Monday Multiples: Countess of Wessex

Royal HatsOne of the most often worn hats in the Countess of Wessex’s millinery closet is a navy moulded straw percher with swirling cream and gold feather trim designed by Jane Taylor. For this hat’s seven outings, Sophie has paired it with four different ensembles:

Look 1: with a navy silk guipure lace-trimmed sheath dress and jacket by Bruce Oldfield worn June 5, 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee, September 15, 2012 during a visit to Canada, and for the Duke of Edinburgh awards on November 24, 2016

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Look 2: with a cream and navy pinstripe Emilia Wickstead silk coat dress for the 70th anniversary of VJ Day on August 16, 2015

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Look 3: with a navy wool Stella McCartney double breasted coat worn for a military homecoming November 24, 2016 and the Commonwealth Day service on March 12, 2018

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Look 4: with another navy double breasted wool coat (this one with pewter buttons) worn for a spot of carriage driving at the Royal Windsor Horse show on May 12, 2019

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Which look do you think compliments this hat best?

Photo from Getty as indicated

Countess of Wessex’s Order Of The Garter Hats

With the annual Order of The Garter service cancelled today at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, let’s take this opportunity to look back at all the hats the Countess of Wessex has worn to this event in the past:

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Cream straw angular shaped Philip Treacy hats with feather trim in 2002 and 2006

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Wide blue saucer with bow in 2008 and lime straw percher with roses and burnt feathers in 2009, both by Philip Treacy

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White vertical straw saucer with black feathers in 2010 and repeated lime percher in 2011, both by Philip Treacy

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Tawny pink straw saucer with rose in 2012 and navy & silver waved disc with feathers in 2013, both by Jane Taylor

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Lace percher with palest pink rose & feathers in 2014; Black felt percher with silk abaca bow in 2015, both by Jane Taylor

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Black windowpane straw percher saucer with black feathers by Jane Taylor in 2016 

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Almond straw mushroom brimmed hat with ecru and black curling feathers in 2018; Natural woven straw saucer with coral feathers and tan organdie twists in 2019, both by Jane Taylor

Retrospectives such as this remind me that the Countess’ wonderful collaboration with British milliner Jane Taylor has been happening for less than a decade. While I appreciate the bold hat shapes and styles Sophie sported through the early 2000s for their bravery, I think she’s hit her stride in Jane Taylor’s designs.

What do you notice about Sophie’s hats at this event over the past 21 years?

Photos by Getty as indicated

Favourite Repeated Royal Hat of 2019

In 2019, many lovely hats stepped out on royal heads for the second, third, (or ninth!) times. Throughout the year, you picked favouritea from these repeatedly worn designs and assembled a list of nine stunning semi-finalists for the year. It is now finally time to share your top four choices for Favourite Repeated Royal Hat of 2019:

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Queen Elizabeth’s orange hat with magnolia blooms and brown straw leaves by Angela Kelly (made by Stella McLaren) worn March 7 to the Science Museum in London


Princess Hisako’s cream straw hat with black brim stripe and monochrome flowerworn September 24 for the Japan Sports Masters Tournament in Gifu Prefecture


Princess Alexandra’s pink straw picture hat with bow & feathers by Rachel Trevor Morgan worn to Ascot on June 18

Countess of Wessex’s natural straw cutout saucer with tan organdie twists and coral feathers by Jane Taylor worn for the Order of the Garter on June 17

This hat was also your pick for top repeated royal hat in 2018 (and made the top three in 2017!), making it the first design ever on Royal Hats to win two years running! Congratulations to British milliner Jane Taylor and the Countess of Wessex, whose millinery partnership is clearly a winning one, and to the other three milliners who designed these beautiful runners up. It’s a wonderful (and well deserved) surprise to see an Imperial royal hat in this year’s winner’s circle. 
Jump over to this post to see the poll results in greater detail. What do you think about these winners?
Photos from Gifu; Robin Utrecht via Shutterstock;  Pool/Max Mumby via Getty; and Getty as indicated 

Countess of Wessex’s Commonwealth Day Hats

The Commonwealth Day service, held every year on the second Monday in March, always brings us a lovely lineup of hats, often the first spring designs we see of the season. After last week’s beautiful service, I thought it might be interesting to look back at retrospectives of hats we’ve seen different members wear. Interestingly, the Countess of Wessex has only attended the service four times:

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Sharply sidesweeping grey slice hat with open weave brim and pale pink feather trim by Jane Taylor in 2012;
Ecru lace covered beret percher with multi looped bow also by Jane Taylor in 2014

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Navy  straw percher with swirling cream and gold feather trim in 2018 and navy felt domed pillbox with dotted veil in 2020, both by Jane Taylor

While all four hats could be described as having neutral palates, they each still make a significant style statement! The large grey hat with pink feathers in 2012 is one I’ve hoped we’d see again- even though the feather placement is a little awkward, it’s such a showstopping design and paired so beautifully with Sophie’s oyster silk coat.

