Statement Quills?

As we transition to winter hats in the Northern Hemisphere and those of you in the Southern Hemisphere get out your summer designs, it struck me this week that quills are one millinery trim that transcend season. So, for a discussion topic to end this week, I’m curious-  which royal hats have the most statement-making quills?

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For clarifying definition, I turn to millinery feather expert Ian Bennett- a quill is the spine of a feather where all fronds have been removed (if there are fronds still on the feather, the spine is… the spine!).

I can’t wait to see what you all share!

Image from Getty as indicated

60 thoughts on “Statement Quills?

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  4. I’ve finally found Zara’s hats with quills and there are more than I thought there would be!
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  5. I like this hat on Queen Maxima when she visited London in 2018. Hope the link works.

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  6. Also Ascot 2009, which was a big year for royal quills, it would seem.

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    • Her “Millenium” hat had orange quills!
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  7. Mother and daughter both quilled up, Ascot 2009.

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  8. Throwback to a little vintage Princess Margaret…..MrFitzroy assumes this is a quill (there aren’t good closeups), but have always thought of it as a butterfly antennae!

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  9. Here are quills on two queens. And sisters! Both beautiful hats made better by the quills.
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  10. A perennial favourite around these parts i know. But this masterpiece surely takes the prize?!

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    • JamesB, I thought of this, too! But, this may be a spine rather than a quill. What do you think, HQ? In any case, it certainly makes a statement.

      • I see feather fronds, albeit tightly clipped ones. So unfortunately, I think this is a spine, not a quill. But it’s lovely to see again…. especially in comparison to these two quill designs that are memorable for entirely less successful reasons.

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      • JamesB- Here’s another memorable quilled headpiece from Beatrice Borromeo’s wardrobe
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  11. I was looking for quills on Zara’s hats but found lots of Autumn’s hat’s! I hope it’s all right to post these since they were all worn when she was a member of the royal family.
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    • Statements, indeed. And of course- all royal hats are fair game here!

      I’ve got one more to add- this royal blue hat with red quills, worn for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving. If red quills aren’t a statement, I don’t know what is!
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      • Oh wow! I don’t remember seeing that hat ever before. The shape seems a bit off. But the quills make a statement for certain!

    • Can’t believe I didn’t remember the green hat from Eugenie’s wedding — what a knockout! This post is making me appreciate how well quills can finish a hat. Here’s another green hat with quills used effectively.

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  12. Sophie has some beautiful hats with quills
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  13. Quills are especially effective on hats for somber occasions, when flowers, bows, etc. might look too frivolous:
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  14. Sisters at the 2009 Royal Ascot!
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    • Princess Beatrice and Eugenie have a few more statement quills on the back shelves of their closets!

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      • Eliza, these are beautiful. Earlier, I attempted posting the bullseye, but accidentally posted another one twice! (Thanks, HQ, for repairing my error!) I really like the last two from your set, Eliza. Very nice.

        • Agreed- the gold quills on the Philip Treacy hat on Princess Beatrice are fantastic!

          Don’t forget Princess Eugnie’s two Calla Lily hats by Robyn Coles with statement quills!
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  15. Some of the smaller quills are a good reminder that statement does not depend on size! Another case in point- the contrasting orange quills on the hat that Lady Frederick Windsor wore to the Queen’s 90th birthday Service of Thanksgiving June 10, 2016.
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  16. Princess Michael of Kent:
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  17. I love the striking black quills on this hat worn by the Duchess of Sussex:

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    And the super curly ones on this hat on Princess Anne!

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    • Two great examples. The quill on Meghan’s hat, at full view, was pretty big!
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  18. Interestingly, the first person I thought of was the Duchess of Cornwall, but upon going back, all of her hats I was thinking of are technically feathers! Often my favorites are very trimmed and geometric feathers, but there are still fronds!!

    • She has a few that fit the bill:
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  19. I don’t think Queen Maxima’s hats have many quills, do they? This is the only one I can find.
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    • Scarfie posted a photo of Queen Maxima in a black Philip Treacy hat with jewel trimmed quill (scroll up). In addition, she has a few other quill trimmed hats. It’s a dramatic trim that I think she could carry off more often!

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  20. I had never thought about quills working for all seasons!

    This is the first hat that came to mind but now I’m headed off to search for more!

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    • I keep finding more (If you search for “quill” in the search box at the top of Royal Hats and you skip all the “Extras” posts you will find a lot!!)

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    • I found this in the post about all the hats Queen Elizabeth wore with this coat. I think these quills are gorgeous!
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    • It’s not a big one but the color of this quill makes it stand out!
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    • I completely forgot about these gold quills!
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  21. Sophie! June 17, 2014
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    • More small ones on another one of Sophie’s hats. I think she must have some big quills too

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      • There is this pair on an interestingly shaped beret hat she wore for Christmas Day in 2000
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  22. If allowed to say, I do not like this hat. The quills are fine though.
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      • The entire shape . It comes to her ear on one side and has a pull high on the other side. I understand the affect the designer is going for. It seems to squeeze her head on one side and release her head on the other. Personally, it has a negative affect to me. Hard to explain. Sorry.

          • It’s quite a large hat for its type, and Zara has almost no hair showing, especially from this side. It might look better if she’d had a softer updo… I see what you mean though – it’s not a favourite of mine either.

        • No apology needed! I think it’s more interesting when we can articulate what isn’t working on a hat and I appreciate your thoughts about the balance being off. It’s interesting- I like the bow on this piece so much it distracts me from what’s not working but you’re definitely on to something!

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