Closer Look: The Dotted Feathered Blue Turban

Royal HatsWhen Prince William was christened in August 1982, it was a major event which, naturally, called for new hats all around. Perhaps as a nod to her new grandson, Queen Elizabeth chose head-to-hem blue dotted silk chiffon for her ensemble.

Using the turban shape Her Majesty often wore during this time, milliner Frederick Fox formed the silk chiffon into fine horizontal pleats around the hat and topped it with a cascade of blue ostrich feathers. This hat is included in the Holyrood House section of this year’s amazing three-part retrospective on the Queen’s fashion and, thanks to the Royal Collection Trust, we get a better view of it than we have seen before.

I think the feathers make this piece. While certainly whimsical, they break up the turban shape and give this small design a wonderful sense of movement and fun. The pleats soften the dotted print, barely saving the Queen from “death by dots” overkill on the overall ensemble. I think it’s a masterful use of a difficult fabric and an even more difficult millinery shape – I can only guess that the Queen also liked it, as she repeated the outfit several times through the 1980s, including on a trip to the Solomon Islands in October 1982.
 

What do you think of this hat design, now that we’ve had a closer look?
1983
Photos from Getty as indicated and Press Association
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15 thoughts on “Closer Look: The Dotted Feathered Blue Turban

  1. HQ, probably no one will see this entry, since its original date is August 24, and they’ve all moved on, but I thought I’d share this finding with ou. Is this another photo of the gold feather hat in the 2nd picture? (Queen Mother’s 80th birthday, August 4, 1980.)

  2. Polka dots, pleats and feathers — all on one turban. What a combination! It is a hat I have remembered throughout the years, but it’s not a favorite.
    I certainly do appreciate these closer looks for the hats on display this summer. (Most) all have such extraordinary workmanship when viewed up close.

  3. At the time and still now,I think its a bit too heavy on the dots! Great shape though and I love how there are dots mixed in with the feathers. Did someone cut around them from the fabric do you think, or did they used a hole punch!

  4. What a pleasure to see this hat close up. The color is gorgeous and the feathers are so delicate. The size, shape, pleating, feathers all do seem to work in this case. I’m surprised but I do like it. It brings to mind the arcing sprays of feathers worn by both the Queen and Duchess of Cornwall on other occasions (minus the turban) which I also like. The Queen’s dress here is very pretty; I like it best without the collared over layer.

  5. I am so happy about you posting about this hat. First of all, I love everything about this hat, and love it on Her Majesty. The way the spangles in the feathers mimic the polka dots its magic. I can’t think of a single thing I would change. The close up shots reveal how the beauty of its detail. I admire so much the imagination and hard work that goes into creating hats but especially for royalty. There is no other demand quite like that. Ah, how young the Princess of Wales is holding baby William. I remember it well.

    • I agree with what fccslv says: August 24, 2016 at 2:49 pm. This is the most successful of the Queen’s turban style hats I think. The colour suits her perfectly too. The Princess of Wales looks good in the pink hat too.

  6. The feathers soften the plain shape of the hat and make the whole thing fun and feminine without detracting from ER’s dignity in any way and leaving her face visible. As she moves, or in a breeze, it would look quite lovely and the colour is great for her. This hat is quite a masterpiece of design and manufacture, isn’t it?

  7. I always like brimmed hats better on Her Majesty, but I agree with HatQueen on this one. The feathers and pleating make this one of her more successful turbans.

    Curious to see her in ankle straps in the 1982 photo.

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