I am not obsessed with hats. It’s just that I have these neat pictures left over from my research on Brits and their hat problem. It’ll be fun. It’s about the Queen– a visual tour of her hat-wearing years as the Sovereign of the UK and her journey into the dullest form of kapelophilia: hats that look alike. I imagine the Queen’s milliner imprisoned in the Tower, cranking out chapeaux that are barely recognizable variants of a couple of themes. The milliner put there by order of Prince Chuck who wants his mother to seem dull and addled so that he might snatch the Throne and rebuild the old Empire– going after India first , then Canada (not the French-speaking parts). Just a thought.
HRH wasn’t always so inclined to wearing hats. Much like other young women, her daughters-in- and out-law, for example, she was mostly bare-headed. But, once she became HRH Queen Elizabeth II, she began her slow, almost crawling, and obviously personally distasteful sell-out to the then misogynist custom of a woman (royalty or otherwise) wearing a hat in public. Only the Queen could not wear anything as frivolous as the concoctions worn at the Royal Ascot racecourse. The Lord Chamberlain would probably faint at the breach of protocol (he’s in charge of the Royal Household– I have no idea if he’s in charge of head coverings). HRH eventually had to give in to large, dull hats. It was either that or wear her crown everywhere she went. These days, to be seen in her crown all the time, would tick off the plebeians, I’m sure. I can imagine the House of Commons calling for the dismantling of the Monarchy. Again, just a thought.
Long, long, ago, in a Constitutional Monarchy far, far, away, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in 1926. Several years later she was minding her own business, when her uncle, King Edward VIII decided to abdicate so that he might marry a divorced commoner. He had only been on the Throne less than a year after his father, King George V died. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s father, Edward’s brother, was the new King and she was the oldest of his two girls and presumptive heir to the Throne. It was 1936 and the British Empire was still standing, and the role of the Sovereign was crucial.
In those days princesses were schooled at home. As next in line, Elizabeth received intensive instruction to prepare her for her eventual duties as Sovereign of the presumed Empire. In 1952, King George VI, her father, died. If you’ve seen the move “The King’s Speech”, then you know a bit about her family, particularly her stuttering father. King George VI was the last Emperor of India. He reigned throughout the break-up of the British Empire and its transition to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II with her accession in February 1952 but her coronation was not until June 1953 ( I suppose it took time to print the invitations, and without a computer and the Internet R.S.V.P.ing would be rather slow). HRH was already married to her third cousin, Prince Phillip Mountbatten of Greece, since 1947 (does he look Greek to you?) and they had two children at that time, Chuck and Ann. That, quite briefly, is Queen Elizabeth II’s monarchical beginnings.
The majority of the photos I’ve found of the young Queen are formal. HRH wears a crown in many of them. She has more than one crown, but one particular crown seems to be more formal. Apparently early in her reign, there weren’t any obnoxious paparazzi — probably by Royal decree. Photographing the Monarch was typically formal. People were a lot more respectful in those days and the Royal Family was a lot more “Royal”. I’m not being judgmental– just imagining a few facts.
Here are a few more photos of the Queen, While sorting out the photos, I felt as though I was looking at two entirely different people: Elizabeth the Younger and Elizabeth the Elder. I remember my mother commenting to me once that she had been a very plain “girl”. Today, I would thoroughly disagree. See what you think.
There is a slide show on the sidebar with a lot more photos. An “ad nauseam” display of more than … I can’t tell you how many. The number would make me seem obsessed.