British Royals Celebrate Commonwealth Day

Members of the British Royal Family attended the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey yesterday. There was a smaller group than in previous years (Princess Anne is in Scotland, the Countess of Wessex is in Malawi) with just two hats for us to admire. Queen Elizabeth led her family in her pale yellow hat with straw brim, bound in a contrasting grey stripe, and feather pouf trim.

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The last time we saw this hat, we debated the straw brim. This textural contrast is growing on me, although I do wish a more finely finished straw (woven in straighter lines) was used on this piece. What continues to save this hat for me is the soft but interesting yellow and grey scheme.

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Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: December 2, 2016June 26, 2015

The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her purple velvet felt hat with flat crown and diagonal brim. The shape, scale and sheen of this hat is magnificent on its own but the addition of the rough edge, pleated silk (used in lieu of a hatband) and spray off feathers gives the hat texture, whimsy and depth. Last time we saw this hat, I used the word “knock out” and I stand by that assessment after seeing it again yesterday.

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Photos from Getty as indicated
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18 thoughts on “British Royals Celebrate Commonwealth Day

  1. I too don’t get into the construction of the hats though enjoy reading the comments of those who do. I guess I go for a shoot from the hip response and both women look fantastic. These women are long past experimentation in the size and shape of the hats they wear. They have found a style that suits them and seem to be sticking with it. Both look fantastic!

  2. The basic but classic design of the Queen’s hat has made this one of my favorites. I love the upturned edge to the brim with the contrasting fabric. The scale of the brim and the crown are perfectly sized for her head. I don’t mind the front poof….the yellow color is fantastic.

    Camilla’s ensemble is not a favorite of mine.

  3. I love the Queen in this color yellow, and the hat and coat are just right! As a matter lof fact, I think Her Majesty’s coat is the perfect design for her: the collar is just perfect, the tuck at the shoulder, buttons, all is just right with this coat! Camilla’s hat is still smashing though I’d like to see a new suit and new coat made specially for the hat!!

  4. Like the Queen’s hat a great deal (apart from that straw ‘crooked seam’ detail we can see in the close up). The colour combination is unexpected and lovely.
    Although I like the colour and feather trim of Camilla’s hat I HATE the fringing. Cheapens the whole thing and makes it hard for the eye to know where to look (it should be the feather trim, IMHO).

  5. Sometimes I think the Queen’s hat designers are running out of ideas for the decorations on her hats. Some are beginning to look cheap.

  6. My two cents: the Queen’s hat is fine. I don’t usually get into the nitty gritty of the details of construction, but I enjoy reading the remarks of those who do. I’m more of an overall impression appreciator- if the size, shape, and trim are pleasing and suitable I’m on board.
    With Camilla’s hat, there is something off kilter or beaten up looking about the shape. And I don’t care for the fringes. They seem old fashioned or tacky or something vaudevillian I can’t quite put my finger on. The color and the feather spray though are both beautiful to me.

  7. I am in the minority, but I really dislike the Duchess of Cornwall’s hat intensely. I find the fringe cheapens the look. I would love to see her in a less cumbersome hat. Her Majesty, on the other hand, is wearing one of my favourite shapes for her. Luckily each lady will wear what she likes and give us something to talk about.

  8. I’ve never been a huge fan of yellow in general, but HM is one of the few people I know who can pull off the color so well, especially in so many different shades! While not my favorite hat, overall this is a great transitional outfit, and I think one that works well for the occasion too.

    I will always adore this hat and vibrant purple for Camilla, but I agree with @JamesB it’s time to get her some new winter clothes and hats. I think navy, cobalt, burgundy, forest green, grey, and burnt orange are all colors that should be considered in my opinion.

  9. HM’s yellow hat needs no saving as far as I’m concerned. I still think it’s fabulous, and I was hoping we would see it yesterday. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of this outfit, and am very happy about that!

    As for Camilla’s outfit – well we’ve definitely seen a lot of that! I do wish she would throw a few more into her winter rotation, her repertoire isn’t so great. Still it’s lovely and jewel tones suit her very well.

  10. Richard, what greatly impresses ME is that HM had two entirely different ensembles on yesterday, the magenta “flat crown and brim” hat, which leaves me 100% straddling the fence, and this lemon beauty, “square crown and cuffed brim,” which I think is perfection, until a photo from its last outing in December is shown. That back seam really bothers me. Place the seam in the front, UNDER the ball of fluff!
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  11. Both hats are fantastic. Since we know now that the base of the Queen’s hat is straw, it’s so easy to see the straw, as was true at its last wearing. When looking at its first wearing in Germany, however, I can’t see the straw. I rather liked it better when the straw wasn’t noticeable. There’s enough going on with this outfit: more contrast is not needed.
    I remain puzzled too that this coat still is worn with the original Bergen-Belsen gray dress. Made to match the gray coat and hat, there are little turquoise polka dots that are visible down the center of the gray dress when one pictures of yesterday’s wearing. This seems odd when worn with a yellow and gray coat. The yellow coat, however, fits perfectly, is centered on the Queen’s neck and has a perfectly symmetrical collar.
    The Duchess of Cornwall’s hat is one of her best. I still object to those buttons on her jacket, but they do highlight the collar.

    • I can’t be sure, but looking at these photos and some from Bergen-Belsen, I would say the decoration on the dress is a trim of gray and white to match the coat she wore at the time, and so perfectly consonant with a yellow and gray coat. I don’t see any turquoise, but I may be missing something. (The light on the “polka dots,” which are actually small squares, makes them look different from each other, though I suspect they are all the same.)

      • You may be right. If someone would send me a sample of the fabric, I probably could tell for certain!
        What I have gone on are pictures from Rexfeatures.com. (They seem to keep their resolution when blow up better than others.) The center panel on the dress appears to match the center panel on the gray coat. On pictures of the gray coat I believe I see about 8 light reflective dots or squares, then 8 darker dots or squares that appear turquoise to me. Then the pattern repeats. Since the Bergen-Belsen hat has turquoise trim, I may be just assuming that those are turquoise when, in fact, they are not. They may not have color at all, I suppose, and may be reflecting the surroundings.

  12. What greatly impresses me is the clever way in which two entirely different coats and hats were made to wear with this grey dress, so that on it’s initial ‘outing’ in June 2015, Her Majesty was able to do a quick change, without changing her dress. One look was more sombre than the other, and both outfits were so fitting for the engagements for which they were worn.

  13. I love the colors on both hats, but by far, Camilla’s hat is the winner. The beautiful color and design are a wow. Give me anything in that color!

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