I’m pleased to welcome back New Zealand reader Sandra to Royal Hats again. Sandra has prepared a 3-part series on a category of royal hats we don’t often discuss. Welcome, Sandra!
We’re so used to seeing the best of millinery craft on royal heads but there are occasions when a conventional hat simply won’t do, isn’t appropriate or when a local hat has been gifted. Excluding ‘diplomatic dressing’, here’s a selection of how some royals, male and female, have met the occasion.
Queen Elizabeth in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, in 1979. She pinned the turban’s long scarf with the beautiful sapphire and diamond Prince Albert Brooch, given by the groom in 1840 to his bride, Queen Victoria, the day before their wedding. This is the darker of two blue turban-style hats she wore on this trip with long daytime dresses.
I feel that someone in Dubai was taking very close note of this 1979 outfit worn in Kuwait … someone who would go on to design the stewardess outfits for the Emirates airline.
The Dutch are a nation of pragmatists so it’s no surprise that Queen Beatrix took a no-fuss approach during a mosque visit in Abu Dhabi in 2011 – she simply donned a cloak, perhaps provided on site, and tied a scarf over one of her trademark ‘cake’ hats. Done!
And again, this time in Oman in 2012 (I love Maxima’s entire outfit but particularly her shoes).
Queen Elizabeth did something similar for her visit to The United Arab Emirates in 2010. The dress and pillbox hat she wore to step off the plane were designed with a matching embroidered coat and veil that attached to the hat she put on when she and Prince Philip visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
How diplomatic is it to wear a hat with echoes of a nation’s colonial past when one is a member of the former overlords? Perhaps the Duchess of Cornwall, pictured in India in 2006, is wearing this pith helmet sunhat with irony, or even in a post-modern conceptual way!
And proving that context is everything, I don’t find the same hat so disconcerting on this outing in Egypt on the same tour. Don’t you love the battered brim of Charles’ hat? I can imagine this might be his gardening hat at Highgrove!
Thanks Sandra! This brings to mind another hat worn by Queen Beatrix. When she visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on March 1, 2007, her hat choice was not only blue, but one decorated with crescents all the way around the brim (the crescent a widely used symbol of the Ottoman Empire and, by extension, Islam).
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series tomorrow!.