The 10 Best Royal Ascot Hats From Over the Years, From 1969 to Today

Queen Elizabeths's 2018 ensemble looks like she's on her way to the Lilly Pulitzer store in Palm Beach.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: In this handout image provided by Cow PR, Ambers, a racehorse owned by Fox's Biscuits, is pictured wearing the world's first ever Ladies' Day hat for a horse alongside racegoer Elizabeth Beswick on June 14, 2011 in Ascot, England. Milliner, Stephen Jones has today created the first-ever hat for a horse to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Royal Ascot and its Ladies' Day tradition of extravagant headwear. The unique piece of horse couture has been commissioned by Fox's Biscuits to be elegantly worn by the biscuit manufacturer's own fine filly, Ambers - a racehorse named after the new biscuit range, Fox's Ambers. The hat represents Stephen Jones's first foray into filly fashion; whose designs are typically tailored for a who's who of the world's most famous Stars, including royalty. The revered fashion designer is also the official milliner for Royal Ascot in its tercentenary year. The horse's hat draws its inspiration from the timeless Ladies' Day headpiece made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the film My Fair Lady. With floral flourishes and lavender and amber feathers adding flashes of colour alongside luxurious satin, it is the epitome of equine elegance. From concept to construction, the hat took more than 30 hours of masterful millinery to complete and is valued at over £8,000. Commenting on the design, Stephen Jones said: "For three centuries Royal Ascot has been home to some of the world's finest horses and finest hats. But until now, nobody had ever created hats for the other important ladies of the day: the female racehorses. When I was approached to create a hat for a horse, it brought a smile to my face and seemed like a fun and unique way to celebrate 300 years of the world's most famous racing event.
A racehorse wearing the world’s first ever Ladies’ Day horse hat in 2011 for a bit of filly fashion. Cow PR Via Getty Images

It’s a summer Friday, so you’re probably plotting what you’re going to eat for lunch (not a sad salad), thinking of ways to escape the heat (and not exclusively the Hamptons) and plotting the perfect outfit. If you’re heading to the beach, you’ll need a hat. And we’d like to present the following options from the Royal Ascot.

The five-day horse race features Queen Elizbeth in her best lime green zoot suit and cameos from celebrities and lesser royals who must adhere to the strict dress code, which Meghan Markle already broke. Women must cover their shoulders and heads, while men wear top hats and tails. The royal family uses this momentous occasion to show off their best headwear—Princess Eugenie premiered a particularly chic chapeau.

Of course, this year’s race showcased major standouts, including full-blown ’90s butterfly clips and halos of flowers, but the past Royal Ascot races held their own, with racehorses wearing My Fair Lady feathers and ladies holding miniature soccer fields atop their heads.

Behold, a sampling of the most elaborate, intricate and enormous Royal Ascot headpieces. Hopefully, Prince William will also gain a little inspiration and consider procuring one of his own.

20th June 1969: At Ascot races Mrs Gertrude Shilling in an apricot coloured, feather trimmed out fit, which is completed by an enormous, matching, cartwheel hat.
The bigger the hat, the closer to heaven. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

An iconic 1969 look from Gertrude Shilling, who became famous for her yearly hat selection, which racegoers eagerly awaited. In recent years, many of the hats have gotten smaller, but feathers remain always on-trend.

1982: Hawaiian born model, Marie Helvin, with the American model and wife of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, at Royal Ascot. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A black and white ’80s aesthetic. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mick Jagger’s ex-wife, Jerry Hall, attending the Royal Ascot with model Marie Helvin in 1982. They opted for an entirely ’90s black and white aesthetic. Now, the looks are far more colorful, with plenty of pastel florals.

BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: An England supporter wears an extravagant hat in the shape of a mini football pitch during Ladies Day on the third day of Royal Ascot at the Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2004 in Berkshire, England.
An England supporter with a hat in the shape of a mini football pitch during Ladies Day. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

In 2004, a mini soccer field appeared on the third day of the Royal Ascot. The sports fan paired the small field with a hot pink suit.

A 2004 Royal Ascot ensemble. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

It’s like spin art if you only used the pink ink.

Happy Ladies Day, everyone. Julian Herbert/Getty Images

In 2005, the Ladies Day was more floral than ever. Who needs a hat when you can simply place an enormous blossom on your head?

ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: A lady in an elaborate hat talks to a man in a morning suit on the first day of Royal Ascot 2007 on June 19, 2007 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
An elaborate 2007 look for the Royal Ascot. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In 2007, this woman wore a hat that looks like a cross between the inflatable dancer tube people found at car dealerships and what happens when someone tents their house for termites.

The Royal Ascot is the best time to debut matching horse hats. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Another iconic 2007 look, courtesy of these horses that look like Cinderella characters. Unfortunately, it’s more than likely these ladies weren’t able to re-wear these elaborate equestrian creations.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Racegoers walk by the racecourse on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 16, 2011 in Ascot, England. The five-day meeting is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar, with 2011 marking the 300th anniversary of the annual event. Horse racing has been held at the famous Berkshire course since 1711.
She’s ready to go down the rabbit hole. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

An Alice in Wonderland moment from 2011, which marked the 300th anniversary of the annual event. It has been held at the Berkshire course since 1711.

A true look. Leon Neal/Getty Images

When one butterfly is not enough, you emerge from the chrysalis.

queen elizabeth lime green
Queen Elizabeth arrives in the royal procession thanks to a horse-drawn carriage. Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

No one loves anything as much as Queen Elizabeth loves lime green. On day four of this year’s Royal Ascot, she looked like she was on her way to a Lilly Pulitzer store in Palm Beach, pearls included.

The 10 Best Royal Ascot Hats From Over the Years, From 1969 to Today