Who Wore it Best: December Poll Results

The Royal Hats Blog

The Royal Hats Bog

The very last bit of business from 2013 we need to attend to is unveiling the result from our last poll. The clear winner of the black fur Russian-style hat was

Archduchess Kathleen, Dec. 29, 2012  | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Kathleen of Austria, Dec. 29, 2012  

The Austrian royal ladies captured the top two spots in this poll with Princess Beatrix not far behind in third place. Stay tuned later today for the first poll of 2014!

 Photos from PurePeople; Princess Diana Fan Blog; UK Press via Getty; Hoy.es; Samir Hussein via Getty; Christophe Karaba via Corbis; Chris Jackson/Getty via Zimbio; and PurePeople

Who Wore it Best: December 2013 Poll

The Royal Hats Blog

The Royal Hats Bog

Many of the European and North American readers of this blog are deep in the throes of winter and will celebrate a snowy white Christmas next week. It seems fitting, therefore, to wrap up this year’s Who Wore It Best polls with the most traditional of royal winter millinery- a black fur (either faux or real) Cossack-style brimless hat. The hats seen here span four decades and are warming the heads of royals from five countries. With that breadth, it seems this hat is a royal classic. The question remains, however, Who Wore It Best?

*Note- for clarification purposes, each of the following royal ladies has been referred to by their current title and not their title at the time the photograph was taken. 

Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Dec. 29, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Diana, February 1985  | The Royal Hats Blog Countess of Wessex, Jan. 6, 1999  | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Mathilde, Feb. 2, 2002 | The Royal Hats Blog

Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Dec. 29, 2012; Princess Diana in February 1985 
The Countess of Wessex, Jan. 6, 1999; Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Feb. 2, 2002 

Princess Anne, March 13, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Beatrix, Jan.15, 2005 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, Feb. 3, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog Dec. 29, 2012  | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Anne, March 13, 2013; Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Jan.15, 2005;
Queen Elizabeth on February 3, 2009; Archduchess Kathleen of Austria, Dec. 29, 2012  

As usual, the poll will remain open until midnight GMT on January 1, 2014 and we will celebrate the winner the next morning. You are again welcome to vote as many times as you wish.

 Photos from PurePeople; Princess Diana Fan Blog; UK Press via Getty; Hoy.es; Samir Hussein via Getty; Christophe Karaba via Corbis; Chris Jackson/Getty via Zimbio; and PurePeople

Remembering One of the Greats

If we were able to turn back the clock twenty-five years, one of the designers we would be talking about most on this blog would be Frederick Fox. Australian born Freddie, as he was known, moved to London after completing his training and was called upon to make several hats for the Queen in the late 1960s. By the 1980s, he was not only making hats for Queen Elizabeth, but also the Queen Mother, Princess Alice, Princess Alexandra, Princess Anne, Princess Michael of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Princess of Wales. He held a royal warrant as “Milliner to the Queen” from 1974 until his retirement in 2002.

Frederick Fox passed away last week in his eighty second year. Here are a few of his hundreds of royal hats and some final words from the millinery genius himself.

Queen Elizabeth, 1977 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Diana, November 10, 1985 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, 1983 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, 1977; Princess Diana in the USA, 1985; Queen Elizabeth in 1983

Queen Elizabeth, April 1989 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats BlogQueen Elizabeth, October 2000 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth in Fox hats in April 1989 and October 2000

Queen Elizabeth, Feb 20, 2002 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, 1981 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, June 12, 2005 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth in Jamaica, February 2002; in 1981; and at the King’s Cup in 2005

Princess Diana, 1985, in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Michael of Kent, June 19, 1996, in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, June 2, 2002 in Frederick Fox | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Diana in Italy, 1985; Princess Michael at Ascot, 1996;  Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee June 2002

Photos from Douglas Kirkland via Corbis; Getty via Vogue; Walters/Rex USA via Vanity FairVogueVogueTim Graham via Getty; Woman’s DayChris Jackson via Getty; Tim Graham/AP via PeopleTim Graham and Tim Graham via Getty  

Keeping Royal Hats in Place

Royal Hats Blog Reader Arianna submitted a question I suspect many readers are wondering about: And now you must allow me a silly question, but I’m always wondering about it: how do these hats stay on? Especially the ones placed at an angle… Is there a comb inside? I think I’m not the only one among your followers who asks herself this question!  

