Inventory: Duchess of Sussex’s Black Hats

Black hats are a staple in every royal millinery wardrobe and it’s no surprise that less than a year into her royal working life, the Duchess of Sussex already has several:

1.Embed from Getty Images   2.Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Stephen Jones; Philip Treacy

Introduced: Apr 25, 2018; Apr 25, 2018

3.Embed from Getty Images  4.Embed from Getty Images  5.Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Philip Treacy; unconfirmed; unconfirmed (I suspect both are Stephen Jones)
Introduced: Aug 4, 2018Nov 11, 2018; Nov 11, 2018

UPDATE- Since this post was published, the Duchess has added the following hats:

6.Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Awon Golding
Introduced: Dec 25, 2018

This is the first inventory we’ve started for Meghan and I’m curious about your thoughts. At first glance, it’s not the most exciting of hat collections but black hats seldom are. I appreciate some of the small details here- that marvelous beaded dragonfly on #2, the exuberant twists on #3 and even the luxe velvet texture of #4. No doubt we’ll see this group of hats grow over years to come but for now, what do you think?

Photos from Getty as indicated

British Royals Attend Armistice Centenary Service

Queen Elizabeth was joined by members of her family last night at Westminster Abbey for a service marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended WWI. For this service, she repeated I suspected might have headed into retirement- her purple felt stylised Homburg with layered purple and black hatbands and black velvet oak leaf trim.

Embed from Getty Images

While the masculine hat shape isn’t my favourite, I’ve always loved this saturated purple on Her Majesty and admire how the black trim on the hat links with that splendid velvet coat collar. The brass buttons on the coat give a slight military nod, most fitting for this event,  and the overall look is good one. I had suspicions this hat had been sent into retirement but I’m very pleased to see it has not.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: Dec 21, 2014Nov 21, 2013May 13, 2013Feb 3, 2013Nov 26, 2012; Oct 25, 2012Nov 11, 2009 

The Duchess of Cornwall wore repeated a magnificent purple velvet felt boater hat with oblique crown and brim trimmed with double rows of raw-edged pleated silk and a spray of purple feathers. There’s so much to love here- colour, texture, sheen, presence, whimsy, shape, scale- I could go on and on. When a hat is done as well as this one, I’m happy to see it trotted out again.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Mar 13, 2017;  Oct 27, 2016Mar 3, 2015Mar 21, 2013Dec 25, 2012Mar 26, 2012Mar 12, 2012Oct 26, 2010;  Mar 8, 2010 

Duchess of Cambridge topped her green coat with a tall bandeau headpiece of black velvet.

Embed from Getty Images

This is the third kokoshnik shaped bandeau we’ve seen on Kate in recent months and while I applaud her experimentation with new millinery styles, I think this is a difficult shape to wear. Yes, it frames the wearer’s features in a lovely way but it also exaggerates elongated oval-shaped faces like Kate’s and I’m just not sure it flatters. I think a royal hat should look good from all angles- some views of this bandeau (like the one below) are great but others (some of the side views above) show it to be a bit clunky and awkward. Far away views are lovely but close up…. I need help seeing it as something other than an oversize black banana.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Jane Taylor. It is the “Velvet Headband” from AW 2018
Previously Worn: This headpiece is new

Duchess of Sussex wore a black felt blocked beret hat with center ‘stem’. The connection between berets and the military make this hat style a fitting choice for this event; its pairing here with a navy suit makes for a fittingly solemn ensemble that’s a welcome step away from head-to-toe black. This hat is a simple and streamlined one that I might consider boring at another event but here, works well.

