Royal Ascot Day 1: Dutch Monarchs

I’m delighted to welcome milliner Jay Cheng, creator of Jaycow Millinery, to chat about today’s royal hats at Royal Ascot.

Queen Máxima wore a dusky pink straw sidesweeping saucer hat with all visible surfaces embellished by flowers made of trimmed coque feathers in paler shades of beigey-blush pink, with pearl bead centers. Straw loops circling around the saucer, under the feather flowers, complete it.

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Royal Hats: Many of us have been waiting years for Queen Máxima to make her Ascot début and she did so in a statement hat!

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Jay Cheng: This is a fabulous first début for Queen Maxima. She’s looking stunning in the beautiful soft pinkish salmon color disk hat! Perfect match for her light flowy organza dress. Feather flowers are certainly a labour of love . Each feather is cut and made into petals to form the three dimensional floral trim. Just stunning workmanship.

I don’t think the hat works in all angles.The side profile photos are great but the front ones, we can’t see Queen Maxima’s face. Even without showing part of her face, the hat is still captivating and the total look is fabulous with those gloves and the nude color heels!

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Royal Hats: This hat is all about those beautifully constructed feather flowers- SO fabulous and surprisingly multi-dimensional in this tawny, salmon pink (great colour description, Jay!) The colour slightly tempers the fantasy of this hat and links it to the summery but fairly sedate silk organza dress- I agree that the two pieces pair surprisingly well together. Yes, the hat it’s a lot of look and no, we can’t see Maxima’s face from all angles but it’s light, pretty, whimsical, feminine, unique and great fun- ideal elements of an Ascot hat!

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Designer: Berry Rutjes. Dress by Natan.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

King Willem-Alexander wore a black felt hat and the Duke of York, who completed the first carriage, repeated his black silk top hat. Seeing the two side-by-side makes me wonder if the Dutch king’s hat could have been a bit taller?

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What do you think of Queen Máxima’s new hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


28 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 1: Dutch Monarchs

  1. I really loved Queen Maximas hat although the fact you cannot see her face from some angles is annoying. I did secretly wish she would have worn one of her trademark huge brimmed hats – like the deep pink one she wore the very next day in Holland! Love it though especially with all the bling she wore too!

  2. Hi Elizabeth, I really really wanted to include Catherine as I love her hat too; But her overcomplicated dress with the ginormous bow competing with the hat for attention, combined with the slightly off hat placement, spoiled it for me. But I have high hopes for her next day at Ascot!

  3. A stunning hat for sure! I’m not surprised Maxima went for something like this. If would have placed it a little bit different though. I do wonder how it feels to wear a hat like this and have something partly blocking your view.

  4. I like the total look of Queen Maxima. Could have been more spectacular in just a bit stronger colour, but this total look surely makes her look refined, elegant and young! …and those millions of dollars earrings! For King Willem-Alexander; sorry, but this (lower) model top hat makes him look plump.

  5. It’s a beautiful hat, but I agree that it’s not best viewed head-on. It’s very distracting for her face to be covered. Maybe if some feathers were removed overall?

  6. Of course I’m going to comment on the top hat question that was raised. But first, Queen Máxima, yes, queen, yes! I didn’t realize the flowers were fabricated from cut feathers – that just makes me like it much, much more.

    As for King Willem-Alexander’s top hat – I’d place a hefty bet on that being a rented topper. Ill fitting and felt, that screams hired hat. Felt hats usually come in two different crown heights, but never as high as an antique silk top hat, and impossible to get the bell curve of the crown as in a silk hat. Prince Andrew’s hat is indeed a good one. Prince Edward has the finest of the lot, but PA’s is very, very nice and fits him perfectly, plus he wears it well.

    • Great call on King Willem-Alexander’s hat being a rental. While it makes practical sense, I am tickled by the idea, ChicagoChuck, that you have far higher personal standards for millinery than most (all?) male monarchs! You are a millinery king among men!

      • LOL. “millinery king”! it’s true HQ, lots of us here at RoyalHats are fussier about hats than royals themselves. Just as well most of us are not hatmakers or milliners trying to realise those high standards – no doubt it’s a lot harder IRL.

      • My higher personal standards have cost me lots of dough over the years! But I did basically say out loud to myself as the carriages were turning around the parade ring, “your a king, why wouldn’t you spend the money to have a fine hat, even if you’re going to wear it only once.” But then mcncln commented and the comment is very likely correct – if King Willem-Alexander does have a large head, and it looks like he very well might, an antique silk topper would be very difficult to find. And they are in the ridiculously costly stratosphere due to rarity. Even I would then hesitate to spend that kind of money, if a hat was even possible to find. Thankfully, I have a rather small head by today’s standards, even though I’m 6′ tall. Phew!

    • ChicagoChuck, I was waiting for your thoughts on this. The first thing I thought when seeing Willem-Alexander was that he seems to have a large head– he is quite tall (typical Dutch heritage) so his hat size is probably larger than the average and there may be nothing available in antique toppers that would fit. I remember reading in The fedora Lounge a contributor lamenting the shortage of larger sizes in vintage top hats, I think the contributor was even contemplating purchasing one in deplorable condition, at exorbitant cost, out of desperation. Looking at the quality of the King’s morning suit – and noting that he and Maxima do not seem to hold back on quality when the occasion demands it 🙂 – I doubt that he would have chosen felt, if he had a better option.

