Commonwealth Day Service 2020

Queen Elizabeth was joined by members of her family yesterday morning at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day Service.

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For this event, the Queen repeated her blue felt hat with stepped crown and upswept brim trimmed with a multi-looped felt bow and spray of blue and copper feathers. Yesterday’s photos provide a closer look at the detail on this piece than we’ve seen before- the looped bow is beautifully piped in the same woven grey fabric as is on the upper side of the brim and the width of top stitching on the matching coat’s collar is exactly the same as the width of the brim binding. Such details seem minor but add significantly to the overall look a hat. Now, if only we could peek at this ensemble’s silk dress and see how those copper feathers fit into the overall picture!

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan. Coat by Stewart Parvin.
Previously Worn: Oct 20, 2018; Nov 16, 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her  navy brushed felt hat with off-center peaked crown, wide brim with gently sweeping upturn on one side and dramatic navy ostrich feather wrapped around the crown. The hat has a decidedly painterly quality to it, thanks to the deep hue of the felt and its sumptuous feather trim. It pairs so well with Camilla’s navy silk coat, the coat’s lace trimmed bottom half balancing beautifully with the hat’s equally luxurious texture.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Coat by Bruce Oldfield
Previously Worn: Dec 11, 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new saucer hat in scarlet peachbloom felt. The hat is trimmed with a circle of piping around the crown and leaves in a darker oxblood felt and a trio of scarlet silk camellia flowers above and on the underside of the raised brim.

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Head to toe looks in a single colour can easily look one-note but the mix of textures and shades of red give enough contrast to make this look work. The hat plays particularly well with the coat’s velvet accents, the oxblood trim fitting surprisingly well with the darker velvet shadows and the hat’s trim hitting just the right balance, neither too stark nor too cluttered, against the traditional lines of the coat. The saturated colour makes this a strong look for Kate, again, that is balanced by the hat’s smaller scale. There’s so much here that just works.

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Designer: Sally Ann Provan. It is the Sada design from AW 2019. Coat by Catherine Walker
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Sussex wore a new hat for this, her final official royal engagement. A felt beret percher in the same emerald green as her dress, the hat’s dramatic statement comes from it’s net veil trim, wrapped in two linear stripes around the round base and tied on the side in an exuberant bow.

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Throughout her royal life, Meghan has worn hats only in neutral shades- ivory, blush, olive, navy, brown and black. This design is the first one in a vibrant colour… I won’t read into the symbolism of this beyond saying how fantastic it is. The use of square dotted net veil as the hat’s only trim is a bold one that gives such wonderful texture and movement to the design. High necked frocks such as this can be tough to style with a hat and this percher hits just the right balance and proportion. While I wish the Sussexes much happiness in the life they are creating for themselves, I can’t help but mourn the fashion moments we’ll miss with them outside the royal realm.

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Designer: William Chambers. It is a bespoke version of the Veiled Teardrop Explosion from SS 2020. Dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex also wore a new pillbox hat in navy felt. With a slightly domed crown, the design is completed with a generous wrap of navy dotted net veil.

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While navy and cream is a classic combination, this ensemble is decidedly more sleek and modern. This pillbox’s veil trim gives it an air of effortlessness that pairs wonderfully with the sleek lines of Sophie’s dress and again, the hat’s scale works wonderfully with the high neck on the dress. It’s an ensemble that works better together than its components do on their own and I love how the classic pieces are interpreted in a way that is so modern and fresh. Sophie has several dark blue pillbox hats in her wardrobe but I think this addition might be my favourite.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Suzannah
Previously Worn: This hat is new

This event always brings us several hats and after several weeks where royal hat sightings have been sparse, this group is particularly welcome. What do you think of these hats in London yesterday?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

26 thoughts on “Commonwealth Day Service 2020

  1. Meghan wins the hat game here, the oversized netting twist/bow is cheeky, charming and chic all at once. Her choice of the colour emerald green is wonderful with her dark eyes and hair. I’m not a fan of ostrich feather trim, but Cams looks fabulous anyway. Kate’s hat holds no personal appeal to me, but it is a very pretty hat. I love a pillbox, and a pillbox with netting even more. Go Sophie. Lilibet’s hat would be fine with just the knot, but the feathers match back to the frock beneath by all accounts. She is changing shape as most elderly women do, and oft times of late the fitting of coats in particular is not as sleek as we are used to.

    • Because hotlinked photos do not acknowledge the photo source, they are not allowed here (and on many other websites) so I removed your link.

      Here’s the photo, embedded with photographer credit. If you click over to the photo on Getty, you’ll see this was Trooping the Colour in June 1982, weeks before Prince William was born. Diana’s hat was made by John Boyd.

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  2. Great colors worn by all the Royal ladies. I like that all the hats were different. I have no complaints about anyone’s outfit. My favorite overall look is Catherine’s because I love the colors of all the parts that made the whole ensemble, the complexity of the hat components, her hairstyle and the beautiful earrings.

  3. Five great hats here – can’t even pick a favourite!
    I love that while each lady is wearing a flattering hat, they are five quite different hats, not five editions of the same look. Each to their own style!

