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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Ascot Day 5: Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth attended the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot today in her fifth new hat, one I think might be the most interesting and unique design we’ve seen on her in a long time. Made of gray, white and green snakeskin printed straw, the design follows simple lines with a flat brim and upturned kettle brim that raises diagonally to form a short upsweep on one side. The hat is trimmed with a pouf of green and white ombre feathers tucked behind the front right side of the upturned brim.

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I broke out in a great smile when I saw this hat, simply because it’s different than what we usually see on the Queen. I can’t think offhand of another printed straw hat in her wardrobe and its uniqueness is supported by its attractiveness. Is it the most exciting shape? No. Does it coordinate well with her bubble printed suit? I’m not convinced the slightly different shades of green on both pieces work together. But do I love the hat amidst these issues? YES! It’s such a departure for Her Majesty, I can’t help but embrace it.

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Designer: yet unconfirmed
Previously Worn: This hat is new
The Queen was accompanied again today by the Duke of York in his black silk top hat.
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I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this new hat!
Photos from Getty as indicated

Ascot Day 3: Queen Elizabeth

After two days of seeing Her Majesty in hats of our second choice, we successfully predicted her hat colour today! A new design in bright pink straw, the hat follows a familiar shape with a sidesweeping brim of moderate width and a crown with gently molded waves on the side and a slight slant on the top. The hat is trimmed with a layered double hatband, handmade flowers and beautifully placed, arrow trimmed feathers, all in the same bright pink hue.

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While it’s a familiar look for the Queen, it’s a very good one. The saturated colour is wonderful on her and the cut of the tweed coat allows a fair amount of the printed silk dress to peek through and the neckline and hem, linking with the rose trim on the hat and giving soft contrast to the bright pink. The use of straw on the hat gives great textural contrast to the tweed jacket- while the two are the same colour, the ensemble doesn’t read as overly matchy thanks to the use of these different materials. It’s a great, summery hat on the Queen.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Queen Elizabeth was accompanied in the first carriage in today’s procession into the Ascot grounds by the Duke of York, in his black silk top hat. While it’s been a little sad not to see the Duke of Edinburgh this week, it’s lovely to see other members accompanying the Queen to what is widely known as one of her favourite events of the year.
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A quick note from our dear ChicagoChuck this morning confirmed that our winnings on the Queen’s hat this morning put us ahead for the week! He will graciously donate these, along with an additional donation, to your charity of choice, the Children’s HIV Association. We’ll hear more from ChicagoChuck about this year’s races in weeks to come (there is a hat story he will share!) but it sounds like he has had a wonderful time.
While ChicagoChuck will not be at the races tomorrow to place another bet on our prediction about what colour hat the Queen will wear, several of you have requested we continue these polls this week, for the sheer fun of it. So, before sharing your thoughts about the Queen’s new hat today, what colour hat do you think she will wear tomorrow?! 
Photos from Getty as indicated

Ascot Day 1: Wrap Up

The first day of races this year also saw hats worn on a few noble British heads. The Duchess of Rutland topped her wonderfully fitted 1950s-esque coat with a percher hat trimmed with an oversize pale blue rose studded with net tulle veil. The hat is the “Full Bloom” design by Edwina Ibbotson Millinery.

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Lady Carolyn Warren, wife of the Queen’s racing manager John Warren (and daughter of her former racing manager Lord Porchester) standing just behind the Earl of Wessex on the left below, wore a wide flat brimmed hat in pale pink, lavishly trimmed with curling bows and what looks like a mix of crin and feathers.
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The Duke of York and Lord Vestey arrived in the Queen’s carriage, both in black silk traditional top hats
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Turning our attention to non-royal heads at Ascot today, numerous beautiful designs that caught my eye including:
We end Day 1 with racegoer Edite Ligere in a fantastically theatrical navy hat with bows and blue ostrich plumes by Sarah Marshall for John Boyd. 
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That’s a wrap from Day 1!  Were there any other hats at the races today that captured your heart?  
Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

British Royals Attend Garter Service

Established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago, The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. Twenty four recipients of the order, known each as a Knight or Lady,  meet each year for a ceremony held int St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on the Monday before Royal Ascot begins. The British monarchy describes these men and women as “chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.” The annual Garter Day procession, where the Queen, Knights and Ladies process from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel in grand velvet robes, sparkling insignia and distinctive plumed hats, is very grand indeed.

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The hat associated with the order is a black velvet Tudor-style design with voluminous crown atop a flat brim (some appear less flat with age!), trimmed with black heron feathers, lavish white ostrich plumes and a slim cord wrapped around the base of the crown that extends to a pair of gold and royal blue tassels hanging down the side (see last photo of the Queen in the set below).

