It was supposed to be William’s and Kate’s day. Sadly it wasn’t to be. The royal couple was upstaged.
Yes of course it was nice to watch a happy story. An attractive young couple deeply in love sharing their vows before the world. The bride in a beautiful dress. Etc. etc. etc. But the hats! No, I did not get up at 4 am to watch the coverage. Thanks to the miracle of PVR, I was able to watch at a civilized hour. And I could pause the action. To get a really good look at the hats.
They were the true story of the royal wedding.
Princess Beatrice’s hat was the silliest, of course.
Media reports have described it as, “an octopus with a door knocker in the middle”, or “medusa-like”. Me? I immediately thought, balloon animal.(There’s a Facebook page for people who really hate the hat. Has thousands of hits already.)
There was another hat that reminded me of a giant cannoli set on an angle. Sadly, I haven’t been able to locate a photo. But there’s more.
“When it comes to a special occasion in British society, the special occasion is not complete without a hat. There has to be a hat. It’s part of the social fabric. For most people, the hat is quite serious and frivolous at the same time.”
Really? Frivolous, of course. But serious? Seriously?
And then there’s the fascinator. How have I missed these? This is Camilla at her own wedding a few years ago.
British society women aren’t the only ones wearing fascinators. I mean, look at Lady Gaga. (How can you not?)
Fascinators are concoctions of what appear to be left-over bits of millinery materials. Take a few feathers, maybe a flower or two or some beads, a bit of lace or ribbon, scrunch them together, stick them on a comb or headband. Et voilà!
It seems there are rules for wearing fascinators. Tilted to one side, slightly forward, worn for the duration of the event. No taking them off no matter how annoying they become. This woman clearly hadn’t read the rules. Maybe she’s covering up a great big zit?
Now I truly understand the phrase, mad as a hatter. Certainly Philip Treacy, the creator of many of the headpieces worn at the royal wedding, must have a touch of the insane. It’s well known that mercury used to be used in hat-making. Mercury had a toxic effect on the hatters, causing them to tremble. It can also cause aggression. Hence the belief that this was the origin of the phrase. More on that here if you care.
Clearly I have much to learn about hats. Not that I don’t have any. In my closet are an assortment of sun hats, baseball caps, winter toques, even a western hat or two. All designed for a purpose. To keep off the sun or the rain. To keep my ears from frostbite. (Did that once… they are now particularly susceptible.)
Thinking back though, I do recall wearing what I’m now thinking were fascinators. When I was a little girl, my mother would create an Easter bonnet for herself and a little headpiece for me. A band with some flowers and some netting. It would go with my newly sewn Easter dress. And always a new pair of white gloves. I kept the tradition of a new dress for my daughter when she was little but the headgear and gloves were forgotten. Perhaps that was my mistake. Had I maintained my mother’s tradition, perhaps my daughter would now be a trendsetter like Kate. I can only beg forgiveness, Poppet.
The good news is that Poppet’s hat sense may be instinctual, despite my failure. Tomorrow is Baby Sister’s birthday and Poppet has found the perfect hat. I can’t show it today but I promise to post a picture after the surprise.
What a treat the hats have been. What fun to watch a story unfold about something that makes you laugh. A respite from election news, natural disasters, political unrest, death and destruction. The Pythons had it right. People aren’t wearing enough hats.