Then

Legendary royal milliner John Boyd was born in Edinburgh in 1925. He started his millinery career at the age of 16 working for Aage Thaarup, who was at the time one of London’s most famous milliners.

After taking part in the D Day landings in WWII, John Boyd opened his first tiny hat shop in the Brompton Arcade in Knightsbridge. He slept under his workroom table and worked day and night making his first collection for his friend and fellow Scot, couturier Clive Duncan. His hats were soon catching the attention of high society ladies and royalty, and by the 1960’s he had become the milliner of choice for the fashionable young Princess Anne.

Princess Diana was first introduced to John Boyd by her grandmother and mother, who were his clients. The pair became close friends and he made many hats for her, including her iconic going away tricorn made in peach silk with a dyed ostrich feather. Over the years the John Boyd label grew from strength to strength and the skill of his work and the care and attention he gave his customers kept generations of families returning to his shop.

He was still making beautiful hats into his 90’s whilst passing on his knowledge and skills to a new generation of milliners, and was delighted when The Duchess of Cambridge started wearing his hats.

John Boyd was appointed an MBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to the fashion industry. He died in 2018 aged 92 leaving his business to Sarah Marshall.

royal milliner

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