Royal Ascot Day 1: Queen Elizabeth

I’m so pleased to be joined for a look at all the royal hats worn to Ascot today by Toronto-based milliner Jay Cheng, creator of Jaycow Millinery.

AND WE’RE OFF! Queen Elizabeth wore a new hat for the first day of Royal Ascot today covered in the same pale blue crepe as her coat. The stepped brim has a sharp, pinched upturn on one side and is lavishly trimmed by velvet and silk flowers in varying shades of blue and purple and moss green velvet leaves.

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Royal Hats: The colour is lovely on Her Majesty and the sharply upturned brim on the side is a unique, creative, and interesting detail. It’s also good to see a glimpse of the Queen’s dress- this helps make sense of the hat’s floral trim and I really like the contrast that moody, deeper blues and purples provide against the paler blue. I’m less sure about the stepped brim shape on the lowered side of the hat, which seems a bit awkward, and the floral trim. Velvet leaves and flowers on hats give them an antique feel that I’m not sure works with this hat’s more modern shape. Even so, I can’t think of anyone other than the Queen who could pull this hat off so well!

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Jay ChengSuch a whimsical shade for Her Majesty. As always, the blue speaks royalty. The vintage style floral trim is a contrast when paired with the swept up pointed detail- a detail not seen on Her Majesty before. When you see the whole look, the floral fabric of Her Majesty’s dress makes sense of the color combination and the mix of different hues of blue.

Though the floral trim is made beautifully, I am still not sure if it is be best trim for this hat. The direction of the hat is quite modern, compared to the hat styles Her Majesty has showcased before. I really fell in love with the detail of the brim and the stepped brim works perfectly for the trimming to nest on.

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Royal Hats: Good point! You’re helping me come around on that brim shape.

Jay Cheng: Overall, I quite enjoyed the contemporary feel that Her Majesty is taking on. Well done darling!

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Designer: Angela Kelly, made by Stella McLaren. Dress and coat by Angela Kelly.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

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

Photos from Getty as indicated 


33 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 1: Queen Elizabeth

  1. I love the unexpected pinched brim, and really like the hat as a whole. The heaviness of the trim gives it a very Edwardian vibe, but that isn’t necessarily a criticism. Perhaps heaviness isn’t the right word – the substantial nature of the trim, shall I say? It’s a good statement hat for Ascot.

  2. Mmmm… lovely colour for the ensemble of QEII, but not a big fan of the shape of the brim.

    Tossing up if it reminds me of the sails on the Sydney Opera House or the Conquistador Helmet mentioned earlier 😬

  3. A new hat style for The Queen! SOOOO exciting. The colour palette is perfect. Yes, the trim is perhaps a tad exuberant and wild – but when it’s Ascot? no problem. What I especially admire is the way the pinched brim “opens up” HM’s face, and the “V” point on the brim echoes and connects with the “V” points of her lapels and the “V” of her coat neckline — this is blue-ribbon styling.

  4. Wow! At the age of 93 QEII still has the ability to surprise. Well played, ma’am! I can picture her with her feet up in the evening munching on Royal appointment choccies and sipping Royal Appointment tea, perusing Royal Hats and chuckling, while mentally murmuring ‘gotcha’. What a gal! Do I like this hat? Mostly, but not from every angle. I adore the extravagant floral trim and was excited, after Maxima’s beautiful use of flowers at the Garter parade, to see so many Royal floral trims on the first day of Ascot. So romantic and summery. The blue is lovely on the Queen, but I’m going to have to mull that angular brim – just not sure.

  5. I like HM”s hat. I didn’t know that velvet flowers were old school until I read that here and so I didn’t make any connections or lack of connections about the hat shape being more modern and the trim more retro. My first thought was that the hat was a little over trimmed, but I thought that was appropriate for Ascot! The more I look at it, the more I like it! Those that have commented that it is HM’s version of an OTT hat to match Queen Max I think hit the nail on the head!

  6. I like it. Yes, the trim is a bit old-school compared to the more modern shape of the hat, but I don’t think full-on modernity would sit right on HM. This is a pleasant fusion, and the colour is wonderful on her.

  7. I really want to like this new hat, but none of the comments thus far have convinced me – it looks like damaged goods to me with an overkill of decoration. There are, however, two things I do like about it – the color, and the fact that HM is (finally) trying something different. I’m just afraid that in the future we’ll be getting the same design in every color. It reminds me of two blue hats from the past with wonky brims, neither of which looked very attractive, IMO. One was reworked, and both are probably retired now. Requiescet in pace.

    June 20, 2003, June 21, 2006: both from Royal Ascot
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  8. I really enjoy the color and the trim on the hat, but that peaked brim makes me feel like somebody crushed it 😦

  9. I love that HM tried something new and, from one side it looks lovely, but I honestly thought her hat had gotten crushed when I saw it from the side with the pinch.

