Order Of The Garter 2019

Founded by Edward III in 1348, The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry awarded at the Sovereign’s pleasure as a personal gift. Twenty four recipients of the order, known each as a Knight or Lady,  meet each year for a grand ceremony held int St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on the Monday before Royal Ascot begins.

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Members of the Garter wear elaborate robes and accessories for the Garter Service including a special hat. The hat, in the style of a Tudor bonnet, is made of black velvet with a voluminous, unstructured crown and flat brim. It is trimmed with the order insignia, white ostrich and black heron feathers, and slim cord wrapped around the base of the crown that extends to a pair of gold and royal blue tassels hanging down the side. British royal family members belonging to the order include Queen Elizabeth, who is Sovereign of the Garter, The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is also a member, did not attend the service today.

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King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and King Philippe of Spain were appointed as Supernumerary Knights of the Garter during state visits to the UK in 2018 and 2017; their attendance at today’s ceremony saw them officially installed in these roles and they wore the full garter regalia.

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Queen Máxima wore a tall, verical saucer hat in dusky pink straw trimmed with a mass of silk flowers and curling pheasant feathers on the underside of the raised brim.

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It’s a great look for the Dutch Queen. I really the slightly darker shade of pink on the hat and adore how its lines and lush trimming play so well off Máxima’s sleek caped coat dress- the pairing of the two items is fantastic. I’d like, however to change two things about the hat- first is the angle of placement on the head (tilt the top edge down a bit so it sweeps slightly more diagonally that so vertical) and the second is to tidy up the brim binding edge. Tweak these two things and a great hat would become a complete knockout.

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Designer: unconfirmed. My guess is Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Claes Iversen.
Previously Worn: This hat is new. Some suggest it is a reworked version of this Prinsjesdag hat but the straw bases are different shapes and colours.

Queen Letizia wore a kokoshnik-style bandeau headpiece in formed black straw, trimmed with black feathers and veil. It’s the first headpiece in this style we’ve seen on the Spanish queen and it suits her petite frame so well (not leaving the hat looking like it’s wearing her, as unfortunately is often the case). With her black and white printed dress, the headpiece tops an elegant ensemble that’s fantastic on Letizia.

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Designer: It is the “Black Peony” design from Spanish brand Cherubina
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated a hat in almond straw with off-center, peaked crown and side sweeping brim. A beaded straw hatband and side twists studded with ecru silk flowers complete the design. The beaded embellishment on the hatband and side twists add a subtle but welcome bit of sparkle to the design and while the colour is quiet, the scale and style make a great signature look for Camilla.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: June 19, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge repeated a black sinamay hat with upturned flyaway brim in windowpane lattice straw, trimmed with a curled black an ostrich feather. The brim shape on this piece gives the design a wonderfully light and airy feel and the hat was beautifully paired with Kate’s white coat dress with black trim.

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Designer: Silvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. It is the Lion Tamer design. Coat dress by Catherine Walker.
Previously Worn: July 1, 2016June 11, 2011

The Countess of Wessex repeated her natural straw saucer hat with lattice open woven brim  trimmed with a large coral feathers and tan twists. The hat’s shape, reminiscent of Dior hats in the 1950s, pairs so well with her full skirted ensemble. Bright coral is not an easy hue to wear and this ensemble is beautifully balanced between the vibrant skirt and the hat’s feathers.

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Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: May 15, 2018 (it was also your favourite repeated royal hat in 2018!);  Oct 5, 2017June 20, 2017 i

The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her slate grey straw veiled pillbox hat. It’s a quietly classic design we’ve seen on Brigitte more than a few times but one she wears well.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 18, 2018May 19, 2018Jun 17, 2017Jun 1, 2017Jul 1, 2016Jun 12, 2016Jun 10, 2016

Zenouska Mowatt, on the far left below, topped her blue and yellow patterned dress with a navy silk bandeau trimmed with a folded silk bow.


