June 21, 2017 / 2:18 PM / a month ago

REFILE-EU sure about that hat, your majesty?

2 Min Read

(Adds dropped word in final paragraph)

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - Coincidence or a subliminal message? Britain's Queen Elizabeth stirred up social media on Wednesday when she opened parliament in a hat looking very much like a European Union flag.

Delivering a formal speech in which Prime Minister Theresa May's government laid out its strategy for exiting the EU, the monarch sported a blue chapeau decorated with an arc of blue flowers each with a bright yellow disc at its centre.

It was all a bit Brussels and Strasbourg, where the EU flag -- a blue ensign with a circle of yellow stars on it -- holds pride of place,

"Queen delivers speech outlining Brexit plans wearing a hat that looks suspiciously like a EUROPEAN flag," the right-wing, anti-EU Daily Mail newspaper tweeted.

Others on Twitter created composite pictures, with one half showing Elizabeth wearing the hat, the other showing the flag.

Some thought it might have been deliberate on the queen's part. "A bit like her insisting on driving the Saudi king! Subtle royal politics," Simon Hix, political science professor at London School of Economics tweeted.

As head of state, the British monarch refrains from taking public positions on political issues.

A headline published in British tabloid The Sun last year claiming that the queen "backed Brexit", prompted official denials and a complaint to press regulators, which ruled that it was significantly misleading. (Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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