British Royals Honour Armed Services

Members of the British Royal Family gathered at Victoria Embankment Gardens this morning to pay tribute to members of the armed services who served and died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To unveil a memorial sculpture to those who died in these conflicts, Queen Elizabeth repeated her royal blue hourglass-teardrop shaped hat with wrapping feather trim. The vibrant colour of her ensemble fit both the sombre nature of the event and the need for Her Majesty to stand out in the crowd. I’m not a fan of this millinery design but I do admire the Queen’s ability to consistently, pick the perfect ensemble for any event.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: Jan 8, 2017; Mar 8, 2016Feb 3, 2014; Nov 29, 2013Mar 28, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new hat in navy rabbit fur felt with dropped edge, mushroom brim and tapered, square crown. The hat is simply trimmed in a wide Petersham ribbon hatband and a neatly folded bow at the back. We seldom see Kate in hats with such substantial brims and while this piece is a classic one that coordinates beautifully with her coat, I think the scale overwhelms her a little.

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Designer: Lock and Co. It is the Tiffany drop-brim hat” in navy
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her green straw hat in a modified boater shape with straight sided crown and raised brim on one side. In theory, a straw hat might seem out of place at a chilly outdoor event such as this but the saturated colour combined with velvet trim on the hatband, inverted brim edging and interlocking ring decoration made this piece fit in, perfectly. Camilla looks wonderful in jewel tones and this green is particularly beautiful on her.

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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Nov 1, 2016Oct 28, 2010; Mar 3, 2010; Nov 8, 2009Nov28, 2007Oct 24, 2007Dec 15, 2006

The Countess of Wessex continued the jewel tone theme, topping her red and black brocade dress with a black straw statement hat we have not seen her step out in for almost four years. In black straw, this design features a sideswept wave shaped brim attached to a calot style cap and is trimmed with a branch of black flowers. It is one of several hats Sophie has in this unique shape (see here and here) and it is wonderful to see it again, particularly today paired far more successfully than the hat she paired with this dress at Christmas.

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Designer: Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: June 21, 2013

Princess Anne also repeated a hat last seen at Ascot. In navy straw, this design features a square crown wrapped in a ruched navy silk hatband, a gently upswept brim on one side and lavish pouf of feather trim. The slim white pinstripe around the underside of the brim is perhaps my favourite design element on this piece, giving it a wonderfully crisp contrast to the slightly messy feathers.

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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 15, 2016

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Ruth who pointed out the Duchess of Gloucester also was in attendance, repeating her greige straw beret hat.

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Designer: unconfirmed. My guess is Lock & Co.
Previously Worn: June 18, 2015June 15, 2015November 6, 2013June 19, 2013; June 5, 2012

What do you think of this sextet of British royal hats at today’s memorial event?

Photos from Getty as indicated
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29 thoughts on “British Royals Honour Armed Services

  1. It’s a nice change to see Kate in an actual hat for once – though I do agree the size (or perhaps the dropped edge) is somehow wrong.
    I love Camilla’s hat – in fact the whole outfit looks really great on her.
    But Sophie’s? It looks like it’s about to fall off her head!

  2. Princess Anne…outstanding! She looks amazing when she wears makeup, this style hat and coat is perfect for her, and her figure is quite amazing! I like Kate’s hat; not the best she has worn, but it is something new and different for her. Instead of the too-wide grosgrain ribbon though, I think a matching navy silk scarf tied in a large bow at the back or hanging at the nape of the neck would give the hat more style and drama..like Audrey’s in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s😉And the coat could easily carry such a look!

  3. I’m still of the same mind as I have been in the past concerning HM’s hat. Gorgeous color and the feather is fun, but otherwise I think it’s time to ditch this one and bring back some others we haven’t seen in a long time.

    I wasn’t certain about Kate’s hat when I first saw it, but I’ve come around and am now firmly in the “like” camp; pairing the hat with this coat was an excellent choice! I can see why some people see it as severe considering there is no trim; I think some loops a la Camilla’s hat, or a larger bow on towards the front right side of the hat would help. Overall though I think this is a nice addition to her full-on hat collection.

    Always glad to see Camilla bring back one of my all-time favorite hats for her. I really like this appearance because she switched out her normal scarf for a choker, which lends a bit more elegance to this whole ensemble. But seriously, will she continue to wear these saturated colors come Ascot?? One can hope and pray!

    I still like Sophie’s dress, the but the angle of her hat is all wrong here; it is sitting far too back on her head, and in my opinion it just looks awkward.

    I think Anne looks great! The feather trim is so fun, and the pairing of the hat, coat, and boots is solid.

    Birgitte (who you can kinda see in last photo of Camilla and Charles) wore a trusty beret we have seen many times, and while it doesn’t excite me, it is another good look overall.

  4. The Duchess of Cambridge’s hat (which is a beautiful color) seems to me both too large in scale and also too severe for the duchess. And, as HatQueen remarks, it does not look well with the chignon.

  5. All of the Royal Family looked lovely. I really do think the Duchess of Cambridge hat is delightful new addition to her stable of hats. It’s a fresh design and shape for her. It might be a tad large in the brim size but it does balance the crown. A

  6. I think the Duchess of Cornwall looks the best: style and color of hat are perfect for the whole outfit. While I agree that the Duchess of Cambridge’s new blue hat is a little too much for it, it too looks very good. Both duchesses are dressed appropriately, respectfully and with style.
    I don’t know what else one can say about the Queen’s hat. Color is excellent, feather is fascinating, but as JamesB pointed out, the proportions of the hat (too narrow, too tall) are not flattering. I am tired of this hat. With a new hat, this coat and dress probably could go on forever, though.
    I liked Princess Anne’s hat at Ascot, a little less well so this time. The Duchess of Wessex’s look, as almost always, is successful.

