Opening of British Parliament 2021

One of Queen Elizabeth’s most important ceremonial functions as a constitutional monarch is to preside over the state opening of parliament. She does this most years, travelling to the Palace of Westminster via coach to deliver a speech, looking most regal in the sparkling Imperial State Crown and ceremonial robes.

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This year’s ceremony was significantly scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of a white gown and diamonds, the Queen fulfilled this duty in a repeated grey hat with flared crown covered in silk cloque fabric and a mushroom shaped straw brim overlaid in pleated crin. The hat is finished with a grey goose feather mount and vine of gold silk flowers that wrap around the front that echo the floral applique around the neckline of her coat.

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The pleated brim gives great contrast to the piece, visually separating the hat crown and coat, which are in the same fabric. The colour is not my favourite on Her Majesty but was another masterful choice, standing out against the red and gold backdrop of the House of Lord’s Chamber.

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Designer: Angela Kelly made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn: June 20, 2019

The Duchess of Cornwall used the occasion to debut a new hat. In ivory straw, the asymmetrical crown is balanced by a wide, gently sidesweeping brim. The sleek design is austerely trimmed with a padded oyster silk hatband.

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The hat is a more streamlined design than we usually see on Camilla but one that pairs beautifully with the white and oyster diamond patterned coat. Would I love to see her embrace colour in her summer wardrobe? Absolutely! But I also can’t argue about the subtle, restrained elegance of this look for her.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Coat by Bruce Oldfield. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

What do you think about these hats today?

Images from Getty as indicated

14 thoughts on “Opening of British Parliament 2021

  1. I thought HM looked lovely, and it is lovely to see her again. This hat shape is very flattering; I would be happy to see it more often. The grey semi-mourning and the dress worn for the D of E’s last birthday were poignant touches. I agree with Jimbo that the yellow flowers are likely forsythia. As this flower symbolizes ‘anticipation’ in the language of flowers, perhaps an appropriate nod to Britain’s gradual move out of the pandemic? I also agree with many other commenters that the Wattle brooch would have worked better colour-wise but I suspect that the aquamarine clips were chosen because they had been a gift from her parents, and thus a sign of continuity.

    The Duchess’s new hat is striking. The white, while very similar to many of her other hats, is also, I think a nod to half-mourning as well as the usual white worn by supporters of the Queen on the opening of Parliament.

  2. Not my favorite hat for HM for HM, but it’s certainly appropriate for the occasion.

    Love how the minimal trim on Camilla’s makes a maximum impart. One thing, though: I’d expect the band to follow the slope of the brim, but instead it is positioned straight up and down. Does anyone else have thoughts about that?

  3. I think The Queen’s ensemble was an apt choice for this occasion. The color is subdued enough to reflect the scaled back event as well as the recent death of The Duke. I think the style of hat looks wonderful on Her Majesty. I agree with JamesB about a different brooch, as well as others remarking that the coat is more streamlined without the buttons. Overall, it’s a nice look, and it’s wonderful to see Her Majesty appearing at more events lately.

    I really like Camilla’s new hat. The hat band is stunning. Yes, it’s more of the same with her in color and style, but it’s NEW (!!!) so I really can’t complain.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that Royal Ascot will go on this year and we are inundated with a tonne of Royals in new and fabulous hats.

  4. I really liked this before, but when I think back on it now the grey color didn’t seem festive enough for Ascot on HM. This time though the grey feels very appropriate for this occasion. Glad to see HM back out and about!

    Another great hat for Camilla and the very simple trim is a nice change from her usual, but clearly she is not in any need of another white/ivory/cream hat. Hopefully with it being simpler it will be used often as a working hat (and paired with other outfits).

  5. Like the brim on the hat, the colour but flowers seem out of place..What a wonderful woman. The Duchess looks fine but all clothes seem too casual. The missing chair was sad.

  6. The hat worn by Queen Elizabeth is one of my favorites in recent years. It’s funny that many news reports yesterday announced that the outfit was light purple — which it indeed appears to be in many indoor photos, although when worn at Royal Ascot in 2019 it was obviously light gray. This all makes the choice of the two aquamarine clips a little perplexing.
    I’m perplexed too by the addition of the buttons on the front of the coat. The trim on the coat and hat is plentiful and does not need competition from anything else.

  7. HM looks lovely and the grey still considered a mourning color. The missing consort’s chair is really moving.

    I love Camilla’s hat, but I’m not a fan of the padded hatband. It looks vaguely like a ring-toss game.

  8. This was a favorite at last Ascot and I still love it. (I do like the coat better with the hidden button placket though). This is a great hat shape for HM and I hope we see more of it. I agree with JamesB that the Wattle brooch would have looks great with this, so hopefully next time! I like that Camilla wore cream, as a nod to the white evening dress normally worn. The streamlined hat is lovely on her. While I adore her big hats with all the loops and bows, going in this direction every so often keeps things fresh.

  9. Queen Elizabeth looks wonderful in this ensemble. The varied textures of the hat and the spring-time forsythia blooms(?) add so much interest and cohesiveness to the rest of the outfit. I noticed that 6 buttons were added to the coat front. Here is the dress without the coat, taken in June of 2020.. What would it look like if HM was wearing the hat with it?

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    I like Camilla’s new hat, but for me it’s just more of the same, like so many of her other white/cream/oyster hats.

    • Good call on the buttons added to the coat. I much prefer the original look without buttons, which was much more streamlined. The updated coat’s neckline is now really busy and the impact of the yellow flowers, both on the coat and the hat, is lost.

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  10. I love everything about this hat on QEII. Would love to see more of this design rather than the tall, slanted crown designs. Also the nod to mourning in the pale grey/lilac is very apt.

    Also love Camilla’s hat – unlike the coat. The diamond patterns are puckered, pull in the wrong places. I’d hope after seeing the pictures the designer would recall it and remake the two fronts minus the diamonds. Sometimes I wish she’d try a different designer or make more use of Bruce Oldfield or Catherine Walker.

  11. A lovely hat on the Queen, and this one is a nod towards mourning whilst still having a touch of playfulness.
    This hat has a lot going on, and yet has a lightness of touch that makes it work. The shape is fab and very flattering, I love the pleated crin and the feathers and flowers soften the look. At a push I might trim down the appliqué at the neck. The brooches do clash though, the Australian wattle would have been a beautiful addition to this outfit.

  12. It has been remarked elsewhere that the Queen chose this hat because the ensemble includes the dress she wore for Prince Philip’s 99th birthday photos, so I have no argument with that.
    I think the Duchess’s hat is lovely. I really like the padded hatband in subtle contrast. I thought her whole outfit was extremely elegant and restrained.

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