    • I agree! The peak looks unintentional. Love the velvet roses, though.

      The glimpses of her carriage-mate are tantalizing! Can’t wait for the next post.

  10. Such a wonderful color on HM, and the floral trim in itself is actually quite luscious. While the whole outfit and the hat are successful and look lovely on HM — something has been nagging at MrFitzroy about the hat since viewing the first photos this morning.
    Finally figured it out. From the most photographed angle, the hat conveys a sense of a renaissance morion or conquistador type helmet, with the floral trim arrayed along the crown spine. Now, of course the actual hat is no such shape. However, if it becomes part of the regular rotation, MrFitzroy will always think of it as the “Conquistador Helmet”….

  11. While looking at Queen Elizabeth’s right side, the shape of the brim is a little odd. From all other angles, though, it’s spectacular. I love it! As often is the case, the coat looks a little too loose, though.
    The color is excellent, however, and I think the hat is a winner.

  12. This new shape is a win for me! Maybe on someone else I wouldn’t like it, but for the Queen it works a treat.

    My bet is on yellow tomorrow.

  13. Ooh I’m not sure. As someone else said to me today (you know who you are…!) ‘it looks as if it’s been sat on’. It’s creative, which I guess I like, and if you’re still being edgy at 93 who am I to complain! I just think it’s lacks the polish that an RTM hat would have. It does frame her face really beautifully though… I think I need to see it another time to decide!

  14. I love this hat! The pinch in the brim makes it appear that the rest of the brim is on a jaunty angle. HM rarely (ever?) wears a hat at a jaunty angle, and it looks great on her. Perhaps a nod to QMax’s always-jaunty angled hats?

    • Yes! I thought exactly the same thing about jaunty angles and reference to QMax. In my mind, this is HM’s version of a QMax picture hat!

  15. So fantastic! Because of the unique (and imo successful) brim shape and pinched upturn this hat has a very modern, sweeping feel to it while still resting squarely in the realm of things that feel like HM’s style. The upsweep on the front almost makes it feel like a QEII version of a QMax picture hat.

  16. I was very surprised by the interesting new brim shape on HM’s blue hat. No matter how much I zoom in, though, I can’t quite make out what the hat looks like under all the trim. I do like the deeper colours of the trim, I just wish I could understand the hat underneath. It’s probably just me ! In spite of my confusion, I’m calling this a win.

  17. I love that so many royal ladies wore blue today, always fun to see them coordinate looks! Her Majesty as always looks regal. The flower detailing is beautiful and is a lovely nod to her dress underneath the coat.

  18. I am intrigued by this new hat of HM’s, it’s so different from what we have seen the past decade or so. I love it head on & the trim side, less so looking at the peaked side of the brim. I think a gentle curve rather than a point might have had the same effect? I almost want to put a flower there but I know that would be over the top and turn it less flattering. I adore the trim which brings to mind vintage millinery and ties in so well with what we can see of her dress print. It looks like it has a lovely texture/hand.

    • I agree with you, Buffy, I also love this hat from all sides except for looking straight at the point (for example, the 3rd photo in the top gallery or the first photo in the next one). The way the bottom edge of the crown shows under the brim (is that a correct description?) from that angle makes it seem almost like the brim was bent by accident. From every other angle, the hat is wonderful, and the vintage-looking embellishments add such a nice touch, particularly in combination with being able to see the fabric of the dress beneath the coat. I don’t know whether the intent was deliberate to match Queen Maxima in the hat-wearing competition, but even if not, it certainly has been accomplished.

  19. I have minor issues in the detailed execution of the trim and the brim, but otherwise it’s a beautiful and unexpected hat for HM! Gorgeous colors and the upturned and pointed section of the brim is a delight that keeps us on our toes. Brava to an excellent start of Ascot!

  20. I would never say anything negative about your beautiful queen, including her hat,a lovely color and trim,but I feel like the brim is being whipped up by the wind and will settle in its rightful place any second.

  21. The Queen was a a surprise (to me) in beautiful blue. I do like her hat. It’s very “Ascot,” incorporating the color of her coat and the various colors of her dress. I also don’t mind the bend in the brim. I think it’s a great start.

  22. Great start to the week! This shade of blue is lovely with HM’s white hair; the flowers are beautifully made and the colors wonderful; The new shape, especially the pinched and upturned brim, suits her very well. And bonus color coordination with the whole fam! Definitely a win.

  23. I love this hat. The pinched brim is a complete change from the same-old look of many of HM’s hats, and I like the way the saturated velvet tones contrast with the pale blue. Someone knew she would be sharing a carriage with Maxima and wanted to keep some of the attention!

  24. First, I’ll say unequivocally, I really love this hat – color, trim, and brim. But I will admit the first things that came to mind when I saw the entrance of the carriage procession were the Garter hats shape and 3 Musketeers. You are both calling the brim shape modern, but I definitely see hints of those elements when I look at the brim.

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