  7. I was so happy to see this style of hat on Kate. She looks great. I love Camilla’s hat. The rest in order of my preference: Princess Anne’s, the Queen’s, and Sophie’s.

  8. Quite honestly, I like all the hats. My only quibble would be seeing Sophie’s as she’s talking to Kate– where the hat looks rather odd to me. There is a lovely spectrum of colours in the royal ladies ensembles.

  9. Everyone looked great. At first I thought that Catherine’s hat I s a little large, but the more I look the more I like it. And I’m glad to see her trying new shapes and styles

  10. Add me to the list of lovers of the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat. It’s lovely. And I find the wider brim very flattering on her, especially as it seems to balance the heaviness of the coat very well.

  11. Good showings from Sophie, Camilla, Anne and Catherine. I agree with Hatqueen that Duchess Catherine’s gorgeous new hat is a tad overscaled for her. Just narrowing that hatband a bit, or curving in the sides of the crown a tad, would make all the difference.
    HM’s blue hat has properties all its own. Photograph it from one angle and it looks fine. Move 10 degrees in any direction and click again, and it looks wrong. Not a good sign. Quite apart from the problematic features already discussed, such as the centre seam on the crown, I feel the brim is not providing the strong balance that a “top hat” style requires. The brim seems to lack emphasis, reminding me of a sun visor that has been squashed and then straightened. The feather helps, but doesn’t entirely solve the problem.
    The blue colour of her hat would even more flattering if it were a shade, tone or tint a few degrees away from that level of saturation. I dream of a top-notch colour consultant being appointed to HM’s wardrobe team….

  12. I am not a fan of the Queen’s hat. I dislike those odd shapes that she tends to favor. Some of them have been successful, but this one almost looks too small from certain angles. I did like everyone else’s choices, and thought they looked wonderful. The Duchess of Cambridge’s hat was a nice choice and I thought she looked lovely in it. I find myself confused: what is rabbit fur felt? I am assuming it is not real rabbit fur, but the fabric is meant to mimic it?

  13. Well Kate what a stunning hat. Hope she up keeps this recent trend of picture hats.
    But we all know where she really got the inspiration for this hat….. Princess Diana wore a similar hat in green and blue in 1992 for Helen Windsors wedding….. A hat twin!!!

    • I think most of Kate’s hats are horrid but I really like this one. I don’t particularly like the coat but can’t have everything. One of the reasons I like the hat is the shape reminds me of one of my favorite Diana hats. She wore it to Viscount Linley’s wedding in 1993. That one was either gray or light blue and white. I think it was actually gray but some pictures make it look blue.

      I wish the Queen would come up with some new hat shapes. Sophie too, for that matter. I am getting tired of hats that look like a growth coming off the side of someone’s head.

    • We have no idea where Kate ” really got the inspiration for this hat” as you say. And… I believe it is the milliners who get inspiration for certain designs and not the royals who wear them!

      Kate has proven her fashion independence over the six years of her royal life so far. Let’s not start rumours that she’s pouring through photos of her late mother-in-law and setting out to copy her look. That’s just nonsense.

  14. I was disapppinted to see this hat again on HM for such an important outing, I don’t have the same level of ire for it as many others do (though the height of the crown isn’t balanced by the width of the brim, making it look like a squashed top hat), I just hoped we’d see something we don’t see so often, I’d have liked the navy straw hat with the pink flower, that was then changed to a white flower.

    Re Kate; well we can’t have it both ways! We moan about a sea of perchers and she’s definitely gone full hat with this one. I rather like it, and it’s pairing with the repeated coat is spot on.

    Sophie looks fab – it was a glorious spring day here in London yesterday so she’d have been warm enough. And nice to see that angular hat again, still unsure why she needed three though!

    Anne and Camilla look as they always do, which is perfectly respectable, but tried and tested.

    • Kate’s hat is growing on me- it really is a beautiful match with her Michael Kors coat and it’s lovely to see her play with new millinery shapes. There’s something about the chignon and brim (see this photo) that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it would have been better balanced with her hair down her back?

      • Gosh, I was just thinking how glad I was that she was wearing a chignon instead of letting her hair hang down!

      • Interesting point about the chignon. If it weren’t for the bulk, she could tip the hat back off her face a little. She has great hair, but there’s so much of it! That’s a mixed blessing for hat wearing. The collar on that beautiful coat is also getting in the way.

        Good hats all around (well, maybe not HM), but Camilla’s is my favorite of the repeats. Sophie always looks great.

      • I love the hat but the photo you refer to shows us Kate’s not-so-perfect posture. All I want to say is “stand up straight!”

  15. I loved them all, especially the Duchess of Cambridge, until you mentioned Rabbit fur! I abhor using things like that for clothing. (vegan) However the shape and colour suited her perfectly. I did wonder if the Countess of Wessex was cold wearing just the dress when everyone else had coats scarves and gloves! However this sculpture is not a memorial to just those who lost their lives, the authorities have been at pains to point out it is for all the efforts of civilians, aid workers, families and service persons who have aided the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq since 1990s First Gulf War and the rough hewn sides are to show that the work has yet to be finished. The other side of the central medallion shows Aid workers.

  16. I love the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat. I think it goes wonderfully with her coat dress and frames her face perfectly. I am so tired of those little fascinators she wears or the little hats perched forward on her head. I love this new hat! I agree about the hat the Countess of Wessex is wearing today. I like it much better than the one she wore with this dress at Christmas. The blue of the Queen’s hat and coat is beautiful on Her Majesty.

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