Inventory: Queen Elizabeth’s Blue Hats Part 1

It’s the post a number of you have been waiting for- an inventory of Queen Elizabeth’s blue hats! Because of the immense volume within this category (60+), we’re going to limit our look to hats in worn within the past six years and spread things over four posts. Let’s begin with the dark blue hats in the order they were introduced into the Queen’s wardrobe:

1A. Queen Elizabeth, June 30, 2010 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats 1B.Queen Elizabeth, June 5, 2014 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats  2.Queen Elizabeth, June 24, 2013 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats

Designer: Angela Kelly; Rachel Trevor Morgan
Introduced: June 29, 2010 (reworked and reintroduced June 5, 2014); June 2008

3.Queen Elizabeth, April 18, 2015 in Rachel Trevor Morgan | Royal Hats  4.Queen Elizabeth, June 14, 2014 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats  5.Queen Elizabeth, June 15, 2013 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

Designer: Rachel Trevor Morgan;#4 and #5 are both Angela Kelly made by Stella McLaren
Introduced: April 27, 2011;  October 28, 2011; August 7, 2012

6.Queen Elizabeth, March 28, 2013 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats  7.Queen Elizabeth, April 30, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats  8.Queen Elizabeth, October 18, 2014 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

Designer: all Angela Kelly
Introduced: March 28, 2013July 4, 2013November 14, 2013

9A.Queen Elizabeth, October 21, 2014 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats 9B.Queen Elizabeth, May 10, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats 10.Queen Elizabeth, June 17, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats

Designer: all Angela Kelly. #10 was made by Stella McLaren
Introduced: October 21, 2014 (reworked and reintroduced May 10, 2015); June 17, 2015

11.Queen Elizabeth, June 25, 2015 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats 12. Queen Elizabeth, May 3, 2011

Designer: Angela Kelly; unknown
Introduced: June 25, 2015; May 3, 2011

UPDATE: My apologies, everyone, but another sweep through the archives uncovered another dark blue hat (see #12 above). I know little about this modified Homburg except that it was last worn in 2011.

I find the diversity within this narrow category surprising- within these dark blue hats we find numerous shapes and a wide variety of trims (pleats, feathers, flowers, metallic braid, curls, lace, fringe, and several bows). I suspect that as we move through the other shades of blue within Queen Elizabeth’s closet, we will be less awed by different shapes than by an incredible spectrum of trimmings. I love the appliqué work on hats #4 and #5 while the incredible festive nature of #3 always makes me smile. Which hats here stand out most to you?

Photos from Chris Jackson, Danny E. Martindale via Getty; Pacific Coast News via Zimbio;  Max Mumby/IndigoMax Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Mark Cuthbert, PoolBen Hoskins/Stringer, WPA Pool, Max Mumby/Indigo, and Alan Crowhurst via Getty;  Boris Roessler/dpa via Corbis

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28 thoughts on “Inventory: Queen Elizabeth’s Blue Hats Part 1

  1. #3: wonderful (Union Jack colors)
    #6: comic relief, again.
    #7: yellow wedding block again, and I like these because the shape strays from the expected and ordinary.
    #10: my favorite for sure.
    #11: here in the minority group, I LOVE this, sans the feather.
    #12: new to me, and I think it’s great.

    HQ: EXCELLENT JOB these last few days! Talk about blue hat overload!

  2. I think it’s hat number 3 for the win! I love this hat, which really brings out the Queen’s blue eyes, and the trim is interesting and with the Queen’s white hair, the red and blue and white combination is very Union Jack inspired! I like the shape of this hat also. I am not a great Angela Kelly fan at the best of times. The only hat of hers that I like here was number 4.

  3. #1a and 1b, #2, #9a and 9b, #12. I love number 2 on the Queen; the hat has such nice balance and size, and everything about the hat is perfect on her, including the vibrant color. But my favorite is number 9a..it is a.beautiful hat, and Her Majesty looks so regal in navy blue. She looks very chic…and very pretty!

  4. I just discovered that you’d added the 2011 #12 Homburg. I knew about it, saw it only once but couldn’t determine its date. I think it’s actually a rather attractive hat, but i don’t know whether it’s ever been worn again or before, and I can’t recognize the dress, which does appear in more detail in other photographs, from any audiences (as always, rather matches the hat trim).

  5. What a great start to HM’s beyond extensive collection! Out of this first batch, the only one I really dislike is #6, which has too tall of a crown and too short of a brim. I love 1a, 2, 5, 9b, and 11 (and yes, I know I’m probably the only one who likes #11). Can’t wait for more!

  6. I think the first hat looks really elegant in both versions, partly because it is such a classic colour combination, and also quite simple in concept. My least favourite is the last one with the quite unnecessary peacock feather. It might have seemed a good idea at the time, but actually, even though the feather is a similar palette, I don’t think it works with this hat where the contrast of the two colours is the main feature. I should say it’s my least favourite even without the feather!

    I think 9 is also an elegant hat. I like the diaphanous effect, which is quite unusual among the Queen’s hats, they’re generally more solid-looking. It’s difficult to appreciate it with the lilies, as they don’t seem to photograph at all well, but I prefer the version with the pink rose. I do agree though that it would look better off-centre.

    None of these are bad. I do like 4 and 5 with the applique (and 4 has the same flattering brim as 1b). And I appreciate 6 and 8 because I do like these unusual crown shapes that have become a treademark feature for the Queen.

