Duke & Duchess of Sussex Attend Spencer Family Wedding

Celia McCorquodale, daughter of Sarah (Spencer) and Neil McCorquodale, was married over the weekend to George Woodhouse. Celia topper her lace gown with the beautifully scrolled Spencer family tiara, one undoubtedly familiar to royal watchers. After all the rumour that it was make its first noteable outing on the Duchess of Sussex’s head at her own wedding last month, I was secretly pleased to see it here, at this lower key, family affair.

Sarah McCorquodale topped her blush pink dress and coat with a cream straw upswept saucer hat by Atelier Millinery trimmed with silk blossoms and tulle out the outside, raised brim side of the hat.

Celia’s older sister Emily topped her green and pink coat with a pink straw button base percher hat trimmed with silk roses, straw bow loops and curling quills. The design, also from Atelier Millinery, is the “Gin Fizz”. 

Countess Spencer wore a cream straw vertical disc hat backed with multiple cream crin bows. The design is a similar one to the striking purple hat she wore to the Sussex’s wedding last month– no wonder as both are bespoke pieces from Rachel Trevor Morgan.

Lady Kitty Spencer wore a burgundy velvet Philip Treacy bumper base percher hat with handmade flowers and a Gatsby length tulle veil. While the hat has an autumnal feel to me, it paired beautifully with her floral Dolce & Gabanna dress.

Lady Jane Fellowes repeated a simple brown straw hat with wide kettle edged brim, trimmed with a warm caramel brown ruched hatband and cream silk flowers.  A neutral hat was a good call for her wonderful dot printed coat, although I’m not sure this one was the best choice.  I think the navy hat Jane wore to last month might have made a better pairing.
Finally, the Duchess of Sussex topped her blue and white floral maxi dress with a simple cream straw headpiece. With a flat, round button base, the design features a large bow with curling tails.

We have only seen Meghan in couture millinery pieces so far- pieces with a level of finishing and sophistication that this design simply does not have. While the colour palate of the ensemble is pretty, the scale of the voluminous dress and small hat don’t pair well. I suspect the choice of this rather run-of-the-mill headpiece may be tied to a desire to remain in the background at this event – whatever the reason, it is great to see Meghan experimenting with different millinery shapes and styles. Wasn’t it just a week ago when several commenters here suspected we’d see her only in sleek, unembellished hats for the foreseeable future? I love she’s already proved this prediction wrong!

Designer: Marks & Spencer Collection. It is the Pillbox Bow Fascinator.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Word on the royal beat is that we’ll see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex make an Ascot appearance this week- if they do, I have a hunch we’ll see a new hat on the Duchess.
Photos from social media as indicated; Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

British Royal Wedding: Other Royal & Noble Guests

The only foreign royals invited to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding were Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, who co-founded the Sentebale charity, and his wife, Princess Mabereng. Princess Mabereng’s printed dress embellished with pink flowers and a matching pink head wrap are made from traditional Basotho fabrics, a lovely Lesotho connection to Prince Harry, who has great affection for this small country.

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Guests at the wedding also included numerous members of the Spencer family. Countess Spencer wore a Rachel Trevor Morgan designed vertical saucer hat in regal purple straw, decorated with multiple organza bows in the same hue. With her purple Pamela Roland jacket and dress, the hat tops a striking ensemble.

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One of my favourite ensembles of the day was worn by Charles Spencer’s daughter, Lady Kitty, who paired an emerald crepe floral Dolce and Gabanna dress with a matching custom straw calot hat with side knot, feathers and veil. Kitty placed the Philip Treacy design further forward on her head than a calot is traditionally worn but the effect, with her simple hairstyle, open neckline on the dress and restrained jewelry, is so very beautiful.

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Kitty’s sister, Lady Eliza Spencer, wore a half circlet headpiece in black lace around the lower back of her head. Another unusual placement, the piece contrasted beautifully against her blonde waves. Their mother, Prince Harry’s aunt Victoria Aitken, wore a veiled black fedora hat. Both black designs were from Philip Treacy.

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Prince Harry’s aunt, Lady Jane Fellowes, topped her grey and blue floral coat with a large navy straw hat with mushroom brim, trimmed with a ruched navy hatband and large flower on the side. While the two pieces coordinate,the pairing feels rather bland. Maybe I can’t get beyond the grey coat, which I don’t think is the best colour for Jane.

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Lady Sarah McCorquodale also wore a navy straw hat. A more angular shape, the crown on her hat featured squared angles and the upswept brim, a short upturned kettle edge. The hat’s lines are softened with a spray of multicoloured flowers that tie with Sarah’s floral coat. Sarah’s daughter-in-law, Bianca, visible directly behind her in the photo below, topped her pink jacket and floral dress with a matching large teardrop shaped percher hat trimmed with a multi looped bow.

