Royal Family Attend Commonwealth Day Service

Members of the British Royal Family attended the annual Commonwealth Day Service today at Westminster Abbey.

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her magnificent purple felt boater hat with raised brim on one side trimmed with two stacked rows of raw-edged pleated silk around the side of the crown and a spray of purple feathers.

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This has been a brilliant hat for Camilla for multiple reasons- the colour, scale, shape, contrasting textures are all fantastic on her.  The hat is elevated today with its pairing with a new coat-  the coat’s stripes give a lovely vertical line to the ensemble that pairs so well with the horizontal lines on the hat.

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Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Philip Treacy, Coat by Fiona Clare Couture.
Previously Worn: Nov 11, 2018;  Mar 13, 2017;  Oct 27, 2016Mar 3, 2015Mar 21, 2013Dec 25, 2012Mar 26, 2012Mar 12, 2012Oct 26, 2010;  Mar 8, 2010Oct 27, 2009

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new pillbox covered in the more glorious sapphire blue velvet. The classic hat is trimmed with a large, flat bow at the back.

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The hat and coat link well thanks to their shared use of that beautiful velvet, the coat’s wool crepe body providing enough contrast for the monochrome ensemble not to fall flat- there’s no one note colour here! And what a fantastic colour and scale it is for Kate.

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Designer: Sean Barrett. Coat by Catherine Walker.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Princess Alexandra also wore a new hat in deep inky blue sinamay with ruched hatband and a spray of feathers on the side. The slightly raised brim on one side gives a lovely lift to the piece and I really like how the hatband echoes the layered hem on the ensemble’s jacket. It’s lovely all around.

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Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: This hat is new

This trio of beautiful designs today is wonderful to see, especially after what has been a hat-starved few weeks for us royal hat fans!

Images from Getty as indicated  

19 thoughts on “Royal Family Attend Commonwealth Day Service

  1. There seem to be many comments critiquing the Duchess of Cambridge’s pillbox as too far back on her head – but what is the “correct” placement? I’m genuinely curious! I associate the pillbox so closely with Jacqueline Kennedy, and I believe she often wore them with typical placement.

  2. I absolutely love the colour of Camilla’s hat, and the overall impression, particularly from a distance. I’m not so keen on the flat top (I hadn’t identified it as a decorated boater, but see now that it is that classic shape!) and on the multiple elements of trim that somehow look too spikey when viewed together.

    I thought Kate looked stunning, and the electric blue pillbox worked so well, creating a really elegant outfit.

    Alexandra’s hat is really lovely, both design and colour. I was thinking that it’s also not very memorable, and that if one is a minor royal who’s going to be repeating hats a lot, that’s probably a positive aspect!

  3. Alexandra for the win. Sometimes, the crowns of her hats are just too too big and Edwardian, but not here. The whole outfit is gorgeous, as is the Queen Mary brooch. As Jimbo notes, the gravity-defying pillbox is not a good look, although Mette-Marit has committed even greater perpendicular pillbox crimes.

  4. A reminder that handmade headpieces, such as the most of the ones we see on royal heads, are legitimate pieces of millinery. They require the same skills to create as brimmed hats do.

    Several comments implying otherwise have been deleted today.

    Fashion critique is subjective and varied opinions are welcome here in our lively discussion. However, the arbitrary classification of some styles of millinery as “proper hats” and others as not is completely unfair. Comments that do this will be deleted.

    One more note of clarification- A hatband is the ribbon (or other material) wrapped around the base of a hat’s crown, where it meets the brim. Hatbands are used to conceal the seam joining the crown and brim. As such they are not a style of hat.

  5. A hatband is the ribbon (or other material) wrapped around the base of a hat’s crown, where it meets the brim. Hatbands are used to conceal the seam joining the crown and brim. As such they are not a style of hat.

    I think you may be referring to Kate’s bandeau headpieces?

  6. Kate has a twin black pillbox from as early as 2016, placed in the same spot. (Lock & Co.) Her brown pillbox is set more forward, keeping her head warmer also.
    Embed from Getty Images

    Embed from Getty Images

  7. You know I love a good vibrant color, and all three of these were winners in my book!

    After nearly 3 1/2 years, it is nice to see this hat out again on Camilla, especially when paired with the new outfit (she does these striped coats well). But I join in with others that it would be nice to see her debut some new winter hats in other vibrant colors (since she got a new purple one in recent years); I think burgundy would be quite stunning.

    Simply gorgeous hue for Kate, and the pillbox is so smooth! I do wonder how it stays on so well perched that far back. Seeing this ensemble did make me pine for the return of two other blue hats for Kate: this one ( and this one (

    Classic Alexandra. I don’t think we’ve gotten a ton of plain navy blue out of her, but it’s the details in her whole ensemble that keep it interesting (love that brooch and her heels). Nice to see her out again.

  8. Lovely to see hats again!
    Princess Alexandra is my favorite of the day! She is so elegant and classy always. My second is Camilla. I love the color, and even though we’ve seen it before, it is a beautiful hat. Third is the DoC. I love the color, but the coat is too long and the hat is too far back. All in all, it’s giving me a matronly vibe that isn’t working.