  7. If you had shown this hat to anyone even remotely interested in royal fashion and asked them ‘Who’s going to wear that?’ – the answer would always have been ‘Maxima’. It’s just so much her and so much fun – like others I laughed when I saw the first pics. It’s a delightful match between wearer and occasion.

  8. Maxima is being Maxima with this hat! Besides the placement that covers her eye a bit too much, I love that she went to such a fun design.
    She looked merrily delighted while watching Willem-Alexander in his Garter regalia, and Willem-Alexander looked delighted to see his wife with such a fun hat at Ascot 😀
    I hope they were having as much fun as it seemed!
    Can we sign a petition somewhere, so that they attend Ascot and Garter Day every year? 😉

  9. Well it’s a LOT of hat, but Máx, as is get won’t, totally leaned into Ascot madness! Do I love it? I don’t alas… I feel it needs a bit of a haircut and moving out of her eye. And I find the dress a bit dull, but of course what could compete with this! It’s fun, and frivolous, but I just want to tweak it a few bits and then I’d be totally on board.

  10. My prayers are answered, this is everything I was waiting for. When Maxima gets it right, she is unsurpassed, and even with its placement issues, this hat is just as novel and huge and risky-looking and luxurious as I had hoped.
    So this hat is my Best of the Day; followed closely by HM’s and Camilla’s .I feel the hats of the other royal ladies of the day were let down by sub-optimal style choices in hat shape, dress shape, outfit-building, or hat placement.
    BTW, W-A looks stunning in his perfectly fitting morning dress outfit, and Max and W-A together are a head-turning sight. In all the pics I’ve seen, both husband and wife look as if they’re having the time of their lives – I hope they were!

  11. Love it, even though if I were wearing it I’d be constantly trying to move the feathers out of the way of my right eye! But Maxima is so polished she’s not giving it a second thought! Yes, I do wish part of her face (and that other stonking diamond earring) wasn’t obscured by the hat, but it’s so joyful and feminine – just the right tone for Ascot – that I forgive it all.

  12. Queen Maxima’s hat is a delight. It’s fun, it’s big, it’s bold, it’s everything I expect from Royal Ascot. It’s a perfect complement to her understated dress. The only thing that made me look away from her hat were her eye popping earrings and bracelet. Sublime.

  13. I gasped in delight when I first saw this hat, so for me it is a winner. As I looked at more pictures I didn’t like that I couldn’t see one of Max’s eyes when I looked at her from a certain angle. If placing it different could solve that problem it would be perfect! Thank you, Max, for “bringing it” for Ascot. After reading the description and looking more closely I love that the flowers are made from feathers. Over the top perfection!

  14. Sorry!

    Hat is all about Max playing to the crowd,

    At least someone put in some hair extensions so that her hair, when, worn down, looked much better today.

    • Of course, that’s what Ascot hats are all about! If your hat doesn’t shout “look at me!” you haven’t tried. Maxima’s style is colourful and maximal and suits her bubbly and joy-bringing personality.

  15. When I saw the first picture of Max, she had her head turned so I couldn’t see her face at all. I still laughed with delight. What an exuberant, feminine hat! Those feather flowers are so unusual and fun. I’m glad Max went for something totally different and didn’t go with her normal slice hat. This is a new milliner for Max, isn’t it? I can only hope we see more! Wax looks great also, very dapper. His top hat does seem to have a shorter crown than Andrew’s but I wonder that it wasn’t his father’s and the fashion might have been different then?

  16. The hat itself is pure QMax. The execution fell short, though. It needed to be either set further back on her head, or higher on her head – either adjustment would have helped us to see her face and would have saved the look. Higher or further back, the flower petals would have given it a whimsical, veil-like effect. Alas!
    As for Willem-Alexander’s hat – I think it’s very stylish. Perhaps it’s from a different decade, perhaps that was the height of a top hat in the Netherlands when top hats were the height of fashion…

  17. I agree that is awkwardly covering Máxima’s face at certain angles, and the toasted pink-beige monochrome ensemble isn’t my favorite ever, but I’ve come around and fully approve of this frivolous hat and beautiful dress for Ascot! It’s especially great to see her sporting a Dutch milliner, and her beautiful hair and stunning earrings complete the look.

    I also thought the crown on Willem-Alexander’s top hat didn’t seem tall enough for him (any lower and it would be a coachman’s hat), and it seems to sit just slightly too low across his forehead and above his ears. But as I suspect we may never see him in a top hat again, this was definitely a good try.

    Andrew’s top hat is sheer perfection. Bravo.

    • Forgot to add: I love the illusion of this photo, like Máxima and Willem-Alexander about to high-five each other!
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  18. It seems that top hats are a difficult thing to get right. Even at the highest levels there are some that seem too small, and some that seem too big. Perhaps because of trying to make an inherited hat or a valuable antique work, even if the fit isn’t perfect. At least from this angle, the Duke of York’s hat seems just right.

  19. I LOVE this hat and the whole ensemble!
    For a different occasion it might be too much, but this is Ascot. Fun, quirky hats are the whole point. And a new milliner for Maxima!

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