This is a great question (and for the record, not all royal hats stay on royal heads!). For an answer, I turned to talented American millinery designer, Jill Courtemanche. Her perspective, from the ‘inside out’, is most insightful. Here is what she had to say:

With the younger generation of royals taking center stage in the last few years, the classic cocktail hat has been reinvented and rebranded as the fascinator. These often whimsical fancies come in all shapes and sizes and give the impression that they are defying gravity; suspended in mid-air atop a well coiffed lady.

In my shop in southern California I have a wall of these little perchers and it is always the first stop for clients looking to play dress up, and they always ask the same question, “I love fascinators but how do I keep them on my head?”. There are as many answers to this question as there are heads, as everyone has a different sense of how a hat feels comfortable and every milliner has their own special trick on how to make it fit just right. Here are a few of the more commonly used options:

My personal favorite, as I find it to be the most comfortable for all day wear, is an elastic. Preferably the elastic should be the same color as the wearer’s hair and is worn under the hair at the back, resting below the bump on the back of the head. You can see an example of this here on Princess Marie of Denmark.

Princess Marie, Oct. 6, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Marie, Oct. 6, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Marie attending the opening of Danish Parliament, Oct. 6, 2009

Probably the most common way to attach a fascinator is with a headband. One of the advantages for the designer of using a headband is one can be sure the hat is perched just so. A headband can only be worn one way ensuring perfect positioning every time. The milliner can choose to make the headband very narrow so that it blends in with the wearers hair as seen here on Zara Phillips or incorporate the headband into the design itself for a more seamless look, as seen here on the Countess of Wessex.

Zara Phillips, Dec. 25, 2012 in Karen Henriksen  | The Royal Hats Blog   Countess of Wessex, April 29, 2011 in Jane Taylor | The Royal Hats Blog

Zara Phillips, Dec. 25, 2012 in a Karen Henriksen design
The Countess of Wessex in a Jane Taylor design for William and Kate’s wedding, April 29, 2011

One of the more classic ways of keeping on a hat which is traditionally worn further back on the head, such as a pillbox style is with combs. Seen here on Princess Diana and Princess Beatrice, there is usually a wider comb at the front of the hat, acting as a true anchor and then floater combs or loops for hair pins on each side of the hat for added security.

Princess Beatrice, June 5, 2012 in Philip Sommerville | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Diana, April 10, 1983 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Beatrice in a Stephen Jones design worn for the Diamond Jubilee, June 5, 2012;
Princess Diana while on tour of Australia in April 1983

Of course we can’t talk about any of this without touching on the most classic method of all for keeping ones hat in perfect position, the ever traditional hat pin. This method has been used for centuries and it is fool-proof although less than gentle on the hat! Hat pins are generally 8″ to 10″ in length and go first through the hat, then through the ladies hair and back out through the hat and can be elaborate with jewels or feathers, tone on tone like the one seen here on Queen Elizabeth or simple with a pearl tip as seen here on Queen Máxima.

Queen Elizabeth, July 11, 2001 in Philip Somerville | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Máxima, April 12, 2011 in Fabienne Delvigne | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth in a Philip Somerville design worn at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, July 11, 2001
Princess Máxima (her title at the time) in Fabienne Delvigne for a visit to Germany, April 12, 2011

Of course there are many other methods used but these are the most popular and in my opinion the most comfortable. Feeling secure in your hat is the most important thing, it should look and feel effortless!

Thank you so much, Jill, for sharing your hat knowledge with us. I now find myself looking at hats analyzing if there is a comb, elastic, a hidden headband or a hat pin! For those of you unfamiliar with Jill’s marvelous hat design work, do check out her website here. 

