A Look at Queen Elizabeth's Many Hats

L O N D O N, June 4, 2002 -- William Shakespeare once wrote, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Maybe that's why Britain's queen wears so many hats.

Queen Elizabeth II has worn about 5,000 different hats over the past 50 years.

The hats represent more than simply a fashion statement, according to royal biographer Robert Lacey.

"Hats, you see, are obviously very significant items of clothing in a monarch," Lacey said. "You could say when she's wearing a hat that she's wearing a sort of crown substitute."

Freddy Fox, one of the queen's milliners, has made hundreds of crown substitutes for the queen — so many that she travels with a separate train car just for the hats.

"She wears what she feels comfortable in and she looks good in. It's, after all, a working uniform for a very, very energetic, working lady," Fox said.

The criticism she gets from snide fashion writers, he says, is inevitable, but not personal.

"Anybody who is in the queen's position, in the world, you are a sitting target," Fox said.

The queen is one of the richest women in the world, but she wears her favorite hats 20 or 30 times, according to principal milliner Philip Somerville. He says there a few she chose not to wear more than once.

"The one that we did for the millennium. And I wasn't happy about that," Somerville said. "I don't know why or where I went wrong. I must have had an off day."