Royal hat-maker Philip Treacy 'feared head on spike'

Image source, David Jones/PA Wire
Image caption, The hat later sold at auction for more than £80,000

The hat-maker who made Princess Beatrice's distinctive headwear for the 2011 royal wedding said he feared his design could see his "head on a spike".

Philip Treacy, 51, made the claim on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs which airs on Sunday.

The 'pretzel' hat sold for £81,100.01 after Beatrice wore it to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Irish milliner has made headwear for other famous people including Madonna, Lady Gaga and Grace Jones.

He was mentored alongside Alexander McQueen by fashion magazine editor Isabella Blow and went on to work for Ralph Lauren and Givenchy.

Mr Treacy said the annual Royal Ascot horse races were like "Christmas" due to the popularity of his designs among a number of high-profile guests.

When asked by presenter Kirsty Young what luxury item he would like with him on an desert island, Mr Treacy said he would want a sewing thimble.

Image source, Ian West/PA Wire
Image caption, Philip Treacy was mentored alongside AlexanderMcQueen

He described the backlash against the distinctive, towering 'pretzel' design made for Princess Beatrice in 2011, worn at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

He told Young: "There was a moment where I thought I would find myself with my head on a spike outside the Tower of London.

"But it was a very modern hat and modernity is always unusual things."

Mr Treacy, who was inspired to go into hat-making by the weddings he witnessed as a child in a village church, credits the support of his late father, a baker, in rural Ireland for his success.

Media caption, Princess Beatrice chose a hat designed by Philip Treacy for the royal wedding

"I have come from a very humble background, I have made hats for kings and queens," said Mr Treacy, who recalled making clothes for dolls when he was a child.

"One of the strongest memories I have is being in somebody's house and my father's friend saying 'don't you think that's a little odd, don't you think it's a bit strange this child is doing this?'

"And I remember distinctly my father saying: 'Whatever makes him happy.' It moves me still."

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