Monday Multiples: Queen Elizabeth

Thanks to Jimbo for providing the introduction and background research for this “Monday Multiples” series.

Jimbo’s Introduction: On April 21, 1986, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 60th birthday by gifting US: two hats on the same day, and they couldn’t be more different!  The sunny yellow brim-less tam which matched HM’s cheerful spring coat could be seen from the Buckingham Palace balcony very easily.  For the Royal carriage ride, a black straw hat with a wonderfully unique brim was chosen – sheer and wavy.  Her Majesty chose the same ensemble two months later for the Royal Ascot, sans coat this time.  Chic and elegant.

Look #1:  Yellow stitched tam trimmed with white braid and silk flowers and leaves worn February 17, 1986 in Nepal and on April 21, 1986 on the Buckingham Palace balcony

Embed from Getty Images

Look #2: Black straw crowned hat with transparent, waved brim also worn on April 21, 1986 and on June 18, 1986 to Royal Ascot

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

It’s not often that the Queen changes hats half way through an event. Which hat do you prefer most with this yellow coat?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

25 thoughts on “Monday Multiples: Queen Elizabeth

  1. She switched from white gloves to black gloves on the balcony, then switched to a black hat to match her gloves. Must be some story there!

  2. It’s lovely to remember that occasion so full of
    hope with the York engagement. I remember the vitriolic comments about Sarah’s striking Ascot outfit seen behind HM in the lower picture. I always liked it and she looks great so does HM

  3. Just purely as a stand-alone hat, I like the black one better — such an interesting brim! However, as a pairing with the yellow coat, I prefer the yellow one for the reasons already stated — avoiding the bumblebee look, and it stands out much better on the balcony for those viewing from afar. It seems quite unusual for HM to change hats in the middle of the day without also changing outfits for a different event, I wonder if something happened to the yellow hat. I have a mental image of her taking it off after going inside from the balcony and putting it on a chair and someone accidentally sitting on it! Was the yellow hat ever seen again after that day?

    • Matthew, the yellow hat was worn 2 years later, at the Epsom Derby. The first photo is good at showing more details. So apparently no one sat on it previously.

      June 1, 1988: Epsom Derby
      Embed from Getty Images

      • Thanks for these additional photos, Jimbo. I was actually kidding about the hat being sat on — can you imagine if anyone actually sat on one of HM’s hats? Probably off with the head of the dresser or maid whose job it was to put the hat away in a safe place! Interesting how perfectly coordinated the Queen and Princess Anne were at this Derby — not just both in yellow, but even brimless hats. I wonder if that was on purpose.

        • I smiled at the photos of HM and Anne, they really do look like twins, especially when they’re both intently pointing in the same direction (Princess Michael, meanwhile, has her binoculars looking in another direction entirely). Then, while looking at a photo link downthread of the Duchess of York, I happened upon this one, taken in June 1994. Not the same sort of hats to be sure, but HM and Diana in the same colour of suit. Perhaps that’s a future Jimbo foray – times when Royal dressing is just a tad ‘too close’.

          Embed from Getty Images

  4. Quite an interesting switcheroo…for whatever reasons. The tam shape is not one of MrFitzroy’s favorites on HM, but it is serviceable and they never look bad on her.
    The black hat is certainly of it’s time, but looks wonderful and no bumblebee comparison comes to mind. MrFitzroy has retained no memory of this hat from the time, perhaps because Fergie in the ‘white wave’ dress, has overwritten all other royal sartorial memories for that particular day!!

  5. I like the black hat best – it looks very chic – but I think the yellow one stands out much better on the Palace balcony. I think the black one would have blended into the background too much.

  6. I absolutely love both. The yellow beret is the better know and a perfect pairing for the lovely coat (those shoulder pads though!) so I’m drawn to it as quite an on trend look for her for the period. But then that black hat is stunning and a precursor for the wonderful hat she wore for the York wedding shortly afterwards.

  7. I prefer the black hat on it’s own. I’m not always a fan of black and yellow as it can look like a bumblebee. Her yellow dress, however, is just lovely. Very pretty style and the soft color is gorgeous.

    So, for hat pairing, I would have to go with the yellow hat with the yellow outfit, but overall and on it’s own, I prefer the style and shape of the black hat.

  8. if that black bag could tell tales…
    Yellow is a difficult colour to wear and most avoid it, luckily QE can wear almost any colour. I prefer look no. 1

  9. Maybe it’s just the fact that in recent years HM usually wears hats that match her outfit, but the black seems like a really harsh pairing with the soft yellow. I much prefer the yellow tam– If a non-matching hat was wanted how about white with a yellow trim or natural straw with a yellow trim?

  10. It is strange to see HM in a hat without a brim, on one hand, and with such a short crown, on the other. Both are nice for a change, but I prefer a contrasting color for the hat and so like the black one better. For once, I like HM’s black accessories!

  11. I prefer the black hat with the black accessories. The look is lovely and timeless. I could see Kate in the same outfit today, minus the gloves. Fergie’s outfit, however, still has me scratching my head all these years later.

    • The ironic thing about Sarah’s outfit is that, had Princess Diana worn it, it would probably have been hailed as (yet another) Diana fashion triumph. Diana wore many outfits in that era which were equally as daring and dramatic as this one. Luckily for Diana, ‘eighties style suited her perfectly, and millions tried to emulate her look — including Sarah, who, like so many, tended to copy Diana’s style literally, instead of modifying it to better reflect her own very different face, body, and personality.
      HM’s black hat is also, in the spirit of the times, a typical “Diana” shape. It looks lovely in itself, but I don’t feel that Diana’s style particularly suited HM either.

      • I agree with the comment in general mcncln — And they did try to emulate each other a lot in the early years as well, there are many photos of them together where it could look like Diana was wearing the “Fergie” outfit — and The Duchess of York was wearing what one might assume would be more likely worn by The Princess of Wales (see Ascot “umbrella poking” photos)….
        However, Sarah also wore quite a number of things that were just so….off? out there? not quite right…..? That they had zero connection to Diana’s signature style….This one, for example, looks like she was attending a Polo Match with the Beverly Hillbillies……

        https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-duchess-of-york-and-the-princess-of-wales-stand-news-photo/52118085

        • MrFitzroy, when I left the comment about Sarah’s dress I was actually thinking that it wasn’t nearly as bad as her “Bo Peep” look. Thank you for the link!

        • Good point Mr FitzroyCBE. then as now, some of the Duchess’s outfits are right out of left field.
          Diana’s consistently high standard of styling, like HM’s and Duchess Camilla’s, stands in contrast to that of most other royals, whose style is more variable, and usually suffers a bit of wobble now and then. I tend to assume that such lapses in style reflect fashion choices made by the royal themselves, and that they are overriding input (if any) from their stylist. I do occasionally wonder why any royal would ever reject, or not consistently use, or not bother to seek out, the advice of a professional stylist or image consultant — given how much the right image can help them exert influence for the greater good.

      • Indeed. It’s of its time and perhaps not best suited to its wearer but it is certainly eye-catching and stylish. It shows that the Royal Family are perhaps not best suited to haute couture.

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