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British RoyalsFashionThe Queen

The best of royal hats – The Queen

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.

When it comes to hats, Her Majesty certainly has a long reign of fabulous headgear to consider. From ladylike 1950s hats with netting to trendy turbans in the 1970s and even floral-covered shower cap-style hats, we’ve seen it all from The Queen.

These days, she’s more likely to wear a brightly coloured brimmed style by her longtime dresser, Angela Kelly, who admitted in her book “The Other Side of the Coin” that she sets out different hats to fool members of staff. It’s a popular pastime to bet on the colour of Her Majesty’s hat at Royal Ascot, and Kelly purposely displays various hats so they can’t get any insider tips to place bets.

The only thing our team at Royal Central is betting on? Amazing chapeaus! Here, a look at our favourite hats from Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

Kristin Contino, Chief Reporter

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This pink hat by Angela Kelly, as worn to Royal Ascot in 2016, is definitely my favourite of The Queen’s. One would typically think of berries as more of a Christmas-related trim, but the clusters of pale pink berry sprays across her hat ended up being perfect for a June event like Ascot. The curled white ribbon weaving through the berries adds additional interest to the piece and really ties in nicely with the trim on her coat here. It’s really just a stunning style, and I appreciate the berries as something different when you typically see flowers on a spring/summer hat.

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My next pick is this fabulous headpiece The Queen wore during her 1982 tour of the South Pacific on a stop to Tuvalu. Her Majesty definitely used to take some interesting fashion risks during this time period, and I really enjoy these fun departures from the typical “queenly” hats you would think of today. The hat, designed by Frederick Fox, features a series of feathers erupting from a periwinkle polka-dot print base. Although it doesn’t necessarily go with The Queen’s style asthetic today, I wish some of the younger members of the Royal Family would break out these fun vintage styles!  

Lydia Starbuck, Associate Editor

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Part of history, rather discreet and utterly iconic. The pale pink hat worn by The Queen for the main part of her Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977 is, for me, the ultimate royal hat. This image of Her Majesty is one of the most famous in her long reign and that hat helps make it. Designed by Simone Mirman, it was a perfect piece for a very special day. The cap shape allowed The Queen’s face to be seen fully from afar while the colour was just bright enough to make it stand out amongst the huge crowds that came to cheer her on her first major monarchical milestone. The most memorable part of the hat are the bell shaped flowers that flow freely in a little collection at the back, adding another focal point to keep all eyes on the Jubilee Queen. It is, and always will be, one of the most memorable images of The Queen’s historic reign.

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Another very famous look, though perhaps more divisive, is the hat that Her Majesty wore for the Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle in 1969. You don’t have to be a huge fan of this look to appreciate its place in history. It’s another Simone Mirman creation, made of primrose yellow silk, and it features a huge amount of embellishment which adds texture to the whole look. However, the most striking part of this design is the sides of the hat which almost completely enclose the head. It is said to have been partly inspired by Tudor times and there’s certainly an element of the hoods worn by royal women of the time. For others, it was a bit of a helmet hat. Either way, this one hat is hugely emblematic, another of the most famous looks in the long reign of Elizabeth II. 

Jess Ilse, Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant

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The Queen’s hats are iconic. Picture her in your mind’s eye. She’s wearing a bold, bright hat, isn’t she? I love that her philosophy with regards to style isn’t to be a maven always on the latest trend before the rest of us catch up, it’s ‘I have to be seen to be believed.’ When I got to see The Queen in person in 2010, she was wearing a bright yellow hat that’s seared into my memory. And, as she philosophises, she did need to be seen from that great distance to be believed.

My first pick for a great hat is this purple ombre concoction worn on a tour of Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada in March 1983. There’s something timeless about it (who else wears hats?) but also bold and ’80s with the bright purple ombre streaks on the front of it. I doubt anyone who saw her that day doubted what they believed!

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I’m staying in Canada for my second pick: this pretty plaid hat worn by The Queen at the Montreal Summer Olympics in 1976. Looking back on the ’70s and what colours were trendy, this hat fits and nods towards the fact that she is the Queen of Great Britain while also being chic and modern. If you didn’t know she was The Queen, you’d assume she was any other woman with how polished she looks.

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.