    Can you tell us more about Stella McLaren, Hat Queen? (And out of interest, how do you find out that she made these ones?)

  7. I like a lot of these hats! I like hat #1 better in it’s revised shape. The upward brim looks better, imo. The bow on #3 looks like an interpretation of the Union Jack. Fun! #7 is surprising with its nearly flat brim and flat crown and restrained decoration. Almost couldn’t believe that it was an Angela Kelly hat. I like #10 with its white sinamay brim – very bright and good contrast. The feather decoration could have been half the size and it would be outstanding. Ms Kelly is nothing if not exuberant with her trims!

    Speaking of that, if I could peel that frayed yarn off hat #8 and replace it with a thin ribbon of the contrast color around the base, that would improve the look dramatically. Same for the unnecessary peacock feather on #11. When she holds herself back a little, the hats look better. #4 is really quite nice. #5, however, looks like a Mardi Gras hat.

    Great selection of hats, Hat Queen! I’m looking forward to the rest of Her Majesty’s blue millinery!

    • I think hat #12, the modified homburg, must be an Angela Kelly design. So.Much.Trim!!!!! If you took the fluffy bits off and just left the same fabric bow it would be ever so much better.

  8. I love #’s 1 & 9 before they were reworked (that mushroom brim is so flattering to HM and while I know why she doesn’t wear it a lot, it works for her). I also love #’s 2 & 3. 6, 7 & 11 should be retired, I don’t find them flattering at all. Maybe #11 can be rescued with a retrimming.

  9. Number 6 immediately made me think of The Cat In The Hat, so its a no go for me. Yuck. I don’t much care for the leaning tower of Pisa effect of 5 and 8, and a number of hats Her Maj has worn recently, so they are out for me. Of the remaining hats, I like the color combos of 4 and 11. There is something about 9a and b that I really like – the lightness of the weave of it which allows the interesting ornamentation. The addition of the flowers is ok, but I think something else to anchor the straw ornaments might have been a better choice. All in all, though, I’m tied for my favorite between number 1a and 3, which are so chic.

  10. I doubted that you’d be able to do an inventory of Queen Elizabeth’s blue hats since there are so, so many! Well done!
    #2, #4 and #10 are my favorites above, but I like all of them except for #6 (beautiful color and interesting feather, but it’s SO tall and narrow) and the reworked #9B, its original definitely having been better although I’m not fond of it either. I would like to see #3 worn with its dress. Nonetheless, it always looks particularly festive when worn near the Union Jack.
    I really would like to know the key to the storage system at Buckingham: by color, by season, by year made, by year last worn.
    Thank you for this series of inventories!

  11. #3 has exquisite trim. I like the color combo of #11, but without the feathers. (There are feathers on the side, aren’t there?) To think this is just a selection of blue in Part 1!

  12. I like number 10 the best. The size and shape are most pleasing to my eye. The decoration is very pretty without being overpowering. And I like the white brim seems to light up the Queen’s face. I am loving this series. Thanks!

  13. Could some kind soul explain how 1A and 1B were reworked cos they look like they are made of straw and the brim’s different. 9a and 9B is easier cos it’s just changing the flower.

    Thanks

    • This post should help explain it for you. Since brims are usually sewn on to hats (the crown and brim are usually blocked in separate pieces), it’s a matter of removing one brim and adding another. In the case of this particular hat, many suspect that the brim was removed, turned upside down and reattached. If you look at the curve shape of the brim, it looks similar in both versions of the hat.

  14. It seems some clarification is needed about hats #1 and #9 above. Both of these hats underwent renovation and were reworn so I wanted to include them in this inventory in both their ‘before’ and ‘after’ states. To do this, I labelled the first two photos ‘1A’ and ‘1B’ to show the two different versions of this single hat. I used the same labelling system for hat #9.

    I hope this clears up the confusion.

  15. Some winners here for sure. The two reworked ones I wish had been left alone; I liked the originals! A few good examples of Angela Kelly not knowing when to stop too; those peacock feathers are a touch too far!

    But still a great run through of why HM is the hatter extraordinaire! There are just SO many!

    • As I started research for these posts and found that there have been more than 60 blue hats worn in the past six years, my questions about storage have only increased. Where exactly does one store 60 blue hats?! I’m developing new appreciation and understanding as to why the Queen’s dressing staff team is as large as it is.

    • The first two photos are hat #1 (with explanation below that the hat was reworked in 2014). Hat #2 is the third photo (royal blue hat with 5-looped bow trim). I assign a number to each hat on the left side of the photo to try and alleviate confusion.

  16. I particularly like hat #1 … and am left thinking that Ms Kelly doesn’t know when to stop (see esp. hat #5) or how to ‘polish’. This may be unfair to her so I’m looking forward to revising my opinion as we see more. She’s certainly a strong influence on QE2’s appearance.

  17. I like #2 the best. It satisfies the need for an off-the-face look and the bright color that beautifully contrasts with her dress is a real winner for me. I believe that, with her complexion and hair, “clear” colors (as opposed to “muddy” or “faded”) look so much better. Compare the colors of #1 and #2 with the color of #4. I find the shapes of #3 and #4 off-putting. I’m loving this series on colored hats — seeing hats of one color together gives a chance for interesting comparison. Thanks!

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