Here Are Duchess Camilla’s 12 Craziest Hats of All Time

We've got to give it up for this stunning queen of hats!

Here Are Duchess Camilla’s 12 Craziest Hats of All Time
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Given her scandalous past as Prince Charles’ mistress and the “third person” in his ill-fated marriage to Princess Diana, one could understand if Camilla Parker Bowles wanting nothing more than to blend in with the rest of the royal family once she became the Duchess of Cornwall. But given the number of occasions that call for royal women to wear hats, that has been next to impossible for the future Queen Consort⁠—and she’s given us some wild style moments.

While fashion icons and fellow royal wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle spark trends with everything they wear, Camilla has managed to set herself apart by sporting plenty of memorable millineries. Over the years, she’s developed her own signature style with her penchant for oversized designs always worn with slight tilt on the right side of her head. But obviously, some of her looks have been more elaborate than others. To honor the Duchess’s birthday, we’ve rounded up the craziest hats (and a few fancy fascinators) that she’s ever worn.

1
Birds of a Feather in 2005

G814TY Royal Wedding - Marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles - Service of Prayer and Dedication - St George's Chapel Alamy

In April 2005, Camilla was reportedly a bundle of nerves (and was fighting off a bad bout of flu) when she stepped outside of St. George’s Chapel to greet the public after the Service of Prayer and Dedication following her civil wedding to Prince Charles. Fortunately, she pulled it together and confounded her critics by stunning the crowd in an embroidered pale blue and gold coat over a matching chiffon gown by Robinson Valentine. But while the bride looked gorgeous, what really got our attention was the halo-like gold leaf feathered headdress tipped with Swarovski diamonds created especially for her by London milliner Philip Treacy.

2
Mother of the Bride in 2006

DPN1Y0 May 6, 2006 - London, United Kingdom - K47763.LAURA PARKER BOWLES AND HARRY LOPES WEDDING-ST.CYRIAC'S CHURCH, LACOCK, WILTSHIRE..06/05/2006.CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL.A©MARK CHILTON/ linkUK/ 2006(Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com) Alamy

When her daughter Laura Parker Bowles married former model Harry Lopes in May 2006, Camilla went into full-on mother-of-the-bride mode with a frilly, feminine fascinator in mint green that looked like a delicate cake topper worn.

3
A Lucky Look in 2006

HXAM3F CAMILLA DUCHESS OF CORNWALL WIFE OF PRINCE CHARLES 17 March 2006 CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE CHELTENHAM Alamy

Camilla got into the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day when she chose this leprechaun-inspired emerald green hat—complete with felt shamrocks—by Philip Treacy to wear at Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham Races on March 17, 2006.

4
Royal Ascot in 2009

BMCX24 Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall arrive in a carriage to the Royal Ascot race meeting in 2009. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown. Alamy

The craziest headgear always finds its way to Royal Ascot and in 2009, Camilla sported a style that the fashion world will never forget. This elaborate look combined every conceivable millinery trend in one very busy design. The wide-brim style in a perennially popular shade of pink was embellished with oversized garden roses, cascading leaves, and curvilinear bands circling the crown.

5
Wearing the Bouquet in 2011

DAP7NA Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla arrive for the wedding ceremony of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in Edinburgh, Great Britain, 30 July 2011. Zara is a granddaughter of the Queen, Mike Tindall a well-known Rugby player. Photo: Albert Nieboer Alamy

For the wedding of Zara Phillips (Queen Elizabeth II’s oldest granddaughter) and Mike Tindall in July 2011, Camilla got into the spirit of things by wearing a Philip Treacy hat that resembled a bridal bouquet in a shape that was reminiscent of the headdress she wore on her own wedding day.

6
Feathering the Nest in 2011

C4F523 The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex at the Garter Day in April 2011, WIndsor Alamy

The avowed countrywoman chose a hat that looked like a large bird’s nest for Garter Day in April 2011. Camilla does love her ostrich feathers, doesn’t she?

7
Chips and Dip in 2011

C3B83A The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. 29th April 2011 Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at Westminster Abbey. Alamy

The enormous Philip Treacy hat Camilla wore to Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in April 2011 could have held enough hors d’oeuvres for the entire bridal party. Regardless, it’s one of Camilla’s favorites, and she’s worn it several times over the years. 

8
Getting Wild in 2015

F4NFWN London Oct 20th 2015. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in a ceremonial carriage on The Mall for Chinese President Xi J Alamy

Camilla took a fashion risk when she chose a snake print hat for a meeting with China’s president and first lady at Buckingham Palace in 2015. The neutral color was understated. But for a royal, the animal print certainly wasn’t.

9
Going Green in 2015

FE003P Ascot, United Kingdom, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Rothesay Alamy

Perhaps it was her love of gardening that inspired this pastel green hat that appeared to sprout leaves under its brim. Camilla chose this less-than-understated style for Royal Ascot in June 2015.

10
Present Company in 2016

G3FEH3 London, UK. 10th June, 2016. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attending a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral to commemorate HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th birthday. Credit: Paul Marriott/Alamy Live News Alamy

In honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, Camilla chose a festive wide-brim hat that resembled a present wrapped up in fluttering baby blue ribbons when she attended a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral with Prince Charles.

11
A Passion for Pink in 2018

P452YC The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle Featuring: Camilla Duchess of Cornwall Where: Windsor, United Kingdom When: 19 May 2018 Credit: John Rainford/WENN Alamy

There was no question that all eyes were on Meghan Markle the day she married Prince Harry in May 2018, but Camilla’s frothy pink feathered creation by Philip Treacy along with her Anna Valentine coat dress sent the Twittersphere into overdrive and became instantly iconic. Looking like a cross between an over-the-top hat and a large patch of insulation from Home Depot, the elaborate topper was the second most talked about look at the wedding of the year.

12
All White, All Right in 2019

TRKKP6 London, UK. 08th June, 2019. HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, keep hold of their hats while sharing an open top carriage along The Mall on a windy day. Trooping the Colour, The Queen's Birthday Parade, London UK Credit: amanda rose/Alamy Live News Credit: amanda rose/Alamy Live News Alamy

At this year’s Trooping the Colour, Camilla managed to stand out even while sharing a carriage with Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry. The Duchess chose to complement her favorite mint green coat dress by Bruce Oldfield with a white Philip Treacy hat worn festooned with flowers and worn at a sharp angle that reminded us of a somewhat collapsed wedding cake. Still, she pulled it off.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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