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: My guess is Stephen Jones
Previously Worn: This hat is new
I’ve often commented about the challenges that memorial events such as these pose to royal fashion and thought the use of deep, jewel tones seen here hit a brilliantly appropriate balance. What do you think of this quartet of hats yesterday at Westminster Abbey?
Photos from Getty as indicated

British Royals Commemorate Remembrance Day & WWI Armistice Centenary

As this year’s Remembrance Sunday coincided with the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, special consideration (and royal attendance) surrounded this commemoration. A ceremony at the Cenotaph at Whitehall, in central London, occurred as it does each year, led by the Prince of Wales. He was joined by the Dukes of Cambridge, Sussex, York and Kent, the Princess Royal, the Earl of Wessex and Prince Michael of Kent, all in military uniform with respective caps of their rank.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images


Queen Elizabeth, who watched the service from a Whitehall balcony for the second time, wore a new hat in black felt. The design features an upturned kettle brim and tall molded crown, the top of which looks to be off the same block as Angela Kelly’s split crown hats. The hat is simply trimmed with a layered leather and felt hatband which circles the crown midway, finishing at the front in a looped knot. The streamlined embellishment works well on this design to balance the slightly awkward shape of the crown’s top.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Looks like Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her large black black felt hat with flyaway raised brim edged in a wide band of bias-woven ribbon. It’s still a dramatic statement piece for her with the most magnificently sleek lines.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Dec 25, 2016;  Nov 13, 2016Dec 25, 2015

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new hat which, interestingly is a winter felt version of this straw hat already in her wardrobe. The lines of this design, with extended brim around the upswept back of the design are particularly lovely and beautifully punctuated with the slim binding around the brim. The choice of a single curling quill for trim is also the right one for this hat- overall, it’s an elegant piece that, I think, will be a good addition to Kate’s millinery collection.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Lock and Co. It is a bespoke version of the Abney from AW 2018. Coat is Alexander McQueen.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Sussex wore a black percher hat with bumper shaped base, trimmed with a single-looped side bow. These smaller profile millinery designs suit Meghan well and I really like the textural difference between the velvet felt of the hat and the silk wool of her coat. Large base button perchers sometimes read as a bit boring and the cuffed, bumper shape of this one has a slight military nod that fits this event very well.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown (my guess is Stephen Jones). Coat by Givenchy
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex’s modified saucer hat features a shallow button crown and wide brim and is trimmed with a large silk bow that drapes over half of the design. The sharply upswept angle that the hat’s base (visible in the third photo in the gallery below) places it on the head is key here- without it, I suspect the hat might read a bit 1980s twee but the elevated position keeps the piece looking modern and fresh.

Embed from Getty Images
The Countess of Wessex wore this hat later in the day when she and Prince Edward attended the Welsh National Service of Thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: This hat is new. 
After the Cenotaph service, other royal family members traveled also to other services marking the Armistice centenary held around the United Kingdom. Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence attended the Scottish Commemorative Service at Glasgow Cathedral where Princess Anne repeated her black percher hat with net veil-overlaid round button base trimmed with a crescent of pointed black feathers. The percher style is a fairly new one for Anne but one I hope she continues to embrace as it works particularly well to modernize and soften her hairstyle.
Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Nov 10, 2017Oct 4, 2017Jun 27, 2017
The Duke and Duchess Gloucester attended the Armistice Day Service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the Duke in a black bowler hat and the Duchess in a lovely new peacock blue felt pillbox with domed crown. The colour of this piece is wonderful on Brigitte and pairs so well with her navy coat to create an overall ensemble that is a little punchier than we usually see at such memorial events but still perfectly appropriate. 


Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Finally, the Prince of Wales attended a Remembrance Service at the Guards’ Chapel at Wellington Barracks. The Prince, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards Regiment, wore a traditional regimental bowler hat.

Embed from Getty Images
Several family members also attended a service at Westminster Abbey commemorating the centenary of the WWI Armistice- we’ll look at those hats in a post coming up first thing tomorrow morning. For now, what do you think of this first round of hats we saw worn for Remembrance Day yesterday?
Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

Sussexes Arrive In Fiji

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex continued their South Pacific tour today in Fiji where they will spend two and a half days before moving on to Tonga. For their arrival in Suva, the Duchess topped her white silk dress with a white sinamay percher hat with blocked base in the shape of a flat beret. The design is trimmed with white silk tulle, crin, widely woven net veil and a flat, rolled bow in the same straw as the hat with unfinished, frayed edges.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

