Guest Post: Wind and Hats

It is lovely to welcome New Zealand reader Sandra to the blog today for an amusing guest post!

We expect the Royals to appear sartorially perfect and perfectly groomed on official business and they rarely disappoint. But occasionally nature throws a curve ball. Here is a light-hearted selection of a few of those moments when simply nothing can be done. 

Miss Mary Donaldson, as she was then, watches as her hat is whisked away. She was visiting Danish Parliament in Copenhagen on May 13, 2004, the day before her marriage to Crown Prince Frederick. An alert official retrieved the hat for her, and all was well.

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Queen Elizabeth’s hats are generally well secured by hat pins – after 66 years as a monarch she knows how to prepare for anything. But sometimes circumstances mean little can be done, except to hold on for dear life! Here she and and her neighbours catch the downdraft from a helicopter at Winnipeg, Canada in 1970.

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During her official welcome to Oman in 1979, Queen Elizabeth was forced to grab at her hat and clasp it to her head as a strong wind played havoc. Sandhurst-educated Sultan Qaboos (ruler from 1970 to his death on January 10, 2020) remained firmly at attention.

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She’s holding her hat in place with one hand and showing interest to her hosts with the other, but now her skirt is billowing wildly! What is one to do? Queen Elizabeth viewing the Atlantic Ocean from Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada in 1997. 

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The caption says Queen Elizabeth, pictured in London in 1999, is “holding on to her hat” while waiting for a visiting Chinese delegation to arrive.  Unfortunately, there are no more photos to indicate that wind was the culprit this time. For me, this simple hat is a unique addition to her millinery wardrobe.

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Just last year at Buckingham Palace Queen Elizabeth showed her mastery of the elements (and her faith in hat pins) as she continues to chat while the Duchess of Cornwall and American First Lady Melania Trump hold on to their hats.

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We’ve seen many photos of Queen Maxima’s weapons-grade hatpins but as The Netherlands is a flat country with a long coastline, it’s windy. Here she clutches her hat during last year’s King’s Day (April 27) in Amersfoort.

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King’s Day must coincide with the strong winds of the spring equinox. This photo is from 2014 in Zwolle.

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A windy departure from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in October, 2015.

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An unscheduled ‘Marilyn moment’ for Queen Maxima in 2014 at the anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy, France. 

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Crown Princess Mette Marit keeps smiling, despite being caught in a strong gust of wind at the Copenhagen christening of Prince Christian of Denmark in 2006. She continued inside and became one of the child’s godparents!

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What is it about christenings? The Duchess of Cornwall cops a blast of wind at the Norfolk baptism of Princess Charlotte in 2015, in what looked like a calm-day wind-wise.

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Princess Eugenie’s Windsor Castle wedding in October 2018 (another good month for equinox winds) saw many guests, royal and otherwise, clutching their chapeaux, including Zara Tindall and her sister-in-law Autumn Phillips. Lady Sarah Chatto had a firm grip of her hat and a ladylike hand holding her skirt down and while the Duchess of Cambridge held on to her cocktail hat.

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It’s raining, it’s pouring (and there’s a bit of wind too) – and our Royals pictured here, from left, Queen Sonja, Empress Michiko and Crown Princess Mette Marit can only laugh during the official welcome for the Japanese Emperor and Empress in Oslo in May, 2005.

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I look forward to seeing other fun photos unearthed by the clever people who read Royal Hats!

I’m sure there are some more amusing wind-lifted royal hats to share! Thanks, Sandra!

37 thoughts on “Guest Post: Wind and Hats

  1. Thanks everyone for joining in the fun – and finding so many cute examples of nature ruling the roost! Apologies for not having been very ‘present’ during these postings. I’m in lockdown and finding the process a bit unsettling – my husband is now working at home and my adult son has been swapped from a day shift to 7.30pm-3.30am at the supermarket where he works. My own employment status is unclear. I’ve had no word from my employers, either official or unofficial, as to whether I still have a job so will ask that question tomorrow. There is a clause in my contract that allows it to be terminated by unforeseen events and I guess Covid-19 is one of those!

