50th Birthday of Crown Princess Masako

Royal Hats

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.

 Masako Owada, Jan 19, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Masako Owada,  April 28, 1993 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako | The Royal Hats Blog

Miss Masako Awada during her engagement in January and April 1993; Crown Princess Masako in the mid 1990s

 Crown Princess Masako | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec 23, 1998 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec. 4, 1999 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec. 24, 1999 | The Royal Hats Blog

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.

Crown Princess Masako, June 27, 2001 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, March 13, 2002 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec. 23, 2005 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, June 8, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog

An expectant Princess in Masako in June 2001; with Princess Aiko in March 2002; Dec. 23, 2005; June 8, 2006

Crown Princess Masako, May 14, 2005 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Nov.10, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec. 27, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Dec. 23, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog

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, May 16, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, April 30, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Oct.18, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Oct.13, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Nov.30, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

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:  LecturasYoshikazu 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 JapanAsahi Shimbun via Asahi Digital; Yuya Shino via Corbis

11 thoughts on “50th Birthday of Crown Princess Masako

  1. I didn’t know that she was MY age…I turned 50 earlier this year! Happy Birthday, ma’am! And welcome to the club! You look AMAZING!

    I love the blues from 1996 and 1999 and the white with blue in 2006.

    Continued good health and happiness to you!

  2. I hadn’t realised what interesting hats Masako wore in her earlier marriage. I do hope we see a return to them soon. So many of her recent hats, although perfectly acceptable and quietly elegant, have been demure to the point of blandness (along with virtually all the other members of the Japanese imperial family, apart from the Empress whose style is unique).

  3. I think Masako can rock the pillbox and I’d like to see her in a calot style like Max & Mathilde have been wearing lately! Happy Birthday CP Masako!

  4. Lovely! My favorite hat was the blue one worn on December 4,1999, followed closely by the ones worn on Dec. 24,1999, June 8,2006, and Nov. 30, 2013. The ones from 1999 are very elegant. I keep changing my mind from my first and second choices, but I am going to stay with the blue one because it was so unexpected!

    • Yes! These would be my favorites as well. I also think that December 27, 2006 is very elegant. Thank you for this unexpected post. I am fascinated by this lovely woman and wish her every happiness.

  5. May 14, 2005-my very favorite. A very lovely and stylish dresser. I’m really looking forward to her return to full health and hat wearing! What a lot of work this post had to be, and we thank you!

  6. This post was just amazing. Thank you so much! Many of these hats I have never seen before. I agree- the early hats are vibrant and beautiful. I hope she returns to this style some day soon.

  7. WHAAAAT? In the early years, her hats were fantastic! I had no idea she had such bold and stylish hats. It’s rather sad to see the retreat away from this.

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