Designer: Laura Cathcart’s Arizona hatband
Previously Worn: this headpiece is new

The Order of the Garter service this year brought us a wonderful parade of hats to kick off Ascot week with a fanfare. What do you think of these hats in Windsor today? Which designs stand out most to you?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

60 thoughts on “Order Of The Garter 2019

  1. Only 1 question from me today-does anyone else see King Willem-Alexander to King Henry VIII? The Tudor bonnet pictures just make me see King Henry down to the large physique, red hair, shape of face but without the small pursed mouth.

    • Well, I really don’t, SoCal Gal, but here are pictures for others to decide:
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  2. A splendid array of hats on the royal ladies! I’ll refrain from making a lot of individual comments about them, as almost everything I was going to say has already been posted by someone else, but just a couple of thoughts on the royal ladies’ outfits: I agree that Maxima’s hat should have been a little more tilted and a little less vertical, but there is nothing wrong with brown and pink together — I think that’s a perfectly fine color combination, and finally, despite a number of negative comments about Kate’s coat-dress, I happen to like it quite a bit and think the contrasting trim adds nice interest to the design.

    A question/comment about the Garter robes, particularly the issue of King Willem-Alexander’s robe being too short: if indeed it’s customary to pass the robes to the next generation and his is too short because it previously belonged to his mother, might not a solution have been to add some extra fabric to the bottom to make it longer? Assuming suitable fabric could be found, I’m sure that a skilled seamstress or tailor could do it in a way that would be virtually invisible to the eye or the camera.

    • It certainly would have been a good idea to add fabric to the bottom. I don’t think it would have been invisible though; seams do tend to show up in this thick type of velvet. Yet it might have been less obvious than these too short robes.

  3. Five beautiful women – five wonderful outfits and five gorgeous hats ! 😃 this whole occasion was a feast for the eyes … starting with Queen – how terrific she looks and such a lovely smile .. Prince Charles – impeccable as always . Princess Anne , Prince Andrew and Prince Edward , all three a credit to the family and lastly the two Kings looking so handsome and excited !! … I love looking at these photos – they make me smile !! 😁

  4. I think all these wonderful ladies were wearing their best outfits and hats for this special day, each fitting their personality, taste and style.
    I really like that the British ladies repeated hats, so that the Queens could really shine. If only we could get this every year, please please please 🙂

  5. Some gorgeous hats here, lovely to see all these well-dressed women looking so happy.

    Maxima’s hat is beautiful in the side-on shots that show the underbrim roses. Personally, I don’t think there’s any need for the feathers as well. This is a beautiful spring-summer hat, so feminine. I’m not a huge fan of her outfits that feature wide belts, but the colour of the dress and the hat are well-matched, yet broken up just the right degree by the beautiful roses. I can’t see how the angle of how she’s wearing the hat could be any different, thanks to those roses. Their placement on the top of her head dictates everything else. Yes?

    Letitia’s bandeau is lovely, and the veiling is perfect. I agree with those who think the ‘pouf’ is a touch too large.

    Camilla … well, we’ve seen this before, haven’t we? The style and size suit her, but yawn.

    Kate’s hat is lovely and the feather curl is a great flourish. I’m not so happy with her coat-dress, though. The piping on the body makes me twitch!

    Sophie looks tremendous, she does this 1950s style so well. The hat and outfit are a great combination.

  6. The photos have changed here today, yes? The hats keep looking better and better! Maxima and Sophie look stunning. I don’t like Letizia’s dress but the hat makes it better. And it’s better than Kate’s coat. That black trim is very fussy.

    • The only perfect hat and dress combo was Sophie’s. Classy and glamorous.

      I like Maxima’s dress but the hat is too upright and why would you put brown feathers on a pink hat? Letizia looks good in small hats and this one is pretty good but that dress is swallowing her up. Camilla needs some colour somewhere. Even a flash of lipstick would help.

      I’m glad people finally said something about Kate’s coat. The Peter Pan collar makes it look like something a little girl would wear (too young) the style looks dated (too old) and the back piping sticks out like a sore thumb. She once wore a black and white patterned dress with this that looked modern but so good with this hat.

      I can’t comment on the other 2 because I honestly can’t see them.