What does this progression of four hats, worn over eight years, tell you about the Countess’ evolution of millinery style?

Photos from Getty as indicated

Commonwealth Day Service 2020

Queen Elizabeth was joined by members of her family yesterday morning at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day Service.

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For this event, the Queen repeated her blue felt hat with stepped crown and upswept brim trimmed with a multi-looped felt bow and spray of blue and copper feathers. Yesterday’s photos provide a closer look at the detail on this piece than we’ve seen before- the looped bow is beautifully piped in the same woven grey fabric as is on the upper side of the brim and the width of top stitching on the matching coat’s collar is exactly the same as the width of the brim binding. Such details seem minor but add significantly to the overall look a hat. Now, if only we could peek at this ensemble’s silk dress and see how those copper feathers fit into the overall picture!

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan. Coat by Stewart Parvin.
Previously Worn: Oct 20, 2018; Nov 16, 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her  navy brushed felt hat with off-center peaked crown, wide brim with gently sweeping upturn on one side and dramatic navy ostrich feather wrapped around the crown. The hat has a decidedly painterly quality to it, thanks to the deep hue of the felt and its sumptuous feather trim. It pairs so well with Camilla’s navy silk coat, the coat’s lace trimmed bottom half balancing beautifully with the hat’s equally luxurious texture.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. Coat by Bruce Oldfield
Previously Worn: Dec 11, 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new saucer hat in scarlet peachbloom felt. The hat is trimmed with a circle of piping around the crown and leaves in a darker oxblood felt and a trio of scarlet silk camellia flowers above and on the underside of the raised brim.

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Head to toe looks in a single colour can easily look one-note but the mix of textures and shades of red give enough contrast to make this look work. The hat plays particularly well with the coat’s velvet accents, the oxblood trim fitting surprisingly well with the darker velvet shadows and the hat’s trim hitting just the right balance, neither too stark nor too cluttered, against the traditional lines of the coat. The saturated colour makes this a strong look for Kate, again, that is balanced by the hat’s smaller scale. There’s so much here that just works.

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Designer: Sally Ann Provan. It is the Sada design from AW 2019. Coat by Catherine Walker
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Sussex wore a new hat for this, her final official royal engagement. A felt beret percher in the same emerald green as her dress, the hat’s dramatic statement comes from it’s net veil trim, wrapped in two linear stripes around the round base and tied on the side in an exuberant bow.

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Throughout her royal life, Meghan has worn hats only in neutral shades- ivory, blush, olive, navy, brown and black. This design is the first one in a vibrant colour… I won’t read into the symbolism of this beyond saying how fantastic it is. The use of square dotted net veil as the hat’s only trim is a bold one that gives such wonderful texture and movement to the design. High necked frocks such as this can be tough to style with a hat and this percher hits just the right balance and proportion. While I wish the Sussexes much happiness in the life they are creating for themselves, I can’t help but mourn the fashion moments we’ll miss with them outside the royal realm.

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Designer: William Chambers. It is a bespoke version of the Veiled Teardrop Explosion from SS 2020. Dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex also wore a new pillbox hat in navy felt. With a slightly domed crown, the design is completed with a generous wrap of navy dotted net veil.

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While navy and cream is a classic combination, this ensemble is decidedly more sleek and modern. This pillbox’s veil trim gives it an air of effortlessness that pairs wonderfully with the sleek lines of Sophie’s dress and again, the hat’s scale works wonderfully with the high neck on the dress. It’s an ensemble that works better together than its components do on their own and I love how the classic pieces are interpreted in a way that is so modern and fresh. Sophie has several dark blue pillbox hats in her wardrobe but I think this addition might be my favourite.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Suzannah
Previously Worn: This hat is new

This event always brings us several hats and after several weeks where royal hat sightings have been sparse, this group is particularly welcome. What do you think of these hats in London yesterday?

Photos from Getty as indicated