Yesterday marked 20 years since the wedding of Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Daniel Chatto. After looking at the gowns and headpieces worn by the bride and her bridesmaids, we now turn our attention to the hats worn by Lady Sarah’s royal relatives. Lady Sarah’s mother, the late Princess Margaret, wore a pale blue hat with large, flat crown, short brim and side spray of silk roses. The hat is very much in tune with early 1990s style and scale which I think was too large for petite Princess Margaret. The hat seemed to dwarf her although the colour was very pretty.
Lady Sarah’s sister-in-law, Viscountess Linley, wore a large black straw hat with front raised brim designed by Philip Treacy. The transparent straw hat brim was edged in a wide black band of fabric and the crown of the hat looks like it was an oversize bubble of cream straw. It is a fascinating hat but again, the oversize 1990s scale seems a little too big for Serena.
Queen Elizabeth wore a coral and white straw hat with a simple white band and bow around the crown. If you look closely, you will see that the front of the brim has a diagonal seam- the brim is coral on one side and white on the other (and vice versa on the underside of the brim). This two toned feature is a unique one for Her Majesty and was the design of Ian Thomas (who was once assistant to Norman Hartnell). The brim size is also unique- we seldom see the Queen in hats with such a large brim anymore and I think she wore brims very well. The scale and coral colour of this chapeau was lovely on her.
Lady Sarah’s grandmother, the late Queen Mother, wore a cream hat with wide brim trimmed with a wrap of ostrich feathers around the crown (see bottom photo in this post for a better sense of the scale of this hat). The large brim of this hat now seems like it was quite a departure for the Queen Mum, who usually wore calot style hats with upturned front brims that did not obscure her face. This hat was a very stately departure in her millinery style and I think she looked marvelous.
Princess Anne wore a smart cream hat with raised slit brim in the back. It is another hat that now looks rather dated but twenty years ago, I think it was a fairly stylish piece. Lady Helen Taylor wore an embroidered white skull cap. While her ensemble might look a little odd, I have a feeling the Punjabi kurta-style outfit might have been a gentle nod to the country where Sarah and Daniel met (and returned for their honeymoon). That being said, the form fitting hat was an interesting choice for Lady Helen, who was eight months pregnant with her first child at the time.
Princess Diana wore a somber navy dress and picture hat with a large sash that wrapped around the crown and knotted on the side of the hat. The brim was gently raised in front and turned sharply downwards in the back. It is certainly not my favourite of Diana’s hats as it seemed a little severe on her.
One of the surprise guests at this wedding was Sophie Rhys-Jones who accompanied Prince Edward. Sophie’s cream top hat with tulle around the brim and large trailing bow at the back seems to capture the essence of early 1990s millinery fashion. Thankfully, styles changed by the time she joined the British royal family in 1999.
While Lady Sarah’s bridal ensemble seems timelessly elegant, the hats at this wedding seem to reflect the fashion of the day. I am curious, dear readers, which royal hats at this wedding do you remember liking at the time? Which ones did not strike your fancy?
Photos from Tim Graham via Getty; Matthew Polak via Corbis; Chip Hires, Chip Hires, Stringer and Tim Graham via Getty; and APL and Topfoto via The Royal Forums