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Sarah’s daughters Celia, below center, and Emily, below right, both wore lively pink percher hats.

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While I have not yet spotted a photo of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, British milliner Dillon Wallwark posted this photo of her daughter Lady Alexandra Hooper (née Knatchbull) in a stunning hat from his studio. The pale pink straw design is lavishly trimmed beneath the upswept brim with silk roses and bows.

The Grosvenor family was also in attendance. The Duchess of Westminster wore a wide brimmed black straw hat trimmed with striped black and white feathers that linked with her zebra printed dress.

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The Duchess of Westminster’s three daughters each wore a saucer hat from Rachel Trevor Morgan. Lady Tamara topped her bright, peacock feather printed dress with an upswept navy saucer embellished with navy silk bows and  turquoise and lime ombre dyed, arrow trimmed feathers. Balancing two vibrant pieces is a challenge but this ensemble got it just right and remains one of my favourites of the day. Lady Viola contrasted her orange dress with a smaller navy percher saucer trimmed with a swath of dotted tulle. Lady Edwina paired her pink and black dotted dress with a pink saucer rimmed in black piping.

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The Van Cutsem family was also in attendance. Emilie van Cutsem topped her orange coat with a matching bumper hat trimmed with an orange net tulle veil and spray of orange and fuchsia feathers at the back.

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Her son William’s wife, Rosie van Cutsem, topped her printed coat with a large button base percher hat trimmed with what looks like a lavender bow at the back. Her son Hugh’s wife, Rose Astor van Cutsem, topped her bright floral printed frock with a textured white button percher trimmed with a burgundy tipped silk rose and white curling quills by London based milliner, Cara Meehan.

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Lady Carolyn Warren, wife of Queen Elizabeth’s racing manager John Warren (daughter of the late Lord Porchester, who was a close friend and former racing manager of the queen) wore a prepossessing cream straw hat with domed crown and wide, lattice patterned straw, trimmed with multiple straw twists on the back half of the hat. It’s not the first thing I’d think of to pair with a lace dress but it’s a wonderful combination. Lady Carolyn’s daughter Susanna, wore a natural straw bumper base percher hat trimmed with an explosion of white feathers. The combined look of her high necked floral dress, hairstyle and hat is a fresh and elegant one.
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Zoe Warren, Lady Carolyn’s daughter-in-law and and mother of the littlest bridesmaid Zalie Warren topper her bright pink Dea Kudibal dress with a matching percher hat from Bundle MacLaren. The design features a wired net tulle brim and arrow trimmed feathers. If you’re going to go bright pink from head to toe, this is how you do it.

While not officially nobility, the Middleton family’s royal connections feel secure enough to include in this post. Carole wore an elegant green silk Catherine Walker coat and dress with a matching seafoam green straw fluted saucer hat. The Jane Taylor design is embellished with green silk flowers and leaves and grey tulle. The trim on the hat gives enough dimension to the piece to keep the ensemble from looking too one note- truly a beautiful pairing.

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Another one of my favourite looks yesterday was on Pippa Middleton Matthews, who topped her pleated floral dress from The Fold London with a Jess Collett hat. The hat’s natural straw button base, ivory silk flowers and densely woven beige cut net trim pairs so perfectly with the ivory, green and beige dress.

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Update- The Duchess of Cornwall’s daughter Laura Lopes and daughter-in-law Sarah Buys were also both in attendance. Laura is in a green patterned dress and black straw teardrop percher hat with yellow trim. I love that she chose an African print for this wedding and the small hat in a strong colour stands up well against the dress. As for Sarah Buys ‘ crushed velvet dress and patterned, waved headpiece- I think the whole look has an unfortunate Miss Havisham vibe. 

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There are such strong hats in this group- which ones stand out most to you?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, Part Two

Royal Hats After looking at the hats worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, we now turn to the hats worn by the Countess of Wessex and York Princesses. Joining this conversation are three milliners whose work has graced royal heads –  Christie Murray, Jill Courtemanche and  Fiona Mangan.  I’m thrilled to have these ladies join for Ladies’ Day at Ascot today!

Countess of Wessex in a revised hat by Jane Taylor

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Christie:  How lovely is the Countess’ dress! I love the detailing at the bottom.  Jane’s done a lovely job with this bias, mesh sinamay brim.  The patterning works beautifully with her outfit, as well as the colours and  textures of the vintage-style veiling. For me, I don’t think that the trim is quite balanced. I can see what she was going for, but I think it’s just missed the mark. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful look. I’m loving that everyone so far hasn’t gone for the traditional ‘lace and floral’ for Ladies Day!  More paired back, chic and minimalist elegance. It’s modern femininity and I just love it.