  7. After reading everyone’s wonderful comments I just want to add my two cents worth. I thought Max was the star today. Her outfit made me swoon. I do see what you are talking about with the unneeded pheasant feathers and the angle, but before I read this blog I thought Letizia’s outfit quite boring and Max’s outfit amazing. It is the whole package-the sleek caped dress, the gloves, the beautifully embellished hat, her hair and her wonderful smile. AND pink is my favorite color. It is summery and appropriate at this time and definitely not twee.

  8. Máxima’s outfit is so fabulous and I agree the dark dusty rose color of the hat offsets the pale pink rose of her outfit. That said, I’m not a fan of this hat with this outfit; the angle is definitely too sharp, and I find the trim too fussy for the streamlined outfit. A slice hat, or something like this hat from RTM (https://www.racheltrevormorgan.com/files/cache/cf321cc1b2cd1f6d980ac6b48f6add1d_f3495.jpg) in the dark dusty rose would’ve been better.

    This is perhaps Letizia’s best hatted moment yet! She looks gorgeous in this bandeau and the styling is perfect. My favorite of the day! P.S. this bandeau reminds me of the lovely one worn by Katie Kent at last year’s Trooping: https://royalhats.net/2018/06/11/trooping-the-colour-gloucester-kent-families-2/.

    A fine repeat for Camilla, and a much better outfit to pair with it this time! Kate also looks great, and I’m happy to see this hat back out again.

    Fabulous repeat by Sophie, and I’m beyond happy to see the Brunei outfit once again! This is definitely my favorite outfit for this hat. Just perfect.

    So many repeats of similar pillboxes has me confused about which one Birgitte is wearing yet again! I suppose if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but variety is also the spice of life! Looks like another fantastic outfit from Zenouska, but I’m not sold on this hat; maybe more photos of it will change my mind if/when they become available.

  9. I thought Maxima looked lovely even though I don’t care for hats that are attached to the side of one’s head. It always makes me think that the hat is hanging off of the wearer’s ear. Letizia’s headpiece is the best of its type. The feathers and the veil just make it for me. She looked very elegant. Camilla is much like QEII, consistent and elegant. Sophie looks lovely. I think she wore this outfit to Ascot sometime in the last few years.

  10. MrFitzroy fell down an interesting internet rabbit hole this afternoon…..after becoming curious about where the Garter robes do come from, and whether or not they are privately owned…..

    While it does appear that some of the actual regalia is provided to the Knights and eventually returned : “On the death of a member, the Lesser George and breast star are returned personally to the Sovereign by the former member’s nearest male relative, and the other insignia to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, save the riband, mantle and hat.”

    The ‘clothing’ aspects appear privately owned and retained.
    Thus it is entirely possible that Kings Willem Alexander and Filipe VI were wearing vintage family robes, and could explain certain fit issues. Even though the phrase hand-me-down seems ridiculously inappropriate!

    Occasionally garter items apparently are sold:

    AND, should any of the loyal readers of this blog be elevated to the order by Her Majesty, here is where you go for robes! (Established in 1689 no less!):

    • Mr. Fitzroy, I think I fell down the same rabbit hole tonight! First, thank you for the very interesting links! It’s making for great reading as I am stuck in a dorm room with no telly! Garter Day and Royal Ascot always coincides with the week I “go back to school.” Second, did you know that on the Order of the Thistle Service, held in July in Scotland, the robes are green?
      Most taken on July 5, 2012: St. Giles; Edinburgh, Scotland
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      Hat Queen, get some shut eye, you’re in for a busy week! We all appreciate your dedication and research you do!

    • My morning coat and trousers are from Ede & Ravenscroft. Very interesting company. And it seems I’m in the market for at least a new morning coat given I’ve dropped multiple sizes. I’m hoping to find a coat with piping along the lapels (see the Prince of Wales’ black morning coat – or Jack Brooksbank’s morning coat).

  11. This is really a special occasion! Both kings look magnificent in their regalia, and Felipe in particular looks as though he has stepped out of a Rembrandt. Regarding the length of Willem-Alexander’s robes, the Dutch monarchs have been women for what — three generations? So maybe they were constructed for a woman.

    The hats are splendid all around. As Wies Mauduit has said, the silhouettes look very balanced. I like the subtle way the feather pouf echoes the pattern on Letizia’s dress and the lines of Kate’s picking up the curves of her collar and the princess seams.

