Thursday, May 19, 2011

William and Kate Royal Stamps - It's all about the hats

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Catherine Middleton can be seen wearing two different hats in the border of this Isle of Man souvenir sheet issued shortly after the announcement was made of the royal engagement.
While all eyes and television cameras were on Catherine Middleton as she walked down the aisle wearing a designer ivory gown with an eight-foot train, it was hard to miss the sea of hats worn by guests at the April 29 royal wedding in Westminster Abbey.

An Associated Press story from London began: "It's all about the dress – and the hats.

"Floppy, feathered, bold and expensive – hats were in full force Friday as guests streamed into Westminster Abbey for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding."

Hats also can be seen in full force on many stamps commemorating the engagement of Catherine and William.

In fact, a hint of the hats to come are found on the first souvenir sheet announcing the engagement. The Isle of Man issued this sheet Nov. 26, 2010, just 10 days after the Nov. 16 engagement announcement. While the two £1.50 stamps in the sheet reproduce black-and-white photographs of Prince William, the selvage shows a montage of color photographs, including two of Catherine wearing hats.

In the center of the sheet, she is wearing a black wide-brimmed hat while attending an Oct. 23, 2010, wedding in Cheltenham, England. The United Kingdom web site of the fashion magazine Marie Claire reported, "Her wide brimmed hat wasn't perhaps the best choice for a windy day, but Kate simply giggled and held tight when the wind threatened to dislodge her headgear."

Civic Values
Catherine Middleton wore a black-and-white feathered hat created by Philip Treacy to the 2008 ceremony in which Prince William was installed in the Most Noble Order of the Garter. The hat is shown on a souvenir sheet from Canouan, an island of the St. Vincent-Grenadines.
Another photograph shown on the Manx sheet pictures a feathery creation by Irish designer Philip Treacy, which Catherine sported at a 2006 wedding.

London milliner Treacy also designed more than 30 of the hats worn by guests at the recent royal wedding. In addition, his creations can be seen on a 65-penny stamp in Great Britain's 2001 Hats set and on a €0.82 stamp in Ireland's 2010 Irish Fashion Designers set.

Sierra Leone and Union Island also issued Royal Engagement stamps showing Catherine in this feathery hat by Treacy.
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The hat worn by Catherine Middleton on this stamp from Antigua and Barbuda has made at least two public appearances: Catherine wore it to a wedding and her mother wore it to the races at Ascot.
The previously mentioned broad-brimmed hat, though, is perhaps the most popular on the Royal Engagement stamps.

At last count, it appeared on stamps of Antigua & Barbuda, Bequia, Guyana, Liberia, Micronesia, Mustique, Nevis, St. Kitts and St. Vincent-Grenadines. (Bequia and Mustique are islands of the St. Vincent-Grenadines. Other such islands that issued Royal Engagement stamps include Canouan, Myreau and Union Island.)

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Catherine Middleton chose a fur hat for warmth while attending the Cheltenham races in 2006. The Cook Islands is among the postal administrations showing her in this mink hat.
The $3 stamp from Nevis is from an unusual souvenir sheet issued Dec. 10.

The sheet contains four stamps inside a perforated circle. The center stamp also is circular, surrounded by the other three stamps. One of these reproduces a photograph of Catherine in another Treacy hat. This black hat with a heart-shaped loop was part of Catherine's attire at Prince William's 2006 graduation from Sandhurst Military Academy. For other glimpses of this hat, see stamps of Canouan, Guyana, Mustique and Sierra Leone.

Catherine chose another Treacy hat for the June 16, 2008, ceremony in which Queen Elizabeth II appointed Prince William a knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a chivalry order that dates back to 1348. The black-and-white feathered hat tops Catherine's head on stamps of Canouan, Montserrat and Myreau.
In 2007, Catherine Middleton wore a beret to the Cheltenham races. On a stamp from The Gambia, a photograph from this event is superimposed on a photograph of Big Ben at night.
A stamp from Penrhyn depicts her in a black hat at a wedding in 2005, while stamps of Antigua and Barbuda, Canouan, Grenada and Mustique show her in a white straw hat with lavender feather flowers at a wedding in 2009. Her mother, Carole Middleton, later borrowed the white hat for the races at Ascot.

On less formal occasions, Catherine has adopted styles of other countries: a French beret, Russian fur hat and a leather Australian bush hat. So far, the last-mentioned hat has only made one stamp appearance, on a $225 stamp from Guyana. Although this denomination seems extraordinarily high, it is the equivalent of $1.10 in United States currency.
The "something borrowed" worn by Catherine Middleton during her April 29 wedding to Prince William was a Cartier-made tiara loaned by Queen Elizabeth II. A stamp from Australia shows a photograph from the ceremony.
The mink fur hat helped keep her warm at the Cheltenham Festival Races on March 17, 2006. Scenes from that day are captured on photographs reproduced on stamps of the Cook Islands and Grenada-Grenadines.

The following year (2007), Catherine selected a chocolate-color beret for the same event. On a 40-dalasy stamp from The Gambia, Catherine and beret are pictured in the foreground with Big Ben at night in the background. Stamps of Aitutaki, Grenada-Grenadines, Liberia, St. Kitts and Union Island also depict the beret.

No doubt, many more stamps will show Catherine and her headwear, particularly the tiara she wore during the wedding ceremony. In fact, just a few days after the wedding, Australia Post issued a stamp reproducing a photograph taken during the ceremony with the prince in uniform and the new Duchess of Cambridge in her gown and tiara. Loaned to Middleton by Queen Elizabeth, the tiara was made by Cartier in 1936.

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