You'd expect the Queen of England to wear many hats, in the metaphorical sense — with Parliament to oversee and traditions to uphold, Queen Elizabeth has been England's figurehead for nearly 65 years. But, quite literally, the Queen really does wear a lot of hats, 5,000 over the last 50 years, to be precise. It's safe to say that when it comes to headwear, the Queen wrote the rulebook.
The bonnet that started it all. At just two years old, the young Princess Elizabeth knew the power of a good hat.
As women in their 20s do, Princess Elizabeth (photographed here, five years before she became queen) experimented with some glitter — albeit, with a cascading scarf-hat hybrid, which is maybe not the same as too much silver eyeshadow.
In 1949, the then-Princess wore an, ahem, interesting, cloche hat with a side-swept fringe detail while being escorted by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, from an airport in London.
On a tour of Australia in March 1954, Queen Elizabeth II stood on the balcony of the Government House. Dressed in a deep emerald gown and and a cream crushed velvet headpiece, she looked like a dancer straight out of Swan Lake.
Before departing Australia in 1954, 28-year-old Queen Elizabeth donned a slim-fitting lace dress to a garden party. It's rumored that she carried around the parasol simply because it matched her sheer, black-tulle hat. Looks like the Queen made a few sacrifices in the name of fashion, just like the rest of us.
Queen Elizabeth snaps a photo in a bright red hat, wrapped with her dress's fabric, on a trip to Tuvalu in 1982.
Find someone who looks at you the way Queen Elizabeth II (decked out in a striking feathered green beret) looked at this decorated Thoroughbred in the 1980 Royal Windsor Horse Show.
We've seen the Queen match her hats to her coats, but rarely to what's underneath — and we have to say, we love it.
Archives prove that Queen Elizabeth was partial to green and all of its interpretations — including viridescent shades like this one, in a floral-inspired print.
In the Solomon Isles in 1982, it was raining periwinkle polkadots.
The Queen wore a royal purple design by milliner Frederick Fox to contrast her black-trimmed blue coat in Swansea, Wales, 1989. and confessed that the queen rarely wears a hat more than 20 or 30 times — others, like those worn on special occasions, she'll wear just once. The hats that are selected for the Queen's travels, though, are truly the special ones — they travel in their own train car, if the Queen journeys by land.
Bows on the crown? Did that. Bows at the back? Boring. A bow through the brim? Genius.
On a visit to the Selangor Turf Club in Malaysia in 1989, the Queen blocked out the sun with a wide-brimmed pink straw hat and matching rose sunglasses.
Is it two hats? Is that a bow? A scarf? We're not really sure, but we dig it.
The Queen, looking pretty in a pink pillbox hat, in 1992.
On a royal trip to Reading in 1992, the Queen wore this brimless felt hat, indented with stripes to match her bouclé coat — one of her more adventurous looks, for sure.
While visiting a shelter for children in Malaysia, Queen Elizabeth donned this three-tone spiral hat.
Philip Somerville, the Queen's go-to milliner, received a Royal Warrant — an esteemed honor — for his many designs made for the Queen, Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. This straw headpiece, decorated underneath with violets, is just one example of Somerville's fine, innovative work.
Queen Elizabeth wore this hat, another design by Philip Somerville, in Cyprus in 1993 — proving, once again, that matchy-matchy is, more often than not, the way to go.
The Queen paired her emerald jacket, trimmed with an eclectic polkadot pattern, with a matching pillbox hat.
Boarding the Royal Yacht for her traditional holiday cruise of the Western Isles, the Queen looked happy and relaxed in a canary yellow and turquoise turban-style hat. Now we're wondering if she likes piña coladas ... (but we know for sure that she loves champagne).
Because sometimes, one bow just isn't enough.
It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope, it's just another one of the Queen's striking floral hats.
We're loving the sharp, angular lines of this feathered hourglass-teardrop hat — and the Queen's feather brooch, which brings a clever cohesive touch to her ensemble.
With a slight mushroom brim, this black-and-white straw hat perfectly inverts the color scheme of her dress.
From coat, to hat, to floral detail, the Queen stays true to the colorful monochrome look.
We have a feeling this intricate ribbon hat has inspired many a U.K. wedding cake.
This fedora-inspired hat may or may not look like a turkey. But it doesn't matter, she's having a great time in it.
This peaches-and-cream hat exactly matches color and tweed texture of the Queen's coat. She's the loveliest creamsicle we ever did see.
Queen Elizabeth II, keeping color-blocking en vogue since forever.