereas guests and support staff in attendance in formal attire are wearing their hats. Royal wearers are the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, for example, whereas royal non-wearers are Prince Harry and almost always Prince Charles when he is in attendance. It is customary to remove your top hat when you greet someone that you are meeting. Can you imagine how many people a royal meets at one of these events? So it is probably just easier to carry the top hat rather than doff it over and over again. The older Dukes might simply just find it easier to wear it than carry it, and recognize that no one is going to “ding” them for not doffing their hat each time they greet/meet someone. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. Of course there is the possibility that the men not wearing their hats would choose to never wear one if left to their own choice – how horrible!

    • Chuck, my theory is that the men hold their hats in order to keep their hands occupied, so the gushing guests don’t latch on to them longer than their allotted time. Probably not. What about the ever present umbrellas, rain or shine? Are they just part of the prescribed “uniform,” or are they used more as walking sticks, especially in the sometimes uneven, soggy grass?
      BTW, the garden parties in our neck of the woods usually involve Red Solo Cups and ball caps worn backwards, and Mrs. Jimbo losing at a cornhole (bean bag toss) game.

      • Regarding the hats, I always hate to come late to the game and repeat everyone else’s comments, so I’ll just say, I agree with the general consensus here regarding all of the hats, shapes, and colors. I did want to add on to Jimbo’s comment about umbrellas. Did HM always carry umbrellas to the garden parties, or is that something she has only started to do in recent years? I’m asking because while it seems to be part of the uniform for the male attendees, not so much for the women. I have been wondering of late if The Queen uses her color-coordinated umbrellas in lieu of a cane on occasions such as this where she has to walk on uneven ground. Most women I know in her age bracket readily hold onto the arm of the nearest younger stronger person, but I guess you can’t do that if you’re the monarch.

        • Matthew, I too am amazed at HM’s steadiness on her feet. No doubt she receives the finest medical treatments in the world, but most people her age have arthritis… if she does have the usual ailments we would expect, it certainly doesn’t show.
          Re HM and umbrellas: the umbrella seems to be a traditional accessory for both women and men at garden parties. HM has certainly carried one before – e.g. this Garden Party at Government House Sydney 1954:
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          It’s a tradition HM would have learned from her elders.Spot the umbrellas in this 1935 video of a Buckingham Palace garden party shows Queen Mary and the then Duchess of York, HM’s mother, and a very young Princess Elizabeth:

    • Hi ChicagoChuck, interesting thoughts about men holding their hats. I thought this video below of a 1935 Buck.Palace garden party might throw some light onto hat protocol, but although I’ve watched it a few times (it’s very brief), I have to say I’m not sure I’m seeing a pattern with the royal men and their hats. It’s the video I linked in my reply to Matthew below, and shows the then King and Prince of Wales and other peers and courtiers with their hats variously on and off. in addition to your and Jimbo’s likely theories, I suspect that for a royal gentleman, holding the hat (as opposed to just doffing it) may be meant to communicate informality, a willingness to engage with the public, and to put those being greeted by the royal for the first time at ease:

      • From what I can tell, for the most part, the gentlemen, whether royal or not, hold their hats when greeting others or holding a brief conversation.

        But let’s talk about King George’s fabulous “white” top hat! I want that hat!!! From the sharp edges at the top of the crown it is almost certainly silk. Plus the light colored hat band suggests silk as well. I know there were a limited number of white silk hats made (white hats were usually ecru or cream colored, not actually white) and if anyone had one it would be King George, who was very well known for being a clothes horse and also very particular about customs and, in his mind, appropriate sartorial choices.

        I’ve seen one white top hat that was on display at Royal Ascot some years ago. I can’t remember the exact price that was on it but it was well into the 5-figures of ££££!

        • Thanks, mcncln for sharing this wonderful newsreel. As for King George’s ‘white’ top hat- I’ve never seen anything like it. SO fascinating!

          And yes, ChicgagoChuck- I think you need one as well!

        • Wow, thanks for that info on “white” top hats Chicagochuck, this is the first I’ve heard about them. I imagine the ecru colour would look especially fine against the King’s silver/grey hair. It makes me wonder if his top hats are still in storage somewhere… I’d love to know what has happened to them.
          BTW, I notice in the Ascot newsreels of the ‘thirties and ‘forties that grey seems far and away the most common top hat colour; the commentators in some of the Pathe newsreels even refer to “grey toppers” as the inevitable choice for gentlemen.
          Would you say grey is still the predominant/typical top hat colour these days?

