State Opening of Parliament

Queen Elizabeth delivered the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lord’s Chamber this morning, officially opening the next session of Parliament.

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For the second time in recent memory, the event was less formal than usual and saw the queen in a hat. This time, she repeated repeated her muted jade straw hat with straight-sided, domed top crown and short cartwheel brim, trimmed with green silk flowers and a multi-looped straw bow.

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The high profile of this  event provides us with views of this hat from all angles, showing just how good it is. The colour stands out so beautifully against the gold wall backdrop and domed crown, while not my favourite millinery shape, is so well balanced by the hat’s brim and trim. A straw hat is an interesting choice for the Queen in December but the hat’s lightness, especially combined with her floral frock and patterned silk cloque coat, makes a bright, hopeful ensemble that feels like a fitting lift for Britain’s current political climate.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: June 3, 2019; May 22, 2019May 15, 2018June 23, 2017

What did you think of the Queen’s choice of hat to open Parliament today?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

16 thoughts on “State Opening of Parliament

  1. I love this outfit – the colour is one of my all-time favourites. I do like how much this jade stands out against the backdrop of parliament – no-one can fail to see HM in her burst of unexpected summeriness, which is in such stark contrast to the rich dark golds, reds, blues, blacks and whites of the interior. And the sheen on both hat and coat, the way the interior lights selectively reflect off these materials, adds to the impact.
    I’ve had misgivings in the past about the “limpness” of the flowers; but I can see today how the the haphazard shapes of the flowers add more visual interest, by being juxtaposed with the smooth clean lines of the the sinamay twist and the coat buttons. Fabulous hat.

  2. Oh I have notes on this choice of hat.

    So. It’s a summery hat. And it’s December. Yes I know she’s indoors all day, but this outfit debuted at Ascot and so it feels, to me, not quite right.

    Interestingly she wore it last time to meet the current US President. And the hat she wore to the last Opening… she wore to see him. I’m overthinking this.

    And thirdly, surely (even given the state of the UK right now), a new hat would have been on the cards like it was in 2017?

    All in all. An odd choice I thought….

    • Don’t think that your second point above (Trump visit hat) hasn’t occurred to Americans following the Queen’s hats. I trust that the Palace hasn’t been underthinking this. Angela Kelly wrote that the blue/yellow hat worn earlier was not a UE symbol, just an accident. It’s hard to believe that another hat with any possible previous connections would be picked by accident for the second wearing of a non-crown outfit in Parliament. It’s hard to ignore such “coincidences.”
      So will the Queen go to Sandringham tomorrow, just one day late? We need an escape from all this!

      • Yes, she went to Sandringham today, wearing one of her beautiful silk scarves.
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        • Still getting some mileage from her inaugural outing of this coat – Easter, 2008. (Where’s the wonderful corresponding hat, today?) The dress worn today was infamously “touched” by a U.S. 1st lady in 2009. Happy weekend-before-Christmas to everyone! Great millinery treats in store next week, we all hope!

          March 23, 2008: Easter
          April 1, 2009: U.S. visit
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          • I’m sure most people have moved on from this post, but I thought I’d add one more photo of HM, this time without the coat. Rare, but beautiful.
            I realize that this is going off on a slight tangent from the original post, but it’s fun and interesting none the less. Enjoy.

            October 26, 2012
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    • I agree with you JamesB on all of this. I do love this hat, but it feels wrong seasonally. Personally I think a new hat in purple would’ve been fun, reminding us of the steadfastness of HM in the midst of the political chaos of the world.

  3. A lovely shade on HM. Not particularly attention-grabbing as outfits go, but perhaps that’s why she chose it.

    Incidentally, I am tickled pink to discover that the microphone tactfully placed to the side of the throne, to magnify HM’s voice without intruding itself upon the public notice, is nonetheless gilded. Presumably to make it more unobtrusive 😀

  4. I find this outfit to be an odd choice for today. It’s a beautiful hat and a nice coat, and I like the style and color. The hat’s last wearing, of course, was for US President Trump’s visit in early summer. I understand that today’s was an indoor event, but this nonetheless feels like a summer outfit, particularly the dress.

  5. My uneducated theory is that since this is an indoor event, a straw hat would be lighter weight and better suited for the atmosphere. Christmas should be a heavier, wool hat for the outdoors and chilly church. Yea or nay? I love everything about it! Simply beautiful.

    • I think you have a point. Also, after the furore caused by the Queen’s “Euro-sympathetic” hat last time she opened parliament in a daytime ensemble, she would be particularly careful to choose a colour that was completely politically neutral and did not signal any mood of joy or sorrow. Whatever, it is a beautifully constructed hat.

    • I’m buying into your theory about the straw hat for an indoor engagement, Jimbo. That makes perfect sense. This one must be a favorite of HM’s since this is its third appearance this year. It is a beauty, isn’t it?

    • I think you may have a point and it probably makes more sense than my idea.. My initial thought was all her winter appropriate outfits had already been sent to Sandringham. Either way, it is a lovely color.

  6. I love this color! I love it on the queen and I love it generally. That said, I probably would have preferred an ensemble that was more seasonal. What she wore today could easily be at home at Royal Ascot in the middle of the summer.

    • Strange how lacking in mystery sinemay has become as a fabric. Despite being artfully manufactured and in this case perhaps backed with a fabric, sinemay creates a flatness that is neat to the eye but not much more than that. In this age of freedom of choice and no rules, the trans-seasonal nature of materials doesn’t disturb me.

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