  9. Couldn’t balance one more thing on that purple hat. The bands of texture just like junk pasted on there to fill up space. I’m just not a fan

    Kate’s hat is ok. The color is great but it is worn too far back. Does anyone think the forced bow on the back makes her look old?

    Sorry to be so negative but these are not great. The navy outing looks great and is a good investment. The slight brim shaping takes it up a notch

  10. Not much to add to this conversation today – I agree with just about all the comments!
    1. Alexandra comes in first, with a beautiful new ensemble. RTM immediately came to mind when seeing her hat; HM could easily be seen wearing it.
    2. Kate’s new outfit is also a knock-out, with 2 exceptions, both of which are subjective and my own personal taste.
    a) I’ve never been a fan of gravity defying pillbox hats, but the Royal blue color and materials’ textures make up for it.
    b) I also think the coat is too long. And how on earth can anyone – Royal or non, wear those high heeled shoes? Her calves must be killing her after a long day of walking and standing. In the mid 70s, I had several pairs of platform shoes – nothing as high as Kate’s, and I hurt after a long day.
    c) Camilla’s fringed hat has a western vibe to it, and 12 outings are enough. She actually did wear a new, deeper purple hat 3 years ago for this same event, which was a nice alternate. (BTW, is there a new way to embed Getty photos? I’m not finding success including them in these comments.) I love the saturated colors against her light colored hair, more so than all her ecru/cream/white/eggshell summer beauties.

    • Regarding the DoCo’s hat, in reviewing all the previous outings included in the original post, she’s worn it for this event on 3 previous occasions (2010, 2012 and 2017) and, for the appearance in March 2013, HQ asked “…how many times should a royal wear a hat before it’s retired?”!

      Personally, I find the design very interesting in terms of shape and texture and it may be that it’s easier for her to introduce new outfits to match it rather than the other way round. The boots this year give the look a slightly more casual vibe compared with the dark stockings & shoes used for some of the other “purple-themed” occasions where she’s worn the hat, which make the overall impact lighter and more elegant.

  11. It is indeed lovely to see Royal hats albeit without Queen Elizabeth whose absence, I felt, was palpable.

    For me, Princess Alexandra carried the day. A beautiful hat in colour, style and size. Gorgeous!

    I agree the Duchess of Cornwall might need a refresh of her winter hat wardrobe. A new purple hat would be wonderful.

    At the risk of being controversial, I felt the Duchess of Cambridge’s blue velvet pillbox was just not quite right in size and position. The colour was beautiful.

    It’s fun to read all the different opinions as well as seeing Royal hats again.

  12. Well it’s lovely to see hats (minus of course HM, who is much missed), and it’s lovey that they feel so coordinated. My favourite is absolutely Alexandra, she looks characteristically very elegant, and that shade of blue is gorgeous on her.

    Kate’s look leaves me a bit cold I’m afraid. The coat is so long, I find it makes her look incredibly tall, and it’s just the kind of thing we’ve seen such a lot from her. The colour is gorgeous though. The hat is very flattering, and I have to say her hair and make up are stunning, she looks very beautiful. I’m also glad this is a hat, I feared we were in headband territory again here.

    Camilla needs a new purple hat! This one is lovely, but like the teal one we looked at recently in ‘This or That’, this has provided sterling service and should be gently retired. She has sooooo many cream hats for summer, but in winter she really does hang onto her old favourites, I think this has even been worn twice for this event.

  13. It has been a hat-starved few weeks, so this was a three-course meal! I agree with Beth on the rankings. (I did have to go back and check out Princess Alexandra’s shoes, Beth. The heels are unique!). I gasped when I saw the beautiful blue on Kate and the pillbox. (I feared it was a headband, too. It looked so similar to the the burgundy headband she has worn before.). I am glad Camilla has a new coat, but I think she has gotten her money’s worth out of that hat and it is time to invest in a new purple stunner. The fringe-like trim cheapen this hat in my mind. But, I love her pansy brooches. And, speaking of jewelry it was reported that Kate wore the same jewelry when she met the president of Ukraine and his wife. That is such a nice non-verbal way of standing with Ukraine!

  14. Really beautiful hats worn today. Such a treat for us!
    I love the purple color on the Duchess of Cornwall. She looks so regal! I never realized the hat was a boater as the slight angle she wears it and all the “extras” made me think it was a large picture hat. Regardless, it’s stunning. I also love her unique pansy brooches.

    Front the front, I thought the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing another hatband, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was a pillbox. It’s so lovely, especially with the velvet which gives it such richness. The color is spectacular on her. It reminds me of that glorious blue outfit she wore on her second visit to Canada, touching down in BC. Blue really is her color.

    Finally, how lovely to see Princess Alexandra in a beautiful outfit and gorgeous hat. She looks incredible and is my favorite. She knows what works on her and she looks fabulous.

  15. Finally, some hats!

    My vote:

    1. Duchess of Cambridge. The hat, with a slight a slight elevation in the front, paired perfectly with the fabulous coat. Possibly her best look.

    2. Princess Alexandra. Perfect hat, similar to styles she wears so well. The suit! Yes! Nd I have a feeling she had fun wearing those shoes.

    3. Camilla. The color is so wonderful, but there is a lot going on with the hat. Way too much, I think. The coat and hat worked, maybe, until I saw the boots. Would have preferred dark stockings with a pump.

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