Best Men’s Royal Hats of 2016

Royal HatsWhen it comes to millinery worn by royal men, things get a little tricky. Most commonly, we see male royals in hats relating to military uniform or top hats with morning dress. While there is more variation between top hats (crown height, colour, material) than uniform hats (where which the wearer simply gets what they get), top hats still follow a very similar blueprint and look rather similar. The only time we see true variation or personal style is when royal men wear a hat of their own choosing. These ‘everything else’ hats are a rather casual bunch but as this reflects the reality of hat wearing among royal men (and their personal style), we’re going to go with it.

I promised you all that we would include men’s hats in the process to determine our year-end favourites and we’re going to do this two ways- with with a poll on the ‘everything else’ hats as well as look at the top hats we saw this year. While we won’t poll the top hats, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on these designs and discuss who we think wears these traditional toppers best.

Here are the non-uniform and non-top hat pieces of millinery worn by royal men in 2016, shown in the general order they were worn (please click on photos or captions to link back to original feature posts):

1.Prince Henrik, January 14, 2016 | Royal Hats  2.King Carl Gustaf, January 17, 2016 | Royal Hats

Prince Henrik’s white embellished papakah worn hunting in January
King Carl Gustaf’s black fedora worn to the Norwegian Silver Jubilee Jan 17

3.Peter Phillips, March 17, 2016 | Royal Hats  4.Duke of Edinburgh, May 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

Peter Phillips in a brown felt fedora March 17 at the Cheltenham Festival
Duke of Edinburgh’s cream straw Panama hat May 14 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

5.Duke of Edinburgh, May 14, 2016 | Royal Hats  6.Prince Michael of Kent, May 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

The Duke of Edinburgh’s brown plaid newsboy cap worn May 14
Prince Michael of Kent’s cream straw Panama hat also worn May 14

7.The Duke of Edinburgh, May 26, 2016 | Royal Hats  8.King Carl Gustaf, July 12, 2016 | Royal Hats

Duke of Edinburgh’s black bowler hat for the Beating Retreat of the Royal Marines May 28
King Carl Gustaf’s trusty brown fedora, shown here at the World Equestrian Festival July 12

9.Mike Tindall, August 28, 2016 | Royal Hats  10.King Carl Gustaf, August 27, 2016 | Royal Hats

Mike Tindall in a textured woven straw trilby worn in Gloucestershire August 28
King Carl Gustaf’s cream Panama hat worn for a late August car rally

 11.Prince Henrik, November 6, 2016 | Royal Hats 12.2016-12-03-caribbean-tour

Prince Henrik’s brown hunting fedora worn or the Hubertus Hunt, Nov 6
And for a bit of fun… Prince Harry in a traditional Guyanese headdress, Dec 3

Voting will remain open until Tuesday, January 31 at midnight GMT and each computer or mobile device can vote twice per day for as many hats as you wish. To keep the poll completely fair, results will remain hidden until the poll closes and I encourage you again to refer back to the original posts to look at each hat’s detail.

Now for the top hats- we saw seventeen different top hats last year, worn by members of five royal houses. Between colour, material, crown height and brim shape, which ones do you like the most? Which ones do you like least and why? Which top hat would you nominate for your favourite worn last year? Click on any photo below to jump back to the original feature post.

Duke of Edinburgh, June 16, 2016 | Royal HatsDuke of Edinburgh, June 15, 2016 | Royal Hats     Lord Frederick Windsor, June 16, 2016 | Royal Hats     Prince of Wales, June 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Frederick Windsor, Prince of Wales

King Harald, May 17, 2016 | Royal Hats     Prince Nikolaos of Greece, June 16, 2016 | Royal Hats     Duke of Kent, May 20, 2016 | Royal Hats

King Harald of Norway, Prince Nikolaos of Greece & Denmark, Duke of Kent

Prince Michael of Kent, June 16, 2016 | Royal Hats     Duke of Gloucester, May 10, 2016 | Royal HatsDuke of Gloucester, May 24, 2016 | Royal Hats    Duke of Cambridge, June 15, 2016 | Royal Hats

Prince Michael of Kent, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Cambridge

