King’s charity teams up with Chanel and le19M to teach future hatmakers

The King’s charity is to run a new millinery course in partnership with Chanel and le19M to train the next generation of hatmakers.

As the King and Queen joined racegoers on the first day of Royal Ascot, The King’s Foundation announced its first Metiers d’art Millinery Fellowship.

The students will spend time at le19M, Chanel’s creative hub for artisans in Paris, with the support of esteemed Parisienne hatmakers Maison Michel.

Royal Ascot 2024 – Day One – Ascot Racecourse
The Queen, dressed in a royal blue hat and outfit, arrive on day one of Royal Ascot (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The 35-week intensive programme, which begins in September, will be based at The King’s Foundation’s workshops at Highgrove Gardens in Gloucestershire and at the charity’s Trinity Buoy Wharf centre in London.

The future milliners will learn blocking, felt shaping, dyeing, feather and flower making, along with key couture skills and finishes, working to a creative brief inspired by the gardens at Charles’ country home Highgrove.

Creative director of Maison Michel, Priscilla Royer, will offer mentorship and guidance.

Maison Michel hats in the Kitchen Garden at Highgrove
Maison Michel hats in the Kitchen Garden at Highgrove (Oliver Holms/King’s Foundation/PA)

Daniel McAuliffe, education director at The King’s Foundation, said: “We are delighted to continue our work with Chanel and le19M on this exciting new programme.

“The Millinery Fellowship will be a much-needed postgraduate-level programme in the UK to prepare students to enter the workplace with the right skills, design confidence and industry insight.”

Chanel SAS and le19M president Bruno Pavlovsky said: “Our longstanding vision has been to nurture and develop the specialist skills of the Metiers d’art in order to recruit, train and transmit their savoir-faire to the next generation.

Hats at Royal Ascot in 2022
Hats at Royal Ascot in 2022 (Aaron Chown/PA)

“Initiatives like this fellowship programme are a way to highlight today’s relevance of these traditional metiers, ensuring they have a legitimate place in the creation of tomorrow.”

It follows the charity’s embroidery fellowship with Chanel and le19M which began in 2023.

Charles and Camilla took to a carriage as they joined the traditional procession at the start of the famous Royal Ascot meet on Tuesday.

Punters dressed in stunning hats, summer dresses and smart suits will cheer on the riders over the next five days at the Berkshire racecourse, with the most colourful and creative millinery creations shown off on Ladies Day on Thursday.