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

Remembrance Sunday 2017- Part 1

Members of the British royal family attended the annual Remembrance Day commemoration service at  The Cenotaph at Whitehall in London yesterday. For the first time, The Prince of Wales led the ceremony and laid Her Majesty’s wreath.

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Prince Charles was joined by the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent. As in years past, all appeared in military uniform.
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Earlier yesterday morning, the Prince of Wales attended the Welsh Guards’ Remembrance Sunday service at Guards Chapel. For this service, Prince Charles, who has been Colonel of the Welsh Guards since 1975, wore a black bowler hat.

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On Saturday, the Duke of Gloucester attended the annual Armistice Day Service at The National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.

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Queen And Duke Host Holyrood Garden Party

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a garden party today at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. To oversee the 27,000 cups of tea and 20,000 sandwiches served at the event, the Queen donned a new hat.

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In soft pink straw, the design features an upturned straw brim and square crown covered in the same bouclé as her accompanying coat. Pale pink silk magnolia blooms and pink feathers nestled inside the brim complete the piece. It’s a pretty hat that I think would have been much improved if the whole thing had been fashioned in straw.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: this hat is new
The Duke looked to be in far better shape than his top hat, which is showing wear at the centre front, beneath the hatband. The Duke of York also attended, in his black silk top hat.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also in attendance, sporting a sharp navy button base cocktail hat with flower, feather and large looped bow trim.
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I await your thoughts on these hats!
Photos from Getty as indicated

Royal Ascot 2017 Day 5: Queen Elizabeth & The Duke of York

Royal Ascot | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth ended a fantastic week of Ascot hats today with a new hat in the most wonderful shade of magenta. Following a familiar shape for her, the hat features a gently upswept brim and stepped crown and is trimmed with a multi-looped straw bow and flowers coordinating with those in her accompanying dress.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: this hat is new

The Queen was accompanied in the carriage procession again by the Duke of York who wore his black top hat.

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Royal Ascot 2017 Day 3: Queen Elizabeth & The Duke of York

Royal Ascot | Royal Hats Those of you waiting or the Queen to wear pink to Ascot need to wait no more! Queen Elizabeth attended the third day of the races today in a bright pink hat, covered in the same fabric as her coat. The hat follows a fairly simple shape with a short, upturned brim and slightly sloped crown and takes inspiration from the accompanying floral printed dress for its pink silk snakeshead fritillaria flowers and green feather leaf side trim.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: this hat is new

With his father still in hospital, the Duke of York stepped in to accompany his mother in today’s opening carriage procession, wearing a black silk top hat.

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Photos from Getty as indicated