We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of The Crown

Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i
Screenshot: Netflix

The Crown is ostensibly a show about the power the titular item holds and its psychological and emotional impact on the wearer. It is also a show about beautiful interiors, Oliva Colman’s fantastically expressive face, and horse-adjacent princesses who don’t open their mouths when they speak. It is about family and how family can fuck you sideways if you’re not paying attention. Tradition. Pomp. Aristocratic ennui, manifested by crane shots of a single woman or man walking through gilded halls. Heavy is the head that wears the titular crown, but what about the other remarkable things these people wear on their heads?

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Perhaps I was never watching closely during the first two seasons of the show, or maybe the wardrobes of the young queen were not that exciting. Nevertheless, imagine my sheer delight upon discovering that this season, which takes place in the late 60s and early 70s, was full of really good hats.

Here’s one to start. Yeah, I know, it’s a crown. But it’s still a hat!

It’s a crown but it’s ALSO A HAT
It’s a crown but it’s ALSO A HAT
Screenshot: Netflix
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Queen Elizabeth wears some hats that aren’t crowns, but for most of this season, the woman with the best hats is her sister, Princess Margaret. No disrespect to Vanessa Kirby, who played the role as best she could, but Helena Bonham Carter was born to play this princess: a debauched, sad, wilted English rose with a wardrobe that rivals that of another streaming service’s marquee program, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Clearly, the difference here is that Princess Margaret is royalty. Just look at this hat.

Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i

Hydrangeas made of feathers, but make it fashion. Royal blue goes so well with that look of steely determination, as Margaret sets off to America. That hat was good, but the hat she wears for her return visit to America—a bold diplomatic endeavor suggested by her big sister in an attempt to save Brittania from financial ruin.

Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i
Screenshot: Netflix
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There is confidence in dressing like a silky chicken and getting on with your duties, as Margaret does above. Never without a cigarette! Never without a manicure. Almost always in an excellent hat, unless, of course, she is in bed after a long night of drinking and screaming at Lord Snowdon about how he doesn’t love her.

Other hats are more somber. Consider Queen Elizabeth’s hat worn for her delayed visit to Aberfan, the site of a horrific mining accident that killed over a hundred people, most of them children. It’s not the best hat, but it is an appropriate hat for the scenario, which is standing in front of a massive pile of rubble and considering how to respond when your real job is to be a completely neutral vessel for the hopes, dreams, and expectations of an entire country.

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Not a bad hat. The curtains match the drapes, as it were. (The hat matches the collar).
Not a bad hat. The curtains match the drapes, as it were. (The hat matches the collar).
Image: Netflix

Perhaps it is rude of me to consider self-exiled Princess Alice’s nun’s wimple a hat, but I make the rules, and this is a hat.

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Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i

Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Queen Elizabeth flexes her considerable hat muscles midway through this season, in an episode that made me wonder just how often the queen has sex, if at all? That question, of course, is unrelated to this hat, which looks like the top tier of a fussy wedding cake.

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Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i

This hat’s general aesthetic and silhouette is repeated in colors that are more fun, perhaps as a reflection of Elizabeth’s interior life and her greatest desire, which I now think is to have sex with Porchey, her riding master, and to breed horses in the Kentucky countryside instead of having to fuss with all this monarchy bullshit.

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TFW you wanna fuck Porchey but can’t because you’re the Queen and you have to do other stuff.
TFW you wanna fuck Porchey but can’t because you’re the Queen and you have to do other stuff.
Screenshot: Netflix

While I understand that the Queen has not had an extramarital affair that anyone knows of, and if she had, we will probably never know, but there is something sweet to me about her relationship with Porchey, the kind-eyed horseman who wants nothing more than to share a quiet life with the monarch in solitude. I also have been privately pulling for the queen and Prime Minister Harold Wilson to bump uglies, though I realize that is a scene from my deranged interior life and not something that will ever happen on this television program.

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Some investiture hats.

Illustration for article titled We Must Talk About the Very Good Hats of iThe Crown/i
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This hat resembles those little helmets that babies sometimes wear to prevent flat head syndrome and makes little to no sense, sartorially. Prince Charles also wears a hat, but it’s more of a crown. I’ve yet to make it past this episode, which is the sixth in the season, partially because Queen Elizabeth’s utter disdain for her daft son was so devastating that I had to take a break.

I am certain there will be more hats as I continue to watch this show, for Queen Elizabeth loves a hat and will wear a hat in perpetuity or until she shuffles off this mortal coil.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

mortal-dictata
Mortal Dictata

Related to The Crown, and I’ll probably get flak for it, but I think the total cast change for most of the characters was a really bad idea. In particular *big gulp* I think Helena Bonham-Carter is really badly miscast here.

Now before I get the angry comments if this was series 4 or 5, so the late 70s and Thatcher era, she’d be great in the role no question. Instead they cast her, a woman in her 50s, as a 34 year old at the start of the series and it shows in how she appears very infrequently until the very end, where it’s still played drastically differently from Kirby’s sly and emotionally-charged portrayal of a young woman unsure of her role in the shadows to this almost broken at times portrayal by HBC. And this isn’t a problem just with that casting but pretty much all the cast, other than Liz and Phil (who at that time were entering their 40s) who are played superbly by Colman and Menzies along with the remarkable performances by those cast as newcomers like Harold Wilson along with Prince(ss) Charles and Anne, feel decades older than they actually were at that time in their lives.

For many basically I think they should’ve kept the originals around a series longer and then aged those younger characters up but instead they went wholesale across the board and the resulting absences to hide that really show.

In fact the whole of series 3 feels pretty weak and stretched out (covering 12 years I believe) compared to the first two despite standout episodes like Aberfan, Bubbikins, Tywysog Cymru, and Moondust.