Hat Mystery

I recently came across a hat, designed by Simone Mirman and worn by Queen Elizabeth, that I do not recall seeing before. The fine quilted stitching, blue star and red tab make it a distinctive and beautifully executed piece. The photographer’s note says it was worn in Morocco – I suspect, on the same October 1980 tour as the red poppy hat we looked at a few weeks ago, but I can’t find any record of this. So, I turn to your photo archives and encyclopedic memories, dearest readers, for help. Do any of you recall when this hat was worn?

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Photos from Getty as indicated

British Queen and Norwegian King Celebrate Anglo-Norse Society Centenary

Queen Elizabeth and King Harald of Norway met in London this morning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Anglo-Norse Society. For this event, Queen Elizabeth repeated the raspberry felt hat she first wore in Scotland in September, giving us the closer look at the design that we have been waiting for!

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This view confirms that the felt design features a molded crown with domed top and gently sidesweeping brim bound in the same wool crepe as the Queen’s suit. The coat fabric is repeated on a hatband and the hat is completed with a bouquet of hand cut felt leaves on the side which lend wonderful texture and movement to the design. There are a few surprises here- first is the mix of felt and fabric and how, in some light conditions, the two different materials show slightly different shades, giving some welcome subtle contrast to the design. The second, even bigger surprise is the jacket this hat accompanies- it’s not a coat! I’m not entirely sure about the waist tie on it but it’s great fun to see the Queen wearing something other than her usual dress-and-coat uniform- especially in such a glorious colour as this.

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Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan
Previously Worn: Sep 23, 2018
My fondness for this hat has grown immensely thanks to this closer view- what do you think of it today?
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Queen Opens City Investment Firm

Queen Elizabeth was in the City of London this morning to officially open the new headquarters of Schroders, a global investment manager founded in 1804. For this event, she repeated her teal blue wool hourglass shaped cloche hat trimmed with black velvet flowers and leaves.

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I still love the saturated colour and contrast provided by the black velvet trim (which links so beautifully with the coat’s collar) but the exaggerated shape of the crown makes the hat a non-favourite for me.

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Designer: Angela Kelly.
Previously Worn: Oct 23, 2017;  Dec 3, 2015; Apr 2, 2015Oct 16, 2014
It’s lovely to see the Queen out and about today- any new thoughts about this hat?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Queen Elizabeth’s Iconic Hats

 Over the late summer and early fall, we undertook a quest to identify Queen Elizabeth’s most iconic hats. Through much searching and discussion, we narrowed down hats worn over eight decades to a few that are “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.” It’s interesting- some hats were nominated as iconic for the events they attended, while others for the merit (or memorability) of their design. Despite some difficulties with subjectivity and definition, there were 34 hats that received consensus as deserving of this ‘iconic’ label:


Red velvet bow trimmed bonnet with black veil at Prince Charles’ Christening on December 15, 1948
Blue folded-brim calot with tulle ruffle for Princess Anne’s christening on October 21, 1950


Feather trimmed brimmless black hat worn for her return to London from Kenya as Queen, February 7, 1952
Black-crinoline brimmed hat trimmed with red and green ostrich feathers worn with a Hardie Ames white lace dress at a Sydney, Australia garden party on February 1, 1954 during the Coronation tour


Blue veiled headpiece with silk flowers designed by Norman Hartnell for Princess Margaret’s wedding, May 7, 1960
The memorable “yellow spaghetti” hat by Simone Mirman worn May 27, 1965 on a visit to Germany


The yellow silk Tudor snood with pearls by Simone Mirman worn for the July 1, 1969 investiture of the Prince of Wales
Aqua blue silk and feather brimless hat by Simone Mirman on November 20, 1972 for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s 25th wedding anniversary Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey


Royal blue silk turban with purple lace and ribbon flowers by Simone Mirman worn for Princess Anne’s first wedding on November 14, 1973
Bright pink Simone Mirman designed turban with swinging bell flowers around the back worn for the opening of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the June 7, 1977 Silver Jubilee 


Stitched green tam ‘o shanter hat with feather trim worn to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 1980
Ian Thomas designed sky blue silk crepe turban with chiffon flowers worn July 29, 1981 for the Wales’ wedding


