Time for Mad Hattery at Hats off!

Not fit for a queen - her loss, I say

Hats off! is not a blog about hats, most of the time. It’s about us whipping off our hats and bowing deeply to interesting people or things people do, or sometimes to animals or events. Three cheers! Bravo! Well done!

But for once, it’s about hats, because it’s high time to say hats off! to one of my favorite web sites, Mad Hattery. If you’re looking for deep and meaningful, turn away now: this is one for hat buffs like me, who love feeling weighed down by frivolity on our heads.

Mad Hattery describes its mission in life as “primarily about snarking on royal hats”, and this is where you’ll find that one picture you just have to see again to believe.

Getting onto the royal scales with silk, but brim too restrained

I went hunting for a photo of Camilla, wife of Prince P across the water, because I caught a glimpse of her in something that looked a bit like a sailboat in a storm, at Westminster Abbey, when the pope visited last weekend. Sure enough, here it is on Mad Hattery, and you can have another peek or two at it on the Royal Family website. MH might be right: it’s a weathervane, not a boat.

I’ll confess to a couple follies of my own in the hat department, shown here, but all the queen’s gold couldn’t buy most of us the kind of head rags the royals wear.

I can’t quite decide if it is a dream or a nightmare, but I sometimes fantasize about having this job where I get up in the morning and learn that one of the majesties has just ordered another hat, but forgot to send instructions or details. Off I go to gather up the jewels of my own choice for this particular crown. A bird’s egg that fell out of a tree for a touch of nature, a small plastic pig for good luck, bits from my collection of broken jewelry and earrings missing mates, for a bit of history, scarves in need of events for that special something, and the list goes on.

I whip up this delightful headdress and then come upon the pièce de résistance, a small Mexican man in a sombrero to create a hat within a hat look.

Hats off! author Ellen Wallace sporting real butterflies who landed on the hat in Arizona (photo: M Tiegreen)

That’s when I wake up because I realize that the art of royal hat-making is surely all about glue and stitches: how to keep the royal’s head up, hat on and hair in place. And I don’t know the secret! So I guess it is a nightmare, after all. There must be something called Queen Glue, even tougher than superglue.

Nevertheless, here are my ingredients for a royal hat:

A favorite bit of Betty Boops cloth

A black velvet bowtie

Some old English sweets, size of a pinhead

Scarves looking for an event

Sensible yellow swimming cap

Bits and bobs of old jewelry, earrings without partners

One small good luck plastic pig with a smile

A hat within a hat man wearing sombrero (apologies for the broken arm, Highness)