Danish Queen Marks Centennial Year of Reunification

This year marks 100 years since the southern part of Denmark, Sønderjylland, which was a German territory from 1864 to 1920, returned to Denmark. While official reunification celebrations for this anniversary will occur in early July, a memorial service to mark this centennial year took place yesterday at at Copenhagen Cathedral. Queen Margrethe repeated her ivory felt domed percher hat with upturned cuff brim, trimmed with felt and fur looped bows.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

We’ve not seen this hat in several years and it’s such a good one on the Danish queen. It’s ‘snow queen’ in the best possible way, the hat and matching coat pairing to create a quintessential Scandinavian winter royal look that’s wonderfully regal and luxe. The use of fur on hats is, admittedly, very controversial, and while I’m usually not a fan, I think this hat would suffer without it.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unconfirmed. Likely Per Falk Hansen
Previously Worn: March 13, 2016; January 17, 2016; April 8, 2015November 17, 2014March 17, 2014;  April 4, 2013; February 3, 2013January 14, 2012

What do you think of Queen Margrethe’s wintry look yesterday?

Photos from Getty and the Danish Monarchy’s social media as indicated 

22 thoughts on “Danish Queen Marks Centennial Year of Reunification

  1. Perfect ensemble for the Queen of Denmark and Greenland!

    In the 1980s I chanced upon an exhibition of fur coats in Harrods (all for sale) and sneaked a feel of the different kinds of fur, some were utterly luxurious. But as time passes we become more sensible and although I have no problem with the use of vintage fur or the pelts of pest animals, I don’t agree with farming mustalids for their fur or hunting non-pest species, such as sea otters, for their coats.

  2. So many different subjects under discussion here that I scarcely know where to attach my reply!

    First of all, this is an important occasion in Denmark, and the robe-like coat trimmed in fur calls to my mind the royal pageantry of past eras — an excellent choice IMO. I do agree that this style of hat is reminiscent of Empress Michiko’s saucers. I find it very flattering on Queen Margrethe, and hope that she might in the future have other similar hats in different colors. (Though considering how long she’s had this one without duplicating it, that’s probably unlikely!)

    On the subject of vintage fur, my first encounter with the anti-fur movement occurred when I was in college, which was a LONG time ago. On that occasion, I got into an argument with another student in the coat room of the dining hall (I can still picture it, though the building has long since been torn down) after expressing the opinion that while I agreed with opposition to the killing of new animals for their fur, it was okay to wear vintage fur because those animals were dead already. Yes, that’s exactly how I expressed it. The other student was not amused.

    A question for Wies: are birds killed for their feathers? I guess I always thought that feathers for hats were plucked from living birds and then they grew new feathers, kind of like shearing sheep. If the birds are actually killed, I’ll have to rethink how I feel about that.

    And finally, a non-hat question for anyone who might know. I would think that the celebration of reunification was a joyous occasion, so I was surprised to see this event referred to as a memorial service. I’ve always thought of memorial services as being held for sad occasions, like when an individual dies, or commemorating something like a battle where there was great loss of life. This reunification, from what I’ve read, took place as the result of a referendum, not a battle, and other parts of the observation are referred to as festivities. Can anyone clarify?

    • Matthew, regarding your question about feathers, I must confess I don’t quite know. Ostrich feathers can be harvested (if that is the correct way of putting it) without killing the bird, as is explained in the article Mittenmary shared. The (upmarket) shoe & purse manufactorers use ostrich leather though, so some birds are definitely killed in the process.
      Pheasant feathers: I suppose some are shed in a natural way by the birds, but then, a lot of pheasants will be shot during the hunting season to end up in restaurants, won’t they? So then it will be a case of killing two birds with one stone, if I may say so.
      Goose feathers: most brightly coloured feathers you see in millinery are actually goose feathers. The pink and orange Millinery Jill hat worn recently by Zara Tindall for instance, is almost certainly made from goose “nageoire” feathers. Most goose feathers are treated and dyed in China nowadays and shipped all over the world. I have no idea what regulations are in China and how the general Chinese public feels about animal welfare. If the geese are killed, they will probably be eaten as well I suppose, but then again I don’t know for sure.
      Sometimes geese are shot because there are too many of them in a certain area and they destroy the crops, so the feathers will be a by product then. If they are collected, which they may very well not be.

      The problem is, as a milliner you hardly have a choice. It is hard enough to find the materials you need and generally no information whatsoever is offered about the production process, so it isn’t as if you could boycott one supplier in favour of another. Millinery is a comparatively small industry.

      • Ostriches are also farmed for their meat so perhaps the harvesting of feathers is a useful second income stream for farmers. I’m afraid I have no idea how many ostrich farms there might be worldwide. They had a moment here in the 1970s but never really caught on, although the meat is said to be low fat, like venison.

        • We are straying a bit further away from hats it seems. Your remarks sparked my interest, Sandra. Found this article about commercial ostrich farming:
          http://www.fao.org/3/v6200t/v6200T02.htm#commercial ostrich farming

          Most ostrich farms are in South Africa and the best feathers come from South African farms. (I know the ostrich feathers for the big cabaret shows like Moulin Rouge are imported from there.) And you are right, they are mainly farmed for the meat, so hides and feathers are by products.

        • It is the kind of reflection that raises more questions than it answers, which is rather unsatisfactory, isn’t it? But it is good to stop and reflect sometimes, and it is nice to share thoughts with people from all parts of the world, thanks to this extraordinary blog!

