Seeing Double: The Duchess of Cornwall

Royal HatsOne of the more interesting pairs of ‘hat twins’ can be found inside the millinery closet of the Duchess of Cornwall. When Camilla married the Prince of Wales on April 9, 2005, she was one of the few royal brides who wore a hat. And WHAT a hat it was! Made of cream straw in a delicately woven lattice pattern, the flat crowned hat featured a wide mushroom brim covered in lace and trimmed with a dramatic sweep feathers. I always thought that Philip Treacy knocked it out of the proverbial royal park with this design and that Camilla looked beautiful in it.

Duchess of Cornwall, April 9, 2005 in Philip Treacy | Royal HatsCamilla has worn this hat a number of times since her wedding, giving us a chance to see the amazing detail in closer view.

Duchess of Cornwall, June 15,  2009 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

At the Order of the Garter Service, June 15,  2009

Last June when the Royal family arrived for the Service commemorating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, numerous royal watchers assumed Camilla had again repeated her wedding hat. If you look closely, however, you will see it was not the same hat. In palest blue, the feathers on this hat are slightly different and the lace trimming the brim is in a scalloped pattern. While the shape is the same, the pattern of the straw is the same , the approach to the feather and lace trim is the same, and the designer, Philip Treacy, is the same, this is certainly a different hat.

Duchess of Cornwall, June 4, 20013  in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, June 4,  2013

 I am always intrigued when royals choose a ‘twin’ to a hat they already own and wear. This pair of twins is even more interesting as it involves one of the most famous and recognizable hats Camilla has ever worn- it seems odd to me that she chose to ‘twin’ her wedding hat. I suppose it’s a sign of her affection for this hat and that is a factor I can’t argue against. Individually, these are both magnificent hats.

Incidentally, Camilla has not worn her wedding hat since unveiling this pale blue ‘twin’- perhaps it has been retired to the royal dress archives and this new hat was commissioned as a replacement. We will simply have to wait and see. In the meantime, dear readers, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about this pair of hat twins.

Photos from Georges de Keerle, Chris Jackson and Samir Hussein via Getty

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15 thoughts on “Seeing Double: The Duchess of Cornwall

  1. I remember being quite impressed with Cams outfit for the wedding and the blessing. Both hats are lovely and she cna wear large hats like no one else. It would be quite a compliment to a hat maker for her to request another similiar one wouldn’t it. Also think Snug Harbor has a good take on how that may have come about. Good one.

  2. I wonder if a twin was made because of the V&A wedding exhibit opening. I know her blessing outfit is in there, and I wonder if there was some confusion as to which outfit would be wanted, or if both outfits are included.

  3. I echo those who prefer the cream. Can’t put my finger on it, but something about the blue makes it look like a cheap imitation. As far as “copying” the original design,I have no objection. It’s a classic shape that suits Camilla well, so why not go with what works? I do wonder that the embellishment was so similar, though, especially when the execution was so inferior.

    • Gransgirl, I agree with you. I have no issue with copying a shape of hat that works, but when it comes to copying the embellishments as well, you are just creating a second-rate imitation of yourself that is likely to fall foul of public opinion. Don’t be a copycat royal ladies, especially of yourselves! The original idea is always the best one!

  4. I much prefer the Wedding one, the embellishments look a little more clean and classy, obviously with the important occassion in mind. The blue one looks a bit more fluffy, but as always looks good on Camilla. She really wears her hats well and carries them off with confidence and style. I suspect too that the Wedding one would have stayed complete and will be kept for exhibition, historical purposes. I have absolutely no problem with her wearing it again, it must surely bring back the most vivid and happy of memories for her. Thanks.

  5. Enormous hats look fabulous on the Duchess of Cornwall. Considering all those flat brims Queen Elizabeth wears, one certainly can’t criticize Camilla for having two hats of the same design.
    I wonder, though, whether the idea for duplicate hats comes to the wearer immediately or only after reviewing a number of disliked designs and sighing somewhat dejectedly, “Oh, just copy the hat from [some event] so that we can be done with it.”

    • I think you’re on to something. Camilla doesn’t seem to be the type to spend a lot of time planning her wardrobe. She wears a lot of big hats that are really similar in base shape. If it works, why mess with it?

  6. Love the hat in any color, Duchess of Cornwall can wear a hat like nobody else. I would love to raid her hat closet, what fun.
    Not a fan of the color blue, yet I do like the blue hat the best, it’s soft and I so love the lace.

  7. Lovely hats, and somehow managing to avoid being de trop, but Camilla can get away with these big affairs with her big hairdo and big personality. I think it’s great as a wedding hat, and also that she’s repeated it, but I can’t help thinking it’s a bit too much to go for the blue one too.

  8. I love a proper hat…. I think I prefer the original. The lace seems a little less obvious (I am not a lace fan) and the feathery bits on the side are a bit less fluffy/more structured. Both hats look quite nice on her, of course.

    • I suppose so but I really don’t think something with as much historical value as The Duchess’ wedding hat would be altered in such a drastic way. My hunch is that after 8 years of wear, the wedding hat was retired.

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