While it is great fun to admire the merits of royal hats, I am often curious about the life of a hat. How many times is it worn? What kind of occasion warrants the debut of a new hat? So, following your suggestion, dear readers, I’m pleased to announce a new feature here on the blog, a feature that will have us follow the life of a royal hat. And who better to kick off this feature than Queen Elizabeth.
The Hat: Turquoise blue Rachel Trevor Morgan design with a straw brim and square shaped crown covered in turquoise velvet. The crown is wrapped in a ruched sash in the same velvet and the hat is trimmed with a crimson silk rose and small, curling crimson and turquoise feathers.
Debut: October 19, 2006 for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s arrival in Tallin, Estonia on a landmark tour of the Baltic countries. The Queen wrapped a blue scarf round her neck and the print of her dress (which relates to the crimson bloom on the hat) was only visible on her skirt. Event importance: very high with international media coverage
Second Wearing: June 22, 2007 for Ascot. This time, the floral print of the dress was visible close to the hat and the crimson rose suddenly made sense. Event importance: high with international media coverage.
Third Wearing: June 5, 2008 for a day of engagements in Cumbria which included tours of the Cumbrian Rural Enterprise Agency and the Cumberland Pencil Factory. Event importance: average
Fourth Wearing: May 6, 2009 to open a new wing of Altnagelvin area hospital in Londonderry whilst on a 3-day tour of Northern Ireland. Event importance: moderate
Fifth Wearing: Trooping the Colour on June 13, 2009. After being worn once a year for the past 3 years, the Queen repeats this hat a month after it’s last appearance for her Official Birthday Celebration (arguably, the most photographed day of her year). Event importance: high with international media coverage
Sixth Wearing: May 20, 2010 on a day of engagements in Yorkshire. Event importance: average
Seventh Wearing: The Queen repeated this hat again on June 14, 2010 for the Queen’s Cup match at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park. Event importance: Unexpectedly high when the international media noticed the Queen not wearing a seat belt driving herself to and from this event.
Eighth Wearing: July 14, 2010 in Castle Douglas, Galloway, Scotland. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh met members of the farming community and attended a livestock show while touring rural Dumfries and Galloway. Event importance: average
I see three particularly interesting things about how this hat has been worn. The first is the once-per-year outings in each of the first three years this hat was in circulation. In its fourth season in 2009, it was worn twice and in 2010, it was seen three times. I suspect Queen Elizabeth’s pattern of increased frequency might be found with other hats as well. Secondly, the hat appears to be unchanged from its debut in 2006. The final observation I have is the varied events this hat has been worn to. I expected it to start with highest profile events (as it did) and slowly move to lowest profile events. The Queen threw a curve in my theory, choosing the fifth outing of this hat for the Trooping the Colour in 2009, one of the highest profile events in her year. It seems like an event that might warrant a new hat but often, Queen Elizabeth wears something we have seen before.
What do you notice about how this hat has been worn? Do you think it has been retired or will we see it again?
Photos from AFP/Stringer, Mark Cuthbert, MJ Kim, and Pool/Tim Graham via Getty; Stringer/UK via Corbis; Chris Jackson and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; Bauer Griffin, Bauer Griffin, and Andrew Milligan/Getty via Zimbio