Ascot Hats: Princess Diana

During this year’s summer lull, we’re going to look at a number of royal hat topics and events we can’t get to during busier times in the royal calendar. This will include a few looks back at Ascot hats, starting today with all those worn by the late Princess Diana. Over the 11 years of her royal life, Princess Diana wore made 23 Ascot appearances in 22 different hats.

1981: Four John Boyd designs including a white veiled hat (the under the chin veil is unique, isn’t it!) and prim tomato red hat with velvet hatband and large white flower at the back, both with short brims. A wider brimmed cream straw small-scale bergere with peach carnations and lilac straw hat with ostrich plume wrap round out the hats Lady Diana wore in 1981, a month before her wedding.

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1982: Pale pink silk-covered hat with cuffed brim trimmed with a side ruffle by John Boyd in 1982, just before Prince William’s birth

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1984: On a Canadian tour during Ascot 1983, she returned in 1984 while expecting Prince Harry in a hat with rounded crown covered in the same dotted peach silk as her dress, with a wide cream transparent crin brim.

1985: A bolder black and white hat with asymetrical brim and a repeat of the peach silk and cream crin hat from 1984 with a view of it’s fantastic brim.

1986: A streamlined cream straw wide-brimmed boater with pleated hatband; a graphic white hourglass shaped hat with black domed crown and bowed hatband; and another of the trendy polka-dot ensembles she wore that year, this one in high contrast jade and black with a dotted silk covered crown and wide, black straw cartwheel brim.

1987: Even bigger brims! A cream picture hat with pale bow and floral trim on June 16; a vibrant blue design with ruched hatband and large bow on June 17; and a white picture hat with kettle brim and navy hatband by Philip Somerville on June 18 (while unconfirmed, I suspect the first two were Somerville designs as well).


1988: A striking straw hat with striped black and white brim on June 14;  more polka dots, this time in black and white on a wide brimmed design with slim black hatband on June 15;  and a white Philip Somerville hat with rounded crown and wide, gently upturned brim on June 16

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1989: Dramatic electric blue ruched turban with oblique white brim and feather trim on June 20; a wide brimmed pink picture hat with pork pie crown and upturned brim at the back on June 22

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1990: Two Philip Somerville designs- the purple “pagoda” hat with red hatband on on June 19 and a pale pink straw Breton with tall, upturned brim edged in a wide purple stripe on June 20

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1991: Wide brimmed black straw hat with upturned kettle brim and wide silk hatband on June 18; A textured hat in natural straw with square crown and kettle brim lavishly tucked with silk flowers in shades of pink and cream on June 19

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1992: A navy straw lampshade hat with wide mint stripe around the brim, hatband and twee bow on June 16; a high-contrast fuchsia straw picture hat with graphic black hatband and stripes around the upturned brim on her June 17

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I’m struck by a few things here- first, is the slow increase of brim sizes during the mid 1980s until 1987, when they really couldn’t have been any bigger! The small hats she wore during the first years of her marriage were quickly replaced by larger designs- not surprising, I suspect as she honed her style through her early 20s. From 1985 forward, there’s a breadth of shapes, styles and colours here, many of which require a fair bit of confidence to carry off. It’s a bolder group of hats than I expected.

What do you think of Princess Diana’s hats worn to Royal Ascot?

Favourite New Royal Hat: Royal Ascot

Of the 24 new royal hats we saw at Ascot this year, 13 were met with particular admiration, based on your comments. It’s now time to take another look at these baker’s dozen of millinery beauties and choose two favourites to put forward in our year-long quest to name Favourite New Royal Hat of 2019.

Click on any photo or caption to jump over to a feature post with additional views and discussion on each hat:

1.    2.   

Queen Elizabeth blue hat with peaked brim and velvet flowers by Angela Kelly worn on Day 1
Queen Máxima’s tawny pink straw saucer covered in feather flowers by Berry Rutjes worn on Day 1

3.    4.

Duchess of Cambridge’s wide blue straw saucer with underbrim flowers by Philip Treacy worn on Day 1
Princess Beatrice’s blue straw matador boater with tassels by Bundle MacLaren worn on Day 1

   5.    6.

Zara Tindall’s pale blue saucer with flowers and twists by Juliette Botterill worn on Day 1
Duchess of Cornwall’s pale aqua straw Philip Treacy picture hat with peaked crown worn on Day 2

7.    8.    

Queen Elizabeth’s silver straw hat with pleated crin brim overlay and gold flowers by Angela Kelly worn on Day 3
Princess Eugnie’s teal saucer covered in feathers with gold quill by Bundle MacLaren worn on Day 3

9.   10.   11. 

Princess Anne’s muted teal straw hat with sidesweeping brim, looping bow and deep teal hatband worn on Day 3
Autumn Phillips’ cream satin & straw percher with pink dyed silk ruffle by Bee Smith worn on Day 3
Zara Tindall’s deep teal saucer with ruffled back, flower and quill trim by Juliette Botterill worn on Day 3

12,   13.

