Cheltenham Festival 2019: Day 3

It was another overcast day at Cheltenham Racecourse today on a day that saw just one royal hat at the races. Zara Tindall topped her dove grey tweed coat with a streamlined navy and grey design. In navy felt, the formed beret percher base is trimmed with three soaring arrow trimmed grey feathers.

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The colour contrast between the hat base and trim intensifies the impact of the feathers and gives a sharp crispness to the hat. For a moment, I wished the coat was more exciting until I noticed the collar is piped in navy (another sharp detail that sets off the ensemble but unfortunately, doesn’t show up well in many photos) but in the end, concluded the coat’s uncluttered lines work well with the hat. This is a more neutral and restrained look than we usually see on Zara but she carries it well.

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Cheltenham Festival 2019: Day 2

Ladies’ Day at Cheltenham Racecourse today saw clearer skies and another trio of royal hats. The Duchess of Cornwall joined Princess Anne and Zara Tindall at the races today, repeating her ruched tan tweed hat with faux fur brim.

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There’s not much to add about this oft-seen hat (one, I must admit, is so well suited to a winter day in the country at the races) but I do think its styling today, with Camilla’s dotted silk dress and cream textured coat, is a great look for her.

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Designer: Lock & Co
Previously Worn: Nov 23, 2018;  Mar 14, 2018;  Nov 24, 2017;  Nov 26, 2016Mar 29, 2015Feb 13, 2015; Dec 3, 2014; Nov 30, 2014Mar 12, 2014

Princess Anne repeated the burgundy hat we saw her debut in January at Sandringham, giving us a closer look at its detail. Made of burgundy velvet, the hat follows the informal shape of a bucket hat with seamed crown and short brim. This version is trimmed with a double hatband piped in navy piping and burgundy and navy fabric rosettes at the side.

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The colours on the hat pair well with Anne’s coat (I never noticed the burgundy piped navy collar before) and the burgundy shade is lovely on Anne. Is it a fashion forward item? Of course not! I suppose these fabric hats serve good purpose for informal events such as these, although I can’t help wishing she’d gone for another fedora instead, a shape that looks so chic on her.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Jan 27, 2019 

Zara Tindall topped her mulberry tweed coat with a coordinating percher hat in plum felt. The waved teardrop base is trimmed with a single quill and a spray of feathers in multiple shades of purple which ties beautifully with the different shades in the woven coat. Paired with a black and mulberry printed dress (you can just see the collar peeking out), this makes a fantastic look for Zara.

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Designer: Juliette Botterill, likely from AW 2019 (not yet released). Pip Howeson coat.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

In a late addition to this post, Mike Tindall was also spotted at the races, in a very dapper tweed flat cap (and a tie matched to his wife’s ensemble!). Mike wears hats more than most other royal men (not counting uniform caps) and today is an example of how a simple hat can add polish and panache to a man’s ensemble. So handsome.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new

What do you think of the hats today at the Cheltenham Races?

Photos from Getty as indicated

Cheltenham Festival 2019: Day 1

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Damp skies did not seem to dampen spirits at opening day of the Cheltenham Festival today. Princess Anne attended in her repeated brown faux fur ruched hat with rolled brim, no doubt a warm choice on a blustery, rainy day.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Mar 13, 2015, Apr 5, 2010; Sep 5, 2009; Mar 14, 2009; Feb 8, 2009; Mar 24, 2008; Feb 3, 2008;

Zara Tindall wore a yale blue felt formed teardrop percher, trimmed with a stitched bow and arrow trimmed feathers. Blue is such a fantastic colour for her and this deeper shade is no exception. I’m less keen on the pairing of this hat with Zara’s navy coat- from close view, the hat does pick up similar threads in the coat’s weave but from far away, the look is less cohesive.

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Designer: Juliette Botterill
Previously Worn:This hat is new

Mike Tindall repeated the navy coogan cap we saw him wear to this event last year. We see so few men in hats, it’s great to see one like this that not only combats dismal weather, but makes its wearer look rather dapper in the process.

What do you think of the hats today at the Cheltenham Races?