Ruched turban in dotted blue silk organdie by Frederick Fox worn for Prince William’s christening August 4, 1982 and a tour of the Solomon Islands in October 1982
Blue silk crepe hat with chiffon flowers by Ian Thomas worn for the York’s wedding in July 1986


Double brimmed purple felt hat worn for a memorable visit to the Great Wall of China on October 14, 1986
Royal blue Philip Somerville hat (made by Dillon Wallwork) with chevron silk striped bows worn October 17, 1988 during a visit to Spain


The purple straw boater with white stripes ‘talking hat’ worn on May 14, 1991 for an address (on a too-short podium) at the White House in Washington, DC
The dark teal velvet “Annus Horribilis” hat worn for a November 24, 1992 speech at Guildhall in London


Wide brimmed black Bretton hat worn to return to London from Scotland on September 5, 1997
Triangular shaped bumper hat with silk bow worn to the Princess of Wales’ funeral on September 6, 2018


The brimless, stacked accordion hat by Marie O’Reagan worn December 11, 1997 to decommission Britannia
Purple feather bandeau fascinator by Frederick Fox for the July 19, 1999 wedding of the Wessexes


Purple asymmetrical hat by Philip Somerville with green feathers worn to the opening of Scottish Parliament, July 1, 1999
Black square crowned cloche with silk folded hatband and feathers worn to the funerals of her mother and sister in 2002


Vibrant blue straw hat with basket-weave brim by Frederick Fox worn for the Golden Jubilee, June 4, 2002 (and on an earlier visit to Botswana in 1998
White ruched crown Philip Somerville hat with black silk bow and straw brim worn on a 2008 trip to Slovakia and on April 25, 2015 for a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark the ANZAC Landings 


Philip Somerville’s ‘pink swirl’ silk picture hat worn to Oman in 2010 and Ascot in June 2011
Blue straw ‘Union Jack hat’ with red piped bow by Rachel Trevor Morgan worn in 2011 in Cambridge and on April 2015 day at Newbury Races


Yellow silk crepe covered boater hat with flowers and velvet leaves by Angela Kelly worn April 29, 2011 for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding
White hat with upswept, ruched silk brim by Angela Kelly worn for the June 3, 2012 Diamond Jubilee Thames Flotilla


Textured silk hat with kettle straw brim and crystal-studded green chiffon hatband by Angela Kelly worn for the June 5, 2012 Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral
Blue silk crepe covered ‘Wedgwood’ hat with lace trim by Angela Kelly first worn June 25, 2012 in Norther Ireland

     Jun 21, 2017 in AK | Royal Hats

Peach feathered ‘Bond Girl’ fascinator by Angela Kelly worn for the July 27, 2012 opening of the London Olympics
The ‘EU flag’ hat in covered in blue paisley silk wool cloqué fabric with yellow-centered blue flowers first worn June 21, 2017 for the state opening of parliament (one of a few in a hat, not a tiara)

It’s incredibly difficult to narrow down several hundreds (thousands?) of hats worn over eight decades but I think you have done and excellent job with this group. Numerous hats here are known by a nickname (surely a sight of distinctive excellence!) or by naming the event they were worn to. I’m curious, dearest readers- what do you think of your list? Are there hats here you don’t think should be included? Is there are particular hat you think has been unfairly omitted?

Photos from Getty as indicated Photo: AP; Camera Press; V&A Images; Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Alamy; DPA: Reginal Davis/Rex Features; Fox Photos, and Hulton Archive via Getty; Douglas Kirkland/Corbis; Serge LemoinePrincess Diana Archive, Tim Graham, Tim GrahamTim Graham, Tim Graham, Anwar Hussein, Joel Robine, Julian Parker, John Shelley Collection/Avalon, Hulton Royals CollectionTim Graham, Ian Waldie, PA Images, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Max Mumby/Indigo, Samir Hussein, Max Mumby/IndigoChris JacksonBethany Clark/Stringer, Max Mumby/IndigoJohn Stillwell, Carl Court

Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to thirty-eight years ago yesterday, when Queen Elizabeth wore a vibrant red poppy covered hat by Simone Mirman on a visit to Morocco. I don’t suspect the Queen was as cheery as her hat this day after King Hassan II’s lack of punctuality caused some tension (watch the youtube clip at the bottom!).

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Photo from Getty as indicated