Fine, Furry Friends
Both Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter-in-law Camilla Parker Bowles were called out in December 2010 for wearing fur hats on Christmas Day, with the queen in this white cap, while Camilla donned her vintage brown version that reportedly once belonged to her grandmother. A few years earlier, their in-law-to-be (and budding fashion icon) Kate Middleton donned a similar fur cap to keep warm at the Cheltenham Races.
Bows apparently aren’t only for little girls. Both Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton used ribbons to dress up their headgear. Queen Elizabeth wore this purple hat in June 2009 to visit the Culloden Battlefield in Scotland. Perhaps wanting to impress the queen, Middleton wore this Philip Treacy hat to her first engagement in the queen’s presence in 2006—her future husband’s graduation from Sandhurst Military Academy.
Black, White, & Royal All Over
There’s nothing that compares to the classic combination of black and white. Queen Elizabeth chose this black and white hat for the Royal Ascot in 2008—after the bookies argued over who created the idea of betting on her hat color in the first place. Middleton wore this Philip Treacy wide-brimmed hat for Prince William’s induction into the Order of the Garter at St. George’s Chapel inside Windsor Castle.
Birds of a Feather
Feathers were all the rage at the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles to Harry Lopes in 2006. Middleton chose this ostrich-feathered topper, while the bride’s mother and Prince William’s stepmother Camilla wore a white feathered hat askew. The look must have caught Queen Elizabeth’s eye, as she donned this ostrich feather cap in 2010.
Queen Elizabeth showed Americans how it’s done when she wore this blue hat with her matching blue jacket at the MacCutcheon Patient Playroom in Washington, D.C. As a secretly engaged woman, Middleton wore this regal-looking black hat to the Oct. 23 wedding of friends Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford.
Not Just for the French
But a hat doesn’t have to have a brim to be worthy of a royal occasion. Before her future granddaughter-in-law was even born, Queen Elizabeth wore this velvet beret with a brooch bearing the royal crest in 1976. Middleton rocked her own beret 30 years later at the Cheltenham Festival, pairing it with brown suede boots and a pale blue blazer.
These photos--taken 50 years apart--certainly prove that small hats never go out of style. Shortly after being crowned, Queen Elizabeth wore this hat as she boarded a plane to Bermuda on a six-month tour of the Commonwealth in 1953. Kate Middleton copied her grandmother-in-law-to-be in February 2011 at her first official public appearance as an engaged woman. In her modest (and also feathered) headpiece, Middleton named a lifeboat in Anglesey, Wales, where she and Prince William are living during his air force tour there.
Ladies in Lilac
Since purple is the color often associated with royalty, it makes sense that Queen Elizabeth wore this plum feathered hat to her accession ceremony. Kate Middleton wore her own version of the headgear for the wedding of Nicholas van Cutsem, Prince William’s close friend. Middleton’s hat had at least one fan: her mother borrowed it a year later and wore to the Royal Ascot.