    Excellent repeats for Sophie and Birgitte, too.

  12. WOW! Everyone looks wonderful! In particular, King Felipe looks so handsome today! Of course, the Countess of Wessex’s hat is a winner. I also like Queen Letizia’s headpiece but I wish if it was a pillbox hat!

  13. Can someone help?
    I have been looking for black heron feathers for years and all in vain. Is there a photo where they are clearly visible or am I looking in the wrong place?

    • I don’t quite understand if it is a picture you are looking for or if you actually want to buy black heron feathers. Royal hats adorned with heron feathers would most likely be Hats from the Past, as they were very popular as hat or head decoration at the beginning of the 20th century.

      Black aigrettes are rather hard to come by, but sometimes you find them on vintage hats. I’m not sure if black herons are a protected species, legislation may differ from one country to another, but you can find all sorts of things through aliexpress if you are willing to take a gamble.

      • Wies, I live on the edge of a large pond in Florida, USA, and I was going to reply that black herons are quite a common out my back windows, but upon research I have just learned — what a surprise! — that the dark colored herons I see regularly are in fact called blue herons and are not black after all, though visually they are the most deep shade of blue! When their wings get wet, they dry them by standing absolutely motionless facing the sun with their wings outstretched, which is a pretty impressive sight, especially when there are a lot of them doing that at once. So if anyone needs any BLUE heron feathers for hats or other purposes, I can probably find you some out back!

        • That is a kind thought, Matthew. I would very much like some blue feathers from your Florida herons. However, not all the feathers are interesting for the purpose of hat decoration. I believe brightly dyed heron feathers are used to make flies from, for fishing. In millinery it is the aigrettes that were mostly used, the long ,thin, spikey feathers. And beware: all feathers gathered in nature have to be disinfected, for birds carry vermin!

    • I think you mean that I’ve described these hats has having black heron feathers for years but they aren’t visible. I get it. I keep including them in my description every time we see these hats because they are included in references both from the British Monarchy and from the book, “The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales: Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings From The Earliest To The Present Time Volume I” by Sir Bernard Burke. According to these sources, there is a tuft of these heron feathers in the center of the ostrich feathers, where they are affixed to the hat. I think they might be visibly lost against the black velvet.

      • I love this blog! I agree that Queen Maxima’s hat was not worn at the right angle and was very surprised at the poor workmanship in the closeup of the brim hem. 🤭. I loved the rolled silk roses in the trimming though and thought her cape dress was fabulous!

        Loved Queen Letizia’s look as well. Her bandeau was very chic and on trend!

  14. Sophie’s hat won best repeated one last year and gets my vote again this year. I also love Kate’s hat and Maxima looks fab.

  15. I just love the beautiful coat dress of Queen Maxima. She sure has got “it”, if you compare her with the other ladies! On the other hand I am not a fan of the vertical pan lid hat with too much roses. Doesn’t really match with the style of coat dress either. The dress of Queen Letizia is a bit motherly. Would be nice on an older lady. Her bandeau is very nice.

  16. What a great show of hats today! Queen Letizia is perfectly elegant and her earrings give just the right amount of light and sparkle to the black headpiece and her dark hair. I agree with some of you that the feathers on Queen Máxima’s hat are perhaps an unnecessary addition with the sleek robe-manteau, but still, she looks fantastic.
    The last picture with the five ladies in a row shows five beautifully balanced silhouettes, with wide brims for full skirts and smaller hats with straighter dresses. A battle of elegance and femininity!

    Note: one would expect the robes of the recipients of the Order of the Garter to be custom made, or at least adjusted to their height. Yet for King Willem-Alexander this was clearly not the case, making him look as if he borrowed the robe of a smaller classmate. A bit odd, no?

    • Well said, Wies. Your description of a balanced silhouette articulates what makes me like (or not like) a hat with an outfit. Every one of the hats and the women wearing them today look elegant and beautiful.

  17. I have to say I think Letizia’s here might be my favourite bandeau of all time. Usually I think “why bother with a bandeau when you could have had a hat?”, but this one is wonderful, really elegant – made, as people have commented, by the veiling.

