As Kate Middleton prepares to wed Prince William on April 29, she’s already perfected one royal tradition – deftly wearing many hats befitting a princess. Attending the May 6, 2006, wedding of future in-law Camilla Parker Bowles’s daughter Laura, she impressed revelers in Wiltshire, England, with her cream-and-brown fascinator.
BEST OF THE FEST
For a casual day out on the green, Middleton capped off her jeans and brown jacket with a matching wide-brimmed hat to attend the Gatcombe Park Festival riding competition near Tetbury, England, in August 2005.
To mark her first royal engagement in the Queen’s presence, Middleton chose an elegant but understated Philip Treacy topper to celebrate William’s graduation from Sandhurst Military Academy on Dec. 15, 2006, in Surrey, England.
Another wedding, another whimsical headpiece! Middleton stuck to pastels for the August 2009 nuptials of William’s close friend Nicholas van Custem at London’s Guards Chapel, topping off her blue-and-ivory ensemble with a coordinated floral hat – one that Kate’s mum Carole borrowed nearly a year later to attend Ascot.
JUST FUR THRILLS
From Russia, with love, indeed! The brunette beauty accented her long locks with a Doctor Zhivago-inspired hat in March 2006, during the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, England.
BLACK TO BASICS
While launching a lifeboat in Anglesey, Wales, on Feb. 24, Middleton took her first official royal duty in stride, sporting a chocolate brown fascinator made from velvet and pheasant feathers. “She has quite a few of our pieces and luckily she wore one of ours today,” designer Maddie O’Mahony of Vivien Sheriff Millinery told PEOPLE. “She looks lovely!”
Black and white, but definitely not boring! Middleton’s saucer-shaped hat proved to be a stylish feather in the 29-year-old’s cap at William’s induction into the Order of the Garter on June 16, 2008, held at St. George’s Chapel inside Windsor Castle.
COMING UP ROSES
Setting aside her usual palette of muted tones, Middleton had guests seeing red with her brightly-colored fascinator and matching dress at the wedding of David Jardine-Paterson and Emilia D’Erlanger in Devon, England, on April 17, 2010.
Accompanying William to the Jan. 8, 2011, wedding of Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Louise Stourton in Aldborough, England, Middleton took her all-black ensemble to new heights with a felt beret from Whiteley Fischer. “[It] looked gorgeous on her,” Peter Whiteley, director of the company, told PEOPLE. “She has quite an original style and seems to carry off her hats very well.”