Hats From the Past

Royal Hats sixteen years to June 18, 2002. While the connection between Ascot and British royal hats is an unbreakable one, there are occasionally royal friends and relations from other royal houses who join in the racing festivities. Back in 2002, the Danish and Swedish monarchs were guests at Windsor Castle and attended Ascot,  both queens in vibrant hats.

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I’ve always loved the two directional double brim on Queen Margrethe’s hat (a creative feature still today!), the play between the two shades of pink and the subtle repetition of the red dots on her silk dress on the upper, lighter pink brim of the hat. Queen Silvia’s bright pink sidesweep reminds how long this style of upturned brim has been en vogue, balanced here by a flat crown and lovely contrasting feathers in unexpected yellow and black.

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I wonder if any continental royal friends will be in attendance this year?

Photos from Getty as indicated


Catching Up Five Scandinavian Royal Hatted Events

The Scandinavian royals were busy this weekend, leaving us five hatted events to catch up!

On Saturday, Queen Margrethe opened a Niels Skovgaard exhibition at Skovgaard Museum. The queen, who has lent a painting from the royal collection for the exhibition (one that usually hangs in her office), repeated her bright pink straw hat with double navy floral hatband and organza mini blossoms on the side.

Designer: likely Peter Falk Hansen
Previously Worn: May 29, 2018Aug 28, 2017;  June 16, 2017September 12, 2016June 27, 2016June 3, 2016August 31, 2015June 26, 201
On Saturday, Princess Benedikte was at Klampenborg Galopbane for her namesake “Princess Benedikt’s Honorary Prize Run” for female amateur riders. For this event, she wore a new cream straw hat with wide brim, upswept on one side. The hat looks to be simply trimmed with a wide hatband in the same cream straw. It’s a lovely, sleek piece that paired especially well with her bright dress and necklace.

Designer: likely Susanne Juul
Previously Worn: This hat is new 
Yesterday, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia attended an ordination service at Uppsala Cathedral. For this service, Queen Silvia topped her patterned royal blue dress with her repeated straw hat in the same hue. The hat features a rounded crown, gently upswept brim and is trimmed with a pleated blue silk hatband and a side spray of blue silk flowers at the side. We’ve discussed recently here about the success (or non success!) of one colour ensembles and I put this one firmly in the ‘success’ category, thanks to the mix of multiple textures on the dress and hat.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: June 6, 2016  
Also yesterday, Queen Margrethe was in Fredericia  to take part in the 350th anniversary celebration of Sct. Michaelis Church. She repeated her pale pink straw hat with tapered crown and slightly upswept brim on one side, trimmed with white silk flowers and pink silk ribbon hatband and brim binding piped with a slim stripe of white. She was joined for the service by her cousin, Count Ingolf of Rosenborg and his wife, Countess Sussie, who wore a smart raspberry straw bumper hat.

June 3, 2018 | Royal Hats

Designer of Queen Margrethe’s hat:  likely Per Falk Hansen. White silk flowers by Danish fleuriste Effi Pingel
Previously Worn: Nov 23, 2017July 15, 2017
And finally, the Norwegian royal family welcomed Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska today on a three day state visit. For the official welcome, Queen Silvia repeated a cream straw picture hat with trimmed with coral quills.
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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: May 19, 2014; May 31, 2012June 2007 
Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore an embellished bandeau headpiece while Princess Astrid looks to be wearing a black  straw brimless hat with domed crown, trimmed with a black net tulle veil.
June 4, 2018 | Royal Hats June 4, 2018 | Royal Hats
Designer of both pieces: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe both are new
My apologies for the poor photos, dearest readers- the Scandinavian royals just get the level of media coverage that their British cousins do. Nevertheless, it’s been a busy weekend of interesting hats across Scandinavia! I think Princess Benedikte’s new design is a particular beauty. 
Photos from social media as indicated; Chresten Bergh and Scanpix Norway

Danish Queen Opens National Park

Queen Margrethe was in Esrum yesterday to officially open the ‘Kings Northern Zealand’ new national park. This event gives us the best side view we’ve seen of her pink straw hat, showing clearly that the hatband is a double row of the same navy floral fabric as her blouse, bound on each side with solid navy piping. The flowers are also visible here as small organza poufs in white, pink and navy with unfinished edges.

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While this closeup view makes me less impressed with the trim (those flowers seem unnecessarily fussy and crafty), I’m surprisingly taken with the hat’s shape. The brim has a jaunty trilby feel to it I had not noticed before, with shorter upturned shape around the back and wider, down facing slope at the front. Seeing the nuances of this shape makes the hat feel decidedly more modern. If only the the great shape and colour were further shown off with a medium width navy Petersham ribbon hatband (perhaps ending in a flat side bow?) in place of the current one.  I have a hunch that simpler trim would do this hat a world of good.

