Ogilvy Wedding, Twenty-Eight Years On

Anniversary  Over the weekend, James and Julia Ogilvy (James is the son of Princess Alexandra and the late Angus Ogilvy)  celebrated their twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We don’t often look back at millinery fashion from the late 1980s so I thought we’d grab the opportunity of this milestone to do so.

James Ogilvy and Julia Rawlinson met during their first year at St. Andrews University and married on July 30, 1988 at St. Mary The Virgin Church in Saffron Walden, a small market town in the bride’s home county of Essex just south of Cambridge. Julia wore a gown in white dupioni silk with a v-neck, fitted bodice, and full, ballgown skirt that swept into a short train. The dress is firmly dated in the late 1980s by the voluminous leg ‘o mutton sleeves trimmed with bows (a popular design detail that in all likelihood was also on the back of the dress!). Devoid of lace or beaded trimming, the stars of this dress are its silhouette and the silk of which it is made. Not surprising for a country wedding of a more distant member of the royal family, Julia forwent a tiara and anchored her silk tulle veil with a crescent of fresh flowers to match her bouquet.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images James Ogilvy and Julia Rawlinson, July 30, 1988 | Royal HatsEmbed from Getty Images

The bridesmaids, which included Lady Gabriella Windsor (front left, below), wore dresses in the same white dupioni silk with pale pink sashes and similar floral headpieces to the bride. The bridal party had a quintessentially English country look that might seem familiar thanks to the popular movie “Four Weddings And A Funeral” which screened just six years later.

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Princess Alexandra topped her cerulean blue suit with a matching straw hat. While not as tall as the designs we see her favour today, the hat had many design elements that seem “oh-so Alexandra”- a pork pie shaped crown, wide brim and lavish silk flower trim. It’s a wonderful hat and the saturated colour was particularly beautiful on her. Alexandra’s daughter Marina, shown on the right in the photo below, wore a classically shaped hat in black textured straw with a wide brim.

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Princess Alexandra, July 30, 1988 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth wore a two toned straw hat with rounded black crown and flat, yellow brim. A wide yellow hatband and spray of black cherries completed the hat. The cherries were an unusual and fun trim and while the graphic hat did an excellent job of grounding the eye-assaulting paint splattered suit, I think the entire ensemble was so firmly rooted in the late 1980s that it’s best left there.

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Diana, Princess of Wales, topped her Catherine Walker dress and grey coat with white straw picture hat by Philip Somerville. The hat, with a short upturn on the brim, was simply trimmed with a ruched white hatband and marks a time when the princess was transitioning from the smaller, fussier hats she wore in the early years of her marriage to the more streamlined style she adopted over the next decade.

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The complete antithesis of Diana’s streamlined hat, Princess Margaret’s hat was textbook 1980s excess! In vibrant royal blue, her halo brimmed design was entirely covered in silk blooms on the underside of the brim that framed her face like a peephole in a rose garden. Attractive? I’m not sure. Memorable? Absolutely!

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1988-07-30 Ogilvy wedding 1

While just twenty-two years old at the time of this wedding, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Lady Sarah Chatto) was already showing signs of her uncluttered millinery style and preference for classic hat shpaes with a simple straw wide-brimmed hat with contrasting hat band.1988-07-30 Ogilvy wedding 3

The Duchess of Gloucester topped her red suit with a large boater style hat in straw trimmed with side sprays of flowers both above and below the brim and a monochrome hatband. The Duchess of Kent went for fashionable 1980s polka dots with her ensemble, matching her pale pink dotted suit to the bumper brim of her hat. It looks like the hat was finished with a bow at the back and a pale pink straw domed crown.

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The Duchess of Kent’s daughter, Lady Helen Windsor (now Lady Helen Taylor) was typically fashion-forward in a crownless straw hat with upturned brim trimmed with a large scarf of blue organza at the back that trailed down her back (see it at the 6:00 mark in the video below)

1988-07-30 Ogilvy wedding 6

Finally, Princess Michael of Kent wore a pale pink straw hat edged in black piping, placed at a rakish diagonal angle on the side of her head. We’re so used to grand design elements (soaring brims, huge feathers etc.) on Marie Christine’s current hats that the smaller scale and gentle shape of this piece makes for a great surprise.

