Born in the 40's, and raised in New Zealand, Somerville moved to London from New Zealand in the early 60's. He worked for Otto Lucas before his death. He then set up his own work room off Bond Street, London. Here began his flourishing wholesale hat business, which continues today from premises on Chiltern Street.

He now designs for a great number of society women, aristocrats and the Queen and was recently given a Royal warrant. Princess Diana saw some of his hats on a television commercial and traced him out through her hairdresser.

Somervilles's striking style is widely recognized and he was influential in changing the direction of Diana, Princess of Wales, selection of hats over the 11 years he worked for her, from 1986 to 1997. He persuaded her to wear bigger, more graphic shapes with a cleaner line. He most often created brightly coloured wide-brimmed hats to coordinate with outfits by her favourite designers such as Catherine Walker.

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