          • Grey vs black top hat – when men wore top hats on a daily, or at least more regular, basis they would own both a grey and a black hat. Black hats were both more formal and worn for business, so worn daily. Grey hats were considered less formal and were used for weddings, races, etc. So in that era the overwhelming majority of the top hats at Royal Ascot would be grey. As times have changed and sartorial customs have become less and less formal the need for more than one top hat has dropped considerably, so owning just one black hat is more practical since it is appropriate for formal or less formal occasions. Notice that the recent royal weddings, where men wore formal day wear, lacked almost any men wearing top hats. Years ago men attending a royal wedding would most certainly have worn a top hat, probably grey. So other than Royal Ascot, where a top hat is required for the Royal Enclosure, men choose to go hatless. It is honestly quite surprising that as many men wear formal attire with top hat at the garden parties as we’ve seen. Sadly, I’m pretty confident that when the current monarch passes the torch the next one might well do away with traditions such as this.

            For what it is worth, I’d personally really like to find a vintage grey top hat so that I’d have a black and grey to wear on alternate days to Royal Ascot. But one thing that keeps me from making too much of an effort at sourcing one is the difficulty in traveling with one top hat, much less two of them! You wouldn’t believe the looks we get when we walk through the airport and board the plane carrying our leather cases with top hat enclosed.

        • Chicagochuck, WordPress wouldn’t support me replying to your comment about grey and black top hats, but I have to say it was fascinating! I hope a vintage grey top hat will eventually be yours.
          Re travelling on planes: I know quite a few musicians.Not every airtraveller understands why a musician may need to buy a separate airline seat for their instrument i.e. why you absolutely must never put an instrument under your seat or up in the baggage rack, even though it is in its case. I also follow a local racing fashion blogger( female) who is a fashion judge and travels to all the big races. There is quite a bit of flying involved. The number of items in her luggage for 3 days at the Melbourne Cup (that’s 3 hats, 3 pairs shoes,3 handbags and 3 outfits), and the onboard hand luggage, is staggering.

  6. HM: bless! she is such a vision in this hat and outfit that I am deliberately closing my eyes to the over-extended crown. As long as I pick the right viewing angle, I’m in heaven with this one.
    Beatrice: HQ you must be chuffed that a royal is wearing a hat that has made your selection list. Could someone with influence be be reading this blog?
    Beatrice shines when she wears colours that look great on redheads; the dress is a win for me on this ground alone. I just wish the lovely headpiece, with its height and thickness, was balanced with a less severe hairstyle, with greater volume and wave.
    Eugenie: I feel this headpiece looks like it has drifted forward, and that it needs to sit back on the head, like Beatrice’s. It’s a very refined, elevated piece, but the dress style relaxes/ casualises the look somewhat. A well-designed formal hairstyle, plus a refined dress, plus this pretty headpiece could result in some “wow “possibilities.

    • Mcncln, about HM’s hat, I agree with you on the viewing angle of the pictures – the 1st photo in the 2nd slide show is perfection, but then the next photo . . .UGH! Not being a fan of the bandeaus, I leave the commentary to others.

  7. I adore this coat on the Queen, but agree that the hourglass hat shape veers into caricature territory and I wince when I see it on a dignified older person. Thankfully this one is helped by the plentiful trim, which fills in the narrowest part somewhat.
    I think the York princesses both look fabulous!

  8. I really like HM’s hat but wonder if it looks a little off in proportion because our dear Elizabeth is getting smaller? Both bandeaux are quite acceptable, although I don’t care for Beatrice’s hairstyle from the back with its severe horizontal parting, and wonder if Eugenie’s headpiece is placed too far forward. Not so keen on the head to toe cream on her either. Washes her out a bit.

  9. I rather like this hat on HM, I don’t hate the hourglass shape as much as others do, it’s a Kelly staple and one of the better ones. The berries are a good change I agree. I’d hoped we’d see this hat again (another Ascot number dusted off, she’s going through the back catalogue at the mo!) and it doesn’t disappoint.

    I’d have rather the York Princesses we’re in actual hats (a friend and I were bemoaning all these souped up alice bands the other day, thank heavens they won’t pass muster at Ascot!) but they’re both beautifully detailed and I really like both their dresses, though I suspect Bea’s is better in person than in pics due to the print.

    Birgitte and MC came as themselves.

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