Duchess Sophie’s confident choice was once mirrored by Queen Elizabeth as they sent a message of royal power and renewal

Duchess Sophie's confident choice when it came to her royal style has age-old symbolism surrounding it and Queen Elizabeth went on echo it

Duchess Sophie's confident choice was once mirrored by Queen Elizabeth. Seen here are Duchess Sophie and Queen Elizabeth at different occasions
(Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie’s confident choice was once mirrored by the late Queen Elizabeth as they sent a symbolic message of royal power and renewal.

The Duchess of Edinburgh has been observed stepping up even more in recent years and she and the Princess of Wales have even been described by a royal expert as the royal duo that are a “force to be reckoned with”. As a working royal, Sophie has had a busy year so far undertaking a packed schedule of engagements and had the privilege of riding in the carriages at King Charles’ coronation. She also appeared alongside the monarch on the Buckingham Palace balcony afterwards and at the first Trooping the Colour of his reign.

Over the years the Duchess has likely gained invaluable experience of how every tiny detail can be meaningful for fans, even down to an outfit’s designer or colour. And Duchess Sophie’s confident choice of a stand-out headpiece for a 2013 occasion was particularly symbolic - and something Queen Elizabeth later emulated!

Duchess Sophie attends the Easter Matins Church Service

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

For the Royal Family’s traditional Easter celebration at Windsor Castle, the then-Countess of Wessex stepped out in a flamboyant blue hat adorned with peacock feathers. Designed by Jane Taylor, the peacock decorations were the literal feather in her cap that day and brought a touch of fun to her otherwise quite classic look.

She paired the statement hat with a form-fitting cobalt blue knee-length dress and the tone brought out the blue of the ‘eye’ section of the peacock feathers. Her choice could be seen as especially appropriate given the symbolism of peacocks. 

As per the Phoenix Art Museum, peacock tail feathers “convey beauty and confidence” which is already quite fitting for a senior royal and a monarch’s daughter-in-law. They add that as a result of these associations, “over time” peacocks “came to represent royalty and power in many cultures and backgrounds”. 

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends an Easter Matins Service

(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

So it seems the peacock feathers in Duchess Sophie’s Easter hat could be seen to have a longstanding link to royalty. But the meaningful nature of peacocks doesn’t stop there as biblically, they’re often connected symbolically to resurrection, immortality and renewal. 

This is possibly because after each mating season male peacocks shed all their tail feathers and grow new ones. In ancient times there was also a belief that peacock meat never decays, perhaps also inspiring the immortal associations.

Duchess Sophie’s confident choice to wear a hat with symbolic peacock feathers was then echoed by Queen Elizabeth two years later. Although the late Queen opted to feature peacock feathers in a more subtle way with a single one fitted into her blue and aqua hat during a state visit to Germany in 2015. 

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at City Hall in Frankfurt

(Image credit: Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Once again, though, the hat complemented the feather with the brighter turquoise shades echoing the “eyes”. The royal and power symbolism surrounding peacock feathers could be seen as even more apt for Queen Elizabeth as Britain’s longest reigning monarch. 

Even though it’s likely both Duchess Sophie and Queen Elizabeth simply liked the bold designs of their hats, given the consideration that goes into royal outfits it’s lovely to see these headpieces could have hidden meanings too. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!