The extraordinary monarch Queen Elizabeth and I had one thing in common, we both like hats. I have always had a fascination with the Queens hats. Bright, beautiful and bold, she made a fashion colour statement wherever she went. If you think she ruled for 70 years and probably undertook a public engagement at least five times a week, if my maths is right, she would have needed over 18 000 hats during her reign.
Fortunately she did not mind wearing them more than once!
Barbara Jones the Royal Blogger said Queen Elizabeth II has generally not been known in the past years for her fashion style. But that changed when in 1994 when Angela Kelly was named the Queen's personal dresser, you could say she is the royal stylist. Since that time the Queen's wardrobe seems to have undergone a fashion transformation with more tailored dresses and coats made in solid pastels or bold primary colours or sometimes the dresses are made in fabric with simple patterns. But the outfits are always accessorised with sensible shoes and the ever present handbag (And thanks to Paddington Bear we all know what is in that handbag!).
To complete the fashion ensemble, the Queen will wear pieces from her personal jewelry collection. During the day, the Queen will usually wear a hat specifically made to match the dress that she is wearing. On more formal occasions the Queen will wear one of the spectacular crowns from the Royal Jewelry Collection.
When a milliner is creating a hat for the Queen there are a couple of important things to consider, such as the style and the fit. The Queen's hat needs to serve several purposes. The first is that it covers the Queen's head eliminating the need for constant hair touch-ups during the day which is usually scheduled with several engagements and appearances at various functions. The second purpose of wearing a hat is that it covers the Queen's head to protect her from any weather conditions, such as glaring sun or a sudden rain shower (although lately the Queen had begun to use a clear umbrella with a color coordinated stripe to match her clothing). Finally, the third purpose of wearing a hat is that is a fashion opportunity to add an extra decorative accessory to the Queen's outfit.
When traveling to different countries, the style of the hat will take into consideration the culture and customs of the country that the Queen is visiting. An example shown in the photos below is when the Queen has visited the Pope at the Vatican she will wear a mantilla to cover her head. The photo on the left shows the Queen with Pope John Paul II wearing a crown with the mantilla and the photo on the shows the Queen several years later with Pope John Paul II wearing a hat with a mantilla attached.
Finally, when the Queen is at a public engagement, she needs to be able to see the people and they need to see her. So, when creating a hat the milliner needs to make sure that the brim is not so large that it will cover the Queen's face. Also, the upper portion of the hat needs to be a proper height so that the Queen can enter/exit her vehicle without hitting the hat and knocking it out of place on her head.
I wonder if one could view the Royal Hat Room, as one did the Imelda Marcos Shoe Room