Flying saucer hat lifts off as royals and guests don jaunty headwear

The fashion item that will be remembered from the Queen’s platinum jubilee is one that could, in theory, be seen in space – the flying saucer hat.

Younger members of the royal family, politicians and other guests were all seen wearing the saucer style that sits jauntily at an angle on the head.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Photograph: Reuters

The Duchess of Sussex, in her first public appearance with the royal family in two years, wore a white one, while the Duchess of Cambridge matched her primrose yellow dress with a yellow saucer hat with flower detail. The Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne were also in on the trend.

And this was not a hat style exclusively worn by the royals. Liz Truss and Theresa May wore saucers, while Carrie Johnson – booed as she arrived with the prime minister – donned an oversized white saucer with red trimming.

Meghan and Kate also wore large saucer hats for the trooping the colour celebrations on Thursday morning, with Meghan’s Stephen Jones design already sold out.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Photograph: Daniel Leal/AP

The adoption of the flying saucer hat could be seen as part of a shake-up of royal style, moving on from the boxy headwear beloved by the Queen and neat pillboxes often worn by royals. This was more modern, more graphic, more reminiscent of Lady Gaga and Grace Jones.

The design – also known as a cartwheel hat – dates back to the early 20th century and has starred on the cover of Vogue, been worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, and was part of Christian Dior’s look in the 50s.

Carrie Johnson and Liz Truss in saucer hats.
Carrie Johnson and Liz Truss in saucer hats. Photograph: Reuters

The appearance of Meghan after an absence of two years meant all eyes were on her. Clad in white, she was wearing a Dior couture coat dress, matched with hat and shoes. Did the white mean she was coming in peace? Well, she clearly has a liking for the colour, having worn a white trenchcoat dress for the announcement of her engagement to Harry in 2017, and a £3,200 Valentino white trouser suit when she attended the Invictus Games in April.

White, as part of the suffragette flag, has historically been seen as a feminist colour – an association that Hillary Clinton alluded to with her white suit during the 2016 election campaign.


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