The Queen Mother had the luxury of buying clothes from any top fashion house in the world. But it was the expertise of a hat maker in Shooters Hill that she favoured over all others.
This hat maker, or milliner to use the proper term, was Rose Cory.
Rose Cory has been a milliner, a hat maker focusing on the craft of female hats, for 55 years and over a successful career she has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most respected.
Mrs Cory has made hats for various celebrities and stage productions and worked with renowned designers in the industry. But the highlight of her career will always be her appointment as Royal Milliner.
The milliner has fond memories of the Queen Mother and met her many times over her tenure, she said: “I met her at fittings and went to parties she threw at St James’ Palace at Christmas.
“She was very friendly, with a brilliant memory. She was always asking after my students.”
Throughout her career, Rose has taught millinery class at Shrewsbury House community centre, in Shooters Hill and her flair for teaching seems to be almost equal with her prowess for millinery.
Many of her students graduate to have successful careers.
Students also seem keen to keep up the royal connection, with a former pupil going on to make hats for Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge. The same pupil also made the hat that the duchesses’ mother wore to the Royal wedding in 2011.
Four former pupils went on to win the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Trust grant (QET), a sought-after financial aid given to talented tradesmen and women to help start their careers.
The awards are Rose’s proudest moment, she said: ”It was brilliant, I felt really happy that they got the grant. They were the only milliners to get on the grant scheme, but not just because of that, but because it’s such a hard thing to get.”
The crafts-woman, once called the “the milliner’s milliner” by Vogue, remembers the Queen Mother’s style well: she liked a particular structure to her hats, but not always for fashion purposes, she said: “She favoured a hat with an upturned brim so she could see everybody and everyone could see her.
When asked whether she missed her career as milliner to a member of the Royal family, Mrs Cory said: “I do miss that side of my career but it has enabled me to spend more time teacher which is lovely.”
For information on Rose Cory’s millinery classes’ visit: rosecory.co.uk