British Royal Wedding Four Years On: The Kent Family

A wedding Some of my favourite hats worn at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding four years ago were worn by the Kent branch of the British extended royal family. Here is a peek back at these hats.

The Duchess of Kent channelled spring in a percher cocktail hat with pale pink base. The centrepiece of the hat was its trim- a large bouquet of silk flowers and leaves, ribbon loops and soft white feathers. We don’t see many percher hats on royal ladies of a certain age and while this one showed that Katharine’s millinery approach has stayed right on trend, the soft colours were very flattering and suited her well.

Lady Helen Taylor (the Duchess of Kent’s daughter)  topped her floral appliquéd Erdem dress and coat with a coordinating embellished beret. In electric blue straw, the beret was trimmed with a side spray of white silk flowers and a tall swath of blue dotted net tulle. I assume the white flowers were added to tie in with the flowers on the dress but they didn’t work for me- the hit of white created a jarring contrast that put the whole outfit into ‘too much’ territory. With a fussy dress and coat, I think Helen would have done better with a less fussy hat.

The Duchess of Kent’s daughter-in-laws wore contrasting pieces in pale hues. The Countess of St. Andrews topped her oyster lace trimmed suit with a large picture hat. In pale beige straw, the hat featured a flat crown and wide mushroom brim. The hat’s only embellishment was a large bow which fanned over one side of the brim (you can see the bow here at 36:30). Lady Nicholas Windsor topped her pale pink suit with a Philip Treacy fascinator of purple orchids and swirling feathers. I thought the styling on Paola’s ensemble was perfect- her clean lined suit, simple jewellery and elegant up-do allowed this statement headpiece to be showed to maximum effect. I adored it on her.

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The Countess of St. Andrews’ two daughters, Lady Marina and Lady Amelia Windsor, both chose black hats. Lady Marina wore a large lampshade hat in black and grey straw. The graphic stripes of straw on each layer of the tiered hat were countered by a massive and curvaceous grey straw bow on the back of the hat. The end result was a dramatic and very classic hat reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Lady Amelia wore a more streamlined hat in black straw with a diagonally raised brim and a wide white band around the crown.

Lady Marina Windsor and Lady Amelia Windsor, April 29, 2011 | Royal Hats

Princess Alexandra topped her blue brocade suite with a monochrome picture hat. With a blue straw base, the hat was covered in ruched silk organza and trimmed at the side with large blue silk roses and gold feathers. While the overlaid fabric on the hat gave considerable texture, it combined with Alexandra’s suit to make and ensemble suffering from fabric texture overload. I think this hat would have worked better sans overlay, keeping those romantic floral embellishments.

Princess Alexandra of Kent, April 29, 2011 | Royal Hats   Princess Alexandra of Kent, April 29, 2011 | Royal Hats

Julia Ogilvy, Princess Alexandra’s daughter-in-law, topped her taupe dress and ivory lace coat with a cream straw picture hat. The streamlined Philip Treacy design was simply trimmed with a band around the crown and a signature Treacy large flying bow.

Princess Alexandra of Kent and Julia Ogilvy, April 29, 2011 | Royal Hats  Julia Ogilvy, April 29, 2011 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

Princess Michael of Kent chose characteristically dramatic millinery for this event. While her white picture hat followed a fairly traditional shape, the scale of the wide cartwheel brim was larger than life. The huge hat was trimmed with a wide scarf of ruched silk that looked to be effortlessly thrown over the hat. Marie-Christine wears dramatic hats so very well and this was no exception. I adore the wide brim and appreciate the way the large scale hat balanced her shiny satin Andrea Odicini jacket.

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One of the newest members to the British Royal Family, Lady Frederick Windsor wowed with her millinery choice at this event. Designed by Philip Treacy, Sophie’s navy straw hat featured a moulded crown (as opposed to a seam-joined crown) with wide, oval brim. The elliptical brim was balanced by another Treacy signature multi-looped flying bow. While very simple, the hat is quite a bold design. I particularly loved the way the asymmetrical hat both complemented and contrasted against Sophie’s streamlined Armani coat and dress.