Photos from Hanne Juul/Image Magazine via BilledBladet; Leon Neal via Getty; SOPHIE; Chris Jackson via Getty; Tim Graham; John Stillwell via Getty; and Andreas Rentz via Zimbio

Christening Hat Predictions

Royal Hats Blog The christening of little Prince George is only one week away. I thought today we might speculate on the kind of hat that Kate will choose for this event. So I ask you, dear readers- will Kate wear a hat for this historic event? If she does, what colour and style do you think it will be? To get the conversation started, here are my predictions:

Hat or no Hat? I think it’s a big yes for a hat! The christening will take place in the chapel at St. James Palace and the British royals consistently wear hats to any event that takes place in a church.

Colour? During her pregnancy, Kate wore a string of fairly sedate, neutral hats (see all of her maternity millinery here). Two of her maternity wardrobe hats were in pale pink but she didn’t wear blue at all. I’m not sure that was intentional but it’s a great colour on her and that’s my guess ( in a calm shade. Kate isn’t a woman who shows up in electric blue).

Style? For the most part, Kate’s hats have been small percher-style hats with little or no brim. While I love her in brimmed hats, I don’t think she will choose anything that will obstruct her face or a view of the baby, or shout “look at me!” in a photograph. I suspect she’ll go with something along the lines of Jane Taylor’s Poppy hat.

Here are the royal hats worn for the christening of the Queen’s grandchildren (except for Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, whose christenings were non-hatted affairs) to help inform your guesses:

Princess Anne, December 22, 1977 | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Anne, July 27, 1981 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Anne with Peter, December 22, 1977 and Zara, July 27, 1981

Princess Diana, August 4, 1982  | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Diana, March 28, 1983  | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Diana, December 25, 1984 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Diana with William, August 4, 1982 (and a better view of the hat in 1983) and Harry, Dec. 25, 1984

Duchess of York, Dec 22, 1988  | The Royal Hats Blog   Duchess of York, Dec 23, 1990  | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of York with Beatrice, December 20, 1988 and Eugenie, December 23, 1990

Photos from Hello Magazine and The Days of Majesty Blog

Linley Wedding Guests, Twenty Years Later

1993-10-08 Linley wedding 0 The Royal Hats Blog

The wedding of Viscount Linley and The Hon. Serena Stanhope twenty years ago today was a “mini” royal wedding – while not a prince himself, David Armstrong-Jones was the son of a princess and a member of the extended British Royal Family. And we all know that being a member of the extended British Royal family means there will be some great hats at your wedding! After looking at the bride’s veil and dress earlier today, let’s now turn our attention to the guests’ hats.

David’s mother Princess Margaret wore a black velvet pillbox hat topped in pomegranate coloured spiky feathers to match her crushed velvet coat. His sister, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, wore an unembellished rust coloured straw cloche. At the time, I thought the mix of flowing pant suit, velvet scarves, large earrings and her cloche was a little odd. I’m afraid that time has not changed my view.

Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Princess Margaret, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Margaret, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth wore a salmon pink fabric covered hat with rounded crown and high, upturned, pleated brim. Her hat designer, Frederick Fox, had a taste for the dramatic and this is certainly evident here! Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (and grandmother of the groom) wore one of her signature veiled capulet hats with upturned front brim and side spray of fathers.

Queen Elizabeth, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Anne, who had married Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence less than a year earlier, repeated the turquoise blue veiled pillbox with side rose she had originally debuted during the mid 1980s. (Anne would later wear this hat to Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005 and her grandmother’s 100th birthday in 2000).

Princess Anne, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Anne, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Lady Helen Taylor wore powder blue bowler hat with wide ribbon wrapped around the crown. Princess Diana was also in blue- a large blue lampshade style hat with white ribbon trim around the brim and wrapped around the crown designed by Philip Somerville. At the time, I believe some were surprised to see her at this wedding as she and Prince Charles had announced their separation ten months earlier and her future royal role was unclear.

Lady Helen Taylor, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog   Princess Diana, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Alexandra of Kent wore a dove grey hat with rounded crown wrapped in a black ribbon and trimmed with flowers and net. I think this hat translates fairly well today, as do the hats of Julia Ogilvy (her daughter-in-law) in black and and the Duchess of Gloucester in dark teal blue.

