Life Of A Hat: Princess Anne

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.

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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.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

On June 23, 1990, the hat appeared at Royal Ascot with the addition of a twisted, polka dot hatband.

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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.

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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.

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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

12 thoughts on “Life Of A Hat: Princess Anne

  1. I’m afraid that in all forms it comes across as a hat with the equivalent of a paper table cloth covering. Not a fan, particularly when paired with the disco polkadot band, which looks like something out of a jazzercize workout video. Give me Diana’s polkadot number.

  2. I suppose if one is going to keep a hat in rotation, it would be tempting to tweak it a little to keep it fresh. The original is the best. The hat looks unfinished without the crin on the crown. I’m seeing now that the polka dot hatband matches the belt, but that doesn’t make me like it any better!

    Any guesses who Anne’s carriage-mate in the snazzy yellow hat is?

  3. I do like this timeless hat in its present form. I thought that twisted polka–dotted band was hideous. I thought it was interesting to see it with husband #1 and husband #2. Husband’s may come and go but hat’s are forever! Ha! (Forgive me for being rude!)

    • I got a chuckle out of the idea that hats can last longer than husbands! It reminds me of another thought- no matter one’s current dress size, a hat will always fit!

    • Wow! I am husband #2 (TODAY is our 36th wedding anniversary!) and indeed, part of our nuptials included some hats that still survive, albeit some are in slightly different forms of decoration. Several pure white ones have yellowed in time, but they still see the light of day occasionally. (Perhaps THAT is the very reason their straw color has changed!)

      As for Anne’s featured hat today, I hope to see it again sometime.

  4. It’s a timeless hat, and looks as good as it always did. I really love it with the original white suit, that’s a very chic look for Anne. Less enamoured with some of the additional like the polka dot headband! I suspect this one will be getting a few more airings!

  5. what a difference it makes to the look of the hat. love how it looks in its latest guise, and would love to see this again, perhaps with a lovely summery outfit???

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