Why are women in big hats going viral at the General Election?

A number of women in seemingly over-the-top hats have become the viral stars of this year’s General Election - but it wasn’t just an opportunity to dress up.

The women in question were acting as high sheriffs (or returning officers) during the elections, and are responsible for conducting the logistics. That includes printing ballot papers, organising postal votes, and announcing the result on the night.

Their uniform consists of a dress, coat, and wide-brim hat featuring ostrich feathers - the same ones that proven popular online.

There are currently 55 high sheriffs across the UK to represent each of the counties.