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1988-07-30 Ogilvy wedding 7 1988-07-30 Ogilvy wedding 8

1980s fashion is often not regarded with kindness and while several design elements in the hats seen here seem rather dated, I think they are wonderfully elegant examples of the millinery fashions of the day. What hats stand out to you most at this wedding?

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Photos from Getty as indicated; Rex/Shutterstock; and Princess Diana Archive/Stringer via Getty
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28 thoughts on “Ogilvy Wedding, Twenty-Eight Years On

  1. I was in high school in the 80’s so while this wedding dress is a product of the era I still am a fan. In fact my prom dress was made with Diana’s dress in mind. That being said Julia’s dress is simple, streamlined and very pretty. I love the bridesmaid’s dresses and all of the flowers are lovely. I can’t help but be a sucker for the ball gown style. Now on to hats:

    Favorite hats are….Diana’s, Duchess of Gloucester and Kent, Princess Michael and Princess Alexandra.
    Least favorites are….Lady Helen, Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret
    Favorite hairstyles….Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael

    Sleeves…..While Princess Astrid’s sleeves may not be technically as big as Diana’s they seem to be more in the way somehow.

    Least Favorite Wedding Dress….Victoria Lockwood Can anyone explain this dress? Even at the time I did not like it. I didn’t like the darker ivory, the brown fur, the way it just hangs on her and finally did she not do her hair, did it fall in the humidity…..or what? And sadly she looks so unhappy.

  2. Wow, Julia hasn’t aged much in the last 28 years! Not a fan of this dress, but the floral headdress was very appropriate for a country wedding.

    Alexandra’s hat could pull an Anne and I think would still look good today; it would look dated, but I think it would still look good. A great color, as usual, for Alexandra. Marina’s hat looks pretty standard for the time.

    HM’s hat would have potential today if we removed those terrible cherries. She is one of the few people I know who can pull off yellow so well. I think her dress looks like a speckled egg, and I’m glad it has remained firmly in the 80s were it belongs.

    Diana’s hat and outfit were the most timeless from the event. The hat especially could work today, thanks to it’s simple trim and universally flattering shape.

    Margaret’s sleeves are too poofy for sure, but the cobalt blue is beautiful on her, and while the hat is crazy, I think she manages to wear it well. Sarah’s hat is fine, but nothing special.

    Birgitte looks wonderful in red; she should wear the color now! Her hat looks to also have part of the crown under the brim, in addition to the floral trim. I think the square crown dates it too much, but there are many elements of this hat we have seen in many recent hats.

    Katharine demonstrates that she has always looked good in pink, but this is another classic 80s ensemble. I was not aware crownless formal hats have been in existence for as long as I’ve been alive! Helen has obviously never shied away from avant-garde millinery, but this is something I will never get on board for.

    Marie-Christine looks fine here, even though the look is a bit dated. What I don’t like is how boring it is, since we know she can do the dramatic well when it comes to hats and clothes. Also, her 80s style flat hat (like Alexandra’s) demonstrates how they don’t hold up so well on a breezy day since they catch the wind so easily. It’s also interesting how Frederick isn’t wearing a tie.

    Overall, a fun look back, but I’m glad most of this has stayed in the past.

  3. I remember this wedding so well – for the 80s it’s actually quite elegant. The bride is in the late 80s version of Diana’s frock – much calmer and crisper it works well and was very much the fashion for years to come ( my sister had an almost identical dress 3 years later).

    The Queen’s outfit does divide opinion, but I liked it at the time. It was first worn in China, but with a different hat – this white sweeping brim calms it down a bit I think, and also ties the scarf in better Embed from Getty Images

    As for the rest – well Alexandra, MC, Katherine and Birgitte are all characteristically elegant. And Margaret was stuck in her crazy aunt phase – so let’s not judge too harshly!

  4. I loved the Duchess of Kent’s outfit and hat! She looked adorable!

    I read that very early on Diana wood not wear a new outfit to a wedding so she did not upstage the bride. Very thoughtful of her!

    I think the bride looks beautiful! The dress is very simple except those sleeves! I wish I could see all the hats from this wedding better!!

    • Those sleeves have got to be in the running for biggest royal sleeves ever! I don’t think even Diana’s were that big.

      It’s a really pretty wedding with a lot of cute hats. Diana’s hat and Princess Michael’s hats could be worn today and look stylish.

      • The contest for largest royal bridal sleeves is locked down by Princess Astrid of Belgium in 1984. She also wins for most bridal blooms on her head. I guess there wasn’t a Belgian tiara that could stand up to those sleeves.



