Countess of Wessex’s Christmas Hats

This Christmas is the Countess of Wessex’s 20th Christmas as a member of the British Royal Family. Over the past two  decades, she has worn a fascinatingly diverse array of hats to church on Christmas Day at Sandringham:

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Green felt top hat with raised pleated brim in 1999; Ecru folded brimless hat with black curled quills in 2000

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Camel split crown felt cloche with bow in 2001; Prim navy domed pillbox with burgundy feathers in 2002

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Chocolate felt wide-brimmed Philip Treacy sidesweep with leaf trim in 2003; Repeat of the camel felt cloche in 2004

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Black felt sidesweep with feather flower in 2005; Burgundy humped crown cloche in 2006. Both by Philip Treacy.

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Textured straw beret in 2008; Red felt beaded flower headpiece in 2009. Both by Rachel Trevor Morgan

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Purple button percher with jewel trimmed ruffle in 2010; Navy beaded felt pillbox in 2011. Both by Jane Taylor

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Chocolate felt cut leaf headpiece in 2012; Beaded black button percher with flying bow in 2013;
Leopard print felt pillbox with flat black bow in 2014. All by Jane Taylor

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Grey felt percher with jinsin twistl in 2015. Black laser-cut percher with raw-edge crin in 2016. Both by Jane Taylor

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 Navy felt leaf headpiece in 2017; Black crushed velvet percher with birdcage veil in 2018. Both by Jane Taylor

This mix includes extremes from classic to unconventional, restrained to exaggerated, familiar to experimental. I can’t say I’d choose many of these hats for myself but I find myself drawn in to many of them for a closer look- they are fascinating!  It’s this bravery, versatility and unpredictability that makes Sophie’s millinery so much fun to follow. What hats here stand out most to you?

Photos from Chris Jackson, Chris Jackson via Getty; Splash News/Corbis; Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock; Getty as indicated 

14 thoughts on “Countess of Wessex’s Christmas Hats

  1. Full length shots to enjoy!

    1999-2003
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    2004-2009 (no 2007)
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    2010-2015 (no 2014)
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    2016-2018
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  2. There certainly is a bit of everything here, demonstrating Sophie is not afraid to try out a new hat shape. The 2000 hat is an interesting one that could be brought back with a different outfit and hairstyle. The 2001 cloche is a great shape for her, and she wore at least one other hat with this particular design (the snakeskin sinamay hat with feather explosion). I love 2003’s portrait hat, despite seeming a bit oversized for her. 2010’s purple cocktail hat deserves another outing; it was an unusual color for her and the design suited her perfectly. 2013 and 2015 were also good choices. While I agree that her collaboration with Jane Taylor has brought us hats that look better on Sophie, my main complaint of Jane Taylor in the last 2 or so years is how erratic some of her trim has become, which I think has brought down some otherwise fabulous hats (like 2016’s laser cut hat).

  3. I never realized how much her hats complements her personality. She is daring, sometimes outside the (hat)box yet elegant and practical

  4. REALLY enjoying these Christmas retrospectives, HatQueen, and this post especially! I agree with JamesB that Sophie did well to switch from Phillip Treacy to Jane Taylor designs. The 2015 grey is a great ensemble. That 2002 pillbox is rather elegantly trimmed, though. And I’d like to see the 2017 navy headpiece repeated with a more tailored ensemble.

  5. Love her choice of hats after Philip Treacy…in particular the hats worn in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018. Looking forward to seeing them worn again especially the black laser-cut percher with raw-edge crin worn in 2016

  6. I find it odd, as I love Philip Treacy’s hats, big for Sophie they didn’t really work. From 2008 on e looks soooo much better and put together. I think she just had a tendency to go for his exaggerated shapes which didn’t suit her so well as Jane Taylor’s more feminine and delicate shapes.

    The grey perched from 2015 was the peak for me I think!

  7. This is a fun catalogue of hats for the Countess. It would be interesting to compare this with her dramatic Ascot hats.

    My favorites are the 2003 chocolate Treacy, the 2013 beaded black button with bow, and the 2015 grey felt percher. I love the grey on her and the faux fur trim on her jacket looks so elegant. 2015 was my favorite look overall. Just beautiful.

  8. Wow! What a difference from 2008 on when she went exclusively with Jane Taylor hats! Before 2008 I love the domed navy pillbox with burgundy feathers. From 2008 on I really like them all except the chocolate cut leaf headpiece in 2012 and the navy felt leaf headpiece in 2017. I think the fact that they are called “headpieces” explains my dislike. I think she looks especially chic in the black button beaded percher with flying bow in 2013 and the grey felt percher with jinsin twists in 2015. I like the entire ensembles of those years, too. i really love the black laser cut percher with raw edge crin from 2016 and would love to see that again!

  9. The only year Sophie was absent on Christmas was in 2007, after just giving birth to James. This reminds me of my sister-in-law, after just birthing my nephew in 1987, on Good Friday. Hell-bent on going to Easter Mass, and all gussied up, high heels and all, (more than she normally did!) into the church she came, carrying the new bundle of joy, dressed in a bunny outfit. This almost killed her, and she remained in bed for FOUR days afterward!

      • K2classroom, there is only ONE member of my family that regularly wears hats, and I married her! Is a “headpiece” equivalent to a “fascinator?” I actually like the one from 2012, and DON’T like the 2016 black number. It looks like she got in a throwing match at Victoria’s Secret, and it stuck to her head! HA HA! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone – I just discovered the plastic bag in Tom Turkey’s cavity, containing extra body parts. Good thing I pulled it out before Tom goes in the deep fryer tomorrow.

  10. Black felt side sweep 2015, I love. Grey felt 2015 is beautiful, Black laser 2016, beautiful. Sophie’s choices are never dull and such fun.

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