Queen Elizabeth is the original Mad Hatter

Queen hats
Queen Elizabeth attends a 'Mad Hatters tea party' at Sherborne Abbey on May 1 in Sherborne, England. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are visiting the  southwest of England as part of their Diamond Jubilee Tour of the country. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

There's probably no more appropriate place for the Queen to find herself than at a Mad Hatters party.

Is there anyone in the last half century who has done more to keep the millinery industry alive in the UK and beyond? Yes, Kate Middleton and young royals like Princess Beatrice have picked up the torch in recent times, but it's Queen Elizabeth who led the parade.

Queen marchShe has worn probably 6,000 different hats, but she by no means wears them only once. Philip Somerville, who began designing hats for royalty in 1995, figures she wears her favourite hats 20 or 30 times.

If the Queen's hat she wore to a Mad Hatters tea party on Tuesday looks familiar, it's because she wore it (and the same coat, too) a few months ago while attending an event in Leicester with the Duchess of Cambridge (right photo). Given the size and style of the hats all around her, the monarch looked quite at home in her Angela Kelly pink hat and coat.

Her appearance was part of her Diamond Jubilee tour around Britain, this time touching down on Dorset and Wiltshire.

But back to the hats .... While, compared to the young royals, the 86-year-old Elizabeth might seem conservative in her hat choices, that wasn't always the case. She has always been adverturous in both colour and style through her reign.

Some samples through the years:

Queen in London (2010) Queen in Norwich (2011) Queen in Ottawa 1 (2010)








The Queen's hats from appearances in London (2010), Norwich (2011), Ottawa (2010)

Queen in Ottawa (2010) Queen in Sheffield (2010) Queen in Toronto (2010)






The Queen's hats from Ottawa (2010), Sheffield (2010), Toronto (2010)

And here's some more from further back in her reign:

Queen hats multi
And lets go even further back ....

Queen 1978 Queen 1964 Queen 1959







Here's the Queen from trips to Canada, from left, in 1978, 1964 and 1959.

Queen corgis
Queen Elizabeth is greeted by some Corgi dogs as she attends the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Sherborne Abbey in Sherbourne, Dorset, on May 1. (Reuters)

Queen alice
The Queen meets Alice and the 'Mad Hatter' as she attends a 'Mad Hatters tea party' at Sherborne Abbey in Sherborne, England. (Getty Images)


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