    Maxima’s hat is also splendid. I can see what you mean about the angle, HatQueen, but I think it was specifically designed to be worn at this extreme angle; if you look at the underside trim, even at this steep angle it covers the top of Maxima’s head. Much further over and the trimming flowers would be above the other ear, which I think would look odd. (Of course the question is then why one would design it to be worn at such an extreme angle in the first place – probably not my first choice, but I do think it’s A Look.)

    It is delightful to see both Kate and Sophie’s hats again. Sophie’s whole outfit is a favourite, and Kate’s hat is one of which I’ll always welcome sightings, one of her best ever, I think, and still unlike anything else in her millinery wardrobe (cupboard?).

    The Duchess of Cornwall looks very suitable with the scale of hat she can carry off in a very royal way, if also by now very predictable.

    • I agree- Queen Letizia’s bandeau is one of the best ever. It’s just beautiful on her. Black sometimes looks heavy but her hat and Kate’s hat looks so light, summery and elegant.

      I also love Queen Maxima’s hat. Her dress is gorgeous and the hat with all the flowers makes it softer and less severe. It’s so pretty on her.

      Sophie looks great again. This hat is perfection with a full skirt especially with the matching feathers.

      I want to see Zenouska’s bandeau. If it’s the one you think it is (amazing how you can tell!) it’s another really good one.

      Oh my goodness. I’m going to have to pace myself this week! I have adrenaline pumping through my veins from all these gorgeous hats!

    • I nod ‘YES!’ to everything you said. This is the best hat Letizia’s ever worn and Maxima, Sophie and Kate all look beautiful. Camilla looks great too although I wish she had a brighter colour on her dress to liven up the hat a bit.

      I read this blog every night before dinner with my daughters and my 4-year old kept saying, “ANOTHER boo-tiful hat, Mummy!!”

  18. Of note – notice King Felipe’s Garter robes – they are obviously very old. Would these possibly be his father’s or even uncle’s (or grand uncle) robes? The age is most obvious in the medallion on the robe – very “faded” and worn gold thread. Also, his hat doesn’t seem to fit so, again, it make me ponder whether he’s wearing a former Spanish king’s attire. I love that possibility.

    • Would this explain why King W.A.’s robes are too short for him? Because he inherited the ones of his mother? Can hardly believe it!

      • It would explain what I’ve been perplexed by all morning. Like Chicago Chuck, I’m charmed by the idea of these kings wearing their parent’s robes but someone had to forsee length problems with King Willem-Alexander’s robe. Maybe for such one-off appearances (these men aren’t likely to attend this event very often), it was a ‘make-do’ approach?

        • You must be right. They may or may not be his mothers robes, but they are certainly borrowed for just this one occasion. It doesn’t look quite right in this otherwise magnificent ceremony!

    • And I just love that Prince Charles’ robe has a large repair patch on the left hand side – perhaps the ultimate in ‘recycling’!

  19. Well done ladies all! While the previous comments have already hit many of the salient points regarding features of the actual hats…..MrFitzroy is also extremely impressed by the hair styles….all of the ladies have these millinery looks elevated an extra couple notches by the fabulous hairdos!

    MrFitzroy also loves the folded and rolled satin roses on Maxima’s hat, which look so much more unique than another floral choice might have, though the pheasant feathers seem a bit superfluous and unneeded.
    Queen Letizia’s headpiece is both perfect for the outfit, and as dear HatQueen noted, allows her to wear the hat — rather than vice versa….as hats are a comparatively rare event for her, it was wonderful to see one work so well — and again, her hair!!

    This little ‘preview’ makes for a few goosebumps for what’s directly ahead at Ascot — and hopefully the visiting Queens will end up in the carriage processions on at least one day as well!!

  20. If neither Queen Maxima nor Queen Letizia attend Royal Ascot tomorrow, I will be ok as they brought two utterly fabulous hats today.

    I adore Queen Letizia’s bandeau with veil. So modern and chic and she looks so good in it. She’s not normally a hat wearer, but this one is her best! The veil is perfect for the bandeau, and I agree with JamesB that a veil is what’s needed for this headpiece.

