British political (and fashion) commentators believe Queen Elizabeth II might have tilted away just a bit from the royal family’s notorious neutrality when it comes to current political affairs after the 91-year-old monarch wore a hat that suspiciously resembled the European Union flag during her speech in Parliament on Wednesday, the 21st of June. With Brexit one of the topics in her speech, some have interpreted this as an implicit pro-EU message.
It might have simply been a themed outfit for the first official day of summer, but in the blue hat decorated with yellow flowers on the sovereign’s head, many saw an anti-Brexit nod.
The social media platforms understandably erupted. Liz Sewell tweeted, “How FAB. Queen wears EU flag as Hat,” while Oli Mould wrote, “the Queen trolls the #brexit brigade by wearing an EU hat. The Queen is WOKE.”
And it wasn’t just the average Joes and plain Janes that got caught up in the debate about what is jokingly seen as a possibly subversive political statement. Guy Verhofstadt, the former prime minister of Belgium and current head of one of the biggest parties in the European Parliament, also chipped in, tweeting: “Clearly the EU still inspires some in the UK”.
Although Queen Elizabeth’s speech included points about making Brexit ‘successful’, Twitter users was more concerned with what they were seeing than with the content of the speech.
— Ionut Purice (@FleaTheOne) June 21, 2017
Last year, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum that shocked the world and polarized the nation. This year, however, the tide across the continent has been turning with elections in several countries including France showing a decline in the support for populist movements, and pro-EU sentiments seem to be on the rise again.
On the 22nd of June, European Council president Donald Tusk quoted John Lennon’s Imagine to express hope that Britain could change its mind and cancel Brexit.
I like how the Queen’s hat looks like the EU flag. Always knew she was a remainer.
— Andy Parmo 🇪🇺 (@andyparmo) June 21, 2017
— Jon Reed (@jonreed) June 21, 2017
— Trumpton (@Trump_ton) June 21, 2017
The traditional ceremony of addressing Parliament from the throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords had many precedents on this occasion because the snap election meant it had to be arranged at a late notice. It also took place only four days after the Trooping the Color military parade and it was deemed unfeasible to stage to full-scale events in such a short space of time.
It was the first time in 43 years that the Queen appeared without her crown to deliver the Queen’s Speech and she wore a ‘day dress’ instead of the traditional robes of state. The time constraints also meant that the Queen traveled to and from the Palace of Westminster by car rather than by carriage and she was accompanied by Prince Charles instead of the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been taken ill overnight.