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British RoyalsFashionThe Cambridges

The best of royal hats – The Duchess of Cambridge

Kate trooping
Wikimedia Commons/Carfax2/CC BY-SA 3.0

From small and simple to over-the-top, the right hat completes any royal outfit. This autumn, our team is taking a look at their favourite royal hats from over the years.

We’ve enjoyed seeing the Duchess of Cambridge’s style evolve since she entered the royal fold, especially when it comes to her hats, fascinators, and headbands. She’s always had a penchant for fun fascinators, but Catherine rocks oversized hats just as often these days.

Although she doesn’t wear a hat as much as Her Majesty, we’ve seen some fabulous looks from her over the years at events like Royal Ascot, Trooping the Colour, church services, and of course, royal weddings. In this instalment of our royal hats series, our team is taking a look at our favourite looks from the future queen.

Kristin Contino, Chief Reporter

My favourite fascinator Kate has worn is actually the first one she wore on an official royal engagement. Kate sported this brown pheasant feather style to the 2011 dedication of a lifeboat in Angelsey, Wales where she and William were living at the time. The fascinator was designed by Vivien Sheriff and features a cameo and gold buttons with a special meaning: one of them is a tunic button with the insignia of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. I loved the autumnal tones of this fascinator and how it matched with her coat; it was simple but effective and brings back memories of such an exciting time in the Royal Family.

My second pick is the gorgeous fuschia hat she wore to Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018. This is one of my favourite Duchess of Cambridge looks in general; the bold pink really suited her, and she looked so happy and vibrant that day. I thought this Philip Treacy hat, with its vintage-style netting and tonal flowers, was perfect for the occasion of an autumn wedding. 

Lydia Starbuck, Associate Editor

My first pick is the pretty pastel hat chosen by Kate for an important visit to Belgium in the late summer of 2014. The Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince William and Prince Harry, attended a series of events marking the start of World War One, so discretion was paramount. I think this hat, by Jane Taylor, ticks all the boxes without being boring. I love the gentle contrast of cream crown with coral embellishments, while the shaping of the flowers is rather elegant. 

Another favourite is this dreamy pale blue saucer style hat, worn to Royal Ascot in 2019. I love the colour on Kate and the wide-brimmed style, set off centre, really suits her. What makes this a stand out is the soft cushion of fabric flowers, adding depth to the hat. The Duchess has worn this Philip Treacy style in pastel pink as well but this hue, plus the knock out Elie Saab creation she matched it to, make this a winner for me. 

Brittani Barger, Deputy Editor

Kate has worn a lot of beautiful hats over the years, and I love how she always perfectly matches them to whatever she’s wearing or the event she is attending. One of my favourite hats she’s worn is the red Sylvia Fletcher fascinator she wore in Ottawa, Ontario (the Canadian capital) in 2011 during their post-wedding tour. I loved that she included the maple leaf – a true Canadian symbol that even dons the Canadian flag. It was a lovely tribute to the Commonwealth country she was visiting on their national holiday.

By Pat Pilon at Flickr – Shannon, July 1, 2011 at Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

For Christmas Day in 2011, her first as a member of the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a deep purple (that can almost look burgundy depending on the angle of the photo) velvet hat by Jane Corbett. What I like about this hat is that it is a different style; she’s not really repeated the look sense, so it stands out – not only in the style of the hat but also in colour. I think the entire look was really flattering overall for her first royal Christmas.

Jess Ilse, Senior Royal Reporter & Editorial Assistant

I’m always a big fan of Kate’s outfits on St. Patrick’s Day when she traditionally hands out shamrocks to the Irish Guards. This chocolate brown felt bumper hat was designed by Lock & Co., and it’s paired perfectly with her more stolid outfit on St. Patrick’s Day 2015 when she was still pregnant with Princess Charlotte.

My favourite of Kate’s Trooping the Colour outfits comes from 2017, with the frothy pink princess look. It’s one of my all-time favourite looks if I’m being honest. It’s a colour that pops on Kate, and one that she uses minimally in her day-to-day wardrobe, so when you see her in this bubblegum pink, it’s usually a knock-out. The cascading trim used to form the bow of this cocktail percher hat (designed by Jane Taylor) gives her look a fun hint.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.