Royal Ascot Day 1: The British Royal Family

After looking at the hats worn by Queen Elizabeth and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai for the first day of Royal Ascot yesterday, my guest commenters British Milliner Katie Vale and American milliner Jill Courtemanche and I are going to look at the hats worn by the British Royal Family. Here goes!

Duchess of Cornwall in Philip Treacy

JC: I love that Camilla embraces wearing hats opposed to some who just plop on some old thing and go. She always manages to pull of what I think on a lot of women would just be too much hat. As such my first instinct is to say that the design of this hat is “heavy”, it has a lot going on (and a very distinct crown) but she carries it fabulously. The color lightens everything up and flatters her skin tone and the detail work on the trim is phenomenal. As a designer I can definitely say that putting that much trim on a hat and still managing to make it look light, is no easy task!

KV: I just love that Camilla has the confidence to wear such large hats. They suit her and she carries them well. The brim has an inverted edging I think, I really like that. And I think the decoration is dramatic! If there had been smaller decoration it would’ve been lost, because of the one plain colour.

RH: Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. I also adore Camilla in large picture hats and there is something so beautiful about the movement on the side decoration of this hat. This hat has a LOT going on- inverted edging, double grey straw bands around the crown, a blue net band around the crown, and the curled bow loop decoration on the side- but it is so well balanced it does not seem overdone. Paired with Camilla’s beautiful blue and silver coat dress, I think this outfit is perfection. My favourite hat of the day!

Princess Beatrice in Sarah Cant

JC: Fantastic! The color and the shape are both gorgeous on her. The hat is simple but the detailing in the texture really add a nice architectural feel to the hat while still keeping it ladylike. It’s fun and age appropriate but not a fascinator which is refreshing.

KV: I like the colour tones and the decoration on the top crown, but I don’t like the brim and how it slopes in one sweep.

RH: I love it! The combination of teal and navy feels so modern and is perfect for Princess Beatrice. I love the unusual shape of the hat and the stitched lines on the crown and brim- beautiful embellishment without being too much. Many hats would have been too busy with this lace dress but these two pieces are the perfect compliment. Modern, interesting but still very beautiful on Beatrice. Another one of my favourite hats of the day!

Princess Eugenie in Nerida Fraiman

KV: I try to find positives in everything….but to me this just looks like a clam shell on her head with a flower stuck on it. I’m really sorry but I’ve seen her wear so much better!

RH: I am a sucker for a black and white hat and I find the small pleats on the base of the hat give it some texture. Eugenie has certainly worn some more memorable hats but this one seems classic and rather sweet.

JC: I can’t really say anything bad about this hat, the colors are nice and soft and there is a lovely combination of textures but its not something I am going to remember. I would like to see a bit more pizazz and fun, it’s Ascot after all.

Countess of Wessex in Jane Taylor

JC: This hat is interesting to me, I can’t decide which way to go. The shape and the color are lovely on her and I very much like the textural combination of the beadwork with the buntal as it’s not something you commonly see and therefore feels fresh but it also looks a bit heavy and the quills are all bent up. I think because it Ascot and you want to go a bit more over the top, it works but I’m not in love with it.

RH: I feel like this is a confusing jumble of things going on. I like creative and fantastical hats but this one feels really disjointed. I do, however, like this pale blue on Sophie.

KV: Oh dear! This just highlights how important placement is! If this was 1-2″ more to the left, with the pearl facing directly front on it would just look so much better. As it is though…..I’m not a fan!

Princess Anne

JC: Why is she wearing this cocktail hat like a yarmulke? A very cute hat (if not a bit too youthful) and the colors match her suit effortlessly but in my opinion she has it on all wrong. I want to tilt it down towards her right eye so the veil cages over her eyes instead of her hair.

KV:Hhhmmmmm….the hat is nice and the colour tone matches her outfit really well, but it’s placed too far back. So it doesn’t sit right. Which is a shame as I really like her dress and jacket.

RH: Even with placement further forward as a cocktail hat should be (which would make SUCH an improvement), the brown and yellow colour combination seems really tired. I also think the flower plonked on the middle of this hat was not such a good idea. Anne has recently worn some new hats with brims; I think a more traditional shape with a brim works so much better for her than a cocktail hat.

Zara Phillips Tindall in Philip Treacy

KV: Does she ever get it wrong? A large front disc! Gorgeous! Modern! Stylish & chic. The spirals just add a splash of fun to it. The only thing is that as it’s all cream you can’t see the detail very well.

JC: I think Zara looks lovely in this hat. It’s a good shape for her and it’s a very clean, ladylike finish for her suit. I’m not wowed, I think we’ve seen this look before and as so it almost makes it look ordinary (which just sounds crazy because if one was to wear that here in the states it would be anything but).

