Trooping the Colour: Military Dress

Royal Hats

As numerous members of the British Royal family hold military rank, today’s Trooping the Colour always sees several military hats worn, some of which we do not see worn at other times of the year. Some of you have contacted me wondering if we could take a specific look at these military hats- here we go!

Bearskin hats have a long history with the British Army and while they are somewhat controversial today, they have long been a part of royal tradition for this event. The Duke of Edinburgh, who no longer rides in the parade, was dressed in the scarlet dress tunic and bearskin hat with white plume of the Grenadier Guards of which he is Colonel.

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The Prince of Wales, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, wore a scarlet tunic and bearskin hat with the striped green and white plume associated with this regiment.

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The Duke of Cambridge is Colonel of the Irish Guards and his bearskin hat holds the bright blue plume of this regiment.

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The Duke of Kent, shown below to the left of the Queen, was in the scarlet dress tunic and hat of the Scottish Guards who wear their hats with no plume.

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Princess Anne, as Colonel of the Blues and Royals, wore the distinctive red plumed hat hat of this regiment.

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Prince Harry joined in on today’s celebration in the uniform and cap in his rank as Captain of The Blues and Royals.

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Finally, the Earl of Wessex  wore the uniform of the Royal Colonel of The London Scottish Regiment which includes a kilt and black feather trimmed cap.

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While the Duke of York holds the rank of Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy, he chose to attend this parade in morning dress, as in past years. I believe that Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence only appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony, where military hats are not worn.

We have a lot more British royal hats to get through today- stay tuned!

Photos from Getty as indicated

13 thoughts on “Trooping the Colour: Military Dress

  1. I imagine those giant bearskin hats are heavy! Did you see the footage of the poor fellow who collapsed during the event? They are clearly prepared for that as the stretcher crew raced right out!

  2. re. Tim: he actually did not appear at all today (and even if he had, he has not worn his uniform to Trooping since he retired from the Navy in 2010). He was at the church service yesterday and looked fine, so I’m hoping that whatever prohibited his appearance today was minor or not health-related. We’ll find out Monday at the Garter ceremony, I guess.

  3. Question: Is the Princess Royal riding side saddle? I can’t tell. When I think back to the days Christina mentions and for years after, the Queen always rode side saddle at Trooping the Colour. A real feat!
    I did know about the different colors of the regiments, but it’s good to have a refresher. (My late uncle was a Grenadier Guard.)

    • No, she now wears white riding trousers, thus alleviating the need to ride side saddle! The Queen used to ride side saddle because she always wore a long black skirt.

      • A small correction – The Queen wore a long black skirt because she was riding side saddle, not the other way around. It’s actually more of an apron worn over breeches. The Queen starting riding at Trooping the Color in the late 1940s when a lady would never have ridden astride in public. She only stopped riding in at the Trooping in the mid 1980s when her famous RCMP mare, Burmese, was retired, and the decision was made not to train another horse for The Queen.

  4. One thing that has always puzzled and intrigued me is the way all the men wear the band from their hats, not under the chin but between the chin and lower lip. I wonder why that is? Oh HatQueen of so much knowledge, can you tell me why?

  5. As I looked at the photos of today’s Trooping of the Colours, I realized that it was 60 years ago today when, as a child of 9, I saw the young queen riding ramrod straight, side saddle down The Mall. It was pouring rain but family photos of the day show my father (who was wearing his U.S. Air Force uniform), my mother, my brother, and I smiling in delight at being there. We were on a 3-week trip to the British Isles to visit places my father had flown bombers from during the war as well as my mother’s ancestral village in Ireland. The trip was planned specifically to coincide with the Trooping of the Colours. Such a fond memory.

  6. Fantastic information Hat Queen! My nine year old granddaughter has been asking about these hats. Thank you.

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