Wearing one of my favourite hats at this wedding, Lady Gabriella Windsor was a vision in peacock blue. Her vibrant picture hat featured an upturned ‘slice’ brim which was trimmed with large silk roses and an arrow feather. The shape was wonderful on Garbiella and I adored how her pale seafoam coat and dress created just the right background for her bright hat and matching purse to ‘pop’. This slice hat is a slightly smaller scale than others in this same style and while it works wonderfully as is, I think it could easily have handled an up-sizing.

 Prince Michael of Kent Family, April 29, 2011 | Royal Hats
The Kents brought us stylish cocktail berets and sublime picture hats at this wedding. Which hat(s) stand out most to you? Stay tuned later today when we look at hats worn by some of the royal guests.
Photos from Getty as indicated, Woman and Home, and BBC TV via The British Monarchy. Source of final photo is unknown.

Luxembourg Royal Wedding: Royal Guests

 This wedding was attended by a number of “minor” royals from across Europe. Princess Maria-Laura of Belgium, who is also Archduchess of Austria-Este through her paternal side, wore a brimless bright pink hat with swarthy net veil.

Princess Maria Laura, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, seen here behind Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen of Austria, were the only members of the British royal family in attendance (although their attendance was not in an official capacity but a personal one). Lady Nicholas wore a new hat that is difficult to see here but that appears to be a brimless sphere in cream straw. I think it’s a great shape for Paola although I will wait for a better view to weigh in further.

Lady Nicholas Windsor, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wore a very beautiful beige picture hat with a diagonal band that wrapped around the crown down to the brim, edged in black. I think the hat would be improved with the removal of the red carnation flower but it is still a beautifully shaped hat. (On a side note, I get a kick out of Gabriela’s husband Fürst Alexander stealing some happy iphone snaps in the second shot!)

Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Alexandra of Austria topped her cream suit (I love the pleated ruffles around the cuffs and collar) with a classic black cartwheel-brimmed hat. The oversize bow on the hat was not to my taste and made the hat look rather dated.

Archduchess Alexandra of Austria, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Hélène of Austria wore a very small grey ribon fascinator. I was disappointed in this headpiece; Hélène’s beautiful sharply graphic suit could have carried a much more dramatic hat and I thought this crumpled bit of ribbon did not measure up. Hélène’s daughter Archduchess Priscilla of Austria wore the same cream hat she wore to Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen’s wedding last year. This hat is fascinating to me because underneath the mass of wide ribbon trim this hat is a simple straw bowler. I think the ribbon trim makes the shape work very well and it is very flattering on  Priscilla’s oval-shaped face.

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While not officially a royal, Donna Beatrice Borromeo attended with her longtime partner, Pierre Casiraghi. Beatrice wore a dramatic headpiece of two black feathers that wrapped around her head in a wide spiral. I’m not sure I like the way the headpiece attached to the side of her head but the overall effect of this hat was unique and startlingly beautiful.

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Designer: Philip Treacy

Archduchess Anna-Gabriele of Austria wore one of my favourite hats of the day, a wide brimmed taupe straw picture hat with a short crown. It’s such a fun hat that I thought looked lovely with Anna-Gabriele’s short hairstyle.

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I think the most showstopping hat of the day was worn by Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein. Her choice, a gigantic purple mushroom shaped picture hat trimmed in white edging and voluminous tulle veil, was dramatic to say the least. The hat was a little over-the-top for my taste and I am still perplexed by the outfit she chose to pair it with. Picture hats and turtlenecks just don’t work well together… ever.

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I think this showstopper is a great hat to end my hat coverage of Claire and Felix’s wedding. I’m sure you join me in wishing this lovely young couple a lifetime of love and happiness.