Princess Alexandra, Julia Ogilvy, Duchess of Gloucester, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

The only foreign royals I could find at this wedding were Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and Princess Salimah Aga Khan. Queen Anne-Marie wore a large black (or chocolate brown?!) hat with an upturned brim and a high almost Puritan shaped pointed crown. That hat was a little too Halloween-esque for my taste. My favourite hat at this wedding was the brown capulet worn by Princess Salimah Aga Khan. The shape is so chic and the black band around the crown and trim around the upturned brim gives a bit of punchy contrast.

Queen Anne-Marie, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Salimah Aga Khan, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

While Princess Salimah’s hat was my favourite, the most memorable hat of the day probably needs to go to the bride herself. The new Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones wore this cowgirl-meets-disco ball whizpopper designed by (who else?) Philip Treacy to depart on her honeymoon to Zimbabwe after the wedding. It’s something else, isn’t it?!

Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog     Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Serena’s mother Virginia looked very elegant in a purple picture hat with slightly curved brim (she is to the left of Princess Margaret, below). Her hat, like several others, has aged very well- surprisingly well, in fact. While many hats at this wedding do seem rather dated, there are an equal number that could easily be worn today. This fashion longevity warms my heart and makes me so pleased to be a fan of royal hats. As I sign off this post and wish Viscount and Viscountess Linley the happiest of anniversaries, I can’t resist asking- Which hat at this wedding is your favourite?

British Royal Family, October 8, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog

Photos from The Royal ForumsTim Graham,  Tim Graham and Tim Graham via Getty; Tim Graham/AP via People Magazine; Dave Parker, Dave Parker and Dave Parker via Spokeo

Valentines Millinery

In some parts of the world today, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated. Thinking about pink hearts and red flowers inevitably leads me to think of royal millinery inspired by this holiday.

The Classic Red Rose Bouquets

Princess Máxima | The Royal Hats Blog Countess of Wessex | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands at a government function, January 26, 2012 
The Countess of Wessex attending church with the British Royal Family in a headpiece designed by Rachel Trevor Morgan, December 25, 2009

The Love Knots

Queen Elizabeth | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Elizabeth visiting Staffordshire, March 31, 2006 and at Ascot, June 16, 2012

The Head-To-Toe Pinky Pinks

Princess Grace | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Letizia | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Mathilde | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Grace of Monaco visiting the Fifth Rose Show in Monza, Italy in May 1970
Princess Letizia of Asturias (Spain) in a Pablo & Mayaya design at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, April 19, 2011
Princess Mathilde of Belgium at National Day Celebrations, July 21, 2005

The Valentine’s Pink and Red Clash

Princess Diana | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Máxima | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Diana on a state visit to Kuwait, March 14, 1989
Princess Máxima of the Netherlands at a family wedding, August 27, 2005

The Vintage Pink Garden Roses

Duchess of Cornwall | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Eugenie | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of Cornwall at Ascot, June 17, 2009
Princess Eugenie attending church with the British Royal Family, December 25, 2011

The Fuchsia Roses and Ruffles Explosion

Princess Haya | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Haya of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai, at Ascot, June 2012

And The Stylized Modern Hearts

Princess Victoria | The Royal Hats Blog Duchess of Castro | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Victoria of Sweden (in a Fabienne Delvigne design) welcoming the Luxembourg Royal Family for a visit to Sweden, April 15, 2008
Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro, at the wedding of Prince Georg of Prussia, August 2011

None of these hats, however, can top the heart-shaped spectacle that Princess Camilla, The Duchess of Castro (née Camilla Crocciani) wore to the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock on July 2, 2011.  This is a whole lotta pink-hearted hat love (ironically, at a wedding rife with rumors that the bride was trying to run away). It seldom happens but I think this hat puts me at a total loss for words.

Duchess of Castro | The Royal Hats Blog

Which one of these Valentine’s inspired hats is your favourite?

Photos from Dutch Photo PressStyle BistroGetty, Getty, Grace and Family blogDaily Mail, Getty, Getty, GettyZimbio, Sky, GettyZimbio and PianetaDonna