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British Royals

Stop the style contests – the royal look of the Jubilee year is here

Never mind Royal Ascot, the Jubilee or Camilla’s tour of Canada. The hats there may be tip topper but they are nothing compared to the royal special we’ve just seen. 2022 is only just through its first quarter and we have the hat of the year. Step up, Sir Tim Laurence.

The Princess Royal’s husband has been touring Australia and Papua New Guinea in the kind of headwear that is usually seen on a cricket field in the shires in July being worn by men whose idea of ‘’too hot’’ is anything above 16 degrees Celsius. Sir Tim has spent the past few days quite literally glued to a beaten up old Panama and it’s been a joy to behold.

Anytime he is required to venture outside for longer than three minutes, Tim has reached for the hat of the year with a calm confidence that covers all situations.

‘What’s that, a carriage ride at the Royal Sydney Easter Show? Lovely, just grab the Panama….National Orchid Garden, can’t wait but sounds a little warm, let’s not throw caution to the wind, I’ll take the hat.’’

The ultimate joy of this hat isn’t just its rather retro vibe or the fact that you most likely had a granddad or uncle with an almost identical version. No, the real royal respect for Sir Tim’s choice comes from it clearly having been rolled up and sat on more times than anyone can remember.

How do we describe the royal hat of the year? It has a rather large brim, a rather large hat band and a rather large number of creases in it. And it looks very cool, in more ways than one. For this hat will not only keep the heat to a minimum, it’s turned Mr. Anne into a fashion icon.

It also has that rather marvellous quality of all hats worn by British men – it’s every so slightly too small for its wearer. A true Brit would never buy a hat that fitted. Instead, they’d take the size that seemed just about correct to end the excruciating ordeal of having to talk to another human and then spend forever afterwards intermittently pulling the thing down to stop it being claimed by an unexpected breeze. Unless a hat sits uncomfortably around the middle of the skull, all the while feeling as if it might pop off at any moment, then it is, quite simply, not a hat at all.

We also need to bow down before the huge amount of work that has gone into making this hat everything it is. Panamas don’t get that crumpled by themselves. Sir Tim has rolled that thing up and shoved it in a pocket on his way somewhere for years. It’s been pushed down the side of a suitcase in a last minute panic about possibly needing some kind of hat as he ventures on holiday more times than he can remember. All you fashionistas currently checking your phones for a hat just like Tim’s take note. You can surf all you like but you are going to have to work that hat when it lands to come close to the Laurence legend.

The hat that Sir Tim took to Australia and Papua New Guinea has become an unexpected joy of this Jubilee year. Princess Anne has been rocking a wardrobe of pale pistachio and cream on this trip, with some rather nifty toppers of her own. But even the most indomitable princess on the planet would have to admit that when it comes to 2022, the royal hat game is over. Stand up, take a bow, then sit back down on that Panama and keep it as crazy as we love it. Sir Tim Laurence is the royal style icon of the year.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.