Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Split Crown Hats of Angela Kelly

Royal Hats Blog So far in our series on the signature shapes hat designer Angela Kelly uses for Queen Elizabeth’s hats, we have looked at the “Diagonal Crowns“,  “Flat Brims”, the “Teardrop Crowns“, and the “Wrapped Crowns”. Today we’re going to look at another distinct shape, one I call the “Split Crown”.

Queen Elizabeth, April 5, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, March 20, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Visiting a chocolate factory in April 2013 and celebrating the 150th anniversary of the underground, March 2013

Queen Elizabeth, July 6, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, October 26, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog 

Visiting Ground Zero in New York, July 2010 and welcoming the Emir of Qatar to England, October 2010

Queen Elizabeth, June 7, 2014 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

At the Epsom Races, June 7, 2014

Queen Elizabeth in Angela Kelly, June 16, 2015 | Royal Hats

At Royal Ascot, June 16, 2016

These hats all feature a divided crown; one side is straight while the other follows the diagonal shape of a tulip petal. Of the four hats seen here, two have upturned brims while the other three have classic short cartwheel brims. I think the hat works well in the white and red forms we see here- something about the textured tweed fabric used on these two versions makes this uniquely shaped crown work much better (same as the purple hat above, which looks beautiful in straw which has its own natural texture). The white and red hats also feature large feathers which makes the  seam of the split crown less prominent. It’s not my favourite hat shape but of the interesting Angela Kelly-esque shapes we have looked at so far, I think it is the most successful. What do you think of this unique hat shape?

UPDATE: A seventh hat in this shape appeared in Her Majesty’s wardrobe on January 10, 2016 and an eighth, on March 3, 2017. Notice that the crown in the purple hat is split toward Queen Elizabeth’s right side as opposed to all the hats above, which have a split toward her left.

Photos from WPA PoolGf/Bauer GriffinDan Kitwoood, and Bryan Bedder via Zimbio; Max Mumby via Getty; Anthony Stanley/Retna Ltd. via Corbis and Getty as indicated

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12 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Split Crown Hats of Angela Kelly

  1. Here is a photo from 2006. I don’t know whether it’s an early split crown hat from AK or whether it could be someone else’s inspiration for AK’s split crowns. One sees that distinctive shape.

  2. I don’t mind these shaped crowns as much as the other Angela Kelly designs and the difference in the brims mixes it up a bit. I think the upturned brims work better when the hat is all one color, as in the tweed. The pink/black one should be too costumey and on anyone else it would be but somehow HM makes it work, probably because the coat is predominantly the pink and the hat breaks it up a bit. And because of her big smile red is my absolute favorite of this group, the feathers really make it!

  3. I like all of these hats. I think they all suit the Queen well. My favorite was the one she wore when she visited Ground Zero in New York in 2010.

  4. I actually like this hat shape. It gives the eye something to focus in on that is different than the normal shape crown for a hat. I like unique without going overboard. To me the split crown is a fun vision of style and suits the Queen.

  5. I think that these are very competent hats that ring the changes a bit with the split crown. Either public figures develop one style and stick to it (the Queen Mother, for instance), or else they have a wider repertoire and depend more on other things like colour-blocking for their public recognition. The Queen doesn’t have a single hat shape , so I would say the more variety, the better. Most members of the public would probably be hard-pressed to say how her various hats differ, but I think subconsciously it stops them being boring. The only one of these that I think is less successful is the grey and blue one, and somehow that’s to do with the brim. I like the red one very much, the feathers are just the perfect embellishment.

  6. This is a real nice type of hat. I like the beige one with the blue under brim. It looks real nice with Lilabet’s flower dress.

  7. I much prefer the rolled brims on the Queen, but I do agree that a feather or something to help conceal the split in the brim is preferable. Something looks rather hard or harsh about those crowns, and I’d like to see a softer look on the Queen as she ages.

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