Debate erupted here on the Royal Hats Blog earlier this year over Queen Máxima’s new hat style (a turban pillbox combo). We recently looked at turbans and today, we explore the pillbox.
History: Pillbox hats have long been associated with military uniforms, often worn with a chin strap in this capacity. They date back as late as the Roman Empire, when they were known as the pilleus or “Pannonian cap” and were worn by Roman soldiers.The pillbox was thrust into fashion spotlight in 1960 when US First Lady Jackie Kennedy chose one to wear to her husband’s presidential inauguration. They have been consistently worn by royals since then.
Characteristics: No brim, a flat crown and straight, upright sides.
Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Everyone!
Classic Royal Pillboxes:
Duchess of Kent, 1960s; Princess Diana, May 1, 1986, Queen Paola, Oct. 22, 1996; Princess Caroline, Nov. 19, 2003
Princess Mabel; Princess Kiko, April 26, 2007; Empress Farah, 1960s; Queen Silvia, Sep. 9, 2013
Princess Aimee, Oct 20, 2005; Queen Paola, April 5, 2000 and July 21, 2013; Princess Máxima, April 30, 2008
Fur and Faux Fur Pillboxes:
Princess Astrid, Nov. 15, 2008; Archduchess Kathleen, Dec. 29, 2012;
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, April 15, 2008; Princess Anne, March 13, 2013
Princess Diana, May 20, 1995; Princess Mary, May 6, 2009;
Queen Anne-Marie, Jan. 14, 2012; Queen Beatrix, April 19, 2012
Princess Anne, 1982; Princess Astrid, Oct. 27, 2005; Queen Anne-Marie, 1963; Princess Beatrice, June 2, 2012
Queen Elizabeth, July 9, 1996 and March 2, 2002; Princess Marie, Oct. 6, 2009, Empress Michiko, July 14, 2009
I have always loved pillbox hats and probably always will. I love the simplicity of their design and the slightly retro vibe they carry. It seems to me, however, that the success of the pillbox is often found in the angle it is worn on the head- neither too far forward, nor too far back. I think the pink and green pillboxes worn by Princess Máxima and Princess Kiko at the top of this post are worn at the perfect spot.
What do you think of the pillbox hat?
Photos from: Viva Maxima Blog; Tim Graham via The Royal Forums; Noburu Hashimoto via Corbis; Pascal La Segretain via Getty; Mark Cuthbert via Getty; Toshiyuki Aizawa via Corbis; Nick Verreos Blog; Ragnar Singsaas via Zimbio; Van Parys Media via Corbis; The Royal Forums; Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Zimbio; Mark Cuthbert and Mark Renders/Stringer via Getty; PurePeople.com; Dan Kitwood and Samir Hussein via Getty; The Royal Forums; My Royal Blog; Albert Nieboer via Corbis; Dutch Photo Press; Friends Reunited; Julian Parker, Hulton Archive and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; Andrew Murray via Corbis; Hanne Juul/Image Magazine via BilledBladet; Getty Images and AFP/Stringer via Getty