  4. I like the Queen’s hat particularly the little bit of copper/orange. I love big hats and Camilla usually delivers, so well done. The veiling on Sophie’s pillbox was a bit of a twist that really made it for me. Also the veiling on Meghan’s hat. For some reason I like veils on hats as long as they don’t come down too far on the face. I have a problem with Kate’s hat in that I think it sticks up too high in the back. I just didn’t care for it. As for the outfits, Camilla’s is probably the only one I wouldn’t change. I thought the Queen’s coat seemed a little baggy. I love the slash of navy on Sophie’s dress but the more I see it the more I think the dress needs something – maybe a different neck. Loved the color on Meghan’s but not the fit or that cape thingy. Kate’s coat is a lovely color but I don’t find the style to be flattering on her.

  5. SPECIAL DRESS ALERT!!!!
    Today, Queen Elizabeth is wearing something we’ve ALL wondered about! Finally, a view of this dress.
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  6. Well isn’t there a lot to see here!

    I like the colour of HM’s outfit, but unusually for Parvin/RTM, I just find the execution slightly lacking. The coat is a big crumpled and I’m still not a fan of that collar. And I too am intrigued to see the connection of that copper feather, such a shame we can’t see the dress.

    Camilla – lovely again. The lace is a fabulous touch and I love these dramatic feathered brims she goes for. I like Kate’s hat enough, but I still find this style of coat a bit old for her. Not my favourite.

    Sophie – I like this dress but not the high neck, a boat neck would be so much nicer and give the hat some room to breathe.

    Then Meghan. Wow. I actually gasped when I saw this. Pretty sure this will be my favourite look of the whole year. This is glamour turned to the Máx, she looks amazing (my phone autocorrected to Máx, and I decided it was appropriate!) I love the colour and the hat shape is perfect for her with this stunning dress. Beautiful. Let’s hope we see more of this on her future returns, and the navy outfits she loved so much will be banished!

  7. I am so pleased with this spectacular line up of hats! (And since i didn’t comment earlier, welcome back HQ!! I missed you so much! I pray the great memories of your mother will sustain you!)

    HM-A fine hat, but nothing surprising. Too bad it was a repeat. I would of loved to see a new hat, but we had many other new hats to treat our eyes yesterday! I have to congratulate our lovely HQ on spying the trim on the looped bow and how the width matched the width of the stitching on the coat. I never would have noticed those details.

    Camilla-Beautiful hat and coat. Funny pretzel shaped brooch. (If there is a deeper symbolism or significance that I am not aware of please accept my apologies.)

    Duchess of Cambridge-Awesome hat! I loved the close-ups HQ provided that showed so many nice details I hadn’t noticed before like the trim around the crown. I thought the hat set off the ensemble perfectly.

    Duchess of Sussex-Way to go out with a bang! Beautiful ensemble from the top of her head to the tip of her toes! I will miss her hats (and Autumn Phillip’s hats and Serena Armstrong-Jones’s hats. 😦 ) She surprised me at how well she wore her hats without growing up with this tradition in the USA. As a fellow American I thought she did very well.

    Countess of Wessex-Loved her whole ensemble! Though her hat wasn’t the star, it was an important part of the overall look. The netting on her hat and the Duchess of Sussex’s hat seems to be more common this year than last.

  8. I’ve been (not so) patiently waiting for this post!

    Like Jimbo, I was a bit disappointed with HM’s choice of hat and outfit for this event. Reportedly among her favorite events every year and certainly high profile, a new hat would not be criticized. It’s a good choice overall and is better than last year’s, but not at the level as the cranberry/cherry blossom hat from 2018.

    Camilla looked very refined and elegant, although a bit subdued colorwise (but looking back, she’s normally worn blue or purple to this event).

    Thanks Jimbo for pointing out which occasion Kate had worn this coat previously (I knew it was a repeat, but couldn’t remember when). I absolutely love this Sally Ann Provan hat (knew it was hers thanks to the distinctive camellias), it’s so stunning. While I think Kate’s hairstyle is fantastic, I also see mcncln’s point that a down hairstyle would also add some balance; I also think a single breasted coat rather than double breasted could help.

    Of course you all know Meghan is my absolute number one favorite of this event, most likely this month, and perhaps all of 2020, thanks to that emerald green! This is the all-green ensemble I’ve been waiting for! The netting/veiling is styled perfectly, it’s placed just right on her head, and it’s a daring color choice without going overboard or costumey by keeping everything simple (did you also notice the lining of Harry’s blazer was also emerald green?). What a fantastic official send-off, but this appearance makes me lament their leaving official duties even more.

    This is a great pillbox for Sophie (although the knotted sisal one is still my absolute favorite). The more modern dress with the dramatic navy stripe, along with the navy pumps and large navy clutch, make for a sophisticated ensemble. My one tiny complaint is I wish her brooch had some sapphires in it to make it stand out a bit more and tie in better to the color theme.

    Looking back at coverage of this event since the blog started, I have to say this is my favorite group of hats thus far. Brava to all!