    Queen Maxima brought it today. Her caped jacket is stunning, and I cannot stop staring at her beautiful gloves! What a fabulous outfit! I love the scale of the hat and the different colored floral accents, but agree with everyone that the hat would look even better at a different angle. I think she looked utterly beautiful today.

    I’ve always loved this hat of Sophie’s. It’s just a perfect hat.

    The Duchess of Cambridge looks amazing. I love her coatdress. I’ve never been a huge fan of that hat though, but she does look so elegant. Camilla looks great as always.

    King Felipe was made for the Garter robes and hat! He looks right out of Tudor times. Very Regal. The Queen always looks great at this event, as does Prince Charles.

  21. Well, that was simply glorious. Love all the hats – just one minor quibble: I’d like to pluck the feathers from Maxima’s otherwise great saucer. They distract from the wonderful silk roses. My personal favorite is Letizia – the veil is such an inspired detail, understated elegance at its best.

  22. Awesome display all around today. The two queens look sensational, and Sophie’s lattice hat is great.
    Hat Alert: Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth wore a new (I think) coral/watermelon/salmon hat, but it replaced a very well liked favorite of many of us commenters. WHY?!? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    June 16, 2019, March 10, 2014
    Embed from Getty Images

    • So I’m super puzzled by this one too. The coat is the same and I think the beautiful flower is the same, but transplanted to a different hat. Hmm, does anyone else agree?

        • I suspect this is actually the same hat, just with the brim shape altered and a bound edge added as it looks like they have the same crown shape as well. At any rate, this is a downgrade from the original version IMO, which is most unfortunate.

          • Absolutely a downgrade. I blew up the pictures, and I think the flower is different also! The hatbands are definitely different!

  23. Well isn’t there a lot to see here! I’ll come straight out with it; Sophie and Letizia blew me away! Sophie yet again in this updated Dior new look that she just kills me with every time (I’m going to see the Dior exhibition at the V&A on Saturday somperhaps that’s why I’m all over it?!) And this is an excellent mix and match from previous looks. Letizia looks so damned chic. That dress is lovely and I love the headpiece – a veil is clearly what’s needed to make me love a bandeau.

    I still need some convincing that Max’s hat isn’t a remodel, but I’ll bow to your superior expertise. My quibble is that amazing cape dress needs a sleek hat, and this has a bit too much froof for me to be the right balance. Camilla. Really?! Do you think she’s just forgotten the 28 others she’s got? I also refer this coat with a pink hat, the colours just looks like she’s not matched it quite right.

    Oh I nearly forgot Kate! Still like the hat, finding the coat a bit dull, and yet again she has it’s almost twin in other colours.

    • JamesB, you have a great point about veiling on a bandeau. Of course, the dramatic pouf of feathers doesn’t hurt. Stunning!

  24. Hi Hat Queen, I love this blog!
    I have the impression that the Duchess of Cornwall is wearing the same hat she wore last year on the first day of Ascot Race.

  25. Oh what a great selection of hats today!!! Thoughts:

    1. I love the silk flowers on (under?) Max’s hat. They are a really striking and modern looking embellishment while still being silk flowers. Her whole outfit makes me swoon (the dress/cape + gloves- wowza!) But the HatQueen is right that the angle is a bit too vertical.
    2. I love the airy black hat on Kate, and it’s fun to see her bring things out in slightly different styles. Really a great shape- very summery in spite of being black.
    3. What a great hat for Q.Leti! I love the veiling and the bandeau style. IMO the flower is a bit too big- not so much too big, but it looks sort of off balance tacked onto the side that way. Sort of globby. But it was FANTASTIC to see her and Max at this event. Now that KFelipe and KWA are garter members maybe that means they’ll attend sometimes!
    4. Sophie’s look is really great- I love the airy hat and the full coral skirt. My only quibble is that the base looks a bit peculiar to my eye when seen from the underside, but obviously for it to be at that glorious angle it has to have a base to stay on the head, so I’m just focusing on pictures where you can’t see it.
    5. DoCornwall! You look lovely but why oh why do you have so many similar looking hats!!! Even Max varies the colors on her signature hat style.

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