    I’m finding that I’m beginning to lose focus and potter my way through days, not achieving much by the end. Must be time to write a list! We hauled out a lot of DVDs yesterday, not watched for a while. We’re working our way through ‘Wallander’ (Kenneth Branagh) though as he always seems to be in danger of breaking down is not quite the distraction we were hoping for. It’s beautifully photographed, though.

    A big virtual hug to all Royal Hats readers and HQ herself. I’m guessing that for many of us this blog will be a form of sanctuary in the days to come. xx

    • Thanks Sandra for the great post. It’s understandable that you are unsettled. Sadly, all of us are in the same boat, and so all we can do is take it day by day and do our best. It sucks right now, but, speaking from experience, it does get better. Take deep breaths and find a laugh somewhere (you already did find that laugh with this great post). Stay strong, my friend. Sending you lots of hugs!
      Thank you to your son for his hard work ensuring those in your community are being fed. It’s an important job and I’m very grateful for the hard work done by essential workers around the globe.

      • Thank you Shanon for your kind words. I’m just off for a neighbourhood walk, that always seems to help. I know that here in New Zealand we’re much better off than many others around the world so I must learn to count my blessings/give gratitude.

    • I’m so sorry to hear how frustrating life has become for you Sandra. I hope you find some clarity this week, and I’m grateful for the work your son is doing; it’s unfortunate it has taken an awful scenario like this for people to understand, appreciate, and respect people in jobs like his.

      I agree with Sandra that this has long been a happy corner of the Internet for me, and certainly appreciate it all the more these days. Wishing everyone safety, health, and solace during these uncertain times.

  2. Many years ago, decades in fact, I discovered something about wind and hats that should have been obvious if I’d thought about it. I went to a wedding wearing a sort of large saucer hat with a solid crown and a very wide brim, worn at an angle. It turned out to be a very windy day, and most of the other lady guests were having trouble with their hats. I didn’t have any trouble with mine, and I realised it was because the brim was crin / net, which meant it offered no resistance to the wind, which just went straight through it without tugging it at all! Like hedges being less easily blown over than solid fences. So if anyone is going to an occasion where it might be windy, I offer that lesson before you choose your hat! (I still have the hat!)

    • That is a very interesting observation, Bristol. The coastal city of Sydney where I live is windy (20kph is common most days) which is a real barrier to regular hat wearing by the population. I think i’ll be applying your crin recommendation next summer!

  3. The royal gents have to do the hat grab sometimes, too: Embed from Getty Images

  4. Before and After: (only kidding!)
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    • Gosh, HM outdoors hatless, and it’s not the Chelsea flower show, it’s a polo match at Windsor Great Park. Does anyone know the hat protocol that applied in this instance? it can’t be the “hostess at home” principle, because at the Buckingham Palace garden parties which HM hosts, HM is always hatted.

      • Mcncln, I tried to play a trick on you. The first photo with the hat was taken at a different occasion than the other two hat-less photos. (The brooches are a dead giveaway!) I am so glad to have some levity this Friday night! To lighten our spirits, Mrs. Jimbo and I just watched “The Shining” at our daughter’s house (6 feet apart from each other) and it was the best part of the whole week!

        • Thanks for that Jimbo, it was a pretty cute joke.

          I just watched “Doctor Sleep,” the sequel to “The Shining.” It was actually pretty good if you want another movie night recommendation.

          • Tonight, we’re watching a double feature: “Stir Crazy,” followed by “Psycho.”
            I may sharpen a few kitchen utensils in between flicks.
            Any other movie lovers out there?

        • Hi Jimbo. I got that photos #2 and #3 were at a different event– the million dollar question for me is, why wouldn’t HM wear a hat to present prizes at the polo( as per Getty’s caption)? or at the very least, a headscarf? anomalies like this one are so puzzling! any thoughts?