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In addition to the Queen, the order is held by members of the British royal family including: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. All, except for Prince Philip, were in attendance today.

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The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her white straw picture hat with angular, off-centre peaked crown and sideswept brim trimmed in a shiny dark navy patent hatband and slimmer navy silk strip that wraps into a circular side decorative wreath. The sharp lines of the hat appear to be softened by Camilla’s cream dress and lace jacket and while the pairing is for the most part a good one, I’m not keen on the dark navy trim on the hat paired with the black trim on the jacket.
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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Sep 17, 2017
The Countess of Wessex repeated her oyster straw hat with shallow, flat crown and wide, mushroom brim, trimmed by a swath of curling oyster and black feathers and cream crin twists around the top of the brim. It was this hat’s first pairing with just the familiar toille dress (she earlier paired it with this dress and a black jacket) and the two pieces combine to make a light and very pretty summery ensemble. 
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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Previously Worn: June 2, 2015May 17, 2014August 9, 2013June 4, 2013
The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her slate blue straw pillbox with short veil. The hat links well with Brigitte’s matching dress coat and the sheen of the straw and pattern of the veil gives some lovely textural contrast within the ensemble.
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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: May 19, 2018June 17, 2017June 1, 2017July 1, 2016June 12, 2016June 10, 2016

The Duchess of Gloucester’s daughter-in-law, the Countess of Ulster, was spotted leaving the service along with Princess Alexandra’s granddaughter Zenouska Mowatt. The Countess of Ulster repeated a cream straw button percher hat trimmed with long laquered red goose feathers and a black pinok pok straw bow. With her red dress, the hat tops a sharp look for Claire. Zenouska topped her white and navy dotted frock with a navy straw waved teardrop percher hat trimmed with a tall, folded ruffle of navy and cream crin. Like many other young royals, Zenouska wears this style of hat very well and the piece looks to coordinate perfectly with her dress.

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Designer of The Countess of Ulster’s hat: Awon Golding
Previously Worn: June 10, 2016
Designer of Zenouska’s hat: I suspect Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: I believe this is new.
Garter day is always a highlight and serves as a wonderful opening to Ascot week. What do you think of the hats spotted at Windsor Castle today?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Trooping The Colour 2018

A tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, the Trooping the Colour ceremony was performed today on Horse Guards Parade by St. James’s Park. The event marks the monarch’s official birthday celebration and concluded, as in years past, with the entire British royal family appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to witness a military flypast.

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For the event, Queen Elizabeth her repeated sky blue hat with straw sideswept brim and wool silk covered crown. The hat is trimmed with a wide stripe of wool silk binding on the brim’s edge and a posy of blue and white silk flowers, blue seed pearls and slim white feathers, along with several looped blue blue wool silk bows.

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The bright turquoise hue of the piece made Her Majesty stand out in the sea of red uniforms. It’s a lovely colour on her, as is the scale and shape of this piece. I’ve said before that the beautiful detail of the floral trim is lost except at close-up view, which is a bit disappointing at such a high profile event as this.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: July 6, 2016; November 28, 2015

As in years past, members of the royal family holding the rank of Colonel in various regiments rode along in the military parade.  The distinctive plumes in each of their bearskin hats signify their respective regiments-  striped green and white plume of the Welsh Guards for the Prince of Wales, St. Patrick’s blue plume of the  Irish Guards for the Duke of Cambridge and white plume of the Grenadier Guards for the Duke of York, who rode in this year’s parade for the first time. The Princess Royal again appeared in uniform as Colonel of the Blues and Royals with the wonderful red plumed bicorne hat of this regiment.

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Trooping the Colour is a highlight of the British royal year and the event creates a spectacular backdrop against which to enjoy these wonderful hats. The only disappointment here was the absence of the Duke of Edinburgh, who turned 97 years old today. We wish him the happiest of birthdays. 
Photos from Getty as indicated

Queen Hosts First Summer Garden Party

The first of this season’s summer Garden Parties kicked off today in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

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Queen Elizabeth hosted the event in her repeated muted jade straw hat with straight-sided, domed top crown and short cartwheel brim, trimmed with silk flowers and a straw twist. It’s this hat’s second outing since its Ascot debut last year and stands out, not for its go-to shape for the Queen, but for its very pretty colour.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: June 23, 2017

Countess of Wessex repeated her natural straw saucer hat with lattice open woven brim, trimmed with a large coral feathers and tan crim twists. It’s a great hat on Sophie and pairs so well with her red frock.

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Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: Oct 5, 2017; June 20, 2017

Earl of Wessex and Duke of York both looked dapper in their black silk plush top hats

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That’s a handsome quartet of British royal hats in the garden today, isn’t it?!
Photos from Getty as indicated