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Designer: likely Peter Falk Hansen
Previously Worn: Aug 28, 2017;  June 16, 2017September 12, 2016June 27, 2016June 3, 2016August 31, 2015June 26, 2015
Have your impressions of this hat changed at all with this closer look at its trim?
Photos from Getty as indicated

Catching Up Three Events in Denmark

On Tuesday, Queen Margrethe opened the royal yacht Dannebrog’s sailing season in her repeated navy felt hat with silk hatband that ties in a side bow. With her navy suit, red and white blouse and anchor brooch, the hat topped a suitably (but not to obviously) nautical ensemble.

Designer: likely Per Falk Hansen
Previously Worn: May 9, 2017; May 3, 2017
Yesterday, the Danish Queen was at Frederiksberg Castle to visit the Army Officer School headquartered there on this, its 150th anniversary year. For this event, she repeated a straw hat with ecru crown and double grey brim. This design is intriguing- something not always said about a design in such neutral colours – with the upper brim in a kettle upturn and the lower brim, under a white band, appearing to be flat.  I want to see this closeup for a final verdict but it looks wonderfully promising.

Designer: likely Per Falk Hansen
Previously Worn: Oct 9, 2007
Today, Queen Margrethe was joined by her sisters, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, to celebrate the city of Kolding’s 750th anniversary.  The visit, which included a stop at a new exhibition held at Kolding Castle Museum, Queen Margrethe repeated her red bumper hat with navy floral patterned bow trim. Princess Benedikte wore a new pale grey straw beret base percher decorated with a pleated grey silk ruffle. Queen Anne-Marie wore an upswept brim design in natural straw that appears to be embellished.

Designer of Queen Margrethe’s hat: likely Per Falk Hansen
Previously Worn:  July 1, 2017; June 29, 2017; June 1, 2017Oct 4, 2016Sep 5, 2016May 24, 2016
Designer of Princess Benedikte’s hat: likely Susanne Juul
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Designer of Queen Anne-Marie’s hat: looks like Lock & Co.
Previously Worn: TBA
While some of these hats are ones we are very familiar with, the two new grey designs are both distinctive- one for the brim and the other for the ruffle trim- and both impress me. What do you think of this parade of hats in Denmark this week?
Photos from social media as indicated

Guest Post: Exhibition on Queen Margrethe’s Hats Part 2

I’m so pleased to welcome Denmark-based Dutch freelance journalist Inger Stokkink back to Royal hats for the second part of her review on the exhibit on Queen Margrethe’s fashion at Den Gamle By Museum in Aarhus. If you missed the first part of her article, jump over to this post to catch up.

Royal Hats of Queen Margrethe of Denmark (continued)

by Inger Stokkink


Queen Margrethe has been known to actively take part in the designing process with her designers, especially gala gowns, or ’big dresses’ as the Queen calls them. Festive gowns for royals have requirements and little tricks that do not play a role in the lives of lesser mortals. Orders, medals, and chains that are worn for ceremonial purposes, along with large pieces of jewelry need to be incorporated in the design. The inclusion of these items must happen not only visually but also in a practical and structural sense they can be so heavy that they weigh down the textile, thereby ruining design, material, drape and silhouette.

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These considerations do not play a substantial role in the design of royal hats, yet the Queen has plays an active role in the design process here, too. Tove Mathiassen points out a black calot hat, saying, ”We know for a fact that the Queen has been an active co-designer of both dresses and suits. And about one of the hats in the exhibition, the Queen has told that it first was worn at the occasion of the Crown Prince’s konfirmation in 1981 and later had added red flowers. ”

Black calot hat with red flowers, above right; in its original form, below, on May 28, 1981 at Prince Frederik’s confirmation with a black feather pouf on the side 

The hats themselves – on their own, so to speak – do miss their bearer and her clothes to bring the designs to life. Illustrations or photographs of the Queen wearing them would have helped the exhibition here. On the other hand: how much closer can you get to so many royal hats?

Cream straw wide brimmed boater with inset crin stripe on the brim second from left above, and in action below, at Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik’s silver wedding anniversary celebrations on June 10, 1992

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Pale blue straw football shaped saucer variation with silk crepe binding, hatband and floral trim pictured in the exhibition at top left above, and in closeup with curator Tove Engelhardt Mathiassen, below

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The hat in action (bottom left) on July 29, 1981 at the high profile wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer


Not only ’grown-up’ hats are on display. There is a special place for the type of hat that almost every Danish high school student shares with the Queen: the studenterhat worn during graduation festivities. The Queen has two: a Danish one, and one from the Faeroe Islands, with an extra tassle, and a beautifully monogrammed red-leather hatbox to go with them.

Should you wish to see these 42 hats for yourselves, visit Den Gamle By, the historical museum in the Danish town of Aarhus. The exhibition runs until September 9 this year and has two sections: gala dresses, and the dresses and suits she wore on her numerous visits around Denmark. The latter also includes some of her children’s clothes, a bicycle, and hats she made for performances of her friend’s Susanne Heering’s ballet school Fru H’s Danseinstitut.  If you have already seen the Queen’s dresses at the Frederiksborg exhibition in 2015, then you won’t find anything new – apart from the hats, of course.

