Crown Princess Masako of Japan (née Masako Owada) celebrates her 50th birthday today. In celebration of this milestone, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of her hats.
At the official announcement of her engagement to Crown Prince Naruhito, Masako wore a demure lemon yellow pillbox (below left). This demure style did not remain long, however, as Masako’s following hats featured quirky embellishment and increasingly vibrant colour. Even the brims on her hats were slightly larger than we are used to seeing on members of the Imperial Family.
Miss Masako Awada during her engagement in January and April 1993; Crown Princess Masako in the mid 1990s
Crown Princess Masako in 1996; Dec. 23, 1998; Dec. 4, 1999; and Dec. 24, 1999
After the birth of Princess Aiko, Crown Princess Masako became unwell and we saw very little of her (and even less of her hats) for several years. There is a noticeable change in her hats during this time – most of the brims became smaller, and the embellishment and bright colours nearly disappeared.
An expectant Princess in Masako in June 2001; with Princess Aiko in March 2002; Dec. 23, 2005; June 8, 2006
Crown Princess Masako in May 14, 2005; Nov.10, 2008; Dec. 27, 2006 and Dec. 23, 2008
Over the past two years, we have seen Crown Princess Masako at a number of public events as she eases back into royal life. Not only is she looking very well, but her hats are showing larger brims and a little more colour. It really is marvelous to see her back. Let’s hope these hats (along with Masako’s health and ease in the public eye) continue growing as well. I would love to see her back in that striking royal blue feathered hat from 1999!
Crown Princess Masako in May 16, 2012; April 30, 2013; Oct.18, 2013; Oct.13, 2013 and Nov. 30, 2013
What do you think of Crown Princess Masako’s hats over the past 20 years? Which one is your favourite? (**Out of respect for her Imperial Highness, let’s keep the comments focused on her hats and not commentary about her health).
Photos from Row 1: Pool and Kurita Kaku via Getty; Royal Dish, The Ruling Dynasty
Row 2: The Ruling Dynasty; Toru Yamanaka/Getty via People Magazine; RD.nl; Jiji Press via Getty
Row 3: Lecturas; Yoshikazu Tsuno via Getty; Issei Kato and Yoriko Nakao via Corbis
Row 4: Toshifumi Kiatmura and Pool via Getty; Pool via Corbis; Kiyoshi Ota via Zimbio
Row 5: Issei Kato via Corbis: Pool via Zimbio; Imperial Family of Japan; Asahi Shimbun via Asahi Digital; Yuya Shino via Corbis