Princess Michael of Kent’s ivory picture hat with black brim piping and bow worn on Day 3
Autumn Phillips’ lattice straw saucer trimmed with flowers and feathers by Sally Ann Provan worn on Day 5

This poll will remain open until next Sunday, July 7 at midnight GMT.   As usual for these polls, each computer or mobile device can vote twice per day for as many hats as you wish. Enjoy!

Favourite Repeated Royal Hat: Royal Ascot

To completely wrap up this year’s look at Royal Ascot, we’ve got one more thing to do- choose our favourite hats! While the races always bring us a parade of new royal hats, there are also a number of lovely repeated royal hats not to be overlooked. This year, we saw five repeated designs at Royal Ascot- which one was your favourite?

Click on any photo or caption to jump over to a feature post on that hat:

1.2019-06-18 Day 1 Ascot 9 250    2. 

Princess Anne’s almond straw cloche with upturned brim and feathers worn on Day 1
Princess Alexandra’s pink straw picture hat with bow and feathers by Rachel Trevor Morgan worn on Day 1

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Princess Michael of Kent’s silvery white silk pillbox with ostrich plume by John Boyd worn on Day 1
Princess Anne’s navy straw hat with velvet hatband and gold horse pin worn on Day 2

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Queen Elizabeth’s cream starw hat with lime tweed wrap and silk orchid trim by Angela Kelly worn on Day 5

This poll will remain open until next Sunday, July 7 at midnight GMT.   As usual for these polls, each computer or mobile device can vote twice per day for as many hats as you wish. Enjoy!

Royal Ascot Day 5: Wrap Up

Additional Royals enjoying the races today included Zenouska Mowatt in a wheat coloured open weave straw waved disc (on a straw base) with black silk ribbon and gold feathers by Jane Taylor, paired beautifully with a Carolina Herrera dress

and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, again without Princess Haya.

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While no photos have been released of the second, third and fourth carriages in this morning’s parade, a view of the Queen’s carriage shows a trio of gleaming antique silk top hats on the Duke of York, the Queen’s racing manager John Warren and William Vestey, son of the former Master of the Horse.

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Before we close with the non-royal hats that caught our eyes today, I want to take this opportunity to chat a little with our guest milliner, Rafa Peinador about his Ascot experience yesterday:

Royal Hats: Rafa-one of your beautiful hats was worn at the races yesterday by Rosie Tapner. Can you tell us how this came about?

Rafa Peinador: I am currently finishing my Higher National Certificate in Millinery at KCC (Kensington and Chelsea College). For the second year running Longines has organised a millinery competition for the students. They selected a well known personality and the students had the opportunity to design and create a bespoke hat for this person to wear at Ascot. This year’s personality was model and presenter Rosie Tapner. She came to college to talk to us about herself and her preferences so that we could create something that was really personal to her. Once we had the designs and mood board she came back to give us her feed back. The next step was to make the hats and present them at the private view party for our final collection. During this event she chose the winner which happened to be me! As a winner I was invited to Longines private box in the Royal enclosure on Friday. Throughout the whole process I was lucky to have the support and precious advice of Rachel Trevor Morgan and of course all the teachers at KCC

Royal Hats: Tell us more about this special  hat. What inspired its design?

Rafa Peinador: When Rosie came to college she mentioned that she wanted something special and close to her heart. Her love for horses had to be taken into account. So the first layers of petals in the flower I created were shaped using the outline of the white mark on her  horse’s forehead. The rest of the flower is a deconstructed watch. The ribbons going up represent the straps, the base circle represents the cage, the stems represent the minutes and the hour hands. The twelve outside petals represent the dials. The pattern has been modified in order to have a total of 60 elements to represent the 60 seconds in one minute.

Royal Hats: Wow- what incredible thoughtfulness is behind the design. I think the black flowers are exquisite. What are they made of?

Rafa Peinador: I used PETG plastic, hand shaped with heat and spray painted later

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Royal Hats: Yesterday was your first time attending Royal Ascot, I believe? What are your impressions of the day?

Rafa Peinador: Yes it was my first experience and what an experience it was! First time and in the Royal Enclosure was an amazing treat. I was surrounded by top milliners that I admire and respect very much like Rachel Trevor Morgan and Edwina Ibbotson. The atmosphere was incredible and for someone who loves hats there is no better event in the world. However I was constantly checking the finish, taste and position of the hats. Once you become a Milliner you will never look at the hats in the same way!

Royal Hats: Congratulations, Rafa, and thank you so much for sharing this experience with Royal Hats!