Photos from Getty as indicated

British Royals In New Hats For Commonwealth Day

Members of the British Royal Family celebrated their wider Commonwealth family today, attending the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey today as they have in years past. The Queen led her family in her repeated her royal purple felt hat with square crown, upfolded kettle brim and dark purple velvet hatband with updated dark purple silk flower trim.

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It’s good to see the updated trim in closer detail here- the purple silk flowers create a more refined overall look that ties beautifully with the coat’s velvet trim and the starkness the former white irises gave to the look has disappeared.

UPDATE: Looking at this hat side by side with its original version, it seemed that more was changed than just the trim but confirmation from the hatmaker herself that the crown height is unchanged leaves me cursing at camera angles and the optical illusions they seem to have created here.

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Designer: Angela Kelly. Made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn: Jan 13, 2019; Oct 23, 2018Mar 6, 2018Dec 7, 2017Nov 24, 2016

The Duchess of Cornwall was also in royal purple with a new, brimless hat. The helmet shape, with gently rounded edges, is trimmed with purple goose biot feathers.

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We see Camilla in so many wide brimmed hats and it’s great to see her play with a brimless shape, particularly one as unusual as this. Is it my favourite design on her? No- I’m not a fan of its clunky mushroom shape but the colour is divine and the spiky feathers play down the helmet vibe well. Combined with Camilla’s stunning velvet coat, the overall look is rather regal- perhaps a case of ‘coat saves hat’ here?

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Bruce Oldfield dress and coat.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Cambridge topped her red coat with a new felt raised saucer hat, simply trimmed with a stitched bow on the side. While it seems like a fine hat, the more I look at it, the less I like it. The bow, while beautifully stitched, errs a little toward twee territory and the design forces placement smack on the middle of the head, which doesn’t always pair well with Kate’s oval face. Maybe I just prefer the pillbox originally worn with this coat?

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Designer: I suspect custom Lock & Co. Coat by Catherine Walker. 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Sussex topped her cream and green floral dress and cream coat with a cream pillbox/Fez. It’s the first hat of this shape we’ve seen on Meghan and while the colour contrasted beautifully against her hair, I’m less certain about the sharply angular lines of the hat, particularly with this ensemble. Something here, between the crisp hat, the textured coat and the flowing dress, feels out of balance. Too much cream, perhaps? Maybe a spray of green silk flowers and feathers on one side of this hat would do the trick?

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Designer: Other blogs are reporting it as a Jane Taylor felt design but a close look at the hat shows it is covered in fabric with a very fine textured stripe so I think it’s a bespoke design. Coat and dress by Victoria Beckham.
Previously Worn: This hat is new
These types of royal events, which trot out a parade of hats, are always enjoyable to see (and what a great kickoff to the Cheltenham races this week!)
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Photos from Getty as indicated

This Week’s Extras

Reader Jimbo reminded in one of the comments this week that Queen Elizabeth repeated her purple hourglass shaped hat with pin tuck trim by Angela Kelly/Stella McLaren last Sunday to attend church at Windsor
On Wednesday, Princess Hisako attended the Tokyo send off ceremony for Team Japan to the Special Olympics Summer World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. She wore a black short brimmed hat with wide blue hatband.
Members of the Norwegian royal family were joined by Queen Margrethe  for a World Cup skiing race today at Holmenkollen. Predictably, cozy winter hats were the order of the day.
Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko attended a memorial service yesterday for the victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid, the princess in one of her signature bowler hats with wide hatband.
Thanks to a reader who shared fantastic views of two royal hats on display at the Fashion Museum in Bath- the Countess of Wessex’s Jane Taylor hat is familiar but click over to see Queen Mary’s feather trimmed toque hat. It’s as close as we’re ever going to get to one of her signature toques.
The following new millinery designs caught my eye this week:
Purple velvet perchers with pleated crin ruffle trim by British milliner Jane Taylor
Stunning pillbox trimmed in black & white guinnea fowl feathers by Nicola de Selincourt
Pale grey straw boater with exquisite beaded snowflakes by Dutch milliner Myra van de Korput
Amazing colour blocking on this emerald, eggplant & claret felt fedora by British milliner Jess Collett
From British brand Hostie Hats, this royal blue straw domed disk with fantastic feather trim
Exquisite lace trimmed white crin disc with purple roses by British brand Guibert Millinery
Sunny yellow straw calot with feather and white hydrangeas by Irish milliner Laura Hanlon
Whimsical “Dandelion” headpiece made of white feathers by New Zealand milliner Anel Heyman
Lovely shape on this bright turquoise brimless beaded design by Dutch milliner Wies Mauduit
Smooth, clean and wonderfully graphic black straw hat by Irish brand Martha Lynn Millinery
A giant white organza ruffled picture hat by British milliner Edwina Ibbotson that I suspect we’ll see at Ascot!

