It’s officially one month until Christmas (30 days, 720 hours). So, we’re kicking off the countdown with a look back at the Queen’s best Christmas hats.
Given that we see Her Majesty in a hat more often than out of one, there are few better people to take inspiration from than the Queen.
Every year she attends church on Christmas Day and always wears a hat. So, we’ve taken a look back at some of her best festive headwear through the years and asked milliner Awon Golding to talk us through the Queen’s style evolution in hats.
In 1978, the royal hat of choice was a felt pillbox hat. “It’s a style she’ll come back to many times in her life,” says Ms Golding. “It was popularised in the 1960s by Jackie Kennedy.
“We’ll see throughout the Queen’s sartorial life that she consistently wears hats that are swept up and away from the face. When meeting with dignitaries it was important they could see her eyes, and that the official photographs were able to capture her whole face.”
The hat selected by the Queen in 1983 feels just as fitting for a winter wedding as it would have been for royalty to attend a Christmas Day church service – we’ll go for faux fur now, of course.
“This feathered pillbox is decorative, featuring a coque feather trim and delicate veiling. From the photo it looks like the hat itself is also covered in what could possibly be pheasant feathers,” says Ms Golding.
The Queen was rocking bold block colour way before it became mainstream fashionable and, in a sea of ’90s beige, she radiates in purple in 1992.
“This exaggerated Breton is made in matching purple tweed to the Queen’s coat,” explains Ms Golding. “Once again, we see the sweeping uplift of the brim, exposing the face and framed by her signature curled hair.”
The ’90s really was a time when the Queen began to match her coat and hat colours. Ms Golding says her 1999 sculptural beret in blue wool would have a canvas base to it, which would be covered and lined with fabric.
The early 2000s
The Queen always needs to look her best on Christmas Day, as many people wait to see her outside the church at Sandringham, and hand over flowers. As the 2000s dawned, she went for a bright colour-match combination, with her trademark black leather handbag.
This 2001 hat is made from parasisal, a type of milliner’s straw, and sinamay, a popular hat-making foundation made from the stalks of the abaca tree, and would have been hand dyed to match the Queen’s outfit, “perfectly mirroring the turquoise and cobalt of the jacket and dress”, says Ms Golding.
The new millennium saw the Queen start to experiment with bolder hat choices, textures and accessories, and her 2002 choice stands out.
“This fuchsia tweed and black fox fur Cossack is both elegant and warm,” says Ms Golding. “More than likely this would have a felt body underneath with fabric and fur blocked and sewn on top.”
Matching was the theme again in 2005, this time in a muted peach outfit – but that doesn’t stop the Queen showing a stylish flourish with the bow detail on this hat.
“This peach bloom felt and silk hat is another classic shape for the Queen,” observes Ms Golding. “Her Majesty’s ubiquitous hat pin is clearly visible here, holding the hat in place.”
We’re enjoying the red and grey feather explosion of 2008. “This hat is made from a soft grey melusine fur felt, with crimson velvet trimming and button, and matching coque feathers,” notes Ms Golding. It is also, of course, perfectly coordinated to the Queen’s coat.
Cloche hats were very fashionable in the 1920s and the Queen clearly knows how to work vintage – for her Christmas choice of 2011 is a lesson in retro revival.
“This ivory velour felt cloche with asymmetrical brim and exaggerated crown is trimmed with a matching waffle weave lavender tweed trim band and felt and fabric twist,” notes Ms Golding.
The burnt orange hat of 2017, made from a sinamay base covered with matching orange fabric, features an elegant handmade floral sinamay and wire trim.
“You can see the end of the hat pin here – almost all the Queen’s hats feature one or two hat pins to hold the hat in place in all circumstances,” says Ms Golding.
Which hat was your favourite? Are you a fan of the royal family? Do you have any festive headwear?
– With PA
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