If you read Danish, much about the Queen’s hats can be found in the book ’Dronningens Kjoler’ (The Queen’s Dresses) by Katia Johansen (2012, Gyldendal Publishers), pp. 100-105.

Inger- this has been such an insightful look at Queen Margrethe’s approach to fashion and millinery! The photos in this post alone show saucers, Bretons, unusual pillbox variations, wide brims, cloches and others that together, display a  wonderful diversity of scale, material and trim. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share this exhibition with all of us who are unable to attend. It really has been the most wonderful gift. 

Photos from Miguel Mielgo and Inger Stokkink may not be replicated in any way without written permission. 

Inger Stokkink is a Dutch freelance journalist living in Denmark. She divides her attention between politics, sailing and royalty – and hats. 

Guest Post: Exhibition on Queen Margrethe’s Hats Part 1

When a new exhibition on Queen Margrethe’s gowns and hats opened several weeks ago in Aarhus, there was a collective sigh of disappointment from many readers who are unable to attend. Inger Stokkink is a Dutch freelance journalist living in Denmark. She divides her attention between politics, sailing and royalty – and hats. She recently took in the exhibition and generously shares her reflections with us in two parts, today and tomorrow. I’m thrilled to feature Inger here at Royal Hats. 

Royal Hats of Queen Margrethe of Denmark

by Inger Stokkink

Forty-two hats, no less. The recently opened exhibition of Queen Margrethe’s gowns at Den Gamle By Museum in the Danish city of Aarhus follows an international trend where museums and royal families co-operate to share highlights of royal wardrobes with the greater public. But this exhibition is special because it comprises a sub-exhibition of royal hats.

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Miguel Mielgo

Queen Margrethe opening the fashion exhibition on March 27

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Inger Stokkink

When curator Tove Engelhardt Mathiassen prepared the exhibition with the Danish court, she received the offer to include forty-two hats the Queen acquired in the sixties and seventies – an offer Tove immediately accepted.

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Miguel Mielgo

Most of the hats come from Vagn Hattesalon, a well-known and well-reputed hat shop in Copenhagen, active from 1910 til 1980. See here for a range of Vagn designs from the fifties and sixties.

”The hats we have on loan from the queen are from the seventies up to the early eighties, when Vagn Hattesalon closed,” says Tove Mathiassen. ”It is remarkable how different the hats from Vagn are in form, colour and decoration. Some are very simple, with just a hat band or a single feather. Others are true little works of art, with flowers, feathers and veils.”

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Inger Stokkink

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Black straw hat with flower trim worn by Queen Margrethe on May 2, 1974 during a trip to London 


Queen Margrethe has an active role in the design of her clothes, and the same goes for her hats. Frequently, she has sent the same material used to make a dress or other garment to her hat maker with the suggestion to use it also in the hat design.

The exhibition shows at least one hat with a history like this, a hat which also features in the book Dronningens Kjoler’ (The Queen’s Dresses) by Katia Johansen. It is in blue silk with a printed golden yellow pattern. The material was a gift from the Queen’s husband, Prince Henrik, who brought it home to her from his travels to Iran 1975 or 1976. The Queen had a blouse made of out it and a turban hat, together with a suit in warm yellow. Later, the hat was re-made into its actual form: low-domed crown with a shawl-like garnishing around it and a blue straw, slightly upturned brim. She wore this ensemble twice in 1979 on state visits a Danish state visit to China and a British state visit to Denmark.

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Inger Stokkink

Curator Tove Engelhardt Mathiassen and her assistant highlighting this blue hat with impeccable crown stitching and ruched hatband (its original turban form still visible!) 

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Inger Stokkink

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Queen Margrethe with Queen Elizabeth during the May 1979 British state visit to Denmark


Later still, the blouse’s Persian silk ended as part of the antependium, altar cloth, of the bishopric of Haderslev in Southern Denmark. Many of the Queens’ clothes and accessories ended their lives either as religious garments for Danish clerics or theatre dresses for the pupils of dancing school Fru H’s Danseinstitut led by the Queen’s friend Susanne Heering. This fits very well for the Queen as one of her main hobbies is designing costumes for the stage. For a while, designing clerical garb was her hobby, too.

It is interesting to note that the Queen has said that early on in life, she discovered that she found it much more fun to dress up in a way that is NOT pretty or sweet, but rather the opposite. Theatre design gave her a much better outlet for that than her own ’working’ clothes (and hats). Although the Queen’s boundary-breaking, Pippi Longstocking-kind-of-approach to fashion never is far away.

March 27, 2017 | Photo by Inger Stokkink


Inger- this approach to fashion by Queen Margrethe now explains several of her unusual (and sometimes bizarre) hats! Stay tuned tomorrow, dearest readers, for the second part of this fantastic exhibition review and look back at Queen Margrethe’s hats. My sincere thanks, again, to Inger Stokkink.

Photos from Miguel Mielgo and Inger Stokkink may not be replicated in any way without written permission.