The Queen Mary Toque

"As you can tell, I think of royalty as being a bit of all right.

Sorry to keep going on about Queen Mary, but I was crazy about her.


One day during my London years, I was buying something--I think china--in Goode's on South Audley Street. Goode's is the best-run shop in the world. At one point a salesman said, 'Excuse me, madam, but Her Majesty is coming through. Perhaps you might step back for just a minute.'

We were in a room of very cheap vases--glass vases. I don't know if you've ever been in Goode's, but it's made up of small rooms, so that you get lots of wall space for the stuff that they've got for sale. And so I stepped back.

Queen Mary in matching gown and toque at Elizabeth II's wedding, 1947. From here.
She looked so queenly. This day she was in blue. Everything matched--including the pale blue fox to go with the pale blue tailleur and the pale blue kid laced boots. And the pale blue toque. I stepped back. And, my God! something on my coat or my sleeve--I had a big fur-lined tweed coat on--hit a glass vase, and each piece of glass on either side hit another piece of glass, and all this glass came shattering down. I was like a sort of crucifixion figure against the wall in the middle. It was...too...horrible! The Queen went by and looked at me as if to say, 'Well, we are busy these days!' Yes, she went straight by without a comment, but she gave me very much of a smile. She probably thought I was a wonderful housekeeper, very busy with my little home.

She always wore matching clothes. The toque. You know the Queen Mary toque." (64-65)

Vreeland, Diana. D.V. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

You know the toque! For the queen of Teck. Great passage for the history of shopping and consumerism, also.