1954 Australian Tour: Wagga Wagga and Canberra

Royal Hatson February 13, 1954, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh flew from Sydney to Canberra, touching down en route in Wagga Wagga for a two and a half hour visit. The Queen wore a champagne printed silk dress with short sleeves and knife pleated skirt, topped with a matching casque hat of ovelapping petals made from the same fabric.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

On Sunday, February 14, the couple attended Divine Service at St. John’s Church (no other engagements were scheduled this day). She repeated pale suit with peplum jacket topped with a silk calot hat with draped stripes with side layered bow. The bottom photo shows a wonderful side view of the hat taken January 25, 1954 when she wore it in Timaru, New Zealand.

Embed from Getty Images

Images from Getty and social media as indicated

10 thoughts on “1954 Australian Tour: Wagga Wagga and Canberra

  1. I’d love to here about your 6 defined stages, JamesB. Are they basically each decade of her public life? I never thought of it quite like that before. All I know is that HM definitely has improved her uniform these past 20 years. While I’m entertained and somewhat amused by some of her ensemble choices from the 70s in particular, I would be so proud to have your lovely, dedicated young queen of the 50s! Each time she stepped off a plane or train or boat, can you just imagine the reaction from the throngs?
    Today’s hats: The champagne ensemble is just awesome. The St. John’s Church outfit is very nice too, but what color is it?
    Hypothetical Question: If Elizabeth was NOT queen, would she still be a faithful hat wearer today?

    • Same hat?
      Embed from Getty Images

    • Okay, let’s have a stab at defining them! Not quite her 6 decades, there’s a lot of overlap and certainly not scientific at all!! Feel free to totally disagree!

      Early years (50s) full skirted dresses and coats with small, off the face hats all in muted colours.
      Early – late 60s – a more streamlined silhouette but still using soft fabrics, still in muted colours with flower covered hats
      Late 60s – mid 70s – bright colour blocked coats in stiffer fabrics with helmet hats, minimal embellishment or pattern
      Mid – late 70s – much more use of pattern on outfits and hats, flowier fabrics and more experimentation with hat shapes (or wider brims)
      80’s – late 90s – less pattern and embellishment. Block colours, small hats. A much safer, style with less experimentation, which was a bit older than her years at times.
      Millennium onwards – wider brimmed hats using lots of bright colour, tailored coats with floral dresses, more trimming and a younger style than the past two decades.

      • I don’t disagree with you, JamesB, but my take on it is that The Queen, along with all of our mothers and aunts, was in general wearing very conservative versions of whatever happened to be in style at the time in terms of women’s fashion, neither being a trendsetter nor being so out-of-step fashion-wise that attention to her style would detract from attention to the purpose of any given public appearance. There was a need to be perfectly put together whenever she went out, but in her generation, I think not the expectation of being fashion icons as seems to be the case with the younger royals. These “stages” may well be true of virtually every woman in that age bracket, but few if any others were so widely photographed.

        • True – it does reflect the fashion of the time in some respects – at least until the early 80s when I think she stopped reflecting fashion at all. The difference for HM is that she or her designers took those styles and made a regal version of them, which of course nobody else has to do!

        • Great summary, JamesB. You are both right: HM mirrored current fashions, but with a regal touch, until she just set her own style starting in the ‘80s. Wouldn’t you say the same for the slightly younger queens regnant, Beatrix and Margrethe? They both developed their own unique styles, not necessarily reflecting current fashions, as they got older.

          • You’re right actually. They have all done the same thing, as did the Queen Mother. Interestingly others have done it less so (Sonja, Sofia, Silvia), staying a bit more au courant as they got older. Hmm…

    • I like the champagne ensemble, too, Jimbo, although it’s surprisingly clingy in the wind in that second photo. No wonder she favors more structured looks. This casque is one I could visualize on Mathilde. The striped blue with the bow is more of its time.

  2. It makes a nice change to see the suit worn in the last pic – the flowery dresses and coats all start to merge together a bit. The hat is pretty too.

    Throughout her life HM has really settled into a uniform hasn’t she – she’s shifted the uniform over the years as she’s aged, (I’d say there have been 6 defined stages) but at each stage of her life there’s a real consistency, with a nod to the fashion of the day.

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