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Duchess Sophie's statement accessory is a key part of her signature style and she'll probably bring it back again this Easter

 Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh smiles as she arrives at the All England Open Badminton Championships.
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh smiles as she arrives at the All England Open Badminton Championships.

Duchess Sophie’s statement accessory choice is something that she’ll probably go for again this Easter and it’s been a favourite of hers for decades.

The spring and summer months traditionally provide royal fans with more opportunities to see most of the extended Royal Family come together in their finery. From Trooping the Colour to Ascot, there are so many royal appearances to look forward to and the Easter service at Windsor Castle is another annual occasion. Last year for the service the Duchess of Edinburgh stepped out in a fabulously vibrant fuschia pink coat and whilst you might have thought this would be the main talking point of her outfit, this wasn’t necessarily the case.

Duchess Sophie’s statement accessory was also a scene stealer as she opted for a Philip Treacy hat with a very distinctive shape. The slanted brim was more prominent on one side and the top of the hat mirrored this in the opposite direction and had plenty of height to it.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St George's Chapel in 2023
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St George's Chapel in 2023

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The senior royal's hat choice divided fans online at the time, but whilst hats like this might not be making it into everyone's spring capsule wardrobe, if there’s one thing Duchess Sophie loves it’s a bold hat! Larger, often flamboyantly shaped or decorated hats have been part of the Duchess of Edinburgh’s signature style for decades. With this in mind, whilst we might not see this exact one this year, we could get to see another one from her collection at the 2024 Easter service.

Composite of Duchess Sophie wearing bold hats to the Easter service in 2009 and in 2000
Composite of Duchess Sophie wearing bold hats to the Easter service in 2009 and in 2000

On Easter Sunday alone we’ve seen some pretty special hats from her over the years, including her feather-adorned one with an equally angular brim she wore in 2012 and another impressive feathered creation in 2009. Few royal fans could also forget the top-hat design she wore to the Easter service in 2000, however Duchess Sophie has brought out some very memorable hats for other events too.

She wore a unique slanting hat with a netting-style design and feathers all along the top for the Commonwealth Day service in 2012 and at Trooping the Colour in 2005, she took to the Buckingham Palace balcony in a pastel pink hat with a downwards tilting brim and fixed ribbon decoration. Hats are also traditionally worn by the royals at Ascot and Duchess Sophie’s bright pink woven number from 2022 and lilac feather one from 2021 showed that her love of statement hats is going nowhere.

Composite of Duchess Sophie wearing a hat at Ascot 2022 and Ascot 2021
Composite of Duchess Sophie wearing a hat at Ascot 2022 and Ascot 2021

Through her hats Duchess Sophie has created the perfect balance between formality and fun. Her choice to wear statement hats allows her personality to come shining through in her choice of accessories and at the same time adheres to formal dress codes that the senior royals follow at official events and church services.

Some of her hats, like her Easter 2023 hat, have also been in her collection for many years which also shows her love of re-wearing her favourite pieces rather than always choosing something new. Princess Anne takes a similar approach to her own bold hats - as did Queen Elizabeth.

Fashion journalist and author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, Elizabeth Holmes previously expressed her belief to People that the royals’ appearances are accompanied by a “set of expectations”.

Composite of Duchess Sophie in Norfolk in 2012 and at Ascot in 2018
Composite of Duchess Sophie in Norfolk in 2012 and at Ascot in 2018

“They are part of this institution and working in service to the crown," she said, reflecting more specifically upon Queen Elizabeth and the Princess of Wales. "Their appearances come with a certain set of expectations. People want them to be fancy and worthy of their royal titles, but also frugal, responsible stewards of the taxpayer money."

The same is perhaps true of Duchess Sophie and her older re-worn hats especially seem to fit the criteria of being “fancy” and also “frugal”. Her statement hats bring a sense of colour and texture to her formal outfits and highlight how she’s both a senior royal and someone who loves playing around with fashion and making the most out of her staple accessories.