    • Nice choices on movies Jimbo!
      I just watched oscar winner “Parasite.” Based on your movie choices, you would like it. A lot.
      “Shaun of the Dead” with Simon Pegg and NIck Frost is ridiculous and crazy funny. A necessity for this crazy time.
      Husband and I watched “Catch Me if You Can.” We haven’t seen that in a while, and it was really good.
      HBO has a great documentary/biography on Stephen Spielberg. It’s really interesting.
      “Trapped” is an Icelandic murder mystery on Netflix. It’s very, very good, but you have to be in the mood for something that dark.
      For a great laugh, we love “The Big Bang Theory” reruns.
      Of course I have kids, so Harry Potter, Avengers, and How to Train Your Dragon are always on repeat.

  5. Thanks for collecting these, Sandra!
    I’m surprised the Countess of Wessex needed to hold her pillbox on. I’ve never had trouble with mine blowing off, and I live in the Wellington region! Where, true to form, it is presently blowing a gale.

  6. What a “breezy” post today, just what the doctor ordered after finishing TWO weeks at home(!)
    I’ve been singing “Stormy Weather” a lot lately, especially since my internet has been intermittent at best.
    I have a modest addition to today’s post:

    Duchess of Cambridge doesn’t get along at airports or Horse Guards Parades:
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    Queen Elizabeth needs to share her hat securing secret with the Pope!
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    • Haha, Jimbo, “breezy”! Two weeks at home for me, two, and at least two more to go.

      Great picture of the Pope. Somehow, I don’t think hatpins would be an option for him.

    • The Duchess of Cambridge also had a problem in India at the war memorial. The wind is not always her friend.

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  7. I’ve found a few more:

    The Countess of Wessex at Ascot, June 21, 2000
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    At the Order of the Garter Service June 19, 2006
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    Reviewing The Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on December 13, 2019
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    Royal Ascot, June 21, 2017
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    • Duchess of Cambridge
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    • The Duchess of Cornwall

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    • Zara Tindall at Cheltenham March 14, 2018
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      Lady Helen Taylor at Ascot on June 17, 2009
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    • Princess Michael of Kent
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    • And finally, the Queen

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  8. Zara lost her navy trilby at one point on Day 3 of Cheltenham 2 weeks ago: (sorry, this image couldn’t be embedded). And here she is holding onto it at some point either before or after losing it:
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    Easter 2016 was also a bit blustery:
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    And while not directly hat related (although she was wearing a good one), I remember when Mary also lost a shoe when it got stuck in a crack when they were visiting Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington, DC in June 2010:
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    Thanks Sandra for the fun distraction! I would love to see Mary’s wide brim hat make a comeback. And I certainly remember the wind at Eugenie’s wedding and wondering how many hats might fly away as I watched the guests arrive (turned out to be quite a few). DC can be a windy city at times, so I have had to put a hand up to keep my fedoras from flying away many times; always nice to be reminded of how much the royals can be just like us!

  9. Also, I saw a video of Crown Princess Mary struggling to hold her hat on a windy day during the opening of Crown Princess Mary bridge in Frederikssund. She handled it with grace but unfortunately, I couldn’t find the video.

  10. What a fun topic Sandra! this situation happens more than we like to think, I’m sure. Here’s Diana grappling with her hat in 1985 in Washington: Embed from Getty Images

    • Fantastic. So nice to see that it is sometimes the royals having trouble with the wind too.
      Lovely pictures .Well done.

    • I’ve never seen these photos of Princess Diana before mcncln! Thank you!

      Big thanks to Sandra for a fun distraction! I l absolutely love the final photo in your post of Empress Michiko, Queen Sonja, and CP Mette-Marit in the rain and wind. They look so beautiful while having a fun laugh together. Priceless!

  11. Yes – wind and hat does not make a good combination!
    I could only remember two situations where her majesty was struggling to keep her hat on – this is one (im still looking for the other)
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    Also came across this 2-handed hold, with a very lovely peach boucle, feather trimmed hat
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