  9. They all look fabulous.

    The Queen: I love this hat. The color, size, shape and trim are all perfect.
    Camillla: what a wonderful rich color. The feathers make it very Camilla and it works.
    Kate: now this is stunning. I love everything about this hat. Must be one of my favorite looks of her.
    Meghan: love the color and the original use of the veil.
    Sophie: I love sleek and this is how you do it.

  10. Hat Queen, thanks for such a complete, colorful assortment of hats from yesterday.
    QUEEN ELIZABETH: I’m not gonna lie when saying that I was disappointed in this selection, especially when one considers the world-wide exposure for the Commonwealth Service. When would it be a better time to wear a new ensemble then now? A month ago, HM wore a new head-to-toe peach/cream plaid outfit for the RAF Training Centre to a much smaller group than the millions who saw her on Monday. Even on most Christmases, she wears a new hat, but again, to a much smaller group of enthusiasts. BTW, the queen did repeat her Christmas dress last week for a private audience, on March 4th.
    CAMILLA: Nice as always, no surprises.
    CATHERINE: What a glorious color. This is a huge improvement from the bandeau she first wore with this magnificent coat!

    Christmas, 2018
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    MEGHAN: Finally for her last official outing, an ensemble with color! Mcncln, I respectfully disagree with you. I can’t imagine any “stubborn anti-hat person” would gravitate to such a millinery specimen. If I was not a regular hat wearer, I would probably start with a simple fedora or a more casual tan or black hat which could be worn with more combinations.
    SOPHIE: Very nice, but how many navy pillboxes are needed in one’s wardrobe?

    • I’m not so disappointed in HM since this hat has become one of my favorites. Perhaps she is saving the new ensemble for the upcoming Japanese state visit?

      I agree that Kate’s new showstopper is a big improvement over the bandeau originally worn with this coat. I also wondered why Sophie pulled out another navy pillbox — maybe the shades of navy were off?

  11. I really liked all of these hats and thought they all matched their outfits beautifully. My winner is Meghan’s green net trimmed hat. I don’t love the half-cape arrangement on her dress, but she matched the tilt of the hat to complement it perfectly. Why didn’t she wear bright colours before, as she lights up in them?

    • Well spotted, Trickymum!
      Traditionally ladies’ hats are worn tilted to the right and I wondered why this hat was worn exactly the other way around. Of course it would have clashed with the sense of the draped half cape if Meghan had tilted it the opposite way.
      With her skin tone and hair, navy blue doesn’t do anything for her, whereas emerald green… wow! A fantastic look all together.

  12. An exciting showing!
    My top pick is Meghan. I thought I couldn’t like hat veiling when it’s bunched up – until I saw this hat. What a lesson in spohistication and the dramatic possibilities of simplicity, how seamlessly this hat works with her look! Surely this beautiful design could persuade even the most stubborn anti-hat person to give hats a try. As you say HQ, what a loss to style the Duchess’s departure from public royal life will be.
    Camilla – archetypal luxury and elegance – even more marked than last time, with the addition of sheer black hose and pumps. I will never tire of this hat and look.
    HM- I’m very happy to see this hat again with its gracefully upswept brim, and generous and lively trim. The black straw on the upper brim adds loads of interest. I love the way the light enhances the shapes, textures and colours.
    Catherine – I adore the textures, the flowers and the colour play of this hat. That said, I think this hat could look even better worn with hair down to give the illusion of more support; on this wearing, the tilt looks unbalanced from some angles. Also a more minimal coat style would allow no distraction from the richly ornate trim.
    Sophie- when I saw the diagonal black flash across the front of the dress, i couldn’t help thinking of Princess Diana’s eighties ensembles. Sadly, the top half of this dress looks exactly like the top of official womens’ fencing attire. Sophie looks great in a pillbox hat, but this fine newcomer needs an outfit with a less sporty vibe, especially not that windproof turtleneck collar.

    • I didn’t like the choked-up neckline of Sophie’s dress anyway, but now that you have pointed it out — yes, it does look like fencing attire! Too bad, because it’s otherwise a sleek look for her.

  13. All lovely – I really enjoyed reading this blog about the commonwealth service hats – thank you! I did love Meghan’s green hat it was such an unexpected colour for her to wear and it looks great.

  14. Gorgeous bunch of hats at the service yesterday! I love all the great closeup photos you provided that show the wonderful details.

    – HM’s hat is a great shape on her. The added copper flair is a great surprise. She matched the gorgeous brocade robes of the clergy, so well done!
    – Camilla looks great as always. I didn’t notice the texture of the hat complementing the texture of her jacket bottom. She looks impeccable.
    – Initially, I wasn’t wowed by Kate’s hat, but now that I see better closeups, I adore it. There is so much going on in this hat, but it is also so balanced. The colors are great and blend with her jacket’s contrasting shade. It is very, very pretty!
    – Meghan’s hat is my favorite. I have been asking for so long that she should wear more color and she finally did! Jewel tones look great on her. I love the the veil placement on the hat. It is so modern and chic.
    – Sophie’s hat is perfect on her! The added veil is lovely and it just balances her so well. Really a great, understated, perfect look.

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