Largest Bow?

Last summer, we identified the largest bow trimming one of Queen Elizabeth’s hats. I know there are larger bows out there (i.e. larger than the head size of the person wearing it!) in the wider canon of royal hats so this week’s discussion question is: Which royal hat or headpiece contains the largest bow?

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Photo from Getty as indicated 

75 thoughts on “Largest Bow?

  1. Researching for another post, I came across this monstrosity on Queen Margrethe
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    • I concur with your opinion, HatQueen — unless it looks vastly more attractive from other angles, this humongous bow isn’t even remotely attractive!

  2. Crown Princess Mary, 2006:

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  3. For every bow, there is a pair of streamers (or whatever they’re called on hats) at the other end of the bow loops, and we’ve seen some pretty long ones on some of these examples. But sometimes, the bow itself could be really small and still have very looooooong streamers, so I hope that at some point in the future (perhaps another slow week in the royal world), we will discuss who has worn the hat with the longest streamers!

  4. The Countess of Wessex at Prince Philip’s 80th birthday service in Windsor, 2001
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  5. CP Mette Marit (I keep forgetting she wore fuller sized hats) in 2008:

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    In 2006:

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    In 2005:

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  6. Not the largest bow(s) but maybe the cutest? At Daddy’s inauguration, 2013.

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  7. Only royal adjacent, but undeniably large bows. Letizia Ortiz’s mother and sister at her wedding to Felipe.

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  8. Can’t forget Countess Spencer at the Sussex wedding….certainly a very purple contender!

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  9. Move over Duchess Sarah, it seems superwide “propeller” hatbows — not to mention DOUBLE bows at the back, one being for the actual ponytail — were a thing 2 decades earlier, in 1969. Who else but Princess Anne?
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  10. Quite a few different types of bow to compare in our review!
    >narrow and springy
    >wide and springy
    >wide and floppy
    Could the hat below be a contender for the wide and floppy division? The queen of fab, Queen Fabiola of Belgium –1963:
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  11. Ha! I knew it, JamesB, there was bound to be a truly propeller-size millinery bow somewhere in Sarah’s hat closet!
    It almost seems as if there is no end to Sarah’s bows, they just keep on surfacing….

  12. Then of course there’s this, which may be thin, but more than makes up for it in length. I miss how literal they were with their diplomatic tributes!
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    • JamesB, does Fergie’s maple leaf bow actually count as a hat with a large bow? From this photo, it looks more like she’s wearing a big bow in her hair below a very plain white hat.

  13. My first thought (of course!) went to 80s Fergie. I can’t find a back view of this whopper but the fact you can see it from the front tells you all you need to know.

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  14. This is almost the same hat as the one posted below, but the bow is different and the weave on the brim is coarser in this version, worn at the Melbourne races in 2012.

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  15. Buckingham Palace garden party, 2016. This is the ‘post it and we can have a chat about it’ hat. I think I can see a bow through the brim, but there’s not much detail visible.

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    Trooping the Colour, 2015:

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  16. Queen Mathilde at Prince William’s wedding, 2011.

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    • Zara Tindall also wore a Philip Treacy hat to this wedding with multi-looped bow as big as her head
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    Lady Helen, Ascot 2014. It is a bow, right?

  18. The two biggest bows I’ve found are, not surprisingly, on two Ascot hats:

    This navy straw one, on a wide-brimmed hat worn by the Countess of Wessex in 1995. It’s a stretch because she wouldn’t join the royal family for 4 more years… but she was a royal girlfriend so I think it still counts.

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    And this ecru straw Gina Foster saucer with muli-looped bow that Autumn Phillips wore in 2013

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      • i think the do wessex navy straw is the ideal when one comes to imagine a large bow on a hat – i knew there must be one out there in the archives. and its a proper tied bow!
        thankyou hat queen for unearthing this perfect bowed beauty.
        (ps – im so surprised that maxima has not worn a larger bow – except as part of her clothing!)

