If there's anything that can upstage a bride at a royal wedding, it's the hats worn by the guests. A British tradition, hats worn for special occasions can cost thousands of pounds, and often resemble a space ship instead of formalwear. Here in the United States, hats just aren't as big of a deal outside of the Kentucky Derby, which begs the question: will Meghan Markle's family wear hats to the royal wedding, or can they get away without the pricey top piece?
If the Markle family was hoping to eschew British tradition and head into St. George's Chapel without anything to crown their outfit (pun intended), they're completely out of luck. According to the official invitation on behalf of Her Royal Highness The Queen of England, there is a dress code. Women are required to wear a “day dress with hat.” Judging by weddings in recent history, that means a conservative couture dress that is knee-length, covers the shoulders, in a bright color, and the hat should be incredibly outrageous.
The Queen's "dressmaker" is Angela Davis, known for making Her Royal Highness shine brightly in stunning neon suiting and bold cuts, as well as managing her accessories, hats, and her massive collection of handbags. As for the hats of Princess Eugenie and Beatrice that are seemingly inspired by either Georgia O'Keeffe or maybe Lewis Carroll? We can only hope they'll outdo themselves on Saturday.
Since coming out publicly with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has been known to throw on a fascinator to attend state and royal functions. Her favorite milliner, judging by how often she's donned his fascinators and berets, is Irish hat maker Philip Treacy, whose work can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds per handmade hat. As to will Meghan Markle's family wear hats to the royal wedding from Treacy, we can't be sure, but the designer's Spring/Summer 2018 line is more than royal wedding ready. I could easily see Markle's yoga instructor mother Doria Ragland wearing a hat like this bohemian inspired wide brimmed fedora by Treacy over her gorgeous hair. Or perhaps, in a nod to her nickname for Meghan — Flower — she'd choose something more botanical, like one of American milliner Louise Green's famous creations?
While it's impossible to trace the tradition of wearing hats to weddings and events in Great Britain, it's fun to look at why it might be so. First, think of the setting. British weather is notoriously moody even in the dead of summer. Prone to rain and humidity, hats are a gorgeous covering of any number of follicular ills. As a woman with a tempestuous riot of curls, I quite like the ability to shove it all under a hat covered in feathers.
And while it's true that some of the styles border on the utterly ridiculous, there are so many more hats that are simply works of art that one can wear on one's head as a bit of window dressing. There are a few main types of hats worn to weddings in the U.K., noted Vanity Fair. Fascinators, the type of hat secured by clips or a headband, are the sort of peculiarly positioned pieces that we saw Eugenie and Beatrice wear to His Majesty Prince William and the Duchess' wedding in 2011. Headpieces are the often saucer-shaped hats that look as if they're tilted precariously to one side, or they're a great, big confection of artwork pinned down by straight pins and prayers. And then there are all of the gorgeous hats worn by the Queen, Camilla Bowles, and everyone else in attendance. No matter what Meghan Markle's family chooses, all of these designs will surely serve to turn more than a few heads on the big day.