Approximately two billion people tuned in to watch the wedding ceremony of Catherine Middleton, a commoner, to Prince William, heir to the throne of Great Britain, on April 29, 2011, in Westminster Abbey. I was one of them. Even though the wedding was at 11:00 a.m. in England, it was the middle of the night here in Anchorage. I definitely should have been sleeping, but I was fascinated with all the pomp and ceremony involved in the royal wedding.
Catherine was a beautiful bride in her modest and slimming dress with a train of about eight feet. William was beaming in his military uniform. The wedding itself was simple, but the circumstances were definitely royal. The royal family arrived at the church in Bentleys; the newlyweds left the chapel in a horse-drawn coach. The first - and second - kisses on the palace balcony delighted the crowds of well-wishers.
I was fascinated most of all by the beautiful hats worn by the women attending the wedding. They ranged from very small to fairly large and were of every color imaginable. Some of them were downright ugly while most of them were very attractive. Queen Elizabeth wore a yellow hat to match her bright yellow suit. The hats made the British women look especially stylish, and I liked the look.
Seeing all the hats at the royal wedding brought back memories of my own maternal grandmother. I remember that she never left the house without her hat. It was simply a part of her outfit. She wore her hair in a bun located just above her neck, and then the hat was placed towards the back of her head with her beautiful white hair showing all around. Her hats were never very large, but she always wore them whenever she left her home. I also remember the pill box hats of Jacqueline Kennedy. She always looked so beautiful and stylish.
I remember seeing the many hats worn by members of the Red Hat Society while on a recent cruise. Now there are news items about the police in Detroit looking for members of a theft ring dubbed by them to be the "Mad Hatters." They are older, grandmotherly women who distinguish themselves by wearing hats while they stealing money and credit cards from purses left in shopping carts, etc. Although I do not admire them for actions, I do compliment them on their sense of style.
A recent Relief Society birthday celebration in my home ward was on the "Mad Hatter" theme, and all the women wore hats to the party. It was fun to see so many different hats.
I first became fascinated with hats while watching Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and other movies based on the works of Jane Austen. The scenes from the royal wedding whetted my appetite to see more hats - other than baseball camps - on the heads of women in the American society.
I believe that American women lost something important in style when hats were dropped from the fashion scene in the United States. Maybe hats are worn at other churches, but there have been very few worn by members of our church. I hope that hats come back into fashion. Beautiful outfits would look so much more stylish with an appropriate hat topping them off. Should I start looking for a hat?