Photos from Getty as indicated; Albert Nieboer and Crystal / Slash News via Corbis

Birthday of Lady Nicholas Windsor

Royal Hats Lady Nicholas Windsor (née Paola de Frankopan) celebrates her 44th birthday today. Paola married Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, in 2006 in the Vatican- the first ever marriage of a member of the British Royal Family to be held there. These days, the couple live quietly out of the royal spotlight with their two young sons; Paola is a freelance writer (check out her article in Vogue about her wedding). As we celebrate her birthday today, here is one of my favourite of Paola’s hats, a purple feather and orchid fascinator she wore to the wedding of Prince Georg of  Prussia and Princess Sophie of Prussia during the summer of 2011. I think it’s wonderfully whimsical and very fun.

Lady Nicholas Windsor, August 27, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog

Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: August 27, 2011 and April 29, 2011

Photo from James Coldrey via Getty

Trooping the Colour Continued

The extended British Royal Family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace today for Trooping the Colour (check here for a review of hats worn by the Queen’s immediate family). This is quite a fine, hatted bunch, isn’t it?!

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The Duchess of Kent wore a white pillbox hat trimmed with purple roses and a white tulle veil.

The Duchess of Kent, June 15, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Her hat was a little fussy for my taste and I thought the colour washed her out a little but it was a much better hat than her daughter Lady Helen Taylor wore (to the right of the Duchess, below). Helen wore what looked like grey feathered antlers stuck on a white skull cap. I can only imagine we need a close look at this Stephen Jones creation to fully appreciate it. The Countess of St. Andrews (Helen’s sister-in-law on the far right) wore a navy blue straw beret topped with an explosion of feathers. I think this hat looks rather circus-y with Sylvana’s lime green lace dress and… dare I say… looks too young for her? Sylvnna’s two daughters, Lady Amelia and Lady Marina, looked much more appropriate and fashionable than their mother and aunt. Amelia wore an apricot vagabond hat while Marina chose a wide white picture hat with flat crown and dramatically raised brim designed by Yvette Jelfs. I’m not usually a fan of orange hued hats but I really liked Amelia’s chapeau.

Lady Amelia Windsor, The Duchess of Kent, Lady Helen Taylor, Lady Marina Windsor and the Countess of St. Andrews, June 15, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of Kent’s other daughter-in-law, Lady Nicholas Windsor (second from right below)) wore a large cream lacy fascinator trimmed with a peach coloured rose. It looks a little odd to me, especially with the slim feather sticking straight up out of it. Princess Alexandra of Kent is unwell so she did not attend today’s festivities but her granddaughter, Zenouska Mowatt did her proud in a large black straw Jane Taylor picture hat (right). This hat, which appears similar to the “Florence”  or “Lady A” shape, was one of my favourites of the day. Zenouska shared a marvelous picture of his hat on her Twitter feed, here.  I also thought the Countess of Ulster (daughter-in-law of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on the far left) looked great in her small turquoise blue button percher with quill trim. It’s the “Nicolette” design from Bundle MacLaren.

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Princess Michael of Kent wore a large white pillbox. I love a simple pillbox hat but this one seems gigantic. Marie-Christine obviously does not think so as this is the third time she has worn this hat to this event (see her at the Trooping the Colour in 2011 and again in 2008).

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Lady Gabriella Windsor wore one of my favourite hats of the day- a pale lilac picture hat with diagonal, upturned brim and large side looped bow. The bow looks like a signature embellishment of Philip Treacy so I’m betting this is another one of his designs. This is a new hat for Gabriella and I think it looks stunningly beautiful on her.

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The extended British Royal Family hat a few hits and a few more misses with their hats today but all in all, it was a great day for royal millinery.

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We will see a few more British Royal hats on Monday at the Order of the Garter service and then we have the hat event of the year, Royal Ascot! Let the hat craziness commence!

Photos from Mark Cuthbert via The TelegraphPacific Coast News via ZimbioChris Jackson via Zimbio; Mark Cuthbert via Getty and The Royal Kents Blog