We end this year’s Royal Ascot coverage with a handful of final non-royal hats that caught my eye on this, the last day of this year’s races:

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Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey in an ecru straw calot with flying bow by Rachel Black Millinery
Equestrienne Lauren Hough in a grey straw beret percher with yellow flowers by Rosie Olivia

Presenter Charlotte Hawkins in a black straw percher with curling bows by Edwina Ibbotsen
Presenter Rosie Tapner in a blush Rachel Trevor Morgan disc with handmade flowers

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Kate Tikhomirova  in a fuchsia Awon Golding straw button percher with yellow pouf
Valerie Stark in a fantastical white and yellow maribou pouf hat, also by Awon Golding
Kara Goodley in a Prudence for Lock & Co Pink brocade bow hat with pale green veil
Racing Journalist Liz Price in a pale pink bandeau headpiece

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Great looks from several unidentified race goers (milliners unknown as well)

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Presenter Francesca Cumani in a black percher with crin and purple flowers by Guilia Mio
Unnamed racegoer in a black mini percher pillbox with soaring rings

Nicky Malone in a stunning deep magenta Juliette Botterill floral headpiece
Cream straw hat by Bundle MacLaren with beautiful ombre blush, pink and purple feathers

Milliner Merve Bayindir in a curving pink straw hat with floral trim
Cavan Mahony in a
Jane Taylor hat with pink ombre dyed pleated crin
Olivia Daisy Hills’ lace trimmed red saucer hat by Jenny Roberts
8th Sign co-owner Melissa Barton in a pink flower trimmed hat from Millinery By Mel
Mary Davin’s black curving headpiece by American milliner Aurturo Rios

My immense thanks to Rafa Pienador for joining me today, not only to share his thoughts about on this day’s royal hats, but to share in his Ascot millinery adventure. Muchas gracias por acompañarnos, Rafa!

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Royal Ascot Day 5: The Phillipses

Royal Hats

I’m delighted to be joined today by Spanish milliner Rafa Peinador, creator of his namesake London-based millinery brand, to chat about all of the royal hats (and some others!) we see today on the final day Royal Ascot.

Autumn Philips chose blue for her last Ascot outing this year in a jumpsuit and hat described by the milliner as  a “hand-made straw medium sized saucer hat, trimmed with two silk satin roses with feather accents.”

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Royal Hats: My goodness- it’s our favourite royal hat from Ascot last year (which ultimately went on to be named our top new hat of 2018) but in blue!

Rafa Peinador: Autumn Phillips was wearing a nice saucer hat with silk satin flowers and feathers placed between petals. The hat perfectly matched the colour of the outfit. I would say that the chess effect on the sinamay is absolutely gorgeous and very tasteful. The incorporation of the feathers in the roses made it look different from a lot of similar hats seen in last few days. I would have incorporated a cream or ivory element to accentuate the chess pattern.

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Royal Hats: Great idea, Rafa- some cream flowers would be a great compliment and lend quiet contrast to the all blue look. Although, I like this all-blue look- the textured hat is the perfect pairing with Autumn’s solid colour jumpsuit and works far better than a solid hued hat would. The scale and shape are great on her and the colour, well, it’s terrific. The patterned straw lends a beautiful lightness and airiness to the look. So fresh and summery

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Designer: Sally-Ann Provan. It is a bespoke version of the Greta Saucer Hat. Bespoke Claire Mischevani jumpsuit.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Peter Phillips repeated his black felt top hat.

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What do you think of Autumn’s hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


Royal Ascot Day 5: The Queen

Royal Hats

I’m so pleased to welcome Spanish milliner Rafa Peinador, creator of his namesake London-based millinery brand, to share his thoughts on all of the royal hats we see today on the final day Royal Ascot!  

The cream straw hat follows the split crown design used on several other Kelly/McLaren designs, the same silk wool as the Queen’s coat wrapping half of the hat’s tall crown and edging the short brim. The hat is trimmed simply with a spray of silk orchids and a slim green bow at the side.

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Rafa Peinador: Her Majesty the Queen today went back to softer colours and a more classic shape. It was a very safe option which is in line with the hats she normally wears. I love the way the pale green fabric, with a white  “marble effect” has been incorporated in the edge of the brim. I am not very keen on the use of the fabric in the crown. It would have preferred for the whole crown to be covered with the fabric or a maybe used as a ribbon like trimming around the base of the crown.

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Royal HatsThe hat radiates spring from its colour and light floral trim. So fresh! I think the hat would look crisper and more refined if the brim binding was slimmer- it’s a little clunky. Same for the fabric crown wrap, even though it’s an interesting design feature unique to Kelly/McLaren hats.

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Rafa Peinador: I love the combination of white, green and yellow used for the flowers. The green piping holding the flowers simulating the stems is very clever. However I am not very keen on the yellow buds, they look too artificial. I would have preferred bespoke hand made flowers.

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Royal Hats: I’m coming away from Ascot this year with a new awareness, understanding and appreciation for hand made flowers, thanks to all our guest milliners have shared about them this week. They certainly are a cut above (pun intended!).

Designer: Angela Kelly made by Stella McLaren
Previously Worn: March 28, 2019; April 21, 2016

The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of York in his black antique silk top hat.

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

Photos from Getty as indicated