Royal Hats: What a marvelous Ascot hat! I love the black and white colour combination, especially the mix of a rather sedate dress with a statement hat. Her chignon also balances the hat so very well. I don’t find this ordinary at all! Another one of my favourite hats of the day!

Photos from Getty as indicated

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8 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 1: The British Royal Family

  1. I love the Duchess of Cornwall’s outfit. As others have said, huge hats suit her.
    I like Princess Beatrice’s hat too, for a change.
    Nothing about the Princess Royal’s outfit works today.

  2. MrFitzroy finds the Duchess of Cornwall’s hat, in the full length photo from a distance, appears as if a flock of origami cranes have just launched from it…….and he is totally charmed by the hat…distant, and closeup. As others have noted, nobody can wear a BIG hat like Our Camilla….she’d have been quite the swan in the Edwardian era.

    MIssing the more quirky youthfulness of the Yorkie sisters, but both look wonderful and mature here, Bea hits every note, head to toe — and Eugenie, while she needs to ditch the recent parade of blergh raincoats, has her hair controlled and sculpted in the most fabulous way, which makes what could be a rather ‘standard’ hat from her, look amazing!

    Sophie and Zara both look well, if with slight quirks overall …. and the Princess Royal — well Anne is Anne, and we wouldnt have it any other way!

  3. Although by itself Camilla’s hat is very charming, it falls a little flat for me. May be I have to kick off after her fabulous pink outfit the other day.

    I always have to laugh seeing princess Anne and fantasize about her sighing to her husband: it’s dressing up time again (in dutch we would say: another ‘verkleedpartij’) and she goes to her attic and fishes some things out of a big box. I don’t like her hat, but can totally understand that she wants to see the horses without a curtain.

    I don’t particularly like Beatrice’s and Eugenie’s hats: hope to see something more fun.

  4. Camilla – more lovely ice blue going on, big hat with the usual Treacy touch of theatre – TICK
    Beatrice – lovely dress in a really unusual colour and interesting hat with very pretty little bow – TICK
    Eugenie – looking stunning!! Mac look I like because of the colour and lustre of the fabric, and the hat is just a beauty! I don’t usually like her hat choices but today was exceptional I thought. It immediately reminded me of a Paper Nautilus (stay with me!). It’s an octopus and the shell that you find washed up on the beach belongs to it. It is crimped (like the base of the hat), is translucent, beautifully formed, very fragile and delicate. A beautiful thing to behold. Because of that, the bloom and the black swirls – BIG TICK
    Sophie – more ice blue and interesting beads – TICK
    Anne – X
    Zara – having a good time and obviously loving motherhood – TICK

  5. Yes, for once, Beatrice pulls it all together. Fab hat and she looks great in it. Her sister, not so much. I wonder if Anne simply didn’t want the veil over her eyes? You know, blocking her view, as it were. Love CoW’s (oh dear, sorry about that) hat but can’t figure out why the wires are even there as it begins to look like a piece of floral art, minus the flowers! I love the colour and the pearls, very sexy. I think Zara and Cornwall can wear anything – and wouldn’t it be lovely to see Zara’s dress just skimming the base of her knees, would bea touch more elegant IMHO.

  6. Thanks to all three for your interesting observations. I know that Camilla actually wears quite varied hats, including smaller beret-based ones, but I have a feeling that these flamboyant picture hats which she wears so outstandingly well will come to be seen as her style in the same way that the Queen Mother had a recognisable style.

    Beatrice’s hat was lovely, simple but unusual. Eugenie’s I’m not so fond of – the dusky pink of the rose just seems a bit dirty in comparison with the black and white of the rest of the hat. Princess Anne’s outfit is handsome and much more interesting than she often wears, but the hat is SO in the wrong place! If it were tipped forward as it should be, I think it would be a stronger look altogether. Sophie’s – well, I must say, it gets major plaudits for being intriguing; I’m trying to see how on earth it’s contructed. And I think it looks very good from a distance, perhaps not quite so much from close-up. Zara’s hat is lovely, although the sunlight makes it difficult to see any details!

  7. Beatrice looks stunning! Big hats are great on her, and this one is quirky enough to be ‘her’, but flattering too. I think this could be my favourite of her looks. Camilla is in her uniform (like the Queen), and works it, that hat is fabulous, and quirky to boot. Eugenie is wearing a mac for some reason (did she lose her clothes?), the hats nice enough though. I like Soph’s look, but I’m desperate for colour on her. And Anne, well, it’s new I guess! I’m not sure she suits a from frou hat though, and it has just been rather plonked on the cottage loaf. That leaves Zara, and she looks fab – that’s a fun hat and her hair looks elegant underneath.

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