Hats From the Past

Royal Hats to this day, 200 years ago, when a princess was born at Kensington Palace who would, ultimate, change the course of the British Monarchy. Remembered more for the immense industrial, scientific, cultural and political change that came during the era of her reign than for her fashion, we celebrate the bicentennial of Queen Victoria’s birth today with a look at a handful of her hats.

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Photos from Getty as indicated

Queen Celebrates 100 Years of British Airways

Queen Elizabeth was all smiles this morning, arriving at British Airways headquarters at Heathrow Airport to celebrate the airline’s centenary.

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For this celebratory occasion, she repeated her blue hat with straw sidesweeping brim and crown covered in the same wool silk as her coat (which also binds the brim edge in a wide stripe). The hat is trimmed with a delicate posy of blue and white silk flowers, blue seed pearls and slim white feathers, along with several looped blue blue wool silk bows.

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It remains a good hat for the Queen in terms of colour, scale and material (the straw brim adds lovely lightness around her face) and the hat’s quibbles about proportion (the lower side of the brim is a bit long and, from front view, throws the hat slightly off balance) are minor. The colour of this ensemble has a chameleon quality to it- at its last outing, outdoors in bright sunshine, it was a vibrant teal but today’s photos show a gentler, duck egg blue. Bonus points to a hat that changes colour for different appearances.

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Designer: Angela Kelly. Made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn: June 9, 2018July 6, 2016November 28, 2015

What do you think of Her Majesty’s blue hat today?

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

Dutch Visit to Germany: Day 3

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima continued their visit to Germany in Potsdam yesterday with a program of engagements which included a visit with Prime Minister Dietmar Woudke and stops at the Großer Refraktor telescope, film and media city at Babelsberg, and Schloss Sanssouci, neo-classical summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (and the German rival of Versaille!). For these events, Queen Máxima repeated her large picture hat in pale, dusky pink straw with dramatic, upswept ‘slice’ brim, simply trimmed with a wide Petersham ribbon hatband in the same colour, tied in a bow at the side.

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This is such a familiar and successful millinery look for Máxima, it’s hard to believe this is just this hat’s fourth public outing. And herein lies my only, small quibble with this hat- if you scroll through the photo galleries, you’ll see a slight crease in the hat’s brim, just above Máxima’s left ear. A bit of steam would likely smooth this out and restore the brim to the perfectly sweeping curve we know and appreciate it to be.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne. Dress by Natan.
Previously Worn: March 28, 2019; May 16, 2018June 20, 2017 

This is a grand hat that the Dutch queen wears spectacularly well- what do you think of its outing in Germany yesterday?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Queen Celebrates Grocery Milestone

Queen Elizabeth was in Covent Garden this morning to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the grocery chain Sainsbury’s . For this event, which saw the store create a pop-up replica on the site of one of its original stores, the Queen repeated her muted jade straw hat with straight-sided, domed top crown and short cartwheel brim, trimmed with silk flowers and a multi-looped straw bow.

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The colour is beautiful on this design and the textural contrast between the coat and hat makes the two pieces work well together without being matchy or one-note. I’ve always found the crown of this hat block to be a bit clunky but thankfully, the trim flowers and twists are scaled well to match it. The third picture in the first gallery below gives an interesting back view of the hat – not only is the brim trimmed around the back (a common technique on the Queen’s hats, I suspect, to keep the brim off the collar of her coat), the crown top and sides are individually constructed, then sewn together. I suppose that’s the best way to tackle the flared shape of the crown- maybe one of our millinery-trained readers can give some commentary on this?

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: May 15, 2018; June 23, 2017

All in all, it’s a lovely hat to wear to do one’s shopping, isn’t it?!

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Photos from Getty as indicated 

Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako enjoyed a joint engagement today at the Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual meeting in Tokyo. For Masako’s first solo official duty as empress, she repeated a cream bowler variation hat with domed, straight-sided crown and upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a wide navy hatband folded into a flat bow at the back. It’s a prim hat that pairs well with her navy and cream suit.



Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This is tricky by my guess is it’s the same as the one worn May 26, 2018

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in the same finely striped ice blue silk as a matching suit. Bias placement on the brim give a diagonal contrast to the stripes, breaking up the one-note ensemble. Views from this hat’s last outing show it also has a small posy of silk flowers tucked behind the brim on one side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 26, 2016

Princess Hanako repeated her ecru square crowned hat with double sidesweeping brim, simply trimmed with a wide silk hatband in the same colour. The brim shape and tall, angular crown are elements we don’t often see on Imperial royal hats and Hanako caries it very well.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: May 13, 2015; July 10, 2014 

Princess Nobuko paired a white hat with flat crown and rolled brim with her blue silk, the two pieces drawn together with a blue silk hatband and side bow.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Hisako repeated a pale grey hat with flat crown and gently curved saddle brim. The hat appears to have undergone tweaking since its first appearance last fall- gone is the flat hatband in the same fabric as the matching jacquard suit and in its place are stacked applique cutouts from the floral fabric (maybe with some lace as well?). The resulting 3D hatband gives fantastic interest and dimension to the small scaled hat and leaves me wondering why such embellishment isn’t seen on hats, more.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: October 1, 2018