Duke of York, June 16, 2016 | Royal Hats     Crown Prince Frederik, June 15, 2016 | Royal Hats     Prince Harry, June 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

Duke of York, Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, Prince Harry

Crown Prince Haakon, May 17, 2016 | Royal Hats     Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, June 15, 2016 | Royal Hats    Earl of Wessex, June 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Earl of Wessex 

Photos from  Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix; Ragnar Singsaas, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, WPA Pool via Getty; Stella Pictures; Tim P. Whitby via Getty; Stella Pictures; Stella Pictures; Chris Jackson via Getty
Top hat photos from Adrian DennisSamir Hussein, Mark Cuthbert, Anwar Hussein, Julian Parker, Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; The British Monarchy; Chris Jackson, WPA Pool via Getty; The British Monarchy; Anwar Hussein, Mark Cuthbert, Chris Jackson, Chris Jackson, Julian Parker, Alan Crowhurst and Chris Jackson via Getty


30 thoughts on “Best Men’s Royal Hats of 2016

    • If you read comments by the experts on men’s hats (Chicago Chuck) you’ll learn that the Duke of Kent’s hat is in rough shape and doesn’t fit him at all. This photo makes it look much better than it is. The only hats here that work are Harry’s and the Earl of Wessex’s.

  1. So interesting because I think of the Duke of Edinburgh as the champion in this category, but the Earl of Wessex really looks best here. Prince Michael is second. I don’t see the “undertaker” with the Norwegians, and I think CP Haakon just needs more practice.

  2. Prince Edward, the fit is good and he carries it well.

    By far the worst is Sheikh Mohammed, it looks as if he got it out of a dressing up box.

  3. Prince Philip is always my favorite top hat wearer! I especially love his black one, of the two pictured here. It fits him properly (unlike the hats worn by some of his relatives!), and he is the BEST at pulling off such a high crown.

  4. My votes for best top hats would be Prince Philip, Prince Michael of Kent, and Prince Harry. They have all worn top hats multiple times and they have never looked wrong in my opinion.

  5. Never noticed how short the Norwegian princes wear their hats until now. Whoever said they look like Victorian undertakers was right. The best top hats/wearers are Prince Philip and Prince Edward. Harry looks so scruffy in a hat. No thanks.

  6. I think Prince Michael looks most elegant. Princes Philip, Harry and Edward all look comfortable and confident. Prince William needs to look as if he wants to wear this hat…a similar look to his when we saw him in the court breeches before the Ambassadorial banquet!

  7. The Duke of Edinburgh is always the best dressed man in sight, but there’s something irresistably about the Duke of Gloucester in his gray topper. The worst is Fredrick; it’s sitting too straight on his head, and too low, like it’s too big or something. I can’t figure out why, but the Norwegians always make me think of a row of undertakers. I can’t put my finger on the reason. The Earl of Wessex is runner-up for best.

  8. Yes, I see what everyone’s saying about the beards … to digress slightly … today is my wedding anniversary, 38 glorious years with a bearded man. When we got engaged, my great-aunt wrote me a letter and included a saying she’d heard her parents (my great-grandparents!) use … “kissing a man without a beard is like eating eggs without salt”.

    Best in toppers: Princes Philip, Nikolaos, Michael, Haakon and Harry. Honourable mention: Edward. Most surprising: Frederick, who looks like the Mad Hatter!

  9. There’s more variation than I expected among the top hats. My preferences would be the ones where the wearer looks completely natural wearing them, because they fit well, flatter the wearer and the wearer is as comfortable-looking in them as they would have been a century ago when they were daily wear for a certain class. (Let’s face it, top hat occasions aren’t that common even among royals, so it takes some panache to wear one as though you mean it.) On these grounds, I’d pick the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Nikolaos, and Prince Michael, with Prince Charles and Prince Edward as runners-up.

    • I’ll admit to wearing my top hat around the house a good bit prior to going to the occasions where I’d wear it. Primarily, as you say, to get the feel for it so that I’d be more comfortable on the day. But I wear some type of hat most every day so I’m used to having something on my head.

