Most of the royal hats we see stay the same during their working lives. Some might be paired with different ensembles but a vast majority stay in their original form. However, while wading around in my archive of Princess Anne’s royal hats last week, I found a hat that has undergone subtle transformation. Designed by the late British milliner John Boyd, I believe the hat first appeared in 1983 while on a visit to Japan.
The pale wheat-hued straw brimmed hat with ivory crin overlay was repeated for a May 1985 Buckingham Palace garden party and with a printed dress for the agricultural “East of England” show (in June 1985, 1986 or 1987), both seen below.
Princess Anne paired this hat with a nautical navy jacket with brass buttons and white trim on June 4, 1986 for the Epsom Races. This outing is probably the most famous for this hat and photos captured at this event provide great views of its shape, trim and detail.
On June 23, 1990, the hat appeared at Royal Ascot with the addition of a twisted, polka dot hatband.
For a May 6, 2008 WWII memorial in France, the crown’s crin overlay was removed and an insignia brooch looked to be affixed to the front of the hat.
The hat’s most recent outing on October 16, 2011 was without the insignia brooch and showed all the original trim – the twisted hatband, back bow and crin swirled rosette on the side – to be intact.
The removal of the ivory crin over the crown is a minor touch that significantly altered the look of this hat- I can’t help wondering if it was removed for necessity or deemed an easy ‘fix’ to make more fashionable, 30 years after it’s creation? We’ll never know the answer to these questions… but I’m very interested to hear your theories!
Photos from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; Alan Feeberry; Getty Images as indicated