Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to this day in 1942, 78 years ago, and a wonderful array of hats worn to the christening of Prince Michael of Kent. Princess Marina (holding her son) and the Queen Mum’s jaunty brimmed designs are particularly wonderful and add an air of lightness and fun amidst the military uniforms and tragedy that would soon befall this family (the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael’s father, would be killed in an airplane crash just 21 days later).

Embed from Getty Images

Special thanks to reader Jake for sharing this photo.

Photo from Getty as indicated

10 thoughts on “Hat From the Past

  1. Jake, didn’t you say you have a few photos hidden away and that you would share them? This is wonderful! What a fantastic photo. Everyone looks so elegant, but CP Martha stands out for me. What a very chic look!

    Thank you trickymum and Jake for identifying everyone.

    I am struck at the happiness in this photo, which would soon be supplanted by sadness 21 days later. I’m particularly zeroing in on Prince Edward holding Queen Mary’s hand with Queen Elizabeth’s arm wrapped around him. We rarely see photos displaying so much affection. You can tell this was a wonderful, happy family occasion.

  2. Thanks to Jake for the fascinating group photo, and to trickymum and mcncln for the IDs and commentary. What a stylish group and a wonderful multigenerational family event. Agreed with all that Martha’s elegance is a standout. A footnote: FDR was a godfather, with the Duke of Kent standing in as his proxy.

    But where were the Gloucesters and Princess Mary?

  3. Really off-topic but when my mother was studying in London in the early thirties she stayed at the Helen Club – a safe hostel for young ladies, named after its patron. Both Princess Marie Louse and Princess Helena Victoria popped in regularly to see that everyone was comfortable…

  4. What a wonderful photo, and how marvelous to have the children of the time pictured as well, as modern-day christening photos so often tend to include only the immediate adult family members and the godparents. Many thanks to trickymum, mcncln, and Jake for the identifying information of the many participants!

  5. Wonderful picture! FYI, here is a who’s who:
    Seated L-R: Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen), Lady Patricia Ramsay (née Princess Patricia of Connaught), Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward (now Duke) of Kent, Queen Mary, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Princess Marina holding Michael, Princess Marie Louise (daughter of Queen Victoria’s daughter Helena), Crown Princess Martha of Norway (née of Sweden), Princess Margaret, Princess Helena Victoria (sister of Marie-Louise). Standing L-R: Victoria Marchioness of Milford Haven (Prince Philip’s grandmother), Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, King George VI, Prince George Duke of Kent, King Haakon VII of Norway, ?, Crown Prince Olav of Norway picture.

    • Good work trickymum, I was wondering about the more senior ones…
      No doubt a lot more European royals would have attended, given Marina’s European connections, had it not been for the war. Marina’s immediate family — her 2 sisters and her mother, all based in Europe, are not present, and her father had died some years previously. But there were a number of European monarchs who were easily able to attend – those living in the UK as monarchs-in-exile – who we see in the pic, e.g the unidentified man second from right, back row — George II of Greece. CP Martha is there because she had just arrived in London from the US (where she and her children were living after the Nazi occupation of Norway) to celebrate the birthday of her father-in-law King Haakon (back row) which took place on the previous day, July 3. Haakon and Olav were already living in the UK, as was Prince Bernhard, (whose wife Princess Juliana and their children were living in Canada).
      I love seeing these group photos where young children are involved. judging from the way Princess Margaret and Prince Edward are looking towards the new baby, and Princess Marina’s rather strained look, he must have been making a bit of a fuss — as babies always do at christenings. Squirmy Edward is strategically wedged between the two queens who are clearly not going to allow any nonsense, and Princess Alexandra is helping mummy by standing where she can distract and entertain her baby brother if he cries. Just so real.

    • Hi trickymum, one quick correction on your identifications: you have the Marchioness of Milford Haven and Princess Marie Louise switched. But otherwise thank you for all the identifications, especially for Marie Louise and Helena Victoria (I’ve always had trouble figuring out who they were at Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding some years later, but now I know!).

      I agree with JamesB that Crown Princess Märtha of Norway is looking very elegant in a hat that could definitely be seen on someone’s head today!

  6. The chicest by far here is Princess Martha of Norway, a stunning picture hat (though is it black – seems very somber for a christening). Marina of course always very elegant but the photo doesn’t really let you see much in the way of details here.

    • I completely agree about Crown Princess Martha as the standout. She and her husband Crown Prince Olav, (presenting here his favourite look, that chiseled profile, to the camera), certainly made a very striking and photogenic couple.
      The other hat I like is Queen Elizabeth’s. She had so many good ones from that era.

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