  10. Yes to many of them looking too small for their wearer! And a couple that look too big. the DofE is definitely the best overall, I especially love his gray and black. Prince Michael is a close second though as well as Prince Nikolaus. I think generally facial hair helps balance the height of the top hat, and that younger men look slightly better in slightly shorter hats (e.g. Prince Nikolaus, CP Haakon, and the Duke of York.

    I also love seeing the other men’s hats!

  11. Not being a top hat connoisseur, I think the top hat appearances are improved with a beard so my votes go to Prince Michael, Prince Harry, and Prince Haakon. (I am aware that I might just be voting for the man here and not the hat.)
    In the general hat category, it’s tough to decide. Prince Philip looks good in all his hats, but so does King Carl Gustaf.

  12. Prince Harry was born to wear a topper; he and his grandfather look the handsomest and most natural by far! It is very curious that so many top hats are too small for the exalted heads they sit on. And Prince Nikolaus–his top hat makes him look Dickensian, and not, to my mind, in a good way.

  13. Well, you know I’m going to comment on this post! And I’m the first one too! LOL!

    I voted on the casual hats but must make a shout out to Prince Henrik in the white papakah – why? Just because!

    Now, on to the toppers. First, my eliminations because they are too small – King Harald, Duke of Kent, possibly Duke of Gloucester (gray and black hats) but hard to tell if they are actually too small or he just has a big head. Second, my elimination because they are too large – Lord Frederick Windsor, Duke of Cambridge, Crown Prince Frederick, Sheikh Mohammed.

    By far, the best topper of the bunch is Prince Edward. That hat!!! I guarantee you the hat is 100+ years old but is in pristine condition and he clearly cares for it carefully and properly.

    First runner up, Prince Charles. Second runner up, Prince Philip.

    A comment about the ill-fitting hats – gents, you are members of royal families! I am absolutely certain there are people who assist you in selecting and choosing your wardrobe. It is beyond reason that you can’t find and use assistance locating a hat that fits properly. I found someone, I know you can! A properly fitted hat feels so much more comfortable to wear that is amazes me these gentlemen continue to wear such ill-fitting top hats. I think Prince Frederick of Denmark is the most disappointing for me. Such a handsome man, carries himself well, beautiful wife who is always dressed impeccably – how could he walk out of the palace with a hat like that?!?! I remember seeing it at Royal Ascot last year and almost yelling at him!

    Fun post! Thank you for remembering the gents.

    • Thanks Chicago Chuck. I don’t know much about men’s hats and your comments are very helpful. I totally see what you mean about Prince Edward’s hat. It is the best one.

      This post feels a little yucky as some people are voting based on who is the handsomest man not who has the nicest hat.

    • I agree 100%…..the hat worn by Crown Prince Frederick does not look like its a silk hat which add to the problem! Never mind that it doesn’t fit!

  14. This is EASY! My top two votes go to Prince Philip (both hats) and Prince Harry!
    My least favorite goes to Lord Frederick Windsor who looks like he’s playing dress-up with a costume hat.
    Quite a number of them appear to be ill-fitting, usually being too small for the royal head.

  15. I think we need a glossary of different Men’s hats, dear HatQueen! There were several fedoras and a trilby – what is a difference? What is a Homburg hat? What are the differences between various flat caps? There you are – I have set you a HUGE task!! Sorry….

  16. This is great! We never talk about men’s hats and this is so cool. Boy, when the boys wear hats they are really casual! I can’t stand the beat up fedoras so I have to vote for Mike and Harry because he’s such a good sport.

    I’ve never seen all these top hats side by side and there’s a lot more different between them than I ever thought there would be. I like the hats with a really sharp 90 degree angle between the top and the side (so ix nay on the two Freddies) and I think they look much more elegant when they are taller. Same as when the black silk is polished and shines (why does Prince Charles’s hat look so rough?). So, my favourite two by far are Prince Edward and Prince Harry.

    I guess that makes Prince Harry my favourite royal man in hats. Who knew!!

    • Mike and Harry all the way!

      I have a soft spot for the Duke of Edinburgh because he’s…. he’s the Duke of Edinburgh! I agree that the black hats look best and they are so elegant when then are tall (but not Abe Lincoln tall) and shiny. The only 3 that pass are the Duke of E’s black one and Prince Edward and Prince Harry’s.

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