      • Astrid’s sleeves have left me speechless! She could swim across the ocean safely in those. Thanks HQ I’ve never seen her wedding dress before.

        You’re right HillyB Diana’s sleeves were bigger than these ones! Because these ones have a tight part on the lower part of the arm they seemed bigger. I always liked Diana’s tiara but Julia’s flower crown is so pretty. Much nicer than the flowers plopped on Astrid’s hair.

  5. This is such a fun post. Thanks! My three favorite hats are Princess Diana’s, Princess Michael’s and Princess Alexandra’s, but that is looking with today’s eyes. From my current perspective the Queen’s outfit is so bad it even makes her fabulous diamond bow brooch look like a piece of pop art. Nevertheless it is clear that everyone made an effort and the bridal party was especially beautiful.

  6. This is so fun! What a great set of 1980 styles. Standouts for me are Princess Michael (the hat is great, the outfit is just ordinary), Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.

  7. What a trip down memory lane! The bride, (leg o’ mutton sleeves notwithstanding) looks lovely and the bridal party just right for a country wedding. The Duchess of Kent has always been a favourite of mine. It is good to see her. For stylish, classic ensembles, I’d have to give kudos to Diana and to Marie Christine.

  8. Wonderful post! Thank you HatQueen for sharing it with us. Just one little query – I think Lady Gabriella is the bridesmaid on the right, not the left??

  9. Unfortunately I am completely distracted by memories of my own leg o mutton sleeves on my wedding dress matched by same design on bridemaids, who carried garish garden baskets overflowing with fresh flowers which they were encouraged to hand out to guests as they walked up the aisle. They also worn big yellow picture hats with yellow ribbons streaming off the back to their waists! And I thought at the time that this was as stylish as I could get. The folly of youth!

    • Pictures please Christina! I want to see pictures!

      For a 1980s wedding, it’s really good. I didn’t know how fashion forward Diana was but she looks totally mid 1990s here and it’s only 1988! Alexandra’s hat is fab and I love Margaret’s hat because it’s bat$#!% crazy!

      • Forgot to mention Queen Elizabeth’s paint splattered bumblebee. There are NO WORDS for how bad that suit is.

  10. I have great affection for the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, so this is great fun for me. I remember those days well. At my age, as I look back on the vagaries of fashion, I think simple is always best.

  11. What a very pretty wedding! Princess Margaret’s hat looks enormous on her tiny frame; she does look like an animated flower face! But the color is wonderful on her. And not the sort of hat I’m used to seeing on the Duchess of Gloucester. Very interesting.

  12. I don’t ever remember seeing pictures from this wedding other than some of the bride. Thank you for posting them for us, Hat Queen!

  13. What a terrific post! I do remember this wedding, in particular, Lady Helen’s crown less hat.
    Princess Diana looked so elegant in that popular outfit and hat of hers (I remember she wore it to her brother’s first wedding as well).
    Princess Alexandra looked so elegant. Such a lovely color on her.
    The Queen’s outfit…well, you said it Hat Queen!
    The Duchess of Kent looked lovely in pink, but I never was a fan of that hat on her. Too bulky for her beautiful features.
    Princess Michael looked lovely, but her dramatic flair over the years truly suits her more.
    Princess Margaret looked amazing in that blue, and her hat was incredible. So very “Margaret.”
    Julia Rawlinson-Ogilvy looked so lovely, even though her dress now looks so dated. Really, who cares since it was a very happy day, and, what looks like a very happy marriage!

      • You’d think she coulda sprung for a new outfit for her brother’s wedding. Looks weird for her to be in a white and the bride to be in ivory!

      • Maybe she repeated the outfit in a colour that the bride wasn’t wearing in an attempt not to detract from her? A new ensemble certainly would have gathered attention.

      • Thanks HatQueen. There are some dated apparel here. Even though Victoria Lockwood was a model, she didn’t seem to be able to rock the fabulous Spencer Floral tiara the way Diana did.

      • Diana debuted this outfit at Ascot in ’88 I think – so it was a repeat for both weddings. And for exactly that reason – so that a new outfit wouldn’t overshadow the bride. Of course the story then becomes ‘Diana in old frock’. Can’t win – exactly the same dilemma Kate has now!!

    • I agree with what Shannon says: August 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm. This was a great post HatQueen that summed up the range of fashions, some good, some not so good, that was the 1980s!

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