Jill: Thank goodness for Sophie this week, she really has been the vision. Another beautiful, classic, ladylike outfit topped with a gorgeous hat. I really like the pattern on the straw with the detail in her dress and that the feather trim on the hat extends above and below the brim, that is quite nice. I do think the design on the trim is a little too harsh next to the face, the veiling adds a little softness but it seems a bit unfinished. Overall though I think this look is a winner and with the earrings and broach it’s stunning!

Fiona: Love the dove grey colour in the dress but feel the style is suited to someone a little older. Sophie looks so much more elegant in a tailored outfit so to be honest, this dress is a little disappointing. I quite like the hat shape but the trimming is too wild for my taste with the feathers looking like they were dropped out of the sky without much thought on how they were arranged. Again, the veiling is not properly trimmed!

Royal Hats: I believe this is the same hat Sophie wore to Ascot in 2012 but with different feather trim. The previous feathers had a larger and more natural sense of movement which I think I might prefer. Feathers aside, for me the star of this hat is the brim and the use of the lattice weave is absolutely brilliant.

Princess Beatrice in Laura Apsit Livens

Royal Hats: I adore this hat! I love the contrast between the traditional shape and the modern colour blocking and love that while it is completely unembellished, it is anything but boring! Hats at Ladies’ Day are famous for being trimmed to death (or into complete absurdity) and I adore that Princess Beatrice caught everyone’s eye today with this very streamlined piece.

Fiona: Love her whole ensemble. Her dress is so classic, so simple and against the bold colours of the hat and shoes this is a winner for me in a lot of respects. I do however feel the hat would have been really nice if she had tilted it, though sitting straight across her head adds a bit of the unexpected and quirkiness to her look. The hat itself is beautifully finished. I keep thinking there should be some other trimming on it but the boldness of the design approach is like that of when you walk out the door all dressed up for an occasion, which is to remove one accessory piece– the Less is More Concept! A Bold and Brave hat I would say!

Jill: There are a couple things I like about this hat, the turquoise is a lovely color on Princess Beatrice, very flattering to her coloring and I like the very wide straw edge on the brim but that is where it ends for me. The shape is too flat and I am not a fan of the orange / turquoise combination. Her dress is a lovely, classic silhouette and really an open canvas as far as hats go. The only way I could see this working is if she added a statement necklace which picked up on the turquoise but even then the hat could benefit from some trim (and less orange).

Christie: The colour choice is really youthful, I love how Princess Beatrice and worked it in with her shoes. And I love the chic minimalism of her white outfit, just gorgeous! For me, the shape of the crown and the depth really doesn’t work with the brim though. It looks far too large for her head, and squashes the look. I would have love to have seen and smaller and slightly taller crown, or more angular, to really work with this outfit. I do love that they’ve let the colours do the talking and haven’t killed the hat with a trim. Perhaps, if it was sitting further back on the head, it would work even better? Great idea but just hasn’t quite been pulled off, in my opinion.

Royal Princess Eugenie in Nerida Fraiman

Jill: Princess Eugenie’s hat is youthful and fun, very nice on her. The deep green is flattering and the lightness and movement of the crin trim is very pretty. I particularly like this look in the photo above when she has her jacket off, it’s a terrific match with her fun dress and really makes her eyes pop. I am not a huge fan of the brooch trim but it does brighten the whole look and is a modern, young way to add jewelry to her ensemble.

Christie: I think this headpiece is really gorgeous! Porkpie hats are difficult to block in sinamay and I think it’s hard to make crinoline not look tacky. Nerida’s done a wonderful job. The colour of the headpiece looks beautiful with Princess Eugenie’s eyes and hair colour. From a styling perspective, I would have been more likely to pull out that pastel, flamingo pink in to the body of the hat, which would have balanced the pattern on the bottom of her dress, stood out against her hair colour, and been more age-appropriate than the green. But I do think she looks gorgeous.

Royal Hats: This hat is one of my favourite colours- a colour that looks beautiful on Eugenie. While the colour scheme on this hat is certainly dark, I think her summery dress balances it and makes it work.

Fiona: Another beautiful look from one of the younger Royals. Her dress with the graphic print is age appropriate and fun. The petrol blue hat has a great shape and her placement is perfect. I love using crin myself but in a more structured way – this is a very typical Nerida Fraiman application of crin, where she sculpts it which works to soften the structure of the hat.

While it was officially Ladies’ Day, a number of very dapper royal men in top hats were spotted as well:

Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York

I adored Countess Spencer’s beautiful teal blue saucer below, trimmed in what I suspect are handmade silk roses. And my favourite non-royal hat of the day?  This beautiful Rachel Trevor Morgan design worn by none other than the designer herself.

Numerous members of the British royal family who usually attend Ascot instead took part in events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. We will look at hats worn at these events along with all those worn on the fourth day of Ascot later today. Until then, what did you think about these and the other royal hats worn today for Ladies’ Day at Ascot Racecourse?