Two hats worn by the Duchess of Cambridge tipped to fetch 1,500 at auction… though experts say estimate could be smashed as Kate fans clamour for Royal souvenir
20:50 GMT, 31 May 2012
Over the last year she has become the nation’s favourite style-setter. But before her marriage to Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge used to hire her hats.
News of the then Kate Middleton’s thrifty ways emerged yesterday as two stylish hats worn by her were put up for auction.
The first was a black and white disc-shaped Philip Somerville creation made out of straw, with a woven horsehair brim and feather plumes, that she wore to great affect when her boyfriend joined the Order of the Garter at Windsor in June 2008.
Glamorous: The Duchess of Cambridge wore the black hat, which she hired, to a friend's wedding in 2012 (left), and wore a black and white disc-shaped Philip Somerville to the Order of the Garter at Windsor in 2008 (right)
The second is by Aurora and features a
swirling organza crown. It was worn by Kate to attend the wedding of
William’s close friend, Harry Meade, in October 2010 shortly before
their own engagement was announced. In fact the couple’s happy demeanour
and evident closeness on the day sparked much speculation that
something was afoot.
While most fashion watchers assumed
that Kate had bought the hats, in fact she hired them from Get Ahead
Hats in Reading, part of a farmers’ wives co-operative – near her family
home in Berkshire, for around 100 a time.
A source there told the Mail: ‘Kate
came in with her mother, Carole, and sister, Pippa. Even then she knew
exactly what she wanted and had a very strong sense of style. She came
in on several occasions and was an absolute pleasure to deal with.’
After Kate wore the hats they were
put to one side by the owner and are now being sold through Kerry Taylor
Auctions on June 26.
Sought after: Both hats are estimated to fetch
between 1,000 and 1,500, though Kerry Taylor Auction house admits the
final price could be much higher
Each has an estimate of 1,000-1,500
but are likely go for many times more. Kerry Taylor also auctioned the
famous see-through dress that Kate wore as a student when she caught
William’s eye for 78,000 last year.
Miss Taylor said yesterday: ‘Before
her fairy-tale wedding last year when she was created HRH the Duchess of
Cambridge Kate, like any other ordinary girl, visited her local
milliner if she needed a hat for a special occasion.
‘With an eye for economy and
practicality, as hats take up masses of storage space, she preferred to
hire a hat for the day rather than purchase it outright.
‘She was sometimes accompanied by her mother Carole who helped her make the right selection.
‘Given her recent transformation into a style icon we are confident there will be a great deal of interest in them.’
The lots are being sold with hire receipts and copies of diary entries showing Kate’s appointments at the shop.