Hat From the Past

Royal Hats 73 years to a quartet of royal hats worn in May 1947 to the Chesea Flower Show. Longtime reader Mitten Mary sent me this photo yesterday, insightfully drawing attention to unique and lovely shape of  Princess Elizabeth (if you can look past her linebacker fur vest) and Princess Margaret’s hats, and the dashing bowler on King George VI.

Embed from Getty Images

This was an entirely new photo to me- immense thanks to Mitten Mary for sharing it!

Photo from Getty as indicated

11 thoughts on “Hat From the Past

  1. Great find Mittenmary! I love the hats and the outfits are just so luxe. That fur on Princess Elizabeth is brilliant.

  2. I like the hats, though the whole ’40’s silhouette is so incredibly boxy. It is interesting to think that Christian Dior launched his New Look in February 1947. Clearly this fashion revolution hadn’t reached Britain’s shores yet in May the same year!

    • But consider, that if the royal ladies had jumped on that fashion train right off the bat, while people in Britain were still experiencing the full brunt of rationing, it would have been taken very badly. Moreover, since this is 1947, HRH Princess Elizabeth was probably already saving up ration coupons for her wedding dress. Not much left over for new silhouettes in day wear!

      • I agree, Historical Soul, with your comment that it would have been taken very badly. I have gotten the impression from my reading that the British Royal Family during and after World War II was very attuned to being at one with their people.

  3. I’ve always found it odd that even though the 40s were a time of utilitarian fashion, Queen Elizabeth and her daughters went for a more is more approach. Those furs in particular; wowzers!
    It’s also interesting to see that they both dress like younger versions of their mother, not unusual for girls then, but if you think that both of them went on to have very distinctive styles in later years, it’s interesting to see them following their mother’s rather blousy lead, before they both moved onto much more streamlined looks.

    • You wonder whether the princesses ever thought to look at glamorous Aunt Marina as a fashion inspiration. And I suppose if the fur was a gift from Mummy and Daddy, she wasn’t going to turn it down!

    • They certainly expended a lot of effort to look cheerful! I’ve always found it interesting that the category of “trimmings” was so much less rationed that other parts of the clothing allowance: less fabric for skirt length and fullness, but plenty of range for making things look frilly and feminine in spite of the unavoidably boxy silhouette. One can find a lot of material of the time encouraging woman to put care into their dress to boost their morale, and that of those around them. It’s still decent advice, too; every day in lock-down that I bother to get all put together, I feel better.

  4. That’s a lot of hats and furs! Here’s another outing of the Queen Mother and Elizabeth with same hats.
    June 5, 1947: Epsom Derby
    Embed from Getty Images
    Another occasion for Margaret to wear her hat, along with her linebacker sister!
    July 6, 1947(?): St. Paul’s Cathedral
    Embed from Getty Images
    I found a great close-up of Princess Elizabeth showing even more detail. Happy well-deserved weekend, hat lovers.
    July 8, 1947: Inspecting the Grenadier Guards

    • Jimbo does it again! Could the Epsom Derby photo be from the same day as the Chelsea Flower Show? Everyone looks as thought they are wearing the same clothes, although I’m not sure about Elizabeth’s shoes or the King’s tie. Perhaps Margaret was off with Peter Townsend, who in on the stairs in the St. Paul’s photo.

      Great detail on the other photo! I read the pattern of Elizabeth’s dress as polka dots and couldn’t see the veil at all.

      The King looks so elegant in his bowler. I don’t remember seeing him in anything other than military headgear.

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