I can’t imagine that the all cream and blue/grey palate worn by the Empress and Imperial princesses is a coincidence and one wonders the behind-the-scenes logistics that accompanies such planning (I suppose the Empress can’t wake up and say, “No, I think I’ll wear the pink instead….”!). Thoughts about this quintet of Imperial royal hats?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; social media as indicated 

Dutch Visit To Germany: Day 2

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima continued their visit to Germany yesday with stops at Foreign Operations Command near Berlin, a shipyard in Rostock, and a cultural market center in Bollewick. For these events, the Dutch queen repeated her textured natural straw pyramid shaped hat which is simply trimmed with a slim silk bow on the side of the hat in the same golden wheat shade as the straw.

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In searching for something good to say, I might remark that  it’s great to see Máxima depart from her usual go-to calots and sidesweeping ‘slice’ brimmed hats or that the warm brown colour contrasts well with her dark jacket. However- there’s no escaping the visible reality that there are issues (again) with the construction of this hat. While I strive to be fair in critiques here, we can all see how the inside of this hat is messily finished. From a milliner who loudly touts herself as doing couture work, I find this absolutely unacceptable.

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Designer: Fabienne Delvigne
Previously Worn: Mar 27, 2017; March 9, 2011

Our weekly “Extras” posts show countless pieces of millinery that are beautifully designed and impeccably finished from milliners who never see any of their work worn on a royal head. When I think about those hats and place them beside this one… well, I have no words. The Dutch queen, quite simply, should be wearing millinery of a higher standard.

Photos from Getty as indicated 

British Royals Attend Garden Party

This afternoon under sunny, blue skies, Queen Elizabeth hosted the second Buckingham Palace garden party of this spring/summer season.

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For this event, she repeated her pale blue straw hat with tall, slightly flared and sloped crown and flat brim. The hat is beautifully trimmed with a layered silk hatband and handmade silk peonies and rose buds in ombre shades of pink. It’s a lovely hat and the floral motif, both on the hat and on the print of the silk dress, feels right at home at such an event as this.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan. Coat and dress by Stewart Parvin
Previously Worn: June 20, 2018

The Duke of Cambridge carried his black silk top hat while the Duchess wore a new saucer percher in pale pink straw. The hat is trimmed with a pale pink rose, feather and silk abacca ruffles both on top and below the raised edge of the hat.

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Juliette Botterill’s work is beautiful, as evidenced by this design. The scale is great on Kate and the mix of straw, abacca, silk and feathers on the hat makes it work with the monochrome outfit. It’s a very pretty look for Kate.

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Designer: Juliette Botterill. Coat dress by Alexander McQueen
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex repeated the pink straw waved disc hat she debuted last year at Ascot. Bound in a wide stripe of black lattice, the design features a high upsweep at the back, sandwiched in folded ruffles of pink and black lattice crin. I admire the unexpected colour scheme (which looks great on Sophie) and the zip of playfulness the exuberant trim brings to the design. It’s good on many levels and I’m so glad it hasn’t been relegated to the depths of her closet like so many of her other past Ascot hats.

Designer: Jane Taylor. Emilia Wickstead dress 
Previously Worn: June 19, 2018

The Duchess of Gloucester brought back her ecru straw, wide brimmed boater hat with appliqued leaves around the brim (see them in better detail here). It’s a classic, streamlined and elegant design that defies its age and I’m glad to see back in rotation. Brigitte has been reaching into the depths of her millinery closet recently and bringing out some interesting pieces!

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 15, 2011; June 20, 2000 and likely others

Princess Alexandra a picture hat with rounded crown and flat brim in textured natural straw, trimmed with a hatband of silk flowers and a swath of widely woven cream net veil. The quintessential garden hat both coordinates and counterpoints very well with  Alexandra’s patterned Chinoiserie silk jacket and fits right in at a garden party

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 2, 2015; June 20, 2012June 1995

Finally, the Duke of York repeated his black silk top hat while the Duke of Gloucester and Duke of Kent both repeated top hats in dove grey felt (scroll through galleries above and below). While not photographed wearing a hat, it looks like the Earl of Wessex carried his black silk top hat in hand.

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Today, The Queen hosted a Garden Party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Each year The Queen hosts parties to welcome around 30,000 guests in recognition of their service to the community. Garden Parties are a way for The Queen to meet people from around the UK and this is the first party Her Majesty is hosting this year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke of York and The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra also attended the party and spoke to guests enjoying the gardens. Throughout the country, an established network of sponsors is used to invite guests, who include Lord-Lieutenants, Societies and Associations, Government Departments, Local Government, the Services, the Church and other Faiths.

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These garden parties are always great fun- what hats stood out to you most today?

Photos from Getty as indicated