The white straw base has a faint metallic thread in its weave which shows beautiful luminosity and a faint sparkle in the photos taken at dusk. The shape and scale isn’t anything particularly memorable (we’ve seen it often before) but suits Meghan well but the colour is noteworthy for how beautifully it contrasts against her complexion and dark hair. I’m less enamored with the hat’s trim, which I suspect is a haute couture statement but to my eye, ends up looking a bit haphazard and messy.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Stephen Jones. It is the “Afternoon Tea” design from Miss Jones SS 2016 Collection
Previously Worn: This hat is new
I was surprised to see Meghan step off the plane today in a hat but it topped an elegant ensemble and is, undoubtedly, a classic enough design to be easily paired with another ensemble in the future. What do you think of this white percher hat today in Fiji?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Sussexes Visit Sydney ANZAC Memorial

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently in Australia on their third day of a 16-day tour that will also take them to Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. Today (Saturday, October 20) they attended the official opening of ANZAC Memorial at Hyde Park in Sydney. For this memorial event, the Prince Harry wore the tropical dress Blues and Royals uniform, of which is he is Captain, complete with the gold aiguillette braided ropes over his right shoulder and chest reflecting his new role as personal aide-de-camp to the Queen.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

The Duchess made her first millinery repeat with this black straw teardrop-shaped percher design trimmed with straw twists and a black quill.

Embed from Getty Images

I still think it’s a smart hat for Meghan- not boring nor too exuberant for a memorial event such as this. Black hats probably get the most use of all pieces in a royal millinery closet and for Meghan, this colour will, for a while, be one that blends with her hair. The twist trim makes it stand out a bit and the placement – hugging the right side of Meghan’s face and centered over her right eyebrow – is really well done. There’s little worse than a percher hat plonked in the middle of a royal head.

Embed from Getty Images
Designer: Philip Treacy. It is OC 471 from SS 2018. Dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Previously Worn: August 4, 2018
What do you think of this hat, seeing it now for the second time?
Embed from Getty Images
Photos from Getty as indicated

York Royal Wedding

Here is a summary of all the hats we saw at yesterday’s royal wedding:

The Bride, Groom & Wedding Party

Immediate Families
Queen Elizabeth, Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice, Nicola Brooksbank

Cambridge, Sussex & Wessex Families
Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor

Phillips and Armstrong-Jones Families
The Princess Royal, Autumn Phillips, Zara Tindall,
Countess of Snowdon, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Lady Sarah Chatto

Kent and Gloucester Families
Duchess of Gloucester, Lady Helen Taylor, Zenouska Mowatt,
Princess Michael of Kent, Lady Frederick Windsor, Lady Gabriella Windsor

Royal Guests
Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Princess Maria Olympia of Greece;
Chantal Hochuli; Princess Ekaterina, and Princess Alessandra of Hannover

Other Noteable Guests

Embed from Getty Images

Photos from Getty as indicated

York Royal Wedding: Cambridge, Sussex and Wessex Families

With the Duchess of Cornwall away in Scotland performing previously scheduled engagements, we continue our look at the royal hats at today’s wedding with a stunning design worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. In ruby velvet felt, the blocked beret design is trimmed with a handmade spray of roses and leaves and a deep pink net tulle veil. The colour is stunning on Kate and contrasts beautifully against the slightly different shade of deep pink of her dress.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Philip Treacy. Flowers on the hat by Anfisa Korelova. Dress by Alexander McQueen
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Duchess of Sussex added a new milliner to her growing list of hat suppliers with this blocked navy straw beret trimmed with knife-edged folded crin.  The trim gives a great sense of movement to the hat, although I wish it was more dimmensional- as it is, it’s a bit flat.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Designer: Noel Stewart for Givenchy. Dress and coat by Givenchy.
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Countess of Wessex wore a tall, curved navy disc hat backed in wide layers of pleated navy crin. While I really wish we had better views of this design, it looks to be a dramatic piece that Sophie carried well.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

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

Lady Louise Windsor did a great job leading the young bridesmaids and pages in a smart navy satin covered button percher with slim satin looped bows, some of which are beaded. It’s a wonderful scale on young Louise and that little bit of sparkle is perfect on her. So lovely!

Embed from Getty Images

Designer:  Emily London. Dress by Claudie Pierlot 
Previously Worn: This hat is new

Four more lovely royal hats, don’t you agree?
Embed from Getty Images
Photos from Getty as indicated