  3. This hat suits Queen Margrethe so well — reminding me, both in shape and delicacy of colour, of former Empress Michiko’s wonderful trademark saucer hats. Following Michiko’s example, it would be lovely to see the Queen in similar iterations of this chic and flattering style.
    The “Snow Queen” effect of an all-white “fur”-trimmed ensemble is not one we commonly see, but it certainly is a winter showstopper, and one I’d love to see emulated by other royals. I like Margrethe’s ensemble best when the monochrome theme is carried through with light-coloured accessories — taupe is seen here in 2012 — rather than with the dark brown ones worn today. Embed from Getty Images

  4. HQ, I love your description of Queen Margrethe as a Scandinavian Snow Queen – very picturesque! She is a lovely regal lady.
    Wies, several thoughts (memories, actually) come to mind from your comments, today.
    1. My mother (1/2 Danish) received a magnificent jet black Persian Lamb full-length coat from HER grandmother in Copenhagen back in the early 1960s. Mom looked truly royal herself, but alas, I have no clue as to whatever happened to the wonderful coat.
    2. In 1982 I bought Mrs. Jimbo a white fox jacket which she still wears today (not when plowing the back 40, however!) I recently asked her how she felt about wearing it, and she replied that since it is as old as it is, she doesn’t mind it in the least. Is an almost 40 year old coat considered “vintage” in fashion circles?
    3. Consider the number of FEATHERS that go into Royal hats, such as the multi-colored cluster in HM’s hat yesterday, or the recent surge in ostrich feather usage. Do animal rights people look at this differently?

    • A 40 year old coat would certainly qualify as vintage, Jimbo! (You realise of course that years in fashion pass quicker than ordinary years!)

      The discussion about the moral aspects of hat making is an interesting one (though a tricky one) as always when we branch out in this blog.
      There is such a thing as ethically sourced feathers I believe, meaning feathers which are collected from the ground where they have fallen. But I think that the quantity of feathers found this way is completely insufficient to supply all milliners.
      In the 1900′ the crave for feathers in millinery was such that whole species were threatened with extinction. This led to rules about the protection of certain birds. Luckily, for the fashionistas of the time didn’t seem to care at all. (Note: whenever you find a feather on the ground, or if someone gives you feathers from a bird they shot, don’t use them as millinery trim without getting rid of the vermin they may contain.)

      Hat Queen is quite right in pointing out that quality felt (indeed called fur felt as opposed to wool felt) is made from rabbit hair. (In the past it could also be made of hair from hares or moles, for a super soft velvety kind of felt.) I have often wondered about this, as it must take a lot of rabbits to make all the hoods which are produced in the few felt factories still in business. What happens to the rest of the animals? Is it used to make sausage meat?
      And then there is leather. The best quality for hat making is lamb skin, of a certain species of sheep. Is it OK to kill a lamb for it’s skin if you eat the rest? Or isn’t it?

      When I was a teenager I worried a lot about what was wrong with the world (and we didn’t even know about climate change back then!) I tended to get quite seriously depressed, for multiple reasons. Growing up I learned that you have to compromise in life, if you want to have a life at all. I do eat meat, but in modest quantities. And I do use animal products for hat making, but I don’t do mass production. The beauty of bespoke work is that you make only what is needed. The problem is the cost. Most people prefer to buy lots of cheap stuff instead of one single quality product.

  5. What a beautiful ensemble. I especially like the view “en profile”, the way the collar stands up at the back of the neck and the hat worn tilted on the brow. Very elegant.

    I don’t know if it is worse to kill animals for their fur than for their flesh. The most responsible thing to do it seems to me, if kill them we must, is to use everything and not let any part go to waste.
    It is as HatQueen says, a controversial subject. In my overcrowded country we have some natural reserves where the number of animals, by lack of natural enemies, becomes so large that they die by lack of food when winter comes. The authorities have decided to shoot a certain number of red deers, which outraged
    animal lovers all over the country (and who doesn’t admire a deer?) But is it worse to kill them or to let them die of hunger? Feeding them will only increase their number and make the problem worse. We have, I think, a disturbed relationship with nature.

    As for me, I must admit I love fur as a material. I won’t buy it, but I do work with vintage fur, transforming old coats or collars into hats if I’m asked to.

    • Thanks for this thoughtful response, Wies, that considers multiple sides of this issue. Working with vintage fur feels like an excellent compromise.

      This discussion warrants reminding that much millinery felt is made from rabbit fur. I don’t know much about this process but I sincerely hope it is part of using the whole animal.

  6. How has it that we last saw this in 2016?? I’ve always liked this one, although I wouldn’t mind seeing it paired with a different-colored dress sometime.

    P.S. Now that this hat has resurfaced, how few days do you bet it will take until she repeats it? Haha . . .

  7. A marvellous ensemble! Queen Margrethe is living proof that age is not the enemy of beauty.
    (On which note, don’t you think Dame Maggie Smith would portray her brilliantly on the silver screen, should the opportunity arise?)

  8. The colour is a complete winner. Also the style of the outfit is a winner. I do not support killing animals for their fur. That disappoints me. There are alternatives.

  9. I’m not sure it is immediately identifiable as looped bows, but the wintry white is lovely! I’m a fan of fur (when responsibly managed, particularly vintage, it’s sustainable and lasts forever and is super warm) so I love this.

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