And for those of you still trudging through winter, this fabulous black felt fedora trimmed with red lace appliqué, sequins and pearls made by British brand Laylaleigh Millinery.

Princess Madeleine shared this sweet snap of Princess Adrienne, who celebrated her first birthday this week
Queen Inkhosikati LaDube, 12th wife of the King of Eswantini (Swaziland) and mother of three of his children, died on Friday at age 31 in South Africa following treatment for skin cancer. She is likely best remembered here for the bright mint green ensemble and percher hat she wore to the Diamond Jubilee Muster in Home Park, May 19, 2012.
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Photos from social media and Getty as indicated

Queen Visits Science Museum

Queen Elizabeth visited The Science Museum in London today where she published her first post on the British Monarchy’s Instagram page- a letter from computer pioneer Charles Babbage to Prince Albert detailing his “Analytical Engine”.

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Today, as I visit the Science Museum I was interested to discover a letter from the Royal Archives, written in 1843 to my great-great-grandfather Prince Albert.  Charles Babbage, credited as the world’s first computer pioneer, designed the “Difference Engine”, of which Prince Albert had the opportunity to see a prototype in July 1843.  In the letter, Babbage told Queen Victoria and Prince Albert about his invention the “Analytical Engine” upon which the first computer programmes were created by Ada Lovelace, a daughter of Lord Byron.  Today, I had the pleasure of learning about children’s computer coding initiatives and it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post, at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors. Elizabeth R. PHOTOS: Supplied by the Royal Archives © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

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For this visit, the Queen repeated her orange hat with sideswept brim and flared crown, trimmed with orange magnolia blossoms, twigs and brown straw leaves.
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Today’s outing made me notice a few things about this hat- while I previously thought it to be made of felt, it’s now clear the crown and bottom side of the brim are covered in the same wool as the matching coat (notice the straw on the upper side of the brim?). Interestingly, the brim is not round but an oval shape of the brim (see second and third photos in the gallery below) highlighted by the placement of the crown off center- a quirky touch that gives a modern feel to the design. I’m not fond of the seam running straight down the back of the crown (I think a bias seam looks more polished – maybe our trained milliners can provide some more insight on this) although I appreciate how it’s precisely matched with a similar seam on the brim.
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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: Mar 20, 2018, Dec 25, 2017
I’m of two minds when it comes to orange hats on Her Majesty- while not the most flattering colour on her, it’s nice to see her in a bright hue. The colour of this ensemble is lovely, and I love the peek of teal that slows through on her dress, its print tying to the trim on the hat. What do you think about this hat on it’s third outing today?

Dutch Monarchs Visit Germany

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arrived in Germany today for their annual economic mission, this year kicking off the trip in Bremen. Queen Máxima repeated her navy smocked silk crepe and georgette organza calot headpiece embroidered with narrow metal bugle beads.

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I’ll admit- I swoon a bit Máxima trots out an orange ensemble for foreign visits, sartorially flying the flag for the House of Orange. This dress and coat are individually, such strong looks that some restraint on the hat is a good thing to keep the ensemble in check. This time, I can’t help wondering how of Fabienne Delvigne’s signature ‘slice’ sideswept picture hats – maybe in navy straw- would look in place of this calot. Too much? Maybe. As much as the calot shape is not my favourite, it serves good purpose for working royal events/visits such as these.
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