  19. Duchess of Cornwall, London 2015. Man, this is a bow!

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    • 2012, Canada. Treacy may have this won!

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      • This is one of a few of these Philip Treacy flying bows
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        Photos from Getty as indicated; Samir Hussein via Getty

    • 2010 Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Another great (in all senses of the word) bow …

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      • I had a hard look at this before I posted it (was it a rosette and not a bow?) but believe there is a ‘knot’ in the centre and bow loops top (between 12 and 1) and bottom (between 7 and 8) and possibly also at 9 o’clock, along with the trimmed ends. I will, of course, bow to your decision (bow!).

        • Sorry- the way this comment stream has gone is confusing! I was talking about the pale blue hat with the jinsin and crin twists at the top. This cream one certainly has some bows in it!

          • You may well be right re the blue hat. It could just be flying twists and no bow. There’s another of Camilla’s that I’ve squinted at several times – I can see the ends of what might be a bow but the huge brim (and photographer’s angles) hides the detail.

  20. Duchess of Cornwall, London, 2018.

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  21. Queen Maxima, 2017 in Portugal. One big, messy bow or several smaller messy bows? Hard to tell.

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    • Maxima in 2015 in Amsterdam:

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    • Queen Maxima in Friesland, 2018.This is one heck of a bow!

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  22. I know this is stretching as it looks more like a flower than a bow, but I couldn’t resist as it appears to be just sitting on Queen Sonja’s hair (no
    band that I can see)! Pictured in 2003.

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    • Save that for “Biggest Flower”!

      I think this might be Queen Sonja’s biggest bow
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  23. Done right, I adore a large bow on a hat! Looking forward to all the suggestions put forward! In the meantime, here is one of Kate’s largest bows:
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    And since I’m from the U.S., I’m gonna offer up the Queen of Soul in a big bow (hat by Mr. Song Millinery):
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  24. Still rather small, this is the biggest bow we’ve seen on Crown Princess Victoria, I do believe.
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  25. If we’re talking bows, we can’t forget the Duchess of York, who entered royal life in the mid 1980s when bows were BOWS.

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    • Sir Lancelot mentioned that Diana’s bows were smaller (and often, at the back of her hats). These three were by Philip Somerville:

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      I’m not sure who made this (likely Philip Somerville)- see a back view here
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      • These two, both worn in the 1983 Canadian tour, were both by John Boyd
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        • I think the biggest forward facing bows on Diana’s hats were those on this royal blue and Kelly Green hat worn Dec 25,1991 (sorry, there aren’t any photos available), this navy hat worn in Australia in 1985 and navy Tiffany hat with green trim worn at Lady Helen Taylor’s wedding in July 1992, all by Philip Somerville.

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    • wow! thats one major hat in a bow!!! (shame about the rather unpolished look with the unkempt hair)

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  26. Katharine, Duchess of Kent 1989 Embed from Getty Images

  27. Princess Sofia 2017 Embed from Getty Images

  28. Another pic to keep the ball rolling. Not the largest bow though, I’d guess. Princess Haya 2008
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  29. first thoughts were surely something from the 80’s, but most seem to be on the rear of hats which are difficult to see (diana princess of wales), but heres a classic from sarah do york

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    and then another much more recent – perhaps not the largest but up for the award of most stiff bow???

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    and her daughter princess beatrice has to be up for a mention, as she seems quite keen on a bow.

    she started young

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    probably the most famous is the amazing architectural hat she wore for prince william’s wedding, for which she received so much undeserved negative press…..

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    a couple more beauties

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    sure there’s much better and much larger to come….

    cant wait!

    • Princess Beatrice will be tough to beat. I was initially critical of this hat but I’ve come around to love and admire it. It’s a masterful work of art- there is not a single stitch visible on that bow, which is simply incredible.

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  30. ….and continue with the York sisters….well, a bow and a half anyway!

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  31. Let’s start things out with the Duchess of Cambridge and Zara Tindall…shall we? Not the largest certainly, but a nice way to begin!

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