Millinery mania: a.k.a. Royal Ascot

Place your bets: What colour hat will the Queen wear?

With enough feathers to dress a flock of birds and enough bows to satisfy a 1980s retro-fashion trend needs, Royal Ascot is to the millinery world what the Oscars are to couture houses. It’s decadence that dwarfs even the velvet headgear worn by the royal family at Monday’s Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle.


Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday and, for the next five days, every chapeau will be snapped for posterity. Last year’s display was lavishly covered on the British Vogue website (here and here).   One of the best parts of the week, beside watching all the fashionable young things hoping their clothes will be suitable for the royal enclosure (there are rules for everything, including the width of shoulder straps), is betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat. It’s been going on for years. Here’s my report from 2012.

Right now the current odds from William Hill favour pink, but Elizabeth II has a habit of bucking the odds. It’s as though she goes online, checked the betting line and then decides what to wear. But she wouldn’t be that devious, would she?



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